As I often do, I was recently looking at some books on Amazon, and I noticed something rather interesting. I noticed some titles on black magic and books on nefarious rituals that teach people how to perform rituals for whatever their heart desires. For many of these books, especially those with more prominent titles, it is not unusual to see as many as one thousand reviews or more. The sad irony is that if an Islamic book manages to get 20 reviews on Amazon, that is considered a pretty good yield.
This is something that has been around for a long time. When it comes to evil, people can become very assertive and self-driven. But that is not what caught my attention. What struck me, as I read some of these reviews, is how grateful Satanists are. Obviously, not everyone who wrote a review was a Satanist, but the vast majority were praising the book in one form or another, and an inordinate percentage of these reviews were of people either thanking a particular demon, or thanking the grand demon of all, Satan. The sense of heartfelt gratitude by those who performed a ritual in the service of, or by calling upon, the powers of a demon was a rather persistent theme.
It invited me to pause. I was struck by the eagerness with which the audience of these texts attributed particular results to the object of their call. I compare it to what happens with God. Most people, on most occasions, do not pause to declare, announce, affirm, or testify to the numerous blessings that God showers upon them. There is something else, however, about those loyal to their satanic deities.
Many of these testimonials express gratitude, but when we read the substance of the testimonial, the heart of it is that they express gratitude because they performed a ritual to obtain a result that is not really earned or deserved. In reading these testimonials, you get the clear sense of the undeserving asking for what is not deserved. But the thing about God is that God plays fair. With God, there is a logic to justice. A logic from which conclusions follow from premises. A logic wherein axioms of morality manifest logically and rationally, from the axioms to premises, to minor premises, to ultimate conclusions and results. Is it this that often causes us to take God for granted? Is our ingratitude premised on a semi-conscious awareness that, often, what we ask for and what we expect from God breaches the natural and rational connection between the premise and the conclusion, between what we put in and what we get out? Is this the secret for the profuse amount of gratitude expressed by worshipers of dark forces, versus the relative apathy of those who follow the light of God? Does this explain the deafening silence in testifying to the many blessings, gifts, and bounties that God bestows upon us?
Reading the testimonials of darkness, it is always from someone who wants a shortcut to force a particular result, whether that result is about romance, vengeance, or material advantage. It is about cutting short the laws of causation and the very laws of justice in order to obtain an individual and personal advantage. But how worrisome is it when you ponder the possibility that, although we may not be fully conscious of it, we often deal with God from the same logical premises that Satanists deal with their lords? We want God to intervene to save us from our follies, to shortcut processes, to deliver an immediate advantage and immediate result, regardless of what we put in.
When the veils of deception are lifted before our eyes, even if briefly, we see the extent to which our world is a matrix of connections and interconnectedness. Everything is connected to everything else. The very perception of separation is but a delusion. This is precisely why what you do matters, and what I do matters. This is precisely why, ultimately, we get what we put in. If justice fails us, it is because of what we put into the pursuit of that cause. If equity fails us, it is because of what we put into the pursuit of that cause. If mercy fails us, again, it is because of what we put into the pursuit of this cause.
The logic of Satan and the demonic is to deconstruct the natural logic of existence, to make you feel that you can sit drowning in your lethargy, fully adorned by your apathy, overcome by your love of consumption, rest, and selfishness, and yet somehow expect the results to be different than what reason dictates the results are going to be. That is precisely the logic of the dark path. It is the very logic of the satanic path: you can shortcut the process and somehow expect success, regardless of what you invest; you can get results entirely at odds with what you invest.
Consider the following. As Muslims, we face a grim reality that haunts, pursues, and should torment us. The sad reality is that the holy sites of Islam are occupied, to put it quite bluntly, by evil forces. We know what happened to Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, while the Muslim world stood by, oblivious. Israel regularly colonizes West Jerusalem, and the vast majority of Muslims, all over the globe, stand by apathetically, worrying about whether a mortgage is halal or haram, whether wearing gold for men is halal or haram, whether listening to music is halal or haram. We know about the droves of Muslim scholars rotting in Saudi prisons. We know about Awad al-Qarni, Salman Aloda, and Safar al-Hawali. The list is long. The Saudi scholar Saeed al-Ghamdi, who is currently in Britain, has a brother, Muhammad al-Ghamdi, who was recently sentenced to death over a couple of tweets posted from an anonymous account. The tweets were sent to nine people. In these tweets, Muhammad al-Ghamdi talks about the persecution of scholars and also about the mismanagement of finances in his country. The Saudi government wants Saeed al-Ghamdi to return to Saudi Arabia so he can be imprisoned and tortured, but they cannot force him to come back because he is in refuge in England. There is, again, the irony that he is not in refuge in a Muslim country. He knows there is no safety in any Muslim country. He knows that Muslim countries may potentially hand him over.
