وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
(68:4) and you are certainly on the most exalted standard of moral excellence.
[Inspired by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed’s talks, one of which was aired on http://www.ciinetwork.net on Thursday, May 20, 2010 – This is not an exact transcript of the Shaykh’s talk]
In Surah al Qalam, verse number 4, Allah subhan wa ta’ala says that the most noble character, the greatest attributes, the greatest adab and sublime morality has been conformed by the Prophet (s).
The current situation befits us to wonder why does the whole world not realize, submit, and attest to that khuluq un azeem? The reason is that Muhammad (s) is the last messenger, his adab and character form part of his entire sunnah which has been left as a legacy to his followers – the Muslims Ummah. Only way any human being will discover any aspect of his sunnah and any aspect of being on khuluq un azeem is by looking at the Ummah of the Prophet (s). There is no one alive who has witnessed that khulq un azeem. You can find this character either in the books written on the life, etiquette, morality, character, shamail of the Prophet (s) or in the lives of the individual followers today. As far the textual tradition is concerned, the scholars of Hadith spent centuries of hard work, dedication, and sincerity to preserve those teachings of khulq un azeem. So beautiful are the portrayals and description of the sublime morality of the Prophet (s) as if his characteristics are lifting up from the paper and parchment and into your heart. A non Muslim cannot look into these textual sources because it is obvious enough that these are not their texts, ahadith [sing: hadith], or traditions. Therefore, the non Muslims can only look into the individuals around them who call themselves Muslims, that is, the Muslims Ummah. This is not liberal-modern apologetics, because sometimes the liberal-modern minds may say things which are correct. So one should not look at the modernist speaker and just by the demeanor conclude that he or she must be incorrect. On the other, the fact is that they are 100 % correct in their analysis. All of this on one side, we, the Muslims should be aware that we have more right to say things about Islam and the Prophet (s) than the non Muslims do. Know that the right of critiquing belongs to one who knows the subject, i.e., the character of the Prophet (s) is our subject. Flaws are definitely there in the Muslims Ummah, this is a factual reality that no one can hide.
Another problem which posits itself on top of other major issues is that even the religious people, alongside the masses in Pakistan are exceedingly emotional. People are wondering what can we do to channel the youthful emotions regarding the current situation. Answer to the whole Muslims dilemma lies in understanding that if there is degradation of the Sunnah is taking place, then we ourselves did this insult. By this standard, every single Muslim man is a cartoon of the insult of the sunnah; 5 hundred million sketches are walking around compared to 20, 000 sketches on Facebook. If you wish, you can try and counter by saying that I will become Sunnah myself, I will change and tell the Danish and the whites what is the real sketch.
Reviving the Sunnah is the only way of countering the mockery of the cartoons. It can be gauged with certainty that if the Muslim Ummah was established firmly on the Sunnah, no European would have been able to do what has been done. We talk about a ban on facebooks, but where is the ban on the vandalizing the Sunnah! Know that the strangers don’t hurt one’s heart, rather it is always those who are the close ones who can hurt. So think now, is the Prophet (s) hurt by what the non Muslims do? He is not hurt by their attitude even a bit. On the other hand, the Muslims go around, burn tyres, create havoc, and break stores as a protest against the cartoons. Just think, the Muslims look even worse. Now that the non Muslims see this side of Muslims’ protest, the next cartoon they would draw would be of the Prophet (s) breaking down a store in Paris. This will become their joke.
That said, you can raise your voice; use the pen, peaceful demonstrations, and a recourse to the law. But know that this is not the real solution, real solution lies with us. Every time you commit a sin, you are drawing a cartoon – so you have cartoons of not safeguarding your eyes and tongues and of lies and all other sins that you may commit. In this way, you are going to hurt the Prophet (s) more on the Day of Judgment. As for the non Muslims, they didn’t know but about the Islam as presented on the CNN; however, from his own Muslim Ummah, a better reaction is expected.
One irony of today’s Muslims is their slogan that the apparent Sunnah does not matter. Now, look around and some young men are mad at the apparent Sunnah because a cartoon is also made to show an appearance? Imagine a cartoon which is clean shaven and is in a three piece suit or in a T-shirt with baggy pants, is this an insult to the Sunnah? If yes, then why are you not insult to the Sunnah yourself? This is something to think about, is this hypocrisy on your part?
Reality is that the history is repeating itself. The Prophet (s) said that the Deen will begin as a stranger, as unwanted and unfamiliar, and the Deen will end as a stranger, as unwanted and unfamiliar.
One may wonder what took the non Muslims 2010 to come up with this idea as they could have done it earlier. Prophet (s)’s insult was done in his times as people used to attack, ridicule, mock, and hurt the Prophet (s). But this did not make him sad or upset, rather what made him sad was the rejection of Islam by the people of Makkah, Quraysh, and Taif. Therefore, one must not cry over these cartoons when the Prophet (s) shed tears over their nonacceptance of Islam. The non Muslims called him a magician, a fancy speaker, soothsayer as mentioned in the Quran but he did not shed tears over this insult.
Tajdeed-e-sunnah, therefore, is the real response. One realizes that every Sunnah has a joy and a barakah attached to it. As exalted as love for the Prophet (s), kindness, compassion, forbearance and as simple a Sunnah as saying “as-salamu ‘alaykum” to someone and to walk like him – all of this is an ocean of joy. We have to become intoxicated over following the Sunnah. The Sahabah were intoxicated over it and later the scholars of Hadith got this intoxication through the Sahabah because the Sahabah had preserved every single drop of the Sunnah. Books like al-Shifa by Qadi Ayaz and Shamail of Tirmidhi are a testament to this. The current events, then, only show how disconnected we are from his Sunnah. Know that following the Sunnah should not a side goal, but rather it should be a constant and major theme of our lives. This is so because being from Muhammad (s)’s Ummah is a major feature and identity of our life, and this is the only unchanging identity a Muslim has.