Summary: Moving from mere words to action; What can be done?; The importance of human resources as the most valued assets; Liberating minds and purifying souls; Conflicts as the last option; Muslims are not against the Jews per se, but against the occupying and oppressive Zionists; Towards a holistic development paradigm; Muslim unity is a must; The pivotal roles of Muslim governments.
Now that everyone cries for and over what is happening in Gaza, Palestine, it ought to be said that Muslim governments must lead the way in envisioning and orchestrating responses. This is their chance to redeem themselves for all the past shortcomings. Palestine belongs to all of us, yet to the whole (normal) world. It has been repeatedly betrayed, and we are all guilty of inaction. Come the Day of Judgement, there will certainly be questions that will require answers. Not everyone will be exempt from the repercussions.
There are no shortcuts to solving the Palestinian issue and to ultimately liberating the country and its people. To begin with, reason must rule over emotions, organization over chaos, quality over quantity, and the ideals of a higher order over the shallow personal and clannish ones. Actions must be sensible and well-thought-out. Islamic unity, brotherhood and cooperation are the key, rooted in the fundamentals of the Islamic faith and propagated by means of Islamic education (enlightenment).
Moving from mere words to action
The age of mere talking, complaining, condemning and begging someone else to do something should be over. A new age of systematic and organized Muslim action should be on the horizon. It is high time that the words of Almighty Allah are heeded: “O you who have believed, upon you is (responsibility for) yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided” (al-Ma’idah, 105).
It is also high time that Muslims get their acts together and start saving not only themselves, but also the rest of the world. As the custodians of the final revealed message to mankind, and as Allah’s vicegerents on earth, such is Muslims’ duty. Indeed, with great authority comes great responsibility.
As such, Muslims are supposed to lead (guide) the world and be its saviours. Nowadays, since the world is led by the agents of evil as a result of which there is so much power concentrated in the wrong hands, the world is a dangerous place, threatening existence as a whole. Again, if we only listened to the counsel of the Almighty: “And those who disbelieved are allies of one another. If you do not do so (cooperate and protect each other), there will be fitnah on earth and great corruption” (al-Anfal, 73).
Evil appears strong only because righteousness is absent. In the case of Palestine, Israel appears great and fearsome only because Muslims are weak; there is no competition. However, no sooner does righteousness come into being and start to operate, than evil starts waning. The rule is that the more righteous one is, the less evil there is in and around him.
The two cannot coexist. It is either righteousness or evil. However, while the existence of righteousness is real, the existence of evil is imaginary. There is no evil as such. There is only the absence of righteousness. It follows that one should not worry about evil per se; rather, he should worry about how to bring about righteousness which is bound to nullify evil. In the Palestinian context, Muslims should be concerned more about themselves than about Israel; their religious and civilizational excellence is a countermeasure to Israel.
This insight, too, is derived from the Qur’anic message: “And say: ‘The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing)’” (al-Isra’, 81). Also: “That He should establish the truth and abolish falsehood, even if the criminals disliked it” (al-Anfal, 8). Without doubt, the most effective way to abolish falsehood (evil) is to establish the truth (righteousness).
What can be done?
We often wonder what exactly we can do for Palestine and its noble cause. The answer is “a lot.” In addition to the conventional means, such as praying, donating, protesting, educating ourselves about the issue at hand, and spreading the truth, there is something else more delicate and more demanding that is needed not only for Palestine today, but also for all other present and future “Palestines.” That something is also the most powerful of means.
Almighty Allah is clear that His help is near (al-Baqarah, 214), there is neither help nor victory except from Allah (Alu ‘Imran, 126), Allah is competent to give them (and anybody) victory (al-Hajj, 39), Allah gives victory to whom He wills (al-Rum, 5), and that helping the believers is ever incumbent on Allah (al-Rum, 47).
As inspiring and attractive as the above decrees are, there are nevertheless serious prerequisites that must be fulfilled before the former can be put into action. As if beneath those disclaimer “terms and conditions apply” gleams. Those prerequisites either stand side by side with the mentioned decrees or are subtly woven into their profound messages. For that reason, when deliberating upon the topic of Allah’s help and victory, one should take into consideration the entire context.
