In 1917, the British government expressed support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration, disregarding the rights and existence of the Palestinian population already living there for generations.
The Nakba, meaning "catastrophe" in Arabic, occurred in 1948 when the state of Israel was established. This led to the forceful expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, resulting in a massive refugee crisis that persists to this day. The deliberate destruction of Palestinian villages and the denial of their right to return leaves an indelible scar on humanity's conscience.1
Palestinians take part in the Nakba commemoration, in the Gaza Strip, on May 01, 2023. "Nakba" means in Arabic "catastrophe" in reference to the birth of the state of Israel 75 years ago in British-mandate Palestine. The key is used as a symbol as many Palestinians still keep the keys to their house from when they were forcibly removed.
Since then, Israel has continued its expansionist policies, illegally annexing and settling Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in a flagrant violation of international law.2 The construction of settlements, the imposition of military checkpoints, the separation wall, and the blockade of Gaza are all oppressive measures that restrict the freedom and livelihoods of Palestinians.
Israeli aggression has been unrelenting. The disproportionate use of force, targeted assassinations, indiscriminate bombings and military incursions have led to countless civilian casualties, including babies.
The siege on Gaza has made it extremely challenging to live there, with severe restrictions on movement, access to basic necessities like food, water, and medical supplies, and constant military attacks devastating the civilian population. The oppression faced by Palestinians is stark and undeniable. Palestinians endure systemic discrimination, land confiscation, home demolitions, and the denial of basic human rights on a daily basis.
Hebron / Westbank Israel - June 8th 2016: Two Israeli Soldiers guard a checkpoint in Hebron
At its core, the power dynamics are vastly unequal, with Israel possessing significant military capabilities and control over many aspects of Palestinian life, including borders and resources. In contrast, Palestinians do not have military forces—a standing army, navy, air force—or even basic infrastructure. In 2001, their only airport was destroyed by Israeli bombings. This disparity in control underscores a fundamental imbalance in power, making it hard to view this situation as a conflict between two equally empowered sides.
While it's not fundamentally a religious issue, Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) share a connection to this land through our histories and religious narratives. Jerusalem, for example, holds immense significance for all three faiths. Our shared heritage underscores the need for empathy, understanding, and respect for each other's perspectives and rights. Peace can only emerge through dialogue, mutual recognition, and a commitment to justice, allowing all communities to live in security and dignity.
After Hamas’ attack on October 7, Israel responded by attacking more than 14,100 innocent civilians in Gaza, many of whom are children. Nowhere is safe in Gaza, with homes, schools, refugee camps, hospitals and places of worship being bombed.
Palestinians search a house after an Israeli air strike, in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on October 12 2023.
Israel also cut off basic necessities like water, food, medicine, electricity, and fuel — which encompasses collective punishment that is illegal under international law.
As of 21 November 2023, Israel’s military offensive has killed 48 members of the press. In comparison, there were 42 total global journalist deaths in 2022, which included 15 casualties reporting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, deemed high-risk for media professionals.3
Palestinians take part in a candlelight vigil to condemn the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2022.
In the West Bank, where there is no Hamas, a surge in aggressive attacks on villages has forced over 1,000 individuals from at least 16 Palestinian communities to evacuate their homes since October 7. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports over 250 instances of Palestinian-targeted assaults by settlers in the region. The toll stands at 200 Palestinian casualties, with eight attributed to settlers and the remainder occurring amid confrontations with Israeli forces.4
We witness these horrific events while living our day-to-day lives in our Singaporean reality. Social media presents us with posts about what's going on, and it's like we're right there with those affected. Trying to keep up with everything while also looking after ourselves is tough. Balancing staying informed and taking care of our own mental health is a real struggle, isn't it?
Consequently, many of us have realised that the crisis has affected us mentally and spiritually in numerous ways. We are grappling with our emotions, bewildered by the situation, and finding it challenging to channel our frustration and despair towards a constructive outcome. As a result, many of us feel helpless, unsure how to move forward.
We hope that this guide will help you.
Islam’s position in the face of injustice is clear. As stated in the hadith qudsi:
يا عِبَادِي، إنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الظُّلْمَ علَى نَفْسِي، وَجَعَلْتُهُ بيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا، فلا تَظَالَمُوا
“O My servant. I have made injustice forbidden upon Myself, and I have made it forbidden upon you, so do not wrong (be unjust) with one another.”
