It’s easy to feel helpless and weak watching the genocide unfold in Gaza. Some of the crimes are so horrific in their intent and outcome, that they almost paralyse the believer. However, this is from the traps of shayṭān and his allies, whose aim is to cause despondency and despair amongst the believers.
Allah ﷻ has given each one of us the means to aid our Palestinian brothers and sisters and enact positive change. Here are some of the ways we can do this:
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُوْنِيْٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
“And your Lord said: ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” (40:60)
Each and every one of us holds a very powerful weapon: duʿā’. We should never underestimate the power and strength of duʿā’. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The most incapable person is the one who fails to make duʿā’” (Ibn Ḥibbān).
Raise your hands and continue to make sincere and heartfelt du‘ā’, especially at times in which du‘ā’ is more readily accepted (e.g. between the adhān and iqāmah, at the end of ṣalāh). Make heartfelt duʿā’ in sajdah, especially in the last third of the night. Let Allah hear the desperation in your voice, and let Him see your tears. In order for your duʿās to be accepted, stop sinning and accompany your duʿās with good deeds. Strengthen your īmān in Allah ﷻ and have yaqīn that He will accept your duʿā’.
“Yaqīn is that you ask Allah for something, despite everything around you indicating that it won’t happen. But you are completely certain and sure in your heart that Allah will accept your duʿā.” – ʿUmar al-Mukhtār (raḥimahullāh)
2. Stop Sinning & Return To Allah
Allah ﷻ says,
إِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوْا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ
“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (13:11).
Our sins are the greatest barrier to the Ummah’s victory. Just as collective obedience leads to victory and dominance, collective disobedience leads to subjugation, hardships and loss.
“The most disastrous thing to do is to commit sins in times of trials & difficulties.” – Nuʿmān b. al-Bashīr (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu)
Since the war in Gaza began, we must ask ourselves: Has my life changed? Have I given up major sins? Have I stopped following individuals on social media who corrode my īmān? Have I stopped watching content that pulls me far away from Allah ﷻ? Have I stopped my ribā transactions?
In these times of trials, we must thoroughly review our lives and stop sinning. We must be especially careful of social media and not publicising our sins, since these are the ones that will not be forgiven by Allah. Let us strive to make sincere repentance and continuously seek His forgiveness, particularly in the darkness of the night. Let us always be mindful that our sins delay victory.
Let us pray every single farḍ ṣalāh on time. Let us pray in the masjid, including Fajr. Let us ensure we have paid our zakāh, and that we are being honest in our dealings. Let us not disobey our parents, or hurt our spouses and children. Let us purify our hearts from evil. Let us act, dress, talk, and eat like true Muslims.
Allah ﷻ says,
وَاسْتَعِينُوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيْرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِيْنَ. الَّذِيْنَ يَظُنُّوْنَ أَنَّهُمْ مُّلَاقُوْا رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
“And seek help through patience and ṣalāh, and indeed, it is difficult except for those are humbly submissive (to Allah); those who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him” (2:45-6).
When victory seems far and matters become really tough, many tend to lose heart and give up. To avoid this state of despair, Allah ﷻ provides us with an inexhaustible source of strength and energy: ṣabr and ṣalāh. Together they combine to infuse the heart with confidence and equip the believer with tranquillity and inner peace.
Ṣalāh is the direct link between the servant — an insignificant weak human being — and his Master, the Most Powerful. By attaching yourself to the Source of strength (Allah al-Qawiyy), you replenish your own strength and energy. Ṣalāh is the key to Allah’s unlimited treasures: it removes doubts from the heart and replaces it with īmān in Allah. It brings peace to the mind, as you disconnect from the worries of the world and place them at the door of your Master. This is why “Whenever anything distressed the Prophet ﷺ, he would pray” (Abū Dāwūd). Turning to prayer at times of difficulty was also the practice of the previous Prophets (Aḥmad). We should follow in their footsteps and hold on tight to the compulsory and voluntary prayers. Let us find strength, solace and serenity in conversing directly with the Lord of the worlds in ṣalāh; and let us ask Him for all our needs, especially in sajdah.
4. Be Sincere
Feel the pain of your brothers and sisters around the world. Ask Allah ﷻ to forgive you for not doing enough to help them. Be true and sincere in your concern for them, so that Allah will reward you for your sincerity, even if you are not physically able to help them.
There were some companions who did not have the means to join the Prophet ﷺ in the Battle of Tabūk. They did not feel happy at being ‘saved’ from participating in such a difficult and testing time. Rather they were deeply upset. Allah ﷻ praised them saying:
“But there is no blame attached to the weak, the sick, and those who have no means to spend, provided they are true to Allah and His Messenger – there is no reason to reproach those who do good: Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And there is no blame attached to those who came to you [Prophet] for riding animals and to whom you said, ‘I cannot find a mount for you’: they turned away with their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they had nothing they could contribute” (9:91-92).