Accordingly, the Qur’an is explicit that Allah inevitably helps the (true) believers, that surely Allah will help the one who helps Him (His cause) (al-Hajj, 40), and that if the believers help Allah (His cause), He will help them and plant firmly their feet (Muhammad, 7).
If Allah says that His help is near, that His help is the exclusive and supreme help, that He can help under any circumstances if He so wills, and that He helps whomever He wills - this does not mean that Allah’s help is guaranteed and unconditional. Rather, it means that the Divine help is ever available and accessible. The avenues leading to it are always open and the needed resources (prerequisites) fairly straightforward.
Though the All-powerful and All-Wise Allah can do whatever He wants, the time-honoured rule is that a person (a nation) is helped only if he (it) helps, and is destroyed only if he (it) destroys. It is a reciprocal arrangement.
In retrospect, even the Prophet and his companions – the most exceptional people to have ever graced this planet – lost the battle of Uhud because the conditions of the heavenly help and victory had not been met. The battle of Hunayn was almost lost too, on account of its participants feeling overly elated due to their great number. That is, they were almost ruined by the afflictions of overconfidence, underestimating the enemy and prioritizing quantity to the detriment of quality (al-Tawbah, 25).
The importance of human resources as the most valued assets
What is needed therefore for procuring Divine interventions is to have people (human resources or assets) who will act both individually and collectively as embodiments of the Islamic message. Those people (new generations of the Muslim ummah) will betoken the outcome of the implementation of comprehensively clever and well-planned strategies. They will not be disoriented, confused, torn between East and West (Orient and Occident), artificially cultured and one-dimensionally civilized. They will be real, not fake; built (created), not veneered; and made to be in front, not to follow or ape.
Such people’s strengths will be faith, knowledge, confidence, courage, tenacity, willingness to take initiative and sacrifice. Worthy of every promise Allah made in the Qur’an for the true believers, they will be able to move mountains. Satans from the ranks of both the jinn and mankind will dread them. They will be filled with trepidation at the prospect of encountering them either on the actual or ideological battlefields.
Let’s remember that before building a civilization in Madinah, the Prophet built people first, and before taking control of the physical Ka’bah in Makkah, he moved away from it first in order to build spiritual “ka’bahs” in the hearts of people.
The Prophet knew all too well if he was surrounded with real people as the most valued assets, no civilizational obstacle or challenge would prove insurmountable; and if he managed to plant spiritual “ka’bahs” inside the hearts of such extraordinary people, the physical Ka’bah in Makkah was destined to be his sooner rather than later, even though he resided about 450 kilometres away from the latter.
Clearly, the Prophet diligently attended to the root causes which unsurprisingly culminated in the anticipated outcomes. Needless to say that for liberating Palestine, the same set of conditions are required. Without people as epitomes of a vision, without action as a rendition of ideas, and without plan as an acme of a cooperative thought, nothing will be possible.
Liberating minds and purifying souls
People need to liberate their minds first, purify their souls, Islamize their intentions, thoughts and deeds, and form alliances with Almighty Allah, members of the Muslim community (ummah), and all the people of good will around the globe. Central to the processes of building people (raising and cherishing new generations) would be Islamically inspired excellent educational systems, good and independent governance, and myriads of short, medium and long-term strategies as well as policies that would aim at creating conducive ecosystems for producing new cohorts and letting them operate freely and enthusiastically.
In the process, a bold stance is expected to be taken against quick fixes, shortcuts, mediocrity, venality and apathy. Every individual is to perceive himself as a servant of Almighty Allah and a soldier of His truth only. All other forms of servitude and struggle should be placed beneath these two, playing second fiddle to them. Islam is a comprehensive code of life, overarching existence in the entirety. Put another way, a person just needs to become an exemplary Muslim and live an exemplary Islamic lifestyle. That is the crux of the matter and the ultimate originator of all causes.
It is to be remembered that the Children of Israel were not allowed to enter the holy land with enslaved minds and impure souls. Doing so was possible only after a period of 40 years in wilderness, after a new generation with liberated minds and refined souls was raised. Nor did Prophet Nuh wait for the deluge to act. He made all the necessary preparations long before the promise of Allah came to pass, despite the multitude of challenges, most of which had been directed at Nuh’s pursuits, making them appear implausible and him looking foolish.
