As a child my mother used to narrate incidents from the life of the Prophet Muhammad. One of these was that of the Arab chief who was walking by the Prophet Muhammad while he affectionately played with his grandsons. The man told the Prophet that it was not customary for them to show affection to their children and boasted that in his own life he had never kissed any of his 10 children.
I remember this story because the reply that the Prophet Muhammad gave provided me with great assurance of my worth as a child. Let me come back to that in a moment, though.
These and many other stories like it impressed upon me the kindness and love that the Prophet of Islam had toward children. It is because of this that I am especially saddened and angered by the most recent act of the Taliban who have shot and potentially critically injured a 14-year-old Pakistani-Muslim girl, Malala Yousafzai. Her supposed crime: Promoting those same values of education and respect of children that the Prophet of Islam made incumbent upon all Muslim men and women about 1,400 years ago.
Originally published in The Indiana Gazette
It is clear to me, and the vast majority of outraged Muslims throughout the world, that the members of this group who promote such despicable violence and claim that they are fighting in the name of Islam have deviated far from the true nature of the religion.
Their behavior and beliefs are the polar opposite of the man they claim to hold allegiance to. The man who, in a society where girls were slaughtered as babies and traded as property, not only completely abolished these activities but, when mentioning the right of education, purposely and meaningfully said that it was an obligation upon both males and females to acquire knowledge.
The Prophet himself would have condemned these cowards in the same way that he fearlessly condemned that Arab chief: “One who has no pity for others is himself not pitied by God. If God leaves your heart barren of love, I cannot help you.”