This is my 3rd post on the subject and hopefully the last. I have been reflecting on my opinions about the crisis and I have to admit that they have largely remained the same.
What I wanted to let my readers know specifically the Muslims is that I am in 100% agreement with your anger, frustration, and sadness on the matter.
My solidarity with my community is there and ever present especially concerning the loss of innocent lives, however I cannot allow my emotions from seeing the dead women and children in Palestine overcome my reason and ability to discern the entire matter.
This is where I feel Muslims largely faulter on this and many other issues involving Muslims. In the Bible the Book of Proverbs to be exact, my favorite one paraphrased is “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way” as such, I feel we Muslims are often guilty of this.
We allow our zeal to overcome us and allow us to act in haste and miss the way. As a Muslim I believe that the straight path must be walked with patience. When you look at the example of the Prophet (saw) or our leaders like Salahudin, they never automatically reacted to the obvious things that do in fact invoke zealous emotions whether righteous or not. Whether it was the Meccan Armies or the capture of one’s sister by the Christian armies, patience overrode zeal and as such these leaders and examples of who we should be showed that if you become still and think thoroughly with complete submission to God, you are able to plan and maneuver in a way that will bless and help all.
Muslims by definition are supposed to be the example of what is and could be right with mankind and society. Yet, the world only sees us foaming at the mouth burning effigies and flags calling for the deaths of myriads of people. What kind of example is that?
Are there atrocities in Gaza? Certainly. At this point, there are almost 1000 dead Palestinians, half of which are civilians, God only knows how many injured, etc. and the Israeli forces are using white phosphorous and the conflict is making humanitarian support very difficult at best.
However, my point all along is if I were to fall in line with the “general consensus” and public opinion of Muslims in general and others in the world, I could boldly assert that above statement completely oblivious to the 800 pound gorilla in the room that I believe goes largely ignored routinely by my fellow Muslims….
I only wish to be the guy in the crowd that points to that gorilla so that we may acknowledge the presence and do something about that as well.
That gorilla to me is summed up in my general down the line assessment of the tragedy. No one seems to mention how many Israelis have died or were injured. No one seems to mention that Hamas fired rockets into Israel indiscriminately from civilian bases and locations (and now Hezbollah has followed suit), no one seems to mention that Israel’s actions regardless of opinion, did not happen in a vacuum. It’s not like Israel woke up one day and said “You know, lets go kill 1000 Palestinians” but that’s how we react to this crisis.
Are Israel’s actions too aggressive? Many can make an argument for that. I personally believe the use of white phosphorous is just uncalled for and should cease.
Even still, if there are more atrocities and I’m certain there are, my overall point is that as Muslims if we truly want to end the madness in this region and resolve the issues that universally impact us, we have to be willing to manage our zeal and work toward lasting peace that includes the interests of all parties involved.
Muslims according to our texts, are supposed to be willing to live in harmony with our neighbors setting the example of what civilization and submission to God looks like.
That means we have to remember that all creation belongs to Him and as such we have to be willing to acknowledge the death of Israeli civilians just as much as our own. We have to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil without prejudice to ethnicity, nationality, or religion even if we have to stand up to fellow Muslims.
No true Muslim can with a straight face state that its ever OK in Islam to use terror as a tactic against innocent civilians. In fact, we are not even supposed to attack innocent civilians.
We have to be balanced.
If it’s wrong for Israel to kill civilians, then it’s equally wrong for Hamas or Hezbollah to do the same. Even though the obvious difference is that Hamas and Hezbollah do it on purpose and there is zero evidence that Israel does this. Which is another reason why I call on Muslims to use reason and restraint. We know as a teaching in our faith that one’s intention is often just as important as one’s actual actions, which the perception of that latter could often be skewed in opinion based on the former. Therefore, as it relates to the deaths of the Palestinians, when assessing the actions of Israel, what should we expect? If attacked from a apartment building or school if you retaliate, is there really a way to avoid the deaths of innocents? If you do nothing then you also risk the deaths of your innocents. What makes it even worse and where I mostly condemn our silence is that this whole thing is by design. Hamas knows this impossible position of Israel and exploits it using the bodies of our people as ammunition for greater political agenda, goals, and propaganda, but who do we fault? The Israelis of course. It’s almost as if we blame the fly for getting stuck in the web that the spider set up.