The disturbing events unfolding in Gaza have impacted us in unfathomable ways. We are understandably and justifiably enraged about the atrocities being committed. If left unchecked, rage can also change us as a person and affect our principles in life. The last thing we want is to turn into the very thing we hate: people who spread injustices in this world.
Our responsibility to uphold justice and condemn indiscriminate killings is a duty that transcends borders and encompasses every corner of the globe. It's not limited to any single cause or issue—it extends to every instance where injustice rears its ugly head, especially in instances involving the tragic loss of innocent lives.
As Allah s.w.t. emphasised in the Quran,
مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ أَنَّهُۥ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍۢ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَآ أَحْيَا ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعًا
“That (the brutal murder) is why We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity.”
(Surah Al-Ma'idah, 5:32)
Punishing civilians for the actions of their leaders or governments not only violates fundamental human rights but also perpetuates a cycle of violence and suffering. It's crucial to differentiate between the actions of leaders and the individuals within a population who may have no control over political decisions. Seeking justice or accountability should always target responsible parties without causing harm to innocent civilians.
It's inspiring to see how our faith guides us toward compassion and justice. Islam beautifully teaches us to champion the oppressed, to stand against discrimination, and to strive for a world where equality thrives. This includes, but is not confined to, the situation in Palestine. It extends to every place where people suffer due to oppression, discrimination, or violence. As Singapore Muslims, we can continue our peaceful efforts, such as advocacy and humanitarian aid to support them.
Our commitment to justice isn't a one-time statement or action—it's a lifelong dedication. It's about continuously learning, unlearning and relearning, advocating, and ensuring that our actions align with the values we hold dear. It's about infusing justice and compassion into our everyday lives within our families, our communities, and the world.
O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may (get to) know one another. Surely, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware."
(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:13)
In this diverse world of ours, we encounter people from all walks of life, each with their own unique stories, beliefs, and backgrounds. And that's what makes our interactions so incredibly rich and meaningful.
As a Muslim, you carry with you the beautiful teachings of Islam—teachings that emphasise dignity, respect, and empathy for all. It's a call to treat every individual, regardless of their background, beliefs, or identity, with the utmost kindness and understanding.
In a time where hate speech and personal attacks can cloud conversations, it's more important than ever to embody these values. When we approach others with an open heart and mind, we create a space where understanding can flourish and where bridges can be built instead of walls.
وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلْقَلْبِ لَٱنفَضُّوا۟ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَٱعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَٱسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ
“...Had you been cruel or hard-hearted, they would have certainly abandoned you. So pardon them, ask Allah’s forgiveness for them…”
(Surah Ali ‘Imran, 3:159)
Your actions and your words have the power to inspire others and create a ripple effect of positivity. When dealing with something as close to your heart as the Palestinian cause, emotions can understandably be intense. However, education and advocacy are most effective when approached with kindness and understanding. It's about presenting facts, sharing experiences, and promoting understanding while being mindful of others' emotions and viewpoints. Ultimately, speaking gently and with wisdom allows for more productive and empathetic conversations, potentially fostering greater awareness and support for the cause.
Remember, rejecting hate speech, prejudice, and discrimination isn't just about avoiding negativity—it's about actively fostering an environment of inclusivity and acceptance.
So, as you move through your days, keep this in mind. Embrace differences, seek to understand, and spread kindness wherever you go.
Most traditional and mainstream media have been criticised for their coverage of Palestine and Israel, labelled as 'biased reporting' by alternative news media. News outlets considered 'reputable' have faced accusations of adopting the Israeli narrative without adequately presenting the Palestinian perspective as a counterbalance.5
As a result, individuals increasingly rely on social media for real-time updates. Termed 'citizen journalism,' this emerging form of reporting involves independent reporters, influencers, and everyday people at the forefront of coverage.6 Live streams provide direct insight into on-the-ground events.
Since October 7, Motaz Azaiza's Instagram posts and media appearances have captured the world, offering humane and tragic insight into the plight of the Palestinians.
Platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram and TikTok empower individuals, especially the youth, to instantly share opinions and information, significantly shaping the narrative around the Palestinian struggle.
This instantaneous sharing of information has its pros and cons. On one hand, it allows for the amplification of voices that may not have been heard otherwise, bringing attention to different perspectives and humanising the crisis in ways traditional media might not. On the other hand, it can lead to the rapid spread of misinformation or oversimplified narratives that can further polarise opinions.
