WHEN WOUNDED HEARTS RULE
A wise Arab poet once said,
Had you fed every barking dog a stone to silence it, a rock would cost a dinar to obtain.
Virtually all means of media are propaganda machines spewing discriminatory images and words adhering to a specific agenda.
This is palpable in the portrayal of ALLÂH ﷻ, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Muslims and/or Islâm in parts of the “Occident”.
However, it is the Muslims – albeit not all but a small fraction – who are making it easier for the world to view us in this “light” and some of the blame indubitably falls on us.
Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Jyllands-Posten caricatures, Geert Wilder’s short film Fitna and now a “Sam Bacile” profane film depicting The Prophet ﷺ, and many more, are indisputably irresponsible projects with no regard for the corollaries.
All, though, fall under “freedom of speech and expression”.
The hollow “freedom of speech and expression” phrase is the promulgation of some of the “Occident”, trampling on the freedoms of others when it selectively chooses to disrespect a specific culture, race and/or religious creed, crossing red lines beyond the pejorative scope.
They excel at propagating hate.
Under the guise of the freedom of speech article, it is permissible, for example, to distort the image and message of The Prophet ﷺ, all the while insulting over 1.8 billion Muslims. This, and the fact some of the “Occident” is “somewhat” averse to Muslims and Islâm, is nothing new.
Remember the words of the esteemed Malcolm X رحمه الله,
The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
Alas, “diversity” and “multiculturalism” the world over does not equate to respect or tolerance – if only.
We, as Muslims, nonetheless, need to wake up to the realisation we are part of the problem, and in various cases, the cause of such depiction – whether false or not.
This is not the first case, and will not be the last, when great men and women and elements of Islâm are portrayed as such.
ONE-STEP FORWARD, TWO-STEPS BACK
The ripples of The Arab Awakening are still permeating the world but the deplorable recent events may overshadow it sending shock waves worldwide affecting both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Amidst the tumult, lamentably and unjustifiably, the result is the clustering of majority of Muslims within the same category as the very few who, masquerade as devoted Muslims, misleadingly proclaim they want their due deference for The Prophet ﷺ.
The incongruent ways of those Muslims would leave many mystified. On the one hand, protesting the film, whilst on the other, acting contrary to the eloquent conduct of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
How many of the professed offended Muslims uphold Islâm harmonious with the wisdoms of the great man they are claiming to defend?
There is no justifying the despicable wrongdoing of the few who murdered innocents (conscientious Libyans attempted to save) under the pretext of protest. The reality, hidden motives were (and are) in play – anti-American being one – and a chance to act out blazing animosity, as we witness often in certain areas in the “Occident” about Muslims.
It is as if granted respite through protesting from their own emptiness, their lacking in their duties as Muslims.
Every time we think we are entering a new age of enlightenment, the tentacles of ignorance sucks us right back in – ignorance of the message of Islâm – and what subsequently ensues, all for the sake of The Prophet ﷺ, grossly surpasses the offensive deed that was the initial cause for the protest.
“Islamophobia” does not grant Muslims impunity to act egregiously.
WOUNDED HEARTS INFLAMING THE FLAME
The actions and words of the few are feeding into the hate, consequently, casting light on the film, which could have simply gone unnoticed.
What may have started as a protest in the name of The Prophet ﷺ has turned into a remonstrate disrespecting him, misrepresenting Islâm and, worse still, displeasing ALLÂH ﷻ.
All the hearts of Muslims should cry out against this “new provocation” but it is not an excuse to speak about or commit abominable acts.
Bleeding hearts should not dictate our actions, which will ultimately mar the Ummah, leaving tremors of sighs of disappointment because of the few who took it a (murderous) step further.
Positive and negative deeds affect all, and the few whose actions are reprehensible may eclipse the whole making it effortless to give rise to more “Islamophobic” endeavours.
Remedying solutions via intellectual means are the ways to eradicate ignorance and relinquish the façades we hide behind to put an end to what we see and hear.
THWARTING THE BARKING DOG
Flaunting “proud to be Muslim” slogans and badges, joining Facebook groups/pages, ostentatiously rallying in the name of Islâm, preaching without practising, – the list is endless – are all to fill some void or mask an inadequacy and/or failing in our own belief, thus getting lost in the miasma of false manifestations.
To comprehend fully the wisdom of our Beloved Prophet ﷺ, it is becoming essential to treat Muslims as a separate “entity” from Islâm due to the disparity.
It is unfair to state (conversely) that many Muslims are symbols of Islâm until we begin to dispel the cloak of victimhood we shroud ourselves with, stop overreacting and begin to approach “Islamophobic” material with just cause, rationality and wisdom.
