The Middle East is portrayed as the largest exporter of refugees, but is it that bad of a place?
I think we’ve gotten accustomed to the news about the sufferings of refugees since the Arab Spring. The recent crisis on the Polish border comes in a series of human rights violations that debunk the Western claims of civilization.
The Guardian reported:
It is the latest development in a diplomatic standoff with Belarus, which has cynically been encouraging people from Iraq, Iran and parts of Africa to cross into the EU, in response to sanctions imposed on it earlier this year. Poland’s hardline response leaves many people trapped in the no man’s land between the two countries. Aid agencies warn of a looming humanitarian crisis as winter sets in; at least eight people have died this year so far, mostly from hypothermia.
However, far-reaching damage is done through the language used by the media depicting a hopeless situation in the Middle East. Phrases such as “countries in rich parts of the world,” “further preventive measures,” and “reduce global inequality” instill Western supremacy in our subconsciousness. While many refugees have to flee for their lives, thousands of safe Middle Eastern immigrants were lured into seeking prosperity in those “developed” countries.
I was recently explaining the event of Al Isra’ Wal Mi`raj (the Night Journey) to some kids, and this map caught my attention.
At five specific locations on the journey from Makkah, Angel Jibra’il stopped the Buraq and requested the Prophet ﷺ to perform prayer. None of those places were located outside the Middle East. It is worth noting that the birthplace of Prophet `Isa (Jesus) was Bethlehem and that the grave of Prophet Musa (Moses) was near Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.
Which countries/cities were mentioned or referred to in the Quran? Makkah, Madinah, Saba’, Sinai, Egypt, and the Levant. The latter is continually associated with blessings:
“Then We delivered him, along with Lot, to the land We had showered with blessings for all people.”
This map of the origins and production of date palm trees also serves my point.
Due to its generous blessings, the palm tree is the single tree Prophet Muhammad ﷺ chose as a metaphor for the believer.
Ibn Umar narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) said:
“Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree.” Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. And I thought of the date-palm tree but felt shy to answer the others then asked, “What is that tree, O Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him)?” He replied, “It is the date-palm tree.”
It is also the tree mentioned as a metaphor for the good word in the Quran.
Do you not see how Allah compares a good word to a good tree? Its root is firm and its branches reach the sky,
Furthermore, the fruit of the palm tree is the food that the Prophet ﷺ considered to be a necessity in every home.
Sayyidatuna ‘Aaisha (radiyallahu ‘anha) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said:
‘The household which has dates will not go hungry.’
Another version states:
‘The house that doesn’t have dates has no food’
The Middle East might not be the most lavish of lands, but it is probably blessed with the absolute necessities.
Admittedly, it is currently a war zone, but it has always been historically. Nobody fights over barren land. This is a reminder to all Muslims that there are determinants beyond prosperity that should be considered when it comes to the places that we choose for living and the upbringing of our children. Since this Dunya is only a passage to the afterlife, what we seek is not affluence, but rather the blessed.