Contemporary Issues
Typography

A lecture given in the Support of the Final Messenger Seminar held in London, 2002.

Listen to the Lecture

In Arabic: {mp3}dprophet_2_sa{/mp3}
In English (read by Ali Al-Timimi) {mp3}dprophet_2a_sa{/mp3}
Muhammad in Arabic
The Prophet's name displayed
at the Aya Sofia, Istanbul

Introduction

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds. And may peace and blessings be upon be upon you, dear listeners.

I ask Allah to bless us all with his grace and mercy. Surely, He is the Most Merciful of all.

Dear brothers, one of our greatest sources of pride is our love of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and our faith in him. He is our Prophet and we are his followers. Though we as Muslims believe in all of Allah's Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them all) and make no distinction between them, we also recognize that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet and thereby the most favored of them all. The doors of Paradise will be opened for him and he is the way to Paradise for the people of our day and age, since no one who lives after his time and hears about him will enter Paradise without believing in him.

Allah says:

"If you obey him, you will be guided. The responsibility of the Messenger is but to convey the clear Message."
[Al-Qur'an 24:54]

Allah describes him in the following words:

"Now a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should suffer He is ardently anxious over you. To the believers he is most kind and merciful."
[Al-Qur'an 9:128]

Dear listeners, we owe it to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to love him, revere him, and follow his Sunnah in every public and private aspect of our lives. It is equally our duty to come to his defense against all those who wish to plot against him or malign him.

In this time in which the Muslim world is facing numerous trials and difficulties, we are being confronted with a vicious and evil campaign against the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is being led by a number of preachers and religious leaders, and being waged by a number of weak-minded and weak-spirited people.

Allah says:

"It is those who believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow the light that is sent down with him who will prosper."
[Al-Qur'an 7:157]

We can see here how it is our duty to support him.

This support comes in many forms

One of these is to respond to those who are slandering him and attributing lies to him. In the United States today there are a number of prominent personalities and right-wing evangelical organizations that consider slandering the Prophet (peace be upon him) a prime topic of conversation and a major issue for their gatherings and television broadcasts.

Jerry Falwell, for instance, who has his own evangelical university, and whose broadcasts are heard by over ten million American families, describes the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a man of violence, a man of war, and a terrorist. He says: "Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses. I think Muhammad set an opposite example."

Pat Robertson says about the Prophet (peace be upon him): "This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand." He calls Islam "a monumental scam". He has also returned to his opinion that the Qur'an "is strictly a theft of Jewish theology". He supports this last allegation with the fact that Moses (peace be upon him) is mentioned in the Qur'an more than 500 times. He does not seem to realize that by saying this, he is inadvertently attributing to the Jews everything bad that he is says about Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Them we have Franklin Graham who gave the prayer at George W. Bush's inauguration, which shows us that this campaign is not too far removed from the Bush administration.

Admittedly, these statements are not official government pronouncements. However, they are not being made by people who are unknown or obscure. The people saying all of these horrible things have strong ties to the Bush administration.

We see Pat Robertson on the Fox Network bashing the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Islam. He is one of many who slander the Prophet (peace be upon him) who have close connections to the government. Many of them have close ties with the Republican Party and with previous Republican presidents.

However, this does not mean that these people represent the only line of thinking out there. We can find many others who try to be fair in their discussions about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), though they do not believe in him.

Michael Hart, in his book entitled The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, ranks Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the single most influential person of all. It is very interesting that after years of research he came to this conclusion when there are at least twice as many Christians in this world than there are Muslims.

There are many other writers who mention Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a positive light. We should also make mention of the many Western thinkers throughout history who have praised Muhammad (peace be upon him), like Kant, Tolstoy, and Thomas Carlyle.

Carlyle described him in the following words: "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world's Maker had ordered so."

Alphonse de LaMartaine in Historie de la Turquie (Paris, 1854) writes: "Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing."

Those who describe the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a terrorist forget that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent as "a mercy for all humanity" and that he was indeed as merciful a person as there ever was. We can see this in how the Prophet (peace be upon him) conducted himself when he finally overcame his enemies who had driven him out from Makkah after having persecuted him for years. These were the enemies of the Muslims who had killed many of his followers. When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) vanquished them, he asked them: "What do you think I am going to do with you?"

