The Prophet in the mirror of a French writer
There are many books that have been published in the West on Islam and its Prophet, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, with fairness and objectivity, and with a good contemplation of the facts and stages of this great message.
Perhaps examining and studying these writings, and comparing them with others that have not been issued with the same fairness and objectivity, is the best response to this wave of attacks against Islam and its most honorable Prophet, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him. Which, as it subsided, its malignant anthrax would be resurrected, so its sparks would fly, and controversy would abound.
It is fortunate that our discussion of one of these fair books is accompanied by the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace. Which sends greetings and gratitude to the Prophet of Mercy, who came to the worlds as a guide and director.. It is as if we were saying: Your worth, O Noble Prophet, is something that is not hidden from anyone, and it extends beyond its scope to those who are not your followers who believe in you, to include those who aspire to qualities of goodness and beauty, and those who saw in your life and message a living and ever radiating embodiment of those qualities.
It is also a good irony that the book we are dealing with is by a French writer, while the offensive cartoons were issued from France.. This increases the strength of the argument and the message we want from this approach!
As for the book, it is (The Life of Muhammad) by the French writer Emile Dermingham, who presented the biography of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, from birth to death, in a fun style, deep analysis, and fair stances.
The book was published in 1929 AD, and it was translated into English and Arabic with a wonderful translation by Professor Adel Zuaiter, published in Cairo in 1945 AD.
• Darmangham started in his book from a position of admiration for the biography of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, and the model and values that his life presented, trying to get close to the truthful narrations, moving away from what some Western writings draw from the illusions and fabrications about the fragrant biography and its most honorable owner.
He says: “With this book, I wanted to compose a biography of an honest pronunciation of the Prophet based on the oldest Arabic sources without being unaware of what was mentioned in modern literature, and I wanted to draw a picture of the Prophet that is identical to what was described in the biography books and what circulates in the hearts of his followers as much as I was able to do so. And if every human soul contains a lesson, and if every being contains a sermon; How great is the life of a man, who believes in his message a great group of human beings evokes in us”.
He explains that, in his approach, he took a “middle way between the narration of the forerunners and the exaggeration of some contemporary orientalists in criticism.” Indicating that “it is sad that the results reached by the Orientalists were negative and incomplete”.
Dermanghem traces the history of this distortion, saying: “The hatred and superstition have been woven around Islam; From the time of Rudolf Dolodheim (620) to the present day, by Nicolas Ducos, Viviz, Maracci, Hotinger, Pellander, Prideaux and others, he has been described as a charlatan, and Islam has been described as a group of atheism and delusions, and that it is the work of Satan, that Muslims are monsters, and that the Qur’an is a fabric of falsehoods.
Then Dermangham denies this lie, taking the life of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, as evidence of the sincerity of his message and the uprightness of his character. The strength of his creativity, his vast genius, his great intelligence, his iron penetrating eyesight, his ability to control himself, his strong determination, his caution, his good management, his activity, and his style of life; Which prevents this gifted man who was revealed to from being considered afflicted with epilepsy”.
And if Dermingham states that “the history of mankind is a collection of revelations and inspirations”; That is, it is full of the lives of the prophets.. and that “Muhammad’s appearance was in one of the darkest stages of history, and the civilizations that arose in the countries extending from the Mughal countries to the countries of India, were turbulent and crumbling.” It shows that the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, changed this scene. and send rays of light into the dark; He says: “Muhammad rose up to call his people to the religion of the One and Only, and to awaken the heedless of some Asia and Africa, and to liberate from the bondage of tradition all those who realize the truth of his message, and to renew the sleepy Persia, and to stimulate the Christianity of the East, which has been corrupted by lukewarm contemplations.
This effect that the Prophet, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, made is an extension of the lives of his predecessors. Those who came to change the world and guide people to the path of God Almighty.
The situation of the prophets – in Darmangham’s eloquent and beautiful expression – in the world is like the enormous beneficial forces of nature, like the sun and rain, like the winter storms that shake the earth and stir it up to be adorned with a green carpet in a few days. And the best testimony to them is what they inherit from the comfort of minds, serenity of hearts, strength of resolve, patience over adversity, healing of sick morals, and the supplications and prayers that ascend to the sky.
