Source: ghanaweb columnist Husseini Yushau BabalWai
“In their wars of conquest, however, the Muslims exhibited a degree of toleration which puts many Christian nations to shame.”— E. Alexander Powell, The Struggle for Power in Muslim Asia
“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fanatically absurd(illogical) myths that historians have ever repeated.”—De Lacy O’ Leary, Islam at the Crossroads
Right after reviewing my article posted yesterday and published about 20 minutes later on modernghana.com, entitled: “In Islam, Boko is Halal(lawful)!..Killings and Kidnappings are Haram(unlawful)!” I stumbled upon the above title, while perusing through other news headlines. I became so flabbergasted by the extent of total ignorance and idiocy of this writer, Paa Nii, whose narrow minded analysis is so obviously characterized by hatred and enmity towards Islam. [http://www.modernghana.com/news/541195/1/on-the-arrogance-and-backwardness-of-islam.html] Click on the url link above and you will pull out this article I am referring to, to see things for yourself.
There is no denying the fact that, Islam had and still have some elements of fanatical, puritanical and radical believers, who take the letter and spirit of the fastest growing enviable faith in the world beyond bonds, committing crimes and cruelties that are directly and diametrically opposed to the true teachings of the faith. We however expect Mr. Paa Nii to do some background research (which now thanks to the internet revolution, makes writing and researching a beat easy), or just go to Google scholar and dig out some basic information, about what true Islam represents, and what some Muslims are doing, which is in direct contrast to the tenets of the religion.
This piece is aimed at doing a job that Paa Nii should have than, by showing direct quotations from the Qur’an, hadith, instances in the life of the Prophet of Islam that exemplifies, mercy, magnanimity, as well as tolerance and tranquility and concludes with objective views of some non-Muslim intellectuals and academics about what Islam represents. And I strongly believe that, if Paa Nii had come across these precious and priceless information before, he would not have written these bashful and blasphemous piece. And it is a chance for him to retract this article, if he is a right thinking member of the civil society.
Allah Prohibits Terrorism & Promotes Tolerance
“Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it (his or her sin) is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” — Qur’an [5:32] “Do not promote disorder in the earth after peace has been established!”
— Qur’an [7: 56] “Thus, if they leave you alone and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm (terrorize) them.”
— Qur’an [4:90] “…I (Abel, son of Adam talking to his twin brother Cain, the first killer on earth) swear that even if you reach out your hand to kill me, I will not reach my hand to kill you. I fear God, the Lord of the World.” — Qur’an [5:28] “God does not forbid you, regarding those did not fight you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes, to show kindness and deal with them justly.” — Qur’an [60:8] “And fight in the cause of God who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors.” — Qur’an [2:190] “If you behave tolerantly, overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily God is Forgiving and Merciful.” — Qur’an [64: 14] “My Mercy extends to all Things.” — Qur’an [7:156] “And if you have to respond to any wrong, respond to the extent of the wrong done to you; but if you endure patiently, this is indeed better for he who endures.” — Qur’an [16:126] “Tell those who believe to forgive those (non-Muslims) who do not look forward to the Days of God; in order that He may recompense each people according to what they have earned.”
—Qur’an [45:14] “…Let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just; that is next to piety. And fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with what you do. ” — Qur’an [5:8] “When they (believers) meet hollow words or unseemly behavior, they pass them by with dignity.”
— Qur’an [25:72] “And the servants of (God) the All-Merciful are those who move on the Earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say: “Peace.” — Qur’an [25:63] “But if the (perceived) enemy inclines toward peace, do you (also) incline toward peace, and trust in God…” — Qur’an [8:61] “We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye nose for nose ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity it is an act of atonement.” — Qur’an [5:45] “If it had been your Lord’s Will, they would all have believed – all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind, against their will to believe?” — Qur’an [10:99] “…And those who restrain their anger (swallowing their anger as if swallowing a thorn, out of patience & tolerance) and pardon men; and God loves those who do good to others.”
