- 1 Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Beacon of Mercy for All Creation
- 2 The Visage of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the West
- 3 Disrespect to the Sanctities: A Perspective from Jurisprudence and Law
- 4 Disparaging the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
- 5 Perpetual Oppression
- 6 The Light of God Will Never Be Extinguished
- 7 The Salman Rushdie Controversy
- 8 The American Defamatory Film
- 9 Repercussions
- 10 From Islamophobia to Islamophobia
- 11 Freedom of Expression in Western Style
- 12 Strategies
The matter of disparaging the sacred tenets of Islam, notably the revered Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), stands as one of the strategies that the West, in conjunction with its propagation of Islamophobia and the orchestration of radical factions, has wielded in an attempt to undermine the esteemed religion of Islam. This tactic, born out of a palpable trepidation over the burgeoning influence of Islam in Western societies and the increasing conversion of non-Muslims to Islam in recent times, has spurred the forces of global hegemony to establish extremist groups. They aim to sow seeds of discord among Muslim communities and to desecrate the holy symbols and figures of Islam, in a futile bid to curtail the religion’s expansion and resonance across the globe.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Beacon of Mercy for All Creation
Throughout history, particularly in recent years, a profound injustice has been wrought by certain factions in the West, along with their domestic and intellectually obscured allies, through their deliberate misrepresentation of the Seal of the Prophets. They have falsely depicted the Prophet of mercy and benevolence as an emblem of violence, bloodshed, and harshness – an accusation both baseless and irredeemable.
However, those endowed with wisdom and fairness, who delve even slightly into the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during his 23 years of prophethood, and who cast a mere cursory glance at the Quran and the words of its harbinger, will swiftly recognize a profound truth. The Quran commences with the invocation of God as ‘the Most Gracious’ and ‘the Most Merciful.’ Among its 114 chapters, 113 begin with this compassionate invocation, positioning the Quran itself as an embodiment of mercy, and the Last Prophet as ‘Mercy to the Worlds.’
The 23-year odyssey of the Prophet (peace be upon him), predominantly marked by his endurance of hostility and aggression from his foes, was characterized by either defensive engagements or endeavors toward peace and reconciliation. His life was a testament to forgiveness and benevolence, reaching its zenith during the momentous conquest of Mecca. Here, in a display of unparalleled magnanimity at the zenith of his power and triumph, the Prophet extended unprecedented forgiveness and kindness to even his most ardent adversaries.
The Visage of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the West
In stark contrast to the desperate and demeaning attempts of some, renowned scholars of Western societies not only recognize the Prophet of Islam as a towering figure in the annals of religious civilization, but they also wholeheartedly acknowledge the global ascendancy of Islam, attributed to its innumerable virtues. Perhaps it is this acknowledgment of truths that brings discomfort to those who insult, dragging them into the abyss of cultural ignorance and disparagement.
Tolstoy: The illustrious Russian writer and philosopher, whose teachings have guided the likes of world-renowned leaders such as Gandhi, declared: The eminent personality of the Prophet of Islam is worthy of the utmost respect and veneration. The Sharia of the Prophet of Islam, due to its congruence with reason and wisdom, is destined to achieve worldwide acceptance.
Karl Marx: The profound 19th-century German philosopher, politician, and revolutionary, with his deep understanding of the esteemed character of the Prophet of Islam, stated: Muhammad was a man who… rose with an iron will amongst idolatrous people, inviting them to monotheism and instilling in their hearts the immortal spirit and soul. Therefore, he must not only be counted among the great and distinguished men of history, but it is also fitting to acknowledge his prophethood and wholeheartedly declare that he was indeed a prophet of God.
Voltaire: The French philosopher asserted: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was unquestionably a man of immense greatness. He was a mighty conqueror, a wise legislator, a just ruler, and a devout prophet. He played the greatest possible role in the eyes of ordinary people on Earth.
