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Egypt: Glad Tidings of the Executions

Earlier this month and coincidentally just a few short days prior to the second anniversary of the passing of the late Dr Mohamed Morsi (raḥimahu Allāh), who was the first (and to date) only democratically elected President of Egypt, the nation’s highest civilian court – the Court of Cassation – upheld death sentences of a dozen members of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which the late leader was closely associated with.

In coming to a determination of the case, the Court, who sit as Egypt’s top court of appeal, upheld the sentences in the case referred to as the “Rabaa sit-in dispersal.”[1]

The colloquially named case, which refers to the events of August 14th, 2013, when security forces comprising the police and the army crushed two sit-in protests – one in Giza and the other in Cairo – that were being held in support of the late President Morsi, has widely been seen as politically motivated. Scores were killed when security forces loyal to the country’s military and then Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, ferociously subdued the pro-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and Giza’s al-Nahda squares. Although Egypt’s official National Council for Human Rights reported the deaths of 632, including eight members of the security services, numerous international human rights organisations have consistently disputed these figures. Indeed, they argue the total number of deaths to be far greater.

A year following the fatal events of the August prior, in 2014 the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, gave the following nerve-jangling account, “In Rab’a Square, Egyptian security forces carried out one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.[2]

The HRW chief further added,

“This wasn’t merely a case of excessive force or poor training. It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest levels of the Egyptian government. Many of the same officials are still in power in Egypt, and have a lot to answer for.”

The Court of Cassation’s ruling, which is absolute, means the twelve men are set to be put to death pending the nod of approval from the country’s leader, the dictator al-Sisi. The ruling of capital punishment, which was originally decided upon in a trial a few years earlier, includes senior leaders of the Brotherhood. The likes of Mohamed al-Beltagy, the physician and former Member of Parliament and current general secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party, in addition to Abdel-Rahman el-Bar, one of the Brotherhood’s top scholars, are just a couple of the high-ranking leaders facing the death penalty. Others whose sentences were sustained include the former minister of youth, Osama Yassin, and Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson, Ahmed Aref.[3] [4]

Having introduced the topic of this piece, in the Name of Allah, the most Merciful, and the most Gracious, I begin.

And may He send His salutations and blessings upon our beloved master, teacher, and role model Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), as well as his Companions and pure household. To proceed:

Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says:

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَٰفِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ ٱلْأَبْصَٰرُ

“Do not think ˹O Prophet˺ that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them until a Day when ˹their˺ eyes will stare in horror”[5]

It is natural for even the believer to feel apprehension over this world’s affairs, no matter how righteous they may be. They may sometimes be desperate for God’s help, since it is from the nature of humans to find injustice to be upsetting for their souls. Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says in the Noble Qur’an:

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوْا۟ مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ ٱلْبَأْسَآءُ وَٱلضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ ٱلرَّسُولُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مَعَهُۥ مَتَىٰنَصْرُ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ نَصْرَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ

“Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were afflicted with suffering and adversity and were so ˹violently˺ shaken that ˹even˺ the Messenger and the believers with him cried out, “When will Allah’s help come?” Indeed, Allah’s help is ˹always˺ near.”[6]

Thus, there is no shame in desiring the victory and support of Allah in such pressing times. However, what is condemnable is to despair of Allah’s support, and to forget the grand objective of our calling. Allah reminds us of this grand objective when He says:

يَٰبَنِىَّ ٱذْهَبُوا۟ فَتَحَسَّسُوا۟ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَا۟يْـَٔسُوا۟ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يَا۟يْـَٔسُ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْقَوْمُ ٱلْكَٰفِرُونَ

“O my sons! Go and search ˹diligently˺ for Joseph and his brother. And do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah, for no one loses hope in Allah’s mercy except those with no faith.”[7]

ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَٰبَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ

“Who, when faced with a disaster, say, “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.”[8]

