As you turn to the left you hear the fading whispers of, “as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah” (may full security, peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you). After completing this peaceful and tranquil activity, the salah, you make your way to exit the masjid.
Stepping outside of the mosque these days, you may hear voices of hate and anger claiming that your presence and current activity in the mosque are disturbing the peace, ironic as it may sound. In these situations, it’s important to remember what Islam teaches us to do. Our documented history is weaved with examples on how our Prophet Muhammad dealt with hate and intolerance. Yes, what you are about to read is from the Shariah.
Allah mentions a directive to the Prophet Muhammad:
Say, [O Muhammad], to those who have believed that they should forgive those who expect not the days of Allah (days in the hereafter) so that He may recompense a people for what they used to earn. [Quran 45:14]
The directive is for the Prophet Muhammad to communicate to the believers the course of action when faced with hate and harm from those who are not believers in Islam. The believers are to “forgive those who expect not the days of Allah” with an incentive that by doing so they will be forgiven, “so that He may recompense a people for what they used to earn”.
One gets the sense from the verse that the believers were in some position of strength and ability to respond to those harming them since the directive was not to the Prophet alone but to all of the believers collectively. Imam al-Qurtubi further suggests that the verse was revealed in Madinah, a place where the early believers were better established than in Makkah.
However, you should not be surprised if you hear voices of hate, intolerance, and even as we have heard in recent days some trying to be the next “American sniper” by going out to snipe and kill Muslims. In our history, there was once a man who sought to do the exact same thing- to go out and kill Muslims. His name was Umar ibn al-Khattab. Actually, he set out to kill the Prophet of Islam himself, Muhammad.
The Prophet Muhammad had proactively taken care of this dangerous situation by making a prayer beforehand by saying:
“O Allah, honor Islam with the most beloved of the two men to you: Abu Jahl ibn Hisham or Umar ibn al-Khattab.”
This prayer was answered in favor of Umar ibn al-Khattab when he left his house intending to kill the Prophet Muhammad to only return home as a fresh new believer in Islam simply because of an experience he had with Muslims on the way.
Why was the prayer answered for Umar ibn al-Khattab and not Abu Jahl ibn Hisham? From a historical standpoint, if we analyze the statements and actions of both of them, it becomes quite clear that Umar ibn al-Khattab was genuine, logical, and unbiased. How many more genuine people are out there hating Islam due to the propaganda they have been fed, who if they encounter the right experience can easily change their perception about Islam and the Muslims?
Here are a few quick practical suggestions, according to Islam, to offer that experience if you are expecting anti-Muslim hate rallies at your local mosque:
- Dua: Make proactive dua by asking Allah to have their hate changed into love for Islam and the Muslims.
- Neighborly Treatment: Entertain them as your neighbors for the time they are camping out at your local Mosque. Provide them with bottles of water, lunch, etc.
- Remove Ignorance: Have copies of the Quran readily available and other literature for them to get a first hand read on Islam
- Educate: Prepare your congregation beforehand on the Islamic way to deal with hate:
- Forgive, so we may be forgiven. The Prophet Muhammad said when he was being harmed, “Forgive my people, for they do not know”.
- “Do not become angry.” – Prophet Muhammad
- Interface hate with kindness. “Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” [Quran 41:34]
Finally, remember that the call of “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is greater) is the call which summoned you to the masjid. Responding to that call, you displayed that your love for Him is greater than anything; you left work, school, etc. to go to the mosque and pray. But, when you are ending the communicative prayer with the Creator, you end it by saying, “as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah” (may full security, peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you) since now you are going back to deal with creation, and it is to be done with peace and no harm.