As most of you may be aware, the Muslim world was woken to a terrorist attack of the most cowardly and sickening manner. News outlets are reporting an attack on Muslims inside of a masjid in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand.
As an Ummah, we are often seen as divided in opinion but when it comes to events such as these, Muslims all over the world, indeed humanity, unites to condemn such acts of terror.
As Muslims, we are hurting today but we take solace in the fact that they left as martyrs, left in a state of wudu, left during Jumuah Salah and left us in the blessed month of Rajab.
The imam reminded us of the ayats of Sura Baqara in relation to this reminder. The ayats 154 to 157 are translated to say:
And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.
Dear brothers and sisters, our thoughts and our prayers today ought to be with those who have departed. We pray that they are admitted without account and reckoning. We refer to the deceased as martyrs and they are referred by Allah as being alive, although not in a way that we are able to understand. We pray that the relatives and friends of those returning to Allah SWT find peace and patience at this difficult time.
The second point to this is that of reaction. As an Ummah of the Prophet SAWS, we are blessed to have in our hearts, a space for every Muslim, regardless of nationality, language or culture. When we hear of these types of atrocities, our heart breaks for our brothers and sisters that are victims to this act of terror.
However, we have guidelines and etiquettes in which to deal with occasions such as this one. The first point to make in reference to today’s event is that, due to the technology of our time, we are tested in a way that has never been seen by people before.
There are videos circulating of the atrocity as the terrorists filmed the event. In regards to this, it’s worth mentioning that we try to respect the honour of the brothers and sisters who have lost their lives by not watching and not sharing the video. The video will only hurt hearts already torn and add to sadness of those of the Ummah still here to live through this event.
In regards to the correct approach to this, we are reminded of Sura Al-Maidah, ayat 8 which is translated to say:
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
Dear brothers and sisters, the advice here, and particularly the enthusiastic brothers, take this opportunity to spread the message of peace, not of retaliation or anger. Islam is the call for peace and for the peaceful living and togetherness regardless of anyone’s religion and background.
The Prophet SAWS guides us also, as referenced by the imam in which the Prophet SAWS said:
You (people) cannot satisfy people with your wealth, but satisfy them with your cheerful faces and good morals.
Our job is to retaliate with goodness, with kindness and with mercy. We use this opportunity to spread the correct narrative on the religion of peace. We use this opportunity to open dialogue with those around us so that they can see the truth in our faces, our good morals and our kind words.
Lastly, we use this reminder to remind one another that we are to take care of one another at times like this. Fear isn’t part of the equation for Muslims as we have faith in Allah and anything happens is within his destiny (Qadar). But Allah and his Messenger taught us to take caution and take extra care from any harm or unpleasant circumstances.
Remember, Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate and hate leads to violence. That is the equation. The best thing that we can do is to honour their memories through supplication, following the path of Allah SWT and serving His creation as true Muslims and ambassadors for the truth.