As the Key Turns is my brother in law’s (Fahim Ahmad/Abu Sinaan) blog. It’ll be updated as often as we can insha’Allaah, but considering the length of time the prison security takes to have his mail sent out, a bit of a gap should be expected.
Here’s an excerpt from one of his posts:
Asalam alaikum wa rahmatulllah…
In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Everyone I speak to for the first time from here always has the same question: what do you do all day? So I figure I’ll answer it, and perhaps it might be of benefit to someone, insha’Allah. I’ll keep the routine general, what everyone does, rather than my self specifically.
Prison life is all about routines. Its all about consistency in day to day actions, and sticking with it. Its very easy to get bored, to lose motivation, to slacken and to just give up. That’s what prison is, its designed to do that, its designed to break you. Countless people do break. They just go nuts. I’ve been in ‘segregation’ (isolation) for the entire time, so it’s a little different what I do in comparison to guys in general population ranges. For them, its all about working out, phone time, tv, socializing, more work outs, more tv, and then sleep.
by Faraj Hassan, former detainee
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
May the peace and blessing of God be upon you,
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and prayers and peace on the most honourable of prophets and messengers, Muhammad, his family, his companions and anyone who follows his guidance and follows in their footsteps until the Day of Judgment.
What we have seen, witnessed and heard about the violations of the religious and civil rights suffered by our Muslim brothers and sisters in western jails is saddening and hurtful. I was personally a witness to this tribulation for five years when I was a prisoner. As informing someone of an event is not the same as experiencing itself, I started hastily writing this legitimate urgent appeal, quoting from the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), to seek help from those who can appreciate the awful, disgusting treatment Muslim prisoners face in British jails. This was after I heard from a Muslim sister, who is the lawyer of a Muslim brother who was convicted of terrorism charges, that her client had been subjected to a savage attack by some prisoners; they poured boiling oil on his head which caused severe burns to his head and other parts of his body. He is now is in a pitiful state and has been returned to jail even though he did not receive enough medical care and time to recover in an outside hospital. Worse than that, he is still in the same prison in which he was attacked and with the same prisoners who still harbour hate for him and wish to kill him and terrorise him, which the prison administration and the government are aware of.
Imam Ibn Al-Athir said in his book Al-Kamil Fil Tarikh, that when Yusuf (AS) left prison, he wrote on the door of his cell, “this is the grave of the living, the house of the dejected, the place of trial for friends and a blow upon the face of enemies”.
Prison is the worst, basest place a person can ever be put in, where his freedom is wrested from him, his dignity is humiliated and his honour is defeated. His faith and religious practices are attacked. It is for this reason that Muhammad (SAW) often used to seek Allah’s protection for prisoners to protect them against fear.
This is why hadith scholars have spoken at length about this issue.
The religious texts which urge Muslims to help each other clearly include texts about helping Muslims prisoners as a priority, including:
The Muslim nation is one as Allah (SWT) says: “this nation is one nation and I am your Lord so worship me” and He said, “verily, the believers are brothers”. Al-Qurtubi said in his interpretation of this verse (16/322), “’verily, the believers are brothers” in faith and in respect, not in blood. It is said, brothers in faith are closer than blood brothers as blood brothers may fall out over differences in faith whereas brothers in faith are not affected by differences in lineage”.
In the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, it is narrated from Abu Huraira (RA) that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong him, forsake him or despise him.”
Imam Nawawi commented on this hadith in Sharh Muslim (16/120) saying, “the scholars said, “forsaking him is leaving him when he is in need and despising him means, if he asks for help to remove an evil in his life, he must help him if he can and if he does not have a legitimate excuse not to”.
Ibn Rajab said in Jami Al-Ulum Wal Hukum, p. 333), “by this, a believer forsaking his brother, it means that the believer is commanded to help his brother as the Prophet (SAW) said, “help your brother, whether he is the oppressed or the oppressor”. He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, help the oppressed but how do I help the oppressor?” He said, “by preventing him from oppressing. This is how you help him”. Narrated by Anas.
Abu Dawud mentions the hadith narrated by Abu Talha Al-Ansari and Jabir Bin Abdullah, that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help”.
Ahmed reported that Abu Umamah Bin Sahl narrated from his father that the Prophet (SAW) said, “He in whose presence a Muslim is humiliated and who does not help him, being able to help him, God will humiliate him before all creatures on the Day of Judgment”.
These are general texts which urge Muslims to unite, work together and help each other, as is established in the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim in the hadith narrated by Numan Bin Bashir in which he says that the Prophet (SAW) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs is afflicted, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever”.
What saddens us is that some ignorant people ignore this completely and say that “the prisoners are suffering because they are confused about their religion and have followed a path other than that of guidance. They deserve everything they get and thus they must bear the consequences of what happens to them”. In saying such things, ignorant people ignore texts that generally and specifically concern helping these prisoners of faith who are our brothers in Islam. These reasons are all materialistic, worldly excuses; if these prisoners are not the most deserving of our help, then who should we help?
