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Why Our Prayers for Gaza May Not Be Answered

The hands are up, the tears flow and the “Ameens!” vibrate around the room. “Oh Allah, save the people of Gaza! Oh Allah help them! Oh Allah protect them!” the imam continues to beseech fervently. This was a scene played out in practically every mosque in the world this Ramadan. And last Ramadan. And the Ramadan before that.


And yet, when we get home and turn on the TV – more deaths, more heartbreak and more injustice. Every single time. In fact, each time – things seem to be getting worse.

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So what is going on? How come our duaas are not answered?

There is a possibility that we are being impatient and that maybe Allah is accepting our duaas and fervent prayers, but He is doing so in ways that we cannot see or understand. Maybe Allah is helping us and the situation would have been so much worse otherwise. Perhaps.

Or maybe, just maybe – He is not answering our prayers because there is something fundamentally wrong with us. The thought should chill us to the bone. Here are a few reasons why this might be the case:

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1. Personal hypocrisy

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made mention of a man who is constantly in journeys and has dishevelled hair and dusty appearance (due to constant journeys for performing acts of righteousness such as Hajj, Umra, seeking knowledge etc.) and he raises his hands towards the sky saying “O my Rabb. O my Rabb”. But his food is from haraam. His drink is from haraam. His clothes are from haraam. He is nourished from haraam. How can it (his prayer) be accepted?” [Sahih Muslim]

It is impossible to know how many of us are guilty of wilfully neglecting the commands of Allah when it comes to our personal lives. How many of us make no effort to avoid interest? How many of us do not take care to ensure that our income is halaal? How many of us consistently choose to do the opposite of what Allah has ordered us to do whether it be how we eat, dress or conduct ourselves as spouses, parents or friends? The point is not for us to judge each other, but truly Allah does judge and His judgement is clear – if we disobey Him, then we shouldn’t expect His help when we ask for it.


2. Financial hypocrisy

The Muslim community across the world raises money for Gaza and we should be justifiably proud of our fundraising efforts – especially Muslims in the West who are amongst the most generous of faith groups. But after we’ve given ourselves a pat on the back, let us put our fundraising in context.

The entire aid budget to Gaza last year was less than the amount spent building one mega skyscraper in a Muslim city. It was less than the amount spent on impotency drugs by just one Muslim country. It was less than the amount spent by just one Muslim buying just one football club. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Although our mouths might say that we care about Gaza immensely, our (collective) wallets say something slightly different.

gaza aid1

3. Social hypocrisy

The Muslim community is supposed to be a beacon of justice, hope and divine guidance for the world, but if anyone were to look at us, what would they see? They would find the many of the most corrupt nations in the world. They would find racism, nationalism, bribery, sectarianism, illiteracy, honour killing, drug production and consumption.

Given half a chance, many Muslims would prefer to live in the West than in their own lands. Although the above is a generalisation, there is enough truth there for us to know that our house needs putting in order.

most corrupt

4. Political hypocrisy

There are people who are making duaa and shedding tears for Gaza who exactly a year ago were cheering as their national army mowed down thousands of men, women and children in the streets simply for being of a different political ideology. There are people who are rallying for Gaza who are also concurrently supporting the slaughter of tens of thousands of Muslims simply because the person doing the slaughtering is from their sect. There are those who are decrying the inhumane siege on Gaza who actively support their government when they turn away a persecuted Muslim minority from their borders.


Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” When a sizeable part of the Muslim world decides that the life of their fellow Muslim (in fact, their fellow human beings) comes secondary to their political agenda… then why should Allah listen to the duaas of such a people?

Wow… that’s depressing

Reading the above may make you feel deflated and hopeless. It should not. Why? Because acknowledging that there is something wrong with us is the first step towards doing something about it. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat our mistakes again and again until the lesson is learnt. Trials and tribulations are meant to be a cleansing, but only if we realise that we actually are stained by hypocrisy in the first place.

“Verily Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”

[Quran 13:11]

The crisis in Gaza has shown that despite all our problems, there is still much good left in us. We still feel the pain of our brothers and sisters and it disturbs our peace. Some of us are spreading awareness on social media. Others are organising boycotts and protest marches. Still others are raising money. If we can channel this positive energy into rectifying these forms of hypocrisy and reforming ourselves, then our families, then our communities and then the Ummah as a whole – we may actually be able to bring about the change we seek.

Not only will we free Gaza… we may just end up freeing ourselves too.


“…Do not despair of the mercy of Allah.” [Quran 39:53]

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association



  1. Avatar


    August 9, 2014 at 2:10 AM

    All hope is not lost as greatness of this write up re-invigorate me. Thanks

  2. Avatar


    August 9, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. It is time we engage in serious introspection and start rectifying ourselves instead of always pointing fingers at everyone but ourselves. Well written and much needed.

  3. Avatar


    August 9, 2014 at 7:29 AM

    Lincoln was quoting Jesus. Mark 3:25 “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

  4. Avatar

    S. N. Smith (@smithottawa)

    August 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    What a awful and mean-spirited article!!!!

  5. Avatar

    Tadar Wazir

    August 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Your article is very well stated.

    I just did a long dissertation and hit the wrong button and it disappeared. I’m not a computer techy so I will cut this one short and make it to the point.

    We just came through the month of Ramadhan in which we were to re-mold our total self so that we would be in a better position to be Allah’s representative agents to His creation, but, it appears that many of us just went without food and drink from Dawn until Dusk.

