Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July?

By Guest Blogger Yesi King

As many U.S. residents stock up on beer, barbecue and chips, and families happily sit around excited circles to anticipate the crackling and luminous fireworks that will light up the sky for the most revered of American holidays, many people across the globe suffer from U.S. policies. This day is a reminder of the ‘freedom’ we have and enjoy. However, the irony in Americans enthusiasm lies is the mentality that promotes perceptions like “don’t forget what this day is all about,” or “don't let us forget those brave men and women that fought and died so that we might have the freedom to speak up when things are not as they should be...” Such patriotism is instilled in the institutions of this country in an attempt to quiet dissent over government policies that at the same time promote quite the opposite.

What short memories and biased sense of ‘being’ Americans have. For many, rather than being a celebratory day, the 4th of July is the anniversary of a country whose history is based upon almost 300 years of ongoing carnage and despair brought upon Native Americans of all tribes, it represents a strong and still active mentality of imperialism and racism that we see is alive and popular in the minds of those who support the Israeli Occupation over Palestine, it represents the repressive state of mind amongst all people celebrating the institutions and mockery these symbolic gestures signify while choosing to ignore their true historical significance in the eyes of minorities and those who have not had the privilege of enjoying.

The birth day of your national independence and of your political freedom reminds you of your great deliverance entitled to you by your Declaration of Independence. Are those same embodied principles of freedom and justice extended to those whom you oppress in your own country and elsewhere? Because beneath your public celebrations, festive shouts and enjoyment, the woeful bawl of millions whose shackles, heavy and dreadful are also plagued with further perplexity and disgust for your joy. To forget and ignore them for your convenience is nothing less than American denial and oppression. What wonder it would be if instead on this day, the 4th of July caused you to view your freedom and privilege in comparison to theirs, from their point of view. Whether you choose to look towards your declarations, your present ideology or your dreams for the future, the performance of this nation seems by the same token repulsive and fake.

Standing with those whom you choose to ignore on this day much like every other day, in the name of compassion which you have trampled, in the name of self independence which is chained, what, to the oppressed and occupied, is your 4th of July? To him, your merriment is a farce filled with the merciless jubilation over your governments bulging arrogance and deception. A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he has to pay in exchange for your joys. Point the finger all you want, search high and low, you will not find a country guiltier of bloody and horrible practices than the United States.

What is a joyous day for you is only a reminder of the price others have to pay for your definition of freedom, democracy and liberation. Your imperialist tendencies cause the problems you believe you face and use to justify your war mongering and crimes. So as people sit back on their lawn chairs and enjoy the beaches on this hot and sunny day, the wail of children elsewhere will blend into the backdrop of bombs, poverty and inequality the U.S. has designated to be necessary for their own well being and prosperous future. Thus, on this happy 4th of July as the fireworks scream freedom that you continue to take away, blind patriotism will make many people very happy.

1 comment:

Affad Shaikh said...

Here is my response to this:

and here is something posted on Shaikh Suhaib Webb's Blog:

The Question:

“Is it allowable to celebrate a holiday that commemorates the independence of my country?”

The Answer:

“A holiday [that commemorates] the independence of a country is not a [religious] holiday. The holidays which are forbidden [for Muslims] to observe are those with religious overtones [such as Christmas and Easter*] not the festive gatherings people observe due to certain events. Therefore, people are allowed to celebrate wedding anniversaries, birthdays or any occasion as such celebrations are not related to religious holidays. It is imperative that we work to remove the confusion surrounding this misunderstanding and the doubts that have affected many people [regarding this issue]. [Because of this misunderstanding] people find hardship and difficulty in their religion. Especially when a religious minded person holds [such non religious celebrations] to be from the major sins or rejected acts when, in fact, they are not.

Understanding an Important legal maxim [The origin of things is permissibility unless there is a text to the contrary]

The origin of things is permissibility so there is no problem with you attending such an event. The school of Ahmed [Hanabliah] allowed the celebration of al-’Atirah which was a sacrifice, during the month of Rajab, observed by the people who lived prior to the advent of the Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him]. Although the school of Imam Malik [Malikis] considered it disliked, since it was a practice from those days, the school of Ahmed allowed this practice since there was no text [from the Qur’an, Sunna or Consensus] that explicitly forbade it. Thus, this practice remained upon its original ruling, permissibility [here the sheikh is showing us how the scholars utilized the legal maxim mentioned above]. So, if people gather together to sacrifice there is no objection for them to congregate, celebrate, enjoy themselves and commemorate the independence of their country. Therefore, there is no hardship in celebrating such occurrences.

With regards to the statement [of the Prophet may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] that “Allah [The Exalted] has given you better than those (feasts): Eid al-Adha (Sacrificing) and the ‘Eid al-Fitr”, then “those feasts” were those with strict religious over tones: one a Christian holiday and the other a pagan one. In addition, the Prophet [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] mentioned that the Islamic holidays were two: ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha. But it is not understood from this that he [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] forbade people from gathering and celebrating [other non-religious occasions]. Even if a person considered [such gatherings] disliked there is no need for him to bother others by making things difficult that were not prohibited by the Qur’an, the Sunna, the consensus [of the scholars] and where no agreement was reached within the schools of Islamic law.

This is because ease in matters [such as these where there is no prohibition and the origin is that of permissibility] is a must, and those statements that create hardship and burden [related to such matters], that are not based on explicit texts [that prohibit them], are weak. Thus, there is nothing that prohibits us from facilitating such matters for the people and giving them some breathing room because ease and facilitation are from the foundations of Islam: Allah says, “And He did not make any hardship for you in religion.” [Surah al-Hajj 78] and “Allah wants to lighten your burdens.” [Surah al-Nisa V. 28] and “Verily, with hardship there is ease. Verily with hardship there is ease.” [Surah al-Sharh V. 5-6]. The Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Facilitate [things] and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings, and do not cause others to flee.” In closing, we reiterate that the foundation of Islam is ease and the independent interpretation of the legal sources [ijtihad of scholars] is respected but is not [equal to] texts from the Shari’ah [Qur’an and Sunna].”

May peace be upon you
Dr. Abdullah Bin Bayyah

*according to the Maliki school it is disliked to offer congratulations to other faiths during their religious holidays. Thus, it is a permissible act. See Sharh al-Saghir of Sidi Ahmed al-Dardir and Fiqh al-Malikiyyah wa Adilatuhu by Habib Tahir. [translator]