MUHAMMAD (S): MY PROPHET
The Faithful have always scrutinized the past looking for spiritual lessons from great people that speak directly to the contemporary conditions of their own lives. Canadian Muslims are not different from others in this regard.
More than ever, we are in need of such inspiration today; more than ever we need to tell these narratives of the past…or at least some of them.
Now, there are people who believe that we should study history only to stay safe and secure, doing only what won’t get us into trouble. They will often quote Sir Winston Churchill in saying that, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
But I say that some parts of our history deserve to be both preserved and repeated; you should not throw away all of history because some of it does not bear revisiting.
In the context of the man about whom I will speak today, there is a great deal of justification to state the opposite of this rather pessimistic judgement against history.
In speaking about the Prophet Muhammad we might well say, that history should indeed be studied so that we may be blessed to repeat at least selective parts of it.
Do not think that I am arguing for intellectual escapism or that I’m suggesting to Muslims or anyone else that we live in parts of the past that make us feel good.
On the contrary, Muslims do not have to walk in their own protective shadows (using German philosopher Gadamer’s approach to an excessive dependence on history).
Instead, I see selective repetition as a means of living with the past rather than living in it.
In this vein of enlightened repetition, I want to share with all of you the narrative about the very human and social prophet – Muhammad (S) – the Messenger of God who was sent to be a source of goodness and compassion in the world.
I want to tell you my story, by myself, as I have come to understand and believe it.
First of all Muhammad’s (S) story is simple but timeless – it has a place not only in history but beyond it!
“My” Prophet is humble and generous, kind and forgiving, pragmatic and forward-looking; he is an optimist (mutafa’il) not a pessimist (mutasha’im), a compassionate and loving personality.
Muhammad (S) represents the kind of role model one can only wish for at a time when the world seems filled with so many illusive “role-models” who compete for our acknowledgment and admiration.
But Muhammad is the “real thing” – a genuine Prophet of Peace! His life was a total “jihad of peace” and “jihad for peace.”
He worked literally by the sweat of his brow to bring peace and justice to the war-torn Arabia of his time.
To this noble purpose his life was focused on a tireless campaign against ignorance, greed, arrogance and injustice. His Message was powerful!
It emerged in a troubled time as being clear and substantial, immediate, yet eternal.
Muhammad’s message was a call for massive moral revolution – like giving a moral vaccination to an entire society that was suffering from the infection of evil and despair.
The Prophet’s guidance revealed a divine constitution that cares about ALL of creation.
So great were its implications that they redefined body, mind, law, government – the very essence of reality for all humanity…
His message was holystic and wholistic, embracing everything in our personal and collective realms of being.
My personal narrative about Muhammad (S) and why he succeeded then with small numbers of followers and insignificant material resources is an honest reflection about the unique human teacher and prophet of Islam who is so greatly loved by some and so tragically misunderstood by others.
It’s about a man who served humanity diligently – so much so that when he was once urged to curse his opponents, said: “I was not sent to curse others. I was sent as a mercy to ALL.”
He was the man of true ethical correctness – not the insipid political correctness that has become today’s norm.
No; my Muhammad (S) was a model of service – a genuine servant/leader and a timeless inspiration to humanity. A Superbly Social & Human Prophet (S)!