Most who consider themselves talaba, or students of Islamic Sciences, have puristic tendencies. Moths drawn to a flame of the purest of Ulumud Deen - the text of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the laps of the learned, as a primary occupation. That holds supremacy over any other tainted means, which inevitably weakens us as ‘true’ scholars. We would most definitely want all our time spent serving and gleaning Deen, specialising, translating, amassing etc. via the route of ‘the kitaabs’ over being involved in what lines garbage pails – viz. current affairs and mass media. Worse even, analysing it and reporting on it day in and day out. Thus, being a taalib in the media game already feels enough as if seeking an unrequited Illah. However, when Allah has made this door rather than any other door a pathway to His service, we duly owe every nerve in our body to serve it well.
Following news of the arrest of Moazzam Begg today, “suspected of attending a Syria terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas” I did 3 things. One - verify the story; two - swallow (like many of you) the large jaggered rock that formed from little behind my soft palate to the base of my throat; three - shut my laptop to a mental lithograph of Edvard Munch’s Scream. Sitting on my musalla afterward, I recalled this small-statured, soft-spoken man, who barely 2 months ago patiently answered a question I asked him about Baber Ahmed’s recent "guilty" plea in the US. I recall too a comparitive ungainliness - wearing 'heels' while processing such crippling story. The extended trite metaphor off course: how gala dinners have become an unnecessary ploy in making the public commit to awareness campaigns. His current mission will tell you only one thing: the only offence he is guilty of is daring to speak the truth; daring to expose especially British complicity in rendition, torture and war crimes.
Too soon after Victoria Brittan’s launch of Shadow Lives in South Africa, and a little too close for comfort those harrowing trials of the innocent who have been dehumised by the last season of Homeland, Army Wives or Oprah, we have so much to do, we still owe so much to the cause of Haqq/Truth.
As if a most tender requiem, the words of the Prophet (pbuh): "The best Jihad is to speak the truth before a tyrant ruler", play all too clearly.
However we choose to spread, declare or report the truth dear taalib/taalibah is Allah’s gift. It would be pukka ungratefulness hankering to serve ‘the kitaabs’ than fully engage Truth in an albeit awkward media seat where Allah, in His absolute Wisdom, has chosen to put you right now.