My next blog was going to be about my prophet, Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him. I chose this subject, since few million Muslims are celebrating his birth this month. They do that with rejoicing, telling the story of his life and devotion to God, and listing his actions and good manners. I was planning to do that outside any pressure or context. The point of my article was mostly to explain to people of all faith, or no faith, his status and high esteem in the lives of Muslims.
I am finding myself today writing the same intended article, with deep grief and sorrow for the loss of lives and heinous bloodshed that took place in Paris yesterday, hoping that my explanation will shed light on an aspect that people cannot get a grip of, and therefore help prevent more of those nightmarish scenarios in the future. I will do so disregarding what people expect Muslims to say on such an occasion.
I wanted to look for a figure in people’s life that they can relate to, the way Muslims relate to prophet Mohammad or other prophets, like Jesus, Moses and a lot more mentioned in the Quran. I thought of noble and respected figures like Gandhi, Shakespeare, or Abraham Lincoln. Even though they are great figures, their accomplishments however did not transcend their own circumstances. They are great for what they have accomplished for themselves and their countries. Inspirational but do not come across as personal and alive to their admirers. I had to look in another category.
I thought maybe a mother, in someone’s life, could have a bit of that sacred and personal feeling I am looking for. But I have lived long enough in this country to know that some moms are abandoned as they get old, are rarely spoken to sometimes, and some even die alone. While some people respect and honor their moms, it seemed to me that mothers do not hold that status in general, and therefore cannot represent the perfect example I am looking for.
I really could not find any figure in people’s life that explains to what extent our prophet is dear and sacred to our hearts. It is not even relatable to one’s own self-worth and respect. It is a lot more than that. We owe him our happiness. We owe him the meanings in our lives. We owe him the light we walk in. We owe him the most precious thing we have: our access to God!
What we owe him is very real and tangible, not the mumbo jumbo that people think it is. Islam fills a person’s life with meaning and purpose. It also makes sense of everything in life. We know and live that truth because of our prophet’s sacrifice and hard work. We know how he lived. We know what he used to say when he wakes up, on which side he used to sleep, what he ate, how he looked, how he walked, how he smiled, we know him as if we can almost see him. We struggle a lifetime to attain his noble characteristics and strive every single day to make him proud of us.
For someone to come and make fun of that, or demean his image in the name of “freedom of expression” is deeply offensive and simply unacceptable. Should Muslims go and kill those who did it? Absolutely not! Muslims then wouldn’t be acting upon their prophet’s teachings. Twelve lives have been taken away in “his name”, while He spent his life saving souls and healing broken societies!!! His name was “mercy to the worlds”, that is what God called him.
If you examine closely the actions of the attackers, they are also a form of expression, that of anger and vengeance. People need to know that a Muslim prefers to be stabbed thousands of times, over seeing the prophet insulted in any way. What the cartoonist did is a lot more damaging than those thousands of stabs. This is the effect and weight of his satire on a Muslim’s heart. Why would someone want to gamble his life on that? For what?
While I am only trying to explain what prophet Mohammad means to Muslims, I am, and with my loudest voice, condemning the barbaric actions of the terrorists. This is not a justification of what the terrorists did. Nothing justifies such hideous acts! This is just a background information for free thinkers, intellectuals and journalists who want to bridge the gap that exists today between two diverging nations: One that wants to communicate, and one that wants what it wants. Religion has barely anything to do with it!