The Counter Crusade

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Example of the Prophet

*This post keeps mysteriously disappearing after I post it. I guess someone finds it threatening or something.*

It seems European islamophobia is ablaze again, with Europeans insisting on publishing images of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his turban or horns coming out of his head. But do they really attack Islam and its blessed Prophet because there is anything to attack, or because they happen to hate Muslims out of ignorance and/or political reasons? Let's compare an episode from the Prophet's life and the way he responded to it, with a similar incident that happened to a Prophet in the Bible.

1. The Worst Day of the Prophet Muhammad's Life:

The Prophet's wife Aisha once asked him if he had ever encountered any experience more trying than the Battle of Uhud. The Prophet told her that the hardest treatment he ever experienced was the day he was chased out of Ta'if.[1]

"After the death of [the Prophet's wife] Hadrat Khadijah and [his protecting uncle] Abu Talib, the disbelievers of Makkah became even bolder against the Holy Prophet. They started treating him even more harshly. So much so that it became difficult for him to step out of his house. Of these days Ibn Hisham has related the incident that a Quraish scoundrel one day threw dust at him openly in the street.

At last, the Holy Prophet left for Ta'if with the intention that he should invite the Bani Thaqif to Islam, for even if they did not accept Islam, they might at least be persuaded to allow him to work for his mission peacefully. He did not have the facility of any conveyance at that time, and traveled all the way to Ta'if on foot... He stayed at Ta'if for a few days, and approached each of the chiefs and nobles of the Bani Thaqif and talked to him about his mission. But not only they refused to listen to him, but plainly gave him the notice that he should leave their city, for they feared that his preaching might "spoil" their younger generation. Thus, he was compelled to leave Ta'if. When he was leaving the city, the chiefs of Thaqif set their slaves and scoundrels behind him, who went on crying at him, abusing him and pelting him with stones for a long way from either side of the road till he became broken down with wounds and his shoes were filled with blood. Wearied and exhausted he took shelter in the shade of the wall of a garden outside Ta'if, and prayed:

"O God, to Thee I complain of my weakness, little resource, and lowliness before men. O Most Merciful, Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my Lord. To whom wilt Thou entrust me? To one afar who will ill-treat me? Or to an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me? If Thou art not angry with me I care not. Thy favor is more wide for me. I take refuge in the light of Thy countenance by which the darkness is illumined, and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest Thy anger descend upon me or Thy wrath light upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied until Thou art well pleased. There is no power and no might save in Thee."[2]

Grieved and heart broken when he returned and reached near Qarn al-Manazil, he felt as though the sky was overcast by clouds. He looked up and saw Gabriel in front of him, who called out:"Allah has heard the way your people have responded. He has, therefore, sent this angel incharge of the mountains. You may command him as you please." Then the angel of the mountains greeted him and submitted :"If you like I would overturn the mountains from either side upon these people." The Holy Prophet replied : "No, but I expect that Allah will create from their seed those who will worship none but Allah, the One."[3]

The Prophet was not sent "but as a mercy to the worlds. (Qur'an 21: 107)

2. A similar but far milder experience happened to the Prophet Elisha, according to the Bible. Let's see how his response was, compared to that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:23-25 NIV)

According to Young's Literal Translation, the bears mauled and killed 42 "little youths", for making fun of Elisha; and according to the King James Version, they were "little children"!

Now Elisha, peace be upon him, is also considered a Prophet in Islam. However the Qur'an does not mention such a horrifying story as that in the Bible, a story that is not accepted by Muslims. Here's all that the Qur'an says about him:

"And Isma'il and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot: and to all We gave favour above the nations...and We chose them and guided them into the right way." (Qur'an 6: 86-87)

"And make mention of Ishmael and Elisha and Dhu'l-Kifl. All are of the chosen." (Qur'an 38: 48)

1. Sahih Bukhari
2. Ibn Hisham: A. Guillaume's Translation, p. 193. I substituted some words for the words used in Wustenfeld's translation which are sometimes clearer, as quoted in Martin Lings' "Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources."
3. (Bukhari, Dhikr al Mala'ikah; Muslim: Kitab al-Maghazi; Nasa'i :Al-Bauth).


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