The Ummah’s Duty in Backing Palestine Amidst Governments Failure!

By Dr. Salah Soltan March 18, 2024 110

Through understanding the religious texts and keeping up with the daily events on the ground in Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, and global contexts, I can say: It is a religious duty upon all Muslims, individuals, organizations, groups, and governments to support the Palestinian people.

Among these pieces of evidence are:

  1. The Quran mentions and encourages spending while condemning stinginess and miserliness in 133 instances, including 23 specifically about Zakat in both Meccan and Medinan ayahs. Additionally, it includes 100 times emphasizing spending in general to meet both public and personal needs.
  2. The Quran's largest area of emphasis on spending is on the needy, as mentioned in 21 instances regarding the channels of spending. Meanwhile, spending for jihad for the sake of Allah is mentioned in 14 instances. Both of these rulings apply to the people of Palestine.

30 Evidence

  1. In my study on the authority of the ruler in imposing financial obligations (taxes) (pages 180–221), I presented more than thirty pieces of evidence from the Quran and Sunnah indicating that financial duty extends beyond Zakat to include other rights sufficient to meet all the needs of Muslims and others living under the Islamic state.
  2. Islamic legal principles mandate relieving our Palestinian brethren on every Muslim. Among these principles are “harm must be removed,” “personal harm is tolerated for the sake of public interest,” “the greater harm is removed by the lesser,” “fulfilling the need is a necessity, whether public or private,” “whatever is necessary to fulfill an obligation becomes obligatory,” “the obligatory and the beneficial serve the necessity,” “disrupting what is necessary disrupts the obligatory and beneficial,” and “partners in a mutual financial benefit must act when one of them is in need of avoiding harm or preserving the benefit, mandating the consent of the other.”

These legal principles mentioned by al-Suyuti and Ibn Najim in the “Al-Ashbah wal Nazai'r” book, al-Shatibi in the “Al-Muwafaqat fi Usul al-Shari'” book, or Ibn Rajab in the “Qawaed Fiqhiyyah” book mandate the urgent relief of our brethren because there is real harm, which is the failure of the Islamic project, leading to widespread despair in the Ummah. Not to mention the obligation of supporting the jihad of our brethren in Palestine with a strong financial and moral stance that grants the Ummah any excuse before its Lord.

Consensus on the Obligation of Spending

5- Scholars of the Muslim Ummah, in all jurisprudential schools, unanimously agree, both historically and contemporaneously, on the obligation to extend assistance to every needy and distressed individual. Al-Qurtubi narrated in his Tafsir (1/25) the consensus of the scholars on this matter. Every Muslim can verify this in the Hanafi school with Al-Sarakhsi in “Al-Mabsut” (2924) or Al-Kasani in “Bada'i Al-Sana'” (6/188), in the Maliki school with Malik's “Al-Muwatta” (p. 71), with Al-Baji in “Al-Muntaqa” (6/39), with Ibn Maky in “Al-Qawa'aid” (2/21), and with al-Shatibi in “Al-Muwafaqat” (1/97). In the Shafi'i school, it can be found in the works of Al-Juwayni in “Al-Ghayathi” (sections 42–337). Additionally, Al-Mawardi discusses it in “Al-Ahkam Al-Sultaniyya” (p. 183), Al-Nawawi in “Al-Majmu'” (9/2), and Al-Shirbini in “Mughni Al-Muhtaj” (4/308). In the Hanbali school, it can be found with Al-Farra' in “Al-Ahkam Al-Sultaniyya” (220), and Ibn Qudamah's “Al-Mughni” (8/102, 11/343), as well as in the Zaidi school in Ibn al-Murtada's “Matn Al-Azhr” (2/554).

There are explicit statements from many of these jurists affirming the right of the hungry, sick, and needy to fight for their entitlement to charity. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi also referred to this in his program “Sharia and Life,” which aired on Al Jazeera in a special episode on April 1, 2006, about “the rights of the hungry.”

6- Explicit statements from many scholars of the Ummah emphasize that individuals must fulfill their duty towards their needy brethren, even if it exceeds the obligations of Zakat.

Among these statements:

  • Ibn Hazm commented on the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari with its chain of transmission from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “He who is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” He said, “And whoever is well-off and sees a Muslim brother hungry and unclothed and does not help him, then without a doubt, he has not shown mercy.” (Al-Muhalla 6/157).
  • Ibn Saad mentioned in “al-Tabaqat al-Kubra” (3/316) and (2/216) that Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) in the year of Dust urged that if he couldn’t find enough money for the people, they must share their provisions, for they wouldn’t perish if they ate half their stomach's needs.
  • Al-Mawardi mentioned in “al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya” (182) that Umar ibn al-Khattab imposed a ransom on a group for the death of a man who died of thirst because he asked them for some water but they did not give him until he perished.
  • Al-Hindi mentioned in “Kanz al-Ummal” (15823) and Ibn Hazm in “al-Muhalla” (6/158) that Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Indeed, Allah has mandated for the poor a share from the wealth of the rich according to what they can afford. If they withhold it until the poor go hungry or struggle, Allah will hold them accountable severely and punish them severely.”
  • Al-Juwayni said in his book “al-Ghayathi” (339): “If one poor person perishes and the wealthy know about it, they are all considered sinful.” He also said: “If one poor person perishes among the wealthy, all will be considered sinful, from the first to the last of them, and Allah will seek them out and hold them accountable on the Day of Resurrection.”

