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Category Archives: Risala

Letters from Prison

Jesse Curtis Morton: August 20, 2012 (A Ramadan Reflection: From the Chest to Sham, Taqwa is the Heart of All Affairs)

All praise is due to Allah who commanded the Muslims to fast during Ramadan. He (Ta’ala) said,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُون
O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as was prescribed for those before you that you became al-muttaqun (2:183)

And may the peace and mercy and Allah’s blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) who received the Quran in the holy month and warned the Muslim community when he said:

اقرؤا القرآن و عملوا به… و لا تأكلوا به
“Recite the Quran and act upon it ..and don’t eat or profit from it”

As another Ramadan has passed us by, Al-hamdollillah, it is important for us to reflect upon whether we have recognized its purpose and improved our Taqwa by becoming people that embody the Quranic message in our actions; or whether we have merely abstained from food and drink while devouring the Quranic essence, and thereby its true objective.

Taqwa is a difficult word to define. It is usually translated as ‘God-fearing’ or ‘pious,’ but perhaps the best definition was given by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiya Allahu anhu), who was asked to define it and responded with a question: “When you walk down a forest path covered in thorns, what do you do?” he asked his questioner. “You lift up your clothes, move very slow and take your steps carefully“, he [the questioner] responded, and Umar (radiya Allahu anhu) simply stated,”That, my friend, is Taqwa.

And it is unfortunate that in this age Ramadan has largely lost its connection to the purpose of instilling Taqwa. Instead, in many ways, Ramadan has been turned into an occasion for festivity and entertainment, not unlike the way Christians have distorted their celebration of Christmas so that it is commercialized and void of spiritual purpose. Neglecting the purposes of acts of worship in Islam is a primary reason for the Muslim Ummah’s present degradation, and this Ramadan was significant in that several events in the heart of the Muslim world should have allowed us to recognize that our material and physical circumstances are largely a direct reflection of the state of the heart inside our chests.

The most prominent events are those occurring in Syria, an area destined to play a crucial role in any Islamic revival for its import is included in many ahaadith and isolated in many books of Fiqh as the home of the Taifa Mansoora, the Fustaat (flag) at the end of times where the Abdaal (righteous) gather, help to make Bay’aah to the Mahdi and eventually aid Issa Ibn Maryam (alaihissalaam) in fighting the antichrist. For example, the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

Syria will be conquered, and when you are given a choice of places to settle, go to a city called Damascus for it will be the Fustaat (Fustaat here means city) of the Muslims during the wars of Fitnah and the place of assembly.

Thus, its condition resembles the condition of the entire Ummah, and this is as Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind among themselves resembling one body. So, if a part of the body is ill then the whole body suffers from sleeplessness and fever.

And a proper conception of Islam helps us to understand that our personal conditions are connected to the condition of the global Muslim community altogether and that the condition of any given Muslim community is, at the same time, a direct reflection of the condition of Islam and Muslims across the world. It is for this reason that the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) admonished the companions saying,

He who is not concerned with the general affairs of the Muslims is not one of us.

Unfortunately, it is a lack of adhering to the path of Islam and [a lack of] trekking in a manner of caution and Taqwa that has caused the body of Muslims to suffer from sleeplessness and fever. And today we exist just as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) described when he said:

The nations will call other nations to stand against you as the eaters call each other to eat from the food in front of them on a large wooden plate.

A person asked the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam),”Will that be because we will be few in number?”

The Prophet replied,”No, You will be great in number, but you will be rubbish like the rubbish of the flood water. And certainly Allah will remove from the hearts of your enemies fear of you and will throw Wahan in your hearts.”

A person asked, “What is ‘Wahan,’ O Messenger of Allah?”

The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) replied, “Wahan is to love the world and hate death.

And Syria is a perfect sample of the Ummah’s general existence. Despite having a dominant Sunni population, a deviant Alawite minority has ruled the post colonialist nation through a dictatorship managed mostly by a single family. That authoritarian dictatorship has maintained for over four decades, largely due to the rubbish associated with a preponderant Arab racism and post-sykes-picot nationalism united against all manifestations of Islam as a complete socio-political, economic order.

