Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mercy to the Universe

The drive home from school is usually catch-up-on-what-happened-today time, but last week my van rocked instead to Maher Zain's song "Assalamu Alayka" on repeat. (Click here to listen.)

Assalamu alayka ya
Ya Rasool Allah
Assalamu alyaka ya habibi
Ya Nabiyya Allah

(Many salutations be sent upon you
O Messenger of God
Many salutations be sent upon you O my Beloved
O Prophet of God)

After hearing about the latest films maligning Prophet Muhammmad (S), I surrounded myself with English, Arabic and Urdu hymns praising him, hoping to drown out the hurt, anger and disgust I felt about attempts to ridicule the one whom God and His angels send blessings on continuously. 

As our television screens displayed all weekend long, this news elicited strong responses* from Muslims around the world already infuriated with the West for systematically destroying Muslim lands through years of multiple wars, drone attacks and the propping up of brutal dictators. 

But we cannot leave it at emotional reactions or demonstrations only. To fully follow his example, we have to move our love for the Prophet (S) to the intellectual playing field as well, where we share in peace the splendor of this "Mercy to the Universe," elevate public discourse by ensuring all faiths and religious personalities are protected from future assaults and address the underlying reason for the rage: oppression.

"I fear that with the current approach, as in previous occasions, we will burst out in anger for a few days and everything will be forgotten in a month," said Sayed Samir Al-Haidari of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission in London. "If Muslims actually pursued their responsibilities in a more intelligent way, we would have far more effective results."

Prophet Muhammad (S): "Since mankind seeks to come near their Creator through all kinds of piety, bring yourself close to Him through activities of the intellect, so that you may arrive there before all of them.” 

Aql, or the intellect in Arabic, was the first thing God created and is the highest plane of man, encompassing reason and logic and rising above the ego. It must be engaged to come to what is correct because scholars say it connects man to that truth that flows from God and provides keys to all knowledge and truth.

"Islam lays a great emphasis on knowledge and intellect so much so that it considers intellect as an inner Prophet and as such has determined rewards and punishments on the basis of intellect," says scholar Muhsin Qara'ati.

According to the Quran, only those willing to exercise their intellect can reach enlightenment.

God: "Among them are some who listen (with their physical ears) to you (O Prophet). But can you make the (mentally) deaf to hear (with the ears of their hearts), considering that they do not reason?" (Quran 10:42)

When Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet (S) and one of the four perfect women of all times, was upset with events unfolding around her, she based her protests on logic and reason: "I say not what I say mistakenly, nor do I do what I do aimlessly."

Indeed, some have already embarked on that endeavor in this regard.
  • The grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Islamic University Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb called on the United Nations to pass a resolution banning malicious attacks against religions.
  • Iran's famed film director Majid Majidi (whose movie Children of Heaven received an Academy Award nomination in 1997) announced last week his epic film on the life of Prophet Muhammad (S) will hit the screens in December. "Those who have produced the sacrilegious film intend to portray Islam and its prophet as a Taliban-like sect, but to no avail," Majidi said.
  • Muslims handed out Qurans and books about the Prophet (S) after last week's Friday prayers in London. 
"Muslims in the West have a far more important role to play than those in the Middle East regarding how to deal with the response to the anti-Islam films," said Al-Haidari.

*While initial reports suggested the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others were killed during protests against the anti-Islam film in Benghazi, some media outlets are now reporting no demonstrations were taking place outside the consulate at that time. 


jnana said...

Well-raised points.

Salina Khan said...

Thanks, jnana! Unfortunately, a French magazine ran similar cartoons today....

marathon muslimah said...

Slms, well said:)
All too frequently we act on emotion and impulse with very little intellect driving our actions, whereas the enemies of Islam are master strategists and apply their minds diligently to destroy Islam.

Salina Khan said...

True, marathon muslimah. Unfortunately, we are often not taught that the Prophet (S) was a strategizer and planner in addition to being reliant on God.