What Palestinians in Gaza are teaching Muslims worldwide

They shouldn’t need to demonstrate resolve and strength. Yet they are, in ways that offer lessons to the rest of us.

Palestinians perform funeral prayer at Nasser Hospital after their relatives lost their lives in Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza.
Palestinians perform a funeral prayer at Nasser Hospital after their relatives lost their lives in Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, on December 17, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

The oppression and atrocities inflicted against Palestinians in Gaza have left us horrified. And indeed, we should be. Everything they have suffered has gone against human dignity, there is no doubt about that.

And yet, something else has been on full display in this very horrific time of genocide and exploitation, where people are being brutally tortured and killed: the resilience and faith of a people who refuse to concede.

Not only has their faith in God and conviction in their values remained unshaken – they have only increased in their dedication and resolve. We have seen this again and again, witness accounts of people in Gaza reaffirming their love of God and for the Prophet Muhammad, and using their beliefs as comfort during the most desperate circumstances.

Of course, Palestinians in Gaza should not be put into this position in the first place. They should not need to demonstrate such resolve and strength. What is needed is an urgent end to the war. The global community, and especially the US and the collective West, have much to answer for.

Yet, the people of Gaza are teaching Muslims worldwide invaluable lessons. In the face of adversity, the resolve of the people of Gaza can inspire us to not despair nor succumb to pressure to compromise on our beliefs and commitment to our faith.

This is a huge lesson for many of us in the United States, where Muslims are also being tested, as hate crimes and Islamophobia have increased, especially since the war broke out.

If we take a page from their book, we’ll be reading something which is nothing short of a miracle.

In the face of utter and total destruction, Palestinians are standing up and saying, “Allah is our Lord.” They are standing up and performing mass funeral prayers. They are still observing the tenets of Islam, even if it means using rainwater to perform ritual ablutions before prayer. They are standing up and still perform the call to prayer.

These are people who have either been killed or have suffered the killings of their loved ones. Many are simply waiting to die. They don’t know what’s going to happen to them. There is a lot they are showing us as history unfolds before our eyes.

At the forefront, we see that Israel’s persecution of the people of Gaza is wrong. It is heinous. It is inhumane, and we should say that. We should speak about it and try to stop it as far as we can. We need to protest. At the very least, we should pray for them.

But we also gain a unique perspective. There are Muslims all over the world being persecuted.

We could very well point to Muslims who are hurting everywhere – whether in Kashmir, China, Myanmar, Somalia, Yemen, or Bosnia. Far too often, there is no help in sight. But Palestinians have shown their oppressors, “Hey, give me your best punch. I’ll stand in the ring. I won’t fall. My faith will become stronger.”

This is the lesson we need to learn, especially in places like the US. Yes, we experience struggles, we may be looked at with suspicion, people may taunt us and insult us. But perhaps we can adopt a different perspective. While there are legitimate concerns, they pale in comparison to the suffering of Palestinians.

Through this humongous tragedy, Muslims throughout the world are on the same page — that this is wrong. We’re united on this, which is something to appreciate.

In the Quran, we are reminded of the importance of patience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The people of Gaza embody these virtues, refusing to be broken by the trials they face.

Their unwavering resolve is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Despite the unimaginable suffering they endure, they continue to resist, their faith serving as a source of strength and courage.

They refuse to be silenced, even in the face of unimaginable hardship. Their unwavering faith serves as a beacon of hope for Muslims worldwide.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.