The unprecedented tragedy of September 11 and the hate campaign against terrorism in its wake have practically jeopardized the life of a common Muslim in cities and numerous towns of the USA, perhaps, for a considerable long time. They are living in a constant state of fear and a self-imposed reluctance to come out and meet the common people in their respective vicinity and tell neighbors and ward residence who they are, how much they are peaceful and how much care and concern they nurture in their hearts and minds for the people of the land and the country that stands very close to the principles of Islam and its way of life. There should not be any reason for them even to think contrary to the established norms, values and the principles that this country is pursuing with care and concern for each and everyone that lives on this land, irrespective of the fact who he is and from where he comes.


THE POSITION OF MUSLIMS:  Muslim should not blame anyone for these repercussions except themselves. They are the special people of Allah on this earth. They have a mission assigned to them by their Creator ands Sustainer and they are to carry it out irrespective of the fact where they are and what they are doing? Their task is to call the humanity to the fold of Allah, demonstrating a trustworthy character and rendering humanitarian services to their neighbors and the citizens of the land. This would have created the impression that Muslims are different than what is being depicted and propagated by the prejudiced media day in and day out. People themselves would have refuted that anybody can be a terrorist but not the Muslims. They come to our help when we are in need. They are refined people, benevolent neighbors, and majestic citizens and always stand for love, care and concern for others. This confirmation by the people would have vindicated what the government agencies are brandishing Muslims today. It would have forced the Government of the USA to probe into the matter, go in the depth of the tragedy of September 11 and dig out who is the real culprit? Muslims would have never been made scapegoats for the thing [terrorism] that is unknown to their religion, culture and stands totally prohibited by Allah and His Prophet (S).   

Muslims should understand very well that they have only one position on earth and that is of “Da’ee Ilallah” as addressed by Allah in Surah Al-Fussalat Verse 33:

“And who is better in speech than him who calls the people unto the fold of Allah [Dawah Ilallah], does good deeds and declares: Lo! I am from those who are Muslims [have surrendered to Allah]”.

Meeting the delicacies of the position through incessant Dawah efforts and fulfilling the obligation of Da’ee Ilallah in and around the society in which they are living, Muslims would have been able to carve out a place of love, friendship and brotherhood in the hearts and minds of each every American brother and sister that would have come in contact with them at their neighborhood, job places, markets and educational institutions. The Qur’an stands witness to this change-of-heart situation:

“The good deeds and the evil deeds are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one that is better, then lo! he, between whom and you there was enmity, [will become] as though he was a bosom friend”.

                                                                                                                                                [Al-Fussalat: 34]

This verse explains the true picture as how we could have won over the hearts of the people of the land and where we would have been standing today, had we done our job as a Da’ee Ilallah” for all these years we have been living in this country. It also pinpoints that the Muslim Ummah and its leadership is not doing its job save and except sporadically something here and something there. They have never made an organized, determined and continuous Dawah efforts to win over the hearts and minds of the people of the land as ordained by Allah(SWT). Our Imams, the Muslim leadership and the Muslim organizations, all are to be blamed for this neglect. They are striving to get the leadership, name and fame but without doing the homework that had been made incumbent upon them by Allah and His Prophet (S).  The very Kalimah that they recite every now and then Demands the fulfillment of this obligation. But we as a people don’t listen the call of our Iman and realize the responsibilities that it thrusts upon us. In consequence, the Ummah is suffering and only Allah knows how long it would carry the backlash of our past and present day neglect?


NO PLACE OF ANY DESPONDENCY:  However, it is an integral part of Muslim’s faith that he should never feel disappointed. “ La Tuqnetu min Rahmatullah” [never feel disappointed from the mercy of Allah]. Despondency is not the part of our Iman. We should all repent for our past negligence and pray to Allah for His guidance and Tawfeeq to do our job with renewed vigor and zeal that our obligation requires. The history of this Ummah is full of such episodes, turmoil and backlash. Ummah had suffered in the past for such neglects many a times but when they realized their shortcomings and neglect of their prime most responsibility of Dawah Ilallah, the Ummah had performed miracles. It reminds me a verse from Iqbal:


“A’j bhi gar ho Brahim ka iman paida  <> A’g kar sakti hai undaze gulistan paida” [Translation: If today we can produce the Iman of Abraham, the fire can demonstrate the characteristic of a garden] Therefore, we should not worry. We have to transform our Iman into 24 Karat solid gold. Let us feel our responsibility, rise to the occasion as Da’ee Ilallah and encounter the situation with courage and fortitude.     


