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Gaza. The name of a piece of land that has not left our thoughts, tongues or facebook pages for the past four weeks. The name of a small stretch of land inhabited by almost two million. The name of a place associated with bravery, courage and defiance.

It is not easy to read their stories, watch video clips or view images about the tragedy and remain silent. In fact it is impossible. For anyone who has humanity and feeling, your heart automatically reaches out to them. And even though you may be hundreds or thousands of miles away; you care about them.
“The similitude of believers in regards to mutual love, affection and fellow-feeling, is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the entire body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” (Muslim) Our brothers and sisters are in distress, they are being tested by Allah, and so are we. Will we rise up to the challenge, in face of such oppression, and help out? Will we change our ways, and unite as an ummah in solidarity with the oppressed?
The tragedy of Gaza and any other calamity that affects the ummah, may be seen from various perspectives:
Firstly that Allah is testing us and them. Allah is testing us to see, whether in these difficult times we call on Him alone, not just once, but continually. Whether we abstain from sins, whether we maintain our Islamic principles and guidelines. Whether we will help out our brothers and sisters, pray for them and feel their pain.
Secondly Allah may be punishing us and them. Do we really live up to the standards set by the Prophet (Saw) and the companions? Are we negligent in our duties towards Allah? Ramadaan recently passed; did we make ourselves better this Ramadaan or have we reverted back to the old us, pre-Ramadaan? Have we continued in our sinful, erring ways?

Thirdly, Allah may be showering his mercy. The pain and suffering are an expiation of our sins. As in the hadith narrated by Abu Sa’eed al Khudri, the Prophet (Saw) said; “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress, befalls a muslim even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari) Moreover, through this pain and suffering people are getting closer to Allah. Some people are coming closer to Allah through duaa, they are turning to Allah alone to relieve the suffering. Some perhaps are abstaining from sin in order for Allah to alleviate the calamity. Others may be getting physically getting closer to Allah, they are dying and returning back to Him. And if Allah accepts them as martyrs, then they will be in His company, their souls in the body of green birds, roaming freely in paradise as they please.

Some of us may be asking; where is the victory?
Well, “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:11) The change and victory starts with us as individuals. When we get closer to Allah, abstain from sins, serve the deen of Allah, then Allah will aid us. He promised us this.

“O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and establish your feet.” (Surah Muhammad 47:07)

When we follow Islam to the fullest degree, believe in it, know it and apply it in our lives, then we will be successful. Whether death overtakes us first or victory, if we have lived Islam like we should, we will be successful. The victory and help that we so eagerly await will only be granted to us if we fulfil our obligations as muslims.

The Prophet (Saw) said, “whoever relieves a believer’s distress from the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the hereafter…Allah is helping the servant as long as he is helping his brother.” (Muslim) Though we are not directly in the line of fire, it is a binding obligation on us to help by whatever means we can. The bond between us as muslims is thicker than blood and the ties of kinship. Though seemingly the smallest thing we can do is make duaa, in reality it is the greatest thing, for it is the weapon of a believer. In addition, in such circumstances the duaa of the oppressed is never rejected and there is no veil between it and Allah. The blood of a muslim is priceless. Are we not as a whole being oppressed? If we all raised our hands, asked for forgiveness for our sins, and asked Allah sincerely, having full trust in Him alone to alleviate our suffering, would He not do so?

The change starts with you. You have to take the initiative. Do not wait for an imam to make duaa, or an organisation to beg for your donation. Be the change you want to see.
May Allah assist our brothers and sisters, and grant them patience, may he elevate their ranks in paradise, and grant us all victory. May Allah help us to see our mistakes and correct them. Ameen.

Bibi Zainab Dowlut,
Editor-in-Chief, AAT

If you would like to know more about those who have died in the cause of Allah, listen to this episode of Brother Rayan’s Allah Reveals Podcast: (Allah Reveals #2 They are not Dead)
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