Never Let The Hatred Of A People Towards You…

In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Ft. Hood tragedy. As the country begins to process what happened yesterday, there are still many questions that have yet to be answered. Why did this doctor do this? What was his motivation? How did he get this guns? How could a doctor do something like this?

Indeed, it is fortunate that the alleged gunman did survive, because, it is hoped we can find out why he did this. Had he died, the reasons would have been victim to unending speculation. Of course, those who believe nothing good about Islam and Muslims are painting this as “terrorism” and “jihad at Ft. Hood.” Yet, I doubt those same people would call this shooting in Orlando today an act of terrorism.

Perhaps, as much as I hate to even imagine such a thing, he did have some sort of twisted religious motivation for the shooting (some claim he shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the shootings). As horrific as that would be, it does not change the fact that we American Muslims
are just as horrified by this, and all, senseless acts of violence against innocent people, even if they are soldiers about to go to war. They were unarmed; they did not pose a threat to Major Hasan; they were his fellow soldiers. They were his fellow soldiers. It is truly an act that in unconscionable.

When I reflect over the possible motivations of this shooting, it reminds me of a verse in the Quran; it is, perhaps, one of the most powerful verses in the entire scripture.

Believers, never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice… (5:8)

The details about Major Hasan continue to come out: that he was harassed by some of his fellow soldiers for being Muslim; that being deployed to Iraq was his “worst nightmare”; that he tried very hard to get out of the Army but could not; that he argued with other fellow soldiers about the legitimacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even so, nothing whatsoever justifies the murder of innocent people. Never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice…

This phrase in repeated twice in the first eight verses of the fifth chapter of the Quran. It was revealed after the conquest of Mecca, during the Last Pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It reminds the believers that, despite all that was done to you by the pagan Quraish during all those years of conflict, it is not fitting for you to stoop to their level and commit injustice yourselves:

And never let your hatred of people who would bar you from the Inviolable House of Worship lead you into the sin of aggression: Asad(5,6 but rather help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity; and remain conscious of God: for, behold, God is severe in retribution! (5:2)

A few verses later, God repeats this injunction upon the believers:

Asad(5,19)O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do. (5:8)

Indeed, it may not be very easy to do: the “animal” instinct in all of us may want to lash out in revenge. But, the believer is held to a higher standard. She in enjoined to restrain the basest desires and hearken to the better angels of her nature. That is “closest to being God-conscious”; that is closest to being Godly; that is closest to being like our Noble Messenger who, when he conquered Mecca, forgave the very people who swore never to stop until his blood was shed by their hands.

This verse serves as the foundation upon which Islam condemns (and I condemn) each and every act of violence against the innocent. Indeed, I am blessed to be an American Muslim; I am blessed to be a Muslim in a country where I can truly live out my faith without – for the most part – fear of being persecuted, attacked, maimed, and killed. Yes, there are incidents – and they are growing – of Islamophobia right here in America. But, overall, I am much more able to be a Muslim here in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, even more than many parts of the “Muslim world.” I thank God for this, and it is because of His blessing of this great nation.

Yet, no matter what injustice is committed against Muslims across the world – and there is much of that – there is no justification for the harming of innocent people in “revenge.” Never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice…

In fact, we in America should learn this principle as well. The attack on our country, our people, our way of life on September 11, 2001 was heinous, vicious, and barbaric. Those 3,000 innocent Americans (many of whom were Muslims themselves) did not deserve to die in such an horrific manner. It was a grave injustice done to our people. Yet, that cannot give us the right to “pre-emptively” invade any country we feel like in “revenge,” where other innocent people will die as a result. We must also learn to never let the hatred of a people towards [us] move [us] to commit injustice…

As our country continues to wage its “Long War” against those who plan and plot to harm our innocent fellow citizens, let us always remember that we are better than our enemies. Because, verse 5:8, in essence, tells the believers just that: “you are better than stooping to the level of your enemies.”

Let us take in that lesson as Americans as well. Would that we had done so a long time ago.


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