    Allah says that The Glorious Qur’an gives the best explanation of what He is saying. And in it He tells us in Al-An-am, 6 after naming a list of 18 prophets/messengers/speaking of some of their relatives He tells us to follow/copy the guidance fa-be-ha-da-ya-hu-muq-ta-de that they received from Him. Several times Allah tells us to ask the people of prior revelations about whatever so that we can get clarification and get more info on Allah’s unchanging sunnah. Most of us act as if we are allergic to seeking out His truth there, and we give flimsy excuses for not delving into their scripture. The truth has only one Source and serves only one purpose and when we have our ruh in tune with Allah’s Ruh nothing and no one can stop us.

    Allah tells us repeatedly in The Glorious Qur’an that it is for those who think, use their reason, and it is to be pondered. And with this frame of mind one is to study history, so that one will be able to see, know, and better understand Allah’s Sunnah, and ahadith. Allah asks us a few times in The Glorious Qur’an in which hadith after this will you believe in?

    In these surahs one has to read many ayat in order to connect the dots to see what Allah is saying when He tells us in Al-Anbiyaa’, 21 and Al-Mu’minuun, 23 that from Nuh (Noah) (a.) – Muhammad (s.) that all of the prophets and all of their followers are ONE UMMAH and that He is our LORD. Immediately after this statement in both surahs He tells us that men cause the divisions. This can only be done by The Shaitan coming from the right, as a hypocrite. And he is effective due to the fact that most people are not sincere in their Deen/its practices, and refuse to read for understanding. That was the very first revelation to Rasulullah “Iqra” Read in the name of your LORD Who Created!

    When reading The Glorious Qur’an one must read it knowing that each ayah (verse) is a sign. Then one must know what a sign is meant for. To get Allah’s message from The Glorious Qur’an one must understand that the stories, etc. within it may be talking about others but it is also speaking about the reader/listener, and the situation and environment of the reader/listener also. It’s up to the sincere, thinking reader/listener to ponder the signs and figure out how they relate to the stories in all respects, then to extract the principles from the stories that are relevant and usable in the reader’s/listener’s environment and time.

    Allah let’s us know in a prioritized manner how we are to approach Him in order to get His response to our dua, it is in the Bible and all of it is in The Glorious Qur’an but not in the sequential prioritization that one finds in 2 Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 7:12-14-22, the passage in the middle contains the text, the rest of it is its context. The text 14 states in the “New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible” of August 1, 1957 (I use it due to the Coptic, Catholic, and Arabic Bibles were the ones in vogue during the lifetime of Muhammad (s.)) 14 “and my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. Other bibles word it a little different but one must first humble ones self, and this is stated after problems are faced by His servants.

    In the teachings of both faith families of Ibrahim (a.) Allah causes us to have problems so that we will stop, what we are doing the way that we are doing it, do an “all concerned and involved in whatever, at the moment action” introspection to see where one and or those involved needs to tighten up, pray, seek His face, and change from one’s individual and communal wicked ways, then He gives the victory or sought after blessing(s).

    Allah lets us know that all of the people of prior revelations are not alike and that some of them are believers, and that it is a sin to murder or kill a believer, even by accident. And Allah lets us know what one must do when one is responsible for murdering or killing a believer. In Al-Maa’edah, 5:40-48/49-50 Allah lets us know that we are all on paths that lead to Him and each of us have our distinct Way to follow to get to Him, and that we are to strive in all good things as if in a race to get to Him. Also read Aali-‘Imraan, 3:110-115?

    Let me quit before I give a khutbah.

    • Avatar


      August 12, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Someone should call for salah because you done gave a khutba, masha’Allah, you did. And a very good one, might I add. May Allah bless you.

  6. Avatar


    August 9, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Along with the the suffering of Muslims, why is there no discussion of the suffering of non-Muslims at the hands of Muslims. The plight of of Yazidis & Christians in Iraq, the rise of ISIS- these are issues you are willfully neglecting to talk about.

    Why are your prayers for Gaza not being answered? Perhaps because you do not care about the plight of all of humanity and minorities, choosing to focus on just a subset (who you deem Muslims or Sunnis specifically, and thus worthy of your attention). There are so many articles dedicated to Gaza, compare this cause celebre to issues which aren’t so ‘sexy’ for your readers: what’s happening in the Central African Republic, the treatment of (Muslim) servants at the hands of other Muslims in Saudi, the discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia etc.

    If one had to rank the amount of coverage they get on blogs like Muslim matters, and the degree of passion they evoke (in the form of protests and Twitter activism), it would probably look like this:
    Muslim Arabs first, followed by Muslim brown people and then black Muslims, followed by Abrahamic minorities, followed by other minority religions, and then last but not least, the persecution of atheists & agnostics by Muslims.
    Why else would there be far, far more coverage of the Palestinian cause then what is happening to your fellow Muslims in Africa, or the treatment of domestic workers in Saudi, or the killing of Christians at the hands of Muslims from Iraq to Indonesia? I swear I have read far more on Muslim sites about European hijab bans rather than the killing of minorities by non-Muslims. Why is that?

    Perhaps this blindness and willingness to overlook the plight of many non-Muslim people (also Muslim on Muslim violence), is why your prayers about Gaza are not answered.

