Geo Tau Aisay

Syrian Refugees and the Role of Muslim Ummah

This is most unfortunate thing that we now live in the world to see death alone—a normal phenomenon. Used to seeing arsons, people burned to death, killed brutally by terrorists, and butchered in the name of religion and race, a numbness has anesthetized our senses—“as of hemlock we have drunk”. Humanity is so little left on this planet of humans that these images hardly shake our conscience. But the haunting image of 3 year old Aylan’s washed up body have since prompted a worldwide debate on the refugee crisis. People who were quite able to take a lot of sad images found it difficult to move on with this image and launched a worldwide campaign on social media to let the refugees in.

Aylan Kurdi, the 3 year old Syrian soul was found washed up on the beach last Wednesday. He drowned along with his mother Rehan and his 5 year old brother Ghalib. In the photographs uploaded on the internet he was shown lying prone in the surf, wearing a bright-red T-shirt and shorts. His father, Abdullah, however, survived the capsizing just to bury his family. At the funeral, he burst into tears and said that he wanted the Arab governments to see his children and help other people. He said that he hoped the death of his family would encourage the Arab states to help the Syrian refugees.

This Kurdish family was living in Turkey for 3 years, trying to reach Canada. Abdullah’s sister had been in Canada for over 2 decades and wanted to bring them to Canada because of the horrible treatment meted out to them in Turkey.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared all his followers as one Ummah. He constitutionalized the concept in the first ever written constitution of the world—the Medina Peace Treaty [Meethaq-e-Medina]. Being a part of one great Ummah, this forms the fundamental responsibility of a stronger Muslim country to reach out to the weaker ones for help; but the disappointing response of the economically stronger Muslim countries has gone void of compunction. Even the wealthiest Gulf countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) refused to take a single Syrian refugee. KSA was supposed to play the role of an elder brother; however, the Saudi government even banned the adoption of Syrian orphans by its citizens. Not to mention that KSA enjoys a special status among the Ummah for the sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina. Every year, millions of Muslims from all over the world go to the KSA to perform Hajj and thus make colossal contributions to their economy. If nothing else, a moral responsibility lies on the shoulders of Saudi government to at least allow a few thousand of the refuges in and set an example for the rest of the Arab world. Instead, the Saudi rulers are executing carpet bombing to devastate the neighboring Yemen, let alone turning to orphans from Syria. 40 citizens were killed in a couple of days by Saudi air strikes in Yemen, while the refugees in Syria are still dying on the shores in search of some safe nook for their kids.

The Muslim concept of Ummah is supposed to offer protection to all Muslims under one brotherhood. Nevertheless, the KSA shirks the responsibility when it comes to help other Muslim countries. The concept sprang from Medina to obliterate bloodshed and establish peace for the whole of humanity while the callous-hearted rulers of the same Saudi Arabia have defeated the concept, violating the instructions enshrined in the Quran and Sunna to establish One Ummah. It is a known fact that Saudi Arabia has always been funding the terrorist groups—most devilishly called the jihadists—and hence played a heinous role in making all the extremist and terrorist groups powerful enough to initiate sectarian violence and extremism, leading to terrorism in the Muslim world, now mysteriously and inexplicably shaping into the ISIS peril. So they are directly responsible for this entire terrorist crisis in the first place. However, solving this problem or allowing the affected in is not Saudi Arabia’s way to go. Putting refugee crisis aside, Saudi Arabia has never looked benignly towards the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis watched in mute horror as thousands of Palestinians were massacred and Rohingya in Burma were persecuted and millions of Muslims suffered all over the world from terrorism, hunger, war and natural catastrophes.

Being the custodian of the sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina and the elder brother among the Muslim countries, KSA is fundamentally responsible to preach, promote and advance the cause of Muslim Brotherhood. The Prophet constituted and constitutionalized the concept through the process of fraternization. The Quran and Sunna are replete with the commandments and instructions to execute the One Ummah concept. It is spread over the sacred pages of the Quran. The current role of Ummah is bound with the KSA’s pivotal performance towards achievement of the objective. The entire Muslim world is, however, looking forward to the realization of this sublime goal, the OIC tragically proving a farce.

– Sadaf Iqbal Alvi

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