by Syarif Hidayat

I am not Charlie and I am not terrorist. I am Muslim against terrorism and killings. Prophet Mohammed PBUH said “By God (Allah SWT), he is not a true believer, from whose mischief his neighbors do not feel secure.” – (Hadith written by Bukhari and Muslim).

Standing clearly against the brutal killing of Charlie Hebdo’s journalists, French Muslims, supported by Muslims all over the world, rejected to embrace the slogan “I am Charlie”, rejecting the satirical weekly’s cartoons which offended millions of Muslims worldwide. “For a Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad PBUH is more important than their own parents,” a Muslim young man in Sarcelles, who did not wish to be identified, told the BBC on Tuesday, January 13.

“They were warned but they kept on mocking the prophet PBUH,” the young Muslim said. “But you cannot kill for that. You cannot go against press freedom in France. Still, they will have to answer to God.” Over the past years, the satirical weekly succeeded in offending all faiths.

In September 2012, the French weekly published cartoons displaying a man said to be the prophet PBUH as naked. In 2011, the office of the magazine was firebombed after it published an edition “guest-edited by Muhammad”, which the satirical weekly called Shari`ah Hebdo. Other cartoons made fun of the Pope, Muslims’ niqab or burqa, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and many world leaders. “It set out to provoke people for its own amusement,” a French Muslim pensioner said.

“It attacked their religion. Make fun of yourselves if you will, but leave others alone. The media is like a car: you need to have a license to be on the road, otherwise you will be a danger to others. Charlie had no license to put people’s lives at risk with their provocations.” Maintaining its sacrilegious tone, the magazine has kept a long reputation for being provocative. On Monday, it announced the launch date of a new edition on Wednesday, the first after last week attack which resulted in the death of ten journalists and two policemen.

Though the victims included two Muslims, one of Charlie Hebdo staff and a police cop, Muslims have fallen victims to increasing trend of anti-Muslim attacks over the past days. According to the French Interior Ministry, more than 50 anti-Muslim incidents have been reported across France in less than a week after the attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Among the 54 anti-Muslim incidents, there have been 21 reports of shootings and grenade throwing at Islamic buildings.


Despite of their anger with the magazine, French Muslims and Muslims all over the world announced a clear stance against killings.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation (in legal punishment) of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidence, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allâh by committing the major sins) in the land!” – Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 32.

“Real Muslims condemn these attacks,” another Muslim, 22, who also did not wish to be identified, told BBC. “Those who committed them were insane. The attack on the kosher supermarket was a catastrophe for France and for the world. If you kill one man it is like you kill all of humanity. That is how we think.” Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam.

Moreover, Muslim leaders and citizens joined a huge mass rally in solidarity with the families of the victims of Charlie Hedbo. Muslims have also expressed solidarity with the city’s Jewish population, after an attack on a kosher supermarket left four dead. Showing solidarity to his Jewish friends, Fouad Houcine, a 36-year-old Muslim engineer appeared at the kosher supermarket with a cardboard sign reading, “I am a Muslim. I have come to share our pain”.

“The Israeli prime minister is wrong to get involved and tell Jews to come ‘home’ to Israel. This matter is between us in France,” Fouad told Haaretz.
“If the Jews of France leave – we will not be the same. We are together in this.”

91264.image_The World’s Best Teacher

Sumayyah Meehan in her article titled “Prophet Muhammad PBUH: The World’s Best Teacher” published in Onislam.net, quotes Al-Qur’an, Surah Al-Isra, Verse: 106: “{And (it is) a Quran which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages.}”

Some of the most influential people in our lives are teachers. Most of us can remember our very first teacher in school, the one who taught us our ABC’s and the proper rules of the playground. As we have progressed from toddler to adult, there have been countless teachers along the way who helped us on our journey to adulthood and even beyond. The high school math teacher who helped you to perfect your Algebra or the college professor that taught you the spirit of debate, the very fabric of our being is heavily influenced by teachers who guided us in our educational journeys.

In Islam, there is only one teacher who has laid out the groundwork for the spiritual education of mankind, by the Grace of God Almighty. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), an illiterate man, was chosen by God Almighty to be the Final Messenger and perfect teacher to Muslims.

