By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
Jan. 13, 2015
(Muhammad Yunus, co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
The Qur’an declares the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to mankind (21:107).
But a great Muslims scholar who has considerable following put the word ‘sword’ in the interpretation and declared: ‘God sent the Prophet (with as sword) as a mercy to mankind.’
Is this not blasphemous?
Can mercy and sword go together? Obviously, not!
Did the Prophet use sword or force to convert pagans into faith? The answer is no. The Qur’anic glimpses of the Prophetic mission completely rule out this notion.
The ‘sword’ obviously comes out of somebody’s mind. If a Muslim scholar can put a sword in the Prophet’s hand, a non-Muslim with an artistic mind can put an AK-47 in his hand. But that will throw the whole Muslims world into a frenzy of violence for blasphemy against their Prophet.
How can a sword be accepted as fitting and admirable for the Prophet and an AK-47, which is simply a modern version of a “sword” insulting?
After all the Paris terrorists used AK-47 and fired them with the slogan of Islam, “Allah u Akbar” giving an impression to the world that they acted in the cause of Islam, the religion of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Leaving aside the above arbitrary example, there are many Ahadith (Prophetic traditions) that project the Prophet as a cruel and sadist person and are thus highly malicious and blasphemous. Some examples from the most authentic of Sunni compilations (that of Imam al-Bukhari) are quoted below:
The Prophet ordered amputation of hands and feet, branding of eye with heated nails and dumping on in rocky train without any water to die from bleeding to punish some men from Ukul tribe who had committed theft, murder and apostasy (Vol.1, Acc. 234, Vol.2, Acc. 577, Vol.4, Acc. 261-A, Vol.5, Acc. 505, 507, Vol.8, Acc.796.).
He did not even allow cauterizing of their amputated hands and feet until they died (Vol.8, Acc. 794, 797).
He ordered the amputation of some men of ‘Uraina who fought against (Allah and His Messenger) and did not cauterise the wounds until they (bled and) died (Vol.8, Acc.795).
He ordered to kill anyone (Muslim) who left Islam (Acc. 260/ Vol.1). He burnt and cut-down the palm trees of Bani al-Nadir (Acc. 365, 366/ Vol.5).
The Qur’an projects the Prophet as a Noble Messenger (81:19) and a person of sublime character (68:4); but there are Ahadith, even in the al-Bukhari compilation that stand blasphemous as they project the Prophet as a sexually obsessed person:
The Prophet embedded all of his nine to eleven wives in round during the day and night (Acc.268, 270, 282/Vol.1, Acc. 34/Vol.3, Acc.6, 142/Vol.7). He shared bath from a single pot with his youngest wife Aisha (Acc. 272, 298/Vol.1), and fondled his wives when they were in menses by getting them to wear the Izar (dress worn below the waist) (Acc. 298, 299, 300/Vol.1).
The irony is the Ulema of Islam regard the Ahadith (narratives), however insulting to the Prophet, as some kind of indirect revelation and therefore do not muster the courage to say a word against their compilers, narrators or initial reporters. They fail to understand that all such accounts that show the Prophet as a legendary character, let alone a great warrior, a sadist or sexually obsessed are merely fictions of people’s imagination – verbalization of the imageries that rose in the minds of his admirers or detractors. They still study them and keep them alive as part of Islam’s Secondary sources, but if someone who is not a Muslim allows his artistic mind to fabricate something about the Prophet in written or art form or as a cartoon, the hell breaks loose upon the Muslim world.
This double standard must stop once and for all. The Danish carton controversy created mayhem across the Muslim world and resulted in violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries with a death toll of some 200 people – practically all Muslims. And the other day we have this tragic massacre at Charlie Hebdo.
May the soul of those killed rest in peace! The terrorists who killed them did so, not so much out of rage as they declared than to terrorize the French people. But thanks to the massive protest in France and the Western world, this must be taken as a eye opener for the Ulama and politicians of Islam particularly those who regard blasphemy as a criminal offence.
One can of course argue that if freedom of speech and expression is not restricted within limits, a corrupt school teacher can expose a child to a pornographic material, a fanatic religious zealot can act like the priest of Cordova, an artist can follow the example of Dante Alghieri, and the word ‘hate speech’ will have to be removed from modern vocabulary. If there can be a hate speech, why can there be a “hate art” or a “hate cartoon”? The sole object of freedom of expression is to allow the oppressed and victimized to speak against injustice and of course to allow people to disagree with anybody on any matter. But if it is given a carte blanche to say or write or draw anything, it may be exempting this noble ideology from any moral bondage. That is for the world leaders to decide and sort out.
The leaders of the world must admit that there is something that is inherently good and something inherently evil. If one abuses a person, he feels offended and may restrain himself or instinctively return the abuse. If you abuse or insult a religious icon, the devout followers of that religion may feel offended and either ignore or return the abuse – which, however, a Muslim must do without any recourse to violence.
So the bottom line is, the people should feel free to express their thoughts and mental imageries about the Prophet in any form they wish, but they should be kind and courteous enough to care for the sentiments of the others. But if a floodgate of caricatures and malicious reports is opened in the wake of this tragic massacre by a lone criminal who has acted against the commandments of the Qur’an, the Muslims must look into their own Secondary sources and accept the fact that human imagination is fired by legends, fables, and all that is grotesque and bizarre, and the Qur’an commands them to return evil with good and to ignore those who malign the Messengers of God.
“Those who patiently seek the Countenance of their Lord, keep up prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly or publicly and repel evil with good – such will attain the eternal life” (13:22).
“Repel evil with that which is good. Indeed We are aware of what they are working (in their minds)” (23:96).
“Goodness and evil are not equal. Therefore repel the latter with that which is good, and then the one between whom and you is hatred, will indeed become your friend (41:34). None can attain this except those who show perseverance; and none can attain this except the very fortunate” (41:34).
“Thus we made for every messenger an enemy - Satans from among men and jinn, some of them inspiring others with seductive talk (in order to) deceive (them), and had your Lord pleased, they would not have done it. Therefore, leave them and what they forge” (6:112)
“Thus we made for every messenger an enemy among the criminals - but enough is your Lord (O Muhammad,) as a Guide and Helper” (25:31)
Therefore, under any circumstance they must act in a matured way and if they feel that an evil has been done to them do them, they must reply with good or simply ignore it. The Muslim states that have blasphemy laws in place must also repeal this law on grounds tabled in an earlier article on the subject referenced below:
It is an affront to the Qur’an’s cardinal principle of justice, trivializes and demonizes Islam, confounds the Muslim community and needs to be revoked.Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.