Defending the Prophet Against Orientalist Critique
We have heard about the Westerners making fun of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and mocking him. What should our attitude be towards that? How should we defend the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?.
Praise be to Allaah.
We and every Muslim who feels pride in his religion is grieved by what these fools and criminals have done by mocking our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who is the best man who ever walked on this earth, and he is the leader of the earlier and later generations, may the blessings and peace of my Lord be upon him.
This insolence is nothing strange on their part, rather it is to be expected of them.
Moreover this crime – although it breaks our hearts and fills them with anger, and we are prepared to sacrifice our lives in defence of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – is nevertheless something which brings us glad tidings of their doom, and tells us that the end of their supremacy is at hand. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Truly, We will suffice you against the scoffers”
Allaah will suffice His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) against the criminals who mock him. He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“For he who hates you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), he will be cut off (from posterity and every good thing in this world and in the Hereafter)”
i.e., he is scorned and humiliated and cut off from all that is good.
When the Muslims besieged a stronghold and its people resisted, then they heard them mocking and reviling the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), they would sense that victory was at hand, and it would only be a short time before Allaah granted them victory, to avenge His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Al-Saarim al-Maslool (p. 116-117).
There are many historical cases where those who mocked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) were destroyed and finished off.
Moreover, why do they resent the leader of mankind, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?
They resent him because he called people to believe in the Oneness of God (Tawheed), and they do not believe that God is One.
They resent him because he venerated his Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, and declared Him to be far above what these fabricators say, as they attributed a wife and son to Him.
They resent him because he called people to the loftiest of morals and to give up the lowest. He called them to virtue and to block all the means that lead to immorality, but they want moral disorder and unlimited sexual liberty.
They want to indulge in the swamp of evil whims and desires, and they have got what they want!
They resent him because he is the Messenger of Allaah! Allaah, may He be exalted, is the One Who chose him above all mankind to convey His message and receive His revelation.
The signs of his Prophethood are innumerable.
Have they not heard about the splitting of the moon? Have they not heard how water sprang from his fingers time after time?
Have they not heard about his greatest sign, which is the Holy Qur’aan, the words of the Lord of the Worlds, which Allaah has protected so that it has not been tampered with by those who would distort it? Whereas their books which were revealed to their Prophets have been tampered with to a large extent.
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allaah,” to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby”
The greatest proof of the truth of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the fact that his religion has continued for so many centuries to prevail and be victorious. Throughout his lifetime (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) he continued to prevail over his enemies. The wisdom of Allaah dictates that no liar who lies about him and his religion can ever prevail for a long time. Indeed, in their books, which their scholars concealed and distorted, it says that the liar who falsely claims to be a prophet will only survive for thirty years or so, then his message will fade away.
It was narrated from one of their kings that a man who followed the same religion as him (Christian) was brought to him, who used to revile the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and accuse him of lying. The king summoned his religious scholars and asked them: How long does a liar remain for? They said: Such and such – thirty years or thereabouts. The king said: This religion of Muhammad has lasted for more than five hundred years or six hundred years [i.e., at the time of that king], and it is prevailing and is accepted and followed. How can he be a liar? Then he had that man beheaded.
Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Asfahaaniyyah by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him).
Do they not know that many of their wise men, kings and scholars, when the pure and clear call of Islam reached them, had no choice but to affirm the truth of this religion, and they venerated the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and many of them announced their entry into Islam?
The king of Abyssinia, the Najaashi (Negus) affirmed that, and became a Muslim.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent a letter to Heraclius the king of Byzantium, calling him to Islam, Heraclius affirmed that he was indeed a Prophet, and he thought of announcing his Islam, and he wished that he could go to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and be his servant, but he feared that his people would kill him, so he remained a kaafir and died in that state.
Many of their contemporaries are still proclaiming that.
Michael Hart said in his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History (p. 13), where he put Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) at the head of his list of one hundred:
I chose Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to be top of this list … because Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.
The Englishman George Bernard Shaw wrote a book called Muhammad, which was burned by the British authorities. He said:
The world is in the utmost need of a man with the mentality of Muhammad.
Medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance of bigotry, painted Mohammadanism in the darkest colors. They were in fact; trained to hate both the man Muhammad and his to them was anti-Christ. But I have studied his life, and found him to be extraordinary. I have reached the conclusion that he was never an enemy to Christianity. He must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness.
Annie Besant said:
It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme.
The Austrian Schabrak said:
Mankind may be proud of having a man like Muhammad among them, for despite being illiterate he was able more than ten centuries ago to introduce legislation that we Europeans would be the happiest ever if we could produce something of equally high quality.
Dr. Zwemer (a Canadian Orientalist):
Muhammad was an able reformer, eloquent and well spoken, courageous and daring, a great thinker. We cannot attribute to him anything that contradicts these qualities. This Qur’aan that he brought and his history bear witness to the truth of these claims.
The English philosopher Thomas Carlyle, the Nobel Prize winner, says in his book Heroes:
It is very shameful for any individual in this era to listen to what is said about the religion of Islam being a fabrication and Muhammad being a treacherous fabricator. Throughout his life we see him holding firm beliefs, sincere in resolve, generous and kind, compassionate, pious, virtuous, very serious. In spite of that, he was easy-going, cheerful, friendly, and even sometimes light-hearted. He was just, sincere in intention, smart, chivalrous, and quick-witted, as if he carried in his heart the lamps of every dark night, filled with light; a naturally great man who never studied in school or at the hand of a teacher, because he had no need of that.
