Responding to attacks on Rasoolullahﷺ

Once again, the Muslim world is reeling from the grief and anger of attacks on the beloved of Allahﷻ and of the Muslims, wherever they may be, Muhammadﷺ the Last and Final Messengerﷺ of Allahﷻ, after whom there is none other. This is not the first time it happened, and I can probably safely say that it will not be the last. Why is he being attacked? Did he harm those who are attacking him? Did he transgress their rights? Did he insult or attack them first? What did he do? His ‘crime’ is that he invited all mankind to success in this world and the next. He introduced Allahﷻ our Creator, Sustainer, Protector, to whom is our return on the Day of Judgment and invited all mankind to worship none other than Him, because only Allahﷻ is worthy of worship. He invited all mankind to Jannatul Firdous, to live there in eternal bliss and happiness. Is that a crime? Is it a crime to want the best for people?

Which brings us to the first and most important matter concerning all attacks on Rasoolullahﷺ, i.e., to understand that they are all political, with only one objective, which is to provoke Muslims to behave in violent ways and use that to malign Islam and Muslims. May Allahﷻ have mercy on us, we never fail to disappoint. It is like fishing. The fisherman baits his hook, to feed himself, not to feed the fish. He is not doing it as kindness for hungry miskeen fish. He is doing it because he is hungry and hopes that a fish will rise to his bait and swallow the hook, so that he can kill it and have a nice trout dinner. I can’t say this about every fish, but I can say it about us Muslims, that we never disappoint our fishermen. We rise to the bait and swallow it hook, line, and sinker. This stupidity must stop.

I thought therefore to speak to you today about this very painful but important matter, as a follow-up on my last Khutba about the right of Rasoolullahﷺ that he should be helped in his mission.

So, how must we respond to someone attempting to defame Rasoolullahﷺ? Please note the words that I am using. I am not saying, ‘defaming Rasoolullahﷺ’. I am saying, ‘Attempting to defame.’ The reason I am saying this is to remind you and myself, to reflect on how anyone can defame the one about whom Allahﷻ, Al Malik-ul-Quddus, Al-Ahadus Samadulladhi lam yalid wa lam yulad wa lam yakullahu kufwan Ahad. Al-Malikul Haq, Rabbul Arshil Kareem, La ilaha illah hu, Al-Khaliqu wal-Maliku, wal-Hakimu, war-Raziqu, Al-Maliki Yawmiddeen, Al-Hayyul Qayyum, Wahuwa ala kulli shayyin qadeer said:

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا

Ahzab 33: 56       Allah sends His Salat (Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the greeting (AsSalamu ‘Alaikum).

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ❁ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ ❁ إنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَجِيْدٌ ❁ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ❁ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ ❁ إنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَجِيْدٌ

When Allahﷻ, the Creator, Sustainer, Protector, of all that exists, to whom is our return on the Day of Judgment, said this about Rasoolullahﷺ and ordered all the Believers, to send Salat and Salaam on him, then what does it matter what anyone else says or doesn’t say? The reality of the matter is that every Muslim with even an iota of Imaan sends Salaam on Rasoolullahﷺ and says, SalAllahu alaihi wa sallam, when they hear or say his name. This is ingrained in us. That is why we have the Farsi proverb: Ba Khuda diwana bashad, Ba Muhammadﷺ Hoshyar.

We are those who believed in Rasoolullahﷺ, know his speech to be completely truthful, know that he received the Revelation from Allahﷻ and recited it to us, and taught us how to obey it by demonstrating that in his own life.

I remind you that we are those about whom Anas bin Malik (R) reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said, “I wish I could meet my brothers.  The Sahaba asked, “Are we not your brothers Ya Rasoolullah?”  He () replied, “You are my Sahaba (companions) but my brothers are those who have faith in me although they never saw me.” [Musnad Ahmad].

We are among those about whom Allahﷻ said:

رَّبَّنَآ إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِى لِلْإِيمَـٰنِ أَنْ ءَامِنُوا۟ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَـَٔامَنَّا رَبَّنَا فَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّـَٔاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ ٱلْأَبْرَارِ

A’al Imraan 3: 193        Our Rabb! Verily, we have heard the call of the one (Muhammad) calling to Faith: ‘Believe in your Rabb,’ and we believed. Our Rabb! Forgive our sins and remit from us our evil deeds and make us die in the state of righteousness along with Al-Abrar (those who are obedient to Allah).

Whenever I read this Ayah, I always make the dua, “O our Rabb, the Sahaba heard the Caller and believed him and obeyed. But we believed and obeyed without hearing his beautiful voice directly. So, have mercy on us even more and forgive us, because we love your Rasool more than we love ourselves and our families.”