Known as the “Living Quran”, Prophet Muhammad was charged with reciting and conveying the message of the Quran to all of mankind. However, he was no ordinary teacher. In fact, he set the ideal standard of education over a thousand years ago and the effects are still being felt today. There are innumerable ways in which Prophet Muhammad was, and still is, the greatest teacher to have ever lived. Here are just a few!

No Student Left Behind

In classrooms all over the world, it is a common practice for teachers to separate the strong students from the weak. The latter of which are delegated to less challenging classes that do nothing to nurture the mind while the “smarter” students are given every opportunity to excel.

Prophet Muhammad made no distinction between students based on intelligence level, social standing or any other classification that separates us in society. He also never sought to exclude or expel anyone from the religion of Islam, but rather delivered a message that was all-inclusive to the whole of mankind. The Prophet Muhammad PBUH said: “By Allah! If He may guide through you a single man to Islam, it would be better for you than red camels.” (Al-Bukhari, 192)

By setting this example of inclusion, Muslims have a tangible example of how to attract others to the Islamic faith.

The Perfect Speaker

Most of us, at some point or another, have come across at least one teacher that was inaudible or spoke so fast that it was next to impossible to understand what was being said let alone taught. Even today, the rapid pace in which most educators speak is overlooked so as to cram as much information into each lesson as possible.

Prophet Muhammad PBUH was methodical in his teaching methods and never rushed his lessons. According to his beloved wife Aisha, he: “…spoke in such a way that if one were to count his words, they could be counted.” (Al-Bukhari, 768)

The Prophet also, according to his companions, would repeat his words thrice. The words that he spoke and the lessons he delivered were unambiguous, which helped students of Islam excel at perfecting their faith and committing the Quran to their hearts. The perfection of Prophet Muhammad’s speech was intentional as a means to really drive the message home to each one of his students through repetition, which is an excellent learning tool.

Living by Example

Perhaps one of the greatest qualities that made Prophet Muhammad such a phenomenal teacher is that he led by example. He often lectured to his companions about the Oneness of God Almighty, living a life in accordance with Islam and being mindful of the Hereafter.

In every aspect of his life, Prophet Muhammad was an exemplar and practiced what he preached. This made it easy for his companions to see, up close and personal, how to live their lives in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. As God Almighty says in the Quran: {There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.} (33:21)

If Prophet Muhammad PBUH had not lived every aspect of the Quran in minute detail, it would have had a derogatory effect on the level of trust that he had developed with his companions.

Patience Through Adversity

How many times, especially in the inner city schools of America, have you heard of teachers lamenting “tough” students and throwing in the towel?
For many teachers, there is a very fine line between reaching out to students in the spirit of understanding and not being able to get through to the students who fight every step of the way.

The Prophet Muhammad PBUH was met with an enormous amount of disdain and outright hatred as he began teaching the message of Islam at the onset of his Prophethood. In Makkah, he spent thirteen years in an attempt to teach his misguided people about the message of the Quran and was met with violent resistance every step of the way with only a minority of his people embracing Islam.

Prophet Muhammad met similar, albeit less, conflict after settling in Madinah and not once did he even consider quitting. Some of the finest personal attributes that helped to strengthen his resolve and reinforce his dedication to his mission included wisdom, patience and a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of Allah Almighty.

The method in which Prophet Muhammad taught the message of Islam to his companions had a ripple effect that has transcended centuries to make Islam the world’s fastest growing religion today. Whether you are a new Muslim or a born-Muslim, the example of Prophet Muhammad as a gifted teacher is a unifying force in the Islamic world and continues to be a catalyst for greater understanding through education.

Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam almost 16 years ago. She is a Waynesburg College graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is currently working on two Islamic book projects. She is a regular contributor to Al Jumuah Magazine and The Muslim Observer Newspaper. Sumayyah resides in Kuwait with her husband and four children.

we_love_mohammedMaster of Tolerance

Raya Shokatfard in her article titled “Prophet Muhammad PBUH: Master of Tolerance” published in Onislam.net, writes God has always chosen prophets with the best of characters, morals and spirits. Since God is All-Knowing, All-Wise, and has ordained human’s destiny before their birth, it is feasible to think that He has already chosen His Prophets before even their entrance to the world.