Last and certainly not least I am certain, overall I believe that if we truly want a lasting peace we have to be humble. We have to face the reality that the terrorist, extremist, and radicals amongst us must go. Any Muslim group, leader, society, etc. that does not have “salaam” on their lips and in their actions must be rejected, renounced, and taken from the public soapbox.
Where has it gotten us?
God does not change a condition of a people until they first help themselves right? How are we helping ourselves? Hamas kills 10, they kill 1000. When this whole thing is over, Israeli’s will eat and sit in the comfort of their homes while Palestinians with have neither and when the media no longer promotes the region as a headline the world including Muslims will largely ignore this.
What will our protests, anger, and accusations truly get for the Palestinians? Our posturing will amount to nothing and will actually do more harm to Muslims in general in the long run than help. We will solidify world opinion and actions against us as a bunch of barbarians who only care about our own and hate all who are not like us. We will still be watched and scrutinized, and Palestianians will still be hungry.
Now if we took the advice and guidance of our texts from God, we would sit down realize that we live in a world with other people and actually work for peace meaning we would negotiate for final terms on the matter and resist all who are against it, even if they are Muslims. We would encourage standards in writing like innocent lives are to be protected regardless of place of origin and the free movement of people and ideas must be protected. We would put feet on the ground to ensure that neither Hamas, Hezbollah, or Israel goes against these mutual standards and do any and everything to ensure it. We would go build their infrastructure, support human rights, and fill the country will aid.
With all the wealth of Muslims in the world, it’s a tragedy that the best we can come up with is burning flags, protesting, and lofty speeches.
What the Palestinians and the world needs right now is for Muslims to step up and state uniformly that we don’t have to agree with the world, but since we share the planet with everyone else that at the very least we will disagree in peace and learn to live with you. This is not a unique concept and is throughout the Qur’an and example of the Prophet (saw).
Our actions must reflect that. Any Muslim who calls for the death of someone, the oppression of people especially women, who oppose education, free thought, and peace, we have to reject. I’m not saying that we should be weak, but true strength comes not from how many you can threaten, cause to fear you, or kill, but only from God.
God wants us to show the world that true submission is Peace.
A Peace that states that fighting is wrong except in self defense in which all hostilities must cease when the opposing party inclines toward peace as well.
A Peace that recognizes that all life belongs to God Alone and that taking one innocent life is an affront to Him who gave it.
A Peace that recognizes that all people should benefit from our common humanity and that our differences truly reflect the glory of God and that our neighbors should not fear us but interact with us.
A Peace that sets the example in knowledge, civility, and moral clarity where the poor are taken care of, the orphans protected, and the slaves physical, mental, or otherwise oppressed freed.
This Peace is the beauty of our faith, it’s what drew millions like me to this Deen (religion) which today I sadly admit we take for a joke through our actions.
The true Muslim is not the one who releases tapes, gives speeches, or whose actions call for a Jihad against Israel, West, or other non-Muslims meaning kill them all men, women, and children.
The true Muslim is the one calling for the Jihad against the Jihad whose actions call for peace with all socities and people calling for us to struggle within and outside ourselves against the temptations of the Satan who wants to kill innocents, cause strife, and death. A true Muslim knows that the example of our faith, Prophet Muhammad (saw) did more with a smile than with a sword.
Until we turn back to Islam and do what God enjoins upon us, nothing will change, we will be here again in the future and the Palestinians, Israelis, and the world will gain nothing by our angered reactions, examples, etc.
When someone offends us, we should show them how they offended us not in kind, but by higher standards and morals. How many times did the Meccans insult the Prophet (saw)? What were his reactions to such insults? Did he call for their deaths? Likewise, when a cartoon is drawn, instead of calling for the death of people, teach them about why we are insulted by showing them the value we place on all of God’s messengers and prophets.
When a Qur’an is defaced, maimed, etc. teach them about what is inside the book and the value we place on it.
When the Palestinians are oppressed show them we care by going to Palestine, supporting them with aid, and protecting them on both fronts by ensuring cross border movement the dissolving of checkpoints, and reigning in the enemies of peace by ensuring the safety of the Israelis. Send Muslim armies if we must to guard a defined boarder and keep the peace.
I could go on and on and probably will in other posts, but I hope I have conveyed something of use.
Think about it…..