Palestine - The Test of Islamic Revival
?O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment o
The Palestinian cause is the most dangerous cause as far as the Muslim Ummah is concerned and is perhaps the most dangerous issue at all. Palestine is a blessed usurped Muslim land against which the East and the West conspired. Furthermore, Muslims themselves, aware or unaware, conspired against it. Nevertheless, Allah in the Qur'an reassured us that sovereignty over the Earth will be given, by Divine will, to pious Muslims.
“Verily, the earth is Allah's. He gives it as a heritage to whom He will of His slaves, and the (blessed) end is for the Muttaqun (pious).” [Al-A'raf 7:128]
Transliteration:'Inna Al-'Arđa Lillāhi Yūrithuhā Man Yashā'u Min Ibādihi Wa Al-Āqibatu Lilmuttaqīna
Unique characteristics giving Palestine a distinctive nature
Palestine, as well as Egypt, Iraq, Chechnya and any country ruled by Islam even for one day, is a Muslim land. In this regard, it should be born in mind that a country that was ruled by Islam, by virtue of either a conquest or a treaty, will remain Islamic till the Day of Judgment regardless of how universal and man-made laws may change and how divergent opinions people may express. No doubt, this is the unchangeable Divine law. "No change can there be in the Words of Allah." Moreover, Palestine is not just a Muslim land; rather, it is endowed by Allah with unique characteristics so as to be distinctive from any other Muslim country.
First: It was the first Qiblah (direction for prayer) for Muslims.
Second: It was the destination of Isra' (the miraculous night journey of Prophet Muhammad)
Third: It contains Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Allah always connects to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and glorifies as the second house for worshipping Allah after Ka'bah to be placed on earth.
Fourth: It contains the third of the three holiest Mosques to which Muslims are encouraged to undertake journeys solely for the purpose of worship (the other two being Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) and the Prophet's Mosque).
Fifth: A prayer in this Mosque is worth 500 prayers more than in any other mosque.
Sixth: Allah called it in the Qur'an the blessed and the sacred land.
Seventh: It is the land of resurrection and gathering (for the Day of Judgment).
Eighth: Many decisive battles in the history of Islam, such as Ajnadin, Bisan, Hittin and Ein Jalut, took place on these lands. On the same lands, the last battle between Muslims and Jews marking the approach of the Day of Judgment, in which Muslims will be victorious, will erupt.
Ninth: Blessing its people till the Day of Judgment, Allah stated that a group of Muslims living in Jerusalem and its hereabouts will remain fighting for the truth till the Day of Judgment.
Tenth: Allah made it the homeland of many prophets, who either were born therein, emigrated thereto, lived on whose land or were buried therein.
I have so far listed ten distinctive characteristics by virtue of which this land was given preference over any other country.
A question might arise: why this land is specifically endowed with such characteristics?
The answer is that Allah predestined that all inhabitants of the Earth will think of invading this small land being so sacred and blessed and that it will remain the focus of conflict till the Day of Resurrection. In fact, it was ever coveted by Persians, Byzantines, Crusaders, Tatars, the English, Jews and many more others. Accordingly, Allah inculcated great zeal in the hearts of believers so that they may never leave it occupied. Of course, Muslims should never be tolerant regarding the occupation of any Muslim land.
Palestinian issue may never be compromised and its Islamic orientation may not be changed
However, this land specifically will remain a coveted object for occupiers. Therefore, Allah the Almighty held it in a high esteem so that Muslims may not forget it regardless of the passage of time. Accordingly, the Palestinian cause is of clearer Islamic orientation than any other Islamic issue. Hence, it is by no means credible or acceptable that this cause be compromised or that its Islamic orientation be given up. Moreover, Allah made the Palestinian cause a measure of the faith of the Muslim Ummah in general. To clarify, Palestine will be occupied by whatever force in case Muslims forsake their religion, neglect their identity and fail to abide by Allah's commandments and the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him). On the other hand, Muslims will retake Palestine in case they once again come to the fold of Islam holding fast to their religion and the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him). In other words, the case of rising resistance to occupation, struggle and jihad is an indicator of a high level of faith. However, the case of rising surrender and submission is an indicator that religion is absent from the life of Muslims.
