Humanity desperately needs Coexistence and Mutual Respect

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Abdikadir Ibrahim
09/21/2012

Humans are the vicegerents of God on earth for all its inhabitants. Humans are expected to carry this responsibility for themselves and for other creatures as well. Freedom, justice, and equality are rights for everyone. When it comes to freedom, it does not matter who you are in terms of religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. Everyone loves to have and knows that these are essential for human dignity and honor. Even those who don’t believe in God, the creator of the universe, believe that every person is born as a free individual. The freedom we all seeking and fighting for originated longer than we know. The essence of freedom is equality where you are doing for your fellow human beings what you love for yourself. This is a universal golden rule, which all religions promote. According to Longman’s Dictionary, freedom takes three prepositions; freedom to something- for example freedom to vote. Freedom of something- for example freedom of expression or choice, and freedom from something- for example freedom from not being affected by something that makes you worried, unhappy, afraid etc.

If we look at closely, we will find each one of these types of freedom come under equality. If you are denied freedom to do something such as vote or express yourself, you are denied a right to have equal opportunity with others. Therefore, you are belittled and looked down upon, as you are not equal to those who denied you your freedom. However, if this freedom is granted to you, you are required to stay within your need. Once you exceed the limits, you are passing your territory, which means you are occupying the space of others. That means, if you were complaining about your rights of freedom being denied and you got them. However, once you pass your limits, you are denying the rights of others.  This is where responsibility comes in.

Let’s look at this scenario. A man threw his hands around while he was walking, and he hit another man’s nose with his uncontrolled hands. The other man asked, “Why did you hit me?” He then replied, “it is my freedom, I can do whatever I want with my hands.  I do not care about your freedom?” The offended man said, “but you cannot hit my nose again.” The two men then began to fight.

Responsibility is accepting the consequences of your actions. If you are in charge of something or someone and if things don’t go the intended way, then you will face the consequences of why it did not go the intended direction.   Freedom comes with responsibility. You are in charge of your own freedom, but when you violate that, you have to accept the ending result, which for sure will not come in your way. The man did not realize the responsibility of his hands and misused the freedom of his hands by hitting them with other people.

Any sound law or rule grantees its individuals the inter-connected three essentials of everyone’s life – the freedom, the equality and the responsibility. Losing or misusing one of them grantees the loss of the other two. The Islamic texts, Qur’an and Sunnah (Islamic sacred book and prophetic traditions) expound and emphasized all these three important practices. The Qur’an granted to all people the freedom that we are born with.   Within the frame of freedom, Islam provides every individual the rights and protection of five essentials – protection of religion, life, property, intellect and dignity. The primary source of Islam is the Qur’an, and we find rights and protections of the five essentials of life. Freedom, equality and responsibility must be maintained for each one of the five essentials The American constitution also provides the rights and protections of individuals, groups and people. The Bill of Rights’ First Amendment is freedom of religion and expression, which grantees everyone in America to practice their religion freely.

Necessities of explanations are required when we are in a stage of confusion. Due to the vast sham and false personifications of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the media, we would like to present to you the true characteristics and personality of a prophet who stood at the gate of mercy and truthfulness. From his early life to his death in his adulthood, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never sat down from keeping our world to be a better haven for all humankind. Therefore, knowing this prophet, despite your stage of religious aspect, becomes a necessity given the fact he leaned and stood on those principles that you and I so much adhere and are fond of.

Because of his celestial characteristics, many people in the West have acknowledged Prophet Muhammad as being the foremost peacekeeper of all time. Michael H. Hart, an American astrophysicist and author, reasoned in his book “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History” that the Last Prophet does indeed stand at number one acknowledging the Prophet’s activists to keep peace and influence. Another Western author and critic from Ireland indicated that if all the problems of our century were presented to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he would have solved it over a cup of tea. Edward Gibbon and Simon Oakley said “The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was affected by sheer moral force.” Before these people, God the Al-Mighty revealed in His book, Al-Koran, recognizing both his character and truthfulness:

“And Verily, you (O Muhammad (pbuh)) are on an exalted (standard of) character.” ( 68:4)
By the star when it goes down (or vanished), your companion (Muhammad PBUH) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a revelation revealed.” ( 53:1-4).

