By Aber Kawas
There have been pictures and videos circulating for these past few nights of a boy whose face had been cut off in the unrelenting onslaught of Syrian violence. The despairing images of his jawless grimace, dripping with blood and his eyes full of pain have brought awareness, disgust, and outrage against the Syrian oppressors who have been mercilessly killing their people in an act of intimidation. Rivers of blood are running in the streets of Syria to quench Bashar Al Assad’s regime and their insatiable thirst for power.
The boy whose face has been seen by us all—his name is Hamza. He is my brother in Islam.
The name Hamza means ‘the one who is strong and steadfast’. It is the name of the Prophet’s ﷺ (peace be upon him) uncle radi allahu `anhu (may God be please with him) whose conversion brought strength, dignity, and most importantly safety to the Muslim ummah (community) during a time of oppression brought on by the Quraysh.
Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib was a fearless warrior, a man of integrity who fought vehemently against the makers of injustice, against those who used violence as intimidation against the Muslims for power centuries ago, just as today. His death and martyrdom brought peace to the Muslim nation; for the gruesome manner in which the Quraysh had dismantled his body when killed in the battle of Uhud, inspired a Qur’anic revelation to the Prophet ﷺ.
“Call mankind to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and sound advice, and reason with them in a well-mannered way. Indeed your Lord is well aware of those who have gone astray from His way, and He is well aware of those who are guided. And if you retaliate, let your retaliation be to the extent that you were afflicted, but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient; and be patient, yet your patience is only with the help of GOD, and do not sorrow for them, not distress yourself at what they devise. Indeed God is with those who are pious and those who are doers of good,” (Qur’an 16:125-128).
This ayah (verse, revelation) taught the Muslims to handle violence with mercy and patience, to never treat any human being, not even their enemies, with inhumanity no matter the circumstance—even in times of war. This is a lesson that the aggressors of today have ignored, as they continue to behave in a despicable manner against innocent civilians of their own lands.
Just as we felt our stomachs drop and could barely stand watching the images of Hamza sitting on a hospital bed helplessly and painfully waiting to die, upon seeing the corpse of Hamza on the battlefield of Uhud, the Prophet ﷺ also winced and could not stand the sight of his beloved uncle’s mutilated body.
Both the Hamza dominating our newsfeeds today, and the Hamza who has dominated the great stories of our past have been slaughtered in an appalling manner demonstrating the evil measures of their oppressors. However just as Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib’s death inspired peace and raised his rank and honor, we must do the same for our brother Hamza from today, who has also died in a fight for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) a fight for freedom and justice, a fight for peace.
We must not let his death be in vain; we must speak out against the violence that he and his countrymen have endured, we must pray for their safety, and we must not ignore their cries.
May all of our brothers and sisters who have died in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and everywhere else while fighting for peace against oppression, find their peace in Jannah. May the blood that has charred their faces today turn into light on the day when the faces of their oppressors will be dark as ash. May Allah (swt) grant them victory and bring the nations they fought for to peace.
May our martyr Hamza one day meet his counterpart ‘The Chief of the Martyrs’ Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib. May they walk into Jannah together hand in hand, as our leaders, as the ones most deserving of al Firdous (the highest rank). For it is only fitting that they share this name, that this great martyr of our ummah today has been honored with the association of the greatest martyr of our history and past.
Bashar may be named Al Assad (the lion), but the young boy he brutally murdered is named after the Lion of Allah (swt)! May he be rewarded for the strength and steadfastness that his name upholds.
Verily it is to Allah (swt) that we belong, and to Him we will all return.