For at least the whole week or two, there were not much else I could see on my timeline except for news about Palestine. It is somehow the same period of time that there were news about Syria last year.
For many of us, there was, and still is, long term oppression towards the people of Palestine. Shunned to a small strip of land, high stone walls stood between them and the land some people call Israel, numerous “security” posts within their supposedly own land, posts manned by Israeli armies restricting the movement of Palestinians between villages, their land simply trespassed by Israelis claiming that it’s rightfully theirs, Palestinians labelled terrorists just because they fight for their OWN land (in which they grew up, live and farm), and now, bombed to no end in the name of self defense by Israel.
Children lost their parents. Parents lost their children. Because of so-called “accurate” missiles shot from Israel, with the excuse of “these civillians were used by Hamas as human shields”. While with the walls surrounding them and the Israeli army ships guarding the seas, they have nowhere to go. Even when IDF said, “Oh, we have given them warnings but they did not leave.”
Leave to where, exactly?
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No, I’m not here to talk about war or politics.
I’m here to talk about what this means to me, about the lessons that we could gather from this monstrosity.
We Muslims believe that after death, we will all be raised again in the hereafter so that God’s fair judgment will send us either to paradise, to hell, or to hell first then paradise. His judgment is fair because no stones will be left unturned, and all evil deeds, all acts of oppression, all wrongdoings will be paid in hell. And all the good deeds, kindness, and acts of mercy that we have spread in this world, will be paid in paradise. Of course, on top of the specific act of worship that He has commanded us to do.
All children will go to heaven, and they will wait for their parents there. So while we believe that justice shall be served for all the murdered children, while we believe that they deserve a happy childhood, we do believe that they are living a better life there, even at this moment.
While we do believe that the parents are going through hell at the moment (in this life), while we do believe that they will follow their children in heaven, we believe that they deserve their freedom and their dignity.
They all, Palestinians and Israelis alike, should live in peace. Like the rest of us.
What do all this have to do with us Muslims?
Well, we all have seen the strength of the Palestinians, how their faith never withered even after all the suffering in their lives. We all know the children are now happy running around the gates of paradise.
What about us?
We know we are all far behind in faith, and so in strength, as compared to them, even to their youngsters and their kids. They have gone through such a difficult life (which, in some parts of the world or culture,would have asked to have their lives ended), but their faith remained.
They still stood up and pray. They still fast in Ramadhan, even when the bombs ket on dropping like rain. They kept on saying prayers upon prayers so that help will come some day, and they never gave up.
What about us?
Allah, Glory be to Him, says in the Quran: “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” (Quran, 29: 2-3)
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” (Quran, 2: 155)
Sure, those men, women and children were tested, and are still being tested, until the day they leave this world.
We are, too. But did we succeed?
We failed with even food. We fight over food, we buy too much, we eat too much, and then we get unwell, because of food. We lose our vision, our skin, our sensation, our kidneys, because of our weakness for food. All those gifts from Allah, we lose them because of our own issues. Being hungry is wrong. Therefore we eat. In excess.
We failed with women, with men, claiming love as a reason. We claim that love should not be barred, even when it’s done the wrong way. Then we get illnesses like hepatitis B, HIV. We lose our lungs, our brains, because we want to “live our lives to the fullest”.
We failed with money. We failed with land and property, when family ties are cut because of some undocumented property ownership and will. While one of the most important thing in this life that we need to maintain, according to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is family ties. Be good to your family, to your neighbours.
We failed even by means of our comfort. Our beds, our rooms are too comfortable. We don’t wake up for tahajjud anymore. We don’t even wake up for the obligatory fajar prayers anymore, let alone doing it in congregation.
How, in this whole wide world, are we going to fight out own evil? The devil inside us that says, don’t do your job properly, nobody will notice. The devil inside us that says, don’t bother about the poor. The devil inside us that says, just bribe that policeman, they are doing roadblocks just for the money.
How are we going to fight the devil within us that will cause up a rage when someone rammed into our car, accidentally? How are we going to fight that devil within us who swears at every single person who cuts the queue, or double park our cars?
I heard some people mentioned that the Israelis said, we will never be able to fight the Zionists unless our fajar prayer congregation is as large as our Friday prayer crowd. Or maybe it’s some frustrated Muslim who said that. Well, I don’t care who said it, but don’t you think it’s true?
We fight about things like how long our beards should measure, whether the women should cover their face or not, whether we could wear nail polish during menses, whether picking our noses will break our fasts or not, we fight about how many raka’ahs should one perform during tarawih, 8 or 20, we fight about whether women should have separate section in the masjid with full partition or should we allow women to see through the partition. We fight about whether a man or a wife should cook in the house. We fight about how young people should look for life partners in this modern age. We fight about whether cadbury is halal or haram.
We fill our minds with all the (relatively) petty things but we forgot the most important thing: SOLAT. The five daily obligatory prayers, which is the pillar of our faith.
If all the time spent fighting was actually spent thinking, discussing and acting on how to increase mosque attendance, how to make everyone perform solat perfectly, how to keep us consistent in studying the Quran, I’m a hundred percent sure that our Muslim community will be better people.
Not only towards Allah, but towards human beings in general. Towards animals and everything else in the environment too.
We become very angry when we see them standing on top of our holy book, the Quran. Yes, I have just seen a photo of a woman, with her pedicured toenails, standing on an open Quran. I saw this photo of many Quran being thrown away to be burnt.
As much as these images would make us snap in anger, do we really honor the Quran? Do we honor His words? Do we take God’s words lightly? Do we make fun of the people who preach to us using His beautiful words? Do we read the Quran and give ourselves the excuse, “I’ll wait until I feel sincere, then only I’ll follow God’s words.” Do we, virtually, throw away the Quran just for it to be burnt, from our hearts?
Do we act kindly according to our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s teaching? Do we show our love towards children, kindness to our neighbours, mercy to the needy, and forgiveness to those who have wronged us? Do we only say good words, do we refrain ourselves from using swear and abusive words even when we are wronged?
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Yes, the Palestinians had it difficult in this world, but they did not die in vain. They will have it easy in the hereafter.
But what about us? What about our children?
We had it relatively easy so far, but are we thankful enough?
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No, I’m not perfect. I’m far from it.
But we all could do with some contemplation, to correct ourselves, to be better people, to be better Muslims, to be better human beings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said this as a part of his last sermon: “Hurt no one so that no one will hurt you anymore.”