What Next? Analysis of Muslims Anger and the Silly Film Tempest?
ماذا بعد عاصفة الفيلم السخيف؟
Professor Hasan Yahya,
Voltaire, the great French philosopher (1694-1778) on race relations says: “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” Prejudice, in sociology is a hidden feeling. Usually built up in every culture. Voltaire explained more on the issue “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong”. This simply describes cultures in their traditional customs, folklores and mores. Muslim culture is not alone in this regard.
In the Muslim world, it is difficult to be right, and convince those who attacks embassies of your rightness, their minds are closed on the belief of their history as perfect. The religious ideal type they live in is far from reality, therefore, it is basically different from secular western thinking. To bring the two cultures together to think the same way, is to reduce secular thinking to the size of ideal type, which was practiced in the Medieval Europe, and which is impossible in modern times. On the other hand, if you bring those of Ideal religious type to think as secular liberals in the west, is also impossible. The great difference in time and space and degrees of knowledge, history and free will should be counted.
According to historical records, the Muslim conquests referred to as the Islamic or Arab conquests, began with the Prophet Muhammad (S). He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power. (1) The asabiyyah (solidarity) was concentrated on religion. The new spirit which replaced tribal and sectarian asabiyyah. Belief in Islam was the main factor uniting Arabs around one goal, helping the new belief to go forward, with new spirit that God was with them and will protect their faith. (Ibn Khaldun-Muqaddimah)
Today, religion (or faith) is becoming Othman’s shirt, among Muslims, where no tolerance even among Muslims themselves until one sect is satisfied by suppressing other sects. Unfortunately, in old times, Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufian (The first Umayyad Caliph) was holding the shirt, to defeat Ali, the fourth Caliph until he takes revenge from the killers of Othman, the third Caliph. Today, unfortunately, we see small groups (Salafies and Muslim extremists) are holding that shirt, and will not abandon it before making all Muslims extremists like themselves. ThiWhich is impossible. Time and place stand against their assumptions. Because reality is the opposite of imagination in the caves of moral ideality. Man is not perfect, salafies and extremists are not perfect too. States also are not perfect, Islam becomes national rather than global. Which reduces its value by those who are illiterate, ignorant, unemployed, selfish and way farer.
Liberals, however, in the Arab and Muslim world have difficult times to separate themselves from the followed ideal religious type of thinking and believing, which is still the moral ideal in every corner of the Muslim and Arab world, since al Ghazzali’s time, ten centuries ago. The whole culture still living the fantasies of old age, which passed, hoping to come back, while it will never come back. In the long conclusion of this article I like to discuss according to my knowledge, experience and education, as a Muslim by birth, the problem of the recent Movie against everything sacred in Islam. Which is not be the last in the process between evel and good on earth.
As a conclusion, you will see, the lack of clear political power depends on new solidarity even in the form of statehood or citizenship. In order to replace the many solidarities of Muslim extremists (salafies, and the like) by a new solidarity of human rights and justice, emotions will remain the guiding power over Muslims. Until then, the vacuum of mental ability to grasp understanding the opposite views in one’s country, will lead to disagreement with those outside the country borders as well. In short, the west, for the Muslims, is representing the opposition outside the borders.
Arab intellectuals (thinkers, philosophers etc.,) are in serious position, because what delay understanding each other in the same country, is the factor of ignorance, illiteracy, tribalism and traditional dogmas, which never lead to tolerance inside their own countries. Islamic teachings and guidelines are clear, but anger make people blind to see the truth.
The Arabic proverb reads: “Ana wa Akhi ala ibn Ammi, wa Ana wa Ibn Ammi ala al gharib.” Meaning, (I and my brother (united) against my cousin, and I and my cousin (united) against strangers”. This is a tribal law, worked in pre-Islamic age, and still works today in modern Arab states. Which negate reason in dealing with communal conflict situations.
Politically, modern states, so far, even the so-called, the Arab Spring states, follow the same law in dealing with each other as citizens of the same nation, which negate any liberal definition of modern “State” as we know it after the European enlightenment revolution.
Another proverb in Arabic says (in Qur’an), “Inna Allaha la yughayyiru ma biqawmin, hatta yughayyiru ma bi’anfusim” (al Ra’d 13:11) meaning, (Of Allah, Verily, never will God change, the condition of people until they change it themselves, (with their own souls). In other words, Allah will not change the situation of ignorant people, unless they are willing to change their attitudes positively. By time, following the models in other nations, this change is taking place, even though, slowly.
Let’s discuss now, the film which ridiculed God, Islam, the messenger (to all humanity) and Muslims.
