Even if most people do not believe that Islam is the one true faith, and there are unnumberable detractors, they have nonetheless come to the conclusion that attacking the Quran (the word of Allah) is a futile endeavour. Ultimately, whether you believe that it is the word of Allah or not, you cannot belie it since you cannot find any contradiction within it. Moreover, anything that was unproven in it 1400 years ago becomes reality through time.
So instead of attacking the message, some people resort to attacking the Messenger instead. It is easier to attack a person than an ideal. That is exactly what is happening in France (obscene caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad ppuh). And this in itself isn’t new. The fact that one recourses to insults and conjured disgraceful portrayal is because there is no substance to the argument to begin with. This is the same ploy Pharaoh used to try to discredit Moses:
Or am I [not] better than this one [i.e., Moses] who is insignificant and hardly makes himself clear?
Then why have there not been placed upon him bracelets of gold or come with him the angels in conjunction?
Sourat Az-Zukhruf (43 – 52-53)
Regardless of all these insults perpetrated towards the Prophet Muhammad, these attacks are futile since everyone knows his exceptional moral substance.
Unfortunately, these attacks don’t stop at the prophet, they also reach his companions. They are attacked vehemently in order to portray the prophet as a lousy teacher. This is also a futile endeavour, let’s see why.
Throughout history, there have been great minds who have attempted to lay the foundations of a society void of injustice. People like Fourier, Montesquieu and Marx come to mind. However, it is Plato that is the most renowned for his work The Republic. It was a remarkable effort of penmanship to describe a city-state void of injustice. Yet, one is quick to notice that all of these societal philosophies are utopic in theory and flawed in practice. The only city-state of that description to exist in practice; in the real world; and for a sustainable period of time, is Medina (the city of the Prophet). This is the main difference between the Prophet Muhammad and any other person in history. He literally started from scratch: pagan tribal squabbles, moral bankruptcy and irrelevancy; and founded a real state (not some utopic dream) of national cohesion, the highest moral standard ever achieved by man and predominance in the world. Within a window of 23 years of preaching (and living by what he preached), he transformed the weakest society in history into a nation that enlightened the world for fourteen centuries through mindset and deeds by the will of Allah.
As to the City of the Prophet, Medina, it was not just a convent or a sect that secluded itself from the world around them; this was a beacon of light that shaped the world for centuries to come. How? by change from within. Through the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, this revolution of the mind and soul brought forth reform that shifted from me, my family, my tribe as being central; to Allah being the single most important thing in one’s life. By doing so, they implemented the main components of monotheism; thus, bringing truth and justice, not by the sword, but by one’s own submission to Allah.
A story that happened a few years after the passing of the Prophet while Omar Ibn Al-Khattab was Caliph exemplifies this inner change. This story deals with human emotion and action, and is not told to exemplify Muslims as perfect, but to illustrate how the human mindset shifts when one is certain of a higher justice.
To paraphrase the story, there was a young man who got into fight with another man. The older man got angry, took a rock and struck the young man’s camel with it, killing it by doing so. Angered at this sight, in turn, the camel’s owner took a rock and struck the other man, killing him.
Killing an animal has its consequences, bad deed, repentance, compensation for the dead camel… However, killing a human being is a completely different kettle of fish. The long and the short of it is that the family (his sons) of the deceased man went to court to seek justice. The verdict; death. Killing someone, unless by complete accident or by self-defence receives the same fate. The ruler is responsible to carryout (or ordain) the execution; therefore, it would be the responsibility of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab to do so. However, the condemned man asked for a respite of three days in order to sort out a family affair; he was responsible for orphan child and would concede his caretaking to someone else in the family. For this, there must be a guarantor that could vouch for him. No one came forward except Aba Dhar Al-Ghafari (a companion of the Prophet). Almost three days passed, and no sign of the young man. Sunset time approached and still no sign. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab asked Aba Dhar Al-Ghafari if he knew the man in question to vouch for him; he did not. So why would Aba Dhar Al-Ghafari be ready to take the place of a convicted man?
“I did so, that no one would say that there is no trust left in the nation of the prophet Muhammad.”
A few moments later, just before sunset, the convicted man returned. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab asked the man why did he return; he could have gotten away scot-free with a three-day head start before any search party would be assembled. So why would the man return to a sure death?
“I did so that no one would say that there is no honesty left in the nation of the prophet Muhammad.”
After witnessing these gestures, the family of the killed man forgave the convicted man. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab asked the sons why would they do such a thing; after all, the convicted man killed their father. So why would the family forgive a killer?
“We did so that no one would say that there is no mercy left in the nation of the prophet Muhammad.”
This is how the most amazing generation in history were taught. To follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. To follow a way of life that transcends human behaviour; a way that seeks something greater; the oneness of Allah.
One must not think that this generation was one of angels, or flawless men, or androids with no emotion nor mind. They were human, Muslims; and they are a testament to the greatness of Allah and the blessing bestowed upon the Prophet as well as a reminder for humanity of the excellence a nation can achieve by following this path.
To be able to relinquish ultimate judgement to Allah; either by applying his laws or by leaving one’s own right because one can, or by forgiving someone all together are not simple actions to accomplish or even to comprehend logically or emotionally; unless you are a true believer in Allah and his religion. That is why the companions of the prophet were the best generation in history and why the Prophet Muhammad ppuh is the ultimate example to follow in theory… and especially in practice.