There have been reports of how recycled footage and images are taken out of context or shared in a misleading manner to shape narratives in this crisis.7 For example, in a viral video, old footage of The Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) was used, with captions falsely suggesting their mobilisation to Palestine. However, the video actually depicted old footage of ATM members assigned to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission.8
In the Quran, Allah s.w.t. commands Muslims to practise tabayyun, which is to verify any news obtained before disseminating it, or taking any action:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
“O you who believe! If an evildoer brings you any news, verify it so you do not harm people unknowingly, afterwards becoming regretful for what you have done.”
(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:6)
As believers, it is our responsibility to ensure that any news or information we share has been verified and is accurate. This is because spreading unverified information can lead to negative or inappropriate reactions, which can cause harm. In some cases, it may even make the situation worse.
Therefore, it is important to be cautious and responsible when sharing information. By verifying information and relying on credible sources, we can ensure that we are not contributing to the spread of false information. We can also support the incredible work of journalists on the ground who are risking their lives to provide accurate updates.
Recently, a video of American model Bella Hadid expressing her support for the Israeli cause was shared online. It later turned out to be digitally manipulated. In reality, Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, has consistently demonstrated support for Palestine. Notably, she participated in a London protest advocating for Palestine shortly after then-President Donald Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.9
This is a stark example of how sophisticated technology can be misused. It's a reminder for us to exercise caution and discernment, especially in this era of AI-generated content and deep fakes.
This calls on us to make our own fair assessment of what we consume. We should never rush to completely believe everything in social media and news outlets, even when the coverage may support the narrative we're inclined to. Here's where the National Library Board's S.U.R.E. approach can help you:
Source: Look at its origins. Are they trustworthy?
Make sure that the source of information is credible and reliable.
Understand: Know what you’re reading. Search for clarity.
Look for facts rather than opinions. Question personal biases.
Research: Dig deeper. Go beyond the initial source.
Investigate thoroughly before making a conclusion. Check and compare with multiple sources.
Evaluate: Find the balance. Exercise fair judgement.
Look from different angles. Will what we say help improve the discussion or make it worse? Are we just expressing our anger or also suggesting ways to help?
Embracing tabayyun isn’t just about being cautious; it's about honouring the truth and respecting the narratives of those directly affected. It's a tribute to the Palestinian cause. Supporting these efforts with accurate information amplifies the credibility of the cause and showcases the unwavering commitment to truth and justice.
As Israel persists in launching a staggering number of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, our hearts ache, mourning the loss of innocent civilians and the widespread devastation shared across online platforms.
Some of us find ourselves bursting into tears, overwhelmed by the sight, unable to return to the present and embrace the blessings before us. Others grapple with a mix of anger and sorrow.
These emotions are natural. They are, in essence, gifts from Allah s.w.t., demonstrating that our hearts are alive and that we have a conscience. Let’s embrace and channel them to positive actions.
مَن رَأَى مِنكُم مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بيَدِهِ، فإنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسانِهِ، فإنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وذلكَ أضْعَفُ الإيمانِ
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then (let him change it) with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
The hadith teaches that each one of us can contribute positively. It urges us to recognise our realities and use our abilities to make a difference in combating evil or injustice in our own spheres of influence.
Now that we are witnessing the extreme cruelties in front of our eyes, we should use our privilege to aid others. Keep striving to contribute to the best of your capabilities while also ensuring that you fulfil your other obligations with Ihsan, whether they pertain to work, studies, or family.
Here are some actions you could consider if you’ve not done them:
1. Develop yourself spiritually and mentally:
- Morning and evening zikir, selawat, and istighfar.
- Perform the five daily prayers.
- Devote time to recite the Quran with reflection (tadabbur) for much-needed solace and direction.
- Make sincere dua, including Qunut Nazilah.
- Perform Solat Hajat.
2. Seek knowledge:
- Gather information from diverse sources—books, articles, academic papers, news outlets, and documentaries. This includes sources from different viewpoints and backgrounds to gain a comprehensive understanding.
- Understand the historical context and root causes of the crisis.
- Read and reflect on the signs and trials of the End of Times.
3. Act to the best of your means:
- Raise awareness using credible sources you have verified, especially the voices of Palestinians on the ground.
- Engage in respectful discussions with others, fostering understanding and empathy for the Palestinian cause.
- Contribute to organisations that provide humanitarian aid, medical assistance, education, or support Palestinian rights.
- Write to or petition your government representatives to advocate for policies that promote peace, justice, and human rights for Palestinians.
- Buy from Palestinian businesses to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and their quest for statehood and support for their economic independence and growth.
