And the clock turns once again and the world wakes up to an international political, cultural and religious crisis over a man who died on Monday, June 8, 632 and has been ‘resting in peace’ in his grave in the city of Madina Western Arabia since then. His name or ‘names’, however, are causing ‘no peace’ on the ground from horizon to horizon.
Since he claimed to be a prophet and his followers are claiming to love him for his message, the lack of ‘peace’ associated with crossing the red line in dealing with his name(s), either reflects a defect in the message and hence it is him to blame, or a defect in his claimed followers, and then they are the first to be blamed for the insult to the innocent dead man ‘Mohammed’!
Muslims have to get this message very clear:
Either Islam/Mohammed are outdated and incompatible with the ‘evolving’ world and should be abandoned by every civilised human being, OR these ’Muslims’ have descended to a level of ignorance that they have become the first enemies of Mohammed and Islam. There is no third option!
Mohammed is not a fictional character. He is a man who lived and died, and left one of the most detailed authentic biographies of ancient personnel. In his lifetime, Mohammed did not demand from those who did not believe in his message to respect him, but certainly respecting the prophet is a fundamental article of faith for those who claim his love!
One of the most impressive British sayings I have learned in this country is:
‘Big minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people’! I take the liberty to add to this wisdom: ‘…and mindless people discuss names’!
In this sick climate of ignoramus from those who claim to love the prophet, yet generate more insult to him than ever before, we can only find out whether it was Mohammed and his Islam to blame for this arrest in ‘evolution’ in the minds of some Muslims, or it is the Muslims to blame for the mounting insult to the prophet, by reflecting on a few of the behaviours of Mohammed himself in dealing with such crises:
1. It is reported that while Mohammed was in the Mosque with some of his companions, a Bedouin walked in, went to one corner and started urinating inside the Holy Mosque. Some of the companions stretched their swords to kill him but the prophet instructed them to keep quiet until the man finishes. Then the man walked to the crowd and praised Mohammed for protecting him, and said: ‘I came here to ask about this man claiming to be a prophet.’
‘I am that prophet,’ replied Mohammed! ‘Oh Allah forgive me and forgive Mohammed but no one else,’ said the man, expressing his admiration to the prophet’s reaction as compared to his companions! ‘Fellow Arab, you have made narrow the Mercy of Allah which is very wide,’ said the prophet! ‘Oh Allah forgive us all,’ concluded the man!
2. It is reported that, Mohammed had a non-Muslim neighbour who used to put ‘rubbish’ in front of his house every morning so that he could not walk out before cleaning it. One morning the prophet did not find the ‘rubbish’. He went to the Mosque and led the early Morning Prayer in a hurry, and apologised to his companions that he was concerned that his neighbour was apparently unwell that day so he had to rush and check on her!
‘I did not find the ‘trust’ you used to leave in front of my door, so I got worried that you may be unwell this morning and I came to check on you,’ said Mohammed after he walked into her home. ‘It was ‘rubbish’ to insult you Mohammed and you check on me and call it ‘trust’?’ replied the woman tearfully! ‘Such could not be except the morals of prophets,’ she admitted!
Just in case one might question what Mohammed would think of his claimed followers today if he were alive to see what shame they bring to his name, we need to reflect on his prophecy in this matter. It is reported that Mohammed prophesied the rise of the Muslim nation for many centuries and this would be followed by serious decline:
‘There will come a time when Muslims would become the least respected among other nations,’ said the prophet! ‘Would that be due to decline in number?’ asked his companions.
‘Ohh no...Muslims would be too many at the time but they are like the froth of the sea, useful for nothing,’ replied the prophet!
So, on the basis of the teaching of Mohammed, his claimed followers of today have ignored the message of Islam (ideas), ignored the glorious history of Islam (events), ignored the humble compassionate (person) of the prophet and idolized his name, fulfilling his prophesy that: they became too many of them, useful for nothing like the froth of the sea!
