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Violence For Insulting Islam?

January 16, 2015

Is Islam as a religion so intolerant that it teaches violence against anyone who believes, thinks or lives differently? What about if someone openly insults Islam, Messenger Muhammad and Muslims? Recent terror attack in Paris made many believe that Muslims cannot take a joke, that they are anti-free speech and that Islam as a religion allows Muslims to act out violently if Islam is criticized or insulted. Are those claims right, justified? I say no. The Noble Qur’an’s teachings and Messenger Muhammad’s pbuh examples point to the fact that Muslims are to keep their dignity and ignore those who ridicule their faith, God and Messenger. Here is proof:

Fact #1:

In Muslim Holy Book, Qur’an, God- Allah SWT, orders Muslims to respond to those who ridicule Islamic faith in this manner:

“When you see them engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, turn away from them unless they engage in a different subject. If satan ever makes you forget (i.e. your mind gets engrossed in their discourse), then as soon as you recollect, no longer sit in the company of the people who confound the truth with falsehood.” Chapter 6, verse 68. The same command is found in chapter 4, verse 140.

“And do not insult those they worship other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do” Chapter 6, verse 108.

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

“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” Chapter 2, verse 109.

“Bear patiently what they say” Chapter 20, verse 130 and again in chapter 50, verse 39.

“Obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and disregard their hurtful talk.” Chapter 33, verse 48.

“We are enough for you against all those who ridicule you, who set up another god beside God–they will come to know. We are well aware that your heart is weighed down by what they say. Celebrate the glory of your Lord and be among those who bow down to Him: worship your Lord until what is certain comes to you” Chapter 15, verses 95-99.

“Be tolerant, command what is right, pay no attention to foolish people,” Chapter 7, verse 199.

“The Servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on Earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply ‘Peace’” Chapter 25, verse 63.

“Call people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching, and argue with them in the most courteous way.” Chapter 16, verse 125.

“Whenever they (believers) hear vain talk of ridicule, they turn away from it decently and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.'” Chapter 28, verse 55.

Fact #2 documents:

One of the most retold stories demonstrating our Prophet’s (SAW) unyielding kindness and warmth …was of his Jewish neighbor. Demonstrating the same treatment many Meccans gave the Prophet (SAW) during this time, his neighbor would always gather rubbish at the Prophet’s (SAW) doorstep everyday. Instead of treating his neighbor the same way or reacting to him harshly, the Prophet (SAW) would instead patiently dispose of the rubbish, and this same thing would happen daily… until one day when the Prophet (SAW) stepped out of his home and saw that there was no rubbish at his doorstep. Out of concern for his neighbor, he went to the neighbor’s home to check up on them. Upon seeing his neighbor ill and in bed, the Prophet (SAW) began taking care of him. His neighbor was so moved by his kindness and purity of heart that they became one of the Prophet’s (SAW) followers.”

Information below was copied from:

1. A man called Suhail ibn Amar had a voice suited to oratory, and used to employ this talent in making speeches against the Holy Prophet. He was captured by the Muslims at the battle of Badr and brought before the Holy Prophet. A Muslim suggested that some of Suhail’s teeth should be knocked out to disable him from speaking well. The Holy Prophet replied:

“If I disfigure any of his limbs, God will disfigure mine in retribution”.

2. Once when the Holy Prophet divided some wealth among his followers, one man accused him to his face of being unfair and told him: “Fear God, O Muhammad”. After the man had left, the following conversation took place between Khalid ibn Walid and the Holy Prophet, as recorded in Bukhari:

  • Khalid: “Shall I strike off his neck?”
  • Holy Prophet: “No, perhaps he is a man who says prayers.”
  • Khalid: “There are many people who pray, but what they say is not what is in their hearts.”
  • Holy Prophet: “I have not been commanded by God to cut open people’s chests to see what is inside their hearts.”
    (Book: Maghazi, ch. 63.)

Here a man insults the Holy Prophet to his face, and a Muslim asks permission to kill the man. The Holy Prophet advances the possibility of there being some good in the culprit, but Khalid argues that the man’s prayers are only for show. The Holy Prophet then makes it clear that we cannot know about people’s motives or sincerity, but have to accept that what they are doing is in good faith.

3. Some Jews, when addressing Muslims, would distort the greeting as-salamu alaikum and say it as as-samu alaikum, which means “death be upon you”. When they once addressed the Holy Prophet in this manner, his wife Aisha retorted back in the same words. The Holy Prophet disapproved of this reply and said that God did not like harsh words.

4. Once there were four men who spread an accusation of immorality against the Holy Prophet’s wife Aisha. Their allegation was ultimately proved to be false because they failed to back it up with any witnesses. One of the four men, called Mistah, used to receive financial assistance from Abu Bakr, Aisha’s father. After this incident, Abu Bakr swore never again to help Mistah. The following verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet on this occasion:

“Let not the possessors of grace and means among you swear against giving to the near relatives and the poor and those who had to flee in God’s way. Pardon and overlook. Do you not love that God should forgive you?” (24:22)

Hearing this, Abu Bakr exclaimed:

“Indeed, I certainly love that God should forgive me”.
(Bukhari, Book: ‘Testimony’, ch. 15.)

He then resumed providing assistance to Mistah, as before.

Note that this allegation was not made against just an ordinary Muslim woman, but the wife of the Holy Prophet, and therefore it struck at the holy household at the centre of the religion of Islam, which was required to be a model of purity for all Muslims. In view of this, the forgiveness taught in the above verse becomes all the more generous and magnanimous.

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