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From the Glorious Qur’ān
I S S U E N O . 4 1 5 T H J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 9

In the Face of Oppression

)٤( ‫ص ُاب ْ ُاْلخ ُْدو ِد‬ َ ْ َ‫ُق ِت َل أ‬ Dhu Nuwas was a Jewish King of pre- their rights. Brute force is being
sent day Yemen who ruled from 515 used on unarmed civilians by fanatic
)٥( ‫النَّ ِار َذ ِات الْ َو ُقو ِد‬ to 525 A.D. He was not a Jew by birth Jews who have given only one op-

)٦( ‫ِإ ْذ ُ ُْه عَلَْيْ َا ُق ُعو ٌد‬ but converted to Judaism after be-
coming king and changed his name to
tion to the Palestinian people -
accept subjugation or die. And all
َ ُ‫َو ُ ُْه ع ََل َما ي َ ْف َعل‬
)٧( ‫ون ِِبلْ ُم ْؤ ِم ِن َني ُشهُو ٌد‬ Joseph. He then began to propagate this is happening while the richest
POINTS TO Judaism and when he heard of the Arab nations are watching passively,
Cursed be the Makers of the Pit. persecution of Jews by Byzantine nay, even colluding with the merci-
PONDER Of the fire (kept burning) with fuel. emperors, he retaliated by killing less Israeli butchers.
UPON When they sat above it.
some Byzantine merchants who were
And were witnesses to what they did to the What they all seem to have forgot-
passing through his kingdom. ten is that oppressors are doomed
 What is consid-
(al-Buruj [85]:4-7) He also made war with the Christians to face terrible consequences both
ered oppression
in Judaism? of Najran and offered them the option in this world and the next. The phi-
of accepting Judaism or being put to losopher Plato is noted to have said:
Oppression is generally defined as
 Who were the death. When they refused to re- the enslaving of another is also the
‘subjugation through unjust use of
Ashab al- nounce their faith, he ordered a large enslaving of oneself.
force.’ A more specific definition is
pit of fire be made and then ordered
given by Ann Cudd in her book Analyz- In another verse of the Glorious
that the Christians be thrown into it Qur’an, we are told about the pun-
 What are the ing Oppression as ‘a harm through
while people sat above and watched ishment of the people of Thamud
similarities which groups of persons are system-
what was being done to them.
between that atically and unfairly or unjustly con- who were oppressive to the Prophet
event and what strained, burdened or reduced by any Salih: ‘So there lay their houses,
is happening of several forces.’ fallen in ruin, because of their op-
today? pression. There is indeed a sign in
Interestingly, in Judaism, oppression is
this for people of knowledge.’ (al-
 What are our synonymous with theft or not giving
Naml [27]:52)
responsibilities? dues to those who are rightfully de-
serving. Maimonides is quoted as The consequences of oppression
having defined it thus: “Oppression is have been described clearly. Short-
the forceful withholding and not re- lived success in this world followed
storing of the money which had been by utter ruin. This is what awaits all
received…” A depiction of oppression made in the
the oppressors.
sand The Zionists who perpetrate great
Grave acts of oppression are described
and decried in the religious scriptures Some commentators say that hun- evil in the world to secure their own
of all world religions. Even agnostics dreds of innocent people were killed interests can no longer hide behind
and atheists are averse to these acts and others say thousands, but their the shadow of the holocaust when
which human beings are naturally only crime was that they did not ac- they themselves are embarking on
disposed to abhor. cept the religion of the tyrant king. genocide and a new holocaust
against the Palestinians.
In the Qur’an, Allah, the all-Wise, If we turn back our gaze to the events
describes ‘the people of the pit’ and that are currently unfolding in the All human beings with a conscience
how they mercilessly burned believers middle east, we will note that there should stand up in protest against
alive just because they refused to are stark resemblances between what the heinous crimes of Israel. Those
Please send your who adopt a ‘least bothered’ atti-
recant their faith. Though commenta- happened over 1500 years ago and
comments and
tors have given differing views about what is happening today. tude are just like the people who sat
suggestions to:
what event these verses refer to, most around the pit of fire and looked at
Innocent men, women and children of them say that the reference is to the innocent Christians of Najran
are being massacred in Ghazza for no being burnt to death.
the oppression of Dhu Nuwas.
reason other than standing up for