It is not a quixotic remedy; it is what Prophet Muhammad ﷺ embodied.
Reflective education and applicable knowledge are the essential keys to appreciate the essences of Islâm and absorb its message to imbue our hearts, minds, deeds and lives with its beauty. Then, and only then, can we say all Muslims are worthy of personifying the message of Islâm.
The barking dogs here, as in the words of the poet, are the provocateurs; should we disregard them, their barking will gradually cease, and it will be a harder task for them to provoke us.
PROTEST THROUGH CHARACTER
One anti-Islâm portrayal will follow another about the man we testify by and all love.
The zeal we display in pontificating in his name should instead be replaced with our undivided love for him superseding all else.
How we integrate his timeless words into quotidian daily life will make all the difference.
The Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the epitome of character, values and words, and they are what delineated him before his Prophethood for 40 years.
When the revelation occurred, those who chose to follow him did so without a shadow of doubt due to his truthful (word) and trustworthy (value) disposition – al-sādiq and al-amĩn respectively.
He taught us Islâm is not only following rules and spreading the word; IT IS A PROFOUND WAY OF LIFE. And once Muslims are cognisant of this, the significance of Islâm will be clearer and the violent rioting will no longer exist.
Let us not compromise our identity as Muslims.
Morality is what binds us: ethics, principles and values, and we are to scrupulously live by them.
Let us take and make the time to study Islâm and use it to adorn our lives. When we act and speak up, let us do so through the sheer determining strong drive and willpower of character to counter any attack by emulating Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to give rise to a new attitude of protesting, irrespective of the nature and content of any anti-Islâm odious activity.
The choices we make define our characters, so let that be how we epitomise the message of Islâm, in emulation of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, with healing hearts.
وَٱللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ ♡ And ALLÂH ﷻ Knows Best
I agree with most of what you said, but we should keep in mind that the Muslim population suffer from political instability, illiteracy, division – hope I put the last word right. What I mean is imposing logic on this vast population is beyond logic. Many people would act by wisdom and think before they act, but how many?
I don’t justify the killings of the diplomatic personnel in Libya, but I ONLY give an explanation to the motive of their murderers, which is lack of stability and real understanding of our noble Islam: tremendous anger, despair, to name the least. Killers should get punished; there is no excuse.
Another point is that I believe that since the majority of us, Muslims and non-Muslims in the Arab world, don’t have the resources to fight back, launching signing campaigns and requesting websites/papers to stop insulting our religion, our beloved Rasūl, his family and all prominent characters of Islam, is the least we can do. This should go hand in hand with understanding our religion well, but I really can’t enforce this on others. Everyone has his/her way of thinking. I always wonder why rich Muslims do not invest in a famous paper or TV channel and put a stop to all the hatred and insults (money talks). Let us act as businessmen – you have my money, I have the right to authorize or stop this material? But Rabab, where is this businessman? Especially nowadays, with the dirty cartoons published in a French tabloid paper?!
Great article Rabab. Your English in general, your vocab choices and your flow of words makes me think that you are a literature major.
As for the content, we have to realize that Islam is considered a young religion when compared to other ancient religions and the monotheistic religions it shares its God with. Just like Judaism and Christianity, eventually there will be different denominations and groups within Islam (other than the mainstream ones that branched off the family of the Prophet PBUH). I have no doubt that soon there will be Muslim religious figures starting their own denominations, attracting Muslims who denounce violence, promote co-existence and are considered to be more open-minded. This is what religions do: they evolve and try to meet the needs of the population.
Thanks for sharing Rabab.
My two cents on the subject: We must keep our own house in order. Muslims certainly don’t get passionate about helping each other out of poverty and strife. We are quick to take offense. The fact is there are enough followers of the Prophet (pbuh); neither he nor his image needs any defense. However, poor Muslims caught in the middle of the violence do. We can learn so much from practitioners of other faiths, how compassionate they are about each other.
The words are so deep ^_^
But in relations to the situation that is happening now, what “Sam Bacile” made was really a sign of disrespect to the religion Islam. Majority of the people will surely agree on this. The actors and the people who acted in this movie, some said that they were unaware that who they were portraying was the PROPHET (PBUH), I just then asked, ‘how come they don’t know before starting the video? Aren’t they just after the money and don’t understand the consequences of what they are doing?’ I could say they are ignorant. Most of the people and most of the co-makers of the video don’t really grasp the whole meaning of Islam. So, I think the video is nonsense of all nonsenses that has ever been made on the whole.
Your writing is very motivational and you really took command of the subject. This article is a must read. It was a pleasure to read this article and I look forward to your future articles.
A very eloquently written article… Education (on both sides) is the key I am sure.