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Question: How can North American Muslims show solidarity with the oppressed Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, and all over the world? Is there anything practical that we can do? And are there any prayers that were designed for this type of situation that we can individually or collectively perform?

As Muslims it is our religious duty to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Palestine, Kashmir and every part of the world; we must also show solidarity with the oppressed in any part of the world regardless of their religious or racial or ethnic affiliations.

When we come to specific ways of translating this solidarity into practical steps, I can classify them into long term and short term measures. Let me start with the short term measures first:
1) We must offer charities for the relief of the suffering. While doing so it is important to feel the pain and suffering they are going through right now as if we ourselves were being personally hurt.
2) We must recite qunoot al-nnazilah. This is the kind of special prayer recommended in time of calamities and tragedies. As a community we must close our ranks and pray from our hearts for the brothers and sisters who are suffering most terribly; it is our duty to pray to Allah to grant them victory and relief. Here is a sample qunoot nazilayh that we can recite. It can be recited both individually and collectively. While reciting it collectively, it is best that we choose to read it during Fajr, Isha and Jumu’ah Prayers. There are two valid ways of reciting qunut; it must be done in the last rak’ah, either before going to ruku after finishing recitation or after rising from ruku and saying rabbanaa laka al-hamdu, and prior to going to prostration; both are perfectly valid options.

Here is a sample qunut al-nazilah in transliteration:
Allaahumma innaa nasta’eenuka wa nastaghiruka
Wa nu’minu bika wa nuthnee alayka
Wa nakfuru wa naturuku man yafjuruka
Allaahumma iyyaaka na’budu walaka nusallee wa nasjudu
Wa ilayka nas’aa wa nahfidu
Narjoo rahmataka wa nakshaa ‘adhaabaka
Inna adhaabaka al-jidda bi al-kuffaari mulhiq
Allahukka alayka bi al-ssahaayinat al-mu’tadeena al-mujrimeena
Alladheena istabaahoo al-hurumaati wa qataloo wa sharradoo al-mustadh’afeen fee Filasteen,
Allaahuma innahum laa yu’jizoonaka
Allaahumma rabba al-mustadh’afeen
Unsur al-mustadh’afeen (3 times)
Allaahumma arinaa feehim ajaa’iba qudratika
Allaahumma ij’al tadbeerahum tadmeeran alayhim
Wa ij’al jundahum jundan alayhim
Wa ij’al sijnahum sijnan alayhim
Allaahumma unsur al-mustadh’afeen fee kulli makaani
(Three times)
Allaahumma unsurhum nasran mu’azzaran (3 times)
Alllaahumm irham ummata Muhammad (Three times)
Allaahumm farrij an ummati Muhammadin (Three times)
Allaahumma yaa muqalliba al-qulooba thabbit quloobanaa alaa al-haqq
Allaahumma ij’alnaa hadeen muhtadeen
Allaahumma salli wa sallim ala nabiyyika wa rasoolika Muhammadin wa alaa aalihi wa sahbihee ajma’een
O Allah, We seek Your help; we beseech Your forgiveness
We affirm our faith in You; we praise You.
We reject and abandon everyone who forsakes You
O Allah, You alone do we worship; unto You alone we pray, and before You alone prostrate in worship.
Unto You alone we strive and implore
We cherish hope in Your mercy; we fear Your chastisement
Most certainly, Your stern punishment will overtake those who reject the truth
O Allah, we ask Your help against the aggressive Zionists who have committed crimes (against the oppressed), who have violated the sanctities, and killed, and dispersed the oppressed in Palestine.
O Allah, they cannot overwhelm you
O Allah, You who are the Lord of the oppressed,
Help the oppressed (against their oppressors)
O Allah, show us Your miraculous powers in dealing with them (i.e. the aggressors)
O Allah, make their plans a plan for their destruction
Make their armies a source of their own defeat
Make their prison a prison for them
O Allah, help the oppressed against the oppressors in all parts of the world
O Allah, have mercy on the Ummah of Muhammad
O Allah, bring relief to the Ummah of Muhammad
O Allah, You are the twister of hearts, make thou our feet steadfast on truth.
O Allah, make us all guides unto truth and make us rightly guided.
O Allah, bless and send peace on Your Prophet and Messenger Muhammad and his entire family and companions.

As for long term efforts, they must include analyzing the reasons for our downfall and despondent state as well as seeking to remove them through concerted and methodical efforts and strategies. We cannot expect our condition to change through erratic, hysterical outbursts; we must become proactive instead of acting out impulsively. As the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “There is no intelligence greater than planning”. Stated differently, we must plan and work out strategies methodically and systematically; let me list a few points in this regard:
1) We must organize our priorities and seek to mobilize the spiritual and intellectual and other resources of the community to strengthen the Ummah and protect it.
2) We must prepare a new generation of trained professionals and experts who would protect us against the misinformation and deliberate cover up and false propaganda in the media.
3) We should reach out to other communities and cooperate with all the peace-loving people, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations, and work for the cause of truth and justice and fundamental rights of all fellow citizens and human beings.
4) We must recapture the essential universal, ethical values and ideals of Islam and accentuate them, rather than being ossified on dogmas and rituals.
5) The Ummah cannot be mobilized for the higher ideals of Islam so long as the Minbar remains a dead piece of wood. We must remember that the Prophet, peace be upon him, trained an entire generation of leaders from the University of Minbar.

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