Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) sent Mu’adh [bin Jabal] to Yemen, and said: ‘Beware of the supplication of the oppressed; for indeed there is no barrier between it and Allah.'”(Tirmidi)
This is an extremely important and sensitive topic, but one that needed to finally be brought to light. Imam Omar Suleiman should be commended for taking this step to finally be a voice for countless victims, even though many of the oppressors he speaks of are obviously colleagues and perhaps even friends.
This has been an underlying problem in our communities for many years across the globe and we seem to tiptoe around it just because we don’t want to “rock the boat” or defame a well liked, popular imam, scholar, preacher or any person in a leadership role in the community for that matter. They wield power over their followers through mass manipulation of the Quran and the Sunnah to push their agendas all wrapped in sweet and beguiling words, because we don’t know our religion and blindly trust their words and oaths.
On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (ra) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “Whoso- ever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
They target the young and old financially, sexually, physically, verbally, spiritually and emotionally for their own gains, power trips and enjoyment. Oftentimes, we become aware, but stay quiet, turn a blind eye and pretend that everything is fine to stay in our comfort zones, keeping our memberships to these exclusive clubs, while playing ignorant to the blatant atrocities these men and women commit against their vulnerable and oftentimes helpless victims. We shame them instead of listening to them. We silence their pleas instead of letting them speak out. We crush them under the weight of our scrutiny, betrayal and rejection instead of helping them overcome their trauma and pain.
So, what if it was our daughter or son, sister or brother? Would it be so easy to turn away? How would we feel if we faced the same treatment from our community? If our daughter or son was left broken and pained? Maybe, we would stay quiet just because that’s what is expected, perhaps we are all just groomed victims, who have become desensitized to the wrong we endure, just so that we have a place to belong. But how long will this false sense of security and belonging last?
In the collections of Al-Hakim, Al-Tabarani and in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed, it is narrated upon the authority of Abdullah Ibn Omar (RA) that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “If you see my Ummah afraid to say to the oppressors, ‘You are oppressors’ Allah will desert them.”
It’s time to hold these people to account, investigate these claims seriously to speak out and stop this corruption. No one in our community should feel like they don’t have a voice when standing up against the sharp tongues of these people and their wayward protectors. Don’t stand by, waiting for someone else to take care of it and then weep over the condition of the Muslims across the globe. We have the power to change this dialogue. Support the countless victims, help the oppressors by knocking them off their pedestals and send a message to all others to walk straight. We built these people up, but they are not above Allah and His commandments…and neither are we. Allah commands that we establish justice, if we have clear proofs, then what is holding us back? Nothing is more important than being just, even at our own discomfort. Perhaps, once these people are left in the dust as the crowds file out, they will realize that their arrogance and oppression cannot stand. Perhaps, then we can feel safe in our communities again, but it is all up to us, Insha’Allah.
Narrated by Anas: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”
Please check out this website, which can help to bring these issues to light. If you feel that you have been wronged by anyone who identifies as a leader in our community or beyond, please be strong and reach out. Do not let anyone else become a victim; there are leaders in our community, such as Imam Omar Suleiman who are listening. Please reach out:
Du’a of the Oppressed – Mufti Menk
Sabr is not Suffering in Silence – Ust. Yasmin Mogahed