Integration · Politics

On Freedom of Speech and the Ability to Ponder and Reflect

Freedom of Speech and the Ability to Ponder and Reflect.png

Arfa Niswan Yassir, Swindon

Love and compassion softens your heart whereas selfishness leads you to cross the limits of what is acceptable to many. It is heart wrenching indeed to see the name of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) yet again used politically in an unthinkable manner. If we just stop and think about this issue, it concerns someone who for 1.6 million Muslims is the saviour of mankind, a person who was a blessing for every living soul, who had the benevolence to forgive the cruellest of enemies at the height of his power and strength, indeed, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) who spent sleepless nights praying for humanity. For whom Allah states:

“So haply thou wilt grieve thyself to death for sorrow after them if they believe not in this discourse.”

Al-Quran [18:7]

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) had so much love for humanity that he was about to grieve himself to death, and the aforementioned verse is witness to this.

This was the stature of our Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) about whom someone today is planning a rather regrettable competition. We reject this approach, we reject this competition, we reject this abuse of freedom of expression and we reject the motives behind this move.

Such activities are carried out under the cover of freedom of speech! When freedom impinges on morality it is bound to cause trouble. To my mind Allama Iqbal, poet and philosopher of British India fairly sums up this idea of freedom in his Urdu couplet:

آزادیِ افکار سے ہے اُن کی تباہی

رکھتے نہیں جو فکر و تدبر کا سلیقہ

The poet says that free, unbridled thinking can bring about the ruin of those who don’t possess the skill and flair needed to ponder and reflect over matters.

As Muslims let’s respond to this ‘competition’ with efforts at vying with each other in good works, as the Qur’an commands us (2:149) vying with each other in trying to emulate the noble and blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him). These efforts of course will last for a lifetime, while such competitions will come and go.

This is not about infringement of the grace of our Holy Prophet, because no one on the face of the earth has the capability to bring disgrace to the noble Prophet, it is actually about the sentiments of millions of Muslims which Geert Wilders wants to deliberately hurt. However, Islam teaches respect, love and compassion. We can never think of caricaturing any holy person. We respect all the Prophets of God who came through ages, we respect the Pope, the Dalai Lama and other spiritual leaders who are revered around the world because we are ethical and practice restraint in using our freedom of expression and we aspire to make this world a better place.

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