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By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.

In one of the sessions of the Arab National Conference (ANC) held on 31/5–2/6/2024, after the paper presenters and the commentators completed their remarks, the session moderator made a notable comment before announcing the end of the session. He criticized one of the authors’ statements, which asserted that Operation al-Aqsa Flood had bolstered the Islamic project for Palestine. The moderator attempted to deny the “ideological” nature of the war, emphasizing that Hamas is a national liberation movement and cautioning against highlighting the Islamic dimension. He then closed the session without allowing the author to clarify or respond!!

Some people artificially and ambiguously present Islamic resistance movements as opposed to national liberation movements, suggesting they are opposites, which is not the case at all. In the objective analysis, Islamic resistance movements represent the highest degree of patriotism and national and human “liberation.”

In Fact, Operation al-Aqsa Flood has Bolstered the Islamic Project for Palestine:

First: There is no doubt that those leading the resistance in Gaza Strip (GS) and forming the largest base of fighters are the members of the Islamic movements, Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), comprising more than 80% of the fighters. Those who carried out Operation al-Aqsa Flood on 7/10/2023, are members of Hamas’ Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades; and they have been at the forefront of the GS resistance for the past months. There is no doubt that other resistance factions have important roles, and they are an integral part of the national fabric that must be allied with and cooperated with in achieving national goals. Additionally, the resistance forces participating from outside Palestine are affiliated with the Islamic movement, regardless of sectarian backgrounds.

This is not the place for argument or debate, as the facts are well-known to all. I do not believe that Hamas or the PIJ would engage in such discussions either. However, it is necessary to state this plainly because some individuals are eager to undermine the Islamists, crafting a particular narrative about the significance and influence of various movements to serve their own agendas. This could later be used to create a distorted and falsified account of historical events.

The Palestinian resistance during Operation al-Aqsa Flood was internally cohesive, communicating with a unified Islamic ethos. It employed Islamic rhetoric, echoed Islamic chants, emphasized Quranic verses and Hadiths, drew upon its Islamic heritage and cultural identity for inspiration, and showcased a profound sense of pride in its Islamic identity and historical legacy. All of this resonated with a strong national ethos, a conscientious and judicious national awareness that grasps the paramount importance and priorities of national endeavors, and embraces national collaboration while upholding the fundamentals. This had a positive (and not a negative) impact, bolstering the popularity and esteem of the resistance within its Palestinian, Arab and international milieu.

The Palestinian people, supportive of the resistance, who dazzled the world with their patience, steadfastness and sacrifices, drew the attention of the whole world to the highest Islamic values of faith in Ihtisab (seeking reward from Allah), reliance on Allah, not fearing for life or livelihood, and aspiring to martyrdom and the highest paradise. These people showed a high Islamic commitment in behavior, appearance, words and deeds. They did not have an inferiority complex, nor did they need to present behaviors and ethics that matched the West in its behavior, life and values. Rather, this spirit of faith was a source of global inspiration for hundreds of thousands and millions of people, who eagerly came to try to know the secret of this legendary steadfastness and fortitude, and who found the main difference was in the Qur’an and Islamic education.

Fourth: Evidence supports that Islam excels in channeling the potential of Muslim societies, fostering virtues such as sacrifice, patience, courage, Ihtisab, reliance on Allah, altruistic expenditure, pride, dignity, freedom, unity and social cohesion. It suffices to note that those who “shaped history” from the Qassam Brigades on October 7 included many individuals who had memorized the Qur’an. It is evident that the generation committed to the Qur’an stands out as the most capable of shouldering the responsibilities of transformation and liberation.

Supporters of the Palestine issue and those aware of the Arab-Israeli conflict know how swift were the occupations of GS in 1956 (During the Tripartite Aggression) and 1967, occurring in less than two days each time, while it was under the strongest and largest Arab regime. It’s evident to observers that despite enduring a suffocating siege and operating with very limited resources, GS has bravely resisted, engaging in four wars over the past 17 years where the Israeli occupation has been humbled, unable to annex even a square meter of territory. Presently, GS perseveres in an ongoing war, more than 250 days, showcasing steadfastness that signals an impending imposition of its terms upon the Israelis, forcing them to withdraw. What catalyzed this transformation?! It is the human factor… It is the individuals nurtured by this revered religion. Otherwise, let us discuss the formidable Arab and Muslim armies, who unfortunately resort solely to force against their own people.

Hence, Islam, religiosity and the Islamic perspective must not be regarded as something to be hidden or avoided, but rather a source of pride that unveils the essence of character-building in GS and Palestine. It unveils the reason for the patience, resilience, sacrifice, courage and valor. It has been demonstrated that the Islamic outlook, presented with a focus on moderation and the principles of truth, justice and freedom, does not alienate, but instead reinforces the Palestine issue with greater vigor and respect.


Secondly, national liberation movements or nationalist movements serve as adaptable “conduits” for various ideological, intellectual or political doctrines. They may manifest as leftist-communist movements, akin to the Vietnamese revolution, or espouse secular-liberal, nationalist, isolationist, or religious ideologies… The Palestinian landscape illustrates instances of leftist, nationalist and Islamic national movements. The core of the matter lies in preserving the fundamentals, charting a correct course, and effectively mobilizing people and resources while leveraging Arab, Muslim and universal dimensions optimally. It is untenable for some to embrace all paradigms except the Islamic model!!!


Thirdly, in the face of any contrived conflict, we assert that Islamists are as devoted to their homelands as any other members of the Ummah (Muslim nation). Their patriotism is positive and inclusive, not confined by partisanship, ethnicity or sectarianism. It is a patriotism that unites rather than divides the Ummah. Love for the land does not equate to selfishness, arrogance or condescension, nor does it entail injustice or disregard for others and their rights.

It is a patriotism rooted in love, longing, nostalgia and a deep attachment to the land. It embodies pride, dignity and resistance to injustice and colonization, striving for the liberation of both the land and its people. This patriotism envisions a cooperative, interdependent and compassionate society that cares for its kin. The foundation of Muslim patriotism lies in the Islamic faith, with national liberation being part of the divine mandate to free the land from occupying forces. This connection to the land transcends nationality or ethnicity, binding the Ummah to its land. Such a perspective enables Muslims to fulfill their duties and responsibilities towards Palestine, contrasting with the Western Zionist project’s aim to isolate Palestine and its people from their Arab and Muslim context, thereby facilitating their subjugation and marginalization.


Fourthly, the spheres of national, Arab, Islamic and humanitarian action are complementary and harmonious. They can operate side by side without conflict, as there is no need to create contradictions between them. Islam, by its very nature, is a “mercy to the world” (As Allah described His Prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an), a universal humanitarian message aimed at liberating humanity from servitude to others and directing worship solely to the Lord of all. It seeks to uphold the great human values of justice, equality, freedom and dignity…

Those who have risen in support of Palestine, from diverse countries and peoples of various nationalities, religions and ideologies, understand the nature of the resistance. They have witnessed the human aspect that the resistance has successfully showcased, as well as the brutal Zionist face of occupation and aggression. When we focus on our shared humanity, there is no need to abandon our identity, nor is there a need for others to change theirs. Our common human values are enough to unite and mobilize us against the Zionist project, which opposes humanity, defies the movement of history, and threatens global peace and stability.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 21/6/2024

The opinions expressed in all the publications and studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of al-Zaytouna Centre.

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