But the worrying question remains: why this one man who lived and died in the seventh century remained a source of unrest to the world. Too many would love to leave a remarkable memory after their death; however, Mohammed was too humble a person to have sought luxury or fame when he was alive, let alone publicity after his death!
When I wrote The princess of Egypt and that Mysterious prophet five years ago, my intention was clearly indicated in the introduction: intellectual contribution to my beloved new home Great Britain! It was first printed on a personal level without an ISBN, and distributed personally to those I met and was involved with in intellectual debate in comparative religion. I only thought to publish it officially last year following a recommendation from a Christian vicar who was a very close friend to me.
At the time, I only thought of the advice of the prophet Mohammed:
‘When anyone dies, no good deeds would be added to their record except:
1. If they left righteous children to pray for them.
2. If they left sincere charity that will continue to benefit humanity after them, or
3. If they left knowledge that would benefit mankind after them.
I have never claimed to be a scholar but in today’s world when everyone may have access to printing or publishing on the internet, everyone has the opportunity and duty to share the little they have with others.
When I heard the disturbing news of the detention of an English teacher in my country of birth ( Sudan ) over the scandal of teddy bear Mohammed, I reacted very spontaneously to defend her innocence, even without knowing the details. All that I knew was that I had lived in her country for 18 years without any insult from any native British individual and could not believe that a Briton would insult Mohammed anywhere, let alone in a Muslim country.
At that moment, I had the choice between sticking to ‘idolising’ the name Mohammed or following his teaching and ideas! At the same time it was the choice between defending my fellow citizen of Great Britain or the fellow citizens of my country of birth, Sudan . The choice was not difficult, thanks to the ‘ideas’ taught by Mohammed himself:
[O you who believe! Be strict in observing justice and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against your parents or kindred. Whether he, against whom witness is borne, be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not your low desires that you may be able to act equitably. And if you hide the truth or evade it, then know that Allah is well aware of what you do.’] Qur’an 4:135
The interview with BBC24 television and the article on the BBC website were unexpected consequences of sending my personal condemnation of what had happened in Sudan, to the BBC website, leaving my real name and personal contact. At the time I only thought that, if my name as a Sudanese British doctor may contribute to her quick safe return, I would use it as much as I could. I am glad that she is home now.
The problem, however, remains unsolved! Unless Muslims are liberated from ‘idolizing names’ while completely ignoring the ‘ideas’ that made those names remarkable in history, we may see more embarrassing and disturbing ‘teddy bear’ scandals! There will certainly be more victims of idolizing the innocent prophet Mohammed, who had already warned of this attitude:
‘Do not idolize me as the Christians did with Jesus until they worshipped him’.
It seems that, when the Christians worshipped Jesus, they remembered his mercy, forgiveness and compassion which the Qur’an described:
[Then We caused Our Messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow them, and We gave him the Gospel. And We put compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him……] Qur’an 57:27
But the emerging idolisers of the name ‘Mohammed’ might have a long journey to follow before they rise to the level of reflecting on his ‘person’, then rise to reflecting on his life ‘events’ before they reach the level of understanding his compassionate intellectual ‘ideology’.
Muslims are mixed up between Allah the deity of worship and Mohammed the human messenger. Stressing Mohammed’s humanity is a fundamental article of the Islamic faith. This was reflected best in the first reaction to his death, as commented on by J A Michener:
‘At Mohammed’s own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: “If there are any among you who worshipped Mohammed, he is dead. But if it is God you worshipped, He lives for ever.”’
James A Michener: ‘Islam: The Misunderstood Religion’ in The Reader’s Digest [American Edition] in May, 1955, pp.68–70.
It is apparent that current Muslims, behave as if ‘Allah’ is the one who has died, committing all sins of abuse, corruption, deception, injustice, aggression, ignorance, etc but they only remember their ‘claimed faith’ when Mohammed, the actual dead human prophet, is being treated like any other human.
I hope that my Princess of Egypt and That Mysterious Prophet, written and published a long time before the incident, will contribute to highlighting some beneficial information about this ‘dead man’ whose name continues to cause unrest throughout the world to this very day.