Through his actions and strength in believing God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought many value entities in our stage of civilization. He was a person who conveyed to this world justice and equity among human beings. The prophet (pbuh) was seen as Al-Ameen (the trustfulness) and As-Sidique (the truthfulness) amongst his people prior to receive God’s revelations. Arabs in those times, after he become a prophet, actually trusted their belongings to him even though they were at war with him because they knew to lie, cheat, steal, and every other vices were not among his desires.

Consequently, his mercy towards people never ceased. After he fled to Da’if seeking protection from his own people because they disbarred him, the prophet was stoned and also expelled from Da’if as well. It was at this junction that an Angel appeared and sought the permission of the prophet to destroy people of Da’if. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied, “Leave them alone, one day God might bring people who worship Him better out of their backs. Oh Allah, forgive my people because they do not know what they are doing.”

Allah states in the Quran describing his mercy;

“And We have sent you (O Muhammad PBUH) not but as a mercy of the Alamin (humankind, jinn and all that exists).” 21:107)

He was a person who has let everybody, despite their differences in every aspect of life, to live and worship freely. His legacy reached far east of Europe when Jews in Constantinople invited Jews who were living in Europe to share with them the vast welcome of Muslims for Jewish in that area.

The Prophet was the one who the Creator of this world trusted his message to convey it to his people. He was the sealed of all the prophets and there will be no prophet after him.

Allah said, “Muhammad PBUH is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything”. (33:40).

In his last ceremony, where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered a message to the companions, he said; “O people! Verily your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you belong to one ancestry of Adam and Adam was created out of clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. ‘Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious’.” Notice how he was not talking to the Muslims only, but to the “people.” This is the core of Islam- fairness and equality.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was even merciful towards his enemy. Before battle fields he would urge his companions to not kill children, women, elders, farmers, and worshipers. There is no leader at this junction of period that would order his or her soldiers to follow a similar order. Instead we are following leaders who bomb children, rape women, kill elders and worshippers. The basic foundation of Islam is freedom, and Prophet Muhammad was the first person who let individuals to express themselves.

Unfortunately, the actions and behaviors of some people these days are far from the scope of our understanding.  The latest movie and cartoons to defame Prophet Muhamed (pubh) is a form of blinded extremism and deviation from the right and common path.  Extremism is defined as actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political center of a society; or otherwise claim to violate common moral standards.  The assertion that extremism is related to Islam has no basis. There are extremists among people of all religions.  More than 1.5 billion of the world’s population is Muslim and less than 1% of that may exhibit extremism. In the United States alone, there are more than 7 million decent, productive, responsible Muslim citizens. In many cases when we hear a Christian or Jewish individual commit an act of terrorism, their religion is not mentioned, but is described as a crazy person committing violence. However, for Muslims, Islam is connected to the act right away as “Islamic Terrorist”, or “Islamic Fundamentalist”. Why this double standard?

Humanity desperately needs harmony, cooperation, coexistence, and mutual respect.  Telling lies about Prophet Muhamed (pbuh), killing innocent people, flag, image, or  destroying properties will create new violent. It will add fuel the already burring fires around the world.  People of faith and good hearts need to stand shoulder to shoulder and be one force against the extremism whatever type it maybe.  The extremist ideologies do not serve anyone well – neither Muslims nor others. Muslims in particular, need to learn their Islam and need to differentiate the correct Islamic teachings from the extremists’ world view.  Similarly, as Americans we need to understand our own constitution, in which the founders for this country laid down its foundation. There is no question that Muslims are going through tough times. However, extremist and terrorist actions will never be justified. We need to do good all the time, whether we are in a good time or tough time. Muslims have the right to self-defense, but it must be proportionate and within lawful means. Islam does not permit the end justifies the means to reach one’s objective. There should be ethical standards even in combat setting. If Muslims are mistreated, they still need to treat with justice those who mistreated them – and that is Islam. Allah said, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do” (Qur’an 5:8).

 

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