At the Edge of Life

(Consequences of War)

While the entire world was celebrating ‘Eid’, a section of our Muslim ‘Ummah’ was bleeding. It is very unfortunate how people in this world do not even have their share in happiness let alone a share in love, freedom and prosperity. It is upsetting that even few hours or days of joy is not meant for all. It is distressing that while the fortunate among us are rejoicing, there are those who do not even have the leisure of a peaceful sleep or a chance at a normal life.  

Constant fear of persecution governs the life of Palestinians, those in Yemen, Kashmir and many oppressed Muslim communities across the world. As the rest of the world goes about in their day-to-day life, they continue to suffer, lose loved ones, face property destruction and constant disruption of what a normal life could be.  

As goes the truth about this life, no matter how happy one is or tries to be, there is always place for something that will trouble one’s soul. Everything happening in these regions currently, has affected the global Muslim community and saddened those who understand divine decree. Few years back my mother had a Palestinian colleague and she asked her about the situation back home. Her colleague replied, “Death is better for them than the life they are living.” This is the only truth and hope left for those living in war torn regions around the world. I also happened to read about this Yemeni mother who, when she got the news of her second pregnancy was shocked with sadness. She didn’t want to bring another life into this conflict driven territory. Instead of celebrating, she cried that her child could forgive her for doing so.

‘We shall place scales to do justice on the Day of Judgment. So no one shall be wronged in the least. Even if it (a deed) is to the measure of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth, and We are enough to take account.’ (Surah Ambiya, Verse 47)

While people continue to support those living in these oppressed lands on a global level, it is despairing to witness Muslim countries react differently. Time and again, powerful Muslim governments have failed to take strict actions to end these atrocities. Do they think, they won’t be answerable for this infront of Allah (swt) ?

What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out from this town whose people are cruel, and make for us a supporter from Your own, and make for us a helper from Your own.” (Surah Nisa, Verse 75)

Surprisingly, some of them have also emerged as allies to oppressors and assist them in further escalating their cruelty. These are the ‘Firon’ of our time – commanding mass murder of innocent lives and causing irreversible damage to a country’s socio-economic system. They do this without any guilt or remorse.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Indeed when people see an oppressor but do not prevent him from (doing evil), it is likely that Allah will punish them all.” [Abu Dawud and At Tirmidhi].

This clearly indicates that sometimes silence is ‘haraam’ (forbidden). I have personally faced serial oppressors and abusers. When these people go on to abuse others, it is required to speak out against them and warn, protect potential victims. One should not enable abusers. As Muslims, we are expected to help our brothers and sisters whether he / she is the oppressed or the oppressor. We help the oppressor by stopping him from oppressing others. Sometimes silence is violence. We cannot be silent in these situations and it is even worse to tell a victim of oppression to be silent. It’s a terrible thing to shame victims into silence. If someone is wronging you, speak – so they cannot wrong others like you. You owe it not only to yourself, but also to the next person in line who will become a victim of this oppressor. In these situations silence enables oppression to continue – whether at the state level or an individual level. By sitting there silently we are approving their behaviour. There are times when silence is permissible, times when it is forbidden and there are times when silence becomes mandatory.

It was narrated by Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) who said, “When the emigrants who had crossed the sea came back to the Messenger of Allah he said: ‘Tell me of the strange things that you saw in the land of Abyssinia.’ Some young men among them said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah. While we were sitting, one of their elderly nuns came past, carrying a vessel of water on her head. She passed by some of their youth, one of whom placed his hand between her shoulders and pushed her. She fell on her knees and her vessel broke. When she stood up, she turned to him and said: “You will come to know, O foolish young man, that when Allah sets up the Footstool and gathers the first and the last, and hands and feet speak of what they used to earn, you will come to know your case and my case in His presence soon.’” The Messenger of Allah said: ‘She spoke the truth; she spoke the truth; she spoke the truth. How can Allah purify any people (of sin) when they do not protect their weak against their strong?’” [Ibn Majah]

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