Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, 3rd right, unveils the book on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). (AN)
P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
There is a strident media campaign against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) all over the world by the enemies of Islam and Muslims in order to demonize him and present a bad picture about him and it is the duty of Muslims to defend the Prophet, said Ibrahim Malabari, president of Messenger of Mercy Foundation (MMF), which is based in the Canadian city of Toronto.
"If we follow the news, we can see that everyday something is happening to tarnish the image of the Prophet," Malabari told Arab News. The Messenger of Mercy Foundation was established two years ago for projecting the true personality of the Prophet as a mercy for the whole creation, he pointed out.
Malabari, a Canadian and founding member of the Doha-based International Association for Muslim Scholars, said MMF has several plans. Writing and publishing books on the Prophet, presenting his true personality is one of its main activities. "We have already published a book tiled 'Mercy: Prophet Muhammad's Legacy to All Creation.' Two more books are in printing," he said.
One of his two new books deals with the Prophet's vision about green earth while the other on his personality. "The second book gives convincing answers to the issues related to Prophet's wives and to the false allegations that he spread Islam by sword and he launched ethnic cleansing against Jews. All these issues have been explained with evidences from history."
The foundation also intends to produce two documentary films. One film would profile extraordinary stories of people from different ethnicity and genders who embraced Islam after being impressed by the life and teachings of the Prophet. The second film will highlight the Prophetic vision for a greener planet. "This landmark film would highlight the essential quality of the Prophet's mercy to all living creatures and his directives to live in harmony with all life forms on earth," Malabari said.
MMF intends to publish the book 'Mercy: Prophet Muhammad's Legacy to All Creation' in different languages. It has been translated to the south Indian language of Malayalam. The Malayalam version was launched by Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy by giving a copy to NRI businessman M.A. Yousuf Ali, managing director of EMKE Group. The book was published by Mathrubhoomi. "We are looking for sponsors to publish the book in other languages. The translation and printing of 5,000 copies will cost $9,000," he said.
Prophet Muhammad's vision for a green planet is significant in this age when climate change has become one of the biggest challenges facing people all over the world, Malabari said. "The Prophet prohibited cutting trees and encouraged cultivating trees and plants. In one Hadith the Prophet said: 'Even if the Dooms Day comes and you have a seedling, you have to plant it.' The Prophet has given a lot of descriptions about greeneries in the Paradise." The Prophet has also instructed his followers not to waste water and use this vital resource carefully. "According to the Prophet's teachings, we have to take care of all the resources of the universe such as water, minerals, plantations and animals. There are also instructions that we should not pollute the air," Malabari said.
He said there are good opportunities in Canada to spread the message of Islam, adding that more and more Canadians are embracing the religion. "When I went to Toronto in 1977, there was only one mosque. Now there are more than 60 mosques. The number of Muslim community is increasing day by day. The simple and logical teachings of Islam have encouraged many Canadians to accept it as their way of life," he pointed out. He said there are no restrictions on propagating Islam in Canada.
Speaking about his work 'Mercy: Prophet Muhammad's Legacy To all Creation,' Malabari said: "I started my research at McGill University, which has one of the largest Islamic libraries. I spent several weeks researching, looking for any book that threw light on the merciful aspects of the Prophet's personality, in Arabic, English or Urdu. I found none except that of Moulana Abulhasan Nadvi's “Rahmathullil Alameen.” But I found that work to be basically a biography, and does not focus on the Prophet’s mercy."
He added: "After finishing my work with the help of my son Bilal, who was doing Ph.D in McGill at that time, I gave it to Dr. Kathy Bullock to edit and review. She was well qualified to do that as she was one of the editors of the International Institute for Islamic Thought in Washington. After that I took the copy editor, Jay Willoughby, meticulously reviewed and critically scrutinized every point in the book. Then I took the manuscript to Prof. Khurshid Ahmad who read it and gave it a praiseworthy comment that adorns the cover page of the book."
John L. Esposito, director, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. has written a foreward to the book. "Muhammad's words and deeds represent the model or ideal for all believers, what some have called the living Qur'an. In Muslim tradition, Muhammad can best be characterized as a remarkable personality who inspired confidence and commitment despite persecution and oppression. He was a shrewd military strategist and a righteous, pious, trustworthy, compassionate and honest man," Esposito wrote.
"Muslims look to Muhammad's example for guidance in all aspects of life, including how we treat friends and enemies, marital and family relations, eating and drinking, personal hygiene, dress, diplomacy, warfare, and carrying out religious duties," Esposito explained. He described Malabari's book as a welcome addition to the literature on the Prophet. "Post-9/11 Western audiences have been exposed to a never-ending stream of publications and statements that vilify Muhammad and portray him principally as a ruthless warrior, intent upon the spread of Islam primarily through conquest," he said emphasizing the book's relevance.
As a result of these smear campaigns, he said, the multifaceted human dimension of Prophet Muhammad and his role as a spiritual paradigm or model are obscured or buried. "Malabari offers us a volume that, drawing on the Islamic tradition and Muslim literature, reveals a profound dimension of Muslim spirituality that focuses on Muhammad as a Prophet of Mercy," Esposito wrote.
"In a world in which Islam is too often simply identified with politics, religious extremism and terrorism, "Mercy: Prophet Muhammad's Legacy to All Creation" is a compelling reminder of the richness of Islamic spirituality and why the Prophet has been, and continues to be, so admired and loved universally by Muslims," said Esposito, an expert on comparative religion.