Dr.Aafiyah Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist, disappeared with her three children aged 7, 9 and 1 year, in 2003. On 28 March, 2003, Aafiyah left home in a Metro-cab, in Karachi to catch a flight to Rawalpindi. But she never reached the airport. Seven years later, in February 2010, her eldest son, then 14 years old, was returned and described the abduction. When Aafiyah and her three children came out of their home, about 20 men including a white woman, presumably an Americam, and members of the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency), were waiting in several vehicles on the next street. Aafiyah and her children were promptly kidnapped. Aafiyah was loaded in one car, and the shocked and crying children in another vehicle. A hood was immediately pulled over Aafiya’s head and she was drugged. When she awoke she found herself tied to a wheeled stretcher. She did not know where she was, but the dryness of the air convinced her that she was not in Karachi. Her youngest child who would be 7 years old now, is still missing. It is believed that the one year old baby was killed during the kidnapping. She was later shown a picture of her baby in a pool of blood. According to the Pakistani media, the day after her kidnapping, a woman had been taken into custody on charges of terrorism. The Pakistan Interior Ministry confirmed the ‘arrest’. She was taken to an unknown place for questioning. A year later the Pakistani press, quoting a government spokesman said that Aafiyah was handed over to the US in 2003. Later the Pakistani government and US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of Aafiyah’s custody. However, Aafiyah was kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence services with her three children and transferred into US custody. She was detained in several prisons for five years and was repeatedly tortured and raped. The International Committee for the Red Cross had also confirmed the presence of a Pakistani female detainee at Bagram, the American torture facility in Afghanistan. Little is known about what happened to Aafia and her children in the five years in which they were missing. However, in October 2009, when Aafia was visited by a Pakistani parliamentary delegation she spoke a little about the five years in which she had been disappeared, saying “I have been through living hell”. She described being given an injection and when she came to, she was in a cell. She said she was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English, who may have been Afghans. She did not think they were Pakistanis. She described being forced to make false confessions and sign statements. She alleged that she had been tortured although she provided no details. She was also told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would
suffer. During her trial, Aafia alluded to being tortured in secret prisons, to being raped, her children being tortured, and being threatened to be “sent back to the bad guys” – men she described as sounding like Americans but could not be “real Americans” but “pretend Americans” due to the treatment they had subjected her to. After her trial it emerged that the government of Pakistan had put a gag order on Aafia’s family in exchange for releasing her eldest son Ahmed. Aafia’s lawyers, Elaine Sharpe and Elizabeth Fink, would later corroborate this by stating publicly that she had “been through years of detention, whose interrogators were American, who endured treatment fairly characterised as horrendous” and that she had been “tortured”.
On 7 July 2008, a press conference led by British journalist Yvonne Ridley, in Pakistan resulted in mass international coverage of Aafia’s case as her disappearance was questioned by the media and political figures in Pakistan. Within weeks, the US administration reported that she was arrested by Afghani forces along with her 13 year old son, outside the governor of Ghazni’s compound, allegedly with manuals on explosives and ‘dangerous substances in sealed jars’ on her person. Her lawyers claim that the evidence was planted on her. Aafia would later testify during her trial that the bag in which the evidence was found was not her own and was given to her, being unaware of its contents. She also claimed that the handwritten notes were forcibly copied from a magazine under threat of torture of her children. She recalled the presence of a boy at the Ghazni police station whom she believed could have been her son, but could not know with certainty since they had been separate for several years. On 3 August 2008 an agent from the FBI visited the home of her brother in Houston, Texas and confirmed that she was being detained in Afghanistan. On Monday 4 August 2008, federal prosecutors in the US confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui had been extradited to the US from Afghanistan where they alleged she had been detained since mid-July 2008. They further allege that whilst in custody she fired at US officers (none being injured) and was herself shot twice in the process. Aafia confirmed during her trial that she was hiding behind a curtain in the prison, as the US claim, with the intent of escaping as she feared being returned to a secret prison, but categorically denied picking up the gun or attempting to shoot anyone. Aafia was charged in the US with assaulting and attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan. In late August 2008, Michael G Garcia, the US attorney general of the southern region confirmed in a letter to Dr Fowzia Siddiqui that Aafia’s son, Ahmed had been in the custody of the FBI since 2003 and he was currently in the custody of the Karzai government. Earlier the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson had earlier claimed that Washington has no information regarding the children. According to an Afghan Interior Ministry official quoted in the Washington Post, Ahmed Siddiqui was briefly held by the Interior Ministry after his arrest in July 2008 and was thereafter transferred to an Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees, despite the fact he was too young to be treated as a criminal suspect under both Afghan and international law. Under Afghanistan’s Juvenile Code, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 13 and according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child a minimum age of criminal responsibility below the age of 12 is “not internationally acceptable.” Ahmed was finally released to the custody of Aafia’s family in Pakistan in September 2009. He later gave a statement to police in Lahore, Pakistan, that he had been held in a juvenile prison in Afghanistan for years. On being reunited with his father for the first time, he ran away screaming in horror, claiming that his father was amongst those who used to beat him in Afghanistan.
