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So what’s the big deal with drawing the prophet?

By Muhammad Karim

I can’t understand why the media, the West and everyone else who engaged in the “Let’s Draw Muhammad” contest recently couldn’t, in all their secular intelligence, attempt to first UNDERSTAND and then act instead of the other way round. I am also extremely disappointed with Zapiro for simply “jumping on the bandwagon” which is very unlike him. The Zapiro I’m used to has deep insight, sharp wit and gets to the heart of the issue at hand. Zapiro’s cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) shows only deep ignorance … but I’ll analyse that later.

First, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Why are Muslims going crazy when this happens? Well, at the essence, we do not draw the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or represent him in any way or form even though we do have detailed, verified and ratified descriptions of him because it is mentioned in the Qur’an not to fall into the trap of worshipping the Prophet instead of God. Secondly, Muslims believe in ALL of the prophets of God — Moses, Jesus, Noah, Jonah, Adam etc (peace be upon them all) and we don’t DRAW any of them.

But still … why is there so much passion in this issue? Well, look at the content. The depictions are ignorant and horrible. There is no mistaking the intent behind them. It represents some hard-line Iranian “Terrorist” Mullah rather than any insight into the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Muslims LOVE the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I mean truly love. For Muslims he is the ultimate example of what a human being is supposed to be. We actually implement the idea that whenever we’re faced with any situation in life the question is automatically … “Well, what did the Prophet (pbuh) do?” You can’t underestimate this point, it leads to the next point in this issue.

Let’s make it personal. Take someone you truly love and would do anything for … say it’s your mother. Now, if someone was talking badly (or drawing nasty pictures) of your mother, but did it among themselves and, obviously, they have a right to say what they want. It’s all absolutely fine. But when someone comes up to you and waves it about in your face and swears your mother to your face, what would you do? Yes, it is the ultimate example we need to follow to hold our peace and deal with it in an intelligent and civilised manner (in fact this is what the Prophet (pbuh) himself would have done. But be realistic … your first move would be a punch in the gut of the offending perpetrator. This is the line between having the freedom to say what you want, but respecting the people around you.

Personally, this is the first time I’m writing about this because I can’t believe people’s stupidity and ignorance. In this day and age! For God’s sake (no pun intended) is everyone getting stupider? Why can’t anyone else see this? Regarding the drawings themselves, I refuse to join any action AGAINST them on Facebook and shout out slogans etc because that only fuels the fire of the same idiots who created the group in the first place. I’ve IGNORED them from the beginning and I implore all other Muslims to do the same, or even better, start telling these people who the Prophet (pbuh) was, his example and what he means to them. This is the perfect opportunity.

Finally, I pray … that intelligence dawns on both sides of this conflict. It’s a shame on humanity that BOTH sides are acting like this. Let’s grow up.

Muhammad Karim is a blogger on Tech Leader and a contributing author on Global Voices Online.