By AYA BATRAWY Associated Press
September 14, 2012 (AP)
An overview about the Prophet Muhammad:
Who is the Prophet Muhammad?
Muslims believe that God revealed the Quran to Muhammad starting in the early 6th century through the Angel Gabriel. Muhammad is not only considered part of a long line of major prophets, including Moses and Jesus, but Muhammad is also considered the last prophet.
Muhammad was married to Khadija, a wealthy woman who inherited her family business and was 15 years older than him. She is considered the first follower of Islam after the prophet. The prophet did not marry again until after her death. Among the women he married after are Aisha, who is revered for transmitting to his followers after his death his way of life and habits, and Maria, a Coptic Christian who converted. The revelation of the Quran began in what is celebrated by Muslims around the world as the month of Ramadan. Muslims believe the Quran is a continuation of the core values of the Torah and Bible.
What is the Prophet Muhammad’s role in Islam?
Muslims consider Muhammad both a spiritual and very human figure who is a model of how they should behave in all aspects of life. The Muslim declaration of faith, or shahada, is: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This declaration is recited often during the five daily prayers as a way of glorifying God and sending blessings to Muhammad, as well as cementing one’s faith in the declaration. Muslims do not worship Muhammad but honor him by trying to emulate his ideals.
Why are depictions of the prophet seen as heretical by most Muslims?
Among Sunni Muslims in particular, depictions of any prophets, whether it be Muhammad or Jesus or Moses, are shunned to avoid worship of a person or figure rather than God. God is the absolute in Islam and shares no partner and has no associates. Throughout history, there have been some depictions of the prophet in Islamic art, and it is common to find his name in the form of calligraphy. His name as God’s messenger and as part of the Islamic declaration, shahada, is drawn in Arabic and hung in homes and mosques. Shia Muslims are less opposed to depictions and images of Islamic leaders, but drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, positive or not, continue to draw ire by Muslims around the world.
In what ways does the prophet’s life impact Muslims today?
In mosque sermons, Muslim homes, Islamic studies and literature on the religion, the prophet’s way of life and his words are studied and repeated as examples to live by. While Muslims do not believe the prophet to be perfect, as perfection is believed to be reserved only for God, they revere his relationship with his companions, followers, enemies, wives and neighbors as the ideal that humans should aspire to emulate.
The verbal sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad are key elements of Islam that Muslims often refer to when interpreting Islamic law or answering questions that may not be fully addressed in the Quran. A saying or action by the prophet, known as a “hadith,” has been studied in great detail by scholars for centuries to establish its validity. This means the reliability of its transmitters and the accuracy of its lineage back to the prophet must be authenticated.
What is an example of a hadith?
The Prophet Muhammad and his followers were often subjected to mockery, abuse and torture in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by those opposed to Islam and its message during its early years. It is said he remained patient and did not return insult for insult. This is further exemplified by one his teachings or hadith, in which he states; “Should I inform you about the best characteristics of the dwellers of this world and the hereafter? They are: keeping a relationship with one who cuts it off with you, giving to the one who deprives you, and pardoning the one who oppresses or wrongs you.”
Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll contributed from New York.
That came after massive Muslim world anger against the insult they felt based on Sam Bacile’s “Innocence of Muslim”
14 September 2012 Last updated at 22:33 GMT
Anti-Islam film protests escalate
Violent protests have continued across the Middle East in response to a film made in the US seen as insulting to Islam
At least seven people were killed on Friday in demonstrations over a film made in the US that mocks Islam – as protests spread around the world.
Three people were killed when the US embassy in Khartoum was attacked, Sudanese state radio said.
In Tunisia, two people were killed after crowds breached the US embassy compound in Tunis. There was one death in Egypt and one in Lebanon.
Protests began on Tuesday against the film, Innocence of Muslims.
The film depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and leader of a group of men who enjoy killing. Clips were distributed online with an Arabic voice-over.
The film’s exact origin and the motivation behind its production remain a mystery.
In Khartoum, a crowd of several thousand attacked the US embassy. State radio said three people were killed.
Continue reading the main story
At the scene
Leana HoseaBBC News, Tunis
As soon as Friday prayers were over, hundreds of men streamed out of the mosque in Tunis and started marching to the US embassy. They appeared to be ordinary Muslims angry that their religion had been insulted. As one told me: “Allah and the Prophet are more important than my life.”
