This is a wonderful article from one of our talented guest writers, Hassana, and it accurately sums up the problems in Gaza and what we, as Muslims, should do about it.
WHAT TO MAKE OF IT?
Gaza is a land blessed by Allah SWT as He SWT said in the Qur’an:
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Al-Isra 17:1)
Traditional Muslim scholars have always considered the blessed land of Palestine to be a ‘thermometer’ for the condition of the Muslim ummah. If we want to know how well the Muslims are doing spiritually, we can look at the land of Palestine and see its condition. Historically, whenever Muslims were living righteous lives upholding the rules of Allah SWT, and were involved in propagation of Islam and inviting others to the right path of guidance, the blessed land of Jerusalem and its surroundings were a place of safety for us. Whereas, whenever we were weak as a nation in our obedience to Allah SWT, the land was captured by the enemies and Muslims were humiliated and tortured therein.
Many people have questioned the wisdom of Allah SWT in allowing atrocities to happen. This is a critical moment of reflection for Muslims—individually and collectively. There are many lessons we can learn about ourselves from what is going on in Gaza today but first we have to interpret events through the edicts of Islam, which means transporting ourselves from the duniya mindset to the akhirah mindset.
OUR LORD IS MERCIFUL
So how can the Most Merciful Lord allow all this to happen?
The Prophet (SAW) said, “There is nothing (in the form of trouble) that comes to a believer even if it is the pricking of a thorn that there is decreed for him by Allah good or his sins are obliterated.” (Muslim)
Looking at the world through this prism of understanding, every condition faced by Muslims, individually or collectively, is a form of mercy from Allah (SWT). The highest of these mercies is the believer turning away from all others back to his Lord and relying wholeheartedly on Him (SWT).
Our beloved Prophet (SAW) has told us, “This people of mine is one to which mercy is shown. It will have no punishment in the next world, but its punishment in this world will be trials, earthquakes and being killed.” (Abu Dawud)
So we can rest assured that even the most calamitous situations such as the current crisis in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere are means of purification and a form of mercy for the Muslim Ummah.
Nothing can justify ruthless killing of innocent people but what might help us accept it as Allah’s will is the recognition of the very essence of our existence—mortality; and the acceptance of the fact that all living beings have an appointed time at which they must return to their Lord (SWT). This time is decreed by Allah (SWT) and we have no control over it. We cannot dictate the age, time, and condition of the death of a person. All we can be sure of as Muslims, is that when our oppressed brothers and sisters die, they are going back to a Gracious and Merciful Lord, and that He (SWT) will bring their oppressors to account.
Prophet Muhammed (SAW) has said, “Fear the prayer of the oppressed, even if he is a disbeliever, for there is no barrier (between it and Allah).” (Ahmed)
What then about the prayer of a Muslim who is oppressed?
Allah (SWT) Himself has declared to the oppressed, “By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.” (Tirmidhi)
Rasul Allah (SAW) has said, “Verily, Allah gives respite to the oppressor. But when He seizes him, He does not let him escape.'' Then he (SAW) recited,
"Such is the Seizure of your Rabb when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful (and) severe."(Hud 11:102) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah (SWT) can allow atrocities against innocent Muslims and they might die what appear to be brutal deaths, but the reality of their afterlife might be completely different. This is where Allah’s mercy comes into fruition. Their deaths as oppressed believers who were relying on Allah (SWT) and were waiting for His support might earn them the highest levels in jannah. After all, Islam teaches that this world is simply a testing ground in order to determine one’s station in the hereafter. The tests differ for people; some might receive them in the form of oppression, injuries, pain, and loss of health, wealth and family, while others might receive them in the form of comfort, luxury, wealth and family.
While keeping the success of akhirah in perspective, which trials are more severe, trials of ease or difficulty?
Trials of ease are certainly more dangerous for us!
When we are facing difficulties and realize that there is no one who can help us except Allah (SWT), we get closer to Him; and the more we run out of options, the more our faith in Him (SWT) increases. This is a victory in itself. All a person has to do at this time is be patient and wait for Allah (SWT) to lift the calamity. While on the surface it seems like a life lacking happiness, if a person dies in this state of patience and reliance on Allah, he is successful because He has truly recognized Allah (SWT) as his Lord and therefore has earned His (SWT)’s pleasure.
However, when we are living in comfort and luxury, we tend to become pre-occupied with our material wealth and get distracted from our real purpose in life. Often this distraction results in us getting away from Allah (SWT) and our responsibility towards our religion. If a person dies in this state of negligence and having broken his covenant with Allah, though it might be on a clean hospital bed surrounded by his family, he is in a more precarious position in front of Allah (SWT) than an oppressed person who dies a brutal death at the hands of the enemy.
This is the condition of our ummah today. We are in two distinct groups today, oppressed and untroubled …yet.
Muslims are an ummah! Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (SAW) have commanded us to act as a single unit whose members are responsible for each other’s wellbeing. Rasul Allah (SAW) has said, "The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.'' He (SAW) illustrated this by interlacing the fingers of both his hands. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Rasul Allah (SAW) also said, "A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother's needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone covers up a Muslim (his sins), Allah will cover him up (his sins) on the Resurrection Day". (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
We are also warned of the consequences of departing from the above principles.
Abu Bakr (RA) said, "O you people! You recite this Verse:
`O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the (right) guidance [and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden)] no hurt can come to you from those who are in error.' (Al Ma`ida 5:105)
But I have heard Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying: "When people see an oppressor but do not prevent him from (doing evil), it is likely that Allah will punish them all.'' (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)