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The Persecuted, Oppressed Israelites


There was a time when the Israelites were greatly oppressed. Their situation was not much different from, if not exactly the same as, the situation of Muslims nowadays. The Israelites, being the only Muslims at that time, were surrounded by and overtaken by pagans, atheists, idolaters, sun-worshippers, cow-worshippers, etc. The Egyptian civilization was the world leader at that time. Since Egypt was the superpower of that era, Pharaoh’s and his people’s words and ideas were the world order and the de facto standard of civility and good behaviour. The Israelites were mostly enslaved, persecuted and harshly treated. They were the icons of misery, poverty, backwardness, savagery and fanaticism. When frustrated by their circumstances, any Israelites who rebelled or showed any resistance were brutally crushed with force. The word terrorism had not been invented in those days, but any Israelite attempt to resist their bondage was considered something like terrorism and treated as such. Their efforts towards freedom were taken to be attacks against Egyptian civilization and their “excellent” lifestyle.

To keep those people of violent (terrorist) tendencies in check, every now and then the Egyptians used to “cull” Israelites’ sons, sparing their daughters. This policy not only assured continuation of a cheap supply of bonded servants for the maintenance of their economy and their “good” lifestyle but also afforded them a pretext to justify their wicked behaviour. They could take the position that they were only against the terrorists, and not the Israelites in general. Keeping the Israelites under control was a challenging but manageable job. In addition to the Egyptian military and technological superiority, different factions of Israelites were also available to help the Egyptians masters, either because of fear or for the expectation of gaining favours from them. When one part of their Israelite community was being brought in line, the others would cooperate in the vain hopes of being spared. Moreover, not all Israelites were in a pathetic situation. Some of them had learned to play the game very well and were extremely wealthy and influential with Pharaoh (like Qaaroon). Their interest was vested in working along with Pharaoh and his forces. Naturally, they used to re-assure Pharaoh of their loyalty by confirming the ‘wisdom’ and ‘legitimacy’ of Pharaoh’s mission, by bringing proof from their scriptures in defence of the Egyptians, by guiding Pharaoh how to deal with ‘rogue’ elements among their otherwise ‘good’ people, and by telling Israelites: If you do not like Egyptian Civilization, “get out of their territory and find some other place to live”, regardless of the fact that they had nowhere to go.

Finally, Allaah decided to help those persecuted people:
Verily, Pharaoh behaved arrogantly in the earth. He divided its people into groups, seeking to overpower one of those groups (Israelites), killing their sons and sparing their women. Indeed he was a troublemaker. And we desired to favour those who had been overpowered (Israelites), to make them the leaders and to make them the inheritors (of the power), and to establish them in the earth and to make Pharaoh and Haamaan (Pharaoh’s chief minister) and their forces witness what they feared from them (i.e. dominance of Israelites). Al-Qaŝaŝ 28: 4-6

It appears that the history is once again repeating itself. This time around it is the Muslims in place of Israelites. Considering the Sunnah of Allaah SWT, it is possible that if we establish our intimate personal relationship with Allaah this Ramadhaan through achieving personal excellence, committing to become one Ummah and making profuse Du‘aas for Allaah’s mercy for the whole Ummah, perhaps Allaah SWT will make the same decision for us as He made for the Israelites.


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