The Burning Palestinian

The Burning Palestinian

In 1963, a Buddhist monk set himself alight protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. The image of Thich Quang Duc, a frail man engulfed in flames would become a symbol of resilience, empowerment, and protest for generations to come. Two days ago, a distressed Palestinian woman attempted the same feat in Tulkarem, West Bank, except there was no appeal to a higher political motive. It was sheer distress. It was a fear of the unknown; a fear of what lies beyond Israel’s ‪1st July‬ annexation plans that will leave 300,000 Palestinians displaced or, worse still, dead. Fortunately, onlookers intervened just as the woman raised a lighter to her face glistening in gasoline to the beatdown of the midday sun. No image could better capture the plight of the Palestinian people.

The purveyors of this oppression against the indigenous population of the country lay claim to the holy land to create illegal sovereignty justified by race and driven by racial inequality. The world has long questioned the motives of Israel and the Israeli government, even vocalizing their grievances with Netanyahu’s present plans for annexation. However, for Muslims, the question of Palestine transcends a debate over apartheid, human rights violations, and racial inequality. For Muslims, the question of Palestine is a question of faith. Palestine is home to Islam’s third holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque. The al-Aqsa Mosque is not a mere trinket of Muslim conquest as pro-Israeli apologists would have us believe; the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings constitute a sacred piece of earth eternally extolled in the words of God. Thus, for Muslims, the veneration and preservation of this sacred land is viewed as a religious obligation and was treated as such for over 1000 years. This then begs the question: how emotionally, religiously, and politically invested are we, as Muslims, in the question of Palestine? Sadly, the answer to this question was delivered many years ago by the late Shaykh Ahmad Deedat. Addressing a Muslim audience at a lecture following increased Israeli aggression against Palestinians, Shaykh Deedat remarked: “You should be ashamed of yourselves. You can’t even cry for your brothers and sisters in Palestine!” This sharp statement sadly highlights the damning truth with regards to Muslim concern, by and large, regarding the issue of Palestine. However, this lack of concern cannot be wholly attributed to idle complacency on the part of Muslims. Over the years, millions have been spent annually to fuel sophisticated pro-Israeli propaganda efforts to convolute the simple narrative of oppression playing out in Palestine. Many unsuspecting folks, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, often over evaluate the situation in Palestine, whilst others undervalue the Palestinian cause.

As Muslims, there has never been a more demanding time for us to reverse the efforts that have left so many of us largely clueless about our most important communal obligation as an Ummah: the liberation of al-Quds. However, before we can organize truly proactive forms of action and protest, we need to first internalize what Palestine, al-Aqsa, and Quds actually mean to us and awaken latent passions and love for this land that reside in the heart of every believer. Therefore, I strongly urge every reader to follow the following action points as a first response to the intensified aggression in Palestine:

  1. Make dua for the liberation of Palestine. I firmly believe none of the readers of this piece require a lesson on the importance of heartfelt supplication in Islam. The importance of regularly praying for the liberation of Palestine and ensuring our friends, families, and communities engage in daily prayer for this cause has more than a simple personal effect. The constant remembrance and mentioning of a thing prompt a continued awareness of it. Having recently visited Palestine, what struck me most was the bread and butter propaganda techniques employed by the Israelis to ensure that their cause never gets lost amongst the general foliage of the world. The very movements and casual conversations of the Israeli people constantly murmur: “This is our land.” So, as of reading this piece, ensure to do the following:
  • Make sure you pray for Palestine after every Salah.
  • Make sure you encourage your family to make a collective dua for Palestine every Friday. Sit together, recite some Quran, and then pray for the people of Palestine. This ensures that this cause will not be lost in the coming generations.
  • Speak to the committee of your local masjid and make it mandatory for the Imam to make dua for Palestine after every Salah.
  • Create a message: ‘Have you prayed for Palestine today?’ and send it to ALL of your contacts on Whatsapp at the same time every day. Equally, share it on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc every day.
  1. Educate yourself on Palestine by buying and reading: ‘Palestine, Beginner’s Guide’ by Ismail Adam Patel. This is the most beneficial work, in my opinion, for people new to the entire issue.
  2. Constantly share images/videos of Palestine with your family, friends, and contacts. Buy photos of al-Masjid al-Aqsa and place them in your homes. Tell your children every day why this place is so important. Request your local mosque, madrassah, Islamic center, a zawiya, etc. to add a photo of al-Aqsa on their walls. Place a photo of al-Aqsa in your front room window with a simple message. Set your profile photos on social media as al-Aqsa.

