Muslim Matters

Subscribe to Muslim Matters feed Muslim Matters
Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life
Updated: 11 hours 17 min ago

Podcast: Muslim Fatherhood & Masculinity Beyond the Manosphere | Sh Mohammad Elshinawy

28 November, 2023 - 17:52

In this episode of the MuslimMatters podcast, Zainab bint Younus and Irtiza Hasan ask Shaykh Mohammad Elshinawy some big questions about fatherhood: How is fatherhood described in the Qur’an? How was fatherhood traditionally understood through the Sunnah and Islamic history?

And as we witness the ongoing massacres in Gaza, with heartbreaking and inspiring videos of Muslim fathers cradling their dead children, perhaps the biggest question of all: What can we learn from the Muslim fathers of Gaza?

Be sure to listen to this episode for powerful reflections on Muslim masculinity beyond the manosphere!

Shaykh Mohammad Elshinawy is a Graduate of English Literature at Brooklyn College, NYC. He studied at College of Hadith at the Islamic University of Madinah and is a graduate and instructor of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University. He has translated major works for the International Islamic Publishing House, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, and Mishkah University.


Podcast [Man 2 Man]: Fatherhood, Mental Health, & What No One Tells Dads

[Podcast] Parenting with Purpose | Eman Ahmed

The post Podcast: Muslim Fatherhood & Masculinity Beyond the Manosphere | Sh Mohammad Elshinawy appeared first on

The Terminal Hypocrisy Of A Crumbling West And The Dawning Of A New Age for Muslims

20 November, 2023 - 15:00

The War that has ensued in the aftermath of October 7th is the defining event of our generation, and a true turning point for all future relations between Islam and the West. We witness, in its unfolding, nothing less than the final dissolution of the post-WWII settlement, and of the ensuing Americentric and Eurocentric world order, whose centerpiece was a self-justificatory moral narrative centered on the liberal, democratic West’s virtuous triumph against ‘the paradigm of pure evil’: Hitler and the Nazis.

The core sacrificial victims symbolizing the liberal-democratic right to moral leadership were the Jews, slaughtered in the Holocaust but subsequently rising up from the ashes to heroically assert their ‘will to survive’ in the construction of a new nation. That the very paradigm, indeed the veritable Platonic Form of embattled, irrationally maligned minorities had been “rescued” from the death camps and culturally rehabilitated by the Western powers, became emblematic of the claim that a liberal, proto-Rawlsian Western relativism alone could safely host different minorities by dissolving them into a neutral humanity governed by an ‘original position’; from which vantage point previously fraught differences would finally be resolved exactly by treating the substantive claims of Jew, Muslim, and Christian as equally meaningless expressions of arbitrary, culturally constructed collective will. Yet the liberal order’s great claim to moral leadership is that they are nonetheless protected cultural artifacts of constructed collective will.

In the successful imprinting of belief in the inherent relativity of all culture and opinion upon the masses, the illusion of bewildering self-expressive and self-identificatory diversity in the ‘melting pot’ of major Western societies has been essential. It provided the backdrop to the 1990s West’s ‘universalist’ self-presentation, as alone capable amongst the world’s civilizations of accommodating such pluralism and diversity, because of its unique trans-partisan ‘tolerance’. In turn, this prevailing impression was able to successfully dress the justification for its unquestionable hegemony in the pious raiment of moral self-evidence and necessity.

The Final Deathblow

But following on from a long chain of painful shocks, chief amongst them the War on Terror, the October 7th War constitutes the final deathblow to any vain hope of saving this flagship moral claim of liberalism from ultimate and intrinsic failure. It has, like no event before it, fully exposed liberal secular society’s much-vaunted “diversity” of cultural and intellectual expression, as no more than appearance. Granted, journalistic history is littered with all too great a surplus of opportunistic “turning points”; yet the power of the confluence of factors presented by our present circumstance ensures that ours is quite a different case. The West’s vacant ratification of the most transparent Israeli evil, of arbitrary and unrestrained mass murder, is for Muslims surely the final nail in the coffin of Western moral legitimacy, at a time in which the West is simultaneously devouring itself in culture wars and the frenzied worship of whimsical dysphorias. They no longer heed the wisdom teachings of their own Book: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.’

Yes, a ‘person of color’ with an unpronounceable name may be allowed to enter Number 10 or the White House on the unnegotiable condition that he prove an even more intransigent neoliberal than his white mentors; but where are the Sufi Shaykhs or Hindu Pandits in Number 10? It is only that comedic, impossible image that could ever represent the true diversity that liberalism claims. To the contrary, having long forgone the genuine pluralism which the liberal order can no longer rouse itself to affirm even as an ideal, it has at length finally confessed the strict impossibility of its ‘neutral’ position. Populist movements in Europe and America wish to recreate assertive partisanship for a distinctly Western, even ‘Christian’ culture and identity, all the while doggedly refusing to repudiate the ethical and metaphysical arbitrarist voluntarism that itself guaranteed the giddy 20th century ‘melting of all that was solid’ in Western civilization. This ungrounded arbitrarism can only result in the authoritarian imposition of pure will; and the awful truth is that the arbitrarist voluntarism of the Western liberal order is, and always has been, intrinsically authoritarian. And in the sense of impending doom from which the liberal order so clearly suffers, brought on both by the fantasy threat of “Islamism”, and the culture wars, the authorities are finding it increasingly expedient to visibly brandish their latent authoritarian powers.

Now, it is precisely in constituting one of the central pillars of this hidden authoritarian foundation that the importance of Israel lies, as the aggressive emblem and bulwark of the “neutral” liberal order. By “supporting” Israel, the liberal order means to say that the existence of that Nietzschean Nihilistan, that Great Secular Nothing called Israel, is a key article of their creed: created in the heart of the Holy Land in 1948, in the aftermath of the Allies’ precious World War Two, in which they so bravely firebombed Germany into oblivion from thirty thousand feet, while more easily expendable Slavic lives finally overcame the Nazis on the ground. That War which stamped and sealed our entrance into the very anti-ethical world of post-morality that has now culminated in the October 7th War. For it is that secular Nothing in the heart of the “Middle East” that symbolizes the victory of the liberal secular “way of life” of self-interested individualism and arbitrarist hedonism over the illusions of the ‘regrettably-still-backward’; namely, ‘those we tolerated in virtue of our enormous humanitarian sophistication, but can no longer tolerate.’ Of course, Israel is not and never has been a democracy —if it ever had been, the Palestinians would have voted the Zionists out before they ever had a chance to commence their Plan Dalet of ethnic cleansing, their destruction of 530 villages, and their 50 massacres. But, via Berdyczewski and others, the Zionists are fully immunized by their Nietzschean Will-to-Powerism against true and false, or right and wrong. It is indeed an inescapable fact, however ‘uncomfortable’, that the same post-ethical Will-to-Power that animated Nazism, now animates Zionism. As the political theorist Eyal Chowers notes, “Zionism emerged as a singular mixture of Nietzschean and Marxian themes … Zionism — as an all-embracing revolution — required the profanization of history and a generalized secularization in order to truly free the human sense of potency in the world.”

Inconsistencies in The Moral Narrative

In addition to this Nietzschean component, the ‘logic’ and ‘ethics’ of Zionism amount to those of Darwinian survival and Spencerian ‘survival of the fittest’; and in the same manner as their Western intimates, in Islam they can only see a terrifyingly unyielding representation of all that they feel compelled to intransigently deny about reality. Since Israel’s whole constructed existence depends upon a lie, it will fight to the death to defend that lie; and it is an ‘existential’ and hence ‘moral’ exigency for it to annihilate anyone and anything that calls out the lie. And since the United States and Britain have founded their self-definitional moral leadership of the world upon ‘saving’ the Jews from the Nazi death camps, the survival of their own moral narrative also rests upon propping up the lie, at all costs.

Never mind that the United States and Britain had steadfastly turned countless Jewish refugees away at the outset of Nazi persecution, or that in 1940 Britain had interred Jewish refugees as ‘enemy aliens.’ For in the narrative retrospectively, but nonetheless powerfully and indelibly projected back onto events, the ‘tricky moral quandaries’ of the Second World War, the firebombing of Hamburg, and the annihilation of Dresden, are justified as exceptional cases, warranted by the unprecedented genocidal evil of Hitler in destroying six million Jews. Again, never mind the history itself, which assures us that the deliberate targeting of German civilians in Hamburg and Dresden had precisely nothing to do with a ‘fight against the ultimate evil’ of the Nazi genocide of the Jews; no, Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris’s stated aim in sanctioning those horrific crimes, in which over half a million civilians were crushed or burned alive, was to ‘break the spirit of the Germans’ to resist: simply to win the War at all costs. “The Government, for excellent reasons,” Harris said in 1941, “has preferred the world to think that we still held some scruples and attacked only what the humanitarians are pleased to call “military targets.” I can assure you, gentlemen, that we tolerate no scruples.” Indeed, the first ‘area bombing’ targeting civilians in the Second World War was ordered by Churchill and carried out by the RAF in Mönchengladbach, not by Hitler as legend tells.

These disconcerting inconsistencies in the received moral narrative make far better sense in light of the unpalatable truth that Hitler and the Nazis, and the liberal West and Soviets who opposed him, are all merely so many sides of the same equation. The Holocaust was not an aberration from which ‘true’ Western civilization is innocent, but one of the worst crimes of post-Enlightenment modernity itself. It was committed by the same people, and the same ideas, who firebombed Hamburg and Tokyo, nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who ravaged Vietnam and Iraq, and now serve as funders and steadfast apologists for the Gaza genocide. Yes, it was post-Enlightenment modernity itself that was the perpetrator of the Holocaust; just as it also perpetrated the chattel enslavement of the continent of Africa, the opium outrages in China, the annihilation of the Native Americans, the starvation and ‘economic cleansing’ of India. Far from representing aberrations, these depravities were each inevitable consequences of the spirit of the Age of Exploration and the subsequent Scientific Revolution, namely the Baconian inversion of tripartite soul and society —wherein intellect was subordinated to spiritedness and power — as well as the subsequent, Humean, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution progression of the inversion, in which intellect was subordinated to desire and the passions. And they are no less the inevitable consequences of Luther’s separation of faith and reason, of the extirpation of formal and final causes, and secondary qualities from nature, of the Cartesian Split, of ‘I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith,’ of ‘Render therefore unto Caesar such things which are Caesar’s.’

For a futile moment after October 7th, the Western powers attempted their own moral resuscitation by again invoking the time-honored narrative of their moral saviorhood; only for it to fatally backfire this time, and only serve, instead, to demonstrate their terminal moral illegitimacy. Meanwhile, the invocation of the Holocaust has lost its power, for in surely one of the supreme ironies of history, Israel has themselves supplanted their own Nazi reference point of ‘supreme evil’. Western genocide apologism after October 7th has forever imprinted in our hearts and minds all that makes the declining, flailing post-Enlightenment West so dangerous: its lack of any stable, unnegotiable morality. For anything can be countenanced in that dismal anti-ethics of post-morality, the calculus of survival.


Related reading:

Moving Beyond The Left-Right Culture Wars: A Dilemma For Muslim Communities In The West

Are Western Muslims Becoming Right-Wing? The Emergence Of A Politically Mature Community With Agency

The post The Terminal Hypocrisy Of A Crumbling West And The Dawning Of A New Age for Muslims appeared first on

From The MuslimMatters Bookshelf: Palestinian Literature For All Ages

19 November, 2023 - 05:00

When mainstream media (mostly) suppresses Palestinian voices, when you don’t know how you can help, when you want to support out Palestinian brothers and sisters in occupied territories and in the diaspora – make du’a, donate, amplify your support and read Palestinian literature.

In this edition of the MuslimMatters Bookshelf, below we’ve listed a collection of books by Palestinians and those in the diaspora for all ages. Additionally, scroll to the end of the list for suggestions on bookish action items!

Picture Books

In this story, Salim loses his soccer ball and embarks on a journey across his beautiful village in Palestine, learning lessons from members of his community along the way. Written in rhyme, this lyrical and insightful tale will be enjoyed by children of all ages and adults alike

The beautiful illustrations in this book feature key elements of Palestinian culture including tatreez and local agriculture. Complete with a discussion guide, this book is a valuable educational tool for teaching children about Palestinian heritage and the importance of helping one’s neighbors.

When Saamidah, a young Palestinian refugee, is asked by her friends what her name means, she isn’t quite sure what to say. She turns to her baba for some answers – but what she gets is an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. Join Saamidah on a lyrical journey, with dazzling illustrations, that brings to life her beloved homeland and celebrates the richness of her cultural heritage and the determination to return.

Malak is a little girl who lives in Gaza with her parents. She goes to school, plays in the ocean, and visits Sitti’s house on Fridays. One day while she is in school, bombings begin. She spends the next 50 days at home with her parents worrying and feeling scared, until one day she picks up her paintbrush …

Sitti’s Bird: A Gaza Story is a unique children’s picture book, written and illustrated by Palestinian artist, Malak Mattar. Reflecting her experiences of childhood in occupied Palestine, Malak’s story brings warmth and wonder to children as it tells of her rebirth as an artist during the 2014 airstrikes on Gaza. It is the story of a young girl whose love for her family and discovery of art help her channel her fears and overcome traumas that few of us can imagine—traumas shared by countless children in Gaza and around the world.

It’s 1967 in Nablus, Palestine.

Oraib loves the olive trees that grow outside the refugee camp where she lives. Each harvest, she and her mama pick the small fruits and she eagerly stomp stomp stomps on them to release their golden oil. Olives have always tied her family to the land, as Oraib learns from the stories Mama tells of a home before war.

But war has come to their door once more, forcing them to flee. Even as her family is uprooted, Oraib makes a solemn promise to her beloved olive trees. She will see to it that their legacy lives on for generations to come.

Mona’s grandmother, her Sitti, lives in a small Palestinian village on the other side of the earth. Once, Mona went to visit her.

They couldn’t speak each other’s language, so they made up their own. They learned about each other’s worlds, and they discovered each other’s secrets. Then it was time for Mona to go back home, back to the other side of the earth. But even though there were millions of miles and millions of people between them, they remained true neighbors forever.

Sitti tells her story of how she and thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes by the Israelis in 1948, a tragic event remembered as the Nakba, the catastrophe.

This gentle yet important story about the importance of heritage, history, and belonging can be enjoyed by children aged 5 and above.

After a frightening expulsion from his homeland, Thaer’s world is suddenly filled with a lot of darkness. You Are The Color is an evocative story about the Palestinian refugee experience during al-Nakba, or “The Catastrophe,” of 1948. Follow Thaer as he discovers the power of art to transform grief into hope, and find out his secret to seeing color again.

Maha’s grandma is moving from Palestine to Canada, and Maha can’t wait! Teta travels from far away with a box full of secret recipes and special memories.

Maha wants to keep them all for herself, but Teta’s kindness teaches her the value of sharing and the joy of connecting with loved ones.

Noura is a strong young lady, diligently caring for her little brother, Esam, and for her father’s rooftop garden. But life in Gaza is hard even for the young.

Can Noura keep working with all her heart even after losing the thing she loves the most?

A father and his daughters may not be able to return home . . . but they can celebrate stories of their homeland!

As bedtime approaches, three young girls eagerly await the return of their father who tells them stories of a faraway homeland-Palestine. Through their father’s memories, the Old City of Jerusalem comes to life: the sounds of street vendors beating rhythms with brass coffee cups, the smell of argileh drifting through windows, and the sight of doves flapping their wings toward home. These daughters of the diaspora feel love for a place they have never been, a place they cannot go. But, as their father’s story comes to an end, they know that through his memories they will always return.

A Palestinian family celebrates the stories of their homeland in this moving autobiographical picture book debut by Hannah Moushabeck. With heartfelt illustrations by Reem Madooh, this story is a love letter to home, to family, and to the persisting hope of people that transcends borders.

“The olive trees grow each year, just waiting to discover the magic within their growth. Waiting, for the next time to occur again…”

Discover the beauty of Palestine through a young girl’s journey as she learns the tradition of the olive harvest. A tradition that continues between each generation to maintain the roots of the Palestinian community. Alia shows the beauty of the harvest and learns the importance of the olive tree harvest through her life.

Zain and Mima were surprised to hear loud voices outside their window.

They found a crowd of people chanting “Free Palestine!”.

“What is Palestine?” they asked. To answer, Mama took them back in time with a story that began many years ago.

This book is a wonderful, age-appropriate way to explain the history of the illegal occupation of Palestine, and what it means to stand up for Palestine’s freedom, to children.

Middle Grade & Young Adult

Thirteen-year-old Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother’s ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab’s life. The only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, as well as the checkpoints, the curfews, the permit system, and Hayaat’s best friend Samy, who is mainly interested in football and the latest elimination on X-Factor, but always manages to attract trouble.

But luck is on their side. Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel to Jerusalem. However, while their journey may only be a few kilometers long, it may take a lifetime to complete.

  • [Graphic novel] Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq

Baddawi is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the many thousands of refugee children born to Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel.

In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ’70s from a boy’s eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty.

In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life in the Middle East as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet.

This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home.

In Palestine today, a second generation of children and young people is growing up experiencing life under occupation. These are children who know only fear when they see an Israeli soldier or come across a roadblock. This book provides a platform for young people, from all over this occupied land, to speak in their own voices about the day-to-day experience of living under occupation.

Adult Fiction

The Beauty of Your Face tells a uniquely American story in powerful, evocative prose.

Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school. As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories, and into a profound and “moving” (Bustle) exploration of one woman’s life in a nation at odds with its ideals.

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.

Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia’s brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can’t escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia’s children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities.

Politics and the novel, Ghassan Kanafani once said, are an indivisible case. Fadl al-Naqib has reflected that Kanafani wrote the Palestinian story, then he was written by it. His narratives offer entry into the Palestinian experience of the conflict that has anguished the people of the Middle East for more than a century.

In Palestine’s Children, each story involves a child who is victimized by political events and circumstances, but who nevertheless participates in the struggle toward a better future.

As in Kanafani’s other fiction, these stories explore the need to recover the past and the lost homeland by action. At the same time, written by a major talent, they have a universal appeal.

This collection of important stories by novelist, journalist, teacher, and Palestinian activist Ghassan Kanafani includes the stunning novella Men in the Sun (1962), the basis of The Deceived. Also in the volume are “The Land of Sad Oranges” (1958), “‘If You Were a Horse…'” (1961), “A Hand in the Grave” (1962), “The Falcon” (1961), “Letter from Gaza” (1956), and an excerpt from Umm Saad (1969).

In the unsparing clarity of his writing, Kanafani offers the reader a gritty look at the agonized world of Palestine and the adjoining Middle East.

When Jasmine’s mother dies inside their English mansion, hope comes in the form of her multi-million-pound inheritance. But with her inheritance threatened, Jasmine is left to contemplate a future she does not know how to live.

Jasmine has only ten days to uncover the circumstances of her father’s decade-long disappearance before her fortune is lost forever. Forced to return to his homeland in Palestine, she follows his footsteps through stories long ingrained in the local’s minds. She is helped on her journey by a mysterious stranger who guides her through the trails of the Holy Land to the scattered broken villages, each harboring its own secrets.

Under the watchful eyes of the ever-encroaching Occupation, Jasmine must piece together her history in the broken land, before it destroys her future.

Adult Non-fiction

Ahed Tamimi is a world-renowned Palestinian activist, born and raised in the small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, which became a center of the resistance to Israeli occupation when an illegal, Jewish-only settlement blocked off its community spring. Tamimi came of age participating in nonviolent demonstrations against this action and the occupation at large. Her global renown reached an apex in December 2017, when, at sixteen years old, she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier who refused to leave her front yard. The video went viral, and Tamimi was arrested.

But this is not just a story of activism or imprisonment. It is the human-scale story of an occupation that has riveted the world and shaped global politics, from a girl who grew up in the middle of it. Tamimi’s father was born in 1967, the year that Israel began its occupation of the West Bank and he grew up immersed in the resistance movement. One of Tamimi’s earliest memories is visiting him in prison, poking her toddler fingers through the fence to touch his hand. She herself would spend her seventeenth birthday behind bars. Living through this greatest test and heightened attacks on her village, Tamimi felt her resolve only deepen, in tension with her attempts to live the normal life of a daughter, sibling, friend, and student.

An essential addition to an important conversation, They Called Me a Lioness shows us what is at stake in this struggle and offers a fresh vision for resistance. With their unflinching, riveting storytelling, Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri shine a light on humanity not just in occupied Palestine but also in the unsung lives of people struggling for freedom around the world.

Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’s most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel’s settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel’s military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord’s two-state solution is now a dead letter.

Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures—from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza—Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel’s interests than the Palestinians’. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable.

Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine.

When Mona moved from California to Ramallah to teach conflict resolution in a school for a year, she kept a journal. Within its pages, she wrote her impressions of her homeland, a place she had only experienced through her mother’s memories.

As she settled into her teaching role, getting to know her students and the challenges they faced living in a militarized, occupied town, Mona also embarked on a personal pilgrimage to find her mother’s home in Jerusalem.

Mona had dreamed of being guided by her mother down the old souqs, and the leafy streets of her neighborhood, listening to the muezzin’s call for prayer and the medley of church bells. But after fifty-nine years of exile, it was Mona’s mother who held her daughter’s hand as they visited Jerusalem together, walking the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Old City. Their roles were reversed. Mona had become her Mama’s legs and her memory – and the one to tell her story going forward.

In 1899, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, mayor of Jerusalem, alarmed by the Zionist call to create a Jewish national home in Palestine, wrote a letter aimed at Theodore Herzl: the country had an indigenous people who would not easily accept their own displacement. He warned of the perils ahead, ending his note, “in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone.” Thus Rashid Khalidi, al-Khalidi’s great-great-nephew, begins this sweeping history, the first general account of the conflict told from an explicitly Palestinian perspective.

Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials and the reports of generations of family members—mayors, judges, scholars, diplomats, and journalists—The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine upends accepted interpretations of the conflict, which tend, at best, to describe a tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same territory. Instead, Khalidi traces a hundred years of colonial war on the Palestinians, waged first by the Zionist movement and then Israel, but backed by Britain and the United States, the great powers of the age. He highlights the key episodes in this colonial campaign, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, from Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the endless and futile peace process.

Original, authoritative, and important, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine is not a chronicle of victimization, nor does it whitewash the mistakes of Palestinian leaders or deny the emergence of national movements on both sides. In reevaluating the forces arrayed against the Palestinians, it offers an illuminating new view of a conflict that continues to this day.

With the rigorous scholarship he brought to his influential Orientalism and an exile’s passion (he is Palestinian by birth), Edward W. Said traces the fatal collision between two peoples in the Middle East and its repercussions in the lives of both the occupier and the occupied–as well as in the conscience of the West. He has updated this landmark work to portray the changed status of Palestine and its people in light of such developments as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the intifada, the Gulf War, and the ongoing Middle East peace initiative.