    • Avatar


      August 9, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      I understand the argument put forth by M and it is a serious concern – the oppression suffered by non-Muslims and the little attention it gets. But the accusation of the article is slightly unfair as the writer mentions social hyprocrisy and corruption within certain Muslim countries as major flaw that needs reforming. So in fact your call for attention is answered by this article, moreover, this article gives a broader scope of the state of society and the ‘weak spots’ that needs targeting and that is oft-forgotten. If anything, this is the most constructive of articles I have read in a while on societal reform – Islamic or non-Islamic related. I send much gratitude to writer and that Allah knows best, InshAllah may we be guided onto the right path.

    • Avatar

      the real M

      August 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      Somebody took my alphabet :(

      I think the points you mentioned above fall under the social and political hypocrisy.

    • Avatar


      August 9, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      lets not forget that even the western media put a lot more emphasis on the gaza crisis….

    • Avatar


      August 10, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      The Prophet said, “Wish for your brother (and sister) what you wish for yourself”

      The muslims know this hadeeth, but they dont implement it

      And yes, many muslims (from the middle east especially) are racist, but they just cant see it in themselves. We have too big of an ego.

    • Avatar


      August 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Atheists get state funerals in some Muslim countries. Also as you are a liberal women, how dare you forget the plight of the homosexuals, and transsexuals and all those ?

    • Avatar


      August 13, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      You make a valid point M. But sometimes you have to prioritize conflicts that have produced greater repercussions from a historical and present standpoint. Some people will claim that the root problem of the abysmal state of the Middle East is the Palestinian/Israeli problem. I’m not saying that this is true. But there is some truth to it. There have always been players seeking to fragment and corrupt the Middle East. Israel plays a big role in it. So, you have to step back a bit in time. If you think all these conflicts started 3 weeks ago, then yes, your point would be undeniable. Perhaps, some writers are simply trying to tackle one conflict. You can’t tackle everything. And why should they cover everything! Why don’t you cover what they don’t?? They’re people, like me and you, writing in their little free time. Maybe they take it for granted that any muslim reading their post already KNOWS that the actions of ISIS are condemnable and don’t represent Islam, and know that the killing of innocent people everywhere is against Islam.
      But let’s be real. It’s hard enough getting Muslims to care about one conflict. It took decades before this amount of support and awareness was raised for Palestine…. is it realistic to expect all of us to suddenly start protesting every atrocity on the face of the earth? I mean, come on… let’s be real. That would drain everyone and nothing would happen.

      And as a final reminder to all of us, let’s not criticize the other people’s good work. Saying, “what about this… and what about that…” is criticism. The writers are not robots, and have no obligation to cover anything whatsoever. Let’s just be grateful for the effort they make in their free time.

  7. Avatar

    Ahmed Waris Al Majid

    August 10, 2014 at 1:54 AM
    I made the same argument.
    Why should we be rewarded for our disobedience?

  8. Avatar


    August 10, 2014 at 4:33 AM

    Pls read the article Timeline of the #Rothchilds writtten by Andrew Hitchcock. internet. http:// It will give you an understanding of what is happening on a global scale. I find your post very does not do our beloved Nabi saw method of spreading Islam any justice. We need hope and aspirations. Perhaps you could have worded your article in a more positive way. None of us can claim to be competely and uttterley free from sin. Yet we are encouraged to ask Him what we need Allah has His own plan and time. Maybe Gaza is a way to unite all muslims. I have found that Palestinians are the most generous, forgiving, kind and courageous people. Every Gazan household, I am told has a hafeth al Quran. When you truly get to know them warts and all you are inspired to be a better muslim. Allah have mercy on us, forgive and guide us enshallah

  9. Avatar


    August 10, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    AllahuSubhanahuWataala has mentioned the Measure in the Noble Quran. When observed closely, in order to get one’s worth of goods on one side, we have to add weight/load on the other side. Justice too works so.When one is willing to give equal justice to the ‘other’, there is hope of get your worth of it on your side. When ISlamic Relief says 1/3 of its charities come from Non-muslims, and muslims do not even tip at non-muslim restaurants, our myopic view of justice for the UMmah is fatally flawed.Forgiveness is when u can show mercy on ur enemy,charity is when u can give to a stranger,not just who are in ur community,courage is when u speak up for a victim against ur own communities,when one cares for only oneself, there is a element of selfishness there,not to say that it is bad, but it not good either.And knowing that difference is the real tazkiyah

  10. WAJiD


    August 11, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    To “M”

    I used Gaza as an example because that is the most prominent issue in the mind of the people who were likely to breading this article at the moment. It does not mean that there is any less compassion for the suffering of others, wherever they may be and whatever faith that they may come from. And yes, this applies even if that suffering is caused by Muslims. In fact, especially if it is carried out by Muslims.

    My heart aches for each and every one and the depth of pain cannot be measured in articles or in words. So I ask you never again to doubt our basic humanity based on such arbitrary indicators.


    • Avatar


      August 11, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Br. Wajid,
      Would agree that “M” ‘s assumptions about Muslim sympathies cast too wide of a net and are
      too generalized. Would also say that attacking specific articles or authors are a type of
      “shame grenade”, which considering that despotic or aggressor regimes/groups(both Muslim and non)
      use this very method to deflect or detract from issues, is probably an unsound premise on which to
      base a point of principle. However “M” does raise a good question for Muslim ORGANIZATIONS
      or WEBSITES…that heads of these organizations or editors should probably reflect on and examine.

