A Heart-Rending Exposition by Fowzia Siddiqui

My honourable beloved Brothers and Sisters and Respected Maulana SheikhupuraSaab, Peace be upon you.

Today, I am deeply grateful to all of you, for you have given me an opportunity in which I can talk to you a little about my sister and also make a few clarifications about the facts regarding her case. Maulana Sahab mentioned a lot; he has also said some very heart-rendering, eye-opening things. And perhaps this is the reason why Aafia is where she is today, and there are such rulers today that don’t even lift a finger to help bring her back home.

I’ve been given a few points to speak on which the people want clarification. The past 8 years since Aafia’s abduction – and approximately 38 years of her life cannot be easily summarized in 10 or 15 minutes; however, I will try my best to give you a small portrait of who Aafia was, what she had wanted from life, what are the allegations against her, and where we stand to this day. Aafia’s – our father was a doctor, and our mother was a social worker. There are three of us siblings: my brother is the eldest – he is a space architect; he resides in America. Following in line is me – I’m a Neurological doctor, I specialize in Neurology and I graduated from Harvard. And Aafia is the youngest of us. As you know, in every household, the person who is the youngest is also the most favoured and cared for. But Aafia was special amongst us from very early on Maa shaa’Allaah; from first grade – ever since she started school, and even before that she was very considerate, tender-hearted and she always came top in all her classes. She never came second… in any subject, any method, whether it is a reading competition, or an essay writing competition, any kind of competition… if Aafia was taking part in it, then the first prize was bound to go to Aafia. Her record has always been this way throughout. Maa shaa’Allaah, she was extremely intelligent.

As a child, she had a desire for two or three things; as a child, she loved dolls, and as she grew up, young children. She also give her utmost respect to elders, and it was due to this respect, when she went to America…here (in Pakistan) when she graduated from high-school as a valedictorian, all the (top) schools in the US offered her full scholarships. Our brother was in America at the time, so mother and father decided, “This will give Aafia a great education, so send her to her brother.” Over there, her name made it to the National Dean’s List which is a very rare and very honourable merit. There are numerous, countless awards to her name, countless honours and awards, certificates received. So when her name appeared on the National Dean’s list, she got a full scholarship from MIT. MIT stands for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which is not only the best university in the US but is considered a top university on an international level. So when she got a full scholarship with sponsorship, people said to my parents, “The talents of such an intelligent student should not be wasted so let her go and attend university there.”

Aafia was passionate about 2 or 3 things in particular as I have mentioned. One was children; she loved little children. Second, she had immense love for the Noble Qur’an. She had memorized the entire Qur’an on her own. And she did not memorize how we commonly find people memorize the Qur’an, in that they simply learn the Arabic by rote. She memorized [the Qur’an] with its translation and contextual meaning. If you would ask her, “You know that verse that got revealed when the historic battle of Uhud was taking place and there was mention of the hypocrites?”, she would reply with references and exact quotations from the entire Qur’an, “Over here, over here, and over here in the Qur’an, it mentions it,” regarding that incident! This is how she had memorized it, and she had done so totally on her own, and while living at MIT, and in fact, all whilst she was pursuing a first class degree, and achieving top grades.

She did her undergraduate degree in Basic Sciences and Education. And the pastime she would occupy her free time with—you know the old folks’ homes there, where they leave their old parents where the poor old people just lie there, staring in space, bored, yearning for company? She would go there and do the old women’s hair, do their shopping, serve them in any way; this was one of the hobbies that occupied her.

She would help the mentally handicapped children – she particularly worked a lot with autistic children. She would always go and volunteer for these kids. I used to say to her, “Aafia, are these the only people you found to help, such that you do a job where you receive no thanks at all? Nor can the mentally disabled children give you thanks, they cannot even recognize you! Nor can those old women who, no matter how much you do for them, only curse at you in return…the Alzheimer’s patients and all.” So she would say, “No, someone has to care for them! Those who thank others for the favours they receive, (you will find) everyone helps them.”