A delicate measure of faith
Referring to coming back to the folds of Islam, I do not mean this is required only for liberating Palestine. Rather, liberating Palestinian is one of many other duties, such as performing prayers, fasting, paying Zakah (obligatory charity), dutifulness to one's parents and dealing kindly with one's neighbours. By the same token, it is also obligatory to practice jihad, liberate occupied lands and resist injustice. Such are duties Allah ordained us to do collectively, which we have to do as a whole and regarding which we are given no choice to do whatever we like and no to do whatever we do not like.
“Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest?” [Al-Baqara 2:85]
Transliteration: 'A Fatu'uminūna Bibađi Al-Kitābi Wa Takfurūna Biba
In fact, we repent to Allah because He enjoined us to frequently repent to Him and ask His forgiveness. “And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” [Al-Zumar 39:54]
Transliteration: Wa 'Anībū 'Ilá Rabbikum Wa 'Aslimū Lahu Min Qabli 'An Ya'tiyakumu Al-Adhābu Thumma Lā Tunşarūna
Thus, if we turn in repentance to Him and limits, He will be pleased with us and will fulfill our hope of liberating Palestine or any other land.
“And indeed We have written in Zabur (Psalms) [i.e. all the revealed Holy Books the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), the Qur'an] after (We have already written in) Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz (the Book, that is in the heaven with Allah), that My righteous slaves shall inherit the land (i.e. the land of Paradise).” [Al-Anbiya' 21:105]
Transliteration: Wa Laqad Katabnā Fī Az-Zabūri Min Badi Adh-Dhikri 'Anna Al-'Arđa Yarithuhā Ibādiya Aş-Şāliĥūna
Actually, we do not return in repentance to Allah only in crises and calamities or for a certain need or purpose; rather, we turn in repentance to Him because He is our Lord and God and in Whose Hands are the keys of all matters. Moreover, we are His servants who seek His mercy and fear His Hellfire. Furthermore, we turn in repentance to Him as we are His unstintingly devoted servants who worship Him wholeheartedly. To this effect, we are not like bad servants who obey if given and disobey if deprived. Rather, we abide by His commandments whether we are humiliated or given authority over others, whether glorious or otherwise and whether rich or poor.
“Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” [Al-An'am 6:162]
Transliteration: Qul 'Inna Şalātī Wa Nusukī Wa Maĥyāya Wa Mamātī Lillāhi Rabbi Al-Ālamīna
Although humans in general by nature are at times grateful and ungrateful at other times, get closer to Allah at times and turn away from Him at other times, Allah being Merciful of His creatures’ places reminders in life in order to remind those who might forget Him and lead them back to Him.
One reminder is the Palestinian cause. This fact was deeply understood by great Muslim scholars and leaders. Feeling that Muslims turned away from Allah as Palestine is occupied, they would stir people's zeal through reminding them of the Palestinian issue. By doing so, they did not intend only to free Palestine but also to serve the great goal and supreme objective, i.e. Divine Satisfaction.
Liberation of Palestine contingent upon returning to Allah
Great martyr Nur Ad-Din Mahmud Zangi ordered a large pulpit to be made and decided not to end his worry or lay his fear to rest unless this pulpit has been placed in occupied Al-Aqsa Mosque or he has died. Having understood the Islamic orientation of the issue, he made use of it to lead people back to the way of their Lord. The same was applied by Saladin (Salahud-Din) bin Ayyub (May Allah show mercy to him), who could think of liberating Palestine only after feeling sure that Muslims turned in repentance to their Lord. Feeling that people are unstintingly devoted to their Lord, he could perceive that victory is near and he therefore fought the battle of Hattin and could liberate Jerusalem.
