For those who believe in God it is often a challenge when we see tragedies, loss of life even murder.
The sister of the student who was killed said that she wanted the lives of her brother, Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19 to matter. May God’s peace and blessing be upon them.
As a Black American and a Muslim the fact this tragedy has occurred in Black History Month, a week before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X and in The South where the struggle for civil rights for continues to be waged is sobering reminder.
I am reminded that upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, one of his closest companions, Umar, in a fit of grief said, ‘That whoever says that Muhammad is dead, I will kill them’. Abu Bakr, The best friend of the Prophet Mohammed, said, “Whoever worships Muhammad know that Muhammad is dead and whoever worships God know that God is alive and will never die”.
Although this violent act is intended frighten or terrorize people of faith, Allah/God is bringing good into the world through the responses of people of good will. Thousands are supporting the humanitarian relief efforts for Syrian refugees. In their passing they are giving life to others. The community in North Carolina beyond Chapel Hill and communities beyond the university community is being transformed.
Allah decrees life and death saying, “No one knows in which land it will be born or in which land it will die”.
I believe God choose Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. She wasn’t just any black woman, she was an exemplar of the best conduct and character, dedicated to civil rights as a member of the and NAACP, active in her church, a wife and an upstanding member of the community. She was chosen by history, by destiny, by God Almighty to be the symbol that would end segregation in public accommodations in the south.
The three students were extrodinary young people. Perhaps as painful as it is, God has chosen these three young people to be the beacons of light and hope for America, Muslim exemplars of faith and service. This deranged murderer could have taken the lives of any religious individuals that were different from him, that he feared, that he felt threatened by the presence of their faith.
Mahdi Bray, former director of the Freedom Foundation, reminded me that the faces of these young American Muslims were projected across the television screens throughout our country and show young Muslims as America’s brightest prospects and not America’s greatest suspects.
They have been chosen by destiny just as those four girls who were killed at the 16th St., Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL to became a symbol of the civil rights struggle for equality and freedom.
These three young American Muslims lives will not be forgotten, nor the lessons that they have taught us be set aside.
The perpetrator who took their precious lives will not derail the movement toward understanding, freedom, justice and equality for all people regardless of their race, religion or other personal beliefs or practices of faith or conviction.
I think about Medgar Evers, Dr. King and Malcolm X who were struck down while advocating for the poor and the oppressed. Like so many martyrs of our past they will live on, in all of us a part of their light continues to shine and in the beliefs which they unwittingly gave their lives for will continue to flower, in this life and in the hereafter.
It is believed by Muslims and other people of faith that no one dies before God’s decree nor can their life be extended by any other then The Creator.
One night in a dark parking lot after a community organizing meeting one activist said to another, “Aren’t you afraid that some narrow-minded person might try to shorten our lives?”. The other replied, “By God, I cannot die before God’s decree therefore until that time………… I AM INVINCIBLE”.
Let us go forward with the spirit of invincibility knowing that God is with those who do justice at all times.