As a result of this, in terms of reaction, the majority of Muslims have fallen into one of the three following categories. The first category include people who want to ban this film and related material, not only in the US but worldwide. They react violently, wishing to cause harm to the filmmaker and others who may go down the similar path.
The second group doesn’t resort to violence per say, but wants to utilize government control in order to ban such films and create laws to prevent the distribution of Anti-Islamic media. Furthermore, the group seeks lawful punishment of those who produce or promote such material. Unconsciously, this group too, resorts to violent solutions; they just might not know it. Government force is violence, and demands of this nature can only be achieved by force. Later in this article, we will further discuss the consequences of such demands.
The third group, which I hope exists, includes me. This group includes those who generally agree with my philosophical approach to this dilemma. Let’s review history 1400 years ago in Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life. It is my understanding that the accounts I am about to describe are told today in schools, homes, and madrasas (Islamic schools run by Islamic clerics) to children at an early age. These historical facts are agreed upon by all muslim denominations. Once, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went to the city of Taif to preach the teaching of Islam. When he invited the people of Taif to embrace Islam, the people got angry with this stranger’s message. They threw rocks at him and forced him leave their city. Prophet Muhammad was quite wounded. Dripping with blood, he took shelter in garden just outside the city. It is narrated that here Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prayed. He (PBUH) prayed for the people of Taif and their well-being. Instead of being angry at them and swearing at them for all of the harm they caused, He (PBUH) asked Allah to help them and forgive them of their sins and bring them to the right path. Time went by and as Islam grew and prospered, the majority Taif’s residents embraced Islam at the hands of Muhammad (PBUH).
Another famous story related to the character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), involves his (PBUH) daily trip to the mosque for prayers. Each day, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would walk by the same house belonging to an old lady who hated him and his message. Whenever Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) walked by her house, she would dump trash on him from the roof of her house. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would look up, smile, and walk away. One day, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was walking by her house again but noticed that the lady was absent. He (PBUH) observed her absence for three days in a row. And that’s when he knocked on her door to see if she was doing alright. He found her very ill on the bed with no water, food, or medicine. He (PBUH) immediately called for help. He cooked food for her, fetched water and cleaned her house every day until she recovered. Due to the kindness and character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the lady was impressed and embraced Islam immediately after.
In light of the two examples above, we Muslims have to ask ourselves, what would Muhammad (PBUH) do if he were among us today? What would he do in reaction to this film or any other anti-Islamic film, cartoon, or book? Would he get on the band wagon and say, “Let’s go kill everyone from the city of Taif” and would he have a bounty on that old woman’s head?
I don’t know about you but I am certain, he (PBUH) would smile, and walk away. And if and when needed, he (PBUH) would be a compassionate human to the very people who want to hurt him.
Now the second big mistake by Muslims is the demand of banning materials which offend them; books, cartoons or films with material against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As a smart intellectual, consider the following; instead of investing yourself in violent energies, why not utilize that energy for creating a film in response to a film, likewise, writing a book in response to a book in order to debunk what has been claimed?
Hypothetically speaking, if and when the enemy wants us to break our formation, the last thing we should be doing is breaking the formation of our Army. But it is apparent that we are doing exactly what they want us to do. We are acting exactly how they want us to act. Who is winning here? Who is benefiting?
It is less our innocence and more ignorance that we fall for this trap every time and it doesn’t matter if the culprits are some arrogant film makers or a moula (Islamic cleric) who’s only interest is politics, fame, and money.
When we demand the banning of a book, how do you feel about them banning Quran (Muslims’ holy book), mosques (places of Muslim worship), prayers or the hijab (women’s’ head covering)? Do you not see the problem here?
Moreover, when people start demanding things of this nature, birth of organizations like the KKK, Nazis, and other violent extremism takes place. What if the demand involves no Muslims allowed to live in the West? Do we honestly believe that 0.5% of the Muslim population in America will have power over 330 plus million non-Muslim American to prevent Quran from being banned? I sincerely hope that I have gotten through some skulls and have provoked critical thinking. Not everything clerics (Moula) says is correct and not every correct thing can be learned at madrasas.
*(PBUH) Peace be upon him