The next question is, ‘Should Muslims protest when Rasoolullahﷺ is attacked?’ Some people say, ‘Muslims should not get angry when Rasoolullahﷺ is attacked. They must remain calm.’ To me, that is like saying, ‘I will stab you, but you must not bleed.’ It really is as stupid as that. The only one who will not bleed when he is stabbed is someone who is dead. You can stab a dead body. It won’t bleed. But anyone who is alive, will bleed, no matter how weak or sick he may be. Therefore, if anyone attacks Rasoolullahﷺ every Muslim will be angry, no matter how strong or weak he/she may be spiritually or in practicing Islam. If I don’t get angry, it means that my heart it dead. The problem is however not with what we feel but with what we do with that feeling. To feel angry is natural. To express anger is a choice. How to express anger is a choice. And there is the difference between us and a fish; we can choose to swallow the bait or realize that it is a bait and not rise to it. It is not the bait and hook that catches the fish. It is what the fish does with the bait and hook. Let us show that we are more intelligent than a fish. Don’t react. Choose your response and don’t play into the hands of the aggressor.

As I said earlier, there are two kinds of people. Those who deliberately try to provoke Muslims by attacking Rasoolullahﷺ. They are not ignorant about him. They are provocateurs. They want to provoke you into doing negative things which they will then use to malign Islam further. Don’t help them to succeed. Don’t show them your hearts. Their hearts are in the hands of Shaytaan, and they are his toys. Such people are a miniscule minority though they make a lot of noise because they have access to media and have political support. They are not our focus. Ignore them. Don’t answer them. Don’t talk to them. Don’t debate with them. Give them the importance that you give to garbage. They crave attention. Deny it to them. Ignoring them will infuriate and frustrate them. That’s good.

Our focus should be the majority of non-Muslims who have suddenly been presented with Islam and Muslims, in part thanks to the efforts of these provocateurs. People are curious about Islam. About Rasoolullahﷺ. People have questions about the Shari’ah. They have questions about Islamic culture and what Islam says about many contemporary issues. These people are reasonable, willing to listen, and open to change. If we can reach them, the provocateurs will fail, because their own constituents will reject them. That must be our goal. Show the neutral majority the truth about Islam. For which we must study our own religion and confidently practice it. The best way to counter Islamophobia is the way Rasoolullahﷺ did; by living Islam. Islam spread by the winning of hearts. When Rasoolullahﷺ came to Madina, they asked him what his message was. ‘Abdullah bin Salam (R) said: “When Rasoolullah came to Al-Madinah, the people rushed to meet him, and it was said: ‘The Messenger of Allah () has come! The Messenger of Allah () has come! The Messenger of Allah () has come!’ Three times. I came with the people to see him, and when I saw his face clearly, I knew that his face was not the face of a liar. The first thing I heard him say was, ‘O people! Spread Salam (security, peace), feed people, uphold the ties of kinship, and pray during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Jannah in security.”

Personal piety and helping others. This is the formula of success in Islam and in the world. Anyone who does this will be successful. Anyone who does it to please Allahﷻ will also get Jannah. I remind myself and you that the best way to combat and counter the false propaganda against Rasoolullah is to show people who he was and what he taught. Show. Not just talk about it. Not lectures on the Seerah. But demonstrate the Seerah by living by it. By emulating Rasoolullah in every aspect of our lives. In how we look, walk, talk, and deal with others. Demonstrate our love for him by emulating him and making him our icon, our role model. Do it because Allahﷻ told us that his life is the best example for us to be successful in this world and the next. Allahﷻ said:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Ahzab 33: 21       Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah a great deal.

And Allahﷻ told those who claim to love Him, to emulate Muhammad as a reward of which Allahﷻ would love them.

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

A’al Imraan 3: 31          Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If you (really) love Allah then emulate me (follow the Quran and Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Let us reflect on what it means to become the beloved of Allahﷻ. My brothers and sisters, in the end it is Allahﷻ who will change our condition from what it is to a state of peace, harmony, prosperity, and grace. And He told us how that will happen. There are conditions we must fulfil.

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُۥ حَيَوٰةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ

Nahl 16: 97          Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (in Islam) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment, and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (Jannah).

Faith and good deeds. Piety and helping people. Same formula. That is what will change our state in this life as well as give us Jannah in the next. Allahﷻ’s promises are all true, but they are all conditional. Allahﷻ said:

وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ كَمَا ٱسْتَخْلَفَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ ٱلَّذِى ٱرْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِى لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِى شَيْـًٔا وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْفَـٰسِقُونَ

Noor 24: 55          Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange, security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious).

We have the winning formula. It is to win the hearts of people. Imam Az-Zuhri (RA) said, “Islam spread the fastest after Fatah Makkah because for the first time, non-Muslims could see the lives of ordinary Muslims, up close.” It is as simple as that. We must make our lives, our speech, our actions, and above all our dealings, such that people would prefer to deal with us more than anyone else. The way to fight Islamophobia is to give people, our neighbors, colleagues, friends, strangers we encounter, anyone and everyone, a taste of Islam. Give them a comparison. A counter argument to what the Islamophobes tell them. Let us become people they can trust because we are the followers of As-Sadiq ul Ameen.  

A picture is worth a thousand words. An experience is worth a million. Let the provocateurs and Islamophobes say what they want. Let’s show people the face of Muhammadﷺ through our faces, his manners through our manners, his dealings through our dealings. That is more powerful and life-changing than any protest, any debate, or any agitation. Allahﷻ sent His Messengerﷺ to be obeyed and emulated. Let us do both, so that we can invoke the help of Allahﷻ which will change the world.