By Yasmin Zaini
The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Apostle. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:71)
From this verse, we know that it is a part of our Deen that we Muslims are to support and protect each other.
The Muslims of today, are arguably the most misunderstood group of people. If not psychologically taunted and oppressed by those who are committed to misunderstanding them, they are physically oppressed, bullied, stripped of their identities and even displaced from their homes.
We live in such worrying times, and with the world’s eyes on us, every action we take will be taken to represent what the religion stands for. So the question we must always have at the back of our minds should be, “what would the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) do?”
Yes, what would he do? If we look into the Seerah, we will find that in the first years of Prophethood and Da’wah in Makkah, his followers were mostly made up of the poor and oppressed. Among the reasons why they were attracted to Islam was the simple message of equality, which stood out against the norms of the society then. With equality, echoed the advocacy of human rights. This social equality message of a universal brotherhood was truly felt to be something that was clearly lacking in the previous communities. With this comparison made, it seems like a parallel has been drawn- it’s almost like we’re living in those Jahiliyyah days again, where darkness reigns. There has been a need now again, for the oppression of the underprivileged, poor and oppressed Muslims to be taken into the concerns of the rest of the Ummah; that is us.
To help the oppressed, therefore, has always been Sunnah, a way of the Prophet (sallallahu alyhi wasallam).
In fact, he likened the Muslim Ummah to a human body and said,: “..If one part of the body suffers pain, the other part also suffers.” [Muslim]
This Sunnah of supporting the oppressed and helping them get back on their feet needs to be revived and rekindled in the hearts of the Muslims, especially in today’s day and age. But before we get to the various ways in which we can do to give aid, we all need to understand that behind every success of the Ummah is unity. This is the essence of the above-mentioned hadeeth. This means that before we list down any possible solutions to Ummatic problems, we must acknowledge the need for a collective effort. It is the responsibility of the Ummah as a whole, and not the responsibility of the scholars only or the well-off families only.
Once that is established, only then can we discuss the various steps that we can take to show our support for our brothers and sisters across the globe. As active members of the community, there are some ways in which we, the youth, can do to support them to the best of our abilities:
- By being in solidarity in such a way that we openly condemn the acts of their oppressors and letting the world know that our peaceful religion does not condone such acts. Not only will you be spreading awareness about the situation, but you’re also letting yourself be educated and informed. We could also go the extra mile in not consuming or supporting any product or company that is known to be associated to the oppressors.
- By providing moral and financial support to those who have come by our shores for refuge. These are the needy people who are within our reach, besides the local needy. It is important for us to build a strong connection with them and always be doing our best to make them feel welcomed. This however, should not be a one-off show, rather work on a two-way friendship, and not of a donor-receiver or resident-refugee kind as this further puts injury to their current conditions.
- By making Duaa’ for them. The doors of Allah’s mercy opens and is extended. As in the hadeeth, the Prophet (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) said, “For whoever the door of Duaa opens, for him the doors of mercy are opened…” (Tirmidhi).
These are some recommended practical steps we could all possibly take as individuals, considering our limitations. And especially in a time crucial like this, every member of the Ummah should take it upon himself to regard it as a duty to feel responsible to care for every hurt child or woman or man in Syria or Palestine or Iraq, and so on. It is time we respond to the call of our bleeding brothers and sisters.
The ripple effects of our collective inaction can be quite daunting. Very recently, those ripples were felt at the shore of our active ‘dawah’ counterparts. Heaps of copies of the Bible were found at a refugee camp in Syria. They were allegedly distributed by Christian missionaries who came by to offer humanitarian aid. They even took the advantage of washing the feet of “Syria’s most vulnerable’, while we Muslims ignore the pleas for help. Allahu Mustaan!
If we continue to remain uninterested and unresponsive in coming to the aid of our own family, there will be others who are rising to the occasion, and these are people who are very motivated to do so given the agendas under their sleeves. Ask yourselves, what would the Prophet (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) do? What excuse do we have for this blasé attitude? And how do you suggest we answer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) on the Day of Judgment that other people attended to the pleas and not us?
The vulnerable and weak may not have a choice but to accept any kind of aid that comes, but we could have thwarted this kind had we been the ones to run at the first instance of their cry! Looking at the most of us now, it is as if we haven’t even walked to their aid!
Our response to the news of the oppression that our brothers and sisters across the world are faced with should be like our swift reflex when we are pricked by a thorn or when we get a bounced cheque. We should be the shoulders on which the oppressed cry on, the comfort to those who have lost everything and the refuge in which they seek.
I ask Allah to forgive us all, and to give us the strength and motivation to help those in need.
I ask Allah to further give us the drive to execute and act upon what we plan and preach to others in all regards.
I ask Allah to protect our countries and homes from tyranny and dictatorship.
I ask Allah to remove their burden and pain of the oppressed and grant their dead martyrdom.