There are currently about 1.5 billion Muslims who consider Muhammad as the reliable messenger of God and link to divinity. After the bombing of twin towers, there have been a lot of negative publications about Prophet Muhammad. They depict Muhammad is a polygamist who started a religion that does not value women, and it embraces violence.
He has been likened to Osama bin Laden. In fact, one of his portraits shows that he has hidden a bomb under his turban. A lot of violence has been linked with Islam leaving the non-Muslim in search of information about this religion. Dr. Safi a professor of Islamic studies recognizes that Prophet Muhammad is the center of all the confusion. He has written this book to aid the Muslim and non-Muslim understand his impact on Muslim religion.
This essay will support the thesis that, Islam is about dignity and obedience to God, not oppression of women, extremism or terrorism. Mohammad was born at a time when communities worshipped idols rather than God. Most of their common practices revolved around superstition.
Muhammad was sent by God to teach the people his will. The reason why people needed to obey God is to have an everlasting life in paradise. His ultimate message to mankind was that, there exists a supreme being with great authority and immense power. The author emphasizes the necessity of obeying and worshiping God, when he says “After birth we envision God to be improved edition of ourselves, then the provider of comfort and all that is absent in our lives. Later we see him as a sovereign being, afterwards we discover that God is Love and magnificent” (174). In addition to that, he says, “One needs to know God to understand life”(76).
This emphasizes that humans cannot realize their purpose on earth, unless they seek God. “Regarding women, Muhammad said that of all the precious things in the world, there is non that is precious as a righteous woman” (205). Muhammad did not regard women any less than men. This is shown when he said that if a woman obeyed God’s law, such as praying five times a day and fasting in the month of Ramadan, she can choose to enter heaven, in whichever door she likes. These are the same requirements a man needs to fulfill in order to get to heaven.
He also urges men to protect women, because if they do so, they would end up in heaven with Muhammad. Some of the Muslims have been associated with acts of terror. They claim that Muhammad teaches violence and spread of terror.
During Mohammad’s lifetime, he was exiled and mocked. Even one of his neighbors used to throw rubbish on him every day in the morning. Over and over again he forgave his persecutors, even when he had the opportunity to revenge, for example, when Mecca was conquered. The relationship between Muhammad and the neighbor who used to throw rubbish at him changed for the better, after realizing the prophet’s kindness and concern. When she failed to throw rubbish on Mohammad one day, the prophet went up to see if everything was alright.
The woman was touched by Muhammad’s care and, she became one of his followers. “This clearly demonstrates that Mohammad had no hatred for his enemies instead; he showed them love and kindness” (207). Some Muslims associate themselves with Mohammad through rage rather than sympathy.
Speaking more on war, Safi quotes the Quran saying, “Do not attack those who propose to fight you and do not be violent, for God hates aggressors. Quran 2:190” (27). Regarding Muhammad’s polygamy marriages, there are certain aspects that people should know. During those days, it was alright for the Semitic and Arabs to practice polygamy. It was a normal practice, particularly among the leaders and dignified men. David, Solomon, and Abraham of the biblical times also practiced polygamy. On the peak of his life, Muhammad was married to Khadija only. After she died, that is when Muhammad married many wives.
“Social and political motives to form alliances were the reason he married some women” (143). To the non-Muslim, Muhammad considered all human beings as God’s children. One of Muhammad’s religious practices was connecting social life with internal meditation. One of the core messages of Muhammad was that no one is more significant than the other. He quotes the words of the prophet from the Quran 2:177, “Food for a single person satisfies two people, and food for two people satisfies four people, and food for four people satisfies eight people” (197). In his book, Safi tells the non-Muslim people that Muhammad was sent by God for the sake of humanity.
He says, “Muhammad stands for the potential in humans because he embraces what it means to be a perfect human” (174). Safi says that Quran does not accommodate other religions “…..
but simply conveys the idea of one God and one leadership spread by many messengers to a multitude of people” (264). Although Muslim’s believes are different from other religions, they consider everybody in this world to be equal in God’s eyes. The author does not agree with Muslims who go out causing terror in the name of Muhammad. He says “If a Muslims deserves to be called a ‘Muhammad’s person, then it is up to a Muslims to embrace the qualities of compassion and fairness that Muhammad had. If ‘Muslim’ is not to be merely a past description or development sign but a holy sign of hopeful to the morals of Muhammad, then it is critical to live by the divine example’ that Muhammad placed (Qur’an 33:21)” (267). It is such a pity how bad the extremist Muslim make other law abiding Muslims look. Lastly Safi emphasizes on direct obedience, admiration of beauty, hospitality to strangers, high esteem of life, modest life, family and worship of Allah.
Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters. New York: HarperOne, 2009. Print.