Freedom of Expression?

Oct 14, 2012 by     Comments Off on Freedom of Expression?    Posted under: Opinions

In the wake of the blasphemous American movie insulting Muslims and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and the resulting protests and violence in Pakistan, this article is an attempt to tell people around the world that Islam is, indeed, a peace-loving religion.

After the blasphemous American movie, the world is facing great chaos, especially Muslim countries. When I was planning to write on this issue, I received an interesting text message from my elder brother. It said: When you attack black people; they call it ‘Racism’, when you attack the Jewish; they call it ‘Anti-Semitism’, when you attack women; they call it ‘Gender Discrimination’, when you attack homosexuality; they call it ‘Intolerance’, when you attack a country; they call it ‘Terrorism’, when you attack a religious sect; they call it ‘Hate-Speech’, but when they attack the dignity of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W); they call it ‘Freedom of  Speech’. (Words of an anonymous person). Isn’t this ridiculous? Hurting the emotions of almost 2 billion Muslims across the world in the name of freedom of expression, is not freedom of expression, but a cowardly act.

This is not the first time they have done this; such things have happened in the past as well, and despite the fact that it created a huge uproar across the world, they haven’t stopped yet. The basic reason behind this entire cowardly act is that they want to show their superiority.  Showing hatred in the name of freedom of expression doesn’t show their superiority but their immaturity and lack of values. They are actually jealous of the fastest spreading religion in the world, Islam. So, let us tell them what Islam is all about and who Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was.

Islam, followed by approximately 2 billion people in the world, is the religion of ‘Peace’ and ‘Truth’. It is the complete code of individual as well as collective life and provides proper guidance for all spheres of life. It teaches us tolerance and respect for other religions. We, Muslims, are required as per our religion to show respect to other religions and to collaborate with them for the benefit of humanity. As the Holy Quran says, “… To each among you, We (God) prescribed a religion (law) and a clear way. If God had willed, He would have made you all in one nation and one religion), but that He (God) left you in different religions to compete in good deeds and society benefits. The return of all of you is to God; then He (God) will inform you about that in which you differ.” (The Holy Quran, Chapter 5, Verse 48). 

We deal with Christians and Jews, as they are called ‘People of the Book’ in the Holy Quran. We believe in the Torah (The Holy Book of Jews) as well as the Bible because it is our firm belief that Torah and Bible are also Divine Books just like the Holy Quran, and were revealed on the Prophets of Allah. Islam is/was never against any religion because it is the religion of peace and peace can only be maintained with tolerance, hence, Islam also puts great emphasis on tolerance.

Ernest Renan (a French expert of Middle Eastern ancient languages and civilizations, philosopher, and writer) comments that unlike other religions which were cradled in mystery, Islam was born in the ‘full light of history’. Bernard Lewis (a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies and political commentator) says that, ‘The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (S.A.W), was the teacher and guide of Islam and didn’t die until Allah’s message was not delivered to the people of Arabia and then it was spread to all over the world”.

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is ranked as the world’s most influential person by Michael Hart (an American writer), who writes in his book ‘The 100’ that, “He, Muhammad (S.A.W), was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels”. He further says that, “Muhammad (S.A.W) was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its ethical and moral principles. His relative influence on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ (May Allah’s Blessings be Upon Him) and St. Paul on Christianity”. This is what a Christian says about Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

The main reason behind Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W) success is the teachings of Islam; the teachings of tolerance and respect for others. There is a famous anecdote of his life:

“An old woman made a habit of throwing rubbish on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) whenever he passed by her house. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) had to pass that house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently every day without showing any sign of anger or annoyance. This was a regular, daily event. 

One day, when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) was passing by the old woman’s house, she was not there to throw rubbish. He (S.A.W) stopped by and asked the neighbor about her well-being. The neighbor informed the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) that the old woman was sick on bed. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) politely asked for permission to visit the old woman. When allowed, he (S.A.W) entered the house, the old woman thought that he had come there to take his revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of sickness. But the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) assured her that he had come to her, not to take revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Almighty Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if the help is needed.

The old woman was greatly moved by this gesture of kindness and love from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). Through the example of greatness of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), she understood that he was truly the Prophet of Allah and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once”. 

This is who Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was and these are the teachings of Islam.

A message to the world: We, Muslims, are peace-loving people because we follow the Religion of Peace – Islam, and believe in the prophet-hood of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) who was a great example of peace and tolerance.  Neither Islam nor Muslims are a threat to anyone in this world. In fact, Islam puts great emphasis for the whole humankind to live in peace and cooperation without discrimination on the basis of religion, culture, race, color, etc. No one is more honorable in the eye of Allah than the pious; the one who does good deeds for the goodness of the society.

I will conclude with the words of Abdul Sattar Edhi: “Love all human beings and make humanity possible”.

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