The third thing was her love for the Qur’an. And even there [at MIT], there were distributions of the Noble Qur’an—Pickthall’s translation. Besides this, she never distributed any other literature. I would sometimes tell her to give out some kind of explanatory info or literature along with it. You know how when there are events in schools, colleges, or universities for the students, and different organizations set up various tables and stalls? Well, Aafia would set up a table and make a large sign over it in large letters, “FREE!” Then she would write, “Encyclopaedia to your life.” She would collect whatever would remain of her expenditure that she would take from us, and she would stack up on Pickthall translations of the Noble Qur’an which she would distribute to people. Everyone would come, attracted to the “FREE!” sign, wondering what it was that was being distributed for free; and she would tell them, “Read this and find out.”

So when I suggested the accompanying literature distribution, she replied:

“The Messenger, peace be upon, did not deliver lengthy sermons. Whenever he spoke, it was quotes from the Holy Book; he would recite the Holy Book. This is what he gave references from, this is how he dealt with everything. So our and everyone’s secret to life’s success is embedded in this Holy Book. America has given me so much, it has given me education, and so many things. So I get deeply saddened when [I see] my roommates as they come in that they put on their headphones, if they look out the window—in Boston, MIT is in Boston, in front of you runs the Charles River, and around the Charles River there are a series of bars, the area is called Pub Hall. Do you know what is written over there on the main gate? ‘Gateway to Hell’!” Meaning, the door that takes one to Hell! (laughing)

She used to say, “I look at the amazing acknowledgement that –look, they themselves place on the front doors of their bars that this is the pathway to Hell.” So she used to say to me, “When my friends ask me, ‘How do you keep so calm? There is so much pressure [in school]. We go [to pubs] so that the loud music, disco and everything will help lighten some of the pressure.’”

So Aafia said, “I would play a tape of the Quran and tell them, ‘Listen to this. I listen to this and I get relaxed.” And she would say, so many people would come to her table and listen “and these were people who were really lost—so why shouldn’t I do this?”

So these were the two or three hobbies that she passed time doing. She had a dream for which she had worked so relentlessly. So after MIT, in Brandeis University she did her masters in Education and Sciences and then her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Education. Her thesis was titled, “Learning by Imitation.” You know how people say she was a neurologist, she was a neurosurgeon, that she was a nuclear physicist? It was nothing like this. Her goal was… her dream was that Pakistan… she would say, “The problems that we face in Pakistan today, their solution lies in perfecting its system of education. If we change our way of thinking, we shift our education paradigm in such a way that it is efficient, that enables us to gain more knowledge in less time while it is enjoyable.”

The third thing is, she had made a 10-year syllabus. She hadn’t studied the subject yet then. Believe me… she often showed me her ideas, she was a little sister; “What are you doing?” I would ask her. Believe me, I did not pay much attention to it. But now that I’ve looked at it, you know what was really fascinating about it? You will be surprised to know – that in the whole program, the whole 10-year program, nowhere is Islamic Studies to be found as a subject! It doesn’t even exist. I was very shocked. I turned to her explanations to see why she had chosen the subjects in the way she did. There, she states very clearly that Islam is a complete way of life; it is an integral portion of every subject. So she presented the information in every subject, every curriculum with an Islamic perspective and Qur’anic reference, with every science, saying that the foundation of these things has already been laid out 1400 years ago; this is not a new science, this is not a new discovery, but rather these are branches from the same stem that are growing out.

So I looked at this and I said to myself, “In actuality, now I understand that if someone had become aware of this potential methodology, then within ten years, how great our nation would have become, and how great would our education system have been, that people—Today, we, our students of knowledge stand in extremely long lines [outside foreign embassies] to get visas so that they can pursue a better education—believe me, within 15 years, people from all over the world would have made lines in front of our embassies [to get visas to our country], and we would not have needed to [go elsewhere]. Every single person [in Pakistan] would have been able to look other people in the eyes and speak to them whether it be in English, French, Farsi – every language. Every child within 10 years would have completed the memorization of the Quran, and would have known the practical application of every verse. It was such a system that surely the reason why America is terrified of it, I have figured out today.