It was their deep sincerity and strong conviction in Allah ﷻ which gained them this accolade. Thus, when the Prophet ﷺ was returning from Tabūk, he told his companions, “Certainly there are a group of people in Madinah who, each time you crossed a valley or travelled a path, they shared the reward with you. A legitimate excuse held them back” (Ibn Mājah). Allah al-Shakūr (The Most Appreciative) rewarded them for their genuine intention, and He recorded their truthfulness with Him, to be read till the end of times.
We cannot claim to feel sincere pain for our brothers and sisters if we continue to live as usual. Our hearts should share their deep pain, and shame us into abandoning the luxuries of this vanishing world and our consumerist lifestyles. Our goal can no longer simply be to accumulate the riches of the dunyā, be it clothes, cars, beautiful homes, the latest gadgets, or luxurious holidays. We have to live for something far greater.
Allah ﷻ says,
وَأَنْفِقُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوْا بِأَيْدِيْكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوْا ۛ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِيْنَ
“Spend in the cause of Allah and do not let your own hands throw you into destruction (by withholding). And do good, for Allah certainly loves the good-doers” (2:195).
While we indulge in an array of foods, our brothers and sisters in Gaza are starving. Whilst we live in comfortable homes, their homes have been reduced to rubble. Whilst we enjoy hot water from taps, they are forced to perform tayammum and share one bathroom between hundreds of people.
One of the easiest ways in which we can help our brothers and sisters in Palestine is to donate generously. We should give as much as we can, and even when the war finishes bi-idhnillah, we should continue giving so that Gaza can be re-built, even better than what it previously was inshaAllah.
6. Be Brave & Strong
Allah ﷻ says,
أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ ۚ فَاللّٰهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَوْهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُّؤْمِنِيْنَ
“…Do you fear them? Allah is more deserving of your fear, if you are (true) believers” (9:13).
Let us be strong and brave. Let us only fear Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We are people of Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh. Nothing can go from one state to another, except by the will and permission of Allah. Allah is in control: if He decrees for something to happen, and the whole world decides otherwise — it will happen. And if He decrees for something to not happen, and the whole world tries to make it happen — it will not happen. There is no power that can defeat Allah. He is al-Qahhār, The All-Dominant, The Supreme.
Let us emancipate ourselves from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism. Let us rid ourselves from the materialism, liberalism and hedonism that we are constantly bombarded with. Let us become mentally and physically strong.
We must refuse humiliation. Let us be confident in our identity. Let us find ʿizzah (honour) in our din, in the Qur’ān, and in the Sunnah. We have the best way of life: Islam. We have the best human being as our role model: the Prophet of Allah ﷺ. And most importantly —so long as we obey Him — we have Allah ﷻ, the Lord of the heavens and the earth on our side.
Let us not feel scared of what others say about us; or that if we speak the truth, we may lose our jobs. Let us support our organisations and community leaders who are facing repercussions for saying the truth. Let us offer them financial, moral and physical support.
7. Do Whatever You Can To Help
Allah ﷻ says,
يـٰٓأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْٓا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللّٰهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ
“Believers! If you help the dīn of Allah, He will help you and make you stand firm” (47:7).
In this āyah, Allah is instructing us to establish His dīn, do daʿwah, and strive in His Path. As believers, we should be committed to cultivating good in people and in society; and to end evil, injustice and corruption.
If we help the dīn of Allah, Allah ﷻ will help us. We cannot sit and slavishly follow the way of the corrupt disbelievers and then expect the help of Allah to arrive.
Let us ask ourselves: What have I done to strengthen and serve the din of Allah? What is my project for the Ummah? How am I going to become a strong believer? How am I going to ensure that my family are strong believers? How am I going to spread the word of Allah on His earth?
We should do whatever good we can. We cannot let Shayṭān make us think “What difference is this going to make?”
In addition to the above actions, here are some more actions that we can take:
– Raise Awareness & Learn: Educate yourself and talk to your friends, family and children. Talk to your neighbours and colleagues. Learn about the history and the virtues of al-Masjid al-Aqṣā and the blessed land. If you are an educator, educate your students. Facilitate and deliver ḥalaqahs, events, workshops, storytime and activities for children. Spread the truth on social media and through any other platforms that you may have.
– Boycott: Continue boycotting and don’t stop once the hype dies down.
– Use political means such as attending protests, signing petitions, and lobbying politicians.
Instead of thinking we live in depressing times, we should recognize that Allah ﷻ has placed us in an era with tremendous opportunities to serve His dīn; those courageous enough to do so will be rewarded immensely. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Indeed, ahead of you are days of perseverance (ṣabr), in which perseverance will be like grasping a hot coal. The one who does good deeds in these days will have the reward of fifty men whose actions are like yours” (Tirmidhī).
Every minute we have is a valuable gift from Him. Will we squander it, or will we make the best use of it to spread His Word on His earth?