The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “No one who enters Paradise would like to return to the world, even if he could have everything on earth, except for the Martyr. He will wish to return to the world and be killed ten more times due to the generous reward he sees.” (Bukhari 2817)
“To the Zionists, do not think that we are afraid. Our young ones are under the rubble but our Lord is with us.” — A Palestinian Hero
As we witness the manifold horrors in this inverted age of ‘humanitarian values’ and ‘social justice’ take place before our very eyes, there is no crime, no oppression and no tragedy which pierces and pains the hearts of Believers like that undergone by the Palestianians—a people who embody the spirit of faithful resistance and īmān.
It is as if we Muslims of the 21st Century are reliving a nightmare, one which is being continuously played for us on loop. The blood, gore and scenes of death have been suffered before. They evoke for us whole stores of collective memory, the longing of widows, the heartaches of mothers and the loneliness of countless orphans. Current events have shaken many with the vivid awareness of the cold and merciless violence that still lies beneath all pretence of ‘civility, development and progress.’ It was not so long ago that Muslims were killed en masse in Iraq and Syria, and the deaths of hundreds and thousands in Afghanistan, Egypt, China, Bosnia, Burma, India and more were streamed across our screens as genocidal pogroms unleashed their carnage on Muslim blood. Do not forget this: it still continues across the world today.
For years, I have remained averse from mentioning this, out of awe of its magnitude and in loathing its memory. Who finds it easy to announce the death of Islam and Muslims?
Who is it that deems its mention to be light? I wish that my mother had not given birth to me. How I wish that I had died before this and was completely forgotten.
— Ibn al-Athīr (d. 630/1232) in Al-Kāmil 10:333 recollecting the atrocities committed by the Tatars as they entered Muslim lands in 617/1220
As Muslims, the canopy of tawḥīd and risāla unites us despite our varying differences. We believe in the testimony of faith—that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad ﷺ is His last and final Messenger. It binds our hearts closer and stronger than blood ties. “When any limb aches, the entire body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” (Bukhari 6011)
Tawḥīd, which literally means ‘to make one’ is not only a theological or metaphysical truth, but permeates all degrees of reality to include being a social one. Often, we find ourselves engaging with the term tawḥīd only in disputes whilst ignoring the power that is latent in realising its meanings. For the Palestinian and oppressed Muslims of the world, tawḥīd transcends its mere verbalisation to realise its higher ontological levels.
Once upon a time, the power of Tawḥīd was alive;
Now, what is it? Just a matter of discursive theology.
—Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Tawḥīd is an actual lived experience for these warriors; it is a way of being that has merged inseparable from their flesh and their blood. It has become their metaphysical shield against the bullets, the bombs and the suffering; it is the spiritual sword by which they resist the aggressions of the enemies of God—proclaiming ‘alḥamdulillāh’ when faced with onslaught, saying ‘this is what Allah has decreed’ upon witnessing their own families slaughtered and homes destroyed, and providing the fortitude through which they sacrifice their lives to slake from the chalice of martyrdom in His Path.
This unshakeable lived experience of Islam is what gives those with nothing their everything, and serves as their fortress and fight against the wretched ẓālimīn.
Your arm is strengthened by the Power of Tawḥīd
Islam is your nation, you are Muhammadan!
— Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Indeed, behind the Palestinian veneer lies the Muhammadan message. Al-Quds is that sanctified place in which the absolute leadership of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was marked after all. We are blessed to be of the Last Nation whose Messenger ﷺ was sent to all of mankind, and not just for a particular ethnic group or people; in front of whose eyes the prophecies of the End Times will play out day by day across the world especially in and around the axial region of the Levant. It is here where all will witness the worst fitan warned of by the Envoys of Allah until the story of Man will come to a close.
The plight of our brothers and sisters as well as our own inabilities and shortcomings are all part of this larger history. Difficult indeed it is, but then, who said felicity would be easy? (Do people think that they will say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tested?) [Al-ʿAnkabūt, 29:2]
But just as our Forefather Abraham (peace be upon him), who now rests in Palestine, showed the generations to come by resting his knife on his beloved son: Sacrifice, certitude and trust in Allah is essential.
