Shihab Khan

We’ve heard that again and again. A writer’s right to write. Then people come up with fancy empty platitudes like ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of thought’ to defend people like Salman Rushdie and likewise. Maybe ‘freedom of thought’ is a too heavy phrase for Mr Rushdie. His apparently ‘blasphemous’ arguments were not something new; he was reiterating old and outdated questions on the authenticity of Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim intelligentsia has a long undisputed legacy of taking criticism constructively and responding accordingly.
But criticism and abuse are two radically different things.
Although Islam itself teaches to respond to evil with good to diffuse the powder keg, but one must also not be surprised by such a frustrated reaction from the Muslims when all limits of decency are transgressed to insult the person they hold higher than themselves.

One thought on “Shihab Khan

  1. shinichi Post author

    The freedom to insult Islam

    by Shihab Khan


    We Muslims (practicing Muslims ofcourse) love Prophet Muhammad (May God’s peace, blessings and honour be upon him) so much, that its hard to comprehend for someone who views it from outside the fold of Islam. Do you remember Salman Khan sporting a pony tail and then all the Salman Khan fans started having one? Do you remember Aamir khan fans going bald the Gajni style? Emulating the one’s we admire is considered as one of the highest forms of displaying one’s love, admiration and commitment to someone. We Muslims love Prophet Muhammad so much, so so much that we not only try to look like him (sporting a beard), dress like Him, walk like Him (He walked swiftly with medium treads), talk like Him (He spoke very softly with moderate loudness), eat like him (He ate using his right hand only and never left any thing remaining on his plate; preferred to begin from what’s closest to him on his plate; always made dua/prayers before & after the meal and preferred eating less and simple food), drink like him (he drank with his right hand while sitting in three breaths and didn’t breath inside the glass/vessel), sleep like him (he disliked sleeping on his back and slept on his right side with his right palm under his right cheek), but we Muslims even go to the washroom like him (enter with one’s left feet; sitting down while relieving ourselves; always using water to clean and exiting on our right feet; needless to mention the prayers before entering and leaving the washroom).

    Now try to make an estimate of how much we love Prophet Muhammad (May God’s peace and blessings be upon Him). If you say you’re a Manchester United fan, Atif Aslam fan, Linkin Park fan, Eminem fan, try to compare your fanhood with a Prophet Muhammad’s fan. I’m not going to touch on why we love Prophet Muhammad so much; lets keep that for some other post, but there is a reason why you find most Muslims going crazy when someone abuses Him. Although, that’s not quite the reaction which He would have liked nor recommended, but the Muslim community all across the world is going through a lot which makes such frustrated responses understandable.

    You abuse and insult Prophet Muhammad you get police protection, you abuse and insult anyone else you go straight to jail. Abusing Prophet Muhammad is a mark of freedom of expression; just speak against the Jews or even remotely suggest your dislike its antisemitism. The Champions of freedom of speech have outlawed any intellectual discourse on the validity of the Holocaust theory, questioning it is a punishable offence in many European countries.

    The latest example of such conspicuous hypocrisy when the movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ released. While the American officials condemned the movie they still decided not to ban the movie because it was against their value of ‘Freedom of Expression/Speech’. A couple of days later Britain banned an ice cream ad showing a pregnant nun because it was ‘repugnant to Catholic Beliefs’ ( ) No wonder Obama and Hilary have a tough time explaining their version of freedom of expression to the Muslims. And to add insult to the injury, they explain the frustrated reactions from the Muslim community by telling their children, “Oh that’s because they hate our freedom.”

    Maybe yes! The Muslims do hate the ‘American freedom’. Because like them, they can’t reply back by mocking Jesus Christ (May God’s peace, blessings and honour be upon him) or any one else who they worship as God has forbidden that in the Quran –
    “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah…”
    Al Quran {6:108}

    There are things all of us hold sacrosanct; as individuals/societies/nations. Absolute freedom of speech/expression is a hogwash. If you don’t believe me, try questioning the integrity of whatever country you live in, get it published in a newspaper and then tell me how things worked out (if you somehow remain to tell the story).

    Societies flourish when a person’s beliefs and his individuality is respected. There is always room for critique but not for abuse. Using words like ‘Freedom of Speech’ and ‘Freedom of thought’ wins support from the uninformed section of the society (which happens to be a majority in every democracy). A person thinks, “Oh yes, I want freedom to say what I like and think what I like. So lets support this XYZ Rushdie for whatever he wrote or the makes of the movie whatever of Muslims of which I don’t care about”. We should not form our opinions by just reading the OpEd articles of the mainstream newspapers. A little common sense and nonpartisan thinking is closer to integrity.


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