Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The winds of change, the atrocity of government action in Tunisia compels us to speak about this tiny, largely tourist nation on the North African coast. It was our beloved prophet (SAAW) who said: Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it by his hand (by action), and if he cannot, then by his tongue (by speaking out), and if he cannot, then by his heart (by feeling that it is wrong), and that is the weakest of faith.[1]; and thus, I must use the hand to write and the heart to speak, for the weakest form of faith will no longer suffice. On the 31st of December, 2010 it was reported that the French deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to ease tensions between the people of Tunisia and the government of its President, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. France, the former colonial master and ideological mother country to an Arab and predominantly Muslim government, seeks to ease tensions between the oppressed and the oppressor?! This is likened to the lion attempting to ease tensions between a leopard and a herd of gazelle. Since the suicide of an eighteen-year-old man, protests in Sousse, Meknassi, and Sfax have been met with violent repression by Tunisian police. The ideological giant and connection between both the American and French Revolutions, Thomas Paine, stated in his 1776 treatise Common Sense, that:

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right…Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

In this statement, Paine is absolutely correct, and whether the American version of the Neo/Tea-Party idiocy or the French/Arab hybrid of Mr. Ben Ali’s administration, one should take notice that Government is Necessary. What matters and what is truly at stake is the manner in which it is administered, hence our beloved prophet (SAAW) said, It is not permitted for three men to be in a desert place without putting one of their number in leadership[2]

Fifteen years later Paine would write in Rights of Man of the French Revolution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man it engendered:

The first three articles comprehend in general terms the whole of the Declaration of Rights; all the succeeding articles either originate from them or follow as elucidations. The 4th, 5th, and 6th define more particularly what is only generally expressed in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd…while the Declaration of Rights was before the National Assembly some of its members remarked that if a Declaration of Rights was published it should be accompanied by a declaration of duties. The observation discovered a mind that reflected, and it only erred by not reflecting far enough. A Declaration of Rights is, by reciprocity, a declaration of duties also. Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess…in the declaratory exordium which prefaces the Declaration of Rights we see the solemn and majestic spectacle of a Nation opening its commission, under the auspices of its Creator, to establish a Government, a scene so new, and so transcendently unequalled by anything in the European world, that the name of a Revolution is diminutive of its character, and its rises into a REGENERATION OF MAN…the French Revolution…it stares corruption in the face and the venal tribe are all alarmed. Their fear discovers itself in their outrage, and they are but publishing the groans of a wounded vice…having now traced the progress of the French Revolution through most of its principal stages, from its commencement to the taking of the Bastille, and its establishment by the Declaration of Rights, I will close the subject with the energetic apostrophe of M. de Lafayette-May This Great Monument, Raised to Liberty, Serve as a Lesson to the Oppressor, and an Example to the Oppressed!

For the Islamic Nationalist, who are jailed, tortured, executed, robbed of elections throughout the Arab world, the Declaration of the Rights of Man is Islam! This is first and foremost. It was under the Auspices of The Creator that the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs established Government unequalled to anything in the world before or since, and it will be again, Inshallah. Secondly, the cultural and racial arrogance of the French people and its acceptance and acquiescence by the Uncle Tom Tunisian, that attempts to deny Islam’s role in the private and public sphere within the life of mankind. Moreover, if we examine the the first three articles of the French Republic’s Declaration of Rights of Man, we find that its ideals and principles do not exist even within France. Thus it raises the question as to how the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to ease tensions between the Oppressor in Mr. Ben Ali’s government and the Tunisian people, as why any Tunisian in his or her own right mind would look to France to set things right or otherwise restore balance to Tunisia. This mindset, perpetrated by French colonialism and its policy of assimiliation has infected the minds of Muslims and Muslimahs not only in Tunisia, but in Algeria, Syria, Morocco, as well as within the Gallic nation itself.

Inshallah, every Muslim must engage in a true Tasawwuf of the heart and especially of the mind. What makes you ashamed of being who and what you are? What makes you feel that hijab is not for you? What makes you feel that French is more refined, more cultured, more sophisticated than learning physics, chemistry, economics, and history in Arabic within schools and universities? In the same vein as Malcolm X, prior to his true and sahih conversion to Al Islam, ask yourself: who taught you to hate yourself? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? That blonde is better than brown, thick, and wavy? Who taught you that a cocktail dress is superior to the abaya? Who taught you to be ashamed? Who? Wallahi, I say and I say again, to lose your Deen is a slow and sincere process by which one also loses one’s mind. The winds of change are blowing, now choose a direction. Choose life or death. Choose Islam or disbelieve.

But no matter what you choose, support your brothers and sisters in Tunisia for their quest for Liberty and Freedom from Oppression from their own Government. It is time to call Mr. Ben Ali and his family to relinquish power and perhaps emigrate to the earthly safety of France. For whether the source is Islamic or French, the first three articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Declaration of Independence, and The Holy Qur'an and the Sunna of the prophet (SAAW) are Sahih and True, though we submit with no equivocation that Primacy is with Allah and His messenger (SAAW): All men are created equal Endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable Rights...Men are born, always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights...The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are Liberty, Property, Security, and Resistance of Oppression.

But let those know, who dispute about Our Signs, that there is for them no way of escape.

Whatever ye are given (here) is (but) a convenience of this life: but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting: (it is) for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord:

Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then forgive;

Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;

And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves.

-Holy Qur'an 42: 35-39

Isma’il ibn Bilal

[1] (Al-Bukhari, Fath, 1/51).
[2] (Ahmad on the authority of 'Abd Allah bin 'Umar)


  1. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم...

    i will add this quote from El Khalifa Umar Ibn El Khatab..(متى ستعبدتم الناس و قد ولدتهم امها تهم احرارا)...Safia

  2. Wallahi Al Theem, I cannot believe the response to this article...some 1900 people from all over the world have read this article...Wallahi, I cannot believe it and I am very, very, very humbled.


  4. Subhnallah to the sister or brother who left that last comment...

  5. why Bilal..i'm the same sister who commented your article about the jewish question..:))..i follow with avery deep interest your work..Masha'Allah..i wished and i'm not jealous, if i have your knowledge..

  6. Naw, sister, I just expected a lot of vitriol from Muslims in relation to the 'Jewish Question' essay, and I am surprised and pleased that it spoke to you, Alhamduilillah.

  7. masha Allah you spend a lot of time for your blog ! Raly ouf.

  8. Raly, I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing...I am just trying in my own small way to 'wake' the Ummah from its intellectual slumber.