A Moral Obligation

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Muslim World Views: 10496

Asian workers at a refinery in Middle East
Tsunami survivors rushing for relief

The death toll from an earthquake off Indonesia and the tsunamis that it unleashed is reaching over 100,000 in seven countries in southern and southeastern Asia. The Arab and Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa should not just follow this terrible drama on television. They should move quickly and generously to establish an emergency relief fund to provide basic assistance and reconstruction aid to Asian communities that have been the mostly badly hurt.

This proposal does not stem only from a sense of moral obligation to fellow Muslims, Christians and human beings of other faiths. It would also be an appropriate act of historical moral and material compensation for these now devastated societies that have sent millions of their citizens to live and work throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the past three decades.

It would be a mere fiscal footnote for Arab and Islamic oil-producing nations to set up a fund of, say, $3 billion to provide immediate aid to families and communities that have been badly hurt by Sunday's phenomenon. The money would represent a small fraction of the windfall income that oil producers are reaping this year from the high price of crude oil. The fund's efficient management could be handled jointly by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the International Red Cross emergency services unit, or some combination of UN agencies working with counterparts from Arab and Islamic countries.

Most important of all, though would be the compelling motive for such a gesture. Many countries in South and Southeast Asia provided the manpower that built, and continues to build, the leading economies in the Middle East. The workers from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and other lands earn their rightful salaries, to be sure; but perhaps we owe them an added gesture that acknowledges our appreciation for their role in contributing to our national development. When our region needed technical expertise along with the skilled and manual workers to apply it, these Asian societies responded generously. Now that some of them have suffered a national and human calamity due to purely natural causes, it is our turn to respond to their needs with equal generosity and speed, rather than merely watch the process on television as detached spectators. We are not detached spectators when it comes to South and Southeast Asia, and we should act accordingly. 

Source: The Daily Star

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  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Muslim World
Views: 10496

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Older Comments:
Ayda, interesting that you should point the finger of greed at Muslim governments. If you infer that Muslims are disunited and hence the reason for all their misery - Yes I agree. However, most Muslim countries that are allowed to exist and not being attacked in one way or another, (exceptions being Iran, former Afghanistan under the Taliban) are simply vassals of one western power or the other, who over the years have absolutely raped them of their resources and kept their policies under such overreaching constraints with economic and military threats that what you percieve as a "Rich Islamic World" is merely a figment of your imagination. Take Saudi Arabia for instance. Before the American led expedition into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia was free of any debts and its currency was in fact srtonger than the dollar. After the American's "Saved the day" and chased their own Bogey Man, Saddam out of Kuwait, they stuck the Saudis with the bill to the tune of billions of dollars, which included besides the usual military costs, free phone calls for all US back home, parties, beer and even women. For the first time in Saudi history it was in serious debt; And now quite at the mercy of the US. At moments notice it readily lowers oil prices, or if other OPEC countries do not follow suit, pumps excess oil to flood the market hence forcing the prices to decline and keeping the US happy. The one commodity Muslims have oil,is hence surrendered. Other than oil whatever other resources other Muslim countries have, are already owned by either World Bank or IMF, the EU or the US in the form of high interest loans. The debt payment and terms on these loans ensure poverty for generations to come. So you see, don't go by the 1970's image of the rich sheikh, thats all gone. The fellows you see strutting about in big cars and flashing their wealth is all leased, borrowed or worse, Western reward to a pliant state. Funny all the aid now being pledged is Muslim's own money -if we ever see it.

Wealth is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing when one uses it for the goodness of mankind and a curse when it is used of fulfilling selfish needs. The riches of nature belongs to one but to Allah and the ones who are blessed by an abundance of that richness should treat it as if they spending Allah's wealth and do so wisely. On the day of judgement we are all going to be questioned on how we spent the wealth Allah blessed us with. How many of us are confident that we'll have an answer to it? If we are not, then we should all start now, because this is a test from Allah that we shouldn't fail for our own sake. May Allah give us the wisdom to understand that we are being tested.

Muslim Governments/states should not have been told or need initation to make such moral obligations. But we know them that they are....
I am always surprised for not seeing the Arab/ muslim world doing such relief or aid works in such instances. It is only the Europian, American's and Janpannes who are cooprative and very genorus. Really these people are left only with "Shahada" The muslim goverments of today are not living per the Holly Quaran. They are very greedy!!

