Recent civilian massacres in Egypt following the early July military coup, ousting the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi asks for us to go beyond gasping in horror or weeping out of sheer helplessness. Blow by blow analytics aside we need to retain a more intelligent, and less emotional response to the reasons an all Merciful Lord would allow for such carnage of innocents.
As a point of reference it bears remembering the opening verses (1-4) of Surah 55, Ar-Rahman - The Most Gracious. When Allah Almighty describes Himself as The Merciful, in verse one He qualifies it not as one who prevents death or suffering, rather as follows -- (because He) taught the Quran; created man; & taught man to distinguish. These three determinants encapsulated by the term (al Rahmaan) here indicate that graciousness and merciful isn’t one who will prevent death, hunger, or indiscriminate killing, rather One who has taught man to think judiciously, articulate those very thoughts and act judiciously. Emotional outbursts based on burning bodies and human corpses should therefore play less of a role in our collective responses for it devalues human life to a macabre competitive interplay.
-- And has taught him (bayaan) articulate speech, Quraan (55:4) --
“One meaning of the word bayan, as used in the original Arabic text, is the expressing of one’s own mind, i.e. speaking and expressing one’s thoughts and intentions. Its other meaning is to make distinction between things, which here signifies the distinction between good and evil, virtue and vice, etc. ”
What does this gift of bayaan (being able to distinguish) mean?
i) In the current Egyptian context it means being able to make the bayaan/distinction between emotionally controlling or conflicting or force-fed reports and determine a just analysis. Then, to articulate and act upon it.
ii) An understanding of why this illegal and unconstitutional coup d’état isn’t being declared a coup?
According to The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, The U.S. Government must suspend aid, particularly military aid, to any country suffering a military coup. The Egyptian military gets $1.3 billion of U.S. aid, but it has to be spent purchasing U.S. weapons. All of this money gets funneled to U.S. defense contractors who are the real beneficiary of these funds.
iii) Further, being able to respond to arguments like the following:
“The demise of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamists is a blessing. Military coup or not (it simply doesn't matter, its done), what the people and the army did for Egypt is infinitely 1000 x better than having those repulsive, oppressive, repressive, fundamentalist, backward animals in power.”
Morsi was elected to a four-year term (in June 2012). He was not given a year to prove what he could do -- he wasn't given a single day. Following his election, the political and economic elite in Egypt set out to overthrow him by creating economic and social chaos -- supplies of food, gas and other essentials were disrupted, police refused to perform their duties, causing crime rates to rise etc. The U.S. and European countries used the threat of reducing aid as a pressure tactic to weaken the Morsi government and strengthen the opposition to it among military and economic elite.
It has been mentioned that in the land of Pharaoh, the problem is not Islamism but capitalism. The media largely focused on the “Islamist” aspects of Morsi’s regime but totally ignored its neo-liberal leanings. His brief leadership was in stark contrast to the Brotherhood’s egalitarian ideals that promote redistribution of resources rooted in over eight decades of delivering non-state social programs through charities that provided livelihood and support for the rural and urban poor and educated thousands of orphans across Egypt. [In Egypt, Islamism is not the problem, but Capitalism]
iv) Consideration of the borders – The starvation of Gaza without the Egyptian crossings
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an stated Tuesday that Israel was behind the military coup that ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in early July, adding that the Turkish government has evidence to prove the Israeli hand in it. This, despite the fact that Turkey's trade with Israel has been increasing yearly.
v) Who to trust?
Insofar as this culture of resistance displayed by the heroic Egyptian people (incl the Brotherhood) for decades, intense violence as active self-defense remains a crucial tool in forcing [Morsi and the Military] to reveal their true intentions. It also highlights the systematic human rights violations in Egypt that no one in power has yet addressed or even wants to discuss.
Saudi King Abdullah issued a public endorsement of the coup just two hours after Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that President Mohamed Morsi had been deposed and the Constitution suspended.
King Abdullah and all autocratic Arab governments have good reason to fear the Brotherhood, which has been getting unprecedented support in Saudi Arabia since the 3 July coup.
vi) Living and dying for Truth and Justice
Regards pacifying our bleeding hearts and constricted throats at the gruesome loss of so many people in such a short space of time it bears remembering that no soul will leave the world before its appointed time. Also the words of Asma bint Abi Bakr to her son Abdullah ibn Zubayr (May Allah be pleased with both) who was finally defeated by Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.
When Abdullah asked his mother Asma what he should do, Asma replied to her son:
“You know better that if you are upon the truth and you are calling towards the truth, go forth, for people more honourable than you were killed and have been killed. And if you are not upon the truth, then what an evil son you are for you have destroyed yourself and those who are with you. If you say what you say - that you are on truth and you will be killed at the hands of others then you will not truly be free, for this is not the statement of someone who is free. How long will you live in this world? Death is more beloved to me than this state you are in - this state of weakness.”
Then Abdullah said to his mother after she had told him to go forth and fight: “I am afraid I will be mutilated by the people of Shaam. I am afraid that they will cut up my body after they have killed me.” She said: “After someone has died, it won’t make any difference what they do to you.”
Hajjaj’s army defeated Abdullah bin Zubair (ra) on the battlefield in 692. He beheaded him and crucified his body.
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