A New Day: Reflections on the Death of Bin Laden
By Khuram Zaman
I’ll never forget that dark day in September when I was a sophomore in college when the planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York. My initial reaction was somewhere between, shock, horror, confusion, and fear. For those of us living in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, it felt as if at any moment, another attack would commence. It felt as if our sleepy suburban campus would suddenly be transformed into the next battlefield – feelings I’m certain that other Americans felt throughout the country.
After the initial confusion and worry subsided and our nation went into mourning, we began asking who was responsible for all this loss of life and destruction. All of the fingers pointed towards Osama Bin Laden.
After a ten year worldwide manhunt, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks has finally been brought to justice.
Like other Americans I applaud the President and our armed forces for bringing Bin Laden to justice and in bringing peace and security to not only our nation but the entire world. Moreover, I am grateful as a Muslim that the President reiterated that the US was never at war with Islam.
When I first heard of Bin Laden’s death, the first word out of my mouth was “Alhamdulillah” (Praise be to God) as a wave of contentment swept over me. Bin Laden represented fitnah (dissension) rather than rahmah (mercy) – the noble attribute of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) that all believers have been called to instill within themselves. I am relieved because Bin Laden’s reign of terror is now over and this grotesque symbol of my faith has finally been removed from the face of the earth.
Bin Laden claimed to be a warrior of the Islamic faith and yet everything he stood for was in complete contrast with it. Islam completely prohibits the killing of civilians and cleric after cleric from virtually all of the different branches of Islam have condemned terrorism. With no scholarly credentials himself, Bin Laden instead wrapped himself in a deceptive cloak of piety and hid in the shadows while others did his bidding.
Instead of being the vanguard of the Islamic faith, his ideology and tactics resembled the Khawaraj – a fanatical sect that arose early on in Islamic history and utilized terrorism and assassination to achieve a utopian political agenda. Like the Khawaraj, the brunt of Bin Laden’s attacks have been upon Muslims themselves. Thousands of Muslims all over the world have died in suicide bombings, especially against shrines and people with the courage to point out how Bin Laden’s understanding of the Islamic faith was a gross deviation from over a thousand years of scholarship and tradition.
Inshallah today will not be a day of celebration of the death of one man, but the celebration of a birth. The birth of a new day – a day of healing. A day where the forces that sought to bring us together triumphed over the forces that sought to tear us apart. A day where the world can finally begin to experience freedom from fear.
The death of Bin Laden is not just a victory for America and a victory for the Islamic faith – it is also a victory for the world.
May God shower His mercy and blessings upon the world and its inhabitants. Ameen!