Muslims need to unpack the notion that Prophet Muhammad’s behavior was the Qur’an, founding Chairman of New York’s Cordoba initiative Imam Feisal Abd Rauf has said.
Speaking at the 1st Global Congress for Muslim Public Relations Practitioners held in Kuala Lumpur from 05-08 December, the US faith leader spoke of the need for Muslims to reach a more profound understanding of the Prophet’s example.
Imam Feisal, keynote speaker at the inaugural event, referred to a narration by Prophet Muhammad’s wife ‘A’isha, frequently mentioned by Muslims, where she describes Islam’s Prophet as a personified Qur’an.
“When ‘Aisha was asked by a young man who did not live in the time of the Prophet what the Prophet was like, she said that his behavior was basically the Qur’an in human form – the ethics of the Qur’an in human form,” the Imam of New York's al-Farah mosque said.
“His behavior was that of the Qur’an. And that’s what we are supposed to be about. Now, it’s easy to say ‘his behavior was the Qur’an’; it’s a beautiful idea, but it’s not enough. We have to unpack what it means,” he said.
According to Imam Feisal, this is precisely what studies of the Sunna -- the record of Prophet Muhammad’s every act, word, and confirmation, as well as the second source of Islamic legislation and life -- are about.
“This is why we talk about the sunna of the Prophet. What was the sunna of the Prophet. How would the Prophet have behaved if he were in this particular condition, in this particular situation? What would he do?” he stressed.
Muslims thus analyze the Prophet’s actions and life example in order to determine their ways of being in the world.
“This is why we study the sunna of the Prophet – to learn from him certain principles which we can then apply in new contexts, which is why we use the idea of analogy in Islamic jurisprudence,” Imam Feisal added.
Addressing the relationship between Islam and Public Relations and the role of Muslim Public Relations professionals, Imam Feisal noted that that the PR congress was significant in that it enabled practitioners to examine the ways in which the Prophetic example could be used to determine the guidelines that Muslim PR professionals place as the limits on their endeavors.
“What we’re doing here is ijtihad [independent reasoning] in the area of PR,” the imam said.
Organized by Malaysia’s International Islamic University, the Federation of ASEAN Public Relations Organization and the Kargozer PR Institute, the congress was a world first and explored the theme, ‘The Practice of Public Relations in Islamic Countries – Past, Present and Future Trends.’