[email protected] FROM U K said:
article was really interesting, keep up good work

I have been living in europe now for nearly 15 years, but have never seen a people react so quickly with such a generrous heart as the people of UNITED KINGDOM did this time. I'm very sure they give to charities but this time they just broke the record.This tragedy hapenned at a time when most of the people had used all the money on presents ang gifts to friends and family because it was CHRISTMAS to many, but still were able to collect more than a 100 million pounds and still collecting, from Schools to Kiosks every where you go collections are going on, all this just from the ordinary man,really unbelivable.
As a Muslim I expect very little from Islamic countries especially the governments when it comes to helping victims of all tragedies natural and man made like WARs there are always last or never show up at all. The ordinary man in the Middle East is still undicided of his direction because the leadership is just not there.
But I can asure You wars just don't happen in Palestine,Somalia,Iraq and Bosnia they can happen anywhere. Natural disasters are not just for Indonesia and Srilanka but again anywhere might be next. To Saudi Arabia,U.A.E, and the rest when it is You're turn we will still help You because it is our OBLIGATION to help one another as HUMAN BEINGS all children of ADAM and HAWA. Stop dreaming and start living in the real WORLD.


To all people that giving a helping hand with a sincere heart to the victims, the god will give you more good rewards in future times. God willing.

In tragedy, people forget about religious differences and help each other. In Wall Street Journal (Jan 04, 05), there is an article of how Hindus and muslims are helping each other in their common tragedy after tidal waves hit Tamil Nadu.

India has currently declined all help from overseas. Even though, India has a huge job to take care of its own people affected by tidal waves, it is providing all the necessary help to its neighbours, Maladives and Sri Lanka.

Latest list of nations pledging aid for tsunami victims
A partial list of the countries and organizations pledging aid for tsunami victims, based on U.N. data and official announcements by the nations. As of Monday Jan.3rd
The United Nations said that about US$2 billion has been promised so far.
Japan: $500 million
United States: $350 million
World Bank: $250 million
Britain: $95 million
Sweden: $75.5 million
Spain: $68 million
China: $60 million
France: $57 million
Australia: $46.7 million
Canada: $33 million
Germany: $27 million
European Commission: $45 million
Switzerland: $21.9 million
Denmark: $18, 1 million
Norway: $16.6 million
Portugal: $11 million
Qatar: $10 million
Saudi Arabia: $10 million
Singapore: $3.6 million
New Zealand: $3.5 million
Finland: $3.3 million
Kuwait: $2 million
United Arab Emirates: $2 million
Ireland: $1.4 million
Italy: $1.3 million
Turkey: $1.25 million
Czech Republic: $750,000
Iran: $627,000
South Korea: $600,000
Hungary: $411,000
Greece: $397,000
Luxembourg: $265,000
Monaco: $133,000
Mexico: $100,000
Nepal: $100,000
Estonia: $42,000

It should be noted that private donations from the USA totaling $200 million surpassing the total from Japan, even if some would suggest that official USA donation is shrouded in politics, then how about the American private donation at large?


When it comes to giving very few Muslim countries are in sight. Shameful. Aceh is 100% Muslim and 99% of the so badly needed aid and medical personnel comes from the infidels. How sad. Where is Iran? Received so much for the Bam earthquake a couple of years ago but now gives nothing in return. Ummah? I also wonder why Allah (PBUH) allows such castrophes to happen to believers in Bam in Iran, Turkey and now Aceh in Indonesia. Literally wiping them out from the surface of the earth.

Most of all, what Muslims everywhere should do now:Tell the terrorists in Iraq toknock it off. 150 000 deadis enough. Send the money they spend on terror to the victims, and the people of the Iranian city that was hit y an earthquake, and who are still living in tents.

Here is how much rich Muslim nations have pledged so far:

Saudi Arabia - $10 million
Kuwait - $10 million

We blame western nations of being stingy....what about our own Muslim nations??

I truly agree in general muslims and non muslim are all human beings and should do whatever possible big or small to help the people who have suffered this traggic dissaster after all we all dont know who will be the next GOD FORBID!

Assalama alaikum!
We all agree that this was indeed a tragedy, but let's not forget that this is a sign from Allah.
It shouldn't matter where these people had worked or contributed to whatever society (nor if they were Muslim or non-Mulsim). They are victims of a tragedy. This is the time for Muslims to strenghen our imams(faith), make dua for those who both perished and survived,pay the sadaqa (charity),say alhamdilah that it wasn't you or your loved ones,and aboveall,remember and fear Allah. This provides an opportunity for Muslims and governments of predominant Muslim populations to practice their deen. This also provide the chance for Judeo-Christian societies to put their money where their mouths are in lieu of the lip service of "loving their neighbors".This was definitely a wake-up call for everyone! Here's your chance, what are you going to do?

