Mon 20 May 2013
My friend Omid Safi has created a provocative blog entitled What Would Muhammad do? Today I would like to ratchet up the commentary game to an approach which may, at first glance, seem sacrilegious. Given that the Lebanese “Party of God” (Hezbollah) is now known to be sending its fighters to support the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad, it is time to ask “What Would Allah do?” As much as I admire the spiritual sentiment of the crucified mystic al-Hallaj, I am not advocating oneness with the Supreme Being. But if I were to try and imagine what Allah would say about the current trials besetting his umma, I think I might begin by insisting that those who spread messages of hate and turn jihad into an excuse for political gain stop using my name. The Shi’a at least had the common decency to call themselves shi’at Ali, rather than presume from the start that they exclusively spoke for me. If these partisans of the hundreds of sects that have evolved since the Prophet Muhammad received the Quran want to hear me, they should stop selecting isolated verses from my message for their own agendas. Submission to Allah is the message of Islam, not submission to any party claiming to be Allah’s party.
Muslims should remember the history not only of their faith, but also the religions founded by other of my prophets. Jews and Christians are not infidels; their lives are as precious to Allah as those of Muslims. Muhammad was sent as the “seal” of the prophets, not to brag that he was superior to my other prophets. Each prophet was sent for a specific purpose, to guide people at different times in history. Muhammad received the Quran not so everyone after that could stop time and live as though it was still 7th century Mecca and Medina. Look at his life and you will see that he was a mediator, who preached salam and knew full well that the greater jihad took place within the individual. Jews and Christians heard from their prophets that humans are not divine, not perfect, and easily seduced to go astray. But Moses gave commandments to run society, Jesus showed the power of love to conquer hatred and Muhammad was a living example of how to live, but not an icon to follow blindly because of the recorded faulty memories of his companions.
I would like to know what the Hezbollah fighters think they are doing for me by killing fellow Muslims who have been under the rule of a dictator whose prayers in the mosque can only fall on my deaf ears. Tell me this, Hassan Nasrallah: How many innocent women and children did Muhammad kill? When did Muhammad direct his followers to kill fellow Muslims because of the way they prayed or for having a different interpretation of the Quran? Why is it more important for you to send young men to die fighting for a vicious dictator rather than to live the kind of life to show others the beauty of Islam? When did you stop believing that paradise is a reward for the good you do on this earth and not the hell you create for others?
If you are waiting for a miracle to help you, eternity waits for you. When Abraha attacked the holy city of Mecca with his elephants, I sent birds with stones to drive him away. Abd al-Muttalib, Muhammad’s grandfather and a righteous man, had the faith to believe I would provide. He did not go out and make an alliance with some pagan group. I have stopped doing these kinds of miracles. If you do not know that the Quran is the greatest miracle of all, then you are really lost in your own self-importance. If you think that the Quran, the Torah or the Gospels is a license to kill, you have not understood the message.
For all who use my name to kill the “infidel,” all you have to do is remember that hellfire awaits them and you. If you repeat the words al-rahman and al-rahim along with my name and do not live as though they really define the nature of Allah, you are only submitting to your own desires. If I were to give an update to the Quran, here is what I would say: Allah does not belong to any hizb, but can only be found in a person’s heart.
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