On the tenth anniversary of the twin tower attacks Muslims young and old will be aiming to learn and implement a tradition of mercy that has been ignored by its detractors, its supposed followers and those who committed the atrocities on that fateful day.
Like most I distinctly remember witnessing the moment live on television when the hijacked planes crashed into New York’s Twin towers. Unlike most for me it was a moment of rejoicing. As a fourteen year old Muslim I had grown up watching countless injustices and humiliations inflicted on Muslim populations worldwide. As far as I was concerned the cause of most of that misery was getting its recompense.
Although my ideals at a young age were based on the eye for an eye mentality the justification was easily found being taught by those who have no authority in teaching Islam and very little understanding of its traditions and its central message of compassion.
Despite such individuals being in the few the airplay they have received since the disaster of ten years previous is highly disproportionate. As Islam has fast become the favourite topic of discussion and ridicule these few who have perverted a sacred tradition are shown to be its torch bearers.
It is a distinction they carry with pride and those who have an alternate agenda are willing to give them the platform to confuse a whole generation. This unholy alliance has drowned out the voices of those wishing to present the true tradition that seeks to build character and discipline teaching individuals to live equitable lives and to instil mercy into their being.
In such an age of confusion I count myself fortunate to be able to follow and be guided by the classical tradition of Islam preserved and handed down from teacher to student for over fourteen hundred years.
It is with this aim that on Sunday exactly a decade on from the most infamous event of this Century I will begin my first term at the Micro Madrassa set up and run by the Greensville Trust.
I will do this in the aim of acquiring classical Islamic knowledge that has a chain of transmission going all the way back to its founder. I will not be alone in this pursuit and those who sit with me have one aim in putting into practice what is learnt so one can better him/herself individually and become of greater benefit to themselves, their families and society at large.
In the words of the Madrassa’s founders it is designed as a “neutral space” for the study of Islam away from the ideological differences and sectarianism that has become commonplace amongst centres of Islamic learning in the West and even the Muslim world.
It is precisely this web of confusion that many young Muslims have been caught in, not being able to decipher in their ignorance between sound tradition and heretical innovation.
Ultimately this lack of sound knowledge or of any knowledge has created a culture of hate and revenge. If the last ten years have taught us anything it is that when hate is met with hate and vengeance is the order of the day then one disaster after another follows.
Innocence is butchered in lands that most of us have and will most likely never set foot in, and the sons of our own land are brought home in body bags with much confusion as to what exactly they gave their lives for.
One of the founders and teachers at the Madrassa Shaykh Ibrahim Osi Efa has mentioned the aim of the Madrassa is to produce educated Muslims. In doing this it will no doubt open the eyes of many including myself as to the true nature of the evil that took place on September 11th 2001 and has perpetuated ever since.
What I took for knowledge ten years ago made in my mind an unmerciful act to be a justifiable cause. It is somewhat poignant that the interceding decade has led me to the circles where it is taught as principle that, “knowledge is mercy.”