— Qur’an [3:134] “God is our Lord and your Lord. To us our works and to you your works; no argument between us and you…” — Qur’an [42:15] “Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant.” — Qur’an [7:199] According to a Muslim scholar and prolific author of Indian descent, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, who wrote in his book, Islam & Peace, that; “I met a 36 year old European, Leon Zippo Hayes, who was born in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand. After having studied Islam, he has changed his religion. His Islamic name is Khalilur Rahman…During the conversation he said that in the modern times Muslims are engaged in bloody war at many places, at some places with others and at other places among themselves. This had led him (like many others) to conclude that perhaps Islam was a religion of violence. Later, he studied the Qur’an with the help of translations, and when he reached the first verse quoted above in the Qur’an: “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (5:32), he said that he was so moved that he could not believe that it was in the Qur’an. This incident is broadly indicative of the thinking of non-Muslims; people today find it hard to believe that Islam may be a religion of Peace. But if Muslims stop engaging in violent activities and give people the opportunity to appreciate Islam in its original form, then certainly a great number of people would realize as they never had before that Islam was a peaceful religion and they would rush to it, saying that it was exactly the religion which their souls had been seeking all along.”
Analysis on these verses by Yusuf Ali in his, THE HOLY QUR’AN-English Translation of the Meanings & Commentary:
To kill or seek to kill an individual because he represents an ideal, is to kill all who uphold the ideal. On the other hand, to save an individual life in the same circumstances is to save a whole community. What could be stronger condemnation of individual assassination and revenge?
The man who prays with humility and earnestness finds the ground prepared by Allah for his spiritual advancement. It is all set in order, and cleared of weeds. He does not, like the wicked, upset that order, to introduce evil or mischief into it…Fear and longing: the fear of Allah is really a fear lest we should diverge from His Will, or do anything which would not be pleasing to Him: unlike ordinary fear, it therefore brings us nearer to Allah, and in fact nourishes our longing and desire for Him.
Even with Unbelievers, unless they are rampant and out to destroy us and our Faith, we should deal kindly and equitably, as is shown by our holy Prophet’s own example.
War is permissible in self-defense, and under well-defined limits. When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigor, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace and freedom for the worship of Allah. In any case strict limits must be not be transgressed: women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, nor trees and crops cut down, nor peace withheld when the enemy comes to terms.
(Man)…must forget(others) and not expose them to shame or ridicule, while at the same time holding on to his clear duty…
Allah’s mercy is in and for all things. All nature subserves a common purpose, which is for the good of all His creatures. Our faculties and our understandings are all instances of His grace and mercy….His mercy is universal and all pervasive; while His justice and punishment are reserved for those who swerve from His plan and go out of His Peace.
In the context this passage refers to controversies and discussions, but the words are wide enough to cover all human struggles, disputes, and fights. In strictest equity you are not entitled to give a worse blow than is given to you. Lest you should think that such patience only gives an advantage to the adversary, you are told that the contrary is the case, the advantage is with the patient, the self-possessed, those who do not lose their temper or forget their own principles of conduct.
Allah will give due recompense for good or evil according to His own full Knowledge and righteous Plan, and in His own good time.
To do justice and act righteously in a favorable or neutral atmosphere is meritorious enough, but the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who hate you or to whom you have an aversion. But no less is required of you by the higher moral law.
There is not only condemnation of positive falsehood or of being mixed up with things implying falsehood; but futilities-vain random talk, unedifying jokes, useless show, etc.-are all condemned. If a good man finds himself in such an affairs, he must withdraw from it in an honorable, dignified way, not in a fussy arrogant way.
The root about falah or felicity is attainment of desires; happiness, in this world and the next; prosperity; freedom from anxiety, care or a disturbed state of mind;-the ‘azab in the next verse, which includes: failure; misery; punishment or penalty; agony or anguish. The ideal Muslim community is happy, untroubled by conflicts or doubts, sure of itself, strong, united, and prosperous: because it invites to all that is good; enjoins the right; and forbids the wrong…even in the midst of the fight we must always be ready for peace if there is any inclination towards peace on the other side. There is no merit merely in a fight. It should be joyful duty not for itself, but to establish the reign of peace and righteousness and Allah’s Law…(it moves) in the direction of forgiveness, but the Qur’anic injunction is more practical. Even where the injured one forgives, the State or Ruler is competent to take such action as is necessary for the preservation of law and order in Society. For crime has a bearing that goes beyond the interest of the person injured: the Community is affected.