      There IS a major disproportionality among many Muslims when it comes to dealing with these issues.
      When there are 8 articles on Palestine within two weeks…and tumbleweeds along with the occasional
      article rolling by on Rohingya’s, Kurds, Baluchis,CAR, Non-Muslims in various Muslim majority countries(Pakistan
      for example where their situation is horrid on a CONSISTENT basis)…etc., etc. it does start to seem
      that we practice favortism or have insincere political considerations (i.e. We don’t want
      to upset demographically or monetarily advantaged groups within the ummah).

      To be clear: I am not faulting individual authors or individual articles here. Nor am I saying we SHOULDN’T
      be rallying for the Palestinians as vociferously as we are…we should be, and should do even more. The problem
      is not doing as MUCH for the others in as visible a manner. Furthermore, not saying only Muslims are guilty of this. All people and groups tend to focus energies on what is more closely dear to them and lobbies/interests factor everywhere….the lopsided bias in favor of Israel in the US is the perfect example.

      We cannot deny “M” ‘s main point though. Is a reality and harms our various causes if we’re seen as insincere or inconsistent. Perception matters…and in fact the unscrupulous opponents, like Israeli propagandists, love to point this out to make us seem like hypocrites. Is that helping Palestinians or any Muslim cause?

      As “M” mentions, it is not confined to the Muslim:non-Muslim paradigm either…also includes disadvantaged Muslim
      minorities. I am neither Arab nor South Asian…and I can tell you from personal experience how things are discussed away from the majority bubble: relative minorities
      within the Ummah feel very strongly that their issues are not taken seriously. Can ask any Baluchi or Afghan who have waited in vain for the ummah to criticize Pakistan’s government/military, Kurds who have waited forever to hear
      any criticism of Arab or Turkish nationalists and those governments, Bangladeshi or other south asian poor people
      who hear crickets regarding the sub-human treatment they receive in the Gulf, Black Muslims in Sudan who sat in stunned silence as Arab League and OIC defended or stayed quiet about Omar Bashir. It breeds resentment man…when these people hear “Palestine”, many of them will respond “Where were you for US?”…To their credit, most of them have not responded that way yet…but only out of love for Allah, Rasul and basic humanity bro…however the resentment is there. There is a Baluchi in Quetta right now asking where the ummah is.

      If this is how relative minorities among Muslims feel, what are non-Muslims gonna feel like?
      The perception they hold is that we don’t give a d*mn whatsoever or probably even support convert/pay/die, kill the apostate, don’t build churches or whatever….that we’re just “strategically” choosing silence rather than draw attention. That’s the perception man…and we have done a lousy job combating it or showing it
      to be false on a mass scale. Then if they show up as refugees in the West and become anti-Muslim bigots, we’re
      gonna cry “Islamophobe” or cast France as the enemy of freedom because it banned niqab? We look like
      outright hypocrites….and lest anyone point out the Western government, media or some of the populations hypocrisy, yeah EXACTLY…which is exactly why we
      criticize it and call it out. We cannot control their hypocrisy though…can only control what WE do…and we’re doing
      a DISMAL job of it all and ironically empowering their hypocrisy.

      Again, reiterate…think “M” chose the wrong target(writer of article) and place (individual article)…Also
      wrong to assume what people’s intentions are. He is NOT wrong though about the overall situation and
      the effect that perception has at the structural level though…Is definitely something for our community leaders, editors, etc. to think about.

      • Avatar


        August 11, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        For Wajid:
        “I used Gaza as an example because that is the most prominent issue in the mind of the people who were likely to breading [sic] this article at the moment.”

        And why is that? That’s my point exactly. Out of all the suffering and atrocities in the world, including the arguably greater suffering by some people, this is the most prominent issue in the minds of people reading this blog. I wonder if there is also a racial tinge to that?

        ZAI gets it. And I acknowledge, perhaps I should not attack individual authors, but I do want you Wajid, and other authors and most importantly the editors to ask themselves, are some lives inherently more worthy than others?

        Also, M is a she. Not sure why you think I’m a man.

      • Aly Balagamwala

        Aly Balagamwala

        August 12, 2014 at 2:49 AM

        Dear M and Zai

        There should definitely be articles on these issues. Since most of our writers are volunteers, we do not hand out assignments of topics. Thus, they write on topics that they choose. We are looking to expand our author base and we also take guest submissions. Maybe you an help us crowdsource on these topics. is the URL for submissions.

        Best Regards

      • Avatar


        August 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Hear! Hear! There is very little or none criticism at all when it comes to Pakistan since most of the writers are Pakistani on this website (how can one call oneself a Pakistani when they live in the West ? For the last time Pakistani is a nationality, not a race, not an ethnicity). Saudi Rabbi, that holier than thou hypocrisy and future atheist country also gets a free pass.

  11. Avatar


    August 12, 2014 at 5:28 AM

    Death is not a penalty. Its a path to our creator. We should not be worried about death, We should worry about what happens after death.

    • Avatar


      August 15, 2014 at 5:29 AM

      I am worried about death as well as after death. At least, when death come to us, it should find us somewhere, preferably, with our family members beside us. Dying of women and children from Israel bombing with bodies beyond recognition, is certainly something to worry about.

  12. Avatar


    August 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Isis are not muslims.


  14. Avatar


    August 15, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    Yes, this is very sad and depressing; and I feel hopeless and deflated. I have prayed and prayed and given donations just like the millions of others, but the problem is rather getting worse. Sometimes I say it will never end, it just the part of the events that marks the end of the world.

