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CRUCIBLE: Ramadan 2024 and War in Gaza

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 11 April)—There are no words enough to express our grief, disgust and revulsion on the current war in Gaza.

The Holy Month of Ramadan 2024, like many instances in the past, has been marred with unparalleled State and hegemonic terror against the oppressed people of Palestine. The International Court of Justice rightly refers to such act of terrorism as genocide.

The war in Gaza did not start on October 7, 2023. There had been a series of major wars in Gaza in recent years with relatively similar intensity and many more State-sponsored and illegal settlers-initiated terrorism in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine.

Understanding today’s war in Gaza and the rest of Palestine requires tracing it to Israel’s settler colonialism that began in 1948 and even earlier involving European powers with their sinister maneuver in controlling the Middle East and dividing it into their spheres of influence.

The Arab catastrophe (nakba) and the launching of Palestinian resistance and right to self-determination is in response to such a form of colonialism reinforced with systematic application of apartheid. It was driven by Zionist ideology that, over time, goes “over the top” in the West and eventually directs US hegemony in the Middle East.

What is our recourse in alleviating our mixed emotions with the current war in Gaza?

The parallel of binary narratives between fasting in the Month of Ramadan and war in Gaza and the rest of Palestine is in order.

An act of cleansing one’s physical and spiritual make-up with “ramada” (to burn), the Arabic root word of Ramadan, fasting purports the formation of new self from old to effect fear (taqwa) of ALLAH (swt).

Prophet Muhammad (saw) instructs his community (ummah) to live between fear (khawf) and hope (raja). Instead of being gripped in mixed emotions, let us convince ourselves that everything, including what’s happening in Gaza and the rest of Palestine, is in the Hands of ALLAH (swt) where khawf and raja truly reside.

Today’s war in Gaza and other forms of oppression in Palestine polarize the transgressor (taghut) from the oppressed (mustadafin) in the eyes of the world. As Palestine mustadafin confront global taghut, the world order is currently transforming from old to new and clearly unmasking the face of new David and new Goliath.

(MindaViews is opinion section of MindaNews. A preface of Eid l-fitr khutbah delivered at Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, on April 10, 2024; and published as Special Issue in Sahiyfah, Newsletter of UP Institute of Islamic Studies. Julkipli Wadi is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines.)

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