Recent situation in France related to the vilification of Prophet Muhammed (s) is highly unjustified, though some might justify this in the name of freedom of speech. We do understand human rights and freedom in speeches but it can only be accepted up to a certain limit as long it does not hurt others.
As it is an important and sensitive issue, I have tried to highlight the lessons of Islam for such a situation and how it can be managed by all the parties well.
Islam and Obeying Prophet Muhammed (s)
Islam is a religion where we believe Tauhid is the main message which is believing in oneness of God in every aspect and we have to surrender to Him. The second part is believing that Prophet Muhammed (s) is the servant and messenger of Allah. As a result, it clarifies that a Muslim follows the Quran and guidance of the prophet. The best speech is the word of Allah and best guidance is the path shown by Prophet Muhammed (s), as mentioned by Abdullah Ibn Masud (r) (Hadith: al-Bukhari 6098).
Following the Quran and Sunnah, pleases Allah, and provide us success in this world and hereafter. Allah told us to follow the Prophet in many places in the Quran 5:92; 4:80 and 24:63.
We must remember that Prophet Muhammed (s) is closer to the believers than their own selves (Quran 33:6). He wanted all the believers to go to Jannah (see the Hadith below); of course, this was true for all other prophets.
“The likeness of me and you is that of a man who lit a fire and grasshoppers and moths started falling into it, and he tried to push them away. I am seizing your waistbands and trying to pull you away from the Fire but you are trying to get away from me.” (Hadith: Muslim, 2285; Bukhaari, 3427).
Love for Prophet Muhammad (s): Being a True Believer
We love Prophet Muhammed (s) more than our lives as suggested in the following Hadith. Another famous Hadith can be seen in al-Bukhari, 6257, and Sahabah loved him more than their lives (see Hadith in Muslim, 2325).
Let me remind ourselves the Ayah from Surah Tawbah (verse 24) where Allah emphasised that we must love Allah and His messenger more than any worldly things and our lives.
It was narrated that Anas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one of you truly believes until I am dearer to him than his father, his son, his own self and all the people.” (Hadith, al-Bukhaari, 15; Muslim, 44).
Many famous non-Muslim scholars respected Prophet Muhammed (s) for his generosity, personality and contributions to the humanity. For example, Michael Hart considered him as the most influential person in the history in his famous book.
George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Carlyle, Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, etc and many renowned people considered Prophet Muhammed (s) as the ideal person and discussed his contributions.
It’s worth mentioning that we respect and love all the Prophets and Books of Allah (see the verse 285 of Surah al-Baqarah).
Mockery to Prophet Muhammed (s):
Prophet Muhammad (s) was sent to the whole mankind and he showed mercy to the people of Taif and Makkah even though they tortured and ridiculed him; he did not take any revenge and forgave them and prayed for their guidance.
Allah mentioned the great characteristics of the Prophet in the Quran:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example to follow for whoever hopes in Allah and the last day and remembers Allah much” [Quran 33:21]
“And We (God) have not sent you (Muhammad) except as a mercy for mankind” [Quran 21:107]
Prophet Muhammad (s) had a mission of mercy, forgiveness, equality, tolerance, gentleness and humbleness, and he showed the path to his companions and mankind (see Hadiths in al-Bukhaari, 6136; al-Bukhari and Muslim, Book 6, hadith 893; and Muslim, 2594).
islamqa.info, website for Islamic Q&A.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54704859, cited on 17/11/2020.
https://www.arabnews.com/node/1760771/middle-east, cited on 16/11/2020.
https://muslimcouncil.org.hk/know-islam-non-muslims/prophet-muhammad-pbuh/, cited 23/11/2020.