‘Prophet Mohammad Endured Personal Insults without Retaliating’ (The Grand Mufti, Egypt)
Should Muslims follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad and react to insult without violence? After weeks of spiraling violent protest, Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa has castigated those who are inciting Muslims to anger, and has advised followers of the Holy Prophet to act as he acted – and peacefully endure the insults of the misguided.
To point to individual films, cartoons, or writings as the motivating cause of these conflagrations and which explicitly seek to provoke and insult Muslims, would be naive. Rather, one must keep in mind the many points of conflict between Muslims and Westerners that exist around the world. One need only scratch the surface and mention the violations associated with the war on Iraq; regular drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan; the treatment of often innocent Muslims at Guantanamo; the demonization of Muslims by far-right European parties and the banning of their symbols by European legislatures; and the conflict that has persisted in Palestine for decades. To turn a blind eye to these serious and enduring issues is to remain willfully oblivious to the underlying issues that make coexistence and rapprochement between Islam and the West so difficult.
In this context, to then insist on igniting such simmering tensions by publishing hurtful and insulting material in a foolhardy attempt at bravado – asserting the superiority of Western freedoms over alleged Muslim closed-mindedness – verges on incitement.
None of this is to condone violence of any kind. Indeed, the example of The Prophet Muhammad and his Companions – the greatest sources of the Muslim ideal – bears witness to how he endured the worst insults from the non-believers of his time. Not only was his message routinely rejected, but he was often chased out of town, cursed, and physically assaulted. His example was to endure all personal insults and attack without retaliation of any sort. There is no doubt that as in this life, The Prophet is our greatest example, this should also be the reaction of all Muslims. As the Quran instructs us, “Be patient, as were the great prophets.”
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