The Ethical Standard of the Prophet Muhammad
By Imam Zaid Shakir
The ongoing “Cartoon Crisis” raises several issues. One of the most important is the incumbency of seeing the ongoing crisis as an opportunity to educate people in the West about our blessed Prophet, . Along those lines, one of the greatest things we can do is teach about the exalted ethical standard introduced by our Prophet, . That ethical standard is the bedrock of his mission and message.
In an age of instantaneous communications and globalized media it is important for Muslims to reaffirm our commitment to the prophetic ethical ideal. Under prevailing conditions, the sensationalized excesses of some Muslims, excesses that contradict the ethical teachings of our Prophet, , are often used to distort the perception of Islam in the West. That distortion in turn helps to create prejudiced attitudes towards Islam and Muslims.
I would argue that the images that insinuate a connection between our Prophet, , and terrorism are more informed by the hijackings, kidnappings, beheadings, and cold-blooded murder of unsuspecting civilians, all of which characterize many of our recent political struggles, than to any inherent biases or prejudices among the people of Europe and America. If we Muslims are going to contribute to changing how Islam and our Prophet, , are viewed in the West, we are going to have to change what we ourselves are doing to contribute to the caricaturing of Islam. That change can only be affected by sound knowledge coupled with exalted practice, and reviving the lofty ethical ideal of our beloved Prophet, .