How should we Muslim react to mockery of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or should we even react at all?

Just like the cartoons few years ago, the Muslim response to the recent film has been very diverse.  From the very mild of responses to the very violent ones, what's most noteworthy is the enormity of the response.  Despite the consensus that the film did not deserve the attention it was getting, social media kept being flooded, and still is, with messages defending the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  So, before another incident of mockery takes place, since it seems that it's only a matter of time before someone else tries to play on the sensitivities of Muslims, let's take some time to examine what the Qur'an has to say about this very issue.

Mockery is Tantamount to Ignorance

Almost every Muslim knows the story of the Cow (Sūrat'l-Baqarah).  After all, the longest chapter of the Qur'an is named after this story.  To get to the gist, there was an unsolved murder that happened among the Children of Israel during the time of Moses [as] (Mūsa).  So Allah revealed to Moses that in order to solve the murder your people have to slaughter a cow.  Of course, when Moses told his people of God's command, their first reaction was shock and disbelief (e.g. what's slaughtering a cow got to do with solving a murder?).  The Qur'an says:

“Remember when Moses said to his people, 'God commands you to sacrifice a cow', they said, 'are you making fun of us?'  He answered, 'God forbid that I should be so ignorant'” [2:67]

So initially, the Children of Israel thought that Moses was mocking them.  But Moses quickly corrected that mockery could never come from a Prophet and he distanced himself from such an act by the expression familiar to Muslims “I seek refuge in God from”.  But what we usually miss from this verse is the fact that Moses equated mockery to ignorance.  So a learned man (or woman) should never mock anyone or anything under any circumstance.  So the next question becomes, how do we deal with ignorance or ignorant people?

Ignore the Ignorant

The Qur'an tells us to dismiss the people of ignorance and not to give a lot of attention to them.  It asks us to not engage with them in any conversation, except perhaps to safeguard ourselves from greater harm.  For example:

“Be tolerant, command what's right, pay no attention to foolish people” [7:199]

This is such an important matter that the Qur'an makes it one of the traits of the People of God:

“The Servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on Earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply 'Peace'” [25:63]

The scholars of Qur'an have differed on the meaning of “peace” here.  Some take it literally that you simply say the Muslim greeting of “Peace”.  But others have argued that “Peace” here means that you end the conversation in a peaceful manner.  Regardless of the difference in interpretation, I think we can all agree that the message of the Qur'an is to ignore the ignorant.

On the other hand, we see the Qur'an encouraging us to engage with the people of reason and to even debate them if they have a different point of view:

“Call people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching, and argue with them in the most courteous way” [16:125]

I mention this here so no one comes and says that Islam forbids conversation with “others.” In fact, Islam encourages debate and the exchanging arguments.  But people who mock a religious symbol are not interested in debate or logical arguments.  It is the lack of logical arguments that makes them resort to mockery in the first place!

Spare Me the Mockery

We can't leave this subject without contemplating a very interesting verse that speaks to the heart of the issue at hand.  This verse address the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself.  It says:

“We have spared you those who ridicule you” [15:95]

In essence, the Qur'an is telling us that when it specifically comes to the issue of mocking the Prophet [SAW], which is exactly the issue that we are dealing with today. Don't take matters in your own hands, rather, God will take care of those who mock the Prophet.

A Call to Respect the Sanctity of Faith Symbols

Lastly, another very interesting and very relevant verse to this discussion in the Qur'an says:

“Do not revile those they call on beside God, so they, in their hostility, revile God, without knowledge” [6:108]

The direct meaning of this verse is that reviling, insulting, or cursing the idols is prohibited because indirectly we are causing our God to be reviled, insulted or cursed.  No matter how much we disagree with idol-worship, we cannot mock, insult, or curse idols, idolaters, or idol-worship.  This verse is also teaching us that there are always consequences to our actions.  Just like we hold our religious symbols very dear to our hearts and we consider them holy or untouchable, people of other faiths will feel the same towards their religious symbols, no matter how ridiculous those symbols may seem to us.  Therefore, we should have mutual respect of religious symbols in order to live together in a civilized manner.  At the least, we should, as they say, respectfully disagree.

About The Author

Born and raised in Lebanon, Hlayhel began attending study circles at his local mosque when he was ten. He came to the United States at 17 and studied electrical engineering at the University of Houston. At its MSA, he met Sh Yasir Qadhi and worked together to raise Islamic awareness on campus. Hlayhel studied traditional sciences of Aqeedah (Islamic creed), Fiqh (Islamic law) and Nahw (Arabic grammar) under Sh Waleed Basyouni and Sh Waleed Idriss Meneese among others. After settling in Phoenix AZ, he worked tirelessly, in the capacity of a board member then a chairman, to revive the then dead AZ chapter of CAIR in order to face the growing Islamophobia in that state and to address the resulting civil right violations. Today, he's considered the second founder of a strong CAIR-AZ. In addition, Hlayhel is a part-time imam at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley in Phoenix, husband and father of four. His current topics of interest include positive Islam, youth coaching, and countering Islamophobia.

104 Responses

  1. stevebarker66

    So heartened to read the wisdom above.

    So saddened to see the hatred in the comments below.

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  2. Yasir Azim

    Ho Allah forgive us and guide us to teach the world about Most Nobal Personality in a best manner. and guide the ignorants to peace.

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  3. Kashif

    I found this to be quite a weak article personally. In particular, the last two sections.

    After reading the “Spare me the mockery” section I wonder how you would reconcile this with the incident of the assassination of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf and Abu Rafi’ who would use poetry to malign rasoolullah?

    And what of the many other incidents which Ibn Taymiyyah relates in his book as-sarim al-maslul ala shaatimir-rasool wherein, people who insulted rasoolullah were punished?

    And in the section under the heading of respecting the sanctity of the symbols of other faiths, why are you preaching this to Muslims? We don’t go around making videos mocking Jesus or Moses, or the deities of other religions? Or using their holy books for shooting practise, or flushing them down the toilet.

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    • Sufian Javed

      AoA,

      1. It is not your responsibility to protect the sanctity of the Qur’an, Allah Almighty has promised to take the responsibility unto himself. Hence the reason why no one has been able to change the script since the day it was revealed.

      2. We don’t make mocking videos of other Prophets because we believe in them. We don’t insult their books because if we did, we know there would be dire repercussions for us in the Hereafter. It is out belief that puts us apart from disbelievers. By you mocking their gods and religious symbols, there would be no difference between you and them.

      3. I find it hypocritical to protest solely because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was insulted and not when Prophet Jesus and Prophet Musa are insulted worldwide in various publicly televised programs such as South Park, Family Guy and so on.

      4. Anyone who abuses your mother, you don’t reply back with an insult of your own because, in all essence, you would be insulting your own mother.

      5. You gave examples of people being punished for insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but what of the incident when he visited the village of Ta’if to preach them word of Allah? They rejected and ousted him from the village. The children of Ta’if threw stones at him and Zayid. The Prophet bled so profusely that his sandals were filled with blood. What was his response to this act of violence; prayer, peace and good dwellings upon the children of Ta’if. What gives you the right, therefore, to decide to take up arms when the Prophet is insulted when he himself didn’t do so in the first place?

      Please learn to be tolerant and others will be tolerant of you. Do not advocate violence for the sake of violence, hatred for the sake of hatred. Barking dogs seldom bite, and unfortunately that is all that we Muslims have become. Peace be with you.

      Allah Hafiz

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      • Saood

        The Taif example that you gave does not fit in well.
        At Taif – Rasul Allah Saw was in his Makkah period of preaching. He (Saw) did not have the necessary manpower to physically retaliate against the people of Makkah. Thats why there is no War during that period and that is why He (Saw) made Hijrah to Madinah. There in Madinah He (Saw) put up a force of 313 men and took up arms against the Makkan 1000 at Badr and then there was Uhud and then many others.

        In Taif (and generally in Makkah) no retaliation was made because there the chances of elimination were quite high because the opposing force was too strong. In Madinah, however, there was an armed response.

        As for tolerance, there has to be a limit – Tolerance cannot be limitless. Muhammad (Saw) is also beyond that limit. If someone abuses my mother, it may not be wise to reply with an insult verbally – but I may physically harm him – or force him to apologize – or atleast show my extreme disgust. Even the courts of law around the world do not declare a murder done in the spur of the moment as terrorism because human can react that way when incited.

