In the Islam religion class in school I, as all children in Muslim world, have learned about the life of Prophet Mohammad. I would like to briefly recount three of the ones I remember:
1. His story with the Jewish neighbor who used to THROW GARBAGE at his doorsteps: The Prophet had this Jewish neighbor. Everyday the neighbor would throw his garbage at the Prophet’s door! Then, one day, the garbage stopped appearing.
The Prophet wondered why and asked people about what had happened to his neighbor. He was told that the neighbor was sick, in bed.
So, the Prophet went and visited his Jewish neighbor to make sure he’s OK and to wish him well. So touched was the Jewish neighbor that he later converted to Islam.
2. His story with the people of Ta’if who’s children STONED him: One day the Prophet visited the village of Ta’if near Mecca. He was hoping to find support amongst the people of that area after he was shunned by many of his own tribe in Mecca. Instead of support, he was faced by a mob of children, sent by their parents to throw stones at him. He was hit by the hail of stones. He was bleeding, and was barely able to escape into an orchard. He could have asked for God’s wrath to be brought down upon the village, but instead he prayed that one day these people will see the light.
3. His story with his tribe after he conquered Mecca: When the Prophet’s army finally conquered his hometown Mecca, many of the leaders of his tribe were filled with fear. They feared the conquerer’s retribution. Most of them NEVER BELIEVED in him. They TORTURED and KILLED many of his followers and CONSPIRED TO KILL HIM in the early days of his prophethood.
What did the Prophet do? He told them: “Go. You are free!”
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In the spirit of the life of the Prophet, here are 5 ways how the Muslim world could have responded the the Danish cartoons:
1. Apply to the Ministry of Culture in Denmark to organize a big exhibition about the Life of Prophet Mohammad and Islamic History. The Saudi and other Arab governments would finance this event and promote it in a big way in the Danish media. 2. Invite 100 Danish children to come and live with Arab and Muslim families to learn about life in today’s Arab and Muslim world. 3. Invite the editors of the Danish newspaper to a well publicized cultural debate in Doha, Qatar or Copenhagen. 4. The embassies of Arab and Muslim nations could commission a website in Danish about Islam, contemporary muslim thinkers and life in today’s Islamic world. A dedicated staff would respond to incoming questions and request for information. 5. Subtitle the movie ‘The Message’ in Danish and try to get many movie theaters and cultural centers in Denmark to show it.