The trial of Aafia Siddiqui began Tuesday 19 January 2010, in a Manhattan federal courtroom. Prior to the jury entering the courtroom, Aafia turned to onlookers saying; “This isn’t a fair court, (…) Why do I have to be here? (…) There are many different versions of how this happened,” referring to the alleged shooting. Three government witnesses testified on the opening day of the trial; Army Capt. Robert Snyder, John Threadcraft, a former army officer and John Jefferson, an FBI agent. Both were stationed in Afghanistan at the time of the alleged assault and murder attempt. During the trial, while Snyder testified that Aafia had been arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street, Aafia disrupted the proceedings with a loud outburst aimed at Snyder, after, which she proclaimed her innocence stating; “Since I’ll never get a chance to speak, if you were in a secret prison.. where children were tortured… This is no list of targets against New York. I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.” In the morning before the closing remarks, the last government witness, FBI Special Agent, Angela Sercer testified. Sercer monitored Aafia for 12 hours a day over a two week period while she was at a hospital in Bagram. She tried to rebut Aafia Siddiqui’s testimony, by saying that Aafia told her she was in “hiding” for the last five years and further that she “married” someone to change her name. However under cross examination, Sercer admitted that while at the hospital Aafia expressed fear of “being tortured”. Sercer also admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “welfare of the boy” and asked about him “every day”. Moreover, that Aafia only agreed to talk to her upon promises that the boy would be safe. According to the testimony Aafia said that the Afghans had “beaten her”; that her “husband had beaten her and her children”; and that she was “afraid of coming into physical harm”.
When Sercer was further questioned about what Aafia said about her children during that two week period, she admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “safety and welfare of her children”, but felt that the “kids had been killed or tortured in a secret prison”. “She said that they were dead, didn’t she” asked Defence attorney, Elaine Sharpe; reluctantly Sercer answered, “Yes.”
The trial took an unusual turn with an FBI official asserting that the finger prints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers. Another event complicated the case further, when the testimony of witness Masood Haider Gul appeared different from the one given by U.S. Captain Schnieder earlier. The defence denied all charges, stating that “the soldiers had given different versions of where she was when the M-4 was allegedly fired and how many shots were fired.”
The trial lasted for 2 weeks and the jury deliberated for 2 days before reaching a verdict. On February 3, 2010, she was convicted and found guilty on all counts. , despite the following discrepancies:
The court proceedings were flawed, and limited to the incident in Ghazni, which itself lacked concrete evidence.
It is still unexplained how a frail, 110 pound woman, confronted with three US army officers, two interpreters and two FBI agents managed to assault three of them, snatch a rifle from one of them, open fire at close range, hit no one, but she herself was wounded.
There were no fingerprints on the gun.
There was no gunshot residue from the gun.
There were no bullet holes in the walls from that particular gun.
There were no bullets cases or shells in the area from the specified gun.
The testimony of the government’s six eyewitnesses contradicted each other.
The statements Aafia made to FBI agent Angela Sercer were made whilst she was under 24 hour surveillance by FBI agents in the hospital at Bagram, with her arms and legs tied to a bed for weeks, several types of medication, sleep-deprived and at the mercy of the agent for food, water and in order to relieve herself. Sercer did not identify herself to Aafia as a FBI agent. The use of these statements in court were objected to by the defence on the basis of ‘Miranda laws’ which mandate that a detainee must be informed of their rights, have access to an attorney, or in the case of international law, consular staff and law enforcement officials must identify themselves. Despite this the judge denied the motion and allowed this to form part of the questioning. Aafia’s disappearance, torture and missing children were not at all addressed during the court case.
Following her conviction, Aafia remained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York where she has spent the best part of her detention in the US. Throughout that time, she has been subject to humiliating and degrading strip and cavity searches, prompting her to refuse legal visits on many occasions. Since the beginning of March Aafia has been refused all contact with her family and has not been permitted any letters, phonecalls, visits or reading material under the pretext of “the security of the nation.” In April 2010, a 12 year old girl was left outside the residence of Fowzia Siddiqui in Karachi by unidentified men claiming she was the missing daughter of Aafia Siddiqui. Although initially it was thought that she was not Aafia’s daughter, following DNA tests conducted by the Pakistani government, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed that the tests proved that the child was indeed Aafia’s daughter, Maryam, and that her DNA matched that of Ahmed Siddiqui (Aafia’s eldest son) and their father, Amjad Khan. Dr Fowzia intended to carry out their own independent investigation to confirm the girl’s identity. In a press conference Senate Committee for Interior Chairman, Senator Talha Mehmood reported that Maryam Siddiqui was recovered from Bagram airbase in the custody of an American – in the Urdu language press, an American soldier – called “John”. He also said that she had been kept for seven years in a ‘cold, dark room’ in Bagram airbase. After several postponements, Aafia was finally sentenced to 86 years in prison, on 5 counts, on September 23rd 2010, making her eligible for release in 2094. She would be 122 years old at the time of her release, if she remains alive at that time. The whereabouts and welfare of Aafia’s youngest son, Suleman remains a mystery.


