Home / Special / Babar Ahmad / Babar and the King

Babar and the King

In the tafsir of Surah Buruj, with reference to the people of the ditch, we read about the boy and the King in an amazing hadith.  It follows the story of a boy who is chosen to be the apprentice of the King’s ailing magician. Instead, he ends up following a pious man upon Islamic montheism. When the king discovers that the boy has taken a Lord besides him, he is condemned to death.

Multiple unsuccessful attempts are made to take his life including trying to throw him off a mountain. In the end, he himself makes a suggestion,
‘’you can’t kill me until you do what I ask,”
“What is that?’’ asked the king.
“You should gather the people on a plain and hang me by the trunk of a tree. Then take an arrow and say, “In the name of Allah, the Lord of the worlds” then shoot an arrow. If you do that, you would be able to kill me.’’
The story builds until the point where the boy is about to be killed facing the archers. Surely the boy will be saved one thinks – after all, he has suffered trial after trial. Shockingly, when the arrow is fired, the boy is killed. It is an abrupt and unexpected end to a mesmerising story.

You may expect that as the boy is killed, everyone witnessing this tyranny will flee in fear. The results are however unexpected. As soon as this occurs, the people utter something amazing; as stated in the hadith, “We affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man…” The exact opposite to what the King had desired occurs.

Babar Ahmad is a political prisoner that has been held on an extradition request by America for approximately seven years.Recently, the world watched in disbelief as the verdicts of not guilty were given in the trial of four Metropolitan police officers from the Territorial Support Group (TSG), accused of assaulting him, despite having won damages from the Metropolitan Police for the same case beggars belief. We only pray that the words of the Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC are heeded when he said, “I express the hope that his ordeal as a man in detention in this country for a number of years without trial is brought to an end as soon as possible, either by his extradition or by his release… It is no concern of this court as to which, but it is a matter of concern and I would have thought should be a matter of concern to the public at large, quite apart from Mr Ahmad, that here is a man who has been in custody for literally years without knowing what his fate is to be.”

Replace the boy with Babar Ahmed and the King with ‘the state’, and you have some interesting parallels. If they thought that by imprisoning him and trying to extradite him that they will quell his spirit, they may be in for a surprise. It is interesting to note that his case, more so than others, has been repeatedly in the spotlight for various reasons. When we heard about his savage beating during his 2003 arrest, we thought that he would be freed. When we heard about the bugging of the visits of his MP and childhood friend Sadiq Khan, we thought that he may be freed. When the House of Lords considered his case, we thought that he may be freed. But alas it wasn’t meant to be. Our hopes may be dashed but his courage and struggle only increases our faith.

If Babar is set free, he will undoubtedly become a strong community figure. If he is extradited, he will become a symbol for the struggle against the tyranny of America in its so called ‘war against terror’. He is the one who we make dua for even though we may have never met him.  He has become a symbol of Muslim bravery under subjugation. He has become the catalyst that helped start the civil rights movement in the British Muslim community. He has become the boy.



Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

About Faisal Awan


  1. Allah The Ultimate Protector…
    Well written, i think the ‘case’ is an interesting one, as it is a trial of two paradigms, one, the test for the brother and how he handles his situation, and two for us, those watching on, and what we do to save ourselves, when we consider the words of the Messenger, PBuH, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allâh will fulfil his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allâh will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allâh will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhâri]

  2. Mohammed Akteruzzaman MBE

    Injustice has no place in the eye of God, the creator. Worldly might if applied for unjust cause/(s) bound to fail its mission. Truth and only truth will prevail in the end whether arrogant power/(s)likes it or not.We all should pray to Almighty God to witness fairness and justice in this world.

  3. I forgot to add that he seems a very intelligent man and, without doubt, has the courage of his convictions. If the allegations against him in the US indictment are unfounded then it is a serious injustice. It does seem as if the British government wants the extradition to go ahead so they can be rid of the issue. Very difficult problem. I enjoyed seeing your perspective.

  4. As an American I am amazed at the scope (and potential for abuse) of the security powers in the UK. It does seem to me, after doing some reading on this, that he was badly treated by the security forces and that there may have been a cover up. It also seems especially not “cricket” to eavesdrop on an MP during a jail conversation. Even so, Mr. Ahmed seems to prefer indefinite detention in the UK to the “tyranny of America”.

    There is, however, the nagging allegation of his possession of a document detailing US Fifth Fleet movement through the Strait of Hormuz. This allegation and the evidence behind it was apparently sufficient to convince a civil grand jury in the US(not a military commission) to hand down an indictment. The burden of proof for an indcitment is, of course, less than the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard for a conviction but a former US sailor has been already convicted for having forwarded the information. Perhaps Mr Ahmed innocently had the information or perhaps he was somehow framed but my advice is one might want to be a little more cautious about an analogy to the tafsir of Surah Buruj.

    Even worse for him is the fact that his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is to an entity to which the US is a not a signatory. If his appeal is upheld, the UK will have to decide if they will violate the extradition treaty with the US.

    My second bit of advice is to avoid expressions like “tyranny of America”. It may feel satisfying at the time but it has the same propaganda ring as “Western hegemony” or “imperialist aggressor”. It seems lifted from a North korean radio broadcast. It is a base emotional appeal and does nothing to enlighten.

  5. the boy and the king
    the analogy of the boy with babar ahmed was perfect! mashallah very effective parallel! i wish state’s were accountable to any such standard of truth that would set the people free. aafia siddiqui, babar ahmed, talha ahsan, tareq mehannah are all victims of the same “state” that have sold others a false sense of “freedom”.

  6. the boy and the king
    the analogy of the boy with babar ahmed was perfect! mashallah very effective parallel! i wish state’s were accountable to any such standard of truth that would set the people free. aafia siddiqui, babar ahmed, talha ahsan, tareq mehannah are all victims of the same “state” that have sold others a false sense of “freedom”.

  7. really nice piece
    very nice piece – may Allah grant the brother jannah and expose and punish those disgraceful police who savagely beat him

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to a friend