  15. Pingback: Why Our Prayers for Gaza May Not Be Answered | Forum for Peaceful Coexistence, Sri Lanka

  16. Avatar

    David Khan

    December 12, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    This is ridiculous. I dont think your “Allah” is so spiteful that he takes whatever sins or mistakes one has created and boasts it as the misery for someone else. I thought Allah was meant to shower unconditional love… what is this hypocrisy

  17. Pingback: 14 Top Articles of 2014 -

  18. Avatar

    Ahmad Shumayal

    June 30, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Is the Masjid Aqsa currently we know it as being in Jerusalem, the one mentioned in the Quran where Allah even says its blessed? Then why isn’t it as protected and secure as the Masjid Haram and Madina. There has been no non muslims army or conqueror here, not even the mighty British and other europeans who could colonize everything else. Clearly Allah is safeguarding only the Kaaba.

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#Current Affairs

This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

Bidding farewell to Ramadan, celebrating Eid?

Well, the Muslims of East Turkestan under Chinese occupation had neither Ramadan nor will they have Eid…

Not only that, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) run government has transferred Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from East Turkestan to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Carters and others. Read Uyghurs for Sale for more information

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

CCP is also pressuring governments across the world to extradite Uyghurs back to occupied East Turkestan.

Here is what you can do to help them:

Action Items

  1. Keep making dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world.
  2. Boycott Chinese products! Do not be complicit in slave labour. Start with focusing on the companies in the graphic. Share it with #SewnWithtTears, #StopChina, #BoycottChina. Write to them and demand that they do better.
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause. Learn more at
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China.
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui; Chinese Christian; or Tibetan Buddhist.
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China.
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by granting either citizenship or refugee/asylee status. Stop the “extradition/repatriation” of Uyghurs to China!
  9. Get your universities/endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies. 

Read a greater discussion of action items in A Response to Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments on the Uyghurs, which also contains a greater discussion on East Turkistan’s history and its current situation. A condensed Arabic version of the article can be found here

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Continue Reading


Alternative Eid Celebrations In The Midst Of A Pandemic

“Eid-al-Quarantine” is what my sister has so fondly dubbed our upcoming Eid al Fitr this year. I find myself asking, “How are we going to make Eid a fun and special celebration this year in the midst of a dangerous pandemic?” With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, this Eid can be fun–no matter the current circumstances. This post will provide you with some inspiration to get your alternative Eid preparations underway! 

Special note: Shelter-in-place restrictions are lessening in many places in the United States, but this does not give us the green light to go back to life as normal and celebrate Eid in the ways we usually would have in the past. I am no health expert, but my sincerest wish for all Muslims throughout the world is that we all err on the side of caution and maintain rigorous precautions.

In-person gatherings are going to be much riskier in light of public health safety concerns. I do not recommend that people get together this Eid. Keep in mind, as well, that this is a big weekend for all Americans, as it is Memorial Day Weekend and crowds may be expected in places like parks and beaches. 

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Eid Day Must’s

Just because you are staying in, doesn’t mean that all of the Eid traditions have to go. Some may be exactly the same, some may be slightly adjusted this year. 

  • Get dressed up, even if it’s just for an hour or two. This might be a good chance to do hair and make up for sisters who normally don’t on Eid because of hijab or other modesty concerns. 
  • Take your family pictures, as usual. 
  • Decorate your house, even if it’s just with some fresh flowers in a vase or hanging up some string lights. (This time, I think sharing pictures of your setup may  have some more wiggle room.)
  • Find a way to pray Eid salah at home, if your local imam mentions a way to adapt for the current situation or check out this MM article
  • Eat some good food, and make sure to feast. 
  • Take that infamous Eid nap. 
  • Greet loved ones (phone calls, video calls, text messages, voice/video messages, make and send Eid cards).
  • Give and receive gifts. (Electronic ways to transfer money/checks in the mail, dropping off gifts to homes/sending gifts in the mail/having an online order pick-up in-store. You may also choose to do a gift exchange, if not this weekend, next). 

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Virtual Parties

Virtual celebrations are a great, safe, option. The best thing about virtual hangouts is that people from all over the world can “come together” to celebrate Eid. This can be as simple as talking and catching up, or can be as orchestrated as a full-out party including games. Keep in mind, the games and virtual parties aren’t only for the kids–everyone should have fun this Eid! We recently threw a virtual birthday party for our one-year-old and it was quite the experience. 

  • Split guests into different calls (kids’ call, adults’ call; men’s call, women’s call)
  • Party agenda for a rigorously planned party so everyone knows what to expect
  • Party games, either with certain items that everyone has (or can easily and quickly purchase) or games that do not require much else besides an internet connection 
    • Games requiring physical items (think of items that everyone is likely to have and think of carnival-type games):
      • Soccer ball juggling or basketball shooting competition
      • Water balloon toss
      • Timed races (three-legged, holding an egg in a spoon, etc.)
    • Games with little to no special equipment
      • Online Pictionary
      • Online Scrabble
      • Video games
      • Charades
      • Taboo (we do this for our cousin game nights with pictures of cards that one person sends to people from the opposite team)
      • Scattergories
      • Bingo
      • Mad libs
      • Speaking games that take turns going around a circle (going through the alphabet saying names of animals or colors or foods, rhyming words [we played the last two lines of “Down by the Bay” for our son’s birthday party])
      • Movement game (Simon says, dancing if you’re into that [“Cha Cha Slide,” dance-off, passing along dance moves as was a TikTok trend I heard of, simply dancing…])
      • Games like in Whose Line is it Anyway? or like the “Olympics” (specifically the “middle games”) that I wrote about way back
  • Performances
    • Skits prepared by one family or even across households
    • Reciting a poem or surah or singing
    • Other showcases of talent, by individuals or not
  • Gift Exchanges (I’ve been doing this virtually since 2013 with friends/distant family members.)