These three action points are the simplest steps we can take NOW to start internalizing the grand importance of this issue. They are built on two simple principles: awareness and education. As we start to become more aware of the importance of this cause, we will share more recommended action points to start taking us to more stable forms of protest.

– Muhammad Danyaal

Please forward any comments or questions to: taibahinitiative@gmail.com

CovEID Mubarak

Eid al-Fitr is the day that marks the completion of the month of Ramadhan. A special Eid for many as the month was completed under special circumstances, in lockdown with Covid-19 hovering but waning above us.

With many of us unable to attend the Mosque for Eid prayer, many have either read it entirely at home or did not. The Eid prayer contains a social benefit, it brings the community together and establishes a familiarity that diminishes contempt. It is a time of community spirit of friendship and brotherhood. It is not a private endeavour of celebration but a collective one.

There are those who will question the purpose of a mosque and Eid is one of many examples of a mosques role within a community and the benefit it provides. It is not only a place of worship, it is a place of knowledge and a place to convene. When we consider the biography of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the events proceeding their arrival in Medina, it was the establishment of the Mosque that was at the forefront of the Prophet’s arrival. Why? Because the mosque is central to the Muslims, the prayer is established in the mosque and it is through the prayer where strength is found.

However, unfortunately we have largely neglected our mosques. With mosques seeing attendance spike on a Friday, during Ramadan and on Eid. Outside of these times the mosques are virtually empty. As a community we can never get back the strength that we formerly had so long as our mosques are empty. There is a greater reward found in the attendance of the mosque and in many cases it is even considered an obligation on the men to attend.

Only until we revive this lost tradition will we as Muslims regain our strength, history has shown us that as a civilisation we have grown in tandem with our connection with Allah (via prayer) and we have weakened as a result of neglecting the prayer. Consider the battle of Badr, where 313 men mostly unarmed without horse or camel managed to defeat an army of over 1000 who were better equipped and whose odds were largely in their favour. I want us to reflect how as Muslims we managed to overcome this enemy and yet today we stand at over a billion and we have never been at our most weakest as we are now, I want us to reflect on how Islam managed to spread so quick and in such a short space of time, that empires around it such as the powerful Persians and the beastly Byzantines were swallowed not only militarily but were reformed mentally, emotionally and spiritually with the simple message of Islam. It was Islam that gave these nations salvation and established a principle higher than nation states but a principle based on the religion of Allah.

May we recall our lost strength and establish the mosque in the manner in which it was intended to be.

And may you all have a wonderful Eid.

Sacred Union

Secret gardens - The forgotten glories of Islamic civilisation | Books &  arts | The Economist
Sacred Union

The sacred union between Muslims and non-Muslims could only be born if each individual recognised that he harbored within himself the common enemy. It is only when man waged continuous jihad against his own inner antagonist that he would find oneness in the national body politic. – Hussein Omar : Arabic Thought In The Liberal Cage

The End

Kabaa

The End!

Why do we always begin with the end?

With COVID-19 making its rounds across the globe. Saudi Arabia was forced to suspend access to both Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi, in order for local authorities to sterilise and cleanse the area.

For a religion that is deeply concerned with inner and outer purification. Such steps as was taken by Saudi Arabia was no doubt a responsible move on behalf of the state that has both a duty and a responsibility to its people. Yet it could not be helped to see that many people interpreted these events as a precursor to the end of times. Every major event in the world has been a precursor to the end of times, every event should have followed with repentance which should have served also as a moment of deep reflection.

Reflecting as such on the true power of God who has made such a thing as the Coronavirus, capable of disrupting the world. That despite those who are immensely wealthy and healthy, they too are barred from entering the two holy cities and completing their lesser pilgrimage and possibly maybe even their Hajj. No matter your personal circumstances. If God wills it then even something as simple as the Umrah is made impossible and can be taken away from you.

However as Muslims we should be mindful of one important thing. Namely that death is from God alone. No other temporary power besides God has the ability to cause death. This is not therefore a reason why anyone should go against governmental advice and guidelines it is more for peace of mind and a reminder foremost to myself that we should have complete trust in God.

I’ll leave you with the following parting advice. “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.” – Bukhari and Muslim

Stay home. Stay safe.

An empty Masjid al-Haram

Islam – Since observed everywhere

Bazar_of_Athens.jpg#asset:5001
Bazar of Athens when Greece was under the Ottoman empire, Edward Dodwell, 1821

A friend of mine once said, ‘Muslims are the only people that bring God into every part of their lives.

To me this statement is everything the Western Enlightenment project came to represent. Namely, the rejection of any authority into the lives of any individual, and the advancement of the individual self beyond reproach by any authority above it. Islam as a religion differs from all other religions in the sense that it is a way of life (dīn) encompassing all aspects of your life. Islamic Law (Shar’iah) as it was traditionally done was not merely found in the books of the jurists, it was ‘…but rather the outcome of a malleable and sensitive application of rules in a complete social setting. To know what Islamic law was, therefore, is to know how actual Muslim societies of the past lived it; but most certainly it is not merely the law as abstracted in the books of jurists.’, ‘Over the past two centuries or so, the Shari’ah has been transformed from a worldly institution and culture to a textuality, namely, a body of texts that is entirely stripped of its social and sociological context – its ecological environment, so to speak.’ (An Introduction to Islamic Law by Waell B. Hallaq), the Shari’ah became reduced to the area of personal status, child custody, inheritance and gifts as the colonists did not want to upset the natives by taking away everything from them. However, the Shari’ah traditionally operated outside of the control of the Caliph and so when nation states developed and law was politicised it could no longer accept a body of law that was outside of its grasp. So it certainly makes you wonder to what extent Shari’ah is applicable in an environment such as Britain and to what power and authority it can yield. But in large there is little to no doubt that Muslims are a theocentric people that are largely living in an ‘enchanted world’ contrary to the ‘unenchanted world’ inhabited by the rest of the world.

For Muslims God anchors our morality. As the great Imam Muhammad Abdullah Draz writes in his book, The Moral Word of the Qur’an, ‘Any moral doctrine worthy of the name is essentially based on the idea of obligation…For, without obligation, there is no responsibility and without responsibility, there can be no return to justice…’ If Muslims do not bring God into every thing that they do, then under what system do individuals govern their lives? If they do so under the guise of Liberalism, then Liberalism is far more insidious then any other system. In his book, Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick J. Deneen writes, ‘…as an ideology, it (i.e. liberalism) pretends to neutrality, claiming no preference and denying any intention of shaping the souls under its rule.’ I wonder how an individual who does not want to involve God in every or any aspect of their life manages to establish what is objectively right or wrong. Put simply, they cannot. If their attempt is to not seek objectivity, then as Alastair Macintyre in, After Virtue writes, ‘Emotivism is the doctrine that all evaluative judgements and more specifically all moral judgements are nothing but expressions of preference, expressions of attitude or feeling, insofar as they are moral or evaluative in character.’

Now bringing God into a conversation that is ultimately divisive is wrong. Especially where there is room for varying opinions. No one should fall out with another to such an extent that they become hostile to one another. Where they begin to behave in a manner not befitting the character of a Muslim, then there is little doubt that this wrong. It is observable that only amongst a select few do discussions rarely take a more current stand. Where discussions of Islam’s role in the modern world take place and modern problems are given solutions inspired by the Islamic narrative. If such discussions occurred more commonly then we would have no problem asserting God’s presence in our lives, there would be no need of inferiority in the face of the Secular Liberal order that reigns, but reigns not supreme.