In our Islamic guidance there is a foundational principle to enjoin good and forbid evil. It is based in the Quran:
“Let there arise from you a nation inviting to good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.”
(Surat Ali Imran, 3:104)
And it was exemplified in the Sunnah.
Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “By the one in whose hand is my soul, you must enjoin good and forbid evil, or else Allah will soon send punishment upon you. Then, you will call upon Allah and it will not be answered for you.”
(Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2169)
Adhering to this guidance starts with the acknowledgement of what is considered right and and wrong. And in this regard, it is imperative that we examine actions and events with an eye toward both detail and understanding. But it doesn’t stop there. There is a range of rewards related to acting upon that knowledge.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.”
(Sahīh Muslim 49)
In a world filled with atrocities, the job of standing up to injustice requires tons of effort, energy, and resources. Individuals can take on these challenges but we also have to rely on the work that is done by advocacy organizations. Justice For All, is a Muslim non-profit human rights organization based in Chicago, with staff and volunteers in Washington, DC, New York, Boston, Texas, and other locations.
Its roots are based in the advocacy work that was done in response to the human rights abuses experienced in Bosnia and later Kosovo during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Back in 1999 as the organization formally incorporated, it was instrumental in shaping the discourse around the genocide debate and in shearheading the campaign to declare rape as a war crime in international law.
The work since has been unrelenting as the forces of evil throughout the world seem to be growing exponentially. With consultative status at the United Nations and wide-ranging interfaith efforts, Justice For All fights to save lives through education, community mobilizing, public policy, and advocacy. The mission is to establish qist - justice, fairness and equity on Earth - and that is evidenced in campaigns to identify and thwart state-level Islamophobia, discrimination, and genocidal crimes on a global scale. They promote policies that protect religious freedom, address the root causes of mass displacement, and recognize the plight of refugees and forced migrants.
JFA has active campaigns and programs to address atrocities facing Muslims across the globe. These issues are not typically receiving enough international, public and political support to move the needle and bring relief. Current projects include:
Burma Task Force - The Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority group that has resided in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, have faced institutionalized discrimination and a hostile military campaign that, in 2017, forced 700,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring countries. International advocacy efforts that were spearheaded by the Burma Task Force have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Burma and secure increased humanitarian relief for Rohingya refugees.
Save Uighur - The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim, Turkic ethnicity who live in occupied East Turkistan. The current government of China has stepped up its repression of this community, destroying traditional neighborhoods and rounding up well over a million men and sending them into concentration camps for “re-education” and forced labor. The disappearance of up to three million Uighurs has created a palpable atmosphere of fear in the region and in the Uighur diaspora.
Save India From Fascism- The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has enacted changes in citizenship policy that formally entrench Hinduism in Indian politics while continuing an anti-Muslim agenda. Muslims, who are the countries largest minority, have been the victims of discrimination in employment, education, and housing; anti-Muslim violence and mob attacks; destruction of mosques, homes, and businesses. The escalation of these incidents have many fearing genocide if there is no international outcry and pressure.
Kashmir Action - While still hotly contested between India and Pakistan since the early 1950s, Kashmir employed a strong sense of identity and self-rule until the Indian Parliament dissolved Article 370 and took over the territory. Since that time there have been countless atrocities at the hands of Indian mlitary forces. The Kashmir Action campaign’s long-term goals include the call for self-determination of the people of Kashmir and the end of the Indian military’s occupation of the territory.
Prisoners of Haqq - The mission of this project is to identify Muslim activitists who have been unjustly prisoned in their quest to fight injustice in their homelands. At the present time, the work has centered on freeing two prisoners:
- Shabir Shah, 67, one of the most popular and respected political leaders in Indian Administered Kashmir, who is currently serving out the 35th year of his detention. Shah’s deteriorating health has heightened attention to these efforts.
- Khurram Parvez, 45, a Kashmiri human rights defender who has led multiple national organizations, was unjustly detained for a total of 76 days in September 2016. Parvez was recently arrested in November 2021 and charged with “terror funding” and “conspiracy.”
It would behoove all of us to keep abreast of the crimes that are being perpetrated against Muslims across the globe. With mass media and social media giving us access to nearly immediate reporting on these atrocities, we will be held responsible for what we do with the knowledge of these evils. Remember the hadith that was referenced above.
“Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.”
We are all responsible and will be held accountable to help in any manner we can to right these injustices for individuals, families, communities, nations, and our ummah. Justice for All publishes a regular newsletter, organizes lobbying visits, conducts research, and engages in extensive media work. Learn more and join these efforts. The organization is funded by a broad range of faith community donors and can use your financial support as well. For more details, visit their website.