How should a true Muslim react to any derogatory remarks about his revered personalities? What should be the reaction of a common man on the street to any profanity against the holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? And how can resentment against the desecration of the holy Qur’an be demonstrated in the Islamic way? What is the Islamic way of protest against any action that injures the feeling of the Muslims?
If a person takes a rash action in a severe and an uncontrollable emotional and mental state, he may be given some allowance for his behavior. Such allowances are given, in the life of this world, to persons who commit a crime in an apparently and obviously disturbed state of mind, even by the courts of law and justice. Extreme anger due to the insulting comments of any person or group is not uncommon. A person may completely lose his temper at such provocative instances. This state of mind may make such a person deserving of forgiveness or at least an allowance for his reactions in this world as well as in the hereafter.
As far as the teachings of the Qur’an in this connection (or the Islamic way of protest) are concerned, it is obvious that the Qur’an does not promote any such reactions, even in the worst of conditions. The Qur’an , on the other hand, teaches the Muslims to be most forgiving and asks them to control their anger even in the worst of situations. The Qur’an , thus, does not want Muslims to react recklessly to provocative and inciting conditions. It asks them to keep their cool under all circumstances. The Qur’an says:
Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Return (evil) with what is best. Then will he, between whom and you was hatred become as he was your friend and intimate. And no one can exercise this except those, who are steadfast (in the way of God); no one except persons of the greatest good fortune.” (Fussilat 41: 34 – 35)
These are the teachings of the Qur’an for all those situations, where a person is prone to lose his temper and act recklessly. Muslims should, therefore, try to maintain their cool under all situations and avoid all reactionary steps.
If any person is disrespectful towards the Qur’an , any Muslim personality and even the Prophet (pbuh), we are advised by the Qur’an not even to return any bad comments about that person. Even in such inciting circumstances, a Muslim should advise such people according to the following directive of the Qur’an :
Call to the way of your Lord with (great) wisdom and solicitude and argue with them in ways that are most appropriate. (And remember that) your Lord knows best those who have strayed from His path and (also) those, who are rightly guided. (Al-Nahl 16: 125)
My dear brother, we must not forget that our emotional reactions do not have any positive contributions to the cause of Da`wah (propagation of Islam and Islamic values). All such reactions should be avoided to the utmost. A person who is disrespectful towards the Qur’an or the Prophet (pbuh) or any other Muslim or non-Muslim personality, knows deep inside his heart that no person – not even the worst of them – deserves disrespect. I am sure that with very little effort in the line of Da`wah, such disrespectful persons can be dissuaded from such futile actions. I am also sure that reacting against any disrespectful comments hinders the way for such dissuasion. A person, who abuses my father in my presence, does so only to incite me. My provocative behavior would only give him the satisfaction of getting what he wanted. Nevertheless, my controlled and wise behavior shall not only make me the victor but also dissuade him from such actions in future.
I am sure you will agree that the position of the Qur’an , the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions is not so vulnerable that a negative remark by “someone” would spoil it. Their position is not only established, but is also fully acknowledged by history. We must, therefore remember that: “Whoever spits at the sun does not hurt the sun, but gives a good idea about his own level of intelligence.”
5th March 1998