What Would the Prophet Do?

What Would the Prophet Do?

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.

Does this outrage you?
Does this outrage you?

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.

Does this outrage you?
Does this outrage you?

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

Does a crime against Islam actually exist?
Does a crime against Islam actually exist?

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 peaceintolerant, hatemongering humans.

Hate begets hate. Peace begets understanding.

I choose peace.

Assalamu alaikum.

Originally posted on CNN ireport.

You can also read Theresa Corbin’s CNN ireport here

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The Media’s Message about Muslim Women

The Media’s Message about Muslim Women

Written by Theresa Corbin
I happened upon this blog post from Word Turtle entitled, veiled stereotypes: constructing and distorting muslim women. And of course I dropped in for a looky loo, seeing as how this is right in my wheel house. Give it a read, it truly is worth the time.
then you would be worthless

As a youth, I was first introduced to how the media instructs the populace about who they are, or (more aptly) who they should be. I came out the other side of a Seventeen magazine a crushed shell of a teenage girl. I learned from the media that a woman’s worth is in her attractiveness, and if she does not measure up (or down) she has no worth.

But as I entered college and decided on a career in journalism, I became familiar with the role the media plays and all the tricks they use, and was thankfully introduced to Jean Killbourne and her series “Killing Us Softly“. I became informed and began to heal my self worth.
I knew the detriment the media could bring about, so it was no surprise to me when I realized that I had bought another media myth that Muslim women were oppressed. The media not only tells us what to think about ourselves, it tells us what to think of others. And while it is detrimental for people to walk around with a distorted view of themselves, this is usually curable. Perceptions about oneself can and usually do change.

It is what the media sells us about others that is so harmful. Harmful because we are less likely to change our perceptions about

“Who is to blame for the war?” Nazi propaganda

those who are not in our day to day lives. The media plays a HUGE role in constructing and distorting our ideas of other human beings. Instead of recognizing each other as deeply complex and complicated people with family, history and rich inner lives; we instead take the cues from the media and form stereotypes, concluded prejudices and execute our humanity with hate. People who are other than us become tropes, less than human, and objects to do with what we wish. If there is any other greater avenue to evil, I am not aware of it.

Why the media does this is simple: It sells. The media is selling us a story of our life and times, where we (or at least the majority) are the heroes and the “other” is the villain. Hitler did this in his anti-semitic propaganda campaign very effectively. He sold the Jewish population as the enemy, and the populace bought it. Evil ensued. And even though the media tries to put the world in a box with a pretty ribbon on it, life doesn’t work like this. Evil ensues.

To illustrate how this is done, take a look at this graphic of a pregnant Muslim woman,

This image was uploaded to the Facebook page, “Stop the Islamization of America,” an open group created by right-wing authors Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer
and read how Omar, a commenter to the blog post mentioned earlier, has described so perfectly how this -and images like it- are so detrimental.

[Upon seeing the graphic] I immediately thought of the stories in the news of pregnant, Muslim women who have been attacked, including one which resulted in a miscarriage. I feel it important to comment on just how problematic the graphic is and unpack the imagery.

Graphics like this are not simply a statement of some looney person’s opinion, they invoke fear that calls the viewer to action. As Omar puts it,

[…] It invokes action by suggesting pregnancy is not a neutral state irrelevant to the general public, but instead an offensive tactic against the country requiring immediate defensive action – with the urgency highlighted by a lit wick. This poster is not only inciting violence against Muslim women, but taking it to an entirely new level by proposing that the solution to the supposed demographic threat is to attack pregnant, Muslim women.

Not only does this image incite violence against a group of people, a type of speech that is not protected under the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech -i.e. this graphic is illegal– it dehumanizes the Muslim women. And once again as the illustrious Omar says, Read more