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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Protecting the Prophetic

The following text is taken from a newsletter I received from the  Al Manaar Mosque, (The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London) and is worth sharing...

The legacy of Muslims.

With the world's attention these past weeks focused on a disgraceful film, and the disgraceful conduct it has provoked, Muslims the globe over have found themselves again entreating the international community for respect, patience and contemplation, both from outside the Ummah, and within. 

The film in question has been widely condemned as vile defamation of the Prophet (PBUH), the Qur'an and Islam. In defence of these most precious aspects of our tradition, some have been tragically wont to react in rage, in frenzy, in violence. In responding to both the film and its fallout, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), states that it "strongly deplores and condemns the film". It similarly "urges that our response to the deliberately provocative act should be peaceful and intelligent. We must not rise to the bait but take heed from the conduct of our noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)". 
It is conduct first elevated by Allah, in the Quran: "You have indeed in the Messenger of God an excellent example for the person who hopes in [aspires to get close to] God and the Final Day and who remembers God intensely." [33:21]
By that Prophetic legacy, then, in their published advice on dealing with this latest manifestation of derision of the faith, MINAB - and a Muslim majority, to be fair - enjoin patience, perseverance and education. How tragic is a response fuelled by fury, so diminished by violence, when it goes against the very tradition we are so impassioned as a community to uphold. When the Prophet himself (PBUH), in the face of adversity and suffering, declared, "I have conveyed to you my Lord's message and I have given you good advice. If you accept from me what I have brought, this will cause you to succeed in this world and in the hereafter; but if you reject what I have brought, then I shall wait patiently until God judges between us." [Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, 2:101]
Wait patiently. Engage, discuss, act but not in anger or seeking retribution, but in the ways he would (PBUH), as examples. Because to do otherwise is to do greater damage to that which we aim to safeguard than a thousand defamatory films.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made clear that to which his Message aspired, "There are in you two qualities that God loves: clemency and forebearance" [Muslim] and "Allah gives for gentleness what He does not give for violence or anything else" [Bukhari].

Further reading:
Ramadan, Tariq. In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad.