The Spirit of Independence

بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم

All praise is due to Allah alone; He Who created mankind and could have made it a single people but divided it into nations and tribes that they may come to know one another; He Who set for each nation the time for its birth, rise, decline and eventual succession by others; He to Whom every individual must return for their ultimate judgement. And may the best benedictions and peace be upon the seal of prophethood, the final messenger sent for the guidance of mankind regarding every facet of their lives, the personal, family, social, state and even international relations, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). To proceed:

The day on which this is being written is July fourth, a day observed and celebrated in our nation as the anniversary of the birth of its independence. It is a day of national pride and patriotism celebrated across the nation with cookouts, baseball games, parades and firework displays. It is also a time when Americans tend to speak about the topics of freedom and liberty. However, and it seems especially true of the millennialist generation, most seem to not understand the reality they are celebrating. Many are celebrating the day as a cultural event rather than as an anniversary meant to remind. One even finds immigrants and foreigners joining in the festivities, seemingly celebrating the idea of America and Americanism more than the anniversary of the colonies’ declaration of their independence from the British empire. Perhaps it is the case that this day has become an occasion for many as a symbolic celebration of their concepts of “freedom” and “liberty”. Regardless of the intentions of the individuals observing this day, it is a day of with historic roots and a core essence.

Perhaps the core essence of this day can be summed up in the words of Henry Clay, “An Oppressed people are authorized whenever they can to rise and break the fetters.” This was the over-riding sentiment in the colonies and can be seen in the words of many of the founding fathers. This sentiment is well illustrated in one of the letters of John Adams which he wrote toThomas Jefferson in which he said, “What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 – 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.” The essence of the independence of America was not a spirit of liberty or freedom but rather a spirit of rebellion towards independence. 

Perhaps it is the case that this makes people uncomfortable. Perhaps it is the case that such sentiment itself is denied and rejected by the reader. Such a discomfort would most likely arise due to this being a concept overlooked in the observation of this day. Despite that, this was indeed a sentiment upheld by the founding fathers of this nation so we find in the letters of Thomas Jefferson his saying, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.” And, “A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical… It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

Today our nation specifically and the world in general is in a state of tension and unease. Perhaps a better word would be “dis-eased”. With the newly elected President revealing the fragile relations with European nations, tensions growing between our nation and Russia, and China “testing” our military – not to mention the acts of belligerent nations such as North Korea and our own belligerent behavior towards sovereign and peaceful nations such as Iran – our nation is in a very critical state. Still, around the world we are fighting, condoning, supporting and even spreading terrorism and oppression by rogue regimes. While claiming to fight the rogue state of ISIS we are supporting rebels in Syria, supporting massacres in Yemen and condoning those in Burma. Our nation has over a quarter million soldiers in over a hundred nations, over 750 “authorized” military bases in over 38 countries and a so called “defense budget” of over $780,000,000,000. Over 250 innocent civilians have been killed by American drone attacks this year alone and yet “We the People” are still fed a daily diet of fear, anger and and hatred by our government – both in the media as well as on official social media platforms. 

Such propaganda itself is utilized to continue the usurpation of the rights of the American people. Slogans of freedom and liberty have been made little more than a mask to hide the tyranny of our nation. The spirit of independence itself is made a mockery and yet, we have become so content with consumption that, as long as we have access to Amazon, Walmart, Netflix and endless streams of entertainment, we are willing to overlook the fact that our nation has been at war, unjustly, for over 15 years and we continue to spread the influence of our nation by the proverbial sword by the day – conflict after conflict. As long as we are able to work and pay our ever increasing bills we overlook the “no fly list”, the security measures of the TSA, the tracking of civilians throughout our nation via traffic cameras by homeland security, the assassination of American citizens by our government without charge or trial being brought against them, laws permitting the secreted indefinite military detainment of citizens who the government deems to be “belligerent” (a term itself yet undefined), the militarization of police forces across the nation and the actual plans outlining how the military will “handle” civil unrest in our cities. We have overlooked the fact that our nation has, by and large, become a police state and we the people have freedom to consume but have had our freedom to resist all but neutered. We have been victims of our government’s psychological operations for nearly two decades so we have not even realized that the country we live in is not the America celebrated on the Fourth of July but rather resembles much more the lead up to Nazi Germany or even Russia at the height of the Cold War. Still, we have been conditioned to be contented as long as we are free to choose what it is we get to consume. 