The Obligation of Fighting the Occupier

  • Ibn Taghribirdi in “Al-Nujum al-Zahira” (7/72), and Ibn Kathir in “Al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya” (13/215), reported what Al- Izz ibn 'Abd al-Salam declared, stating that when the enemy attacks the lands of Islam, it becomes obligatory for the entire world to fight them. It is permissible to take whatever assists in their jihad, stressing the obligation of selling gold and luxurious items owned by the rulers to support the needs of Muslims in jihad.
  • There is also consensus among contemporary scholars on the obligation to spend wealth on the needy, whether from Zakat or beyond Zakat. Among them are Sheikh Bahi Al-Khuli in his book “Wealth in the Shade of Islam” (p. 913), Dr. Abdul Salam Al-Abadi in his book “Ownership in Islamic Law” (2/278), my esteemed professor Dr. Muhammad al-Baltaji in his book “Individual Ownership in the Islamic Economic System” (p. 259), Dr. Youssef Ibrahim Youssef in his book “Public Expenditure in Islam” (p. 112), and our Sheikh Al-Qaradawi in “Fiqh of Zakat” (2/961–992).

From these numerous pieces of evidence, the following rulings are extracted:

  1. It is obligatory for every capable Muslim to donate a portion of their Zakat or wealth to their brethren in Palestine due to the political and humanitarian dimensions of the humiliation inflicted upon a people whose land and our holy land have been occupied, belittling the dignity of the Ummah through this aggression, siege, and displacement of an entire population.
  2. If the wealthy of the Ummah were to pay their Zakat or a portion of it to alleviate the current situation, even from the Zakat of future years, it would be a commendable and beneficial act. The early scholars, such as Al-Hasan and Sa'id ibn Jubayr, Al-Zuhri, Al-Awza'i, Abu Hanifa, Al-Shafi'i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq, and Abu 'Ubaid, permitted the advance payment of Zakat. This was due to what Muslims narrated: that the Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted Al-Abbas to pay a two-year charity in advance. This matter was extensively discussed by our esteemed Sheikh Al-Qaradawi in his book “Fiqh of Zakat” (2/821–837).

 Zakat al-Fitr Fiqh

  1. If we examine the jurisprudence of Zakat al-Fitr, which is obligatory upon every Muslim, rich or poor, adult or child, man or woman, in these circumstances, every Muslim on the face of the earth must contribute something to meet the needs of their brethren, who are besieged by the enemies of Islam by all means.
  2. If five Quraysh polytheists conspired to violate the treaty boycotting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions, as Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in “Zad al-Ma'ad” (2/19) and Ibn Hisham mentioned in “The Sirah” (1/25), are there not similar individuals in the Muslim Ummah? Are there not in the whole Ummah like these five (Hisham ibn Amr, Al-Mut'im ibn Adi, Abu Al-Bakhtari ibn Hisham, Zam’a ibn Al-Aswad, and Zuhair ibn Umayyah)?!

Are there not among their chivalry wealthy and influential political figures who strive to break this siege on the Palestinian people?!

  1. If the Arab chivalry prompted the polytheists of Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib to stand united with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions, supporting and joining them in this boycott, as reported by al-Bukhari in “Fath al-Bari” (3/529), the cries of women and children out of hunger were clearly heard.

Wouldn't it be possible for the Muslim and Christian Palestinian ranks to unite in organizations such as Fatah and others under the common slogan “Hunger, rather than submission”?

 Surely, relief and empowerment will come from Allah, as happened in lifting the economic boycott of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions.

Self-reliance Strategy

The blockade imposed by the new oppressive regime necessitates parallel strategies for the Palestinian government specifically and Arab and Islamic governments generally:

  1. An emergency line is required to address the current situation, including paying salaries to workers and sustaining the people's livelihoods. Government officials should lead by example, as did Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab during the year of Dust, by being the last to receive their salaries. This would serve as proof of the principle that authority is not about usurping wealth but about sacrificing for the welfare of the people.
  2. A preventive line is essential, focusing on self-reliance and long-term economic independence through productive rather than consumptive means. This aligns with the numerous teachings of the Prophet: “No one has ever eaten better food than what he eats as a result of the labor of his hands. God’s prophet David used to eat from what he had worked for with his hands.” (Al-Bukhari, 1930)

Sovereignty, as Sheikh al-Sha'rawi (may Allah have mercy on him) stated, depends on the wisdom derived from self-reliance. It requires adopting the motto, “We eat what we sow and wear what we manufacture.” While challenging, it is not impossible and necessitates determination, patience, and dignity. We can draw inspiration from Malaysia's economic transformation and aspire to establish a common Islamic market. Additionally, we should study the project envisioned by Necmettin Erbakan, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, aimed at consolidating Islamic productive capacities to build a free Islamic economy.

 

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