I am loathed to comment on politics or even discuss it for longer than a few minutes, but the current circumstances have forced my tongue and now my “cyber” pen.
Recent events in Palestine are not something new; unfortunately, it is something old, very old. That area of the world has soil full of the blood of martyrs from ages and epochs gone by. Today, new blood is being split and this war, like all others, is over land.
The right and possession of land has caused more wars than people care to remember. I do not like to forget the things that I have read; Some events in history scar your soul. One such event is the sacking of Jerusalem during the first crusade in 1099. Every living thing was killed, when the Christian crusaders entered and began a massacre of unforgettable horror. They picked the right time to attack as the Muslims did not suspect that such a force would come to their shores and cause such havoc. What was the response of the Muslims? Above all else they kept faith and did not waver. They pressed onward and kept doing what they had done before they kept faith, honoured agreements etc. During the two hundred year period that the Crusaders occupied the lands of the Muslims, they broke treaty after treaty (Richard the first of England also known as lionheart promised not to kill non-combatants when he overcame the city of Acre but then proceeded to massacre its entire inhabitants. Esposito Islam: The Straight Path. Oxford University Press: New York, 2005. pg. 59) Even despite the horror of the events of this terrible massacre, Muslims did not retaliate in the same manner. They did not say that they did this to us and we should do the same to them. They did not lose hope which is what many of us do now. This is no more vividly portrayed by the treatment of Salahudeen gave to the Christians after he defeated the Crusader forces, he let them remain or leave unharmed. The question that I want to pose is, what would we do now? If that were to happen to us?
We face these events and despite just watching the news, we cannot take it. It is too much. We keep asking questions, why doesn’t someone do something, where is the UN and most shocking of all for me, why doesn’t America do something. Why should they! Is this what the Muslim world has come to asking people instead of asking the only one that can help! Have we abandoned our falling brothers and sisters? No, ask Allah! Make supplication and keep doing it. As Muslims we already know that we have won just by being Muslim, we are already winners. So these tribulations are not something new and the situation now is not as bad as it was in the past.
Just go back one hundred years and you will find just about every Muslim country under some type of foreign occupation. From Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Parts of Africa, Parts of Arabia, India, Uzbekistan and the provinces of the Ottomans. As bad as things were then, we did not lower our high morals by using the underhand actions of our occupiers. If anything, we began to mimic them, the most shocking example is in the late Ottoman rule when traditional clothing is thrown out and new western style clothing became the norm. Even now you can visit any Muslim country and you see can Western modes of dress.
The point that I want to make is that the state of affairs, at the moment, is bad but it is not as bad as it could be or has been. If you read about the final years of the Ottoman rule and the nationalists uprising; it will make you weep. I have read books about the events that I will not speak about because they lay too heavy on my heart.
As Muslims we need to know that if we are not tested in the world, then where else will we be tested? It is part of being in the world! We should not be surprised when we read media bias about us. Really, it does not surprise me at all. The Ottoman Empire was known in the West as the “Sick man of Europe” and most shockingly “the terror of the east.” If someone owns the mass media sources and has a vested interest in degrading a set of people, for their political ends; then do not be shocked or surprised, believers in God have always had bad press from those that oppose them. Some things are not meant to change. To stay in touch with news events, I choose other methods and other sources than the condescending manner television news is delivered.
We do blame our leaders and their collective failure to address the needs of other Muslims. This is down to many reasons, some of the governments still have their strings pulled by foreign forces and like any good puppet they sing to tune of their masters. It is really easy to blame them but it is even more difficult to try to enter the political arena and try to change things. Anyone who is has the ability to put some pressure on them, please do in the most gentle manner possible. Otherwise this will cause more problems than it will solve.
The recent event of the teacher who called a teddy bear by the name of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a strange event but even stranger was that some Muslims who are involved in political circles made every effort, on this side of the Europe, to try to free the teacher from prison. So the question now is, if they can mobilise themselves for a non Muslim teacher, what are they doing for a whole country of oppressed Muslims? They may be doing something that I do not know about, so inform me please.