        One more thing that I would like to mention that during such discussions, the loss of innocent life / property during protests is considered as a part of the whole package of reaction. Reaction is required (i would say it is a must) but without the loss of innocent life / property part. But promoters of “limitless tolerance” call for the ban on protests itself in the name of tolerance. I have seen many people who offer salah also involved in bribing and other illegitimate business dealings. Going by the same argument we can say that it is because of Salah that they involve in those practices so now we should not offer Salah. That would be absurd.

        Loss of life / property is certainly condemnable, but please don’t tell us that reacting in an appropriate manner is also an intolerant behavior or a behavior which has been not been prescribed by Rasul Allah (Saw).

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      • Abu Muhammad

        Slms Saood, you are mistaken as that the Prophet (SAW) did not have power. As it states in Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtoum, Allah (SWT) sent a power greater than any army that could be assembled by a man:

        “There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: Allâh has heard your people’s words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid. The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship Allâh, the All-Mighty with no associate.”

        I would also like to suggest to all to read another beneficial reflection on this post: http://thehumblei.com/2012/09/17/insulting-islam-what-should-our-response-be/

        Wa’salaam

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      • Saood

        Wasalaam Abu Muhammad. I never said power. Rasul Allah (Saw) has all the power as Allah is with him and he is on Allah’s side. What I referred to was the physical manpower. Now, one may argue that why would that be relevant. I have the following to say that it is relevant.

        Consider the event at Badr. There too, there was the power of angels sent by Allah. He (Saw) did not go with just that. That would have been sufficient in any case. But to prove to this world and to the Sahaba and to the later Muslims that you will have to come forward to defend before expecting Allah’s help.

        The Quran narrates the story of the Bani Israel when Musa (AS) said to them to come and fight to take over Jerusalem, their response to Musa (AS) was that He (AS) and his Allah go to fight and they would not come. They were 600,000 in all. Was Allah not able (NauzuBillah) to take give Jerusalem to Bani Israel without any effort? Allah has made certain rules for this world. You have to act with Eeman before His help comes.

        Just think if Rasul Allah (Saw) ordered the Angels to destroy the city – Taif, what would have happenned? Among many other things, the Muslims also would have at various times of War (Badr, Uhud etc) said to Rasul Allah (SAW) what Bani Israel said to Musa (AS). Infact after the convincing victory at Battle of Badr, many Muslims had come under the impression that whatever happens they will win because they are on the side of Rasul Allah (SAW) and by divine will they were shown at Uhud that they will have to follow orders to be successful. Else they will see what they saw at Uhud.

        That is why Physcial / Material / Wordly resources have their relevance as this is how Allah has it ordained. You have to strive and earn. Nothing is going to come to you free. You have to sow here to reap in the Afterlife. After all this world is the testing place and the best ones are the most tested.

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      • Abu Muhammad

        Slms,

        The perspective regarding the point of Taif relates to the Prophet (SAW) being humiliated and given the option of reacting in a way that sends a signal to all of those who humiliated him – he did not choose that option. This maps to the context that we are talking about – in humiliation people are choosing to attack and maim people who had nothing to do with the videos. They would appear to be defending the sunnah by offending its guidelines.

        Please re-read your comment: “Among many other things, the Muslims also would have at various times of War (Badr, Uhud etc) said to Rasul Allah (SAW) what Bani Israel said to Musa (AS)”;

        As it appears to be inferring that the Sahaba would have undertaken an action that is considered very blameworthy – such an conclusion id unpalatable and has no basis in any of their actions; even though they have witnessed many miracles from the Prophet (SAW).

        Ws

        WS

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      • Saood

        Well, if I go any further discussing the issue of Taif, it might get into the gray area where I might be seen as committing a disrespect to the Sahaba. May Allah keep me away from such a crime.

        Just to conclude on the blasphemy, if Rasul Allah (Saw) has ordered the Killing of Ka’ab Al Ashraf because of this reasons and if Sahaba have stood up many times (almost all the times) and asked permission to knock off the head of the culprits (to which Rasul Allah – Saw has ordered them to relax), to act furiously when the dignity of Rasul Allah (Saw) is challenged is very much the Sunnah of Sahaba (and the ordering of Killing of the Ka’ab Al Ashraf makes it the Sunnah of the Prophet – Saw too). So if Rasul Allah (Saw) has remained silent many times (not all times though) and if Sahaba have almost always acted furiously to such an incident, it makes a very much moral and legal sense to take the culprit (not the other innocent people and their properties) to task.

        Its the matter of love – It is quite natural to react furiously when your loved one is attacked. I would react that way if my mother or father are attacked – so if Rasul Allah (Saw), whom one should love more than any one else to make his Eeman complete, is disrespected by anyone, he should be held accountable. Silence in such matters is “Very Very Questionable”?

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      • IbnBatota

        Akhi JAK for the response and exchange. Another thing I would ask you to consider Akhi is that we can’t simply think of things as Makkah or Madina period exclusively. Rather in our times we have very unique situation. We have an Ummah without a Khilafah, we have Nation States, we have secular democracies in a vast number, and to make things bit more interesting we have mass exodus of Muslims into these Secular Democracies. So to apply a blanket ruling of “we are in Madina” period or “we should act like we are in Mekkah” period is quite elementary. Things are bit more complicated then that. Whoms, wheres, hows, whens among other things to the Mekkah vs. Madina period thing and we should rely on our most senior student of knowledge and most senior of ulema who have first hand experience and knowledge of our contemporary context of the Ummah.

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      • proud exmuslim

        your knowledge of islam is very poor,caliphe uthman standardized the quran,he burnt all of the previous versions,he also butchered the time line of the quran,as you know its no longer in chronological order,uthman put the longest suras at the start and the shorter ones at the end,this messes up the earlier verses from mecca with the later ones from medina,therefore a muslim needs exterior references to find out which verses abrogate and supercede the other
        Also how can the quran be a perfect book when it was written in an imperfect language?,as you know arabs today no longer speak 7th century arabic,today they speak a much improved arabic,please use your intelligence before you make any more untruthful comments

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      • smirza

        I think you have very poor knowledge of Islam. To understand the BOOK you need to understand the context. What Hazrat Uttaman did is not a debate.

        You are trying to judge the book based on human scripture, without understanding that it is BOOK of ALLAH.

        A very simple thing is that this BOOK contains all. You ask me any question and I will reply from BOOK without history or Hadees>

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear exmuslim

        The arrangement of the quran as it is was not decided by Usman (RA) but it was Allah (SWT) Himself who inspired the Prophet (SAW) to order it such and it was in this order that he (SAW) used to recite it to angel Jibreel (AS). It was consensus of the sahaba who had memorized the Quran that finalized the copy of Quran that Usman (SA) compiled.

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      • Abdullah

        Dear “proud ‘ex’ muslim”,
        I don’t see the credibility of the fact that you were ever a muslim before. I have met THOUSANDS OF MEN LIKE YOU!! Such a stunt is merely pathetic and ineffective.

        to begin with, EVEN A SMALL MUSLIM KID MAY TELL YOU THAT THE QURAN THAT WERE BURNT WERE CHECKED before burning and most of them were those written by the false prophets. during the time of Uthman (RA), people in Syria and Iraq were debating on the true cannon of the Quran.
        Uthman (RA) soon learnt of it and BORROWED THE HAND WRITTEN SCRIPTURES FROM MUHAMMAD (p)’s WIFE HERSELF WHO WAS HAFSA (RA)!!!
        What she had done was she didn’t combine the suras into a single book. All Uthman did was compiling the surahs into one book, redrafting and sending the books to different provinces. Thus, ending the debacle.
        PS. A surprizing fact is that a group of 10,000 COMPANIONS OF THE PROPHET THEMSELVES were asked to check it and EVEN NOT A SINGLE MAN REFUSED!! NOT EVEN THE TROUBLESOME KHARJITES!!
        Thus, you have seen the hollowedness and the incredibility of both your claims by just learning things from hate sites that tell you ONLY HALF OF THE STORY!!

        No wonder why Ali Sina, is scared to face EVEN amateur Muslim debaters in public. And the others who do it, are merely beaten….
        May God guide you… *sigh*

        *Edited by CommentsTeam to comply with MM Policy*

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  4. Mohammad Abdul

    Dear Br Anas, i think that you have misunderstood what is going on with this film ‘Innoccence of Muslims’. This film should not be seen in an isolatated manner, as if someone or person is mocking Muhammad (saw)-this is a concentrated campaign by western governments to create an environment where it is acceptable to attacked, defame and insult Islam and its symbols so in order to turn the non muslims population in their countries against Islam and in this context comes this film. We have seen many films and cartoon insulting the Prophet (saw) in the name of freedom of speech, because western governments want to show that their values are far superior than Islam and Islam is subject to them, hence western governments demanding that Muslims accept their values and that shariah is under secular law. In this context, we need to raise our voices in an intellgient manner and good arguments and not ignore and bury our heads in the sand, otherwise Islam will become like Christanity where it is mocked on a daily bases. The Prophet (saw) told us that ‘whoever see an evil, let him change it with his hands, if he can not, let him speak out against it and if he can not then let him hate it in his heart and that is the least amount for imaan’- what can be a bigger evil then insulting and defaming the Prophet (saw)?

