The Way of the Prophet

In January of this year, it happened that a city bus, which was passing a big Islamic Institution in Delhi, accidentally crushed a Muslim student under its wheels and killed him. A number of Muslim students of that Institution immediately congregated at the scene of the accident, but the bus driver had already fled. Out to avenge this tragic death, the students set fire to the offending bus, and, not content with this, they began to stone other buses on the same route and even set fire to them. When the fire brigade arrived, they began to stone it too, so that it had to retreat without extinguishing the fire. When the police arrived, they were likewise stoned.

Now it was the turn of the police. Using their weapons, they swooped down ferociously upon not only the students in the street, but also those in the hostel and classrooms. In the process, hundreds of students were assaulted and badly injured.

Such incidents, regrettably, have been taking place in India for the last forty years. The forms may vary, but the central theme is always the same. Every incident begins with reaction by Muslims to some provocation or the other and inevitably ends in heavy losses in terms of life and property of Muslims. The tally of such incidents, whether on a large or small scale, has reached no less than forty thousand in 40 years. Whenever such an incident takes place, our leaders of every stature, both great and small, have, without exception, blamed the police and the civil authorities. There is no single person worth the name who has cared to admonish the Muslims concerned, or even attempt to bring a greater understanding to them of where the fault actually lies. All such leaders are undoubtedly misguided themselves, and, being so, misguide others. In adopting the stance that they do, they are acting against the Sunnah, the path shown by the Prophet Muhammad. Now, according to the Hadith, anything which is against the Sunnah is bid‘a (an innovation) and, as such, leads to deviation, or a going astray. The inevitable result is what Muslims have been undergoing over the past half century.

How is such action against the Sunnah? The following hadith will explain this.

Hudhaifa, a Companion of the Prophet, relates how the latter said: “It does not become a Muslim to humiliate himself.” When asked how it is possible to humiliate oneself, the Prophet replied, “To expose onself to a danger over which one has no control.”

When we examine the escalation of this recent, tragic incident in the light of this hadith, the very act of complaining about the police, or demonstrating against the majority community appears quite contrary to the way of the Prophet. Every such event is the story, not of Muslims’ persecution by others, but of their own un-Islamic behaviour. Given that Muslims are in the minority in this country, and that they are quite aware that the police will return violence for violence — and will give no quarter in the process — and moreover, that there can be no public redress, it surely behoves them to heed the sayings of the Prophet, and sedulously refrain from reacting to the initial provocation. They would do well to remain strictly aloof from any such initiatives as are likely to incur severe retaliatory measures, for this can only culminate in a manner detrimental to themselves and to their cause.

There is another hadith which says: “A believer is not bitten from the one snake-hole twice,” or as the English proverb has it, “Once bitten, twice shy.” But the Muslims of today seem never to have heard of this old adage. They put their hands into the same hole every day, and every day they are bitten as a result. Even the most contemptible fool would put his hand into a hornets’ nest only once, but Muslims do this daily, and daily face the consequences.

This being the state of affairs, can they claim that they regard Islam as their religion be at all tenable, and are we to believe them when they say that the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, is their prophet? If we accept the dictionaries’ definition of religion and the prophet, their claim is certainly not justified. Muslims must see things as they are, and accept the definitions of the truth which are valid in the eyes of both God and man. Only then will their views and actions be consistent with the social harmony and uplift which is so essential to their very survival.