22 February, 2006

Muhammad: The Greatest Reformer Of All Times

It is not just non Moslems who are ill informed about Islam. Many present day Moslems display a lack of true understanding of their own faith. This is not to say that they are lacking in faith, but rather a true comprehension of all the spiritual ramifications of their religion and its significant social ordinances that would be helpful in helping them to set their own societies on a proper course.

Thus, most Moslems are so enmeshed in the worship rites of Islam and the dos and donts of Islam that they almost forget that the social ordinancnes and the related poltical manifestations of the religion are just as important to consider, if a true believer is to obtian the full merit of their faith.

Therefore, it is not surprising that people of other faiths will find sufficient grounds for making fun of the religion or seek to find ways to misrepresent the religion out of a latent prejudice or temptation to please those who might find it in their best interest to misrepresent Isalm, its important icons of great piety and reverence by all the faithful and its creed and doctrine.

Notwithstanding the sad state of the Moslem World today and brushing aside the mistaken association of a few Moslem extremists, who have been nurtured in so many misconceptions about Islam, to genuine Islamic doctrine, Islam still represents one of the greatest social reform movements of all time. Even with the gross biases that western historians have tried to disseminate about Islam, there is so much that one can say to make those biases not worth the ink they are written in. As a person educated in the United States from the elementary school to the university, this bias against Islam was very apparent and very real in all levels. Even at the university level, there was an effort by many professors (this was long before terrorism was made a synonym of Islam by the Bush clique and the Likudiniks of the International Zionist Establishment). One is not sure whether this attitude on Islam stems from a long history of entrenched western misconceptions about Islam or the fault of the Moslems themselves for not trying to shed light about their religion, not to mention the true manifeatation of the faith in many Moslem societies.

I might venture to suggest that it is both of these factors together. However, in this age of relative ease in communications with the entire world, it has become imperative for faithful Moslems to dispel the misconceptions and let the West know that Islam is very easy to live with and has more to share, in terms of beliefs and heritage, than westerners are willing to believe. Today the relations betsween the Moslem World and the West have been put in jeopardy by some evil elements that are trying as hard as they could to increase the friction between adherents of Christianity and Islam.

Thus, it is imperative that Moslems make it clear to their Christian friends that the similarities between both faiths are more than having to justify any divisions or rifts between them and that the horrendous misconceptions in many westerners’ perceptions of Islam will not help further the cause of world peace. One of the best books written in English about Islam is the “Eternal Message of the Prophet Muhammad”, by Abdurrahman Azzam (in English). Although written by a Moslem, it is really meant for non-Moslems, who do not have the faintest idea about how important Islam is to many of the modern conceptions that make up the social framework under which modern societies live by. The book also provides an interesting insight into how Moslems view faith, social cohesion and other fundamental issues that distinguish Islam from other faiths. In addition, the book also defines how Islam perceives its relations with the other monotheistic religions and the historical record in this respect.

Accordingly it is easy to see why Moslems might get upset at some idiotic and obviously deliberate effort to portray an image of the greatest spiritual and social guide ever delivered to mankind. This becomes even more appalling when this is done by members of a faith, whose leading icon, Jesus Christ, is also highly revered by Moslems as one of the greatest prophets of Isalm and indeed a miracle of God: a sign of His Omnipotence and Al-Mighty Power – a magnificent example of His ability to create as He so wishes.

The reforms that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace of Allah be upon him) introduced into the universe stem from Divine Ordinance that demands justice and equal treatment of all mankind, whether by Government or the society. It also calls for freedom from all kinds of oppression: the oppression of rulers, mercantile establsihments and even people oppressing themselves by denying themselves the amenities of life, as long as they are not at the expense of the suffering of other human beings.

In addition, Muhammad introduced simplicity in religion, whereby there is no need for any complex illogical rituals or a clerical order (there is no clergy in Islam) as the relationship between the believer and the Al-Mighty is ketp on a direct One- to – one basis that does not requrie any clerical intermediaries. Those who are sometimes labeled as Moslem “clerics” by the western press and even by some Moslem writers are no more than religious scholars, who have no spiritual leverage over the faithful and the degree of reverence they may have among the faithful are measured by the degree of piety and goodness they display, rather than any temportal power they may hold.

Oh sure, the Islamuc World today is beset by many problems and difficulties, but Islam is not the reason! One hopes that non-Moslems will try to understand the essentials of Moslem beliefs, perceptions of God and other fundamental issues of faith that hopefully will remove biases and shed light on the magnificence of a truly great religion. As for Muhammad, there is no defense for him needed and the high regard that Moslems have for him then as evidenced by the reactions of Moslems from througout the world to the Danish cartoons. Ms Condoleeza Rice is wrong in thinking that these protests are born out of enticement by any authority. In fact, if the current regimes that are ruling in Moslem countires were not so repressive, the protests would have probably been larger and more vocal than what has been seen up to now. For Moslems well remember that God says in the the Quran to Muhammad: “We have sent you as mercy to all the worlds!”; i.e., to all mankind.

By: Hassan Al-Haifi (commonsense@yemen.net.ye)

Read More: Prophet Muhammad