Instead of sitting hand crossed, adopting a do-nothing attitude and taking refuge under the pretext that the things will change automatically in due course, we have to go in the field, be nice to our neighbors, meet the people in our vicinity, involve in ward or local social and humanitarian services and create the impression that we are the good guys. We are humans and love human beings irrespective of cast, creed, color and ethnicity.  This process will soon ease the situation. Our very effort to meet the people will have chilling effect on the hate-crime promoters. This society is also full of good and well-behaved people. It is not barren. Let us meet them and the surcharged atmosphere will soon change into ease and comfort. Insha Allah.


HALF WORK ALREADY DONE: The present environment is mixed with many surprises for the Muslims. Apparently it looks anti-Islam and anti-Muslims. It appears too hostile to Muslims. At the same time, President Bush, the prejudiced media, different government agencies and NGO’s have done valuable service to the cause of Islam. They have introduced the name of Islam to their own people, the community at large and to every nook and corner of the country where the Muslims could not reach for years to gather. Through their propaganda campaign, they have created an urge in the people to know about Islam. It can be measured by the manifold demand of the Qur’an and Islamic literature in the market. Their propaganda is negative and our job is now to meet the people and remove the misgivings about Islam by putting the truth about Islam as what it is and for what it stands.


This negative tactic is one of the weapons of Allah (SWT) through which He makes the task of Da’ees easier, approachable and less time consuming. This negative propaganda work was done by Abu Jahal, Abu Laheb and the entire hawkish team of Quraish at the time of Rasulullah (S) and thus managed to introduce the name of Islam and that of Muhammad (S) to every house in Makkah and the tribes who were visiting this city. Our adversaries have, Alhamdulillah, done that job on their own accord. Now we must reach to the people of the land in a planned and organized manner with love and concern and remove the misgivings that are rampant with the conviction in our heart that the future of this country lies only in Islam.  Rasulullah (S) and his beloved companions did the sane thing and we have to follow it, if we are to see this country pulsating with love for the Muslims and developing a soft corner for Islam and its message. Fifty percent of our job has already been done. We should be thankful to the secular media to that extent. They did the negative work and we are now to do the balance fifty percent positive work forthwith.


WHAT MUSLIMS SHOULD DO NOW? It can be put in one sentence. Let us be conscious Muslims.

We can achieve this status through undergoing the following measures.


1. Let us live, act and behave like a Muslim and Muslimah. If we are conscious, we will be always mindful that we are Muslims and hence we should not do anything that may give bad name to Islam and Muslims. This is the first step of Dawah Ilallah at individual or personal level.           


2.  Let us be nice to our neighbors, come to their help and develop good social contacts on personal basis.


3. Let us make our homes as models of the Islamic way of life for our neighbors, friends, relatives and our own children.


4.  Let us involve ourselves, to the extent possible, in rendering humanitarian services to the community, especially to the poor, needy and the senior citizens.


5.  Let us invite our neighbors and friends at dinner, where possible, individually or in a group and dine with them in an easy and relaxed atmosphere. It will provide the best environment to talk and remove their unfounded misgivings that they are nurturing due to misinformation and disinformation about Islam and the Muslims by the prejudiced media.


6.  Let us arrange Open House Meetings in Masajid, public places and community halls, serve snacks or food to the participants, provide the environment of free exchange of opinion, attend their Questions with satisfactory answers and present a packet of some basic Islamic literature while seeing them off. It should be a permanent feature of each Muslim community/Center at frequent intervals.


7.  Arranging Dawah tables at different market places, shopping malls, public events, educational institutions and campuses on regular basis, displaying Islamic literature, especially the Qur’an in English and Spanish and attending public quarries and questions in a well-behaved manner.


8.  Meet-the-people through door-to-door Dawah campaign in a group of two’s or three’s listening to their comments and questions with Sabr and responding to their quarries with Hikmah, love and care.


9.   Always praying to Allah to open their hearts for Islam and guidance to the path of righteousness.


10.  Last but not the least is to get the Muslim community prepared to carry out these Dawah-conscious and Dawah-oriented measures in an organized and a continuous process and get the desired results. The Muslim leaderships, our Imams and the established Muslim organizations have to do this job without any further delay. Only then we will see that the enmity, if any, will be changed into friendship as ordained by Allah (SWT) in Verse 34 of Surah Al-Fussalat as quoted above.


I pray to Allah to give us Tawfeeq to fulfill these paramount obligations. If we fail to do this job, the future of Muslims in America will be doomed and for that only the Muslim leadership of America will be blamed. In that situation posterity will never forgive us and the accountability in Akhirah will be enormous.



Shamim A Siddiqi

Dated October 20, 2001