MARCH 2012

“The Most Wronged Woman in the World”

The shocking case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, an esteemed Muslimah and neuroscientist who became the poster girl of America’s ‘War on Terror’, is one of the most horrendous examples of American exceptionalism in recent years.
In 2003, Aafia was kidnapped by the Pakistani security service known as the ISI under the Musharraf government. She was then handed over to the American authorities, to be held in the notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan. Her three young children were missing for years, allegedly incarcerated themselves. Sadly, the whereabouts of her then newborn baby has to date never been established.

Aafia’s supposed link to a 9/11 suspect was enough to warrant the brutality and injustice she has suffered at the hands of successive American administrations ever since her capture. It was Yvonne Ridley – the British investigative journalist – who uncovered the truth about Aafia’s whereabouts, calling her “the most wronged woman in the world”.

Yvonne discovered that Aafia, Prisoner 650, was also known as the grey lady of Bagram. Her screams from her five year long torture and repeated rape haunted the corridors of the military prison she was held in.

As though this was not enough, after spending five long years in Bagram Aafia faced trial in the US on the most dubious of charges: this petite young woman weighing only a mere 44 kilograms allegedly took up arms against prison guards in a bid to escape! However, no evidence demonstrating that she was a high level Al Qaeda operative – as is alleged – was ever produced. The case itself ignited international condemnation, a wave of emotion, and criticism of America’s War on Terror.

