I wrote PBUH (peace be upon him) in the title because it is a respectful thing to say. I often greet people in Djibouti in Arabic with, “Peace be upon you.” 99% of them respond with, “And also on you.” A few stare at me, silent.

One said, “You can’t say that.”

“Why not?”

Silence, then, “Well, I won’t respond.”

“You don’t wish me peace?”

This was a public conversation and stirred up a passionate discussion about whether or not Muslims and non-Muslims can wish one another peace. The eventual, general consensus was yes, Muslims could wish me, a non-Muslim peace. And furthermore, they should.

peace

Just because we can wish each other peace doesn’t mean we will agree on everything. I don’t even agree with my husband on everything but we can live in peace, we can sharpen one another, we can make each other better and stronger and braver and more faith-filled.

There are lots of interpretations and practical out-workings of Islam, just like there are of every religion and ideology and philosophy and personality. There are positive things and negative things. The negative get more publicity. So what do Muslims want to say in response to recent events?

I am on a mailing list for a monthly Islamic newsletter that goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and these are quotes from recent articles. Muslim thoughts on how Muhammad (PBUH) would respond to insult, in their own words.

“The Prophet Muhammad taught love, kindness and compassion to his people, and was seen to be the most loving, kind, and compassionate of all of them. The Quran mentions his kind and gentle behavior in these words: “O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you” (Quran 3:159).”

“Prophet Muhammad was intent in making all humans interdependent as he emphasized in the following words: “All creatures are Allah’s dependents, and those dearest to God are the ones who treat His dependents kindly” (Rahman, VOL VIII, p. 154).” Islamicity

“The following examples from the life of the Prophet show us how we should react when faced with hatred. We can see one of the most patient and tolerant aspects of the Prophet’s character in the incident of an old woman who made a habit of throwing trash in the way of the Holy Prophet Muhammad whenever he passed by her house. The story related about this incident, mentions a neighbor of the Prophet that tried her best to irritate him by throwing garbage in his way every day. One day, when he walked out of his home there was no garbage. This made the Prophet inquire about the old woman and he came to know that she was sick. The Prophet went to visit her and offer any assistance she might need. The old woman was extremely humbled and at the same time ashamed of her actions in light of the concern that the Prophet showed her.”

“The Quran says that Prophet was sent as mercy to humankind. If we are to honor the Prophet, it will be by adopting the sublime character of our Prophet and not through the emotions of anger and hate.” Islamicity

Yes, there are violent strains of Islam. I don’t deny that. But that doesn’t mean that is the dominant strain or the only strain. I wanted to hear from Muslims themselves and what I wrote here is what they are saying.

I wish you, all of you, peace. As-salamu alaikum.

*image via pixabay