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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Israel and Palestine – Do Imams and Rabbis cry?

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“It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed.” (Qur’an, chapter 25: verse 53)

The Qur’an mentions two bodies of water that meet but never integrate; one water-body is sweet and palatable and the other body of water is bitter salt-water. Tears of joy and laughter are not bitter to our taste buds, but tears of sadness and pain tend to be salty, you ever wonder why salty tears accompany difficulties?

The Israeli-Gazan difficulties – more accurately “the Zionist-Hamas” difficulties – have resulted in much of the whole world shedding bitter and salty tears. I wonder if the tears of imams, rabbis and other world religious leaders, if they too are shedding tears? Not just tears for the suffering adherents of their respective faiths, but for the sufferings of people who practice or believe a different faith.

Do imams cry salty bitter tears when they hear of a Jewish baby being murdered or kidnapped by terrorist? Do rabbis cry acrid tears when bombs kill innocent Palestinian babies by the hour? Or do we only cry and protest for the innocent baby whose parents worship and pray as we do? Are faith leaders allowed to be that selfish? Of course not!

Where in the Qur’an or in the Hadith1 is there an inkling of support for imams to remain quiet while innocent Jews are being slaughtered? Likewise, where is there even a whisper of support in the Talmud or the Torah for rabbis to remain quiet while innocent Palestinians are being slaughtered? How can we claim to be leaders and lovers of peace, i.e. Salaam and Shalom, but our inaction to speak out against violence to others betrays the very idea of universal peace; that transcending peace without borders?

If an imam can’t shed tears for the human being, G_d’s creation, whose parents just so happens to be Jewish, can that imam be called to account for his insensitivity towards that human being? If a rabbi can’t shed a tear for the human being, again, G_d’s creation, whose parents just so happens to be Palestinian, can that rabbi be called to account for their insensitivity towards the life of that human being? As imams and rabbis, often we are emulated by our members of our faith traditions. We are models that set the tone for our communities’ conduct. If we publicly shed a tear for others of a different faith, hopefully, our membership will do likewise.

Tears are not prejudice; however, sometimes our motive behind our tears may not be as innocent as we would like to believe. If our tears are reserved for only “my people” or for “my nation,” then the motive behind such tears are often weaponized or politicized to garner self-pity. Such tears are not for humanity. Are the tears of imams reserved only for Muslims and not for humanity? Are rabbi’s tears reserved only for Israel? Would the Prophets Muhammed and Moses, peace be upon them, cry tears only for abused and murdered babies of their particular faiths? No!

Our Creator is not the exclusive Lord of Israel and not also the Lord of all people. Allah is not just the G_d for Muslims. Allah is the Lord of all the worlds. The salt content of Muslim tears are no different than the salt content of Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh – or any person of faith – tears of pain.

Where are the tears of joy that we exchange during our “cookies  and punch” interfaith gatherings; the laughter and hugs that accompany firm handshakes of brotherhood and peace? What good are these meetings of multi-faith unity if such gatherings can’t produce a sincere tear for the innocent loss of lives of those who are not of your particular,  individual faith? Interfaith/multi-faith vitality becomes impotent if not maximized during difficult times.

Physical tears of joy, often, are not bitter. The same is true for mental tears of joy that accompany clear understandings, and our spiritual tears that flow when our souls find solace in the sacred words of G_d. The Qur’an promises that these two bodies of water, albeit adjacent, are bodies of water that never mix or integrate together. We can’t cry one bitter tear simultaneously with a palatable tear of joy. In other words, an imam can’t cry salty tears only when the victims are Palestinian, but cry tears of joy when the victim is Jewish. Likewise a rabbi can’t cry tears of joy when the victims are Palestinians and then expect the world to cry with them when the innocent victim is Jewish.

We need our religious leadership – from all faith traditions – to return to their respective holy text and relearn to cry tears that benefit humanity – the whole of humanity, not just for a select few who look and pray like you! Salty tears are bitter because they flow when the bitterness of life dominates our minds and souls. Bitter tears we can overcome when we take moral stands that produce sweet palatable tears of universal joy that we shed together as one!

  1. Islamic reports on the life of Prophet Muhammed, prayers and peace be upon him.
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  1. In addition to the Rabbis and Imams do Christians Ministers and Priests cry. We all should speak out in a balance way against wrong and injustice. May the Peace that only Almighty G-D gives be with us all. Ameen

  2. Well said, Michael. Amen!

    The problems of all cultures, all nations, all ethnicities, in all of the thousands of years since the world began, world-wide, is when mankind turns from GOD and turns to itself. Selfishness, envy, greed, anger, wars, poverty, crime, politics, etc., etc , etc., ad infinitum, are ALL the results of man making himself “god” as his own “idol”; and REJECTING the one true, gracious, loving, Almighty, CREATOR of everything in all the universe throughout all eternity. HE definitely has had the bitter tears of sorrow you explained so well in your writing today.

    Keep your/HIS light shining in our community. GOD is the only way there will ever be “peace on earth”, and that is yet to come. In the meantime, our job is to stay faithful to HIM, love HIM, watch for His coming, and trust HIM, no matter what circumstances may be.

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