It is a common circumstance all over the Muslim world, but where critics attribute blame to the external coalition of nations conspiring to feast on the Muslim world’s natural resources and civilization, the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) placed blame on the internal condition of the Muslims themselves. The tremors shaking the heart of the Arab world are proportionate to an Islamic Awakening over a generation, and perhaps the most evident lesson about “Taqwa” to take from this Ramadan, is the connection between the state of our spiritual selves and the general physical reality of Muslims everywhere.

The prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) stated,

“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes reformed, the whole body becomes reformed, but if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted and that [piece] is the heart.”

Today both the hearts of the individual believer and the identity in the heart of the Muslim world face all sorts of dialectical rupturing and everywhere glimpses exist of an ascendant Islamic identity which is also in accord with what the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said, As you are so are the rulers above you. That being said, it becomes apparent that the solution to our contemporary situation is, first and foremost, a spiritual one and Ramadan serves as a continuous annual reminder of the connection between the spiritual and material realms.

This has always been the case. When the Tatars were pushed from Damascus by successful battle during Ramadan in 702 A.H, physical victory was a result of Ibn Taymia’s cleansing the beliefs of the Muslims with texts like his Aqeedahtu Hamawiyaa, written for the people of Hama, a town besieged by the Assad regime today.

Similarly, At-Tabari recorded in his classic work An History that when the Muslims first conquered Syria under Umar Ibn Al Khattab, Heraclius, the Roman emperor asked a Byzantine who had been a prisoner of the Muslims about their condition. The man replied,

“I shall tell you, and it will be as if you are looking at them. They are horseman during the day and monks at night. In the areas they rule, they do not eat except that they pay for it, and they do not enter a house except with a greeting of peace. They stand up to those who fight them until they destroy them.”

Heraclius could only reply, “If you have spoken the truth, they will indeed inherit the land on which I stand.” Surely, their foundation was Taqwa and we remain, as Imam Malik once suggested, “Verily the only thing that will rectify the ends of this Ummah, is what rectified its beginning.

As we push forward after Ramadan, let us remember that Taqwa is the foundation of all we do. That it is manifested in the heart and that our physical condition is dependent on the state of our spiritual selves.

It was for this reason that the noble Shaykh Nassarudeen Al-Albani adopted the Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen’s statement: “Establish the Islamic state in your hearts, and Allah will make it a reality,” even though he disagreed with them. Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) constantly emphasized such principles. He said, “Straighten your rows (three times) and Allaah will bring together your ranks or Allaah will put differences into your hearts,” and he (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) informed us that, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different part enforce each other.

Today, we Muslims are being tested severely, and our current circumstances tell of potential revival, but it is evident the hearts are tainted by foreign desires. Allah has told us that “Allah has not made for man two hearts inside his body” (33.4). Taqwa is the spiritual garb of the heart that beats for Islam and Muslims, so let us cultivate it wherever we are and recognize that such efforts can only help to bring victory to the Muslims at large.

As individuals and collectives, Allah is testing our hearts. It is as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

“Trials and tribulations will be presented to the hearts, as a reed mat is interwoven stick by stick. Any heart which absorbs these trials will have a black mark put in it. However, any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that hearts will be of two kinds: one white like a white stone, which will not be harmed by trials as long as the heavens and earth endure; and the other dark and rusty, like an over-turned vessel; not able to recognize the good, nor reject evil, but rather being absorbed with its desires.”

As an Ummah we are increasingly passing these tests and have witnessed some purification. As a result, a new middle east is formulating in the heart of the Muslim world and circumstances, like those unfolding in Syria, present numerous opportunities to connect the degree of material success to adherence upon the path of Taqwa as outlined by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, for Taqwa fixates the hearts upon the Quran and sunnah and other superficial displays of Islam absent such a foundation only lead to further sleeplessness and disorder.
Brothers and sisters should use the affairs unfolding in Syria to connect to the global Ummah and to call to adherence to these principles.

The great scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah stated that:

“There are four matters, that when their limits are transgressed harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from admonishment or exhortation. Whoever desires to purify his heart then let him give preference to Allah over his base desires.”

