By Imam Jamal Rahman
“Fear not: for I am with you. I hear and see everything.” (Qur’an 20:46)
“The Ocean cares for every wave
Until it reaches the shore.
You are given more help
than you will ever know.” ~ Rumi
This Qur’anic verse was revealed to Prophet Moses when he was asked by God to confront the mighty Pharaoh and warn him about his injustices. Be courageous and have faith. Divinity will help us in ways we cannot imagine in our noble mission to fight oppression.
In our lifetime we are asked to engage in the struggle against injustice. We are told to allay our fears and trust in God. Is this realistic? The forces against us are often monumental. How can God help in these seemingly impossible situations?
The truth is that God does not directly intervene by sending, for example, a thunderbolt against despots and tyrants. We humans must do the work of overcoming wrongs of autocrats through patience, sacrifice, sincerity, persistence and most of all, by joining hands and collaborating with like-minded people. When grass root communities unite for just causes, their power can be phenomenal. The collective waves of an ocean can wash away continents.
In 7th century Arabia, the embryonic Muslim community in Medina was in constant danger of attacks by oppressive enemies who were overwhelmingly superior in number and armaments. How did the Prophet Muhammad overcome his fierce enemies? He created genuine community in Medina and made treaties with like-minded tribes. Most importantly, he exhorted his community members to do the work of self-purification. This inner work enabled the community to be patient, to be just, and to have faith. The community did not lose heart in times of defeat and despair. After ten years, astonishingly, the Prophet’s enemies surrendered without violence or bloodshed.
Divinity helps our struggles in ways we simply cannot comprehend. It is mind-boggling to realize that in our lifetime, communism suddenly was crippled and the Berlin wall came down; apartheid in South Africa was dismantled, and an African American was elected for two terms in the White House. These are wonders and miracles!