Irish Islamic centre publishes guidelines on Muhammad images

Muslims urged to excercise ‘patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy’

We speak to the imam of al-Mustafa Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin and members of his congregation about the recent attacks in Paris.

 

A set of guidelines for Muslims on how to deal with images depicting the prophet Muhammad has been published by the Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre Ireland.

In response to the murder of members its editorial staff in Paris last week, the cover of the upcoming Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine features a cartoon of the prophet. Depictions of Muhammad are considered taboo in Islam. The image has been widely republished by news and media organisations.

The Islamic centre said “the publishing of cartoons that insult or make fun of the prophet Muhammad will hurt the sentiments of 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.”

The guidelines call on Muslims to repond by reflecting the teachings of Muhammad: “patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy”.

The guidelines, written by Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, president and imam Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre Ireland, are published in full below:

1. For every Muslim, love of the prophet is a necessary part of his/her faith. He is dearer to us than our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We prefer him to our own self.

2. The publishing of cartoons that insult or make fun of the Prophet Muhammad will hurt the sentiments of 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, as well as millions of non-Muslims who respect the great personality of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

3. Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, we all know that there is no such thing as absolute free speech. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge all decent minded governments and individuals to respect these sensitivities, as we should respect all races and religions. In the struggle for freedom of speech it was never the intention to extend freedom of speech to making fun of insulting customs, traditions, personalities that are sacred to a particular community.

4. As it is clear that the cartoons are to be published again, Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset, but our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the one we love and are offended for. Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond.

Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived.

5. Muslims have to remember that by depicting the prophet no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in reading lots of Durood, sending salawaat and blessings to his beloved personality. May Allah’s mercy, peace & blessing be upon his soul.

6. Engage with others about your feelings. Speak of your love for the prophet and do not be shy to let your non-Muslims friends know your justified anger at the mockery that is made of our faith.

People need to know how much we love our nabi.

7. Learn more and share more about the great prophet Muhammad that was said about him by non-Muslims.

8. We should, through our actions and deeds, display the sublime character of the prophet (peace be upon him). The prophet faced many great challenges but he exhibited impeccable beauty and character in his actions. He did not react inhumanely or violently. He was attacked verbally and physically in Taif but he forgave the people. His uncle and companions were murdered but he reacted peacefully and in a humane manner. And there are many such examples from the life of the prophet (peace be upon him) we must display.

9. As Irish citizens we must not allow tragic incidents of Paris for hate to creep into our hearts. Muslims, non-Muslims and people of all backgrounds must come together and show unity and solidarity and not let it divide our communities. We must remember the statements of the prophet (peace be upon him) such as: “Someone who unjustly kills a human cannot attain a whiff of heaven. (Sahih Bukhari), or, “He who hurts a human hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah.” (Tabarani) And many other similar hadiths highlighting that Muslims are not allowed to hurt their non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.

10. We must continuously supplicate to Allah that he rectifies our situation. Pray to him that the chaos, injustice and oppression is lifted from our society. We should pray to Allah so that He makes the world a better, fairer and just place for all. Pray to him to aid the oppressed and the victims of the oppressors in France and all over the world. Pray that he allows us to contribute to a more peaceful and just world. Sincerely pray at night and beseech him to protect our honour and our dignity.