Gaza – The Imperative of Keeping Focus
|Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|

This present wave of blind violence against the people of Gaza comes right on the eve of a new administration in the White House and right before the Israeli elections. It would seem that election success in Israel is dependent on how much destruction a political party can mete out against the Palestinians.

The pain that constricts our hearts is an expression of our humanity, and of our identifying with our kindred in humanity as well as in faith. Allah says: "The believers are naught else but brothers." [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 10]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) "believers are to each other as a single body." As long as the body has sensation, the whole body feels pain if any limb feels pain.

We must translate this pain into hope and into productive effort. Our words, if they are to be good words, we cannot allow them to be words that stir up division between us or support one faction at the expense of another. We have no reason to deliberately curse or malign one another in our frustrations. We should also never invoke hopelessness or despair. Our voice should be a bold cry of faith in the face of the terrible flood that is bearing down on us.

Full news coverage of what is unfolding in Gaza is an imperative, and everything that happens should be rigorously followed by the media. This is, in fact, part of the solution. Were it not for the news cameras and the news reporters, the suffering of the people of Gaza would pass by most people of the world with no more effect than the stirring of a light breeze. However, the media has made an impact on our hearts and has made everyone distinctly uncomfortable about what is taking place. Even if the right-wing factions in Israel do not care about human sentiment, they are concerned when the scale of the crisis makes the political environment restrictive for them and exposes their racism and the violence of their deeds.

Allah says: "Those who do wrong will come to know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!" [Sûrah al-Shu`arâ': 227]

It is an injustice when various factions use this crisis for their own political gain. It, in fact, makes light of the human tragedy that is unfolding for some people try to use it as a means to score points against their political rivals. The truth of the matter is simple: It is a case of an oppressive entity acting in a high-handed, violent manner, wantonly killing and destroying. It is a case of a people who are under fire, under siege, and being denied the most basic necessities of food, medicine, and security - a people whose lives are being treated as cheap. We must stand together, resolute, upon this description of what is going on in Gaza. We must show respect for that great people and refrain from using their suffering as political currency in our domestic, regional, and international disputes. It is imperative that we all stand together in support of the people of Palestine.

Our faith in Allah's decree should give us resolve. We know that Allah has wisdom in what he brings about in the world. At the same time, we should be proactive and dispel what we dislike of Allah's decree with Allah's decree. As `Umar said when he was criticized for fleeing Allah's decree by his avoiding a plague-ridden town: "We are fleeing from Allah's decree to Allah's decree."

One way we can do this is to expend our utmost efforts in assisting the victims of this brutality, giving them all the support and help that we can afford to give.

Beyond this, our sincere prayers brings about Allah's help from whence we cannot perceive. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Beware the supplication of the oppressed, for indeed it is carried up to the clouds, and Allah says: "By My might and My glory, I will help you, even if after a time."
This is a case even when the oppressed person is an unbeliever or a sinner. How much more we can expect the supplication to be answered when the supplicant is a Muslim who worships Allah alone?

We should be constant in offering supplication in qunût during our congregational prayers at the mosques and at home when we pray alone. We should beseech Allah in qunût to grant the Muslims victory against those who transgress upon them. We cannot doubt the effect of the supplications of no less than 1.5 billion Muslims. The imam should keep the supplication in focus and to the point, so as not to set the hearts of some of the congregation wandering.

Any opportunity should be availed to speak a good word about this crisis and keep it at the forefront of people's minds. This can be on television, the radio, the newspaper, the Internet, at a meeting or social gathering, in a petition to an official, or on the pulpit of the mosque. Online forums and e-mail mailing lists are also valuable in this regard.

Those who can should donate blood to medical relief agencies to assist the wounded. Charitable donations should be given to relief organizations which are working to provide assistance.

Every legal and sound means should be used to lobby and put pressure on the politicians and decision-makers of one's countries so that they adopt policies that are correct and just and that are helpful to our brothers and sisters.

Expressing our solidarity and identification with our brothers and sisters brings about positive results. It keeps us from falling into despair. When we engage in positive action, it improves our mindsets and gives us emotional balance. This is better than seeing nothing but bloodshed and violence on television.

We need to put our trust in Allah and in His divine justice. He may let an oppressor act iniquitously for a while, but His justice is inevitable. Allah says: "Such is the chastisement of thy Lord when He chastises communities in the midst of their wrong: grievous, indeed, and severe is His chastisement." [Sûrah Hûd: 102]

Allah also says: "And you shall certainly know the truth of it (all) after a while." [Sûrah Sâd: 88]

We are impatient, but Allah is not hasty.

The present excessive Israeli violence against those who are defenseless is not something that just happened today. It has a long history, as long as the history of the Israeli nation. It is not just a sudden reaction to present circumstances, but a continuation of past policies, and Israel continues to prove quite capable of finding justifications for its transgression. Today, they are blaming their conduct on Hamas. Yesterday, it was someone else.

This issue is not just the responsibility of every Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim, it is the responsibility of everyone on Earth who possesses a human heart.

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