An Open Letter to Hamza Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda's Leader in Waiting

Hamza Bin Laden
Hamza bin Laden (center), a son of Osama bin Laden, sits between two Taliban fighters near Ghazni, Afghanistan, according to this still image from Al Jazeera TV, in 2001. Hamza Bin Laden, now Al-Qaeda’s apparent figurehead, has written of mourning the death of his eldest son, Osama, the grandson of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Reuters/Al-Jazeera TV

If it weren't for the fact that you shared the same first name as my own son, I would not have written to plead that you please find your way back into true Islam.

I read with great interest and as much disappointment about your recent series of audio recordings encouraging Muslims to launch terror attacks on British, American, French and Israeli targets. I suspect you released it because you appear to be under some sort of peer pressure to prove yourself as a rightful heir to Al-Qaida, six years after your father Osama Bin Laden was killed, albeit long after he became increasingly irrelevant in matters relating to terror.

While the vast majority of average Muslims worldwide are not likely to be surprised by your decision to raise your own profile through such means, you ought to reconsider the misguided path you have chosen. It will end no differently from the inglorious death that your father experienced and given such, you should consider whether your father is a worthwhile role model for you to follow.

Your father Osama pretended to fight for Islam when he took up arms and violence against Western interests. You and your deviant foot soldiers will have trouble finding a single Hadith or edict from the Quran, let alone an incident from the various biographies available of Muhammad (peace be upon him), that proves he ever engaged in any form of revenge against anyone who mocked, insulted, physically or mentally abused him during his entire lifetime, let alone during his twenty-three years as Prophet.

To critics and detractors who are quick to point out that Muhammad (PBUH) took part in battles during his reign, every single encounter he was involved in was inarguably defensive and not a single battle was preemptive, as a number of notable Muslim and non-Muslim historians have exhaustively and conclusively written about in detail.

Your father honourably fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan—as a Mujahideen under the auspices of the American government in the 1980s—and suffered post traumatic stress disorder after years of war. The foreign policies of many Western nations in a large number of Muslim-majority countries had a clear detrimental effect on his mental development. But he went from hero to a despicable villain both in the eyes of God and over 1.6 billion Muslims.

Granted there are small number of Muslims and non-Muslims today who privately admire your father Osama for standing up against Western imperialism, but no true Muslim could support his actions, which contradict with the core pacifist teachings of Islam.

What your father propagated was senseless violence: Islam indisputably forbids revenge, especially violence against innocent civilians, and if you had spent enough time reflecting on the Quran—let alone the very first verse revealed to our noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): "Read and educate yourself in the name of God"—you would not be at the disastrous crossroads you are at today.

From one average Muslim to another, I urge you to stand down, obtain a proper education and embark on a spiritual and physical jihad (that is, strive to become a better Muslim) since the pen is mightier than the sword or whatever weapon you go to sleep with.

Muslims today are in trouble not only because of anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by talk show hosts, right-wing media personalities and politicians but also by those who shamelessly call themselves Muslims and undertake actions that directly contradict the teachings of Islam.

I end this with a prayer by Muhammad (PBUH), a true role model for true Muslims worldwide, whenever he, his companions or the ordinary Muslims who followed him came under verbal, physical and psychological attack and abuse.

Instead of retaliating or praying for the destruction of his enemies, he simply said: "I pray to Allah that He guides you." His example is one that Muslims and non-Muslims alike could learn from. It could prevent you, Hamza, from meeting the same fate as your father.

Peace be upon you.

Siddiq Bazarwala is the Hong Kong-based author of the forthcoming book, 'Q&A with an Islamophobe,' released October 30, 2017.