Within the span of twenty four hours, the Muslim Ummah lost two great thinkers and scholars of Islam, both of whom wrote numerous articles and books, and tirelessly attempted to bring benefit to the Ummah.
These two individuals are Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani, and Dr. Hassan al-Turabi. May Allah have mercy on their souls, exalt their ranks, and forgive their sins!
I say this, while knowing full well that many of you who are aware of their writings might be skeptical of such a post. To be clear, I did not see eye to eye with many of their views. Yet, I cannot deny their dedication and commitment to the religion, and I assume the best regarding their sincerity.
They were both Islamic activists at times when it was politically incorrect, and even dangerous, to be involved with Islamic work. They both helped many intellectuals who would otherwise have had nothing to do with Islam to actually become observant Muslims and eventually involved with Islamic reform. At times, they were imprisoned or exiled for their activism.
True, their stances on some classical issues, and their views on the preservation and authenticity of hadith, are clearly not the views that I am sympathetic with. (Additionally Turabi was also a political figure who held office, and there are many criticisms of some of his political policies).
But we need to learn to disagree in a cordial manner, and especially to look at the good rather than potential mistakes. And especially at the time of death, let us all recall the beautiful prophetic advice, "Do not curse [or say ill] of the dead, for they have now arrived at whatever they had sent forward" [Bukhari], meaning that their deeds will speak for them in front of Allah, and we gain nothing by speaking ill of those who have moved on.
Rather, we should seek forgiveness for all of our brothers and sisters, and we hope that when our time comes, it will not just be members of our 'own group' who shall seek our forgiveness, but rather all Muslims of all backgrounds.
- Yasir Qadhi