In the name of Allah, the Ever-Compassionate, the Ever-Merciful
All praise be to Allah alone and may blessings and peace be upon he who was sent as a mercy for all of humanity.
No one could possibly be unaware of the political storm that has recently overtaken this country. Some see it as a real threat to the principles of security, freedom, equality, well-being and social justice that form the basis of the American Dream which millions from various ethnic and religious backgrounds seek to achieve. As Muslims are one slice of this society, national and religious obligations demand that they deal with these news events in a way that will protect the nation and its people from any evils, in a manner benefitting all citizens. For this reason, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America is addressing the Imams, Islamic workers and the entire Muslim community with permanent values that must be emphasized during this stage as well as a number of principles to be used in dealing with these events, what has happened as well as what is expected to happen.
Muslims of America are neither guests nor strangers here. Muslims, due to them being descended from humanity’s parents, Adam and Eve, and being created from this earth, are part of the greater family of humanity. They are also citizens here like the other citizens with both rights and responsibilities. This land is ruled by a constitution and the rule of law that protects the rights of all its minorities with due respect at all levels, even though the visceral speech of the recent heated election may have seemed to deny this. We shall adhere to our rights and the rights of other Americans and shall strengthen our bonds with the civil rights organizations, Muslim or non-Muslim. We shall work with them and defend them whenever needed. However, at the same time, we must always fulfill our obligations completely and be active participants in society working to protect the security and well-being of its inhabitants.
It is known that patience, perseverance, prudence and discernment are among the most important tools for success and happiness, especially during times of calamities. These are needed to establish one’s position on certainty or, at the very least, the preponderance of the evidence. One’s stance cannot be simply a matter of making proclamations in front of cameras or under the pressure of provocations. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told Ashaj Abdul-Qais, “You have two qualities that Allah loves: forbearance and deliberateness.” The Muslim Community must proceed with calmness and clarity and must refer matters to the knowledgeable people who are specialists in the relevant fields. Allah has said, “But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it.”
There is no blame upon a country if it does what is needed to protect its interests and security as long as it does not transgress or oppress by denying or violating rights. America, even given its excesses, is still one of the best nations when it comes to protecting human rights and the sanctity of humanity. It is a must upon us that we not overgeneralize or spread fear. Our dealings with the current events must be wise and objective.
Testing humans with good or evil is how Allah deals with His servants. Whoever sells his faith for this world has suffered a clear loss. The Muslim believes that his religion is the dearest of all things. Any time in which the worldly goods will be accepted in exchange for one’s faith will be a time of ignobility and treachery. The trials and punishments that can come from humans cannot possibly be like that which will come from Allah—and it is only the people of hypocrisy that could ever equate those two. Allah has said, “And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.”
Islam, with respect to its belief and legal foundations, is unalterably fixed. It does not accept any replacement for change. With its branches and rulings, though, it can accommodate people under any time or place. By its legal principles, it is able to absorb changes of time and places and circumstances of necessity and need. However, the law of necessity has its specific legal parameters that one must adhere to. One must refer to the people of knowledge to ensure that the principle is being applied properly. A Muslim must comply with his faith and refer confusing or troublesome matters to the well-grounded scholars. AMJA is of the view that there has yet to occur—and they do not expect to occur—a situation in which one is required to flee with one’s faith or wherein one is excused from performing some parts of the faith’s teachings.
Both Muslims and non-Muslims bring harm to Islam and Muslims. Muslims do so via ignorance, taking knowledge from the unqualified, blind zealotry, extremism or by betraying Allah, His Messenger and the believers. The non-Muslims harm Islam and Muslims via enmity and hatred, which is also built upon ignorance and intolerance. You should eagerly learn your faith and its regulations. You should fortify your knowledge and understanding via learning from the well-grounded, pious scholars. Then you should be a Muslim whose deeds, above and beyond his speech, are truthful and sincere. You should be an excellent ambassador for your faith. Representing Islam well and displaying its realities is of great importance during these times.
The time has come to leave off calling to groups and sectarianism and to stop the division and differences. Truly, togetherness is mercy and division is a form of punishment. It is obligatory upon us now, O Muslims, to spread the feelings of mutual love, mercy and compassion in all dealings with all believers, regardless of their divisions that they align with or the paths that they follow in their dawah efforts. We must leave behind us all forms of fanaticism and bigotry. Instead, we must form the bond of brotherhood upon the Quran and Sunnah. Those two, and nothing else, are the basis of our allegiance or disavowing. We should also avoid delving into those heated discussions of matters of ijtihaad(juristic reasoning) and details of the law. The issues concerning which scholars differ based on juristic reasoning or policy are numerous and if every time two Muslims differed with another over such issues they would flee from one another, there would be no sanctity or brotherhood left between any Muslims. We must not drive away and make enemies out of anyone that we could join our hearts with upon the religion and agree with them on the basics of righteousness and piety. This is especially true during this cautious time. Since this principle of understanding is accepted when dealing with people of other faiths, it must even more so be accepted when dealing with people of one’s own faith.
Among the most important of obligations during these days is to open our doors to all sectors of our society and to reach out to the other ethnic and religious groups as well as political movements on both the left and right of the political spectrum. This will be the only way to stop those who deal in hate. The majority of Americans are the best when it comes to dealing with “the other.” We must not allow the ugliness of a few in this society to prevent us from seeing its goodness. The recent election ended in the way that it did for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly the economic conditions that a large slice of the population is facing. It is not true that racism or rejection of foreigners alone decided this election. Even for those who are afflicted with racist attitudes, the best cure for them is found in Allah’s instruction, “Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.”
From among the most important obligations during this stage is to support those institutions and organizations that serve the Muslim community, such as those interested in defending freedoms, civil rights and political activism, those dedicated to social services and relief, and those dedicated to dawah, religious instruction and providing religious rulings. It is most unbelievable that there are some who cry over the state of the community and then they are too stingy to donate their time or money to such organizations. Worse than that are those who are even too stingy to pray for them or give them a kind word. But the worst of all are those who seek to destroy such organizations.
No one knows the unseen except Allah. It is possible that an individual hates something while Allah has placed a lot of good for him in it. We must prepare for any possibility while hoping for the best outcomes.
Before all of the above, and with all of the above, and after all of the above, one must know that there is no bringer of harm and no bringer of benefit except Allah. Nothing can guard an individual from what he fears greater than the protection of his Lord. Therefore, come with us to revive true piety and renew the spirit of repenting to Allah. Certainly, trials and tribulations are not to be repelled simply by material means alone. Instead, they will be overcome by a sincere turning to Allah, submitting to Him, having good expectations of Him and trusting Him in a beautiful manner. Be mindful of Allah’s commands and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah’s commands and you will find Him in front of you, guiding you. Increase your remembrance of Allah and you will find Allah with you every step of way, leading you through fear and to security.
O Allah, be gentle with Your servants. All praise are due to Allah alone.