A Tale of Arrogance, Action, & Unity

Allah knows best.

The fate of our brothers and sisters in Aleppo has come to worldwide attention. Almost all of the biggest city in Syria has fallen into the hands of the Alawite, Bashar al-Assad. A self-proclaimed Muslim, he fools the world. He stains the Muslim name with fitna in its own blood. He allows for the bombings of schools, hospitals, and civilian territories. What war is he fighting? The war on terror? Are civilians the terror that he seeks to fight? It’s pretty obvious that the answer to that question is yes. Why, though? People act in self-interest, not excluding al-Assad. Assad is an Alawite.

The Alawites

Alawites consider themselves to be Muslims. The Shiites would classify them to be a sect of Shiism contradictory to how the Alawites see themselves. They do not confess to being Sunnis, they do however judge themselves to be a whole branch of an Abrahamic faith, alike to the level as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So, are they Shiites or are they not? Whatever they are, they make it difficult to call them our brothers and sisters.

The Alawites practice taqiyya, meaning to be secretive and reserved in their true convictions. They are not transparent about their beliefs and teaching, therefore not much is known about them. What they stand for and what they fight for, is hence obscure and unknown. Taqiyya, though can be paraded as ‘permissible lying’ in the teachings of Islam, is in actual fact not a teaching of Islam. It is a Shiite doctrine. The Alawites exercise this dogma, which could be a contributing factor as to why the Shiites would regard them to share the same roof of Shiism.

The Alawites are a minority group, still are and have always been. The question is; how did a minority group not even making up 10 million worldwide rise to power, to govern the great state of Syria and its army?

Arrogance, the past

Hubristic, angkuh, superciliousness, condescension, pride, sombong, riak, and takabbur bring nothing but trouble. It is not the Alawites who were of the arrogant. They were not in a position that could ‘justify arrogance’. No, they were a minority, treated unjustly.

The Alawites constituted some 12 percent of the Syrian population. From the Ottoman period, they were the most numerous and the poorest peasants in Syria, working for Sunni and Christian landlords in the mountain regions and in Latakia, at the foot of the Alawite mountains. The political effects of poverty were worsened by the geographic and communal divisions. The Sunnis who lived in towns enjoyed much greater wealth and dominated the Alawite peasants. According to Jacques Weulersse, the Alawites were “a numerical majority but a political minority.” Their condition was scarcely improved under the mandate. The average daily income of a peasant in 1938 was only about piastres, while the cost of living was approximately 50 piastres. This drove great numbers of Alawites to enrol in the Troupes.

Roots of Alawite-Sunni Rivalry in Syria Ayse Tekdal Fildis Summer 2012, Volume XIX, Number 2

The Alawites enrolled in the army in great numbers. The Sunni & Christian Arabs on the other hand did not send their beloved children to serve in the military. Why? The military was seen as an option for the lesser rich. It is a way of life for the people who don’t have the luxury of choice which, to a certain extent is true. It is, however also true that joining the army is for the thick skinned who are capable of perseverance, abuse and can gradually work their way to the top and be player 2 in the scene of authority. Those Arabs who lived comfortably did not calculate this incentive and worth. They were too arrogant in wealth, comfort and worldly joys to take a moment to look further down the road of where they were driving themselves to. Look where arrogance has brought them; handing your sword and shield to someone else, hoping that they don’t stab you and take your riches. Man is motivated by self-interest.

Action, the present

Day in day out, the news we read only gets more depressing by time. There is an exponential factor to the intensity of tragedy of what’s happening to the world, to this poor, tired world of ours. Raise your hand if you are the type to say “kasihan…”, close the paper and continue with your life. Raise your hand if you look down at the efforts people put into trying to ‘do something’ because you think that it’s meaningless and insignificant; “they’re just wasting time and energy”. Raise your hand if you deem matters which concern you are only of the ones limited to your personal life, friends and family. Did you raise your hand?

My brothers and sisters, if you did raise your hand, you are not alone. However so, it does not make it okay to carry on. How can we sit back so comfortably with our noses in our smart devices and have our nasi lemak and teh tarik and not give a single drop of care to our brothers and sisters burning in Syria? Who have they to turn to if not us? Distance is not an obstacle for us to do something. For our brethren in Aleppo, not only them; for Palestine, for the oppressed Rohingyas, I urge you to rise and do something! How can we watch this injustice and allow these acts of Dajjal unto the people whom we call our brothers and sisters? The United Nations are powerless as long as the Permanent 5 are in command. The international system is failing. Our brothers are being slaughtered and our sisters are being raped and violated. Who are we if not their only hope? Send aid, raise awareness, show thought, do something, please, I beg of you. They need all the help they can get.

Unity, the future

One of the contributing factors to the discriminatory characteristic in the Syrian community is the divide and conquer rule the French had imposed unto them, similar to that done unto us by the British. It gives a sense of identity and division between the peoples. Such a feeling would then give a sense of belonging, therefore a distinction between one another. Aku; aku, engkau; engkau. Colonialists are well aware of the power and strength of strength in unity. État de Syrie divided their people based on faith. They had the Alawites, the Sunnis, the Christians, the Druzes, and the Shiites. However so, the Syrians did not let this be their way of life. They revolted, defied the French and came together, identifying themselves as Syrians, not Sunni Syrian, not Alawite Syrian etc. They united, fought the colonialists and won.

Today however, Syria is in turmoil. They have once again divided. Aleppo is in distress and Damascus is raising questions as to whether or not it is doing all it can to help. What about the neighbouring countries? Where are the rich Arab brothers? What are you doing while our Syrian brothers and sisters endure rains of bombs? Where is the unity?

Distance should never be an excuse to not send aid and do nothing. Humanity must unite and stand against oppression. The international system is merely a puppet for the 1% to do as they please with ‘justification’. Those who keep silent are the top dwellers of the social pyramid. It is the silence of the foundation and base of the pyramid that allows cruelty and tyranny of the children of Dajjal.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you-when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

-103, Aal-E-Imran

The competence of unity is enormously powerful. It can make things go left or right. The sooner we unite, propagate, and stand as a unit, the sooner we can put a stop to the disgusting, malevolent acts to humanity. United we stand, divided we fall.

And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance”. If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper.

-120, Al-Baqarah

Unity does not mean that we degrade our faith, rather that we strengthen our belief for Islam.

Author: Zulaikha, Dec 2016

Photographer: Nurul al-Adawiyah

Reference:

http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwq6fdiTE http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwlMGfjDE http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw04HBjDE http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw1LSGjDE http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwuNTZhTE https://www.google.com/amp/www.telegraph.c o.uk/news/2016/04/02/who-are-thealawites/amp/ http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-eastpolicy-archives/roots-alawite-sunni-rivalry-syria

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