So after she did her PhD, she returned to Pakistan. She had hardly been here 6 months when her father passed away. Some circumstances took place—she was going to Islamabad… at the end of our mother’s mourning period [after our father’s death], she was going to Islamabad along with her three little children… her three young little children. After [she outgrew her love for] dolls, these three children were the world to her. They were everything to her; her life, her world resided in these tiny children. I remember that if her husband ever slapped one of the kids, she would get shaken up and abruptly stop it and bring the child to me, pleading to me, “Please keep this one with you. My husband beats this one when he cries!” I mean what do I tell you? Of course, every mother feels a special connection to her kids. Three young little children: Ahmed was 5 and a half years old, Maryam was 3 and a half years, and Suleiman, extremely small, was in her arms a baby of about 6 months. From that point on, since she left her home, she has not returned home. She has not reached Islamabad either.

No one knows what happened that day, that hour—what was it? Where did she go? Who took her? A lot of facts of the case have become unravelled now. Many people have even confessed, as you all know. I do want to clarify, that our ex-President alleges that she was an American citizen. Aafia was not an American citizen. She was a Pakistani. She had not even applied for a green card, forget about citizenship. She was a Pakistani, she is still a Pakistani, and she continues to be Pakistani. She had great love for Islam and great love for Pakistan. Perhaps this was her crime.

In any case, in our house, our mother was on her own, alone as our father had recently passed away, and she was worried. She was alone at home, I was in the US, and our brother was also in the US. When Aafia had left, hardly an hour had passed when the doorbell rang, and a few men came, and they told my mother, “You have to keep things quiet otherwise you will find four corpses at your doorstep if you leak a single word.” Mother got worried; she fell unconscious on the spot. She was unable to comprehend what was happening. Some neighbours came. [They exchanged conversation]. When everything was recalled, they suggested, “How about we don’t contact the police, and instead contact some higher authorities.” You know how people take counsel, giving suggestions, considering precautions. Then they contacted Mohammad Mian Sumro, who was the chairman of the Senate at the time. He in turn contacted the then IG, Mr. Asad Ashraf Malik who immediately contacted Mother; I believe this all happened within 10 minutes. He sent her a team of people, all statements were documented, and he also advised my mother very lovingly saying, “Please remain quiet [about all this]. If you say anything then in such cases what happens is sometimes they kidnap for a big ransom, sometimes due to some other motives, so you are not to make any noise or voice this issue. You have to stay extremely quiet. We shall deal with this secretly. We have written down everything; we will search and retrieve everything.” They even mentioned two or three names.

They silenced [our] mother. We had no clue. Mother, out of fear, would not even call us; if we were to speak on the phone, the calls would get tapped and they wouldn’t even tell us. To my recollection, my mother went through this torture for around 15 to 20 days. Then, we saw in America, on the MSNBC channel, breaking news that “Aafia Siddiqui has been handed over to American custody. And at this moment she is in America’s….”—I’m talking about 2003. April 2003. Immediately, we called the house asking, “Where is Aafia?” Mother says, “Stay quiet! Stay quiet! Don’t mention Aafia’s name!” “Mother, what’s happened [to you]? This [news] just came on TV.” So of course, after hearing this, the ground was pulled from beneath my mother’s feet. We didn’t understand anything. The ground had been pulled from beneath our feet. We couldn’t understand anything—What are we supposed to do? What happened? For what reason? We got a lawyer, et cetera. When my mother investigated the matter over here, everyone said with such intense respect and such intense love, “We do not know ma’am. We don’t know. She’s in American custody. She must be in America. Why are you sitting here? And why are you telling us? Go to America immediately.” Mother did not look here or there; she got a ticket straight away and came to America.