At this juncture, I will now state something which is somewhat controversial. Of course, I am saddened by the news of the planned executions, since I wish to return to an Egypt which is both Islamic and free. But if there is no intervention from the United States and I do not live to see the victory of the believers in Egypt, that does not actually affect the grand scheme of things. This is because the victory of the believers is something which is guaranteed through the   Sunnah of Allah on earth. Such victory is achieved through our repentance to Allah, purification of the soul, and embracing of Islam. Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) reminds us of these points when He says:

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا۟ مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”[9]

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسْتُضْعِفُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ ٱلْوَٰرِثِينَ

“But it was Our Will to favour those who were oppressed in the land, making them models ˹of faith˺ as well as successors.”[10]

But there is an even more profound point that we should consider. Whilst it is important that we should view politics as being an integral part of our call and religion, we must be conscious of the fact that our calling does not exclusively pertain to this world. This worldly life is an immense test and trial. Nevertheless, it is from the mercy of Allah that even during this temporary state of worldly life, He commands us to uphold justice and act mercifully with all living things. So while this world is a time of trials and tribulations, it can still be a place of peace and security for all peoples. Ultimately, our objective is not the establishment of an Islamic state. Even if every person on earth embraced Islam, our ultimate purpose would not be fulfilled. This is because true happiness is not achieved in this life, but rather in attaining salvation in the Hereafter. This in fact is the meaning of the motto: الله غايتنا

جَزَآؤُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّٰتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدًا ۖ رَّضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ رَبَّهُۥ

“Their reward with their Lord will be Gardens of Eternity, under which rivers flow, to stay there for ever and ever. Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. This is ˹only˺ for those in awe of their Lord.”[11]

The esteemed Murshid (may Allah hasten his release) once eloquently stated that the conflict which we witness in the present should not be framed as being between Islamists and the American-Zionist alliance. Indeed, such a categorisation is too narrow, this-worldly, and reductionist. America will pass on, just as great nations met their demise in recent times, such as the British Empire or the Soviet Union. In fact, even today we see the cracks appearing within the world’s current superpower. What we are witnessing right now is a battle between a Rabbānī project and an Iblīsī one, whose end result has already been foretold. Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) reminds us of our enemy in the following verses:

وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ ٱللَّهِ هُمُ ٱلْغَٰلِبُونَ

“Whoever allies themselves with Allah, His Messenger, and fellow believers, then it is certainly Allah’s party that will prevail.”[12]

ٱسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنُ فَأَنسَىٰهُمْ ذِكْرَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ حِزْبُ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنِ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّ حِزْبَ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنِ هُمُ ٱلْخَٰسِرُونَ

“Satan has taken hold of them, causing them to forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Satan. Surely Satan’s party is bound to lose.”[13]

وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنُ أَعْمَٰلَهُمْ وَقَالَ لَا غَالِبَ لَكُمُ ٱلْيَوْمَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَإِنِّى جَارٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَرَآءَتِ ٱلْفِئَتَانِ نَكَصَ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَقَالَ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ مِّنكُمْ إِنِّىٓأَرَىٰ مَا لَا تَرَوْنَ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ ٱللَّهَ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ

“And ˹remember˺ when Satan made their ˹evil˺ deeds appealing to them, and said, “No one can overcome you today. I am surely by your side.” But when the two forces faced off, he cowered and said, “I have absolutely nothing to do with you. I certainly see what you do not see. I truly fear Allah, for Allah is severe in punishment.””[14]

قَالَ ٱخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُومًا مَّدْحُورًا ۖ لَّمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

“Allah said, “Get out of Paradise! You are disgraced and rejected! I will certainly fill up Hell with you and your followers all together.””[15]

قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ ٱلْمُخْلَصِينَ

“Satan said, “By Your Glory! I will certainly mislead them all, except Your chosen servants among them.””[16]

This is why we see both moral and economic corruption being committed by the Egyptian elite.  Such an elite shares no relation with the values of the majority in values and beliefs. Their state is akin to what Allah says about the past people of Thamūd:

وَكَانَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ تِسْعَةُ رَهْطٍ يُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا يُصْلِحُونَ