Unbelievably, our sister Aafia was sentenced to 86 years of incarceration in a high level prison, FMC Carswell, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas. This made it glaringly obvious to commentators that despite the dubious evidence the disproportionate sentence did not fit the alleged crime. In addition to the obvious torture and abuse she had already suffered, the US was intent on making an example of Aafia to silence their own Muslim population. They also wanted to legitimise their agenda against any voice of truth which tried to resist the malicious war of hegemony that US troops inflicted upon the entire populations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The agenda of President Bush and his hawkish government was continued by subsequent administrations. The ‘long war’ intended to suppress the rise of Islam and Muslims globally, and also ensured that Aafia’s case went largely unmentioned within the US.

The two British charities CAGE and JFAC have ensured that Aafia has had access to lawyers, who have also received funding for her case throughout this time. They have also maintained contact with her family, and have always been at the forefront of generating global awareness and concern for our oppressed sister.

However, despite the sincere efforts of even the most aware and accomplished individuals and notable organisations, Aafia continues to languish in the Texas prison. She has been kept in solitary confinement for years at a time, beaten, and tortured into near insanity. Even more disturbingly, she was also brutally attacked last month by an inmate. In the latest assault, the inmate smashed a mug of scalding coffee into her face, “almost blinding” her, as she herself stated. Being “unable to walk”, she “had to be removed in a wheelchair”.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui is the most honourable of Muslim women. As a dedicated mother and noble daʿwah carrier, she excelled in her profession and was an inspiration to all who knew her. She perfectly epitomised the many roles and responsibilities of a pious Muslimah. Despite the huge honour and value that Islam places upon every woman, this exceptional lady has been completely abandoned by the Muslim leaders, who have never even bargained for her release, let alone demanded it.

Muslim rulers and the Pakistani government in particular have the diplomatic clout to threaten the withdrawal of political and military support they provide to the US throughout the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

It is, after all, every nation’s prerogative to demand the release of its prisoners through legal measures, if not diplomacy. Securing the release of prisoners is a universal law, a norm, and a right that has existed throughout time and civilisations. It is one which maintains that the true legitimacy of any leadership rests with the measures it takes to protect its own people.

So why are Muslim governments impotent in the face of the West? When will their fear and awe of the West be replaced with fear and awe of Allah عز وجل instead?

Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رضي الله عنه reported the following narration from the Prophet ﷺ:

“When people see an oppressor but do not prevent him from (doing evil), it is likely that Allah will punish them all.”[1]

In light of this, prisoners and all men and women subjected to oppression and injustice patiently await the return of a genuine Islamic authority. They desire a government body which prioritises the Muslim Ummah according to the perfect speech of Allah عز وجل, the Qur’an.

Furthermore, they demand a leadership that is both willing and courageous enough to confront the greed of man which drives him to commit great injustice.

The Shariah mandates that Muslim armies show their strength to the oppressors. This is achieved by freeing our prisoners and carrying out what is necessary to make Allah’s word the highest. For He عز وجل says in the Qur’an:

وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلْوِلْدَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ ٱلْقَرْيَةِ ٱلظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَٱجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّۭا وَٱجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا

“What is the matter with you that do not fight for the cause of Allah and those oppressed men, women, and children who cry out, ‘Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! By Your grace, give us a protector and give us a helper!’”[2]

So this must be the call of this great global Ummah: it must be one which reverberates in the palaces and corridors of power. The call must be based on conviction and applied in a way which is consistent with traditional and holistic Islamic rulings. That way, we will fulfil our collective duty to obey Allah عز وجل regarding the matter of Islam, and firmly establish this Dīn in the lands of the Muslims. Through these measures we may return the honour of so many innocent souls, the same honour which has been snatched away by the imperialist oppressors through their ideology of self interest.

Source: http://www.islam21c.com


[1] Abū Dāwūd and al-Tirmidhī

[2] Al-Qur’an, 4:75

The man who sold me to the Americans gets a death penalty

Moazzam Begg shares his thoughts upon hearing the death sentence being handed down to Pervez Musharraf:

I can’t say I was excited when I read the news earlier this week that former Pakistani President and army General, Pervez Musharraf, was sentenced to death for high treason.