Prophet Muhammad was not an exception. God bestowed on him the best of characters, one of which was his exceptional tolerance which is manifested in his life and teachings: {And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted (standard of) character} (Al-Qalam 68: 4). We will examine some examples of his tolerance at the advent of Islam and during its expansion process. In the next article, we will examine his treatment of non-Muslims.

In Makkah

During the first thirteen years of his life in Makkah, he and his followers faced much persecution. Muslims were not ordered by God to fight back due to the fact that they had no military strength yet due to the small following which gradually increased. It was only in Madinah when his following and military power rapidly grew that fighting to protect themselves and the new religion was allowed.

When the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his companions asked him to curse them. At this the Prophet replied: “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” (Muslim). His opponents continued to treat him and his companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.

He once decided to personally visit the village of Ta’if, to the east of Makkah, to invite its inhabitants to Islam. The people rejected him, stoned him, ejected him, and made him to bleed. Angel Gabriel came to him and said: “Allah has heard what your people say to you and how they reject you. He has ordered the angels of the mountains to obey whatever you tell them to do.” The angel of the mountains called him, greeted him and said, “Send me to do what you wish. If you wish, I will crush them between the two mountains of Makkah.”

The Prophet said:

“Rather, I hope that Allah will bring forth from their loins those who will worship Allah alone and not associate anything with Him.” (Al-Bukhari)
In the early Makkan period when the enemies of the new religion far exceeded the Prophet’s companions in number, it often happened that when the Prophet would stand to pray, his foes would come near him and whistle and clap in order to disturb him, but the Prophet would not even once show his anger at such acts. He always opted for the policy of tolerance and avoidance of confrontation.

In one instance when the Prophet was praying at the Ka’bah while his enemies were watching his every move and action, one of his adversaries put on his back the intestine of a slaughtered camel during his prostration. The Prophet did not react and stayed in that position. His daughter, Fatimah, rushed to take the filth off his back and cleaned him up.

In Madinah

Later, when Prophet Muhammad and many of his companions migrated to Madinah, again his great character in dealing with his companions and enemies was further manifested. In Madinah, the Muslims were in the process of establishing the new Islamic state. Yet, their enemies in Makkah did not spare much time to wage war against them and pursue them even in Madinah.

In the battle of Uhud, when his Makkan enemies attacked the Muslims, Prophet Muhammad PBUH suffered head injury and his front teeth got smashed. When the blood started to seep from his head, he swabbed it saying: “If a drop of my blood fell on the earth, those infidels will be destroyed by Allah.” Umar told him, O Messenger of Allah, Curse them! The prophet replied: “I wasn’t sent (by Allah) to curse. I was sent as a mercy.” Then he said: “O Allah, Guide my people!” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

God confirms his blessed character by saying: {And We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind.} (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)

The Prophet once said: “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure.” (Al-Bukhari)

He manifested these words with action and was not fast to revenge or rebuke a wrong doer. A Bedouin once entered the mosque and started to urinate in it. Mosques at that time had no walls and carpeted floors and the ceilings were palm leaves held up by palm stems. The people ran to (prevent and restrain) him. The Prophet PBUH said: “Do not interrupt his urination (i.e. let him finish). Then the Prophet asked for a pitcher of water to be poured over the place of urine. (Al-Bukhari)

One of Jesus’ famous saying is: “Love your neighbor like yourself.” Prophet Muhammad PBUH complimented this by saying: “By God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbors are not secure.” (Al-Bukhari)

This includes tolerance for actions they may do that is not pleasing to one.
It is reported that one of the Prophet’s neighbors was a Jew who hated the Prophet. Each day he would throw trash on his way. The prophet never rebuked him. One day, the Jew did not show up. The Prophet asked about him, and was told that he was sick. So, he went to visit him and inquire about his health with kindness. Upon seeing this, the Jew embraced Islam.

