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Firmness of a Prisoner of Conscience

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi relates the following about his experience in prison:

"...And when my family came to me with the news of my father's death (may Allah have Mercy upon him) while I was in my cell after much waiting, promises, and delay in regards to seeing him in the final days of his illness, I told them that had they wanted to, these people could have let me out to see him before his death so that I could stand by him in these moments. If they didn't do this hoping that I would compromise, break down, or raise the white flag in the face of such pressures, I say to them and you: By Allah, if my entire family were to die one by one - my mother, my children, my wives, my brothers, everyone - do not even dream that I would recant a single letter of what I believe to be the truth from my religion or worship Allah by, even if I were to spend the rest of my life in a cell.

My father, my mother, and my family * Are a shield for the religion of Muhammad..."

"...And I say as I said to some of my interrogators during our constant meetings: Do you know Kim Sung-Myung, the South Korean? He is not any firmer than I, by Allah's Will! When they would ask who he was, I would inform them that he was a believer in the empty concept of Communism. Despite this, he is the oldest Communist political prisoner in South Korea, being held for his Communist beliefs in a cell the size of a closet for 44 years! He did not recant his Communist beliefs for a single second during the entire period of his incarceration to his release, remaining firm despite the defeat of Communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and millions of Communists abandoning their beliefs. Amnesty International considered him the oldest political prisoner in the world.

This man in his seventies emerged from his cell in which he spent his youth and most of his life to tell the world that despite his frail body that could not even support itself - such that he needed the support of his friends to simply stand in front of journalists' cameras - so that he could tell the whole world, especially those who had imprisoned him: Even if you weakened my body and broke my bones and my back, you will never weaken my resolve and break my spirit!

So, I would say to these people and others: Does it make sense that the adherent to such empty beliefs be stronger in his resolve than one who adheres to a divine belief that is stronger and loftier than the towering mountains, connected to his Lord, relying on his Helper? Allah's refuge is sought...So, what recantation are you waiting for?

Place the handcuffs on my wrists, and burn my ribs with the whip * Place the knife on my throat;

You won't be able to arrest my mind even for an hour * Or to drag away my faith or certainty;

As the light is in my heart and my heart is in my hand * My Lord, my Lord is my Helper and Aid;

I will live holding firm to the rope of my belief * And will die smiling so that my religion will live..."

"...I would also remember those who were in worse conditions and tests than I, from my imprisoned brothers in all the corners of the globe who are prevented from even the most basic rights. This would increase me in firmness and resolve and strength. It would also help me to belittle whatever hardship I was experiencing. I would remember my brothers in the dark prisons of Bagram, my brothers in Abu Ghurayb, my brothers in Guantanamo, my brothers in the secret prisons where one cannot even see the Sun and in which they can be seen by nobody. I would remember my brothers in the prisons of the Jews, Communists, and apostates, etc.

And I would remember my dear brother Abu Mujahid (may Allah have Mercy upon him and gather us with him in the Firdaws) and how he was imprisoned...in a filthy, dark, solitary cell filled with insects, and he was prevented from a copy of the Qur'an. I remember how he would long for each verse he would hear being recited from the distant mosques and keep repeating them until he had them memorized...

I would remember such things, and this would help me belittle my hardships and would acquaint me with Allah's blessings upon me in that He made the Qur'an my intimate companion during this trial..."

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