Dr Bushra Nasir, Majlis Logan-West Queensland
There always has been racism, discrimination, and oppression in this world.
Rampant in places claiming to be liberators. But the history of humanity is filled with atrocities that we have committed. But, seeing the genocide unfold, almost minute by minute, live on social media, has put a different spin on the level of inhumanity that can be reached. All while the world is watching, in silence. We don’t need a history book to show us, we’re watching it all from the palm of our hands. The blatant hypocrisy of it all is even clearer, as modern progressives claim to care about humanity, but the problem is that they don’t care about actual humans.
While those in power remain silent, our understanding of human nature rearranges what we once knew and thought about the way society operates. The most documented genocide in history is redefining the very definition of humanity. This catastrophic humanitarian carnage is nearing its third month of continuous bloodshed. Yet, political leadership continues to remain numb. And society as a whole, continues to remain blind in the fog of poisonous propaganda. If what is happening now doesn’t alarm people, as to what the present and future of this world is coming to, and what our children will likely continue to experience in generations to come, nothing else will.
Remember that ultimately, we make things happen through our every action. Far more than we realise or understand, or intend. Our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences. What we do in this world has meaning, we are not nothing. Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are abundant with meaning and carry with them vast consequences. They constantly impact the unfolding story of the world, whether we realise it or not. Rather than wilfully ignoring and merely observing, if we choose to align ourselves with injustice, we continue to enslave ourselves to worldly pursuits and compromise our moral compass.
So, we cannot hide from uncomfortable conversations and hope the world becomes better for our children. We cannot be okay with protecting and promoting human rights only for those who fit the agenda. From the perspective of humanity, we must continue to educate, engage, and have difficult conversations. In a world spoon-fed with information, be the one who digs, who questions, who analyses. Be the one who thinks before swallowing the mainstream narrative.
Be the one to raise #VoicesForPeace. And then also, create action.
Because the gap between words and actions has never been bigger. Islam very noticeably protects your mind from the delusions of this world. Because it is something clear, that nothing in this world holds anything of substance. It is all just small, fleeting moments of light in the darkness. But God has promised those who believe, finding that light, a ray of hope in times of despair, His Mercy will descend. Islam has successfully shifted the human paradigm, entirely, because as we witness the resilience and complete trust in God, the men, women, children, fathers, and mothers demonstrate what it means to truly trust in God and to truly belong to the hereafter.
His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper), the fifth Caliph of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, further elaborates:
“…irrespective of differences of background, I believe that on the basis of humanity, we are all joined together, and should therefore be united. All people and all organisations must collectively endeavour to uphold human values, and strive to make the world in which we live a better and far more harmonious place. Consequently, if human values and human rights are not upheld in one country or region, it has a knock-on effect upon other parts of the world and such wrongdoing can spread further afield.
…if there is goodness, humanity and prosperity in one part of the world, it will have a positive effect on other societies and other people. As a result of modern forms of communication and transport, we are all now much closer together and are no longer confined or bound by geography. Yet, it is a strange and tragic paradox that even though we are more connected than ever before, we are actually growing more distant by the day. It is extremely regrettable, and a source of grief, that instead of uniting and spreading love amongst mankind, the world has paid far greater heed towards spreading hatred, cruelty and injustice.
People are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their failures and so each individual blames others and considers the division and conflicts of the world to be the fault of everyone else but them. Consequently, we are passing through a time of great uncertainty and no one can truly comprehend what the consequences of our actions will be, both in the short term and in the long term.” (17th October, 2016, Address at a special reception at Canada’s National Parliament in Ottawa)
And so, what it means to be a Muslim has more meaning in the current era. The concept of human rights – basic, fundamental rights of human beings towards each other, has become even more clearer. The goal for every Muslim should be to spread peace and love and to serve humanity, only for the pleasure of God. The Islamic model of human rights in particular is striking in its rigor, its vision and its relevance to modern times. The distinguishing feature of human entitlements in Islam is that they are the natural outcome of a broader practice of faith, deeds and social behaviour that Muslims believe are divinely mandated.
Islam’s contribution to human rights is best appreciated when viewed against the backdrop of world history as well as the realities of modern times. Social, racial, gender, and religious inequities continue to exist. Economic and social disparities have resulted in the oppression of the lower classes; racial prejudices have been the cause of subjugation and enslavement of people with darker skin; women have been weighed down by chauvinistic attitudes, and pervasive attitudes of religious superiority have led to widespread persecution of people with different beliefs. When considering the question of human rights and Islam, it is important to distinguish the divinely prescribed rights of Islam from potential misinterpretation and misapplication by imperfect human beings. Just as Western societies still fight against racism and discrimination, many Muslim societies struggle to fully implement the rights outlined in Islam.
Human rights in Islam stem from two foundational principles: dignity and equality. Dignity is a fundamental right of every human being merely by virtue of his or her humanity. Regarding equality, Allah (God in Arabic) clearly declares that in His sight, the only distinguishing factors between humans are righteousness and piety. Islam has addressed the social, racial, gender, and sectarian issues plaguing our global society. Indeed, the model of rights and mutual responsibilities enshrined in Islam has a tremendous potential for individual and social reform in the world.
Peace cannot be achieved without accepting responsibility – for individuals, for societies and for leaders of nations. Without accepting our faults, we can’t aim to overcome them. Without understanding the impact of our actions, we can’t begin to take action to counter them. The fundamental Islamic principles of universal human rights, justice, peace and compassion for others cannot be actioned unless and until we begin to emulate these attributes ourselves. Actions will always speak louder than mere words.
And, we must not forget that nothing is possible without Divine Guidance.
Our #VoicesforPeace, and our actions cannot achieve their purpose without prayer.
“Just as I continue to urge people to pray for the Palestinians, I reiterate the need to continue praying. May Allah the Almighty enable the world to truly act against oppression. Even though louder voices have started to be raised – they say ‘oppression is happening, injustice is taking place,’ – it seems that everyone is frightened of the Israeli government. Or, the Western world, by its very nature, is opposed to Muslims. There is hatred there, due to which they desire that injustices against Muslims either do not end, or the efforts that should be made to end them are not made. They do not consider that there are innocent children, innocent women who are being oppressed, and the elderly.
In any case, we cannot rely on them much, but efforts should continue to be made to raise awareness and prayers should continue.
May Allah the Almighty grant the Muslim countries the strength to have a forceful voice and by truly becoming united, speak out against this oppression and try to end it.” (Friday Sermon, 22nd December, 2023).