Modern-Day Heroes: Amr and Asmaa

Amr and Asmaa


Read the link above first and then continue reading below.


For me, that was one of the saddest things that I’ve ever read. 😦 And if you have any shred of compassion and empathy in your being, you would have been grieved by it too. If not to the extent of being moved to tears, then at least to the extent of weeping within your heart. But that is not the reason for me sharing it here. I’m not simply posting it in order to sadden you. Rather, it is because I believe that we can learn something from them: from both our brother Amr and our sister Asmaa. We are living in troubled times… in times of darkness… and when we come across shining lights such as these, we need to take heed and benefit from their examples.

Lesson 1

Amr was killed by a sniper. That means that he was specifically targeted. Out of all the hundreds or thousands of people that were protesting there that day… why him? Why did that sniper – la’natullahi ‘alaih – single him out from all of the others? Apparently, it was because he grew a beard. Through his outward appearance, he visibly identified himself as being a practicing Muslim – and that is what the enemies of Islam hate. Moreover, he was shot through the chin… It’s almost as if it was because of his following this beloved sunnah of our Nabi  that he was made shaheed.

The lesson: be strong enough and brave enough to show the world through your appearance that you are Muslim. In our society we might have to endure some minor inconvenience and difficulty in doing so, but we are unlikely to end up being killed for it.

Lesson 2

Amr was not an Egyptian resident. He lived in Canada and was merely on holiday in Egypt, visiting family and friends. Why then would he choose to go out and join the protests? Because this conflict is not about Egypt and Egyptians… it is not about nationalistic fervour. It is about standing up for the truth; it is about being united with one’s fellow Muslims who are suffering oppression; it is about doing the right thing in trying circumstances. Allah alone knows the true intentions of each individual caught up in this turmoil and what is that they desire. But we have a good opinion of them all and trust that it is for nothing other than making the word of Allah supreme that they are striving for.

The lessons: discard from your heart the vileness that is nationalism; be united with the Muslim ummah across the globe; strive for the sake of Islam; and have principles in life – Islamic  ones – and be willing to sacrifice yourself for them. 

Lesson 3

Amr had a loving wife with him, and was the father of a beautiful nine-month old baby. After having witnessed the vicious, bloody massacres of the preceding days, he must have been aware when setting out to join the protests that there was a possibility that those demonstrations too could turn violent. And yet his love and concern for his family and the thought that they might be bereft of him didn’t hold him back and didn’t prevent him from going out. At the same time, it must have been an immense hardship for his wife, Asmaa, to allow him to leave, knowing that there was a chance that he might not return. We often think that the ultimate sacrifice is to give up one’s life. But it’s not. To sacrifice one’s loved ones is a much greater trial than it is to sacrifice oneself.

The lesson: be selfless enough to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Lesson 4

Amr had many people attending his janaazah, and they all attested to his goodness. His wife too praised him and said what a wonderful husband he had been. When he passed away, he raised his right index finger to the sky and recited the shahaadah, and he had a beatific smile on his face. It is said that the reason why martyrs are called shuhadaa’ is because they witness their place in Jannah at the time when they are killed. He desired martyrdom, so perhaps it is that he was granted that and was gifted with that vision, and that is what caused to him smile.

The lesson: as you live your life, so shall you die. If you live a life of goodness, Allah will grant you a husnul khaatimah (a good ending).   

Lesson 5

Asmaa and the rest of Amr’s family were attacked when they came to visit the grave… The mind boggles: what kind of vile creatures do things like that!? Subhanallah. They spilled the blood of the believers, they violated the sanctity of the masaajid, and then even the mourners who were left behind were not allowed to grieve for their loss.

The lesson: this is the extent to which hatred can drive people – to sink to the depths of the lowest of the low. So beware of them and beware of hatred.

Lesson 6

Asmaa said, in her own words: “I refuse to dishonor him or myself by asking God ‘why’ He took him or thinking, ‘If only he hadn’t gone to the protest on Friday, he would be alive.’ No, it was Amr’s time to return to Allah, I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Reading those words reminded me of the words of Rasulullah  at the time of the passing of his son, Ibrahim: “Indeed, the eyes shed tears and the heart grieves; but we will not say except that which pleases our Lord.” (Sahih Bukhari) She is a woman though, and women are naturally more overcome with emotion at times like these, so for her to say something like that makes it even more amazing.

The lesson: have yaqeen in the Divine Decree of Allah ta’alaa and be content with it; and know that having this conviction will make it easy to bear any loss that you are afflicted with and will bring contentment to your heart.

Lesson 7

Asmaa also related, when visiting the body of her beloved: “I stood there for some time looking at his face, feeling as though my heart was being repeatedly run over by a truck. I refused to cry loudly but tears were streaming down my cheeks.”

Subhanallah! This brings to mind another hadith, where the Prophet  said: “True patience is only exhibited when calamity first strikes.” (Sahih Bukhari) This is a perfect example of that, and of exercising beautiful patience, as the Qur’an teaches us.

The lesson: no matter how great the loss and how intense the pain, be patient with a beautiful patience.

Lesson 8

Ruqayyah became an orphan on Friday, the 16th of August 2013. A day or two later, a support fund in her name was created in order to see that she would be provided for. The aim was to raise $25 000. Within two days of the fund being started, almost $60 000 had been raised. If collections had not been stopped, I’m sure that figure would have been much higher by now.

The lesson: Allah will provide, from places where we don’t expect.

Lesson 9

The Muslims who contributed to Ruqayyah’s support fund were many, from all over the world. And again, I believe that if the collection had not been stopped, many more would have continued to give.

The lesson: there is still some khair in this ummah. We always focus on the negatives, but there are many who do sincerely desire to do good and help others, and who share in the pain and loss of their brothers and sisters in Islam.


This post was sparked by reading the account of Amr given by Asmaa that was linked at the beginning. It was almost surreal reading that, like it was some kind of fairy tale, and the emotion of her words and the depth of her love for him was truly poignant. But this is not just about the two of them. It is about the all the countless others like them as well: all the other shuhadaa’ and widows in all the Muslim lands who are striving and sacrificing for the sake of the deen. It is about all the other Amr’s and Asmaa’s out there, all the other unknown heroes and heroines of this ummah in our times, whom we are simply not aware of – but who are certainly known to Allah ta’ala.

I ask Allah ta’ala to accept the shahaadah of Amr and of all the other martyrs; that He accepts them with a beautiful acceptance and that He grants them all of the rewards that have been promised by Him to those who are slain in His Path.

I ask Allah ta’ala to grant ease to Asmaa and to all the other widows; that He replaces their grief with happiness, their sorrow with joy, their pain with healing, and the ache of their loss with contentment of the heart; and I ask Him to reunite them with their beloved ones in Jannah.

I ask Allah ta’ala to have mercy on Ruqayyah and on all the other orphans; that He cares for them and nurtures them; and that He raises up for them from this ummah men and women who will provide for them, who will look after them and who will be compassionate towards them.

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