November 18, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9043

Saudi Academic: The Prophet's Companions Did Not Retaliate Against Those Who Insulted Him; We Must Follow Their Example

November 18, 2020
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 9043

Following the recent murders in response to insults against the Prophet Muhammad in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rudaiman, a lecturer on Islam in the University of Hail in Saudi Arabia, wrote in the Saudi daily Al-Watan that Muslims must not retaliate against those who mock the Prophet. The polytheists in the Prophet's day, he said, used to curse him and call him a "sorcerer," "soothsayer" and "lunatic," just as their successors are doing today and will probably continue to do in the future. However, he stressed, Allah commanded the Muslims not to react emotionally to such actions, despite their intense love for the Prophet, but to restrain their anger and keep their distance from the infidels, who will eventually recognize the truth.

Al-Rudaiman added that the Prophet's Companions indeed refrained from retaliating against those who insulted him, but supported him by adopting his ways and spreading his message. He stated that those who insult the Prophet should be prosecuted in accordance with Islamic law, as is done in Muslim countries. However, he urged people not to act without the approval of their governments, just as the Prophet's Companions did not disobey their leaders, and warned that "deviating from the policy of the state can lead to a dire situation." Al-Rudaiman stressed that Islam commands that one deal justly with the infidels, despite the hatred toward them, unless they attack the Muslims.

Ahmad Al-Rudaiman (Source:, February 24, 2019)

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"The polytheists of Mecca used to insult the Prophet Muhammad and call him a sorcerer, soothsayer, lunatic, etc. And what was the divine directive regarding these slandering polytheists? This directive is set out in Quran [15:94-99]: "Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists. Indeed, We are sufficient for you against the mockers who make [equal] with Allah another deity. But they are going to know.  And We already know that your breast is constrained by what they say. So exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him]. And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty.'

"The acts of mocking the Prophet Muhammad or cursing him are certainly incompatible with the faith, as evident from the fact that Quran [9:65-66] says about some people who mocked him during the Battle of Tabuk [in 628 CE]: 'Say, "Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief.'" This disastrous approach [of mocking the Prophet], which was taken by the polytheists and hypocrites back then [in the Prophet's day], is [still] taken by their successors today and will be taken by the successors of their successors in the future.  This aggressive attitude toward the Prophet no doubt angers us greatly, for all Muslims feel intense love for the Prophet. However, emotions unrestrained by reason and intellect become storms that end up destroying their owners.  

"If someone asks, 'What is the position of the shari'a on those who insult [the Prophet]?' The answer, according to my understanding, is the following:

"1. One must follow the directives of Allah and adopt the ways of the Prophet and his Companions, for, as stated in the verses quoted above, Allah instructed the Prophet to preach [faith] in Him and to shun the contemptuous polytheists. I have never heard of any Companion of the Prophet who took revenge on these people by murdering or injuring them, or by doing anything of the sort, after they called the Prophet a sorcerer, soothsayer or lunatic. This is because the Prophet's Companions never did anything without the approval of their leader, the Prophet himself, especially since they were still under the rule of the polytheists in Mecca.  

"2. If someone mocks the Prophet in an Islamic country, his case is referred to the shari'a court and he is tried according to the Islamic shari'a.

"3. A learned answer based on arguments and evidence is that one must emulate the conduct of those who studied [Islam] in depth throughout the ages... 'Allah said [in Quran 9:40], "If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him."' That is why the Prophet's followers were called ansar [supporters] - because they supported Allah, His Messenger and His religion. But supporting the Prophet is not achieved by making noise, rioting, butchering [people], deviating from the correct path, sowing destruction and mobilizing [people] in ways that are harmful rather than beneficial. Nor is the Prophet supported by exploiting the Muslims' love for him and using it for political or partisan purposes. [The Prophet] is supported by adopting his way of life, spreading his tradition and forbidding insult to his honorable personality, based on his own righteous ways and not out of emotional turmoil.   

"4. The measures taken by the Muslim countries in this regard [are compatible with the shari'a], for [the shari'a] has laws and conventions that obligate the infidels to refrain from offending the sanctities, prophets and followers [of various religions]. [But] people must not assemble and act without the approval of their governments, for the Prophet's Companions never acted without the approval of their leader, and [also] because deviating from the policy of the state can lead to a dire situation.

"The hatred and fanaticism that currently exist against Islam and the Muslims have embarrassed those blind [Muslims] who try night and day to burnish the infidels' image and accuse the Muslims, without justification, of hatred and injustice [towards the infidels].  Had they read the Quran in depth, they would have discovered the truth, for Allah is the Creator and knows all about those He created…

"[However,] Islam obliges us to behave justly rather than unjustly, even toward the enemies of Allah and His Messengers, whom we loathe, for Allah said [in Quran 5:8]: 'Do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.' Moreover, Islam commands us to be honest and decent with anyone who does not attack us, for Allah said [in Quran 60:8]: 'Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.'"


[1] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 28, 2020.

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