Paris shooting where 12 cartoonist murdered in cold blood still fresh in our memory. That shooting spark many debates on freedom of speech, Muslims reaction and frankly we Muslims is the one who’s taking the biggest hit from hate and prejudice because of the Paris shooting. Thank God the shooters already neutralized and the people of France stand strong and united, regardless of their religion.
However, Charlie Hebdo recently after the shooting issued a magazine which contains the Prophet Muhammad SAW caricature (again). Personally, this infuriates me. Why? First of all, we Muslims believed depicting our prophet Muhammad SAW is a blasphemy. Why again? We are trying to avoid excessive veneration of Muhammad SAW since he is merely a mortal (but remarkable, and the most successful world leader of all time). I’ve seen the cover of the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine, frankly speaking it’s milder than I think it would be, but still please respect our belief. There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and becoming a total asshole.
I believe all Muslims feel offended by our prophet caricature, some of them reacting calmly (since there’s nothing they can do) and some of them enraged with fury, saying horrible thing like “They deserve to die, they must die, their blood must be spilled” etc. But what if our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW still alive today? What would his reaction be? Well, this is not the first time he was insulted, harassed, humiliated.
In the past, he always get spat on by some old geezer in his neighborhood. Every time Muhammad SAW passed in front of this old geezer’s house, he will be get spat on. Until one day, the spatting stopped. Muhammad SAW began to wonder, “Where is that old man? What happened to him?” Turns out, that old man was sick. Knowing this, Muhammad didn’t take any revenge or anything. Instead, he visited the old man, he treated him well, he gave the old man some medications, he nursed the old man despite of Muhammad SAW getting spatted on every time by the same old man he nursed. He felt as a civilized human being when someone need a help, he compelled to help them, ignoring all the bad things he had done to him.
That’s not the best part. The best part is when Muhammad SAW was doing some preaching in the city of Thaif and the inhabitants were rejecting Muhammad SAW and his teachings, violently. He got stoned, beat up by the residents of the city. By the time he got away from the stoning and beating, Gabriel (yes, archangel Gabriel) came down to him and offered Muhammad SAW to avenge the city inhabitants by stoning them back, not with small pebbles but with a mountain. Can you imagine, an enormous mountain dropped on top of your city? If I were Muhammad back then, I will gladly accept that offer. But Muhammad SAW, on the other hand, he refused that offer. “No, please, don’t do that. They simply don’t understand yet,” he said. After getting stoned and beaten up, he forgave all of the city inhabitants wrongdoings towards him, because he believed that they simply didn’t understand yet. He knew some people needed more time to accept his teachings, to accept faith into their hearts. Before Gandhi, he believed an eye for an eye will make the world go blind.
Did Muhammad support the freedom of speech? I don’t know about that, but one thing for sure, he is more forgiving than any man on earth. Now in my opinion, what Charlie Hebdo did is a form of freedom of speech which just crossed the line. The line of respect and tolerance. And what the extremists did was also crossed the line, the line of humanity and compassion.