Palestine: Be Moved to Respond

By Sapelo Square

Sapelo Square is on the side of justice, freedom and the liberation of all oppressed people. We abhor the current occupation and genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank by Israel, with help from the United States government. As the number of deaths of the men, women and a great majority of children are reported to exceed 5,000, we make fervent du’a for those slain and the thousands left behind. May Allah give the Palestinian people peace and relief from the onslaught of torture and trauma they have endured for decades. And may we never let up in our pursuit of justice on their behalf. May we never forget them so that Allah does not forget us. May this act be used as a means to bring us all closer together rather than further apart. We make du’a for all the thousands of lives lost and loved ones forever affected by the actions of a few.

During these heavy times and situations, we rely on our faith for guidance and our community for support. We offer these two khutbahs given by Imam Mansoor Sabree, Executive Deputy Director of Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and Imam Sulaimaan Hamed, resident imam of Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, to provide both. This is a reminder of who we are, not only as Black people, but first and foremost as Muslims, and a call to stand up and respond to injustice in whatever way we are able.

Our enemy is not the free world or the communist world or Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. Our enemy is ignorance, racism, oppression, greed and corruption. The schemes of Shaytan, that’s our enemy.

Imam Mansoor Sabree (Excerpt from Jumuah Khutbah, October 13, 2023)

… it is a blessing to have a people that you call family and so no matter where we are in the world we know our circumstances as a body of people and it is the lens that we see the world through, but this situation that we’re seeing right now and that we’re witnessing I wanna just say that, the truth of the matter is that we don’t know the full plight and situation of the Palestinian people. It’s complex. So whenever we see complexity we say Allah knows best. Allahu Alam. He is The Knower of all things. And we don’t put ourself in the position of His Authority. 

But what we do know is what oppression looks like. And what we do know as Black people in America, in that context of our history, that we see ourselves in the Palestinian people. And we can look throughout the globe because of our experience and see ourselves in many people. But it is the circumstances of every human being that give them a lens of how they view the world. So if you have a heart, you can’t look at the circumstances and situation that’s happening there and not see a part of yourself. Not feel for what’s happening there, for the men, the women and the children. You can’t look at that situation and turn a blind eye if you’ve lived on this planet, because life is struggle. 

But if you do, know that you have lost your humanity. 

We’ve suffered, and we’re reminded of that suffering, but I want to remind us that this is not, I believe, this is not a religious war. We are not at war, or our enemy is not Jews. Imam (Warith Deen) Mohammed, he once said, he said, “Our enemy is not the free world or the communist world or Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. Our enemy is ignorance, racism, oppression, greed and corruption. The schemes of Shaytan, that’s our enemy.” So when you feel that sense of someone pushing back to say, you can’t stand up against that, it’s not popular for you to stand in that space of defending a people, we have to remind them that we’re defending the entire human race when we stand up against oppression. And that if you’ve ever suffered any level of it then you know that you are just the first in a line of those who are gonna be victims of it. 

We stand for truth and justice and an opportunity for all of mankind to fulfill their oath and obligation to Allah…

But as spiritual people we have to take things back to the understanding of how this began, and what role do we play as conscious people, who have an experience that oppression is not allowed. Not on my watch. I can’t turn a blind eye or be quiet. I have to push humanity to see the true way in which we have to live together in cooperation and better understanding. I have to push for it. I have to stand for it. I have to recite it to myself that I cannot just be someone who is living a lie with breath and not say anything towards truth and justice. 

If I say I love Muhammad, I say I love Moses, I say I love Jesus, then what am I doing for peace in the world?

Imam Sulaimaan Hamed (Excerpt from Jumuah Khutbah on October 20, 2023)

The topic is Palestine. Period. Just that. Palestine. That’s the topic. And I am saying that name, over and over. Palestine. Because there are people, governments, who would like for me to just say Israel and not Palestine. So we say Palestine. Palestine is the country. Jerusalem is a city in Palestine. Israel is a tribe of people in Palestine. It’s a people. It has morphed into a prophet. It has morphed into a land. It’s a people. Ya, Bani Isra’il. Oh Children of Israel.

