Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Shaheed of Sinai

Asalamu Alaykom,

Egypt begins another day of fasting while in mourning.

16 Egyptian soldiers were killed on Sunday as they were guarding the Sinai peninsula at the Rafah border.

Sinai used to be known for Mount Sinai, the spot where Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) was to have received The 10 Commandments.  Tourists to Egypt know it also for St. Catherine's Monastery.

Supposedly, the original Burning Bush is still thriving within the monestary's walls. 

To see more great photos, go to A Peak of Faith from two pilgrims:  Bobby Morris and his professor of Hebrew Scriptures, Dr. Monte Luker, from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.  Be sure to see the website's Table of Contents which lists all the other Biblical places they traveled to and photographed.

Here is a somewhat surreal video from another tourist/pilgrim.  The light shines around the bush as you hear a German tour leader give really good infomation (we suppose).  

Lately, tourists to Sinai have been famously kidnapped by Beduoins who are needing their voice to be heard.  Without kidnapping, they say, the injustices they face go unanswered.  No one has been killed or even injured in these abductions and by all accounts the Beduoins are very hospitable.  Still, it's wrong and hammers one more nail into Egypt's coffin of dwindling tourism.  The U.S. State Department can't even guarantee safe travel in Sinai. 

This short video has an awful latin beat soundtrack  but since it gives a very good overview of the place, I'll include it (and you can mute it).

Please don't think that Christians are the only ones who are concerned about the monestary.  Infact, our own Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reached out to the monestary.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) dictated a letter to the monestary.  What you see above is a copy as the original was taken to Turkey for safe keeping.

You can read about the letter here

The official site of St. Catherine's discusses it here

Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq write,

"In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war."

Here is their English translation of that document:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah,
as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.

The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

Isn't that glorious?  That is Islam!  Mashahallah.  This is what we Muslims try to convey time and again but we fall short.  We should all have this Charter in our bags so the next time someone asks us about Islam, we can give them the words from the Prophet himself (peace be upon him).

Thanks to Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq for the translation.
  To see a video showing the letter at the monestary, click here.  Though it says it's many minutes long, it isn't.  There's an edit after about 1:40.

To see an Islamic video about this and other existing letters from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), click here.  Keep watching until the end because there's a nice close-up and explanation of the Prophet's seal.

One thing that's interesting to me is how Muhammad gives his title "Rasullulah" in letters to those he was asking to come to Islam.  However, when he wrote to the monestary he called himself, "Muhammad Ibn Abdullah," meaning that he was the son of Abdullah.  This is significant.  It means that he was not trying to push his agenda.  He knew who he was and that he could be defined several other ways so he chose an inoffensive title.  Mashallah. 



Please take a moment to look at this multi-media timeline of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  There aren't too many sites which are worthy enough but this one comes close.  Mashahallah. 

And now...

I started this blog entry discussing what happened to 16 Egyptian soldiers.  I haven't forgotten them and I don't want you to forget them either.  From Allah we come and to Allah we return.  May God have mercy on their souls and be of comfort to their families.

My husband was in the Egyptian army.  He is very upset by the deaths.  He remembers breaking his Ramadan fast while on duty.  That's how the men were killed.  Astragferallah.  They were ambushed as they broke their fast.  The whole day they had denied themselves food and water and in the first moments they...

it's really too horrible to think.  Astragferallah. 

Ahmed, my husband, told me how the Muslim soldiers during Ramadan used to count on the Christian soldiers to stand watch over them as they ate iftar; the meal to break the fast.  They worked together; served together.  This is what our Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted for us as Muslims.  He wanted us to find peaceful solutions and to protect the world from the kuffar; the non-believers.

"Kuffar" doesn't mean Non-Muslim (as some would have you believe).  It means that a person has been informed about the monotheistic religions and they have made a choice not to follow The One True God.  This would probably be a good definition for those killers from Sunday night---Allahu alim.  Allah knows exactly who they are.

Sunday was also the day of the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin.  Astragferallah.  May Allah forgive them any sins and grant them the highest level of Paradise.  May their community of believers be protected throughout the world.

That abberation was on the heels of the henious act in...astragferallah.  I don't even want to say.  There has been too much cruelty.  May Allah forgive those who died any sins and grant them eternal peace.  May He heal those who were injured, and comfort those who are greiving.  May Allah protect all the believers around the world and guide the non-believers to the right way.

We have got to find more peace in our selves, in our homes, in our cities, and countries and in the world.  This lack of connectedness is killing us.  Astragferallah.  In a way it's true what they say about guns (and believe me that I'm not a big fan of them), in that guns are in the hands of desperate people.  We've got to stop being so desperate!  We've got to raise our children better and to help others who are not able to raise theirs.  We've got to become better neighbors and friends.  We've got to stop the cycle of hatred.

Ya Rab!

And as you break your fast, please remember the men who died protecting us. 

After breaking your fast but before you take a bite of food, please make a powerful du'a; supplication to Allah.  Pray for their widows and children.  Think of the mothers and father who needed those sons in their old age and will no longer have them.  Ask Allah for their sake.

And when you eat your iftar, be grateful for the safety which surrounds you.  Be aware of the peace.

May peace and blessings of Allah light your way through all your days.

1 comment:

Marie Vie said...

This is another horrible tragedy You related there Yosra but I like the message you shared in this occasion. Peace is what we lack of, peace within ourselves, in our families, in our cities, between people of different confessions.
Peace and respect is what we should aim for, as it is through these values that we can build a better world.

These men and their families are in my prayers. May God protect us all and help us spread his message of love till the end of time.

Stay well Yosra.