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Can kindness be rewarded with something except kindness?  

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Can kindness be rewarded with something except kindness?

Author: Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdese
Added in: 2009-08-01

("Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?" verse from the Holy Koran)

When we were isolated from the world and forbidden from family visits and from contacting the outside world, I did not see in my solitary dungeon except the delegates from the Red Cross (sic) and the pigeons and birds standing on the bars of my dungeon, looking for crumbs of bread I used to scatter for them so they would keep me company with their cooing and singing …

The same goes for the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); as the mere appearance of a delegate gave us joy and happiness because it meant receiving news from family and letters of longing from loved ones. In many cases, their visits helped lessen the pressure of the management of the jail practiced on many detainees. Sometimes, ICRC delegates would bring us books to read, which made us jump with joy in the midst of our isolation and book prohibition practiced by authorities.

In my case, my situation was given special attention by the ICRC because of the long period I spent in solitary confinement. Anyone who knows me and knows my passion for books and for reading would know that the greatest punishment for me in confinement was depriving me of them. The jail management knew that very well and practiced this deprivation with me. It deprived me of books, withheld them from me, and confiscated the ones I had, and the ICRC delegates honestly fought to break this siege off me with all their energy and abilities, in a way I will never forget for them. After a lot of effort, they were able to bring in the ICRC-produced "Insani" magazine, which is issued every three months. It was the first appearance for us from the outside world which we were isolated from, even if its from the signals transmitted within the news (activities) of the ICRC. No one can appreciate this unless they suffered as we did. We awaited this magazine in spite of its lack of international news, as it was not a news bulletin, but a magazine to introduce the activities of ICRC. However, the isolation we suffered made it our first and only news bulletin.
The attempts of the ICRC continued, and they were able to bring in ICRC booklets and different publications such as "Souvenir of Solferino" by Henry Dunant, and "IHL in Islam" and others. The ICRC was able, after a lot of continuous efforts, to bring in around a hundred different books which broke our isolation and created a library for the jail detainees after a long prohibition. Here are some of the books that ICRC gave to make the detainees' library:

Iben Katheer's Interpretation
Saheeh Muslim
Saheeh Al-Bukhari
The Murabiteen State
The Illustrated History of Andalusia
Raising Children in Islam
Tales of the Prophets
Examples from the Lives of the Followers of the Prophet (Al-Sahaaba)
Examples from the Lives of the Successors of the Prophet (Al-tabi'een)
"Do not grieve, God is with us"
In the Heart of the Village
The Promised Day
The Prophetical Medicine
Blow oh Wind of Faith
The Making of a Leader
The Journey of Success
The First and Second World Wars,
In addition to many others.


Any reader of these books knows the mistake that people make which accuses the ICRC of practicing missionary or cruciferous activities. Some of the books discuss the tragedies of Muslims in Andalusia and genocides they were subjected to after the falling of Andalusia and the fading of Muslim ruling in it. Some convict the Crusades against Muslim lands and the genocides against them during the falling of Jerusalem. Other books convict modern occupation, defend caliphates, and disapprove Orientalism, exile, and modernization, all of which clearly shows that the ICRC does not intervene in religious matters and has no missionary or cruciferous attitudes which some might try to ascribe to it due to its name and emblem (the reversed Swiss flag, since the ICRC has a Swiss origin).

In any case, what's important are the facts and not the names, especially when the names are only symbols and logos, which were distorted and stripped of their real meaning. There are many countries or organizations in our time use verses from the Koran or exclaiming "God is great" or the crescent as its logo without knowing the meaning of Islam and only has the images of these logos without understanding their real meanings, and they even fight these meanings and oppose their followers …

And for anyone who refers back to the history of ICRC's foundation it is also known, that it wasn't launched on religious basis; as its founder, Henry Dunant, was a merchant and not a missionary or vicar …

If I were to talk about my personal experience with ICRC, I must say that never throughout my relationship with ICRC, which has extended since 1994, have I noticed the delegates acting as missionaries or interfering in the detainees' religion. On the contrary, I was always the one bringing up religious matters, inquiring about their religions and beliefs, and attracting them to join Islam. Never were they disturbed by seeing me erasing their logo from the letters I sent to my family (I did that for a very long time), although the authorities holding me were disturbed, thinking that I did this as a code or sign to my family. Many times my letters were withheld because of this.

