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Fear Strikes

by Mazhar Barlas
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Mazhar barlas

Although I am writing these lines during a flight, I cannot forget the matter. My Arab friend often asks me, “What has happened to Muslims all around the world? They seem to have become silent in the face of oppression and tyranny. Why is your country so quiet? Have you forgotten what Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said about Israel? In the past, your country used to speak out against Israel, and the Israelis were always fearful of your nation. However, now your country remains silent. In fact, a group in your country attempted to stop Palestinians from protesting for their rights, and they even arrested a woman for chanting “Death to Israel.” Israel is no longer afraid of your country; it is now only fearful of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. It is not concerned about Arab nations at all, but it fears the moves of Iran and Russia.

It makes me wonder why the people in your country who claim to uphold religious principles remain silent. Your prominent religious leaders have supported the oppressor. They have tried to convince Palestinian Muslims that they are wrong. Doesn’t this make them fear God? How will they show their faces to the Prophet on the Day of Judgment? I listened to all his questions carefully, and I had no choice but to contemplate deeply.

I feel saddened because I belong to the Muslim Ummah, and I wonder how we will present ourselves to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the Day of Judgment. This scene kept playing in my mind. My friend asked me why I wasn’t saying anything. It was a new question that gave me the courage to respond.

I said to my friend, “You’re a Muslim too. Has your country played any role? I’m just a visitor in the UK for a few days. As a visitor, I find fasting challenging even during the daytime. But I will try to answer all your questions. After the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, some Muslims ended up being slaves, and in the previous century, at a time when no Muslim country was independent, some Muslims allowed themselves to be ruled by kings or followed the wishes of the military, ensuring that there was no return to true Islamic governance.

Now, the situation is such that out of the fifty or so Muslim-majority countries, only five are wealthy, while the rest are struggling. There is no doubt that Muslim-majority countries possess abundant natural resources, but how can one ignore the fact that either someone else is benefiting from these resources, or corrupt rulers are embezzling the wealth? It makes me angrier at Arabs because, despite their rich rulers, they are not helping their Palestinian brothers. Look at the size and strength of the Islamic countries around Israel. Isn’t it obligatory to engage in Jihad to help the Palestinians? Can’t you even shake Israel a little? It’s true that many Muslims have distanced themselves from the Quran. They lack the love for the Prophet’s family that he encouraged. Muslims merely protest against Israeli oppression, sign agreements, and limit their support for Palestine to words. Muslim countries’ populations are left praying helplessly, but there is no practical action.

At this point, I often recall Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. When will someone rise up without doing anything but praying? I often wonder how this Ummah will face God and the Prophet on the Day of Judgment. Is everything in this world only about money? Are Muslims in Muslim-majority countries so afraid that they can’t help their Palestinian brothers for fear of upsetting certain world powers? Are they not afraid of displeasing God? This poem by Ismail Gulgee keeps echoing in my mind. Except for a few consciences, it slaps the rest of us to wake up to the fact that life is not so prosperous that we can neglect our ethical responsibilities.”

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