Altaf Husain: The last time we visited you had shared some thoughtswith the students about raising the level of their struggle. I thought wecould pick up there.
IJ: Looking at the Islamic movement, remember, you cannot guide (direct)anything if it is not moving. Allah (swt) has stirred the Islamicmovement in this country. He (swt) has conferred His blessings uponMuslims. Islam is the only alternative to jahiliyyah (those who reject faith).
Young people always have a dominant role to play in the movement. At thetime of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the youngpeople, like 'Ali, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with all ofthem), carried out the message. Young people are the ones upon whom themovement is built. We understand that Allah (swt) blesses young peoplewith energy and a lack of fear so that you work with determination and asense of purpose. Your drive and commitment is a sign of the blessingthat Allah (swt) has conferred upon us. It is a sign of good health forIslam in this country.
This country has a role to play in the overall Islamic struggle. Lookback at the Ansars, the helpers. They brought new signs of determination,working together without divisions or divisiveness. We have a major roleto play in bringing about the healing of the Ummah. We must study theseerah (life story) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thesalvation of humanity rests upon our implementation of Islam. The Prophet(PBUH) has told us about the people in the boat.It is narrated inSahih Al-Bukhari that, "The example of the person abiding by Allah'sorder and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is likethe example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat.Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower.When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and thattroubled the others), so they said, 'Let us make a hole in our share ofthe ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troublingthem. So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what theyhad suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if theyprevented them, both parties would be safe."
We see a kind of freelancing with technology and experimentation with madscience. Any time you separate the church and the state, that's not fromAllah (swt). People bring upon themselves the calamities as a result ofour being misguided. Islam takes us beyond this. We have to go beyondjust being a professional by their standards. Being a doctor, engineer,whatever professional - we have to take it to the next level by addingspirituality in all aspects of our lives.
AH: Jazakallah khair. That is powerful. Imam, lately, westudents have been struggling hard to unite, to transcend the barriers tounity that plague our Ummah. In these divisive times, how do you suggestwe give meaning to our efforts to unite?
IJ: I am repeating a slogan that is often repeated in the secular world,"heighten the contradiction." Allah (swt) has created man in kabad, instruggle. I mentioned in our last visit, how we have to raise the levelof our struggle. Look at the new born baby. It struggles to breathe,after living in the womb. And yet, growth comes as a result of struggle.Even when we talk about jihad. We need to attach consciousness tostruggle. This struggle has to be both individual and collective. Thejamaa (collective) is more important. We cannot be by ourselves. Congregational dailyprayer, the salaatul eid (eid prayer), all these obligations are collective. We don'tgive zakaat (alms) to ourselves. It is a collective obligation. The language ofsura Al-Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Qur'an) is plural: we pray to Allah (swt) to show "us" thestraight path. Islam develops group consciousness. And that is why weneed to raise the level of our struggle in the real world. We need totake off our rose colored glasses and see the real thing. The real worlddeals with Allah's reality. Allah (swt) never leaves the throne ofauthority. Human rights, civil rights--only Allah (swt) gives us rights,and it is upto us to fulfil our duties to Him. Our only right is tofight, to struggle for Allah (swt). We have to develop brotherhood.
Various concepts of negativism have caused us to look at ourselves asinferior. Attack those concepts such as "third world." Think about it. Ifwe look at it in terms of numbers, then people of color are the majorityin this world. We should be the "first world". After world war II, theworld was divided into the communist countries and the so-calleddemocratic countries. So if you accept this third world title, then youare accepting a position of inferiority. In reality, we Muslims have amuch more superior way of life. We cannot acquiesce to negativistic,inferior definitions of us. Aggressively attack those definitions thatthey have attached to us. This deals with the psychological, spiritual,indeed all aspects of our existence. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) changed the whole language of discourse by accentuatingthe positive. Language has everything to do with elevating ourselves.
Alhamdulillah, you students are competent, learned, skilled in readingand writing. The pen is mightier than the sword. Develop a war of wordsat the psychological and philosophical level. Our jihad at this levelshould deal with everything. There is chess, and there is "chess". Worldchess is a mental process where we have to take on our opponent, make himstumble and question his own reality. Even if you win a physical war,what do you rule by? Islam of course!
AH: Insha'allah, in the time we have left I wanted you to comment on someof the motions granted at the hearing yesterday.
IJ: Juma Salaat (Friday Prayer). This is a major victory for us. The judge has granted,and the Sheriff's department has agreed, to allow a collective Jumasalaat for all inmates to be held on one floor, with one khatib, onemessage. Before the hearing, each floor held its own juma salaat, withits own khatib.
AH: Will you give khutbahs (sermons)?
IJ: You do not have to always lead from the front; I am taking a break.The inmates, all 100 Muslim inmates, did circulate a petition demanding Ibe allowed to give the khutbah or they would close down the jail!Alhamdulillah.
AH: Could you please comment on the gag order? What was that motionabout?
IJ: They had put a gag order on me that was lifted. Well, my attitudeabout the gag order is like this. As the time for the trial comes around,when I get ready to speak, I will speak. What are they going to do to me?Put me in jail? Think about it, putting a gag order on a defendant. Notletting him say he is innocent. What's that all about? Our motion testedthe system to show how out of line they are when it comes to dealing withMuslims. Those rights they always talk about, those rights are selective.It is not Justice. No. It is actually, Just Us. Rights for Just Us whitefolks.
AH: Imam, when will the trial actually be?
IJ: They want the trial by October, 2001. I am really pushing for July,2001.
(announcement comes that visitation time is over)
AH: Alhamdulillah. I know yesterday, they showed the beginning of yourhearing on the evening news. What exactly did you say in your plea, whichthey broadcast but we could not catch the whole thing?
IJ: I began with Audhu billahi min ash-shaytani ir rajim. Bismillahi irrahman ir rahim. That startled them. They moved to cut it off. I declaredpublicly my innocence. And testified that Allah (swt) is my Lord, He whoaccomplishes what He wills. And He will bring the good from thissituation.
AH: We are making du'a for you insha'allah. Forgive us for not doing morefor you. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
IJ: Are you sure you do not need anything? Wa alaykum assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
AH: No, alhamdulillah; we should be asking you if you needanything.
IJ: You all better go ahead. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
AH: Wa assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuh.