More than 50 imams and scholars, mainly from the UK, have issued a joint statement is response to the Charlie Hebdo killings that took place in France last week.
“Following the shocking murders in Paris, condemned by Muslims all over the world, and subsequent moves to depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again, Imams from the UK and abroad have come together to issue the following advice to those concerned about the depiction.
1. For Muslims, love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.
2. Accordingly we regret and are naturally hurt by the depiction of our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), a great personality held in high esteem by 1.8 billion Muslims and millions more, in such a manner.
3. Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, freedom of speech should not be translated in to a duty to offend. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that absolute freedom of speech does not exist. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge governments, civil society and our media to foster a culture of mutual respect and unity, not one of division and disdain.
4. Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons. But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond.
With dignified nobility we must be restrained, as the Quran says “And when the ignorant speak to them, they say words of Peace.”
Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived. If we feel strongly, the only course of action to us is with reasoned debate, civil activism and other legal avenues, God willing.
5. Muslims have to remember that by depicting the Prophet (peace be upon him) no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in supplicating with many litanies and prayers of blessings on the Prophet; may Allah’s mercy, peace and blessing be upon his soul.
6. Engage with others about your feelings. Speak of your love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) and do not be shy to let your non-Muslim friends know your justified displeasure at the mockery that is made of our faith. People need to know how much love we have for our Prophet (peace be upon him).
7. Learn more and share more about the greatness of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). Hassaan bin Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) describes him with the following couplets:
“My eyes have never seen anyone more perfect than you No woman has given birth to anyone more handsome than you You have been created free from all defects As if you were created the way you wished”
8. We should, through our actions and deeds, display the sublime character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet faced many great challenges but he exhibited impeccable beauty of character in his actions. He did not react inhumanely or violently. He was attacked verbally and physically in Taif but he forgave the people. His uncle and companions were murdered but he reacted peacefully and in a humane manner. And there are many such examples from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we must display.
9. As British citizens we must not allow hate to creep into our hearts due to the horrific incidents of Paris. Muslims, non-Muslims and people of all backgrounds must come together and show unity and solidarity and not let it divide our communities. We must remember the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as: “Someone who unjustly kills a non-Muslim citizen cannot attain a whiff of Heaven, even though its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Bukhari), or, “He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah.” (Tabarani) And many other similar hadiths highlighting that Muslims are not allowed to hurt their non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.
10. We must continuously supplicate to Allah that He rectifies our situation. Pray to Him that the chaos, injustice and oppression is lifted from all societies. We should pray to Allah so that He makes Britain a better, fairer and just country for all. Pray to Him to aid the oppressed and the victims of the oppressors all over the world. Pray that He allows us to contribute to a more peaceful and just world. Sincerely pray at night and beseech Him to protect our honour and our dignity.
May Allah give us the ability to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. May Allah protect the whole of humanity from trials and tribulations.”
1. Mawlana Yunus Dudhwala (Head of Chaplaincy, Barts Health NHS Trust)
2. Dr Omer al Hamdoon (Muslim Association of Britain)
3. Imam Abdullah Hasan (Imams Against Domestic Abuse)
4. Imam Irfan Chishti (Chishtia Mosque, Rochdale)
5. Imam Shams ad Duha (Ebrahim College)
6. Sheikh Abdur Raheem Limbada (Tafseer-raheemi.com)
7. Imam Shafiur Rahman (Jibreel Institute) 8. Imam Ibrahim Mogra (MCB)
9. Imam Zuber Karim (Dundee Mosque)
10. Imam Abdul Wahhab (Plashet Grove Mosque)
11. Muhammad Ashraf Hansrot (Thornton Heath Islamic Centre)
12. Mawlana Abdul Mateen (Head teacher and Muslim Chaplain Quwwatul Islam Society London)
13. Mawlana Khalil Laher (Quwwat-ul-Islam Society London)
14. Imam Sulaiman Gani (Chaplain and Presenter on Iqra TV)
15. Imam Wasim Kempson (West London Islamic Cultural Centre)
16. Imam Yahya Adel Ibrahim (Al Kauthar Institute)
17. Imam Ghulam Moyhuddin (Ashton Central Mosque)
18. Mawlana Mujahid Ali (Hafs Academy)
19. Imam Saeed Algadi (Almuntada Trust)
20. Dr Abul Kalam Azad (Khateeb, Dockland Community Mosque)
21. Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera (Scholar and Founder Zam Zam Academy)
22. Sheikh Zahir Mahmood (As Suffa Institute)
23. Shaykh Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri (Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre Ireland)
24. Mawlana Adnan Qurayshi (Al-Ashraaf Secondary School)
25. Mawlana Zakaria Maljee (Stamford Hill)
26. Imam Ahmed Desai (Masjid Quba, Bradford)
27. Mawlana Abdullah Rawat (Musallah an Noor Stoke Newington London)
28. Mufti Sajid (Azhar Academy Ltd/Quwwatul Islam Mosque)
29. Imam Tahir Talati (Imam Zakariya Academy)
30. Imam Ilyas Amin (Azhar Masjid)
31. Mawlana Muhammad Saleem (Quwwat ul Islam)
32. Mawlana Zenulabedin Yakub (Masjide Tauheed)
33. Mawlana Said Ahmed (Masjid e Salaam, Preston)
34. Mawlana Ilyas (Masjid e Mahad, Preston)
35. Imam Yusuf Rios (Muslim Chaplain, The Shaukani Institute, United States)
36. Mawlana Muhammad ibn Ismail (Newham Ulama Forum)
38. Imam Qari Asim (Makkah Masjid, Leeds)
38. Mawlana Imran Ali (BMACC Bearsden, Glasgow)
39. Dr Mansur Ali (Cardiff University)
40. Imam Imtiyaz Damiel (Abu Hanifah Foundation)
41. Sheikh Jaffer Ali Ladak (Hyderi Islamic Cente)
42. Imam Shabir Moosa Adam (Masjid Ibrahim, Australia)
43. Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (Al-Mahdi Institute)
44. Shaykh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour (Resident scholar, Islamic Centre of England)
45. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli (Noor Trust)
46. Ayatollah Seyed Milani (AlKhoie Islamic Centre)
47. Mufti Salim Ismail (Upton Park Islamic Centre)
48. Moulana Mohammad Shahid Raza (Leicester Central Mosque)
49. Sheikh Abdul Qayyum (East London Mosque)
50. Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi (World Ahlulbayt Islamic League)
51. Imam Fahimul Anam (Beacon Institute)