Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.
The recent happenings have led to increase in awareness of the atrocities faced by Palestinians. Even United Nations has asserted that the oppresion in Palestine is a clear violation of basic human rights.
Following that, for the past few days I’ve went to two talks pertaining to Palestine. The first talk was by an NGO activist from Malaysia who’s been awarded with the title Associate Professor and another speaker was a full professor and also a Palestinian-American.
To summarise, Masjidil Aqsa does not only belong to the Palestinians or Arabs in general. Each of us Muslim in this world has a responsibility over Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem) because that land is extremely sacred to our religion. And each of us humans, regardless of religion, we have to reject the oppression and atrocities against Palestinians. We are actually indebted to the Palestinians because they are the ones who resisted to leave the country while we do not feel even an ounce of accountability to protect basic human rights and Baitul Maqdis. How can we call ourselves Muslim, or even human in general, when we don’t even care about others? Rahmah, which is mercy and compassion, is the very basic foundations of being a Muslim. We are too focused about empowering ourselves materialistically till we forget that there are bigger things in life than just about feeling good about ourselves and accumulation of wealth.
The NGO activist said that we need to stop being too self-centered. This is true as individualism has never been a trait of a Muslim. When Allah provides us with intelligence, wealth, beauty, etc, we should not arrogantly say “I am rich because I worked hard for 5 long years to achieve what I am today”. What is the use of being rich if you do not use the money to the path of Allah? What is the use of intelligence and beauty if all that are for superficial uses?
One thing that we can do as Muslims is to keep giving generous charity to any of the trusted organizations that handles Palestinians, Syrians or any refugees that are in need. This act should be a continuous one and not a one time off. Trusted organisations such as Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRAF), Aman Palestin and others. For instance in Turkey, the Syrian refugees have great difficulty finding jobs and their house rents cost way more than they earn. Many have no choice but to resort to begging on the streets and to make matters worse, they’re seemed as nuisance to others.
Can you imagine today you’re living a good life and the day after you’re on the streets begging for money and food? Even how much of an embarrassment they face to beg, but they have no other workable options and they are victims of circumstances. We Muslims are not doing enough for them while we can do more. We are too afraid to let go of our money because we are too afraid that we will be poorer when we part with our money. Didn’t Allah already promised through Rasulullah in his hadith that charity will not decrease wealth? We do not mind spending more than $1k on an LV handbag, but $100 or even $10 seems too much for our own brothers and sisters who need a shelter on top of their heads and food to survive. How then we reconcile the concept of Rahmah; mercy and compassion with our actions?
Another thing Muslims could do is something that has been practiced by human activists who are against the violation of human rights globally, both non-Muslim and Muslims alike – boycott. In both talks I went, both speakers asked us to boycott products by these people who are making chaos in this world. The talks made me feel how little (or none) I’ve done for Palestine. No, we clearly don’t need to carry arms and weapons to trump this oppression. We just need to unstabilize their economy to show these oppressors that we do not support their decision and we will not give them any more of our hard-earned money just for them to remain strong and keep making wrong and oppressive decisions.We should stop feeding and supporting the oppressors. Some might think that this is an anti-semitic move. No! It has nothing to do with being anti-semitic. It has to do with basic human rights. Thats why you would see there are Jews who boycott these products as they are against oppression and are calling to end the ‘Palestinian holocaust’.
Four years ago I started boycotting McDonald’s, Coca-Cola company and Starbucks. Yes it is difficult. But that’s the thing. These things are my sacrifices. Like what? People are being attacked and losing their small children, helpless mothers and wives and even their lives, while I’m here calling these superficial things as sacrifices? How merciless can I get? If I can’t let go of my nafs (desire) to stop purchasing these products, what should I answer Allah later on? Plus, these things are unhealthy (is it even a coincidence?)! Can you imagine what my body is going to complain to Allah?
Indeed, our sacrifices are not comparable to those of the Palestinians. It will never be the same however, although our sacrifices may seem superficial but the struggles that we face are going to be real. It’s not easy walking down to the MRT with a hungry stomach when all these huge stores spamming in our faces. Be steadfast and think of the difference if each of us play our part.
Yes, Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc, are products of America or Israel. However if we could use these as tools to notify the world of the chaos they’re making, these tools can be used to backfire their evil agendas. Get educated about issues that are important. Yes, it’s may be boring at first but if you’re sincere, Allah will place passion in your heart and who knows insyaAllah you’ll be one of the reasons for the end of oppression in Palestine. Stop getting too engrossed with non-beneficial habits that waste your time and life away from your actual purpose.
Let’s stand in solidarity; strong and united. These sacrifices are temporary but insyaAllah we’ll receive the rewards in the hereafter. On top of that, make lots and lots of prayers. Allah has already promised that He will be amongst those who are just and practice justice, let’s pray that we will be amongst those are bestowed with mercy and compassion.
On a side note, I am currently in Turkey and I am liaising with a few Malaysian friends along with a trusted organization, to collect donation for the Syrian refugees here. The campaign is called ‘Selimut untuk Syria’ (Blankets for Syria) and this is in conjunction with the winter season that has just kicked in. We have not started collecting donation yet because there are still some admin stuff that needs to be worked out first, however, do look out for it! I might not post any information here on my blog, but get updated on the poster soon from my instagram: n.shikinsalim or facebook: Nurashikin Salim.