If you think you have done enough for the people of Syria or have decided to wash your hands of it given the hopeless situation, cry. When you have wept enough, pray for those 470,000 lives who have fallen in Syria – and for yourself for failing them.
We Muslims are all failing the innocent civilians of Syria.
I am guilty too, with my empty words of criticism. We live in relative comfort in our nice homes and fridge full of nourishing food while innocent women and children on both sides in Syria are being bombed into ashes, both by pro-Assad forces as well as anti ones.
Meantime, we Muslims often sheepishly ask: O Sheikh, what is happening everywhere? Why are Muslims in Myanmar being slaughtered? They point out Palestine. They raise the injustices of Kashmir. They look at Iraq, Somalia and Syria – places with untold killings and senseless bloodshed – and we can’t help but ask:
Why is this happening to us, Muslims?
In the past when a given tribe would become disobedient, Allah would unleash his punishment on them. From the people of Lut to the city of Ad to the people of Nuh or the tribe of Saleh (peace be upon them all), we recall the punishment of thunder and lightening or of stones but today, we Muslims appear to be on the receiving end of this inexplicable onslaught.
What we myopically overlook is how Allah Azzawajal sometimes has a tendency of letting the situation unfold itself to the utmost worst extent – and when it reaches well beyond the ultimate tipping point, only then does Allah intervene. Allah says in the Quran 14:42:
“And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror].”
Ultimately, these events are meant to be a trial for you and me. To see who is steadfast and on the ground helping out in whatever way possible, rather than fleeing or giving up, out of hope and fear.
As an example, when the people of Makkah were plotting against the assassination of Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wa’sallam) just prior to the migration (Hijra) with Ali (radhiAllahu annhu) volunteering to sleep in his bed, and asking Abu Bakr (radhiAllahu annhu) to accompany him on his journey, travelling through some of the most inhabitable terrain, with the enemy closely following behind, Allah could have used the winged horse (Buraq), which was used to travel overnight across the universe to the heavens and used it again to help Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wa’sallam) travel to Medina. But alas, it was a trial. That was a conscious act or Allah’s preferred method of resolving matters for He states in the Quran 29:2:
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried?”
Think about it. Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) was arrested and punished. He was tortured and threatened and eventually catapulted into the fire. Only at the very end, when he had reached the fire did Allah’s help arrive by turning the fire into something harmless.
Therefore, don’t be disheartened about Muslims’ situation the world over and how they are being persecuted. Instead, think about how best YOU can help. Not just through your money, but your time or active and peace-seeking advocacy.
In the end, Allah is trying to see at this particular moment in time, who among you will help those most in need? Who among you will speak up about the injustices against the voiceless victims who are being slaughtered by the hundreds – and who is hiding underneath his/her blanket and falling into slumber (sleep)? Who is mumbling about the injustices and doing nothing else?
Who among us foolishly thinks all the people of Syria need is our pocket change or a few hundred dollars donation from your tens of thousands (if not more) in savings?
Note that in the Quran Allah could have said: Whoever is patient, you will be rewarded with Paradise. Or He could have said: Allah will reward you with lots of good deeds or a river in paradise or palace in paradise.
Instead, Allah says: INNALAHA MA US SABIREEN: ALLAH IS WITH THOSE WHO ARE PATIENT, demonstrating Allah himself is with him/her who is patient.
Those who have been mercilessly killed are no doubt in the final abode of Jannah. But they have left behind on this earth a trial for you and me, a trial from Allah. The question therefore isn’t when will Allah’s help come for Syria but how will we fare in this test?
I end with an oft-quoted hadith: The whole Muslim Ummah is like a single body. If one part is in pain, the other part feels it too, is yet another important reminder. If a fellow Muslim in North Africa is in pain, Muslims as faraway in down under Australia should be able to feel it. Only then can we, can I truly call myself a true Muslim.
And if I am disconnected from the pain and suffering of other Muslims, perhaps Islam is not in me.
Find a worthwhile Syria cause and contribute.
Pray. Cry. Do something. Regret you can’t do more. Repeat. And I leave you with the words of Allah as a means of a reminder and no doubt, hope. He says in the Quran 2:214:
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,”When is the help of Allah ?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.”