Ramadan forces the Muslim to restrain all four of these base desires but only those able to connect refraining from them during the holy month to the cultivation of Taqwa thereafter will cleanse their condition and benefit from the trial. In the same way, the historic trials unfolding in the communities of Muslims across the globe will only produce benefit where they stand upon a foundation of Taqwa that manifests action upon the Quranic path. It is a failure to recognize the purpose behind acts of worship in Islam that makes us those that eat and sell the divine message just like the nations before us. May Allah make us al-Muttaqun.

Eid Mubarek.
Younes Abdullah Muhammad
Jesse Curtis Morton #79274-083
FCI Schuylkill
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 759
Minersville, PA 17954
USA
 
 

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Shaker Aamer: August 2013 (It Feels So Strange to Feel My Name Slipping Away from Me)

My name is Shaker. I am also known as Sawad Al-Madany because I was born in the Holy City of Medina. Please can you remember these names for me, because I hardly can anymore.

Here, they call me 239. In fact, I call myself 239. It feels so strange to witness my name slipping away from me. I can’t do anything about it.

I wonder how long it is going to take for all of us here in Guantánamo to slip away from the world’s memory?

I have not lost hope. No, I have not! Or have I? I am not sure. But I am still writing: is this not a sign of hope?

Yes, we have lost years of our lives here – and some (three times as many as have been convicted) have actually died.

We have lost our sanity, our health, our humanity and our dignity. Yes, we seem to have lost everything.

But I believe we are gradually rediscovering hope and, with hope, we will relocate our lives and everything else that is meaningful.

Meanwhile our tormentors are losing everything and, the more they lose, the more they torment us. I can’t describe what they are doing. The world must hasten to compel the US government to solve this dilemma before it is too late. Candles cannot burn forever.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Letters from Shaker Aamer, Risala

 

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Zachary Adam Chesser: July 25, 2013 (Ramadan in Gitmo North – A Break from Tyranny)

BismIllaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Rahiim,

As the month of Ramadaan is now half past, I thought I might mention how we have been granted a brief reprieve from the Islamophobic and authoritarian staff in regards to our ability to pray with one another. You see, normally the Muslims at this particular Gitmo North facility are banned from praying together. We can only pray individually.

The staff who run Gitmo North have claimed that Islaamic congregational prayer will lead to radicalism. They say that whoever is leading the prayer will become an influential religious figure and somehow convince all of the other Muslims in the federal prison system to become terrorists. Thus, they banned congregational prayer.

Really, they just hate Islaam and wanted to punish Muslims for their beliefs, but they will not explicitly say that on paper. However, they have cited the fact that Islaam is the fasted growing religion in the prisons as a reason to ban group prayer, and they have also equated Islaam in general with radicalism.

A brother has informed me that one of the reasons a Muslim inmate was transferred to Gitmo North, was because he was radicalizing a prison in Michigan. As evidence, they cited the fact that prior to his arrival, only five prisoners were listed as Muslims. However, by the time he left, there were forty individuals identifying themselves as Muslims.

There was another man who arrived at Gitmo North, so the intelligence officer, Henry Rivas, told him that he should watch out, because the people here were going to try to convert him to their religion. This man was formerly a member of a religious group called the Black Israelites. A few months after arriving, he did, in fact, become Muslim, al-hamdu Lillaah, but he told us about what Rivas said to him prior to his conversion.

At the other Gitmo North facility, the one in Terre Haute, Indiana, prisoners are allowed to pray together, because a federal court told the prison that they were violating U.S. law by banning the Muslims at Gitmo North from praying together. However, at my facility, the ban continues, because technically the injunction only applies to the Terre Haute facility under American law. So, despite the fact that the facilities are exactly the same and that the law applies to the whole country, not just one pocket here or there, Gitmo North staff continue to ban us from prayer, even though they know it is against U.S. law.

Anyway, in Ramadaan, Gitmo North staff have apparently concluded that it is safe to let us pray together. Somehow the radicalization aura which is supposedly emitted from us when we pray together does not work during the Islaamic holy month devoted to fasting and worship, so they the ban is lifted. It is an amazing blessing which we all take advantage of. Normally, we can only pray together under the fear of disciplinary action.

I hope that the Muslims will reflect on this, and on the difficulty their brothers are enduring with regard to their prayers, and that they will not let their freedom pass them by without their taking advantage of this opportunity. Please keep us in your prayers, and raise awareness of this unjust policy.

