The recent blasphemous defamation of the grand status of Prophet Muhammad (SA) has sparked much rage and anger of Muslims across the globe. The movie, “Innocence of Muslims” co-scripted and directed by Sam Bacile, denigrates the status of the Prophet (SA) and deliberately maligns him, Islam, and Muslims. Such anti-Islam film is proof that hatred and blind extremism are running deep in the hearts of its producers. It is yet another attempt to execute the conspiracy of destroying Islam and all those who represent this eternal religion. What lies behind this wicked act is those who are trying to make young generations in the Islamic world lose respect for what is held sacred and to extinguish their religious sentiments. The burning desire of the enemies of Islam and the opponents of truth to turn off the light of this religion and its sacred symbol is in fact not surprising to us as Allah (SWT) clearly informs us in the Quran,
“They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light, though the unbelievers are averse.” [9:32]
If we examine history in this regards, we will find that since the very beginning studies on Prophet Muhammad (SA) in the West have been based mostly on various prejudices and calumnies. The biased views about Islam and its Prophet were initially produced and disseminated by the religious establishments and politicians of the Judeo-Christian world, who had lost their power to a large extent due to the expansion of Islam, in response to the conversion of large numbers of people into this new religion. The main purpose of these incorrect statements was to mislead people into staying away from Islam by creating a false image of the religion and its Messenger. Thus, such denigrated images of the Prophet as being “mentally ill”, a “liar”, a “fake prophet” and an “anti-Christ”, etc. none of which had any factual historical basis, were produced and re-produced throughout the centuries in the West.
It was not too long ago when a Danish newspaper and other European publications displayed cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, after which violent protests erupted around the world. Nor can any of us forget the Quran-burning American priests (was it ONE priest or Many priests?). The channels which facilitated and condoned these actions as well as that of Salman Rushdie are one and the same. If the first perpetrator of crime was not pardoned and provided a safe haven, the current evildoers and villains against Islam could not have dared to denigrate the Holy Prophet and escape without earning their due punishment. Some may argue that the freedom of speech and expression permits them to voice their opinions and interpretations in the manner they choose. However, such distorted and abused ‘freedom’ in disrespecting and violating the sanctity of esteemed personalities and holy symbols of faith is totally unacceptable and objectionable! The religion of Islam itself forbids the act of maligning other religions and their symbols regardless of the existing differences.
Indeed, among all the divine prophets and messengers sent by God, none suffered the most pain and suffering from the people but the last Prophet and Seal of Messengers. Montgomery Watt, a leading Orientalist himself, testifies that among all the greatest men in history, no one has been denigrated as much as Prophet Muhammad.
From the cradle of time to its end, the Earth will never be graced with another man whose merits include being a social reformer, humanitarian, teacher, religious guide, diplomat, philanthropist, the last Messenger and the saviour of humanity, amongst a list that will forever remain limitless when attempting to define the Prophet (SA). It is enough to know that the Almighty Creator has testified on the Prophet’s behalf when He said to him, “and you are in an exalted standard of character”. [68:4] If the Prophet lacked even one minor aspect of good morals, manners, and character, then Allah (SWT) wouldn’t have stated that the Prophet possesses such great character. There is no other creature in the history of mankind whom Allah (SWT) testified to his great character and excellence in behaviour as that of the Seal of Messengers. This fact in itself stands as a refuting point and answer to all those who attempt to question or attack the Prophet’s character. No words or books can properly give his due right or defend his cause; it enough to note that among the prominent individuals in the western world, there are ample testimonials that shed light on the Prophet’s exceptional virtues which has caught the attention of the universal world.
In The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Prophet Muhammad is named the most influential figure in history, and rightfully so. From historians to poets, the personality of God’s last Messenger has captured the world. It is not only Islam and the Muslims who recognise and appreciate the great status of the Prophet (SA), the non-Muslims also testify to the superiority of Muhammad compared to other creatures. Writing at the time of Carlyle in the nineteenth century, European historian Johann Doellinger asserted: “No other mortal has ever, from the beginning of the world, exercised such an immeasurable influence upon the religious, moral, and political relations of mankind, as has the Arab Muhammad.”
Also, historian Will Durant concludes his treatment of Muhammad with this tribute: “If we judge greatness by influence, he was one of the giants of history. He undertook to raise the spiritual and moral level of a people harassed into barbarism by heat and foodless wastes, and he succeeded more completely than any other reformer seldom has any man so fully realized his dream…. When he began, Arabia was a desert flotsam of idolatrous tribes; when he died it was a nation.”
When the greatest symbol of perfection and piety is maligned in such a degrading manner, the responsibility lay on the shoulders of all Muslims and every honorable soul to condemn such actions and raise the voice of truth by protesting against the perpetrators of these unforgivable crimes and all those who support it. On the other hand, we as Muslims should be very careful and cautious not to exceed the boundaries of legitimacy by converting our energy and passion to uncontrolled rage which creates havoc and ends the lives of innocent people. Observing wisdom and discretion is the best policy, while speaking out the truth and defending our precious divine symbols and personalities to the fullest capacity. We are to be reminded of Allah’s prescription that
“Whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.” [5:32]
Though such justified anger and condemnation is gladly voiced by many today in defense of the Holy Prophet (SA), one cannot help but wonder why the mainstream population of the Muslim world across the ages have not expressed similar anger when the esteemed family and holy household of Prophet Muhammad (AS) are attacked, their status and rights confiscated, and their positions denigrated? If a cartoon picture mocking the Prophet or a film attacking his character is enough to inspire the masses of people to go out and protest, isn’t the very blood of the Prophet – his own purified family – deserve that same intensity of anger in their defense and even more? After all, if we were to ask the Prophet (SA) which acts of violation is more disappointing to him, the denigration of his personality or the acts of evil and injustice committed to the members of his holy household, what will he answer? Is the Danish cartoon greater evil committed to the Prophet or the slaughtered head of his grandson Husain ibn Ali who was killed thirsty and ruthlessly in the plains of Karbala? That is left for the Muslim nation to ponder over and rethink their current and future positions.