By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

 

Dealing with Mockery, Ridicule and Hate: The Prophet’s Way

 

قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ {33} وَلَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَصَبَرُوا عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُوا وَأُوذُوا حَتَّىٰ أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا ۚ وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكَ مِنْ نَبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ {الأنعام 33-34}

We know well that what they say grieves you (Prophet). It is not you they reject: the evildoers reject Allah’s revelation. Other messengers were rejected before you, and they bore their rejection and persecution steadfastly until Our aid arrived—no one can alter Allah’s promises. You have already received accounts of these messengers. (Al-An’am 6:33-34)

إِنَّا كَفَيْنَاكَ الْمُسْتَهْزِئِينَ {95} الَّذِينَ يَجْعَلُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۚ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ {96} وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ {97}فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُنْ مِنَ السَّاجِدِينَ {98} وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ

{الحجر 95-99}

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. (Al-Hijr 15:95-99)

Ridicule, mockery and hate of Allah’s message and messengers are not new in human history. This evil behavior has been a problem of humanity from time immemorial. Some people make the mockery because they do not like the truth; some do it because they want to make money and some do it because of their desire for political power or other vested interests. The Qur’an has told us the stories of great Prophets of Allah: Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and many others – peace be upon them all. They were all ridiculed by some people and some still mock them. The Qur’an tells us that the response of the Prophets of Allah was always patience. When challenged by their opponents they increased their devotion to Allah and they responded in calm, cool and calculated manner. Finally the enemies were defeated and truth prevailed.

The Qur’an speaks about the sinful character of those who make mockery of God, His Prophets and His Books. It tells the believers that they must not indulge in this sin and they should not even associate with those who indulge in this sin. (Al-An’am 6:68) The Qur’an also warns those who make mockery of God and His Prophets and has mentioned that many people were destroyed in the past because of their ridicule and mockery.

يَا حَسْرَةً عَلَى الْعِبَادِ مَا يَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (30) أَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُمْ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ (31) وَإِنْ كُلٌّ لَمَّا جَمِيعٌ لَدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ (يس 30-32)

Alas for human beings! Whenever a messenger comes to them they ridicule him. Do they not see how many generations We have destroyed before them, none of whom will ever come back to them? [Yet] all of them will be brought before Us. (Yasin 36:30-32)

Islam stands for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is necessary for the development of human life, culture and civilization. However, Islam teaches that freedom must be exercised with care and responsibility. Freedom of expression is not a license for insult and abuse. One should not insult and abuse any person of any race, religion or nationality. People should be extra careful when they speak about the sacred persons and objects of other faiths.

Islam teaches that when we talk about other people’s religion and religious figures we should also be polite and careful. We may not agree with their beliefs and can argue in a civilized manner, but we must never abuse their respected figures and/or objects of worship. Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (الأنعام 108)

Do not insult those whom they worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah in anger without knowing it. Thus We have made attractive to each people their action. Then to their Lord is their return and He shall tell them what they were doing. (Al-An’am 6:108)

Like the people of ignorance in the past, today those who pride themselves to be civilized have lost this important value of how to deal with each other’s religious symbols and sacred things. It is important that we Muslims respect our own religious symbols as well those of others and also remind humanity about this etiquette.

It is sad that in Southern California an extremist group produced a most horrible and disgusting movie alleged to be on the life of our beloved Prophet – peace be upon him. The film is full of mockery and ridicule against his noble character. The purpose of this crude movie seems nothing but to excite hate against Islam and Muslims. A group of extremist anti-Islamic people dubbed the movie into Arabic and spread it in the Middle East through the social media. They wished to stoke anger and violence and this is, unfortunately what happened in some areas.

We have expressed our sorrow on the death of US ambassador in Libya and three other diplomats. We denounce all violence. The movie is very offensive; but Muslims should be offended in a positive way. We should speak up against this evil in a rational way. We should always keep in mind the right way of dealing with evil in all situations:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ {34}وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ {فصلت 34-35}

Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel evil with what is better and your enemy will become as close as an old and valued friend, but only those who are steadfast in patience, only those who are blessed with great righteousness, will attain to such goodness. (Fussilat 41:34-35)

We should increase our efforts to present the message of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad to all humanity. We should spread his shining light in this world of darkness and keep telling the world about his kind and merciful personality and character. Allah says in the Qur’an,

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ {8}هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ {الصف 7-9}

They wish to put Allah’s light out with their mouths, but Allah will fulfill His light, even though the disbelievers hate it. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to make it manifest above all religions, even though the idolaters hate it. (Al-Saff 61:7-9)

(Khutbah at ISOC – Shawwal 27, 1433/ September 14, 2012)

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