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  5. Faraz

    I don’t think this article is suggesting we do nothing or feel indifferent towards what has happened; but it is reminding us that Allah oversees and is in full control of all affairs – and He has promised fair judgement. No one can get away with evil deeds. That’s a very, very empowering thought. Certainly, we should act, but in an appropriate manner, i.e. have nuanced, intelligent responses if anything. The fact is also that due to the reaction this video has received, its now on the front page of YouTube. How many people would not have even heard about it had we responded in a far more effective way?

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  6. Hamza21

    I’m sorry to say Anas but you’re missing the point! The point is not how to respond to insults of Prophet but how to insure it doesn’t happen again. The subtext of your article is basically saying you anticipate and expect insults to the Prophet. While the majority of Muslims don’t expect it nor condone it. We want a plan of action on how to stop it from happening again not how to deal with it once it happens. By not confronting that issue you are implying we should condone such disgusting insults towards the Prophet.

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    • Saood

      “Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our
      character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all
      ability to defend ourselves and those we love.”

      I think these are the words of the famous (or infamous) Julian Assange.

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  7. ThWeems

    Speaking as a non-Muslim, I’d like to respectfully offer my own point of view here. I think that Mr. Hlayhel has hit the nail on the head with this article. People who produce incendiary works such as this childish film are simply feeding off of the attention that they get from it. You have to understand that there are certain extremists, in both the Christian and Muslim faith, who want to bring about an all-out global holy war. And if they can whip up a lot of hysteria and drama just by releasing some foolish work of provocation on the internet, then their purpose has been served and they’ll look for the next opportunity to stir up hatred. But why do these people deserve so much attention? If you believe that God and the Prophets are truly great and holy, then why do they even need to be defended against such simple-minded attacks? If one becomes enraged by somebody’s childish mockery of Muhammad, does that not at some level indicate a lack of faith in the true greatness of Muhammad? Are God and Muhammad so insecure that they would actually feel threatened by the ramblings of such silly people? Then why dignify these people by giving them so much more importance than they actually have? What I find most distressing about the riots resulting from this film, as well as those in response to the Terry Jones Quran-burning, is that the people who actually committed the acts of provocation are not the ones who suffered the consequences of them. As to the person who believes that this film is a “concerted campaign by western governments”… have you actually seen the video? It is undoubtedly the sloppiest, lamest hack-job ever. It’s worse than a joke. To think that this was the product of powerful western governments is just silly. It’s the work of a desperate fool – nothing more.

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    • Shaanzey Ali

      It depends on the context. Where it is a given that a statement will have an extremely inflammatory effect, it is hate speech. There are ways to express disagreement or dissent without disrespect. So Mr. Thweems here i must tell u one thing that Allah Almighty and our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W are never insecure… so you should not give your freaking guess that they would be threatened… we are from that religion who gives us first lesson of patience, so there is no IF in our faith and religion as you wrote in your comment that ”
      If you believe that God and the Prophets are truly great and holy” so this is just for your information and knowledge that Alhamdulilah we believe that our Allah Almighty and our Prophet is great and holy, well no doubt that the people who made this movie/clip they showed that from where they belong and at what level they can go, We, Muslims Pity on them, so man as you are giving muslims a speech in your way and asking us that

      Are God and Muhammad so insecure that they would actually feel threatened by the ramblings of such silly people?” so i m not going far just answer me one question that if i abuse or slap one you love most in your life, then what would be your reaction??? he might be your father,mother or gal friend………???? so you are talking about our Allah and Prophet so lightly…. I can reply you with more harsh words but i’ll not coz my religion taught me to respect other religions and people.

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      • Peace

        Please refrain from criticism just for the sake of it,I m a Muslim too but thus is not the way u tell other nOn believers abt right and wrong, Allah and Prophet (SAW) r for the whole universe ( Prophet is Rehmatullilalameen)So don’t say Our Allah and our prophet , as Allah has created all of us and only he knows who is better among us.

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      • Shaanzey Ali

        i know and agreed what u said… but i said our Allah and Prophet not with that intention as u get…. no doubt
        Allah and Prophet (SAW) r for the whole universe ( Prophet is Rehmatullilalameen)… its about faith and believe…. i wrote so for that people who made the video… and healthy criticism always increases the knowledge…. :)

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      • ThWeems

        Shaanzey, I appreciate your response. Let me clarify a couple of things. First of all, my question was entirely rhetorical, so it is not my “guess” as to whether God or Muhammad are insecure. It is my firm assertion that they are not. That was precisely the point. He who spits up at heaven will simply have his own spit land back in his face. So why react hysterically to such a person? In my opinion, the people who made this film and the people who are rioting over it are the ones demonstrating insecurity. Secondly – my intention is not, as you say, to “give a speech to Muslims”. My intention is to express my aggravation at people who would justify indiscriminate violence every time some random fool decides to say or do something stupid. That applies to individuals of any creed or faith. And believe me… there are plenty of people here in the U.S. calling themselves “Christians” who I would love to slap some sense into, because they don’t seem to understand this. Assaulting and brutalizing innocent people is criminal in the eyes of every religion, so there’s really no excusing that kind of behavior no matter who does it to whom. Despite what you may think, I don’t take anybody’s faith lightly, and I don’t take hate speech lightly. But from a practical standpoint, we all have to learn not to allow crazy people to suck the rest of us into their drama. There are a LOT of trolls out there on the internet. If it were appropriate for people to riot every time some troll opened his mouth, the world would be a pile of rubble by now!

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      • Shaanzey Ali

        Thanks Thweems… i really appreciate your views NOW! and agreed too… well we should raise our voices atleast,
        so it is not my “guess” as to whether God or Muhammad are insecure. It is my firm assertion that they are not…. u have gained respect in my heart with your comment….. and i have huge circle of friends and i always try to teach them or remind them lesson of patience which is our religion’s basic lesson… thanks again to clear my mind … and i really respect you for your views about our Allah almighty and Muhammad S.A.W.W. Stay Blessed!

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      • dubpoet1

        ???? so you are talking about our Allah and Prophet so lightly..
        I know you are not adressing me, but please try to understand: believing in God is not “heavy” it is not a burden to me, so I can talk about it lightly. God does not require me to defend Him or His prophets. I speak a different religious language than you, that’s all.

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      • just visiting

        dude, this guy made a very levelheaded thoughtful response and you can hardly contain your hostility in your own response. In every sentence he makes you see a threat, an abomination, and then try to take credit for being lenient and less harsh then you should be because your religion commands you too. shame on you man.

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    • dewdrops

      Thank you for your comment- it’s always great to hear from genuine people of other beliefs, and I really appreciate that you were able to spend time to read an article written by an actual Muslim American scholar.

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    • sameena

      This is a very true and sincere response from a good person – May God guide us all to truth. Amen
      Sameena

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  8. Abu Milk Sheikh

    Bismillah, walhamdulillah, wa’s’salaatu wa’s’salaamu ‘ala
    rasulillah.

    You refer to the Qur’an without referring to the
    understanding of those who understand the Qur’an better than you, your teachers
    or any other scholar alive today.

    How did the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam deal with insults to Allah and
    His Messenger? He forgave some and did not forgive others. He ordered that some
    be executed. He ordered that some be assassinated.

    How did the Sahaba radiallahu anhum ajma’een deal with insults to Allah and His
    Messenger? They were ready to execute such people at an instant, only being
    restrained by the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam. Some of them carried out
    vigilante executions while the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam was alive,
    and they were not punished. Rather, they were praised!

    How did the Imams and Mujtahids rule on the issue of those who curse the
    Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam? They came to the consensus,
    based on the above unequivocal evidences, that anyone guilty of the crime is
    executed without warning and his repentance is not accepted. They only differed
    concerning the dhimmi, but the overwhelming majority rule that the dhimmi is
    executed as well.

    When Imam Malik rahimahullah says that the person should be executed for saying
    as little as “the Prophet’s button is dirty” and contemporary
    speakers, laying claim to Islamic scholarship with or without right, are in
    complete contradiction to such authoritative positions, this should raise
    serious red flags among Muslims of Ahlu’s’Sunnah.