The enmity of his worst enemy toward his most beloved was also met with awesome goodness. Hamza was among the Prophet’s most beloved uncles. During one of the battles, Hend, the wife of Abu Sufyan, the arch enemy of the Prophet PBUH, had ordered her slave to find Hamza and pierce him with his arrow. Upon seeing him dead, she rushed to his body and cut out his liver and started chewing on it while filled with rage. Upon the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet PBUH did not seek revenge on her and accepted her and her husband as new converts and gave them full protection.

Anas ibn Malik, who served the Prophet for ten years, said that the Prophet never rebuked him: “When I did something, he never questioned my manner of doing it; and when I did not do something, he never questioned my failure to do it. He was the most good-natured of all men.” (Al-Bukhari). Such manners of tolerance gained him the respect even of his enemies, and his followers stood by him through all kinds of hardship and misfortune.

Although his worse enemies were the Makkan Arabs at the beginning, but in Madinah, the Jews did not spare any effort to conspire against him, even after treaties were signed with them. However, he tried to be as fair with them as possible and only waged war against them when they broke treaties which caused much loss of life of Muslims.

Once, when the Prophet was sitting at a place in Madinah, along with his companions, a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet PBUH stood up. One of his companions remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet PBUH replied: “Was he not a human being?” (Muslim). Since Prophet Muhammad wished to avoid war at all costs, he strove to bring about a peace agreement between him and the Makkans. After great efforts on his part, the non-Muslims agreed to a ten-year peace treaty, which was drafted and signed at Al-Hudaybiyyah, a place outside Makkah.

During this important meeting, the Makkans insisted on a number of extremely provocative acts. For instance, the agreement mentioned the Prophet PBUH’s name as “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.” They insisted to replace by “son of Abdullah.” The Prophet accepted peacefully and deleted the appellation. Similarly, they made the condition that if they could lay their hands on any Muslim they would make him a hostage, but if the Muslims succeeded in detaining any non-Muslim, they would have to set him free. The Prophet even relented on this point for establishment of peace in the region. He was clearly setting examples of fairness and tolerance while exposed to injustice and intolerance.

Despite all the concessions Prophet Muhammad PBUH made with the Makkans, the later violated the same treaty they signed earlier. It was then that the Prophet finally marched with his huge army to Makkah and without any resistance conquered the city which was once the abode of his worse enemies.

As mentioned earlier, the Prophet PBUH and his followers suffered a great deal during their thirteen years of living in Makkah and after their migration to Madinah. His own tribesmen and even family members continue to oppose him in not only in Makkah but rose to fight him in Madinah for over 20 years. They did not spear any effort to inflict the worse humanly possible hardship on them. In Makkah, it included, torture, sanctions, taking their lives’ belonging, separating family members and slaughtering them where ever they could find them. With God’s help and his and his companions’ steadfastness in Madinah and upholding the message of Islam, they finally conquered Makkah. Its leaders came to him fearing that he would kill them as all conquerors do. But instead, he said: “Go! You are all free!” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Prophet Muhammad PBUH’s mercy and tolerance did not exclude his worse enemies. Such tolerance awed his enemies who were now the newly converted Muslims. The end result is a clear history that is registered to this day. Message of Islam spread across the world, to include on fifth of the global population. These are only a few among many examples of the Prophet’s tolerance and noble character. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet was asked regarding the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). She said very simply, that: “The character of the Prophet was the Quran.” (Muslim)

Clearly, the Prophet molded his own life in accordance with the ideal pattern of life that he presented to others in the form of the Quran revealed to him by God. He never beat a servant, or a woman, or anyone else. He did, of course, fight for what was right. When he had to choose between two alternatives, he would take the easier course, provided it involved no sin. No one was more careful to avoid sin than he. He never sought revenge on his own sake for any wrong done to him personally. He was tolerant. Only if God’s commandments had been broken would he meet out retribution for the sake of God. It was such conduct which gained the Prophet universal respect.