But today we talking about Palestine. Al-Aqsa. That place should mean something to Muslims. Palestine should mean something if I’m a Muslim. Why does it mean anything? One, as a reminder, Palestine contains in it the first qibla for humanity. The first qibla is in Palestine. Masjid Al-Aqsa, that’s still there today. You go to Mecca today, to the (Masjid) Haram, and if I pray there, Allah, out of His generosity makes my prayer worth one hundred thousand. That’s today in Mecca. If you go to Medina where Muhammad, salla’llahu alayhi wa sallam, is and his masjid, if you pray there, Allah out of His generosity, today, your prayer is worth one thousand. Did you know that if you go to Palestine today, and pray in Masjid Al-Aqsa, out of the generosity of Allah, your prayer is increased by 500? That’s today. That ain’t stopped. So that place is special to a Muslim. That masjid, that location that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says, “the one who put barakah around it,” talking about Masjid Al-Aqsa.

This is Qur’an. Allah says, “Glory be to The One, who did take his servant on a night journey from Masjid Haram, [that’s in Mecca], to Masjid Al-Aqsa, [that’s the furthest masjid, that’s Jerusalem], that we put barakah around it.” 

That’s an ayah from Qur’an. Allah is saying, there’s something special about this place that’s on the news today. And some of the scholars say, that that barakah is just right around Aqsa, like right around it in Palestine. We take that as a blessing that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has given that place. And then there are other scholars who expanded more. The barakah, it includes Syria. It includes Lebanon. It includes Jordan. The whole of Sham, that’s what that area is called, has barakah in it. And Muhammad, salla’llahu alayhi wa sallam, has something when he made du’a. He said, “Oh Allah bless for us in our Sham, [that’s Syria, Palestine and Lebanon] and in Yemen.” So there’s barakah in that whole place. 

So I’m reminding us today, Palestine is a blessed place. Now let’s move on and get us a little uncomfortable. That place that has blessings in it, right now today, thousands of human beings are being murdered… 

That place that has the barakah and all of that right now today, people are getting murdered. Somebody say, “that’s what the jumuah is about?” Yes. That’s what the khutbah is about. Human beings in a place that has been blessed by God are being killed for no reason, than that they’re human…We have lost humanity so much, that I just told you, thousands of humans, we ain’t even got to Muslim yet, yeah, we getting there. Humans are being slaughtered in Palestine. A place that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has blessed, and prophets have walked. The stomping ground of the prophets, right now. Did you know that? Does that mean anything? Am I moved? Is my humanity that lost? I’m talking to you. You listening to me? Is your humanity that lost? That I just told you and you know thousands of people are killed and you say “what the hell does that mean to me?” You sick. Like sick as in you need medicine. The impurities of this world has taken control of my heart that have made me inhumane. Some of us. The loss of life. Listen, right now we just talking about life. Innocent people are dying. That should mean something to Muslims…Excuse me. That should mean something to humans. I haven’t got to Islam yet. Right now I’m talking to us as human beings…

He (Allah) subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “The believers are brothers. The believers are one brotherhood. Make peace between your warring brothers. And fear Allah so that you’ll receive mercy.”

Them Palestinians are our brothers. They’re our sisters. And we have to respond to them, because they your family…We have to do something from ourselves…Thousands of Jewish victims, thousands of Christian victims. Now we’re getting to religion, but the majority of the victims are Muslim. Here we go. They’re humans. And that didn’t move you. We weren’t moved by the fact that they’re human victims. Maybe get moved by the fact that the majority of them are Muslims. The majority of the people that are being slaughtered and oppressed and done wrong say “la ilaha illa ‘llah Muhammadar Rasulullah” just like you. They believe the same thing you believe. Does that move you?…

It’s dhulm. It’s oppression. That’s why you can’t have no part of your heart for oppressors and oppression. Let me say that again. It is dhulm, dhulm, dhulm. That’s oppression. That’s suppression. That’s ill treatment. That’s what’s happening to those people. You cannot support oppression or oppressors or you just as guilty.

Click on the photos above or the links provided to view the khutbahs in their entirety. Imam Mansoor Sabree, Jerusalem and the Land of the Prophets or Palestine, given by Imam Sulaimaan Hamed.

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