Part-Time Protests

If the Muslim ummah is good at anything, it’s fighting for a cause. Protests, boycotts, demonstrations — we’ve got it all. But how do we use it?

The strength of the Muslim ummah is undeniable. United, we achieve revolutions, topple governments, and make history. Particularly in the West, the community is constantly raising awareness and advocating for change. The outcry over the war in Palestine this summer was remarkable, as was the support for countries of the Arab Spring. However, there has been a notable lack of attention on political protests in other parts of the world, such as Hong Kong.

“O you who have believed, persistently stand firm in justice…” (Quran 4:135) We are commanded to remain persistent in our struggle for justice, but as a community, is there a tendency to support revolutions that personally affect us and disregard others? I am in no way excluded from this tendency; in fact, I became aware of it through my unconscious participation of ‘selective activism’.

Ultimately, our goal as Muslims is to follow the teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions, and there are many narrations of their equal fight for the rights of varied groups.

One such example is Ibn Taimiyya’s defense of non-Muslims. After the Tatars (Turkic tribe) ransacked Syria, he fought for the release of those captured. The leader agreed to release just the Muslims, but Ibn Taimiyya protested:

‘We will only be satisfied if all the Jewish and Christian prisoners are released as well.  They are people of the covenant.  We do not abandon a prisoner whether from our own people or from those under a covenant.’[1]

Ibn Taimiyya could have been satisfied with ensuring the rights of his fellow Muslims, but he persisted in the name of rights for all. This admirable persistence is the same constancy referred to in the Quranic verse.

There are countless instances of such defense. Our persistence in impartial justice extends to all of humanity and, I would like to believe, will bring Muslims to the forefront of advocacy for rights on a global stage.


[1] Source: Qaradawi, Yusuf, ‘Ghayr al-Muslimeen fil-Mujtama’ al-Islami,’ p. 10

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