Palestinian litRenowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe’s groundbreaking book revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint.

Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called “ethnic cleansing”. Decisively debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers impressive archival evidence to demonstrate that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel’s founding ideology was the forcible removal of the indigenous population. Indispensable for anyone interested in the current crisis in the Middle East.

In this groundbreaking book, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Occupation, the outspoken and radical Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel.

The “ten myths” that Pappe explores—repeated endlessly in the media, enforced by the military, accepted without question by the world’s governments—reinforce the regional status quo. He explores the claim that Palestine was an empty land at the time of the Balfour Declaration, as well as the formation of Zionism and its role in the early decades of nation-building. He asks whether the Palestinians voluntarily left their homeland in 1948, and whether June 1967 was a war of “no choice.” Turning to the myths surrounding the failures of the Camp David Accords and the official reasons for the attacks on Gaza, Pappe explains why the two-state solution is no longer viable.

Barred from his homeland after 1967’s Six-Day War, the poet Mourid Barghouti spent thirty years in exile—shuttling among the world’s cities, yet secure in none of them; separated from his family for years at a time; never certain whether he was a visitor, a refugee, a citizen, or a guest. As he returns home for the first time since the Israeli occupation, Barghouti crosses a wooden bridge over the Jordan River into Ramallah and is unable to recognize the city of his youth.

Sifting through memories of the old Palestine as they come up against what he now encounters in this mere “idea of Palestine,” he discovers what it means to be deprived not only of a homeland but of “the habitual place and status of a person.”

Mowafa Said Househ’s family fled Palestine in 1948 and arrived in Canada in the 1970s. He spent his childhood in Edmonton, Alberta, where he grew up as a visible minority and a Muslim whose family had a deeply fractured history. In the year 2000, when Househ visited his family’s homeland of Palestine at the beginning of the Second Intifada, he witnessed the effects of prolonged conflict and occupation. It was those observations and that experience that inspired him not only to tell his story but to realize many of the intergenerational and colonial traumas that he shares with the Indigenous people of Turtle Island.

This moving memoir depicts the lives of those who live on occupied land and the struggles that define them.

  • Rifqa by Mohammed El-Kurd

Each day after school, Mohammed El-Kurd’s grandmother welcomed him at the door of his home with a bouquet of jasmine. Her name was Rifqa—she was older than Israel itself and an icon of Palestinian resilience. With razor-sharp wit and glistening moral clarity, El-Kurd lays bare the brutality of Israeli settler colonialism. His poems trace Rifqa’s exile from Haifa to his family’s current dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, exposing the cyclical and relentless horror of the Nakba.

El-Kurd’s debut collection definitively shows that the Palestinian struggle is a revolution, until victory.

Palestinian litOne of the most transcendent poets of his generation, Darwish composed this remarkable elegy at the apex of his creativity, but with the full knowledge that his death was imminent. Thinking it might be his final work, he summoned all his poetic genius to create a luminous work that defies categorization.

In stunning language, Darwish’s self-elegy inhabits a rare space where opposites bleed and blend into each other. Prose and poetry, life and death, home and exile are all sung by the poet and his other. On the threshold of im/mortality, the poet looks back at his own existence, intertwined with that of his people.

Through these lyrical meditations on love, longing, Palestine, history, friendship, family, and the ongoing conversation between life and death, the poet bids himself and his readers a poignant farewell.

These poems emerge directly from the experience of growing up and living one’s entire life in Gaza, making a life for one’s family and raising a family in constant lockdown, and often under direct attack.

In this poetry debut, conceived during the Israeli bombing campaign of May 2021, Mosab Abu Toha writes about his life under siege, first as a child, and then as a young father. A survivor of four brutal military attacks, he bears witness to a grinding cycle of destruction and assault, and yet, his poetry is inspired by a profoundly universal humanity.

In direct, vivid language, Abu Toha tells of being wounded by shrapnel at the age of 16 and, a few years later, watching his home and his university get hit by IDF warplanes in a bombing campaign that killed two of his closest friends. These poems are filled with rubble and the ever-present menace of surveillance drones policing a people unwelcome in their own land, and they are also suffused with the smell of tea, roses in bloom, and the view of the sea at sunset. Children are born, families continue traditions, students attend university, and libraries rise from the ruins as Palestinians go on about their lives, creating beauty and finding new ways to survive.

Bookish Action Items
  • Storytimes

Organize a story time at your local library, masjid, or community center! With the variety of Palestinian kid lit available, there are plenty of books to choose from. Story times are an excellent way to share age-appropriate information and ways of connecting big ideas to younger children. To make a Palestine-themed story time extra special, think about including Palestinian snacks, and coloring sheets, and make sure to give an opportunity for little ones to ask questions!

  • Call Your Local Bookstore

Call up your local bookstores to ask them to stock Palestinian literature titles. Get other people in your locale to also call the bookstores so that they see there is a demand – and then make sure to actually purchase the books! This will demonstrate that there is not only a demand for these books, but also follow-up in the books being bought.

Also, ask for a book display featuring Palestinian literature! Many independent bookstores will be more open to this than major companies such as Indigo Canada (whose owners run a scholarship fund to send Zionists to Israel for military combat).

  • Start a Book Club

Choose a #PalestinianVoices book and start a book club, in person or online! It is important to encourage people not just to passively consume with literature, but to actively engage with the content of these books. Book clubs can be an opportunity to educate, to ask questions, to learn more, and to increase in awareness. This can be especially valuable for kids in middle school, high school, and college.

  • Support Palestinian Authors

Support Palestinian authors by purchasing their books, following their social media, sharing information about their books with others, and finding opportunities to highlight their work.

Share your own bookish action items below!


– Related reading

Farha Film Review: Palestinian Stories Will Be Heard 

The Importance Of Palestinian Stories [Interview]

The post From The MuslimMatters Bookshelf: Palestinian Literature For All Ages appeared first on

6 Quranic Reflections On The Current Situation In Palestine

18 November, 2023 - 04:28

SubhanAllah, it’s been just over a month since the beginning of the Israel-Palestine War but nobody would have thought that this would have led to a mass genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. Our days have been so bleak, filled with so much hurt and despair. We have seen thousands of images and videos coming out of Gaza. Every day the situation is worsening on the ground in Gaza and we can only pray and hope that peace prevails in Palestine.

Despite the immense calamities and hardships the people of Gaza are facing, the tide is turning in terms of global support. The number of pro-Palestinian supporters is increasing globally and so many countries, leaders, influencers, and activists are starting to become more vocal in terms of their support for the people of Palestine.

Within this article, I wanted to share seven reflections to help us navigate and manage the situation in Palestine from the lens of the Quran.

  1. Trials & Tests

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.

Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the guided.” [Surah Al-Bawqarah; 2:155-157]

In times of trials and tribulations, the Quran offers profound guidance and solace. As we witness the difficult situation in Palestine, the verses of the Quran become even more poignant, reminding us of the strength and resilience that faith can bring.

The Quran frequently speaks of trials as a part of the human experience. Surah Al-Baqarah (2:155) reminds us, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” These verses emphasize patience, perseverance, and the rewards that come to those who endure hardship with faith.

In this challenging time, as we stand united with those seeking freedom and justice in Palestine, let us turn to the Quran for comfort and inspiration. It teaches us to have hope, to stand firm in the face of adversity, and to remember that God is with those who patiently endure. As we pray for peace and justice, may the Quran’s wisdom and guidance strengthen our resolve, offer solace to those in need, and remind us that even in the darkest of times, faith can light the way forward.

O Allah! You are Al-Fattaah, the Supreme Solver. We ask you to remove our trials and tribulations, especially for the people of Palestine! Ameen.

  1. Grief

“Indeed: everyone who surrenders his whole being unto Allah, and is a doer of good, shall have his reward with his Sustainer; and all such need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve.” [Surah Al- Baqarah; 2:112]

During more difficult times in our lives of loss and affliction, emotions can be intensely painful, affecting all aspects of life, including relationships with family members and loved ones. For some people, grief might be experienced in a number of iterations and stages throughout the day, while for others the feeling may suddenly arise every few days.

It’s well known that the different verses of the Quran can have a particular impact depending on the context and mood of the reciter; the experience is determined by what trials and tests they are going through at that particular time.

Being a believer doesn’t mean that life will always be comfortable and stress-free. However, believing in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), trying our best to worship Him, and placing our hopes in Him will give us the strength we need to endure any challenges that arise in our lives. This is precisely what we are seeing daily in Palestine. Fathers and mothers having to bury their children, and yet they are still praising and thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

O Allah! You are Ar-Raheem, The Merciful One. You alone can help us cope and manage grief in the best possible way. Please help us during times of grief and hardships. Allow us to bear the strength and patience to cope with testing times. Ameen.

  1. Suffering

As we bear witness to the heart-wrenching situation our brothers and sisters in Palestine face, these verses and this theme become even more poignant and relevant.

In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:155), Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds us: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.”

The Quranic verses on suffering are not just for reflection in moments of personal struggle; they are a source of solace and guidance for understanding the hardships of others, the small struggles, and the struggles that just seem too painful to comprehend.

As we stand in unity with the people of Palestine, let us not only reflect on the verses of the Quran but also act upon them. Let’s deeply contemplate how we can bring the lessons and guidance from the Quran alive.

Let’s use these sacred words as a means to comfort our own struggles however seemingly insignificant they may seem. But most importantly let’s use them to advocate for a world where suffering and injustice are replaced with peace, compassion, and justice.

O Allah! You are Al-Khaafidh, The Reducer. We humbly ask you to reduce the suffering of those facing injustice and oppression around the world. Ameen.

  1. Death

“If God were to take people to task for their wrongdoing, He would not leave even one living creature on earth, but He gives them respite till an appointed time: when their time arrives, they cannot delay it for a single hour nor can they bring it forward.” [Surah An-Nahl; 16:61]

Here again, we are reminded of our fate with death – none of us can change it. As much as we like to believe we are in control of our lives – even our health, we must submit to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Will at all times and accept death as a blessing and a preordained end to our life here on earth.

Never have we been faced with such brutal and painful images of death as we have these past few weeks, witnessing the horrific scenes taking place in Gaza. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accept every lost life as a martyr and grant them the highest of Jannah and an end to their suffering. Ameen.

The only comforting thing is knowing that our time of death is written, we will not go a moment before or after that which is destined for us. As we reflect on death, we must remember not to jeopardize our relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for the sake of anything in this temporal world. If we live a life pleasing to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), if we strive for His cause, we need not fear taking our last breath.

What unites us with our brothers and sisters in Palestine, is that we will all inevitably face death. For those of us who are not in a war zone right now, let us count our blessings. Let us not take our lives for granted and let’s be sure that we use the breath in our lungs to fight for every injustice but to fight especially for a free Palestine.

O Allah! You are Al-Mumeet, The Creator of Death. We know that we will all ultimately be returned back to You when our time arrives. Grant us the true understanding of the next life and allow us to maximize our time on this earth to best prepare for our death. Allow us to depart from this world in a way that You are pleased with us and grant us a good ending from this temporary abode. Ameen.

  1. Afterlife & The Day of Judgement

On the Day of Judgement, we will all be paid our rewards in full, for Allah is Al ’Adl (the Most Just). Our ultimate aim for the afterlife should be to keep away from the torment of the fire and strive for the bliss of the highest ranks in Jannah.

“And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment.” [Surah ‘Ali ‘Imran; 3:178]

There is always a balance in the Quranic message, whereby Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consistently reminds us of the two possible destinations that all of humanity will be forced to enter. We must remember always, the temporal nature of the dunya, and keep the afterlife firmly in our hearts and minds inshaAllah.

Islam likely possesses the most coherent and concrete image of the Hereafter through the rich, elaborate, proof-texts found in the Quran and Hadith which helps us to form a firm foundation, dedicating ourselves to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

As we all continue to feel the fatigue and harrowing pain from the heartbreaking genocide taking place in Palestine it’s easy to slip into despair. But we must remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sees all – and He is the ultimate judge, so don’t doubt that justice and victory will come.

You may be finding it hard to open your Quran, or maybe you find yourself turning to it more than ever – but it’s always good to ponder on the words we recite, especially during this time, when our souls need the shifa that the Holy Book can bring.

Ultimately, we will all be answerable and accountable on this day. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will forgive whom He wills and He will punish whom He wills. All of our good and bad deeds will be weighted on a scale and we will be questioned about how we treated others. Punishment will be inflicted on those who oppressed others, and Paradise will await the doers of good.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is All-Knowing and He knows best.

O Allah! You are Al-Hakam (The Impartial Judge) and Al-Ghafoor (The Great Forgiver). We know you will never allow the oppressors and evildoers escape justice in the afterlife. Your judgment is impartial and You are the most just. O Allah! On the Day of Judgement, show us Your Mercy and forgive us for our shortcomings. You are the Most Forgiving. Ameen.

May we be of those who make it to the best of abodes and may we be protected from entering the fire for even one second. Ameen.

  1. Tawakkul

“And rely upon Allah; sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” [Surah Al-Ahzab; 33:3]

The concept of tawakkul essentially means, to have complete trust and reliance on Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in all of our affairs. We know that nothing in this world happens without His knowledge and His will and that He alone understands our circumstances better than anyone else. Despite all this, we can still find ourselves doubting His Judgement and we have to be reminded that our intellect is limited and we cannot see or know what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sees and knows.

Use this verse to reflect upon the times in your life when you’ve had to have complete tawakkul; when you couldn’t see the hikmah, and you simply had to trust. Think about when the trial was over and it began to make sense. Even when things don’t make sense, how has having tawakkul helped you? Or perhaps this is something you need to work on inshaAllah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Reflecting on the current situation in Palestine, we have never seen such heavy reliance upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). They are practically demonstrating tawakkul daily. Family members are passing away and yet they are praising and thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It makes us wonder if we were in the same position as the Palestinians, would we possess the same levels of tawakkul?

O Allah! You are Al-Mumin, The Infuser of Faith. Strengthen our faith and reliance upon You, especially during our darkest times. Enable us to understand and implement the true meaning of tawakkul within our daily lives. Ameen.


Related reading:

Palestine: Victory Is Already Here!

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

The post 6 Quranic Reflections On The Current Situation In Palestine appeared first on

5 Steps To Grow From Passive To Active Bystanders During The Genocide Of Gaza

15 November, 2023 - 07:11

The digital world has allowed us as an ummah to witness -as bystanders from our homes- genocide committed against our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Anyone in touch with their humanity would automatically feel distressed over the reality of genocide, let alone witness it. As Muslims, our faith teaches us to advocate for the oppressed. It is even considered the weakest level of faith to simply dislike a reality within our hearts.

As narrated in a hadith, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was reported to have once said:

“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Then there comes the question of what we can do as Muslims, especially when the most that we can do at this stage is either donate, speak against the genocide, or pray. A lot of us feel we are not in a position to stop the reality of the genocide, so how can we better equip ourselves to ensure that a genocide never continues or reoccurs? There are some of us not even in the position to donate, and many of us may be navigating health challenges, so how can all of us collectively grow to stand against oppression?

What can we do especially if we do not hold any leadership position?  

Below are 5 steps for all of us as Muslims to consider if we want to grow as bystanders during a genocide:

1. Increase the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is in a position to end genocide, but it is our collective responsibility to do what we can with consistency. It is very easy to feel as if our efforts are futile, and to even burn out when addressing oppression, but it helps to find strength in applying Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 99 attributes within our lives.

If we feel weak and need the strength to advocate continuously, we can call out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as the Giver of Strength, Al-Qawiyy. If we think that injustices are too heavy to bear, we call out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as the Most Just, Al-Adl, and seek His help when trying to rectify what is unjust. If we are unsure how to address this effectively, we call out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as The Guide, Al Hadi. If we need to rest to have the strength to continue, we call out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as The Disposer of Affairs, Al-Wakeel.

By calling out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in different scenarios, every segment of our lives is inadvertently turned to the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) when working towards ending oppression. The remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is what can help us keep going with consistency. The knowledge that we know that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can see us as bystanders would push us to want to grow actively so that we are active bystanders. As Muslims, we naturally do not wish to be amongst those who overlook injustice in front of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The act of overlooking in itself is a form of injustice discouraged in our faith. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) instead encourages us to always act justly.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) revealed:

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Surat Al-Mumtaĥanah: 60;8]

By increasing the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will be directed to what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves, which in turn will prepare us as bystanders to do more.

2. Reflect on the Qur’an and Seerah to learn from history Quran bystanders

PC: Madrasah Sunnah (unsplash)

Genocidal oppression is not new.
We may be witnessing it for the first time, but that does not mean it has never occurred in history.

The Qur’an reveals the rise and fall of past civilizations. We are introduced to the reality of tyrants—like Pharaoh during the time of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)—and are shown how to rise as people of mercy.

It is from the stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them all), and those who followed their examples, that we can learn how we should grow as bystanders. Our circumstances might differ, but we can know how they had faith when hope seemed grim. We can learn how they advocated for the oppressed. We can see how our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded whenever he found out that someone was wronged, and we can discover how his Companions described him as a form of support for our most vulnerable.

Our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), before he became a Prophet, was known for his honesty and integrity. He was known for supporting the vulnerable and accommodating their needs within his capacity. Sometimes, our actions—our character—are more powerful than our words. If we take the time to develop our character, and speak during the time of oppression, our words could be weighed more heavily for others to choose not to overlook. It is more possible to take collective action once there is more support.

It is very easy to feel like our words would not hold any weight if we were marginalized, but when we look at the seerah, we see how most, if not all, of the Prophets were, at one stage, marginalized. They had to endure resistance. Resistance automatically occurs when advocating for growth within our communities. It will naturally happen when addressing any form of oppression. As Muslims, we need to learn from Islamic history to better be there for our vulnerable in general, because once we do, we will be more aware of how to be a source of support for the persecuted during genocidal oppression.

3. Cultivate your skills with the intention of advocating for the oppressed

The genocide may be occurring in Gaza, away from our proximity, so there comes the question of what can we do, especially when we still have the responsibility of continuing with our routine lives in a different part of the world.

Our routine lives will naturally require us to use our already-existing skills, even if we are primarily at home. Whatever our skills are, we make the intention to develop them, as a means to grow as a bystander. Our skills can somehow be used to help others, especially the oppressed, and developing ourselves as a response to witnessing a genocide is a way to be an active bystander. If we need to discover our skills, we can at least make the intention to not procrastinate, and only choose to rest with the intention to later do more for the oppressed.

This is us growing as bystanders within our capacity.

4. Address oppression within your social circles first, especially by assessing ourselves bystanders to injustice

PC: John Cameron (unsplash)

It is easy to overlook oppression occurring within our communities, especially when we are deeply concerned over a genocide that is more severe. Oppression is, however, an everyday reality that can happen anywhere. When we choose not to be a passive bystander for genocidal oppression, we automatically need to make sure we are not a passive bystander for any form of oppression. We would rather be more equipped to address genocidal oppression occurring abroad if it is our norm to address everyday oppression within our own communities, i.e. if we choose to be active bystanders as a norm. If it is our norm to advocate authentic inclusion and ensure that no one is harmed within our presence, or even under our supervision, we give ourselves the chance to develop and grow.

We cannot afford any room for double standards when it comes to addressing genocide. There is rather a risk of hypocrisy if advocating against genocide when having oppressed someone else. The same risk of hypocrisy occurs if we choose to be passive bystanders within our social circles, too. If we realize we have wronged someone, whether by being a passive bystander, we need to address that with the individual by apologizing. We need to hold ourselves accountable to become more sincere as advocates. The act of addressing and recognizing past actions—or inactions—are signs of growth.

This is how we grow as bystanders—what makes us sincere, active bystanders.

5. Acknowledging that prayers, sending donations, and raising awareness on genocide are the bare minimum

It is naturally overwhelming to witness a genocide.
It might even take some time to process. There is that need to grieve, and it might even be hard to formulate thoughts into constructive actions.

This is okay, because everyone has their pace and capacity. It is rather natural to need time to process as human beings. We, however, need to be wary of thinking that we did everything that we could through our prayers, donations, and raising awareness. We need to acknowledge that there is always room to develop and grow so that we are better equipped to take action more swiftly—and effectively—in the future.
We cannot allow ourselves—our hearts—to settle even after a genocide ends. There is always a need to be a sincere active bystander due to the reality of us always facing the risk of being bystanders. This is just life’s reality.

The acknowledgment that our actions towards a genocide are not the end, but rather the beginning, for advocating against oppression will ensure that we progressively grow as bystanders.

And as Muslims, we need to continuously grow.

The implementation of the aforementioned 5 steps is a continuous process, and because of that continuous process, it would automatically strengthen and equip us to grow as bystanders whenever bearing witness to any form of oppression. It is as if we are strengthening a muscle, in that the more we strengthen our muscles by addressing oppression, the higher the chance we will grow in addressing a genocide with effective resolutions.

Related reading:

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Prophetic Training In Sacred Activism

Rules for Religious Activism

The post 5 Steps To Grow From Passive To Active Bystanders During The Genocide Of Gaza appeared first on

Standing With Palestine: A Poem

14 November, 2023 - 05:00
Standing With Palestine

All out for Blue and Yellow, 

fully behind Blue and White 

Jingoes bolster every war, 

reinforce every fight


With hollow words and status quo, 

reassures President Joe

Futile thoughts and worthless prayers, 

from Canada, sends Trudeau


Pardon France, it’s under attack 

from hijabs and bedbugs

Spineless, most of EU 

sends virtual hugs


Rushing to his side

for a prompt morale boost

Rishi stands with BiBi, 

to calm an ego freshly bruised


Modi’s RSS makes light 

of brutal subjugation

Already forgot British aggressions

against their own population?


Turkey flexes some muscle, 

Iran shows some exasperation 

Hezbollah, pundits claim, 

adds to the growing detestation


Ireland and Columbia, 

South Africa and Maldives

possess the moral compass, 

the audacity to say, Stop! Please!


If Egypt, Jordan, UAE, 

Morocco and Bahrain

Recognize Israel, 

they can’t all be insane


The Arabs are not impotent, 

their hands are just tied

Understand their predicament, 

committed to truth they are, deep inside


Investments at home, 

pressures from outside

Tourism is booming, 

why have a dog in someone else’s fight


They are trying their best, 

it’s not courage they lack

Sensitive issues involved, 

please cut them some slack


Saudis were weighing in 

to join the big game

When all hell broke loose, 

what a shame

standing with Palestine

PC: Huzaifah Patel (unsplash)

Rulers don’t care

if masses protest and resist

Knowing full well, 

IDF’s transgressions they dismiss


It takes so much effort, 

manufacturing this consent

On destroying their narrative, 

why are you so hell-bent?