The same notion was also grasped by Sultan Saif Ad-Din Qutuz (May Allah show mercy to him). He moved his army to Palestine only after scholars, foremost among whom is Al-'Izz Ibn Abdul-Salam, had awakened people's desires for Paradise and their fear of Hellfire, and had raised the value of jihad and death in the cause of Allah. Having been certain that people turned in repentance to their Lord, he came to be sure that victory over Tatars is an inevitable result of such repentance. Thus, the battle of Ein Jalut was fought and subsequently Tatars were destroyed and Palestine and the Levant were liberated.
“If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.” [Muhammad 47:7]
Transliteration: Yā 'Ayyuhā Al-Ladhīna 'Āmanū 'In Tanşurū Allāha Yanşurkum Wa Yuthabbit 'Aqdāmakum
Accordingly, Muslim Du'ah (callers to Allah) have to make use of the Palestinian cause in order to draw Muslims' attention to the necessity of turning in repentance to Allah the Almighty. To this effect, it should be highlighted that loss of Palestine is an indicator of a weak and decreased level of faith. It should also be propagated that the more Muslims show weakness toward the Palestinian issue, the more they are far from Allah, a terrifying situation and a great alarm bell.
Moreover, Du'ah have to make clear for people the Islamic orientation of the issue and how it is closely attached to the Divine evaluation of Muslims. Had a certain generation of Muslims been truthful, Allah would have given them authority. Had a certain generation of Muslims, on the other hand, been weak, cowardly and impure, Allah will exchange them for some other people.
“And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allah), He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes.” [Muhammad 47:38]
Transliteration: Wa 'In Tatawallaw Yastabdil Qawmāan Ghayrakum Thumma Lā Yakūnū 'Amthālakum
Another duty of Du'ah is to explain to Muslims how their enthusiasm for Palestine can be turned into positive action having the effect of not only freeing Palestine but also of raising high the esteem of the Muslim Ummah as a whole and of giving it superiority over all nations of the world as predestined by Allah.
“You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind…” [Al 'Imran 3:110]
Transliteration: Kuntum Khayra 'Ummatin 'Ukhrijat Lilnnāsi…
Thus, it is improper on the part of Muslims to pray Allah to free Palestine and relieve its calamity when they do no positive action, do not prepare themselves for jihad, do not adhere to Qur'anic teachings or Sunnah, are not even self-sufficient in food, medicine and armament production and do not enforce Shari'ah (Islamic law).
In fact, Islam is an integrated institution. Thus, a Muslim profound scholar is one who has a comprehensive perception of the entity of Islam. In this respect, such a scholar may not concern for a certain aspect while neglecting another and may not elect only such aspects of religion as may go in line with his desires and whims. Rather, one's slogan in this life should be:
“We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).” [Al-Baqarah 2:285]
Transliteration:Saminā Wa 'Aţanā, Ghufrānaka Rabbanā Wa 'Ilayka Al-Maşīru
Finally, the Palestine cause is totally Islamic and Palestine will be returned one day to Islam and Muslims. However, the important question is: who is to return it? In better words, who will return in repentance to Allah so that Allah might return Palestine to him?
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter. If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people, and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do all things.” [Al-Tawbah 9:38-39]
Trasnliteration: Yā 'Ayyuhā Al-Ladhīna 'Āmanū Mā Lakum 'Idhā Qīla Lakum Anfirū Fī Sabīli Allāhi Aththāqaltum 'Ilá Al-'Arđi 'Arađītum Bil-Ĥayāati Ad-Dunyā Mina Al-'Ākhirati Famā Matāu Al-Ĥayāati Ad-Dunyā Fī Al-'Ākhirati 'Illā Qalīlun(38) 'Illā Tanfirū Yuadhdhibkum Adhābāan 'Alīmāan Wa Yastabdil Qawmāan Ghayrakum Wa Lā Tađurrūhu Shay'āan Wa Allāhu Alá Kulli Shay'in Qadīrun(39)
Dr. Ragheb ElSergany