At the time of writing, virtually everyone would be aware of the media reports that Osama bin Laden was killed in a US military operation in Pakistan. For many Muslims, the reaction may well be mixed emotions – relief that the life of a terrorist was taken, and sadness that a Muslim – notwithstanding doctrine – was killed. This contrasts directly with the media images of people gathering in some cities chanting and celebrating the news.

The development provides a few key lessons that need to be noted, and especially within the global context that exists today. Firstly, the Osama legacy will forever be violence against innocent people throughout the world – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This is in direct opposition to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pboh) who was known for his forgiveness of, and kindness to all people – even his declared enemies.

We are reminded by the Qur’an that the end of evil can never be good, nor that the ends justify the means – we have to do what is right and trust in Almighty Allah to give us the best for ourselves and for others. As such, it is hoped that the incoming leadership in the Osama-led organisations would move away from harming innocent people in any part of the world, and instead do what is right within Islam to advance their causes or resolve their concerns.

Beyond this, the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed resolves nothing in the global arena. Many wars and unrest plague the Muslim world today, spanning many ‘Muslim’ countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. There is, as a result, an urgent and critical need for Muslims in all affected countries to come together – at the leadership, scholastic and civilian levels – to identify and work toward resolving the common challenges and instabilities that so many of them face. The legacy of the Holy Prophet (pboh) was a global brotherhood based on the underlying tenets of equality and striving – without artificially-constructed barriers of nationality, class or otherwise.

In the meanwhile, it is said that an eye for an eye makes the world blind. Surely there is need for every individual – each and every one of us – to work towards enlightenment of ourselves and our peers, so that we may repel the darkness that is consuming us in so many ways.

May Allah guide us to enjoin what is right and enlightened, so that our future may be increasingly brighter than our past and in particular our present.