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Tragedy Strikes in Our Community: How Should We As Muslims Respond?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim]

We are deeply saddened about the souls lost in the horrific attack last night at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy, Québec. We grieve for their families and bow our heads in deference to Ar-Rahman, making dua for the purification of their souls, shifaa for those injured, and sabr for all the families affected by this senseless act of terror, perpetrated in the name of white supremacy. We pray that all families are reunited in Jannah, free from the strife and pain of this dunya, Aameen.

We see this hadith of the Prophet (saws) coming to light even more starkly in these past few weeks as we face a different sort of reality under an increasingly hostile global political landscape. Most recently, our Muslim brothers and sisters undergoing intense hardship are labelled as unwanted immigrants and refugees. From the land that belongs only to Allah (swt), they have been barred from entering based upon nothing but xenophobia and fear-mongering.

We see the ramifications of this sentiment echoing across the world, attacks in Canada are rising increasingly without yielding. As we type this, reports from provinces all across the nation proving this heightened sense of Islamophobia are coming to light. We see the direct results of normalizing this sentiment and embedding it within governmental systems: execution style death for those standing peacefully in salah, facing their Lord.

The Muslim Ummah here in Canada is shaken, and driven to do something about this immediately- with both hikmah and hidayah from Allah (swt). Our actions must be in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah, driven by emotion with love for Allah (swt) first and foremost, followed by love for our fellow Muslims for His Sake.

Many events and campaigns are being organized in the city, some of which include candlelight vigils. We are greatly appreciative of the support from our community, and recognize the sincerity of good intentions and a willingness to publicly show condemnation of this act.

However, we implore everyone to react in a manner that is most beneficial — one that is pleasing to Allah (swt), deriving wisdom from the sunnah, and is positively impactful for the Muslim community. Candlelight vigils, while positive in intent, are not necessarily the best way that we can respond to events such as these. Firstly, this type of mourning is not one that was practiced by the Prophet (saws), his companions (ra), or our pious predecessors that followed. Secondly, candlelight vigils often have religious roots, for example, lighting a candle to represent the souls of the dead. Thirdly, vigils are often a reflection more of us as grievers and less so for those that are suffering. This is a tragedy for the Muslim community and as such, we have a right to mourn and act in a way that makes sense for our community and our people.

What is most important for us is du’ah- an increase in salah, particularly tahajjud, as nothing can happen without the Will and Permission of Allah (swt), the only one who can grant our sincere du’ah and change the condition of the people.

Next, we must mobilize as a community. This means that we come together and ask ourselves how we can make a change in our community, how we can increase our commitment to the deen and how we can engage our community at large to increase our connection with one another and our ability to respond and prevent such attacks through education and dawah for the general public. We can also contribute through charity: pro-bono support organizations that work to advocate on behalf of all individuals affected, as well as campaigns to raise money for the families affected. Another way to bring the community together is to hold events such as an open house at your local masjid, invite community members to attend and witness ‘isha salah (the prayer the victims were killed in).

Again, as Muslims, we want to act and respond in the way that is most beneficial- ways that echo the Qur’an and Sunnah in our intentions and actions. Spending our precious time and effort making phone calls to our governmental representatives, policy makers, organizing dawah events in our community are ways that we can affect true change and move towards progression aided by Allah (swt). We respect the traditions of other peoples and other faiths, and as such, in situations like these, we want to show the way that we as Muslims grieve and show support and what actions we do that come from our tradition and our culture.

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