Written by Stephanie Siam
As a human, I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Paris this week. This senseless – yes, SENSELESS – act of violence will only serve to perpetuate greater global discord. Muslims around the world are now scurrying about in their PR hats doing damage control against the ignorant masses who still do not comprehend that the few involved in this heinous attack are no more acting on behalf of Islam than the Westboro Baptist Church acts on behalf of Christianity.
Case in point: A neighbor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to leave trash on his doorstep every day because he hated him (he wasn’t Muslim). One day, the Prophet went outside and noticed there was no trash. What did he do? He called upon his neighbor to find out why he hadn’t left any garbage at his door. It turned out the neighbor was sick. So, the Prophet sat with him a while to bring him good cheer in his illness.
Moral: If Prophet Muhammad himself didn’t retaliate against those who disrespected him by doing things much worse than drawing a picture, what makes anybody think they need to “avenge” him?
Upon Prophet Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr (one of his greatest companions) said, “For those of you who worship Muhammad, he is dead now. He was just a man. For those of you who worship God, He will never die. He is eternal.”
It is important to remember the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh): For those who take the life of an innocent person, it is as if they have killed all of mankind. And for those who save the life of an innocent person, it is as if they have saved all of mankind.
Which would you rather be claimant to on Judgement Day: saving all of mankind or destroying it?
I understand why Muslims feel offended by images of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Physical replications of the Rasool (prophet) are forbidden in Islam. Therefore, seeing drawings of him is offensive to many Muslims … especially when he’s got a turban full of TNT on his head. Or, astigfur God (may God forgive me), he is sans clothes in compromising positions with other people.
But, ironically, I don’t understand why other atrocities that are forbidden in Islam aren’t met with such fervent intolerance.
For example, we aren’t allowed to depict God, either; how could we? Nobody knows what God looks like.
Yet, I haven’t heard of any Muslims getting in an uproar over Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting portraying Adam and God touching hands.
And what about the cartoonization of Prophet Isa (Jesus, pbuh) on shows such as South Park? Why aren’t Muslims rallying for the destruction of this demeaning and offensive representation? It isn’t simply that drawing Prophet Muhammad is off-limits.
ALL of the prophets (literally innumerable, as God tells us in the Qur’an) should be revered, respected and not characterized by humans or sketches.
When I hear a joke that starts to include God, I like to change the subject. If I see a caricature of a highly-esteemed religious figure, I don’t laugh and promote it. I get bristled. I want to destroy the picture – by tearing it up and throwing it away.
But I don’t feel the need to punish the offenders. If you can even call them offenders.
See, the Qur’an calls for punishment of those who commit adultery. But we don’t see Muslims raiding homes. Killing men and women who have relations outside of marriage so as to protect the sanctity of Islam.
Those who get intoxicated in public are reprimanded and disciplined. But there are only a few dry countries in the world. And those that are dry know very well that their nationals depart to other countries along the borders on the weekend to fulfill their wants and needs.
Children, women and the infirm are dying – RIGHT NOW – in so many countries around the world. They are starving. They are homeless. They have no water. They are freezing to death. TONIGHT.
Where are the outraged Muslims demanding their governments do something to change the status quo?
Because these are ALSO forbidden in Islam: adultery, alcohol, and ignoring the needy.
Do you know what the Qur’an does not sanction? Murdering people for drawing pictures of somebody you love.
Yet, there are still Muslims (and BY FAR NOT THE MAJORITY) who believe the most pressing issue in the world is some cartoonist in France who draws a cartoon of a religious figure.
Why do you think this is?
I think the answer lies within Abu Bakr’s wise words. Like Christians of the past and present, too many Muslims have departed from the path of righteousness. They have raised Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to a status greater than what he was. Islam is about following the Qur’an and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet). But it absolutely forbids associating anybody with God. Yet, it seems many people have come a hair’s breadth away from committing this grave, unforgiveable sin (shirk).
I am reminded of a picture – an actual photograph – I saw online in conjunction with this story. It was an image of a
poster that displayed several men’s names who were “WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST ISLAM”.
When I read those words, I couldn’t help but ask, “What are crimes against Islam?”
I understand crimes against man: murder, theft, assault.
I understand sins against God.
But I don’t understand how someone commits a crime against a religion.
There is nothing in the Qur’an that justifies killing someone because they don’t believe the same thing as you. There are appropriate punishments prescribed for crimes against man, as well as sins against God that promote the demoralization and collapse of society.
But sins against God in terms of belief and submission?
Those are not ours to punish for. We can not, nor are we permitted to, compel others to follow a teaching when God has not willed it. There is no compulsion in religion.
With that being said, I want to reaffirm my intense alarm and disheartening at the deaths of the Charlie Hebdo staff members. But I will not apologize for my beliefs or my religion. Islam does not support indiscriminate revenge in the name of God, Prophet Muhammad or anyone else. And I will not allow Islam to accept the blame for the actions of intolerant, hatemongering humans.
Hate begets hate. Peace begets understanding.
I choose peace.
Originally posted on CNN ireport.
You can also read Theresa Corbin’s CNN ireport here
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