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How do we as Muslims react to a war – when the demarcations are so unclear

Shakirah Hunter

A war in Europe should emit a crazy amount of emotion, shouldn’t it? No one ever thought that it was even possible. Europe and America were always careful to keep their wars far away from home. And now I find my feed full of pictures of war – and yet I must admit I find it incredibly difficult to feel anything. I empathize with the victims of every war. I had found myself crying in pain at the plight of Palestinians, Afghanistan children, Iraqis and Syrians – every war chipped at my soul and left me feeling empty. Yet as our feed is overshadowed by war stories of this European country, I find myself struggling. These were two superpowers that had attacked the weak and oppressed throughout the world.

Russia had bombed out innocent Syrian children, and America and the other NATO countries all had blood of Muslims on their hands. How did one begin to feel bad or choose a victim or a side that somehow had both oppressors of Muslims on either side? This was not a clear-cut oppressor vs oppressed war.

Then the reports of the racism even in a time of war came forward. Reporters kept highlighting that these people were different, they were blue-eyed blonde-haired Europeans -certainly not migrants. A different breed altogether. And this rhetoric further disenfranchised me from this war. How could I feel anything for those who had no mercy to the rest of the world -who showed a deep hatred to people of color, who regarded black people as less than, who regarded people from other countries as not fit to enter their pristine countries.

It becomes easy to look at the war and only see the double-standard policies on reporting and the unfairness of Palestinians being labeled terrorists whilst Ukrainians are lauded for their incredible resolve to protect their country.

But we are believers. We are different. We learnt from the greatest of Men. We learnt from the one who looked at His oppressors and head bent in humility said :

لاتثريب عليكم اليوم

“There will be no revenge against you today”.

Our beloved Habeeb (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught us to understand that empathy as believers is always of paramount importance. Years of watching our Muslim brothers and sisters being tortured and killed might make us unable to feel the pain of a war in Europe – but it is our faith that guides us to feel pain and empathy. To call out oppression whether we resonate with them or not. In feeling hurt and disillusioned of the MANY, MANY unjust wars against our Muslim brothers – we cannot allow for this to make us unable to feel and make intense dua for those suffering in this war.

War is war. No matter who may be the victim or perpetrator. And our focus must always be to assist in Dua, to allow for our thoughts and hearts to be affected by the loss of even one life. We cannot allow for our humanity to be destroyed – irrespective of whether we are shown the same courtesy.

Innocent lives are lost in every war and innocent people fall victim to the wars that they have no decision in. We might not understand the political warfare- the hidden agendas or agree with either side – but our humanity and our faith dictates that we always feel the pain of the innocent.



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