If it had been Allah’s Plan or Will not to grant the limited Free-will that He has granted to man, His omnipotence could have made all mankind alike: all would then have had Faith, but that Faith would have reflected no merit on them. In the actual world as it is, man has been endowed with various faculties and capacities, so that he should strive and explore, and bring himself into harmony with Allah’s Will. Hence Faith becomes a moral achievement, and to resist Faith becomes a sin. As a complementary proposition, men of Faith must not be impatient or angry if they have to contend against Unfaith, and most important of all, they must guard against the temptation of forcing Faith, i.e., imposing it on others by physical compulsion. Forced faith is no faith. They should strive.
Prophet Muhammad’s Wisdom on Tolerance as against Terrorism
“And we have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind.”
-Qur’an [21: 107] “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do well and not do wrong (even) if they do evil”. -Al-Tirmidhi
“Faith (imam) is to restrain oneself against all violence, let no believer commit any violence”
“No one should be subjected to chastisement by fire.”-Bukhari
Someone asked the Prophet “what fanaticism was?” and he replied: “That you help your people in wrongdoing (supporting or justifying acts of terror).” –Abu Dawud
“That one will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure against his mischief (harm or terror)”.
“All creation is the family of God, and the person most beloved by God (is the one) who is kind and caring toward His family”- Agreed Upon
“I was not sent to call down curses on people, but as a mercy.”-Muslim(Jihad,104), AlBayhaqi, & Tabarani)
“Whenever a person is killed unjustly, part of the sin for that murder is credited to Cain (one of the first sons of Adam), for he was the first to open the way of unjust killing to humanity.” -Bukhari & Muslim
“God is not merciful to him who is not merciful to mankind”.-Bukhari
“Oh my slaves! I have forbidden oppression (persecution) on Myself and made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress each other.” – Muslim (Hadithul-Qudsii)
“On the day of judgment a man will come holding the hand of another man and say: O Lord! It is he who killed me. Allah will ask him: Why did you kill him? He will say: I killed him so that glory may be established for so-and-so person. Allah will say: Indeed glory is not his. So the killer will bear the sin and goes to Hell fire.” -An Nasa’i(Hadithul-Qudsii)
“…My slave hurried to bring death upon himself (through suicide). So I will not allow him to enter Paradise.” -Bukhari & Muslim(Hadithul-Qudsii)
“There is no man who kills a sparrow, (not even a man) or any other living creatures (even it may be more despicable than a little sparrow) without its deserving it, but God will ask him about it (on the Last Day)”. -An-Nasa’i
“The Prophet was asked to curse the infidels. He said, ‘I have not been sent to curse people but as mercy to all mankind.” – Muslim
“He who wrongs (terrorize) a Jew or a Christian will have myself as his accuser on the Day of Judgment.” -Bukhari
“He who killed a Zimmiyan (Jew or Christian), will not be granted the privilege to drink from Al-Kauthar (A fountain in Paradise), [by implication he will not enter Paradise, because, having the opportunity to enter Paradise means, one will enjoy every luxury in it].”-Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Hiban
In one of his prediction of the future of man’s inhumanity to man, he envisaged that, “(I swear)By the One who controls my soul(God), this world will not end until when a murderer(assassin, killer or terrorist) cannot figure the reasons why he murdered(his victim(s)). And the murdered (killed) person will not know why he was killed…” –Muslim
Test Cases of Tolerance, Forgiveness & Mercy of the Prophet
“You have indeed in the Apostle (Messenger) of God (Muhammad) a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in God and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of God.” – Qur’an [33:21] When the Prophet and his sahabah (companions) wanted to make lesser Hajj(Ummrah) in the sixth year of Hijrah, (migration to Medina) the Muslim, he was prevented by the Quraysh (non-Muslims), who bent on waging a war with him and his companions if he insists on going to Kaaba, which was in their possession. They had expelled him and his companions from their hometown. They had taken possession of Muslims’ homes and other properties, and spared no effort in disseminating negative propaganda against Islam. They drafted a four point treaty to the Prophet to sign on their own terms at a place called HUDAIBIYAH, a suburb between Mecca & Medina, referred to as, SULHUL HUDAIBIYAH, or the TREATY OF HUDAIBIYAH. One of the bizarre and weird proposals in the pact, which no civilization or society on earth will ever agree upon was that; “When a person from Mecca (their kith & kin) comes to the Prophet in Medina and converted, they would send their two people to come and get him? But however when a Muslim leaves Medina and goes to Mecca, the Prophet has no right to send people to come and get him.” This draconian rule was incredibly agreed and signed by the prophet in the interest of peace, tolerance & tranquility. Umar the second Caliph was so furious at the decision of the Prophet to sign it and nearly rebel against him.