Muslims worldwide should help tsunami victims in Indonesia. the worst hit area is Aceh province of Indonesia, a region with very strong Islamic values, culture and history that it is often called the 'veranda of Mecca' by other Indonesians. The people of Aceh are 100% muslims and known as devout muslims. Survivors reports say that in the town of Meulaboh, where 25,000 people (or half of population) perished in the tragedy, people loudly cried takbir, as if they were thinking that the Judgement Day is happening.
Death toll in Aceh alone may be more than 100,000. We in Indonesia have heard that rich Arab nations have donated but in amount far less than countries such as Japan, USA and Australia. We also have seen relief efforts (personnel, ships, helicopters, airplanes) from such countries present in Aceh, but we have NOT seen such efforts from Arab nations. I hope that this is not true. I hope that relief efforts and donations from our brothers and sisters in Muslim and Arab nations are much higher but only lack media coverage.
But if not, I appeal to our muslims brothers and sisters anywhere in the world, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN RICH ARAB NATIONS, to help our muslim brothers and sisters in Aceh. It would be very shameful for us muslims that frequently talk of Ukhuwah Islamiyah if in practice helps for Aceh come mostly from non-muslims.
more than 100,000 might have died in Aceh. Those who survived badly need help- any kind: food, clothing, shelter, money- to stay alive. The tragedy has also left many orphans who need support. The children will be targets for conversion to other religions if their muslim brothers and sisters do not come to help them and if it happens it would be our collective mistakes.
Muslims of the world please unite!! Please put Ukhuwah Islamiyah in practice. Help our muslim brothers and sisters in Aceh. Send them food, clothes, shelters, money, anything. Also be ready to adopt the orphans when the Indonesian government has allowed it.

certainly, we must all help - it is the Muslim thing to do. why, the day after the tsunami, which also hit malaysian shores, our doctors and search and rescue ppl have already arrived in aceh, because our rescue services were enough to cater for our own emergency. a couple days later, we arrived in sri lanka. i know the bbc and the cnn do not mention malaysia's help much, but we were among the earliest to arrive in indonesia and to give them immediate financial aid as well. plus our air space and airports in subang and langkawi are cleared for aid workers. so, certainly, malaysia for one isn't having tea and cookies.... :)

Jazakumullahu kahiroon katsiron,
for all brothers and sisters in USA who have been donated from every masjid or muslim org in USA for Aceh.
Hopefully our muslim solidarity will be grow up in between muslim Aceh and muslim USA.

May Allah have mercy on all humanity. Amen

I believe that we are all children of Adam and therefore, brothers and sisters on this planet. We come from Allah and to Him is our return. Since all things are done with Al-Qadar, we must believe that there is an ultimate plan to which all fitan will lead. Perhaps the goal in this latest fitnah is to give us the opportunity bring us closer to one another, to help and care for one another as brothers and sisters should.

saudi arabia pledged 7.5 million euro in aid. paltry , for lack of a better word.

Indeed it ia our moral obligation to help those people who suffer in any way we can. I am happy to say that my country is contributing in every possible way, in terms of cash, clothes, food and definitely prayers. Last friday all the mosques in these country pray solat 'ghaib' for all those parished in this tragedy. I pray that Allah will lighten their burden in all the ways possible.

It is a test allah has placed on the victims and in the mean time it is a test on the rest who are well off to see whether they extend their support for who has suffered immensely. It is a time where other nationals waits for an opportunity of this sort to help people who are in desperate needs so that they help them with the ulterior motive bringing the innocent victims in to their religion. Beware! muslim brothers there are lot of muslims who are affected of this dissaster and we need to act fast. It is not only a moral obligation it is a religious obligation as well.

Salaams. This article reminds us of the huge task infront of us. I do agree with that every bit counts. Money is needed to help those affected by the tsunami and humanity is calling for all of us to help in whatever way we can. This is also a test for all of us.

The writer has every right to plea to those who can help. I think it is important for muslim governments and muslim aid organisations to work with international relief organisations and the muslim communities must put pressure on the 'Organization of the Islamic Conference' and so on to pledge more money for the victims of the tsunami victims.

