Unspeakable Tragedy and the Condition of Our Ummah

300027175_83f6eee061_oI think there’s a place in the human mind where we hide when there’s nowhere left to go. And perhaps there’s a part of the human heart where we relive forever unthinkable tragedy. However, for the people in Syria and Palestine today, that tragedy is not just an image of the mind or heart.

It is the only reality they know.

As I stand helplessly watching the carnage in these lands, I too find myself unsure of where to go. I look for a place inside my mind, a place where I can make sense of the senseless and imagine that it isn’t really happening. I drift between sadness, anger, depression, and back. But in the end, I return to one relentless question:


Why is this happening to us? Why are we suffering all over the world? Why are we so helpless to stop it? Why are we so politically powerless in the very country we are citizen to? Why do we scream at the top of our voices, writing letters and calling representatives in the White House, only to have them continue mantras like: “Israel has a right to defend itself?” Why are we at this point? Why?

We have to ask why.

We have to stop and really examine where we are as an ummah (nation) and what we have become. There was once a time when Muslims were revered in the world, a time when we were loved by our friends and feared by our enemies. Today we have become the most targeted, vilified, and hated group in the world. In a recent Gallup poll, more than half of Americans said their opinion of Islam is “not too favorable” or “not favorable at all”, and 43 percent admit harboring at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims—more than double the percentage reported towards Christians, Jews or Buddhists.

But we are not just hated. In many places, we are being tortured, killed, and stripped of our belongings. Where we are not physically targeted, we are stripped of our rights, falsely accused, and even falsely imprisoned. In fact, the widespread hatred of Muslims has become so deep that anti-Muslim rhetoric has become the accepted bigotry of choice. It is so accepted that it is even used by some people to get ahead politically.

This situation that we as an ummah find ourselves in was described in detail more than 1400 years ago. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said to his companions (radi Allahu `anhum): “The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people, when eating, invite others to share their food.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No. You will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the hearts of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?” He replied, “Love of this dunya and hatred of death.” [An authentic hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

Just as the Prophet ﷺ predicted, the people have indeed summoned one another to attack us just as someone invites others to share their food. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ also describes us as becoming like the froth on the water. If you watch waves flowing in the ocean, you’ll see that the thin layer of froth on the top is completely weightless and with little substance; the slightest breeze can destroy it. It  does not even have enough power to determine its own course. Instead, it goes wherever the water carries it.

This is our condition, as the Prophet ﷺ described it. But we must return to the question of why. The Prophet ﷺ gives a clear answer for this question. He explains that the hearts will be filled with wahn. When asked about  this word’s meaning, the Prophet ﷺ responded with  a few words that hold a truth deep in meaning. He said it was “love of this dunya (world) and hatred of death.” The Prophet ﷺ here is describing a people who have become so completely engrossed in this life that it has made them selfish, materialistic, short-sighted, and heedless of their meeting with Allah. He is describing a people who have become so worldly that they have lost their moral character.

It is within the realm of this moral character that the condition of any people will change—either from good to bad or from bad to good. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) tells us,  “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Qur’an, 13:11) It is, therefore, because of their character that the condition of a people can change from a world superpower to the froth on the ocean. And it is only by changing the hearts and character that what was once only froth on the ocean can once again become strong.

Hence, we as Muslims should never lose hope. The nasr (help and victory) for His deen is promised. The question is whether you and I will be part of it.  Allah (swt) reminds us of this in the Qur’an when He says:  “So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” (3:139)

It is only by our sincere faith and our striving, that Allah (swt) will ever change our condition. So for the sake of those bleeding in Syria and Palestine and all over the world today, we, as an ummah, need to wake up and return to Allah.

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  • Saaema

    ASA Sister Yasmin,

    This article completely stems down to the fundamental issue and principle of where we are as an Umm’ah. As a group, community, and Umm’ah we need to redirect. The political leaders for most of the Muslim nations have fallen prey to what you state above, “a people who have become so completely engrossed in this life that it has made them selfish, materialistic, short-sighted, and heedless of their meeting with Allah. He is describing a people who have become so worldly that they have lost their moral character.” “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Qur’an, 13:11)

    Sadly this is predominant in our countries of faith. I think you should put this article out again for people to read, reflect as well as share to get others to ponder the situation as it is horrible, shameful, and still happening in countries such as Syria, Palestine (Gaza), Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and the list can go on an on…

    We can only pray and ask du’a that Allah swt (w/ divine intervention) helps bring victory and peace to those of our faith, belief, and our Umm’ah once again~