Once she arrived, she started shouting at us, “What kind of sister and brother are you?” We said, “What can we do? We have hired lawyers. We are investigating what the ultimate reasons are behind this and what happened.” So then in the court in Washington, the case took place, you know the ones on camera closed where the entire place is covered in black tape so that you can’t say a word outside the courtroom. Inside that setting, they told us, “Look, if you stay quiet, we can assure you”—these were their very words, their words under oath—“we assure you…”—an FBI agent, his name was Michael Yetter, at least that’s what he said his name was under oath—he said, “We assure you, she’s alive and well. She has committed no crime, that she has done nothing, she has information about her ex-husband, and due to him, her life is in danger, which is why we have placed her in our custody.” That’s what he said. My friends were giving me hope, “Fouzia, be thankful she is under American custody; if she was with the Pakistanis, then who knows what they would have done to her!” When I have set my eyes on that photo of hers, I thought to myself, “What did I understand of what was said to me? What have they done to that sister of mine?”

And then after that, what silence? What didn’t we do? How many countless letters we have written? How many countless emails we have sent? How many countless sources I have gone to? The media—you already know how fearful the media was at that time; no one had guts and courage. The politicians were ever busy concerned about the number of votes they can win, then and even now to this day. Aafia didn’t come back then and Aafia hasn’t come back today. They would make sure to console my mother and I wherever I went. I came back [to Pakistan] in 2005 when I saw the state of my mother, then I came from America. Until then, we were only fighting [Aafia’s] case in the U.S. I came over here, I tried to lodge an FIR (First Information Report), what didn’t I try? Have any of you ever tried, being a woman, to go to the Police station and see what they do, that what happens and what types of character these people have? Try it some time and then you will not complain to me of what I did and didn’t do.

Fawzia Siddiqui

Then this also happened as if the ground swallowed her or the sky ate her up, as if her existence was no where. Where? Where? And it was just as if everything all of a sudden with a magic wand… In 2006, Moazzam Begg—you might have heard his name before, he recently visited Pakistan – [during his imprisonment] he had detained in Bagram prison, and in Guantanamo Bay. From here… from Islamabad, our President Saabiq Sadr sold him. And then [Begg]’s father pursued the British Citizenship and then England repatriated [Begg], just as they did to Aafia, just as they did to thousands of others.

So he said in a book he has written [called] Enemy Combatant that there is a woman in Bagram, and not one but many of them, but her screams are as such; and he gave very distressful images. At that point, I contacted Red Cross and many other human rights organisations. I said, “I will pay you, but first, please find out who this woman is.” Perhaps—I thought in my heart that perhaps this might be Aafia. Even if it’s not her, then still, this should not happen with any woman. I said, “Whoever it is, please find this out.”

Anyway, after doing everything, they said to me… they did not let us go inside, or investigate any suspicious prison, but we were told, “There aren’t any women or children here. We only turn a tape on to torture men,” so they gave their justification.

Then I also went quiet, but after that, I mean, there was restlessness in my heart and all. Then our lawyers told us, “You folks should file for a dead body. It has been a long time, long enough. These people had said she is alive and well. We don’t believe that such young children can be alive in any circumstance like this, so lodge a court case for their dead bodies.” Then we lodged a case that “Give us the dead bodies or else, if they are alive, show us where they are and let us meet them. Otherwise, give us the bodies and finish this chapter. Why do you galvanize our greatest horrors?”

So we filed this entire case, we collected all the information. When we filed the case, the judge refused to receive the case stating, “The sister and brother have filed this while the mother is alive; bring the mother’s signature.” So they sent us to Pakistan. Our mother ended up crying, saying, “I can’t sign this document. My daughter is alive. My heart says my daughter is alive!”

