Each day brings news of Muslims being subjugated – whether they are being policed through draconian laws to uphold “liberal values” in France, whether Muslim women are being “liberating” by emphasising their right to have premarital relationship as highlighted by Denmark’s Integration Minister or whether it’s the continuous persecution of minority groups such as Uyghurs, Palestinians and Rohingya people.
Muslims have been made easy targets to demonise, leading to unending harassment and, as some say, Islamophobia. According to the European Islamophobia Report of 2018, an increase of 52% of “Islamophobic incidents” took place in France while in Austria, there was a rise of about 74%. 44% of Germans see “a fundamental contradiction between Islam and German culture and values.” In Finland, 62% felt the same, while in Italy, it was 53%. “To be a Muslim in Europe is to be mistrusted, visible and vulnerable.” (www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/opinion/europe-islamophobia-attacks.html)
External attacks increase the plight of the ummah, but even intra-Muslim atrocities are at their peak. Muslim nations are divided between blocs amongst themselves and give preference to geopolitical interests over their commonality as believers; political tussles between Saudi Arabia and Iran are a prime example.
Even amongst sects, sectarianism continues to fuel hatred; scholars are busy declaring each other “kafir” and minority sects face constant harassment and violence; bomb blasts targeted at Shias in Afghanistan and the endless murders of Ahmadis in Pakistan unveil the lack of acceptance within Muslim countries.
To find even a ray of unity within the ummah is a cumbersome task. It seems “a Muslim brother” is highly subjective.
Antipathy towards Islam isn’t within political spheres alone, but attacks on Islamic teachings and the Holy Prophetsa are common place amongst academia too.
New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris seem to lead this crusade against Islam.
As we noted in our last issue, Muslims are now the new scapegoats.
Everything aside, the one person all Muslims hold in most reverence, love and respect is Prophet Muhammadsa. The man who was the “mercy for mankind” is vilified, slandered and mocked, often with the support of political leaders.
In response, the repetitive, reactionary and emotional retort has been shown by Muslims across the world in protests and boycotts, as we witnessed recently after Macron’s attacks on Islam and his support of caricatures of Prophet Muhammadsa being published and spread.
Thankfully, some Muslim leaders did openly condemn Macron’s divisive comments and support of the vile caricatures, such as President Erdogan, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan; however, the forthright condemnation by the actual leaders of Muslim countries themselves can be counted on one hand – many Muslims were urging their leaders to officially condemn the support of France in publishing the caricatures of Prophet Muhammadsa, but to no avail.
Nevertheless, even condemnations from government ministries in Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco and Jordan etc. added to the unity in condemning the cartoons.
Imagine, if all 50-plus Muslim countries – in a united voice – openly condemned the vile attacks made against Prophet Muhammadsa and Islam, would any other world leader – like Macron – dare to support, promote and endorse such derogatory caricatures if faced with such a united front of Muslims?
The importance of Muslim unity was encapsulated by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, in his Friday Sermon soon after Macron’s anti-Muslim rhetoric:
“… it is clear that there is a lack of unity amongst Muslims and this is the very reason why all of this is occurring. Muslim countries are at odds with one another and increasing divisions display to the world that there is discord amongst Muslims.
“If the world knew that Muslims are united, that they believe in the same One God and His Messengersa and are ever-ready to present sacrifices for their sake, then the non-Muslim world would never act in this way and never would a newspaper be emboldened to publish caricatures of the Holy Prophetsa.”
Emphasising the solution for the ummah, Huzooraa went on to say:
“If the Muslim Ummah [nation] desires a permanent solution, then the entire Muslim world must become united. Even now, the president of Turkey responded to the French president and a few other [Muslim] countries responded as well. However, these responses do not bear the same impact as compared to the potential impact of a united response from all Muslims.
“It is said that as a result of the response from the president of Turkey and other nations, the French president changed and softened his statement and tried to justify what he really meant. Yet, at the same time, he firmly maintained his stance of being correct in their approach. However, if 54 or 55 Muslim countries were to speak out unanimously, then the French president would not simply make justifications for his statement; instead, he would have been compelled to plead for forgiveness.
“In short, all I wish to say is that we must pray for the Muslim nations to at least be able to raise a single, united voice against others; only then will we see true results. We have remained persistent in our mission and will continue to do so, insha-Allah!” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, Friday Sermon, 6 November 2020)
This back-to-basics approach towards unity while side-lining internal differences and personal interests is what the Muslim world desperately needs. A united Muslim front will effectively extinguish the uncontrollable fire of anti-Muslim rhetoric and malice-filled attacks against our beloved Prophetsa.
Apart from unity, productive and educational eff orts need to be made to show the world the beautiful teachings of Islam that are reflected in the blessed character of Prophet Muhammadsa. As Huzooraa has continuously pointed out in his sermons, momentary outcries and boycotts will not bring lasting changes.
The reaction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been not only to condemn the defamation of Prophet Muhammadsa in the guise of freedom of speech, but also to actively educate people about the truth of Prophet Muhammadsa. This unified response by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has led to scores of intellectuals, leaders and members of the public, worldwide, to appreciate Islamic teachings and Prophet Muhammadsa.
Uniquely, Huzooraa has also hugely emphasised and encouraged Ahmadi Muslims towards invoking durood (salutations and prayers) upon Prophet Muhammadsa as a response to attacks on Prophet Muhammadsa – something wider Muslim leaders and scholars have not paid attention to.
Responding to attacks on Prophet Muhammadsa and Islam in a unified, collective and effective manner will enable the Muslim ummah to push back at a world that has demonised them and their beloved Prophetsa.
اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلیٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلیٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ کَمَا صَلَّیْتَ عَلیٰ اِبْرَاھِیْمَ وَعَلیٰ اٰلِ اِبْرَاھِیْمَ اِنَّکَ حَمِیْدٌ مَّجِیْدٌ
اَللّٰھُمَّ بَارِکْ عَلیٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلیٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ کَمَا بَارکْتَ عَلیٰ اِبْرَاھِیْمَ وَعَلیٰ اٰلِ اِبْرَاھِیْمَ اِنَّکَ حَمِیْدٌ مَّجِیْدٌ