A worldwide event dedicated to the rights and freedom of Palestinians against the illegal Zionist occupation, Al-Quds Day also speaks of Islam’s universal intrinsic rejection of tyranny, oppression and injustice.
Held every year on the last day of Ramadan – as to link the sanctity of the fast with Muslims’ duty to speak Truth in the face of Deceit, Al-Quds Day was founded by the late leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; both a rallying cry of solidarity, and a sign of hope.
So much more than just another political statement, or an attempt to remain relevant on a global platform, Al-Quds Day speaks of the oppressed, and for the oppressed – together a call for action, and an affirmation that justice will prevail … maybe not right now but eventually. Some battles I have found are not meant to be won, but they certainly ought to be fought.
It is Imam Hussain who said: “It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.”
Dignity and Freedom are not found in those actions which cost all little, but are earned in those sacrifices we make to stay true.
It was the Grand Ayatollah who best defined Al-Quds Day when he noted: “The Quds Day is a universal day. It is not an exclusive day for Quds itself. It is a day for the oppressed to rise and stand up against the arrogant.”
Through Al-Quds Day it is once again the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, and the teachings of AhlulBayt which we see reflect – it is their calls, and their stand in the face of absolutism which Ayatollah Khomeini most likely wished to convey to the world by highlighting the cause of the Palestinians.
And while politicians and commentators will choose to see in Al-Quds a confirmation of Iran’s dislike for Israel, most will grasp at the symbolic of this event. Al-Quds it needs to be said does not just refer to the holy city of Jerusalem, it stands for Holy, it stands for the Divine, and the Sacred. Al-Quds Day remains the manifestation of an ideal – a very revolutionary ideal if we consider that in order to attain freedom one would have to denounce the political construct, should it prove unjust.
I would personally argue that Al-Quds Day was set-up as an extension of the Islamic Revolution – I’m not implying here that Iran has worked through Al-Quds Day to export its political model, only that it projected those ideals, and principles which empowered its people to reclaim their political sovereignty. Al-Quds is not a simple denunciation, it rises a testimony against tyranny, it holds a mirror to oppression, and demands for reparation.
Iran Islamic Republic we would do well to remember was born from the sacrifices of its martyrs, and the stealth of its people’s determination to see a tyrant gone. It is Resistance which allowed for the otherwise impenetrable armour of absolutism to be shattered.
It is Resistance again which manifested popular will. It is unadulterated Resistance Ayatollah Khomeini offered the world by recognizing in the Palestinian cause, the essence of our fight.
It is the cries of this one Imam, this one devoted cleric which pierced through cowardice and despair to forge a movement so powerful it quite literally reshaped the world … not only that, but with the rise of the Islamic Revolution, it is Islam really which was reclaimed, reaffirmed, and reasserted.
This is not to say that Resistance belongs to Islam alone, only that it stands at its core.
Islam embodies such concepts of freedom, justice and free-will – the expression of God’s will, Islam is an expression of Al-Quds, just as much as Al-Quds speaks of Islam.
In 2007 Massoud Shadjareh, Director of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London said:
"I pray that inshallah we will see not only Palestine free, but all the oppressed people free - all the oppressed people! Let me remind you today is the day of Al-Quds, it is a day we stand shoulder to shoulder with all oppressed people in the world against all the oppressors, while we see in Palestine all the world leaders are standing shoulder to shoulder with the oppressors against the Palestinians whilst they are suffering on a daily basis - we do exactly the opposite." - Massoud Shadjareh; Al Quds Day 2007.
As I’m sure mainstream media will be keen to delegitimize Al-Quds to better “protect” Israel’s existential right, let me tell you what Al-Quds Day is not.
Al-Quds Day neither promote ethno-sectarian hatred, nor does it advocate against Judaism. If anything Al-Quds Day stands for Judaism, as in Judaism it is still God’s Words which is worshipped and called upon. As Imam Ali noted: “There are as many ways to the Divine as there are breaths in a man’s chest.”
Al-Quds Day denounces all forms of absolutism and radicalism – regardless and absolutely.
So yes I will have to thoroughly disagree with those cynics and opportunists, who still see in Al-Quds Day the devilish hand of anti-Semitic dissent.
In a report for the Gatestone Institute Lawrence Franklin wrote: “In reality, Al-Quds Day has become a day in which Iran and protestors in other societies attack the legitimacy of the state of Israel ("The Little Satan") and threaten the United States ("The Big Satan").”
There is no “reality” here, only the elongated arm of the Zionist lobby … How can one nation’s legitimacy be defined on the blood of another without in fact becoming its own contradiction? There is no legitimacy to be had when genocide is state policy … there is no rights to be affirmed when one denies others what it claims for itself … there is only sickening hypocrisy.
Might can never be right – not when it serves the corrupt to the detriment of the weak.
See not the negation of Israel in Al-Quds Day but the affirmation of Justice.
See not a violent call for action, but a people’s pledge to meet oppression squarely in the face.
Just in case you were wondering Al-Quds Day stands for all – beyond creed, ethnicities and political affiliations.
If such values as justice, freedom and rights are deemed revolutionary we ought to seriously rethink our global set-up.
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. The Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She authored Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam.
This article originally appeared on Ahtribune.com