The scholars stated in a statement on the obligation of freeing Muslim prisoners and trying to help them in all matters.
Imam Malik said, “it is obligatory on the people to redeem (buy the freedom of) prisoners with their money. There is no contention on this point”.
Ibn Taymiyya said in The Fatwas (28/635), “freeing prisoners is one of the greatest obligations, and spending money in this matter is one of the greatest sacrifices”. Ibn Taymiyya himself made great efforts to free Muslim prisoners and save them; in Rajab 699H, he went to the camp of a Tatar commander and met him to discuss releasing the Muslim prisoners he was holding. He saved many of them from their hands.
They were concerned with saving their Muslim brothers who were prisoners. Of course, many of you will say that this all happened in a time when the Muslims had a state and power. So what can we do now at a time when the Muslims have sunk to such a lowly state?
What I am telling you is that the least you can do is help them with your words and your actions, and this is the weakest of faith, as Ibn Taymiyya wrote in his lengthy letter to the King of Cyprus, Johan de Giblet, a Christian king, concerning the Muslim prisoners held by the king. The letter included an invitation to Islam and to worship Allah alone and mentioned His mercy and that He loves all people to be treated well. He also mentioned his efforts with the Tatars to have the Muslim and Christian dhimmi prisoners released.
He wrote, “Does the king not know that we have in our lands Christians who are dhimmis (protected non-Muslim citizens in an Islamic state) and no one knows how many of them there are except Allah? How we deal with them is well-known so how can they deal with the Muslim prisoners they have in a manner that shows a lack of humanity and faith? Are the prisoners not under the protection of the king? Have not those who follow Jesus and the prophets been told to do good and act justly, so where are these good actions?”
There are many similarities between the situation of the Muslims in the 8th century Hijri (thirteenth century CE) – Ibn Taymiyya’s time – and in our current times, in that we can see the importance attached to these prisoners and the harsh treatment meted out to them from the time of Ibn Taymiyya, however there is no one crying for the Muslim prisoners today. Where is the displeasure shown at their cases? Where are the demands for them to be given their rights? Where is the call for justice for them and for them to be treated fairly? Where are the prayers to Allah asking for them to be released?
Finally, I ask you, the good people who are taking part in this campaign led by our sister, the lawyer, Mudassar Arani, the lawyer of the brother who was attacked, to improve the situation of the brother who was attacked in the prison and all the other Muslim prisoners to have them relocated to a safe place away from the terror they face from the other prisoners, please do your best to write to them and help them and stand by them even if you think they are wrong. Every person is a sinner and the best sinner is the one who repents.
May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon you.
I so long to meet the one I thought to have met
do not think of me wrong I have no regret
Sleepless nights spent alone awake while you slept I just wish I had known the secret you kept
do not think I have hate, don’t think of me less
this is my fate, I know I am blessed
to be with you is great, yes I confess
I just wish I knew the secret you kept
only if you could see the tears in my eyes
but you were asleep to no ones surprise
away I creep while you find rest
I wish I had known the secret you kept
I have tried to wake you out of your slumber
not because I hate you, but because i wonder
what is it that you conceal in your chest
I just wish I knew the secret you kept
I reguse to sleep another night without you
Stand on your feet there’s no one to show you how to
You know the Sunnah as well as the rest
and that Oh Ummah… is the secret you kept
– written by a brother behind bars.. may Allaah hasten his release.
“Kunn saahib al-kitaab, laa saahib al-kutub”
Transl. “Be a companion of the book, not a companion of the books.”
In other words, rather than have a massive library of books, dedicate yourself to one book in every field and master it.
Joyous are others, weeping is me
Playing are others, oppressed is me,
Others hear of liberty songs,
It is me listening to slavery fables
Liberated are others, enslaved is me,
It is me ridden as subjugated beast in
Çolpan, an Uygur Poet
“..The things you mentioned couldn’t be more true. As the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam said: “The people tested most are the Messengers, then those most alike, then those most alike; a man is tested in accordance with his deen, so if its strong, the rest is increased until he treads the earth and there is not a sin on him.” And he said, sallallahu ‘alayh, “People will wish that their bodies were sliced on the day of Judgement due to what they see of the reward of the people of tribulations” (or similar to what he said, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam).
Always remember that ultimately you are nothing but a slave, and Allah is your Master. It is only out of His mercy that we ever have senses of relief… otherwise, why do we deserve it? And more often than not we fail to give our due thanks, nay, we fail even to recognize the mercy and kindness of Allah… Yet despite that, Allah says, as in the Qudsi hadeeth: “Beseech Me, and I will give you.” Allah loves to be asked, because it is a recognition of His ability and mastery and our weakness and need. So ask Allah, “And if My slaves ask you about Me, then inform them I am near. I respond to the caller if he calls upon Me. So let them repent to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.”