Don’t shift the paradigm, 

try to disturb the zeitgeist

‘Tis no way to fix Bilad ash-Shaam, 

they nonchalantly sliced and diced 


Patience Palestinians, 

America wants a just solution

It’s no easy task, 

vetoing every UN resolution 


Missiles and torpedoes

and warplanes for Israel

It’s war crimes they hide, 

it’s injustices they conceal


Few are fortunate to experience 

Levant’s only ‘democracy’

Supported and abetted 

by Western hypocrisy 


But a free Jewish homeland 

just had to be built

To outsource the ‘problem’ 

to soothe European guilt


Hey shamed witnesses 

of the appalling Holocaust,

You promised “Never again!”, 

Boy! That didn’t last 


Those who denied the Jews 

dignity and equal rights

In their hatred of Palestine

have reached newer heights


Those who once claimed 

that Blacks had no souls,

Are fabricating new stories 

riddled with holes 


Amazing how brazenly 

they all let it slide

To all objective minds, 

what is clearly apartheid


While Gaza is annihilated 

through a calculated plot,

Analysts still debate 

if it’s Genocide or not


Restrict their movement, bomb them, 

lock them up in a cage,

Guess Israel is still the only victim, 

if the oppressed display any rage


They don’t spare anyone, 

the Hawks at ADL

Dare speak truth to power, 

and they’ll raise up serious hell


But Neturei Karta, 

those Guardians of the Gates 

Cry out against injustice, 

God’s covenant as their base


Institutions of critical thought, 

these bastions of free speech

When confronted by students, 

they don’t practice what they preach


Sham podiums 

of de-colonialism

What compels you to sustain 

Israeli exceptionalism?


How are some heinous acts 

above all criticism?

What makes you conflate 

BDS with anti-semitism 


Reporters with legacy media 

engage in fake news

Ignore journalistic integrity, 

just care about more views


What security council?

What international laws?

All completely ineffectual 

for the Palestinian cause

PC: Ahmed Abu Hameeda (unsplash)

You rise up for freedom,

Oh, dear Filasteen!

They crush you each time, 

these wretched shayateen 


They rain on you bombs 

and bring down white phosphorus

Your cries travel far, 

tears fill up the Bosphorus 


Too many terrorists,

amongst the civilians you hide

Use your own as shields,

claims the pro-Israeli side


You behead their babies, 

humiliate their women

Net and Joe have evidence 

you are animals, not men


Why can’t you just live 

in your camps in peace?

Quit missing your groves 

crying for your olive trees


Is it really that bad, 

this settler colonialism? 

My ancestors suffered fine 

through British imperialism 


Slow down. Why the great rush

to escape your occupation?

Help them refine Red Wolf, 

put to good use their ammunition 


You threaten their innocents, 

they have the ‘right to defend’

In white supremacy, 

they have a confidant and friend 


Your fate is decided 

in the halls of Pentagon

Noncompliance punished well 

by Lockheed and Raytheon


You fail to recognize 

your enemy’s illegal existence 

whine about land theft, ethnic cleansing, 

enough of this persistence 


Is breaking free from oppression 

worth all this trouble?

Accept the master 

and embrace your refugee bubble


All the destruction and death 

each resistance brings,

Is still not enough 

to pull at our heartstrings 


How much longer will you endure 

this terrible pain?

What if this sacrifice and suffering 

is all in vain?


The Zionists enjoy 

unwavering supports

Not the least bit affected 

by human rights reports


It’s you alone, 

against God’s chosen ones

Just your brave daughters 

and your valiant sons


Stop rebuking Sykes-Picot,

quit blaming Balfour

How could they possibly predict

the calamity in store 


Or was it their intention 

to pillage and devour all along?

To sow the seed of contention 

between Salam and Shalom 


The design to keep Ottoman lands 

under British mandate,

Did not overtly mention 

birth of a Jewish-only State


Intended to be a safe haven 

for victims of Nazi hate

In a land without people, 

for a people without a state


The Zionist agenda

overlooked the indigenous, 

Conjecturing they would give up 

and leave without a fuss 


The fact that many still 

believe lies so fabulous,

Speaks to their gullible minds, 

it’s simply incredulous


If you are one of those 

who go along with this nonsense

It’s time you brushed up 

on your history, no offense 


All those supporters 

waiting merely for Armageddon 

There is blood on your hands, 

for all the fables you have spun


You don’t mind if they imprison, 

kill, maim, and burn

If it helps hasten the day 

Jesus Christ shall return 


This is not what Eesa,

in his name, would accept 

You are doing God no favor, 

you people inept


If you don’t raise your voice even now, 

you are complicit

If you do, there could be serious repercussions, that’s explicit 


There is no time to waste,

no need to mince words

No excuse to stay neutral, 

no reason to follow the herds

PC: Cole Keister (unsplash)

Persevere! Don’t despair, 

Oh, guardians of Al Aqsa ❤

Don’t ask for God’s wrath, 

Oh followers of Musa


For those who suggest 

peace is improbable in this land

The harmony of Muslim Spain, 

they don’t fully understand


We are all children of God, 

Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Jew

Sikh, Buddhist, Tao 

and yes Atheists too


Enough cruelties 

for ephemeral gain,

Way too many 

have already been slain 


Stop all the bloodshed, 

put an end to it now

If you really have the will, 

you’ll figure out the how


Let mothers smile and children grow 

Let Gaza breathe, let hope flow

Settlements in the West Bank

against the law, all need to go


Grant full citizenship,

with all liberties upheld 

Allow the Right of Return, 

that has been withheld 


Release all the prisoners,

tear down all the fences 

Fold away all the checkpoints, 

no need for defences


Stop sponsoring wars, 

hold the perpetrator accountable for all her offences

Feeling sorry for Gazans, after arming the other side

You deserve an Oscar for your unparalleled pretenses


Don’t pretend you love peace and equality, 

you find them mere annoyances

Hide all you want behind diplomacy,

We are well aware of your unholy alliances


Lifeless bodies, 

shattered limbs

Collapsed houses, 

broken things


You pretend this is new, 

forget the Nakba of 1948

What of the bottomless graveyard, 

beneath the house you create


Determined Path, Defensive Shield,

Autumn Clouds, Summer Rains

War is war, brutal and violent, 

doesn’t matter the fancy names 


Mr. Biden, your time is nearing, 

grow a backbone 

Surely you have a conscience,

or is your heart merely a stone?


You permit the murder of journalists, 

doctors and aid envoys

Let them shamelessly flatten hospitals, 

and target fleeing convoys 


Don’t brush this as a “conflict”

It’s an asymmetric war

Would David protect the helpless

Or would he side with the ‘Star’?


Palestinians are human too, 

not deserving of this fate

If not even this, 

tell me what would it take!?


For you to stand up, 

point to the Israeli State

be a man of principle, 

call a spade a spade


Related reading:

Khutbah Notes: Palestine Solidarity

Palestine: Victory Is Already Here!

The post Standing With Palestine: A Poem appeared first on

Protests: An Islamic Perspective

10 November, 2023 - 18:37

Originally published at


A protest — also called a demonstration, remonstration, or remonstrance — is a public expression of objection, disapproval, or dissent towards an idea or action, typically a political one. [1]

The term has been in use since the mid-19th century and has developed a legal reputation for the masses to voice their grievances and put forward the change or changes that they desire to see.

Given the current heartbreak witnessed daily, and the devastation and oppression being endured by the elderly, babies, and entire families in occupied Gaza and the West Bank, the question about protests in Islam has been asked by Muslims across the world, as the masses of nations, irrespective of religion and -isms, plan mobilisations for the sake of humanity.

Qualified and responsible approach required

I have been inundated with questions and arguments about the situation, from people for and against protests, and I believe it would be beneficial for all of us to understand the matter at hand, to foster understanding of the reasoning behind the views of scholars who are for it, and those who are against it.

Before delving further, it should be noted that in the context of Islamic jurisprudence, the ruling on protests involves a qualified and responsible approach towards the Islamic evidences, especially given the propensity of the laws of Islam to be a means of transformative guidance until the Day of Judgment, given that Muhammad ﷺ is the Final Messenger, and the Qur’ān is the Final Testament.

Consequently, it should also be noted that the ruling on protests in Islam is a delicate ijtihādi matter that juggles various competing considerations. These include acknowledging the evolving socio-political dynamics, both locally and globally.

Accordingly, the concluding opinion on the ruling of protests in Islam is a matter of local jurisdiction. My personal conclusion and opinion, one way or another, is not relevant in a matter that is up to responsible, knowledgeable scholarship in their respective regions to decide based on their own scenarios and competing considerations.

As such, everything mentioned is not shared in order to create unnecessary discord between congregations and their leaders, so please consider this short article a complimentary piece towards the rich efforts of your local jurisdictional scholarship.

Scholars agree on more than they disagree

It is imperative to note that irrespective of scholastic conclusions on the topic of protests, those scholars who opined for and against protests are agreed that from the fundamental objectives of the Sharī’a is the preservation of life and wealth.

Such scholars also agree that out of two necessary harmful choices, one has to choose the lesser of two harms in order to avert the greater one.

In addition, they all agree that the example of the believers as regards to being merciful among themselves, showing love among themselves, and being kind and supportive to each other, is like the example of one body.

If any part of the body is not well, then the whole body becomes activated with sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever, until the ailment disperses and the body settles.

They all agree that the followers of Muhammad ﷺ are the best of all nations because they are advocates for justice and adversaries against oppression, irrespective of the shape and size of the justice or oppression.

They all agree on the mandate of Verse 72 of Surat al-ʾAnfāl, in which Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) instructs us,

وَإِنِ ٱسۡتَنصَرُوكُمۡ فِي ٱلدِّينِ فَعَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلنَّصۡرُ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ قَوۡمِۢ بَيۡنَكُمۡ وَبَيۡنَهُم مِّيثَٰقٞۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٞ

“And if they seek help of you against persecution, then you must help, except against a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty. And Allah is Seeing of what you do.” [2]

The fulcrum of the difference

The differences in the conclusion of the jurists on this topic occur due the foundational methodology in concluding an Islamic ruling of this nature.

Such differing conclusions are also a result of scholars having to juggle the various ethical considerations (masālih), their respective implementation in real-life scenarios, and the analysis and weighing up of various harms — whether “major” or “minor”, for example.

These differences are only natural from the perspective of Jurisprudence Methodology (Usūl al-Fiqh), and also as Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) has created us all with different personalities and dispositions, we naturally interpret a situation in different ways.

This is partly why large-scale decisions should be made by groups of jurists coming together, mitigating each other’s variations, the pinnacle of which is ijmā’ (unanimous consensus), which is a binding proof of what Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) intended to be said on His behalf on any given matter.

Arguments for and against protests A view in opposition

Protests are from the ta’abbudi genre of actions, and require evidence in order for them to be a valid practice in Islam.

Ta’abbudi refers to actions that entail the worship of Allah in and of themselves and require sound evidence that do not have to be fathomable in nature. This means that they do not have to contain meanings and directives that we necessarily comprehend.

Examples of ta’abbudi acts would be our five daily prayers (Salat), their specific timings, and their varying units. Another example would be circumambulating the Ka’bah seven times in an anti-clockwise manner.

We do not need to understand why the Fajr prayer consists of two compulsory units, or why we circumambulate the Ka’bah in an anti-clockwise manner instead of clockwise.

Such actions conditionally require specific evidence(s) permitting them, for them to be acceptable actions in Islam, irrespective of our understanding of their underlying reasoning.

Those who are against the permissibility of all protests from Islamic scholarship positions consider protests to be “a means to an end” (الوسائل), and consider the “means” to be ta’abbudi in nature. Therefore, for protests to be allowed in Islam, there is a need for specific authoritative evidence admitting it as a part of Islam, and since we do not have evidence permitting protests, engaging in it would entail innovation within the religion (bid’ah).

A view in support

The scholars of this view partially disagree with the discourse laid out by the scholars of the first view.

They agree that protests are means towards achieving an end, also making it from the genre of actions in Islamic jurisprudence known as الوسائل (“the means to an end”), but they disagree on the point of all “means” being ta’abbudi.

According to the scholars of this group, protests are from the genre of actions that are normative in reality, i.e. a part of our norms and customs, and these types of actions do not require specific authoritative evidences in order for them to be permissible to act upon.

Consequently, since protests are considered to be a legal manner to voice expression of a view or stance to those whom it may concern as per the norms of certain societies, evidence to prove the validity of protests as a valid means from an Islamic perspective would not be a requirement. Rather, protests would be permissible as a default rule from the outset. As such, the only way for protests to be forbidden in Islam would be via evidence invalidating it as a permissible action.

The words of Imam Shāṭibī

In differentiating between the two genres of actions (ta’abbudi and norms) and the impact of Islamic law upon both, Imam Shāṭibī (raḥimahu Allah) said,

“Thus, innovation (bid’ah) is a fabricated methodology in the religion which emulates the Law (Sharī’a) and whose practice intends to exaggerate servitude to Allah.

“This is in accordance with those who do not include customs (‘ādāt) within the meaning of bid’ah, and instead exclusively define it within ritualistic worship (‘ibādāt).” [3]

Ruling on legal peaceful protests for the oppressed

Given the multilayered process that is required in the field of jurisprudence and in jurisprudential decision-making, especially in contemporary matters, and the ruling on legal and peaceful protests being ijtihādi (a matter of scholastic reasoning), the scholars are accommodating within themselves of each other’s conclusions.

In terms of my personal treatment and leanings on the topic of peaceful and legal protests in countries permitting them as a valid means of expression, I consider them permissible, from the outset, with considerations, the details of which are listed in the following points of consideration:

1 | Protests are not a form of “means” connected to worship

Protests are not a form of “means” connected to worship, but from the genre of actions that are normative and customary.

As such, peaceful and legal protests for the oppressed are not from the ta’abbudi genre of actions. Rather, they are a “means to an end” (الوسائل), with that “end” being the creation of awareness about the existence of unprecedented harm, showing solidarity with the oppressed, and informing those of authority in a legal manner — a manner approved by those of authority — of the view and mood of their constituents.

Accordingly, this would cause this form of protests to be from the genre of actions connected to considerations of public interest — المصالح المرسلة. This refers to an action (non-worship) not having any authentic and authoritative evidences in Islam approving or disproving it, but the action itself, as per the view of a scholar, has a real propensity to achieve an outcome that Sharī’a as a whole seeks to achieve, such as the preservation of life and wealth, for example. [4] [5]

2 | Default rulings of permissibility for actions of this genre

The Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) maxim regarding normative actions states that,

“…the default ruling of permissibility applies, except if proven otherwise with evidence.” [6]

Accordingly, in the absence of evidence stating otherwise, the default ruling of permissibility would remain.

3 | Actions taken as means to achieving specific ends

There is another jurisprudential maxim that calibrates the ruling of any action taken as a means towards achieving an end.

It states that,

الوسائل لها أحكام المقاصد ما لم تكن الوسيلة محرمة

This means, “the ‘means’ carries the same ruling as the objective it aims to achieve, on condition that the ‘means’ is not evidently forbidden.”

The default ruling for norms and customs has already been established as permissible. In terms of this Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) principle, it highlights two further considerations as follows.

First consideration

If the objective of the means is recommended (mustaḥabb), the means towards achieving the objective will also carry the ruling of being recommended, and if the objective of the means is compulsory (wājib), the means towards achieving the objective will also carry the ruling of being compulsory.

An example to help clarify this consideration would be the use of an alarm clock to aid in waking up for the Fajr Prayer. Since praying Fajr is compulsory, in the event of a person not being able to wake up for the Fajr prayer, except through using an alarm clock, then using an alarm clock as a means of waking up for Fajr would be compulsory as well.

Second consideration

The exception to the above consideration will only be if the means is haram in and of itself.

So, for example, practising impermissible khalwah (seclusion) as a means in order to guide someone to Islam (objective), as the fathomable evidences prohibiting certain means teach us a principle that: the ends do not justify the means, from an Islamic perspective.

Accordingly, peaceful and legal protests would be permissible as a default rule, or possibly recommended (mustaḥabb) or even compulsory (wājib) depending on the rule of the objective they seek to attain from an Islamic perspective. However, if protests were illegal in a country, or were carried out violently, then all the scholars agree that it would not be a permissible means in that country.

UK protests for Palestine are aiming to achieve a supported objective (end)

In terms of the topic at hand, it is important to note that protests being arranged for Palestine aim to achieve an objective that is not at odds with the Sharī’a, i.e. the preservation of life, and the lifting of oppression.

In addition, protests in the UK are legal, which accordingly does not bring about legality issues from the perspective of Islamic jurisprudence, as it does not entail going against the laws of the land.

Likewise, since protests are not from the ta’abbudi genre of actions, the condition of validating evidence in Islam for it does not apply.

Principles pertaining to legal protests with correct intentions

A question applies,

“What is the evidence prohibiting protests from the outset, if carried out legally in a country with the objective of raising awareness of oppression and aiding the oppressed?”

And on the other hand,

“What if they are vices as prohibited by the Sharī’a that are not an intrinsic part of protests, but are generally accompanying vices of the protest?

“For example, the presence of music, intermingling, and so on?”

In this case, we have three guiding jurisprudential (Fiqh) maxims.

First principle | يغتفر في الوسائل ما لا يغتفر في المقاصد

The maxim states that leniency will be applied to the Islamic ruling of the “means” in a manner that does not apply to the “objective” (ends). [7]

Accordingly, Islamic jurisprudence possesses the scope for the certain vices that accompany a protest to be temporarily overlooked and not be a burdening consideration that would overturn the default ruling of the means, i.e. permissibility, due to it being a separable accompanying issue to the means and not an intrinsic part of it.

Second principle | إذا تعارض مفسدتان رُوعي أعظمُهما ضررًا بارتكاب أخفهما

This principle states that if a person is faced with two harms, then they should adopt the lesser harm in order to avert the greater harm. [8]

This is because the Sharī’a intends to bring about benefit and to make it abundant, and it came to reduce harm and eradicate it.

To this end, if the general preponderant feeling of the scholars of a jurisdiction was that protests are a means of lifting harm or reducing it — and that the harms of not protesting are greater than the harms of protesting — then the concluding advice would be to adopt the lesser harm, i.e. protesting in order to avert the greater harm (continued and/ or increased oppression).

Third principle | درء المفسدة مقدم على جلب المصلحة

If someone individually feels that the accompanying vices of a protest will harm their own faith, due their own unique circumstances, then the application of the “Maxim of Harm” applies to them.

This states that the prevention of a harm takes precedence over the attainment of a benefit.

As such, the prevention of harm — i.e. harm as a result of the protest — will be given more importance than the attainment of the benefit of the protest in their individual case, especially since their absence would not entail the closure of the means towards lifting or reducing of oppression.

Alternatively, a person can find or plan a different means to be an adversary to the harms that protests are trying to avert.

For example, a community in Ireland recently arranged a drive-through protest with cars wrapped in the Palestinian flag in order to protest against the killing of babies and the innocent en masse and, through this, mitigated certain harms they felt were too difficult for them to manage.

Imitating non-Muslims by protesting?

Another query regarding the act of protesting is on whether a person would be involved in imitating the actions of a people of other beliefs.

For example, a recent question received stated,

“Is participating in protests a form of emulating non-Muslims in practices specific to them, since Islam does not have a history of Muslims protesting?”

In response, we may say that whilst it is true that Islam does not have a history of protests upon its current modern formation, the idea of legal peaceful protest does have a historical presence with Muslims since the time of the Sahaba.

This is not surprising and only natural since, as we have concluded, protests are from the normative actions of a people and not from the genre of actions considered worship.

‘A’isha (radiy Allāhu ‘anha) engaged in peaceful protest

In one example, during the time of the Sahaba, hundreds of Companions, and from them the Mother of the Believers, ‘A’isha (radiy Allāhu ‘anha), travelled from Hijaz to Iraq in order to peacefully protest. As explained by the scholars of Islam, they desired for the murderers of Uthmān (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) to be brought to justice, sooner rather than later.

Peaceful Egyptian protest during 4th year after Hijrah

Another example would be the Egyptians’ peaceful protest during the 4th year after Hijrah, when the community gathered to voice their lengthy complaint about their financial plight to the ruler of the time, due to the unaffordability of bread.

That said, even if we do not have a history of manifestations of protesting by the Muslims, the default ruling related to actions that are not from the genre of worship would apply, as discussed earlier.

And in terms of the topic of emulation, its ruling would not necessarily be deterred, as Islamic jurisprudence facilitates leniency for Muslim minorities in externalised manifest norms of their place of stay.

To this end, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahu Allah) said,

“Directly going against their (i.e. non-Muslims) norms is only when the religion is manifest and uppermost…

“When the Muslims were initially weak, opposition [to the norms of the non-Muslims] was not legislated.

“Once the religion was complete, manifest, and uppermost, it was legislated.

“Likewise, today: if the Muslim is in an abode of war, or (living as a minority) in a non-warring abode, he is not commanded to oppose them (non-Muslims) in terms of externalised norms (al-Hādī al-Zāhir) due to the harm/ disadvantage he incurs in doing so.

“It (also) may be legally recommended (mustaḥabb) or even obligatory (wājib) for one to join them (non-Muslims) on occasion in their external norms, if this begets a religious benefit…” [9]


In the end, this is what Allah Almighty has facilitated and made easy for me to share, in light of the many questions asked by the community on this topic during this very difficult time.

However, before signing off, I share a word of caution.

From the negative results of protests is that it distracts us and even pacifies us from completing actions that are highly impactful in terms of achieving the change that one wishes to see.

Because of this, it is very important that the right frame of mind is applied when participating in protests, lest it becomes a means of just “releasing steam” with no real traction following on in terms of facilitating transformative outcomes.

May Allah Almighty lift every ounce of oppression off the face of the Earth and always make us a means for the benefit of the oppressed. Amīn.

And Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) knows best.

Source: Islam21c



[2] al-Qur’ān, 72:8

[3] Kitāb al-I’tisām, 1/37

[4] Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa, 11/342, 343

[5] Qawā‘id Ma‘rifat al-Bida‘, p. 19,20

[6] al-Ashbah wan-Nathāir, Ibn Nujaym (al-Hanafi), p. 60

[7] al-Ashbah wan-Nathāir, al-Suyūti, 1/144

[8] al-Ashbah wan-Nathāir, Ibn Nujaym (al-Hanafi), p. 76

[9] Iqtidā al-Sirāt al-Mustaqīm by Ibn Taymiyyah, p. 459

The post Protests: An Islamic Perspective appeared first on

Palestine: Victory Is Already Here!