However within a short while, this incident rather than a curse, became a blessing in disguise to the Prophet and the entire Ummah, when the Prophet looking radiant announced that, ‘A surah (chapter) has descended on me (in the Qur’an), which is dearer to me than anything under the sun.’ This surah was the surah of Victory (al-Fat’h) Qur’an chapter 48. This revealed the full significance and success of the events of Hudaibiyah. And this event became a turning point in the history of Islam and it is popularly known as, “Fathan Mubeenan”, a “Manifest Victory”. Commenting on the “Manifest Victory” of Hudaibiyah, Ibn Ishaq, a famous Muslim historian wrote in his, The Life of Muhammad: “No previous victory in Islam was greater than this (Hudaibiyah). There was nothing but battle when men met; but when there was an armistice (ceasefire) and war was abolished and men met in safety and consulted together none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it. In these two years [628-630] (the rate at which people converted to Islam) double as many or more than double as many entered Islam as ever before (Hudaibiyah).
This difficult compromise the Prophet made at HUDAIBIYAH reminds me of the words of Karen Armstrong, who by virtue of her writings about Islam & its Prophet, through the lens of objectivity, is being sarcastically and satirically called by her western contemporaries the ‘Fifth Khalif of Islam’ (after Abubakar, Umar, Osman & Ali). She wrote regarding Muhammad; “…A passionate man who sometimes did things that it is difficult for us to accept…” in her, Muhammad- A Biography of the Prophet.
Even as they(the earlier Muslims) attempt these very short-term defensive wars, the Prophet would caution them to avoid killing the elderly, women, children, animals and cutting trees, but only for food and fuel. This is manifested in one of the wars when he was quoted as saying, “…always remember that Islam is the religion of peace and love…Respect the priests and monks who live in temples and those who have given themselves to God; do not hurt them. Do not kill civilians, do not act in untoward (unpleasant) manner toward women, and so not injure the feelings of the defeated…”
The bottom line is that, “Muhammad…” as Karen Armstrong states in chapter(9) dubbed; Holy Peace, of her, Muhammad-A Biography of the Prophet, “…had always wanted to win (the heart of) the Quraysh over to his side rather than destroy(fight or terrorize) them completely,(contrary to their intention towards him) and this was essential…Even when Abdullah Ibn Sa’id…made a slight changes in the Qur’an…apostatized(reverted back to polytheism) and defected to Mecca…When he was later captured and brought to Muhammad, he asked for mercy. It was said that Muhammad was silent for a long time…and lifted the sentence of death…But Abdullah became a Muslim once more and held high office in the Islamic empire after Muhammad’s death.”
When Mecca was finally conquered towards the end of the Prophet’s life, but only after twenty-three years of trials and tribulations. His enemies, who had shown themselves obdurate and unrelenting then stood before him in a state of utter helplessness. That was the moment to crush them completely. However, this was not the way of Prophet Muhammad. What other, lesser men would do in such a situation is common knowledge, but the Prophet did not avenge himself upon them for their past offences. He quite simply asked them. “O people of the Quraysh, how do you think I shall deal with you? They replied, “You are our noble brother and son of our noble brother.” The prophet then said, “Go, you are all free.”
[This amazing incident of mercy and magnanimity of the Prophet fascinated an Orientalist], Stanley Lane-Poole, who, in his introduction to E.W. Lane’s Selection from the Qur’an elaborates upon the Prophet’s remarkable self-discipline:
“Now was the time for the Prophet to show his blood –thirsty nature. His old persecutors are at his feet. Will he not trample on them, torture them, revenge himself after his own cruel manner? Now the man will come forward in his own true colors: We may prepare our horror, and cry shame beforehand. “But what is this? Is there no blood in the streets? Where are the bodies of the thousands that have been butchered? Facts are hard things, and it is a fact that the day of Muhammad’s greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave the Quraysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn they had inflicted on him: he gave an amnesty to the whole population of Mecca. Four criminals, whom justice condemned, made up Mohammad’s proscription list when he entered as a conqueror the city of his bitterest enemies. The army followed the example, and entered quietly and peaceably and no house was robbed, no woman insulted.”
