Quite recently, terrorists attacked the office of a French magazine company called Charlie Hebdo. These people justified their actions by addressing the magazine’s mockery of the Prophet Muhammad sal allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Due to this reason, these terrorists were labeled “Muslim extremists” by the western world along with other parts of the world and brought Islam’s reputation to an all time low, as if it wasn’t already low enough. Once again, Islam was completely misrepresented and because of this, Muslims around the world are suffering even more. However, those who blame the religion for these attacks clearly require knowledge and understanding of the religion.
Muslims who have studied the life of Prophet Muhammad sal allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam understand that although his character manifested many beautiful qualities, forgiveness and patience were two that he showed often, even in the most troubling situations. People mocked him and gave him all sorts of heartbreaking names and labels, but what was his answer? To forgive and to be patient. He never used foul language and showed respect and love even to people that hated and disrespected him; that was the beauty of Prophet Muhammad sal allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He attracted followers because of the kind of person he was.
Like many other Muslims, I have felt hurt and angry at how many people have assumed that Islam must have justified these actions. In an environment like ours, which encourages free speech, we must understand how to properly defend our religion. For that we need to be kind, patient and open to criticism because Islam has a perfect answer to all questions if we truly study our religion. Islam also encourages people to bring forth any disagreements and problems they may have with the religion. So, Muslims should look at this situation as an opportunity to share the beauty of Islam with others. We must completely separate Islam from these terrorists and inform people how Prophet Muhammad sal allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself reacted to insults, many even more distasteful and hurtful than this. By being kind, patient and conveying Islam’s peaceful response to this discriminating cartoon, we can display an example of what a Muslim really is. May Allah protect and forgive us. Ameen.