“… therefore the news of that which they mock shall soon come to them” 
The Irony of Joan Rivers
Earlier this month, during the Israeli massacres in Gaza where over 2,000 innocent men, women and children died, the American actress, comedian, writer, producer and television host, Joan Rivers mocked their deaths when she told a reporter for the TMZ website in video footage that Palestinian civilians “deserve to be dead”. Her actual words were:
“Good. Good [that the Palestinians have been killed]. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that. They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs. They [Hamas] were re-elected by a lot of very stupid people who don’t even own a pencil.” 
Three weeks after making the above comments, on 28 August 2014 Joan Rivers was rushed to hospital after she had stopped breathing during a reported throat procedure at a clinic in New York and she is reported as being in a critical state.
There are those who will say that this article is gloating at another’s misfortune – that is not my intention. It is simply acknowledging and reminding the fact that Allāh is the most just in dealing with his slaves. The irony is clear that the same organ (her throat) she used to insult and denigrate His believing slaves, is the very same organ which was the cause of her current state. Indeed Allāh describes himself as “Asra’ al-Hasibin“, the One who is most swift in bringing to account. It is from the Sunnah of Allāh that in regards to those who harm Allāh, His Messenger and the believers, who cannot be brought to justice by human beings for the crimes committed against them, then Allāh Himself enacts sufficient retribution on behalf of them.
There are many examples in history where a person’s actions brought about their own demise.
Abu Lahab and his wife acted as misleading media tools at the time of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and their harm extended to large numbers. Many rebelled from the right way of Allāh through their words and deeds. Such was the crimes they committed that Allāh revealed an entire Surah on them. This revelation came with a general warning that any cruelty perpetrated against or insult to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or believers would bring about the ultimate ruin of the guilty person. It teaches us that the person who rages against the believers will be burnt up in his/her own rage. His/her hands, which are the instruments of their actions, perish and they punish only themselves and no boasted wealth or position will serve them.
One of the many acts Abu Lahab indulged in was to throw bloodied, smelly intestines of animals at the doorstep of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and this act, despite many other acts he committed against the Prophet, was to serve as a reminder for the circumstances of his own death. Abu Lahab died shortly after he knew of the victory of Muslims in Badr, he died out of depression and sorrow and he was inflicted with a deadly plague. According to the Arab custom of the time, a person suffering from such a plague was not allowed to live in the house. He was, therefore, taken outside Makkah where he was left alone and uncared for to meet a slow, painful death. When he died, his body lay unattended for several days in the scorching heat rotting and decomposing, giving out a horrible smell which spread afar.
Unable to bear the smell, his sons carried him in his clothes and threw him on the mountain ground and kept throwing stoned on him until he was buried. How ironic that the stench of his corpse was as the stench of the intestines he would leave at the door of the Prophet. Such a horrible end is for anyone doing the same and the heaven and earth wept not for such an individual, nor were they reprieved. This is expected humiliation, for Allāh jalla wa’ala says: “And he whom Allāh humiliates – for him there is no bestower of honour.”
Another example can be found with the incident when the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wrote to Kisra (the King of Persia) and Caesar (the king of Rome) inviting them to Islam. While neither of them had entered into Islam, however, Caesar respected the letter of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and treated his ambassador in a fine manner, so his kingdom was kept for him for a period. As for Kisra, he tore the letter of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) into pieces and mocked him. As a result, Allāh caused Kisra to be killed soon after, and ironically, caused his kingdom to be torn into pieces, and there did not remain for any of the future Kisras any kingdom. Such was the irony of his end and that of his kingdom.
In Surah al-Kahf, Allāh gives the example of a vineyard-owner who was deceived by his prosperity and achievements. This man exemplifies the type of arrogance that is derived from wealth. In order to test him, Allāh granted this vineyard owner abundant wealth. Yet, all this wealth only made him boastful. Instead of feeling grateful towards Allāh, asking His forgiveness, and putting his riches to use for the cause of Allāh, he spoke proudly and falsely assumed that his wealth was immune to time and disaster. The end met by the vineyard-owner, as Allāh relates in the Qur’an, was also a note of caution. Ironically, he lost all his wealth. He eventually said “if only…,” but it was too late to be mindful. The fruits of his labour were completely destroyed and he woke up wringing his hands in grief, rueing everything that he had spent on it. There was no group to come to his aid, besides Allāh, and he was not given any help .
There are numerous other examples such as the case of Nimrod at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (‘alayhi al-Salam). This was a man, a King who was proud and haughty. He claimed that he gave life and took life and in seeking to evidence this, he freed a condemned man and killed an innocent man. He was a King who is regarded as the first in history to have established an empire and yet his demise came at the hands of a small, weak, ‘insignificant’ mosquito that flew into his nose and entered his head. His only relief was when he was hit on the head and this eventually caused him to perish, with his own hands.
