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An Offensive Film? The Prophetic Action Plan

How Would the Prophet Have Reacted
Protests in Yemen in front of the US embassy
In the light of the recent movie that was spread, insulting the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and Islam, and after some Muslims added to the insult and proved their opponents' accusations, I tend to ask myself a simple yet fundamental question:

What would he have done in a similar situation?

Did he face a similar situation, to begin with?

Of course he did, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) faced a lot of difficulties and hardships during his life, and defamation and insults. After a quick review of these incidents, we can come up with an action plan of six steps:

 

Step 1: Take it easy! "They are talking about someone else"

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Umm Jameel bint Harb, the wife of Abu Lahab, who is mentioned in the Qur'an (Al-Masad 111:4-5), made up some verses of poetry to defame the Prophet by changing his name to "Mothammam" (i.e. the insulted one) as opposed to "Muhammad" (i.e. the praised one). She said verses like:

We disobey "Mothammam",

And refuse his matter,

And reject his religion.

Poetry at that time was THE media, these verses were spread everywhere, repeated by kids and by travelers in the deserts, so it had a huge effect. Umm Jameel's short poem made some companions sad, angry, and helpless, especially in the early days of Islam when they were weak. Here comes the great attitude of the praised one, peace and blessings on him, whom I sacrifice my family and my soul for. He told the companions:

Isn't it amazing how Allah is protecting me from the Quraish's insults? They are cursing and swearing at "Mothammam", and I am "Muhammad"! (Al-Bukhari) 

The first step in answering or reacting to any insult against our Prophet, to any act of burning the Qur'an by a bigot, to any tweet or to any YouTube comment is to take it easy, rationalize the situation, don't let your anger lead your steps. In a beautiful hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) redefines strength:

The strong is not the one who overcomes people by use of his physical strength; rather he is the one who controls himself while in anger. (Al-Bukhari)

 

Step 2: Find the "Oprah Winfrey" of your time

I envy Hassaan for his role in supporting Islam through his media and art work.
After you take it easy, rationalize your steps and prepare a counter attack, using the same resources of the bigots, the same media outlet. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)  used poetry in his long campaign of spreading Islam and answering these insults. Hassan ibn Thabet was one of those poets (media figures) who can be considered the Oprah Winfrey of his time. He was wealthy, his words were heard, and his verses reached many places and knocked many doors in the Arab community that adored poetry. His style was unique in defending Islam and the Prophet, while attacking Quraish (the main tribe in Makkah that was opposing the Muslims and leading the pagans) in their ego; Instead of attacking their beliefs in being idol worshippers (which is something they were proud of), he used to remind them about their lost battles, their weak points in terms of lineage, and other known sources of dishonor. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had many statements and ahadith that showed gratitude to Hassaan and his poetry:

Oh Allah, give him (Hassan ) the support of the holy spirit (Angel Gabriel) (Muslim)

Reply on their defamation, because it is tougher on them than arrows (Muslim) 

(Got the hint from the Prophet? Your poetry is more effective than missiles, arrows, and bombing embassies!!)

Whenever I read these ahadith, I envy Hassaan for his role in supporting Islam through his media and art work. I ask myself: where is the Hassaan ibn Thabet of our time? Who is the lucky person who will receive a copy of Hassan's supplication, through a video, an article, or a well-presented argument?

 

Step 3: Win the hearts

{Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?} (An-Nur 24:22)
One of the biggest insults one can get in the early Arabian community was that related to his honor and reputation, insulting or questioning the chastity of one's wife or daughter. During the incident of Al-Ifk (slander), some Jews and hypocrites spread rumors about `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the beloved wife of the Prophet and the daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). Let me put that into perspective: some Arabs used to bury their baby daughters alive in order to "protect their honor" even before their daughters get to think about doing anything bad. After 30 days of spreading the rumors, the Qur'an was revealed to show the innocence of `A'ishah and warn those who participated in it. But among these verses of Surat An-Nur, a very special (and a very difficult) command was given to Abu Bakr:

{And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give any sort of help to their relatives, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah's Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (An-Nur 24:22) 

What happened is that one of the companions who was carried away in these rumors was Mustah ibn Athathah, who was a close family member to Abu Bakr and used to get financial support from him. After the incident, Abu Bakr made an oath that he will never pay Mustah a penny! But the great Qur'an and the magnificent teachings of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) go beyond reactions and revenges; it aims at winning the hearts, at spreading love and forgiveness especially with those who wronged us! Allah ordered Abu Bakr to break his oath, and forgive Mustah, if he wants the forgiveness of Allah.

Contrary to what the movie and those behind it were trying to promote: Islam IS the religion of forgiveness, love, and mercy, so please don't help them by showing a different image of this GREAT deen!

 

Step 4: Don't support their marketing campaign, for FREE!

The ease of communication through social media outlets (facebook, twitter, etc…) in addition to other video websites (such as youtube) places a huge responsibility on its users, Muslims and non-Muslims. Any post or tweet can reach millions; any movie – regardless of the quality and the value of it – can cause irreversible damages. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears." (Muslim) 

In this regard, PLEASE don't share anything that comes in hand, don't post or forward it! While I don't have statistics in hand, I can confirm that the Muslims are being the best advertisers and promoters for such movies (and for free), simply by either sharing the movie or by reacting offensively to it. Allah describes the slaves of the Most Merciful (`Ibadu Ar-Rahman):

{and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.}(Al-Furqan 25:63)

 

Step 5: Patience + Taqwa

One of my friends on facebook commented: "I don't understand why people make such films; why do they feel that they need to attack all that is sacred to others! Why do they enjoy spreading fitnah? What evil motivates such people?"

While I strongly agree with my friend, we have to realize that this sick mentality existed and will always exist. Allah told us in Surat Aal-`Imran:

{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, but if you persevere patiently, and have Taqwa (consciousness about Allah) then that is indeed a matter requiring strong resolve.} (Aal-`Imran 3:186) 

While patience is more of a passive act that requires NOT doing a certain behavior, Taqwa is a proactive term; Taqwa is to react (or even act) while being conscious about Allah; Taqwa is to reply, defend, post, tweet, and even demonstrate, but while being watchful for what you do and being considerate for the consequences of your actions.

 

Step 6: Don't Do NOTHING

A_prophetic_Action_Plan_in_Response_to_Insults
Don't do NOTHING!

While we condemn all the acts of violence that are made under the name of Islam and under the excuse of defending the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), I consider that our biggest problem is the silent majority of Muslims who simply do nothing in response to these insults. To those I say: Don't do NOTHING! Don't be the passive apologetic Muslim who watches the news, frowns at the mistakes of ignorant Muslims and Non-Muslim haters, and then goes back to their sleepy life without any contribution to the world around them. In the words of Albert Einstein:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

The problem is not because we have extremists on both sides (among Muslims, and among non-Muslims); the disaster is that the silent majority on both sides is being passive, it is OUR responsibility to step up, open branches for dialogue and healthy debates, post smart comments online that promote the real image of Islam (Please, no foul language!). You can also start action by SHARING this article and other related pieces with your family and friends, and spread the awareness.  It is about time that we show the world our great deen and at the same time set the clear limit between freedom of speech from one end, and respect for the faith of 1.6 billion human beings on this earth from the other end.

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