Anti Islam Video and the Holy Prophet (sa) Champion of Religious Tolerance and Freedom
The holy Quran states:
And We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples. (21:108)
Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.
Verily, those who malign Allah and His Messenger — Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them an abasing punishment. (33:57-58)
Anti-Islam video and the reaction of the Muslims
Recently, an extremely foul and provocative film has been produced in the USA with reference to our Holy Prophet (sa) that is inflammatory to the sentiments of Muslims. Due to this, a wave of indignation is running across the Muslim world. It is a disgraceful and vulgar action of the producer of the film which has caused an unrest throughout the Muslim world. Each Muslim is reacting to this. They exhibit momentary passion by burning flags, causing damage and destruction and attacking embassies. Do they believe that setting fires, God forbid, is all that demonstrates the honour and the station of the Holy Prophet (sa) and by burning flags or burning property of an embassy they have had their reprisal?
Injuring the sentiments of others is neither democracy, nor freedom of conscience
As for those who have committed this heinous act in the name of freedom of expression and all those who support them in the name of religious freedom we tell them that any kind of vulgar expression about any sacred person of any religion does not constitute freedom in any way at all. You might be champion of democracy and freedom of expression, but to play with the sentiments of others is neither democracy nor freedom of expression. Everything has a limit and some code of conduct. Just as there are codes of conduct in all professions, there is also a code of conduct in journalism. Just as no matter what kind of government there is, it has its rules and regulations. Freedom of expression certainly does not mean that sentiments are trifled with, or are caused to be hurt. If this is the freedom that they are proud of, then this freedom does not lead to advancement, rather it leads to decline.
There is no such thing as unlimited free speech. When freedom of speech was first advocated in the 18th and 19th century it was intended to lead to truth and morality. The cartoons and movies to mock religious leaders achieve neither. They are based on lies on the first hand and then they create hatred among people. Failure on both counts.
When you speak ill of a certain race they call it racism, when you speak ill of women’s rights it’s called sexism, when you don’t approve of homosexuality they call it intolerance. And of course if you dare question the holocaust or anything Jewish-related they call anti-Semitism. But when they attack and mock the prophet of Islam: they call it freedom of speech. Double standards…
Freedom of speech always conflicts with other values in society, such as peaceful coexistence, and must be balanced. That is why modern democratic governments in one form or another already place limits on freedom of speech.
Islam values freedom of speech in a respectful way. Quran says “Revile not those whom they call upon beside God, lest they, out of spite, revile God in their ignorance…” This one principle can establish peaceful co-existence. Furthermore Prophet Muhammad instructed his followers to “not taunt, or curse or abuse or talk indecently.”
If we want to live peacefully in global village we must learn to respect each other.
Practical examples of the conduct of the Holy Prophet with regard to establishment of human values and religious tolerance
They have made an indecent attempt to malign that Prophet of Allah who has been sent as a mercy for the entire mankind. As mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“And We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples. (21:108)”
There are many incident which proves this. Let’s look at few examples from his life…
Abdur Rahman bin abi Laila narrates that two companions were sitting at a place called Qadsia when a funeral procession went by. They both stood up. When they were told that the funeral was that of a non-Muslim, they replied:
“Once a funeral procession went by the Holy Prophet(sa) who stood up as a mark of respect. He was told that it was the funeral of a Jew. To this the Holy Prophet(sa) replied: Was he not human?”
Thus he taught the respect for the religion of others as well as humanity. Such expression and such models create an atmosphere of religious tolerance. In conveying such feelings, kind sentiments for others are generated and it is these sentiments that create an atmosphere of love and peace. Contrary to the actions of the worldly people of today that are nothing beyond creating an atmosphere of hatred.
“Another tradition related that at the victory of Khaybar some Muslims came upon some copies of the Torah. The Jews went to the Holy Prophet(sa) and requested that their holy book be returned to them. The Holy Prophet(sa) directed the Companions(ra) to return the religious books of the Jews to them.”
Despite the wrong attitude of Jews for which they were being punished, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not tolerate to even treat the enemy in a way that would have hurt their religious sentiments.
It was to promote this very religious freedom and tolerance that the Holy Prophet permitted the visiting Christians from Najran to worship inside the Prophet’s (sa) Mosque. They worshipped while they were facing eastward. Indeed our beloved Prophet (saw) was an unmatchable champion of religious tolerance and freedom.
Another example of freedom of expression for people of other religions can be found during the times when the Holy Prophet’s (sa) government was established in Medina.
In a tradition, Hadhrat Abu Huraira narrates that two men were quarrelling. One was a Muslim and the other a Jew. The Muslim said, ‘I swear by that Being Who chose Mohammad(sa) over all the worlds and granted him excellence over others.’ The Jew retorted, ‘I swear by that Being Who granted excellence to Moses over all the worlds and chose him’.
On this the Muslim slapped the Jew. The Jew took the complaint to the Holy Prophet(sa), who asked the Muslim for the details and then said: ‘Do not give me preference over Moses.’
