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#JeSuisWho? Rebuilding After Charlie

https://www.flickr.com/photos/daizee/1573450302

Photo: Tim & Stacy Fisher

What happens when what you have spent years building is lost in one day? How do you control the actions of others that will unfairly, but inevitably, be associated with you? Is it really worth even doing anything at all?

In the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) tells us about the Prophet ‘Uzayr `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him). The Prophet ‘Uzayr was sent to a destroyed Jerusalem. It was razed to the ground. There were no people, no trees, and no buildings. There was absolutely nothing there. ‘Uzayr had no idea what he would be sent to. And so imagine how dumbfounded he must have been when he saw the state of the place. He might have wondered why he was even sent, because it was beyond saving. As he looked at that forsaken land, he asked the question:

“How will Allah bring this to life after its death?”

We might ask ourselves the same question. After the shocking events in Paris and the (selective) media outrage, the subsequent Islamophobic attacks and backlash against Muslims—is it dead? Can we ever really do anything when no matter what good we do, we will be blamed for the actions of a few? And those actions, as deplorable as they are, will be divorced from their roots: of foreign invasions, occupations and killings. So we will never actually reach a coherent solution, because our diagnosis of the disease is so off-mark.

‘Uzayr was alone. He only had a bit of food, and a donkey to ride. But as he stood there, he picked up whatever broken pieces he could find. And he began building the foundations. Then he retreated to a mountain so he could rest for the night.

But Allah (swt) caused him to die for a hundred years. He brought ‘Uzayr back to life after those hundred years. But something else happened. Jerusalem was also given life. People had come after him, and built upon the foundation that he started. People had moved back. Jerusalem was alive again. When ‘Uzayr saw this, we are told in the Qur’an:

“And when it became clear to him, he said, ‘I know that Allah is over all things competent!'” [Qur’an, 2:259]

No matter how much other people destroy, we need to be like ‘Uzayr. We might wonder how this will ever be fixed. It does not matter. Our end is Allah (swt). We are accountable to Him and will only be held responsible for what we did—not for what others do in our name. And so we will continue to do. If we build for a hundred years and it gets destroyed in a day, we will pick up the pieces and build again.

But let us build.

Let us build the things that will remain even after we are gone. We are all capable of doing something. We are given a short time on this earth, and our time will not come back. We will not take our possessions with us. But we will leave a legacy—big or small, good or bad.

Allah (swt) sent the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) at a particular time. He did the best he could do within his context. And we are alive at this moment in time for a reason. We may not be able to influence what people do in other places, but certainly we can do good where we are. We can help. We can revive—because that is what we were brought to this earth for.

Plant a seed, and see how Allah (swt) makes it grow. We may all plant seeds that today are hidden in the ground and covered in dirt. And we might ask, “How will Allah bring this to life after its death?” But those seeds will become a garden one day, God willing.

Let us build for the things that will last.

—–

Some Muslim builders:

1- Muslim Groups Give $100,000 To Help Detroiters Without Water, Say It’s ‘Part Of Our Faith To Help’

2- The Unsung Muslim Heroes of Paris

3- Project FEED in San Francisco, dedicated to feeding the homeless, started in 2010 and going on until today

4- Ethical halal food

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan Yousef

Jinan is a graduate of law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and UC Berkeley, with a special emphasis on international law. During her university years, she was heavily involved with the Students’ Union Islamic Society. Her main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

6 Comments

  • A beautiful story; often I think about the hardships that the prophets (peace be upon them) endured. Our current tribulations do not come close to their suffering but we are in a time where we may be standing alone against the rest of the world. We must learn from the prophets, we must gain strength from our faith and show each other the kindness and love and devotion to humanity that Islam teaches. May Allah help the Ummah to live, love and pray in peace and to never forget to be kind to our neighbours. Ameen.

  • Salam arlekoum,

    NICE STORY AND A GOOD EXAMPLE ALLAH SHOW US NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM
    AS HE CREATED US AS HE RESTART AGAIN. WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN THAT NEVER YOU DOUBT

    ALL THE STORIES IN THE QU’RAN SHOW US HOW SOME PEOPLE LIVED BEFORE AND HOW THEY BECAME AFTER . US MUSLIMS WE KNOW ALLAH AND HIS RELIGION ARE A LIGHT A NOOR FOR US. AS WHEN YOU ARE AT HOME AND IT IS DARK WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THING YOU DO ? TURN ON THE LIGHT IF NOT YOU CAN NOT SEE ANYTHING AND YOU CAN NOT FIND YOUR WAY . THIS IS THE SAME THING IN ISLAM OUR RELIGION IS OUR LIGHT WITHOUT IT WE ARE LOST FOREVER . ALAMDOULILLAH WE ARE MUSLIMS ALAMDOULILLAH I AM PROUD EVERDY DAY BEING A MUSLIM. LAST TIME MY DAUGHTER TOLD ME “MUM I WOULD LIKE BE RICH TO BUY EVERYTHING I LIKE ” I TOLD HER SEEK A BIT AND YOU WILL SEE YOU ARE RICH SHE SAYS NO MUM WE ARE NOT ” I SAID LISTEN TO ME MY DAUGHTER “IF YOU ARE RICH AND YOU FORGET ALLAH OR WORSE YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN ALLAH , ALL YOUR WEALTH WILL NOT BE USED FOR NOTHING – BUT IF YOU BELIEVE AND LOVE ALLAH YOU WILL BE THE RICHEST WOMAN ON EARTH EVEN YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY WHY BECAUSE THE WEALTH IS IN THE FAITH AND NO IN THE MONEY. SHE WAS SMILING AND SAY “YES MUM YOU ARE RIGHT I DID NOT THING ABOUT THAT “

  • We should pray for the sisters who live in Paris, France and most part of the Europe. They are being harassed because of their easily identity muslim identity – being a hijabi. For most of the muslim women who stay home may not fully understand the stress those courageous muslim women are facing everyday. May Allah shields them from harm and grant them Jannah.

    • It`s very unfortunate to read that sisters are being harassed nowdays. We have no one to blame then our so called “muslim” brethren or terrorists. Ive love to see an article devoting these arising questions. Terorrists and dumb people have butchered this beautiful deen, and whatever left of it.

      I feel ashamed to say Im a muslim these days. However, I do feel courageous to say that this deen, and ummah has been corrupted and no longer benefits mankind unless Allah azza wa jalla wants so.

  • SALAM ARLEKOUM DEAR SISTERS AND BROTHERS ,

    No one should feel ashamed on what happened in Paris. Sure it was a tragedy for everybody muslims and no muslims but us muslims we don’t have to justify ourselves every time some people make mistakes , and worse FEEL ASHAMED BEING MUSLIM , no dear sisters and brothers we should being proud be muslims and not the opposite, our duties is to show to others people our religion is the best in all , behaviour and respect , if some people kills or destroy at name of ALLAH, our responsability is to convince the world our love for ALLAH is in our behaviour in our way of life and to open the door of love at everyone muslim or not like our Messenger Mohammed (peace be upon him) did, and I invite you to read the stories who marked the behaviour of our messenger , his response to others people was THE PATIENCE AND PRAYER AND THE GOOD BEHAVIOUR LIKE ALLAH SAYS IN THE QURAN.

    BE ALWAYS PROUD WHAT ALLAH GAVE YOU BELIEVE ME
    NOT ALL PEOPLE HOLDS A TREASURE WHO IS ISLAM

    SALAM ARLEKOUM DEAR BROTHER AND SISTERS

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