Had such an example of superior conduct survived from pre-historic times, perhaps in the form of a myth, it would have been regarded as fiction, being too astonishing to be a fact. History, indeed, has no match for the magnanimity of the Prophet. Sir William Muir, speaking of the treatment meted out to the prisoners of Badr by the Muslims, gives another such shining example saying:
In pursuance of Muhammad’s commands, the citizens of Medina and such of the refugees as possessed houses, received the prisoners and treated them with much consideration. ‘Blessings are on the men of Medina!’ said these prisoners in later days. ‘They made us ride, while they themselves walked; they gave us wheat and bread to eat, when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates!’
God says in Qur’an chapter 21 verse 106 that: “We (God) sent you not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.” This finds expression in his(prophet) admonition to Muslims in their defensive wars, not to kill older people, women, children and even animals and cut down tree(environmental protection?) except for food. If they care to know, history is replete with numerous instances where the prophet encouraged and had exhibited high sense of tolerance, forgiveness, mercy, magnanimity and leniency towards the non-Muslims who aggravated and provoked him (and his companions) physically and psychologically. He once said according to a hadith or prophetic wisdom related by AL-BUKHARI that: “He who does not have mercy upon people (not only Muslims), God will not have mercy on him.” And in another hadith by AL-TIRMIDHI, he says: “Be merciful with those on earth (not only Muslims), the one in heaven (God) will be merciful upon you.” I will mention few of these instances for the information of non-Muslims and for Muslims who do not know and as a result are brainwashed by some “holier than thou” fanatics:
There was one particular instance when a non-believer found him sitting by himself, under a tree and he drew out his sword and asked; “Man Yamnahuka Mini?”, “Who could rescue you from me?” And the prophet answered: “Allah!” or “God!” The sword fell down instantly from the hands of the man. The Prophet then picked it up and directed it on his head and asked the same question he asked him, “Man Yamahuka Mini?”, “Who could rescue you from me?” he then pleaded with the prophet to leave him alone and vowed never to fight him or any Muslim. And the prophet, full of mercy left him to leave unhurt.
In another Instance, one of his enemies left Medina on his camel with his sword with an intention to go to Mecca and kill him. Upon entering the premises of Ka’aba, his second khalifah or successor Umar Bun Khatab saw him and predicted that; this guy came here with a bad intention towards the prophet. Umar, by virtue of his physical prowess went closer to him with a robe, snatched his sword and tied him by a tree. He sent someone to call the prophet to come and witness, as he points the sword on the neck of the enemy about to kill him. However, the prophet upon arrival told Umar to drop the sword and untie him. When he did that, the prophet unbelievably asked someone to go and fetch him (the enemy) some water and get him some food. This further aggravated Umar and the rest of the companions, who were wondering and asked him why should he not let them, killed someone who came with an intention to kill him but rather being generous to him? The prophet asked him: “Tell me why you left Medina with an intention to come and kill me?” He wanted to deny it, but the prophet told him that; God sent down Angel Gabriel to inform him about his meeting with another enemy to come and kill him. The enemy was amazed by this information, a secret, he thought only him and his friend knew about. Moreover, he could not help but to embrace Islam, by virtue of the lenient, humane and benevolent mannerism of the prophet towards him.
There was a time a non-believer entered the mosque and the prophet was sitting with his (sahabah) companions, he move to a corner and begins to urinate. The companions became aggravated and they decided to attack and beat him up, as he was running from one point to another, spilling his urine all over the mosque. [Moreover, everyone knows how the house of God needs to be revered, especially in Islam] But the prophet rather told them to leave him alone to urinate at one spot, since he (naturally) cannot hold it, and they could pour water on the urine, which would clean the mosque from impurity.
In yet another instance, he went to preach at Taif (a suburb of Mecca) and the non-believers authorized their children to throw stones at him, which caused him severe injuries on his legs and body.
He sat by a tree, praying with blood oozing from his body and tears flowing from his eyes, “Oh God, please consider my weakness, my shortage of means, and the little esteem that people have of me. Oh, most Merciful God, You are the Lord of the oppressed, and you are my Lord. To whom would you leave my fate? To a stranger who insults me? Or to an enemy who dominates me? Would I that you have no wrath against me! Your pleasure alone is my objective. Under the light of your faith which illuminates all darkness and on which this world and the other depend, I take my refuge. I pray that I may not become the object of your wrath and anger…” Upon this prayer, God, in a blink of an eye sent down Angel Gabriel to ask him if he wants Him (God) to send down the Angels who wield control over the mountains to destroy them instantly. But the prophet rather said amazingly that, “Oh God! Guide this people, for they do not know!” He added that he hopes that their progeny will one day hold the banner of Islam and hence there is no need to call for their destruction.
