Uphold Justice, Oppose Injustice
As the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) takes its first baby steps, one of the key motivating concepts behind MANA is the pursuit of justice (adl/qist) and the struggle against injustice (zulm). Allah Almighty teaches that we must always stand up for justice: “O you who believe, be upholders of justice (qist), witnesses to Allah” (4:135). Allah also warns us that oppressors will never prosper: “Indeed those who are unjust will never prosper” (6:21) and “We have destroyed generations before you because of the injustices they committed” (10:13).
In the Islamic concept, injustice (zulm) includes all forms of wrong whether spiritual, moral, social or economic. Part of the mission of Islam is to oppose and rectify all types of zulm (injustice): the zulm of associating partners with Allah, the zulm of adultery, the zulm of racism, the zulm of economic oppression, the zulm of the denial of basic human rights. MANA will always struggle to be among those who are foremost in speaking out against wrong, working to alleviate wrong and assisting those who struggle against injustice.
Throughout their history, African Americans have faced the worse types of zulm—two centuries of enslavement and one more century and counting of persistent prejudice and racism that stunts the growth of self-esteem, darkens the light of hope, and limits opportunities for good education, jobs and health care. There is the of zulm economic inequality that means almost a third of African American families live under the poverty level, millions of Americans have no health care, and half of all workers have little or not retirement benefits. There is the zulm of killing unborn babies out of inconvenience. There is the zulm of violating the environment with the waste of our thoughtlessness and greed. There is the monstrous zulm of non-Muslim states that oppress Muslims in such places as Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya. There is the zulm of socalled Muslim regimes that deny basic human rights of freedom of expression and free association.
This first issue of Grassroots focuses on two cases of zulm. The first case is the zulm of the American government’s response to 9/11, in what should have been a righteous response directed to a small group of terrorists, and what should have been policies inspired by the spontaneous selflessness and cooperation which marked the public response to the World Trade Center attack. Instead we have seen the implementation of an ugly-American foreign policy that is intent on bullying the world in a new era of American imperialism, and a domestic policy of denying and curtailing the civil liberties of American Muslims. We are witnesses to an effort to rid the American public square of the presence of Islam and Muslims. The second case of zulm that Grassroots addresses in this issue is that of Imam Jamil Al-Amin whose conviction and persecution points up the zulm of a government intent on silencing forceful and relentless spokespeople for justice, and the zulm of a jury that would not see past the negative headlines and stereotypical images of a militant Muslim.
There is also the zulm of those who would struggle in Allah’s cause, but use means that are against Allah’s rule. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and other subsequent bombings as in Bali, the documented fatwas of Osama bin Laden permitting the killing of Americans whoever and wherever they are, and the pronouncements of al-Qaedah promoting and praising such terrorist acts are all zulm. Allah Almighty in His Book has said that life is sacred, and the Prophet (saws) has made clear that the killing of women, children and in general non-combatants is not permitted. These prohibitions against taking innocent life cannot be compromised or revoked because innocent Muslim lives were taken. We cannot pursue justice with injustice. Allah has said, “Let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just; that is closer to taqwa” (5:8).
MANA’s priority in promoting justice and confronting injustice is to focus on the issues in America, but as part of the world-wide Ummah, MANA stands with those who struggle for right, wherever they are. Islam demands it