I spoke to the predominantly Muslim audience gathered to sing hymns in praise of the prophet, a mercy to mankind. It is a South Asian Tradition, however, not all Muslims celebrate Prophet’s birthday differentiating between respect for him and making him divine. Prophet had said, only God is worthy of all worship. As a Muslim I know deep down no Muslim worships the Prophet, but expressess his or her appreciation in a vareity of ways. Personally I accept the diversity, it is a genuine admiration for a man who showed how to live in peace and tranquility with one self and with others.
I am simply copying the bullet points from my power point, but the explanations will come in the form of video later.
How did this program “Muhammad the peace maker” come about?
Every Year across America, the peace communities celebrate the season of peace from Jan 30 through April 4, a period of two months. These two dates are sandwiched by the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King
As Muslims we have not reached out to the communities and shared about Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) mission, who is Mercy and a blessing to mankind, meaning his systems, and his teachings if followed, could bring the ideal peace and justice to the world.
So, I asked the peace organizations that I wanted to present the role of Prophet Muhammad in creating cohesive societies, they agreed.
The house was packed and a majority of them had heard negative things about the prophet. It’s amazing how we human beings fall for falsities about others, Muslims do it, Hindus do it, Sikhs do it, and Jews do it… and so do the Christians and other. I am glad the people had a chance to learn about the prophet, especially when those cartoons were floating around.
Now, I have taken this up to speak about the Prophet, the peace maker in a series of talks on Peace makers.
This program was designed from a very generic point of view. Nothing I will say would be new, However, It will offer a new dimension that some of you (Muslims) may find it refreshing…
Who is a peace maker? Would you agree it is the one who mitigates conflicts and nurtures good will and brings about a sustainable balance to the society? Does that make sense?
What is peace? Peace can be defined as Justice, and Justice gives birth to peace; when there is justice, and there is a sense of security among people.
What do the expressions “coming home to”, “feels like home”… mean to you? It is like a child in a mothers lap, feeling safe and secure and knowing that if he or she is hungry and cry, justice will be served, he will be wiped or she will be fed. At home, you are at peace when you drop all your guards, and feel secure and safe.
When you are home with your best friend, you do not choose your words when you talk with him or her, you speak your heart, there is comfort, there is home in it, it is like being in mothers safe and secure lap. That’s what a home means, being yourselves and at ease.
The Ideal Society per Prophet Muhammad was a society like a mothers lap for a child.
I have not verified this particular Hadith (Saying), where the prophet says, the height of civility in an ideal society is where a woman or a child can walk any where any time without any fear. He is claimed to have said that if a woman can walk from Madina to Damascus without any fear, that is the ideal society, where every one respects and honors God and his words of creating a Jannah (kingdom of heaven) on the Earth. That is respecting each ones God given space.
The golden rule is same, exactly same in every religion – do unto others as you would want others to do to you. Treat others as you wanted to be treated.
Those who get their own religious message are good religious people, and those who don’t, tend to be on the fringe and harbor ill-will towards others.
Allah o taala – the God almighty says in Quraan, “to every nation, every community and every tribe, I have sent a messenger, a prophet or a peace maker”.
God loves his creation, as the “Shaer (poet)” likes his “sama-een (listeners)” and wants to render the best Shaeri” for them. Allah cares about his creation and sends a peace maker to every nook and corner – no one is deprived of his love.
The message is the same in all Religions, Avatar Krishna says, whenever and where ever there is Adharma (social disorder), I will emerge from among you and restore the righteousness, the dharma back. It is almost like the laws of nature, the physical laws seeking balance, every piece of matter seeks its own balance, it’s built into it, if it fails, and it collapses. Indeed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made it clear that he did not bring a new religion, he just brought the same message that 124,000 other messengers had brought, it was comprehensive and inclusive message.
Look at all the peace makers of the world; they all came to fix the societies. Moses, Buddha, Zarathustra, Mahavira, Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah… and all the peace makers and they did fix their respective societies. Their work is marked by utter un-selfishness, all their work was geared towards creating a functioning society.
Muhammad the peace maker:
Now let’s talk about a few things that Prophet Muhammad set the examples for, there are over 15 items, but respecting the time, I will keep to a few of them.