But anyway, this is what we were busy doing, saying, “Mum, just sign it. Do this.” We filed for it again, stating her health was not good, after collecting it, we handed it in. This time, it was accepted. There, it was getting filed; here, under Taliban captivity an English journalist was held. After coming out, she accepted Islam. She returned home and said, “I was treated very well, but where there are other women and children in other jails, how are they being treated?” after that she raised her voice. As you know, she came to Pakistan as well.

Then after that, it was almost like a magic wand was shaken. Everyone immediately came to the fore, and everyone arrived in Afghanistan, did you know that, from every part of the world they arrived saying, “Show us, introduce us, who is this prisoner 650? And where are the rest of the women and children? And whoever else is there; show us all of them.”

So as if there were a magic wand, Aafia is suddenly found in Ghazni. The FBI comes to our house stating that, “We have found Aafia.” And the funny thing is—we did not know at the time but in the court, with the evidences of from witnesses, the child that was with Aafia, his factum is also with the court; he was not the child that is with me now who is Aafia’s son. He was another child and his statement is ink-bound in court. If you go to Pacer.gov, all the information about the case is there. You can read all of it yourself too. Let me tell you in brief. He said that, “In Kabul, they made me stand with her. And they told Aafia, ‘This is your child, and you have been released.’” They gave her money and gave her a bag in her hand, and told her, “You go. Go to Ghazni. Over there, go to the governor of Ghazni, he will put you in the train and send you to Pakistan. And now we have freed you and this is your son.” So Aafia looked at the child… he said, “She looked at me and said, ‘He has got that big? It has been that long?’ and she put her hand on my head with such motherly love that I started crying, and I thought, ‘This is really my mother’ and I embraced her arms.” And he said, “I took her… I had been ordered to take her to the compound in Ghazni, and leave her there, and return without her. We sat in a taxi or a bus I don’t remember.” Nevertheless, they sat and when they arrived there, he says, “The sound of the Adhan was coming clearly. ‘Come to Salah! Come to Success! Immediately after hearing it, Aafia got restless, and said, ‘Wherever this sound is coming from, I will go in that direction.’” He said, “I pulled her a lot and said, ‘The governor compound is that way, you are going towards the mosque.’ She said, ‘First, I will go to the mosque to perform salah. It has been so many days I haven’t heard this sound. Son, let’s go to the mosque first. See, they are calling, Come to Salah, Come to Success.’”

The child said, “We got to the wall of the mosque. She instantly fainted at the wall of the mosque and fell to the ground. And people gathered around her.” There is the Governor’s statement that he got a phone call that, “An extremely dangerous suicide bomber is coming. Put all of your force outside and as soon you see it. It is coming in the guise of a woman, dressed in Pakistani clothes, it will be seen from far, and with him is a teenage child. As soon as you see it, tear it to shreds; it is extremely dangerous, it will destroy all of Ghazni, that’s the kind of ammunition it has.”

So they were all ready there, but see, “And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Qur’an 3:54); that he who Allah preserves, who can get a taste of them? If she had gone to Ghazni at the time… and look how they drugged her? You know the photo you see of her? Prior to the court case, I used to think that this photo, that after getting bullet wounds, this was her state. But this is her state prior to getting shot, this is from that time… that white wall that is behind her is the wall of the mosque when she was there in this state. In this state they did this and drugged her so that she could not run away, and get wounded by the bullets. We asked for the dead body, right? They could have given us the dead body. But it was the sound of ‘Allah-is-the-Greatest’ that brought her there.

So when the people gathered there, they looked and searched her, there was nothing. People came running from the compound; there was not a huge distance between the two places. So they said, “The description is the same, but this has been a huge misunderstanding. She has nothing on her. She is an unarmed woman.”

After this, they brought her inside. The Governor took her inside and gave her tea etc, and tried to bring her back to consciousness. When this happened, a phone call came, and they asked, “Was the mission accomplished? Did the bomber get destroyed?” So the Afghans responded, “Man, this was a huge misunderstanding. There was no such issue. She is an unarmed woman.”

