Monday, May 11, 2009

Iran - What would the prophet do?

May 10, 2009
Christian Science Monitor.

We have to demonstrate and act peace and quit talking about it. I gave a lecture to an interfaith group few months ago - Muhammad the Peacemaker; ten models of peacemaking. I hope to concretize the other 9 items as Asma has done with the Hudaibiya treaty. The silent majority of Muslims are with the author and this article is an expression of them. We need to get them to speak over the voices of a few fanatics amongst us.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

A stark question for Iran: What would the Prophet do?
By Asma Afsaruddin Mon Apr 6, 5:00 am ET

South Bend, Ind. – If Iranian leaders do not come to grips with reality soon, they will have missed an historic opportunity to make a deal for peace with the United States. It takes courage and considerable moral integrity to reach out to an entrenched adversary; both attributes were amply displayed by President Barack Obama in his recent overture to the Iranians, which incurred the censure of right-wing US hawks.

Regrettably, the Iranian response has been unreflective, pugnacious – and most important – unIslamic.

A verse in the Koran states: "If they [the unbelievers] incline to peace, you should also incline to peace." Because believing Muslims revere the Koran as sacred scripture containing the very words of God, it is not unreasonable to expect that professed Muslims should take these words to heart.

Inclining to peace should manifest itself in a willingness to negotiate through diplomacy, especially when the an adversary indicates a preference for it. When the pagan Meccans sought arbitration with the Prophet Muhammad and his followers in 628, he concluded the treaty of Hudaybiyya with them. The treaty included provisions not entirely favorable to the Muslims, but the Prophet did not waver in his resolve to sign this agreement. Some of his companions grumbled about the unequal treatment of Muslims in this accord and a few were even opposed to the whole idea of peacemaking.

The arguments were familiar – the Meccans had driven the Muslims out of their homes, looted their belongings, and persecuted them for their beliefs. As far as one could tell, the Meccans remained committed to destroying the nascent faith and its adherents. How could one sit down with such trenchant enemies, whose intentions were suspect? The Koran answers those objections in the very next verse: "And if they intend to deceive you – then surely God is sufficient for you." Scripture had made it clear that Muslims should take a risk for peace, and if the opposing side should desist from hostilities, Muslims should reciprocate in kind.

The treaty was signed and was meant to guarantee 10 years of peace. As it turned out, the worst fears of Muhammad's followers proved to be true. The Meccans soon violated the agreement and fighting loomed. Further negotiations, however, brought about the peaceful surrender of Mecca and a general amnesty for the previous enemies of the Muslims.

Muhammad and his immediate successors implemented a principle known as "the joining of hearts," according to which the erstwhile enemies of Islam were to become reconciled with Muslims through charity and inclusion within the new community. The fact that Muslims throughout time have not always implemented these principles in no way makes them less normative for contemporary Muslims.

Both Sunnis and Shiites read the same Koran and both agree that its ideals were perfectly realized by their prophet. Thus Iran, a predominantly Shiite nation, is just as obligated to follow Koranic teaching as any other Muslim-majority country with a commitment to Islamic principles.

After eight years of relentlessly hawkish US policies toward the Middle East (and some would argue toward the Muslim world in general) under President Bush, Mr. Obama has clearly set a new course. He has expressed resolute good will toward the majority of Muslims in the world who also desperately – and audaciously – hope for change for the better, as global surveys and polls have repeatedly shown.

Why then has Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a religious man by all accounts, spurned Obama's outreach and rejected negotiations. He certainly cannot claim a scriptural imperative for his behavior.

From a realpolitik perspective, risking political capital for peace may appear to be a foolhardy venture and Mr. Khamenei will certainly be criticized by Iran's hawks for talking to "the Great Satan."

But morally speaking, he and other Iranian leaders owe it to their people and to the world to sit down at the negotiating table in view of the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a principal actor in some of the major conflicts of our time.

It is not enough for Muslims to repeatedly affirm that Islam stands for peace; they need to demonstrate that Islam means peace. When valuable opportunities for peacemaking occur and it is Muslim leaders who fritter them away, they should expect scorn to be directed at them and at their hollow rhetoric.

In the popular American imagination, Muslims after Sept. 11 have become tarred by the brush of violence. Now we can add to this image an unholy lack of moral courage and intransigence in the face of a singular opportunity to put an end to a nuclear standoff that could engulf the whole world.

If Iranian leaders adhere to the faith for which they claim to have launched a revolution 30 years ago, they will put aside bellicose rhetoric and take up the work of peace.

Asma Afsaruddin is a professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame and is the author of "The First Muslims: History and Memory."

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.