Alternative Virtual/Group Celebrations

Being “together” isn’t always gathering for a party, and that’s what I think most people miss during the forced isolation caused by the pandemic. There are many things you can do to get ready for or celebrate Eid with loved ones even if you’re not together. 

  • Share special recipes with each other or plan to serve the same meals.
  • Coordinate Eid outfits or attempt to do matching henna designs.
  • Send Eid pictures to family and friends.
  • Prepare and cook meals or clean or decorate while on a video call (you don’t have to be talking the entire time).
  • Watch the same movie or show (whether that’s something everyone does as separate households or you do concurrently/even with a video or phone call running. This might be a good time to watch Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King” and do the 10 things it invites us to do.)
  • Go through family pictures or old videos together. Maybe even create a short slideshow/video of your favorites. 
  • Story time full of family legends and epic moments (the best Eid, a difficult time of sickness, immigration or moving story, new baby in the family, etc.). Someone build the fire and get the s’mores going.

Alternative “Outings”

In the same breath, it’s so refreshing to go out and do something fun, not just stay cooped up in your house, right? Seriously. 

  • Check out a virtual museum tour
  • Go on a nice drive to some place you love or miss going to, like drive by the masjid or school or a beautiful area (but stay in your car if there are other people around)
  • Watch an Eid Khutbah (or a regular one) on Eid day (make it special by listening outside in your yard or as a family where you pray).
  • Create a movie theater experience inside the home (that might just mean some popcorn and homemade slushies).
  • Get carry out from a favorite restaurant (if it’s open), and finally have the motivation to take a longer drive if needed
  • Make fruit or gift baskets for friends and family and drop them off at their homes
  • A “paint night,” or some other craft, that everyone in the family participates in
  • Decorate your car and drive around to show it off to friends (I’ve heard there’s an actual Eid car parade at various masaajid in Chicago

Interesting Alternative Community Celebrations I’ve Heard About

Some communities are getting super creative. As I mentioned above, a handful of masaajid in Chicago (Orland Park Prayer Center, Mosque Foundation, and Islamic Center of Wheaton as well as Dar Al Taqwa in Maryland) are putting together Eid drive-thru car parades. I’ve heard of different communities, whether officially sponsored by the masjid or just put together by groups of individuals, having a drive-in Eid salah, in which families pray in their cars in a rented drive-in theater or parking lot (Champaign, Illinois and a community in Maryland). I’m  definitely impressed with that last option, and I’m waiting to hear about more creative ways to get together and worship and celebrate.

So, what am I doing for Eid (weekend) this year? All the must’s, inshaAllah, including getting extra dolled up and making donuts from biscuit dough. A “game night” (virtual party) with alumni from my MSA. A gift exchange party with my cousins as well as another gift exchange party with classmates from my Arabic program (we’ll send unboxing videos out instead of meeting at the same time.) Check out a local college campus we’ve been dying to drive around. Binge a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender newly released on Netflix and do some online Memorial Day sale shopping. Le’s put a tentative on all of those, haha.

At the end of the day, Eid al Fitr is about acknowledging the month of worship we engaged in during Ramadan and spending quality time with loved ones. It doesn’t really matter what that quality time looks like–as long as it is intentional, this Eid will be special no matter what, inshaAllah. Who knows, this might be one of the best, most memorable holidays ever!

Eid Mubarak!

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Eid Prayer During the Pandemic


We have observed a Ramadan that was unlike anything we have experienced before. The community and individuals everywhere have shown dedication, commitment, and creativity. We learned to pray tarāwīḥ on our own in our homes. We read the Qur’an everyday consistently. We attended daily lectures and reminders delivered by our imams, teachers, and scholars online. We gathered virtually to hold iftars and check in on each other. We donated to our organizations to gain the blessings of charity in Ramadan. All of this and more is only possible through the guidance of Allah and resilience of our faith.

We now find ourselves approaching Eid al-Fitr. Eid is an occasion of celebration, joy, gathering, and gratitude to Allah for his countless blessings. We all have cherished memories of past days of Eid. However, we face the prospect of an Eid that is difficult and challenging. Similar to our mindset in Ramadan, we can and should find a way to have a joyous and meaningful Eid. Shāh Walīullah al-Dihlawi writes in his Hujjatullah al-Bālighah, “Allah provided us with two days of celebration that commemorate the markers of the Islamic tradition. He associated celebration with the remembrance of Allah and acts of devotion on the day of Eid, ensuring that the congregation of believers would not be for mere vanity. Rather, the gathering of Muslims would revolve around exalting the Word of Allah.”