After that, these five soldiers and three US martials, two FBI agents, and one Afghan Pashto translator, and one guard—7 people were there—these 7 people came. They came and they did the dirty work which the Afghans did not do, despite any of the witness claims. They went to Aafia, in cold blood and in extremely close range—as look, what they do in self defence, right; these soldiers are trained, they can shoot very accurately—what they do in self defence, they do below the waist. They never do it above the waist. They shoot on the leg, so if she was attacking and they did it in self defence, then they would shoot on the leg or hand, never on the chest. From Aafia’s heart, there was only one centimeter, one centimeter distance of the bullet; how the heart was saved?—that is Allah’s Majesty.

Then there are two bullets, one is going directly through the kidney, and one is going through the side from which her intestines are completely destroyed. Her small intestine has been taken out—all of these details are documented within the medical records—and after that, after shooting her at such close range, they were going, then an Afghani slave of Allah said, “She has breath in her yet. Put her on a ventilator.” He resuscitated her. I don’t know why Allah has kept her alive, for what reason. That bullet went through her chest walls—how was her heart saved? Perhaps because she is one who memorised the Qur’an; maybe the Qur’an became her shield. Perhaps Allah had another purpose—Allah did not want her to be defamed or to be returned to us as the corpse of a suicide bomber. Allah wanted to show the world what kind of bondservant of Allah she is, and what a great person she is, and how dear she is to Allah, that she will not be left alone like this, or was she Allah’s will.

Now they panicked and immediately seated her and flew her in that very sodden, wounded state to America. Handling her carelessly here and there for 10 to 15 days, they took her to America, and what case do they run against her? They claim that from 7 soldiers, she snatched a gun, and in that condition. If those soldiers are that scared and that weak, then damn them, and I damn all the rest of us for still being fearful of them; That she snatched the gun away from them—M4 rifle which I’ve been told is 10-12 Kilos and someone said it is 14 Kilos that I can’t even pick it up, and she is my younger sister. Anyway, she is meant to have picked it up and started shooting at them. No one was wounded but these people in self defence shot Aafia. This was the story. This is the case that took place. All the witness statements also came in. Their own lab said that there are no finger prints on this gun, this gun was never even fired, the whole room was searched and no M4 rifle bullets were found, no holes, but Aafia is still a criminal.

Still, out of the seven accusations, Aafia—and those seven accusations that have been placed on her are not of terrorism. When we ourselves said, “You guys picked her on suspicion of terrorism, then today, why don’t you attribute that claim to her? You say, diamond smuggling or business with Al-Qaida or this or that, that she had knowledge of this, etc, then why don’t you attribute those same accusations to her today?”

Standing up, their district attorney said word-by-word, and the judge too—even today, in the judge’s final verdict that after all the torture interrogations, we found no evidence, whether to links with Al-Qaida, links with Taliban, or ties to any terrorist organisation or form or terrorism. If there is any accusation against her, it’s only the following accusations that—three of them being on how she pointed a gun at US soldiers, how she raised a gun in front of soldier #1, in front of soldier #2, and in front of soldier #3 – three separate crimes from one single accusation. The fourth one is that she lifted the gun and said, “God is the Greatest.” In her hand was the possession of a deadly weapon. The fifth allegation is that she made “God is the Greatest” slogans “which for us was a curse so she basically cursed us”, and this was number six. The seventh one was that after getting shot, “when we were arresting her, picking her up, when we were putting the ventilator and she was fighting, she was resisting arrest.” These are the seven accusations against her and there’s nothing else. Read the entire 111 decisions and see for yourself. These are the seven accusations.

