(smile) Hmm, such a fragrant potpourri of ideas I find on the Forum lately. But let me chose one scent amongst the others.
Muslims versus non-Muslims, rich versus poor, educated versus non-educated, East versus West…? Is our life really so binary? So black and white?
It is so nice and easy to think about the world this way, isn't it? It helps us know which “side” to be on... (sigh) or does it?
(smile) Last Friday, a khatib gave an interesting khutbah at a local masjid. He tackled this question. Where is the real division? And he had an interesting answer, I think. He said: It is not a question of Jews or Christians vs Muslims, of East vs West, or rich vs poor or even atheists vs believers, or any other false divides we hear of. It is the oppressors
who should be looked at, no matter what
their affiliation. Whether the person is rich or poor, if he is oppressing another, we Muslims are called to act. Whether the person is a Muslim or not, if he is being oppressed, we Muslims are called to act. No matter where the oppression occurs, we are called to act.
That was what he was discussing. But I think we could go further.
can we act? It seems to me that this depends on each person's possibilities and each different situation. (sad) Defensive warfare may be a necessity, when all else fails... But political actions may be possible, and should be explored. Strengthening Imaan is another vital action. Helping those lacking knowledge and skills, to learn and open up employment opportunities is another way to combat perhaps more subtle oppressions. Or giving basic necessities when they are desperately needed. It could be informing people of what is happening around them, or on the other side of the world. It could be building bridges between mistrustful communities of people... It is not a question of doing nothing or open warfare.
There are many, many different ways we Muslims can act to help others. And not just Muslims. But all
humans. We are all
Allah's creations, we are all
descended from the First Couple (AS).
All humans... and that means the oppressors, too.
Jabirb. Abdullah reported that two young men, one from the Muhajirin (emigrants) and the other one from the Angr (helpers) fell into dispute and the Muhajir called his fellow Muhajirin, and the Ansari (the helper) called the Ansar (for help). In the meanwhile, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came there and said:
What is this, the proclamation of the days of jahiliya (ignorance)? They said: Allah's Messenger, there is nothing serious. The two young men fell into dispute and the one struck at the back of the other.Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Well, a person should help his brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed. If he is the oppressor he should prevent him from doing it, for that is his help; and if he is the oppressed he should be helped (against oppression).
||: Sahih Muslim 2584 a
||: Book 45, Hadith 80
|USC-MSA web (English) reference
||: Book 32, Hadith 6254
|(deprecated numbering scheme)
When a person oppresses another, he/she wrongs him/herself, too. They will have to pay a price for their wrongdoing. So we must stop them from oppressing, not because we hate
them, but because we care
about them. We want to do something good for them, as well as for the people they are oppressing.
(lovingly) My brothers and sisters in Islam, our real enemy is the Shaitan
. He wants so much
for us to fail. All those “us” vs “them” whispers are just to divide and conquer we humans. When we simplify the realities of this life to good versus evil groups, we fall into hatred and blindness. And we end up behaving like the people that we hate. Because the opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. When you hate someone, you are as obsessed with them as if you loved them. And you start to become like the object of your hatred, I find.
Allah says repeatedly in the Qur'an that he does not
Love those who do wrong, who oppress. But He does
Care. He Reminds us again and again, how Open He Is to those repent. And He Reminds us all
, to not cross the limits of decent behaviour.
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.
The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment.
And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah . And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
And there are others passages... the point is, no matter who
the oppressors are, we must oppose them. It is not
a question of either a liberating West against the evils of ISIS, or the evil West against the virtuous forces of the IS (for instance). Whoever
is causing oppression is in the wrong. It is possible that both
parties engaged in warfare may be doing wrong. It is possible that some
of one or both parties are doing wrong, but that others are not. It is possible that some of one or both parties may be fundamentally misunderstanding one another and thinking that they each are defending themselves against an aggressor... and there may be other possibilities. We must always
keep our hearts and minds clear: we oppose oppression and wrongdoing.
Not people with different religious understandings, not people with different cultures or levels of wealth, or ethnicity, or geographic location, or...whatever we use to divide ourselves into two camps.
Muslims oppose oppressors
May Allah, the Sublime and Oft-Forgiving, have Compassion and Mercy on us, and Protect us from the whispers of the Shaitan.