6 November, 2023 - 05:36

Although the title sounds like a clickbait one, I can assure the reader that it is rooted in the Qur’an itself. Permit me the indulgence to explain:

I. The Victory

The Holy Qur’an says:

Truly Our word to Our servants, the Messengers, has gone forth: Indeed it is they who shall be victorious. [Surah As-Saffat – 37:171-2]

Ibn Taymiyyah reminds us that victory (nasr), or being victorious (mansurun), isn’t restricted to the usual sense of the term as in defeating one’s opponent or vanquishing them. He says that it is broader than that. Responding to the objection that how can Allah’s Messengers all be described as victorious when many of them were slain without them or their message of tawhid prevailing, he explains:

‘Being killed, if it is upon a manner wherein there is honour for Islam and its people, then this is from the perfection of victory. For death is inevitable. So if one dies pleased with [Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and] the Afterlife, then one has achieved untainted victory … A case in point is the hadith of the young boy, as related by Muslim [no.3005], when he followed the religion of the monk, after following the religion of the magician, and they attempted to repeatedly kill him but were unable to do so, until he taught them how to kill him. This was by [telling] the king to say: “In the name of Allah, Lord of the young boy.” then they shot him [with an arrow]. When they killed him, all the people believed. Thus this was a victory for his religion.’1

Taking our queue from this Taymiyyan insight, we can look at what is now happening to the Palestinians in Gaza with a fresh perspective, to see that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has already given them and us victory. Let’s remind ourselves of some of these God-given victories:

Although the Muslim ummah continues to be woefully divided on a whole host of issues, the Palestinian cause is one around which the entire ummah unifies; and this time, like never before. When hearts are together, and voices resound with a common word, this is a clear victory. (Of course, more meaningful or lasting unity will only come about when we honour the ijma‘-ijtihad rule – i.e. unite upon issues of clear scholarly consensus, and not split over valid scholarly differences.)

The strength and courage with which false narratives undermining Palestinian resistance or the atrocities against them have been skilfully countered this time around, or how the whitewashing of the occupation or its war crimes has been so thoroughly and publicly debunked, is an undeniable victory.

Against the odds, alternative media voices have broken through in a huge way to expose the sheer scale of the double-standards of mainstream media outlets. This cannot be underestimated. Again, it’s a staggering victory. And while such alternative voices have always been there, this time, thanks to social media – in the main – the counter-narrative has gone viral!

From a purely Muslim perspective, there are victories yet greater:

We see how the Palestinian cause serves as a means by which many Muslims are becoming more mindful or tuned to the reality of what it truly means to be a ‘submitter’ to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He); a Muslim. And that is no small victory.

More and more Muslims are coming to realise that our socio-political affairs as an ummah are deeply intertwined with us actualisating taqwa in our own lives and turning our backs on sin and disobedience. This ever-growing recognition is one of the greatest victories we could ever be given.

The Palestinian commitment to iman, in the face of all the obstacles, and their courage and optimism in the face of a goliath of persecution, is an inspiration to all who struggle with their faith in these challenging times to also patiently persevere and press on for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sake. How can this not be a victory?

As for them being slain, shot or bombed in this resistance for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), then their martyrdom – for that is our hope and prayer for them – is the envy of every true believer in whose heart the light of tawhid and the flames of striving still burn ever bright. For only the Muslim can say: “Our dead are in jannah!” If that is not being victorious, then what is?

II. The Awakening victory for Palestine

PC: Latrach Med Jamil (unsplash)

There is an awakening among Muslims, and I find this to be so especially in the younger generation, that we Muslims must be responsive, but not reactionary. In other words, we must duly respond to calamities and tragedies as best as we can, without losing sight of growing our own communities in moral beauty and economic well-being, developing higher institutions of learning, as well as not sacrificing the call to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) at the alter of political activism. Such intuition, or understanding, when it comes from middle-aged minds is one thing. But when it comes from younger minds, this is nothing short of a breathtaking victory in wisdom and foresight.

Likewise, there is now a far godlier awakening in the ummah that we cannot be attending demonstrations (leaving the scholarly difference about its legality, or its efficacy) and yet not attend to our five daily prayers, and our other personal religious obligations (fara’id). That would be to lose the plot.

There is even an awakening, long in the coming, that our tongues cannot chant protest slogans for Palestinian freedom, more than they invoke the Holy Name of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His remembrance. Again, that would be to shoot oneself in the foot.

There is an awakening that it is not enough just to expose political hypocrisy or media bias and double standards, or get caught up in a tit-for-tat information war. Instead, there is du‘a, prayer, humanitarian aid, deepening our convictions in the Quranic worldview rather than in secular liberalism’s and, of course, da‘wah – our primary objective here, and what validates our living here.

Then there is an awakening about the reality of the conflict, and how it is not about the Jews, per se; nor is it primarily about the actual land being blessed, nor al-Aqsa. Instead, it is about a principle. Imagine, for a moment, if we were to replace the Jews with atheists or Buddhists, and they did exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way. Our duty and response would be exactly the same. Why? Because it isn’t about who the people are. It’s about what they have done and are doing. In other words, the resistance against occupation is based on a principle, not on personalities or peoples. Likewise, if this happened in Mauritania, for instance, and the people were occupied, we would be duty-bound to resist – despite the land not being ‘blessed’ nor having al-Aqsa. That the holy land is blessed, and that it has the third most Sacred Mosque, makes the situation worse. But the principle still stands.

What we might now need is an awakening about boycotting. Again, leaving aside the nuanced scholarly discussion around the validity or not of boycotting (not as a personal act, but as part of a national or transnational coordinated act by those living in Muslim-majority countries with Muslim heads of state) we need to ask: Is it right that I strategically boycott a multinational corporation and get all strict about it, yet not make any serious effort to boycott the clear haram in my own life in terms of what I do, what I say, or what I watch?

The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘The Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and hands, and the one who migrates (Ar, muhajir – boycott, shun, flee from, migrate from) is one who boycotts [shuns] what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has made haram.’2

Overall, however, there is a godly awakening and a slow, but evolving political maturity; and they too are decisive victories.

III. The Action

Like in other calamities, conflicts or trials of this nature, the plan of action is threefold. There is the immediate or short-term action, the medium-term, and the long term.

Immediate action is, of course, humanitarian aid to the victims and refugees. Money, medical supplies, doctors or other skilled personnel are the types of services and aid the situation needs, as well as contributing to the efforts of relief agencies and humanitarian convoys. Along with this, we must not ignore the power of invoking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) with du‘a. We feel the anguish that the oppressed do, and should pray like they do:

“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! And give us from Your presence a protecting friend; give us from Your presence a defender!’” [Surah An-Nisa – 4:75]

Mid-term action has got to be to work for an immediate ceasefire (the global demonstrations, along with voicing righteous anger, are chiefly about this), so that aid and humanitarian relief can get through and some semblance of peace and security is established.  Mid-term does not mean that one works for it only after the humanitarian aid is delivered. A ceasefire or cessation of bombing and killing must be brokered now.

As to the long-term action, this is about finding a resolution to the conflict and occupation. For Muslims, that involves being wisely guided by the light of sound religious instruction and realpolitik. For while the fire in some hearts is seasoned, and in others yet young, believers must be steered – even in their politics – by sacred knowledge. For however they move, and in whatever they do, the believer seeks the glory of God and must intend to conform to His Will and ways. 

Two sacred principles must be kept in mind here; both are backed up by a classical scholarly consensus. The first is that women, children and all other non-combatants cannot be intentionally targeted and killed in any war or resistance.3

The second is that affairs of war or peace (and whatever is in between) are the decision of those in whose hand is the executive political authority4 – in this case, the political leaders of the West Bank and, separately, the Gaza Strip. The former accepts the premise of a two-state solution; the Palestinian state being on that of the 1967 borders. The latter has changed its original 1988 position, and as of 2017, also accepts a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. For, while all Palestinians dream of liberating historic Palestine, today, those at the helm of Palestinian governance are working on a realistic solution. They are focused on what they can achieve, as opposed to what they dream for.

Both authorities expect such a state to be fully sovereign and autonomous, and with the right of return. And despite the skewered propaganda about this too, such a state and with the right of return is – with all its multifaceted concerns and complexities – theoretically doable.

Of course, this will depend on the occupiers, the heads of which still voice a number of positions. These range from a suggestive genocide of Palestinians, to driving them out to neighbouring states, all the way to a two-state, toothless tiger solution. 

The hope is that the resistance, whatever it does, takes the moral high ground and does not eclipse the long-term call to tawhid for short-term political gains. For as long as we continue wearing the uniform of iman and humility, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will honour us with further victories over those who wear the uniform of genocidal brutality.

That is our conviction!

[This article was first published here]


Related reading:

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Palestine On My Mind

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

1    Cited in Ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi, Ikhtiyarat Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Makkah: Dar ‘Alam al-Fawa’id, 1424H), 70-71.2    Al-Bukhari, no.10; Muslim, no.40.3    The shari‘ah proofs for this are discussed in my article, Jihad & Martyrdom, War & Peace:    The proofs are discussed in the article above.

The post Palestine: Victory Is Already Here! appeared first on

Visiting Gaza

5 November, 2023 - 21:33

Statement from Dr. Abdul Nasser Al-Zayoud, representative of the Hashemite Charitable Organization, after his recent visit to Gaza:

We’ve safely left Gaza and are en route to Egypt via the Jordanian Field Hospital. Our next stop is Egyptian Rafah, bordering Palestinian Rafah, before heading to Arish Airport for our journey back to Jordan.

Our time in Gaza spanned about 23 hours, from 10 PM Saturday to 2 PM Sunday, on 29/10/2023.

A summary of the most important points:

Gaza has indeed faced significant physical devastation. However, the undeterred spirit of its people soars to the skies.

Most of our time was spent inside the Jordanian Field Hospital among the wounded and injured. Notably, the morale and strength of the wounded and injured were far higher than our own.

For our safety, we were restricted from moving around alone. We were always accompanied by the young staff of the Jordanian Field Hospital and the Palestinian Red Crescent. We managed to roam freely in Gaza for a total of 3 hours, wishing they would have let us explore on our own, so we could possibly earn the honour of martyrdom alongside these formidable people.

Those 23 hours made us feel the pride, vigour, and masculinity present in this part of the land, despite all the hardships the people here have endured.

The Jordanian Field Hospital in Gaza is, by the grace of Allah, in excellent condition. It’s equipped with all essential medical supplies, even generators and its own communication networks. Our team at the hospital are truly men in every sense of the word. May Allah bless them.

Though the Zionist forces have tried to stifle communications in Gaza, the resilient locals find ways around it, using even adjacent Egyptian and Israeli networks. This indomitable nation finds solutions to every challenge they face.

People here share every bite of bread, sip of water, and even their cash. They show a kind of compassion and solidarity for one another that I’ve never witnessed before. I observed this while distributing food and cash aid. I’ve visited and entered Gaza numerous times before, but what I witnessed this time was unlike any other time or year. The unity and bond that now exists in Gaza is profound. Everyone says this kind of unity hasn’t been seen for the past 40 years. Truly, this is what we felt and observed, and it’s all by the grace of Allah.

Upon our entry last night through the Rafah crossing, and our departure today just before dusk, when they were inspecting the trucks, I swear by Allah, fear was apparent in their eyes and movements. The trembling and terror were visible, even when they spoke. As they walked, they would constantly look left and right, as if expecting a threat from any direction.

Had I not represented an international relief organisation, the Royal Hashemite Charitable Organisation of Jordan, and were it not for any actions contrary to UN instructions potentially causing embarrassment and harm to our organisation, I would never have left Gaza. I would have stayed there with them, hoping that Allah might honour us even a bit as He has honoured them.

I assure you, things in Gaza are excellent. We won’t just say that victory is near; what we witnessed confirms they have already triumphed by the grace and generosity of Allah. What remains to be seen are mere details.

There’s so much more to say, and we will return many times to our people in proud Gaza. I pray that liberation comes soon and that we return to see it freed, as will all the lands of Palestine, inshaa’Allah.

Farewell, Gaza, the land of honour, dignity, and a manhood which is absent in so many in our current times. We’ll be back, proud Gaza, by the will of Allah, the Almighty.

NOTE: Per more recent updates, the Jordan Field Hospital has also suffered severely due to the relentless attacks on Gaza and the ongoing genocide perpetuated by the Zionist State. 


Debunking Beheaded Babies, Concert Rapes, And Human Shields: Hasbara Words That Work For Israeli War Crimes, Apartheid, And Genocide

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Palestine On My Mind

The post Visiting Gaza appeared first on

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Palestine On My Mind

2 November, 2023 - 02:37

Currently, there are several crises raging across the Muslim world. In the past few weeks, we have seen earthquakes devastating Morocco and Afghanistan, flooding in Libya, and various ongoing conflicts across the Muslim world. These past few weeks, our news feeds have been filled with heart-wrenching headlines and reports from the atrocities that are being committed in Gaza. “Atrocities” is too soft of a word. What we are witnessing is ethnic cleansing and genocide. As this article is being written, the death toll in Gaza is now above 7,000; 2,913 of those are children. We are witnessing genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place right in front of our eyes. We are seeing some of the worst atrocities being committed by occupiers and oppressors. Western states and the mainstream media are willfully, cruelly, and arrogantly turning a blind eye. The rhetoric from heads of state and the media is absolutely infuriating. The Muslim world, particularly the Arab states, seems powerless and helpless.

May Allah ﷻ accept all the deceased as martyrs, grant patience to their families, grant them immense strength, patience, and perseverance, and grant them freedom from occupation. 

Cheap Blood

It truly feels like we are living during the times that were described by the Prophet ﷺ.

Thowbān raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Soon nations will summon each other to attack you just as a group of diners usher each other toward their meal.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be like the scum and rubbish carried by flood water. Allah will remove from the hearts of your enemies their awe/respect for you and will place weakness in your hearts.” That person asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is this weakness?” He ﷺ replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4297]

The Prophet ﷺ described a time when we as an Ummah, as a nation of believers, will be extremely weak, humiliated, and disgraced. We will have no respect, honor, authority, sovereignty, or dignity in the eyes of others. Our lives and honor will have no value or weight in the eyes of others. Muslim blood will be cheap. 

Perhaps the longest and most frustrating crisis we have witnessed during our lives is the illegal occupation of Palestine. The Palestinians have been living under occupation for the past 70+ years, since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Since that time, Palestinians have been victims of a systematic process of persecution designed to push them out of their homes and abandon their land. There’s no doubt that Israel is an apartheid state where the Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens who experience various forms of discrimination daily. One of the biggest issues of the occupation is the illegal settlements established in Jerusalem to push out the Muslim population. Israel’s unlawful construction and expansion of settlements and their related infrastructure on Palestinian soil is one of the most defining features of Israel’s occupation and has bred mass violations against Palestinians over the past five decades. Tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and properties have been demolished, displacing entire communities from their homes, and at least 100,000 hectares of land have been seized for Israel’s settlement project, including for construction and agricultural use. Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land do not just amount to war crimes under international law, they violate fundamental principles of international law triggering additional responsibilities among all states. 

A Very Muslim Issue

These past weeks, the IDF has launched an illegal war on the residents of Gaza dropping bombs indiscriminately killing women and children, and destroying entire neighborhoods. As a community of believers, this is not just a Palestinian issue or an Arab issue; this is a Muslim issue. It is a Muslim issue because it involves our Muslim brothers and sisters and al-Masjid al-Aqsa, our third most sacred place of worship. Al-Masjid al-Aqsa is the destination of the Prophet’s ﷺ Night Journey, the starting point of his ascension through the heavens, and our first qiblah in Islam. It is the land where the Prophet ﷺ led all the Prophets and Messengers in prayer. 

One of the most frustrating things about the entire conflict is how it is portrayed and reported in the mainstream news media. Every time I read or see a report from CNN, BCC, or Fox News I’m reminded of the following quote from Malcolm X, “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” They paint the oppressors as the oppressed and the oppressed as the oppressors; the victims as the criminals and the criminals as the victims.

And what’s even more frustrating is the inability of the Muslim world to do anything about it. How did we get here? How has it come to this? How is it that we have such large numbers but have no weight, power, authority, influence, or value? How is it that there are over 2 billion Muslims in the world but we are still weak and oppressed? That we can’t do anything beyond offer a few empty condemnations? The Prophet ﷺ told us the reason why, he told us that it will be because of a very specific weakness; love of this world and dislike of death. This weakness is found in us, not the people of Gaza. The past few weeks have shown to us that the people of Gaza are people of pure unwavering faith and reliance upon Allah ﷻ.

Strength from Imaan

This is what I want all of us to reflect upon. Our strength as an ummah has never come from numbers or material means. Our true strength comes from the strength of our Iman; the strength of our faith. Our true strength comes from following the Book of Allah ﷻ, the guidance and teachings of the Prophet ﷺ, and implementing them into our lives. 

Oftentimes when we discuss the problems and issues we face as an Ummah, we end up focusing on material factors; social, political, and economic. And of course, these factors play a role in what is happening in Muslim societies throughout the world. I’m not denying that. The issues we are facing are complex and multi-faceted. However, I firmly believe that the root cause of our issues is that we have left the guidance of the Quran and the example of the Prophet ﷺ. 

Not only were Muslim lands colonized by Western imperial powers, but Muslim minds were colonized as well. As a result of this intellectual colonization, we have been looking for success and the answers to our social, economic, and political problems towards the various ideologies and philosophies that were born of modernity. But the answer to our problems doesn’t lie in secularism, modernism, liberalism, scientism, socialism, democracy, or any other manmade system that exists. The answer to our problems lies in Divine guidance in the form of the words of Allah ﷻ and the teaching of our beloved Prophet ﷺ. 

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Promise of Security

Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah al-Nur,

“Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will certainly make them successors in the land, as He did with those before them; and will surely establish for them their faith which He has chosen for them; and will indeed change their fear into security—˹provided that˺ they worship Me, associating nothing with Me. But whoever disbelieves after this ˹promise˺, it is they who will be the rebellious.” [Surah An-Nur: 24;55]

The starting point or focal point of the problems we’re facing is not some external factor; rather, it’s internal. The problem lies with us as Muslims. We have left the way of life explained to us in the Qur’ān and shown to us practically by the Prophet ﷺ and have adopted ideas, beliefs, customs, and a way of life foreign to our own teachings. We no longer ascribe to the Islamic worldview or live a life according to Quranic and Prophetic principles. If we want to turn the tide and change our current situation we have to start changing ourselves. We have to recommit to our faith, come back to the basics, build a strong connection with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and live for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

PC: Jeremy Yap (unsplash)

That’s what Allah ﷻ is telling us in this verse. If we have faith and that faith results in righteous actions, then Allah ﷻ promises us success. Allah ﷻ is promising us as believers three distinct favors: 1) He will make us successors to the land (make us vicegerents upon the earth), as He did those who came before us, 2) He will establish the religion He has chosen for us and 3) He will grant us security to replace our fear. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will give us ‘izzah, honor us, elevate us, and place us in positions of strength, authority, and power. The Ummah will have respect and value. The believers as a nation, as an Ummah, will have influence and bring real change in the world. They will be seen as world leaders. Islam will be established and firm as a way of life. It will be seen as the best way of life that can benefit humanity. People will recognize its value and look towards Islam and Muslims for solutions to problems that they’re facing. Allah ﷻ will grant us security to replace our fear. The fear of mockery, ridicule, harassment, persecution, and oppression will be removed and replaced with peace, safety, and security. But this promise is for those who fulfill two conditions; faith and righteous actions. Meaning their faith is proactive.

The formula is very simple and straightforward; it’s literally only two things. Faith and righteous deeds. If we as an Ummah come back to the basics of our faith and religion it will make a huge difference. If we as an Ummah want to return to our glory days, if we want that ‘izzah and honor, then we have to come back to Allah. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Truly Allah ﷻ elevates nations through this Book and lowers others.” If we want to bring about real and true change, we have to start changing ourselves along with all of our other efforts. We have to free ourselves from this intellectual colonization by submitting ourselves to our Lord and Creator. 

As young Muslim college/university students, we may be asking ourselves, “What can we do?” “How can we help?” “How do we start bringing about change?” I want to share five practical things all of us can do to start making real practical change:

  1. Come Back to Allah ﷻ – I’m sure all our hearts are shaken by the current events in Gaza. The eyes shed tears, the heart feels pain, and we sincerely pray for our brothers and sisters. When atrocities like this take place, they are moments of introspection. These are times for us to come back to Allah ﷻ, al-Rujūʿ ila Allah. This is a wake-up call from Allah ﷻ shaking us from our deep slumber and heedlessness. It is as if Allah ﷻ is telling us enough is enough. We have missed enough prayers, we have slept through enough Fajrs, we have missed enough fasts, we have sinned enough, we have disobeyed Allah ﷻ enough, we have been careless long enough, we have stayed away from the masjid long enough, we have focused on the dunyā for too long, and we have been divided for too long. Enough is enough and it is time to come back to Allah ﷻ. We will not be able to liberate or free anything unless we are able to liberate and free our lazy bodies from our beds at Fajr time. We will not advance as an Ummah unless the masjid is as full for Fajr as it is for Jumuʿah…
  2. Duʿā – We cannot and should not underestimate the power of supplication. Duʿā, supplication, calling upon Allah ﷻ, is one of the absolute most powerful tools that a believer has. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Dua is the weapon of the believer.” It is a direct line of communication between a believer and their Lord and Creator. It is considered to be the essence or epitome of worship. When a person raises their hands in supplication to Allah ﷻ it shows that they recognize the reality of their relationship with Him. They recognize that they are His servants and that He is their Lord and Creator. They acknowledge and admit that they don’t have the power, ability, or capability to do anything without the help and assistance of Allah ﷻ. By supplicating to Allah ﷻ they are fulfilling their obligation of calling upon Him. And the beautiful thing is that when they call upon Him, He answers. Allah ﷻ says, “And your Lord says call upon me and I will respond to you.” Similarly, in Surah al-Baqarah Allah ﷻ says, “[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.” When a person frequently calls upon Allah ﷻ it shows that they have firm faith and a strong relationship with their Lord and Creator.
  3. Awareness – All of us should be aware of what is happening right now and educate ourselves regarding the history of the conflict. We should also be actively engaged in spreading awareness in our respective spheres of influence. Our voices will make a difference and it is important for each of us to play a role in changing the narrative. That like, retweet, share, and post makes a difference. Have conversations with your classmates, professors, and build awareness on campus through programs, lectures, teach-ins, rallies, and walk-outs etc.
  4. Get involved with the BDS movement
  5. Don’t Lose Hope – Despite all the material odds stacked against the Gazans, believers are people of hope and optimism. We know for a fact with absolute 100% certainty that Allah ﷻ will aid, support, assist, and grant relief and victory to the oppressed. The Prophet ﷺ taught a young ibn ʿAbbāds raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.” The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no veil between it and Allah.” We know their prayers are being heard and answered. Allah ﷻ consoled and comforted the best generation of believers to walk in this earth saying, “Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were afflicted with suffering and adversity and were so ˹violently˺ shaken that ˹even˺ the Messenger and the believers with him cried out, ‘When will Allah’s help come?’ Indeed, Allah’s help is near.”