The Obligation of Eid

The scholars of the four major schools of thought have differed regarding the obligation of the Eid prayer. Their differences stem from their methodologies in interpreting the verses of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition ﷺ. The Shāfiʿī and Mālikī schools agree that the Eid prayer is an established Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, and the prayer is highly recommended for every individual to attend.[1] However, the Ḥanafī school has deemed the prayer as wājib, necessary, for every believing man of age.[2] The Ḥanbalī school has ruled the Eid prayer as farḍ al-kifāyah[3].[4] 

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The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ prayed the Eid prayer in congregation with the Companions from the time it was prescribed until he passed. The Ḥanafī school has considered this consistency demonstrated by the Prophet ﷺ as an indication that the Eid prayer cannot be merely a recommendation. Additionally, the Prophet ﷺ did not go out of his way to inform his Companions of the lack of obligation as he did with ṣalāh al-tarāwīḥ.[5] The scholars of the Ḥanbalī school referenced the command in the Qur’an, “Pray to your Lord and sacrifice,”[6] and concluded the Eid prayer is farḍ al-kifāyah.

The Shāfiʿī and Mālikī schools quote a well-known Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ in which he informs an inquisitive Bedouin regarding the Islamic mandates. The Prophet ﷺ tells the man about the five obligatory daily prayers. The man asks the Messenger ﷺ if there are any additional prayers that are required and he responds, “All other prayers are optional.”[7] Therefore, they regard the Eid prayer as voluntary.[8] 

The Khutbah of Eid

On the day of Eid, it is recommended, according to the majority of scholars, to have a khutbah given by the Imam. The Imam advises the people in the congregation and reminds them of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. Unlike the Friday khutbah, the Eid khutbah is given immediately after the congregational prayer is completed. The Friday khutbah is considered an essential pillar of the Jumu’ah obligation. However, the scholars of the four major schools have all come to the conclusion that the khutbah on the day of Eid is not required for the validity of the Eid prayer.[9]

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The following question has emerged in light of our current situation: Are we excused from the obligation to gather together and worship Allah for Friday, Eid, and congregational prayers? Is the concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 a legitimate reason for individuals to not attend religious services in person?

The scholars of the Ḥanafī school list reasons that excuse individuals from attending congregational prayers. The list includes inclement weather, sickness, paralysis, old age, and notably, fear of harm. It is reported in an authentic Hadith that the Prophet ﷺ once excused the Companions from attending congregational prayers by instructing the Mu’adhdhin to call the adhān and announce, “Pray in your homes.”[10] The Ḥanafī scholar al-Ṭahṭāwī uses this Hadith as proof that those exposed to immediate danger should be excused from congregational prayer, including Friday and Eid prayers.[11]

Al-Shurunbulālī[12] reminds us that the reward is still obtained by individuals who are not able to attend due to challenging circumstances. If an individual is prevented from fulfilling an obligation due to an acceptable and valid excuse, that person will still be rewarded (if Allah wills) according to his or her intention.[13] The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught us, “Actions are rewarded based on their intentions. Every person will be rewarded according to his or her intention.”[14]

Recommended Eid Rituals

While our ability to congregate for Eid may be limited, this should not prevent us from observing the rituals recommended in our tradition.[15] 

  1. Supplicate to Allah ﷻ the night before Eid and ask Him for forgiveness for any shortcomings.
  2. On the morning of Eid, recite the Takbīrāt of Eid[16], glorifying Allah and rejoicing in the occasion.[17]
  3. Take a shower and celebrate by donning your best garments. It is also customary to apply perfume.
  4. Demonstrate the end of the month of fasting by eating something after Fajr on the morning of Eid. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would not leave his house on the day of Eid without eating some dates.[18]
  5. Be kind and generous.
  6. Congratulate others.
  7. Fulfill your obligation of contributing zakat al-fir before the morning of Eid. The majority of scholars are in agreement that zakat al-fir is mandatory for every believer male or female, young or old.[19] This serves the purpose of uniting Muslims on the day of Eid so they may celebrate regardless of financial circumstances.

Requirements to Conduct Eid Prayer

When performing the Eid prayer, one should, first and foremost, observe the requirements of ritual prayer (ṣalāh) such as being in a state of purification and facing the qiblah. The scholars have agreed that the prescribed time of the Eid prayer begins shortly after sunrise and ends before Ẓuhr time starts.[20] 

For the validity of the Eid prayer, the scholars among the Shāfiʿī, Mālikī, Ḥanbalī,  and Ḥanafī schools have stipulated: the prayer should be conducted during the prescribed time of Eid prayer.[21] The Ḥanafīs and some Ḥanbalīs[22] have additionally stated that the Eid prayer must be conducted in a group.[23] The Ḥanafīs specified that this requirement is fulfilled with 2 or 3 adult males other than the imam.[24] Moreover, the Ḥanafī scholars have stated that an Eid prayer should be accessible by the general public and not be in a restricted or an exclusive space.

Conducting the Eid Prayer

The Eid prayer itself is conducted very similarly to any other congregational prayer. The four major schools agree that the Eid prayer should be performed out loud with 2 rak’āt, units of prayer, just like the Fajr congregation. However, there is a difference of opinion in regards to the number of extra takbīrāt that are said in the Eid prayer. The format of the prayer has been detailed below based on the different opinions.


  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 6 additional takbīrāt[26], say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual


  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 6 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual


  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 7 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual


  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 3 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Perform 3 additional Takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Say Allāhu akbar and bow into rukū’
  • Complete the prayer as usual


Eid is an occasion of glorifying Allah, praying for the acceptance of our deeds, and enjoying the blessings of Allah. It is a day to spend time with family and loved ones. The regulations of social distancing have limited our ability to congregate and spend time together as a community. However, these restrictions do not prevent us from fulfilling the rituals and traditions of Eid.

