The Day of Ashura will fall this year on Tuesday 6 December. On this day thousands of years ago, the Prophet Musa (as) stood with his people, the Banu Israil, in the most helpless of situations. Having fled from Firaun, one of the greatest tyrants to ever walk this earth, Musa (as) and his people were stranded with the Red Sea in front of them and Firaun and his army fast approaching from the rear. Nowhere to go. Terrified of their impending doom, his people cried out, “We will surely be overtaken!” Musa (as) however had a far stronger belief in Allah, the Lord of him and Firaun. It was Allah who had commanded him to leave that night, the same Allah who had saved him from Firaun as a child, the same Allah who helped him flee from Egypt the first time, and the same Allah who guided him to the Truth. Musa’s (as) faith never wavered. He knew Allah would never let him down. He had taken all the necessary actions as he had been commanded to. In response to his people’s cries of desperation, he declared with conviction, "Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me."
It was at this point that Allah commanded Musa (as) to strike the sea with his staff causing it to part and creating a safe route for him and his people to flee to safety. With a second strike of his staff on crossing the sea, the waters returned to their normal state drowning Firaun and his army. A truly miraculous story demonstrating the power of faith.
To commemorate the event and to thank Allah for saving Musa and his people from Firaun, the Messenger of Allah (saws) recommended fasting on this day and either the day before or after it. It is by the decree of Allah that these days of fasting this year coincide with the parliamentary debate taking place on the case of Babar Ahmad and his impending extradition to the US. Four months ago, it seemed impossible to imagine that the same parliament which previously voted to maintain the unjust and oppressive laws under which Babar may be extradited, would now be holding a historic debate on changing those laws such that his extradition would be halted. What will happen in Monday’s debate, only Allah knows, but like Musa (as), we have used all the means at our disposal to assist Babar.
Just as Musa (as) entered into a debate with Firaun, continuously advised him to reform himself and the system , and used God-given miracles to extinguish the popular tools of the time - magic - in order to show the superiority of Allah's power and persuade the people of influence in society, so today have Babar’s supporters exhausted all means at their disposal. Over 141,000 people signed an e-petition in favour of Babar Ahmad, making it the third largest e-petition of all time. When parliament refused to honour its promise and hold a debate, Members of Parliament were inundated with calls and emails. Parliament’s attempt to placate campaigners by scheduling a debate on Babar’s case in the second-rate Westminster Hall also failed with lawyers, celebrities and MPs themselves all joining the chorus of voices demanding a full debate. Within four weeks of Parliament’s initial decision, they made a new decision to schedule a full debate in the main chamber of Parliament. Facing the magic of our time – the parliamentary system – we have left no stone unturned in our quest to expose the brutal manner in which Babar is being treated and the oppressiveness of the laws that legitimize such treatment.
At this juncture, we should remember that like in the story of Musa (as), victory only comes from Allah. It was Musa’s (as) conviction that His Lord would ever forsake him, particularly as he had exerted his maximum efforts, that led to him alone seeing the victory despite the terrifying situation he was in.While we fast on Monday and Tuesday in remembrance of this day, let us remember that the debate will also be taking place. We have exerted our maximum efforts and now is the time for sincere dua. Let us remember the words of the Prophet (saws) that one of the supplication of a fasting person at the time of breaking fast is accepted by Allah. Let us all make sincere dua to Allah to liberate Babar and the oppressed of our world from the tyranny they face, just as He liberated Musa (as) from Firaun.