Allah’s help is near!


Related reading:

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

– Khutbah Notes: Palestine Solidarity

The post From The Chaplain’s Desk: Palestine On My Mind appeared first on

Responding To Religious Harassment In US Schools – A Guide

31 October, 2023 - 04:11

Across America, Arab and Muslim community leaders are receiving an alarming uptick in student reports of religious-based harassment and bullying targeting Arab and Muslim students in elementary and secondary schools.  Outside of Denver, just a week after October 7, Palestinian American students reported being called “terrorists” by teachers and peers.  Across Maryland, Muslim and Arab students documented threatening incidents in school when they affirmed their support for Palestinian human rights.  In Northern Virginia, students mobilized walkouts to express support for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid in Gaza, but still faced close observation and scrutiny from parents who worried that the walkouts would not be peaceful.  

This is not the first time that Muslim and Arab students have been subjected to collective blame after violent incidents in the Middle East. My research shows that after 9/11, Muslim and Arab students face targeted harassment each September when 9/11 is taught in classrooms.  In past crises, when Muslim and Arab students speak out in support of Palestine, they are met with bullying and harassment, often at the hands of adults. Attempts by school leaders to teach this history in ethnic studies classes are met with local resistance and Palestinian curriculum resources remain censored in many public schools. Muslim students have the right to practice their faith and engage in political speech without being subject to harassment or bullying.

Community leaders need information

Community leaders should be equipped with key information to give to students and their families. There are religious and mental health resources available to guide parents on how to talk to their children about Palestine. CAIR developed materials to advise students on how to speak about Islamophobia and Palestinian rights in schools. The Family Youth Institute has effective guidance on addressing traumatic events with children. Parents and community members can get direct support from The Khalil Center’s online psycho-spiritual support group and Maristan’s mental health guidebook. Yaqeen Institute published a dua’a to recite to overcome feeling helpless.   

ICNA Council for Social Justice has essential references defining bullying with related prevention resources. This is not new; in 2022 nearly half of Muslim families with school-age students reported experiencing bullying. And each September when 9/11 is taught in classrooms or when a terrorist attack takes innocent lives, students describe a spike in targeted bullying and harassment.

Responding to bias in U.S. schools

In addition to these valuable resources, community leaders can advise students and their families on how to respond to bias-related incidents occurring in U.S. schools.  

Report!  If a student experiences bias or bullying, including nonverbal actions, families should report it to the school as soon as possible. Incidents that occur in the classroom should be reported to the teacher. Incidents that occur in hallways, cafeterias, playgrounds, restrooms, or buses should be reported to the Principal (or Principal’s Designee– Assistant / Vice Principal).  If a staff member is responsible for causing the incident, or if the child experienced bias or bullying before, report directly to the Principal. If the Principal is responsible, report directly to the Regional or District Superintendent. If the student experienced racial or religious discrimination, they can also file a report online with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. In addition to meeting with a school official about the incident, encourage families to file a written report with the school or district equity office to document the incident and begin the formal process to address the concern. If a family needs assistance filing a report, direct them to the district’s confidential ombudsman’s office, a parent liaison, or a school guidance counselor. 


PC: Jesús Rodríguez (unsplash)

Address it!  Families can request to meet with a school or district leader to discuss how to address the bias or bullying incident, these meetings should include the child when possible. It is reasonable to request that the student receive a written or verbal apology from the one(s) who caused the harm. If another student is repeatedly at fault, families can ask for that student to be removed from their child’s classes or school bus route. If a teacher caused harm, families could ask for the student to be placed in a new classroom with a different teacher. Families can request counseling services to help the child recover from the harassment. Families who are aware of other incidents of bias or bullying can suggest guidance lessons or school assemblies to raise awareness of racial and religious bias and bullying.  Families can also propose age-appropriate anti-bullying campaigns, professional development for staff, and the establishment of guidance groups for students with shared experiences.    

Follow up!  After 1 – 2 weeks, families should follow up with staff to ensure that the issue was effectively addressed. The original documentation should be reviewed and the plan to address the incident should be assessed for completion. Families can describe how the incident has impacted their child since filing the report to determine if additional wellness or safety resources should be offered. If the school has not implemented the agreed-upon plan to address the incident, the family should consider escalating their grievances. Reports not addressed at school should be raised to the superintendent’s office. Reports not addressed at the district can be raised to the state board of education or the U.S. Department of Education. Families may also choose to document bias and bullying incidents with Arab or Muslim legal organizations who may assist a family in seeking legal recourse for civil rights violations.  

Common errors to avoid

By following these steps, community leaders can effectively guide students and their families to address incidents of bias and bullying in U.S. classrooms or schools. But under the stress of this crisis, I see Muslim community leaders taking actions that may not support the long-term interests of students and their families. Below I list some of the common errors that leaders have made in this situation hoping that others can avoid similar responses.

  • Masjid and community center leaders have created online forms for students and families to report incidents of bias and bullying. Leaders are not ensuring that the personal data being collected is protected with appropriate levels of privacy and security. Most importantly, community leaders cannot use this information to address specific incidents with school leaders on behalf of students due to the legal restrictions in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Although leaders are likely organizing to help identify local patterns of bias and bullying in the schools, it is a missed opportunity to teach students and their families to engage directly with public leaders to advocate for their rights.      


  • Masjid and community leaders have advised parents and guardians on how to address the bias or bullying incident without consulting with the impacted student. Students need to be involved in proposing ways to address the harm so that they can support the plan and minimize disruptions to their existing school relationships.  Secondly, community leaders may wrongfully insist upon punitive and disciplinary responses with legal consequences because it appears as a moral victory to the impacted student. School leaders may instead propose addressing incidents through restorative justice because research describes it as preventing further injustice and promoting a healthy school climate.  


  • Well-intentioned volunteers may not follow up. After a student or family shares an incident of bias or bullying with masjid or community leaders, the leadership team should ensure that someone follows up with the student and family in a timely manner. The masjid or community leaders can determine if the family needs additional services to meet the child’s needs, or if the family needs guidance on elevating their concerns to higher authorities. When a community fails to follow up it can leave a family feeling a greater sense of frustration and isolation as they try to navigate a complicated school system.  

Muslim students are facing harassment and bullying in schools for both their religious and ethnic identities as well as their bold declarations of political speech. Masjid and community leaders need timely information to guide students and their families through established processes to report incidents of bias or discrimination. It is our civic responsibility to hold public officials accountable for establishing safe and supportive schools for all students, and that includes speaking up and speaking out when our students’ rights are violated.


Related reading:

Recognizing The Personal Perspectives Of Muslim Student Experiences

Bullying, Islam & Everything In Between

The post Responding To Religious Harassment In US Schools – A Guide appeared first on

Blatant Panopticon: Enforced Surveillance In Kashmir

23 October, 2023 - 05:10

In the four years following India’s revocation of the special status of the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi’s most significant action in asserting its authority over this UN-recognised disputed territory has been the heightened deployment of surveillance and predictive technologies to monitor and govern the civilian population of Kashmir. The intensified scrutiny from security and military agencies not only limits the freedom of expression for the people of Kashmir but also pushes them into a perpetual state of conflict.

Kashmiris are subjected to multiple layers of surveillance, aiming to monitor oppressed voices, restrict freedom of expression, and discourage their UN-guaranteed right to self-determination. Surveillance in Kashmir resembles the panopticon– a design of institutional building with an inbuilt system of control proposed by utilitarianism philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The center panopticon is surrounded by watchmen to constantly monitor the behavior of prisoners. Foucault, in his analysis of the Panopticon, argues that its purpose is to arrange things so that surveillance attains permanence, even if it is discontinuous in its actions.

The Indian state has used manifold resources, both human and technology, to deploy a “strategic and comprehensive programme” as part of its counter-insurgency mechanism “leading to fear and its internalization”. The point is not only to watch Kashmiris through strategically placed cameras, but also—and what’s perhaps more insidious—to make them feel watched no matter where they are. Indian digital surveillance is thus the latest iteration of the counter-insurgency “demonstrating the control and fear.”

Kashmiris are subjected to Indian occupying authorities’ digital monitoring on a daily basis, at concrete bunker checkpoints, workplaces, universities, hospitals, and on social media. Since August 05, 2019, Kashmiris regularly experience breaches of their privacy by Indian occupying authorities in its attempt to monitor them and prevent opponents from expressing their opinions. 

Daily Life Surveillance

Kashmiris living under the prolonged military occupation have always suffered significant social control and monitoring, often in the form of unannounced Cordon And Search Operations (CASO) or brutal interrogation over the dissent on digital media. In the past 9 years, this monitoring has penetrated the digital realm and has been ramped up with digital technologies. Kashmiris are routinely monitored in public spaces, as occupying authorities deploy CCTV cameras in the streets of the Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK).

The practice began in the year 2012 as Kashmir Digits reported in October 2021, that “Kashmir valley will witness increased security in terms of electronic surveillance as drone grids and CCTV will be installed in places that witnessed killings, in coordination with Indian Army and Central Security agencies.” Quoting news agency IANS, the report further stated “Jammu and Kashmir Police will be in a lead role in preventing attacks in coordination with other security stakeholders and they have been asked to strengthen the human intelligence gathering on the ground. Round-the-clock electronic surveillance in vulnerable areas, better intelligence networks, and strong patrolling on roads and highways around the cities to prevent entry and exit of the militants with more barricading and placing of security bunkers, will be the key features of the new security systems.

In April 2022, A Kashmir-based online news portal, Kashmir Life reported that “the local state police headquarters has floated a tender for Union Territory-wide CCTV integrated network system with the primary focus on procuring high-resolution cameras having facility of face recognition, automatic number plates, color identified objects and stone pelting.” A total 4,257 CCTV cameras were installed at 251 police stations and 88 police posts across occupied territory.  Another order that came as a surprise for the private commercial entities from the occupying authorities, directing them to install good quality CCTVs and inform the police in case of any suspicious movement observed. The order further reads that any non-compliance would be punishable by a fine or a month’s imprisonment.

Akin to the “Blue Wolf” tracking database of Israel in the West Bank, the Indian occupying authorities came up with an innovative development to install digital door numbers to track the civilian population of IOJK. 

Access and Data Social media

PC: Dole777 (unsplash)

The Indian occupying authorities maintain control over information and communication technology Infrastructure in the occupied territory thus depriving Kashmiris of their basic right, the “right to access affordable and quality internet.” The internet has significantly amplified the amount of transitional data to be had for individuals everywhere. Monitoring is intended to improve the capture and tracking of the Kashmiris through the monitoring of social media, the monitoring of demonstrations and dissident speeches, and the monitoring of individual interest movements in political behavior.

Vasundasunhara Sirnate in her write-up published by The Hindu in November 2014, substantiated the heightened surveillance by stating “an intelligence bureau (IB) official stationed in occupied Kashmir told me that they were tapping 10,00000 phones in Kashmir alone by 2014. In August 2015, JK police said that “the department launched Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU) in Anantnag southern district of IOJK to check cybercrime and take down the misuse of internet facilities especially by terror outfits.” These ESUs were recently upgraded with modern technologies. In addition, the Indian occupying authorities used Israeli-based snooping software company NSO to target human rights defenders, journalists, and resistance leadership.

A new development surfaced on September 25, 2023, where the region’s police department was granted unrestricted access to major social media platforms, including WhatsApp, X (formerly known as Twitter), Snapchat, Instagram, Telegram, and TikTok, for the purpose of monitoring citizens suspected of expressing dissent against the military occupation of their homeland. Given India’s status as an occupying power in Jammu and Kashmir, these measures are an extension of the occupation’s effort to assert complete control over the region and its populace

Social activists on various social media platforms have vehemently decried the oppressive actions of the Indian authorities, denouncing it as a flagrant infringement upon the sacrosanct realm of privacy rights. The Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) international advocacy group, has taken decisive action by composing a letter addressed to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs imploring them to lend their formidable attention to India’s increasingly autocratic conduct in subjugating and exercising dominion over the denizens of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).

Surveillance of Minds

The US-based rights group Stand with Kashmir (SWK) disclosed in a report that social media apps have continually silenced Kashmiri voices in the digital space. The body argues that corporations have removed content, suspended user accounts, and engaged in algorithmic manipulation of content critical of India’s military occupation and settler colonialism in the region.

On August 14, 2020, an investigative report published by Kashmir Walla enunciates that Kashmiris are fearful of expressing opinions online and many have either deactivated their accounts or restricted their tweets to users who follow them on the platform. The word of mouth being spread among Kashmiri social media users warns of an ongoing crackdown by the police. Citizens keep their ideas to themselves and steer clear of initiatives to organize and mobilize resistance to oppression.


The civilian population of Kashmir -including human rights defenders, journalists, and scholars-, has long drawn attention to their humiliation at the hands of innovative forms of surveillance that violate their privacy. In many ways, the case of the Kashmiri shows how technologies can be weaponized, particularly as a means of inducing self-censorship and compliance from people living in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The advocacy groups in Kashmir need to organize globally to confront these technologies and collaborate with progressive civil society organizations in the struggle to end the abuse of these technologies by overzealous governments.

The encroachment of occupying authority and Armed forces on the spaces of Kashmir as well as other colonial subjects’ sow the seeds of terror in the hearts of the besieged population and prepares ground for the genocide of Kashmiris.



Surveillance, Detentions And Politics of Fear: Managing Kashmir The Palestinian Way

Indian Myths Channel Genocide in Kashmir

The post Blatant Panopticon: Enforced Surveillance In Kashmir appeared first on

Debunking Beheaded Babies, Concert Rapes, and Human Shields: Hasbara Words that Work for Israeli War Crimes, Apartheid, and Genocide

19 October, 2023 - 21:42
  • This is a lengthy piece rebutting pro-Israel misinformation – you can review the intro / tl;dr if you just want a quick summary.
  • If you only read one section in detail, the most important is Section 4 on “human shields” as this is the biggest unchallenged repeated lie.
  • I would also recommend reviewing Section 2 on how pro-Israel talking points were created, and how they are deployed to frame arguments – this will teach you both how they think about issues as well as learn what they know are their own weaknesses and try to avoid.
Introduction and tl;dr

Many of you wonder with justified horror at how the American media consistently favors the Israeli narrative of their victimhood vs the Palestinian case. You look at international media and don’t see the same blackout of Palestinian voices, counterpoints, and humanizing stories. Much of this can be attributed to the organizing power of the Israel Lobby (many of you will think AIPAC, but it is more sophisticated than this and space doesn’t allow for further discussion) and its connections within media, government, and industry (especially the military industrial complex).

The following piece will focus on rhetoric and messaging used by these lobby groups and those they have influence over in government and media, specifically the calculated nature of the words and framing of issues to divert from speaking of Israel’s problems and instead inventing or exaggerating problems on the Palestinian side that are in reality magnitudes of order far worse on the Israeli side. Specifically, we will look at the following:

  1. The Global Language Dictionary aka the Hasbara Manual created by pollster Dr. Frank Luntz and commissioned by “The Israeli Project” media relations lobby and the impact this has had on messaging and framing issues for the American public. We’re providing the full pdf to download and encourage readers to review it (it’s about 116 pages, but it isn’t dense reading).
  2. We will examine claims of beheaded babies and raped women, and whether they have been substantiated (tl;dr they haven’t been, and you can skip to section 2 that provides media coverage on this).
  3. We will examine claims that Hamas is using their people as human shields (they’re not, check out section 4), and show that not only is Israeli army, the IDF, guilty of doing this openly in the past, they have been told to stop by their own high court and continue to do so even now.
  4. While conclusively rebutting these unsubstantiated talking points that go completely unchecked, we will examine the impact and recommendations the Hasbara manual provides either directly or indirectly to monopolize the narrative.
  5. We conclude with recommendations for how to deal with the Hasbara manual and use its findings to our advantage, both in the short-term and long-term, in order to challenge these illegitimate narratives.

At each point, evidence will be provided from independent journalists on the ground, reports from 3rd party human rights groups such as Amnesty International and B’Tselem. While we will share quotes and excerpts from articles and reports, we will provide the links so that if there are any gaps or apparent misrepresentations of context, readers are free to call them out in the comments below.

In some cases, we will quote a full page of text because the information in reports are in pdf documents that aren’t a simple google search away. This will provide better SEO for others to find this content and perform deeper and more extensive research on these matters.

Finally, if in this research correct attribution is missed, there is no intent to do so – please let us know and we will gladly give credit where credit is due.

The Beginnings of “Words that Work” for Israeli State Terror

On the historic night Americans elected its first Black President, Israeli soldiers raided the Gaza Strip, killing six Hamas soldiers, violating a 6 month ceasefire. This would lead one month later to Operation Cast Lead, a brutal Israeli offensive that killed over 1400 Palestinians and wounded over 5500 more, the vast majority of whom were civilians. In contrast, Israel reported 13 fatalities (4 of whom were from friendly fire). Oxford Professor Avi Shlaim, writing for the Guardian, states:

On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, pounding the densely populated strip from the air, sea and land for 22 days. It was not a war or even “asymmetric warfare” but a one-sided massacre. Israel had 13 dead; the Gazans had 1,417 dead, including 313 children, and more than 5,500 wounded. According to one estimate 83% of the casualties were civilians. Israel claimed to be acting in self-defence, protecting its civilians against Hamas rocket attacks. The evidence, however, points to a deliberate and punitive war of aggression. Israel had a diplomatic alternative, but it chose to ignore it and to resort to brute military force.

Frank Luntz: “Words that Work” and “Words that don’t Work”

Due to the PR fallout of Operation Cast Lead, Washington-based think tank “The Israeli Project” (TIP) specializing in media relations contracted the services of Frank Luntz to research and provide the best rhetoric to sell all aspects of Israel’s genocide to the American people in favorable, relatable ways. The document wasn’t meant for distribution and was leaked almost immediately to Newsweek (which is why we know about it). The end goal was to make Israel, its war crimes, settlements, ambiguous borders, and more seem nothing more than the actions of a victim defending itself while making the Palestinians seem like unreasonable aggressors.

For example, in Luntz’s research, he found that “78% of Americans supported a two-state solution”, which of course the Israeli government doesn’t. Therefore, in order to manipulate public perception, Luntz encourages positive messaging, agreeing to this goal, but saying the first step is peace and only then two separate states.

He writes this knowing the reason there is no peace is because Israel is an occupier building illegal settlements – how can there be “peace first” when the IDF and settlers are actively sabotaging the thing they claim they want? Luntz writes:

“Peace before political boundaries” sets up the perfect dynamic for you. It elevates the need to stop the rockets, stop the bombings, and create a ceasefire, while subtly downplaying the importance of a two-state solution by calling it “political boundaries.”

Peace always beats politics in the opinion elite’s mind. Always.”

He went on to produce a 116 page document filled with how to position issues in such a way that Israeli’s are a positive, hopeful people that want nothing but peace and the two state solution when in reality, they have no such goal. I encourage you to read the full report here and a second report he did 5 years later here.

Luntz Created the Hasbara Manual to Manipulate What Americans Hear

Luntz contributed to what is known in hebrew as “hasbara” or literally “to explain”, though it is synonymous with “propaganda. When you hear politicians, media personalities, activists, and commentators repeating the same language and rhetoric across different mediums, this isn’t by accident – through a coordinated effort by various lobby groups, the advice in this document is taken to heart and used to maintain Palestinian oppression by monopolizing the public narrative. For example, in this recent escalation when Ali Velshi spoke both about the situation in Israel as well as in Gaza, the ADL came on the network and publicly rebuked any coverage favoring the Palestinian narrative and to only focus on Israeli victims on MSNBC. They further demanded the focus should only be on “terror” from one side. MSNBC has since removed 3 Muslim journalists – Ali Velshi, Mehdi Hasan, and Ayman Mohyeldin as covered by Max Tani of Semafor.

Breaking Points with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti also covered their removal here:

This isn’t the first time Luntz’s pollster research and reframing of words, issues, and situations was deployed effectively and collectively upon the American psyche. In his book “Words that Work”, he outlines in detail how his work was instrumental in overturning a 50 year democratic majority to a republican-controlled congress in the 90s by helping wordsmith the ideas found in the “Contract with America.” The main point of his book is that in attempting to persuade people “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear” and how to effectively control what people hear through the careful choice of words that are used.

And how does he figure out the right words and framing? He puts together focus groups and tests them by asking the same question using different words or showing videos in varying order. After reviewing responses, he determines which words and video sequences best produce the desired outcomes and conclusions. In other words, he’s not interested in what people think about it in principle, but rather how to shift the framing for the average “persuadable” (a person who is basically on the fence) to see whoever has hired him out as the side to be on. Once he figures out the best messaging and framing, all politicians and media personalities will follow the same script using the same words. You may notice when confronted with a question that demands more than a reductive sound bite, rather than answer the question, they return to the sound bite.

As an aside, Luntz has also been involved in helping Israeli lobby groups work on messaging to damage the BDS movement and more about this can be read on the Electronic Intifada here:

Newsweek Calls Out Luntz’s Hasbara Manual on Illegal Israeli Settlements

The manual was leaked to Newsweek in 2009 (a time when social media and internet usage wasn’t anywhere near what it is now), and they wrote in their article, “How to Sell Americans on Israeli Settlements”:

Luntz, who has advised mostly Republican candidates, appears to have tested a variety of messages on the focus groups. He concludes that “public opinion is hostile to the settlements,” even among supporters of Israel. “Nothing is tougher to articulate effectively to neutral Americans than a message in favor of the settlements,” Luntz writes.

“Let me be clear about this conclusion. Plenty of Israeli and American Jewish leaders have tried, but American and European audiences rejected almost everything we tested.” Luntz did not respond to NEWSWEEK’s request for comment.

After detailing why three common arguments Israelis use are failing pathways for persuasion, he writes his research indicates the best language is the following (this is quoted from the Newsweek article):

In the report, Luntz describes the “best settlement argument” as one that draws a parallel between the Arab communities in Israel and the Jewish settlers in the West Bank—and refers to the idea of evacuating Jews as racist. “The idea that anywhere that you have Palestinians there can’t be any Jews, that some areas have to be Jew-free, is a racist idea.”

Instead, he suggests saying. “We don’t say that we have to cleanse out Arabs from Israel. They are citizens of Israel. They enjoy equal rights. We cannot see why it is that peace requires that any Palestinian area would require a kind of ethnic cleansing to remove all Jews. We don’t accept it. Cleansing by either side against either side is unacceptable.”