But the Saudi government has sentenced Muhammad al-Ghamdi to death for a couple of tweets from anonymous accounts. The remarkable thing is that they do so in the name of Sharia law. This follows a series of cases of pure absurdity in Saudi Arabia. Salma Shehab, a student at Leeds University, was sentenced to 34 years in prison for a couple of tweets about women's rights. Nourah Qahtani was sentenced to 45 years in prison for a few tweets from two anonymous accounts talking about mismanagement of the economy and corruption. She is a mother of five. Saad Almadi, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 16 years in prison. The Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 19 years. Through the offices of the United States government, Saad did not serve the 19-year prison sentence, but he was banned from traveling. He is trapped in Saudi Arabia and cannot leave the country for 16 years. Abdullah Jelan received a 10 year prison sentence and a 10 year travel ban, again over anonymous tweets. This is the same government that controls the symbolic site at the heart and soul of the Muslim Ummah. This government, the “Custodian of the Two Holy Sites,” is sentencing people to lifetimes in prison or to their deaths in droves.
We all, as Muslims, want the fate of the Muslim world to change. We all want to wake up and hear news that brings us optimism and happiness about the Muslim world. Let us take that for granted. We are all traumatized by the fact that we keep hearing bad news about the Muslim world. But what right do we have to expect different results when the conduct we put in is no different? How many Islamic forums expressed outrage at the fact that Muhammad al-Ghamdi is going to be put to death? How many expressed outrage at the fact that a scholar like al-Ghamdi, like so many others, can only find refuge in a non-Muslim country? How many let something like this directly impact their choices and behavior? How many people do you know have canceled a trip to Saudi Arabia or refused to do business with the Saudis? How many, upon hearing this, said, "I am going to vote with the money I have been entrusted with by God. I am going to direct my money toward Islamic concerns that speak out against Saudi injustice. I am going to abstain from giving my money or otherwise supporting Islamic concerns that fail to say a word about Saudi injustice”?
Even put all of that to the side. How many of you have voted just through your emotions? God knows what is within you. Let us assume that you are, for some reason, unable to vote through what you like or dislike on social media, and let us assume that you are unable to vote through your money. Still, God knows what is in your heart. God knows whether the fact that Muhammad al-Ghamdi will be executed bothers you or not. Tell me, what type of God do we worship if God looks at our hearts and sees that the vast majority of Muslims are blissfully unbothered by the execution of an innocent human being, an innocent Muslim, the brother of a Muslim scholar, by the very government that is the “Custodian of the Two Holy Sites”? If God looks into our hearts and sees that we are more upset about whether a woman covers her hair than by people executed and their lives destroyed in prisons; if God looks into our hearts, sees this, and says, "You know what, it is okay. I am going to make Muslims victorious. I am going to give you what you pray for"; then what is the difference between God and Satan?
Satan gives results to those who do not deserve them. Is God's path the same? Should we expect the same from God? God knows what is in our hearts, and if God looks into our hearts and sees that we, at a minimum, have the right feelings, then perhaps our fate would be very different. But what to do when you hear of Muslim scholars, who are well aware of all this, blissfully decide to organize an Umrah trip to Mecca? What to do with scholars who pretend that we can sincerely and faithfully worship God, ignoring all the injustices that surround us, breathing down our necks? Evil has a logic, and the logic of evil takes hold when people are either deliberately evil or indeliberately evil. The question we should ask ourselves is this: are you perhaps, without deliberation, part of the evil camp?
Recently, there were cases of people escaping hunger, starvation, unemployment, and war making their way from Africa to Yemen. From Yemen, they would try to cross into Saudi Arabia. Saudi forces opened fire, and many massacres have been committed in the past six months. Thousands of destitute, unemployed, and dispossessed refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Mauritania, and Sudan have been massacred, shot by Saudi forces as they tried to cross from the Yemeni border. Before the Saudis massacred these refugees at their border, the French had responded to the refugee crisis by trying to control the flow of refugees from Africa by effectively paying and coordinating with the Egyptian government; instead of refugees entering into Egypt, crossing the border to Libya, and then from Libya into Europe, the Egyptian armed forces would intercept them at the Egyptian-Libyan border and murder them. Conservative estimates suggest that the Egyptian forces have murdered 60,000 people. Yet we still find plenty of Egyptians who support Sisi even though he has murdered 60,000 refugees. It is an undisputed fact. Not even the Egyptian government dares to deny it.