This event will strengthen our bond as humans and will teach us that God created us equal and we are in need of His mercy.


Please get the facts straight before you make the assumption that the Muslims and Arab states are not doing anything to help. They do not get the press coverage that everyone else does, this does not mean they aren't acting. Besides the deeds of a Muslim are to be done in private, it is between them and Allah. Muslims do not need recognition from men for their good deeds. If anyone reading this wants to get involved with an Islamic relief effort here are some numbers to contact. Cair-202-488-8787; www.irw.org@888-479-4968;and 301-672-9355. The Arab world is helping and in a very significant way. My biggest concern now is about all of the orphans. Before all these Christian groups get in there and try to change these Muslim children's beliefs, we need to get in there and get the children in homes. I haven't heard what is happening with them, but as a Muslimah, I am sure that many Muslim families will take in the orphans, in sha'Allah, because it is what the Qu'ran says to do.

May Allah help all those who are suffering, it is our obligation to do all we can to help the needy.

Muslim nations cannot just let the west take the lead when it comes to disaster relief. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brunei are rich nations with billions in reserve, and should be seen to providing assistance. After all, did not the world come forth when Kuwait needed help in 1990? Are Muslim nations only to be seen funding terrorsim and not global help? It is the Europeans that are raising charities for Acheh - Muslim people. Why is the OIC silent on this matter?

Assalaamu alaikum,

I would like to take this opportunity to give you a site which you could pass in order to help Maldives- a 100% muslim country badly affected by the tsunami:


Also please pass the following site to your french speaking friends:


Thank you very much, and may Allah(swt) bless all the victims of the recent disaster and those who are offering help.


This is an obligation upon each Muslim and Muslima to assist with anything they can help with. I don't think Muslims should give simply because these Asian citizens have worked in the Middle East. They should do it regardless! When we think of how simple and modest these Asian countries are, one should not hesitate to send even a small amount which means a lot to these countries, especially now. Wassalam alaykum.

Assalamu Aleikum
We are all working on it and fast as we are able to. Allah have merci on the victims.

Subhana Allah
you are atlking about morals, while you are making other people to hate arabs. Who needs the morals, here, who are you to talk about arabs and morals.

My suggestion is that Muslims and non-Muslims should stop oppression, killings, massacres, and setting up of rivals unto Allah.
Surely, these people deserve all our sympathies and supports over this calamity than has befallen the all world. You may be the next victim. Be prepared!
May Allah(SWT) forgive us and have mercy on us.


The muslim and arab countries sent their help and are sending their help to the seven countries in southern and southeastern Asia destroid by the earthquake. The muslim and arab countries are in all time ready for help and for peace. My concern is the media doesn't not recognize any big or small help done by The muslim and arab countries but any small action made by other countries the media makes it huge. I feel sorry for the muslims and arabs.

I strongly agreed with the writer point of view , I like to comment and criticise on those proclaimed to be Islamic Countries that even a small statement regarding the victims favour cannot be seen , thier wish to foward their hands in fund raising . Instead these countries act as hypocrates by helping 9/11 victims only that too in huge amount for which I think was neccesary ofcourse but not in such a big amount of million of dollars for each victim of 9/11. I therefore agree and believe that these are the end days of the world as Muhammed (Pbuh)states in hadith for sighns of the last hour.

Those of us who are more fortunate than others should put ourselves in the shoes of the victims of this terrible tragedy. Let's ponder about what kind of help they would require under such circumstances and let's make possible such help. It's our obligation.

A Salaamu Alaikum brothers and sisters,
I completely agree with the author, however, the call should not merely be for Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, but for the entire Ummah everywhere. I work in international aid and development and it seems the most visible and active are the Western/Christian aid agencies. As we all know, we (the Muslims) should be doing everything we can within reason to assist our brothers and sisters in south Asia and even the non-Muslims for the sake of Allah alone. I will do what I can and I hope others will be moved as well. Let us all keep the victims of the tsunami and all people who are suffering in our duas.

