Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary Reminds Us That Evil Comes In All Forms

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Caring

I scanned the major headlines on a news search engine today, and there was barely a mention of the Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred on this day 20 years ago. Of course, there was a headline about the savages of KIL (which I will not link here). Yet, the tragedy that was the Oklahoma City bombing still causes daily pain to all the families of the victims, especially those parents who lost children on that day. That pain – the pain of the loss of a child – never goes away. I know that all too well. I pray for all the victims of that terrible bombing, that the Lord our God brings them comfort from their grief.


Nevertheless, the tragedy of Oklahoma City, just like 9/11, reminds us that evil comes in all forms. Many want to have you think that the evil of terrorism comes only in the “Islamic” form. Time and again, the facts have borne out that this is simply not true. While every act of violence against the innocent is terribly tragic – and should be condemned in every way, shape, and form – we cannot let fear get the best of us. In 2014, depending on which definition you use, there were anywhere between 24 and 283 mass shooting incidents with four or more casualties. These incidents had nothing to do with “Islamic terrorism.”


Evil comes in all shapes and forms. Yes, many people commit terrible atrocities in the name of God. But, they are not exclusive or unique. Criminals have various motivations, but in the end they are all the same: criminals who deserve justice and punishment. The bombers of Oklahoma City faced their justice in this world, and they will face Ultimate Justice in the next as well. So will the savages of KIL (aka ISIS), Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, the Lords’ Resistance Army, and others.

God is in charge, reminding us of this clearly in His Word:

And do not think that God is unaware of what the evildoers do: He but grants them respite until the Day when their eyes will stare in horror. (14:42)

He is the King and Master of the Day of Judgment, and everyone will be brought before Him to answer for what he or she has done. In this, we should all feel comfort. But, also, in this, those who do wrong should be shaking in fear.


Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Tsarnaev Should Not Be Sentenced To Death

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Merciful

The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to enter jury deliberations this week. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the jury is going to convict Tsarnaev. This should come as no surprise to anyone. He is clearly guilty. Even his defense attorneys know that. Their main job is to persuade the jury to spare his life.

Thus, it is my sincere hope and prayer that he be not put to death. This is not out of any sort of sympathy for the savage. He deserves to be put to death for the terrible pain and suffering he and his brother caused on that terrible April day two years ago. Yet, that is exactly what Tsarnaev wants: he wants to die as a “martyr.” He said so himself:


As [Tsarnaev] hid, he used a pencil to scrawl what prosecutors called a “manifesto,” in which he said he was jealous of his brother for dying as a martyr and reaching paradise. He also lashed out at the United States for policies he said killed Muslims, writing, “I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished. We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

First of all, he does not speak for me or the billions of other Muslims around the world. We reject his act of savagery in the name of our faith. He is a low-life criminal, thinking that he was doing “God’s will” by killing innocent men, women, and children. In fact, he acted against God’s will. He is no “martyr.” He is a murderer.


And as such, he should rot in jail for the rest of his life. He should be locked up and never released. He should never know freedom again. This is the best punishment you could give him. Executing him would be easy, and it may give him some amount of joy, in a sick sort of way. Yet, even that small amount of joy should be denied him. He should sit in a jail cell, humiliated, until God’s takes his life at some point in the future. And it will not be long before no one will care about Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

And after all that time, he will face justice again. This time, however, it will be Ultimate Justice for the crimes he committed. He will stand before the King and Master of the Day of Judgment and account for his murders. He will be asked why he killed children, when God’s word said he could not. He will be asked why he shed the blood of innocent fellow Americans, when God’s word told him that this was forbidden. He will be asked why he felt killing people watching a marathon is “justice” for the injustice dealt to Muslims thousands of miles away.

And I suspect he will have no good answer.

It is natural to want to see this savage killed for what he did.  Yet, that is what Tsarnaev wants. Thus, we should do the exact opposite: let this “holy warrior” live out the rest of his days in a jail cell. It is a fitting recompense for all the suffering he caused.


A Doctor on Doctor’s Day

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Infinitely Loving and Merciful

Today is National Doctors’ Day, and all around the country, hospitals and medical offices are celebrating by thanking the thousands of physicians that work hard every single day to help patients feel better. Our hospital’s celebration was last week, and it was very nice to be appreciated in such a nice fashion. 