All this is the American and Zionist media—that she married such-and-such, that she did this-and-that, even in her degree pursuance, there was no link to chemicals etc. She was studying in the field of education; she cannot even do the things that they say she was doing, that she was cloning etc. This is all their media’s propaganda, my sister’s, my brother’s. She was not doing anything like this, yet they treated her like a criminal. Not only did they treat her like a criminal, but she was given an 86 year sentence. And the judge says, “I had no evidence, but the $2 million dollar lawyers that our government had hired—they wrote a few things of such importance that made me decide because of Aafia’s political and Islamic thinking, and the way she stood up and talked to me in court—for these reasons, I am extending her sentence.” My sisters, she was taken to court under duress. She said these were not her lawyers. They didn’t even let her choose her own lawyers.

The way the Maulana Sahab told you, in an open court this happened. Our respected senator went there. He has with him a video tape, perhaps he has watched it. He has also written in his report that she would be strip-searched, five men would search her, and then they would throw the Holy Qur’an and order her, “Walk on this.” She herself came to court in a wounded state and said, “Would any Muslim…”, she turned to the courtroom and said one specific thing, “Is there any Muslim here—forget me, and how they treat me—but this Sacred Qur’an, they throw it, and tear it and tell me to walk on it! Tell me this—Is this the same sacred book that came down on our Prophet PBUH’s chest? How can I walk on it? They don’t give me clothes if I don’t do this. I say, let me stay in my room. If I say I want to meet my brother, they do the same thing. If I say I want to meet my lawyer, they do the same thing. Then they say that I am not co-operating.” You people decide for yourself. How many people there were! This was broadcast on TV, but in the entire Ummah, who is it that has stood up for this? When these kinds of things are spoken about, when they do these kinds of things, then of course they will burn it in the open. Then when the water over your head passes through, then what’s the use of standing… you fall in prostration when you look at the time, it’s Judgment Day.

My fellows, after this, when they announced the sentence, 86 year sentence, her blood brother was present in court, but the Judge did not let him meet her so that he could embrace her one last time. They took away all of her privileges: her one scarf that she would wear on her head; the veil she used to take over her face; they even took that and tore it and threw it away. Not only that; her Qur’an which she used to hold against her chest and feel some relief—they took that from her as well.

In the end, she said this: that, “I died in that very moment when my tiny baby soul was snatched from me, when my children were separated from me, but that death was nothing when for the first time my clothes were ripped. The Afghans didn’t even do what America has done.” She stood in the end and said this, when even I was crying and saying to my mother that “Mother, they have even taken her Qur’an. What will she hug and find solace in?” Then my mother reassured me that “Child, why do you worry? Allah made her a hafidhah of the Quran for this very reason. Let them steal as many Qur’ans as they can. Allah is closer to her than her jugular vein. The Qur’an is in her chest. Why do you worry? Allah who loves her more than 70 mothers. Was I with her? Were you with her? Who was with her when she had been shot? Who kept her alive? This is the same Allah who has kept her alive today. However much they want to defame her, however much of a big criminal they want to portray her to be, that’s how much honour Allah gives her, “You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will.” (Qur’an 3:26) People don’t understand this. A few days earlier, those who sat quietly thinking of Aafia as a non-issue; today for everyone she has become a great issue. And slowly, they are becoming insignificant. You watch in which ways Allah is executing His Plan, how He is doing things.

Not only this, but from Aafia’s last statement, I will share with you one thing that she said in the courtroom. She stood up and said many things but I was not present there. My brother updated me, and other people informed me. Everyone left the courtroom with a great lesson. But she mentioned a small dream. She said, “I was in my own cell when the Messenger of Allah (saw) brought me news.” He came close to her and held her hand and said, “Daughter, walk with me.” He took her by the hand and opened the door. She saw American soldiers sitting. Their hands were tied behind their backs and their heads were lowered. After seeing the Messenger of Allah (saw), they lowered their faces in even more humility. The Messenger of Allah (saw) did not say anything. He continued into the next room. In the next room was the same situation. All the soldiers were sitting, and they all bowed their heads at the presence of the Messenger of Allaah. He entered the third room, and again it was the same situation. So the Messenger of Allah said, “When you have power, learn to be compassionate and merciful. If you lose your compassion and mercy, you will be defeated.” Then he turned to Aafia and said, “And daughter, when you have power, be compassionate and merciful.” Aafia retold this entire dream. Then she said, “Mr. Judge, I forgive you.”