Perhaps it is, on this day, we should recall the words written by Thomas Jefferson in his letters, wherein he said, “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…” and, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”  

Now, one may easily cast disparaging remarks regarding the fact a Muslim has said such things. The audacity! How dare a Muslim say that the government should be warned, that citizens should bear arms, blood should be spilt, or that the government itself needs to be resisted against. He must be a “terrorist” or a “militant” – even if he be a white American who entered into the faith – he must have been “radicalized”. How easy it is to disregard the words when they come from a Muslim. But ask yourself – is what has been said truth or not? Then too, what is it that I am actually calling to?

The historical roots of the revolutionary war was the spirit of resistance to an unjust empire and the trigger was unfair taxation. Today the people of America are stripped of 30% of their wages before they ever see it. They are robbed of more of their earnings than perhaps any other people in history, but what is worse, the very spirit of resistance has been stripped from them so now, like old women, they grumble and complain but take no action. Over 100,000 people died in the revolutionary war because men fought for what they believed in – yet today we are so sensitive we are afraid of taking a stand lest we be insulted. How do we expect to have true freedom, true liberty, true independence if we are even willing to be people of principle, acting in congruence with our claims? Look at the American hero (I believe), Henry David Thoreau and how he refused to pay taxes to an unjust government and was willing to go to jail due to his conviction. He was a man who believed in and called to civil disobedience while today we find people who are tough in their online personas in the worlds of Facebook, twitter, instigram and the like, but in reality they remain too cowardly to take a stand in their lives in the real world. We have been robbed of our very hearts.

In this time of dis-ease; these times in which we are plagued with materialism and hedonism, perhaps it is good to remember that the very first nation to recognize the independence of the United States was Morocco; the first people to acknowledge the very existence of the Americans as an independent people and enter into trade agreements with them were Muslims. Today too, the Muslim community must acknowledge the independence of the American people and be a source of help for them against the empire they are under. The Muslim navies supported the colonies and strengthened the spirit of resistance. Today, the Muslim community must serve as a source of heart and seek to restore the spirit to our people. We must remind them of the core essence of this day, the words of Henry Clay, “An Oppressed people are authorized whenever they can to rise and break the fetters.”

Today the American people are Tyrannized from without because they have oppressed their own selves from within. They don’t recognize the oppression and tyranny of others because they have become heedless of the tyranny and oppression of their own selves. This is as Allah has said, 

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ

 أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

“And do not be like those who have become heedless of God 

So that they have even forgotten themselves;

Indeed they are transgressors”

 (59:19)

We fear loss in the things of this world, seemingly forgetting God’s informing us, via His beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “Allah has said, ‘O My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and I have made it forbidden among you, so do not oppress among yourselves. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those whom I guide, so seek guidance of Me and I will guide you to the right path. All of you are hungry (in need), except those whom I feed, so seek food from Me and I will then feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked, except for those whom I clothe, so seek clothing of Me and I will clothe you. O my servants, verily you commit sin by day and night, and I forgive sins, so seek forgiveness from Me and I will forgive you’.” It is important to call our people back to this reality, back to the core essence of their humanity – their belief in, reliance upon and submission to the One True God ad Thomas Paine mentioned in his “age of reason”, “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.”

It is only when the American people return to faith that they can return to their humanity. It is only with a return to heir humanity that they will begin to restore their hearts. It is only when they restore their hearts that they can find their spirit. It is only when they find their spirit that they will live principled lives. It is only when they live principled lives that they will find courage and strength. It is only when they find courage and strength that they can take once again resist the tyrants who seek to oppress them. That is the true revolution…and as we saw in the words of the founding fathers, whether it manifests into war or not, the true revolution is the revolution that takes place in the hearts and minds. 

O’ indigenous Muslims of the U.S. – we have the remedy! Be a cure for your people. Reflect well and hold fast to the words of Allah,

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ 

تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

 وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ 

وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم

 مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ 

وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

Indeed you are the best community raised up for [the benefit of] mankind: 

you enjoin the good and forbid what is wrong, 

and you believe in God. 

If only the people of the book had attained to faith it would have been for them;

Few it is amongst them who are believers,

while most of them are transgressors.”

(3:110)

And with Allah alone is every success.

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About hvsmrspct

Brother Wm. Halim Breiannis was born and raised in Baltimore, Md.. He accepted Islam in 1996 and has continued studying Islam since that time. Brother Halim has studied with various scholars being a direct student of Sheikh Khalil Majdalawi for ten years and has been a student with the Cordoba Academy since 2011. He is called upon to lecture, teach and act as the khateeb at masajid and universities in the Baltimore area where he continues to reside with his wife and children.
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