During my time as a prisoner of the US military in Guantanamo, I was told that I could be facing execution if I failed to co-operate. Although I’d neither been charged with a crime nor faced any prosecution, US interrogators told me that execution chambers were being built and that justice would be swift. Two decades later, not a single Guantanamo prisoner has been convicted for the 9/11 attacks.

When this news reached my family in Britain,[1] it had a devastating effect. My wife, who had given birth to my youngest child five months after I was detained, was almost paralysed with fear for days. My father, may Allāh have mercy on him, who had at one time been an ardent supporter of Musharraf, redoubled his efforts to fight for my release.

My father was the son of a captain in the British Indian Army who fought in World War II, later migrating to Pakistan after the partition of India. Our family tree goes right back to the period of the last Mughal emperor. It states: “Mirza Abdul Raheem Begg was an officer in the army of Aurangzeb.” In a sense, I was brought up with great respect for the army.

I had grown up loving Pakistan. I’d lived in Karachi, Sargodha, Lahore, and Peshawar. I’d traversed the breathtaking Karakoram Highway and travelled from the beautiful city of Muzaffarabad, witnessing the jaw-dropping magnificence of Gilgit and the Hunza Valley. But, I also saw the ugliest side of Pakistan and it was all under the rule of General Pervez Musharraf.

In the summer of 2001, I travelled with my family to Kabul to work on a project building a girls’ school in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Shortly before the US-led invasion, we evacuated and fled to Pakistan, taking up residence in Islamabad where we awaited the end of hostilities.

At midnight on 31st January, 2002, I was about to turn in for the night when the door-bell rang. When I opened the door, I didn’t realise it would be the last time I’d see my wife and children for the next three years.

The details of what happened next are well documented.[2] Suffice to say that I was shackled, hooded, abducted, and disappeared at gunpoint by Pakistani ISI and US CIA agents, taken to a secret prison where I was held for three weeks. I witnessed prisoners being beaten mercilessly.

The Pakistanis said they knew I’d done nothing wrong but they had “no choice” and that it was all because of American threats to “bomb Pakistan into the Stone Age” [3] if they didn’t cooperate – something Musharraf later confirmed.

But it wasn’t just the threats; money had something to do with it too. Shortly after my release from Guantanamo, I wrote Enemy Combatant. Not long after that, my publishers, Simon and Schuster, published Musharraf’s memoir, In the Line of Fire in which he responded to criticisms that Pakistan wasn’t doing enough to fight terrorism:

“Those who habitually accuse us of not doing enough in the war on terror should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan.” [4]

My family began ‘habeas’ proceedings in Pakistan on my behalf straight after I was taken. A judge even issued an order to the Ministry of Interior instructing me to be released or brought to court. It replied with a sworn statement that I was not in their custody. Of course I wasn’t; they had already handed me over to the Americans.

Around half of the 779 prisoners who were sent to Guantanamo were detained by Pakistan and were handed over to the US without any legal process. The procedure known as “extraordinary rendition” was a euphemism for abduction, false imprisonment, and torture, and Musharraf was happy to get paid for it. What he didn’t realise, however, was that he’d sealed a terrible fate for his country.

Pakistan allowed America the use of its airspace and soil to launch cruise missile and aerial strikes into Afghanistan killing thousands. It has led to the longest war in US history.

The war gave rise to the Pakistan Tehreek-eTaliban (PTT) and other groups which carried out attacks against the army as well as civilians in retaliation for military incursions and drone strikes in the tribal region. Tens of thousands were killed. As a result, Musharraf introduced emergency rule in which he seized power,[5] suspended the constitution and elections, arrested Supreme Court judges, and banned the media from publishing anything that criticised him or the military. These are some of the reasons why Musharraf was convicted for treason this week.