It is the noble warriors of al-Quds who have taught us this lesson and reminded us of the sanctity, the qadāsa, of our lives and its true purpose once again.
The lesson of being content with Allah’s Decree; of unwavering certainty that victory is undoubtedly guaranteed, no matter how bleak the immediate conditions may be; of having an eye always to the Everlasting so that we may patiently endure the hardships that may afflict us in this fleeting world. It is this tawḥīd and servitude to God alone which has refused to be brutalised into submission before a colonial ethnonationalist state hellbent on genocide.
It is they, despite our failings, who have gifted us this. We must not forget it.
This existential struggle of the Palestinian people is emblematic of the Muslim Nation as a whole. Whilst they battle for their lives and the sanctity of al-Aqṣā against occupying forces, there are others among us who are battling for their faith. The struggle of this Ummah is not a simple one, far from it. It consists of a war on multiple fronts where both the metaphysical and physical worlds are colliding and coalescing every moment. Each and every Muslim whether in the heartlands, scattered across the globe as diaspora or converts anew is a conscripted soldier in the Party of God. In this regard, we are all Palestinians.
The Palestinians and Al-Quds are victors already. As for ourselves, then that is a question left only for us to answer.
Remember this helplessness of ours as we absent-mindedly doomscroll through the real deaths of the innocent.
Remember this insignificance of ours as we repeatedly witness the world buoy on naked genocide.
Remember that piercing whistle of those rockets which rain down upon our own.
It is time to cast away the attitudes and actions that have wedged us into this humiliation. Appealing to those whom we know do not have our best interests at heart is a fruitless enterprise. Shun the impulse to live in perpetual victimhood. We must strengthen ourselves internally so that we can take action on our own terms without having to beg and plead for dignity. We have a duty to resist being duped into various dead-end games of different sorts, whether on the local or civic level, or on the media front. This has been going on for far too long without result. Resist passivity and low-tier attitudes. Compare our unity with that of the occupiers who clot together to justify Nazi-like slaughter in order to placate their existential anxiety. We must be intelligent and astute.
To those distraught watching the news, the implosion of truth and the world at large as it plummets further into mass-psychosis; know that despair and hopelessness is not the trait of a Believer. The Word of Allah reigns supreme. (And after every hardship follows ease, after every hardship follows ease.) [Al-Inshirāḥ, 94:5-6]
Were it not the case that Islam is true in-and-of itself, supported by God’s Aid and protected by His Protection, there would have not remained a remnant of it to wrestle against the forces of evil on earth—they, who have adopted every means of deception, and who have exhausted all ways to try and extinguish its Light.
They plot and God plans; and Allah is the Best of Planners.
— Ḥasan Ḥabannaka al-Maydānī (d. 1398/1978)
Will our care and participation only last as long as the media engagement does? Will we soon forget the murder and brutal treatment of our brothers and sisters across the world? Is the pain that we feel a short-fused emotion that will eventually subside and fizzle out, or will we transmute it towards greater long-lasting outcomes that will outlive us for future generations to come? Will we overlook how we too in our weakness have failed the Palestinians all this time?
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever does not care about the affairs of the Muslims is not from them.” (Shuʿab al-Īmān 10102) al-Shaʿrānī (d. 973/1565) discusses the critical importance of exiting our self-centredness and having honest compassion, care and concern for His creation. He writes: “The like of he who cares about the [dire] affairs of the Muslims is like the one whose only and dear child passes away.” His Shaykh ʿAlī al-Khawwāṣṣ also repeatedly said: “The one who jokes, is intimate with his spouse, wears perfumed garments and visits places of leisure during the days in which calamities befall Muslims is equal to an animal.” (Laṭā’if al-Minan 1:350)
If we are truly serious about our concern and showing solidarity, then we must start taking account and responsibility for our collective crisis. Important questions need to be asked and protocols for action need to be taken. And fast. The time is coming when we will no longer be helpless and the day is soon when justice will be exacted. Oaths with God are being renewed and hearts are turning to Him. The sinful are changing their ways. The question is: will we be of them?
Allah does not disgrace those who are sincere to Him. So may we be of those, our Lord, and to You is our plea. Āmīn.
Peace be upon all of God’s Prophets and upon the Land blessed by them.
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