This article is more ridiculous than most. Muhammad loved dates, melons and cucumbers and that’s supposed to make Muslims less susceptible to “extremist propaganda”? His non-snoring blowing sound while sleeping is supposed to make Muslims “emphasize charity and respect for other faiths”?
“Hassan argues that if Muslims had more knowledge of how the Prophet Muhammad actually lived and what he taught, they would be less vulnerable to extremist propaganda. Counterterrorism officials — who’ve focused largely on surveillance, sting operations and community policing — would have more success countering extremism, he says, if they supported efforts to deepen religious literacy among young Muslims.”
Yeah? Hard to see how following this man’s example could make someone less vulnerable to “extremist propaganda” — maybe Hassan Lachheb can explain it:
“Narrated Abu Qilaba: Anas said, ‘Some people of ‘Ukl or ‘Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were put in ‘Al-Harra’ and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.’ Abu Qilaba said, ‘Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle.’” (Bukhari 1.4.234)
This article is patently disingenuous, because it purports to show Muhammad being an example of charity and respect for other faiths, while never showing how the hadiths actually depict Muhammad behaving toward people of other faiths. So if Hassan Lachheb won’t do it, I will. Much more below.
“Fighting Extremism With Knowledge: Learning The Lessons Of Muhammad,” by Tom Gjelten, NPR, March 10, 2016:
The religion of Islam was founded by Muhammad, the 7th century prophet whom Muslims call “the messenger of God.”
They don’t consider him divine, but they follow his teachings closely. Good Muslims are taught to emulate the prophet in all matters, personal, spiritual and worldly.
Perhaps no time in recent history has it been more important to do as the Prophet Muhammad did — and not as someone says he did.
With terror groups like ISIS now invoking his name, many Muslim leaders say radicals who cite the prophet to justify violence misrepresent his teachings.
Some Muslim leaders argue that young Muslims need a firmer grounding in their own faith and the prophetic tradition, both to equip them better to counter religious propagandists and also to bind them more closely to Islam.
Most of what is known about how Muhammad lived is set down in the Hadith, which consist of recollections of the prophet’s life by his companions, first passed on orally and later put down in writing. Taken together, they constitute what Muslims call the “tradition.”
One effort to promote religious literacy among young Muslims is the CelebrateMercy initiative. Sheikh Hassan Lachheb, a Moroccan-born Islamic scholar from Knoxville, Tenn. — along with a slate of guest speakers — conducts a series of lectures around the country, titled “Portrait of a Prophet.”
He reads selections from the Hadith, some of them apparently mundane stories about how Muhammad lived, and explains what young Muslims can learn from them….
Even what seems like the most trivial detail — what kind of sandal he wore, for instance — serves a purpose: humanizing Muhammad, making it easier for Muslims to emulate him.
Hassan argues that if Muslims had more knowledge of how the Prophet Muhammad actually lived and what he taught, they would be less vulnerable to extremist propaganda. Counterterrorism officials — who’ve focused largely on surveillance, sting operations and community policing — would have more success countering extremism, he says, if they supported efforts to deepen religious literacy among young Muslims.
He cites the abundance of examples from the Hadith that emphasize charity and respect for other faiths.
The tradition associated with the Prophet Muhammad, Hassan says, “has never been radicalized and has always produced beauty, always produced involvement in the community, always produced tolerance.”
Here are a few examples of Muhammad’s tolerance that apparently went unmentioned:
“‘A’isha and Abdullah reported: As the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was about to breathe his last, he drew his sheet upon his face and when he felt uneasy, he uncovered his face and said in that very state: Let there be curse upon the Jews and the Christians that they have taken the graves of their apostles as places of worship. He in fact warned (his men) against what they (the Jews and the Christians) did.” (Sahih Muslim 1082)
“It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.” (Sahih Muslim 4366)
“Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him.” (Sunan Abu Dawood 4310)
“If you’re bypassing all of that to come with a political solution (to extremism),” Hassan says, “I don’t think it’s going to work.”
And if you’re bypassing all of Muhammad’s violent behavior and attempting to convince people that he was tolerant, it may work among the Infidels, but not among the Muslims who are familiar with what the Hadiths really say about Muhammad.
Below are a few lessons from the life of Muhammad.
The Lifestyle Of The Prophet
Among Muhammad’s favorite foods were dates, melon and cucumbers. He enjoyed cool, sweet drinks, including a type of date juice, often mixed with milk and honey. His followers often brought him food from their gardens. He always sent them home with a gift in return.
The prophet is said to have had a thick head of hair and wore it long. It was gray on the sides, and like many men he oiled it with a henna-like product that gave it a reddish tint. The streets were often filled with dust and to keep his oiled hair protected, he often wore a scarf on his head, like a bandanna.
Before going to sleep each night, the prophet would blow on his hands. Even in his sleep, he could be heard blowing. It was not a snoring sound. He normally slept on his right side.
A group of young Muslim friends in Washington, D.C., meets occasionally to support each other in their work and discuss the struggles their community faces.
The Hadith contain many narrations about the Prophet Muhammad’s personal appearance and habits. Muslims are encouraged to learn about these apparently trivial aspects of his story, because it helps them feel more connected to him.
“One of the things we’re taught is that we should love the prophet, not just intellectually but experientially,” says Dalia Mogahed, a guest speaker at a Celebrate Mercy course held in Maryland recently. “How do we do that without detailed information – the way he walked, the way, he stood, the way he looked. It’s about imagining who he was.”…
Sheikh Hassan uses the story of the prophet’s aversion to profanity to tell his students that “obscenity is not cool. We have to teach our children this,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I’m talking from experience in the immigrant community. Too many think it’s cool to say stuff like the N-word. It’s not fun. We have to combat it. We do have racism in our community.”
Obscenity: “Ubayy b. Ka’b told that he heard God’s messenger say, ‘If anyone proudly asserts his descent in the manner of the pre-Islamic people, tell him to bite his father’s penis, and do not use a euphemism.’ It is transmitted in Sarah [sic] as-sunna.” (Mishkat Al Masabih, English Translation With Explanatory Notes By Dr. James Robson [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore, Pakistan, Reprinted 1994], Volume II, Book XXIV — General Behaviour, Chapter XIII. Boasting and Party-Spirit, p. 1021)
Racism: “Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, ‘Listen and obey (your chief) even if an Ethiopian whose head is like a raisin were made your chief.'” (Sahih Bukhari 1.11.662)
A Lesson On Inclusion And Politics
When Muhammad moved to Medina from Mecca, he found it to be a far more cosmopolitan city, with a large and thriving Jewish community. In Medina, the prophet followed many Jewish habits, even if they differed from what the Muslims did. The Jews, for example, wore their hair in a distinctive style, and the prophet changed his hair style in Medina to match theirs.
The Prophet Muhammad “wanted the Jews to feel close,” Hassan, the sheikh, says. “They were ‘People of the Book,’ (from the Abrahamic tradition and whose beliefs are based on a holy text).”
Elaborating on the story, Mogahed — who studies Muslim-American communities as director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding — says it showed the prophet “wanted to lessen the barrier between Muslims and Jews. He wanted to connect with them.”…
He wanted the Jews to feel close. He wanted to connect with them:
“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim 6985)