Abu Talhah al-Amriiki
Guantanamo North, U.S.A.
16 Ramadaan, 1434

 
 

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Omar Ahmad (Abdur) Rahman: Date Unknown (For Surely, they will Kill Me…)

My message and will to the blessed muslim nation Oh honorable brothers! Oh Muslims in all parts of the world!

Surely the US government has found in my imprisonment an opportunity;
an opportunity to defile the honour of a Muslim, snatching away his dignity and respect. They’ve placed me under siege, not only physically, but also psychologically.

I’ve been placed in isolation. I’ve been forbidden contact with any Arabic speakers. Days, weeks, months pass and there’s no one I can talk to, and no one to talk to me.

I’ve been deprived of everything inside my cell even media players or a radio. If it wasn’t for the recitation of the Quran, I would have had many physiological problems. In this oppressive siege, cameras are included throughout my cell. They monitor me continuously throughout the day, they even watch me washing my private parts during bathing and using the toilet. They don’t stop there, they exploit my blindness to achieve their vile objectives, for they frisk me by stripping off my clothes, just as I was born, and look at my private parts, front and rear.

What do they search for? Drugs and explosives? This happens before and after every visit. This is so shameful, it makes me prefer the earth to split in half and swallow me whole over their filthy actions. But as I said, to them this is an opportunity they seized to defile the dignity of a Muslim and his honor on this earth. I am also prevented from performing Jumu’a prayers, Eid and any contact with other Muslims! All of this is forbidden to me! They give me false justifications and they make up null excuses.

The prison wardens neglect my personal condition e.g. haircuts and nail-cutting for months. They also force me to wash my underwear. I soak, wash, rinse and hang it, I find it hard! Moreover, I feel the danger of this situation. For surely, they will kill me… they will! Especially now that I’m separated from the world. No one sees what they add in my food, my drink! They could use a slow method to kill me, they could poison my food or medicine or inject me with something. They could drug me with something which would kill me or drive me crazy.

My brothers, if they kill me – which they will – escort my Janazah, and deliver my corpse to my fam- ily. But never forget my blood, never forsake it! Instead take revenge upon them for me in the most severest and violent of manners! And remember that a brother of yours spoke the truth and was killed in the path of Allah.

These few words are my testament to you.
Wassalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

 
 

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Chauncey Lamont Hawkins: July 17th, 2013 (The Expansive Umbrella of Conspiracy)

Assalamualikum Warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

BismillahiRrahmaniRrahim
Alhumdulillahi wassalaatu wassalaam ala rasulillah wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa ajmaeen

My brothers and sisters in Islam, first and foremost I want to start with alll praises due to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, Lord of the Mighty Throne. May peace and blessings be on the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, and those who follow their way until the Day of Judgement.

First I wanted to express my gratitude for everyone’s patience through the duration of this amazing trial that Allah subhana wa ta’ala has placed on me and my family. I know many of you had concerns, and I would like to apologize first and foremost for the delay because my family and I are very very grateful for all of the support from around the world. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala reward you all immensely.

As many of you may know, my court date was scheduled for the 15th, which is close to the 16th, which is the following day, and Alhumdulillah, QadrAllah Mashafa Allah, we are in a state of gratitude for which many of you brothers and sisters are not aware of. Also I want to explain in detail the charges I was charged with in the federal indictment in the eastern district of North Carolina. I was charged with conspiring to posses with the intent to distribute one or more kilo of heroin.

Now Allah subhana wa ta’ala is a Witness over all things; this is something that me and my family hold very very dear to our hearts in understanding that the way things are decreed for the Muslim, it is incumbent upon us to accept it, regardless of how horrific things may seem.

For many of you who don’t understand or aren’t aware of what a conspiracy is, it doesn’t mean you actually did it, it just means you conspired to do something. Mathalan, for example, if someone were to call you on the phone and make statements in regards of engaging you in some form of an illegal act, the moment that you answer that person’s questions or answer that person in general, you automatically fall underneath this umbrella of ‘conspiracy’.  It means at that point you are conspiring to join that individual who called you to do something illegal.