Pierre-Simon Laplace: The renowned French astronomer and mathematician of the 18th and 19th centuries, whose theories revolutionized the field of astronomy, is among the Western scholars who remarked on the noble religion of Islam:
Though we do not believe in celestial religions, the faith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his teachings are two societal paradigms for human life. Thus, we concede that the emergence of his religion and his sagacious decrees are significant and valuable, and for this reason, we cannot disregard the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
Disrespect to the Sanctities: A Perspective from Jurisprudence and Law
The Holy Quran eloquently states:
“O ye who believe! Do not violate the sanctities of Allah; O people of faith, do not regard the sanctities of God as permissible.”
“That is the decree, and whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah, it is better for him with his Lord.”
The term ‘hurumat’, meaning sanctities, signifies that which must be respected and not subjected to desecration. In the Quran, God has enumerated instances where failing to uphold due reverence is met with promised punishment, such as belittling the prayer.
On the other hand, neglecting certain prescribed duties like Hajj and Umrah for those who are able, can also lead to worldly impoverishment and adverse consequences.
Great jurists, arguing for the necessity of revering the sanctities and emulating the practices of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), have stated: Rising and standing in the presence of believers, as a mark of respect and veneration – according to customary norms – is permissible, and indeed, becomes obligatory if its omission would result in disrespect to the believer. In Shia jurisprudence, dishonoring the body of a believer is also considered a violation of sanctities.
Thus, in an Islamic government, the preservation of Islamic sanctities and religious values is a law, and everyone is obligated to adhere to this law under all circumstances. The law enforcement is also duty-bound to protect these values and to act against any disrespect shown towards these sanctities and values.
It is noteworthy that in the ‘Common Law’ system, blasphemy has long been recognized as a crime. According to definitions provided by Western jurists, this rule not only encompasses the disrespect of sacred entities but also extends to any denial of the legitimacy of Christianity, the Holy Scriptures, or the denial of God’s existence.
In England, the mere denial of the legitimacy of the religion of Christ, or the validity of the Holy Scriptures, whether through writing, printing, teaching, or statements accompanied by advice, is recognized as a crime by law, with various punishments stipulated for it.
Disparaging the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, in supporting the publication of offensive caricatures of the Prophet (PBUH), has declared Islam to be an extremist and terrorist religion. Macron, in his tweets, has stated that nothing will ever make them back down. He claims to always stand beside human dignity and universal values.
The French, by generalizing the atrocities of ISIS and similar extremist groups in Syria to the entirety of Islam, have concluded that Islam is an extreme and terrorist religion, perceiving themselves as defenders of human dignity. Interestingly, two centuries before the emergence of ISIS and their ilk, it was the forebears of Macron who redefined terrorism and crime against humanity with their numerous atrocities.
In the early 19th century, France attacked Algeria under the pretext that the Algerian ruler had threatened Paris three years earlier to collect a debt of seven million francs from France, aiming to dominate Algeria. According to Algerian reports, French soldiers during their stay in Algeria tortured or killed over a million Algerians for merely resisting colonialism and seeking independence.
Common French methods of torture in Algeria included immersing victims in sewage and freezing water. Beheading unfortunate Algerians was akin to a pastime for these ‘civilized’ people in their free time from raping and assaulting. Algeria, more than a symbol of anti-colonial wars and the struggle for independence, reminds us of the atrocities committed by the French against Muslims. Before being known for the struggles of people like Abdelkader, Algeria was infamous for the savagery of those who today, ironically, speak of upholding human dignity.
But it wasn’t just Algeria. Macron positions himself as a defender of peace and global values, while his country, until a few decades ago, had colonized not only Algeria but also Brazil, Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, Central Africa, Gabon, Congo, Chad, and Cameroon. This is one of the ironies of our times. Those who have whitewashed their history of violence against humanity now posture as peace-loving and respectful of beliefs.