In an article written in the January-February edition of The Message International, entitled, “The Truth About the Marriages of Prophet Muhammad”, by Dr. Jamal Badawi, “Professor Emeritus” at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, and a member of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Council of North America, he stated that, “Even the Prophet went the extra mile to marry from a tribe whose people were party to the assassination and cold-blooded murder of seventy of the Qur’anic memorizers who were in Najd region on a peaceful mission. Instead of revenge, retribution and retaliation, the Prophet married Maymounah Al-Hilaaliyyah, their kin, who needed care. And because of this kindness, in the face of this criminal act of murder of the most priceless companions (memorizers of the Qur’an) on earth, her people put down their weapons against Muslims and some of them embraced Islam. Also in a bid to reconcile the hearts of those who fought against him and to give a good example of dealing with war captives, the Prophet himself freed three women captives and offered to marry them. This act of magnanimity helped to blunt the hatred and enmity of their clans. The offer to be wives of the Prophet and become revered “Mothers of the believers” was no small overtures and quite an honor for the women and their clans. It was also a remarkable goodwill gesture by the Prophet toward those who had unfairly showed enmity to him and spared no effort in undermining his mission. Juwairiyah, Safiyah and Rihaanah fall into this category. In the case of Juwairiyah, the example of the Prophet freeing her resulted in an immediate action by the Muslims who freed all their captives from her tribe. Juwairiyah’s father, Al-Harith, ceased hostilities against Muslims and later embraced Islam. This illustrates one of the measures used to free those in captivity and gradually and smoothly ended all existing forms of slavery, drying up even the last source of captivity-war captives.”
There was this woman who use to throw thorns on his path way. The Prophet would step on them and would always get hurt. However, one day when he noticed the absence of these thorns, he asked about her and was told she was sick and the Prophet amazingly, asked his companions to go and visit her. This woman was shock by their visit on the authority of the very person she harms, and out of guilty consciousness, which was overtaken by his rather tender heartedness, she reverted to Islam.
Hibar ibn Aswad was yet another enemy of Islam. During the migration of the Prophet’s daughter Zainab from Mecca to Medina, he intentionally kicked her while she was riding a camel and caused her to fall to the ground. She was pregnant at the time. She was heavily injured and lost the baby. Habir ibn Aswad committed many other crimes like that. After Mecca was conquered he wanted to escape but could not. He accepted Islam and came to the presence of the Prophet(peace be upon him), who then forgave him. Part of his bountiful clemency to the enemies is his agreement to pray for rainfall upon the request of his enemy Abu Sufyan, when a severe famine struck Makkah, until the starving lot was compelled to eat carrion and bones. He prevented Thamamah Bun Athal from stopping his supply of food to the non-believers of Makkah, after he accepted Islam. A Bedouin Arab came and jerked his sheet so violently that its thick border injured his neck, leaving a red mark. He said, “Muhammad, this bounty of God that is with you is neither yours nor your father’s, so give me a camel load of it”. The Prophet said, “These goods certainly belong to God and I am his servants.” Then he ordered that he should be given a camel load of barely.”
In his last sermon during the end of the last pilgrimage, he had declared to the largest ever gathering that; “I declare all those issues causing bloodshed among tribes as null and void and as the starting point, I take back the claim to avenge a murder in my own family and the interest due on the loans by my uncle Abbas”. When Hamza heard that Abu Jahl had attacked the Prophet, he also attacked Abu Jahl, and said to the Prophet, “O Muhammad! Be happy! I took your revenge from Abu Jahl…The Prophet said to him: “I have nothing to do with revenge! I will be happy if you accept Islam.” Hamza realized the wisdom in the answer and embraced Islam.”
