This note is written assuming that Osama and his death are real, as for at the time of this writing, we can’t tell with much certainty (burial at sea, fake photos and witnesses near Osama’s compound). Whether it's a propaganda or not, I think it’s best to leave them to conspiracy theorists. What I would like to focus on is: If Osama does exist and if he is a Muslim, are the things he did justified? I’ve seen many responses on Facebook supporting violence that Osama purportedly did, which includes:
- I pray that another Osama will be born and destroy all the American people and Jews alike
- Osama has fallen syaheed, and there is no place for him but Jannah for his Jihad against oppression
- I pray that Osama is blessed and placed in Jannah for the justice he brought to the Muslim people
While I do respect people who go on a Jihad, and have absolutely no right to judge whether Osama goes to Jannah or not, the question that enters my mind is: Was what he did a Jihad? Was it a war against oppression? Did it bring justice to the Muslim people? This is what I think: If Osama does exist, the things he did were neither Jihad, justice nor war against oppression. A war is defined as ‘a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state’. When targets are unarmed, when innocent people became the mark, then it is not a war against oppression but an act of cowardice. It is not a Jihad. Jihad fi sabilillah means ‘striving in the way of Allah’. Contrary to popular western belief, Jihad is not synonymous to ‘holy war’. Striving in the way of Allah is NOT equivalent to war. It could mean striving to improve our faith in Allah, striving to improve the Muslim society as a whole and striving to defend Islam. Violence is not the only way to defend Islam. In places where Muslims are clearly oppressed by violence like in Palestine, it is fitting to retaliate in war. But during that course of war, Islam prohibits us from attacking women, children and innocent people alike. Yes, the Zionists violated all human rights by killing innocent people, but does that mean we have to be like them? If we did what they did, then we are the same filthy creatures roaming the earth as they are.
I have a great opportunity to have a lunch talk with one Palestinian medical student in one of the conferences I went to. The essence of his message during the chat is that they don’t need us to come to Palestine wielding weapons with intentions for Jihad. These are his exact words: ‘’Help us from your homes by gaining knowledge that can improve the lives of Muslims around the world. Don’t worry about our armed conflicts, for years, we have learned to defend ourselves’’
Osama’s ideology to put a stop to the oppression of Muslims was admirable, but the technique he used in executing his ideology was unacceptable. He was an absolutely rich man. He has all the resources to do a different kind of Jihad, a Jihad that could improve the Muslim society around the world that subsequently puts an end to oppression. How I wish he had used his resources to change the lives of many young Muslims by giving them a chance for education. How I wish he would spend his resources helping Muslims break out of poverty by giving them a chance to start over their lives with financial help. How I wish he used his great charisma to become a leader that fight against corruptions in Muslim countries. It seems unfitting to teach young children how to handle an AK-47 before they even learn how to read. It is unfair to kill innocent people in America, hide in the mountains, and let the innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan take the blow of retaliation by the western armies. Killing innocent people may satisfy himself for a short while, but it does not help the Muslim society at all. In fact, it puts Muslims around the world in great insecurity. After 9/11, how many Muslim women had to abandon their hijab to protect themselves for being aggressed? How many young Muslims are shunned away from their circle of friends? How many Islamic religious talks had to be cancelled in fear being attacked? If his mission is to stop oppression against Muslims, it is safe to say that he failed terribly in that.
I am against all sorts of violence. Hence, on the American part, killing Osama shouldn’t be their top priority. It’s like hacking on the biggest fruit of a tree that still has rock-solid roots. Trees, of course, will always bear another fruit (unless it’s a banana tree). They don’t get the whole idea of why Al-Qaeda was there in the first place. Radicalism emerges for a reason. Instead of prioritizing the death of Osama, why not make it a top priority to stop supporting Zionism that clearly kills innocent people on a regular basis? Why not make it a top priority to stop oppressing the Muslims economically? Why not make it a top priority to get their hands the hell off meddling with Muslim counties politics? Why not getting your armies the hell out of our countries? Why not GET YOUR OWN OIL?
I think we can judge things by ourselves. Just because someone claims himself a Muslim does not mean what he did was right. Again, this note is written assuming Osama is real, but if there is anybody who resorts to act of violence and claims himself to be a Muslim, it is best we remind ourselves that violence against innocent people solves NOTHING. As people far away from war, let’s heed my Palestinian friend’s advice: Let’s jihad to improve our faith in Allah, Let’s jihad to improve the Muslim society as a whole and let’s Jihad to secure a place in Jannah =)