Scholars further explain about the Quran being his character:

“What this means is that he followed its etiquette and adopted its attitude. Whatever was praised in the Quran, he was pleased with, and whatever was condemned in the Quran he hated. It says in one report that Aisha said: His attitude was the Quran, whatever it was pleased with he was pleased with and whatever it hated he hated.” (Ibn rajab in Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/148))

One may say, since he was the last Prophet and messenger to mankind, no other can ever be quite like him. This is true because none shall ever have to shoulder a fraction of the responsibilities he had to bear. However, we, as his followers, have the easy part which is to seek and adopt his gentle qualities and high moral standards into daily practice; for the Prophet’s life was divinely chosen to function as a practical manual of how one should better himself.

Prophet Muhammad’s character and qualities are not only for the Muslims to follow, but the sincere seekers who learn about him, praise his noble character and wish to follow it. Goethe, a famous German writer, artist, and politician of the 1800s, marveled over the achievements and status of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying:

“We Europeans with all our concepts and ideas have not yet attained that which Muhammad attained, and no one will ever surpass him. I searched in history for the loftiest example for man to follow, and I found it in the Prophet Muhammad. Thus the truth must prevail and become supreme, because Muhammad succeeded in subjugating the whole world by means of the message of Divine Oneness.”

(Raya Shokatfard has been a journalist, Islamic lecturer, propagator and consular in US and Egypt for many years and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam Website. She holds M.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication and an M.S.D. in TV Journalism. Islamic documentary production has been her latest interest. She can be reached at: mothers4peace@yahoo.com)

13931027000404_PhotoIMuslim Leaders Speak Out Against Paris Attack

Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam.
Here follows a roundup of most prominent reactions from Muslims worldwide:

Muslim Organizations and Institutions:

Al-Azhar, the thousand-year-old highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world, referred to the attack as a criminal act, saying that “Islam denounces any violence,” according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference strongly condemned the attack. A spokesperson for the OIC’s Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia said that violence and radicalism are “biggest enemies of Islam.”

The French Council of the Muslim Religion condemned the “barbaric” attack. “The UOIF condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this criminal attack and these horrible murders and offers its condolences to the families as well as the employees of Charlie Hebdo,” the Union des Organizations Islamiques de France (UOIF), which represents more than 250 Muslim organizations across France, said in a statement to condemn the attack.

The Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter: “We condemn the attack on #CharlieHebdo. Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause may be, nothing justifies the taking of life.”

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the US, said in a statement: “We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures.” “The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.”

Muslim Countries

Saudi Arabia has “followed with deep sorrow” the killings in Paris and condemns “this cowardly terrorist attack which is incompatible with Islam religion,” according to the official SPA news agency. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that “these actions that targets civilians contravene all values and principles, moral and humanitarian.” Its counterpart in the United Arab Emirates said that “ that such appalling criminal acts require cooperation and solidarity at all levels to eradicate this menace.”

“Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms all acts of violence. We stand in unity with the French people. We must fight extremism with moderation,” Prime Minister Najib Razak said in Twitter posting.

Indonesia, the world’s most-populous Muslim nation, “condemns the attack” and “sends condolences to the government and people of France,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Egypt stands by France in confronting terrorism, an international phenomenon that targets the world’s security and stability and which requires coordinated international efforts to eradicate,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

“We, as Turkey, condemn with hatred any kind of terror,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ankara. “We are against any form of terror regardless of where it comes from and what its motives are.”

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry expressed “sympathies and full solidarity with the French government and people in their fight against terrorism,” in an e-mailed statement. It called on the international community to work through international laws to uproot terrorism so that “its shrapnel won’t hit the innocent anywhere else in the world.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham condemned the attack and said any terrorist action against innocent humans was against the teachings of Islam, according to the news agency IRNA. “Such actions are a continuation of radical waves and physical aggressions which have spread throughout the world in the past decade, and incorrect policies and double standards in confronting extremism and violence have unfortunately given way to a spreading of such undertakings,” she said.

King Mohammed of Morocco ‘‘strongly condemned the odious, cowardly terrorist attack’’ in a message of condolences to French President Francois Hollande, according to state news agency MAP. (HSH)
2.Internaional News Agencies and Online Media

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