    Those Believing Muslims not willing to do taqleed of those
    who preach White-house approved, RAND Islam should refer to Qadi Iyad’s “al-Shifa”
    and Ibn Taymiyyah’s “al-Saarim al-Maslool ‘ala Shatim al-Rasul” rahimahumallah.

    And Allah knows best.

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  9. Bloodmoon

    There are those on both
    sides that are guilty of creating and/or exploiting the opportunity to do harm
    and pursue the mistrust perpetrated by the ignorance of the masses. The ugliness behind the production of this
    film is no more the fault of the U.S. government than it is of the majority of
    Islam to take a life of an innocent because of a blasphemous interpretation of
    the book.

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  10. Abu Milk Sheikh

    Surprise, surprise, my comment was deleted. So much for “Freedom of Speech.” Don’t the mods have any shame, or fear of Allah? “O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” [Qur'an 61:2-3]

    Here we go again. I have edited it slightly to remove any possible reason to reject the post, other than to hide the Truth:

    Bismillah, walhamdulillah, wa’s’salaatu wa’s’salaamu ‘ala rasulillah,

    You refer to the Qur’an without referring to the understanding of those
    who understand the Qur’an better than you, your teachers or any other
    scholar alive today.

    How did the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam deal with insults to
    Allah and His Messenger? He forgave some and did not forgive others. He
    ordered that some be executed. He ordered that some be assassinated.

    How did the Sahaba radiallahu anhum ajma’een deal with insults to Allah
    and His Messenger? They were ready to execute such people at an instant,
    only being restrained by the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam. Some
    of them carried out vigilante executions while the Prophet salallahu
    alayhi wa sallam was alive, and they were not punished. Rather, they
    were praised!

    How did the Imams and Mujtahids rule on the issue of those who curse the
    Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam? They came to the
    consensus, based on the above unequivocal evidences, that anyone guilty
    of the crime is executed without warning and his repentance is not
    accepted. They only differed concerning the dhimmi, but the overwhelming
    majority rule that the dhimmi is executed as well.

    When Imam Malik rahimahullah says that the person should be executed for
    saying as little as “the Prophet’s button is dirty” and contemporary
    speakers/writers, laying claim to Islamic scholarship with or without right, are
    in complete contradiction to such authoritative positions, this should
    raise serious red flags among Muslims of Ahlu’s’Sunnah.

    Those Believing Muslims not willing to do taqleed of such speakers or writers should refer to Qadi Iyad’s “al-Shifa”
    and Ibn Taymiyyah’s “al-Saarim al-Maslool ‘ala Shatim al-Rasul”
    rahimahumallah.

    And Allah knows best.

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    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Dear Akhi
      Your comment was removed as it didn’t comply with our comment policy and it couldn’t be edited at that time. I have posted a slightly modified version of the comment.

      Your comments are valuable as long as they are courteous to the author and other commenters.

      Regards
      -Aly

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    • khadijah

      “You refer to the Qur’an without referring to the understanding of those
      who understand the Qur’an better than you, your teachers or any other
      scholar alive today.”

      With all due respect to scholars, the Qur’an is the holy word of God that claims to be universal and for all people, the last peoples on earth. It was not meant to be kept under the authority of an exclusive club. What is different (and most attractive) about Islam is that being close and intimate with God does not require one to appease a middleman.

      In the Prophet’s time, most people were illiterate (including the Prophet himself). In our time, most people are literate. If Quranic understanding is only to be deferred to teachers and scholars, then what is the point of Quranic study for a standard layman? Is it completely useless to read/study the Quran if you’re never going to make it into your career in life? Absolutely not. As long as you maintain your opinion separately. I think the point the author tried to make was to err on the safe side. I tend to agree.

      and Allah knows best.

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      • Saood

        First of all the word illiterate for the Prophet (Saw) is quite offensive and I would very humbly request you to avoid that word. Illiterate carries wider meaning and also means uninformed / ignorant.
        Rasul Allah saw was the best informed and hence the most knowledgeable
        of Allah’s (Swt) creations. Yes he could be referred to as “not able to
        read / write” and I believe that Allah ordained it that way so that people during his time could not claim that Muhammad (Saw) himself wrote Quran. (People during his time knowing that He (Saw) could not read or write still claimed that it was Muhammad (Saw) himself who wrote it – imagine what would have happenned had He (Saw) been able to read or write). So his inability to read or write should not be taken as His (Saw) weakness. Infact it was his superiority that even without being able to read or write, He (Saw) became the greatest teacher of all times.

        Secondly, I am a bit confused when you say
        that in our time most people are literate so they can understand Quran and make it a
        career in life. If you are trying to say that people can read and write and therefore understand the Quran, then there are many non-muslims who have translated the entire Quran and still remained on their old faith!!! The could not get the message.

        Yes, I do agree with you that one should read and try to understand the Quran, but that does not mean that there is no need for teachers. It is quite possible that you cannot understand somethings and it is further possible that your understanding is wrong. Even experienced and qualified doctors make mistakes in diagnosing a disease and in the course threaten the life of the patient. So even if you think that you have understood what the Quran says it is sometimes better to still refer to an experienced and qualified scholar.

        The other extreme is to only refer to scholars without ourselves trying to read and understand the Quran. This too is also not the right approach.

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      • Abu Milk Sheikh

        Your response is a strawman.

        It is obligatory to study and ponder the Qur’an in order to derive lessons from it and apply it to our lives.

        Making rulings is another matter entirely and only qualified people are capable of doing this. In this matter, the qualified people (i.e. the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the Sahaba radiAllahu anhum, and the Fuquha rahimahumullah) are saying one thing (i.e. “execute them”) and the Western preachers, students of knowledge and scholars are saying something that completely contradicts it (i.e. “turn the other cheek.”)

        You don’t get your heart surgery done by a plumber.

        Your point that most people were illiterate during the time of the Prophet is totally irrelevant. Illiterate doesn’t mean stupid. The Sahaba memorized the Qur’an, which was in their own language, and understood the religion better than anyone else who was ever a part of this Ummah. They didn’t have to study “Qur’anic Arabic”; they spoke, listened to and understood Qur’anic Arabic every day of their lives. And they had the best of teachers, the Prophet himself, explaining the religion to them. He didn’t need to be literate, he was receiving wahy from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

        The author is not “maintaining his opinion separately.” He has published his opinion to a Worldwide audience, claiming that this is how Allah wants Muslims to behave when Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, is insulted. This is obviously not the case, as I and other commenters have pointed out.

        He would have done better to present the consensus position and try to present an argument as to how this consensus, on what to do in this situation, can be applied in the current situation and make use of the tools American Muslims have at their disposal.

        And Allah knows best.

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      • Danish

        I demand this comment should be removed or edited because saying Holy Prophet P.B.U.H as “illiterate”, is the worst thing I can read in a blog like this… And for the commenter’s kind information literacy doesn’t mean to get a degree from a university… Literacy is directly proportional to wisdom and our Holy Prophet P.B.U.H had the highest level of wisdom in this world… I am a MBA degree holder but my level of literacy is nothing at all as compared to that of Holy Prophet P.B.U.H and his Sahaba.
        So please be careful in saying anything regarding Holy Prophet P.B.U.H and Sahaba Karam R.A…
        And Allah knows all

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        I think the word illiterate to many of us translates to a negative connotation of being “ignorant” so it would be best to write unlettered maybe? Although I am sure the sister didn’t mean any disrespect.
        -Aly

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      • Saood

        Better use “Ummi”
        It reminds of the the word “Deen” has been incorrectly translated as religion. Religion means a combination of some worship methods / rituals and some forms of religious celebration. On the hand “Deen” is a complete code of life – individual, societal and governmental. Religion is just a very minor part of “Deen”.

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      • Saood

        It has also been translated in the Quran by various translators as “unlettered”. At times it has been translated as “Gentiles” – i.e. those who have not received a Book / Shariah of Allah for a long period (Arabs) – unlike the Bani Israel – where there was always a Prophet between them commencing from Musa (AS) until Isa (AS) – approx. 1400 years.

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  11. Abu Tawhid

    Westerners have more or less abandoned their faith and embraced secularism. Europe a prime example and America not that far behind. Atheism is glorified and Theism is mocked. Jesus and Christian doctrine routinely mocked and belittled in their media/culture.
    Nothing is sacred for them anymore.
    If this is their attitude towards “their own” faith and history, then what to expect towards something which they view as alien?! The answer is nothing!

