"Devoted to Peaceful Change Sentenced Beyond Decency. The Suffering of a man of God Bearable owing to his Deep Faith in Allah."
Tariq Mehanna, who was sentenced to 17 1/2 years on bogus terrorism support charges in Boston federal court in 2011, has shown himself to be a model of patience and gratitude to God as he sits in the CMU Marion. In a recent letter to this author, Tariq wrote: "Things are OK, though. I've got peace and quiet, and time to read and think, which is worth more than the world in gold."
Tariq, now 32, was imprisoned for thought crimes, namely the online translation of ancient Arabic texts on jihad, but he believes the charges came in retaliation to his resistance to the FBI's bid to make him an informant.
"No evidence linked him to actual acts of terrorism or suggested that he had conspired with a real-world terrorist organization or provided any terrorist group with property, advice assistance or the like," reported Amna Akbar in the Nation.
Despite this tremendous setback, the young man has chosen to use his time wisely, producing scriptural commentary to be disseminated throughout the internet. His new article, sent out on September 6, 2014, begins:
"You would likely find the prison environment to be boring. The color scheme of the place - an exotic array of grays and off-whites - itself does wonders in dulling the mind. Most people cannot live without entertainment, and entertainment options are limited in here. Prisoners typically opt for TV. Since I don't watch much TV, I thus spend quite a bit of time in my cell reading. My reading is all over the place (history, sociology, astronomy, medicine, and plenty of newspapers), but the field most enjoyable to me is that of Hadith."
He mentions a hadith that has particular significance to the prisoner in isolation: "It is related that the great scholar and Mujahid, 'Abdullah bin al-Mubarak, used to spend a lot of time alone. He was once asked: "Aren't you lonely, sitting by yourself?" He replied: 'How can I be lonely while sitting with the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Sahabah, and the Tabi'in?' He was referring to the books he was surrounded with that contained their life stories and narrated statements. Each time such a book is opened, the reader is indeed reaching back through time, to another part of the Earth, to meet the Prophet and the thousands of people who comprised the best generations of human history, and to learn from their wisdom."
He takes comfort in knowing the the Prophet (pbuh) gave his glad tiding to the Believers that would come later, especially toward the End Time, because they believed in him even having never seen him. Yet Tariq also notes how the Believers are indeed persecuted outcasts in the present day just as they were in the beginning of Islam.
"Were the Sahabah to visit our world, they would be walking into a repeat of this. Just as they saw the Makkans having invented for themselves a religion containing mere remnants of the teachings of Ibrahim, the Sahabah would see the 'Western Islam' the people have invented for themselves today and recognize nothing but remnants of what they were taught by the Prophet in Madinah. Of all things, they would be most saddened to see many claimants to Islam still clueless about what he taught is the very tightest bond of Iman itself: Wala' & Bara' - this despite the untold amount of material that has been authored and translated into every imaginable language on the topic, and despite us living in an era where the enemy has done away with all pretense. The Sahabah would wince at the fact that while the hypocrites they faced in Madinah at least were opportunists who sided with the believers when they had the upper hand, today's hypocrites unconditionally side with the enemy through thick and thin."
Tariq reminds us that Ibn Taymiyyah also wrote that "it has been authentically reported through numerous chains of narration that the Prophet said: "There will always be a group of my ummah that is victoriously upon the truth until the Hour comes, and they will not be harmed by those who abandon or oppose them."
Tariq continues: "Commenting on that same hadith, an-Nawawi wrote: 'It could be said that this group is dispersed between the various categories of believers. Some of them are courageous warriors, some are experts in Fiqh, some are experts in Hadith, some are ascetics, some are those who enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong, and some are known for other forms of good. And they are not necessarily concentrated in one location. Rather, they could be scattered throughout the Earth.'"
Under the most difficult circumstances our brother reminds us that there is nothing more important than striving in the way of Allah for truth and justice. At the end of this month, the US Supreme Court will decide whether or not to take on his case.
Write to him at: Tarek Mehanna #05315-748, Marion CMU, PO Box 1000, Marion, IL 62959 or look up his support pages on Facebook.