The following is all personal opinion. Not science. Not fact. Just my own personal opinion. No more. No less. So put those pitch forks away please, keep calm and read on…
I was speaking on the phone today to a Muslim friend of mine in sunny Glasgow, and inevitably we started talking about Paris, free speech, Charlie Hebdo, etc. The conversation was long and many points were raised. Here, in no logical order whatsoever, are some of them:
- Some people say that some Muslims live in poverty in parts of France, and this leads to extremism. Sorry, not an excuse. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was poor for much of his life, at one point he lived on the outskirts of Mecca, exiled for his beliefs. That was the council estate of the time, but he did not use this as an excuse to commit heinous acts of barbarism or revenge. Also, my parents came to this country and lived in meagre conditions, but they worked hard, obeyed the laws of the land and achieved a better standard of living LEGALLY. Plus, where does it say in Islam that if your income falls below a certain threshold the rules no longer apply to you?
- Shaykh Zahir Mahmood, a Birmingham based Muslim scholar, said in a talk shortly after 11th Sep 2001, that we Muslims blame MI5, MI6, Mossad, CIA, FBI, Dajjal, the media, Freemasons, New World Order, jinn, jaddoo, nazar, the evil eye, and the rest. The truth is we Muslims are the ones to blame, for we are not following the faith as we should be following it. Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) said: “We were lowly and weak then Allah made us mighty with Islam. So when we seek mightiness in other than Islam, Allah humiliates us and brings us low.” In other words, when we stray from the path and we are brought down a notch or two. Look around, we have indeed strayed from the path, from sira-tul-mustaqeem. This is why we are in the condition we are in. Shaykh Zahir said recently: “What would the basis of a decent society be? The freedom to insult or the responsibility to respect? I know which one I would prefer.”
- I would suggest that there are other more important things going on around the world, more important than some people in an office in France drawing some cartoons. For example, on Monday 15th Dec 2014 a Muslim holds hostages in a siege in a cafe in Sydney that ends up with 2 dead. The very next day, the Pakistan Taliban kill 141 kids and school staff in Peshawar. Thousands have died and continue to die in Syria, we have Muslim taxi drivers grooming girls in various part of the UK, bombs are going off all the time in various Muslim countries (10th Jan 2015 bomb goes off outside a Shia mosque in Rawalpindi killing 5, as they were celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (PBUH)). We also have Boko Haram, we have ISIS, continuing clashes in Kashmir, Palestine, and the rest. We have Muslims conning Muslims with fake Hajj visas. And what’s the most talked about topic in the Muslim community over the past few weeks? Imran Khan the cricketer got married again, to a weather girl!…There is a hadith of the Prophet that states: ‘One of the signs of Allah’s abandoning a servant is His making him preoccupied with what does not concern him.’ (Al-Hasan, as narrated by Abu Ubaydah). So let be preoccupied with that which does concern us (salah, anyone?) rather than worrying about a bunch of crudely drawn cartoons.
- With regards to what the Pakistan Taliban did in Peshawar in Dec 2014, the Afghan Taliban condemned the mass murder by its Pakistan counterpart as un–Islamic. The Afghan Taliban, which calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said it was “shocked at the incident and shares the pain of the families of children killed in the attack”. Likewise, in Jan 2015 the Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah condemned the killing of over a dozen people by further Islamist terrorists in France. He said, in a televised speech: “The behaviour of the takfiri [jihadi] groups that claim to follow Islam have distorted Islam, the Quran, and the Muslim nation more than Islam’s enemies…who insulted the prophet in films…or drew cartoons of the prophet.” Now, I’m no expert, but if you have Hezbollah AND the Afghan Taliban telling you you’re wrong, then you REALLY have crossed a line, have you not?
- They, the enemies of Islam, try to dishonour the prophet (PBUH). But that’s their job, that’s what they are supposed to do. The Qur’an tells us this, of the plots, plans, and schemes that Muslims will face continually. Let them dishonour him, we will honour him. Whatever effort they put into their dishonouring him, we should put double into honouring him. But the problem is we know so little about Islam, about the sunnah, the way of the Prophet, that we are unable to honour him properly. So instead we resort to just getting angry, we end up as empty vessels making much noise. Call me old fashioned, but there’s something immoral about abandoning your own judgement. As a scholar once said: ‘Until you get the measure of your own soul, don’t be too quick to condemn others.’
- The honour given to the Prophet has been given to him by Allah, and it is only Allah who can take it away, so should we be too worried about these cartoons?
- Towards the end of the life of the Prophet (PBUH), his wife Aisha (RA) asked him what the lowest point was in his life, the point at which he felt the most despair. He answered by speaking about his visit to Taif, where he tried to preach the message of Islam, but was hounded out by the towns people, who swore at him, laughed and jeered at him, chased him out of town by throwing stones at him, to the point where he had blood dripping down into his sandals. Angels were waiting on either side of the mountains surrounding Taif, waiting ever so patiently for the prophetic command to destroy the town. How did the Prophet, at a humiliatingly low point in his life, how did he react? He reacted with mercy, he even blamed himself for not being able to convey the message of Islam better. Should we not today react with such compassion, understanding, patience, and intellect?
- I am totally for free speech, perhaps with a pinch of respect. As I have said several times over the past few days, it is free speech and freedom of expression that allows us Muslims, in the west, to build mosques, have marches, demonstrations, set up blogs and websites, have halal food everywhere, etc. So you can’t pick and choose bits of freedom. It is okay for me but not you. I don’t think so.
- Just a thought…you have this thing called Islam, this religion that is supposed to be awesome, amazing, THE religion of peace, we have the miracle that is the unaltered word of God – the Qur’an, our final Prophet is the best of all of creation – the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we have had the golden age of Islamic civilisation that gave us monumental advances in science, algebra, art, literature, medicine, and much more, we have Muslim scholars who can explain to you life, the universe, and everything, we have over 2 billion followers all over the face of the globe. And all of this vast greatness crumbles into obscurity because some people, maybe sitting at home in their underpants, draw some cartoons? Really? And how do some Muslims react? How do they demonstrate the awesome peacefulness of Islam? They kill anyone they can fire a bullet at, be you Muslim or not.
- I have heard some Muslims say that “they” keep pushing us and provoking us and eventually you have to say enough is enough. Really? Who decides when it is enough? Is 10 cartoons OK, but an 11th one is one too far?
- Plus it would be nice for some Muslims to not be so stupid (snowmen and brothels)