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    • dubpoet1

      True, Europe has more or less abandoned religion as a tool for those in power. Does that make me, a European, a lesser human ? Is it not possible to have values and consider something sacred, without claiming divine source? ie. killing is wrong because it is wrong, not because the Quran/Bible/Torah says so ?

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      • Saood

        I am quite saddened to see that you gave your comment on the killing (which was never part of the above argument) and not what became the cause of it (which was the matter raised by Abu Tawhid).

        Yes killing is wrong but so is “Disrespect” – Why can’t the the Atheist West understand that – Like Abu Tawhid puts it “Nothing is sacred to them anymore”.

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  12. hlayhel

    Instead of answering every post individually, let me make some clarifying comments. Verse [15:95] contains tons of guidance despite its brevity. I think it’s much more applicable to our current situation than some of the examples listed in the comments. Please read in the Seerah about what happened to the likes of Al-Waleed bin al-Mugheerah, Al-Aswad bin Abd Yaghouth, Al-Aas bin Wa’el, and several others. Read what bin Katheer said about this Aayah and what Imam Tabarani mentioned in his Mu’jam al-Kabeer.
    Another clarification is that this brief article was written for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. So far, I can see that most of the level-headed and well-balanced comments have come from non-Muslims! In the last paragraph, I was trying to argue for mutual respect of religious symbols, and that it doesn’t contradict free speech.
    Finally, I do realize that a lot more could have been said and many references could have been quoted. But I intentionally have kept the article brief to make it easy on everyone to read and share and to avoid being bogged down in too many details. Let’s not forget that the best trait you can have in these trying times is wisdom. And as Allah told us in the Quran “And whoever is given wisdom then he has been given an abundance of good”
    Allah knows best

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    • abu milk sheikh

      “But I intentionally have kept the article brief to make it easy on
      everyone to read and share and to avoid being bogged down in too many
      details.”

      Allah knows best about your intention, but to Muslims who’ve actually read the Seerah it looks like you are cherry-picking and not being intellectually honest.

      The same contentions can be applied to your quotation of ayaat, where you neglect to mention verses like “Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Next, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment.”
      (33:57)

      And the tafseer of the above verse is that the “curse” in this World is death, as explained further by other verses and the understanding of the Mufassireen.

      Do you think it is Wisdom to present an intellectually dishonest picture of Islam, sacrificing Tawheed in the name of Da’wah? And make no mistake, our reaction when the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is cursed and insulted is part of Tawheed. Deficiency in our response indicates a deficiency in Imaan. And the appropriate response has been taught to us by the Seerah, the Sunnah of the Sahaba and the Ijmaa’ of the Scholars.

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Abu MS
        I agree with you on these aayaat and the incidents from the seerah where action was allowed by the Prophet (SAW). But wouldn’t the action then should be just against the people who made the film and not embassies, consulates etc. Or worse still it should not put at risk the property and lives of the Muslims around you. Another point is that all these allowances were in the case of a “Muslim State”. How do we deal with this type of action when we don’t have khilafah and the perpetrators are not citizens of a “Muslim country”?

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      • Saood

        One way would be to force our own governments to boycott the US / Western government.

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      • Abu Milk Sheikh

        Jazakallahu khairan Aly ji (+1 if you
        get the reference).

        Yes, the reaction should be against the
        people responsible. Rioting, looting and destruction, killing those
        granted protection by the state, aside from being against the Sunnah
        is a waste of time and energy and doesn’t achieve the objective. The
        objective being bringing these criminals to justice and putting a
        stop to wanton, unrestrained and open mockery of Rasulullah
        sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

        A discussion can be had whether
        the guarantee of protection was valid in the case of the Libyan
        Embassy, because information has come to light that the embassy staff
        was engaged in covert operations against the Muslims. It is well
        known how American Embassies operate in hot-spots; just ask the South
        Americans how much havoc they caused. What did Rasulullah sallallahu
        alayhi wa sallam do with Banu Nadir? Wanton destruction of property
        is haram, but he laid waste to their fields of date palms.

        The lesson
        is that Muslims are honorable and tolerant but we shouldn’t let our
        lofty principles be used against us.

        Back to the issue at hand, it is
        obligatory on the Muslim Ummah to use whatever means necessary to put
        a stop to these incidents. Do we not take a lesson from how the
        Messiah Isa son of Maryam (alayhima’s’salam) is reviled and
        cursed openly and without shame in the West? Do we want the same for
        Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam? We Muslims hate any and every
        insult to any Prophet or Messenger, so maybe the Muslim Ummah should
        step up and defend Isa as well, seeing as the Christians are doing
        such a terrible job of it.

        Possible solutions:

        1) Persistent and severe litigation
        against all parties involved (even the actors who claim they were
        duped). They want us to respect their right to free speech, they
        should respect our right to sue them for every penny they have.

        2) Extremely harsh and unequivocal
        statements from the Muslim leaders (scholars, rulers, preachers,
        community elders etc.) condemning these attacks against Rasulullah
        sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. In this regard, I have not seen a
        single appropriate response from the duaat and shuyukh in America so
        far. All their ire is directed at their brothers and sisters who are
        picking up THEIR slack.
        3) Political activism, pressure and
        lobbying – local, national and international.

        And whatever else we can think of.
        Those who can do little should do at least that little and those who
        can do more should do more. Those who can act indirectly should do so
        and those who can act directly should do so.

        And really, neither do we need khilafah nor do the criminals have
        to be in a Muslim country for us to establish the Hukm of Allah
        against them. Those who do act in this regard will have to be
        prepared to face the consequences.This solution would be the most effective of all. Look up the story of ‘Ilm-ud-din.

        One of the shuhadaa’ (may Allah have
        mercy on him) said something amazing in this regard. It is a glimpse into the reality of the love that the Sahaba had for Rasulullah
        sallallahu alayhi wa sallam:

        “It is the honor of the Best of Creation that is at stake and it is not much to set the world on fire
        for his sake.”

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      • IbnBatota

        Actually many of the Dua’ats and Shayuookh have condemned these insults. The thing is that some Brothers (and perhaps Sisters) who are hot-blooded to began with (regardless of these insults or not) because the response to this type of thing isn’t the chest beating, fist pumping, angry ranting type that these Brothers wanted, which usually has been way more unproductive than productive in our contemporary times.

        Also there is no cherry picking of the Seerah in the article. If you read the Seerah you will find that the response to the insults to Rasullah salalho walhi wasalam varied depending on the situation. Sometimes it was more appropriate to strike the perpetrator directly while other times it was more appropriate to respond verbally and in certain times it was best to not respond at all. So the theory of any-means-necessary wouldn’t be appropriate because we have to use means which are most appropriate and best suited for the situation. Also about “cherry picking” it is cherry picking when you just single out the events that called for physical actions rather than looking at all the other types of responses. Rather taking a step back and looking at all the situations in the Seerah, analyze them, analyze our situation and respond appropriately rather then being short-sighted

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear Abu MS Ji

        I totally agree with you that defense of the honor of the Prophet (SAW) is necessary and we should take all legal means necessary. I also think the governments of the “Muslim” countries don’t have any spine and that had they acted with firmness at the time of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and refused to accept his work as OK, we would have been much better off. However, I still think they can show some spine and protest using all diplomatic means necessary to force western governments to recognize such insults of our Prophet (SAW) as something that is considered worse than “holocaust denial”.

        In addition, I think we as Muslims should protest each and every time we come across blasphemy against any of the Prophets (AS) of Allah as the Quran exhorts us “la nufarriqu baina aidi him” (do not differentiate between any of them). yet we should do it in a manner befitting the Sunnah of Muhammad (SAW).

        May Allah (SWT) increase our love for the Prophet (SAW), by guiding us to Learn about his life and to implement it in our own.

        WasSalamuAlaikum

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    • Faisal

      Brother, I have also read the comments and there are also very ‘level headed’ comments coming from the brothers. The non-Muslims have agreed with you but several of the brothers have disagreed with your stance, giving some accurate references from the Quran and ahadeeth. So please do not patronize fellow Muslims just because they disagree, especially while you openly support the views of non-Muslims who cannot possibly even fathom the value of this subject and how deep the love of the Muslims is for rasul Ullah (sws).

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  13. Syrenarc

    I wonder where these comments fit it with the rulings by the four Imams of law. This was not their position and it wasn’t the position of the people who came before this. There came to consensus on the matter already based on Quran and sunnah and so now who are we to come behind and put forward something different.

    It really highlights the kind of opinions that come out of Muslims when they live in a minority among non Muslims, something that we shouldn’t be doing in the first place but Allahualim.