Goethe, the German poet, said:
We Europeans with all our concepts and ideas have not yet attained that which Muhammad attained, and no one will ever surpass him. I searched in history for the loftiest example for man to follow, and I found it in the Prophet Muhammad. Thus the truth must prevail and become supreme, because Muhammad succeeded in subjugating the whole world by means of the message of Divine Oneness.
If that is the case, then the entire world – with no alternative – must regard the greatness of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) among all of creation above all greatness, and his virtue above all virtues, and his status as greater than any other. The world must unite in believing in the message of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and that he is the Final Prophet of Allaah.
We would like to make the most of this opportunity to call these people to Islam, for what their sinful hands have fabricated cannot be erased except by Islam. But if they are stubborn and persist in their ways, then let them receive tidings of the punishment of Hell, to abide therein forever. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers”
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no one among this nation, Jew or Christian, hears of me then dies not believing in that with which I was sent, but he will be one of the people of the Fire.” Narrated by Muslim (153).
Allaah is wise and does not decree anything that is pure evil; rather there must be something good in it for His believing slaves, no matter how evil it appears to people. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) spoke the truth when he said: “How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone but the believer.” Narrated by Muslim (2999).
Concerning the incident of the slander (al-ifk) – which is well known – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment”
There follow some of the good things that have resulted from this sinful crime.
What was concealed in the hearts of these criminals, such as resentment and hatred of the Muslims, has been made known, even though they pretend most of the time to be peaceful.
“Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:118]
Exposure of the West’s double standards. Here they cite freedom of opinion, but every wise man knows that this so-called freedom of opinion should stop before violating the sanctity of others and transgressing against them. They are lying in their claims of freedom of opinion. We all remember what happened a few years ago when one government decided to destroy the idols in their country; there was a global outcry! What about this so-called freedom of opinion? Why don’t they regard this also as freedom of opinion?
Demonstration of the falseness of what some westernizers in our countries say, “Don’t call the non-Muslims kuffaar, rather call them ‘others’ so as not to fan the flames of trouble between us and them.”
But everyone should understand just who it is that hates the other, and does not respect his sanctity, and declares war against him every time he gets the opportunity.
The falseness of their claim with which they have filled the world, namely the dialogue of civilizations that is based on respect for others and not transgressing against them. What kind of dialogue do they want?! What respect do they claim to show? They want us to respect them and honour them, and even to bow and prostrate to them, but all they do is make fun of us and mock us and wrong us even more.
Reviving faith in Muslim hearts. We have seen the Muslims’ reaction which is indicative of deeply-rooted faith in their hearts and the extent of their love for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); even among those who neglect some religious duties leapt to defend our noble Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Uniting the Muslims. We have seen – praise be to Allaah – solidarity among the Muslims who have adopted the same stance despite the differences in their countries and languages.
It has become apparent that the West is ganging up against Islam. As soon as that country sought the help of their fellow, they all stood up to support that country and the criminals encouraged one another to publish these pictures in their newspaper, so that the Muslims would know that they are all united and that we cannot confront them all.
Some Muslims were keen to call these people to Islam and to show them the true image of this religion. We have seen Muslims racing to publish books in the language of these people so that the scales will fall from their eyes and they may see clearly.
The effectiveness of Muslim boycotts against the products of those who transgressed against the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has been proven. Their nation did not respond to any official or political requests, even at the highest levels, but the boycott did not last more than a few days before the newspaper that was in the wrong and its chief editor offered apologies and changed their tone, so the Muslims softened their stance somewhat.
This appears to be the new weapon of the Muslims, that they can use to influence and harm their enemies.
A clear message was sent to the West: that we Muslims will never accept to see our religion insulted or humiliated, or any transgression against our Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). We will all sacrifice ourselves for him.
As for our role in all of this:
We must denounce it forcefully, each of us according to his abilities, by sending letters and articles, or making phone calls, to their government, foreign affairs departments and newspapers.
We should demand a clear and sincere apology from them, not deception or justification of the crime which they call an apology. We do not want an apology for showing disrespect towards the Muslims; rather we want an admission of error and an apology for that error.
We should request them to punish the criminals for their crime.
We should also request them to stop their governments’ transgressions against Islam and the Muslims.
We should translate books that call to Islam into the language of these people, and books that explain about Islam and its Prophet, and his biography.
We should buy time on radio and television programs to defend the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which should be hosted by people of ability and well-founded knowledge, who know how to speak convincingly to Westerners, of whom there are many, praise be to Allaah.
We should write strongly worded articles to be published in magazines, newspapers and web sites in various languages.
With regard to boycotting their products, if the boycott will have an effect on them – which is what actually happens – then why don’t we boycott them and look for other companies that are owned by Muslims?
We should resist this malicious attack against Islam and its Prophet; by highlighting the beauty of Islam and the fact that it is in accordance with sound reasoning, and responding to the specious arguments of the criminals.
We should adhere to the Sunnah and follow the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in all things, and be patient in doing so.
“But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious), not the least harm will their cunning do to you”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:120]
We should strive to call these people, for although we look at them through a lens of hatred and resentment, we also look at them with compassion, for soon they will die and will be among the people of Hell, if they die in this state; so we should call them to Islam and salvation, out of mercy and compassion towards them.
We ask Allaah to cause His religion to prevail and to support His close friends, and to humiliate His enemies.
“And Allaah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not”
May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad.
And Allaah knows best.