It matters little to Luntz there’s a substantive difference between people who have legitimately bought and owned property vs those who are trespassing, stealing, and squatting ie occupying land that isn’t their own (as shown the tweet below) – what matters is manipulating what people hear.

The Independent Calls Out the Hasbara Manual on Media Manipulation

In addition to Newsweek, Patrick Cockburn of the UK edition of the Independent wrote in 2014 “The Secret Report that Helps Israel Hide Facts”, after the brutal massacre that occurred during Operation: Protective Edge in which over 1000 civilians were killed compared to 3 for the Israelis:

On every occasion, the presentation of events by Israeli spokesmen is geared to giving Americans and Europeans the impression that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to compromise to achieve this, when all the evidence is that it does not. Though it was not intended as such, few more revealing studies (ie the Hasbara Manual) have been written about modern Israel in times of war and peace.

Cockburn advises the rest of the media (and I advise everyone reading this to take his advice) to read the document, stating:

These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear (emphasis mine). Certainly, no journalist interviewing an Israeli spokesman should do so without reading this preview of many of the themes and phrases employed by Mr Regev and his colleagues. The booklet is full of meaty advice about how they should shape their answers for different audiences.

The last quote with needs to be emblazoned into everyone’s minds as we delve into the widespread media and political misinformation campaign being waged both now and in the future. Cockburn’s further adds:

Every one of the 112 pages in the booklet is marked “not for distribution or publication” and it is easy to see why. The Luntz report, officially entitled “The Israel project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked almost immediately to Newsweek Online, but its true importance has seldom been appreciated. It should be required reading for everybody, especially journalists, interested in any aspect of Israeli policy because of its “dos and don’ts” for Israeli spokesmen.

We know most journalists have not or will not heed this warning. It’s on the rest of us to be aware of these manipulations to bring the discourse back into the realm of substantive examination of the facts rather than the magician’s art of misdirection to take our focus away from where the real problems occur.

Israel’s Biggest Public Weakness and Luntz’s Recommendation: Say “Terror, Not Territory”

Luntz writes in his manual the following discovery from this research:

We asked American opinion elites a simple question: “Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a two-state solution in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, where both have independent nations?” (Luntz National Survey, January 2009) We received a very clear answer: Fully and exactly 50% of Americans strongly support a two-state solution. Combine this with the 28.2% who somewhat support it and you have the formula for a landslide in support of giving the Palestinians their own land and their own government. Again… Over 78% of Americans support a two-state solution. So when you’re talking to Americans, you need to know that when you don’t support a two-state solution you risk having a major public relations challenge in America and Europe.

Keeping in mind that Luntz has told the Israelis that the question settlers is a losing issue even with pro-Israel supporters among Americans polled, his recommendations around “terror, not territory” are to keep the focus on delaying territory talks (and Americans largely favor Palestinians keeping their territory) until the terror part of the equation is removed, namely Hamas.  Therefore, the focus should be on peace, then boundaries.

How does this figure into the current media narrative – it amps up the focus only on Hamas, only on Israeli civilian casualties, and attempts to further entrench a terror narrative, of being on the defensive, when in fact the opposite is true. We will return to this after reviewing the unsubstantiated allegations spread irresponsibly by journalists and politicians.

Did Hamas Behead 40 Babies or Rape Women?

President Joe Biden stated, “I never really thought that I would see, have confirmed, pictures of terrorists beheading children.” The White House quickly walked these comments back stating the President meant that he had heard about it. Aljazeera reports:

Unverified claims about the beheading of Israeli children and sexual assault of hostages by the Palestinian armed group have gone viral on social media in the days following Saturday’s attack.

In a response to questions by The Washington Post, a White House spokesperson said the president’s comments were based on news reports and claims by the Israeli government.

This claim has been repeated all over both traditional and social media by pro-Israel advocates, screaming with indignation that Israel “has a right to defend itself” as well as “we have no choice but to strike back” as well as “what would America do if the equivalent of 36,000 of its own people had been killed?”

All of these responses are part of Luntz’s Hasbara manual. It is within the chaos of these events that are still unfolding that in addition to deploying their usual PR tactics, they have added a new twist – allegations that babies were beheaded “ISIS Style. These talking points have been repeated again and again and again as though they are facts on the ground that have already been verified.

You would expect evidence would surface showing at least one beheaded baby, but the best anyone could find was an AI generated burned baby photoshopped over an animal rescue image, and shared by Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire.

Attempts to get corroboration from the Israeli government, the IDF, or anyone making the claims yielded no results. CTV wrote in the article they originally entitled “Israeli Official Says Government Cannot Confirm Babies Were Beheaded in Hamas Attack” but then changed to “Israel releases horrific images of slain children after Hamas attack”:

There were no images to suggest militants had beheaded babies — a particularly explosive accusation that first emerged in Israel’s media and initially confirmed by Israeli officials.

It’s telling that CTV changed the title of the article, as many media contacts relay the immense pressure they are under to not give any coverage to Israeli untruths calling out misinformation.

NBC News did better and maintained the title of their own article “Unverified reports of ‘40 babies beheaded’ in Israel-Hamas war inflame social media” in which they write:

A series of shocking reports have spread horrific claims of baby beheadings by Hamas militants across social and mainstream media in recent days, adding a particularly incendiary element to an already violent and bitter war. But the reports are still unconfirmed, and in some cases have been retracted.

Likewise, the Intercept’s Alice Speri wrote in her piece “’Beheaded Babies’ Report Spread Wide and Fast – But Israel Military Won’t Confirm It”, dealing with journalists on the ground such as Oren Ziv, neither did he witness any beheaded babies, nor could he get any corroboration around it:

According to Oren Ziv, a journalist who participated in the tour, “journalists were allowed to speak to the hundreds of soldiers on site, without the supervision of the army’s spokesperson team.”

The IDF spokesperson told The Intercept that a soldier told journalists “that this is what he saw” but that the military had not independently confirmed the claim.

From the same piece, Sana Saeed states:

“From unsubstantiated accusations of Palestinian fighters raping Israeli women to unsubstantiated accusations of Palestinian fighters beheading babies: These claims have spread like wildfire especially thanks to many journalists who are repeating things without any semblance of critical thinking or journalistic caution.”

Likewise with allegations of rape, no proof was offered even though this claim was made by President Joe Biden in the aforementioned press conference in which he alleged child beheadings, stating that women “were raped, assaulted, paraded as trophies.”

Arno Rosenfeld of the Jewish publication The Forward writes:

A White House spokesperson told the Forward that this assertion was based on a phone call earlier that day in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told Biden that Israeli women had been “brutally raped and murdered.” Similar characterizations have been included in condemnations of Hamas by columnists, celebrities and editorial boards.

But the source of the rape allegation remains murky. While sexual assault is a common feature of violent conflict worldwide, the Israel Defense Forces told the Forward Tuesday night that it does not yet have any evidence of rape having occurred during Saturday’s attack or its aftermath. And most mainstream media outlets have avoided mention of rape, with the Los Angeles Times and NBC News specifically stating they have been unable to verify the claims.

One CNN reporter, Sara Sidner, apologized for unintentionally spreading misinformation:

Terror, not Territory Revisited

It is worth noting that documented evidence has allegedly been provided of civilian casualties and the beheadings of soldiers on the Israeli side during the Hamas raid to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and NATO defense ministers.

Hamas has responded to the allegation that they were targeting civilians, quoted in this CTV piece as stating:

Deputy Hamas chief, Saleh Al-Arouri, said the group’s fighters had only aimed to attack the Israeli military and had been surprised by the swift collapse of army units. “The plan was to target the army’s Gaza team and fight occupation soldiers only,” Arouri said in quotes published by Hamas.

This provides an interesting stalemate on an oft-repeated Luntz talking point – that there is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, that the former aims at military targets and hits civilians as part of war while Hamas targets civilians. For a reference, see the following quote in his Hasbara Manual:

Deliberately firing rockets into civilian communities”: Combine terrorist motive with civilian visuals and you have the perfect illustration of what Israel faced in Gaza and Lebanon. Especially with regard to rocket attacks but useful for any kind of terrorist attack, deliberate is the right word to use to call out the intent behind the attacks. This is far more powerful than describing the attacks as “random.”

Regarding the people of Gaza, he also says:

to Americans there is a vital distinction between the Hamas leadership and the Palestinian people that you must appreciate and weave into all of your language about Gaza. To them Hamas is evil and hostile. But the Palestinian people are poor, unrepresented, and therefore without hope of peace. For now, your rhetorical quarrel needs to be with Hamas, not the people of Palestine.

As much as we all hate war, it is considered “acceptable” (if anyone can truly accept something so repugnant), that civilians may get caught in the crossfire legitimate military operations. With Hamas, the goal is to simply redesignate a resistant movement as a terrorist organization while pretending to sympathize with the Palestine’s – note the highlighted words “for now”.

For starters, you can lie about your enemy’s military objectives. You can repeatedly claim they are terrorists who target civilians as Luntz recommends repeating, while pretending civilians didn’t die from Israeli crossfire. Here is the testimony of one survivor at the Kibbutz on Israeli Public Radio stating Hamas fighters treated her and others humanely, didn’t commit violence, and from her vantage point a good number of the dead were caused not by Hamas, but by IDF crossfire:

For years, Israel has played this game of pretending to only hate Hamas and have deep sympathy for the Palestinians while kicking them out of their homes in the West Bank and East Jeruselem.

To be very clear, the intentional targeting and killing of civilians is wrong and must be condemned in the strongest of terms no matter who does it. Reporters on the ground have verified many civilians have died in the fighting. If Hamas has deliberately targeted them, then it is immoral and repugnant. The same standard applies to the Israeli army.

On the other hand, if the operating principle is that as part of warfare and one aims at military targets and civilians are caught in the crossfire, apparently that’s an acceptable cost of war, and not terrorism. This brings up further questions of who is really on the defense and who is on the offense – can an occupier by definition be on the defense when their position is already being on the offensive?

In this current escalation, the Israel Lobby groups are again attempting to further deepen the “terror” narrative and associate Hamas with ISIS, linking them to crimes the latter is well-known for – beheadings and rape. Nur Ibrahim writes on her piece for Snopes “Were Israeli Babies Beheaded by Hamas Militants During Attack on Kfar Aza?

People should be wary of claims that echo Islamophobic rhetoric, or statements that compare the violence in Kfar Aza to “ISIS-style” killings — i.e., beheadings that have taken place in a different context and were committed by a different group. Such rumors that emphasize specific, unverified acts of brutality against infants and that attempt to connect them to patterns of violence carried out by unconnected Islamist groups have the potential to become dangerous propaganda.

As Ibrahim fears, the propaganda isn’t just potentially dangerous, it is genocidal. It allows Israel an opportunity to capitalize on its ambitions of annexation both of the West Bank and Gaza by wiping out one population in the latter entirely unchecked without a humanitarian corridor, water, or electricity using both bombs and white phosphorus on the civilian population, as reported by Reuters via Human Rights Watch and returning to occupy Gaza again.

This isn’t conspiracy or speculation – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the UN with a map that shows Israel having completely wiped Palestine off the map as part of normalization with the other Arab regimes as reported by Tovah Lazaroff in the Jerusalem Post in the piece “Netanyahu under fire for using Greater Land of Israel map at UN” all while following Luntz’s recommendations to continue to speak about how this will all bring about peace in the region.

Does Hamas Use Civilians as Human Shields?

As mentioned earlier, the manual advises Israeli spokesman and their supporters to be careful to separate Hamas from the Palestinian people, to demonstrate that Israel truly cares for them. It is simply Hamas, the terrorist organization, that they are targeting. The Palestinian people, are meant to be shown as victims of Hamas’s reign of terror by using them as human shields.

We hear this repeated everywhere, and even pro-Palestine media commentators take this as a statement of fact that never gets checked. Perhaps they believe it’s better to leave this point unchecked for the purpose of optics ie they don’t want to be seen sympathizing with those everyone considers “terrorists”. Even a strong, confident debater like Mohammed Hijab avoids this point when asked about Hamas fighters embedding within the population, even as he skillfully deconstructs other types of framing in this interview with Piers Morgan:

Whatever the reason, leaving this assertion unchecked means that rhetorically the Israelis will be able to continue claiming they are “acting in self-defense” and as Luntz advises, to state that “we use rockets to protect people, they use people to protect rockets”, a simple yet effective statement to ensure that when Israeli bombs and white phosphorus falls on Palestinian civilians, there is no moral culpability or accountability. Everyone in Gaza is either a militant or a human shield, and therefore a legitimate military target.

The first question we should ask is whether any reputable organization has independently corroborated the human shield claim? Amnesty International investigated such claims during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and found them to be false. The same claims we see now were used then – on page 47 of their report, they say the following (which we’re reproducing in full below because it’s that important):


During and after the hostilities, the Israeli authorities repeatedly stated that Hamas used Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as “human shields”. At different times during the fighting, Israeli officials pointed to numerous actions by Hamas and Palestinian armed

groups as examples of using civilians in Gaza to shield military activities. These included basing fighters within residential areas; urging civilians not to leave their homes after warnings from Israel; using civilian structures for military activity; storing rockets and other weapons in civilian structures and within populated areas; firing rockets from within or in close proximity to civilian buildings; taking cover in civilian buildings after firing; and building tunnels within civilian areas or under civilian structures.

Several of these actions which have been discussed above, such as storing munitions in civilian buildings or launching attacks from the vicinity of civilian buildings, violate the obligation to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attacks. But they do not necessarily amount to the specific violation of using “human shields” under international humanitarian law, which entails “using the presence (or movements) of civilians or other protected persons to render certain points or areas (or military forces) immune from military operations.”

The practices most commonly condemned as such have involved actually moving civilians to military objectives in order to shield those objectives from attack. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), “the use of human shields requires an intentional co-location of military objectives and civilians or persons hors de combat with the specific intent of trying to prevent the targeting of those military objectives.”

Amnesty International has not been able to verify specific statements which the Israeli authorities have cited as made by Hamas officials during the hostilities encouraging civilians in Gaza to ignore IDF warnings to evacuate.

However, the reported statements were directed to civilians in general or in large geographic areas; for example, Ministry of Interior spokesperson Iyad al-Buzm’s call on people “in all parts of the Strip to ignore the warnings… as these are part of a psychological warfare”.

Public statements referring to entire areas do not amount to directing specific civilians to remain in their homes in order to render fighters, munitions or military equipment in specific locations immune from Israeli attacks. Thus, while potentially of concern, such statements would not constitute the use of “human shields”. There are no bomb shelters or protective facilities for Gaza’s 1.8 million people, and no place in the Strip was truly safe during the hostilities. In some cases, the warnings issued by the Israeli military did not specify safe evacuation routes, and in many cases, civilians who tried to evacuate came under Israeli fire. In these circumstances, the Hamas authorities instructing civilians in the Gaza Strip not to leave their homes could have been out of concern for their safety or a desire to avoid further panic. It cannot be presumed that the intention of any such statements by the authorities was to use civilians to prevent the targeting of specific military objectives by Israeli forces.

The Israeli authorities have claimed that in a few incidents, the Hamas authorities or Palestinian fighters directed or physically coerced individual civilians in specific locations to shield combatants or military objectives. Amnesty International has not been able to corroborate the facts in any of these cases. Specific assertions of the use of civilians as “human shields” by Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip should be independently investigated. International humanitarian law is clear that, even if officials or fighters from Hamas or Palestinian armed groups associated with other factions did in fact direct civilians to remain in a specific location in order to shield military objectives, it would not relieve Israel of its obligation to take all necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians when planning and carrying out attacks on these objective.

Other reporters on the ground during Operation Protective Edge reported similar to Amnesty International. For example, the Belfast Telegraph’s Kim Sengupta reported in her piece “Israel-Gaza conflict: Myth of Hamas’s human shield. Gazans deny being put in line of fire”:

Some Gazans have admitted that they were afraid of criticizing Hamas, but none have said they had been forced by the organisation to stay in places of danger and become unwilling human-shields. The Bani Sobeila area, near Khan Younis, where the Abu Jamaa deaths took place received leaflets dropped from the air last week warning them to leave.

But almost all stayed. One reason for that was many of the houses belonged to the Abu Jamaa clan who felt there was safety in staying together. Another reason was given by a neighbour, Abdullah al-Daweish: “Where do we go to? Some people moved from the outer edge of Khan Younis to Khan Younis centre after Israelis told them to, then the centre got bombed. People have moved from this area to Gaza City, and Gaza City has been bombed. It’s not Hamas who is ordering us in this, it’s the Israelis.”

Why did they think the house targeted? “We don’t know,” said Saied Abu Jamaa, a cousin who was in his home next door when the blast took place. “Tawfiq, who is the head of the family, is a policeman, but why should he and his family and his neighbours die for that?” Tawfiq Abu Jamaa, 40, distraught figure in a brown jellabiya at the funeral was also at a loss to understand why he had lost his wife and eight children. The sole survivor has Nour, a son of four.

Channel 4 performed their own fact check entitled “Does Hamas use civilians as human shields?”, and while they claimed Hamas’s call for people to stay in their homes could potentially be a “human shield” issue, they also note in their piece that residents also do not leave either because they are killed on the way to safer areas or in the alleged safe zone, they believe staying home is safer during the bombardment, and oftentimes no warning is given before an area with civilians is hit.

CNN wrote an article on this allegation during Operation Protective Edge, consulting experts and concluded whatever scant evidence of missiles in schools and statements by leaders was not enough to prove Hamas was using their own people as human shields, stating:

…Israel’s claims that Hamas uses civilians as human shields are difficult to prove in an active ground conflict, experts say.

“It would be impossible at this point to say how much truth there is to the human shield argument,” said Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “That’s not going to be possible to do in the heat of the conflict.”

Within the write-up, there is a deeper discussion that goes beyond the narrative today about Hamas’s role in Palestinian society beyond just being a terrorist organization, which further pushes back on the human shield narrative:

…Hamas is also a political organization embedded in civilian life in the Palestinian territory, Palestinian leaders say.

“Hamas is a political party after all, not just a military wing. And it has institutions, organizations, homes” in Gaza, said Hanan Ashrawi, executive committee member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the West Bank.

That means Hamas is more than its military wing, Ashrawi said. Its members are active in civilian society too.

“Several-story buildings were totally demolished and the people living there. How can you claim that Hamas is hiding anything in there? These are normal residential areas with no military or any munitions hidden there,” Ashrawi said.

“The question is that Israel is not discriminating, it is destroying the homes of people who are active (in Hamas). Now ‘active’ could mean you belong to a social service institution. Hamas has day-care centers, has schools, has hospitals; it’s a political party as well. It’s a movement.

“Hamas is not just an isolated, you know, sort of armed individuals. It belongs to a very pluralistic system. It has in Gaza many services, offices and so on. And therefore if you are going to destroy everything related to Hamas as a party, as a movement, it means that you’re going to go on the rampage against families, homes, hospitals, schools and social services,” Ashrawi said.

The reality is that it’s not the Palestinians who use or act as human shields, but rather, it’s the IDF and the Israelis that use Palestinians as human shields against other Palestinians.

The IDF Uses Palestinians as Human Shields

During Operation Cast Lead, Clancy Chassey from the Guardian found it was the Israelis using Palestinian children as human shields:

Some of the most dramatic testimony gathered by the Guardian came from three teenage brothers in the al-Attar family. They describe how they were taken from home at gunpoint, made to kneel in front of Israeli tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing, and sent by Israeli soldiers into Palestinian houses to clear them. “They would make us go first so if any fighters shot at them the bullets would hit us, not them,” 14-year-old Al’a al-Attar said.

How bad was the use of Palestinian human shields by the IDF? The Israeli high court ruled in 2005 it was illegal under international law to do so, and the Israeli army had been doing so for a long while. Chris McGreal in his piece “Israeli high court bans military use of Palestinians as human shields” writes:

The Israeli high court yesterday ruled that the army’s long-standing practice of using Palestinian civilians as human shields in combat is illegal under international law. It said the military’s claim to have amended the procedure to allow civilians to “volunteer” to work with the army was still unacceptable because it was unlikely anyone would freely do so.

“You cannot exploit the civilian population for the army’s military needs, and you cannot force them to collaborate,” said the Israeli chief justice, Aharon Barak. “Based on this principle, we rule it illegal to use civilians as human shields.”

The case was brought more than three years ago by human rights organisations that said the army routinely forced Palestinian civilians into dangerous situations as a means to protect soldiers. Some of the most common methods were to force Palestinians into buildings to see if they were booby-trapped, or to enter the hideouts of wanted men and tell them to surrender. Soldiers also forced civilians to stand in front of them when on patrol.

Please note the language manipulation used by the IDF to circumvent the law – instead of calling them “human shields”, they wanted to get “volunteers” to help them out. Do you think anyone would accept this if Hamas did the same?

As part of the Hasbara Manual by Luntz, they would claim, “Israel is not perfect, we’re doing our best, there’s always room for improvement” to brush off their war crimes and violations of international law. Coming closer to perfection certainly wasn’t the IDF’s goal as the BBC reported in their piece “IDF to appeal human shield ban”.

Let’s keep in mind some dates – the ban from the high court came in 2005 – Operation Cast Lead occurred in 2009. The IDF was still using Palestinians as human shields while claiming without verification that Hamas was doing so.

Israel is Still Using Palestinians as Human Shields in 2023

According to the Defense for Children International organization, Israeli soldiers again have used children, including two toddlers, as human shields:

Israeli forces surrounded the Shalloun family home and used four Palestinian children as human shields around 11:30 a.m. for about two hours on March 1 in Aqbat Jaber refugee camp, near the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Israeli soldiers ordered everyone out of the house and demanded that their father, Maher Shalloun, surrender himself. While Maher stayed inside, the others complied and went outside. Israeli forces then threatened his sons Nidal, 9, and Karam, 11, in addition to his twin nephews, Ahmad and Mohammad, both two years old, and forced them to stand in front of Israeli military vehicles while Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and live ammunition at Palestinians confronting the group of soldiers.

The Israel-based human rights organization B’Tselem has documented topic areas and articles dedicated to discussing Israel’s use of Palestinians as human shields both here as well a discussion of numerous instances of the use of human shields as part of settlement takeovers, Operation Cast Lead, and Operation Protective Edge, well after the 2005 ruling. Their piece entitled “Human Shields” is written in 2017. They write:

Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli security forces have repeatedly used Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip as human shields, ordering them to perform military tasks that risked their lives. As part of this policy, soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads, to tell people to come out of their homes so the military can arrest them, to stand in front of soldiers while the latter shoot from behind them, and more. The Palestinian civilians were chosen at random for these tasks, and could not refuse the demand placed on them by armed soldiers.