So in my case, back in 2008, before Islam, Alhumdulillah, I was affiliated- not even affiliated, I don’t want to say that, but some individuals had crossed my path who were interested at one point in the music business. And at some point these individuals called me in regards to something that was totally away from the lifestyle and the life that I was living. The fact that I responded to these individuals, placed me under the umbrella of ‘conspiracy’.

Therefore, after these individuals were apprehended by the United States government, they chose to implicate me in their situation and also implicated me in having a leadership role knowing that my involvement was very very minute and limited. But because of the way the United States government works, they used the information of the informant to come up with an elaborate story to make me look like I had a leadership role in the ‘conspiracy’.

[end of phone time]

Assalamualikum warahmatullah, excuse me for the interruption. As I was saying, these individuals, in their very very evil ways had conducted a whole array of different crimes that destroyed a lot of lives today in North Carolina. And by my mere, very mere and minute correspondence, placed me under the radar of this whole conspiracy.

Many of you are aware of when I accepted the religion of Islam, I left behind many things. I share these things in my talks as far as my life in the music industry. I was born on the streets of Harlem, just being exposed to some of these things, it started with people with emptiness, it came with success, it was easy for me to abstain from these things because of the difficulty that I faced with many things in my life. this was why I was able to submit to the Will of Allah subhana wa ta’ala and follow the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, sallahhu alihi wassalam.

And the reason for avoiding any dialog regarding the case is because of the sensitivity of the matter; the position I was placed in it was very much incumbent upon me to remain quiet until I understood fully first and foremost the severity of what I was involved in or the severity of what I was being accused of being involved in.

Of course, naturally my first approach was to take the case to trial, but because of the morals of the people who collectively united against me to try to alleviate or lighten their own sentences for the crimes they committed, these individuals basically collectively got together to try to throw me in the situation where I was the leader or primary motivator behind this whole ‘conspiracy’ which is extremely far from the truth.

Because I also possessed a prior criminal history, basically I was convicted of a felony at the age eighteen in 1993, and I was also convicted of a felony 2006. So with the two felonies and trying to take this case to trial and fight against the United States government and a whole list of informants who all collectively tried to turn against me and give me a leadership role in a conspiracy that had nothing to do with me.

If I had gone to trial or made a decision to go to trial with the two prior convictions I would be looking at life in prison, mandatory, meaning life my entire life in prison with no hope parole or anything. So based on that, I was pressured into a situation where I had to accept responsibility for this minor role that fell under the umbrella of conspiracy and at that point the charge carried 10 years to life.

So my court date prior to the one on the 16th, I had to accept responsibility for something I really had no dealings with and was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in my life. And for the sake of not risking going against the United States government and its whole list of informants and evil individuals who committed these crimes and did not want to uphold their actions tried to turn around and implicate me in their situation, I was forced to accept responsibility from them for things I had no dealings with. And like I said, at that point the charges were 10 years to life, versus going to trial and possibly losing and getting mandatory life.

On the 16th , this [recent] court date was actually a sentencing for that, my presentencing report game back and my criminal guidelines were 135 months to 158 months which is like 11 and a half years to 14 years. My attorneys, who were very good attorneys, fought to get the statutory minimal which was ten years which was the least [sentence] I could obtain through the whole duration of this lengthy trial. And unfortunately the judge chose to take the higher end of my criminal guidelines, which was 158 months.

So on July 16th I was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison but because of time I’ve already been incarcerated, which is 20 months, I’m only obliged to serve only 85% of the 14 year sentence, which would be around 11 years and some months, minus 20 months that I’ve been incarcerated. minus a year for completing a program then being released for six months in a halfway house, leads roughly 8 and half years.

So eventually I will have to serve 8 and half years in federal prison and the reason why I say Alhumdulillah is because when I entered the situation, I was oblivious to first why I was even arrested, why I was even stopped in Belgium, why, why, why. By being patient and being steadfast in my ibadat, and constantly seeking refuge in Allah subhana wa ta’ala, gradually things started to come into the light. By praying istikhara through the duration of every decision I’ve made, that lead to the conclusion of the decree of Allah subhana wa ta’ala that I was sentenced to 14 years of which I’ll only have to serve Inshallah eight and half years  .