During one of the years, I tried requesting the Bible from the ICRC delegates as a reference for my research during my confinement in jail, but they declined and apologized, and brought me the above-mentioned books. In addition, it is known that many of ICRC delegates are Muslims. The non-Muslims of them respect the choices of the Muslim youth and try hard to provide male delegates if the detainee refuses to meet with a female delegate, to ensure they do not lose connection with any detainee. Even the female delegates wore headscarves for the same reason …

When I finished reading the long list of books the ICRC brought, which cannot be read in 2-3 months, but I finished reading them all due to the authorities' persistence of prolonging my stay in their dungeons, I used to ask the delegates for more books by name. They never failed to get them for me. After all their long efforts, they managed to break the prohibition made on books. Furthermore, and months prior to my release, they were able to get approval to admit newspapers into my dungeon with their every visit. This came true for the very first time in the jail history as far as I know. Their visits now meant a detailed news bulletin about the world after my mind had been absent from them for around five years …

This is what I have seen of ICRC efforts from my personal experience, as for their services on the level of the Islamic world :

The ICRC Deputy Director of Operations, Andreas Wigger, says: "It is noticed that more than half of the ongoing operations of the ICRC are aimed to help Muslim victims, whether detained or families of the missing or civilians who need a shelter, food or water. Taking a quick glance on the ICRC activities in more than 50 countries that are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, proves its strong presence in the Islamic world …"

Whoever doubts such information can ask the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as well as the Iraqis, especially the detained and their families, about the services of ICRC …

After all of this (the above) I was very surprised and condemning when I heard about the bombing of the ICRC quarters in Baghdad, especially that Iraq and its people in its current circumstances need the ICRC's diverse services more than any other time. I was also filled with disapproval regarding the shallow reasoning of some about the bombing, claiming that ICRC quarters in Baghdad was a den for the CIA. As if the CIA is short on dens in this devastated country-which has now become one of their states-to need to borrow the ICRC quarters! Anyone that knows the neutralism of the ICRC and deals with them knows the impossibility of such thoughts and predictions. I am also astonished for targeting ICRC delegates, whether by killing them, kidnapping them, or using them as hostages for bargaining or pressuring the countries they originate from. This also goes for targeting all relief workers in general, not for anything but for their blond hair or blue eyes, or the nationality they belong to. This has even gone beyond to reach the women of them, such as Margaret Hasan, who was the Director of Care Organization in Iraq, and who had worked for 30 years in relief operations in Iraq, and opposed the siege made on Iraq and was married to and Iraqi Muslim. In spite of all that, the whole world witnessed the kidnapping of this woman and the threats to kill her, and actually doing so, claiming to pressure the country she originates from to withdraw its forces from Iraq! What absurdity and stupidity is this! And what mutilation and belittlement to Jihad and resistance is this??? I do not doubt for a second that such things would never come from a warrior that knows his religion, respects his Jihad and seeks its good reputation. It can only come from highway robbers and criminals who have nothing to do with religion and Jihad, as was revealed later, since the robbers were not from the Mujahideen. That’s why anyone who respects Jihad and seeks its reputation disapproved this act …

Prophet Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), said: "Anyone who kills a free non-Muslim man (under Muslim rule) will never smell the scent of Heaven…" . Narrated by Imam Ahmed and others.

What we can conclude from the above Hadith (Prophetic tradition) is that if this threat is for anyone who kills an ally or a non-Muslim person (under Muslim rule) who respects Islam and its people and lives with them in peace, then how about someone who respects Islam, does not fight its people, and helps and aids them not out of fear of an Islamic state or authority, but out of pure chivalry, humanity and good morals. Wouldn’t this be a person worthy of trust and kindness and not hurt and molestation? And to be included in God (the exalted) words: "Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice" (Al Momtahinah:8)

Then there is no need for some of the youth to refrain from dealing with the ICRC or abandon it altogether while they and their wretched and detained brothers are in desperate need of their services and aid. It is worth mentioning in this context what came in the Prophetic Line of Conduct (Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyah) when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) went to Al-Ta'ef where he was badly hurt, and a Christian boy named Addas brought him some grapes, and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) kissed him

It is worth mentioning that the Ottoman State joined Geneva Conventions of 1864 without any reservations. This is the Convention that the ICRC is based on. Accordingly, the Ottoman State would protect and leave untouched the emblem of the ICRC as means to protect ambulances of the enemy because the Conventions stipulates the respect of medical staff, transportation, and medical equipment with the emblem of the Red Cross. The Ottoman State did not adopt the Red Crescent until its war with Russia 1876 – 1878, when it announced it would be using the Red Crescent as a distinguishing sign for its National Society and ambulances, while continuing to protect and leave untouched the ambulances that carry the symbol of the Red Cross. Only then was the Red Crescent used in the Ottoman State, and it did not stop them from protecting the enemy's ambulances that carry the Red Cross emblem …

Finally, I would like to whisper a question in the ear of every fighter (Mujahid): Would you allow it to be said that a fighter (Mujahid) is a stupid, foolish person that cannot distinguish between a friend and a foe and between those he fights and those who want to help him? I do not think you would allow this. Therefore, you should beware of participating in mistakes made about religion (Islam), ridiculing, and distorting Jihad, because this would help the enemies of Islam in their greatest, most conniving schemes against Islam. God (the exalted) said: " And those who disbelieve say: Do not listen to this Quran and make noise therein, perhaps you may overcome". (Fassalat: 26)

Therefore, I call out and advise all the brothers working for this religion (Islam) all over the world, who care about the Muslims and the reputation of Jihad, to secure the delegates of the ICRC and other relief organizations so long as they maintain their neutralism and do not interfere in the religion and beliefs of Muslims, in addition to aiding them without considering it a form of favor, but an obligation of kindness to the kind. God (the exalted) said: "Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?" (Al-Rahman: 60)

We are a people whose morals forbade us from hurting those who did not hurt us
(Verse of poetry)

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said in his Hadith, narrated by Imam Ahmed and others: "He who does not thank people is like he doesn’t thank God".

