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Beyond Boycott: Imitating the Prophet

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The domino effect is spreading, beginning with Denmark, passing by Norway, stopping at France, and finding its way to others countries that are expected to be infected with the “caricatures” virus.

I can not conceal my delight that almost every Muslim is enthusiastically taking part in the boycott campaigns, nor can I conceal my fear that a feeling of victory and sufficiency will engulf us and make us think that we did what we had to do, and this is the end of the story

We are not boycotting countries in which elements of the media printed or reprinted the offensive “caricatures” because we want to undermine their economy. No, it is not about revenge. It is mainly due to the lack of mass media-based resources available to Muslims that boycott has become our means to attract the attention of people in those countries in order to convey a message to them: “what you did was wrong; we are boycotting you because we have been hurt.”

We are not doing this to rejoice over diminishing sales of, say, Danish dairy products, and if we ever think that this is why we are boycotting, then we must be completely deluded.

Boycott campaigns might prevent many other publications from republishing the “caricatures”, and might even lead the publications that already published them to apologise. However, that would be a lame apology; an apology to curtail our anger and its consequences, an apology that stems out of intimidation not out of respect and understanding. This is not our mission as Muslims: Our mission in to enlighten people, not to bulldoze them.

Boycott should be merely a launching pad to a long-term far-reaching campaign to educate and enlighten people about Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.).  What happened was a symptom of lack of enlightenment (a.k.a. ignorance). Why blame them for defaming a person they do not know? Knowledge is a legitimate human right, so why have we relinquished our role in educating other peoples about this great man?

Painkillers will not undo this ignorance; a long-term cognitive therapy is needed here. The only “copy” of Islaam the West knows, is a pirated and illegal copy, the copy disseminated by Osama Bin Laden and the likes. Again, how can we blame them for sneeringly defaming what they think the prophet of Ibn Laden? I am afraid that we are being unfair to the Westerners. Islaam is a great message, but its case is in the hands of bad lawyers; us, that is. 

Deep in my heart, I feel that we might be held accountable in the Day of Judgment for what happened, not the Danish caricaturist! He did what he did because he was ignorant about our Prophet, and we – thanks to our passiveness and irrationality – are the reason people around the globe are ignorant about the Prophet.

The good news is that even though we stumbled and fell, we have fallen standing on our feet, and we should either use this opportunity or lose it. What I mean is that the character at the centre of this controversy , i.e., the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was a person of impeccable manners; even his worst foes acknowledged his greatness. So, would we ever find a better chance to introduce the real message of Islaam than presenting it through educating the peoples about the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)? Had the “caricatures” been about our mistakes with which we tarnish Islaam, we would have mutedly withdrew to within our shells, I dare say.

An agenda should be formulated to educate the world about the Prophet. Let us not indulge ourselves in the widespread naïve presumption that “boycott will force them to inquire and search to discover who this great man was.” The lack of even-minded material on Islaam is appalling, and if we leave it to their personal quests, it will backfire in our faces. Our agenda should include various media-based tools that are rational, even-handed, and professionally produced. We should speak the language of the West in addressing the West. We need to use our senses, enough with sensibility. 

When the Prophet climbed some sixty kilometres on foot to visit Taa-if (a mountainous resort to the east of Makkah ) to present the message of Islaam to its people, they refused to listen to him and stoned him to force him out of their city. When he despondently left Taa-if, he was so bruised from the walk and the harsh treatment that his feet were bleeding. When the archangel Jibreel (Gabriel) descended accompanied by the angel custodian of mountains, Jibreel communicated to the Prophet that Allaah had given him, Mu’hammad, the choice of punishing the people of Taa-if by squashing them in between the two mountain that surround their city. The Prophet declined the offer and said that he hopes that some of their offspring would worship Allaah one day.

The angel empowered the Prophet to revenge, but Prophet Mu’hammad was even more angelic than the angel. That is a lesson of compassion we all need to learn.

The stoners of Taa-if were much worse than the perpetrators of the defaming “caricatures.” The stoners refused to listen; yet their offspring are now Muslims. Europeans have had no one to compassionately convey the message of Islaam to them and, if necessary, be patient if they choose to stone him/her, in hopes that their offspring might listen to the message.   

Let us imitate the Prophet.

Hayat Alyaqout -

Hayat Alyaqout [’Hayaat Alyaa’qoot] is a freelance writer and the editor-in-chief of Nashiri E-publishing House. She earned a summa cum laude for her B.A. in political science and English language from Kuwait University.Read More >>

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