The audience may have given him a warm, loud applause, but, I, for one, am not clapping.
The Jeddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia brought with it many positive as well as negative aspects, with perhaps the latter outweighing the former. There have been debates over the issue of the appearance of unveiled Saudi women, security, the invitees and the talks. Of these all though, former US President Bill Clinton’s speech did not have its share of warranted remarks.
To me, a Muslim, it is completely unacceptable for a non-Muslim individual to speculate erroneously on what Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would have done were he present in this age. I cannot appreciate his comments of how he would have put his wife, Khadeejah, in charge of his pioneering automobile industry, paraphrasing him. I am completely dumbfounded as to what can be so commendable in this statement.
Do not get me wrong. I am proud of my modern religion, of my Prophet, peace be upon him. I consider my faith to be universal, applicable to all peoples and all times. I can never be less than pleased to learn about all the scientific, educational and technological advancements our predecessors achieved.
All the same, for ex-president Clinton to push forward the ‘liberation of Muslim women’ campaign in such an absurd manner is at best inappropriate, and degrading at worst. The mindset of those Muslims who were delighted at such a notion is astounding. Yes, our Prophet, peace be upon him, never discouraged progress as long as it was in line with Islamic principles and it is true that his wife of twenty-five years was a businesswoman. But, since we are speaking of this in terms of what the Prophet, peace be upon him, would do, I wonder what Mr. Clinton and his audience believe he would have said had he attended their forum. I cannot help but think whether they think he would have shaken their hands and given them a pat on the back for their Westernization effort and if he would really bring his wife, Khadeejah, to grace the meeting with her presence. Let me ask those insecure, self-pitying Muslims who were thrilled with Clinton’s remark: would Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, be honored with that man’s comment if he were to be alive today?
No former head-of-state who bombed the only pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, who unrepentantly ordered missiles to be fired on civilians in Afghanistan, who even massacred his own citizens at Waco, Texas, who betrayed his own wife and lied to his public, who provided the Israeli occupiers of Muslim, Arab land the friendliest term ever by an American president, to name a few of his misdeeds, has any right whatsoever to tell Muslims what their Prophet would do, how they should treat their women and where their charity should go.
We know our Prophet was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, and most progressive men to live in history; we do not need any non-Muslim man who is not educated regarding our faith to tell us that. We know how much charity we are supposed to spend and in which avenues; the last thing we need is to be told that by a foreign man and not our own Muslim intellectuals.
We, Muslims, have already stooped so low. Let us take a step forward without losing our values and principles and truly, in Mr. Clinton’s words, "without compromising" our sense of honor. Those who oppose us are already doing their jobs of trying to debase us; let us not, unwittingly or knowingly, be their most valuable asset.