Conflicts as the last option
These counsels in no way suggest that physical confrontations including wars will be desirable and so, a regular necessity. In passing, should military conflicts become unavoidable, so be it; there is nothing wrong or untoward in such scenarios. Wars are honourable if fought for honourable purposes, especially if no other alternatives are left and evil is getting out of control.
However, what the above counsels suggest is that when Muslims become united, virtuous and strong - individually and collectively, and in all aspects of society-cum-civilization building processes – their realms, and those of the world in general, will be filled with so much goodness that the forces of evil will not stand a chance to establish themselves, let alone thrive. Indeed, there is no room for darkness in places with abundant light, and there is no chance for evil to take hold in environments where the truth reigns supreme.
In the context of Palestine, if Israel is encircled by Muslim nations shaped in the Islamic moulds, under no circumstances will it be able to do what it normally does to the defenceless Palestinians. Its devilish behaviour will be easily kerbed, and if it does not change, persisting in its monstrous activities, it by degrees could be neutralized and if necessary, even relegated to oblivion. Altering the complete religious and socio-political landscape around Israel would render it a pariah par excellence, whose sheer existence will increasingly be untenable. It will become such an abnormality that it will be left with no choice other than to change or perish.
Muslims are not against the Jews per se, but against the occupying and oppressive Zionists
To set the record straight, nobody is against the Jews per se and their existence in Palestine. Islamically speaking, no Muslim can be against the Jews just because they are what they are, as that would be in breach of a number of Islamic tenets; and historically as well as practically speaking, no Muslim can be against the physical and cultural presence of the Jews in Palestine, as that would violate numerous at once Islamic traditions and everyday realities.
What Muslims are against is occupation, oppression and injustice. They are also against monstrosities anchored in bigotry and irrationality. That implies that Muslims are against Zionism and its proxies, in that they and their raison d’etre stand for the personifications of everything that not only Islam, but as well authentic Judaism, abhor. Incidentally, from an Orthodox Jewish standpoint, Israel is an unlawful state, the outcome of Western antisemitism, causing many Orthodox Jews to be vocal opponents of its evil policies and practices. Some Jews are yet more outspoken than Muslims.
As in the past, the Jews will always be welcome in Palestine, albeit as part of a Muslim-dominated polity. Their religious and civil rights will be fully protected, which in fact is not because Muslims will choose to do so, but because that is incumbent upon them based on the content of the fundamental sources of Islam. Owing to this ethos, while historically the whole world was banishing and maltreating the Jews, it was only Muslims who kept extending a helping hand to them. Only in Islamdom could they find a sanctuary, and in Muslims a protective friend. While everywhere else they were in exile, in Islamdom the Jews were at home.
Towards a holistic development paradigm
Thus, in addition to the conventional ways of condemning Israel, each and every Muslim should also check how he fares against the substance of what has been said above. He should evaluate his current standing when it comes to enhancing his Islamic identity, educating himself with proper Islamic and other forms of knowledge, making better contributions to the improvement of his surroundings which can go a long way towards improving entire societies, and in terms of doing his part in making Muslim unity and brotherhood a perceptible reality.
Going through a period of self-reflection, a Muslim should then take action by activating a series of initiatives to better his situation. In other words, a Muslim should establish what type of Muslim he is, and to what extent he is ready to become a member of “Allah’s party” alone and a soldier-qua-servant in His cause. A Muslim's growth is not expected to be static. His mantra is one of dynamism.
This is consistent with the spirit of the words of the Qur’an: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (al-Ra’d, 11). Also: “That is because Allah would not change a favour which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves” (al-Anfal, 53).
The lesson of the Qur’an is clear. Change what is in yourselves, Allah will change what is beyond yourselves. The former is in your hands, the latter is not – you can only prompt it – so, do not upset priorities. By taking care of your inner selves, you set in motion a succession of changes whose ranges are beyond human comprehension. That is to say, in such a fashion, you are certain to triumph in all endeavours and vanquish all obstacles, due to the dictates of fate that stand in your favour. However, should you choose to pass up the opportunity for self-improvement, you are likely to fail to make any meaningful advancement and miss out on both the material gains and the windfalls of destiny.
This procedure is not a choice but a necessity. History is replete with chapters of Muslim ups and downs, bringing home the message to the effect that without Islam as a total philosophy and system of life, Muslims are handicapped. Against the backdrop of the demands of authentic Islamic cultural and civilization advancements, besides being deficient, a “partial” or “slanted” Islam often proved as damaging as alien alternatives.
A good example is the way Palestine was liberated at the hands of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi in the 12th century. The endeavour was a collective undertaking spearheaded by a strong and highly effective government. An ummatic vision was turned into reality. In his book titled “This is how the generation of Salahuddin emerged and this is how Jerusalem was recaptured”, Majid al-Kilani rightly emphasized that the most critical roles were performed by the institutionalized reformation and renewal campaigns which targeted the Islamic thought first and foremost. Such formed a nucleus around which other correspondingly institutionalized initiatives revolved and against which they measured themselves.
Muslim unity is a must
At long last, inasmuch as liberating Palestine and preserving Muslim integrity is conditioned by the unity and cooperation of the Muslim ummah, it is essential for Muslims to start mending the rifts and building bridges of understanding. Sectarianism is a disease and must be cured. Over the long course of Islamic history, it has resulted in nothing but regression and misery. Admitting that nobody is perfect nor completely useless, all Muslim sects and groups are closer to each other than it seems. There are more factors that can bring them together than those that keep them divided and at loggerheads with one another.
Isn’t it enough that they all have one God, one Prophet, one Islam, one Qur’an, one qiblah, one set of religious rites, one purpose, one objective, one destiny and one enemy? How much longer do they need to understand that the real enemy of all of them is Zionism and the criminal aspects of the West and its overstated civilization?
Historically, sects were created and sustained by the enemies of Islam. Today, too, in Western “intellectual” discourses the theme of Muslim sects, for obvious reasons, is a favourite one. They promote and use it as a devastating weapon against Muslims. They know that as an illegal geopolitical entity (a bastard child of the West), Israel can survive only in the milieus of factionalism and hostilities. “Divide and conquer (rule)” is their creed.
Muslims should recognize that their true Islamic faith is their primary identity, above all else. Their loyalty to Islam should be given precedence over any other loyalty. A person is meant to be bigger than a fanatical follower of a quasi-religious, political, or nationalistic faction. In the eyes of the Creator, he is more consequential than that.
The ontological goal of Muslims is to attain the pleasure of Allah and be admitted into Paradise (Jannah), which however cannot be accomplished except through Islam. No affiliation with a sect, family, clan, race, country, or any other ideology, will be of any benefit whatsoever. That is the reason why Palestine as a heart and symbol of Islam is each Muslim’s concern, superseding other artificial worldly concerns, and that is the reason why Israel and a host of its Western patrons must be the enemy of each Muslim.
The holy ground of the core of Palestine is and has always been the intersection of the forces of good and evil. It likewise has been and continues to be a platform on which heroes come to the fore and cowards, together with hypocrites, crumble and eventually fade into obscurity.
The pivotal roles of Muslim governments
As a consequence of all this, the role of Muslim governments today is pivotal. Without them, extremely little can be done. The scourge of Israel is sophisticatedly institutionalized; hence, dealing with it must be in a manner befitting its character. It is only governments that can legislate adequate reformist policies and implement comprehensive systems of change. It follows that establishing strong ties between governments and the public is of the utmost importance, for there is no government that can secure legitimacy without support of its people, and there are no people who can fully realize their aspirations without guidance and help of their government.
By working together, Muslim governments and their citizens should assume control of their own destinies. They should stop being slaves of the interests of the West and servants of its diabolical agendas, most of which converge on the shores of the Muslim world in general and specifically on the shores of Palestine.
Following the latest Israeli criminal acts in Gaza, the Muslim public has demonstrated, emotionally and to some extent intellectually as well as spiritually, that they are ready to be reborn and led into a better future. They have likewise shown that they have courage and strength of character. A sleeping giant is primed for revival.
Muslim governments, the ball is in your court - the time for meaningful change is now. Make amends for yourselves and those who have come before you, who have continually betrayed Palestine – and the Ummah. The clock is ticking. If not, the aroused Muslim sentiment could potentially be directed against you.