In my mind, however, Pervez Musharraf has yet to stand trial for what he did to people like Amina Masoud Janjua.[6] She has been fighting to locate her husband who disappeared in Pakistani military custody in 2005 and has not been heard of to date. Musharraf was also responsible for the fate of Aafia Siddiqui’s 5-year disappearance in 2003 in Pakistani custody only to resurface in Afghanistan facing dubious charges of attempted murder and a subsequent 86-year prison sentence in the US.

In 2010, I returned to Pakistan with Yvonne Ridley to make a film about the house I was kidnapped from. [7] We met with others who’d suffered a similar fate, including Amina and Aafia’s family. I recounted to the Pakistani press all of the abuses we’d suffered, from witnessing the desecration of the Quran to the violation of our bodies.[8] There was no escaping the role of Musharraf in all of this.

Pakistan’s former military leader will probably never return home to face his sentence, but there is a sense that Divine Justice is being carried out. I still remember the brothers’ prayers against him in the middle of the night, when nothing stirred except the sounds of crickets and the soft Caribbean breeze rubbing the barbed wired against the razor wire.

Maybe one day Musharraf will understand the power of that prayer and reflect on the words of the Noble Prophet who said:

واتق دعوة المظلوم فإنه ليس بينها وبين الله حجاب

“And fear the prayer of the oppressed for between it and Allah there is no barrier.”

Source: http://www.islam21c.com


[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2979076.stm

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2zusq-BDbM

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/sep/22/pakistan.usa

[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2006/10/2008491459193557.html

[5] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-emergency/musharraf-imposes-emergency-rule-idUSCOL19928320071103?sp=true

[6] https://www.cage.ngo/amina-masood-janjua-leading-human-rights-campaigner-arrested-amid-police-violence-paki

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYt48xR_Wpc

[8] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4535491.stm

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

Open Letter: Supporting Aafia Siddiqui

It is well known that the War on Terror waged by the United States and its allies led to aggression and injustice against countries, organizations, groups and individuals. Perhaps the worst example of this brutality against individuals was that meted out to our Muslim sister in Islam, Aafia Siddiqui and her three small children.

Aafia is a hafidhah of the Qur’an, a devoted mother and practising Muslim, who dedicated her life to spreading the religion of God and assisting fellow Muslims. It is believed that she was abducted at the behest of American intelligence from Pakistan, her home country along with her children in 2003, the youngest of whom was just six months old at that time. Aafia Siddiqui and her lawyers maintain that she was held in secret US detention and tortured and abused in this time, along with her children – a claim that is corroborated by former prisoners at Bagram. After five years of denying knowledge of her whereabouts, the US claims that she allegedly emerged in Afghanistan. She was shot by US soldiers and then tried and convicted despite the absence of any physical evidence against her and the conflicting testimonies presented during the trial. She now faces life in prison. Only one of her children has been released, while the whereabouts of the two youngest remain unknown. From the time she was transferred to the US to date she has been subject to humiliating and degrading strip and cavity searches in prison and is now being denied jail visits and communication with the outside world, including her immediate family.

Allah has enjoined upon the believers, in innumerable commandments, to support the believers who are being oppressed, irrespective of where they may be. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“The believers, men and women, are auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin good and forbid from evil; they establish prayers, and give the zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”[1]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection.”[2]
He (peace be upon him) also said,
“Whoever is present while a Muslim is humiliated before him, and is able to assist him [and yet does not], Allah will humiliate him before all of creation on the Day of Judgment.” And in another narration, “No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help.”

When we merely hear the plight of our sister, we should feel restless and tormented as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love and affection is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”

In spite of this, the Muslim ummah, whose followers surpass that of any other world religion, have shamefully failed in our duty to defend this Muslim woman.