The insult to the exalted Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not a novel occurrence exclusive to our times. Throughout human history, and particularly during the era of the final Messenger (peace be upon him), enemies of truth, having failed to counter the robust logic of the divine messengers, have resorted to various tactics to malign the luminous persona of these heavenly beacons. Yet, it is a vain delusion to believe that these attempts of the truth-deniers can extinguish God’s light. The following is a Quranic perspective on this issue as elaborated by Hojat al-Islam wal-Muslimin Qara’ati.
The Light of God Will Never Be Extinguished
“They intend to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, though the disbelievers dislike it.” (Surah As-Saff, 8)
The enemy employs various means to attempt to extinguish God’s light, including:
- Accusing of regression and archaism.
- Dismissing the words as mere fantasy and conjecture.
- Labeling the Prophet’s pronouncements as lies and slander.
- Trivializing and devaluing the divine revelations.
- Setting up rivals against God.
- Preventing people from listening to the divine verses.
- Mocking and belittling the path and school of the believers.
- Ridiculing the religion of God.
- Attempting to destroy mosques and the bastions of faith.
- Endeavoring to distort the religion.
- Introducing innovations in the religion.
- Concealing the truths of the faith.
- Fragmenting God’s religion.
- Blurring the lines between truth and falsehood.
- Exaggerating in the religion of God.
- Waging war and conflict against Muslims.
The more severe the assault on the faith and its sanctities, the stronger must be the defense. The Prophet of Islam faced numerous affronts, being called a sorcerer, soothsayer, poet, and madman. Each of these accusations was addressed and rectified in the Quran.
The Salman Rushdie Controversy
The publication of Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” a book spanning 547 pages, recognized as the Book of the Year in 1988 in England, marked a moment of profound discord. The book, sponsored by a Zionist Jew who contributed half a million pounds to incentivize the author, contains the most egregious insults towards the sacred persona of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his family, companions, and the Quran, ridiculing the beliefs of Muslims. It portrays ‘Bilal’ as a ‘gigantic black monster’ and refers to ‘Salman the Persian’ as a vagrant who migrated to the deserts of Arabia and encountered a merchant claiming to be a prophet. The book was published in London by ‘Penguin Books’ and the author was provided with a security detail from the outset.
The widespread release of this offensive book, coupled with coordinated promotions and endorsements by Zionist circles, provoked a global outcry from the Muslim community. Warnings were issued to publishers, legal measures were taken to limit the book’s distribution, and critical responses were penned. However, the world of arrogance not only ignored these warnings but intensified their campaign, to the extent that European publications portrayed Rushdie as a revolutionary figure. Extensive institutions and distribution networks across European, American, and some Asian countries endeavored to translate and distribute the book, openly supporting Rushdie amidst protective measures.
In an unprecedented decision, Imam Khomeini, may Allah have mercy on him, addressing all Muslims worldwide, condemned the book and its author, issuing a fatwa for the execution of the writer and the publishers. This decree unified the Islamic Ummah worldwide, who vehemently protested and supported their revolutionary leader’s judgment, expressing their disdain for this colonial conspiracy and demanding Rushdie’s trial, the prohibition of the book’s publication, and its collection.
The American Defamatory Film
The film in question, released by Terry Jones, an anti-Islamic pastor from Florida, USA, was declared to have been published to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
This two-hour film mocks the esteemed character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), depicting this pure figure as one who commits numerous sins.
“Sam Bacile,” the writer and director of the film is an American Jew from California working in real estate. However, the distribution of the film was undertaken by Terry Jones.
Sam Bacile, now in hiding, told The Wall Street Journal: “Over 100 Jews contributed $5 million” to finance this film, which was produced with the involvement of 60 actors and 45 crew members over three months.
According to Sam Bacile, the film has only been screened once, earlier this year in a nearly empty theater in Hollywood.
Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, described by CNN on their website as a ‘publicity-seeking’ pastor, had previously burned the Quran in May of the same year.
On March 20, 2011, Terry Jones burned a copy of the Quran in his church, an act that sparked widespread protests resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries.