We recommend that every Muslim observes the Eid rituals as mentioned above. It has been authentically reported that the Companion of the Prophet ﷺ Anas ibn Mālik did not make it to the Eid prayer, so he gathered his family and offered the Eid prayer at home in the same manner the imam would with the congregation.[30] Furthermore, the Mālikī, Shāfiʿī, and Ḥanbalī schools allow people to perform the Eid prayer individually or with family at home. While the Ḥanafī school traditionally does not allow this, many senior Ḥanafī scholars have eased the condition of performing the Jumu’ah prayer in a public place during the current pandemic. Therefore, we recommend that individuals and families who are not able to attend an Eid congregation pray the Eid ṣalāh as detailed above at home.

May Allah accept our deeds. May Allah provide us with a joyous Eid. May Allah alleviate the current crisis. May Allah protect us all.

Allah knows best.

AbdulNasir Jangda

Sohaib Sheikh

26 Ramadan 1441 AH/19 May 2020 CE

Qalam Institute’s  mission is to educate humanity about Allah, His message, and His Messenger ﷺ. This article is written by the instructors at Qalam. Please consider supporting them as they create beneficial content for people to study their religion. 

[1] al-Majmu’ 5:2, al-Jumal ala sharh al-Manhaj 2:92

[2] Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:274

[3] farḍ al-kifāyah: An obligation that is mandated at a communal level. If a community fulfills the obligation, any other people that did not participate are excused from the obligation.

[4] al-Mughni 2:304

[5] Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:274, al-Hidayah 1:60, Tuhfah al-Fuqaha 1:283

[6] Qur’an 108:2

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari 2678

[8] Jawahir al-Iklil 1:101, al-Majmoo’ 5:3

[9] al-Lubab 1:118-119, Maraqi al-Falah 91, Tabyin al-Haqaiq 1:226, Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 1:141, Fath al-Qadir 1:428, al-Durr al-Mukhtar 1:782-784, al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:530, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:400, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 86, Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:311, al-Muhadhab 1:120, al-Majmoo’ 5:36, al-Mughni 2:384-387, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:61-62

[10] Sahih al-Bukhari 10:29, Sahih Muslim 6:32-33, Sunan Abi Dawud 2:672-673, Sunan Ibn Majah 5:989-991, Sunan al-Nasa’I 7:660, Sunan al-Nasa’I 10:78

[11] Hashiyah al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah 297

[12] Hanafi scholar who authored the famous work Nur al-Idah

[13] Nur al-Idah 65, Hashiyah al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah 299

[14] Sahih al-Bukhari 1:1, Sahih Muslim 33:222

[15] al-Fiqh al-Islami Wa Adillatuhu 1412-1416

[16] Takbirat of Eid: Saying Allahu Akbar and La Ilaha Illa Allah

[17] al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah 13:213-214

[18] Sahih al-Bukhari 13:5

[19] al-Zayla’I 1:307, Ibn Abidin 2:110, Fath al-Qadir 2:30, Bulghat al-Salik 1:200, Sharh al-Minhaj 1:628, Kashaf al-Qina’ 1:471

[20] Fath al-Qadir 1:424, al-Lubab 1:117, Maraqi al-Falah 90, al-Dur al-Mukhtar 1:779, al-Bada’I 1:276, al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:524, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 85, Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:310, al-Muhadhab 1:118, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:56

[21] al-Dasuqi 1:396, Asna al-Matalib 1:279

[22] Imam Ibn al-Qudama stated both opinions in the Hanbali school regarding the requirement of a congregation to conduct Eid prayer. Some Hanbali scholars require a group of people for the validity of the Eid prayer while others said that an individual can pray Eid by him or herself. al-Mughni 2:291

[23] Kashaf al-Qina’ 1:455, 2:50, Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:275

[24] Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Muhammad stated that 2 congregants other than the Imam are the minimum required to be considered a congregation. Imam Abu Yusuf was of the opinion that 3 congregants other than the Imam are required.

[25] al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:525, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:397, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 86, Bidayah al-Mujtahid 1:209

[26] Takbirat of Eid: These are extra Takbirs unique to the Eid ṣalāh. According to the majority of scholars, these Takbirs are conducted by the Imam raising his hands as he does when he starts the prayer and saying Allahu Akbar. The stronger opinion according to the Malikis is that when performing the extra Takbirs, the Imam does not raise his hands but says Allahu Akbar.

al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:525, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:398

[27] Bidayah al-Mujtahid 1:209, al-Mughni 2:376-384, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:59-65

[28] Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:310, al-Muhadhab 1:120, al-Majmoo’ 5:18

[29] The famous Companion, Ibn Masood, said in regard to the ritual of Eid prayer, “The Imam of the prayer should say Takbir to initiate the prayer. Afterwards, he should perform 3 additional Takbirat followed by the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah and another Surah following it. Then the Imam should continue his prayer, go into Ruku’, Sujood until he stands up (for his second Rak’ah). He should read Surah al-Fatihah and another Surah and proceed to perform 3 Takbirat followed by the Takbir to go into Ruku’” – Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar 4:347

al-Lubab 1:117, Maraqi al-Falah 90, Fath al-Qadir 1:425-427, Tabyin al-Haqaiq 1:225, al-Dur al-Mukhtar 1:779-782, al-Bada’I 1:277, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 1:141

[30] al-Sunan al-Kabir 3:503, al-Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:183, Sahih al-Bukhari includes this Hadith in his Tarjamtul Baab 2:23

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