As famine stalks Gaza, Palestinians rely on Allah alone

RAFAH, GAZA - MARCH 20: Palestinian Muhammad al-Durra, whose house was destroyed in the Israeli attack and who lost his wife, breaks his fast on the floor he prepares with his children in the wrecked house, in Rafah city of Gaza on March 20, 2024. Al-Durra (41) is spending Ramadan in his house, part of which was destroyed in the attacks. He has been forced to flee several times to protect their lives and currently lives in Rafah. ( Jehad Alshrafi - Anadolu Agency )

Maria Akbar says the desperate plight of the Palestinians of Gaza reminds us of the Quraishi boycott of the Muslims in the life of the Messenger (pbuh). And just as the Muslims emerged from that boycott stronger so will the Palestinians insha’ Allah. 

The global body that is responsible for declaring famine, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, has announced that 1.1 million people are already starving in Gaza. And the remaining 1.1 million people are expected to be in famine by July.

The facts are stark and no one should be in any doubt that this situation is a direct result of the genocide that the Israelis are inflicting upon Gaza.

From the beginning of the genocide, Israel cut water and electricity, blocked medical aid, and made their intentions known when they said they were dealing with animals and would treat them as such.

Individuals now have to collect rainwater to drink, food is scarce and there have been periods when the entire city of Gaza has been blacked out due to lack of electricity.

We have even seen videos of people going out to get food from aid trucks and being killed in the process. Then there are the stampedes of desperate people trying to obtain food for their families.

And if this wasn’t enough, babies have died due to lack of electricity in hospitals, amputations and medical procedures have been performed without any pain relief, and people have been rolling around screaming in pain and agony.

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The world stood by

Yet until now the world has stood by and watched. While prominent figures in the West endorsed the genocide, others couldn’t come to a decision on what level of brutality was too much.

But a famine was always going to be inevitable and so should not take anyone by surprise. What did the world expect would happen when they allowed Israel to lay siege on a strip of land, cut water, electricity and prevent sufficient aid from reaching the people?

Everyone who stood by the side lines, wondering whether Israel had a right to defend itself, or how much death was too much, is complicit in this humanitarian disaster that Gaza is now facing. And those who survived the genocide are now being starved to death.

DEIR AL-BALAH, GAZA – MARCH 12: A Palestinian child is seen while they line up to receive food, distributed by aid organizations, on the second day of Ramadan as Israeli attacks continue in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on March 12, 2024. ( Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency )

For Muslims fasting, in this blessed month of Ramadan, it is difficult to not feel guilty. Whilst we break our fasts with limitless dishes, the Palestinians are scrounging around for grass and murky water. People are dying of starvation. There is barely any concept of having a suhoor and iftar, something we all look forward to. They are being tested for the necessities of survival yet their resolve and determination remains strong.

This reminds me of the boycott against the Muslims in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In around years seven to nine of his prophethood the boycott was a strategy deployed by the Quraishi tribes in an attempt to deter the Muslims from continuing the daw’ah. The boycott meant they could not trade, marry or socialise with any of the non-Muslim Quraishis.

Conditions became so difficult in Makkah so the tribes moved to a valley on the outskirts of the city. The harsh desert conditions made it difficult to survive with food and resources being scarce. There were times when they were forced to eat leaves and tree bark for survival. They were faced with being starved to death in the harsh conditions. It was said that the cries of the children could be heard all the way to Makkah.

The boycott continued for around three years but eventually the embargo was lifted. And not only did the Muslims survive this torture, they remained steadfast and emerged with a clearer message to all that opposed Islam that they would stand by the Prophet, and nothing could stop them.

The resolve of the Palestinians

Likewise in Gaza, the Palestinians are facing a similar level of brutality. With no access to resources and no way to get them in, they too have no aid in sight and are being put into positions where they are being forced to eat leaves and grass. Yet they are still there, steadfast and patiently fighting for their cause.

Nothing can deter them. Their resolve is untouchable.

The only light that emanates from this dark situation is from the Palestinians themselves. Witnessing their strength, reliance on God alone and their steadfastness is truly inspiring to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Hence, we have seen a wave of people taking interest in Islam, as well as converting to Islam since the beginning of this genocide. Many have woken up to what is really going on and are seeing the situation play out exactly for what is – an onslaught against innocents.

Surely their strength is from Allah SWT alone. These are clearly Allah’s people. Those who despite being faced with a genocide, physical and mental pain, still stand firm. The most often repeated phrase we hear them utter is “hasbunallah wa ni’mal wakeel” (God is sufficient and the best Disposer of affairs) in the most difficult of situations.

They rely upon Allah and plead to Him alone. They know that despite not having the physical assistance of other people around the world, Allah will never abandon them.

Surely Allah is with them and therefore they will be victorious.

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