Dermngm refers to what the Prophet peace be upon him, innovated by reform in social terms, he says: ” the call of Muhammadiyah in the Arabian Peninsula has a great impact of steady progress in the family and community health; It improved the fate of women, and prohibited fornication, pleasure and the life of lust, and prevented the coercion of people to prostitution in order to enrich their masters. Islam, even though it permitted slavery, organized its rulings; So he counted the freeing the slaves from the good deeds and expiation for some of the bad deeds” (  ).
And if the prophets are supported by the miracles, which for the addressees are evidence of sincerity in the claimed message; That is, “every prophet must have evidence of his message, and there must be a miracle by which he is challenged, different from the charisma of the saints; Moses challenged the magicians of Pharaoh to come up with miracles similar to what he had brought.”. Darmangham explains that “the Qur’an is the only miracle of Muhammad; His miraculous style and the power of his revelation, which is still a mystery to this day, excite the indwellers of those who follow him, even if they are not pious and devout. Muhammad used to challenge men and jinn to come up with the like of it, and this challenge was the best evidence for Muhammad of the sincerity of his message”.
Dermangham also draws attention to the mediation and moderation of Islam, especially in the spiritual aspect and the attitude towards the world and its adornment and enjoyment. He says: “Many Muslims are used to frequent repentance, seeking forgiveness, prayer and fasting; Muhammad saw that intent takes precedence over excess. He ordered that fasting not exceed one of two days, and indicated moderation in austerity, and leaving everything that kills the soul. And it happened that some of them had led themselves to the pilgrimage by tying their noses with the ropes of camels, so Muhammad cut off these ropes; Because God has no need for cuts of noses”.
And if some find it easy to accuse Muslims of violence, and not to accept those who differ from them in religion; Dermingham refutes these allegations, taking from the history of Islam, and from comparing it with the history of the West, as evidence of their futility. He says: “Winning was written for the Arabs; Because they were qualified to win, and victory for Islam was achieved because it was the title of a message that the East needed so much. The Muslims had endured the punishments before the Hijrah, and they were not able to respond to it. After the emigration was and they had as much victory as you know, they adopted broad tolerance as their constitution. Yes, there is no place left for the polytheists in the abode of Islam, but it has become for the People of the Book of the Jews and Christians in it the right of protection and freedom of worship and the likes if they pay the tribute”.
He adds: “And what is most in the Qur’an and hadith is the command of tolerance, and it is the history that the Arabs killed an entire people, and people entered Islam in groups only out of a desire for it. Here we recall that when Umar ibn al-Khattab entered Jerusalem as the conqueror, he commanded that Christians not be harmed, and that their churches be left to them, and he included the Patriarch with all care, and refused to pray in the church for fear that Muslims would take that as a pretext to convert it into a mosque. Here we say what is the greatest difference between the entry of Muslims to Jerusalem as conquerors, and the entry of the Crusaders who struck the necks of Muslims ; So their knights walked in a river of blood, which was as abundant as their knees and bridles their horses, and they made the intention to kill the Muslims who escaped from the first massacre”.
At the end of his book, Dermangham concludes by stating an important fact, which is the ability of Muslims, despite what has befallen them, to provide what is beneficial to the contemporary world; What they fell into in terms of civilizational backwardness was because of their distance from Islam, and not because of their adherence to it, as the slanderers claim. He says: “The political and social decline was parallel to the forgetting of the principles of true Islam, even though it did not originate from them. Today, it appears that the Islamic nations are rising, and they can play a big role. So it will be a link between the West and the Far East, and the Islamic nations may be a relic of the ancient world”.
These were essential features in the fair and deep vision presented by the French orientalist Emile Dermingham in his book (The Life of Muhammad) .. which the West now needs to contemplate and digest, especially since it was issued by one of his sons, and not from one of the believers in the message of the final Prophet, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him..
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