“And there were in the city nine ˹elite˺ men who spread corruption in the land, never doing what is right.”[17]

In the fierce battle for economic justice, the noble Prophet Shuʿayb (ʿalayhi al-Salām) was a standard bearer:

قَالُوا۟ يَٰشُعَيْبُ أَصَلَوٰتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِىٓ أَمْوَٰلِنَا مَا نَشَٰٓؤُا۟ ۖ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ ٱلْحَلِيمُ ٱلرَّشِيدُ

“They asked ˹sarcastically˺, “O Shu’aib! Does your prayer command you that we should abandon what our forefathers worshipped or give up managing our wealth as we please? Indeed, you are such a tolerant, sensible man!””[18]

Thus, our solution lies in ensuring that we maintain our religious practices, purify society of the filth that has desecrated it, and ensure that all governmental policies reflect the Qur’anic and Prophetic injunctions:

ظَهَرَ ٱلْفَسَادُ فِى ٱلْبَرِّ وَٱلْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِى ٱلنَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ ٱلَّذِى عَمِلُوا۟ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

“Corruption has spread on land and sea as a result of what people’s hands have done, so that Allah may cause them to taste ˹the consequences of˺ some of their deeds and perhaps they might return ˹to the Right Path˺.”[19]

Egypt, which was once known for its mawlid processions, has now become a nation in which a judge asks a Sheikh why he starts his speeches with salutations on the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)! There is a grand conflict between the party of God and the party of Shayṭān, which without any doubt transcends this limited historical setting. But always have hope that the success of Allah is near. The story of Yūsuf (ʿalayhi al-Salām) is full of lessons containing this positive message. He was given a full pardon, left prison victorious, and even afterwards was appointed as an authority in the land. The immense injustice and imprisonment that he had to face did not deter the daʿwah he delivered, but rather propelled it even further. Yūsuf (ʿalayhi al-Salām) used his time in prison as a means to call his fellow inmates to the religion of Allah. This religious activism is something that has been replicated in later generations. For example, when Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (raḥimahu Allāhu) was imprisoned, he actually called the prison he was in al-Madrassah al-Yūsufiyyah. We should also not forget that during his time giving daʿwah, Yūsuf (ʿalayhi al-Salām) emphasised Allah’s role as the supreme legislator when he stated the following:

إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ ۚ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“It is only Allah Who decides. He has commanded that you worship none but Him. That is the upright faith, but most people do not know.”[20]

In this time of difficulty, we cannot help but remember the executions of 1954. During that time, we saw several champions like the Qāḍī and Shahīd ʿAbd al-Qādir ʿAwdah and Sheikh Muhammad Faraghlī (raḥimahummā Allāhu) be martyred. A further injustice occurred when Ustādh Sayyid Qutb (raḥimahu Allāhu) was executed later as well. Despite these trials, the group has persevered and achieved new victories. The Ikhwān was able to persist, because as long as the Qur’an remains in the hands of the people, the call of the movement will survive. This is because it is not the message of the Ikhwān to which we call to out of partisanship, but Islam in its total comprehensiveness whose banner the Ikhwan carries. This is why missionaries preaching of Christianity in the past sought to subdue us for the sake of the British Empire. Furthermore, this is why contemporary missionaries campaigning for liberalism seek to seize the Qur’an from us again. This type of proselytising is done in order to protect the new empires of this age.

But if one wants to find an example of the victory which Allah has prepared for those who are steadfast, then they need not look further than the region of Khorasan. After assuming power in 1978, the communist regime of Muhammad Taraki killed approximately 27,000 Afghan political prisoners in just a year, a figure which consists of almost half the total number of Egyptian political prisoners today. Yet, the Afghans stood steadfast until the end, and put the communist banner beneath their feet. Today, after spending almost 20 years and expending 2 trillion dollars in an unjust and brutal “War on Terror” – or to refer to it more appropriately, the War of Terror – the United States has announced that it will fully withdraw in the month of September. So my dear brothers and sisters, let us have faith in Allah, trust His divine decree, and rely upon Him alone.

