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Final Response to Nazir on Sira (Biography of Muhammad)

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace
in response to reader comment: On Sira and On Actions Speaking Louder than Words

Submitted by Shazia Khanum, Sep 16, 2005 at 20:57

Nazir, you are missing the essence of what I have been stating. Nazir, it's not about all of us believing the same thing. It is about accepting and respecting each other, and living in a peaceful co-existence, DESPITE our differences, no matter how profound the differences are.

Nazir, it's about not generalizing and not stereotyping each other and blaming an entire community for the evil acts of a few within it.
I am fully aware of Muhammad's sira (biography), Nazir. I know that many non-Muslims consider him to be a "looter", "murderer", a "terrorist", a "child-molester", a "rapist", and more.

But I still respect them and understand why they believe what they believe, and look for their inner reality. And I have discovered that many of these people who consider Muhammad an "evil" person are also on a spiritual path to discover their own reality. And I see them as my brethren in path. It gives me some level of understanding as to why they believe what they believe and disbelieve what they disbelieve and are on the path that they are on.

If I can accept someone who considers Muhammad to be an evil person and still respect them, then why can't you accept at least the fact that there are people who do not agree with your understanding of his life, which was not even documented for quite some time after his death, and his person? I am not here to preach anything or try to convince anyone. I thought I would openly and sincerely declare that I did not consider burning of the Synagogues by the Palestinian militants to be an Islamic act and denounce it.

Next thing I know I am getting bombarded with this and that, and am expected to explain and defend everything, which will require several books to explain, and still many of you will reject it. So I tried to provide mostly general answers and also added that I looked at a person's inner reality and was not hung up on the outer labels people had given to their paths, including "Islam".

You say "... most muslims are non violent but islam itself is an ideology of violence and hate, quran promotes it and Mohammed practised it." Now, what am I supposed to say to this? Have I not already stated that there is no single "Islam" in practice today? That Islam is not monolithic? That what a person believes and practices is based upon her/his level of understanding, books she/he has read and accepted, writers she/he trusts, her/his upbringing, awareness, and a whole lot of other factors!

Is it not possible for you to accept that while you consider certain sources to be authentic, another person might not consider them to be so authentic after all? Is it not possible that you and I can agree to examine the same book and both of us come up with two different understandings and interpretations? Nazir, it is in fact possible!

That's what makes us so unique. We "interpret" what we hear, read, see, reflect upon, etc. Our knowledge and perceptions are not absolute. They are relative. That's why a person may look at something and see one thing in it while another person look at the same thing and see something else.

There are many secondary sources of Islam. Sira is one of them, and it's not near the top of the authenticity chain to me. There are Hadith that have come down on the authority of the Prophet's household, which the Sunnis do not accept, but the Shi'as do. So there are a lot more than the 6 books you mentioned, which also have hadiths that are doubtful. There are things about Muhammad that have come down from one heart to the other via Sufi "tariqas". But this is something that is not well known or understood, nor is it accepted by many, as the modern mind is only interested in something that is written on a piece of paper or computer screen, before it will even recognize it.

Despite the fact that you and many others consider Muhammad to be a "murderer", "rapist", "terrorist", "child molester", "looter", etc., I, and many others consider him nothing but Mercy on the entire humankind and Light upon Light. And yet, we know his sira (biography) inside out. So Nazir, it's not about you succeeding in convincing me or others, or me succeeding in convincing you and others. It's about live and let live. It's about mutual respect, despite our differences and feelings towards Muhammad or anyone else or thing for that matter.

There is a wisdom behind our differences, Nazir. There are inner meanings behind why we have so many religions and non-religious paths. One of the inner meanings and a wisdom is that it gives us an opportunity to rise above these differnces and develop mutual understanding and respect. It's through sharing of thoughts and ideas do we get to know each other better.
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