, by SHARFUDDIN B.S
If we study the history of Arabia and the history of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him), it is really astonishing. In the 7th century there were two super powers: one was the Roman Empire and the other the Persian Empire. In between these two empires was the Arabian Peninsula where there were little resources. There were nomads, camels and less educated people.
This same atmosphere was prevailing when Prophet Muhammad was born. He faced lots of challenges in his life. He was born an orphan, and then he lost two of his caretakers – grandfather and uncle. He did not have any formal education. Until he was forty years old he lived like an ordinary man. However, even before becoming prophet as an young man, he commanded great respect in Makkah and was called Al-Sadiq (the Truthful) and Al-Ameen (the Trustworthy).
Other than that he did not perform any extraordinary things in the society. But after his fortieth year when Allah gave him the prophethood everything changed. He started conveying an inspiring message and many people became his followers in the society. Nomads and uneducated people started becoming leaders through this message and within 50 years his message spread over to large parts of the world. After another hundred years it reached a much larger part of the world and within a short span of time Islam became a super power. History bears testimony that Muslim rulers conquered the mighty Roman and Persian empires. It is an astonishing history and it looks like a legend.
Even today we can see the remains of Roman Empire in Syria in Palmyra that was one of the capitals of the Roman Empire. Istanbul and Baghdad, two great cities of Islamic civilization, also were other capitals of the Roman Empire. The message of Islam thus spread all over the world because of the influential personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
We can see this influence even today. Anyone who studies Seerah, the life history of Prophet Muhammad, derives lots of influence from it. That is why anti-Islam forces try to target Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) and malign his image in every possible way. According to Islam, this is called fitna or an act of spreading chaos on earth. The fitna of intentional and organised blasphemy deserves a severe punishment including death penalty. Allah says, “Fitna (creating chaos on earth) is worse than committing a murder” (Surah Al Baqarah -191). Because of fitna so many murders and destructions can happen. Even if you take the results of this latest fitna of blasphemy against the Prophet, it has generated lots of destruction. A country lost eight jetliners, lost an Ambassador in Libya, so many diplomats were killed, many innocent people lost their lives in many courtiers and a huge amount of chaos was created around the world. If action would have been taken against the person who had initiated the mockery in the initial stage then many untoward incidents would have been averted.
HONOUR OF THE PROPHET IS PROTECTED
Allah protects the honour of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) through various means. Allah says that He Himself will protect the honour of the Prophet. He also protects his honour through the Muslim community and the Islamic Shari’ah. These are the three important means by which Allah protects the honour of the Prophet.
Allah says, “I am sufficient for you against the people who do mockery” (Surah Al Hijr -95). Through this verse Allah has given a guarantee that he will protect the honour of Prophet Muhammad. In another place Allah says, “And we have raised high for you your repute” (Surah Al Inshirah – 4). Before the birth of the Holy Prophet the name ‘Muhammad’ was not a popular name. But today we can see hundreds and thousands of people identify them with the name ‘Muhammad’ all over the world. Every time when the muezzin (prayer caller) says the azan (prayer call) in the microphone saying, I bear witness that ‘Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’, the name of the Prophet raises high in the sky. There is not a minute in a day when this announcement is not proclaimed since time varies from country to country.
ALLAH’S PUNISHMENT TO BLASPHEMY
Allah has given punishment to those who did blasphemy during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad. For example, there is one such instance in the history of Abu Lahab, uncle turned enemy of the Prophet. Once Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) wanted to convey the message of the life after death to the people of Makkah. According to tradition of Makkha, in order to gather people, he climbed on a hillock and said, “ya Sabaha” which means, “calamity of early morning”. That was a kind of media they were using those days to gather people and convey important things. When people gathered, he gave a talk about belief in life after death. Abu Lahab also came there to see what the Prophet was conveying. After listening to the Prophet’s admonition he became restless and castigated the Prophet saying “May you perish, did you gather us for this?”
The Prophet did not respond to his arrogance. But Allah revealed verses later on saying “Perished are the hands of Abu Lahab and himself. His wealth and his children will not benefit him” (Surah Al Masad – 1,2). When Allah was revealing these verses Abu Lahab was still living, ruling, enjoying and leading unbelievers of Makkah. This was a prophecy revealed by Allah about Abu Lahab that he is going to perish. If at all Abu Lahab would not have met with the ill fate and unfortunate end, people would have questioned what happened to the Qur’ānic prophecy. However, history testifies that Abu Lahab was inflicted with a deadly disease by which he became untouchable. His family members quarantined him and none visited him. After his death when the dead body started decomposing his family members buried him in a pit with the help of others. Thus Allah punished Abu Lahab for his blasphemy in his life time.
ANOTHER INCIDENT OF DIVINE WRATH
Abu Lahab’s son also met with a similar fate. He was the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. But in order to disturb the Prophet he divorced the Prophet’s daughter and during one occasion he spit on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) turning towards him but it did not fall on the Prophet. Usually Prophet Muhammad never used to get disturbed by such things. But the arrogant act of Abu Lahab’s son aggravated the Prophet and he cursed him saying, “Oh Allah send one of your beasts to him.”
