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Vile Attacks on the Most Merciful of all Human Beings

Prophet Muĥammad ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the most respected man in Makkah before his appointment as the Messenger of Allaah. Not only was he famous for his impeccable honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness, he was also recognized for his wisdom, brilliance and business acumen.

When a messenger of Allaah starts his Islamic mission at the command of Allaah to give the message of Islam, his job entails pointing out the errors in the current views, beliefs, goals, practices and lifestyles of his society and highlighting how Islamic views, beliefs, goals, practices and lifestyle are more sensible, accurate and beneficial for them. This starts a debate in the society. Many people are offended by the messenger’s constructive criticism. They respond with personal attacks, baseless accusations, and violence against the messenger. Even his excellence is subjected to hateful speech, behaviour and condemnation. This is exactly what happened to the Prophet, when Allaah commissioned him to serve as His Messenger.

Suddenly, the person who was called an embodiment of truth was called a liar for telling them that Allaah had appointed him as His Messenger. The most beloved of the Makkans became the most hated just for asking them not to worship idols and false gods. The heart-winning excellence of his personality became “magic” to be protected from. And, so on and so forth.

When the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) season came, the Makkans were worried that if some preventive measures were not taken, the Prophet would be able to win converts because of his sensible, rational teachings and because of the excellence of his personality and style. Therefore, some character-assassination teams were prepared who would go to the camps of the pilgrims and warn them against Muĥammad’s magic and to advise them as to how he should be completely avoided lest his magic spell works on any of them.

This actually worked in favour of the Prophet and his mission. He would not have been able to reach all those people with his message, regardless of how much he tried. He became known to many people from all over Arabia. Many people became curious and wanted to meet him and hear his side of the story. All he had to do was to share with them the truth instead of the falsehood propagated to them.

Such attacks and campaigns continued throughout his mission in Makkah. The most damaging were those launched by his own uncle Aboo Lahab when he would follow the Prophet during his visits to the pilgrims and would literally be throwing dust on him while yelling, “Do not listen to him, he is crazy/a liar”. He was more damaging because Arabs could not have imagined an uncle saying something about his own nephew unless it was valid.

The Prophet was, after all, a human being. He felt much hurt by such totally false attacks on him. But Allaah would console him and assure him “Did We not raise high your renown for you?” (Sharĥ 94:4) This was not only about what had just happened but also a prediction of the future. Although the disbelievers’ propaganda was negative, it was helping the mission spread throughout Arabia. For the future, it was a prediction that within a short period of time, he would be the most loved and adored throughout Arabia, and people would feel proud to declare, “I bear witness that Muĥammad is the Messenger of Allaah”. This did happen within two decades. It was also a prediction that billions of people throughout the world would be proudly making the same declaration with love and adoration, as it has been happening till now and will continue to happen till the Day of Judgment.

These hurtful campaigns continued even in Madeenah where he was the ruler of the state, in addition to being the Messenger of Allaah. But the citizens of his own state – the hypocrites and the Jews – would relentlessly create opportunities to spill their vile against him. When, due to the leniency and kindness of the Prophet, they became too aggressive and hurtful, Allaah SWT announced:

 “Allaah continually confers his blessings upon the Prophet and His angels also ask him to do so. O believers! You too wish blessing upon him lovingly and peace upon him abundantly. As for those who abuse Allaah and His Messenger, indeed, Allaah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment.” (Al-Aĥzab 33:56-57)

The points to note are that: Firstly, Muslims cannot be oblivious to the way their Prophet is treated. It would be a hypocritical behaviour that one claims to believe in and love the Prophet but does not feel hurt by the offensive and baseless attacks on his personality and by the manner with which the ignorant bigot(s) express their vile against him -- the most excellent and superb man of all humanity. It is not only evident from the context in which these verses appear, but also from Hadeeth such as: “No one can be a believer until the Prophet becomes more beloved to him than his parents, his children and the whole humanity”; and “The essence of Deen is having good wishes for Allaah, His Messenger, for the Muslim leadership and for the Muslim masses”.

Secondly, the Muslims cannot react aggressively or violently, taking the law in their own hands. They should counter the attacks on the Prophet by increasing their love and devotion for him and obedience to him; leaving disciplinary action against the perpetrators of the offense with Allaah and the Islamic state, as commanded to the state in verses 60-62 of the same Soorah.

The attacks on the personality of the Prophet have been going on since the beginning of his mission and continue to this day. We cannot ignore them. If we are true believers, react we must! But only in the Islamic way, the way of our beloved Prophet.

