In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Dispenser of Grace
Friday 8th August 2014
Imam Shahied Gamieldien
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Dispenser of Grace
What we have been witnessing in Gaza over the past month are atrocities against humanity that violates every international law upholding human rights. The brutal attacks by the Zionist State of Israel on the citizens of Gaza that have resulted in the deaths of nearly 2000 Palestinians, many of whom are women and children. Israel’s actions are nothing short of a crime against humanity. Essential water and electricity and other essential infrastructural facilities have been destroyed.
As this wholesale murder and destruction in Gaza continues the stance of the international community is that of silence and submission. Such is the depressing reality of the world in which we live. A world in which the Zionist State of Israel can literally get away with murder!
Jama’ atul Muslimin,
At this difficult time in our history, when we are witnesses to global double standards and hypocrisy, the oppressed people all over the world are asking where is the justice in all of this?
We must remind ourselves, that the conflict between the Zionist State of Israel and the people of Palestine cannot and should not be reduced to a religious conflict between Jews and Muslims. This conflict is between a colonizer and its colonized people. It is a conflict between a prison warder, Israel, and its prisoners, the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
Our campaigns and solidarity in support of the Palestinian people, are aimed at defending and upholding the dignity and human rights of an oppressed people, irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian or Jewish. There is no place for silence or fence-sitting while watching the impunity with which Israel is committing genocide in its decimation of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.
Equally, there can be no place to call for ‘balance’ or ‘peace’ while Israel continues to hold the people of Gaza and the West Bank under siege, denying them the dignity and basic human right to live as free and equal citizens in the country of their birth.
Jama’ atul Muslimin,
The purpose of the jumu ‘ah khutbah is to guide Muslims as to their responsibilities and role in the face of the realities and challenges that confronts them from time to time.
At this time difficult time, when we are in deep pain because of the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Gaza, I believe that Surah al-Buruj can provide us not only with a useful perspective but with great solace and hope.
Let us briefly reflect on this noble Surah al-Buruj, chapter 85 of the Glorious Quran.
Allah, the Most High, proclaims:
85:1 By the heavens and its stars;
85:2 By the promised Day (of Judgment);
85:3 By the one that witnesses, and that which is witnessed.
85:4 Condemned are the companions of the pit (the fire):
85:5 Fire supplied (abundantly) with fuel:
85:6 when they sat around it (the fire)
85:7 And they witnessed and watched (all) that they were doing against the Believers
85:8 And they persecuted them for no other reason except that they believed in Allah, Exalted in Power, Worthy of all Praise!
85:9 Him to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allah is Witness to all things.
85:10 Those who persecute the Believers, men and women, and do not repent, will suffer the chastisement of Hell: They will have the chastisement of the Burning Fire.
85:11 For those w ho believe and do righteous deeds, will be Gardens; beneath which rivers flow: That is the great Success.
Surah al-Buruj (The Constellations), Chapter 85, of the Glorious Qur’an, describes a scene in which a group of believers who lived before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had been thrown into a huge pit of fire and burnt to death.
This ghastly act of extermination is made all the more abominable by the fact that it was witnessed by scores of bystanders (ashab al-ukhdud) who sat around the pit and did nothing to protest this atrocity.
Allah, the Almighty, reminds us in Surah al-Buruj that He is not oblivious to the suffering of the innocent and the oppressed.
The surah furthermore exhorts us to remember the stories of Pharoah and Thamud.
Despite the catastrophic end of such tyrants, those who reject truth and justice are loath to learn this fundamental lesson of history.
The surah issues a stern warning that the perpetrators of atrocities including their bystanders will suffer a painful doom. Allah, the Most Compassionate promises us in this instructive surah of the Glorious Qur’an that in the end the oppressed will have a great victory.
I would like to conclude by providing some modest guidelines as to what our role as conscientious Muslims and responsible global citizens should be in the face of the ongoing massacre in Gaza and this global indifference to the suffering of the Palestinians.
First and foremost, as conscientious Muslims and responsible citizens, we cannot mimic the bystanders of the pit (ashab al-ukhdud).
We cannot imitate the apathetic response of the international community and remain silent while innocent human beings are being unjustly slaughtered, maimed and rendered refugees in the land of their birth.
As conscientious Muslims and responsible citizens, we are duty bound to stand up firmly for justice and to show our solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.
Allah, the Sublime, commands us in many places in the Glorious Qur’an to stand for justice.
In Surah al-Nisa, Chapter 4, for an example Allah, the Most High, declares:
0 Believers! Stand out firmly for Justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it may be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives; whether it be against rich or poor, for Allah is nearer to them in compassion; therefore follow not the lusts (of your hearts desires) lest you deviate from justice; and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely Allah is aware of what you do.
The question is how best can we do this?
What is the most effective way to live up to the Qur’anic teachings and our own human conscience to display solidarity with the suffering children, women, and men in Gaza.
I would like to share with you three strategies that we could adopt.
First and foremost, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has TAUGHT us that:
“The Best form of jihad is speaking a word of truth in the face of a tyrant ruler.”
In light of the above, South African Muslims should make their voices heard loud and clear by speaking out against Israel’s acts of barbarism in Gaza.
I urge and encourage all of you to join the Palestinian Solidarity March in Cape Town this Saturday, 9 August 2014.
Second, we should also support the call on our ANC led government to back their words of condemnation of Israeli attacks with matching actions, by severing all diplomatic and trade ties with the Apartheid State of Israel.
It is not good enough for the ANC to hide behind the illusion that boycotting the Apartheid State of Israel is the responsibility of civil society, ANC structures on the ground and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
Our government must employ the same peaceful means of boycotting and isolating the Apartheid State of Israel as we so successfully called on the international community to implement against the Apartheid South African regime.
Third, as individuals, we can heed the call from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), to boycott companies and institutions that continue to maintain trade links with the Apartheid State of Israel.
Please join me in praying for the repose of the souls of all those who have died in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Du`a (Supplication) for the People of Gaza
O Lord of Mercy,
The people of Gaza are in urgent need of your mercy and assistance,
So pour down upon them your mercies,
and help them to resist their oppressors and to liberate themselves with honour and compassion.
O Lord of Compassion,
Comfort the hearts of those who are mourning for loved ones
O Lord of All-Humankind and of All-Cultures
Protect and shelter the children caught in the cross-fire no matter whether they are– Muslim, Jewish, or Christian.
O Lord of Peace,
May the new cease-fire lead to a long-term truce;
May the truce give time for compassion to flower where there was fear and rage;
May compassion give rise to a peaceful settlement that sees the liberation of the Palestinian people.