They said: "We think you will do well. You are a noble brother of ours and the son of a noble brother of ours."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Go, as you are free."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) hated bloodshed. Yes, he fought to protect and defend the Message and to overcome persecution and the obstacles placed in his way as he tried to peacefully propagate Islam. However, in the dozens of battles and campaigns throughout the Arabian Peninsula that he and his Companions engaged in, only a few hundred people were killed.

During the Battle of the Confederates, when many tribes got together and descended upon the Muslims, Allah revealed:

"And Allah repulsed the disbelievers in their wrath; they gained no good. Allah averted their attack from the believers. Allah is ever Strong, Mighty."
[Al-Qur'an 33:25]

The believers were not looking forward to war but they were forced into it, compelled to defend the weak and oppressed among them. Allah says:

"And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed? - Men, women, and children whose cry is: Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!"
[Al-Qur'an 4:75]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) engaged in these battles. Throughout all the years of fighting, the Muslims only killed a few hundred of their enemies. Then, when they got the upper hand, they forgave them all.

Take, for example, the instance where Ghawrath ibn Al-Harith held the Prophet (peace be upon him) at sword point. He said: "Who will keep you from me, Muhammad!"

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "Allah", whereupon the sword fell from Ghawrath's hand. The Prophet (peace be upon him) took up the sword and said: "Who will now keep you from me?" Ghawrath said: "No one." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Do you bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah?" Ghawrath said: "No, but I make a covenant with you that I will not take up arms against you nor will I be among those who do so." So the Prophet (peace be upon him) spared him and brought him to the Companions to inform them of his covenant.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) pardoned numerous people who had abused him and fought against him and his Message. This inspired Abu Sufyan to recite the following well-known verses of poetry:

Upon my life! On a day that I carried the war banner,
So that the steeds of the idol Al-Lat could conquer the steeds of Muhammad
Like one who sets out lost on the darkest of nights
This was the time that I was to be guided
I was guided by one other than my own self
The one who I had driven forcibly out showed me Allah.

To these verses, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "Yes. Indeed, you had driven me out forcibly." In spite of that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) pardoned him and relented towards him.

He used to instruct his Companions:

"Do not hope to meet the enemy. Instead, ask Allah for your well-being. But if you do meet them, then withstand them in patience and perseverance."

Yes, Islam recognizes the existence of war and makes allowances for within its teachings. However, war in Islam cannot be looked at in isolation. It must be seen as a mere part of a larger whole. Islam seeks to call people to the truth. War is there to counter the obstacles that prevent people from freely being able to believe in Allah and to accept Islam. War becomes a necessity when people are forcibly imposed upon in their religious or their worldly lives.

War in Islam must be just. It must never be for imperial expansion or to impose ones authority and dominion over others. It must never be ethnically or racially motivated. It can never be so one nation can have ascendancy over another. It must only be in defense of the faith, so that Allah's word can remain ascendant.

War in Islam must be moral and ethical. The Rightly Guided Caliphs, like Abu Bakr and 'Umar, would always give their armies the following instructions, "Do not kill the elderly, children, women, and farm workers, nor monks in their monasteries unless they engage you in battle. Then you may fight them only because they are fighting against you. Otherwise, leave them alone."

In Islam, no war should be unjust, immoral, or unethical. We cannot find such standards in the history of any other nation on Earth. We can say that in the wars that took place during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) only a few hundred people were killed in total. However, the Western world, in spite of its civilization and all of its institutions and accords, cannot say the same. In a span of less than fifty years, it was embroiled in two World Wars. Millions of people were killed, though they were all of the same racial background and the same faith. We should also mention that in Hiroshima, over 250,000 people were killed in one day and maybe in one instant. The bodies that remained after the blast were buried in a single mass grave. The scars of bombardment are still visible in Japan today as well as in Korea, Vietnam, and other countries because of the use of often illegal weapons and the employment of chemical warfare. Such savagery is alien to Islam. Islam brought the world mercy and taught justice, ethics, and morality, even when the Muslims were attacked.

We all know the story of Abu 'Ubaydah when he feared he would not be able to defend his Christian subjects in Homs, so he refunded their tribute to them, saying: "We fear we will not be successful in defending you, though we will still come to your defense." However, he defended them successfully and only afterwards resumed collecting tribute from them.