    We like our neighbors.We want them to like us but it seems that Western Muslims are losing touch with the realities of the faith and are Muslim not for the sake of Allah and his Messenger but for the Kuffar.

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    • Saood

      I agree with you that we shouldn’t live permanently in a place having a non-muslim majority and this is also the ruling of some Salaf us Salih. Going further, I would even say that many Muslim countries (especially the Gulf countries except KSA) are not liveable from an Islamic perspective. After all why do parents order their kids to avoid bad company? If that has to be avoided, it applies more forcefully to a bad society where evil is easily accessible.

      The problem, however in Muslim countries, is that there are certain other major problems, like corruption, injustice, in security etc. which makes a move difficult. However, I think even then one should move to a Muslim country because in Muslim minority place, the stake (loss of faith itself or as rightly put by you – losing the touch with the realities of faith) is high.

      The loss of realities of faith is gradual and as with any gradual occurrence not noticeable in the short term.

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      • Umabdullah

        I whole heartedly agree with this point. Subhanallah, even with the issues of Egypt, even though alhamdulilah Allah granted us a good life with a good community back home where I learned my deen to begin with, I dont have any desire to return to the US after what Ive witnessed here in Egypt in terms of benefit to gain for your deen. In my opinion, There is no comparison. Yeh people not knowing how to drive is an issue or corruption etc but there are also tons of good people, just people, well mannered people, religious spiritual people. but in terms of recognizing what is right or wrong…even though we often socialize with relatives who are not very practicing, we are under no pressure to be like them. Yes we felt pressured at first but you soon realize yur sort of on equal footing. In the US muslims dont realize it often consciously but there is a cap on how religious they can be and what fiqh opinions they can practice. Especially after Morsi being in power, and being a foreigner, I feel very respected and I feel very comfortable living in Egypt.

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  14. RCHOUDH

    Assalamu alaikum,
    I’d like to know what the correct reaction is based on the Deen, because obviously causing physical destruction and harming others is unIslamic. Can we form peaceful protests, threaten to boycott (if it’s an organization that’s behind the insult), and if it’s an individual that’s behind the insult, call for their work to be banned/for them to face certain consequences (being publicly blacklisted/getting fired/facing jail time?) These are techniques that other groups that constantly face insulting images about their religion/race/ethnicity in the West perform to bring the perpetrator to account To anyone who can provide an answer complete with daleel, this would be much appreciated!

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    • John Cowan

      How can you in a single breath denounce violence and yet call for jail time? Imprisoning someone is most certainly a violent act. As for banning the expression of ignorant stupidity, that is a slippery slope which leads in time to the banning of all opinions but one, and that one generally the Devil’s.

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      • RCHOUDH

        Hi John,
        I understand what you’re saying, as that concern is often cited re: freedom of speech. But let me ask you something, do you really believe there is such a thing as unlimited freedom of speech? Let me first insert here an excerpt from another post that eloquently states the reality behind freedom of speech:

        Self-defeating: Freedom to Insult *

        The 19th century British philosopher and thinker, John Stuart Mill argued that the main basi
        c justification of freedom of speech is that truth is advanced in the competition of ideas, and that the competition of ideas can only occur within liberty. From this justification the following objectives of freedom of speech have been discussed by thinkers:

        – acquisition of knowledge,
        – acknowledgement truth,
        – accounting governments and individuals,
        – intellectual and scientific progress.

        Conversely, neo-liberal thinkers seem to deny their own tradition, and exclaim that insults, bad language and degradation is necessary for the achievement of the objectives of freedom of speech. Under scrutiny, this perspective is self-defeating and is uncivilised.

        Taking the recent disgraceful insults and degradation of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) as an example, it can be argued that it defeats the very justification and objectives of the liberal notion of freedom of speech. Freedom to insult which includes the use of degrading language and visual obscenities actually contradicts the very foundation of freedom of speech. For example, in order to acquire truth and facilitate progress good argumentation is required, and this argumentation must be couched in human language. Insulting and using degrading language or imagery does not facilitate truth and progress. Imagine, the physicist Stephen Hawking explaining String Theory using pornographic imagery or President Obama swearing during his inaugural address.

        Accounting governments and individuals also requires good argumentation. If I were to go up to Tony Blair or George Bush and use vile language would I successfully bring them to account? Of course I wouldn’t. In order for me to do so I would need to articulate a positive case against their crimes and injustices. With these, and there are many other examples, insults and degradation defeats the very objectives of speech.

        Therefore, if freedom to insult actually negates the objectives of freedom of speech, then shouldn’t freedom to insult be restricted? [Obviously there must be conditions to this and it is in the context of achieving the objectives of speech. Also, there are many restrictions to speech in secular liberal nations, for example there are libel laws, product defamation laws, hate speech laws, noise pollution etc. So logically freedom of speech doesn’t really exist! What exists is speech or expression in the context of law and society’s values – this is a more coherent definition.)

        The recent video of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) has not achieved any of the objectives of freedom of speech. It has just gone against the very moral norms of both traditions, East and West. It is a pathetic display of immorality, an explicit unwillingness to engage in intellectual discussion and an expression of unjustified hatred.

        Now going back to my suggestion about facing jail time, I realize that calling for such a thing with Nakouley/Bacile under current free speech laws may be a long shot, but it doesn’t hurt to try, as laws can be changed. Besides, he’s currently being questioned anyway by the authorities.

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  15. mohammed

    U know many muslims think that Quran has a hidden translation and Allah the revealer of this great book says it KITAB MUBEEN, clear book. U can’t interprete Quran out of your desire. if we do so we’ll be like other faiths whose preachers can’t explain if the text contradicts their actual belief and just want to tell you that only faith matters and not the text. the brother jazahullah kheyr stressed to show how the prophet himself would respond to the fools.

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  16. Abo Tarik

    God bless you Br Ana’s. I greatly appreciate your article, particularly your reliance on the Koran and Sunnah as your guide and evidence. It is disturbing to me that we Muslims do not learn from our mistakes. We repeatedly take the most minor of events, both in terms of magnitude and potential harm, and force them on the world stage. In doing so magnifying the very harm that we are trying to prevent! The prophet (ص) warned the believers not to be stung from the same snake pit twice, yet we are not listening. Some of our youth are out in the streets throwing fireballs on diplomatic missions suppository in defense of the prophet, yet they are disobedient and at times disrespectful to their parents and elders. Again may Allah guide us and keep us on the Straight path, and may Allah bless you.
    Ahmed Mattar, MD
    Professor of Family Medicine

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    • IbnBatota

      Akhi, you hit the spot with the ” It is disturbing to me that we Muslims do not learn from our mistakes.” I think if nothing else we should just look back at our contemporary history and see if our reaction has ever produced more good than harm. The answer to this is a resounding N-O!

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  17. Helen

    Speaking as a Non-Muslim too, I have a lot of respect for the views within this article. I would like to add that if you read the comments on the article, rather than accept the article’s content as a whole, you have negative comments on who is right and who is wrong. I feel sometimes that the need to be holier than thou defeats Muslims from standing together shoulder to shoulder to create a deeper faith and a stronger, non-penetratable faith. Again I suppose, I too will face criticism for this comment but rise above this and ignore the trouble making idiots.
    They may not go away but at least you dont harm innocents in this.
    Peace.

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    • Billa Bhai

      Not to come off as snarkish but your statement has me assuming that you have either personally interacted with a majority of Muslims or are an erudite scholar on Muslim thought,civilization and barbarism all at once..very impressive of you,I really am devastated to have missed your world-wide fact finding tour!..when can we expect to have you write a master treatise on self-congratulating,self-assuring generalisations,Professor?

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  18. ibrahim

    superb article. very relieved that there are voices of wisdon and restraint coming out of the Muslim world. Also important that the author’s first reaction is to turn to the book of Allah for guidance rather than seeking out the neaest KFC to fire-bomb. The reaction across parts of the Muslim world is very reminicent of the knee-jerk and bone-headed Uk muslim response to the publication of satanic verses in 1989.
    I think everyone recognises the need to do something. However, our response must be intelligent enough to take into consideration the likely consequences. Sometimes it is better not to react or maybe react in a way that is unexpected but in keeping with our religious ideals. Maybe the following message should go out to all Muslim haters. All humans will taste death. Salvation comes through acceptance of Islam. We will all have to account for our actions. But Allah, the Almighty, is oft forgiving and merciful, provided we sincerely repent for our actions in this world.
    burning flags and murdering US Diplomats will simply provide fodder and amunition for those that are seeking to undermine the Islamic message.

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  19. Shaanzey Ali

    It depends on the context. Where it is a given that a statement will have an extremely inflammatory effect, it is hate speech. There are ways to express disagreement or dissent without disrespect.

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  20. Faisal

    Having read your article, I think you have neglected to consider that there are several schools of thought in Islam, so only one perspective will never be enough to give an answer to such a critical issue. As other brothers have quite rightly mentioned, you have also not put in references of historical instances where rasul Ullah (sws) was insulted and ridiculed and the perpertrators were punished. One famous incidance that comes to mind is when Hazrat Hamzah (ranho) struck Abu Jahl with his bow for insulting rasul Ullah (sws) and that was before Hazrat Hamzah (ranho) even embraced Islam. Once he had embraced Islam, he was one of the most ardent protectors of rasul Ullah (sws) and would not tolerate anyone insulting him (sws). Further to this, many of the early Sahaba who had family members (fathers, sons etc.) who were kafirs would not have hesitated to strike them down for harming or insulting rasul Ullah (sws).

    So it is very right that Muslims around the globe should be up in arms about any incidance of insult to rasul UIlah (sws), be it an article, a picture or a film etc. We are the Ummah of rasul Ullah (sws) and our faith is incomplete if we do not love him more than our own parents, siblings, spouses and children. We are to love and revere him (sws) more than all of creation. No Muslim can argue against this point. If Muslims have come out on the streets in anger they are doing this becauce of their love and reverance for rasul Ullah (sws). And this is an act of faith! As the Ummah of rasul Ullah (sws) it is incumbent on us to strongly protest against such instances and those that are in support. Of course I am not condoning public disorder, anarchy and violence against innocent members of the public etc. But I do strongly support and would participate in outdoor demonstrations whenever such incidences occur. The world needs to know that Muslims will never remain silent if any of our prophets, especially rasul Ullah (peace be upon them all) or our Holy Book is demeaned or insulted in any way!

    Wa alaikum as salaam.

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    • IbnBatota

      Akhi, you have to realize that what type of response is deserving in which situation. It is important to inform this “movie” barely had views in the teens before all the protests in the Muslim world started to happen. Another thing we need to acknowledge that as long as there is a Rasul and his followers there will also will be people who will not follow him and not only that but they will outright hate him and ridicule him and many of those times there is no physical harm that can be done by the followers of the Rasul to these people. This has happened since beginning of the Umbia and it will continue to happen.

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  21. KR

    It is entirely false and totally unfounded to allege that Islam teaches
    Muslims to murder anyone who verbally abuses their religion, mocks it, or
    offends their feelings towards their faith.

    On the contrary, Islam requires its followers to show patience under
    provocation, and to disregard and ignore the abuse. (Of course, if the abuse
    contains any allegations against Islam or the Holy Prophet Muhammad which
    require to be refuted, then these should be answered, but by verbal means only.)

    Below we give arguments from the Holy Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet
    Muhammad to prove the above points. We are confident that no one can cite any
    verse of the Holy Quran which contradicts the position set out below.

    We may preface our discussion with the following saying of the Holy Prophet
    Muhammad:

    “The Muslim who mixes with the people and bears
    patiently their hurtful words, is better than one who does not mix with people
    and does not show patience under their abuse.”
    (Mishkat, Book:
    Ethics, ch. ‘Gentleness, modesty and good behaviour’)
    What a noble
    and wonderful piece of guidance, which is so applicable to the modern world in
    which people of differing faiths have to mix and come into contact so closely!

    Teachings of the Holy Quran
    As a general
    point, it may first be noted that the Holy Quran itself records the accusations
    made against, and the insults heaped upon, the Holy Prophet Muhammad by his
    opponents (e.g. that he was insane, or that he fabricated his revelation), and
    it answers these charges, but nowhere does it require Muslims to inflict any
    kind of punishment on the accusers. The Quran has itself, therefore, given
    permanence to these allegations and the replies thereto, obviously anticipating
    that similar charges would be made by critics in later times. If such abuse or
    criticism could damage a Muslim’s faith, and requires to be silenced by force,
    why should the Quran itself have quoted so much of it from its opponents’
    mouths?

    The Holy Quran tells Muslims:

    1. “You will certainly hear much abuse from the followers of previous books
    and from the idol-worshipping people. And if you are
    patient and keep your duty — this is surely a matter of great
    resolution.” (3:185)

    2.”Many of the followers of previous books wish that they could turn you
    back into disbelievers after you have believed, but you should pardon and forgive.” (2:109) In connection with
    these verses, it is recorded in the Hadith collection Bukhari:

    “The Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to forgive the
    idolators and the followers of previous books, as Allah had commanded them, and
    they used to show patience on hearing hurtful
    words.”
    Book: Commentary on the Quran, ch. 16 under Sura 3.
    Addressing the Holy Prophet, God says in the Quran:

    1. “Bear patiently what they say.” (20:130 and
    50:39)

    2. “Obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and disregard their hurtful talk.” (33:48)
    In all the
    verses quoted above, Muslims are taught to bear their feelings of hurt and anger
    with patience, and to ignore the abuse.

    Another verse having some bearing on this subject is as follows:

    “And if you invite them to guidance, they hear not; and thou seest
    them looking towards thee, yet they see not. Hold fast to forgiveness and enjoin
    goodness and turn away from the ignorant.”
    (7:198-199) This directs us that when we have to deal with people
    who are blindly prejudiced and ignorant, and therefore fail to understand the
    guidance, we must not give vent to anger, fury and violence against them. We
    should treat them with forgiveness, do our duty of enjoining simple goodness,
    and then turn away from them, leaving the matter in the hands of Allah.

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    • Saood

      Quran is a book – Lets read it as a book – as a whole – instead of pieces from here and there as per our wish. Out of context verses will result in a very much incorrect conclusions.

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  22. Sufian Javed

    What have we come to? We spit in the face of peace and purposely go for violence. Has anything ever been settled by violence? Especially in this day and age when Muslims are so down-trodden and are treated like doormats, does it really require a genius to figure out that peace and education of Islam is a better path, rather than resorting to violence?

    Just because an idiot gets up, makes a video insulting the Prophet DOES NOT insult the Prophet. When we lie and take bribes, that is when we insult the Prophet. When we indulge in indecencies and hypocritical activities, that is when we insult the Prophet. When the other Prophets (Jesus and Moses) are insulted and we hold our silence, that is when we insult the Prophet.

    Would you discuss the workings of automobile engine with a person who thinks it’s a 100% possible to operate it using water, and that there’s some sort of a Zionist and American conspiracy against the world to take power of all the oil resorts? I believe more thought is required than action.

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  23. Faisal

    Just wanted to add that I’m very heartened about the critical appraisal of this article by fellow Muslims, using very coherant and valid arguments based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and historical evidences. I also obtained some valuable knowledge by reading the comments. JazakAllah Khair.

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  24. Faisal

    Just wanted to add that I’m very heartened about the critical appraisal
    of this article by fellow Muslims, using very coherant and valid
    arguments based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and historical evidences. I also
    obtained some valuable knowledge by reading the comments. JazakAllah
    Khair.

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  25. Saood

    And here comes another round of insulting material from France.

    http://news.yahoo.com/french-mag-publish-cartoons-prophet-mohammed-214916307–abc-news-topstories.html

    Just look at the number of comments on it. 5000+ comments. And many of them (Non Muslims) saying that why do the Muslims not “Respect Freedom of Speech”

    Forget the general population, even the French Minister calls it as “Freedom of Speech” in another news item

    In addition some of these comments have even raised questions to the Western / American Muslims?

    “Are you an American First or a Muslim?”

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  26. C

    Assalamu alaykum, Allah subhana wa ta’alah says in surah Al-Imran 3:186 “You shall 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 become Al Muttaqun (cautious of earning Allah’s anger by doing wrong) – indeed, that is of the matters (worthy) of determination.” May Allah grant us patience and a desire to become better people. Ameen

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  27. hlayhel

    Let me first say that I want to thank each and everyone who commented on this article. Even those who didn’t use the manners of debate (by being judgmental or accusatory), I understand that it only came out of deep passion for our beloved Prophet alayhi assalaatu wassalaam, something we Muslims all share. I ask Allah to forgive all of us for our shortcomings.
    Here, it would almost be impossible to answer each comment. But, let me answer few that I thought were genuine. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to give a couple of pieces of advice:

    1. I think there were few comments about why I am ignoring other incidents in the Seerah, or ignoring other opinions, or ignoring other Imams, etc. Again, the purpose of the article was not to inform you about all the opinions which we know exist in our Code. It was rather to make a point, to make a case, to take a stance.