God looks into our hearts. The first question: how many Muslims know about it? The second: how many Muslims are bothered? What percentage are traumatized by it? What percentage still think they are free to like or dislike Sisi? The picture gets more interesting when you realize that the Saudi forces who massacred refugees at the border were trained by the United States and German forces. They were armed, and the maneuvers they followed in exterminating refugees were taught to them by the Americans and Germans. God looks into our hearts. How many of us know this? How many are traumatized by it? How many have had their behavior altered, impacted, and affected by it? How many of us have changed our social media habits? How many of us have altered or changed our spending habits? How many of us have changed our relationships because of this?
How many Muslim institutions have spoken about this? How many khatibs have decried and condemned this in the same way that they go out of their way to condemn acts of terrorism, as we should, when they occur in Europe, the U.S., or in Canada? How about when the Saudi government, trained by German and American forces, slaughter hundreds of innocent refugees? What if God just ignores the reality of Muslims and says, "I am going to give you gifts anyway?" What does your barometer of morality, ethics and justice tell you?
One final example, and one I wish I had the time to delve into more deeply. In the year 2000, before 9/11, Britain passed an anti-terrorism bill that included the now infamous Schedule 7. Schedule 7 allows the British government to detain anyone at the border, for no cause. British forces can detain and question you. They can invade every nook and cranny of your privacy, and you have no grounds to object. They do not need cause, nor do they need court order. Recently, there has been a very effective documentary released called Phantom Parrot. The documentary focuses on a Muslim named Muhammad Rabbani, who runs a human rights organization called CAGE. Muhammad Rabbani and CAGE were investigating the case of a Qatari citizen who was detained and tortured by U.S. forces. Muhammad Rabbani travels to meet this Qatari citizen to take his full testimony about being abducted, detained, and tortured by U.S. forces. Muhammad Rabbani is a British citizen, and as he is flying back home, he is stopped at Heathrow Airport and ordered to hand over his phone and computer. The British forces wanted to find out all the information about his meeting with the Qatari citizen, and his testimony against American forces. Muhammad Rabbani refused to betray the secrets and the confidences of his client, and, as a result, he was convicted under Schedule 7. It has come out that as many as one million people have been detained under Schedule 7, and that 99.99% of those detained under Schedule 7 are Muslim. The actual conviction rate for those detained under Schedule 7, including the case of Muhammad Rabbani, who was convicted for refusing to betray the confidences of a torture survivor, is only eight percent.
These are gross violations of civil rights and civil liberties. This is a clear case of the profiling, targeting, and racializing of Muslims. But what type of support did Muhammad Rabbani receive from the Muslim community as he fought his heroic battle, which ultimately led to his conviction under extremely unjust laws? Who are Muslims voting for through their money and their social media activity? Are they voting for those who tell them, "Pay attention, you are being profiled and persecuted. You must rise up and fight for your rights”? Or are they voting for those who tell them, “Obey the rule of law, and do not be a society of honor. Be obedient, be lethargic, be empathetic, and be selfish”? Who are you voting for? Through your life decisions, through your very actions, who do you decide to support?
As God is my witness, I was targeted by the Emiratis. I do not want to go into details. So much harm and pain was inflicted against my family and I. But in our worst moments of need, did we find Muslims around us? No, we stood alone. We fought alone. We survived alone. Our only ally was God. For a scholar who has lived his life thinking of nothing but the Muslim Ummah, so many nights, as I saw my family suffer from the injustice and the ugliness, I would wonder, “Who is the true Lord of this Ummah? Who does this Ummah's real loyalty and fealty belong to? If it is God, I know God as the God of justice. If their loyalty and fealty is to injustice, it cannot be that their loyalty and fealty belongs to God. It is an oxymoron. It is impossible.”
Look at the irony of how evil taunts us, sticks its tongue out at us, and says, "God, you are so moronic. You are so idiotic.” Israel is now widely recognized as an apartheid state, especially under the current extremist government in Israel. Recently, just last week, the United Nations issued yet another report documenting the apartheid practices of Israel in the Occupied Territories and calling upon Israel to immediately withdraw from Occupied Territories, including Jerusalem. Everyone knows that Israel is going to ignore these calls. But something did catch my attention. Recently, Itamar Ben-Gvir made racist and inflammatory comments about how the rights of Jews trump the rights of Palestinians. He has made comments like this repeatedly, and the U.S. State Department has expressed “regret” that Ben-Gvir chose to speak on these terms. It was couched in highly diplomatic language.