Later on when Abu Lahab’s son was travelling to Syria for trade, Abu Lahab called his companions and instructed them to take care of his son as he was really worried about the curse of Prophet Muhammad. However, during the journey when it was night, the trade caravan prepared for overnight stay in some place. They made Abu Lahab’s son sleep in between many other people to be protected from the Prophet’s curse. However, at night a tiger kind of beast appeared from somewhere, traced him particularly, attacked and killed him.
THIRD INCIDENT OF DIVINE WRATH
When the Prophet’s message was rapidly spreading in Medina, the enemies of Makkah called for a meeting to tackle the situation. Some suggested to imprison, banish or kill Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). Allah mentions this plot in the following verses, “And remember (Oh Muhammad) when those who disbelieved plotted against you to imprison you or kill you or banish you. But they planned and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners” (Surah Al Anfal – 30).
What was Allah planning? If we read Islamic history we will know that Allah’s plan was the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah, making it the first Islamic state. Later on Islam spread to all the neighbouring territories and Makkah was conquered and Islam soon became a super power.
Meanwhile some scholars interpret ‘Allah’s plan’ mentioned in the above verse as follows. During the migration, when the Prophet was coming out of his house, he threw a handful of mud on enemies who were surrounding his house with the intention of killing him. After throwing mud he went out of the house in front of them, but no one could notice him. The mud thrown by the Prophet fell on many people and all of them were killed in the Battle of Badr. Thus Allah protected the honour of the Prophet and punished his enemies.
PROTECTING THE HONOUR THROUGH MUSLIM COMMUNITY
Allah also protects the honour of the Prophet through the Muslim community. Allah says in the Qur’ān addressing the Muslim community that Prophet should be dearer to them than any other thing in their life. Allah says, “Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight ... are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment).” (At Taubah – 24). Accordingly for believers the dearest thing in their life is love towards Allah, His Prophet and striving in the way of Allah.
PROTECTING THE HONOUR THROUGH SHARI’AH
Allah also protects the honour of Prophet Muhammad through rules and regulations of Islam, which is Shari’ah. During the Conquest of Makkah the Prophet forgave everybody. He declared that “there will be no revenge on any of you today”. He forgave all the biggest enemies of Islam. He forgave staunch enemies of Islam like Abu Sufiyan and made a declaration that whoever takes shelter in the house of Abu Sufiyan will be forgiven. Another enemy of Islam Abu Jahal’s son came to the Prophet seeking protection. When he was arriving from a distance Prophet Muhammad said, “Ikrima, the son of Abu Jahal, is coming towards us as a believer and migrant; hence do not abuse his father.” In spite of the fact that Abu Jahal was the bitterest enemy of Islam, the Prophet did not let anyone abuse him. He forgave every individual that day but he did not forgive four people who committed blasphemy and they were executed. So that is how through rules and regulations and Islamic Shari’ah Allah protects the honour of His messenger.
HOW TO REACT?
If somebody attacks Islam through media, the best refutation could be through media itself. There are various media through which we may refute in an effective way. Peaceful demonstrations also sometimes convey the message to the masses and governments to take necessary action. However, killing of innocent people in the name of protest is not justified at any cost. Islam does not allow killing of innocent people, destroying public properties or cutting trees even during wars. Even during reaction and protest Muslims should carry a message that though we are upset and angry we prove to be peaceful people and always protect values promulgated by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
There are two things that we can do in order to respond to the blasphemy. One of them is swift reaction which is spontaneous. The second one is well thought of pro-action. The Muslim community is good at reaction but seldom we see any efforts done by Muslims which can be considered pro-action.
Reminding Muslims about the proactive approach, Allah says, “So they who have believed in him (Prophet), honoured him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him are the victorious’ (Surah Al Araf – 157). Therefore Muslims should be proactive by taking care of the four important responsibilities that we constantly have towards Prophet Muhammad, which is believing in him, respecting him, helping him and following him.
Helping the Prophet is nothing but spreading the message which he had conveyed. The Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and after him prophethood is terminated. But the prophetic mission is not terminated, but is transferred to his followers. Today every fourth person in the world is a Muslim. Among them some are living peacefully in peaceful countries whereas some are living with difficulties and challenges deprived of their freedom and rights. It is the responsibility of every individual Muslim, particularly those who are living in peaceful societies to convey the message of Islam to maximum people so that the message reaches the entire world.
Allah says, “Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s Light (by blowing) with their mouths: But Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the unbelievers may detest (it). It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).” (Surah as Saff- 8, 9). Definitely, Islam has all the qualities and requisites to become a predominant faith. It only needs plan and efforts by the Muslim community as the Qur’ān says, “Man will not get anything other than what he strives for and you will surely see the fruit of your strivings.” (An Najm 39-40)