By Dr. M Qutubuddin, Chicago
This is the ‘best of times, worst of times’ moment for Indian Muslims. At a time when the whole democratic polity has shamelessly turned against them, they are struggling to protect their rights as citizens and reclaim their religious identity by way of disseminating message of Islam, holding protest demonstrations, writing columns and using all sorts of communication platforms to register their angst and predicament.
They’re facing no less than persecution under the Hindutva nationalist government of Narendra Modi, but haven’t abandoned the path of peaceful resistance, of course, with patience.They ran one of the most successful stirs against citizenship regime two years ago; they have stood up again for the honour and dignity of their faith, holding waves of protests across the country unfazed by the retribution they might face from the right-wing ideology driven government.
The sea of protests with presence of millions of Muslims on streets give a clear message that they can tolerate anything but will resist with full might if it comes to dignity and honour of the Prophet Muhammad, the last messenger of Islam. The martyrdom of teenager Mudassir and Sahil in Ranchi – both the minors were allegedly shot dead in police firing during a protest – is an example.Its time to say loud and clear ‘Enough is Enough ‘ and ‘Don’t push us to the Wall.
It is naïve to understand that the sacrilegious comments by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and saffron party’s Delhi unit chief Navin Jindal are by chance. It is a deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of the Muslims. The BJP has a core policy of blasphemy and dehumanizing Muslims on a daily basis.
This Muslims need to turn the adverse situation into an opportunity by starting a mass movement to educate people about the life of Prophet Muhammad, compel the government for stringent legal action against their leaders and enact law against blasphemy.
Muslims need to educate the general public that the Prophet Muhammad was not the inventor of Islam, but he was rather the last messenger of Islam. Besides, he is not the prophet for Muslims only but for the whole mankind as the Quran states about him, Rahmatulallil Alemeen (Mercy for all the whole world). There are host literature on Prophet life which can be distributed among the non-Muslims, including politicians, public intellectuals, journalists, bureaucrats and religious heads. In this regard, it would be apt to use books written in modern context.
Muslims ought to make optimum use of social media platforms where they can share video, write-ups highlighting the teachings of Prophet.
Muslim scholars should identify issues that are being used by mischief makers to stoke controversy and explain them in true perspective of Islam instead of remaining banished in the medieval age jurisprudence.