Strengthening Global Muslim Solidarity: A Comprehensive Dialogue on Supporting Palestinians
Focused Interview with a Palestine Academic, Dr. Belal B.S. Salhab - Part 2
Iftekhar Jamil Fuad & Muhammad Mahyuddin Bin Mansor
What role does international support play in the struggle of the Palestinians?
International and political support plays a crucial role in critical times. Currently, the Zionists enjoy backing from various European nations, America, and other countries, granting them unchecked power. This support has led to widespread devastation, instilling a sense of fearlessness.
In contrast, in the past, lacking explicit permission and support, they faced constraints in causing extensive destruction and loss of lives. Without backing, they experienced stress, and the occupation encountered significant challenges. They were unable to inflict the same level of harm and destruction as they do now. The importance of political and international support cannot be overstated.
Islamic nations like Turkey and Qatar claim to support the Palestinian cause but refrain from providing any military assistance. Why is that the case?
To answer briefly, these countries support Palestine from a humanitarian standpoint. However, in reality, most of them have mutual interests with Israel, not of their own free will but rather under pressure from powerful countries like America. This is evident in the normalization of relationships with Israel, a goal pursued by Israel with all Arab and Islamic countries, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – precisely what Israel desires. It is advantageous for them if the Arabs align with them, especially Saudi Arabia, as this could potentially influence the rest of the Arab and Islamic nations to follow suit in normalizing relations.
However, this is not the current reality, and it is unlikely to change. Muslims worldwide will likely never accept such alignment. Israel's dominance and control over the Arab nations, backed by American support, hinder Arab countries from providing any assistance to Palestine beyond financial support for humanitarian causes. Even discreet support is challenging.
While it's true that Turkey and Qatar have made significant efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause and hold honorable positions in this regard, their contributions are primarily in the form of financial support for humanitarian aid to rebuild what has been destroyed in previous wars. Although this aid can be substantial, it is limited to monetary assistance and does not extend to military support.
Conversely, some Arab countries openly support Israel and adopt its narrative, such as the United Arab Emirates. This highlights the diverse and complex stances within the Arab world regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
n your opinion, what kind of help and support can the global Muslim community offer to the Palestinians during these challenging times?
Based on everything we have discussed at length; the Palestinian Issue is an Islamic Issue. This means that this issue pertains to all Muslims, regardless of nationality, gender, race, color, or anything else. It is our problem as Muslims. It is our responsibility. It is the core of our actions, our attention, our thoughts; it is within the essence of our belief, our Islam, our Quran, and the Sunnah of our Prophet ﷺ. It is our responsibility to stand for Palestine, and because this is our own issue, we do not accept empathy from Muslims. Empathy is from the other people who are not involved in our issue, the non-Muslims, from a humanitarian standpoint.
We Muslims do not empathize but stand for Palestine together as one, as mentioned in Surah Al-Anfal, verse 72: “But if they seek your help against persecution in faith, it is your obligation to help them, except against people bound with you in a treaty. Allah is All-Seeing of what you do.” When we identify an issue as our own, we would immediately know what to do: Anything and everything. At the very least, especially for women and children, as well as the elderly, would be to offer prayer.
All that is happening in Palestine is an atrocity, and as the Prophet ﷺ has said: “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith.” All three of these measures are demanded from every single Muslim on the face of this Earth, regardless of his background. We must bring forth everything within our power because when Allah mentions “Prepare against them what you believers can” in Surah Al-Anfal verse 60, He does not mean the minimum of what we can offer, but rather the very essence of everything in our ability, everything that is within our power to do.
The Arabs and Muslims today sometimes suffice with prayers, just words, and sometimes even without sincerity but only words upon the tongue. Instead, we must strive to bring change with our hands, our tongues, and our hearts. It is imperative that we explain to the people that each Muslim should help according to his own ability. A teacher should spread knowledge and awareness among the people, showing them the reality of the situation and explaining the whole issue from the very beginning. Also, teachers should educate them about their responsibilities to this cause. With their specializations, knowledge, money, prayers, and influence, such as YouTubers and other content creators, just one word can have a significant impact on society. Thus, every effort is demanded.
In conclusion, when this issue involves you directly, and your family, your property and everything that is dear to you, what will you do for its sake? That is exactly what is demanded from you to do for Palestine. You do not sympathize with it, you just cannot and should not. You must stand for Palestine and support its cause. You cannot just stand by idly as you watch all the photos and videos from social media, that is simply not acceptable of any Muslim to just follow up on things. As a Muslim, it is incumbent that you participate until Allah distinguishes you from the bad to the good, as mentioned in Surah Ali Imran verse 179.
You must know where you are on that plane. Are you with this faction or the other? You need to set and define it, by doing anything with your words, your writing, your voice, your pen, anything.
What do we do about the ambassadors that do not stand up on behalf of our country?
Firstly, this issue matters to you as a Muslim individual, no matter which country you are from. You do not need any ambassador or anyone to come up and speak for you. Thus, this matter remains significant to us, and we will continue to proceed.
Secondly, certain matters require official approvals, relying on the ambassador representing the nation and its people. It is their responsibility to fulfill this duty. However, when the ambassador does not come forward, it does not stop us, the people. We wait for no one.
Can you mention any positive examples of other nations helping and supporting the Palestinians?
