Answered by Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr
Q. Muhammad is a great man and a distinguished politician that is OK. But why do you insist that he is a Prophet? What does it matter?
A. It is not our decision; it is the decision of the Creator Who chose him to be the final Prophet and Messenger of God to Humanity at large until the Day of Judgment. God has sent Prophet Muhammad to all humanity as a mercy, and he has been sent as a mercy to every creature in the world as well, including people, animals, plants, environments, and even as a mercy to jinn.
Q. You Muslims say that Islam is a “whole way of life”, how come? How a religion could interfere in medical, political or economic issues?
A. Islam is not a religion only; Islam is a way of life that God has prescribed: how we should live in every aspect of life, including spirituality, socially, culturally, economically, politically and so on. Islam is not a religion as defined by Western societies who split themselves as one religion on one way and other aspects of life on another way. This means that they have split themselves into two personalities, thereby becoming schizophrenic.
A Muslim has to live a total way of life, the way prescribed by God so we can live in peace and harmony. Islam means peace, but that peace has to come from God and we are to spread the message of peace in the whole world.
Q. Jesus sacrificed himself to save mankind and deliver us from the sin, why did not Muhammad do so?
A. You did not study history enough and you did not know unfortunately what happened to Jesus, peace be upon him. Jesus, peace be upon him, did not sacrifice his life for our sins. And if it were to be true, Jesus would have been sent by God as the first child of Adam to save our sins. We human beings are born without sin, pure. Again, Jesus, peace be upon him, was not crucified. Go back and find who the one crucified was. If you don’t know, we will tell you. Jesus in as much as God brought was a hypocrite whose name was Juda, became his look like and then people crucified him thinking he was Jesus.
Q. How Muslims view Prophets other than Muhammad? Do they recognize other prophets in the first place?
A. Of course, we believe that God had sent thousands prophets and messengers to humanity to guide them to worship God and obey Him. But God, out of mercy and sympathy on us, mentioned only 25 of them in the Qur’an. Out of the 25 prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, Allah selected five to be the most important and most influential: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them.
So we all love prophets respect them and hold all of them in high esteem. We read in the Qur’an, “The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His Messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey, (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” (Chapter 2, verse 285).
All prophets, except Muhammad, were sent to their local people in a particular era of history but Prophet Muhammad is the culmination, summation, and seal of all prophets sent by God. He has been to you and to us, in America, Canada, and the whole world, till the Day of Judgment.
Q. A man of war, right?
A. Muhammad was not a man of war. Where did he wage a war against any nation? He made peace treaties with the Jews and Christians, and he demanded from his followers to protect the Christians and the Jews wherever they are.
Q. Did Prophet Muhammad and his followers wage the crusades?
A. The Crusades and the inquisition and colonialism and imperialism? Definitely no.
Q. Can you give examples how Prophet Muhammad reacted to insults.
A. He never reacted negatively. He always smiled in the face of those who insulted him. The Qur’an says: “and when they ignorant speak foul them, they say, “peace”. (Al-Furqan 25: 63)
Q. It has been my belief that Muhammad would not approve of what has been going on lately, what with all the Muslims flying airplanes into office buildings, blowing themselves up, and kidnapping and murdering Russian school children in cold blood. Do you agree and, if not, why not?
A. Islam does not allow anyone to be killed or hijacked but the question that should be asked: what are the causes that made people do that? When we understand the causes, then there is no need for hijacking or killing. Russia was killing Muslims of the Soviet Union for the last 500 years and Russia was sending Muslims to Siberia to live with the snow 24 hours in tent throughout the year, yet nobody talked about it.
Q. How could Muhammad be nice to Jews and Christians and he said, “do not greet them first?”
A. The Prophet told this to the Muslims when fighting against the pagans of Banu Quraitha, who were breached the covenant of peace with Muslims and rebelled against the Prophet, peace be upon him. So the common sense that you don’t greet the person that is fighting you!
But the general rule in Islam is to be nice, gentle and peaceful with all poeple. Prophet Muhammad said: “Greet whoever you know and you don’t know with peace.” This of course could include everybody.
Q. I can not understand all this uproar by Muslims regarding the Danish cartoons. Even if they highly respect their prophet, this does not justify all this unrest. I doubt that they worship him.
A. We love God and we obey Him. We love all the Prophets, including Prophet Muhammad. We respect Prophet Muhammad and we refuse anybody to just make a joke or an insult against to him after he delivered the message of Allah to all human beings. We do not insult any prophet, and we do not insult anyone. We respect you as much as we respect ourselves. The problem is not what the masses of Muslims have done, it was a reaction to an action and the problem is from those who made the cartoons. Since nobody blamed them, or took them to court, we are unfortunately blaming the masses.
Muslims will not tolerate any abusive projection to Jesus or the Virgin Mary because we respect both of them and honor them with dignity. The problem should have been resolved between the leaders of Muslim countries with their Denmark counterparts.
Q. In your view, what is the best way to present Islam and the Prophet Muhammad?
A. The best way is to be very friendly, polite, kind, and generous to my neighbor, friends, and all human beings. We should understand each other’s background and we should know which culture you are coming from and then we should compliment each other. We should invite others to our places of worship and to our houses and share our commonalities and enjoy the food of other countries in order to live in peace and harmony. Ignorance is the source of problems all over the world and we must help those people to get to know us and our Prophet.
If you wish any of the pamphlets written by Dr. Sakr on these issues, he will be pleased to send it free of charge, God Willing. Examples of these pamphlets are:
1. Introducing Islam
2. Living together
3. Non-Muslims through Muslim history
4. What they say about prophet Muhammad
5. What Islam says about Jihad, Holy War, terrorism, etc.
Q. Can a Prophet be a statesman?
A. It depends on what God wants to make that Prophet. A good number of Prophets were statesmen such as Solomon, David, Isaac, Abraham, Noah and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them. The only prophet among the great five who was not statesman was Jesus. That is was the wisdom and decision of God to make Jesus a spiritual leader only and not a statesman. And it was also God’s plan that Jesus did not get married or to have children. So he was a prophet of spirituality to the children of Israel only in Palestine.