In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving
Today is “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” where people are encouraged to draw the Prophet Muhammad. Over 60,000 people are participating in this campaign. It has drawn criticism by many Muslims, and even protests in countries such as Pakistan. The people behind this effort are doing so in the name of freedom of speech. According to the Washington Post “Comic Riffs” blog:
The page, which Jon Wellington told Comic Riffs he started in a “whimsical and nonjudgmental spirit” last month, quickly became a forum for a hate-laced war of word and image, as both pro-Muslim and anti-Muslim posters often spewed vitriol.
The campaign also spawned an “Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” page, which as of Thursday has nearly 100,000 supporters who “like” the page. Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist whose posterlike illustration titled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” last month spawned the protest, has herself joined the “Against” page.
“I will not be drawing Mohammed on May 20,” Norris told Comic Riffs on Wednesday. “I joined ‘Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ and folks from there write to me. I never even set up a place where people could send images to. Other people started Facebook pages for this day but I never did.”
I think the best thing to do for Muslims is to ignore this day. People have attacked, maligned, smeared, and insulted the Prophet from the very beginnings of his ministry (including members of his own family). The Prophet (pbuh) ignored them and their insults. The more we ignore incidents such as these, I think the less likely they will occur. I think that all sacred figures should be given the utmost respect, and they should never be insulted or maligned in any way, shape, or form. I think an insulting depiction of Jesus or Moses (which has occurred multiple times in the past) would be just as hurtful and abhorrent to me as a Muslim.
When I think of this day, I think of this verse in the Qur’an:
But do not revile those [beings] whom they invoke instead of God,
lest they revile God out of spite, and in ignorance: for, goodly indeed have We made their own doings appear unto every community.
In time, [however,] unto their Sustainer they must return: and then He will make them [truly] understand all that they were doing. (6:108)
I think this whole “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” is a reaction to the stupid things done by some Muslims in response to the South Park controversy (if you think “Revolution Muslim” is an actual Muslim group) and to the even more stupid reaction of some Muslims to the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Let us live by this Qur’anic principle:
[But whatever they may say or do,] repel the evil [which they commit] with something that is better:
We are fully aware of what they attribute [to Us]. (23:96)
But [since] good and evil cannot be equal, repel thou [evil] with something that is better
and lo! he between whom and thyself was enmity [may then become] as though he had [always] been close [unto thee], a true friend! (41:34)
This is what the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did. When his neighbor stopped putting garbage and filth in front of his house, he visited her to see how she was doing. When he conquered Mecca, he forgave the very same people who tried to kill him for decades. That is how we Muslims – the followers of the Prophet – should respond to an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”
When they revile our Prophet, we pray for him. When they malign him, we show people his true nature of goodness, and kindness, and sweetness, and mercy. When they smear, we do not respond in kind. That is how true followers of the Prophet act. And so, let me pray for my beloved Messenger:
May the Peace, Blessings, Mercy, Grace, Goodness, Light, Purity, Forgiveness, Love, and Beauty of the Precious Beloved Lord be showered on the Prophet Muhammad as many times as there are atoms in the Universe. Amen.