Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and I

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As a kid I learned things about him and did not relate with him at all,
he was too divine and remote for me. All that changed when I read the
book “Muhammad” by Karen Armstrong. She narrates his life from a
non-religious point of view, as a civic leader of the society, a
dimension that I appreciated it very much. Karen Armstrong’s book is one
of the five reasons I chose to become a Muslim after a lapse of nearly
three decades. He was a man that I can relate with, making decisions
that create trust, mutual respect and a sense of fairness among his
people at that time. That was indeed the role of every prophet and
peacemaker of the time. Mike Ghouse

How I Connect With Prophet Muhammad
Published by Huffington Post
On 01/25/2013 9:48 pm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/how-i-connect-with-prophet-muhammad_b_2547782.html
 
 

How do
I relate with the prophet? I don’t wear clothes like him, eat like him
or live like him. But when it comes to respecting fellow beings,
nurturing goodwill, mitigating conflicts, forgiving others and building
cohesive societies, I can relate.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was
born on 12th day of Rabi’ al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic
calendar, and the year was 571 A.D. The birth celebrations will continue
through this week, and if you wish to greet a Muslim, you can say,
Milaad (birth) Greetings, Happy Maulood-an-Nabi, Maulood-an-Nabi
Mubarak, happy Eid Milaad and Milaad’s blessings to you.

First
thing first, he took the larger view of the society and became a model
of what it takes to be an exemplary citizen. The first requirement of
any civil society is to trust each other in living their daily life
safely and without fear of the other. He earned the trust of the society
for being truthful, honest in his dealings, trustworthy and just. The
Jews, Christians, pagans and others called him Amin, the trust worthy.
That was indeed the first foundational Sunnah (prophet’s example).

Wherever
he saw conflicts between people, he found a way to mitigate and nurture
goodwill amongst them. Indeed, he was committed to building a cohesive
society, where no one feared the other, and he continuously built upon
creating balance and harmony in the society. Blessed are the
peacemakers, said Jesus! Indeed, Prophet Muhammad is my mentor.

Muslims
celebrate his birthday in a variety of ways, including cooking the
simplest food as an expression of humility. They sing the likes of
Christmas carols, called Milaad, Nasheed, even Milaad Carols and other
names. I have found it peaceful to think about his work and reflect on
how I could relate with him, the ultimate peacemaker.

Do I
forgive often? Do I stand up for the rights of others? Am I a blessing
to fellow humans? Do others feel secure and safe around me? Today, I
have concluded my day with a short prayer and a commitment and get on
the road. God willing, I will follow him to the best of my ability.

As
a kid I learned things about him and did not relate with him at all, he
was too divine and remote for me. All that changed when I read the book
“Muhammad” by Karen Armstrong. She narrates his life from a
non-religious point of view, as a civic leader of the society, a
dimension that I appreciated it very much. Karen Armstrong’s book is one
of the five reasons I chose to become a Muslim after a lapse of nearly
three decades. He was a man that I can relate with, making decisions
that create trust, mutual respect and a sense of fairness among his
people at that time. That was indeed the role of every prophet and
peacemaker of the time.

When someone hurts me, I think of the
prophet, he advised against score keeping and piling revenge and
aggravating each other, and I love the freedom it gives me, freedom from
brooding and obsession to get even with the other.

When someone
dialogues with me, prophet’s words jump at me, to respect the otherness
of other, without having to agree but respectfully differ and move on.
Indeed, it is a big lesson in conducting civil dialogue.

When I
am frustrated, I think of prophet’s narration, God told him to do his
work, and not worry if people don’t get his message, give them the room
to make up their own minds, and let me guide them, and you respect
everyone’s free will.

Every day, I think about the Prophet, how
he would have found a solution to a given conflict, and all I see is the
application of the principles of fairness and justice to every human,
with goodness and inclusiveness.

My spiritual mentors are
Muhammad (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), and my civic mentors are Mahatma
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.

When I think of
getting even with someone who maligns me, I think of the advice of
Prophet Muhammad and Jesus: The best thing we can do is to forgive the
other; it brings relief and frees us from being possessed.

When I
see injustice done to others, the prophets words ring again, the least
you can do is to speak out against injustice. Injustice to one is
injustice to the whole humanity.

When I see inequality in our
society, our immortal declaration of independence kicks in for me, that
all men are created equal. I think of prophet’s last sermon, where he
said no man is superior to the other and that all are equal.

Whenever
I think of the liberation of women, I think of the prophet, he was
perhaps the first women’s libber; and he officially liberated women from
the shackles of the bondages. He was a radical of his time, as Jesus
was, and said women are free to marry or divorce, own their own business
and property, separate from their husbands, and he introduced the idea
of consent and free will in marriage. Let’s not judge America by the
Newtown, Aurora and Oak Creek murderers, and let’s not judge Muslims by
the misogynistic men among them either.

Whenever I feel
judgmental toward others, the prophet’s voice pulls me back, only God
knows everything about the other, not me, then let me not judge anyone
without the full knowledge.

When I think of standing up for
others, I think of Gandhi and MLK, if we don’t stand up for others, why
should anyone stand up for us.

Whenever the idea of being better
than others crosses my mind, I think of the prophet, who said, I am a
human like you, and don’t make a God out of me or paint my pictures and
put me on the pedestal. He even said to his daughter, you earn your
paradise through your good deeds, the good you do to the fellow beings
and not because you are the Prophet’s daughter.

Whenever
arrogance attempts to creep in me, I hear the words of the prophet,
“Treat all prophets the same, no human is above the other” — instead of
saying I am the greatest prophet and listen to me. Feeling and
practicing equality is the way for creating peaceful societies.

I
will be writing a full chapter on the prophet in my upcoming book, as
to how I relate with him in my daily life, and I have learned to give a
20 minutes motivations talk on “Prophet the Peacemaker” and that is
rejoicing.

Further reading:

Milaad Mubarak!

 Follow Mike Ghouse on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MikeGhouse 

———-
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a
writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place and standing up for
others
as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a
strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a
frequent guest on Sean
Hannity show
on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he
contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly
at Huffington post, and
several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you
want to know about him. 
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