I switched on my TV to try and get the latest news on the terrible situation of our brethren in Gaza. Although I attended the big demonstration today in London, calling all the Arab rulers to account for their inaction, I still find that after the cooking, cleaning, wiping runny noses and picking up toys, the thoughts of Gaza start escaping me. So in a worried flurry I feel I need to feel what's happening again - I mean if it was my mother, sister and own children, would I just switch off just because I'd been to a demo for a couple of hours that day? It might have made me feel like I'd done my bit today, and I could go to sleep content tonight, but it's not about me is it? It's all about them. And their suffering doesn't end, even though I can switch my TV off... Anyway having found some actual footage of Gaza which seemed to vaguely reflect what might be happening, I found a very pleasant brother inshaAllah I pray, earnestly raising funds for his Muslim brethren in Gaza on this particular channel. He pleaded with the Ummah to remember their brothers and sisters, and their relationship to them, and empty their pockets so the charity could send food and other necessities in this trying time. It was the emergency 'Gaza crisis appeal' and the harrowing images on the side of the screen accompanied the bank details of the Islamic charity who were conducting this noble cause.
I really pray Allah SWT rewards the brother and all those who assisted him on that programme for his efforts, and for reminding us all that those people out there are our people, just as much as the very people we live with in our home. However it made me think - when I have watched footage of an absolutely devestated mother, mourning the death of her 3 children, the thought about how she would feed herself, or even keep herself warm that night, really wasn't the first thought to strike me. All I could think about was how could her three innocent children be slaughtered in this way in the first place? Of course I pray the woman is fed and clothed properly, after the ordeal she has been through, but much more than that - I pray that no other woman like her has to go through what she went through.
It is without a doubt the people of Gaza will need emergency provisions over the coming days, as they always have, and many charities have been dedicated and committed to accomplishing this. Nobody would deny this is a weighty and noble cause. However food, shelter and clothing has no bearing on the occupation, oppression and absolute injustice the people of Gaza are subject to, day in day out, not just over the last few days, but since the establishment of Israel. There was a grandmother giving a television interview a while back and she was talking about how she has lived in the muddy squalor of a refugee camp, in a makeshift tent for so many years, and now her grandchildren have the honour of experiencing this too. Food and clothing from charities was what largely fed this woman and her family, and may Allah give the people who provided this for them, much reward. However no amount of food and clothing has been able to enable this woman, her children and her grandchildren to return to their rightful home, occupied by Israelis. Charity has kept her alive, but not at all changed her situation.
Making ourselves feel better, I think, is something key. Because in the society we live in, often charity - be it Children in Need, comic relief - is often plugged by reminding people how good it feels to help others. And this is natural within human beings, that we like to help others like ourselves, but this shouldn't be why we do it. As if this is the case, we may do the action which makes us feel better, but is not in the best interest of those we are helping. The emotion of seeing the dead and injured in Gaza, makes us want to have some sort of release - Emptying your pocket there and then, has an instantaneous result and can give us the feeling that we have done our bit. We can then brush our hands and walk away to get on with our lives. However if we have the wellbeing and best interests of the people at heart, then we will realise that giving charity helps, but is in no way the solution for the problem in Palestine and if we do give charity, we can in no way feel that we have done our bit period.
The solution for the tanks and ground forces which have recently wormed their way into Gaza is of course not blankets and food. It's resistance, as strong as the offensive is. It's a resistance that has the capacity and capabilities to fight the likes of tanks and state of the art phosphorus bombs, led by a just ruler who does not have revenge or personal power at his heart - But has the oppressed people, and the stolen land as his central drive. Unless we call for this, we will just be feeding and clothing the people in Gaza to keep them alive and well, and as better bait, for the Israeli soldiers to come and kill. A bit crude, but that's it really, isn't it?
A Muslim does not act by emotion or by the rage of his heart, he is higher than this. He is led by his mind and its thinking to undertake the correct actions, in line with Islam. Thus let us not be like those who act purely by base desires, doing things because it makes us feel good, regardless of what the consequences and impact is. As let's face it - as the tanks roll in through the thick of the night, and the bombs illuminate the black, still sky as I write, do the people of Gaza really cry for a wide variety of foods and a selection of clothes?