What Tarek Mehanna Has in Common with Prophet Yusuf

When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists”.
Tarek Mehanna

Last Thursday, a 27 year old American born and raised Muslim was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for an "attempt to aid Al-Qaeda". Tarek Mehanna's powerful speech has gone viral on the Internet and I'm sure most of you have read it. But if you haven't, it's time you did. It was reported that "what took place was a dramatic, 20-minute monologue. He did not miss a beat, no notes. There was not a pause. He started talking about what he was was because of America." (WBUR)

His case reminds me of the trials which Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) faced in his lifetime. He was the victim of one evil plot after another and like Mehanna he was thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit. Despite all this Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) remained steadfast in his faith in God's plan for him.

He said, "My Lord, prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. And if You do not avert from me their plan, I might incline toward them and [thus] be of the ignorant." {Surah Yusuf, 12:33}

But one must remember that it was in prison that he was given the gift of dream interpretation. A God-given ability that eventually led him to inherit an important position in the palace as an adviser to the king of Egypt at the time. Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) became a man of influence and those who plotted against him realised the gravity of their mistakes and sought for God's forgiveness. What happened to our prophet teaches us that trials are not a punishment from Allah (swt) but a means for Him to raise our position in this world and in the Hereafter too.

"My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous." {Surah Yusuf, 12:101}

As we fight we fight our own battles in this life we should draw inspiration from prophets like Yusuf (a.s.) and people like Tarek Mehanna. The more you have patience and faith in Him the closer you will be to achieving true victory and to Him. What more could you ask for in a world where people are cruel, unjust and constantly plot the downfall of others?

"But Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers." {Surah Ali Imran, 3:150}
"...So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector; and excellent is the Protector, and excellent is the Helper. {Surah Al-Haj, 22:78}

As you can already see, like Prophet Yusuf (a.s.), even with his hands cuffed Mehanna has already received a 'gift' from Allah (swt). It is his voice and it has been heard. Slowly it is changing the way we think about the world, our leaders and the people around us. Most importantly, it is changing the way we think about ourselves and what we can do with our voices.

"I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask: ’what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ’What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective - even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a ”terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with "killing Americans". But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic." - Tarek Mehanna 4/12/12

Read his full speech here


The Black Jubah said…
Jazakallah for this, you're right I have not heard of it....
Shahirah Elaiza said…
@The Black Jubah, wa iyyaki.
Noor Of My Life said…
I cant say I have heard of him and I certainly have not heard his name mentioned in the mainstrain media in the UK, but wow his statement is so powerful he seems like such a intelligent man who has stood up for his cause, I hope that he is as genuine as he claims to be but the sad fact is that it is so hard to prove your innocence in these time, I hope Allah swt makes his struggles easy for him.
Anonymous said…
Salam... Ive jz came across your blog... And i must say its not A typical hijabi blog.im not trying to condemn anyone but most of the hijabi blogs ive came across dont usually post topics that can actually benefit us in the hereafter.i respect you for that.Keep up the good work ;)
Shahirah Elaiza said…
@Noor Of My Life, you're right, Allah knows best at the end of the day. I really agreed with what he said though. I studied a bit of about wars in our history last year and it was heartbreaking to learn about what some leaders have done for the sake of power and money. I'm also really tired of people looking at Islam and Muslims as a threat. It's time someone said something as powerful as Mehanna did.

@queenofqalbs, Wa'salaam, thank you! May Allah swt continue to guide us to do good deeds that will benefit us in this dunya and the hereafter. Ameen.
Unknown said…
I'm glad to see you're sharing his story too.
had a post about it on her blog too. He's amazingly eloquent, MashAllah. May Allah help him out of this trial.
MissM said…
I'm still undecided as to what to think of him