Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful
There’s a hadith that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Day and night – I cant stop thinking about it. I wish I could say otherwise, but the thought of it pains me. Not because of the hadith itself – on the contrary, it is a beautiful hadith that shows the special bond between believers, the love we have for eachother, the dedication to one another, and the unity of purpose. The real reason behind my sadness is because as an ummah today we fall so very short of this ideal.
The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever. (Muslim)
I can’t help but ask me self over and over again…how many of us are aching..truly aching?? How many of us feel pain?? And more importantly, as an ummah, what are we doing about it?
Its with a heavy heart that I sit here, in the country that once boasted of its military might, still calls itself the “mother of the world” and yet I see nothing but apathy. Yes, most people are not happy about the situation in Gaza…many are making dua, many are donating, and some are striving in the cause in whichever way they can. But where is the so called mighty Egyptian army? Not only do they not help their brothers and sisters, but they are actually policing the border to ensure that no Palestinians can escape the massacre, and no goods can be brought in to help their brothers and sisters. I honestly don’t know how they can sleep at night.
People aren’t happy…but really feeling pain would entail the willingness to make some sacrifices to eliminate the pain, but that’s just not happening here. I speak to people, and I hear the same sentiments. ‘If the other Arab nations think that opening the border is such a great idea, why don’t they open their borders??’ ‘Its just the excuse that Israel is looking for to attack Egypt.’ Although they are not saying it directly, I keep reading the same words between the lines “better them than us”.
My Arabic teacher was telling me an interesting story the other day. I can’t remember it exactly word for word, but it goes something like this.
There was a wolf and three sheep; a red sheep, a black sheep, and a white sheep. The wolf naturally desired to devour the sheep, but as they were three and he was one, he was powerless to do so.
One day when the black and white sheep were grazing alone, he approached them. “The red sheep is so bright, he will attract the attention of preditors…he is putting your lives at risk! Why don’t you let me help you and get rid of him for you?” The black and white sheep thought about it, he was right, the red sheep was rather bright, and it was possible that he would bring them danger. And so they agreed.
The next week the white sheep was grazing on his own when the wolf approached him: “You know that black sheep is a bit eye catching as well, you’d do much better if you were on your own without having to worry about any attention he may attract. How about you let me take care of him for you?” Fearing for himself the white sheep thought he may have had a point. And so he agreed.
Then there was only the white sheep. The wolf approached him one day, ready to devour him. Alone and vulnerable the white sheep realised that he would be powerless against the wolf. “But we had a deal!” he cried. The wolf replied “You made this possible the day you allowed me to kill the red sheep”.
Let us not be like the white sheep, plotting with our enemies, and sitting idly while our enemy devours and slaughters our brothers and sisters. All the while we take comfort in the fact that it is not us that they are after. But we need to ask ourselves…who do you think they’ll come for next?
It reminds me of a famous quote, ironically written about Nazi Germany:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.
They have successfully divided us through artificial borders, nationalism, sects, and petty differences. Each group focuses on themselves and disassociates themselves from one another in order to acheive some imaginary benefit, and thus we become weaker and weaker.
I don’t care what colour you are, where you’re from, or if you have a differences of opinions – we need to stand together and unite. We have a common book, a common belief, and a common cause. We need to once again remember the words of our beloved prophet, we are but one body, now how about we start acting like it?