This was his standard of freedom, religious freedom, religious tolerance and freedom of conscience during his reign. Quite contrary to what we see today.
How an Ahmadi Muslim should react?
We Ahmadis do not ever react by going on strikes or by setting fires; nor is setting fires, strikes, damage and destruction or burning flag is the solution.
In 2006 when offensive caricatures were published, our beloved Imam Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Khalifat ul Masihil Khamis (aa) advised us:
In response to the publication of the offensive caricatures, each child, each elderly, each youth, each man and each woman among you should kindle a fire that would never extinguish. Not a fire to burn down the flag or property of a country that extinguishes in a few minutes or a few hours. Here they stand showing great enthusiasm (in a photograph from Pakistan) in setting fires, as if they have had a great achievement – this fire would extinguish in five minutes! The fire we light should be such that would blaze forever and that is the fire of love and devotion for the Holy Prophet (sa), the fire to adopt each of his blessed models and demonstrate it to the world. Once this is inflamed in your hearts, it shall keep burning. This fire should be such that it would also be moulded in prayers with its flames ever reaching the heavens! (Friday Sermon 10th February, 2006)
Turn your anguish into prayers and invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa), in abundance
Allah, the Almighty says in the Holy Qur`an (33:57):
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.”
The Holy Prophet (sa) once said that for me blessings of Allah and His angels is sufficient, the commandments for you is for your own protection.
Therefore, we should act upon this commandment and should try our level best to send salutations of peace on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa). Our beloved Imam draws our attention towards this important commandment in the following words:
This is the fire that every Ahmadi has to kindle in their hearts and have to mould their pains into prayers. Yet, for all this, the mediator has to be the Holy Prophet (sa). For the acceptance of our prayers, to attract the love of God, to avoid the absurdities of the world, to protect ourselves from wickedness of this kind that take place, to keep the love of the Holy Prophet (sa) alive in our hearts, for the good of our life in this world and the Hereafter, we should invoke the blessings and salutations on the Holy Prophet (sa), immeasurably. Indeed we should do so profusely. In this seditious time, to keep ourselves immersed in the love of the Holy Prophet (sa) and to keep our next generations firm on Ahmadiyyat and Islam each Ahamdi should strictly adhere to this commandment. (Friday Sermon 10th February, 2006)
Persistent activities intended to blaspheme the Holy Prophet will incite the Wrath of God Almighty.
As for those who have committed this heinous act, Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Verily, those who malign Allah and His Messenger — Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them an abasing punishment.”
It is not our job to take law in our hands and start issuing verdicts against the perpetrators that they should be killed. Allah will punish the perpetrators of this act. The Promised Messiah (as) has warned such people in the following words:
‘Bear in mind that God has informed me time and again about the coming of earthquakes. So be sure that just as there have been earthquakes in America and in Europe, in keeping with the prophecies, so will they occur in different parts of Asia, and some of them will be as terrifying as doomsday. There will be death on such a large scale that rivers will run with blood, and even birds and animals will not escape it. Such destruction will overtake the earth as has not happened since man was born. Most places will be turned upside down as if they had never been inhabited. There will also be other terrible afflictions, both in heaven and earth, and every sensible person will realize that they are no ordinary phenomena, and no trace of them will be found in books of astronomy or philosophy. Then people will be seized by anxiety and they will wonder what is going to happen? Many will be saved, and many will perish. Those days are near, indeed they are at the door, when the world shall witness a spectacle of doomsday. Not only will there be earthquakes, but other terrible calamities will also appear, some from heaven and some from the earth. This will happen because men have given up the worship of their God, and all their thoughts and their designs and their resolves are diverted towards the world. Had I not come, these calamities might have been delayed for a while, but with my coming the secret designs of God’s wrath, that had long been hidden, have been manifested. As God said: ‘…We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.’ (17: 16).
Those who repent shall find security and those who fear before the calamity overtakes them will be shown mercy. Do you think that you will be safe from these earthquakes, or that you can save yourselves by your own designs? No, you cannot. All human designs will come to naught that day. Do not imagine that only America has been shaken by the earthquake and that you are safe, for you may experience even greater calamities. O Europe! You are not secure, O Asia! You are not secure, O you who dwell in the Islands, no artificial god will come to your aid. I see the cities falling and I see the habitations in ruin. The One and the Unique has long remained silent. Abominations were committed before His eyes and yet He remained silent. But now He shall reveal His countenance in a dreadful manner. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! The hour is not far. I tried to bring everyone under the security of God, but the decrees of destiny had to be fulfilled. Assuredly, I say that this country’s turn is also drawing near. The days of Noah shall appear before your eyes, and you will see with your own eyes what happened to the land of Lot. But God is slow to wrath, repent so that you are shown mercy. He who abandons God is a worm, not a man, and he who does not fear Him is dead, not alive.’ [Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 22, pp. 268-269 – Essence of Islam, Vo. V, pp. 148 – 150]