- Support Palestinian culture by exploring their traditional recipes, visiting Palestinian-owned restaurants, participating in events that celebrate Palestinian heritage, and sharing your experiences with others. Additionally, seeking out Palestinian cookbooks, trying out recipes at home, and sharing meals with friends and family can help spread awareness and appreciation for Palestinian culture and its delicious cuisine.
Take care of the hablum minallah, the connection with the divine, which is a source of solace and guidance. Strengthening our relationship with Allah s.w.t. offers comfort and a sense of purpose amidst turmoil. The way forward is to put faith at the centre of our being.
Simultaneously, staying connected with others—maintaining hablum minannas, the bonds of humanity—is crucial during these challenging times. It's through these connections that we find support, empathy, and shared strength to navigate these distressing events together. One such initiative is the Sisters for Sisters Support Circle by Liyana Musfirah Network.
Allah s.w.t. reminds us the importance of staying united, especially in difficult times:
وَٱعْتَصِمُوا۟ بِحَبْلِ ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًۭا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا۟ ۚ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ نِعْمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَآءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِۦٓ إِخْوَٰنًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
"And hold firmly together to the rope of Allah and do not be divided. Remember Allah’s favour upon you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts, so you—by His grace—became brothers. And you were at the brink of a fiery pit and He saved you from it. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so that you may be (rightly) guided."
(Surah Ali-Imran, 3:103)
These connections, both human and spiritual, fortify our resilience and offer pathways to healing. They remind us that while the situation may seem dire, we are not alone in our struggles.
By nurturing these connections and tending to our mental well-being, we not only preserve our ability to advocate for justice but also embody the profound Islamic principle of balancing care for oneself and care for others. This holistic approach allows us to continue our efforts effectively while maintaining our own inner balance and strength.
Exposure to graphic violence and death can have significant impacts on mental health. Witnessing or experiencing such traumatic events can lead to a range of psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other forms of psychological distress. It can cause disturbances in sleep patterns and intrusive thoughts and can significantly affect one's ability to function in daily life.
For some individuals, exposure to such content can be particularly distressing and may trigger or exacerbate existing mental health conditions. It's essential for individuals who cannot cope with being exposed to graphic violence or death to seek support from mental health professionals or counsellors who can help them process and deal with these experiences. Should you require it, you can consider Asatizah Solace Care by Pergas, a safe and confidential platform that provides free virtual emotional and spiritual support.
Just as you would address a physical injury, tending to your mental health is essential for your overall well-being and your ability to persist in your invaluable efforts.
In times of great trial and adversity, finding solace in our faith cannot be overstated. Remember, your actions make a difference no matter how small they seem. Your fervour in addressing this crisis is a testament to a broader awakening—you are part of a generation unafraid to challenge power structures and speak out against injustice. Your actions aren't limited to online platforms; they're sparking real-world discussions, influencing policies, and reshaping the discourse surrounding the crisis.
Tawakkul, the act of surrendering to Allah s.w.t’s divine plan, offers a profound strength that helps us navigate through these trying times. While we work tirelessly for change, placing our trust in Allah s.w.t. brings a sense of peace and assurance that surpasses our limited understanding as human beings.
The outpouring of solidarity and support from all corners of the world, irrespective of faith or background, speaks volumes about the universal call for justice. People are turning to the Quran, inspired by the unwavering faith of Palestinians, signifying a growing global consciousness toward this cause.
It's natural to feel a range of emotions—anger, sorrow, and frustration—amidst the loss of innocent lives. But know that their sacrifices are not in vain. They stand as martyrs, their legacy forever etched in our hearts, motivating us to strive for a world where peace reigns.
You are not alone. Singaporeans of all backgrounds, including various faith-based groups, have donated more than S$6 million to the fundraising drives by the Singapore Red Cross and the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation.
People have also signed a petition calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. At the time of writing, the petition garnered more than 26,000 signatures, clearly showing a strong desire from Singaporeans to share their position on this issue.
During the 10th Emergency Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Oct 27, Singapore voted in favour of a resolution calling for an “immediate humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities” and condemning the violence against both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Beyond this, our authorities continue to engage the Palestinian Authority and support its capacity-building efforts through the Enhanced Technical Assistance Package.
Have faith in Allah's perfect timing and wisdom. Keep the light of faith shining brightly within you. Your unwavering dedication, sincerity, and relentless efforts make a profound difference. You are an integral part of a larger movement, and your perseverance will pave the way for a better tomorrow, insyaAllah.