OVER the last several years it has become a standard pattern in some sections in West and India to demonize Islam and Muslims. Concerted attempts have been made to insult and denigrate Prophet of Islam (SAW) with negative and aggressive traits of his personality. Danish cartoons portrayed our beloved prophet as ‘terrorist’. A Florida pastor went on to burn the holy Quran. US soldiers in Afghanistan posted their madness in burning the copiers of Quran. Before this Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and other sacrilegious materials offended Muslims all over the world. Remember also how courts in India were approached for ‘proscribing’ the Holy Scripture.
Reacting with violent demonstrations is, and has always been, counter-productive. This is an exercise in self-defeating futility. This approach from us enables the lunatics like Nakoula Basseley (the maker of the provocative and insulting film) to have their say in the media and celebrate their notoriety. It is also an invitation to every other xenophobic (Islamophobic) to win cheap fame. The vituperative attack against the Most Venerated Person (SAW) also reflects the fast spread of Islam and the hardliners of the other faiths struggling to block Islam through blasphemy. We cannot respond to insanity with insanity, abuse with abuse. A dog-bite nobody would notice, but a swift descent from us in biting a dog would venerate the dog in human-frame itself. We have to remember these are the very people who have been ungrateful to their religious figures. They have committed blasphemy against their own Prophets including Jesus (AS) and Moses (AS). Why take their howl that seriously.
Our faith in Islam being a comprehensive code of conduct and revered Prophet Muhammad (SAW) the righteous, glorious and perfect model of Islam gets refreshed as these incitements nudge us to match our conduct and shape our behavior in light of the teachings of Islam. And every such insight reinvigorates our faith that Islam is Deen-e-Fitrat. Ever since his Prophethood it wasn’t easygoing for the ‘Saviour of the Humanity’ as Quran glorifies him. He was tortured both physically and emotionally. Every abuse and insult was mucked at him. Taunted as sorcerer, he was jeered and howled in derision (Taif). There were attempts to poison him and he was forced to exile, but he behaved well and faced all the abuses. He ignored the intemperate criticism, the offensive and insulting remarks. He asked Hassan bin Sabit (one of his companion) to defend him in praise and acknowledge Almighty Allah’s blessing in sending him as prophet of peace for the entire humankind.
There is a long tradition of Muslim tolerance for insults against their faith and its founder. Whether Muslims held power or faced subjugation, in both cases they digested these ridicules and insults. Ninth century Andalucia (Spain) saw Muslims rule at its zenith but the rulers largely ignored the anti-Islamic spectacles in market places and public squares and state officials overlooked the verbal assault. During the 19th century, when European colonialism was at its upward swing Muslims met the awful and humiliating tempest with thoughtful and measured response. When Enrest Renam, the French philosopher, accused Islam of being ‘inherently opposed to rationality, science and philosophy’, the religious reformer and famous scholar Jalal-ul-Din Afgani didn’t lose his cool. He replied in a scholarly manner, offering a counter narrative of early Islamic period when Muslim scientists unraveled mysteries of nature while Europe was groping in darkness. He was told that wrong-doings of Muslims and their contradictions in their life should not be attributed to Islam. Muslim educationist and philosopher Sir Syed Ahmad Khan also wrote in defense of Prophet (SAW) when an Orientalist defamed the messenger of Allah.
Do you know what prompted and provoked the great Maulana Syed Abul Aala Maudoodi to write Al-Jehad Fil Islam, the matchless treatise? In 1926 Swami Shardanand the founder of Shoodee movement, was killed. Unfortunately name of a Muslim figured in the incident. That unleashed a demonizing campaign against Islam. Some Hindu leaders spewed their venom against Islam to the extent that ‘as long as there is Quran, peace would elude from the world’. Even Ghandiji, regarded as most sober voice in Hindus, accused ‘Aslam’, saying ‘Sword was the decisive power of Muslim earlier and today as well’. I suggest readers to go through the book, it will help them to have a clear understanding of Jehad and how Muslims waged it at their zenith.
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