Why depicting Prophet Muhammad angers many Muslims

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Updated 10 January 2015

Why depicting Prophet Muhammad angers many Muslims

DUBAI: Depictions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) such as the cartoons published by the French satirical magazine reeling from a deadly attack are banned in Islam and mocking him angers many Muslims.
Although images poking fun at the Prophet have repeatedly infuriated the Islamic world, Arab and Muslim leaders and clerics were quick to condemn the attack. Sunni Islam’s most prestigious center of learning Al-Azhar said “Islam denounces any violence.”
The two masked gunmen who killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo weekly on Wednesday claimed to be on a mission to “avenge” its cartoons of of the prophet.
It follows years of controversy over such caricatures.
“This is a prophet that is revered by some two billion people... Is it moral to mock him?” prominent Iraqi preacher Ahmed Al-Kubaisi told AFP, explaining the violent reaction of Muslims to cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“France is the mother of all freedoms, yet no one said this (depiction) is shameful,” he said.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Charlie Hebdo had shown disrespect toward Islam on numerous occasions.
“Is there a need for them to ridicule Prophet Muhammad knowing that they are offending Muslims?” state news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.
“We respect their religion and they must respect our religion,” he added.
Violent protests broke out in the Muslim world after Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper published 12 caricatures of Mohammed in 2005.
Charlie Hebdo and other European publications reproduced the cartoons the following year, including one which showed the Prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, making them a target of Islamist fury.
The French magazine’s offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 following the publication of an edition renamed “Charia Hebdo,” (Sharia Hebdo), with a caricature of the Prophet on the front page.

Lack of respect
At the core of the problem is the “lack of respect for others’ right to freedom of expression” in Arab and Muslim countries, according to Hassan Barari, professor of international relations at Qatar University.
Some people “do not understand the Western context of free speech, where you can easily make a movie that is critical of Jesus (peace be upon him).”
Mathieu Guidere, who teaches Islamic studies at France’s University of Toulouse, said that the “culture of tolerance, and acceptance of different opinion is almost non-existent in the Arab and Islamic world.”
He attributed violence to a feeling harbored by “almost every Muslim who believes that he is the defender of the Prophet and of Islam.”
Barari pointed to a history of “animosity between the West and Muslims.”
“We cannot deny that anti-Western feeling in the region is related to the West’s policies. This is related to past colonialism, policy on Israel, and support to dictatorships,” he said.

Ban on depictions
The majority of Islamic scholars ban drawings of all prophets revered by Islam, and reject the depiction of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, even when it shows them in a positive light.
“We should not open the door to people to draw the Prophet in different forms that could affect his status in the hearts of his people,” said Kubaisi, the Iraqi preacher who is based in Dubai.
There is no text from the Qur’an or the tradition of the Prophet that clearly forbids such depictions, and the ban is “out of homage and respect” to the Prophets, he added.
The ban also applies to depictions of Prophets and companions of Prophet Muhammad in movies and television programs.
When a trailer for anti-Muslim movie “Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube in 2012, protesters took to the streets in several countries.
Four people, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in Libya when extremists used protests against the film to attack US interests on September 11, 2012.
In recent weeks, a number of Muslim countries banned Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” for its depiction of Moses.
Even the 1970s epic “The Message,” which chronicled the life of Prophet Muhammad and starred Anthony Quinn, did not impersonate the prophet.
“Depicting the Prophets of Allah would cast doubts about their status and might include lies, because actors could never match the characters of the Prophets,” said a fatwa, or edict, by the Islamic Fiqh Council in Makkah.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.