The reason why my family and I are so grateful, first and foremost I praise Allah subhana wa ta’ala for making this trial easy for us in ways that I cant really explain, its amazing. Then Allah subhana wa ta’ala also had brought into our lives many brothers and sisters from around the world, so many that I can’t even count. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala reward you all for your prayer and supplication and charity and all the good. My family and I are truly grateful to Allah subhana wa ta’ala for the supprot from our brothers and sister from all around the world.

And once again the reason why I say Alhumdulillah, in facing this situation where the possibility is life in prison and I had never been in prison in my life. Yes, as I mentioned I had prior convictions, but Alhumdulillah I was able to be issued probation, and I completed my probation but I had never been incarcerated no longer than 1 month and a half. This has been the longest time I’ve ever been incarcerated and the only time I’ve ever been incarcerated. But to be looking at a situation where you may never see daylight again, never be able to be with your family, never be able to spend that time with your companions, visit your brothers and sisters, all the type of things that Allah subhana wa ta’ala has allowed me to do these past four and a half years that I’ve been Muslim… it’s a very very very difficult situation to be facing.

And then, as I failed to mention, going into the sentencing because of my prior convictions there was a fear of me being charged as a career offender. Basically saying that this was my whole career. You look at a felony that was committed in 1993 for which the statutory limit is 15 years, so it can be used, but there is another one in 2006, the United States government is in a position where they could have used both of these felonies, in a way saying these two felonies plus this case would make you a career criminal. Basically saying that my whole life my whole career was a drug dealer. And that being said, I would have been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years.

Only from my presentencing to come back that I wasnt a career offender, that my guidelines were 135 months to 158 months. Brothers and sisters I would like…

[end of phone]

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim

Assalamualikum wa rahmatullah

Continuing from where I left off, like I said, I ask that all of you, Alhumdulillah, may Allah reward you all, to continue to pray and make dua for my family and I, and that Allah subhana wa ta’ala continues to gradually remove this burden, and give to you the understanding once again conspiracy, in the depth and detail of a conspiracy charge in that anything that falls under that umbrella of conspiracy, you can be held accountable in the court of law in the United States government.Like I said, being faced with the situation where you could receive life imprisonment, being narrowed down to the possibility of 25 years or more, down to the 11 years, at this point, and Allah is the Best of Planners, as of now, to fourteen years of prison of which I Inshallah will only have to serve 8 and half years,

Because also the severity of the situation, having myself to understand the severity of the situation I was facing, basically for introducing one individual to another individual, was enough to put me in a situation where I fell under the conspiracy, and once these individuals were incarcerated, some of them received life sentences, some of them received 20 or 30 year sentences, in order to save themselves, they turned around and said, “Loon was the guy who was supplying us, Loon was the guy who was doing this…” so forth and so on.

QadrAllah, I accept what Allah has decreed, and I’ve been very  focused on all of the good thats been transcended through the duration of the time that I’ve been incarcerated these 20 months, and through the duration of this time nothing has stopped me from worshiping Allah subhana wa ta’ala, nothing has stopped me from inviting the people to alIslam, nothing has stopped from playing a role in my family, nothing has stopped me from being a husband to my wife, nothing has stopped me from being a father to my children, nothing has stopped from being a servant of the Most Merciful,

So I was in a situation where I was faced with two evils, and I accepted the lesser evil, and that was to accept responsibility for the situation that I played no significant role in, but based on the elaborate scheme that the United States government put together in accordance with the informants and evil people, may Allah guide them or destroy them, falls down to your brother in Islam having to accept a plea to being sentenced to 14 years, of which Bi’ithnillah I only have to serve 8 and a half years,

So once again I would like to express my gratitude to Allah subhana wa ta’ala for making this journey a benefit, in this life and hopefully in the next, and also for bringing the Muslims together to aid a Muslim in a time of hardship, may Allah subhana wa ta’ala reward you all. And I ask that you continue to pray and supplicate for my family, that Allah subhana wa ta’ala gives them the strength to continue on. Alhumdulillah Allah subhana wa ta’ala has blessed me with a beautiful family. My family has taken this situation extremely well, they have accepted the decree of Allah subhana wa ta’ala and we’ve all remained very firm and steadfast, and I ask you all to continue to pray and ask Allah subhana wa ta’ala to continue to give us strength when we are weak and continue to give us knowledge when we are ignorant, and continues to increase us in Imaan and Taqwa and increase us in Patience, and gratitude,

