That any true Muslim feels hurt at this latest assault on the honour of the Beloved Nabī صلى الله عليه و سلم needs no elucidation. The same would hold true for any honest person that the West has double standards when it comes to freedom of speech. Attack Islām, that’s fine, but question “the holocaust,” Darwinism or the claim that human civilisation is only 6000 years old, you could face a range of punishments from imprisonment, academic character assassination or loss of a job.
Now let us stop imitating the Jews as we do with so many other things. Stop moaning, “Oh! The world is against us and we are so helpless and innocent!” Let us ask what does the faith we profess to follow ask us to do in these trying situations.
1 Respond to slander with facts, not emotion
When we are attacked, we always respond emotionally and forget the actual argument. This is contrary to the principles of the Qurān. For example, when the Quraysh accused Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم of acquiring the Qurān from a monk, not Allāh, the response was not, “How dare you accuse me, when you know I am truthful!” Instead, the reply was a clear logical statement that the monk was a foreigner who could not possibly compose the fluent Arabic of the Qurān.
Indeed We know that they say, “A man teaches it to him!” The tongue of him to whom they wickedly refer is foreign, whilst this is a clear Arabic tongue. [an-Naḥl: 103]
2. Adversity is an opportunity to increase good deeds
Indeed We know that your chest is constricted because of what they say. But you should instead recite the purity and praise of your Lord and be amongst those who prostrate. [al-Ḥijr: 97-98]
Thus if adversity and grief led Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم to increase in good deeds, how are we exempt? Let us do some soul searching and ask if running around screaming, “Death to America,” benefits the image of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم in any way. Is it not embarrassing that the West can smugly say, “See! We accuse their Prophet of violence and they respond with violence!”
If I truly love Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم should I not act in the light of the above verse and increase my recitation of salutations [Arabic: Ṣalawāt; Persian: Darūd] upon Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم ? The Hadith teaches us that angels convey our greetings to him. Would that prove more profitable to our relationship to him when we meet on the Day of Qiyāmah or would “Death to America”?
Practically, how does my life and appearance conform to the man I claim to be honouring with my protests? Does my lifestyle resemble his, or that of the filmmakers? Condemning others is always easier than trying to reform oneself.
3. No soul bears the burden of another [az-Zumar: 7]
Did the US ambassador make the film, or even know about its production? Please pray tell how we justify such killings in the name of the religion of peace. Perpetuating disbelief is worse than the shedding of blood. May Allāh save us from such acts which serve no purpose other than to tarnish the image of Islām and repulse people who might otherwise have been inclined to it.
4. There are etiquettes to dialogue
Uncouth behaviour from others does not excuse us from obeying the Qurān, especially when we are directing our response at parties innocent of the movie, “Do not debate the People of the Book except in a better way, except for those amongst them who do wrong.” [al-‘Ankabūt:46].
When the Jews, thinking themselves to be smart, greeted Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم with a blurring between, “as-salaamu alaykum,” (peace be upon you) and “as-saamu alaykum” (death unto you) our Mother, Aishah رضى الله عنها became furious. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم however remained calm and replied, “And on you.” Whatever they intended was replied to without resorting to their manners.
Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم courteously addressed foreign dignitaries including the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius Caesar, whom he addressed as, “Heraclius, great of Rome.” Make no mistake – Heraclius was a far greater enemy of Allāh than George Bush could ever dream of. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم clearly declared that by rejecting Islām, Heraclius was to condemn his Empire to disbelief. The burden of the rest of Europe, the Americas, Australia etc is the eventual result of him rejecting the truth despite knowing it. Yet he was not deprived of due courtesy.
Not only have we shamed Islām in the murder of a foreign dignitary, we have helped erase the accomplishments of our forefathers. There are academics in the West who are honest enough to admit that the entire concept of International Law and certain of its specifics were born from Islāmic jurisprudence. Would those jurists have justified the slaying of an innocent diplomat? The fruits of their labours have been erased.
5. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم was practical and looked at the bigger picture
When they were about to sign the Treaty of Ḥudaybiyah, the Quraysh objected to the phrase, “Muḥammad, the Messenger of Allāh.” They would only consent to, “Muḥammad, son of ‘Abdullāh.” The Muslims were most upset, and refused. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم however personally erased the phrase. He knew that there were bigger issues at hand.
Muslim historians record that as a result of his foresight, obstacles to preaching Islām were removed and more people entered Islām in the following two years than in the previous 19 years of Islām. That would not have been achieved had Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم been stubborn over the wording of the Treaty. He had vision and looked at the bigger picture.
The bigger picture for us is that even this filth could have had one positive aspect of creating curiosity amongst disbelievers. We could have seized the opportunity to explain the beautiful character and teachings of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم to our friends, colleagues, neighbours and the media. Instead we reveal our ignorance about the greatest personality who has the most detailed biography ever in human history. How many Muslims can describe this personality to their neighbours for even 5 minutes?
The words, “Muḥammad, Messenger of Allāh,” holds a special place in the heart of every Muslim, but let emotion not cloud our judgement and make us lose our opportunity of Ḥudaybiyah and the deeper message of Muḥammad صلى الله عليه و سلم
To negate Jihaad is disbelief, but remember that there are various forms of Jihaad. Feel hurt, but follow his example.