Day 8 (Acquaint yourself)
It’s pretty old now that if you mention the oppressed people of one country by name, whether in a khutbah or status, you will be bombarded with the “but what about…” crowd. I remember one particular khutbah, an Oromo brother came to me afterwards in tears and said “you are the first person Ive ever heard make dua for the Muslims in Ethopia suffering from the Ahbash.” That really touched me because it was almost as if the brother felt like his cause was validated because “Ethopia” was mentioned in the khutbah. Just 15 seconds later, a “what about!” brother came to me and angrily said how come you never mention (insert country name)!
You can’t win in this situation nor should you try to and that’s not what this status is about. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) said: “The example of the Believers in their mutual love and mercy is like the example of a human body. If one part of it complains of any form of pain, then the entire body feels sickness and fever.” (Bukhari)
One of the most frustrating things in the world for me while attending various fundraisers around the country is that a Pakistani crowd will donate to Pakistan earthquake relief and an Arab crowd to the Palestinian cause in huge numbers, but when the causes of Burma and Somalia are mentioned, the numbers suddenly dwindle. In fact, when actual local causes are mentioned you can sense the mockery towards the idea of spending your zakat locally even though that is the preference.
The frustration is not due to the money; it’s due to the attitude that leads to that discrepancy. In essence, our causes have been reduced to petty nationalistic frenzies that are pure folly from an Islamic perspective.
Palestine never was a “nationalistic” call (reference Salahuddin, the Ottomans, etc.). Nor should Syria, East Turkestan, Somalia, Burma, or Bangladesh become such. This isn’t about waving flags, shouting slogans, or trolling Facebook statuses. This is about self-reflection, supplication, educating ourselves and others, and strategic political engagement. And we don’t have to wait for gory images in the news to do those things.
1. Abandon the sins that bring hardship upon the ummah (Quran 30:41). Flaunting a flag while simultaneously flaunting a sin is counterproductive.
2. Acquaint yourself with some of the not so popular causes.
3. Ask Allah in the depths of the night to support your brothers and sisters.
4. Give some amount of charity to a people you have no connection to what so ever so that it will be most sincere.
5. Study ways to educate people in a productive manner about the cause and explore ways to support it in the political arena.