Am I Responsible for the Tragedies in Gaza? Featured

By Dr. Ahmed Issa February 18, 2024 901

While I was reading the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Rather, Allah supports this Ummah because of their supplication, their Salah, and their sincerity” (narrated by An-Nasa’i), I understood that the sins of the people have an impact on exposing them to harm from their enemies. As I continued to follow the news of my fellow Muslims in Gaza facing immense tribulations, with 24,000 lives lost, I felt a prick in my conscience. I became troubled and burdened, and a thought crossed my mind: what if I’m the cause of what is happening to the Ummah and the people of Gaza!

But then I kept thinking: How can that be when I am just one individual, having no authority, power, or influence?

My conscience interrupted harshly, blaming me: It is because of your sins, transgressions, negligence, indulgence, incapacity, laziness, cowardice, and stinginess.

But I kept asking myself: Why do I blame myself for the state of the nation?

I then thought, O you the slave of Allah, where is your supplication, your prayers, and your sincerity? Do you fear Allah alone? Do you consider the Hereafter and hope for His mercy? Do you maintain family ties? Do you lower your gaze? Do you show kindness and respect to your parents? Do you raise your children properly? Do you treat your spouse with love and mercy?

 

 

Sins, transgressions, negligence, laziness, and stinginess are the reasons for the Ummah’s defeat

 My soul questions: Are you one who seeks Islamic knowledge and preserves religious duties (Fard) and recommended acts of worship (Sunan)? Do you maintain daily remembrances (adhkar) and recite your portion of the Quran? Do you follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Do you exhibit good manners in your speech and conduct?

Do you work for the Hereafter, or do you love this world and crave wealth? Do you earn from (halal) lawful sources?

Have you not heard the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): 'O Lord, O Lord,' whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful, and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?” (Sahih Muslim)

I screamed at myself: You love wealth, and therefore, you might lie, cheat, break promises, and engage in usury. You may consume the wealth of orphans, widows, and inheritance’s money, especially the women, and you have delayed repaying your debts. You are miserly towards your family and the needy.

My soul continued rebuking me: You get angry, you envy, you seek leadership, you insist on your opinions, admire your desires, harbor jealousy, and think negatively of others.

I have been exposed and accused by my own self: I see in you a slackness in obedience, negligence, procrastination, preoccupation with people's faults, obsession with superficial appearances, tribal and racial bias, resemblance to those who follow whims and innovations, indulgence in desires, and wasting of time.

I still said to myself, But aren't there many righteous people in the Ummah?

My conscience, then, reminded me of the question posed by Zainab, the Mother of the Believers, before me: “Shall we perish while still there will be righteous people among us?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Yes, when wickedness prevails.” (Sahih al-Bukhari) In other words, Allah may send destruction upon a people even if there are righteous individuals among them, when corruption, wickedness, and transgressions become prevalent.

 

Begin with yourself, fix your shortcomings, and strive to perform the obedience deeds that you lack in worship

I embarrassingly asked, Could the delay in victory for Gaza and the entire Ummah be because of me, just one of two billion Muslims?

I responded: This is what those who evade responsibility always say, using the excuse that others will take care of it. If everyone adopts this attitude, no action will be taken.

There is a story told about a village where the residents agreed to collectively prepare food the next day to offer to travelers passing by, thus gaining a reputation for generosity. However, when morning came, they were all surprised to find that none of them had brought any food because they had relied on each other to fulfill the task.

I asked: Do calamities befall us as a result of sins?

Then I recalled Allah saying, “Why [is it that] when a [single] disaster struck you [on the day of Uhud], although you had struck [the enemy in the battle of Badr] with one twice as great, you said, 'From where is this?' Say, 'It is from yourselves.' Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.” (Aal-Imran: 165) This means when calamity befell you during the Battle of “Uhud,” you wondered where it came from, while we are Muslims and the enemies were polytheists, and we have a Prophet who receives revelations from Allah, while our enemies are those who reject Allah and commit polytheism. Allah told the Prophet to say to the believers, What has befallen you is from yourselves, due to your disobedience and abandonment of My commands (Tafsir al-Tabari).

I then continued to wonder, Won't Allah forgive me as He forgave the companions in the Battle of “Uhud?” Then I paused for a moment and said, But how did He forgive them when seventy of them were killed, including the Prophet's uncle, Hamza, and the Prophet’s front teeth were broken, and he suffered injuries to his face? As Allah says, “Until [the time] when you lost courage and fell to disputing about the order [given by the Prophet] and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you love. Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them [defeated] that He might test you. And He has already forgiven you, and Allah is the possessor of bounty for the believers.” (Aal-Imran: 152)

I remembered that it has been reported from Al-Hasan that Allah, the Almighty, informed them, “I forgave you when you disobeyed Me. If I hadn’t, I would have eradicated you.” Then He says, These are the ones with the Messenger of Allah, fighting in the cause of Allah, the enemy of Allah. They were forbidden to do something, but they did it. By Allah, they were not left until they were afflicted with this distress. So today, the transgressors dare to commit every major sin, indulge in every evil, and claim there is no harm upon them! They will come to know (Tafsir al-Tabari).

 

The near victory from Allah is not for everyone who claims faith and affiliation with Islam

 My eyes started to well up with tears, and my skin shivered in fear of Allah. I never imagined that I could be a cause among the reasons for the sufferings of people in Gaza, facing hardships and the loss of innocent lives. I used to place the blame entirely on organizations, leaders, enemies, and adversaries, without considering my numerous shortcomings and grave sins.

I asked myself, how can I find relief from this distress?

I, then, replied, begin with yourself, restrain it from its wrongdoing, educate and reform it, and engage in submission deeds to Allah. Abandon what Allah has forbidden, and sincerely dedicate your worship and supplication to Him. Support your brethren in Gaza with everything you can.

Consider the words of Allah: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Ar-Rad: 11) If people change from obedience to disobedience, from gratitude for Allah's blessings to neglecting them, Allah will change the blessings and goodness He granted them into hardship and deprivation. Similarly, if individuals change from disobedience to obedience, Allah will change their condition from misery to goodness, joy, and mercy. (Tafsir al-Saadi)

I said, yes, I will change, and I will no longer underestimate the gravity of even the smallest sins, so that I won't be a cause for the hardships facing the Ummah.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Beware of (evil) deeds that are regarded as insignificant, for they gather upon a person until they destroy them.” (Sahih al-Targib)

I now understand that the close victory from Allah is not for everyone who claims faith and affiliation with Islam. “Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that - then those are the defiantly disobedient.” (An-Nur: 55)

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