We should also recall what happened when the people of Samarqand, with whom the Muslims were at war, complained to the Caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz that they had been attacked unjustly. They had been attacked by surprise and conquered without being first invited to Islam. The Caliph dispatched a judge to the front lines in Samarqand to look into the case. When the judge heard their case, he immediately ordered the Muslim army to withdraw from the city, which the Muslims had successfully taken.

The people of Samarqand were astonished to see the entire Muslim army obey the judge and withdraw completely from the city, leaving it to its inhabitants, though the Muslims had taken it at great expense and with heavy losses to themselves. This is Islam. This is its all-inclusive justice and mercy.

This is the way of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) to whom Allah said: "We sent you only as a mercy to all humanity." [Al-Qur'an 20:107]

He truly was a mercy not only to all humanity, but even to animals - to beasts and birds. He said: "There is a reward for all the good that you do for anything possessing a living heart." [Sahih al-Bukhari] he also mentioned to us the story of a prostitute who gave water to a thirsty dog and who was forgiven by Allah and admitted into Paradise.

The seal of the Prophet
The seal of the Messenger of Allah

Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us of another woman entered Hell because she imprisoned a cat without feeding it or letting it out to eat until it starved to death.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a sparrow in her nest lamenting the loss of her chicks which had been stolen by someone, he said: "Who has caused her to grieve over her chicks? May Allah curse the one who caused her to grieve over her chicks."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "No sparrow is killed without cause except that it complains to Allah about it on the Day of Judgment." The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the killing of any animal for mere sport.

This noble Prophet - the final Prophet (peace be upon him) - brought mercy and the religion of mercy. His greeting was: "Peace be upon you and Allahs mercy and blessings." Whenever he began any activity, he would say: "In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful." These are the practices of all Muslims. When they mention Allah's name, they mention His mercy as well. This is because their religion is a mercy to all humanity. It is a mercy to every adult and child, every man and woman, and even to the beasts in the fields.

Those who have studied the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) - which I have barely touched upon today - and did so objectively and fairly, have only spoken well of him, even if they were non-Muslims.

As for the Muslims, they need to learn from the Prophet (peace be upon him) many forms of mercy. They need to practice mercy towards their families and mercy towards their children. They are enjoined with mercy towards their neighbors, their relatives, and strangers.

We must show mercy even to sinners. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to combine knowledge with mercy. We must teach the people what is right, but show mercy when we do so. Allah mentions the two qualities together when he talks about Khidr. He says:

"So they found one of Our servants on whom We had bestowed mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our presence."
[Al-Qur'an 18:65]

Though Islam is the religion of mercy, justice, and compassion, this definitely does not mean that it lacks a specific approach to war or offers no way for Muslims to respond to their enemies. However, Islam brings war into conformity with its comprehensive system for life. Removing war from this context is clear oppression.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) in his words, his deeds, and his teachings, is a living example for those who follow him. We see in those who truly follow his example that they always show mercy to others and treat them well. When 'Ali ibn Abi Talib was the Caliph of the Muslims, he submitted to the verdict of a judge who ruled against him in favor of a Jew, and he showed not the least discomfort or hesitation in accepting the judges decree.

When 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab was Caliph, he saw a non-Muslim man walking through the marketplace. When he inquired about him, he was told that the man was a poor non-Muslim subject. 'Umar said: "We have not been just to him. We took tribute from him when he was young and leave him to ruin when he is old!" He then ordered the man to be given a stipend from the public treasury.

The topic of how the universal mercy of Islam embraces even the disputants who live under the authority of the Muslims is a long one. It will suffice us to mention what Arnold Toynbee and other Orientalists have said: that there have never been conquerors more just and merciful than the Arabs.

The world has seen many systems of government come and go but it has never seen anything like the justice and ethical standards of Islam when it was put into practice. We hear a lot today about human rights. There are many international bodies devoted to them. This concept of human rights came about only after many long and troublesome wars. Still, it remains something theoretical applied inconsistently for ulterior political motives.

Islam, however, brought these rights to the level of a religious duty. The Muslim is expected to respect them. He is accountable for them. His character is formed around knowing them and believing in them. They are part of his religion and part of Islamic Law. When a Muslim observes these rights, he is aware that by doing so he is worshipping his Lord to whom he is accountable. Therefore, he does not seek out loopholes and deceptive ways to contravene the rights of others. These are Islamic rights.

