(may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)
History has many events that we need to avoid and many lessons that we need to take admonition from. The slander of the Last Messenger of God (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) goes on but how shall or should we react? We need to look at the character of who they are slandering in order to learn how to react.
How absurd it is when we hear slander in his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) name, especially when he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) never resorted to slandering anyone. How absurd it is when we see those who should show respect say words that are not befitting any normal person. How shall we deal with such people who slander the beloved of over a billion people? Well God/Allah has already answered.
“Those who annoy God and His Apostle - God has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment.” The Clans 33:57
Those who slander him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) are throwing themselves into a raging inferno and no sane person would do that. If you look at the people who are slandering him, then you can see that they are low people themselves. So what else should you expect from low people?
The Quranic passage (above) comes after the famous verse of salutations upon the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him), which bears some thought. Also note that the verse does not say those who harm but it says those who annoy.
The Arabic word used أذى which means to suffer damage or harm (Hans Wehr p.12). So those who do more than annoy like slander will receive something worse! This is a dangerous game and those who slander him are not going to have a good end.
We must follow the one who gave us instructions, the one who we claim to follow, and the one who taught the world how to live again (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). It is only through this that we can see the blessings of the things we have in this time.
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) dealt with slander, hurt, lies, stones and all those things that people threw at him. Can we not learn that acting like wounded animals and attacking back in a similar or worse manner is proving our critics right? They claim we are violent then we riot proving their point! We need to have dignified responses to those who slander and react in a way that does not prove their point. The list goes on and on.
Who is in control? Us or the slanders? If we react like they want us to, then they are in control not us! They say something and we back it up! We may not be able to control their actions but we are in control of our own reactions; and if we are in control then we should act with dignity.
The accusation that Islam is violent has no basis. The total number of dead in all the battles of the Muslims in ten years of Medina was one thousand. (See M. Fethullah gulens book Muhammad Messenger of God.) That number is nothing compared to the numbers that are killed in one day in some parts of the world today.
Our defence needs to be in proportion to their accusations and we have to do it in a calm and constructive way. We cannot respond in a way that bellies his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) teachings. They have to be in line with his way, with his word and his actions. And not in accordance to our ways and manners or else we will fail to defend him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and make ourselves look like the stereotypes that the media paint so vividly.
Look at the event of Taif and how the whole town was encouraged to stone him, hurt him and throw him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). His (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) sandles stuck to his feet because of the blood that reached them but that did not make him curse them.
One of the companions in battle requested that he curse the disbelievers and he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) refused saying, "I was not sent as a curser." (Muslim).
After he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) came back from the battle of Uhud and he was bleeding from several wounds his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) cursed the pagans and he whilst his wounds were being attended to, he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) made the following supplication, "O' Allah, forgive my people because they do not know."
Some of these people who hurt him became Muslim afterwards, because of his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) mercy. In the past great enemies of Islam became Muslim because of this mercy, but if we look now this door is closed because we have shut it. Have we tried to understand those who have genuine problems in our area? Problems that have nothing do with our religion but because they see Muslims doing it then they think its Islam. We have a lot of work to do if we are going to break down some barriers.
We also must think that making a big fuss about certain issues can make something small into something big. We have seen many 'no talent clowns' become famous by attacking the Muslims. What's worse is that some of us made such a big issue about some of their slander that it became headline news which made the matter worse. If speaking about things makes things better then speak but most of the time speaking about them makes the matter worse. Then we should stay silent and let the dogs bark; they will soon get bored!
These people who are drawing cartoons are just trying to make names for themselves and thats all it is. They will try any method to achieve their goal and if we make a big fuss then we fall into their hands and these clowns get the notoriety they crave.
In short we cannot act like they do, we must act like he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) did. This is by no means easy, it is very difficult but we must bear in mind that they may be one person wanting to listen to us but because of our reactions they turned away. We missed the chance to defend him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and we lost the chance to reach out.
Our challenge, as normal people, is to defend when we know how to and to refer to someone else when we do not. Some of us are facing this on a daily basis and others face it rarely but we need to know that many who attack him will not listen to reason. So if we are able to defend then do so and if you are not then do not let your ear become their audience because all some people need is an audience.
The scholars will defend his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) name in their own ways and we must support those who defend him. We hear and see so much slander in our times people make up the most ridiculous things and make others believe them.
Recently there was a slanderous book about him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) that was published and it reached the best seller lists. No one spoke up about it and the actual refutation of the book was from a Christian author which seemed strange at the time. But the shield of defense is given to those worthy and if they do not use it then it is passed down until it is used by someone. In this case it was a Christian author.
Freedom of speech is not freedom to insult millions because if it is then it is unfair; as it is freedom for some and not others. Or is it just a concept for some to use as reason that they can insult whoever they want. But if others challenge this then they can be imprisoned! Is that the type of freedom we are talking about!
Sometimes we feel sorry for those people who cannot see what the average Muslim can see that the Messenger of God (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is our best example and insulting him is something so abhorrent that it makes us sick. How can someone say such a thing? Are we really that lost?
How many us hear hadith and do not follow it up? How many of us hear hadith and try to worm our way out of following it? How many of us hear hadith and say it is not a hadith because it is weak! So are the disbelievers insulting him because some of us are? Is this not the same as insulting him? They insult him not because they are rejecting him but because they are rejecting us. And our collective failure to explain who he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is knows no bounds.
Our reactions to these events must be measured, appropriate and in line with his teachings or else we make things worse than they already are. Shouting and screaming about this in public places of peace is divisive but this is not the way of the one we are supposed to be defending!!
Also I pray that all those who do not know him realise what we know and if they do then their pens will weep tears of blood.