From the safety of our modern fortresses, we sometimes forget the world today is full of oppressed people pleading for help. From the waves of refugees fleeing calamity to the communities oppressed on their own lands, there seems to be a continuous flow of people weighed down under tyranny of all sorts.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one. If he is the oppressor he should prevent him from doing it, for that is his help; and if he is the oppressed he should be helped.”
[Sahih Muslim 2584]
From the above tradition and other similar narrations, it seems that oppression is not confined to physical harm or monetary difficulty. It is also with regard to the injury to one’s honour and respect. For the honour of a believer is precious to them.
Helping the oppressed can take many forms. It can start with awareness of their plight, praying for them, conversations and discussions about them, speaking up and spreading the message of solidarity, and helping them financially and physically if possible.
While we can do our part, we are also advised to, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is a non-believer, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.”
[Musnad Ahmad 12140]