In regard to the recent crisis in France, I came across a talk by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, in which he discusses the correct reaction a Muslim should have to such incidents. I found the video very profound and thought provoking, something that I believe every Muslim should hear. Therefore, I am typing it out it here to be able to share it with others:
“Anybody, who seriously studies the Quran knows that Allah (swt) records on multiple occasions, how prophets were insulted, made fun of and rejected in the most obscene ways. And how even the prophets themselves felt the pain of those disbelievers making fun of them.
Prophet Nuh complains about how people found him disgusting – they would plug their ears with their fingers and walk away from him; they would pull their clothes back as a show of insult to him. Our Prophet (sa) is no exception. This Quran that honors our Prophet (sa) also records the most hurtful words that were said about him – the Prophet (sa) would have to recite these words , thus reminding himself of the pain every time. For example: Sahir (magician), Majnoon (insane), Kazzab (a perpetual liar) – so many accusations were made against our Prophet (sa), all of which are recorded in the Quran. With this, Allah (swt) wants us to remember an important fact: although the prophets are the most noble of Allah’s (swt) creation, at the same time, they are the people, who will face the worst kind of insults, the worst kind of ridicule. But what is our reaction supposed to be like?
If anybody would be angry and overwhelmed with rage, when the Prophet is insulted, I would argue it would be his companions. Their faith cannot even be compared to yours and mine. But how come they don’t react the way we do? How come they never had any ‘protest’? How come they were not going out for yelling and screaming in rage? Because they understood that the Quran didn’t just come to give them a love for the Prophet (sa) but also to ‘guide’ that love and teach them, how to respond to these kinds of insults. How is it that we don’t know that the Prophet (sa) himself is told:
“And leave Me Alone to deal with the beliers (those who deny My Verses, etc.), and those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while.” (Az-Muzzamil 73:10)
Be patient over whatever they say. I am fascinated by this Ayah. Because the word ‘مَا’ means ‘whatever’ – ‘whatever’ they say. Not whatever they have said, but whatever they might even come up with. And the form of the word in the Arabic suggests ‘what they may have said in the past, in the present and even in the future till this day.’
The Prophet’s (sa) policy is to be patient himself. Where does the Quran justify such our anger? And even if our anger is justified, the one thing we should feel towards those, who hate us and make hateful speech towards us, is sorrow. We should feel sorry for these people. They can’t hurt the Prophet (sa). They can’t take away his honor. It was given from the sky. It was given by Allah (sa). Nothing on earth can take it away. No article, no cartoon, no film, no speaker and no hate speech – no form of art can take away the dignity of our Prophet (sa). All these their efforts are futile and wasteful attempts to undermine the message of Islam.
Do think also about the following: when we react in such emotional manner and engage in senseless violence, don’t we also misrepresent Islam? Aren’t we doing exactly what the enemies of Islam want? The only thing that makes me angry is the anger at our own selves, that we don’t understand the policy of the Quran about responding to insults:
“Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:96)
“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)
Respond with that which is best.
There also are some people, who think that this policy was only for the early times of Islam – the Mekkan time of the Prophet (sa), when he was supposed to be passive. But when he migrated to Madinah, battles began: Badr, Uhud, Ahzaab, Tabook, etc. Thus, according to claims of such people, the passivity policy was changed to that of action. Let’s look at Surah Aal-e-Imran, the battle of Uhud – what does Allah (saw) say to us?
“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah…” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)
You will absolutely hear hurtful words from those, who were given the book before you, and from the people, who commit shirk (associate partners with Allah) and blasphemy with God. You will hear hurtful speech ‘absolutely’ coming from them. These kinds of things are a manifestation – a proof that Allah (swt) prepared us mentally for that. And in the very same Ayah, Allah (swt) himself tells us, what our reactions should be like:
“…but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters, [which you must hold on with all your efforts].” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)
If you can be patient and maintain the consciousness of Allah (swt), then that is the most noble of the deeds and the highest of accomplishments that you can achieve. That is supposed to be the reaction of Muslims.
I would like to end with the following: at school, bullies tease the kid that they know gets teased and shows a reaction. The more we react, the more we encourage others to pursue even more hateful speech. We have to learn to respond in mature, civil and higher discourse – the way the Quran, the Sunnah and the legacy of our Prophet (sa) tells us.
I pray that this message reaches all of my young brothers and sisters, who are feeling the sadness, the rage because of this incident. And I do hope that we can turn that rage into something positive.”
I pray that this beautiful reminder from Ustadh enables us to reflect upon this matter and help us adopt the correct way for representing our religion. If there are people who with their actions dishonour Islam, it is our duty to carry the name of our religion so well that its beautiful teachings should be reflected in our personalities. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom to bear such incidents with patience and to be able to repel the bad with good.