Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
What is the best way to defend the honor of our Nabi peace be upon him aside from embodying His character?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
As you mentioned, the best way to defend the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) and to show others who he truly is, is to live according to his example.
Following the Prophetic example in a general sense, such as relating to personal worships, dress, or other outward aspects has great blessing and contains great beauty for any who reflects on these Sunna practices.
However, the most impactful aspects of the Prophetic example on the perceptions of those opposed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) relate to his exemplary way of dealing with people.
How He Dealt With His Enemies
Sayyiduna ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said to him, “Shall I not inform you of the most noble of character in this world and the next? It is to join ties with those who cur you off, to give those who withhold from you, and to pardon those who wrong you.” [Tabarani]
This standard of character may be seen in the current culture as a weakness and one may feel that if we don’t put people in their place, we will have the upper-hand.
To this point, it is necessary to know the intentions necessary to bring real change.
Sincere Desire for Their Wellbeing (Nasiha)
Though it may be difficult on the ego, it is the Prophetic guidance to have a sincere desire for the wellbeing of everyone.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The religion (of Islam) is sincere counsel.” [Abu Dawud]
Imam Harith al-Muhasibi (Allah have mercy on him) writes, “Regarding knowledge of people’s dealing with others, the first is sincere counsel (nush) due to the Prophet’s statement: “Religion is sincere counsel.” This applies to those matters that are private and public, whether small or large, for those near and those far, enemies and friends.” [Muhasibi, Adab al-Nufus]
The Ultimate Goal
Our ultimate goal in dealing with others, especially those who currently oppose Islam, is that they come to know the reality and beauty of Islam and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace).
Achieving this goal requires good intentions, wisdom, and clarifying to the best of one’s ability any misunderstandings or misconceptions others may have without succumbing to argumentation or other counterproductive acts that usually stem from ego and a lack of nasiha.
Allah Most High says, “Invite ˹all˺ to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord ˹alone˺ knows best who has strayed from His Way and who is ˹rightly˺ guided.” [Quran, 16:125]
In the end, it is only Allah Most High who guides people and we are only charged with conveying the message and calling the people.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani