Thursday, July 31, 2014

Saudi Arabia's crocodile tears over Gaza

Saudi Arabia needs to decide if it wants to support Palestinians in their resistance to occupation, or support the siege manned by Israel and Egypt until Gaza is demilitarized

It is tough work being the Saudi ambassador to the UK. First, you have to stir yourself into action to deny the undeniable: The Israeli attack on Gaza comes with Saudi backing. That, in itself, is demeaning. But no sooner has your wrath been righteously expressed, than a colleague contradicts you. Worse still, he's the boss's brother. What is a prince to do?

In his reply to my column, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud wrote: "To think that Saudi Arabia, which has committed itself to supporting and protecting the rights of all Palestinians to self-determination and sovereignty would knowingly support the Israeli action is quite frankly a grotesque insult." He then admits "dealings" between the Kingdom and Israel but claims those "limited to bring about a plan for peace." Then he says:

"The Palestinian people are our brothers and sisters -whether they are Muslim Arabs or Christian Arabs. Be assured we, the people and Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will never ever give up on them, we will never do anything to harm them, we will do all we can to help them in their rightful claim to their own homeland and return of lands taken illegally from them."
Hardly was the ink dry on this official news release, when Prince Turki al-Faisal, Bin Nawaf's predecessor as UK ambassador, former intelligence chief and the brother of the current foreign minister wrote in al-Sharq al-Awast that Hamas was to blame for firing rockets and for refusing to accept Egypt's ceasefire plan (which would have disarmed them). This is Israel's and Egypt's view too.

So which is it? Does the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia support Palestinians in their resistance to the occupation? Or does it support the siege manned by Israel and Egypt, until Gaza is demilitarized? These are two clear policies -- support for the Palestinian resistance to the occupation and ending the siege of Gaza, or keeping the siege in place until all factions in Gaza are disarmed. Either Israel is engaging in genocide (strong words, Mr. Ambassador) or the resisters are terrorists who must be disarmed. Decide what it is you want the Kingdom to say. You can't say both. You can't swear allegiance to the Palestinians and give a nod and a wink to their killers.

And are the Kingdom's dealings with Israel really "limited to bring about a plan for peace"? You are privy to the cables, Mr Ambassador. Tell us what passed between Prince Bandar and the Mossad director Tamir Pardo at that hotel in Aqaba in November last year. The Jordanians leaked it to an Israeli newspaper in Eilat. Were Bandar and Pardo: 1. soaking up the winter sun, 2. talking about the Arab Peace Initiative, or 3. plotting how to bomb Iran?

And why are your new friends the Israelis being so loquacious? Why, to take the latest example, did Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador to the UN 2003-08, say at the weekend that "representatives from the Gulf states told us to finish the job in Gaza time and again." Finish the job? Killing over 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilian. Is that what you meant when you said "we will never do anything to harm them"?

The carnage in Gaza at least gives the world clear sight of the protagonists. The wonder of it is that all are American allies, three have US bases on their soil and a fourth is a member of Nato. America's problems in the Middle East are more to do with their sworn allies than their sworn enemies.

On one side, stands Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. They consider themselves the voice of reason and moderation, but their methods are violent -- the military coup in Egypt and the attack on Gaza have all happened in the space of 12 months. On the other, stands Turkey, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood and its affliate Hamas.

We should, however, talk of governments rather people, because one reason why the government of Saudi Arabia has such an extreme position on Hamas and the Brotherhood in general, is that it knows full well that its own people don't share their view.

Saudi Arabia's leading pollster Rakeen found that 95 percent out of a representative sample of 2,000 Saudis supported the continuation of the Palestinian resistance factions. Only three per cent did not. Eighty-two percent supported the firing of rockets into Israel and 14 percent opposed it. The kingdom's hatred of Islamism stems not from the fact that it presents a rival interpretation of Islam. It is that it presents to a believer, a democratic alternative. That is what really scares the monarchy.

The proof of all those secret Saudi-Israeli meetings is to be seen in the behavior of Egypt. It is impossible to believe that its new president Abdel Fattah al Sisi could act towards Hamas in Gaza independently of his paymasters in Riyadh. He who pays the piper -- $5 billion after the coup, $20 billion now -- calls the tune.

Sisi sees Hamas entirely through the prism of the Muslim Brotherhood he deposed last year. Hamas is villified in the lickspittle Egyptian press as the enemy of Egypt. A trickle of aid has been allowed through the border crossing at Rafah, and it is sporadically opened to a few thousand wounded Palestinians. The Israeli Army is not alone in blowing up Hamas' tunnels. The Egyptian army announced recently they had blown up 13 more, a deed which earned them the title of being "a sincere neighbor" of Israel. Sisi is content to let Hamas and Gaza take a hammering, and make no efforts to get a ceasefire. The last initiative was not even negotiated with Hamas.

Mubarak made a similar miscalculation during the 2006 incursion into Lebanon, supporting an operation which he believed would cripple Hezbollah. In the end he was forced to send his son Gamal to Beirut to express Egypt's support for the Lebanese people. Both the kingdom and Sisi know that dropping the Palestinian card is a risky business.

Saudi Arabia is treading a fine line. According to my sources, Netanyahu's rejection of Kerry's peace initiative over the weekend was due in part to the full support of its Arab allies. Saudi Arabia's active support is keeping this brutal war going.

- David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian, from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.  

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. 

Photo Credit: A handout picture released by the Palestinian president's office (PPO) shows Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on July 27, 2014 in Jeddah (AFP)
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Siapa Menutup Aib Seseorang Islam Maka Allah Akan Tutup Aibnya Dunia dan Akhirat.

Sejak kebelakangan ini, scenario politik tanah air kita yang berlaku sangat menjijikkan dan meloyakan dengan beberapa percubaan mengaibkan seseorang yang kita semua sudah tahu kes video lucah. Beberapa lagi kes yang sudah berlaku untuk menjatuhkan lawannya. Beginilah rupanya apabila pegangan agama sudah longgar dan tidak takut akan azab Allah SWT nanti.

Perundangan Islam diturunkan bukan untuk menghukum tetapi untuk mendidik. Disebabkan itu Islam amat menitikberatkan perlindungan terhadap insan yang mula mencari pintu taubat. Dalam Islam, keaiban manusia bukan dianggap sesuatu yang perlu diketengahkan. Malah ia
ditutup serapat mungkin kerana itu rahmat Allah SWT. Setiap orang mempunyai keaiban dan tidak ada seorang pun terlepas daripada melakukan kesalahan.

Firman Allah SWT bermaksud:
“Sesungguhnya orang yang ingin agar (berita) perbuatan yang amat keji itu tersiar di kalangan orang beriman, bagi mereka azab yang pedih di dunia dan di akhirat. Dan Allah mengetahui, sedang, kamu tidak mengetahui”. (Surah An-Nuur: 19)

Ini bertepatan dengan hadis Rasulullah SAW yang bersabda:
“Setiap daripada kamu ialah orang yang berbuat salah dan sebaik-baik orang yang berbuat salah ialah orang yang bertaubat.” (HR Ahmad)

Setiap manusia tidak terlepas daripada keaiban. Sama ada diketahui orang lain mahupun menjadi rahsia sendiri. Namun, Allah itu berkuasa menutup dan membuka keaiban hamba-Nya.

Sabda Rasulullah SAW bermaksud:
“Siapa menutup aib seseorang Islam, maka Allah akan tutupkan aibnya di dunia dan di akhirat. (Hadis riwayat at-Tirmidzi).

Segala maksiat di sekeliling kita perlu dicegah. Kita membenci segala perbuatan maksiat.  Namun, kita tidak membenci orang yang melakukan maksiat. Apatah lagi melaknat orang berkenaan. Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah dalam menghadapi sesuatu kemungkaran membezakan antara perbuatan dan si pembuat.

Diterangkan bahawa perbuatan itu adalah salah supaya pembuatnya berhenti dan tidak diikuti orang ramai. Ada pun terhadap pembuatnya, Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah menangguhkan sebarang hukuman sehingga diperhatikan tiga syarat berikut;

Ditegakkan hujah kepadanya, iaitu mengemukakan dalil dan hujah bahawa apa yang dilakukan adalah kemungkaran. Kemudian dibersihkan salah fahamnya iaitu dalil dan hujah diberi dalam bentuk penerangan jelas bagi membersihkan kekeliruan yang mungkin dihadapi olehnya apabila melakukan kemungkaran itu.

Akhirnya, Islam mempertimbangkan sama ada dia melakukan kemungkaran itu dalam suasana sedar dan rela atau terpaksa, tersilap atau tidak mampu untuk mengelaknya.

Demikian sikap hati-hati AhliSunnah Wal-Jamaah dalam membezakan antara perbuatan dan pembuat.

Umar al-Khathab menerangkan bahawa pada zaman Rasulullah SAW terdapat seorang lelaki yang bernama Abd Allah. Dia lazim (berjenaka) sehingga membuat Rasulullah SAW tertawa. Nabi pernah merotannya (sebagai hukum hudud) kerana kesalahan minum arak.