When you have power, at that moment, do not become the Pharoah. From my understanding, this means… Allah knows best.

But this is what Aafia said and then she said, “Mr Judge, I forgive you.” At the time, the judge and all the people that were there, many non-Muslims, 11 Pakistanis, 500 people, a small number of Muslims, everyone else non-Muslim, everyone’s eyes were filled with tears. She said, “Judge, I forgive you.” He was shocked and said, “Thank you. I wish other people were like you.” Then he said, “You will now be spending the rest of your life in a federal penitentiary.” So Aafia said, “I beg to differ from you. My fate lies with my Allah and my destiny is with my God. That decision of my fate is my God’s, not yours. And Mr Judge, I thank you for letting me graduate from another MIT.” And then the judge called her back, pondering over her parting words? So Aafia said, “Your court: The Manhattan Institute of Theatrical Arts.” These were her last words at which everyone had tears in their eyes as well as- everyone broke out in laughter as well. That she was making everyone laugh after hearing such a big sentence, she put her destiny in the hands of Allah, and said to people, “Do not do any sort of wrong action, don’t get emotional, don’t burn things, stay peaceful. Remember: compassion and mercy.” After giving this lesson, she made such a big sacrifice, such a big sacrifice, that the entire nation stood up, not just the nation, rather people in every corner of the world, and she showed, “O my nation, my Muslim Ummah. The answer to your issue is simple, very simple. You unite, you are split in sects, these one and a half brick mosques – nobody is scared of them. If there is any fear, it is of Jamia Masjid. You get united. United. Unite on one cause. Get united and no power in the world can [bring you down]… And she also let it be known that the victory is yours and the victory is hers. She said that but there is only one condition, that unite on “There is No God but Allah.”

O Pakistanis, recognise the green in your flag. We’ve made so many different coloured flags, that the country which was built upon “There is No God but Allaah,” that country that is on the Qur’an’s verse, the world’s only country that is on the Qur’anic verse, “And among you is the disbeliever, and among you is the believer” (64:2) – so why don’t we all Muslims join hands? Why can’t we all stand up? At least stand up for Aafia – that is not a political issue, it is a human issue, an issue of faith!

Think about it. That she said all this and left. She forgave everyone from her inner self. But she didn’t say that “I ask my Allah to forgive.” She didn’t say that “I ask my beloved Muhammad Mustafa (saw) to.” She did not say that “I ask Jaddeh Amjad Saddique Akbar to.” Think of the Day of Judgment, if they all stood up and asked us. Aafia’s test is finished, she has sacrificed. It is now our test. Where are the fatwas? Why was that Muhtasim billah standing? Why did Tariq bin Ziyad conquer Spain? Why did Muhammad Bin Qasim come? Where are those Fatwas? Where is the Qur’anic verse, that if a Muslim woman is in the custody of non-Muslims, then Muslim men and women, it is obligatory upon you, and if they are in a tyrant’s custody then it is compulsory to try every possible attempt for her release? What will we answer, if Siddiq-e-Akbar (Abu Bakr as-Siddiq) asks us? What will we answer if he reads the verses of surah Nur? ‘So many allegations were made against Aafia by their media. How did you believe them? She is my daughter, and my daughter was also Aisha (ra). When an allegation was made against her then the Qur’an verse came down that ‘O Faithful, what happened to you?’ Why did you not say this was clear slander, that until the end of time an allegation against a Muslim woman – and this is Siddiq-e-Akbar’s daughter.” Was this verse not enough?

What will we answer? Where will we find a hand of healing, my dear fellows, when our Prophet (saw) will ask, “Who stood for my daughter? Who stood for my honour and dignity?” What will we answer?


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Read: Aafia Siddiqui



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