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April 24th, 2010

Another controversy regarding image of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri.

Muslims around the world are in love with Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Muslims love him more than their biological fathers. They know more about his life than lives of their biological fathers.

Unfortunately, non-Muslims do not seem to understand Muslims love of their beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not clear that people who make fun of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) person are doing it “just for laughs” or there is conspiracy to demean his image, insult him, and ignite Muslims emotions with a purpose to stir-up global reaction by Muslims and encourage them to do acts that casts negative image of Islam, and in the process politically help one country, one community, and one lobby.

In last few decades fun was made of Jesus image in newspapers, and movies. Christians did not show their abhorrence towards such depiction of Jesus. Now cartoonists have turned towards Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Unfortunately, Muslims are taking to violent means to stop this kind of blasphemy. In 1980s when West needed Muslims support to defeat Communist threat, such kind of blasphemy was discouraged. Even fatwa by Imam Khomani (spiritual leader of Iran) regarding Salman Rushdie (author of Satanic Verses) was dealt with an appeasing approach. Now global situation has changed. There is no threat of USSR, and Communist block and ideology.

After Danish Newspaper cartoons of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), cartoon show ‘South Park’ has portrayed him wearing a teddy bear outfit. This is bound to ignite controversy and violence and bring bad name to Islam.

Question is given changed global political situation, how Muslims can educate non-Muslims to refrain from insulting their beloved, and hurting feelings of Muslims, from extremists to liberals. In Europe, and North America teachers in elementary schools teach pupils to be respectful of others, and not to hurt anyone’s feelings. But when it comes to Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), this basic norm of decency and mannerism are absolutely forgotten in the name of freedom of speech. People in West forget they are hurting feelings of one fifth of world’s population by making fun of their beloved i.e. Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

On this forum I ask readers to share their suggestions, on how at least Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement can play their role in preventing derogatory and insulting imaging of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

A few years ago I attended a debate on this subject and wrote a report in The Light –London edition:

Link to news item on ‘South Park’

4 Responses to “Another controversy regarding image of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)”

  1. There was a similar discussion under the thread for “Muslim countries seek ban on blasphemy

    Irrespective of the malice of the authors of South Park about Muhammad PBUH, one thing is obvious that the producers of the show are mocking Muslims in the light of the headlines that Muslims are securing for themselves for past many years.  The Muslims are falling into that trap and making a fool of themselves by their zealot behaviors.

    No matter how much one tries, Muhammad, as a virtuous figure in history and his future impact cannot be tarnished, because that is an assurance from Allah:

    22:15. Whoso thinks that Allâh will not help him (- the Prophet) in this present life nor in the next, let him help himself to go into the heaven by some means and cut (the divine help) off and then see if his device can take away that (God’s help to the Prophet) which enrages (him).

    93:4. Surely, (your) future is better for you than your past.

    94:4. And have (We not) exalted for you your name and given you fame?

    108:1. Verily, We have bestowed upon you (O Muhammad!) abundance of good (both of this life and of the Hereafter).

    Therefore, as far as Muhammad PBUH is concerned, lest be assured that his exalted status is here to stay.

    Now coming to the present day Muslim reaction there is no precedence in the lifetime of Prophet. We cannot quote any retaliatory behavior by any of the companions of the prophet, who actually witnessed an ongoing persecution of Muhammad during early Islam while they were a minority in Makkah, later as a majority in Medina or any revenge after the victory of Makkah when they ruled the whole Arabia.

    I am not willing to accept that present day Muslims are more hurt by a few made up derogatory instances about Muhammad than the companions of Muhammad who saw ongoing malice towards him for decades. But see for yourselves the difference of response. Obviously, the former reflect a good-for-nothing blind fellowship whereas the latter showed us their missionary zeal to convert whole of the known world to Islam by their rational and tolerant example and they did it.

    Admittedly Muhammad PBUH is a rightfully revered prophet and deserves natural exaltation by his followers, but even Quran bars Muhammad from self-exaltation to preserve his humanness.  This injunction must be followed posthumously because the message of Quran is for all times to come:

    2:79. It is not given to a human being that Allâh should give him the Book, the sovereignty and the prophethood and then he should say to the people, `Be servants to me beside Allâh.’ He would rather say, `Be you the sole devotees of (Allâh) the Lord, for you teach the Book and because you study (it).’

    I personally believe that such created instances are a good opportunity for Muslims to get into a meaningful dialogue with non-Muslims, get their attention, set the record straight, prove them wrong and teach them Islam. Else by violent reactions the curiosity about Islam converts into hate towards Islam. Once hate establishes itself in the minds of the people, then it closes the doors for reformation.  As a consequence, Islam risks confinement to the old world only where it will be followed ancestrally and chances for its spread in the West will be lost.  For such an opportunity lost, Muslims will have no one to blame but themselves.
    [The Holy Quran – Allamah Noourddin]

  2. April 25th, 2010 at 11:07 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I think we need to distinguish between those who specifically target Islam and the Holy Prophet for attack through deep prejudice (e.g. the Dutch politician who made the film ‘Fitna’) and those who have a culture of satirising and ridiculing any authority figure or famed person. ‘South Park’ is in the latter category, as you can see from the newspaper article referred to.

    Since the 1960s there has been a rise of satire and cynicism towards authority of all kinds in the media. To such people, the Holy Prophet is one of many figures that they can treat in this way. But, unlike the direct opponents of Islam, these people are at least open-minded and prone to persuasion.

    On a separate but related point, the justifications given in Western countries for attacking the Holy Prophet are that: (1) everyone should have freedom of speech, and (2) these countries are secular democracies where religion may be attacked.

    However, the vile attacks and caricatures of Islam and the Holy Prophet that we see today, which are sought to be justified by the above arguments, originated in Europe centuries ago, in fact a thousand years ago. They did not arise in an environment of freedom of speech or secular democracy, but when ignorance, bigotry, and Christian religious fanaticism were prevailing.

    So if someone justifies attacks on the Holy Prophet by the freedom of speech argument, you can respond that, yes, it is just like having the freedom of speech to say that the earth is flat or that the sun goes around the earth or that scientists should be tortured. These ideas were the product of ignorance but can still be repeated!

    A very good book in this context is Islam and the West, The Making of an Image by Norman Daniel, first published in 1960, and later revised.

  3. April 29th, 2010 at 6:53 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I wish those who are cynical about founders of religions, and make mockery of them, could see verses of the Quran about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), such as the first and the last in the following extract:

    34:47 Say: Whatever reward I ask of you, that is only for yourselves. My reward is only with Allah, and He is a Witness over all things.

    34:48 Say: Surely my Lord casts the Truth, the great Knower of the unseen.

    34:49 Say: The Truth has come, and falsehood neither originates, nor reproduces.

    34:50 Say: If I err, I err only to my own loss; and if I go aright, it is because of what my Lord reveals to me. Surely He is Hearing, Nigh.

    What a tremendous sincerity and humility! I don’t ask any recompense from you, it is you who will receive the recompense (v. 47). If I am right it is only because of the guidance my Lord reveals to me, not on account of my own knowledge.

  4. Opportunity to educate Lars Vilks missed. 
    I wish Muslim audience in Uppsala University, in Sweden had taken the opportunity to educate cartoonist Mr. Lars Vilks instead of shouting, interrupting and attacking him. If audience had made an effort to educate cartoonist about life, character and mission of Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS, it would have helped him and other audience inside and outside the hall. This is age of Jihad with arguments and reasons. I wonder when Muslims will learn!
    Swedish Prophet Muhammad cartoonist ‘head-butted’

    BBC on line May 11, 2010.
    See news here.