  • tazkiyya ummhubb ali sawayda

    LIKE THE ARTICLE.,but theres also other places in need like Syria and Palestine.for e;g Somalia (famine drought lawlessness no suhoor or if tar) (oil rich muslim countries not doing enough to help). an obviously Burma
    alhamdulilah arabia people helped out Syrians today in more than 90 dollars

  • Yasmin

    Great article, took the words right out of my mouth…
    I pray for my brothers and sisters in syria, palestine, and burma. But who will pray for my starving family in Ethiopia? There is extreme poverty in there as well, political injustice as well, and now there is a deviant group killing the innocent. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for ALL my muslim brothers and sisters, While i was in Ethiopia there were people giving charity and raising money for those in Syria! Allahu Akbar!… Those who don’t have any are so quick to give. The sad truth is living in among the muslim community in america my whole life i’ve realized that our brothers and sisters in particular regions get more empathy due to their race. WE MUST INCLUDE ALL RACE, WE ARE ALL ONE UMMAH.

    • Anonymous

      That is a very important point! Thank you for sharing! I totally agree.


      I can’t stand the hypocrisy

      Palestinians especially, I am Palestinian I would know. When something happens to them they go crazy and call for Riots/protests/prayers but don’t really care about the others. I like how 19 people in gaza died yesterday and and everyone went Insane yet more than 100!!! Syrians died and not even one mention.

  • Faimallick

    Wow. Beautifully written and very inspired. Thank you, makes me rethink the way I live.

  • Pitt

    So true. If Muslims around the world is not consumed with worldly affairs, saving & coming to the aid of our suffering Muslims will be a priority, a relentless effort, going all put. By right, there are many powerful & rich Muslim nation capable of rescuing each other & all kinds of effort can be done to stop torture. But being busy with worldly affairs drags us into entanglement of political divisions, social unrest, injustice among our own selves, racial disputes, afraid if we go all out what will happen to our country standing in world economy & international standings- all this contribute to weak resolve, disunity. Remember how USA served England during World War when Germany strike them even tho Americans were not offcially at war only until Pearl Harbor. Truth is one country can stand by another of one gets bullied; its just WE DID NOT MAINTAIN STRONG BONDS AMONG each other. Muslims should do the same if other can, we can too. If we were united, we can serve each other through wide range of help: whether charity, defence, education, medical, shelter even migration like the exemplary Ansars did for the Muhajireen. Even tho the Ansars were not as well-off as some of us in Muslims living in present modern day, they were willing to share everything with open arms. We need to fix our broken ties, and again that goes back to love of dunia. Even our basic single family unit is under attack as we parents kids relatives are so busy with the demanding moderm life to care for our own families in relative properly (even in relatively well-provided circumstances) let alone manage others in times of desperate needs.

  • Zahra

    Jazkallah khair sister very deep. I pray for all my brothers and sisters suffering all over the world..Palasatine, Syria, Somalia, Buurma, Afganistan, Iraq and All those countries where muslims are being oppressed. I love all my brothers and sisters for Allahs sake and pray that Allah changes our situation. But apart from being patient and waiting for our victory how else can we change our situation?

  • Abdullah

    The answer to ‘WHY’ means to me that it is because the kuffar wont ever let mu’min gain the momentum in d world and to do that, they r leaving no stone unturned. What cud b a more valid reason to live other than working for the salvation of this ummah by working towards reestablishment of Khilafah?

  • Mohsin Nawaz

    Thankz for sharing your valuable thinking

  • Mohsin Nawaz

    We should have fear of Aakhira ( hereafter) and your final day in this world.

  • Sarah

    I read a lot of the comments here, and I realized that many people are asking “Why didn’t you write about (this or that country)did you forget about them?” But honestly as Muslims, that is not how we are supposed to be. We are a Muslim ummah and we should not define ourselves by where we are from, etc. The situations in Palestine and Syria are currently horrible and unbearable and that is obviously why she wrote about them. It doesn’t mean that the world forgot about them…. We as Muslims, are supposed to ache for the atrocities happening around the world and remember that what’s happening in the world should affect us all, because we are all BROTHERS and SISTERS.
    Jazakum Allahu Khairan

    • Sarwath

      This is the best comment. She can’t go naming every country. Ummah means everyone that is Muslim regardless of background. Those of you who keep creating divisions of race and culture are exactly those that have wahn in your hearts. This is exactly the thinking that has allowed us to become selfish and brought about all this chaos in the Muslim world. JANNAH won’t be divided into countries so drop the patriotism for the love of Allah!

  • Lamia Bukhari

    Al-Fatiha recited for all the Muslim Ummah..May Allah accept..Aameen

  • D

    Hasbee Allahu wa Ni3mal Wakeel…We need to be the change we wish to see in the world. Jazakallahukhair sister Yasmin- we need to start with our own hearts.

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