You are a slave. Your religion is Islam. Submission. Submission and acceptance and patience in good and bad, ease and hardship. Always knowing that whatever bad or evil befalls you is not a punishment, but a test, in other words – an opportunity. Prove yourself and I’ll give you high marks (rewards). Some tests are easy, others are hard.. but its always the hard ones that get you the good grades.
And the grades? Grades in Jannah. The method to attaining those grades is be adhering to and striving to live by the Quran.
You’re a slave. Your deen is Islam. Your route is the Quran.
Your destination – inshallahu ta’ala – is Jannah.”
Who will hear our cries
Who will sacrifice for us their lives
Who will take away our fears
Who will wipe away our tears
Who will bring back our fathers, brothers and sons
who will bring back our loved ones
Who will speak against the aggression
who will put a stop to the oppression
who will mend our broken hearts
who will explain to our children
why our lives have been torn apart
who will open their eyes, hearts and minds
who will speak against the abuse
before we run out of time
who will stop hiding in their homes
who will join us
so we no longer walk alone
Written by the sister of a prisoner in HMP Belmarsh, UK.
“..Man needs tests. Tests provide the slave with an opportunity to prove himself to Allah. Allah constantly reminds us of this reality. “We will test you, so We may know the ones who strive amongst you and the patient ones, and relay your accounts.” Tests tell the slave what level he’s at, they grant him the ability to distinguish between true friend and false friend, you would know that in a time of ease, everyone is together, its only in hardship that you know what people are made of. Tests also allow the slave to have a chance, to be a slave. You see, if everything was going ahead as we, humans, desired it, we would grow arrogant and our souls would become disobedient and conceited. But Allah wishes to give His slave a stark reminder that no, the matter is in My hands. In the collection of Abu Dawud, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam used to invoke Allah with the following: “O Allah, make the sustenance of the family of Muhammad (bearly) sufficient.” Ibn al-Qayyim commented on this du’a saying, “This is so when he, sallallahu ‘alayh finds food he worships (iyaka na’bud), and when he doesnt he seeks Allah’s help (iyaka nasta’een), so his life pendulums between the two posts of ‘iyaka na’bud wa iyaka nasta’een.'”
A Year Later and Rashid is Nowhere To Be Seen
“On Tuesday, it will be exactly a year since Rashid Khalid was abducted in Estcourt, never to be seen again.
It was an event that had all the hallmarks of a spy thriller.
On October 31, members of the town’s small Muslim community, who were observing Ramadan, were preparing to have supper after breaking their daily fast.
It was about 10pm and they had just returned from their evening prayers at the mosque.
Suddenly the silence of the night was broken. Several luxury vehicles screeched to a halt in front of a home in Canna Avenue, Forderville. About 10 heavily armed men jumped out of the cars, which had false number plates.
They kicked open the door of an outbuilding and barged in. Inside two men screamed as the raiders turned the place upside down.
A small crowd gathered outside as the owner, Mohammed Bayat, plucked up the courage to ask what was happening. The men, some with a British accent, pointed a rifle at him. He was told if he knew what was good for him, he would go back into his house.
A police van stopped to make inquiries. They, too, were told by the mystery men to move on.
Two hooded men were then dragged out of the building and pushed into two vehicles and driven away.
Pakistani national Khalid Mehmood Rashid and his room-mate, Moulana Mohammed Ebrahim Jeebhai, 29, were driven to an unknown destination.”
“Many times I had my dinner in front of me, and Daddy came to my mind and then I could not eat..”
(Aisha, daughter of ghost prisoner, Masood Janjua)
“We want to find rest. This is worse than killing. You’re killing us slowly day by day.”
(Husnah Al Mashtouli, wife of Mahmoud Jaballah, one of Canada’s secret trial five)
“When all of his brothers and sisters sit together, there is still one person missing, and this is Juma. My mother, every time she sits for Iftar to break her fast, prays to God, so hard, to free Juma from there.”
(Brother of Juma Al Dossary, Bahraini detainee in Guantanamo)
“It doesn’t feel like Ramadan and Eid in prison. It is not a celebration. You are totally isolated – you suffer in another world.”
(‘P’, detained under electronic bail in the UK,
awaiting deportation to torture)
“It seems there is no law to protect me from the injustices I am experiencing.”
“I am in this prison crippled and shackled by the manacles of injustice and I am languishing in the corners of the British dungeon Belmarsh.”
Amar Makhlulif Shackled by the Manacles of Justice
Makhlulif FF8180, HMP Belmarsh
..and these are just a few excerpts.. how many more will it take to pinch our conscience? may Allaah help us.