Islam is the religion that Allah revealed to His final Messenger (peace be upon him) to be the religion of humanity until the end of time. Allah says:

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things."
[Al-Qur'an 33:40]

This noble Prophet (peace be upon him) has a right over every Muslim. Through him, Allah saved us from the misguidance, taught us when we were ignorant, brought us together, and enriched us from our destitution. Allah has made him our leader and our guide on the path to Paradise. His right over us is even more acute for those of us who possess some knowledge or have been blessed with some skills or expertise. It is our duty to use whatever abilities we have to fight against this horrid attack being waged against him.

  • We need to produce articles and establish Internet websites.
  • We need to get on the radio and television with our message.
  • We need to write books.
  • We need to get these books translated into other languages.
  • We need to refute the baseless claims being made these days so forcefully and vociferously.

We need to come forward assertively with our message knowing that we speak the truth and then invite others to it. We are sure of our religion and of our Prophet (peace be upon him). We have what it takes to convince others of the truth and change their opinion.

If we put our faith in Allah and strive with all our hearts, we can, by Allahs grace, turn this trial into a blessing wherein everyone will learn about the impeccable character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They will learn how he treated his family. They will learn how he was with children. They will see how well he treated his Companions. They will see how good he was to his enemies. They will learn how kind he was even to animals.

We will, in this way, teach the Muslims how to be more merciful and at the same time teach the non-Muslims about the wonderful personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the religion of Islam.

We have to translate our love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) into practical action. We need to defend him against the accusations being made against him. They are saying that he is a terrorist and that Islam is a religion of terror.

They are making insinuations about his relationship with his wives and about his private life. They are calling him a man of lusts because he married so many wives.

To this we say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) lived in Makkah for fifty-three years married to one woman who was many years his senior. He was married only to Khadijah until she died. Then, after he emigrated from Makkah to Madinah, he married the rest of his wives during the last ten years of his life.

He spent his youthful years, which are typically the years of strength and desire, with a woman who was fifteen years older than he was. After that, the only virgin he ever married was 'A'ishah. The rest of his wives were widows and divorcees whom he married for various missionary, social, and humanitarian reasons. For example, he married widows in order to help them and their children. He married others to help facilitate the spread of Islam or to instruct people about the proper way of dealing in certain marital situations. Much of what we know about the Prophet's home life comes to us from these wives, and through them we all know what Islam requires from us in our lives at home. These facts are clear from his life. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) had wanted to, he could have had his pick of the most beautiful women around. Had he command, the Arabs would have delivered their noblest and loveliest women to his doorstep.

We do not deny that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a human being. He was impressed by beauty and grace. However, this was clearly not the standard he used for selecting his wives. We know the women whom he married.

If the people could only come to know the truth of his life and his teachings and then learn about his exemplary and kind treatment of his wives, how patient he was with them and how tolerant, even when they raised their voices at him, turned away from him, or locked the door on him out of jealousy for their co-wives.

Once, he went to visit the graveyard at night, and 'A'ishah followed him, thinking he was going to visit one of his other wives on her night. When he found out, he simply said to her: "Do you fear that Allah and His Messenger would wrong you?" In his relationship with his wives, we see only love, affection, sympathy, and patience.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) enjoined upon the Muslim men good treatment of women. He said: "The best among you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best of you to his family."

If we were to try to enumerate all of his good qualities in how he dealt with children, common people, and his enemies, we would find a daunting task ahead of us. All I am trying to do is give an indication of how those who are behind this attack are not only doing a disservice to their faith and everything they stand for, but that they are being blatantly unjust and irrational. They are merely playing into the hands of those interests who want to incite the Muslims for their own political aims.

It is the duty of the Muslims to support their Prophet (peace be upon him) whom they follow and hope to be with in the Hereafter. I invite all of my brothers to participate in this effort. Those of us who are able should set up committees for the defense and support of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and mobilize their efforts to respond to what is being said about him.

I ask Allah to bless us to truly love the Prophet (peace be upon him), to follow him in our public and private lives, and to fulfill our obligations towards him. Finally, I ask Allah to gather us all together in the blessings of His Paradise. Truly Allah is capable of all things.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Be Mindful O Mankind!

O Allah, you see our hearts full of idolatry, pride, hypocrisy, showing-off, reputation, doubt and uncertainty in your din. O Turner of hearts, make our hearts firm in Your din and make our din Straight Islam!
- Al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110H), may Allah have mercy upon him