What’s going on in Syria is horror beyond description. In these dire times, we turn to the Qurʾān for answers. Here are some reflections from our sacred text.
النار ذات الوقود، اذ هم عليها قعود، وهم على ما يفعلون بالمؤمنين شهود
Fire supplied (abundantly) with fuel, when they sat by it (fire), and they witnessed what they were doing against the believers (i.e. burning them). [Surah Al-Burooj, 5-7]
These verses are referring to an oppressive king who decided to collectively punish his people for turning away from his religion and embracing monotheism. His method of persecution was to dig ditches, build fire, and throw in it whoever refuses to follow his religion. What’s interesting in these verses is that we see the Qurʾān focuses on the eyewitnesses, the people who were watching the genocide and doing nothing. Those people, by Qurʾānic standards, were considered partners in crime. Likewise, we now see the so-called international community watching the atrocities taking place in Syria and doing nothing. Take for example the recent firing of scud missiles into some residential areas of Aleppo that claimed at least 141 innocent lives http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/26/syria-unlawful-missile-attacks-kill-more-140. This atrocious event was barely noticed and hardly protested by anybody of power in the world. In contrast, we all remember the huge outcry when Saddam Hussein fired similar missiles into Israel back in 1991, though those missiles were mostly intercepted by Patriot missiles and hardly lead to any civilian casualties.
واذا الموؤودة سئلت، باي ذنب قتلت
And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned. For what sin she was killed? [Surah At-Takwir, 8-9]
Now we move to another grave matter, which is the crime against children. Surat at-Takweer which contains some of the most graphic depiction of the Day of Judgment brings the plight of the little girls who used to be buried alive in pre-Islam Arabia. Along the major events that will change the universe on that Day, God will ask, “for what reason this innocent child was killed”? From all the crimes that had been committed on Earth, God chooses crimes against children to highlight on that Day. Now we all know the Assad regime has been especially cruel against children. In some Middle Eastern media, Bashar is now referred to as “the killer of children”. In fact, we all know that the Syrian revolution was started by the Children of Daraa. The whole world witnessed what happened to Hamza al-Khatib and his classmates. Likewise, we all witnessed children massacres like that of al-Houleh and others. In fact, the Assad barbarism has touched every single child in Syria by robbing them from their parents, their families, or at least their innocence.
وقد مكروا مكرهم، وعند الله مكرهم، وان كان مكرهم لتزول منه الجبال
…they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners. [Surah Al-Anfal, 30]
This verse talks about people in power plotting and conspiring. Such plotting is so influential and powerful that it can wipe out whole mountains. So at the outset, it appears to the weak and the oppressed that the situation is hopeless. After all, what can unarmed civilians, who have been deprived from basic freedoms, do in the face of conspiring nations and superpowers. Yet, this verse, through a parenthesis, brings an immense hope. The parenthesis simply says that God contains their plotting. So yes you may not be able to block or stop such plotting nor do you have the means to do so but God can and will. Throughout the Syrian revolution, we have witnessed several powerful countries such as Russia, China, and Iran conspire against the Syrian people. Many other powerful countries, including Western countries, have implicitly supported such plotting by doing nothing. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say that the whole universe is plotting against the people of Syria. One small example is how everyone rushed to label certain freedom fighters as terrorist while we haven’t seen anyone label the Assad regime as terrorist. It’s not a surprise therefore that one of the most common slogans of the Syrian revolution has become, “Oh God, oh God, we have no one by You, Oh God”. It’s a manifestation of this verse that the Syrian Revolution is gaining ground every day despite this universal conspiracy.