Bismi’Llāhi ir-Ramān ir-Raīm

In the Name of God, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate


This Ramaḍān is indelibly marked by a poignant crossroads in the human story. The foundations of institutionalized fear, hatred, racism, and xenophobia are being shaken. Long-standing protections afforded to perpetrators are eroding. The standard issue anonymity and cover-ups of old are seemingly impossible now since the empowerment of whistleblowers and the proliferation of digital eyes and ears that technology has delivered. While this looks quite hopeful, in many ways it seems the project is still in its infancy. The concerned citizens of the world are poised on the edge of their seats wondering if  justice will truly prevail on a national or global scale. And if so, when? In 1 year? 10 years? 100 years?! And if we do manage to get there, will it be too late, i.e. will our beautiful planet already have been destroyed?

As I write this final post for the 30th day of Ramaḍān 1442 (12 May 2021), our precious Palestinian family is enduring an intense escalation of invasion and brutality in the ongoing Israeli state-sponsored apartheid, including a creep genocide of lives and dispossession of homes [The Rome Statute defines the crime of apartheid as “inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”]. It started in 1918 when Ottoman rule of the region ended and Great Britain took control. Then in 1948, the state of Israel was formed to take over management, as had been planned half a century or more prior. There has now been just over one century of occupation of Palestinian lands. Let that sink in. Consider the generations of loss that displaced Palestinians have endured. Once separated from one’s homeland, many will eventually begin to forget who they are as they assimilate into a new culture, until one day there is little that remains of all that made their culture unique, beautiful, and sacred—language, faith, traditions, and symbols. Today, Israel is still supported by several of the so-called “super power” nations. But “there is no strength or power except with Allāh ﷻ,” as the divine formula reads. And know that Allāh ﷻ has the last word, and it is only a matter of time before it is spoken. Divine Justice ﷻ is a promise, and all will be silenced it Its Presence ﷻ. We have all been warned many times—account for yourselves before you are accounted for (and upon!). In any case, for those on the right side of justice, the accounting is still relevant, though different.

Allāh ﷻ has charged humanity with the heavy responsibility of collective care, i.e. taking care of each other (including the natural world). For those who see themselves as people of faith, we have indeed failed if our spiritual ideals and aspirations do not translate into effective action. I ask myself, what does Allāh ﷻ expect of me in this situation? What am I called to do? What can I do? And am I doing enough? I invite each of you to consider these questions and do what you can. And know that no wall is unbreakable. And though oppression does have a way of eventually collapsing onto itself, we are each expected to contribute at least a nudge. And one never knows which nudge will finally collapse a wall that changes the world, until it happens!

Finally, know that resistance is ultimately an act of love. So, we invite all oppressors to stop betraying their higher selves, to revive their hearts, to expand from fear to trust, to heal their seemingly unassuageable wounds, and to no longer define themselves by their collective suffering but rather by their noblest, loftiest ideals and aspirations, by the humaneness that defines the sacred, tender center of humanity. We all carry the potential to be oppressor or oppressed. We did not choose which camp we were born into, but we can choose the direction of our story, to carry our circumstance with integrity, grace, dignity, and kindness. While justice must certainly prevail before there can be true peace, justice must still be an expression of mercy. Recall the advice of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ, “Your faith is not complete until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” May the victory of the oppressed be a triumph of love.


© Ḥakīm Ilyās Kāshānī