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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.

Poetry
  • 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 MuslimMatters.org.

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 MuslimMatters.org.

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 MuslimMatters.org.

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 MuslimMatters.org.

Protests: An Islamic Perspective

10 November, 2023 - 18:37

Originally published at Islam21C.com.

Introduction

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]

Conclusion

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

Notes

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest

[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

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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: https://thehumblei.com/2017/03/16/jihad-martyrdom-war-peace/4    The proofs are discussed in the article above.

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

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. 

Related:

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

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