Who remembers King Frederick Barbarossa, the King of Germany? He lived to become one of the most revered figures in European history and sought to become a conqueror by leading the Third Crusade to Palestine in 1189 together with the French, led by King Philip Augustus, and the English, under Richard the Lionheart – three nations, led by Three Kings to fight one Sultan, Salah al-Din (rahimahullah). But in the very hour of his triumph, Barbarossa saw his plan overturned by Allah and turned on its head. It is reported that the fourth crusade was to be the largest and an estimated 300,000 men joined the crusade (100,000 were Barbarossa’s men).
It is reported that Barbarossa got to a stream with his men, commanding in his heavy, expensive armour covered from head to toe (Muslims would often fight in light armour). While crossing the stream on his horse, something spooked his horse so Barbarossa fell into the cold water. The current was too strong for the horse to handle, and his armour was too heavy for him to swim in – both were swept away and they drowned. Some historians believe he may have had a heart attack that complicated matters.
Barbarossa was a name that would strike fear; he was the most powerful of the European Kings but he dies in pool of water. The reason why Allah humiliated him was because he had sent a letter to Salah al-Din (rahimahullah), which was arrogant and proud in its tone. It threatened Salah al-Din (rahimahullah) to move out his army within 12 months or such and such would happen. So Allah ‘Azza wa Jal wanted to dishonour Barbarossa. Barbarossa made an oath that he would step his foot on the Holy Land, so Allah took his soul before his army reached the destined place.
Examples of such moments of poetic justice in the modern era can be seen with the death of Ariel Sharon, a man whose legacy is one of death, blood and destruction of the Palestinians. And yet he was stopped in his tracks by Allāh when in 2005 he was incapacitated by a stroke and he was then caused to lay in a coma in a vegetative state for over 8 years and he died in January 2014. On the day his evil body was buried into the earth, there were reports of an earthquake having taken place around the location of his burial, a sign that the earth did not wish to accept his body – see how Allāh humbles the wicked? 
Ben Ali, the former tyrant of Tunisia who banned the wearing of hijab and made it illegal was ousted from the presidency in 2011 and now lives in exile in Saudi Arabia where his wife will now ironically be required to wear the hijab in line with the law there. We also recently saw in Egypt a national newspaper editor, who invoked Allah to help Benjamin Netanyahu against Gaza, die almost immediately of an incurable illness; as well as a TV presenter who mocked the Muslims in Gaza, rushed into intensive care shortly thereafter .
We have also witnessed another irony with the recent conflict in Gaza. You often hear the term, “we do not negotiate with terrorists”. Those who say this do so because if they do negotiate, then it becomes a case of them legitimising those they are branding as terrorists as a legitimate power. They usually feel able to say such when they consider the group to be weak, insignificant, irrelevant, and so forth. Such was also the case with the Quraish and the first generation of Muslims led by the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Six months after fighting with the Muslims in the battle of the trenches, the Quraish now were negotiating with the Muslims at Hudaibiyah which meant that they now accepted the might, power and muscle of the Muslims and Allāh made them accept the power of the Muslims even when they did not have weapons in their hands as was the case at Hudaibiyah as they had gone as pilgrims on umrah.
Similarly, how often have you heard the Zionist Israeli state say “we do not negotiate with terrorists”? Yet after weeks of fighting, where they had set out at the outset that their objective was to weaken the resistance in Gaza, what did Israel actually achieve? Even up to the dying seconds of the ceasefire, “rockets” were being fired. It is estimated that over 100 “rockets” were being fired each day the war lasted and there was no let-up in this. Yet these “rockets” which can at best be described as fireworks, through the power of Allāh, brought this Goliath humiliatingly to the table to do what? Allāh brought them to negotiate with “terrorists” and recognise the power of the people’s resistance.
The above events have been narrated not because it is being claimed that the crime of Joan Rivers was as serious and grievous as perhaps some of the others, but rather to demonstrate and remind us how people’s words and actions come back to haunt them. Allāh said that “I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine”  and it is clear in this instance that Joan’s words against His beloved servants of the blessed land have indeed angered Him. Allāh avenges the mockery and slander of the believers and provides great solace to those who are extremely hurt by the mockery, slanders and arrogance. It is true that many others continue to live unchecked for their action however, it should not be forgotten that Allāh has granted them respite but only for an appointed time before their humbling reaches them.
Some will say that we should pray for Joan’s recovery and guidance. I leave you with the words of Allāh jalla wa’ala:
“Is he, the evil of whose deeds is made fair seeming unto them so that they consider it as good (equal to the guided one)? Verily, Allāh sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills so do not let your soul waste away in grief for them…” 
 Qur’an 26:6
 Qur’an 22:18.
 Qur’an 18: 32-43
 Qur’an 35:8
Z.A Rahman is a community activist and a member of a large Mosque in the UK. He has a keen interest in politics and history, particularly Islamic history. He also enjoys traveling and has visited numerous countries in the Middle East and North Africa.