His Eminence Ayatollah Khamenei, in a statement, condemned the recent insult by a French magazine to the luminous persona of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The text of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is as follows:
In the Name of the Most High
The grave and unforgivable sin committed by a French publication in insulting the radiant and sacred figure of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again exposes the malice and deep-seated animosity of Western political and cultural establishments against Islam and the Muslim community. The pretext of freedom of expression, cited by some French politicians to avoid condemning this egregious crime, is utterly rejected, erroneous, and deceptive. Such hostile actions are manifestations of deeply rooted anti-Islamic policies of Zionists and arrogant governments, which surface occasionally. This act, at this particular time, could also be motivated by a desire to divert the minds of nations and governments of West Asia from the ominous plans that America and the Zionist regime have for this region. Muslim nations, especially those in West Asia, while maintaining vigilance in the affairs of this sensitive region, must never forget the hostilities of Western politicians and leaders towards Islam and Muslims.
And Allah has dominance over His affair.
Sayyid Ali Khamenei 18/6/99
From Islamophobia to Islamophobia
The truth is that since the late 1990s, following the global powers’ relief from the threat of Communism, numerous reports have been published on the civilizational confrontation of Political Islam with the Western model; a threat that extends beyond the economic-political competition of a rising China. Official condemnations and gatherings in front of the embassies of the concerned countries, while indicative of Muslim sensitivity towards their sanctities, do not constitute a strategic response to neutralize this global hypothesis. The key phrase emphasized in the Supreme Leader’s letter to the youth of Europe and America, namely “spreading fear and hatred,” pinpoints the very strategy that forms the common thread through all the aforementioned instances. This ranges from strengthening Takfiri currents and multiplying distorted versions of Political Islam, to insulting the sanctities of Muslims to inflame their emotions and provoke reactions like those seen in the incident with the French publication.
Freedom of Expression in Western Style
Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, has triggered the anger of Muslims worldwide with his statements endorsing a disrespectful caricature of the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him and his family. As a result, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, addressed a short message to the French youth. The text of this message, which was published on social media platforms in French, is as follows:
In the Name of God,
Ask your President: Why does he support insults to the Messenger of God and consider it freedom of expression? Does freedom of expression mean disrespect and insult, especially to revered and sacred figures? Isn’t this foolish act an insult to the sensibilities of a nation that has chosen him as its leader?
The next question is, why is doubt in the Holocaust a crime? If someone writes something about it, they must go to prison, but insulting the Prophet is considered free speech?
Sayyid Ali Khamenei
November 7, 2020 (Office for Preserving and Publishing the Works of Ayatollah Khamenei)
Undoubtedly, one of the objectives of those who insult Islam and the Great Prophet is to distort and darken the face of Islam. In response, Muslims should strive to “display the impeccable face of Islam.” Enemies have, over many centuries, tarnished the luminous face of Islam, and at times, due to ignorance or personal biases, have added or subtracted from it. Today, even though misunderstandings and opportunism play a role in tarnishing the image of Islam, the propaganda efforts of the enemies in this regard are far more significant, and they engage in this dark endeavor through subtle and insidious means.
Muslim brothers and sisters! Based on this, our great task is to identify Islam, introduce it, and foster greater familiarity among ourselves. (Excerpts from the statements of the Supreme Leader at the beginning of the Islamic Conference Summit, 18th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, 1376)
The Almighty has stated: “And if they intend to deceive you, then, verily, God is sufficient for you. It is He who has supported you with His aid and with the believers.” (Quran, Surah Anfal, 8:62). So, if they intend to deceive you, God is sufficient for you. He is the one who has strengthened you with His help and the believers. Therefore, believers should take inspiration from God and, united, rise to defend the Messenger of God, peace be upon him and his family. Everyone, to the best of their ability, should strive to thwart the enemy’s wicked goals. Writers should take up their pens, and filmmakers should create powerful films that introduce the life of the Prophet of God, peace be upon him and his family, and the Ahl al-Bayt. The masses should engage in reading about the lives of these divine luminaries and act according to their teachings.