Netanyahu’s Endgame – Apartheid, Genocide, and Annexation

The best outcome for the Likud party leader is to manipulate the American public, its politicians, and the military industrial complex to give him and the IDF cover to bloody, butcher, and bludgeon all Palestinians, not just Hamas. The separation in rhetoric between Hamas and the innocents of Gaza is simply that – a rhetorical ploy to earn the American public’s approval.

The real endgame of creating an apartheid wall and laying siege while continuing to illegally and illegitimately evict Palestinians settlements in the West Bank, among other atrocities, is to simply murder or drive away all the Palestinians and then blame the only people actually protecting, imperfect as they may be, in order to re-occupy the land.

Perhaps the most telling reason the Israeli government butchers civilians and then lies about it is found in the final quote of this piece from the Guardian Clancy Chassey:

An IDF squad leader is quoted in the daily newspaper Ha’aretz as saying his soldiers interpreted the rules to mean “we should kill everyone there [in the centre of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist.”

Indeed, in 2015 during an election campaign, Netanyahu revealed his true intent to voters and was promptly chastised and forced to retract his open comments about Israeli Arabs and his lack of commitment to a two state solutions. The New York Times writes:

In the days since the Israeli election, Mr. Netanyahu has been denounced for two statements he made toward the conclusion: his assertion that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch, and his alarm over voting by Israeli Arab citizens. He has been trying, with limited success, to backpedal on both.

It is with this context in mind, one can understand how and why it is Netanyahu can show up at the UN with a map of Israel having completely annexed all the Palestinian territories into one Israel while on the brink of Arab normalization, and why the policy is genocide, apartheid, and annexation. Drive out the Palestinians while claiming to want the best for them, blame Hamas as a terrorist organization that causes Israel to retaliate as though they have no choice, and then eventually annex the lands as they are doing bit-by-bit with settlements.

As Palestinian human rights attorney Noura Erakat says in this Democracy Now interview, “We are being primed for genocide”.

What Can Be Done to Push Back?
  1. Read Frank Luntz’s Hasbara Manual and Learn Their Weaknesses and Our Strengths: The two manuals linked not only contains Words that Work, it contains another section “Words that Don’t Work”. It mentions issues where Americans and others sympathize more with the Palestinians than the Israelis. Where they try to divert from the main topic of discussion to one of their talking points, we should be returning back to our talking points.
  2. Challenge the Human Shield Narrative: The human shield narrative allows Israel to indiscriminately bomb Palestinians – push back by stating there is no conclusive evidence or investigation, and that it is confirmed that Israel not only used Palestinian kids as human shields, and that the Israeli courts ruled against them and they tried to appeal it, independent rights organizations confirm they continue to do so even now in the West Bank and combat zones.
  3. Challenge Unsubstantiated Allegations even if Politically Incorrect: The Israeli government are well-known and documented for lying and violating international law. This should be repeated and any claims they make should be vetted by independent, non-partisan 3rd party organizations and / or journalists on the ground. It is a clear conflict of interest to take biased investigations when the one conducting the investigation is the one being investigated.
  4. Commission Think Tanks to Conduct Our Own Studies: Pollsters like Frank Luntz have one job – take complicated policy issues and reduce them to the right reductive sound bites that persuade people to act the way you want. Notice I didn’t say that there was anything there about truth, morality, justice, etc. Whether you are right or wrong is irrelevant – what is relevant is that what people hear is what you want them to hear to act in your favor.
  5. Answer the “Proportional Response” Question Correctly: It can’t be understated enough that the “human shield” argument has to be challenged aggressively – this is how pro-Israel commentators run the table on questions of bombing civilians. The fact that Hamas isn’t using human shields, that many are killed following Israeli instructions and warnings, and that Israelis are the ones who are well-documented for using Palestinian children is something that needs to become mainstream knowledge.  In addition, the response to this offensive should be this quote from the Ha’aretz Editorial board after the attacks:“The disaster that befell Israel on the holiday of Simchat Torah is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister, who has prided himself on his vast political experience and irreplaceable wisdom in security matters, completely failed to identify the dangers he was consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation and dispossession, when appointing Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to key positions, while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians.”The right response is that you need to call for the resignation of the guy who said openly he wants to use Hamas to prevent a two-state solution. Israel requires new leadership that is serious about coming back into compliance with international law and stop aggressing on the Palestinians – they have every right to defend themselves from bullies that take their land, water, medical supplies, and basic livelihood, whether in Gaza, or in the West Bank where there is no Hamas, yet the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians continues on the regular.

May Allah (swt) free Palestine and grant Jannatul Firdaws to all who have passed, ameen.



The post Debunking Beheaded Babies, Concert Rapes, and Human Shields: Hasbara Words that Work for Israeli War Crimes, Apartheid, and Genocide appeared first on

Why Uyghurs Cannot Unconditionally Support Palestinians

19 October, 2023 - 10:53

By Uyghur Whistleblower

The Muslim Ummah may wonder about the support of certain Uyghur organizations for the Israeli government because they see a contradiction between the shared suffering of the Uyghur community under Chinese occupation and the Palestinian cause. The Ummah may question why Uyghur organizations align themselves with a government that is criticized for its treatment of Palestinians, which has now amounted to genocide, especially since their struggles for independence and self-determination correlate. This divergence of perspectives can lead to uncertainty and curiosity among the Muslim Ummah, seeking to understand the diverse motivations behind such support.

The occupation of Palestine is a deeply rooted and complex issue with far-reaching implications. As global solidarity movements emerge to address the plight of oppressed communities, it is important to acknowledge that not all communities find themselves in a position to support or align themselves with each and every cause. I hope to shed light on one particular perspective by addressing why the Uyghur community, facing its own existential struggle in East Turkistan, might face challenges in unconditionally supporting the Palestinian cause. While recognizing that this perspective does not apply universally to all individuals or groups, I also aim to shed light on the influence of funding sources, power dynamics, and geopolitical considerations that impact their stance. Finally, I delve into the reasons why Muslim-majority states, especially in the Gulf region and North Africa may be reluctant to provide financial support to the Uyghur community.

Hold tight to the rope of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

In a world fraught with oppression, as Muslims, we have to firmly grasp onto the rope of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), unwavering in our support for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. This article aims to articulate the necessity of unity and resilience, drawing inspiration from the Quran and Hadith, to motivate us in the face of adversity and the fear of losing support from governments like China and Israel, who perpetuate genocide against Palestinians and Uyghur Muslims.

The Quran serves as our guiding light, reinforcing the unity and brotherhood within the global Muslim community. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) states in Surah ‘Ali Imran,

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” [Surah ‘Ali Imran: 3;103]

This powerful directive emphasizes the importance of collective strength, calling upon Muslims to unite and support one another, regardless of the external forces and challenges we may face.

Understanding the historical and geopolitical dynamics surrounding both the Uyghurs and Palestinians is crucial. Both struggles stem from the systematic persecution they face at the hands of their oppressors, which undermines their cultural, religious, demographic identity, and right to independence and self-determination. Palestinians, on the other hand, have historically been involved in an ongoing conflict with Israel, relating to territories, sovereignty, and religious rights. While both communities face significant challenges, the contexts differ, and this distinction impacts the ability of Uyghurs to fully support Palestinians.

Throughout Islamic history, exemplary individuals, guided by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), have shown us the unwavering commitment to justice and support for their oppressed brethren. The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged his companions to support one another in times of difficulty, stating,

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy, are like one body; when any part of it suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Al Bukhari & Muslim]

Not a justification, but engaging in international politics often requires making pragmatic decisions in order to effectively advocate for one’s own cause. For the Uyghurs, maintaining diplomatic relations with countries and organizations, including Israel, provides a platform to raise awareness about their plight and gain support. This sometimes puts Uyghurs in a delicate position balancing political sensitivities, which can limit their ability to openly align with the Palestinian cause.

Historically Uyghurs have not been supported by the West uyghurs

PC: Kuzzat Altay (unsplash)

In the past few years, the Uyghur issue has received international attention and support from a diverse range of actors, including states, international organizations, and civil society groups. However, historically this has not been the case. It is undeniable that the West, particularly the U.S., has played a significant role in China’s economic growth and transformation into a global powerhouse. The accessibility of China’s vast market, combined with its low-cost labor, attracted Western businesses and led to the transfer of manufacturing, technology, and investment to Chinese companies. This collaboration between the West and China fostered rapid economic development.

However, the issue of Uyghur oppression by the Chinese Communist Party is a grave violation of human rights that has received limited attention from the West for many years. It is only in recent times that the Uyghur cause has garnered support and condemnation from Western nations, highlighting the severity and urgency of the situation. For the first time in history, the agendas of the U.S. government and Uyghurs have aligned, but for how long? That is yet to be determined.

The role of funding 

In challenging times, the fear of losing support from powerful governments can hinder our conviction to speak out against injustices. However, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)reminded us of our duty to advocate for justice when he said,

“Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot, then with his heart.” [Muslim]

This hadith highlights that even if we can’t directly change a situation, we must not abandon our responsibility to at least voice our concern and disapproval.

Remaining silent out of fear of losing support or facing consequences from oppressive governments goes against our values as Muslims. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) emphasizes in the Quran in Surah An-Nisa,

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” [Surah An-Nisa: 4;135]

This verse implores us to prioritize justice, even if it means swimming against the tide and challenging authority figures, reminding us that Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) cause supersedes any worldly alliances.

The funding received by Uyghur advocacy groups plays an undeniable role in shaping their positions and focus. Some Uyghur organizations receive financial support from governments like the United States, as well as pro-Israeli organizations. These financial ties create an inherent conflict, as they create pressure to align with the interests and narratives of those funders, potentially compromising the groups’ ability to fully support the Palestinian cause.

Uyghur advocacy groups navigate a complex international political landscape while seeking support for their own plight. This reality places them in a precarious position, often relying on broader alliances and partnerships to achieve their objectives. Some Uyghur organizations maintain diplomatic ties or receive support from countries and organizations that also maintain close relations with Israel. This creates a challenge in openly supporting Palestinians, as it may disrupt these diplomatic relationships, collaborations, and potential aid.

Uyghurs are predominantly Muslims, and if Uyghur advocacy groups had stronger connections and funding from Muslim-linked organizations or Muslim-majority states, their approach to Palestinian issues might indeed be different. Such support could foster deeper bonds of common struggle and shared values, resulting in stronger solidarity and advocacy for Palestinians. However, financial support from these sources may be limited due to a myriad of political and diplomatic considerations that influence their decision-making.

In the realm of geopolitics, countries often prioritize achieving their national interests and maintaining regional stability. When it comes to Uyghur-related issues, this can lead Muslim-majority states to adopt a cautious approach as they consider their broader relationships with China. Various factors, such as diplomatic alliances, geopolitical concerns, and maintaining stability within their own borders, can limit their willingness to extend financial support to the Uyghur community. Engaging in financial support for the Uyghurs may trigger economic or political repercussions from China. Given China’s significant global influence and its economic leverage, Muslim-majority states may be reluctant to risk jeopardizing their economic ties and potentially harming their countries’ financial stability. The fear of potential sanctions, trade disruptions, or diplomatic tensions influences their decisions and restrains their ability to actively support the Uyghurs.

Instead, many Muslim-majority states prefer to address sensitive issues, including human rights concerns, through diplomatic channels and negotiations rather than through direct financial support. These states may express their concerns about the treatment of Uyghurs privately, or advocate for diplomatic solutions while maintaining economic relations with China.

It is important to remember that unity does not imply uniformity. Within the global Muslim community, we encompass diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and ideologies. While maintaining our allegiance to the rope of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we must embrace these differences, engaging in respectful discourse and dialogue. By doing so, we strengthen our collective identity while contributing to a more vibrant and compassionate ummah.

What can we do? 

In supporting our persecuted brethren, we should explore various avenues to make a difference. This can include pressuring international bodies, promoting awareness campaigns, fostering economic and humanitarian aid, and using social media platforms to amplify suppressed voices. Inspired by the examples set forth by the prophets and the righteous throughout history, we strive towards tangible actions for positive change.

In conclusion, as Muslims, our commitment to hold tightly to the rope of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) demands that we support our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, irrespective of external pressures and challenges. Drawing inspiration from the Quran and Hadith, we are reminded of the timeless guidance provided by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the prophets to advocate for justice, even when it means facing potential consequences or loss of support from influential governments. Let us embrace unity, resilience, and compassion in our unwavering pursuit of justice and in our mission to alleviate the suffering and oppression faced by our brethren.



5 Horrible Things Happening To Uyghur Muslims in Chinese Secret Camps

Podcast: What Do We Need to Know About Palestine?

The post Why Uyghurs Cannot Unconditionally Support Palestinians appeared first on

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

13 October, 2023 - 18:35
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful When Israel, a nuclear state with the 18th most powerful army globally, kills civilians under its occupation, it’s termed ‘retaliatory’ by Western media. But when the Palestinian resistance, essentially held captive in what’s known as the world’s largest open-air prison, reportedly kill civilians, it’s labeled as ‘terrorism’. Islam unambiguously prohibits targeting civilians, and this tenet remains unchanging. Yet, Muslims, and indeed all informed individuals with a sense of justice, should always recognize the inherent righteousness of the Palestinian cause and the clear moral superiority of its narrative. Here is what you should remember:
  1. Supporting the Palestinian cause doesn’t necessitate blanket agreement with every action or strategy of the resistance. Wars have always had their horrors. History is a testament to this. With that context, it’s crucial to note the prevalent bias in Western media. I just watched an Israeli woman on a local Israeli channel recounting how Palestinian fighters entering her home reassured her by stating, “We are Muslims; we will not harm you.”
  2. While current events draw attention, they need to be contextualized within the past 75 years. In brief: A group of Jews from Europe forcefully misappropriated a land that was inhabited by people who had been there since before the birth of Abraham (pbuh). This has been followed by 75 years of systematic oppression against the Palestinians: continuous settlement expansion, frequent killing of civilians, practices of collective punishment, forced evictions from homes, seizures of properties, and annexation of land. Beyond the recent acts, one must never forget that the root issue is the unlawful occupation that strips a people of their freedom and subjects them to perpetual hardship and degradation.
Here is what you should do. Immediate Steps:
  • Maintain your trust in Allah without wavering.
  • Act prudently, steering clear of impulsiveness and rash reactions.
  • Seek support within your community, especially from masajid, and collaborate with your brethren.
  • Dedicate yourself to prayers, fasting, and acts of charity, always raising your supplications to Allah.
  • Donate generously through secure, legitimate channels.
  • Join informed civil protests and discussions, when possible, armed with verified information.
For the Future This is a call for introspection. Our challenges stem from internal shortcomings, wickedness, and apathy. To truly rejuvenate the Ummah, a sincere, informed return to Allah and His Deen is essential. The first hadith often relayed by scholars of hadith is: (الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمْ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ) This translates to: “The Compassionate One shows compassion to those who are compassionate. Show compassion to those on earth, and the One in the heavens will show compassion to you.” Our essence is rooted in this principle. Historically, Islam and Muslim lands have often been a refuge for Jews. After all, with the possible exception of a hypothetical unitarian Christian group that adheres to the Mosaic law, there is no religion on the face of the planet that is closer to Islam than Judaism. The majority of Muslims earnestly hope for a day when a peaceful resolution to the conflict can be reached, ensuring the rights and dignity of all involved. وصلى الله على محمد والحمد لله رب العالمين

The post Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward appeared first on

What Can I Do To Help Gaza?

12 October, 2023 - 19:00

In times like these, I frequently get asked “what can I do to help Gaza/Palestine”. I created this comprehensive document in response. Note: it does not merely include charities to donate to as I believe that while crucial, charity is also palliative. It must be accompanied with action.


Knowledge is power, so my first suggestion is always to start by educating yourself-and then others. This could be as simple as starting a conversation with a neighbor, a supper club about Palestine, or a community event. There is no shortage of excellent resources.

Here are a few:

  • IMEU: The Institute for Middle East Understanding: (The Institute for Middle East Understanding)
  • The Electronic Intifada: (The Electronic Intifada
  • Mondoweiss: (Mondoweiss)
  • AlJazeera, Plus & Labs: (Al Jazeera) – Al Jazeera offers various sections on their website, including Al Jazeera Plus and Al Jazeera Labs.
  • Visualizing Palestine:
  • UNRWA USA: (UNRWA USA – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East)
  • We Are Not Numbers:
  • Adalah: (Adalah is the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel)
  • Al-Mezan: (Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights)
  • B’tselem: (B’tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories)
  • Zochrot: (Zochrot – Remembering the Palestinian Nakba)
  • Gaza Community Mental Health Programme: (Gaza Community Mental Health Programme)
  • GISHA: (GISHA – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement)
  • “This is Palestine” podcast: You can search for this podcast on popular podcast platforms
  1. Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, by Ben White
  2. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, Omar Barghouthi
  3. Understanding the Israeli-Palestine Conflict: A Primer, by Phyllis Bennis
  4. Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, by Saree MakdisiMy Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story, by Ramzy Baroud
  5. The Israel Lobby, by Walt and Meirsheimer
  6. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Illan Pappe
  7. Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine, by Noura Erekat
  8. The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance

Armed with the necessary knowledge, demand accountability from your elected representatives, or participate in grassroots solidarity efforts such as the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS).


While charity is more palliative than a solution, donations do make a huge difference in the daily lives of millions of Palestinians and drive many projects. There are no shortage of humanitarian organizations doing incredible work on the ground in Gaza.

Here is a shortlist that covers everything from entrepreneurship, sustainable farming projects, food aid, and mental health, starting from smaller more focused orgs to larger ones with partnerships (note: I do NOT advise sending money to people you do not know based on social media internet requests):

  1. Youth Vision Society-Gaza: You can search for this organization online for their website or contact information.
  2. Middle East Children’s Alliance:
  3. Kinder USA:
  4. Rebuilding Alliance:
  5. Playgrounds for Palestine:
  6. Karama for Women and Children:
  7. Palestinian American Medical Association (PAMA):
  8. Medical Aid Palestine (MAP):
  9. Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF):
  10. Pious Projects:

While visiting Gaza is next to impossible, you can visit the rest of Palestine (or volunteer, re-connect, etc) in an ethical and socially conscious way (note: this does NOT include faithwashing trips of any type or stays at Israeli owned Air BNBs or hotels). There are a number of Palestinian and solidarity organizations that now offer guided educational trips (for a complete guide on ethical travel to Palestine, consult

  1. Eyewitness Palestine:
  2. Alternative Tourism Group:
  3. Green Olive Tours:
  4. Interfaith Peace Builders:
  5. Tree of Life: You can search for “Tree of Life Palestine” to find their website.
  6. Diaspora Solidarity Volunteer Program (Dalia Association and To Be There): and
  7. Know Thy Heritage (Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation):
  8. Zaytoun UK:
  9. Travel2Palestine UK:
  10. Siraj Center:
  11. Grassroots Jerusalem:
  12. Friends of Sabeel: (Friends of Sabeel North America)

Sign up to be a mentor with either of these two organizations, one as a writer mentor, another in IT:

  1. We Are Not Numbers:
  2. SkyGeeks:

Active on social media? Or maybe you work at an organization or media? Locate and amplify local and diaspora Palestinians and give them space and resources to narrate their experiences stories.


We all have to eat (and buy gifts!), so why not do so in a way that supports the local Palestinian economy? Here are some sources for Palestinian food products and gifts, both in the US and abroad:

  1. Hadeel Fair Trade Palestinian Products:
  2. MECA (Middle East Children’s Alliance) online store: You can visit the MECA website at and look for their online store section.
  3. Zaytoun from Palestine
  4. Yaffa Palestinian Products
  5. Canaan Fair Trade (
  6. Palestine Fair Trade Australia (

Editors Note: here is resource for students who may be targeted for their activism for Palestine

The post What Can I Do To Help Gaza? appeared first on

So You Want To Wear Niqab? Top Tips To Getting Started

9 October, 2023 - 20:15

Ahh, niqab… the face veil that evokes so many emotions amongst so many people. And it just so happens that you’ve now decided that you want to start wearing it! However -coming from someone who has been wearing niqab for almost 15 years- here are some things you should do before deciding to wear niqab.

  • Pray Salatul Istikhaarah

Is wearing the niqab right for you to do in your context? If you are unmarried, how do your parents feel about it, and how will it impact your relationship with them? (This applies to both Muslim and non-Muslim parents, by the way!) 

Some parents may have their own concerns about you putting on the niqab, whether based on their personal feelings, or valid worries about your safety (especially if you live in a place that may have higher rates of Islamophobia). Even if you disagree with their personal feelings (which may range from neutral dislike to intense hatred of the niqab – for whatever reason), remember that honoring your parents and seeking their pleasure is a higher spiritual priority than almost anything else, including voluntary acts of worship.

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and be good to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Surat al-Isra’; 17:23]

Abdullah ibn Amr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

رِضَى الرَّبِّ فِي رِضَى الْوَالِدِ وَسَخَطُ الرَّبِّ فِي سَخَطِ الْوَالِدِ

“The pleasure of the Lord is in the pleasure of the parents, and the displeasure of the Lord is in the displeasure of the parents.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1899, Grade: Sahih]

Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

وَيَلْزَمُ الْإِنْسَانَ طَاعَةُ وَالِدِيهِ فِي غَيْرِ الْمَعْصِيَةِ وَإِنْ كَانَا فَاسِقَيْنِ وَهُوَ ظَاهِرُ إطْلَاقِ أَحْمَدَ وَهَذَا فِيمَا فِيهِ مَنْفَعَةٌ لَهُمَا وَلَا ضَرَرَ فَإِنْ شَقَّ عَلَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَضُرَّهُ وَجَبَ وَإِلَّا فَلَا

“The human being must obey his parents in matters that are not sinful, even if they are both wicked. It is the apparent verdict of [Imam ]Ahmad [ibn Hanbal]. This is in regards to what benefits them both and is not harmful. Even if it is difficult for him but does not harm him, it is an obligation; otherwise, it is not.” [Fatāwá al-Kubrá 5/381]1

In his work, Fat’h al-Baari (a commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari), Imam Nawawi entitled a section “Honouring one’s parents takes precedence over voluntary prayer and other actions” in reference to a hadith telling the story of Jurayj.23

  • Purify your intention

Why do you want to wear the niqab? Have you done research about it and determined whether or not you follow the opinion that it is obligatory or an encouraged and voluntary good deed? Are you being pressured into it by someone – whether a peer group, a friend, or even a spouse? In the latter case, have you sought spiritual counsel and advice on how to navigate the situation? If you are living in a geographical or cultural context where niqab is the norm, or is expected to be worn, are you doing it solely because you feel like you have to – or are you solidifying your intention to make it for the Sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)?

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get [in reward for] what was intended.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

  • Make du’a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for strength and conviction

So you’ve done istikhaara, your intention is pure, and you’re sure that you want to wear niqab for the Sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). That’s great! Now the next step is to make du’a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), for the strength and the conviction to maintain wearing niqab.