Inshallah ta’ala I hope this is sufficient for everyone who is concerned, may Allah bless you all, may Allah reward you all and your families, and Inshallah ta’ala I will continue like I mentioned in my last talk, I will continue my efforts to do Da’wah, I will continue the completion of writing my book, I will continue to do all the good things that Allah subhana wa ta’ala has placed in my life, and Allah subhana wa ta’ala will continue test me and test us all until we return to Him. I’m very grateful that I’ve had strength, I’m not depressed, and I will never despair of the Mercy of Allah subhana wa ta’ala because He is the Most Merciful.

So I ask you brothers ans sisters, do not worry, but just remain firm, and also try to obtain all the benefits of this holy month of Ramadan, because our fasting and praying for Allah subhana wa ta’ala eventually leads to extreme ease, and makes my acceptance of anything Allah decrees for me and my family easier.

Alhumdulillahirabbilalamin

Jazakallahukhair

Barakallahu feekum

Assalamualikum warahmatullahi wabarkatuhu

 

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Moath al-Alwi: July 2013 (The Only Way I Have Left to Cry Out for Life, Freedom & Dignity)

A month ago, the guards here at Guantanamo Bay gave me an orange jumpsuit. After years in white and brown, the colours of compliant prisoners, I am very proud to wear my new clothes. The colour orange is Guantanamo’s banner. Anyone who knows the truth about this place knows that orange is its only true colour.

My name is Moath al-Alwi. I have been a prisoner of the United States at Guantanamo since 2002. I was never charged with any crime and I have not received a fair trial in US courts. To protest this injustice, I began a hunger strike in February. Now, twice a day, the US military straps me down to a chair and pushes a thick tube down my nose to force-feed me.

When I choose to remain in my cell in an act of peaceful protest against the force-feeding, the prison authorities send in a Forced Cell Extraction team: six guards in full riot gear. Those guards are deliberately brutal to punish me for my protest. They pile up on top of me to the point that I feel like my back is about to break. They then carry me out and strap me into the restraint chair, which we hunger strikers call the torture chair.

A new twist to this routine involves the guards restraining me to the chair with my arms cuffed behind my back. The chest strap is then tightened, trapping my arms between my torso and the chair’s backrest. This is done despite the fact that the torture chair features built-in arm restraints. It is extremely painful to remain in this position.

Even after I am tied to the chair, a guard digs his thumbs under my jaw, gripping me at the pressure points and choking me as the tube is inserted down my nose and into my stomach. They always use my right nostril now because my left one is swollen shut after countless feeding sessions. Sometimes, the nurses get it wrong, snaking the tube into my lung instead, and I begin to choke.

The US military medical staff conducting the force-feeding at Guantanamo is basically stuffing us prisoners to bring up our weight – mine had dropped from 168 pounds to 108 pounds, before they began force-feeding me. They even use constipation as a weapon, refusing to give hunger strikers laxatives despite the fact that the feeding solutions inevitably cause severe bloating.

If a prisoner vomits after this ordeal, the guards immediately return him to the restraint chair for another round of force-feeding. I’ve seen this inflicted on people up to three times in a row.

Even vital medications for prisoners have been stopped by military medical personnel as additional pressure to break the hunger strike.

Those military doctors and nurses tell us that they are simply obeying orders from the colonel in charge of detention operations, as though that officer were a doctor or as if doctors had to follow his orders rather than their medical ethics or the law.

But they must know that what they are doing is wrong, else they would not have removed the nametags with their pseudonyms or numbers. They don’t want to be identifiable in any way, for fear of being held accountable someday by their profession or the world.

I spend the rest of my time in my solitary confinement cell, on 22-hour lockdown. The authorities have deprived us of the most basic necessities. No toothbrushes, toothpaste, blankets, soap or towels are allowed in our cells. If you ask to go to the shower, the guards refuse. They bang on our doors at night, depriving us of sleep.

They have also instituted a humiliating genital search policy. I asked a guard why. He answered:

“So you don’t come out to your meetings and calls with your lawyers and give them information to use against us.”