According to Dr. Aslam Abdullah, in an article dubbed, “Did Prophet Muhammad spread Islam with a Sword?” in the January-February 2013 edition of The Message International magazine, entitled, “Clearing the Air & Knowing Muhammad”, that, “The best and most direct evidence for the way Islam was propagated are the words of Prophet Muhammad to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai, during a time in history when no one was talking about freedom of religion, cultural pluralism and tolerance, or protection of human life. Prophet Muhammad wrote to the monks the following:
“This is a message from Muhammad bin Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily, the servants, the helpers, my followers, and I defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them… No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they [the Christians] are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the Ummah [Muslim nation] is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day [end of the world]”
The above quote by Dr. Aslam clearly crystalizes yet another statement by the Prophet, discouraging and despising an act of violence, radicalism, extremism and terrorism against non-Muslims. It rather advises and advocates mutual co-operation, religious tolerance and social shielding towards the non-Muslims.
The Prophet was the first person to ever established inter-faith relationship toward the rest of the two Abrahamic faiths (Jews and Christians). He used to allowed Jews and Christians to pray their own form of prayer in his mosque. There was an instance when the Christians left their cross (symbol of Christ crucifixion) in front of the Kiblah (direction Muslims face for prayer) and when it was time for prayer, and the companions were worried about praying in front of the cross and wanted to move it away from the kiblah, the prophet ordered for a blanket and covered the cross and assured them that they could still pray in front of it since their intention is not to worship the cross. The Prophet did that out of caution in order not to allow them to touch the cross of Christians without their approval.
Jabir ibn Abdallah narrated, “One day, people were carrying a corpse. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stood up. We also did so. Later, we said:
“O Messenger of Allah! It was the corpse of a Jew!” He responded: “Is he not also a human?”
He(Muhammad) had a divine mercy, a manifestation of the divine name al-Rahman, who embraced the whole world. His life was an embodiment of the principle “love creatures for the sake of the Creator.”
Muslims contribution to the intellectual and academic world
In his forward to a book entitled, Reading the Muslim Mind, by Hassan Hathout, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former Minister of Petrol and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who used to lecture(annually) in Islamic Shariah at the Harvard University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts wrote that, “The history of mankind has witnessed a number of civilizations: The Chinese, the Pharaonic, the Greek, the Persian and Roman. It has also witnessed the Islamic civilization. Each of the civilizations that preceded Islam became renowned for aspects that distinguished it from the others. Thus philosophy thrived in the Greek civilization whereas architecture was the strong point of the Romans. The Islamic civilization, on the other hand, is notable in that it saw the rise of all major fields of knowledge, such as medicine, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. As well as architecture.
The Christian popular magazine, Awake of April 2012 edition carried an article dubbed, Medieval Masters of Astronomy. It says, “…The Arabs (Muslims)were one of many peoples who studied the night sky. The golden age of science in the Middle East began in the ninth century C.E. and the Arabic-speaking astronomers of that era were regarded as masters and pioneers of astronomy… Then, during the ninth century, important scientific texts were translated into Arabic, including the works of Greek astronomer Ptolemy…Islam prized knowledge of astronomy. Why? One reason was related to their worship. Muslims believe that they should face Mecca when they pray, and astronomers could pinpoint the direction of Mecca from any location. By the 13th Century, some mosques even employed a professional astronomer, or muwaqqit, who helped worshippers pray in what they considered to be the proper manner. With their data, astronomers could also determine the dates of religious events and practices, such as the period of fasting during the month of Ramadan. Additionally, they could help pilgrims traveling to Mecca ascertain the length of their journey and plan the most efficient route…As early as 1031, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni(who had exceptional expertise in dozens of scientific, intellectual and academic disciplines) mentioned the possibility that planets revolve in elliptical orbits rather than circular ones…They(Muslim astronomers) could pinpoint the positions of the sun, moon, and five visible planets at any time of the day or night-an invaluable aid in navigation. They could tell time and maintain a calendar by observing positions of the heavenly bodies findings…They charted star movements with unprecedented accuracy, and their findings proved invaluable to successive generations of astronomers.” Without western/secular education(which they were the pioneers of), how could these early Muslims have chalked all these highly incredible and indelible achievements? Folks, let us ask boko haram guys, rhetorically!
