By: Shazia Yousuf
Ever since the news of the objectionable video on Prophet Muhammad (sm) has spread amongst the Muslims, there has been a lot of anger and rage throughout the Muslim world. Anger, sadness, and resentment are the obviously expected reactions when someone who is kept in high esteem and is highly loved is ridiculed and mocked.
In response to this video, there have been protests, rallies and demonstrations throughout the world to take this video off the internet. Muslims of Saudia, Kuwait and UAE have not shown any reaction to this. Their leadership has however spoken directly to the US authorities, conveying their grief and concern over the obnoxious film.
There have been protests outside the US embassies all over the world including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt, Paris and Australia.
“Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of Australia's largest city, some throwing rocks and bottles in clashes with police. Some carried placards reading ‘Behead all those who insult the Prophet’”.
This text written on placards in Australia shocked me. I always thought that the violent reaction in our part of the world was a result of lack of education and enlightenment. But I am sure Muslims in Australia must definitely be more educated compared to people in countries like ours.
Today, in Pakistan, we are observing “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, a day to express our love for our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWW. Prominent buildings are burning, protestors pelting stones, there is fire on streets. Looking at the news it seems we are heading back to the dark ages (dour-e-jahalat). Or maybe we never came out of the dark ages in the first place.
If we were Muslims not just by birth but if we actually practiced Islam, we would be the most patient, most tolerant race on the face of the earth. We have been taught to “exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance” (Quran [Al-Asr, 103:3])
Every Muslim child starts to hear this from the very early days, since it is a verse from one of the few short Surahs that kids are taught. But I think we fail to preach the essence of this, for if we did, a child would grow up to be tolerant and patient in all his personal and social matters.
Our focus is more on finishing Quran from cover to cover, but yet again we fail to understand the message that God has tried to convey through His Book. My father would say, just suppose your uncle has written you a letter in French and in the letter he has given the time of his flight and requested you to pick him up from the airport. You read it every day, failing to understand a single word! Do you think there is any use of your reading the letter when you fail to fulfill the purpose that was supposed to be achieved? Same is the case with the Quran.
In the Quran, it has been very clearly mentioned:
‘And when they [the believers] hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, "For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant."' (Quran, Surah 28: Verse 53)
And yet again:
“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah - indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” [Quran, 3:186]
If only we were taught to read The Glorious Quran to understand what it preaches! But what Muslims practice is converse of this. Instead of “turning away from ill speech” we made efforts to research upon the film and find out the details! Moreover, the entire Muslim world has shown the least of “patience and fear of Allah” Instead we have been violent, ruthless and a cause of distress for our own selves.
Is there a solution to this? Even when I write this article, it is going to reach only a few, and those few would already know all that I have said. How are we going to convey this message to the millions out there? It is largely the responsibility of our teachers, and preachers, at schools and in mosques. But the responsibility lies in the hands of every individual to read the Quran and understand it, and finally apply what it teaches in our daily lives, so that our character and actions speak for us!
While my country burns in Ishq-e-Rasool, I suggest we pray for some sanity, patience and tolerance; may He guide us on the right path!
Photo: Courtsey Express Tribune