    2. Our scholars throughout history adopted opinions based on evidence from Quran and Sunnah and were refuted by other scholars who also used evidence from Quran and Sunnah. So no one should ever claim a monopoly on Quran or Sunnah, not even a scholar, let alone a layman.

    3. Was I cherry-picking? Some people may see it that way. What I tried to do was to pick the evidence which is more applicable to our situation. Some people might say that the Prophet (AS) did one thing when he was weak and another when he was strong. That’s the opinion of the orientalists and the Islamophobes. In this case, we do have a narration from the time of Tabuk, which occurred towards the end of the Prophet’s life, where a hypocrite mocked the Prophet and his Companions, and no punishment was excised on him. In fact, he kept apologizing and the Prophet looked the other way and totally ignored him. If so, I’m entitled to follow this approach of “ignoring the ignorant”. It’s the theme that’s prevalent in the Quran as I have shown in the article above anyway. If there is evidence otherwise, I think it was the exception not the rule.

    4. We have to be consistent in our approach. I’m not sure if you all know, but our Prophet and our religion are attacked/insulted almost on a daily basis. We have people mocking Allah on radio here in the U.S. – I hope that doesn’t incite another riot :) Websites, blogs, YouTube commentaries are FULL of insults to our Prophet and to Islam. When we go to bookstores, right in our faces we see books like “The Truth About Muhammad: the Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion” and many other similar titles. I think here we should be very wise in how we respond. If there is a real misconception about our Prophet, then we should definitely refute it and clarify to people the truth. But if it’s just a vulgar and a desperate attack on our Prophet, we just ignore it. The latter was the focus of my article.

    5. Part of my article was dedicated into stressing the importance of not just looking at the validity of our actions, but also the consequences of our actions. We have to be careful that anything we say or do can and will reflect on the entire Muslim community and the World. Let’s also examine recent history and what certain opinions, supposedly backed by Quran and Sunnah, have brought to this Ummah!

    Finally, I just wish that only a small portion of this anger can be directed to the massacres that are happening in Syria on a daily basis. How come we’re not seeing the same angry protests all across the Muslim World for the killing, the rape, the destruction (including many mosques by the way), the displacement of innocent people (many are women and children). If our beloved Prophet was alive today, which you think would have angered him more, some cheap poor-quality film, or the constant shedding of innocent blood and the honor of so many chaste women???

    Allah knows best,
    Anas

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  28. Sarah

    JazakiAllahukhairan Imam Hlayhel – this was amazingly concise, relevant and a wealth of textual evidence and explanation.

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  29. Saood

    Publishing of cartoons and making of movies is not an individual act. The cartoons were not published on the internet – they were published in newspaper which is an organization coming under the state laws. The movie was first not released on internet but shown on the American theatre. That too come under the law before being released. Even youtube has certain rules and regulation. Even if its is published on youtube why can’t youtube which is an organization coming under laws and regulation remove it?

    Who says just an individual published it? They state should take action against the culprit. The state wont take even though they have all the evidence against the culprits – Just the same stuff “Right of Freedom of Speech” – What crap.

    Yes, you may right that it cannot be ensured that no individual ever insults Prophet Muhammad (Saw) but if an individual does it (on the roads or publishes it on internet) what the government does to bring the culprit to task? Nothing. Just Zero.

    Why now (just after days of the movie incident) does that french mag publish the cartoons and its owner comes and defends it and the french minister comes and says Why can’t the Muslims respect “Freedom of Speech”? This is open terrorism.

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    • Saood

      Just learnt of one more fact – That magazine in France just released its first publication and it could not find anything else other than and those insulting cartoons.

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  30. farnaz haider

    To ThWeems, I totally agree that such insensitive and ignorant people merit no attention, but unfortunately as a believer, i have to reaffirm that to us our Holy Prophet (pbuh) is a revered figure in our life, someone who was so close to Allah, that by association, he becomes very close to us too. Even when we take his name, we offer blessings on him, we love him as perhaps you would love the closest person to you in your life, and when that person is ridiculed and made fun of, its as if we have been ridiculed also, and being humans, we cannot accept mockery of someone we hold so close to us…..there has to be a limit to freedom of speech, the very word freedom entails that u speak your mind, but in such a way that u do not hurt or mock the feeling of others, freedom comes with responsibility and should be used accordingly, and if not, then such freedom of speech is nothing but a way to vent out your own frustrations and anger. The holocaust is a very sensitive issue for the jews, have u seen any muslim making fun of that??? We dont, because we believe in respecting all religions, such a courtesy should under all circumstances be granted to us too….

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  31. dubpoet1

    That is so far the sanest, most balanced reaction I have seen from a believer so far. Respect.
    That said, very many people on this planet just don’t understand what’s so fantastic about the Prophet Muhammad, Please be patient with us.

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  32. ali

    thweems my brother : Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is truly great and holy we the Muslims are not defending them against this irrational pro vocational stupid act of some sinful idiots but we are actually asking rather questioning so called powerful western governments that if humiliating act is a crime against the royal family of UK like publishing the real naked pics of princess of UK is a crime then how can be such a stupid act allowed just for the sake of freedom of speech and the second point there is no holy war going between Muslims and Christians, the war is holy war for Oil started by the so called powerful western govts and one thing more i also dont know much about the Muslim extremists but a journalist was caught by the Muslims fighting against the US forces for freedom in Afghanistan, once the lady was released after reaching homeland she embraced Islam. The actual picture is some thing else u have to search for it writing an article while siting in cozy environment having a cup of tea is easy just imagine god forbid if i abuse your mother in front of u will u stop me or just ignore definitely you will stop if u can but at least will try so its not easy because Muhammad is more closer to us than any thing else in the world any how u r 65 percent right

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  33. Ahsan Arshad

    Given the response, muslims really need to learn to ignore the ignorant and stop being reactive to every accusation.
    delighted to have read the article.

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  34. smirza

    I don’t know where the debate is going. To understand Quran, we need to understand the context of it. To make it very simple, reading Quran and extracting meaning out of it , we need to look at the following:
    1. Ayah that came as direct order to our beloved Prophet (PBUH), under certain situations e.g. war etc and had nothing to do with us.
    2. The stories of Prophets (RUA), where being told to Prophet (PBUH) to correct the wrong verdicts and notions associated with THEM.in his era.
    3. Direct commandments for us, what and how to do.

    Secondly, to extract answer from Quran one has to read and extract all ayah’s related with it along with the context. Then you can extract exact meaning.

    Thirdly, all above are quoting different references in standalone state without checking authenticity from other references e.g. all four school of thoughts have varying point of view on the subject above but someone said that they all agree on this.

    Fourthly, when Quran says that it is complete in all respects, easy to understand, but still we don’t believe in it saying. why?

    Lastly, ALLAH and HIS Prophet (PBUH) told us that we are all followers of DEEN -E- Ibrahami + we are responsible for our own deeds e.g. we have 73 sects and hundred of sub sects, so if someone following any one of them and when going to hell at doomsday, when he say to ALLAH that I was following sect, then why I am punished. Then, ALLAH will reply that I gave you QURAN (Complete in all respects) + Sunnah (Practice established) + Intellect, so you gone wrong is your mistakes, so be ready for punishment.

    My only appeal to all, read first, then spend time to extract meaning and only then comment

    Thanks

    Note: Just to understand that the depth of knowledge, How many of you know that marrying a girl (Even by parents, social pressures etc), without her TRUE consent is HARAM?

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  35. eliah

    Look one God two graet peoples one father two seperate religeons similar but different simply because of differant histories with God He is the same God regardless what name or language you use stop the ignorance. Ishmael and isac where brothers they were the same they where to be ally to one and the other God loved them both equally the interpretation of scripture on all sides got messed up God sent moses when isreal needed help and God sent mu ammad when the sons of ishmael needed help. Stop the hate and let all people love one another.

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    • Believer

      smirza, I agree with you. I thought the article was great. Yes, the article could have been more balanced, but that was not the intention of the author. There are a few individuals that commented negatively about the article. I truly believe some of these individuals mental capacity is at question. (and allah knows best). Many individuals with developmental disability think in “concrete” or “black and white” terms. This may specifically apply to those with autism or who are affected by fetal exposure to alcohol, or child abuse. “Black and white” thinkers like rules. They like rules that are always the same way. If a islamic scholars disagree about an important topic in Islam, these black or white thinkers have a hard time with it and tend to focus on the extreme opinion of a scholar. No one should JUST approach Islam from black or white type of thinking. ISLAM is bigger than all of us. ISLAM should be considered from black, white and gray. Yes there is gray areas in Islam believe it or not. Salam

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