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2008-05-23 Don't Judge Based on Name



How ironic, and unfortunate, is it that a hoodlum bearing the same name, ‘Osama,’ symbolizes the exact opposite ideals of the original Osama!


Don't Judge Based on Name



Don’t Judge Based on Name

OSAMA: bin Zaid vs. bin Laden


 May 23, 2008 edition of the Finger Lake Times (NY). 


This past October, in a combined effort of the American military, U.S State Department, Yemeni Government, et al, a $40,000 American Government donation culminated in the opening of a primary school. The school’s name? The Osama bin Zaid Primary School. Yes, that is not a typo – the American government and military assisted in establishing a school that now bears the name ‘Osama.’


Who was Osama bin Zaid? God Forbid, was he anything like Osama bin Laden? Yes, like bin Laden, Osama bin Zaid was an Arab, as well as a general. But this is where the similarities STOP. Osama bin Zaid was the son of Zaid, a slave who Prophet Muhammad had freed and adopted as his own son. Muhammad also appointed the 20-year-old Osama as head of the army, over extremely capable aristocrats. This decision ultimately led to a decisive victory, preservation of Medina’s safety, and galvanized the Muslim community. Records state that pre-Islamic Arabia was an extremely patriarchal society. Yet, on Muhammad’s instruction, Osama was extremely obedient to his mother. Most importantly, Prophet Muhammad was very fond of Osama bin Zaid.


History admits that Muslim, for 13 years in Mecca, never once retaliated despite being pulled apart by camels, pressed under stones, forced to eat soaked leather, and having their faith maligned to no end. Even Muslim children were not immune from the Meccans’ viciousness. Ultimately, the Muslims migrated 250 miles north to Medina to avoid persecution and begin life anew – a lasting example for bin Laden and his supporters who claim to be victims of persecution and, as such, have license to retaliate. For the next 8 years, the Meccans repeatedly attacked Medina, forcing the Muslims to defend themselves. Muhammad never allowed force to be employed in matters of faith, strictly following the Quranic injunction: “There is no compulsion in religion. Surely, the right way has become distinct from error” (2:257). When a person was killed, it was due to his being a serious threat to the state, irrespective of faith.


In the course of one of these battles Osama bin Zaid confronted an enemy combatant.[1] After Osama overpowered him, the man declared he was a Muslim. Osama, thinking he was saying this out of fear, as the man was a vehement enemy, killed him anyways. Prophet Muhammad, upon learning of the incident, became enraged that the man’s oath had not been honored, regardless of the circumstance. Muhammad incessantly repeated, “Did you cut open his heart to make sure whether he was sincere or not?” Muhammad went on saying, “How will you justify your action before Allah on the Day of Judgment?” Osama was so distraught over Muhammad’s severe displeasure, that in relating the incident afterwards, he said, “I wished that I had not been a Muslim before this event and had embraced Islam only after it, so that I should not have been the cause of such severe displeasure to (Muhammad).”


While making a grave mistake during battle, Osama bin Zaid’s admission of guilt indicates he did view freedom of religion as a fundamental human right. More importantly, by duly admitting his fault, he acknowledged that Islam forbids man to punish an apostate and/or blasphemer. How ironic, and unfortunate, is it that a hoodlum bearing the same name, ‘Osama,’ symbolizes the exact opposite ideals of the original Osama!


So the name Osama should not be remembered as it is today. The original Osama was a symbol of tolerance, of loyalty, of progress. What a fitting name to adorn a most fitting American gift!


[1] Huraqat, Juhaina sub tribe