07 Nov Three Mass Murders in Few Weeks
Assalamu Alaykum / Peace be upon you
In a span of less than 5 weeks, the country experienced some of the worst mass murders in its history. In Las Vegas, in New York City and yesterday in Sutherland Springs, three individuals took it upon themselves to terrorize innocent crowds and the whole country. As a community gathered around a place of worship, we at MAPS cannot even begin to comprehend the pain that the members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs must be going through. Twenty-six souls gunned down in a place that ought to be sacred and secure. Our hearts and prayers go to the victims and their families.
Hearts and prayers are not sufficient though. As people of faith, as concerned citizens and as decent human beings, we need to take individual and collective actions to stop such acts of senseless brutality and cruelty from happening. The Qur’an in several places demands of us that we “enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil ” (Amr bi-l maruf wa-nahay an al munkar).
These dual concepts are central to our character and core to our faith. Sanctity of life, family, home and property, mercy, kindness and compassion are all part of ma’ruf (good). Murder, torture, abuse and suffering is munkar (evil). Ma’ruf leads to beauty and godliness. Munkar leads to ugliness and rejection of God. Allah, The Wise, requires us to actively further ma’ruf and to actively forbid munkar. This is the essence of faith.
What then can we do to prevent the evil of mass murders? First, let us all recognize that this is genuine issue impacting the American community and let us agree that its root causes, while complex, can be addressed. We need to first recognize the problem and have the courage to engage in dialogues to once and for all resolve it. Mass murders are often the result of complex socio-psychological problems: mental illness, social aloofness, economic despair, pent-up rage, unresolved grudge, extremist radicalization, etc. Second, we need to implement solutions to aid those who face such socio-psychological problems. Whether it be religious leaders clearly denouncing radicalization as the work of Satan or whether it be society offering professional assistance to those struggling with mental problems, we can implement the solutions now. Thirdly, we need to recognize that wide and easy availability of automatic weapons simply do not make us safe. We need to repeatedly call on our elected leaders to address this concern.
In Surah Al-Imran, Allah The Almighty asks us “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right (ma’ruf), and forbidding what is wrong (munkar): They are the ones to attain felicity.” Let us arise now and respond to God’s call. Let us come together to address the problem of mass murders. Only when we are pro-active will we attain felicity.