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An Islamic Perspective to the Russia- Ukraine War

The invasion on Ukraine by Russia continues until this hour. The world is watching. Media outlets are reporting. Others are trying to help. One of our duties as Muslims is to carefully reflect over the details of what is happening around us. The Quran teaches us to think and reflect upon what happened to previous tribes and nations. 

Have they not traveled throughout the land to see what was the end of those ˹destroyed˺ before them? (Al-Rum 30:9). 

Should we Care?

To some of us Muslims, we see that Russia and Ukraine are both non-Muslim neighbors. So the question arises on whether or not we should be concerned about this war. Should we care about the events of the war? 

The answer is that we should be concerned because of what history has previously made apparent. When World War 1 started approximately 100 years ago, it had nothing to directly with the Muslim world. But when it ended, it affected the Muslim world in a tremendous way on many levels. 

The losses in the Middle East were staggering: the war not only ravaged the land and decimated armies, it destroyed whole societies and economies. In this way, the experience of World War I in the Middle East is perhaps more akin to the experience of World War II in Europe. The social, economic, and psychological effects were deep and devastating. – Leila Fawaz

AHA

The end of World War 1 resulted in the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, the Sykes Picot Agreement that took place during the war in 1916 was a secret agreement that divided the Middle Eastern region between the British and the French. In the case where these allies were victorious in the war; Palestine, Jordan and Iraq was assigned to the British while Lebanon and Syria where given to the French.

So just a quick overview allows us to understand that the war resulted in the end of the last Islamic Caliphate as well as the giving up of the Holy Land of Palestine to the British. 

Therefore it is crucial to understand that when the superpowers are engaged in war, the entire world is affected in one way or another. The effects of the World War 1 on the Middle East and the Muslim world are still felt to this day. The resentment towards the Western world felt in Middle Eastern society as well as the on-going refugee crises are just a few of these effects. 

The Double Standards of the Western World

If this war has made anything completely apparent to most of us, it is the hypocrisy and double standards portrayed specifically by the western media in their coverage of the war. 

The outpouring of sympathy and shock due to the race of the civilians involved in this war has been clearly identified. 

Islam does not condone the killing of any innocent civilians. Whether they are the Uyghur Muslims, the oppressed Muslims of India or the civilians driven out of their homes in Ukraine. But Islam also does not accept injustice and double standards in it’s view of any part of life, whether it’s day to day scenarios or political events. 

The problem is not for people to express more sympathy for their own type (i.e white European), as this is probably something that many of us do, whether we realize it or not. Rather the problem lies in the injustice involved; when entire nations are ready to excuse their own type when they engage in a suicide bombing but denounce the same act in another land. 

This is not to say that Islam accepts any kind of unjust killing of civilians; but rather it is to highlight the role race, color and religion plays in western media coverage of Middle Eastern events versus European happenings. 

The Middle East has always been portrayed as more violent and war prone, while the Western world has forgotten about old as well as recent history and their continuous attacks and warfare on Middle Eastern and other Muslim lands. 

To give the example of Iraq, it was a country that enjoyed a high standard of living as well as one of the best education and healthcare systems in the Middle East. Migrant workers came from other parts of the world to work on projects in the country. Now it carries a foreign debt of about $130 billion and it’s citizens have fled years of destruction and war brought upon them by none other than the Western World. The role of the Superpowers in creating violence and civil war in that region make it hypocritical to assume that the Middle Eastern or Muslim world is more violent and war prone.  

Muslim individuals and nations must first educate themselves with historical events as well as Islamic theology. This education should not only be spread others on every social level, but should allow the Muslim to hold his head up high when the world unjustly portrays his homelands and Religion as violent and war prone. It is upon Western media and society to understand that their role in international wars has been far greater and violent than their leaders desire to admit.

The Innate Nature of Man 

When Allah told the Angels that He will create a new creation on earth, the Angels were concerned and said;

Remember˺ when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to place a successive ˹human˺ authority on earth.” They asked ˹Allah˺, “Will You place in it someone who will spread corruption there and shed blood while we glorify Your praises and proclaim Your holiness?” Allah responded, “I know what you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:30). 

The Angels knew that the creation of human beings would cause corruption on earth. To this day, regardless of modern civilization and the latest trends in technology, man continues to possess the same violent nature and desire for corruption and bloodshed, except for those whom Allah has mercy on. This shows the miraculous nature of the Quran and it’s teachings.