Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is someone we highly venerate. As his followers, we naturally feel hurt when we feel when our Prophet s.a.w. is being mocked and discriminated against. It is not just a religious conviction but is also part of our human nature - to feel the need to protect what is sacred to us and to be angry when someone you love is being insulted.
However, we know that the answer to acts of provocation and insults is not violence, not just because it is wrong but also because Rasulullah s.a.w. did not react in such a manner. We will never condone any act of terror in the name of our faith and in the name of our beloved Prophet s.a.w, who was sent as a mercy to the worlds.
Any insult or provocation will not affect the special status of Rasulullah s.a.w and our immense love towards him. It brings some peace to the heart when Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
إِنَّا كَفَيْنَـٰكَ ٱلْمُسْتَهْزِءِينَ
Surely We (Allah) will be sufficient for you against the mockers
(Surah Al-Hijr, 15:95)
Allah s.w.t. Himself protects the Prophet and his lofty status. It is our responsibility to continue to uphold his virtuous teachings and praise his beautiful character. Ask ourselves, what would Rasulullah s.a.w. like us to do when we face aggression, provocation and acts that may offend us? What can we learn from his sirah? What are the values he would expect us to manifest in our lives today?
Here are some responses from Singapore’s Mufti and our local religious teachers (asatizah) that we managed to gather from their online postings:
After the recent murders in France, Mufti Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir reached out to the leaders of Singapore's Christian community, expressing “deep anguish and concern” over the “heinous crimes on innocent individuals and in the most sacred of places”.
He emphasised that the actions of these terrorists are “a clear desecration of his teachings and have no place whatsoever in Islam or in any religion."
Dr Nazirudin highlighted how important it is for Singapore society to remain committed to shared values and to ensure that peace and harmony prevail.
He also assured the Christian community that the Muslim community here will continue to work tirelessly with them to affirm their commitment to "the bonds of faith and friendship".
"We are confident that by strengthening the trust and confidence in each other, we will be able to prevent such incidents from ever taking place here," he said.
"We offer our sincerest prayers and solidarity to those whose lives were taken unjustly, to those who were injured and to their loved ones."
Ustaz Hannan Hassan shared a hadith where a man asked Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to advise him. The Prophet s.a.w. said, “Do not get angry.” The man repeated the question several times and he replied, “Do not get angry.”
He clarified that it is “only human to feel angry” and that we do not need to “deny this natural emotion”. Even Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. felt angry.
“His counsel here is to not act on the anger unjustly. Your quality rests in the manner you act on your anger and the manner you transform it to an act of goodness and compassion.”
In Ustaz Yusri’s response representing Pergas in Berita Harian on 31 October, he said, “The act of shedding the blood of Muslims or non-Muslims and taking the lives of innocent people is an act that is contrary and has nothing to do with Islamic teachings.
The true teachings of Islam call for justice, peace, freedom of religion, protecting the weak and spreading goodness.
The principles of justice and freedom of religion must also be respected and should be the core value of every individual so that mutual respect can be established, and violence from any side can be eradicated.”
Ustaz Khairul Anwar stressed that “any human being understands that the killing of innocent lives is wrong” and that Muslims “despise and condemn those actions”.
He called attention to the Quranic verse on how to respond to hate: “Repel that which is evil with that which is better” (Surah Fussilat, 41: 34)
How about when our belief is being ridiculed? Ustaz Khairul highlighted the following verse: "and when the ignorant address them [harshly with words of hate & ridicule], they (the believers) say [words of] peace" (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:63)
“Now, this is Islam & this is the teaching of Muhammad s.a.w. Muslims show their love for the prophet s.a.w by defending his teachings & way of life.”
Here’s how fellow Singapore Muslims have reacted to Ustaz Khairul’s post:
Ustazah Nadia believes that we should defend Prophet Muhammad by “emulating his values and portraying them in our lives.”
“Prophet Muhammad's character is the epitome of mercy. Prophet Muhammad PBUH had shown in many instances, on rising above hatred and insults.”
She highlighted Surah Al-Fussilat verse 34 where Allah says, “Repel that which is evil with that which is better”.
“Many of the narrations had shown the Prophet's emphasis on forgiveness instead of retaliation or on responding to bad deeds with wisdom, diplomacy and gentleness instead of harshness or revenge.”
Ustazah Nadia also shared the wise words of one of her beloved teachers, Al Habib Umar Bin Hafidz. He said, "If you see an act of misdeed and you desire to prevent it, your action shouldn't be a transgression itself, in the form of insults or other forms of action which is shunned upon in religion."
At the same time, Ustazah Nadia emphasised that “any action that is clearly disrespectful to any religion or belief stems from ignorance and jeopardises peace and unity in diversity. It causes unnecessary conflict between people.”
She asserts that “we should work together to strengthen global peace and unite humanity through love and mutual respect, regardless of anyone's belief or religion.”
Read her full post here.
Ustaz Irwan shared the story of Ta’if where Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. chose love over revenge.
He also brought to attention how revered “beloved Prophet Muhammad is to Muslims” and appealed for “any caricatures of him especially demeaning ones not to be featured.”
Ustaz Irwan stressed that Muslims do not “condone any forms of killing, brutality, violence or irresponsible acts endangering others as a reaction to caricatures of Prophet Muhammad being displayed,” and called for the community to restrain from “vilifying or hurting others no matter how hurt we are for that was never the way of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him.”
Ustaz Abdul Mateen reflected on how unfortunate it is to have such an incident when “we’re still healing and forging our ties to face the challenges together”.
We do not agree with the discriminations put against the Prophet. However, Ustaz Abdul Mateen also stressed that we “do not respond to a wrong act with another wrong” as the “ends do not justify the means”.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself would not have engaged in violence. Even after getting pelted with stones at Taif, he chose not to retaliate the act with another hate. Instead, he chose to hope and prayed not only for the people who hurt him but also for their future generations.
Ustaz Abdul Mateen ended with these wise words of prayer - “May we continue the prophetic legacy by staying firm in the path of goodness and virtue.”
Ustazah Amalina admits that it is a tough time but “we should walk the talk” if we “truly claim to walk in the steps of the Beloved”.
She also referred to the Taif incident and highlighted how Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. “rose above hate and enmity” with a heart that was “full of hope and mercy”.
“We defend our Prophet s.a.w. by following his path of mercy, hope and virtue.”
“Killing another human being is an insult to The Chosen One.” s.a.w.
Ustaz Ridhwan is not one to mince his words. He pointed out that Muslims should honour Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. by “manifesting his love” and defending him “according to how he wants to be defended” and not following “desire and emotion”.
He ended by reminding us that the Prophet s.a.w. is “the best of creation”. We defend him by showing the world that that is true.
To find out more about how we can honour and love Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, do watch this insightful discussion between Ustaz Ridhwan, Ustaz Mateen and Ustazah Nadia on our Just Ask Fb Live here. Watch: Living with Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Or read our article on how best we can respond to this matter. Read French cartoons of Prophet Muhammad: 4 Things to Consider.