1st Conference: For the Sake of Allahs Messenger

Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

In spite of all the different types of aggression and outrage being meted out to the Muslims, they can still exhibit patience and forbearing, even if they sometimes do so grudgingly. But when Allahs Messenger (peace we upon him) is attacked and insulted, we cannot refrain from getting angry and coming to his defense.

We are now seeing a continuous barrage of sordid insults being hurled at the Prophet (peace be upon him) by a group of Evangelical Christian leaders in America. Many of them enjoy prominence, like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Vines. Their message is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a terrorist, a man of war and violence, and a womanizer who married twelve women. They have come up with a number of more specific accusations, claiming that he engaged in perverse sexual behavior and was a man of few morals and a weak intellect.

These religious leaders have very close ties to Americas Republican presidents. Franklin Graham was invited by President George W. Bush to deliver the prayer at his Inauguration last year. Likewise, George Bush gave an address via satellite to the Southern Baptist Convention on the occasion of which the Reverend Jerry Vines accused Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) of being a "demon-possessed pedophile".

This is not the first time the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been the brunt of such slander. Similar statements have been made by Orientalists, journalists, literary figures, and others. What makes matters worse in this case is that prominent religious leaders who have close ties to the American government are making these statements almost simultaneously. This is an indicator of many things that we cannot afford to ignore.

These people are speaking about the Prophet (peace be upon him) who taught humanity to honor and revere all the Prophets and Messengers. He taught us that our faith in his Message would not be accepted unless we also believe in the message of Jesus (peace be upon him) and all the Prophets and Messengers who came before him.

While the Jews were describing Jesus (peace be upon him) with the ugliest words imaginable, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was teaching humanity: "Remember when the angels said: O Mary! Truly Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Himself whose name will be the Christ, Jesus the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allah." [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 45]

"Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger. Many were the Messengers who passed away before him."

While the Jews were accusing the Virgin Mary of adultery, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was teaching the people:

"And Mary, the daughter of `Imrân, who guarded her chastity. And We breathed into her of our spirit and she testified to the truth of the words and scriptures of her Lord and was one of the devout servants." [Sûrah al-Tahrîm: 12]

Those who describe the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a butcher and a murderer are describing in this way the Prophet of Mercy who taught humanity: 

"Whoever kills another soul for any reason except as a punishment for murder or wreaking havoc in the land, it is as if he has killed all of humanity."
[Sûrah al-Mâidah: 32]

He taught humanity mercy and justice, even during war, though he came at the time when the world was steeped in barbarism. There were no treaties, accords, or international laws back then to regulate such matters. He brought laws of justice that were to be applied during all times both in war and peace. He prohibited transgression during war. He prohibited mutilation and the killing of children and innocent people.

The fact that these religious leaders are coming with such accusations shows just how bankrupt they are. They can find nothing else to incite the people besides old allegations originally brought forth by the Orientalists, time-worn allegations that have long been refuted.

Their behavior also shows how cowardly and deceptive these religious leaders are. On what basis do I say this? We know that these people believe in the Old Testament, but still they deride Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) because he had twelve wives. We have no doubts that they are fully aware of 1 Kings 11 where it says about Solomon (peace be upon him): "He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines."

They are equally aware of 2 Samuel 5 wherein it reads: "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David."

They also know about Genesis 13 where it says: "So Jacob arose, and set his sons and his wives on camels;"

So what about the polygamy being practiced by the Prophets in the Old Testament that these religious leaders believe in? Do they merely fear reprisals from the Jews if they were to ever wantonly and perversely slander their Prophets and forefathers?

Look at how they describe Prophet Muhammad as a warmonger and a man of violence, though in their Old Testament, 1 Samuel 18, it reads: 

"Then Saul said, "Thus shall you say to David, `The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the kings enemies." Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the kings son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife."

