Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I QUICKLY PASS OVER the pictures in my Twitter feed. I try not to read the news reports. I even confess at getting a bit annoyed at the constant tweets and posts about what is happening in Syria, about the devastating human tragedy unfolding before the eyes of a seemingly uncaring world.

But all that is because I hate what is going on, and I hate more that there is nothing – other than prayer and supporting those organizations that are helping relieve the suffering in Syria – I can do to stop the terrible tragedy in Aleppo and other cities in Syria.

And as the ferocity of human brutality rages on – by both savage terrorists and savage government forces alike – I start to look for things that make me feel better. Right away, this verse of the Qur’an came to mind:

Corruption and evil has become rife on the land and at sea because of the deeds of humanity: this is in order that He may cause them to have a taste of some of their deeds [so that] perhaps they will turn back [from evil] (30: 41)

It’s their fault, I say to myself. It is all of the various actors – many, if not most, of whom are Muslim – that are fueling this barbaric conflict. Somehow, this is supposed to absolve me of the guilt I feel for living in such blessed comfort while innocent children are being slaughtered mercilessly with each passing second.

In fact, I quoted this very verse to another colleague in reference to the carnage in Syria. He said to me in return, “What about the children?” It stopped me dead in my tracks.

What about the children? What crime have they committed to be viciously murdered? I have no answer. All I have is my cowardly silence.

And so, all I can do is pray for the violence to stop. All I can do is pray for (and support as much as I can) all those who are risking their lives to help the innocent in Syria.

But I also pray that all those who have killed innocent people be brought to justice. Make no mistake about it: they will be brought to justice. They will face God for their crimes. If they laugh in this world, they will not be laughing in the next. They will have to answer the question that God asked more than 1400 years ago in the Qur’an:

And when the little girl that was buried alive is made to ask for what crime she had been killed (81:8-9)

And I also pray for myself. I pray to God for forgiveness that I could not do more to stop what is happening to all those innocent men, women, and children suffering, not only in Syria, but all places in the world. I hope and pray that God forgives my utter helplessness at making our world a better place. Otherwise, I am surely doomed.

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