But the prisoners’ weights are as low as their spirits are high. Every man I know here is determined to remain on hunger strike until the US government begins releasing prisoners.

Those of you on the outside might find that difficult to comprehend. My family certainly does. If I’m lucky, I’m allowed four calls with them each year. My mother spent most of my most recent call pleading with me to stop my hunger strike. I had only this to say in response: “Mom, I have no choice.” It is the only way I have left to cry out for life, freedom and dignity.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Letters from Moath al-Alwi, Risala

 

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Jesse Curtis Morton: July 9, 2013 (A Message Upon the Advent of Ramadan)

Assalamulaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. I pray this finds each of you in a blessed state of Iman, healthy and prepared for another Ramadan of mercy and contemplation inshaAllah.

I wanted to write a sincere statement coincident with the month about the importance of calling to Islam in America. I have now been incarcerated for two years, and while I never imagined coming back to the country, in many ways, I have grown appreciative and grateful for my newfound reality, and all praise is due to the Lord of Al Alameen. As one gets older, idealisms are replaced by more realistic contemplation and one has a greater appreciation for any opportunity that can lead to the rectification of deeds and the improvement of one’s internal condition.

There aren’t many tests more difficult than prison. The prisoner is often stuck between the fear that his incarceration is a result of his disobedience to Allah and the hope that his situation is a form of worship – surely Allah (SWT) tested the Messengers with similar trials. We are comforted by a balance that comes as a result of contemplation on the ayat of Allah and the close connection that comes about when all is removed and absolute reliance is dependent upon Him (ta’ ala). As Sheikh al-Islam explained it when asked about the du’aa of Yunus (alayhi salam), everything Allah does to His servants serves a purpose. He described,

“From the completion of Allah’s favor upon His slaves is that He afflicts them with trials and tribulations so that they might turn back to Him and supplicate to Him, without partners, making their religion sincere to Him and making their hope and hearts dependant on Him alone. This leads to absolute reliance on Him, and then their tasting the sweetness of faith and absolving themselves of all facets of shirk. All of the blessings of health, security, and provision are only temporal (worldly) blessings which both the believer and non-believer are granted. As for the blessings that are achieved by those who live tawheed, they are beyond description, and every believer experiences this proportionate to his level of faith. This is why the salaf said, ‘O son of Adam, you have indeed been blessed when in order to fulfill a need you frequently knock on the gate of your Master.’ And one of the scholars said, ‘I have a need for Allah so I invoke Him and He grants me the delight of knowing Him and the sweetness of conversation with Him which makes me desire that my needs are not addressed quickly for fear that my soul is distracted from this because the soul only desires what it wants and whenever it attains its objective it turns away.’

So we remind the brothers and sisters to remember Allah much this Ramadan and to use the blessed month to rectify your relationship with Allah, always seeking guidance upon the straight path. The following article is about dawa and is a topic I felt compelled to write about because it is an area that occupies a significant portion of our time here. I ask you all to take time to make dua for me and my family, that Allah (swt) hasten my release and protect my wife and children while I’m gone. He (swt) says that, “Whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way out for him from every difficulty and He will provide for Him from sources where he could never imagine.”

Indeed, many of the salaf considered this verse to be the most inclusive ayah of the Quran, because the good of this world and the hereafter are dependent on its application. Thus tests either help a believer to attain purification or lead to destruction – and we pray for forgiveness on “a day when neither wealth or children will be of any benefit except for the one who comes to Allah with a pure heart (Shura 88-89).”

Ramadan, a month of increased reward and blessing, is also a month when many Muslims pay their zakat, a portion of which might go to the prisoners. So, I also ask those of you that can afford to do so to make a contribution to help keep our family going. You can email my wife at knasri1982@gmail.com to provide assistance. May Allah (swt) keep us firm in seeking knowledge, applying what we learn, calling to it and giving us the courage to right our wrongs. May He (swt) give each and every one of you the ability to call beautifully to Islam. May He bless you and all of your families with a splendid Ramadan, unite the ummah upon the truth and guide us all to the Siratal Mustaqeem.

Your brother,

Younus Abdullah Muhammad

 

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