They also must know Joshua 10 wherein it reads: 

"And Joshua took Makkedah on that day, and smote it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed every person in it, he left none remaining; and he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho. Then Joshua passed on from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah; and the LORD gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left none remaining in it; and he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho. And Joshua passed on from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and laid siege to it, and assaulted it: and the LORD gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it, as he had done to Libnah. Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he left none remaining. And Joshua passed on with all Israel from Lachish to Eglon; and they laid siege to it, and assaulted it; and they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword; and every person in it he utterly destroyed that day, as he had done to Lachish. Then Joshua went up with all Israel from Eglon to Hebron; and they assaulted it, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it; he left none remaining, as he had done to Eglon, and utterly destroyed it with every person in it. Then Joshua, with all Israel, turned back to Debir and assaulted it, and he took it with its king and all its towns; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person in it; he left none remaining; as he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and to its king. So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded."

They also know Numbers 31 wherein Moses (peace be upon him) is quoted as saying to the Israelites who had spared all the women and children of Midian: "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." They have also pointedly ignored Matthew 10 wherein Christ (peace be upon him) is quoted to have said: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a mans foes will be those of his own household."

Why do they ignore all the places in the Old Testament where it commands the killing of the unbelievers, the burning of their property, and stoning them to death? Among the places where this can be found is Deuteronomy 13 and 17. 

So where is the talk of these religious leaders about war and bloodshed when it comes to these verses? Do they hold their tongues out of fear of being called anti-Semitic? Is this the reason for their cowardly stance or is their behavior the result of sheer bigotry?

Where is their talk about the behavior of the Church when it slaughtered Jews and Christians during the Crusades and during the Inquisitions?

Why do they have nothing to say about the wholesale slaughter of innocent women, children, and old people when their country dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and when it perpetrated numerous atrocities in Vietnam?

Why do they not speak against the bloodshed being meted out to innocent women and children by the Jews in Palestine?

These religious leaders are practicing their own subtle form of terrorism. What they are doing is equivalent to shooting at full tanks of fuel. Slandering the Prophet (peace be upon him) is an affront and an outrage to every Muslim. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is dearer to the Muslims than their own selves and more beloved than their closest relatives. With their reckless words, these preachers seem to be trying to goad the Muslims, knowing that what they are saying will make many people very hurt and angry.

Though the Muslims have been able to stomach a wide range of abuses up to now and have accepted an assortment of excuses for all of the enmity and violence that they have had to face, they cannot bear this outrage against the Prophet (peace be upon him). No amount of thoughtlessness on the part of those slanderers can ever justify such a thing. Their conduct forces us to ask a serious question. Are these religious leaders trying to turn the confrontation that America is having with the Muslim world into a religiously motivated one? Or are they just exposing what has always been the true face of Americas "War on Terror"? Each of us will have to answer this question for himself.

It seems that these religious leaders are trying to take America down a different path, one that can only lead to failure. America might be able to change certain aspects of the society or the economy in some Muslim countries, but they cannot touch the way Muslims feel about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Jews have been very effective in Europe and America using the threat of anti-Semitism to curb the utterance of injudicious statements. The specter of anti-Semitism is a threat from which no one can escape. Anyone who tries will find the full weight of the media machinery bear down upon him and that person will be thoroughly discredited. Will the billions of Muslims who follow Muhammad (peace be upon him) prove unable to defend him? Will they not have any affect at all? The esteem that we have in our hearts for Allahs Messenger (peace be upon him) is great indeed. The impudent and cowardly attacks of these people can never compromise his lofty status. Whoever tries to spit on the sky winds up wiping the spit off his own face. However, it is our duty to come to the defense of Allahs Messenger (peace be upon him) and uphold his honor.

We must voice our condemnation of this attack on the Prophet (peace be upon him). We must counter their lies and accusations with strong and sound arguments. They need to know the seriousness of the offence they are committing against the feelings of the Muslims. They need to know that the esteem that the Muslims have for the Prophet (peace be upon him) is much greater than they had ever imagined and that infringing upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) is much more serious an offence than they had thought.

At the same time, we must be careful to direct our condemnation only to those who have done wrong. It is neither just nor reasonable for us to generalize the issue to include others who did not say such things, even if they might have other things in common with those who did.

Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
(Director of the IslamToday Research Office)

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