Al-Aqsa Intifadah: What Can You Do?

By Najiyah Diana Helwani
Posted: 13 Rajab 1421, 11 October 2000

As I was reading and listening to the news from Palestine this past week, a familiar emotion began to rare its ugly head. As the news became grimmer and grimmer, I began to feel more and more helpless. Angry and indignant and frustrated, but most of all helpless. This is most likely a familiar emotion to many of those who keep up with world affairs and the state of the Ummah today. From Iraq to Bosnia to Kosova to Palestine, it seems everywhere you look there are Muslims being oppressed, abused and murdered. Sometimes instead of hopelessness these injustices foster aggression, guilt and hatred that turn either inward on oneself or outward on one’s family.

While natural to some extent these feelings of hopelessness can become a tool of Shaitan, who watches gleefully as our mind-set causes us to become paralyzed and fail to take any action at all. Or he celebrates even more while he watches us depend on the kufar for our brothers’ and sisters’ protection and assistance rather than relying only on Allah and coming together to provide that assistance as the Ummah should.

It is human nature to want to help our brothers and sisters physically. We are creatures of action – when we’re hungry we eat, when we’re frightened we run, when we’re attacked we fight. We sometimes allow ourselves to become too bound to the immediate, tangible world. We live day to day with the laws of nature and we become almost hypnotized by them, limiting our assessment of situations to what we can physically do to affect them.

Fortunately, Allah has given us much greater power than what our mere physical bodies can achieve. He has allowed us, even required of us, that we ask Him for His Divine Intervention in all situations. Indeed, in situations where we are not ourselves able to act, our requests that He intercede and our faith in His ability to do so reflect the true level of our Iman. Those of great faith never tire of petitioning Allah, and they feel the comfort of His power when they do so. "Indeed, to God do we turn in hope." [At-Tauba: 9:59]

So instead of fretting about the overwhelming hopelessness of the state of the Ummah, dig in and start praying! This will foster hope in Allah’s promises and spark you to contribute whatever you can to our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Allah will then multiply our efforts and we’ll reap the rewards of pure niyat and sacrificing action in the dunya and the akhirah, Insha-Allah. And Shaitan will be left miserable and alone by virtue of both our prayers and our actions in the way of Allah!

Things You Can Do to Help Your Fellow Muslims

  1. Don’t park yourself for hours in front of the TV watching the misery over and over again. Turn off the tube and go take action.
  2. Donate money or time to a group that is active in helping Muslims.
  3. If you don’t have money to donate but do own jewelry or other valuable items, sell them and donate the money.
  4. Write letters - even short ones - to media and governmental officials regarding the treatment of Muslims. Sometimes we avoid writing because we believe we aren’t articulate enough or don’t have time to write thoughtful letters. In situations like these sheer numbers of people making their voices heard often matter more than eloquence or grammatical precision.
  5. Organize or participate in local demonstrations on behalf of Muslims around the world whose voices can’t be heard.
  6. Explain the situations to your older children. It’s amazing how the world scene is so familiar to us that we don’t stop to realize our own children aren’t fully understanding the tribulations of the Ummah.
  7. Fast to keep yourself appreciative of the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon you and to increase your empathy with our brothers and sisters who are in difficulties.
  8. If you’re able (especially young brothers) consider taking time off school or work to volunteer with a Muslim charity or other organization. Why not? We all know the hadith about the Day of Judgement, when Allah’s shade will protect those who spent their youth serving Him! What good will that engineering degree do you on that day? Better to spend your time serving Allah by helping His servants!
  9. Brothers, if it comes to it and you’re able to, go join the struggle. The Ummah will be brought together only by individual Muslims making great sacrifices and standing up firmly for Islam (and in so doing making the struggle truly one of Jihad rather than nationalism). If we don’t come together here in the dunya, then hellfire will be the only thing to bring us together.
  10. Make your du’a at times when Allah most readily accepts them: when you’re traveling, when you’re ill, when you’re fasting and ready to break your fast, between the adhan and iqama of fajr, during sujud, and in the final third of the night.

Some du’a you can recite:

"O Allah, bind our hearts together. Set aright relations among us. Guide us upon the way of peace. Deliver us from darkness into light. Separate us from vile deeds, whatever may be concealed of them and whatever revealed. Bless us in our hearing and our sight, our hearts and our spouses, and our children. Grant us repentance, for You are the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And enable us to be thankful for You grace, and to extol You for it, and to be accepting of it. And perfect it for us." Prophet Muhammad (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) as quoted in Lasting Prayers of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

"Our Lord, pour forth upon us patience, and take our souls as Muslims." [Al-A'raf, 7:126]

"Our Lord! bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!" [Al-Kahf 18:10]

"O God, whoever holds command of an affair of my community and afflicts it with hardship, afflict him with hardship. And whoever holds command of an affair of my community and accords it kindness, accord him kindness." Prophet Muhammad (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) as quoted in "Lasting Prayers of the Qur’an and Sunnah."

"O my Lord! Forgive me, my parents, all who enter my house in Faith, and (all) believing men and believing women: and to the wrong-doers grant no increase but in Perdition!" [Prayer of Prophet Nuh (Nuh, 71:28)].

"Our Lord! In You do we trust; and to You do we turn in repentance; and to You is (our) final Goal. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for those who disbelieve, but forgive us, our Lord! For You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (Prayer of Prophet Ibrahim [Al-Mumtahana, 60:4-5])

"Our Lord, forgive us our sins and anything we may have done that transgressed our duty: establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith." (Prayer of the Believers after the Battle of Uhud [Al-i-Imran, 3:147])