Darood please.. Allahumma soli ala, syedina shafiana o maulana muhammadin o barik o sallim.
MODELS OF PEACE – AMIN
The first model he created for the world to emulate was the title and honor he received from his community – THE AMIN, the trust worthy, the truth seeker and the one whose integrity and honesty was beyond question. Mind you, he was called AMIN, not by Muslims but others. He was called Amin much before he set out on his mission to work on building the concept of Tauheed, the oneness of humanity, oneness of creation, oneness of God where every one feels home; being in the lap of the mother, safe, worriless, anxiety-less, safe and secure. Hinduism has a beautiful word for it Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the whole world is one family, indeed every religion has the idea of oneness built in to it.
Heck our pledge of allegiance is fashioned that way,one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Whether they are Muslims, Christians or Hindus, or Americans, Chinese or Arab, the fulfilment of that vision is gradually realized and never 100% , less than 1% of any group does not get that message.
Here are fifteen key ideas, as I have said earlier, every one of you know every one of the following stories, all I am asking you to look at it afresh and the deeper dimension embedded into these in creating that one family and mothers lap for the humanity.
It is essentially expanding and sharing with you what Rahmatul Aalameen means in terms of peace and tranquility to humans.
• Aswad stone story – a model of peace to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill
• Taif Example – good will is sustainable over revenge against those who pelted stone at him. Did he not turn the other Cheek? He knew violence begets violence and goodwill nurtures peace.
• The Old lady throwing trash, it is the patience and genuine caring without having an ill-will towards the one who has the ill-will towards you. Can you apply this in your daily life?
• Prophet walks up to a Jewish procession and kisses their Torah to show respect and consciously creating values of inclusiveness and co-existence.
• What is a Good deed, Quraan 49:13 and Prophet’s example of planting a seed or sapling that will benefit others?
• Peace Treaty signature – Muhammad Bin Abdullah instead of Muhammad Rasool Allah – Prophet gave an example of learning to respect the otherness of other, one of the greatest examples that can be applied in peace making between Israel and Palestine of any situation. Can you think of how valuable this is in peace negotiations?
• Muhammad (pbuh) was the 2nd Human in history who carried an interfaith dialogue; the other was Cyrus, the Zoroastrian king. I will cut to the point… He offered Najran Christian scholars to pray at his mosque when the time for prayer came. Can you imagine this? He did not believe what they believed, he did not believe Jesus was son of God, but yet he offered them to pray at his mosque. What does it tell you? Showing respect for others belief. I have written an explanation of Sura Kafirun that you may want to visit. http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html
• Madinah charter, one of the first pluralist documents offering freedom to practice ones faith – the other one was by Cyrus. The prophet was the king, civic and religious leader, he did not have to offer freedom to any one. But yet he chose to initiate the charter offering Jews, Christians and others their freedom to practice their religion. It’s a lesson for Muslim majority nations to follow, if at all they follow their own prophet.
• Treat no prophet above the other, it is one of the most powerful verses in Quraan, it is to prevent Muslims from believing that their prophet is superior and bred arrogance in them. The moment one feels superior to the other, conflict takes root. One is trying to look down and the other is fighting. That is the bravest thing to say and that is the right thing to say, religion is all about humility and not arrogance. As I said earlier, you knew the story and here is a dimension that some of you may have missed.
· Honoring Bilal a superior place in paradise to remove the prejudicial barriers that existed then; how many of your are guilty of it? Yet some claim they are Aashiq-e-Rasool, (fans of the prophet, without following his teachings). There is no room for prejudice in Islam an it is prejudice that destroys the social fabric of the society.
• Men and women are each others garments?
Equal rights for women…
• inculcating the values of equality through the prayers, fasting etc
• establishing individual responsibility for one’s behavior
• emphasis on free will/ arrogance spirituality
Next time around, I will give a full presentation and go in detail on all the points and perhaps in Urdu.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer. He runs the Foundation for Pluralism championing the idea of co-existence through respecting and accepting the otherness of other and is committed to nurturing the pluralistic ideals embedded in Islam through the World Muslim Congress.
Mike is available to speak on Pluralism, Islam, Civil Societies, and Peace & Justice at your place of worship, school, work place, seminars or conferences. He is a media commentator offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
Mike’s work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.MikeGhouse.net/