All Muslims must be aware of the life and example of Prophet Muhammad as we enter into the post-Trump, post-One Nation era.
We are in a period in which Islam is coming under a sustained attack from the forces of white supremacy and neo-Nazism which are battling to influence the attitudes of the community. It seems incredible that millions of American citizens should have voted for an anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, reality TV personality without a coherent political platform.
Here in Australia only 4% voted for the One Nation Party but it has its supporters in the governing party of the Commonwealth and is determined to make inroads in state elections.
The rise of these monocultural supremacists makes the formerly relatively subdued racists in the community feel empowered. They feel more confident about verbal and physical assaults and are sufficiently emboldened to call for terrorist actions on social media, with apparently few consequences.
Already we hear that the situation for Muslims in the Trump USA is worse than after the 9/11 atrocity. The case of a Muslim being firebombed in his car on a freeway is one of the outrageous crimes which has been widely reported.
Wherever some mentally disturbed person with a Muslim name carries out some criminal act, it is widely reported in the media as a Muslim crime, for which all Muslims are in some way held responsible.
In this atmosphere it is very important that Muslims become informed about their religion beyond their searches on Google and what they have been told by “someone.” The attack upon the faith, when it is mounted by the Islamophobic professionals, now being treated as credible sources of information about Islam by some of the newly appointed coterie around Trump, is usually aimed at half baked propaganda about “shariah law” and the personality of Prophet Muhammad (s).
It is our responsibility as Muslims to be informed of the exemplary character of the Prophet, of his life and his example to the ummah. There has been sustained denigration of the Quran walking from the earliest days of Islam and this twisting of truth is still going on today. The assaults upon him are vicious and merciless. Unless we are informed of the reality of his life, lived in historical time, unlike previous prophets, we are letting down our way of life.
We should understand and be able to explain how his example of patience, his respect for all people, his opposition to racism and notions of tribal superiority, his willingness to engage in consultation in decision making, his humbleness and forbearance in the face of personal tragedy, are the characteristics which won him mass support 1400 years ago and why he is still loved.
His leniency was also another of his outstanding characteristics. As was recorded in a hadith “He, who does not get enraged and demonstrates lenience and patience, will be the recipient of the love of Allah.” Muhammad (s) also stated: “Allah is gentle and soft, and likes gentleness and softness in every deed.” His example makes him a model of behavior for the people of God consciousness, the people of Taqwa, today.
One useful reference on his life is by Martin Lings “Muhammad; his life based on the earliest sources” published by the Islamic Texts Society, George Allen and Unwin, London 1983.