I think you lack any kind of morals, when are you people going to start respect the Arabs. Did you know the Asian took home last year more than 230 billions dollars for the Arab countries that you disrespect? Why do not you take the entire worker from these Arab countries and have them happy and live in their countries. The other thing is YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE ARABS COUNTRIES DID. DO YOU? Keep your morals to yourself and the ones like you. ARABS DID NOT FORGET THE PEOPLE YOU HANDED OVER TO THE AMERICAN IN AFGANISTAN>>> show some respect.
And one more thing is that American Islam is as fast food thing, or takes out pizza. Do you make home delivery and do you allow every thing but halal products in it. Shame on you>>>>>>>>>>>

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaiyhi raji'un,
We are from Allah and to him we do return.

Canadian and American officials need to stop crying and complaining that they do not have access to go into Indonesia or Thailand or Somalia! How did they go into Iraq, surely they can go invade these disaster areas for a while and help the suffering!!!

Mr. Bush didn't even comment on it until 4 days after the Tsunami hit! And Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin is off in Morocco having a vacation and says he won't come back until Saturday??? You mean, Mr. Martin, over 100,000 people have died and left this world, but you want to spend a few more days in Morocco to smoke your hashish? Oh wait I have more though, making sure that America is happy with our cooperation with them for Missile Defense is more important than providing floods of money to people in Southern India, Indonesia and surrounding areas? I tell you how pathetic Canada's government is right now, that they only pledged $1 million, and yesterday it went up to $40 million, but our sick in the head Prime Minister think he needs until Saturday to enjoy his vacation and refused to come back to Canada and fulfill his duties! This is the problem with the world, leaders need to be held responsible for failing to uphold their civil duties, and must be prepared to make sacrifices when they take up such a position, or else they should not be allowed to have access to such power. That was a very idiotic move, because he just lost a heck of a lot more votes for the next election.

it is the most tragic thing that is happenning to the world...yes the aid should comes in from us for our brothers and sisters but personally i would say Subahannallah...this is the small sign of Qiamah that Allah is trying to show us.

it woud be wonderful if this challenge is taken on with OIC leading the fund alng with IRC and forced the pledge from all ME countries to form a few billion dollars for immediate relief. oting would make us more proud than saving those in need at this desperate time. Alah will be most pleased. Surely those countries are no short of cash but would they contribute generously?

Perhaps I am more hopeful of those generous individuals who are prepared to part with their hard earned cash towards this tragedy and those who aim to please their Creator. We must all dig deep into our pockets and each to his/her ability. Added up, it will be of definate help.

So what are you waiting for. Head to your local bank or to your favourite charity and HELP for Allah will give it back to you tenfold when you need it most. God bless all.

Very timely reminder.

A world economic super power started with 15 million - is there some thing more lowly than peanuts ?

Middle East nations can really write a small 'foot note' as suggested by the author. And remember Allah will not let your sacrifice go in vain.

With best wishes & Jazakum Allahu Khair.



Assalam alaikom
I disagree on the way this article wrote. I know the feeling of anyboy who lost some dear people in this tragedy. I know you deserve more than what you may ask for from any muslim who can help. I just find the way the article wrote is not the right way to ask for help.
another important thing, I was reading a website of those that good believers that the west do his best to call them terrorsits (not pro-binladen websites but pro- true Islam websites) and most of the muslims who came to post in that website had so much feeling for their brothers and sister in south asia, wish to help with whatever they can! unfortunatly the most popular and trusted Islamic organizations that they rely in to do this job, was banned or in the way to be banned by an order of Bush administration. and I believe it's the time to write against what happen to this trusted organizations instead of writing an article based on feeling who is not true about your brothers and sisters in the Islamic arab world. and thank you

This is a great article!
We muslims should shed our prejudices and start helping others.
We are an insular and indiffernt community and its time we learn to care, respect and help our fellow humans.
I still cant see headlines in any major arab dailies about Arab help to the victims but Inshallah it'll come.

We as a community must rise up and take care of our own. To continue to horde money and not help those in need is wrong. I know that the Saudi pledge 3 million dollars, but that in my mind is not enough, the Arab/Muslim world should spend more than America, it has the money and it has the moral obligation.

Indeed it is a Moral obligation, not only to help our fellow Muslims and other that are suffering, It is the right thing to DO

This was an AWFUL tragic event, and we as muslims, or just as human beings, should help the families struck by this natural disaster. Just imagine if you would have been caught in this disaster- over 10,000 CHILDREN DEAD! Whole families are gone! 60,000 dead SO FAR! Most bodies unidentified, mass burials and hundreds of orphans left to fend for themselves. People on vacation are missing. What they went through is unimaginable. Please, if you are able, give generously. In the name of ALLAH the Compasionate, the Merciful.