Mirnes Kovac speaks about Muhammad, a Prophet for All Times

January 19, 2015 4:18 PM

image1I uphold my earlier conviction that a caricature of the Prophet of Islam is apriori not possible. It is a sad and desperate act of the French satirical magazine to republish a cartoon after the deadly and by no mean excusable terrorist act. What it actually does is characterizes a pillar of contemporary western civilization, which has accepted the rule that there are no rules.

We all know, as Mehdi Hasan brilliantly observed “there are always going to be lines that, for the purposes of law and order, cannot be crossed; or for the purposes of taste and decency, should not be crossed.”  As a Muslim I would wish for everyone to understand that this kind of divide that some want to impose on our world is exactly the one that the terrorists who besieged and kidnapped my religion actually want more than anything. It’s question now does some want this from our side?

On that fateful day when I heard that the French flags were lowered in the courtyard of French Embassy in Sarajevo, I went, alone, to laid down a red rose with this note: “The attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine is an attack on every Muslim living in Europe.” I still uphold this conviction. For it is clear that cowardly act will have implications on millions of Muslims that live in European societies.

The following day, when I was asked by local media to comment on what happened in Paris in the first week of this new year, instead of repeating my deepest condemnations I offered them to reread an earlier essay I wrote about Muhammad when the Danish cartoon sparked violent reprisals. This is what the Prophet means to me and I can say to more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.

I will repeat some points:

 In the bond of its prophetic and human mission, Muhammad, (peace be upon him) apart from being the Messenger who had brought the Qur’an – the Word of God, he was the first human to apply it. By his very life he showed God’s revelation in practice. During his lifetime he endured all the temptations that, according to the Scriptures, previous carriers of God’s word endured. For that reason Muslims consider its Prophet, as Qur’an describes him, as “the Seal.” For that reason he is the messenger to all worlds, generations and peoples, to all humankind.

According to what tradition about him says, just like first man Adam, he endured bewilderment with the world he had fallen in.

He called people in the same manner as Noah – to embark on the Ark of Salvation, to be saved from the abyss of his time.

He was as true a fighter of faith in One God as was Abraham – and for that reason his people, who worshiped idols, wanted him dead.

He experienced the faith of “the noble descendant of the nobles”, as Muslim tradition describes Joseph son of Jacob – who was expelled by his family and who afterwards returned to them with generous forgiveness.

He stood up against the Pharaohs of his time – and like his brother Moses he brought and reaffirmed God’s commandments – what to do, and what to stay clear of.  Interestingly, Muhammad frequently addressed previous prophets as his brothers!

He spoke the very same words as his immediate predecessor, Jesus the son of Mary, to be kind towards orphans, to stay away from arrogant attitudes towards the poor and oppressed, the powerless and sick. Isn’t the Golden Rule that was repeated by Jesus to the sons of Israel: “Do to others what you would want them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31) – same as saying of Muhammad: “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself” (Bukhari)?

For all this Muslims believe that he was the Seal of all Prophets, and prophethood as well. However, two things characterize Muhammad and gave him that aureole of the Prophet for all times: During his lifetime he completed his mission – he brought down the Message of the Qur’an and his message was written completely. And, secondly, his message is not linked to specific land, people or language. It’s for all humankind, for all peoples whoever they were and whichever language they speak. His final message, only few weeks before his death was: “You are from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white- except by piety and good action.”

Muhammad did not allow in any way being elevated to the status higher than that which God gave him. There is no icon of him, but people are blessing him from East to West, from North to South. It’s therefore impossible, no matter how some provocative minds of nowadays might want, to create a negative picture of Muhammad. His icon or picture is in fact his evergreen example that found its place in hearts of true believers.

He was not the example just in his prophetic mission, but also in his everyday life. He was teaching people how to believe in One God, the Creator. He was bestowed by what is in Arabic known as “al-Jawamiu al-Kalim” the “totality of speech” or  to say a lot in very few words. He himself was an orphan without a mother or father, but he was thankful to his uncle who took care of him. In his youth he was the most trustworthy man in his town Makah. They called him “al-Amin” which means “trustworthy”.  He was a committed husband, honest businessman who insisted that workers are paid “before their sweat of hard work evaporates!” He was a father full of love and compassion towards his children and raised them by his own example. He was a leader, a just and responsible leader and did not take that as a position for privilege and wealth. He was a true friend and he respected every human to the degree that he considered humanity as sacred. He respected every single man or woman whether they were blind or rich, herdsman or educated poet. He harshly criticized and warned of God’s punishment to everyone who would dare to mistreat animals. And all these were his recorded characteristics before he took on the mission of prophethood. For that reason he was capable to take on that difficult task.

And, of course, for all these reasons Muslims love the Prophet and keep his name in everyday religious life. Even when mentioning his name a Muslim is required to add “Peace be Upon Him” as a way of respect. However, today the name of Muhammad is most abused by those claiming to act and follow his banner. Even his own ring-seal, (according to tradition it had the inscription “Allah – Muhammad – Messanger”) is now misused and is found on the flag of the so-called “Islamic state”. I am fully convinced that the Muhammad that I know from years of studying his life would be the first one to wage “Jihad” – or struggle by all means – against these so called “jihadists”.

May peace and blessings be upon Him, and may peace prevail against all those who want to misuse his name and the religion of Islam.

Mirnes Kovac

Sarajevo, journalist – author of the book The Siege of Islam – Political analyst of the Balkans and the Middle East

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