Know that none of us are truly able to do things on our own; it is Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) who gives us the ability to do so. 

Of course, sometimes you will be in a situation or circumstance where it’s not possible to wear niqab full-time… and that’s okay! It doesn’t make you a hypocrite; you’re doing the best you can, and what is most appropriate for you, all for the Sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

A wonderful du’a that encapsulates how we can ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for strength in worshiping him is the du’a that RasulAllah taught to Mu’adh ibn Jabal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

Mu’adh raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) took hold of my hand and said, “O Mu’adh! By Allah I love you, so I advise you to never forget to recite after every prayer:

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِنِّي عَلَى ذِكْرِكَ، وَشُكْرِكَ، وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِكَ

Allâhumma a’innî alâ dhikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibâdatika

“O Allah, help me remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You in an excellent manner” [Abu Dawud Book 16, Hadith 1422]

  • Figure out what niqab style works for you!

niqab - hijabFrom the classic Saudi-style tie-back niqab to the half niqab, from the khimaar style to the eyes-covered style… there are actually a lot of ways to wear niqab. There are also a lot of different fabrics to choose from! And of course – where are you going to get yours from? Depending on your location, you can purchase them in-person (especially in Muslim countries where they can be easier to get a hold of and try before purchasing) or online (there are several reputable online stores) – you might even be able to get a tailor to make you some customized ones!

Consider things such as how different fabric types will feel against your face. Is the fabric light and breathable, or heavy and suffocating? Do you need a warmer fabric for winter, and a lighter one for the summer heat? Think about the potential for headaches and migraines and what kind of niqab style will be best for you – for example, the tie-back style vs an elasticated band. What will be most comfortable for you? There are little details to think about too, like if the niqab you’ve chosen leaves a really uncomfortable red line on your nose (seriously, those hurt… especially after a few hours). Mix and match as desired for your requirements! 

  • Be prepared

You might expect that I’m going to warn you about Islamophobic violence first and foremost, but the truth is that sometimes the greatest opposition to a Muslim woman wearing niqab comes from within her own family and community. There are people who will be judgemental and negative, making comments from “That’s so ugly!” to “Are you trying to look like an Arab?” to “No one is going to want to marry you!” and “Ugh, how backward and oppressive of you!” 

And yes, depending on where you are, you may also face some level of Islamophobic violence, or at the less extreme end of things, hateful looks and snide comments or microaggressions. You will need to develop a thick skin in all of these situations and figure out how you want to handle them. Sometimes it’s best to ignore them, sometimes a sarcastic comment can shut up the unwanted negativity, sometimes you have to kill ’em with kindness. As always, turn to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and ask Him for strength and support!

“And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.” [Surah Al Muzzammil; 73:10]

“The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace!” [Surah Al Furqan; 25:63]

  • Yallah, just do it!

Sometimes we paralyze ourselves into inaction by overthinking and overanalyzing the situation. Shaytan loves to mess with our heads and discourage us from doing anything that will draw us closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). So sometimes… we just need to jump into it! Bismillah!


If you’ve gone through this process and decided to wear niqab after all, then congratulations! Following in the footsteps of the Mothers of the Believers and committing to this act of worship is a big deal and not to be underestimated. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) always strengthen you in your love for Him, and draw you ever closer to Him through the small but consistent good deeds, ameen.



Niqabi In A Chocolate Shop: A Niqab Story

What the Niqab Taught Me About Myself As A Muslim Convert and a Latina

1 3

The post So You Want To Wear Niqab? Top Tips To Getting Started appeared first on

Structural Cohesion In The Quran [A Series]: Surah Abasa

6 October, 2023 - 14:10

This is a continuation of a series on the structure and organization of the Quran. The goal is to help the reader appreciate the amazing coherence of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) word and dismantle the myth of the “random” and “unorganized” Quran.

سُورَة عَبَسَ Sūrat ʿAbasā

Sūrat Abasa (He Frowned) is probably best known for the opening account which admonishes the Messenger ﷺ for giving his attention to the elite of Quraysh – whom he hoped to guide to Islam – and for “frowning and turning away” from a blind Muslim who came seeking religious counsel.1 The story surrounding its revelation indicates that this was a very early Makkan sūrah.

When the contents of this relatively short sūrah are analyzed, they appear to form a mirror structure as shown below. 

A – The Prophet frowned and turned away (1) Because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting]. (2) But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified (3) Or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? (4) As for he who thinks himself without need, (5) To him you give attention. (6) And not upon you [is any blame] if he will not be purified. (7) But as for he who came to you striving [for knowledge] (8) While he fears [Allah], (9) From him you are distracted. (10)      B – No! Indeed, these verses are a reminder; (11) So whoever wills may remember it. (12) [It is recorded] in honored sheets, (13) Exalted and purified, (14) [Carried] by the hands of messenger-angels, (15) Noble and dutiful. (16)            C – Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he. (17) From what substance did He create him? (18) From a sperm-drop He created him and destined for him; (19) Then He eased the way for him; (20) Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him. (21) Then when He wills, He will resurrect him. (22) No! Man has not yet accomplished what He commanded him. (23)            C’ – Then let mankind look at his food – (24) How We poured down water in torrents, (25) Then We broke open the earth, splitting [it with sprouts], (26) And caused to grow within it grain (27) And grapes and herbage (28) And olive and palm trees (29) And gardens of dense shrubbery (30) And fruit and grass – (31) [As] enjoyment for you and your grazing livestock. (32)      B’ – But when there comes the Deafening Blast (33) On the Day a man will flee from his brother (34) And his mother and his father (35) And his wife and his children, (36) For every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him. (37)  A’ – [Some] faces, that Day, will be bright – (38) Laughing, rejoicing at good news. (39) And [other] faces, that Day, will have upon them dust. (40) Blackness will cover them. (41) Those are the disbelievers, the wicked ones. (42)

Or summarized more simply:

A – Two categories of people (1-10)      B – Time for our Records (11-16)            C – Journey of the human being (17-23)           C’ – Journey of our sustenance (24-32)      B’ – Time for our accounting (33-37) A’ – Two categories of people (38-42) Connections

[A]/[A’] – The sūrah begins and ends by describing two categories of people. In [A], Allah ﷻ mentions one group looking to be “purified”, and He mentions another group who will “not be purified,” seeing as they perceive themselves to be “free of need.” The ending of the sūrah mentions presumably these same two groups, but on the Day of Judgment. Those who followed the Messenger ﷺ and purified themselves will be “rejoicing at good news.” The other group, the disbelievers, will be covered in doom and gloom as a consequence of their choices.

Another parallel is in the attention to facial expressions. The sūrah begins by mentioning the frown of the Messenger ﷺ and the blindness of the companion can be argued to be included in this as blindness is typically apparent by looking at someone’s face. The ending mentions faces that are “bright” and “laughing” and others that have “dust upon them” and “darkness covering them.”

[B]/[B’] – The sūrah then transitions to speaking of how our deeds are recorded in this life. There is consideration given to both the record of our deeds, as well as the ones who record those deeds. The corresponding section describes the chaos on the Day we will be made to stand for accounting. Everyone will be “preoccupied” with thoughts of what is to come. The pairing of these sections may suggest that we should preoccupy ourselves with our recording of deeds in this life to avoid being as preoccupied with our accounting in the next life.

[C]/[C’] – The center of the sūrah is arguably the most noteworthy as it contains within it a section which some orientalists, Montgomery Watt for example, claim has no place in the structure or cohesion of the sūrah. They would argue that Section [C’], The Journey of Our Sustenance, is an erroneous insertion by “the compilers of the Quran” (i.e., not Allah ﷻ). But, when one reflects on its placement in the sūrah, one will find an amazing parallel to the subject matter preceding it.2

C1 – Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he. (17) From what substance did He create him? (18)       C2 – From a sperm-drop He created him and destined for him; (19) Then He eased the way for him; (20)            C3 – Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him. (21) Then when He wills, He will resurrect him. (22) No! Man has not yet accomplished what He commanded him. (23)  C1’ – Then let mankind look at his food – (24)       C2’ – How We poured down water in torrents, (25) Then We broke open the earth, splitting [it with sprouts], (26) And caused to grow within it grain (27) And grapes and herbage (28) And olive and palm trees (29) And gardens of dense shrubbery (30) And fruit and grass – (31)            C3’ – [As] enjoyment for you and your grazing livestock. (32) Connections

[C1]/[C1’] – Both sections implore the listener to reflect on what is about to come. How were we created? Where does our food come from?

[C2]/[C2’] – Mankind was made from a drop of sperm which Allah ﷻ facilitated the growth of. And when that baby was fully formed, Allah ﷻ “eased the way” out of his mother for him. In a similar fashion, our food comes from drops of water which causes the plants to grow. The seeds are able to sprout through the earth by means of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) guidance.

[C3]/[C3’] – Finally, we die and are returned to the earth awaiting our eventual resurrection. In the same vein, the plants are enjoyed by animals and humans, which eventually release those seeds back into the earth where the cycle will renew again, with new plants growing from the earth.

Through this incredible parallel, Allah ﷻ is possibly indicating to us that when we see our food, we should reflect on our life and eventual resurrection. This lesson may have been lost had Section [C’] not been placed right after Section [C].

Other Mini Structures Within

Interestingly, Section [A] seems to form its own independent mirror structure.

A1 – The Prophet frowned and turned away (1) Because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting]. (2)       A2 – But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified (3) Or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? (4)       A2’ – As for he who thinks himself without need, (5) To him you give attention. (6) And not upon you [is any blame] if he will not be purified. (7)  A1’ – But as for he who came to you striving [for knowledge] (8) While he fears [Allah], (9) From him you are distracted. (10) Connections

[A1]/[A1’] – The outsides of this mirror structure address the issue of the blind man and the Messenger ﷺ turning away from him.

[A2]/[A2’] – The center juxtaposes the two groups. One group came hoping to be “purified” while the other thought himself without need and “will not be purified.”

Additionally, the contents of Section [B] seem to form their own ring structure.

B1 – No! Indeed, these verses are a reminder; (11) So whoever wills may remember it. (12) [It is recorded] in honored sheets, (13)       B2 – Exalted and purified, (14)  B1’ – [Carried] by the hands of messenger-angels, (15) Noble and dutiful. (16) Connections

[B1]/[B1’] – Both are described as karīm (honor/noble). Both our record and the recorders are held in high esteem.

[B2] – The center beautifully describes the two outer portions; the “exalted” records held in the highest level of Paradise, and the “purified” scribes who record our deeds.

An Alternative Overall Structure

There is a proposed alternative structure to Sūrat Abasa that is worth exploring.3 The first two sections match with my demarcations, but they diverge from Section [C] onwards. It also changes from a mirror structure to a ring structure. I have reproduced it below with slight modifications. 

A – The Messenger frowns and is distracted (1-10)      B – This is a reminder for those who listen (11-16)            C – May the human perish! How ungrateful of him! (17)                D – From what did He create him? (18)                     E From a drop! He created him, and determined him, (19)                          F – Then He made the way easy for him, (20)                     E’ – Then He caused him to die and buried him, (21)                D Then, when He pleases, He will raise him (22)           C’ – By no means! He has not accomplished what He commanded him (23)      B’ – Water is sent down and food is provided (24-32) A’ – The faces of the dead, the damned preoccupied (33-42) Connections

[A]/[A’] – Both sections speak of people’s facial expressions and preoccupations.

[B]/[B’] – This juxtaposition compares the reminder sent down from the heavens with the nourishment of the world provided by the descent of water. 

[C]/[C’] – Both sections condemn the inactions and ingratitude of the human. 

[D]/[D’] – A contrast between creation and resurrection (i.e., the second creation). 

[E]/[E’] – Birth versus death.

[F] – The sūrah circles around the call to an easy path.


And Allah ﷻ knows best.

*If the study of the Quran’s structure interests you, please check out Heavenly Order for many more examples of the Quran’s amazing organization and coherence.



Structural Cohesion In The Quran: Heavenly Order

Structural Cohesion In The Quran [A Series]: Surah An-Nasr

1    Many important notes about this incident. 1) The blind man could not see the slight frown on the Messenger’s face, so he could not have been offended. 2) The blind man was actually the one interrupting the Messenger’s already ongoing conversation, and yet, Allah ﷻ still reproached the Messenger ﷺ which demonstrates the high standards he ﷺ was being held to. 3) This is one of a handful of examples of the Quran immortalizing the misjudgments of the Messenger ﷺ, which would be a strange thing to do if he was the actual author of this Book.2    The parallels between [C] and [C’] are taken from the work of Nouman Ali Khan.3     Archer, George. A Place Between Two Places: The Qur’ān’s Intermediate State and the Early History of the Barzakh. 2015. Georgetown University, PhD dissertation. Pg. 172.

The post Structural Cohesion In The Quran [A Series]: Surah Abasa appeared first on

Back To School And Home Learning Success: The Muslim Edition

5 October, 2023 - 06:50

As autumn creeps closer, parents across the globe find themselves preparing for the upcoming school year. Choices about education have been made, school supplies and resources are purchased, and uniforms or home learning schedules are sorted. Amidst the visible preparations, however, lies an often overlooked aspect: the invisible load our children carry when they enter a new learning year. This invisible load encompasses their understanding of themselves, their environment, and their identity.

From birth to the age of two, children lack a full awareness of their identity and place in the world. As they venture into school and public environments, they do so with an incomplete sense of self, facing the challenge of understanding who they are, what’s expected of them, and how to navigate their emotions all while holding onto their Islamic principles. 

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we sometimes forget to address these critical aspects until issues arise, and by then, it might be too late. Our children enter spaces and environments that may not always be welcoming to their Islamic identity.

In this article, we aim to shed light on this invisible load and provide guidance to Muslim parents on how to best support their children as they embark on a new academic year. Drawing on recent research, we’ll explore seven key areas of concern and offer practical insights to help parents navigate these challenges effectively.

1- Identity 

Research has shown that children begin developing their sense of self at a very early age. According to a study conducted by Grossmann et al. (2013), infants as young as five months old start forming a rudimentary self-concept. This development continues as children grow and interact with their surroundings. It’s essential for Muslim parents to acknowledge that being a Muslim in today’s world can be challenging, with many perceiving Islamic values and principles as outdated or peculiar. Whether your child attends public school or is homeschooled, it’s imperative to reinforce their Islamic identity at home first and foremost. Role modeling alone may not suffice; children’s brains undergo synaptic pruning, meaning they lose certain learning pathways if not consistently used. Therefore, practicing daily affirmations, incorporating dua’s (supplications), sharing Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet), and discussing real-life case studies can help solidify your child’s Islamic identity.

2- Peer Pressure friend

PC: Ben Wicks (unsplash)

Peer pressure is a familiar part of growing up, yet we often underestimate its significance during the early years. Regardless of the educational path chosen for your child, peer pressure inevitably weaves its influence, whether within the classroom, on the playground, or in today’s virtual learning spaces.

Preschoolers and adolescents alike tend to align their behaviors and viewpoints with their peer groups, even when they possess independent judgments.

A noteworthy study conducted in 2011 sheds light on this phenomenon. The research observed 24 groups of 4 children, aged between 4 to 9 years. Children from these groups frequently conformed their judgments to match those of just three peers, even when these peers had recently made erroneous and unanimous public judgments.

These findings underscore that peer pressure begins exerting its influence at a remarkably young age, with children in preschool years already showing sensitivity to the opinions of their peers as a primary social reference group.

It’s crucial, however, to recognize that peer pressure isn’t inherently negative. In fact, healthy peer relationships and friendships play a vital role in a child’s social and emotional development. The critical distinction lies in whether this peer influence is positive or negative.

To navigate this, role modeling, storytelling, and practical case studies can empower children to think critically and make sound decisions when interacting with peers. 

As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ wisely reminds us, “A person is on the religion of his companions. Therefore, let every one of you carefully consider the company he keeps.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4833]

3- Personal Safety 

With years of experience spanning both the private and public sectors, I can attest that personal safety is a subject often overlooked in a child’s upbringing. The roots of this issue often lie in children not having a clear understanding of their personal space and boundaries in developmentally appropriate ways.

Studies have shown that the developmental progression of children’s grasp of personal body safety is usually weak at first due to their naivete. 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for children to encounter situations involving personal space violations within their own homes even before they embark on their school journeys.

The concept of personal safety, however, evolves within the home environment and takes on a different dimension outside the home and both need to be taught and discussed. Children should not only learn but also actively practice maintaining a healthy personal space at all times. Equally vital is equipping them with the language to articulate their boundaries and practice protocol for both inside and outside the home when they feel their personal safety is compromised.

 4- Personal Hygiene 

For parents of young children entering Pre-K or Kindergarten (3-4 years old), the transition from potty training to using public washrooms independently can be daunting. To ease this process, consider implementing practice runs during the initial month of school. These practice sessions allow you to supervise and guide your child as they develop this essential life skill.

However, it’s crucial to engage in a dialogue with your child’s teachers and school staff regarding accident handling procedures. Don’t simply assume that the designated teacher will handle such situations. Take the initiative to understand the school’s policies and clearly define your family boundaries. This communication should encompass both written and verbal agreements, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

For older children, it’s an opportune moment to discuss the principles of purification in public spaces. Explore how they can maintain cleanliness in a way that preserves their ablution and purity of their clothing when using public restrooms. Equipping children with a pouch containing wet wipes, a small towel, spare underwear, and clothing not only reinforces their Islamic values discreetly but also empowers them with the understanding that upholding these values happens everywhere. 

5- Prayer and Islamic Studies

Through personal experience, I’ve come to realize that amid the busyness of the academic year, prayer and Islamic studies often take a back seat. The reality is that genuine success lies in nurturing one’s connection with prayer and Islamic knowledge. 

It’s important to establish prayer as a non-negotiable aspect of your child’s daily routine. Assisting your child with their prayers is not a choice but an obligation that extends beyond the age of ten. To ensure the seamless integration of prayer into your child’s schedule, review both their school and home learning timetables, and plan their Salah (prayer) accordingly.

Furthermore, engaging in a dialogue about how Islamic learning will persist within the home and after school is of utmost importance. Begin by selecting a specific Islamic topic to explore, in addition to Quranic learning. 

Always bear in mind that Islamic learning should continue within the household, regardless of your choice of schooling. As Allah reminds us in the Quran, reminds us,

“And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.” [Surah Taha: 20;132]

6- Academic Success school

PC: Annie Spratt (unsplash)

Here is an irrefutable fact: success rarely occurs without planning. Conventional schools and many learning environments often fall short in teaching children how to learn—they simply anticipate learning to happen.

The new academic year presents a golden opportunity for parents to reevaluate and reinforce healthy study habits while nurturing their child’s individualized learning journey.

Consider the proactive measures you can implement now to evade the unwanted daily parent-child chase. Delegate responsibilities and establish clear boundaries in terms of academic expectations. Define what success signifies within each realm of learning.

It’s crucial to remember that you need not adhere to the school’s conventional criteria for academic success. In typical school settings, high grades are often regarded as the sole measure of achievement. However, within the sanctity of your home, accomplishments like praying on time and demonstrating effort and dedication to academic subjects are equally deserving of recognition.

Take a moment to reassess your priorities and formulate your distinctive criteria for success for your family. Prioritize attributes such as grit and resilience, for they are the bedrock of life accomplishments.

7- Mental Health

Many studies have shown that children are showing signs of anxiety as early as infancy in this day and age. The need for early interventions to foster emotional well-being has propelled a new field of study categorized as Infant Mental Health (IMH).

In the early stages of childhood, it’s incredibly important to provide children with spaces for respite, allowing them moments to break free from the daily rigors of expectations and learning. Free play, in particular, emerges as an essential component for nurturing a child’s mental, physical, and emotional faculties.

Additionally, it’s valuable to curate interludes of mental health practices throughout their day. For instance, incorporating Quranic recitations during car rides to and from school can provide a soothing backdrop, giving children moments of tranquility. Similarly, allowing children the autonomy to unwind after a day of learning—whether through self-directed activities, extracurriculars, or leisurely board games—becomes a conscious checkpoint for their mental health. Bedtime can also be transformed into an opportunity for children to share their daily experiences, promoting emotional well-being.

Older children, particularly those aged 10 and above, often witness a reluctance to openly discuss new challenges, regardless of parental encouragement. Therefore, having a trusted mentor or companion that the parents handpick can be highly beneficial. These individuals can provide an alternative outlet for venting, offering diverse perspectives and opinions that can enrich a child’s social and emotional growth whether in a school or a home setting.


To this end, let’s remember that education involves more than textbooks. Our children’s identity, resilience, mental well-being, and personal safety are hidden yet crucial aspects. Reinforce Islamic values to fortify their identity. Guide peer pressure positively through open discussions and role modeling. Teach personal safety and hygiene discreetly. Make prayer and Islamic studies non-negotiable. Academic success should encompass grit, resilience, and upholding Islamic values. Prioritize mental health with moments of respite and trusted mentors. By addressing these hidden facets, we equip our children for success in the school year and beyond.

[If you need further support like this and you’d like to follow my work, please subscribe to The Elite Family Newsletter for weekly posts on educational and controversial topics faced by the modern Muslim family. Together, we can navigate the complexities of raising our children with strong Islamic identities.]



The MM Recap: Your Back-to-School Resource [Muslim Edition]

[Podcast] Man2Man: The LGBTQ+ Curriculum, Public Schools, & Islamic Values | Omar Abdul Fatah


The post Back To School And Home Learning Success: The Muslim Edition appeared first on

Podcast: The Rights of Parents vs Parental Oppression | Sh Isa Parada

3 October, 2023 - 15:01

Can Muslim parents make du’a against their children? Do adult children still have to obey their parents in all things? Do Muslim parents have unlimited rights over their children? How can Muslims better understand their obligations towards their parents, without compromising their own mental and spiritual health?

In this episode of the MuslimMatters podcast, Shaykh Isa Parada talks about Islam’s perspective on the rights of parents, what constitutes oppression over their children, and the limits to parental rights. This episode is imperative for a more holistic understanding of a sensitive topic that impacts Muslims around the world.

Shaykh Isa Parada was born in New York and raised in Houston. Isa was an altar boy at his family’s Roman Catholic parish and after converting to Islam, went on to graduate from Madina University from the faculty of theology and is now an Imam.

His family roots from El Salvador allow him to effectively educate Latinos about Islam as one of our IslamInSpanish instructors locally and nationally while serving as a bridge between the general Muslim community and Latinos. He has played a unique role in developing educational programming as an instructor as well as a community counselor.


Obedience To Parents And Its Limits

The Mother of Tests – Balancing Islam with Difficult Parents

The post Podcast: The Rights of Parents vs Parental Oppression | Sh Isa Parada appeared first on