A Prayer for the Wounds of Surabaya

Oh Magnificent God of Glory!

This day, at mid-day, the UGM academic community gathers at our beloved Balairung Campus, bowing our heads and lifting our prayers to You with deeply wounded hearts, with thoughts sundered, with souls seared by sting.

Wounded are our hearts, torn are our thoughts, and our souls groan within us in pain, since we no longer are able to count the number of times we have been forced to endure such atrocious, terrorist acts – inclusive of those we are compelled to face this very morning. We will never tire trying to understand why persons can so ruthlessly be bent on obliterating the lives of others for the sake of an ideology filled with hate. Yet, you decree in Surah al-Maidah 32, “Whoever kills an innocent human being, it is as if he had killed all of humanity”. Countless innocent victims have fallen all around us. Far too frequently, therefore, has all of humanity been murdered in this beloved land of ours.

Oh Magnificent God of All Power!

We pray as children of this land, as persons deeply religious, as fellow human beings, we beseech that You would enable us to pass through this crisis in a spirit of deep togetherness, that we might see each other as family, as a community tightly united. This tragedy costs us greatly and it is difficult for us to bear. May the severe cost and the heavy burden this calamity now forces upon us draw us much closer to You and to each other, enabling us to emerge from chaos engaged once again in deep peace and mutual respect. Enable us to take up the meaningful work of empowering one another. May our children grow and learn in joy, may they march forward into a future filled with hope cherished deeply within their breasts.

Oh Magnificent God of great might, grant us Your strength that we might not shrink as we confront terrorists; endow us with collective boldness that we might proclaim Your truth. Clarify our thoughts, purify our hearts, enable us to recognize what is right, what is true, to identify what is merely vanity, to label that which is wrong as, simply, wrong. We are convinced that terrorism embraces no religion, that it springs not from authentic patriotism. It besmirches true religious values, it distorts the bonds of communal life, it smears and smudges the genuine face of humanity. We take refuge in You; protect us from distortions such as this. Bestow upon us, too, opportunities for repairing the breaches in our souls and bodies, a result accomplished only by way of principled efforts undergirded by patience and godly submission of prayers lifted to You.

Oh Magnificent God of Deep Forgiveness!

We pray that you receive with compassion these victims who have fallen as a result of these acts of terrorism in Surabaya, for the victims in Depok too, as well as for those in other locations – receive them in Your magnanimous love, that love which springs eternal. Forgive them, Lord, and receive their good works of mercy, lay them to rest at that most precious place, by Your side, a site fit for the holy, for the sincere, for the fallen and the martyrs, for those rightly counted as noble. May the heartbreaking deaths of these victims heighten our awareness of how precious is the life of each and every soul, and how deeply valuable are good relationships between us; this fact, too, is mandated by the teaching of the Prophet and by our holy scriptures. With the deepest of sympathy do we lift our prayers for the families of the victims. Grant to them patience and steadfastness, by way of the embrace of Your safekeeping. We pray that events such as these never recur in our midst. We simply pray that there be no more victims like these here in our land. May You tend to the needs of these families and to the needs of their descendants, both during these difficult days, as well as in the days to come.

Oh Magnificent God of Guidance!

We pray that you prick the conscience and open the eyes of the perpetrators of these terrorist acts, those who are still alive, who wallow yet in hate for their fellow human beings, for persons they do not know, for persons who know them not. We ask that you visit them with Your guidance and with a clarity of spirit, that they might hasten to return to Your truth, that they might leave behind the hate that infects their breasts. We also ask that you banish this ideology of malice from their families and their descendants, that the downward spiral of evil might be arrested before it claims other victims. May you enlighten as well those who sympathize with these terrorists, whether in ways that directly confront them with the truth or by way of means that lead them there indirectly. May we all rid ourselves of every variety of vengeance, not giving space to seeds of enmity that we too easily allow to grow within our hearts.

Oh Magnificent God, the Most Just!

Bestow upon our police and upon our legislators the physical and spiritual strength they will need, so that they might perform their duties properly, bringing all perpetrators of these terrible acts and those in their networks to justice, standing firmly beside all that is just and in accordance with the dictates of law, prosecuted to its fullest extent, with wisdom and direction bestowed by Your hand.

Oh Magnificent God of Guidance!

Impart as well strength and resolve to our political and community leaders, so that we might take steps into the future that are guided by a deep, clear, pure, and honorable vision. Prevent further conflict from materializing, the sort of disagreement that would surely sink us into mutual blame and accusation, since this is the hope of those who incited this tragedy, a hope based merely on narrow and misguided personal and group interests. Grant to our leaders accomplishment as well as guidance, so that they might prioritize the common good, goals in our nation’s best interests based upon good conscience and clear reasoning.

Oh Magnificent God of Love and Mercy!

Brighten our hearts with the bounty of Your love and care in order that we might overcome hate and malice, whether personal or collective. May the religious faith we personally embrace not be reduced to imprisoning walls of separation, but may it instead serve as a medium for mutual tribute and mutual cooperation between us, a respect based upon our common citizenship in this great land of ours. Keep us safe in body and spirit. Guide our words, our thoughts, and our actions so that we might arise as persons who humanize each other in a commonality that is safe, serene, just, peaceful, and tranquil, all in the shadow of Your merciful presence and love.

You are the One who hears, You are the One who bestows, You are the One who grants us our prayers. To You alone do we lift our prayers of petition for the healing of our wounded hearts, our lacerated thoughts, our battered souls. As the protector of all of creation, You only are the restorer of our spirits. In the end, all that we are and all on earth that is returns to You. Great God, hear this, our prayer, we pray.


This prayer was recited in conclusion of UGM’s “Act of Concern Confronting Terrorism” event, held at Balairung Universitas Gadjah Mada on 14 May 2018, and  translated into English by Dr. Lindy Backues, Associate Professor of Economic Development at Eastern University, Pennsylvania.

Read the prayer in its original version in Indonesian: Doa Luka Surabaya

Header image courtesy: ANTARA/Didik Suhartono



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