God-all religion believers know-that He is Almighty, and Islam is the final religion on earth, The messenger (Muhammad (S) unlike all previous Prophets, was not sent to a section of people, he was sent to humanity (al ‘Alameen-All). Where ‘al Nas’, does not mean Arabs or Jews or Christians, or other limited race or place or time, but all human beings live anywhere, anytime. Muslims believe the last factor ridiculed in the film (the Muslim people) but it is the least important, they do not get angry if you insult them, because they will defend themselves by reasoning. But what they believe, is that the symbol of their faith was ridiculed. Therefore, reasoning is outside the circle of anger. Self-humiliation can be overcome, but dignity of faith and its symbols humiliation , cannot be tolerated in any religion.
History is our teacher in this case, no nation or civilization, have ever tolerated the attack on their belief system, and their belief symbols. Because it is their identity, imagination or real. And such identity, has no reasoning in return. That what happens in the Muslim lands and their culture.
The west, in order to absorb the Muslim anger next time, (because the phenomenon will continue-artistically and politically speaking) are advised to share the feeling of the broken hearts of people, in order to reduce their flying wings of emotions. This is a moral issue, should be carried by politicians and respected by media. They are not changing their constitutions or breaking first amendment of free speech. Just sharing the angry people in their anger, by taking measures of being their side (just words) to reduce anger. This is a psychological thing, if the west like to change its attitude toward Islam or any other religion. By doing this, tens of Arab and Muslim media (journals, satellites, and channels) will televise this sharing, and Muslims will appreciate that feeling, and expression, and will be effective in influencing people to enjoy that their cause is justified. They will feel satisfied and make their argument with extremists stronger with evidence of similarity of feeling East and west.
Some people may say, this is a naïve thinking, or may be stupid. But I am sure, if you are an Arab and Muslim, or set in their shoes, you will see the proposal is sound and kind, and applicable to any religion. In that case, extremism in any form will loose grounds of support.
The incident of the American Ambassador was a tragedy, and by no means forgetable, but in the final analysis it was a revenge from certain sects (precisely, the remaining al Qa’idah followers) who were planning to revenge one of their leaders recently killed by the drone, (the no-pilot plane) two weeks before the film broadcast. The film, however, was the feather which broke the camel back as Arabs say, increases the volume of protesters for various reasons, and the film becomes Othman’s Shirt, held by small groups, do not represent all Muslims, or defenders of Islam by reason. Because Muslims know very well that God protects his Apostles, Guide them as well as protecting the right path He sent them to follow. And God does not need help, nor the Prophet Muhammad (S) , Muslims know very well, he does not need protection. Because God protects his Apostle, against fools, and those who are opposing the way to God. Hadith narrated by al Bukhari reads: A man asked the Prophet: “Advice me! (أوصني!) O Rasul Allah!. The Prophet answered only one word: “La Taghdab لا تغضب! ” means: Avoid anger (or being angry). This is the real Islamic teachings. Showing anger as we saw it recently, even though unjustfiable, it is not a proper Islamic behavior. Another saying through Qur’an reads God said to the Prophet when Mushriks (Makkah disbelievers) ridiculed him in person by words and acts: فاعف عنهم واستغفر لهم , (meaning: forgive them, and demand form God the mercy for them.). As Muslims, we should forgive the false story teller of the film, as a fool, (سفيه Safih) who doesn’t know the right path, and ask God to have mercy on him or them, they may become good believers. Who knows? After all, the good and evil will continue to survive, but I believe, the strong will lead, no matter right or wrong, and people have the sense of understanding. In America, Americans enjoy tolerance in recent years, away from politics, fundamentalisms few decades back, were bombing clinics of abortion, non-whites were in opposition to slavery, and constitutional rights are respected, and common sense is dominating the majority of Americans. I dealt with many Americans who share the grief of Muslims in their faith rejecting the sick minds among them and evil doings against others. Therefore, Innocent Americans should not pay for mistakes of silly minds who swim in an ocean of tolerance, the devil will not prevail, but will loose all times. Humanity is not going to regress, by any means.
The Arab poetry in this regard says:
إذا نطق السفيه فلا تجبه *** فخير من إجابته السكوت
Meaning: If the fool talks (against you)
The best response as an answer, is to keep quit (silence)
Islam is greater than persons. Muhammad (S) is greater than fools (Sufaha’), and the noblist in mankind, nothing will influence his position among the believers of Islam. Followers of Islam have to act according to their great Prophet sayings and tradition to forgive people, not to kill them. To ask mercy from God to guide them, because religion as we all learned, is God’s. So He will protect His religion, in many ways but anger. If there is a human error, God will forgive, and have mercy upon his slaves.
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