People must understand that burning flags and storming embassies is not the Islamic way. Be warned that those who kill innocent people are not friends of the Prophet, Islam, or Muslims!

Muslims also need to understand that even peaceful protest marches are not effective. They let out frustration and give a false sense of doing something. But at the end of the day, nothing is accomplished. Rather, the criminal perpetrators get more publicity, sell more books and gain more audience. 

The Prophetic and Islamic way is that:

  • We educate people on a regular basis by providing true, authentic and relevant information.
  • We utilize the opportunity provided by the negative propaganda and reach out to people to provide the true picture.
  • We emulate the model of the Prophet so that people notice the excellence of our behaviour and see the beauty of the Prophet’s work in our characters.
  • We increase our Salaah and salaam on the Prophet. The more they malign him, the more we pray for him.
  • We work on a long term strategy to gain power and influence so that we can bring the criminals to justice through proper legal and judicial means.

In view of the above, let us pledge that, in addition to adopting his model of excellence in our life:

  1. Each of us will devote time and resources to educate non-Muslims around us about the wonderful personality of the Prophet by personal chit chats as well as providing them with leaflets and short documentaries about the Prophet. One well-written introductory leaflet that we can use to introduce him is by Mr. Pasha called “We Must Know This Man – Muĥammad”. Some Islamophobes have announced the screening of this vile movie in Toronto. It will be a good opportunity to spread the truth if people can go to the venue of the movie and peacefully and amicably distribute valid material about the Prophet, so that people who watch the movie also have an opportunity to know the other side.
  2. Each of us will dedicate time and resources to make our community powerful and influential in our society by using the five prong strategy that I have been recommending. We must attain enough clout to be able to defend against the libelous and slanderous character assassination of the Prophet and hate-filled bigotry against Islam and Muslims, at least to the same level of protection as enjoyed by other communities in Canada.

 

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Two Opportunities to Improve the Political Landscape

The NDP is in the process of electing a leader to replace Jack Layton. The election will take place at their convention on March 24, 2012. The good thing is that every member can vote and be counted. Those who want to participate must become members by February 18. Their convention will be held in Toronto, making it easy for all GTA people to participate in person. However, people also have the option of voting online or by mail. There are eight candidates to choose from: Peggy Nash, Brian Topp, Paul Dewar, Romeo Saganash, Niki Ashton, Martin Singh, Thomas Mulcair and Nathan Cullen.

The Liberal Party will be electing their permanent leader in 2013, but the process and backroom manoeuvring has already started. Different hopefuls are feeling around, talking to people and testing the water to assess their chance of being elected. Soon, alliances will be formed, commitments made, candidacies announced and campaigns launched. The Liberal party provides even more opportunity for people to participate in choosing the right leader than the NDP. Even the non-member supporters will be able to express their opinion through voting.

To those who care about our country as to what type of Canada we will have in the future, and to those who want to see good leaders with inclusive vision and sensible views leading our country, you have two rare opportunities to do your part in making it happen that way. Get involved, become members or supporters, assess the candidates and stand up for the best of them. You can use the following criteria to evaluate the candidates and to select the best of the bunch. The best candidate to be the leader of the party of your choice is the one who: 

  1. Has a track record of public service with personal integrity and principled approach.
  2. Is blessed with communication skills, vision and personality that are fitting for a successful Prime Minister.
  3. Condemns Islamophobia and does not harbour bias against the Muslim community.
  4. Is committed to rights and freedoms of all citizens and residents, and does not harbour imbalanced feelings for, or against any segment of Canadian society.
  5. Stands for social justice.
  6. Opposes Canadian military involvement in other countries except as peace keepers.
  7. Understands the importance of having a balanced foreign policy towards all nations of the world based on principles of fairness and justice.
  8. Lacks negative baggage that may hamper popular acceptability among the general public.
  9. Is not a fanatic or missionary for any religion or ideology.

I would strongly urge everyone to become a member and get involved. Those who would like to do so in a coordinated fashion, feel free to contact me. 

 

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Ontario Elections 2011 - Here We Go Again

Effective communities participate in the democratic processes, proactively educating their compatriots about their issues and views and ensuring that they are understood on an ongoing basis. Thus, they are actively and significantly engaged in activities such as the following in all three major parties:

  1. Participating in the policy development process of political parties by volunteering on policy development committees at various organization levels;
  2. Running for political parties’ elected positions, at constituency, regional, provincial and national level;
  3. Taking part in electing the best leader of the party as and when there is an opportunity to do so;
  4. Getting involved in ensuring the best person is nominated for election in the local riding; and
  5. Putting apprentices to work in the MP offices.

There is a very little involvement of Muslims in these processes, except for number 4 in some ridings. The result is that parties adopt bad polices and elect bad leaders; but all we do is complain. That does not help us at all, except alienating us more from them and making us sound like habitual complainers.

Then, when elections come, most of the Muslims do not vote. Those who vote have difficulty deciding who to vote for. Usually the criterion then becomes: who is the least offensive. Everyone scurries around to “stop” a certain party from forming government. Unfortunately, this approach does not work in our favour and we fail every time.

I have been studying Canadian politics and serving the community in this respect since the mid 80’s. Election after election, I have seen our community deciding to “Hold your nose and vote Liberal” at both federal and provincial levels. It always happened because of some “anti-Muslim”, “anti-immigrant”, “racist” or “pro-Zionist” stance or attitude of the Conservative party. The result has been that the Liberals took us for a ride and did to us exactly what the Conservatives talked about, while the gulf between the mainstream Muslims and Conservatives increasingly widened every time. The current state of affairs provides clear evidence. This approach also deprived NDP of our support they deserved.

Unfortunately, Ontario Muslims are once again falling into the same trap. Although both the Liberals and the Conservative are competing neck to neck in the list of their negatives, many Muslims are once again preaching “Hold your nose and vote Liberal”.

We need to come out of this hole we have dug ourselves into and we need to avoid this trap.  The first step is to understand the following:

  • No party is inherently evil or inherently angelic. Every party has good policies and bad policies; and good people and bad people.
  • We are not going to change the perceptions, attitudes and views of the politicians by staying out of the process and protesting, but only by getting involved using methods such as those listed above.
  • Every party has something in their platform that appeals to some part of the Muslim population. They should join the parties for those common points of interest and work to improve whatever they find unacceptable.
  • Whether someone is politically involved or not, everyone one must vote. Even if they did not have the chance to do their homework, they still must vote using their best judgment on the basis of whatever they know.

I have presented a strong case in the past that it is absolutely not in the interest of our community to support any party or oppose any party collectively. Instead, we should develop guidelines and criteria as a community and publish them so that members of the community can judge the candidates in their own ridings and vote according to their evaluation. That is how effective communities act.

For a more detailed discussion, refer to The Responsibility of Voting as well as Guidelines for proper use of the voting franchise.

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Canadian Muslims and The Tenth Anniversary of a Tragic Event

On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, we feel that we, the innocent Muslims, and our religion Islam, continue to be the victims of attacks by those who have deceitfully, dishonestly and viciously fabricated falsehoods against Islam, taking the teachings of its holy texts out of context, and attributing their own crimes cunningly to Islam and Muslims. At the same time, many apologetic Muslims continue to apologize for a crime that we had nothing to do with. In addition, many of our simple minded compatriots expect us to apologize for and condemn every crime that somebody with a Muslim name, from more than one billion such people, commits anywhere in the world, while they feel no obligation to condemn and apologize for the crimes of the people of their own race and religion.

People should know that we Canadian Muslims have nothing to apologize for, we cannot take responsibility for the actions of any criminal element of any race or religion. Furthermore, we are proud of our Islamic tenets that teach us excellence in matters such as the following:

Verily, Allaah commands Justice[1], excellence[2], sharing with those close to you, and forbids indecency[3], evil[4] and transgressing limits[5].He admonishes you so that you heed the advice (16:90).

O believers, be determined practitioners of Qist (equality, balance and justice) as witnesses for Allaah's sake, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or near relatives; whether it concerns rich or poor, Allaah is more considerate of both of them. Therefore do not follow a passion or desire lest you lose the balance. And if you distort it or disregard it, then surely Allaah is well-aware of what you do (4:135).

Cooperate with each other in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression (5:2).

O believers, persistently stand up for Allaah as witnesses for justice and balance, and do not let the hatred of any people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is more congruent with God consciousness. Maintain consciousness of Allaah; Allaah is well aware of what you do. (5:8).

Had Allaah willed, He would have made all of you the same people, but He made you different to test you in what He has given you, so compete in outdoing others in good actions. (5:48).

Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear signs, and sent down with them the Book and the balance so that people may conduct themselves according to Qist (equality, balance and justice) (57:25).

I would also like to ask our Prime Minister which of these values he is frightened of.

 



[1] Fairness, justice, balance, equity.

[2] Excellence in servitude to Allaah, benevolence towards people, graciousness in dealings.

[3]Lewdness, indecency, licentiousness, immorality.

[4] Bad actions, undesirable activities, unacceptable behaviour.

[5] Rebellion, transgressing limits, exploiting or violating others’ rights, abuse of authority or freedom.

