By: Hadiya Abdelrahman
“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a better protector to both (than you). So follow not your lusts, lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witnesses or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever well acquainted with what you do.” (Surah Nisa: 135)
Turn on your TV. Read your papers. Listen to your radios. Death tolls appear next to celebrity gossip. Murders, occupations, poverty, and injustice appear next to clothing ads. Numbers of the dead in result of poverty and war skyrocket daily. We do not blink when we hear stories of injustice. And if we hear accounts of injustice and oppression, we make excuses for ourselves as to why we can’t help. Simply, we have become a desensitized people to issues that we, as Muslims, are obligated to ending. We have closed our eyes, muted our mouths, and blocked our ears from the sad realities in front of us. I do not know why we have become indifferent to injustice. I do not know why we do not stand up and fight oppression. Is it fear? Or is it that we simply do not care? Have we not all heard the famous hadith that states, “The believers in their affection, compassion and love for one another is like one single body. If a part of it suffers from pain, the whole body will suffer in pain.” Then why is it that Iraq lost a million of its people and we did not flinch? Or that Palestine has been occupied for 62 years and we seem unfazed? Or that Somalia buried thousands upon thousands of its hungry dead? Or that Pakistan wakes up and sleeps on the distant sound of drones? Or. Or. Or.
Oh Allah, we have become too numb to feel. Too scared. Too caught up with our own lives. Too ignorant.
I do not know what holds us back. Truth is a voice that speaks louder than lies. Then why are we, as Muslims, too scared to raise it? Why can we not stand with the oppressed and needy? We are too comfortable with leading comfortable lives, going to comfortable lectures that preach comfortable topics, in where we can go home feeling comfortably spiritual, and comfortably sleep on it. I often ask myself, what will make them rise? When its their turn? And sadly, I see this as true. With the recent signing of the NDAA, I see a panic of petitions, facebook statuses, twitter posts, and various methods of shock and outrage over the fact that ‘our’ rights have been violated. Oppression isn’t an idea, we, Muslims Americans, fancy when it happens to us, but knowing that it happens across the world to our fellow Muslims does not seem to make us lose any sleep. Although I do not believe oppression, hunger, or injustice has a religion, it saddens me to see that Muslims are not standing up for Muslims when it is embedded in our religion to do just that. We are not an ‘each man to himself’ faith, we are a faith that embodies a painting in where varieties of colors and shapes beautifully compliment each other, where if one color or stroke is missing, it has lost its beauty. Presently, we seem to be staring at an empty canvas.
Oppression and injustice does not need to reach our doorsteps to fight against it. It does not need to claim a loved one for us to speak out. Educate others of the plight of your brothers and sisters in Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, China, etc. Do not wait till someone must speak for you, too. Do not hide behind your fears of being ‘too political’ or your excuses of ‘it’s not my thing’. Rise and speak. Be heard. Remember that,
“He who allows oppression shares the crime.” [Desiderius Erasmus]