On Palestine

This morning, on the very last morning of Ramadan, I stayed up after Fajr prayer watching the sunrise. I sat in silence, making duaa with the morning when suddenly, I started crying. I was hit with an intense wave of sadness and felt all of the emotions from the last few days finally overcome me. I hadn’t cried yet, but this morning, it all felt like too much.

 The last week has been devastating for Muslims around the world. These last few days and nights of Ramadan, usually a time of intense spirituality, have been overshadowed with violence in Palestine. I, like so many around the world, watched in horror as families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah faced displacement by Zionist Settlers. What came next was swift - shows of solidarity by Palestinians in Jerusalem instantly met by violent Israeli forces. But that’s not where it ended. The world watched in horror as worshippers in Al Aqsa Mosque were attacked while in prayer. We watched as Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, while a tree on Temple Mount burned in the background. And as tensions escalated, we were helpless as Israeli forces began their attack on Gaza, with latest numbers estimating anywhere from 35-43 Palestinians dead, at least 10 of those children.

 I don’t know what more I can say that many haven’t already seen circulated on social media. Defendants of Israel will perform backflips and gymnastics to attempt to make this latest attack seem like anything but a violation of international law. The U.S., Canada, and other nations around the world have made their unwavering support for the state of Israel clear, and to many, this may seem incredibly disheartening.

 But there is always hope.

 If you’ll allow me, I have a couple of reflections I would love to share with you.

 I grew up going to protests every other weekend. My parents made sure we knew that among the responsibilities our faith bestowed on us, speaking out for the oppressed was one of the most important. I have been having conversations about the so-called “conflict” in Palestine for as long as I can remember. And what I can tell you is there has been a noticeable shift in how these conversations have played out in the last few years. Sympathy and support for Palestine has been growing. I have no doubt social media - with videos like those we saw this week - has made it hard for many to look away from the reality of the situation. There have also been growing intersectional efforts between movements in the last few years. Groups like Black Lives Matter, Idle No More and others are standing by Palestinians - and vice versa - shining a light on just how closely connected every movement is.

 And while I don’t really care about celebrity or celebrity culture, this time around it is impossible to ignore the burst of support from A-listers - something I genuinely don’t remember ever happening while I was growing up. Viola Davis, Bella Hadid, Michael B. Jordan, Kelly Rowland and many, many others have been voicing their support for the Palestinian people, stating  one cannot claim to be anti-oppression without supporting the Palestinians. This kind of high-profile support is truly unprecedented and gives me hope for the future.

 Finally, as it is the last day of Ramadan, I wanted to remind you of one of my favorite ahadith:

 Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

 ثَلَاثَةٌ لَا تُرَدُّ دَعْوَتُهُمْ الصَّائِمُ حَتَّى يُفْطِرَ وَالْإِمَامُ الْعَادِلُ وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ يَرْفَعُهَا اللَّهُ فَوْقَ الْغَمَامِ وَيَفْتَحُ لَهَا أَبْوَابَ السَّمَاءِ وَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ وَعِزَّتِي لَأَنْصُرَنَّكِ وَلَوْ بَعْدَ حِينٍ

 The supplications of three are never turned back: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed is raised above the clouds by Allah, the gates of heaven open for it and the Lord says: By My might, I will surely help you in due time. (Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3598)

Allah SWT has given us an opportunity to turn to Him. While we’re fasting, feeling helpless and alone, we can lift our hands in duaa and pray for the protection of those in Palestine and for the Ummah around the world.

That’s what I did this morning. I raised my hands, closed my eyes, and made a sincere duaa for my brothers and sisters in need. All I ask is that you also do the same.

Eid Mubarak, and May Allah SWT protect the people of Palestine.

By Sumayya Tobah

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