There are many countries and nations supporting Palestine. Some contribute with knowledge, such as certain universities here in Malaysia that teach about the Palestinian struggle and its entire history. Some countries provide financial support, and others offer thoughts and ideas. For instance, a well-known scholar from Tunisia is actively involved.
These individuals and nations extend help to Palestine because they are aware of their responsibilities and act within their capacity. When they identify the issue as their own, they do whatever is beneficial to Islam and the Muslims.
Help and support should be grounded in knowledge rather than raw emotion. We move forward because we comprehend and understand the reality of the situation, not merely because we are frustrated with the massacre of women and children.
Looking ahead, how do you envision the Palestinian struggle in the next ten, twenty, and fifty years? How can other Muslim countries and societies contribute to this cause, and what potential consequences might arise if the Palestinian cause is ignored by Muslim nations?
Whenever a Muslim country is under occupation, we must fight for its freedom. The only future we can accept is the freedom of Palestine and Masjid Al-Aqsa, and this cause will not end until that freedom is achieved. Allah mentions in Surah Al-Anfal verse 8 to prepare what we can of power against the enemies of Allah, which includes strength, knowledge, and everything within our capability.
We may never know the amount of time it will take to achieve this freedom, as it can be slow or fast, following the Sunnatullah. However, it also depends on how much people stand and fulfill their responsibilities. The help of Allah will only come when we, as Muslims, stand with everything we have; that is the condition and equalization for the help of Allah to come. Allah mentions in Surah Ar-Ra’d verse 11: 'Indeed, Allah would never change a people’s state of favor until they change their own state of faith.' Hence, there must be change, not only from the Palestinians but from all Muslims.
Allah also mentions in Surah Al-Anfal, verse 72: 'But if they seek your help against persecution in faith, it is your obligation to help them.' By standing for our brothers, we stand for Allah SWT, and subsequently, Allah’s help will come. Allah SWT will not ask us about the outcomes of history but will instead ask what we have done for the freedom of Palestine. We do not wait to act, and it does not matter to us if it is tomorrow or in a hundred years. It would be wonderful and closer to the help of Allah if every Muslim in the world prepared an answer to this question, as Allah mentions in Surah Maryam verse 95: 'And each of them will return to Him on the Day of Judgment all alone.'
In the whole Quran, help never came by the number of Muslims nor by the weapons they carried; help against the enemies of Islam always comes from Allah. Allah mentions in Surah Muhammad, verse 7: 'O believers! If you stand up for Allah, He will help you and make your steps firm.' Help comes from Allah, and Muslims never lose, whereas defeat is only mentioned in the Quran when talking about the non-believers. Muslims either win or die as martyrs.
If the Palestinian cause is ignored by Muslim countries, their role will come upon them, and they will pay the price. This is because the Zionists do not only look at Palestine but all Arabic land surrounding Palestine. If you do not do something now, your turn will come tomorrow. Therefore, by standing up now, you are saving yourself from what is to come later. This issue is not only limited to the Palestinians because the Zionists’ hatred is towards all Arabs and all of Islam, in every place and all time. Your time will come upon you, and you will have to pay your dues, either with honor, support, and dignity, or you will pay with humiliation.
Allah mentions in Surah Ali ‘Imran verse 179: 'Allah would not leave the believers in the condition you were in until He distinguished the good from the evil ˹among you˺,' which means that there is no in-between. You define yourself as good or evil, and you cannot stand in the middle.
In light of the events of the past several years, are you optimistic, or have you lost hope and become pessimistic?
Your passage is well-structured, but for smoother readability and to enhance clarity, you might consider a few adjustments:
I am not pessimistic; rather, I have confidence in Allah’s help, and Glorious is He. Just as I can see you now in front of me, I see the help of Allah. There is no room for pessimism; there is only the possibility of us winning, or we win. This is confidence, as Allah SWT has promised us that His help is near, and I am certain that we will win, just as I am looking at you now.
Allah mentions in Surah Al-Maidah, verse 23: 'Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail.' We will prevail and emerge victorious in any and all situations, and this is undeniably optimism, for the future belongs to Islam and the Muslims. The ongoing challenges and sacrifices are fuel to restore the glory and honor of Islam and Muslims. There is no room for pessimism, and 'giving up' is not in our dictionary. We hold onto glad tidings and optimism at all times, and this confidence is ingrained in our belief in the Holy Quran. For a believer, anything that afflicts them is good; in hardship, they remain patient, and in ease, they are grateful. In Palestine, we face one of two possibilities: victory with the help of Allah or martyrdom, and even martyrdom is with the help of Allah, as Allah never breaks His promise.
One Day we will meet together in Palestine. By Allah, we will win, and we will pray together in Masjid Al-Aqsa soon, I will invite you to my home. if Allah wills. And this is our belief, our confidence, and our faith. “And on that day the believers will rejoice at the victory willed by Allah. He gives victory to whoever He wills. For He is the Almighty, Most Merciful.” Surah Ar-Rum, verses 4 and 5.
Dr. Belal B.S. Salhab is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh at AHAS KIRKHS, International Islamic University Malaysia.
Iftekhar Jamil Fuad and Muhammad Mahyuddin Bin Mansor are undergraduate students in the Department of Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh at AHAS KIRKHS, International Islamic University Malaysia.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.