Standing Up Against Oppression

By Ali Raza

Let me ask you a question; what is oppression? Now knowing the word and understanding the word are two completely different things. Is this just a word that is understood by the mind or could our minds actually perceive the reality of this word? Can we comprehend how it feels like to be oppressed? Later on in this short piece, we will answer this question. However, foremost let me paint a picture in your mind through another question.

If your beloved Prophet (pbuh) were alive today, what situation would occupy his mind the most? What would be that one event that would constantly keep his heart restless? Was it not he who came to end injustice? Was it not he who came to remove people from the darkness of ignorance, and teach them unity and to love each other. Was it not him he taught us that if one of your brothers or sisters in faith is distressed, then hasten to help them? Then in order to make sure that his nation does not become divided and lose these very precious values and morals, he appointed a successor by the will of Allah (swt). We know that on the day of Ghadeer his famous speech where he stated that who’s ever mawla I am, Ali is also his mawla. In the Arabic language, the word mawla has various meanings, but the characteristic of the mawla I am alluding to here is the one who liberates. Librates what? Frees us from ourselves. During Imam Ali’s (as) time as a formal ruler, he would try his best to make sure people were not left hungry, that they had shelter over their head etc. That same Imam would not let a person be oppressed for even a moment. But we, who call ourselves the followers of Ali (as) and Muslims at large, have let Palestine be oppressed for over 60 years. 60 years!

If the Prophet or the Imams were alive today, would they do what we think they would: a warm smile, a big hug and some nice words of praise for us? Or rather would they shake their head in complete disappointment? Ask yourself, what part would tear the heart more: the fact that there are people who are oppressed, or rather that those who claim to be Muslims do not assist them through the means that are available to them. Shaheed Muttahari puts it in a very beautiful manner where he says, “today our walls and homes should be moving for Palestine”. If Hussain (as) was alive today, would he not say that if you want to mourn for me, shed your tears for me, do seena zani for me, then your slogan must be Palestine. Yazid of 1400 years ago is dead; get to know your Yazid today. Can the Muslim ummah not hear the call that Imam Hussain (as) made on the plains of Kerbala, “is there anyone to help me?” Can we not hear a similar call coming from Palestine? It is a complete shame to call ourselves Shias. If we just understand the sacrifice and strength it takes to be a real Shia we would not call ourselves that. Do not say we are Shias, rather say we are the lovers of the Alul Bayt.

Then again, another question arises. Are we really true lovers? Iman, in the the Qur’an is regarded as not enough, without action. The same cannot be said about love. When you love someone, particularly in this case when we are speaking about the love of Ahlul Bayt (as) – then you try to act on their footsteps and obey them. The prophet (pbuh), has said, “The firmest handhold of faith is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah, to befriend Allah’s friends and to renounce his enemies”.  Imam al Bqir (AS) has said,” Religion is love, and love is religion.” The point that I am trying to get across is that we are neither true followers of Ahlul bayt (as) and neither are we thier true lovers. I recall a lecture by Sheikh Hamza Sodagar where he was mentioning a historical point that, the Jews also knew about the coming of the last Prophet. They even left their homes and moved to Makkah because that is what their revelations told them he would come. What ended up happening was that they abandoned the Prophet (not all but a good majority of them). Furthermore, they actually even ended up fighting against the Prophet. History tends to repeat itself, what happened 1400 years ago will most likely happen again when the Imam arrives. People will start to claim that the Imam has brought a new religion. No! In fact the Imam will bring the right religion, Islam in its purist form.

Therefore it is really crucial for us to stop pointing the negative qualities of others and start with self reforming. Today the Muslim world is shaking with all the uprisings going on. Ask yourself what have you done for them? Are you really satisfied with doing the least or should we who claim ourselves to be lovers of Imam Ali settle for something more. May Allah help us to step up and voice our opinions, to strengthen our will and to help all the Muslims around the world.  And last but not least, may Allah hasten the reappearance of our beloved imam (ajtfs).