 

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Muslims and the 2011 Federal Election

The federal elections are set for May 2, 2011. Campaigns are in full swing. Muslims’ reaction to elections and political campaigns vary significantly. Some participate for personal reasons, others for community considerations, and many others do not participate at all.

What is the proper attitude in this respect and what is not? To help Muslims answer this question, the following points are presented for your reflection:

  1. Every eligible Muslim must vote in elections, and should consider it as a religious duty because:
    1. It is a duty of a Muslim to ensure that they are governed by the best people available;
    2. The right to vote is a trust which must be given to whom it belongs;
    3. Voting is giving witness and witness must be given justly, not withheld.
    4. If it is done with the right intentions and for the right reasons, it will be rewarded as a good deed.
  2. Those who do not cast their votes are guilty of committing a sinful act because:
    1. By not voting, a person shirks his responsibility of ensuring the best available people govern the country.
    2. Not voting is, in fact, voting for the worst candidate. When the best candidate is not supported by your vote, the worst candidate’s chances to win increase. In that way, “not voting” effectively becomes: judging people wrongly, giving trust to the undeserving; and giving false witness; which are all sins and thus strongly prohibited.
    3. In addition, not voting is concealing one’s witness, which is a grave sin in Islam.
  3. Muslims must vote on the basis of each candidate’s personal excellence as a human being, his/her ethics and integrity, concern for justice, contribution to community and track record of service to humanity.  Selecting candidates on the basis of personal merits – and disregarding any other considerations such as party affiliation, ethnic considerations, friendships, personal agendas, etc.— will ensure that only the most excellent of the available candidates on a riding-by-riding basis make-up the elected parliament.  This is the only way of ensuring that we do justice to our responsibility to give witness and to minimize the chance that an Islamophobe or an otherwise inappropriate person gets our vote.

  4. Who to vote for or support? If a person has a clear and consistent track record of standing up for the issues that are important to us, we must support that person. On the other hand, if a person has shown clear prejudice against our community, either openly or behind closed doors, we must oppose that person and do our best to see him or her lose.

    For all other cases, we must determine the best candidate to support by evaluating all candidates in a riding in a systematic manner, using the following criteria:
    1. Personal credibility, ethics and integrity
    2. Stand on pertinent issues and priorities (see point 5)
    3. Qualifications (including education, knowledge of the political system, experience in parliamentary procedures) and skills (including communication skills in official Canadian languages)
    4. Attitude towards the Muslim community and awareness of its needs
    5. Past record of community involvement, volunteerism and activism
    6. If two candidates are equal or very close to each other in the above five points, then the alignment of party policies to our issues and the attitude of the leader of the party towards the Muslim community should be taken into account.
  5. Issues of Importance
    First of all, we should support only those non-Muslim candidates who are willing to present and support a private members’ bill that will outlaw any association of Islam to terrorism. The bill should declare it a hate crime for any person or organization to link the religion of Islam to terrorism by written, spoken or published word in print or on electronic media. Secondly, we must take a balanced approach by basing the evaluation on some key issues (about 5 to 7 issues including the aforementioned private bill which should have the highest weight), instead of being carried away by a single issue. The following are examples of other important issues against which we should evaluate all candidates (for details refer to “Questions for the 2011 Federal Election Candidates”):
    1. Discrimination against Muslims in matters of immigration and visitor visas and insufficiency of consular staff in the Muslim countries to handle case loads.
    2. Huge increase in military spending that could be channelled to health and social programs.
    3. Strategy and time frame for deficit reduction
    4. Role of Canada in the world arena such as peace keeping vs. warmongering.
    5. Withdrawing completely and immediately from current military missions.
    6. Use of immigrant population to promote trade with other countries and reducing dependence on the USA.
    7. Attitude towards racial profiling of Muslims and misuse of antiterrorism and security certificate legislations.
    8. Respect of basic rights of Muslims as opposed to pressuring them to surrender through “reasonable” accommodation pressure.
    9. Strengthening of human rights legislation and human rights tribunal as compared to weakening them or abolishing them.
    10. Balance in Canadian foreign policy.
    11. Promoting multiculturalism versus assimilation.
    12. Reform of pensions (CPP) and old age security (OAS).
    13. Stance on abolition of court challenges program that helped people use courts to obtain their rights under the Charter.
    14. Environment issues and issue of subsidies to oil companies who pollute environment.

In conclusion, we strongly urge all Muslims to fulfil their civic as well as religious duty by actively participating in the Federal elections and by exercising their right to vote. They must be the well-informed voters who make their decisions rationally for the betterment of the community and the Canadian society as a whole.

 

 

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