A few years ago, when the war mongers were baying for the blood of Saddam, I went on a march with a few brothers. After a day of huffing, grunting and screaming, we got back onto the coach and then I realised something. I had wasted the entire day! Nothing had been achieved and nothing was gained. Maybe, someone could argue that that it slowed the “War Machine” down (contradiction). Protesting is like asking the people who have hurt you, killed you and beat you, not to hurt you so hard. Is there any point? So please do not ask me to protest, the global protests for Iraq was doomed to failure. This to me also proves that the democratic system does not work, when people outside the political spectrum can influence all our lives. The cold hard fact is that there were no bombs killing innocent people, until after the invasion.
After the fall of the Ottoman Khaliphate, European powers divided its lands like a hungry man takes a cake, taking the juicy parts for himself. The juiciest part was Palestine and Transjordan taken without conquest, taken over a table. The Treaty of Sevres splintered the once mighty kingdom into many parts. This is, more or less, what we see today in terms of countries. Britain had its famous mandate for Palestine pushed through by the “league of nations” or what we now call the United Nations. So do you now see the irony when we call on the UN to “do” something when it was the fault of that organisation! The mandate lasted from 1920 to 1948 and the aftermath of the British departure from Palestine saw the beginning of “Eretz Yisrael” or as we know it now Israel. It was just prior to the British mandate that Jewish Migration began, not after the Second World War. Land was sold to them by the Ottomans because of their dedts.
A look at the United nations website brings forth more irony. Israel has been a member state 11 May 1949 and according to the UNs own charter, "Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations." (http://www.un.org/members/) The signs of a hypocrite are there for you to know one.
The next ironic item, in this post, is that we are protesting trying to make the British put pressure on the Israeli government to stop. Rashid Khalidi stated in his book “Palestine Reborn” that Israel was dependent on foreign funding to keep its economy going and more people were leaving Israel than migrating into it. There are only so many lifelines one can receive after that, well who knows?
I dislike nationalism in all its forms; it is nationalism that contributed to the weakening of the Ottoman Empire. It also is one of the most wretched characteristic of a person, leading to racism and other repulsive behaviors. I will not wear any flag of any country and I have stuck by this for many years. I do support the people but I cannot be a party to nationalism, in any way. I remember witnessing a Christian missionary wearing a Palestinian scarf, just so he could try to infiltrate the Muslims.
The whole point of this article is that the reason, the cause, for the overcoming of all of what history threw at us, was that Islam was strong in our hearts. Our Islamic way of life was not threatened, we carried on and we drew strength from it. Now, we draw weakness (because that is what is) from all manner of ideologies and slogans without going back and putting Islam into practice. This is where our strength is based and this is where we will be renewed. No other way of adhering to any specific group calling themselves the “saved sect” will help. So until we learn this lesson, we will suffer defeat after defeat.
The most important thing that any Muslim can do in this time is boycott their goods, give charity and make much supplication. Know, that what we are going through is nothing to what other Muslims have suffered in the past. It is difficult when most of the ink is against us but the reward for patience is unbound. In the Hanifa and Maliki (not sure about others) it is prohibited to sell anything that will make the forces against Islam stronger. This does not mean a complete trade embargo but for us to sell them certain things and not others.
If I have upset anyone with this post please, please forgive me. That was not my intention, I wanted to try to explain some issues and settle the hearts of the Muslims somewhat. Also for us all to reflect on our position in the world and what our next move should be.
It is prohibited to lose hope, in Islam, please, please do not delve into politics, as it is man at his worst and do not lose hope. In the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud, the pagans cried out about how they had defeated the Muslims. The Muslim response was, “Our dead are in Paradise and your dead are in the fire.” Muslims will be the largest of all the nations of believers, on the day of judgement, so shouldn’t we have the greatest number of martyrs?