Nevertheless, Smotrich, a right-wing extremist who is part of the current Israeli government,, criticized the American comment. He said:: "There is no nation that has been fighting for its survival in the face of murderous terrorism for decades in a cleaner and more careful way than the Jewish people." Notice he starts out with “no nation” and then equates that nation with the Jewish people. He then goes on: "The Americans should not preach to us about human rights. This is unmitigated hypocrisy." So, the extremist Smotrich is holding the human rights violations committed by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan to tell the U.S. that the U.S. is in no position to criticize Israel's human rights record against the Palestinians, because the U.S. is itself a consistent systematic human rights violator.
It makes you pause how the truth emerges at times even from the mouths of the most evil sources. Smotrich, the Israeli fanatic, is taunting the United States, telling the U.S. that it is in no position to criticize Israel. And yet, as so many believe, what the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially Iraq, was driven by those who support Israel, by those who want Israel to be the civilizational hegemonic power in the Middle East.
Even people like Smotrich recognize the evil committed by other evil people, such as what the U.S. has done in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Yet there are, at the heart of the Muslim community, Muslims who tell us, "Do not talk about racialization. Do not pause at Islamophobia. In fact, you are not persecuted as Muslims. There is really no problem with the rule of law and with who is in power. Preoccupy yourselves with critical issues like the place of women, whether women do the adhan or not, and whether men wear gold or not." How do you vote? Where do you stand?
One final point. God has made the affairs of human beings testify and point to the truth. If you want to know who is right and who is wrong, simply study the affairs of human beings. A story has appeared recently that, if Muslims had their hearts and minds in the right place, if Muslims had the moral consciousness and ethical awareness, if Muslims were properly educated, intelligent, and motivated, would have turned the affairs of Muslims in the United States upside down.
Do you want to know the net result of those who tell you, “Accept unjust rulers. Do not criticize or rebel. God does not want you to pursue honor and dignity. The rule of law, even if unjust, is the most important value.” There is a new phenomenon that is astounding. I have previously mentioned how a good percentage of the victims of human trafficking are Muslims. This is an undeniable fact. Every single day, hundreds of thousands of Muslim women are sexually assaulted as they are trafficked, bought, and sold. And they do not find their Muslim brothers coming to their rescue. Their Muslim brothers are too busy being airheads, empty brains, soulless, and heartless.
Recently, U.S. authorities caught Muslims from Mauritania and Senegal in the hands of human traffickers in the U.S.-Mexican border. This followed another incident in which 46 people were also caught, 19 from Mauritania. Mauritania is a Muslim country. Senegal is mostly Muslim. Before that, in July, again at the U.S.-Mexican border, U.S. authorities found 41 people from Egypt who were being trafficked, held coercively by human traffickers. Before that, 129 Egyptians were found who belonged to human traffickers. As the human traffickers saw American law enforcement closing in, they abandoned the 129 Egyptians on a bus in the desert. There are those who tell us not to be offended by slavery because “the Prophet owned slaves.” I do not believe that for a second. Anyone who believes that needs their conscience and their Islam checked. It is as simple as that.
So, our Muslim sisters are trafficked all the way from Egypt. They are abducted in Africa, in Asia, and in the Middle East. There are Mauritanians, Senegalese, Egyptians, Sudanese, Libyans, Yemenis, and Syrians. Do you think they are found at the U.S. border praying salah, calling the adhan, and meeting for jumu’a prayer? They are found bounded and chained, raped every day as they are commodified, commercialized, bought and sold. And do they find their Muslim brethren talking about them on the podiums? Do they find khutbahs all over the U.S. talking about the plight of their fellow Muslims who are being trafficked? No. Instead, they find their fellow Muslims applauding someone who tells them, “The Prophet owned slaves, so do not be morally outraged by slavery.” They find their Muslim brethren applauding someone who tells them, "Do not worry about injustice. What is wrong with the Muslim ban? What is wrong with the fascist right wing? What is wrong with Islamophobia? Live your life. Enjoy yourself. Be selfish. Ignore, ignore, ignore.”
Remember, Satan worshipers want results from satanic forces regardless of what they deserve. Then, when they get the favor from their satanic forces, they are grateful. God is not Satan. God does not deal with undeserved results. God does not work with injustice. God does not give people what they do not deserve. So, if our Muslim sisters coming from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are sexually assaulted and violated at the U.S. border, treated like animals, it is because that is what we earned. It is because of what you and I earned. May God have mercy on us all.