Most of the protesters were men, but there were some women, too. When I put it to them that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had apologised and the film had nothing to do with the US government, they all said it was not enough. “We want a proper apology and for the filmmaker to be arrested,” they said.
The embassy was heavily guarded by riot police, an army tank and the access roads were shut. But this was not enough. Clashes soon broke out. The air was thick with tear gas, but people have learned from the revolution that a bit of Coca-Cola in the eyes will take away the burn.
Just opposite the embassy, the American School was looted by young men and boys, who walked off with musical instruments and computers.
The crowds gathered first outside the German embassy, setting it partially alight and causing extensive damage.
The UK embassy nearby was also targeted by protesters but escaped major destruction.
The controversial film has no known links to either Germany or the UK.
Both countries confirmed all their staff in their Khartoum embassies were safe.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s attack and call on the Sudanese authorities to ensure that those involved are brought to justice,” said UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Later, US Vice President Joe Biden called his Sudanese counterpart Ali Osman Taha to express concern over the security of US and other diplomatic missions in Khartoum, the White House said.
In Tunis, hundreds of protesters entered the embassy compound and set fire to several vehicles in the car park.
Earlier reports said three people had been killed but this was later revised down to two.
Police fired shots, but it was not clear whether these were rubber bullets or live rounds.
Demonstrators raised a black flag bearing the Islamic proclamation of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
The American school in Tunis was looted and set on fire.
Tunisian Prime Minister Rachid Ghannouchi said the attacks were unacceptable.
All the dead are believed to be protesters. There is no indication that any diplomatic staff or members of the security forces were killed.
At least one person was killed in Cairo as protests raged for a fourth day.
Police firing tear gas pushed about 500 demonstrators back from the US embassy. Streets nearby were blocked with barbed wire, concrete and police vehicles.
President Obama : “Their sacrifice will never be forgotten”
Islamist groups and others had called for a peaceful “million-man march” in the city, but a number withdrew those calls on Friday.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, said it would organise marches and sit-ins in front of mosques – but none outside the US embassy in Cairo.
After talks with Italian leaders in Rome, Mr Mursi reiterated his government’s determination to protect foreign diplomats on its soil. He also condemned the film as unacceptable.
Later on Friday, Islamic militants attacked an international observer post in Egypt’s restive Sinai region.
The base is not far from the border with Gaza and Israel. It houses some 1,500 members of the multinational force, including US troops.
There were also protests in the northern city of Alexandria.
In other developments:
Continue reading the main story
Protest timeline – main flashpoints
1. US embassy in Cairo attacked, flag torn down and replaced with black Islamist banner
2. Mob attacks US consulate in Benghazi, US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed
3. Protesters break into the US embassy compound in Sanaa, Yemen, amid clashes with security forces
4. Sudanese protesters attack German and British embassies in Khartoum, and clash with police
5. One person killed in Lebanon in protest at a KFC restaurant
6. Protesters in Tunis attack the US embassy, with a large fire reported and shots heard
- In the Yemeni capital Sanaa, security forces fired warning shots and water cannon to disperse protesters near the US embassy
- The US is sending a fast-response team of 50 marines to Sanaa to boost security
- In the Lebanese city of Tripoli, protesters set fire to a KFC fast-food restaurant, sparking clashes with security forces
- In Bangladesh, thousands of demonstrators demanded harsh punishment for the film’s makers, and burned the American flag
- In London, about 200 protesters gathered outside the US embassy, burning the US and Israeli flags but there was no violence
- About 1,000 people joined a protest in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, burning an effigy of US President Barack Obama
- Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem
- In Nigeria, police in the flashpoint northern city of Jos fired live rounds at a protest outside a mosque
- There were also protests in eastern Sri Lanka and in the Maldives
The protests against the film began on Tuesday in Cairo.
They spread to the Libyan city of Benghazi, where demonstrators stormed the US consulate, killing the ambassador and three other Americans.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have attended a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base for the return of the remains of the Americans killed.
Mr Obama said the US would “stand fast” against the violence at its diplomatic missions.
The US has said it is stepping up security at its missions globally in the wake of the attack.
The BBC has been told that the US consulate in Benghazi was not given the standard security contract offered to most US diplomatic missions in the Middle East.
The allegation came from Western private military contractors.
A White House spokesman has said there was no “actionable intelligence” in advance about the Benghazi attack.
President Obama has now ordered a review of security at US diplomatic facilities around the world.