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Championing Palestine is a Religious Obligation for Muslims

The Palestinian struggle for liberation is the axis of all liberation struggles, and Palestinian subjugation to settler colonialism for the past 7.5 decades is the axis of all oppression.

To Muslims, it holds an even deeper sacredness from a spiritual perspective and as a Divine religious obligation. In the same way Muslims proclaim, ‘there is no day like yours, O Imam Husayn” (referring to the 10th of Muharram where the Battle of Karbala took place), there is no crime in history like that which Palestine is subjected to.

What singles out the ongoing genocide against Palestine since 1948 and renders it incomparable to any crime that has occurred in humanity is the systematic and planned nature of it. Specifically, it is characterized by the nature of settler colonialism, world superpowers conspiring to uproot the Palestinians, the magnitude and continuity of the oppression, and the denial of Palestinians’ right to return whilst being stripped of their dignity and basic human rights.

There is, however, another component that adds to the magnitude of the crime: the religious sanctity of Palestine. 

Palestine is the land of the Prophets of God, recognized by all Abrahamic faiths. It was chosen by God to be the first Qibla (direction of prayer) for the Muslims and is regarded as the third holiest site in Islam. Prior to the British mandate over Palestine, Muslims made up 85.5% of Palestine, while Christians and indigenous Jews made up 9.2% and 3.2% of the population, respectively.  Today, Muslims make up 85% of the West Bank and 99% of the population in the Gaza Strip. 

Why is Palestine a Core Religious Issue for Muslims?

In Chapter 17 of the Holy Quran, regarding the ascension of Prophet Muhammad to heaven from Masjid Al-Aqsa, God says:

“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs.” [Quran, 17:1]

This indicates that from a religious standpoint, to champion the cause of Palestine is to champion God’s cause, since God takes interest in Palestine and has sanctified its location in the holy scriptures. Therefore, even if Palestine happened to be a deserted land with no inhabitants, or if it was not the target of a settler colonial conspiracy project founded by the hegemonic global ruling system, every Muslim would still take interest in Palestine as a matter of religious obligation. 

It was God that chose Masjid Al-Aqsa to be the location of the first Qibla for the Muslims, and before that, it was the Qibla for the Jews. God appointed Masjid Al-Aqsa as the focal point and connection between the Earth and the heavens, to “a distance of two bows’ length or nearer” [Quran, 59:3], during Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to the throne of God. It was from this point on Earth that God began the Holy Prophet’s night journey and decreed for His Prophets to perform their prayers. Therefore, Al-Aqsa’s subjugation to aggression for over 75 years is a challenge against God’s will.

The concept of monotheism, or Tawhid in Islam, is the Divine plan to unite all beings and creation to move in harmony towards Him, and that can only happen through collective submission. The purpose of religious obligations and rulings are to guide all beings towards achieving this harmony in action. Equity and justice are recognized in Islam as the key achievements in worshipping God:

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (Qur’an 51:56). According to all Islamic sources, the savior of mankind will come and ‘he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny’ (Sunan Abi Dawud 4285). 

God Commands us to Stand Against Oppression

Injustice is the inherent characteristic of all corruption, and Muslims are ordered to stand against every oppression on this Earth as a religious obligation: ‘O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allâh, even though it be against yourselves’ (Qur’an 4:135). 

The oppression in Palestine is the mother of all oppression, due to the magnitude of the conspiracy, with the Nakba having been systematically planned for five decades prior. The Qur’an in Surah Mumtahina, verse nine, specifically forbids the befriending or maintaining of peace with those who have fought or driven Muslims out of their homes:

“Allah only forbids you from befriending those who have fought you for ˹your˺ faith, driven you out of your homes, or supported ˹others˺ in doing so. And whoever takes them as friends, then it is they who are the ‘true’ wrongdoers” (Quran – 60:9).

In Surah Hajj, verse 29, is the call towards the resistance of this oppression:

Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.” (Quran – 22:39)

Another layer to the magnitude of this crime is the use of religion as a cover for committing injustice and even killing in its name. In the first few verses of Surah Israa, God speaks of two instances the Children of Israel cause corruption, with the second instance specified as not having occurred yet: 

“And We warned the Children of Israel in the Scripture, “You will certainly cause corruption in the land twice, and you will become extremely arrogant” (Quran – 17:4).

It also predicts the victory of the oppressed people against this aggression:

“And when the second warning would come to pass, your enemies would ˹be left to˺ totally disgrace you and enter that place of worship as they entered it the first time, and utterly destroy whatever would fall into their hands  (Quran – 17:7).

Palestine as a Religious Obligation in Islam

In the same way the oppressors allied and colluded to uproot the people of Palestine, the coalition for truth and justice must stand up to this alliance, as it takes power in the collective. This is the responsibility of all the free people in the world – let alone Muslims – who must be a model for what God has commanded. 

It is for this reason that Imam Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, designated the last Friday of Ramadan as the day of Al-Quds. He chose the holiest of days in the holiest of months, to signify that facilitating the downfall of oppressive systems is on par with Divine worship and religious obligation. As a result, Al-Quds day represents the true, non-traditional and prophetic concept of Islam. 

Once the seeds have planted in the hearts of two billion Muslims globally that Palestine is a religious obligation and Divine commandment, a strong united front is formed that cannot be broken by the hegemonic powers. 

Al-Quds day also centralized the Palestinian cause as the point of unity between the Muslims and all justice seekers throughout the world. One of the greatest imperialist tactics is dividing the Muslims through perpetuating sectarianism, because in reality, it is the weakness of the Muslim Ummah that has allowed the unjust status quo to continue. 

Until the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979, there was no real action in the fight for Palestinian liberation, and it was this revolution that breathed life into the resistance movement in the region. It is the commemoration of Al-Quds day that has ultimately created an integrated resistance axis in the region, with the slogan of Al-Quds and Palestine as the focal point. This day proves that a right demanded is not lost in the passage of time if it is just and legitimate.

This movement has grown to become a major obstacle to the American aspirations of accelerating normalization with “Israel” and the two-state solution.

For more information, read TMJ’s in-depth report on US interests in supporting Israel.

The Unwavering Spirit and Resilience of Palestinians

In reality, the single factor leading the road to liberation is the steadfastness and resilience of the people of Palestine. It is their conviction that is bringing about change, such that their unwavering spirit defeats all their enemy’s tanks.

This conviction rests on the determination of the resistance axis, which has created the balance of deterrence on the ground, as there is no parity between the Israeli occupation entity and the resistance materially. 

This unwavering spirit has also created a new style for the resistance: creating big effects from simple and everyday items such as vehicles and cold weapons, which are outside of Zionist control. Whilst the Israeli occupation entity’s weapon of choice today is mass starvation of the Gazans in Rafah in order to create unbearable conditions there, it is Gaza’s determination to remain that will be the end of the Israeli occupation. 

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  • Batool Subeiti

    Batool is an Energy Engineer and Political Analyst based in the United Kingdom who often writes on matters related to contemporary politics and social issues.

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