Western Intellectuals view Islam as Tolerant, not Terrorist Faith
“They (Muslims) created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social oppression than any society had ever been in the world before.”— H.C. Wells, The Outline of History
“The Prophet came to Medina and exemplified tolerance, an aspect of Islam which is fundamental to the manner in which the religion should operate in foreign lands.”— Amyn Sajoo, Muslim Ethics: Emerging Vistas
“It is for this tolerance in the Islamic view that Muslims have looked at the religion of the people in the lands they conquered with respect; they did not intervene with their beliefs nor touch their churches.”— Sefik Can, Fundamentals of Rumi’s Thought
“The Prophet drew upon the characteristics of unity, respect, tolerance, and love to create and administer a pluralistic community…People were safe and respected and free to follow and exercise their beliefs and would be protected in doing so.”— Sean William, Medina Charter of Prophet Muhammad & Pluralism
“The Islamic empire was able to play host to Christians and Jews for centuries; but the Western Europe has found it almost impossible to tolerate Muslims…in their territory…Islam kept the notions of social justice, equality, tolerance & practical compassion in the forefront of the Muslim conscience for centuries…It is a religion that was not based on the sword–despite the Western myth… (Islam) it has created a just society, which would enable both men and women to fulfill their true potential.”— Karen Armstrong, Muhammad—A Biography of the Prophet
“I wanted to know the best of the one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”— Mahatma Gandhi, a famous freedom fighter of India
“…Killing the unbelievers was mentioned in the Qur’an (Islamic scripture) but in a very specific context, in the anticipated conquest in the century city of Mecca where fighting was usually forbidden. And the permission comes about with qualifiers. But you are allowed to, only after a grace period is over and only if there is no other pact in place and only if they stop you from going to Ka’ba, (Black Cube in Mecca where Muslims worship) and only if they attack you first. And even then God is merciful, his forgiveness is supreme, so it is essential that you do not (attempt revenge).”—Lesley Hazelton, a British Psychologist & Journalist in her lecture on
The Authenticity of the Holy Qur’an
“You can understand whether the neighborhood you are passing through is Muslim or Christian by looking at the attitude of the local dogs and cats. If the dogs and cats want to play with you and show closeness to you, you can say with confidence that is a Muslim neighborhood; if they take a defensive position against you, it must be a non-Muslim neighborhood.”— Claude Farer, a Christian Tourist, wrote about the Islamic implications of the mercy & compassion to all creatures.
“… Jihaad had to be waged to defend Islam against aggressions… Once the war was terminated, the Muslims always displayed a great tolerance towards the conquered peoples leaving them their legislation and religious beliefs.” — (O. Houdes, La Grade Encyclopedia, 1894
“Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for 50 generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times ‘by the sword’ to get them to abandon their faith.”–Uri Avner , September 27, 2006. An Israeli journalist, who was originally a member of the right wing Revisionist Zionist movement.
With this factual discourse, we hope Paa Nii will erase his negative misconception about what Islam is-as he gives it a bad name in order to hang it! In order not to prolong this article by culling some impressive statement commending the exceptional and extra-ordinary nobility of Prophet Muhammad, that are attributed to so many non-Muslim think tanks, I will rather produce their names and titles of their books for him to Google search and see what they say about the Prophet; Michael Hart, [The 100′ -A Ranking of the most Influential Persons in History(he chose Prophet Muhammad as the best of mankind, Jesus, who many non-Muslims believe is a Prophet came third in rank after Isaac Newton(second), who discovered the theory of gravity)], Napoleon Bonaparte[The Genuine Islam(1935-1936)], Thomas Carlyle [Heroes & Hero Worships and the Heroic in History(dead, 1885)], Annie Besant[Life & Teachings of Muhammad],Karen Armstrong[Muhammad-A Biography of the Prophet], Dr. Maurice Bucaille[The Bible, Qur’an & Science], Professor Keith Moor[The Developing Human], Veccia Vaglieri[In Defence of Islam] and many more. To crown it all, one time Encyclopedia Britannica, which is usually a team work of galaxy of intellectuals, academics and luminaries declared when describing him that, “Muhammad is the most successful among all the prophets and religious personalities.” They includes Jesus, because is a Prophet, not God, nor son of God! So if Paa Nii is not satisfied with these elucidated arguments, he should bring it on again, because this is a ‘game’ of factual evidence and proves, which, thank God, I have, and he doesn’t. And I am ever ready to battle him out and defeat him across the media landscape!
Husseini Yushau BabalWaiz, is the Research & Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Media & Peace Initiatives in New York. He authored; Paradise Under Mother’s Feet, Not good without God, Islam Promotes Tolerance & Prohibits Terrorism. He is a tutor in Arabic & Islamic Studies in New York.