Published at IslamToday.net
Praise be to God, Lord of All the Worlds, and may God’s blessings be upon His final messenger to humanity, Prophet Muhammad, and upon the Prophet’s family and companions.
Everyone is aware of the film defaming Prophet Muhammad’s noble character, which was produced by people who harbor enmity towards Islam, and which has been circulating throughout the Internet and international news media. Such people inspired by hate have sought time and again through reckless defamation to provoke Muslims around the world. The International Support Organization diligently monitors such wanton behavior on an ongoing basis and responds to it in accordance with Islam’s high moral standards, as our Prophet Muhammad has taught us.
Everyone is equally aware of the reactions to the film which have occurred in a number of major cities, especially in Egypt, and then in Libya where the American Embassy was attacked and the ambassador and a number of embassy personnel were killed. We must not forget that the Prophet Muhammad whom we love so much, and whom we would ransom with our lives and wealth, taught us to control our anger and to keep the moral high ground with those who behave towards us with enmity and ridicule.
In light of all that has happened, the International Support Organization makes the following declarations:
1. Feeling anger at the defamation of our Prophet Muhammad is justified and warranted. It is a sign of faith. Our desire to come to his defense and prevent such abuse is faith-inspired and laudable. However, it is our duty in all of this to act according to the moral teachings of Islam and the guidance of our Prophet, so we do not come to the Prophet’s defense by disobeying him and acting contrary to his guidance.
2. This anger and the desire to act upon it must be channeled to the constructive goal of preventing defamation, avoiding its re-occurrence, and making it clear that those who perpetrate defamation are wrongdoers. To reach these noble objectives, we need to avoid reacting in ways that will cause an increase or re-occurrence of such defamation, or make people come the defense of the perpetrators under the pretext of protecting freedom of expression.
After the Danish cartoon incident, the International Support Organization developed practical guidelines for dealing with defamation in cooperation and consultation with the leaders of Muslim communities in numerous countries. The organization will be re-issuing these guidelines for public benefit.
3. These acts of defamation are being carried out to spread confusion and strife within Muslim countries, especially countries of the Arab Spring like Egypt. The perpetrators of this defamation hope to stir up trouble between the Muslims and Copts and undo the hard work and progress that has been made for the country’s upliftment. They want to create crises to divide Egypt and show the rest of the world how unstable it is. We must counter these effects by all legitimate means.
4. Our duty is not merely to respond to the defamation of our Prophet and refute the false accusations being levied against him. It is also our duty to teach people about him, his noble character, and his eternal message. This is what will dispel ignorance and neutralize the efforts of those who hate Islam and use the media to impose a false image of the Prophet Muhammad on the world’s people. We must not wait for acts of defamation to be perpetrated. We must take the initiative and organize our efforts to convey the beauty of the Prophet’s life to the nations of the world using the wide range of media options that are available.
5. The ethical teachings of Islam categorically prohibit aggression. They teach us to protect those who come into our countries under a contract of peace, like ambassadors, merchants and others. The lives of those who enters our countries in peace are inviolable. Prophet Muhammad said:
مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا مُعَاهَدًا لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا يُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ عَامًا
Whoever kills someone under a covenant of peace, that killer will be denied the fragrance of Heaven.
[Sahih Bukhari, Book 83, Number 49]
Our Prophet, peace be upon him, expressly prohibited the killing of diplomatic messengers, even those of the false prophet Musaylimah. The Prophet’s Companion, Ibn Mas’ud said that it was the Prophet’s ongoing practice that ambassadors were never to be killed. It is in the general interest of humanity that there are embassies and that messengers have diplomatic immunity. We know how many ambassadors, foreign workers, delegates, expatriates, and refugees there are in the world whose protection we continue to demand and whose rights we come to the defense of.
The greatest scholars of Islam throughout history all upheld the principle of diplomatic immunity. Muhammad ibn Hasan, the famed jurist of the Hanafi school of law, said, “It is a default principle that the Muslim head of state must protect those who come into our countries under an understanding of peace for as long as they reside in our countries. They must be given full recourse to justice against anyone who wrongs them, just like it is guaranteed for non-Muslim citizens of the state.”
The Hanbali jurist Ibn Qudamah said, “People who come from states which are at war with us who are given a covenant of peace cannot be killed, nor can their lives or property be transgressed against.”
The scholars of all four schools of Islamic Law have also emphasized that regardless of how such immunity is framed, it is incumbent to grant it and uphold it. The Hanafi jurist, al-Sarakhsi said, “The principle of immunity is to be understood in the broadest sense. It is established even with the most ambiguous of words or with an ambiguous gesture.”
The Maliki jurist al-Shirbini said, “Immunity is understood broadly as it safeguards the inviolability of life.”
The Shafi’ee jurist al-Nawawi likewise said, “Immunity is established with any wording, verbal or written, that implies it.”
The Hanbali jurist Ibn Qudamah said, “Immunity is granted with any wording or gesture that implies it.”
This all comes under the rubric of the general legal axiom, “Whenever there is any doubt about whether something is inviolable, it is assumed by default to be inviolable. This is a precaution to ensure that no covenant or contract is breached, that no deception is engaged in, and that no life is transgressed against.”
6. The International Support Organization calls upon all Muslims and Islamic organizations to work to achieve the Organization’s declared vision that Prophet Muhammad will be recognized throughout the world as the most exemplary of people and the most worthy of admiration and respect. This requires foresight, judicious planning, hard work, and media efforts in numerous languages addressed to people of all walks of life. This is what the International Support Organization has engaged in since its inception, and includes the following activities:
- Hosting and providing media exposure for dialogues and seminars with fair-minded academics, intellectuals, politicians, and media people in cooperation with Muslim scholars and intellectuals in a number of countries where acts of defamation against Prophet Muhammad have occurred. The International Support Organization has held such events in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
- Publishing and distributing books and brochures introducing the Prophet Muhammad and his humanitarian message. Two films have been distributed; one entitled “The Mist Clears.” During the World Cup in South Africa and again during the Olympic games in London, well over 200,000 books about the Prophet’s noble character were distributed in many languages.
- Organizing and participating in exhibitions about Prophet Muhammad. A major exhibition was held in Manchester. The organization also participated in Expo Islam which took place in London.
In conclusion, we wish to assure Muslims throughout the world that we will never relent or spare any effort in supporting Prophet Muhammad and teaching people about his exemplary life. We will act to the limits of our God-given strength and abilities, using every lawful means in accordance with the upright and wholesome teachings of Islam.
We will be holding our 3rd International Conference in the early part of next year. This will be an additional opportunity to develop initiatives and programs to achieve our goals. We invite everyone to come together in mutual understanding and according to the guidance of our noble Prophet in everything that we do.
Dr. Salman b. Fahad al-Oadah, Deputy Director
Dr. Salim Ta’mah al-Shamari, Secretary-General
Dr. Ali Umar Badahdah, Deputy Secretary-General
(www.faithinallah.org / 02.10.2012)