Pada suatu hari dia dibawa menghadap Baginda atas kesalahan yang sama, lalu dikenakan hukuman rotan. Berkata seorang lelaki: “Ya Allah! Laknatlah dia! Betapa banyak kali dia dibawa menghadap Rasulullah atas kesalahan sama!” Namun Nabi menjawab:

“Jangan melaknatnya! Demi Allah! Aku tidak tahu bila ternyata dia mengasihi Allah dan rasul-Nya. (Riwayat al-Bukhari)

Berlaku beberapa kes pada zaman Nabi yang menunjukkan bahawa perundangan Islam bukan sekadar untuk menghukum. Namun ia juga sebagai produk mendidik jiwa. Manusia yang paling arif berkenaan hukum Allah SWT ialah nabi. Namun, terdapat kisah bagaimana proses berlaku pelaksanaan hukum hudud yang melalui proses menutup keaiban terlebih dulu.

Hadis daripada Nu’aim Hazzal: “Ma’iz Malik adalah seorang yatim di bawah asuhan bapakku. Lalu dia berzina dengan seorang budak daripada suku itu. Maka bapakku berkata kepadanya: “Pergilah kepada Rasulullah SAW, lalu beritahulah kepada Baginda apa yang sudah engkau lakukan. Semoga beliau memohonkan ampun untukmu”. Bapakku menghendaki hal itu kerana berharap Ma’iz mendapat penyelesaian.

Maka Ma’iz mendatangi Rasulullah SAW dan berkata: “Wahai Rasulullah sesungguhnya aku telah berzina. Maka tegakkanlah kitab Allah atasku.” Lalu Baginda berpaling daripadanya. Kemudian Ma’iz mengulangi: “Wahai Rasulullah sesungguhnya aku telah berzina. Maka tegakkanlah kitab Allah atasku”. Maka baginda berpaling darinya. Kemudian Ma’iz mengulangi dan berkata, “Wahai Rasulullah sesungguhnya aku telah berzina. Maka tegakkanlah kitab Allah atasku”.

Rasulullah SAW bersabda:  “Engkau sudah mengatakannya empat kali. Lalu dengan siapa? Dia menjawab, “Dengan si Fulanah”.

Lalu Baginda bersabda, "Apakah engkau berbaring dengannya?” Dia menjawab, “Ya” Lalu Baginda bersabda, “Apakah engkau menyentuh kulitnya?” Dia menjawab, “Ya” Lalu beliau bersabda,“Apakah engkau bersetubuh dengannya?” Dia menjawab, “Ya” Maka Rasulullah SAW memerintahkan untuk merejamnya.

Kemudian dia dibawa keluar ke Harrah. Tatkala dia direjam, lalu merasakan lemparan batu. Dia berkeluh kesah, lalu keluar dan melarikan diri. Maka Abdullah Unais mengekorinya. Sedangkan sahabatnya lain sudah penat.

Kemudian Abdullah mengambil tulang betis unta, lalu melemparkannya, sehingga dia membunuhnya. Lalu dia mendatangi Rasulullah SAW dan menceritakannya kepada Baginda.

Maka Baginda bersabda: “Tidakkah kamu membiarkannya, kemungkinan dia bertaubat, lalu Allah menerima taubatnya!” (kisah lengkap pada Sahih Muslim)

Nabi sebenarnya sedang berusaha agar hukuman rejam ke atas Ma’iz tidak berlaku. (Majmu Fatawa 16/31) Ini menunjukkan kepada kita banyak ruang yang boleh ditutup keaiban berkenaan, maka hendaklah kita menutupnya.

Disebabkan kita sendiri yang membukanya, maka berlakulah pengadilan Allah SWT terhadap hamba-Nya.

Sabda Rasulullah SAW: "Jauhilah perkara keji yang dilarang oleh Allah.Sesiapa yang melakukannya, hendaklah dia menutupinya dengan tutupan Allah dan bertaubat kepada Allah. Jika sesiapa menampakkan perkara keji (yang dilakukannya) kepada kami, kami akan menjatuhkan hukuman yang diperintahkan oleh Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla.” (Dikeluarkan oleh al-Hakim dalam al-Mustadrak dan beliau berkata: “Hadis ini sahih atas syarat kedua-dua syaikh (al-Bukhari dan Muslim) dan mereka tidak mengeluarkannya.” Ini dipersetujui oleh al-Zahabi).

Maksiat itu bukan suatu yang perlu dipromosikan. Jika sering dicanang merata maka ia menjadi suatu kebiasaan. Maksiat ada bezanya. Ada maksiat secara tertutup dan ada juga maksiat secara terbuka. Maksiat secara tertutup perlu ditutup serapatnya. Namun maksiat secara terbuka perlulah digerakkan tindakan dalam mencegahnya.

Kita bimbang apabila maksiat itu dianggap biasa, maka ia sebenarnya sedang memanggil azab Allah. Maksiat secara terbuka adalah satu dosa purba dulu kala yang sudah dimodenkan.