I cannot lie now and say that if the 12 individuals are martyred, it would not be a terrible tragedy and painful event. But at the same time, I do not need to recall in this brief article the mighty station of martyrdom and its immense virtues. I think that for the eminent figures of Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barr, the Dāʿī Safwat al-Hejazi, and the lion Mohamed Beltagy the station of martyrdom would be their path to attaining Allah’s pleasure, in shā’ Allāh. As people who enjoy freedom and security, we must work to help these brothers and aid them in any way possible. At the same time, however, we cannot be distressed on matters pertaining to the Qadar of Allah. This is especially the case when dealing with an amazing matter like martyrdom.

These 12 legends of today prefer death and torture to renouncing what they have declared. It is to them that the powerful and profound statement of Ustādh Sayyid Qutb (raḥimahu Allāhu) can be attributed: ⁣

“They won’t leave you alone. Even if you took solace in your house and closed your door upon yourself, as long as the light of the truth shines through your window, you remain a threat that must be eliminated!”

Sayyid Qutb would also say:

“Indeed our words will remain lifeless, barren, devoid of any passion, until we die as a result of these words, whereupon our words will suddenly spring to life and live amongst the hearts that are dead, bringing them to life as well.”

From the lessons of our past history, we learn that short term defeats can lead to much benefit in the long run. Indeed, the Battle of Muʿtah led to the martyrdom of several prominent Companions and leaders, such as Zayd b. Ḥārithah, Jaʿfar b. Abī Ṭālib, and ʿAbd Allāh b. Rawāḥah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum). These casualties must have affected the morale of the Muslims, since even the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was saddened when he realised what happened. Yet, because of this conflict, the mantle of military leadership was handed over to Khālid b. al-Walīd (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu). It was Khālid who led the Muslims to Yarmouk and handed the Byzantines a decisive defeat, which ultimately opened the path to most of the Levant. The victory for the Muslims would be completed by the Ottoman forces in 1453, with the liberation of Constantinople. Likewise, the Battle of Yamāmah was a great blow for the Muslims, as 70 Qurrā’ were martyred. Yet, even this loss became a great source of good for the Muslim Ummah. It sparked the initiative of ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) for having the Qur’an fully compiled, which was approved and implemented by Abū Bakr (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu). Through the work of these noble Companions, Allah delivered on His promise:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا ٱلذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ

“It is certainly We Who have revealed the Reminder, and it is certainly We Who will preserve it.”[21]

With this brief reminder, it is my hope that we turn to Allah altogether for solving our affairs. Furthermore, we should be pleased with His divine decree, regardless of the results. We must try to exert our best efforts to fulfill the ultimate goal, namely the attainment of Allah’s pleasure, in shā’ Allāh. On this note, I would like to conclude my statement by quoting the Imam and Shahīd Hassan al-Banna (raḥimahu Allāhu), who said the following golden words in a famous message:

فاستعدوا واعملوا اليوم ، فقد تعجزون عن العمل غداً

Prepare and work today, as you may not be able to work tomorrow

وعند الله تجتمع الخصوم

And in the presence of Allah, the opponents shall meet







[5] Al-Qur’ān, 14:42

[6] Al-Qur’ān, 2:214

[7] Al-Qur’ān, 12:87

[8] Al-Qur’ān, 2:156

[9] Al-Qur’ān, 13:11

[10] Al-Qur’ān, 28:5

[11] Al-Qur’ān, 98:8

[12] Al-Qur’ān, 5:56

[13] Al-Qur’ān, 58:19

[14] Al-Qur’ān, 8:48

[15] Al-Qur’ān, 7:18

[16] Al-Qur’ān, 38:82-83

[17] Al-Qur’ān, 27:48

[18] Al-Qur’ān, 11:87

[19] Al-Qur’ān, 30:41

[20] Al-Qur’ān, 12:40

[21] Al-Qur’ān, 15:9

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