By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
To the young Muslims, the acts of the ‘other’, that is the non-Muslim, in insulting the Rasool in myriads ways and forms that is verbal, in writing, cartoons and films making is blasphemy. They are told it is deplorable and punishable by death. ‘Off with the infidels heads’, come the sermon from the pulpit, and so ‘behead them’ come out the placards on the streets!
There are two issues here. One is the definition of blasphemy and the other the punishment for it.
-If the former means ridicule and insults to the Rasool then, who has ever told them that their own revered Books, volumes of them, are replete with contradiction of how Muhammad Rasullullah was insulted, tormented, abused, injured, boycotted and finally hounded out of the city of Makkah that he was born in, to seek refuge in a distant city of Madina.
They take pride in the story of his super-humanly kindness towards a woman who hated him so much that she used to tip rubbish on his head every time he passed by her house and yet one day she failed to do so as he was passing by. He enquired as to why she did not do so that day…and the rest is legendry stuff.
It could be argued that he did not have the where withal to punish the culprits at the time. That is true and accepted.
-For the later, the provocations were there as confirmed by 34-7,8 of Quran, and that he was a human after all 18-110 it says; but if the punishment was ordained as they are told to believe, should Muhammad not have carried out these instructions, even as the head of a State and a victorious army?
The evidence suggests the contrary. These punishments the young believe in as Quranic commandments are not part of the divine inspirations that were given to him and compiled in Quran, for therein he was instructed to follow only them, and to warn us accordingly 21-45.
A decade or so later the same Rasulullah subjugates the city of his birth, forgave all and triumphantly goes back to the city of his refuge. Because to forgive is closer to God’s liking.
It is therefore suggested that acting contrary to his given message and his own set examples, which they say they cherish so much as part of their Iman- Belief, but ignore them when it comes to put them in practice is blaspheme. Then it is those who fail to follow are insulting and ridiculing him in reality and committing blasphemy!
To react to provocations by others, particularly of armed type that cause; injury, destruction, pillage and national and international turmoil; not only to individuals but also to ones kith and kin is a natural human reaction. But this must be tempered down by the thought process that to riot and cause injury, destruction and loss of innocent lives in retaliation is equally an insult to the very person that they claim to be respect, by these acts and a fasad to the boot, which is a punishable offence.
Analysts will tell us that this reaction of Muslims today is not only a reaction to the myriads of insults by the West to the person Muhammad but also the pent-up anger and accumulated rage over the years.
Invasions and Armed conflicts and planting of trouble hotspots, sources that have been established in the Muslim world for so called national strategies, some even on false pretences are the main causes of the bubble now bursting at the seams.
But it is so obvious that the Muslim youths’ reaction is misguided in the name of Islam. Where this contrary guidance does then comes from? Cannot one surmise that it comes from the pulpit?
The subservience of their own, the Muslim Governments to foreign Powers and the lack of sophisticated political, military and honest leadership in the Muslim world is their dilemma, and that too is no doubt additional cause of self-anger displayed today in the streets, not only of the Muslim world but also in the countries that Muslims have taken refuge and call them home. Therefore as it is in their home countries so it is in the West too, that they are shooting themselves in the foot!
The disunity and utter dearth of political selfless leadership particularly in the diaspora, has created a catch twenty two situation and naturally the void is filled by the Clergy --- in a show of rare unity of all church denominations—to highjack for itself the Muslim communities’ so called guidance!
If it is a genuine attempt on their part to calm the troubled waters, and one hopes it is very much so, then it suggests that it is most important that they come out in the open in full view and condemn publically those priests and organisations that talk with forked tongues in Mosques and differently outside to the public and media. These well-meaning guides should also take over the pulpits and impart the true message of Peace.
The gullible Muslim youth of today is the most confused element in the diaspora community and one can only sympathise with them for their dilemma. They are being squeezed between two cultures of complete disregard on one hand and ‘call to arms’-Jihad on the other to such provocations
One may give many examples as to how the Christian community in particular, reacts to such provocations. One such example is the painting of Christ –Piss Christ-showing Christ on cross immersed in urine. Did we hear or see any tamasha for that fitna in the Muslim world; particularly as they profess him being their Rasool also? There are naked statues of Ambiya scattered all over the Christian world in their churches and films like Monty Python. Where is the violent reaction from them? Thank God one would say that it is not there!
It is the accepted culture to ridicule anything and everyone in the West, in which the Muslims have ‘chosen’ to live as law abiding citizens and it is incumbent on them to abide by the laws of the land which allows that culture to flourish as art or freedom of speech. Accept it therefore and get along with your life for ‘the sake of good’ and harmony. That does not mean that one is pontificating to “turn the other check”. Not at all, Quran never advocated such weakness in defence!
There are ways and means at their disposal to rightfully and legally protest. It may be alleged however that these rights on legal books are not fully implemented or allowed to be practiced in certain cases, but to do the contrary is damaging the cause they protest for, and insult—a blasphemy-- to the very person they profess to revere!
One has only to go on various media and opinion columns and websites to see that in spite of the bad publicity the youth has generated, there is sympathy for Muslims for being so provoked. It will be advisable for whoever claims to represent Muslims, to cash in on that and thus gain support for legitimately lodging protest.