By Spahic Omer
What is happening in Gaza nowadays is unprecedented. It defies all standards of morality as well as humanity. To sympathize with the unfortunate fate of the steadfast people of Gaza – and Palestine in general – one must not be a Muslim; it is sufficient to be a human being and to have a human consciousness. This in addition means that the perpetrators of the Gaza catastrophe, which is assuming the character of an ethnic cleansing and even genocide, are not human beings in the ethical, yet civilizational, sense of the word, nor do they possess any moral intelligence.
The Gaza events signify a battlefield for clashes between civilization and barbarism, truth and falsehood, sanity and madness, and between humanity and otherwise. Thus, Gaza’s theatre of war is not confined merely to a tiny strip of land wedged between Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea and Israel as an illegal geopolitical entity, but rather extents far and wide to encompass all parts of the planet. Everyone feels compelled to form an opinion and choose sides, both personally and institutionally. In a way – it stands to reason – the Gaza conflict is a global phenomenon; it is a “world war” between discordant worldviews, value systems and existential paradigms.
Without a doubt, if Israel was legal, it would not have been pursued and maintained illegally. Because of that, discourses about the Palestinian issue are to be placed against the background of the occupation and its ensuing tyranny. All other things are irrelevant. If not, problems could be muddled and developments misunderstood. Accordingly, the Palestinians are entitled to make recourse to any sorts of means and channels with the aim of ending the occupation and punishing the oppressors. Such terms as terrorism, criminality, rigidity, unwillingness to negotiate or compromise, etc., are not to be associated with the Palestinians in any way. They are freedom fighters par excellence; they are heroes and beautiful examples to others; their dead are martyrs and inspiration to posterity.
Resisting Israel and its sponsors in any effective ways is an obligation incumbent upon all Muslims. Doing so is jihad, all forms of which ought to be activated. To turn a blind eye to the ongoing occupation or to remain indifferent to it, is a sin. It is an affront as much to the religion of Islam as to one’s conscience.
Sacrificing decency, humanity and civilization
In Gaza today, all decency, humanity and civilization are being sacrificed on the altars of a hypocritical world order and a culture of barbarism. When one looks at the shocking images emerging from the tiny belt of land – seeing nothing but utter destruction, dead bodies and people whose lives and hopes have been shattered perhaps forever – one should remember that those fields of debris represent graveyards wherein all civilization and righteousness have been buried, those dead bodies represent the death of all humanity and compassion, and the faces of the despairing and neglected-by-the-world Gaza citizens serve to remind us that we all share some level of accountability for the ongoing genocide.
Palestine belongs to all of us, yet to the whole (normal) world. Come the Day of Judgement, there will certainly be questions that will require answers. Not everyone will be exempt from the repercussions.
Institutionally misled and brainwashed for ages, both locally and internationally, ours is a mixture of feeling miserable, dejected and powerless. Knowing that this is not the time to love the enemies, to do good to those who hate you, to bless those who curse you, to pray for those who mistreat you, to turn the other cheek to him who slaps you on either one, and to not withhold your shirt from one who takes your coat (Luke, 6: 27-30), I often find myself wishing for supernatural abilities to allow me to take matters into my own hands and resolve the Gaza problem once and for all.
However, things do not work that way. Rapidly confronting the facts, rather than escaping into fantasy, is the only way to improve the situation in Gaza. Pursuing a course of make-believe will not resolve the difficulty.
We must know who and what we are dealing with: the Zionist state of Israel which was, is and will always be intrinsically evil, and which is sustained by an equally evil alliance representing the iniquitous dimensions of the West. The illegal creation of Israel was possible only in association with the illegal colonization of Palestine at the hands of Britain. Therefore, the foundation of Israel (i.e., its occupation of Palestine) is a twinned illegality and its identity a twofold criminality.
Throughout its existence, aggression and bloodshed have consistently been attributed to Israel. Incessant tyranny is its legacy. The innocent blood is all over its institutionalized existence and the existence of its allies. No tangible and lasting good did Israel ever generate to the “other” within and around itself, for the simple reason that wickedness begets nothing but more wickedness.
It is no surprise then that the real Jews, who embody the core beliefs of Judaism, continually distance themselves from Zionism and its unholy undertakings, such as the formation of Israel. No wonder, furthermore, that many of them consistently take a stand against the age-old Zionist mistreatment of the vulnerable Palestinians. Even today, they regularly partake in the on-going global rallies against the human tragedy in Gaza. Sometimes they yet organize their own demonstrations, declaring to the world in general and Israel in particular that they denounce the events in Gaza, that the carnage should stop immediately, that Palestine should be free, and, perhaps most importantly, that Israel’s actions – and its existence-cum-identity – are not “in our name.”
Israel’s disposition was criminal from the outset, hence whatever it did at any point of time and to anybody was consistent with its innate genetic makeup. It is unfair to hold a wild beast responsible for an attack or harm, as wild beasts will always be subject to their natural inclinations. However, it is wise to be aware of what one is up against and to take the necessary precautions.
Fourteen things everyone can do for Gaza
Owing to the chronic acts of perfidy exhibited by Muslim leaders towards Palestine, we often raise the question of what action may be taken by the general public. Here is a list of meaningful actions that all can implement.
First, learn about what is going on exactly, because knowledge is power.
Second, do so from reliable sources, because there are so many half-truths and outright lies in circulation. Indeed, the Gaza proceedings are framed within a global ideological conflict whose main fuel is (mis)information.
Third, work on improving yourself: spiritually, morally and intellectually, because Almighty Allah declares that He will improve our collective condition (what is around and beyond us) only when we improve what is inside ourselves (al-Ra’d, 11). The former is the effect, the latter the cause.
Fourth, never stop spreading and living the truth under all circumstances, because falsehood thrives only when the truth is absent. The active presence of the truth is the antidote to the bogus presence of falsehood. Evil appears strong only because righteousness is non-existent. In the case of Palestine, Israel appears great and fearsome only because Muslims are weak; there is no competition. The two cannot coexist. It is either righteousness or evil.
Fifth, keep “helping” Allah by supporting and helping His cause on earth (His Islam and His righteous servants), because He promised His divine help only to those who “help” Him (al-Hajj, 40; Muhammad, 7).
Sixth, continue enhancing your status as a Muslim (a servant of Allah) by getting ever closer to Allah through faith and good work, and by forging alliances with Him and the rest of the Muslim ummah (community), because Allah vows that it is only “His party” (hizb Allah) that will be victorious eventually, and that “the party of Satan” (hizb al-shaytan) will be defeated (al-Ma’idah, 56; al-Mujadilah, 19).
Seventh, sincerely boycott whatever Israeli and Western products the rest of the ummah agrees to boycott. Stay with the rest of good Muslims and good global citizens. Allah is with groups and their collective actions. Be an organic part of the jama’ah.
Eighth, remember that the most important items to be boycotted are Western bad ideas, misleading knowledge and inappropriate values. These could be found in the realms of Western media, Western education, Western institutions, Western life systems, Western often filthy entertainment and pop culture. They are the factors that plunged the Muslim world into a cultural and civilizational bankruptcy. While the former aspect of the boycotting initiative (the seventh item) targets the economic sector, this particular aspect targets existence as a whole. It is more comprehensive, and so, more effective and more enduring.
Ninth, start – or intensify if you are already onboard – your enjoining of what is right and forbidding of what is wrong, because our calamities, including those associated with our incompetent and misleading leaders, are nothing but a combination of tests and punishments. One of the certain ways to be punished either by catastrophes or the imposition of inept and deceiving leaders, is to shun the commandment of enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar). The Prophet warned us: “You will observe the commandment of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar, or else Allah will mete out a stern punishment to you. Thereupon, you will (regret and) plead for Allah’s mercy, but to no avail” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi). Also: “You will observe the commandment of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar, encouraging each other to do good, or else Allah will destroy you with a torment, or will appoint the worst amongst you to rule over you. Thereupon, the best amongst you will plead for Allah’s mercy, but to no avail” (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal). The Qur’an is explicit that Muslims are the best nation on account of them possessing the true faith and a reformist culture: “You are the best nation produced (as an example) for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah” (Alu ‘Imran, 110).
Tenth, donate whatever you can: wealth, knowledge, talent, time and energy. Do not be ungenerous, for Allah is never ungenerous with you.
Eleventh, participate in peaceful demonstrations in order to contribute to the dissemination of the truth and to jolt decision makers out of their indifference or complacency.
Twelfth, use the available democratic means and channels to remind our Muslim leaders that their inability – much less unwillingness – to deal with the plague of Israel in a manner that suits its diabolic character, does not bode favourably for their own future. If they fail to convincingly demonstrate that they are aware of their paralysis and that they are willing to start changing the humiliating status quo as soon as possible, they ought to be made aware that they will also be implicated in the Gaza crime as much by history as the ummah. Their failure will bespeak a betrayal of not only Gaza – yet again – but also their own citizens. Indeed, the Muslim public has demonstrated, emotionally and to some extent intellectually as well as spiritually, that they are ready to be reborn and led into a better future. They have likewise shown that they have courage and strength of character. Muslim leaders, the onus is on you – this is the critical moment for a meaningful transformation to take place.
Thirteenth, never get tired of praying, because prayers are a weapon of believers. With prayers you deal directly with Him Who holds keys for all solutions. While Allah controls everything, nothing controls Him. Thus, prayers denote an existential privilege. However, keep in mind that prayers, too, have prerequisites. Invoking divine help while not taking any action, or preparing to take any action, is an abuse of the wonderful concept of prayer (du’a). The Qur’an instructs: “And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely (upon Him)” (Alu ‘Imran, 159). The Prophet also asked a person to tie his camel first then to put his trust in Allah. For that reason are prayers mentioned as the thirteenth and second last point in this list of what each and every Muslim can do for Gaza.
Fourteenth, whatever you do, make sure you do not slacken. The entire Islamic community (ummah) with its dormant capabilities have been galvanized. Patience and steadfastness are the keys. There should be no turning back. The true enemies of Islam and Muslims, on the one hand, and of humanity together with civilization, on the other, have revealed themselves (have reared their ugly heads), and so should the forces and soldiers of the truth be known. Undeniably, it is time to make a stand and regain some honour. It is time to stand up and be counted. ***
(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer is an academic in Department of History and Civilisation, AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences.)