It is not from the characteristics of our religion or from our Prophet's Sunnah (teachings) to repay those who deserve gratitude, even if they don’t share our religion, with ungratefulness and offense, as well as kidnapping, hurtfulness and murder. There is no more evidence than what Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said in his Hadith, narrated by Al-Bukhari after the Conquest of Bader about the polytheists: "If Al-Mut'am Bin Odai was alive and asked me to release those rotten (polytheists) I would have done so". Meaning that Prophet Mohammed would have released them in gratitude to Al-Mut'am Bin Odai because he took him in and protected him when he came from Al-Ta'ef to Mecca. It was also said that Al-Mut'am was one of the fiercest refuters of the journal that Quraish wrote about Bani Hashim and the Muslims. Therefore, their release would be in gratitude to his kindness to the Prophet, even though he (Al-Mut'am) died a polytheist. It was also mentioned that Hassan Bin Thabet (follower of the Prophet) elegized Al-Mut'am in gratitude to his kindness.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) also commended "Hilf Al-Fodool" (meaning the alliance of kindness) which was founded by polytheists to help the oppressed and unjustly treated and to stop injustice. This is an obvious indication on the legitimacy of gratitude to the people who provide it, being of the manners of our Prophet (PBUH). While it is not of His manners to kill, kidnap, or abuse them.

(Verses of poetry meaning that the Book of God gives us the unquestionable facts we need, and on those facts, we build our entity. This entity tells everyone that we will care for those who care for us, we will intimidate the tyrants of war with Jihad, but we will give them peace if they were honest with us.)

This is what I wanted to remind my brothers everywhere of, and to guide them towards it to seek and maintain the good reputation of Islam, Jihad, and Muslim fighters (Mujahideen).

I should, at the end of these words, remind the delegates of ICRC, out of my care for them, to remember the words of Andreas Wigger when he said in his above-mentioned article: "The ICRC needs to distance itself from social and political issues." AH
I say: They should also distance themselves from religious issues of Muslims as well, as long as neutralism is a principle which ICRC adheres to, and as long as the ICRC adheres to a credibility that qualifies it to deal with all parties without revocation or interfering in people's beliefs. This is something that Toni Pfanner, editor-in-chief of the International Red Cross Magazine (sic), pointed out by saying: "For the ICRC to gain the trust of all parties of the conflict, it is obligated by the principle of neutralism not just in not participating in hostile operations, but in refraining from interfering in any political, ideological, or religious dialogue".

Therefore, the interference of relief organizations in the beliefs and religion of Muslims would undoubtedly expose them to hostility and would make them antagonistic targets and not helpful and neutral parties … I, and many, have seen European relief organizations in the North of Afghanistan meddling into the issue of Muslim women's headscarves and distributing clothes with Christian phrases. For this reason, fighters have labeled them as antagonist organizations. At that time, I could not tell the difference (as many do until this day) between those organizations and the ICRC and its neutral method.

I dedicate the final advice to Al-Insani Magazine, which has kept us company in the darkness and isolation of the jail. I advise it to rise above issues such as what was written by some of its controversial writers who slander the Holy Koran and the history and culture of Muslims. The phrase: "The opinions mentioned in this article only express its writer's point of view", does not compensate for what was written of direct slandering of Islam and its laws such as women's headscarves (hijab) or polygamy, under the allegations of women's rights and human choice. In addition, they slander Jihad and its fighters, and the Muslim resistance under the allegations of refuting the so-called terrorism which has expanded to become, in reality, a war on Muslims and Muslim countries!!! The Magazine's involvement in the above mentioned contradicts with the neutralism principle, which ICRC uses as a method, as well as praising the enemies of Koran and quoting them [1] .

As long as ICRC cares about its neutralism and avoids such problems and slips, it will always receive our verbal and actual gratitude and compliments, as our religion and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) taught us …

Abu Mohammed Al-Maqdisi

Original text written in General Intelligence Directorate, Cell number 53
2007



[1] An example is an interview I read in Al-Insani Magazine for the astray writer, Mohammed Arkun Al-Jaza'iri, where the writer of the interview praised Arkun although he mentioned in the same interview his thoughts that demand ignoring the Holy Koran and dealing with it as a linguistic text only.
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