It is a disgrace to the name of the Qur'an, which itself means Reading or Something To Read. A book the very first of whose revelation was Iqra' or Read.
And it is a disgrace to the name of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, who called himself a teacher and an educator. As a Hadith says: Innamaa bu'ith-tu mu'alliman. Paraphrase: I am only a teacher.
An "Education Prophet,"
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam
A prophet whom his ancestors Abraham and Ishmael, Allah bless them both, characterized as an education-prophet: Yu'allimuhum.
A prophet whom Allah himself called an education-prophet: Yu'allimuhum.
Paraphrase of Yu'allimuhum? He teaches them. He educates them. He is their teacher and educator.
So, what is the use of having any or all of these things if Muslims, as a whole, as an Ummat, end up, after 1400 years, among the least educated of the world's people? And that dismal and sad fact seems to bother no one?
The world knows this fact about Muslims: that they are at the bottom of the education barrel. It is only the Muslims who have their heads buried in the sand and it is they who seek refuge in all kinds of excuses from this grim and stark reality.
But Allah's decree is clear that it is this reality - education - that will decide the fate of nations in this world, including the Muslim nation.
Gold Before, Gold After
The world also can see the kind of human material that most Muslims have turned out to be - in terms of sheer human excellence and quality - beyond Namaaz and Rozah, beyond Hajj and beyond Zakat, which most Muslims don't pay anyway.
Annasu kal ma'adin, said the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Khairukum fil jaahiliyyah, khairukum fil Islam. Paraphrase: People are like metals. Gold is gold, whether it is before Islam or after Islam.
Sadly, there isn't a great deal of gold in Muslim human quality and character and skill and knowledge levels these days, is there?
And what is more heartbreaking is that no one cares, and it is not even a priority item on most people's long list of Muslim agendas.
You Can't Force an Apology
I am not saying demanding an apology will not have a deterrent effect for the future. But to pressure someone into making an apology is almost like compelling them to accept your faith or "religion" by force.
And in all these matters, the Qur'an's position is quite clear: "Absolutely no compulsion in matters of Deen."
What may be quite appropriate, however, is to take this opportunity to address the substantive issues raised by the Emperor and then echoed by the Pope at a time when Muslims all over the world are living under great pressure, anguish and stress, both physical and mental, caused by events unleashed, for the large part, by Christians - followers of the Pope's religion directly, as in the case of Catholics, or indirectly, as in the case of Protestants.
And let us do that now.
Issues in the Pope's Echoing
of the Emperor's Views
There are three issues in the Pope's echoing of the Emperor's views on Islam, Muslims and the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
- First, the claim that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought nothing new that was not evil and inhumane.
- Second, the assertion that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, told his followers to go forth and spread his message by force.
- Third, the Prophet's, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, teachings fail the test of reason whereas the teachings of the Pope and the ways of the Emperor pass that test with flying colors - thanks largely to the Greek thought which the Christians embraced and the Muslims rejected.
On merit, all these claims are wrong and false. Whether or not they are malicious, it is up to everyone to make up their own mind.
Now let us take each one of these three issues individually and examine them carefully. First, let us look at theory as it pertains to each one of these three issues. Then, let us look at practice with regard to each one of them.
By theory I mean words, statements and professions and by practice I mean actual actions.
But before we do that, let us refresh our memories about some of the most basic and elementary information that we all should have known about the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to begin with.
Only Man in Human History
The world does not know this fact about the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, but it should have known it. The world does not know that he is the only man in human history that either preached or practiced a perfect system.
If you want, you can call it a complete, comprehensive and self-sustaining "religious," socio-political and economic system.
He not only preached it, he also practiced it - every bit of it.
No other human being came anywhere close to doing it, or even attempting anything like it, in the entire history of humanity on this earth. This is a historic fact - and not a matter of "faith" or conjecture - which anyone can verify.
The World Should Have Known
The world should have known that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is the only man in all of human history to have ever given the world the following:
- A full and self-sustaining system of thought on all aspects of human life, both individual and collective: from "religion" to politics and from economics and military affairs to law, jurisprudence, human rights and international relations.
- A complete and structured set of personal beliefs and practices for every man as well as woman.
- A comprehensive guide to human behavior of all kinds at all levels for individuals as well as groups and societies and humanity as a whole.