Becoming a physician is not easy. It takes eight years of schooling, and anywhere between 3 and 6 years of post-graduate training before one is allowed to practice medicine. That does not count the many licensing examinations that must be passed if one wants to get a license in the United States. 
When I went through training, there were no work hour restrictions that exist today. I would frequently work 30 hours in a row and nearly collapse from exhaustion. Now that I have been practicing for ten years, the challenges that face our field have never been greater. 
Our hours are long. Our work is tough. Just last night, I had to come back to the hospital at 4 AM to tend to a very sick patient in the ICU. 
We have to comply with endlessly changing regulations and rules, and there are not enough hours in the day to finish the enormous paperwork sometimes. In addition, the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” has thrown so many uncertainties into the future of Medicine. All this does not even mention the constant threat of malpractice litigation that looms over every physicians’ head. 
The pressure can be overwhelming at times, and many physicians have cited dissatisfaction with their careers. In fact, I have heard so many of my colleagues say that they would not advise their children to pursue a career in medicine. 
I have not been immune to this pressure. Yet, despite all of this, words cannot express my gratitude to the Lord for being a doctor. Ever since I was a young child, being a doctor is all I ever wanted to be. It’s the only career I envisioned for myself, and I never stopped thinking about it. 
Yes, it is hard work. Yes, the hours are long. Yes, the pressure is enormous. But to help a patient come back – by the grace of the Lord – from the brink of death gives me a feeling that is truly indescribable. The Quran says that saving a life is like saving all of humanity. I get to do that for a living. The privilege is truly extraordinary. 
Thanks be to the Lord, we have many, many more successes than failures. The overwhelming majority of our patients do well. Yet, sadly, sometimes they do not. And at that moment, I am given a chance to comfort the patient’s family which faces the horrific reality that their loved one will pass away. Moreover, if I can help relieve the suffering from that patient who will, unfortunately, not get better, it is an enriching experience as well. 
I am very grateful that I have been chosen to be a physician, for, truly, healthcare is a calling. Like most of my colleagues, I share the anxiety that comes with an uncertain future of healthcare in America. Yet, I would not want to be anything else but a physician. 
Over the years, I have heard so many physician colleagues sarcastically say – when asked how they are doing – “I’m living the dream.” I know they say this out of the enormous frustration that comes with being a doctor today. But for me, I am truly living my life dream each and every day. 
And I can never be fully grateful to the Precious Beloved Lord for it. 


The Young Muslims That Join ISIS Threaten Their Very Salvation 

While, certainly, news of young Western Muslims running away from home to join the savages of ISIS deeply disturbs me – especially as a father of a teenage daughter – it also deeply saddens me. These misguided young Muslims do not understand how they are not only putting their futures at risk, but also their very eternal salvation. 

It is quite obvious that the militants of ISIS are nothing more than Kharijites, which are a fanatical and violent offshoot of Islam that dates back to the early years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) predicted their advent, and his descriptions of them are extremely accurate. 


In one such saying, the Prophet (pbuh) said (emphasis added): 

There would arise from my Ummah (i.e., followers) a people who would recite the Qur’an, and your recital would seem insignificant as compared with their recital, your prayer as compared with their prayer, and your fast, as compared with their fast. They would recite the Qur’an thinking that it supports them, whereas it is an evidence against them. Their prayer does not get beyond their collar bone; they would swerve through Islam just as the arrow passes through the prey.

This is quite frightening. These young people who join ISIS think they are joining a group of believers, but they are in fact joining rebellious barbarians who the Prophet (pubh) said would “swerve through Islam just as the arrow passes through the prey.” The Qur’an that they recite, thinking it supports their claims, actually refutes their claims. 


Take this verse, for example, which accurately describes those young Muslims who are joining ISIS: 

Say: “Shall we tell you who are the greatest losers in whatever they may do? [It is] they whose labor has gone astray in this world’s life, and who nonetheless think that they are doing good works. It is they who have chosen to deny their Lord’s messages and the truth that they are destined to meet Him.” Hence all their [good] deeds come to nothing, and no weight shall We assign to them on Resurrection Day. (18:103-105).

These young people think they are joining the only “true believers” in the world. But they are mistaken; gravely mistaken. These savages of ISIS do everything that Islam and the Qur’an speak against: murder of innocents, mayhem, public corruption, and savagery. The fact that they continue to do these things, despite Islam’s prohibitions, clearly show that they have “chosen to deny their Lord’s messages.” 


Moreover, the fact that they kill innocent people – with savage brutality – also shows that they are not concerned with the fact that they are going to account one day for their actions. Thus, they also “deny…the truth that they are destined to meet Him.” And as a result of all this, “all their [good] deeds come to nothing, and no weight shall [God] assign to them on Resurrection Day.” 

How can these young people not see this? How can they be so naive? It is a manifest tragedy. But, it is our job – all of us Muslims – to continue to speak out and show our youth that following the savages of ISIS is following a path of destruction. Not only will they be aiding and abetting barbaric criminals, but they are also putting their very eternal salvation at great risk. 
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