Obligation to aid in the emancipation of Muslim captives


Allah has admonished and reproached the believers for allowing the weak to remain under the clutches of the enemy and their torture. Allah says,
“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.””[3]

Explaining this verse, Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “Freeing the prisoners is obligatory on the Muslim, whether by war or wealth.” Imam Malik said, “It is obligatory on (Muslim) people to ransom the prisoners with all their wealth.” There is no difference of opinion among the scholars over this, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Free the prisoners.”[4] Our scholars say that ransoming prisoners is obligatory, even if not a single penny is left. Ibn Khuwaizimandad said, “This verse contains the obligations to free prisoners. There are reports from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to this effect: he freed prisoners and ordered them to be freed. This was practiced by Muslims throughout the ages and the scholars are unanimous about it. It is obligatory to free (Muslim) prisoners from the state’s treasury, and if the amount does not suffice, then it is obligatory upon all the Muslims to contribute. If one Muslim frees him, the others are absolved of this duty.”

An incident that shows the great concern for freeing Muslim captives is when the Caliph ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) sent ‘Abdul Rahman bin ‘Amrah to free some Muslim captives. He said, “Give them whatever they ask for every Muslim! By Allah, a Muslim is dearer to me than all the polytheists in my state! Indeed, you win any Muslim you pay the ransom for. Indeed you are buying Islam (by ensuring their release from prison and torture).”[5]
Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Freeing Muslim prisoners is one of the greatest obligations. Spending money from endowments (waqf) and other sources is one of the best deeds.”
Ibn Qudamah, may Allah have Mercy on him, said: “It is permissible for a Muslim to use his zakat to buy back a Muslim prisoner from the captivity of polytheists. This is because the emancipation of a Muslim captive is similar to emancipating someone from slavery, as well as it bringing glory to Islam. Spending zakah in this cause is like spending it to soften people’s hearts towards Islam, and since it is given to the prisoner to free himself from captivity it is like giving money to an indebted person for ridding himself of the debt.”

Our Obligation

Therefore, it is obligatory upon every single Muslim, wherever they reside, to work, directly or indirectly, towards the release of the Muslim captives irrespective of wherever they may be. Any Muslim with the capability to aid others yet fails to do so will be sinful. Everyone is responsible according to their ability; the greatest responsibility lies with those in authority, followed by the scholars, and so on – although the failure of those who bear greater responsibility to act does not absolve individuals of their own individual responsibilities.If the captive is a Muslim woman, like our sister Aafia, the obligation becomes even greater, given the elevated status of women in Islam. The scholars of Islam are unanimous that a Muslim woman cannot be handed over to non-Muslims in any case. This Ummah has a glorious heritage of protecting Muslim women that we must endeavour to restore. Amongst the incidents narrated to this effect, is that of the honour of a believing woman attacked by members of the tribe of Quraydhah, and so, a believer fought to defend her until he was killed and an army was dispatched against the perpetrators.

As a nation, we have not fulfilled our obligation towards our sister, Aafia Siddiqui, as well as her children. We must exhaust every lawful means for her release and for the recovery of her children without fearing anyone but Allah. This may include, but is not limited to, direct involvement with organisations that work for this cause, donating money for it, raising awareness and actively speaking about her plight, writing in support of her and her family, and pressuring those governments complicit in her ordeal to end this injustice.

The least that is enjoined upon us is to supplicate to Allah for her as well other Muslim prisoners, as supplication is the weapon of a Muslim; it is incumbent upon every believer to supplicate for them as if we were supplicating on behalf of ourselves and our families.
“O Allah, deliver our sister and her children from this humiliation and torture at the hands of those who do not believe in You.”
May Allah ease the affairs of our sister Aafia and hasten her release from captivity. May He break free her shackles and the shackles of all of our oppressed prisoners. May Allah give them the strength to deal with their ordeal. May Allah punish those who have oppressed our sister Aafia and continue to oppress her, may He defeat them and smite them, and may Allah forgive us for being negligent towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. May Allah unite the hearts of the Muslims and grant us victory over our oppressors.

Source: http://www.islam21c.com

[1] Surah Taubah 9:71
[2] Sahih Al-Bukhari
[3] Surah Al-Nisa’ 4:75
[4] Sahih Al-Bukhari
[5] Narrated by Sa’eed Bin Mansur in his Sunan