The response of a Muslim when confronted with ignorance.
It is important that our response towards insults, anger, hatred or any other blameworthy act directed towards Muslims or Islam, be rooted in the sacred and spiritual. What better example to be rooted in then Muhammad (peace be upon him), the living example of the Quran.
I will present to you a brief few examples of how the Prophet (peace be upon him) responded to insults, rudeness, anger and hatred. From His responses (peace be upon him), we can learn and attempt to practice. This is however not easy as He (peace be upon him) was on a sublime and most exalted standard of character with his deep well of Sabr and insight raised so high that we can only strive to emulate him. None the less, we have him as our example, his life is an open book and it is one that we are commanded to study and preserve. His every action is one inspired by Allah as Allah says in Sura al-Najm: wa ma yantiqu ‘ani l-hawa Nor does he speak from his own caprice i.e. he only speaks from what We command. The word Yantiqu comes from the word Nutq which means to articulate (with words).
How do we respond if our Din is insulted? Let us look at the Divine teachings from our 2 main sources, the Quran and the Sunna.
Allah says “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Sajda-34)
The commentaries on this verse are in spirit unanimous regarding the blessings and assistance from Allah if one responds in this divine manner. The prophet (peace be upon him) was the foremost and at the forefront of responding with dignity, calmness, respect etc.
…if you respond with beauty towards your enemy, then maybe through your divine response, based on the Quran, you might be the cause of the enemy seeing your humanity, your divine striving for mercy and beauty in your speech and action and through you, he might become your closest friend’. This is what Allah commands of us and not mad raging hard lined screaming and anger.
The verse does not end here, it continues with the following, “But none is granted it (to respond in this manner) except those who have Sabr, and none is granted it (Sabr) except one having a great portion [of good] i.e. One Allah has poured on from his Mercy”.
And Allah says, “Allah is certainly with those who patiently persevere.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153)
Elsewhere Allah address his beloved with the following, “Thus it is due to mercy from God that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough and hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you” (Aal `Imran 3:159). His soft nature with those close to him and with those who opposed him was a mercy from the Most Merciful.
As The Grand Mufti of Egypt said, ‘Many of the Jihadist or Salafist groups go to the other extreme and are guilty of Ifrat. They want to fight everyone who are non-Muslim throughout the entire world, but do not understand that Allah wants Muslims to live in peace with those willing to live in peace with them.’
An incident at the Prophet’s mosque in Medina demonstrates how lenient and kind the Prophet was to ignorant people.
Abu Hurairah reports: “A Bedouin urinated in the mosque and some people rushed to beat him. The Prophet said, ‘Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult’ (Al-Bukhari).
Once a man approached the Prophet seeking advice, and the Prophet said, “Do not get angry.” The man asked for advice several times and the Prophet replied every time, “Do not get angry” (Al-Bukhari).
The questioner was probably one disposed to a quick temper, and so the Prophet was stressing the need to control his anger. The Prophet also said, “He who is deprived of forbearance and gentleness is, in fact, deprived of all good” (Muslim).
Such kindness and generosity could not have been in vain, as the whole of the community of Makah thereafter embraced Islam, a feat that could never have been achieved by the use of force. And certainly this superb act of forgiveness was in keeping with the Qur’anic injunction “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqarah 2:256).
No wonder he stood firm against all opposition and succeeded in winning over the hearts and minds of millions.
Salahudin Ayyubi, the Sufi, the Ghazalian in practice was mentioned to the Husband of countess of Tripoli when he received a letter from the countess stating, ‘
I am trapped in the castle and cannot make it on my own, please send men with horses to rescue me’.
The King ‘s responce, ‘‘Why should we travel such miles to rescue you when Salahudin has captured our lands. He is of such nature that he will not lay a finger on you and he will guarantee your safety’.
This was the response of the enemy towards Salahudin.
I end of with a quote from master of the Sufi’s, the leader of Imam’s, the one who drowned himself in the mercy and love of Allah, Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi (May Allah Mercy be on him),
‘Be among the community (of believers) who are blessed by (Divine) Mercy.
Don’t abandon the way of conduct of Muhammad, (but) be commanded (by it).
He brings all of those (who are) led astray into the Way out of the desert.
May Muhammad be the guide on the Way of God forever!
And Allah knows best,