- Published on Thursday, 13 September 2012 08:52
This article, written by Haroon Moghul, appeared on Religion Dispatches on September 12,2012
Following the recent violence in Libya and the storming of the U.S. embassy in Egypt, many media outlets will report that Muslims find portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad—images, videos, movies—to be blasphemous and offensive.
While many Muslims (especially Sunnis) find portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad, and other sacred religious figures (Jesus, Mary, Moses, etc.) to be offensive in and of themselves, this doesn’t quite explain the degree of offense Muslims feel when the Prophet Muhammad is mocked. As was the case in “The Innocence of Muslims,” that film that is supposed to offend me but, based on the 14-minute trailer, only embarrasses me… and leads me to ask two desperate questions: How is it that a $5 million budget can buy you so little? And, who produces a 14-minute trailer? That’s just offensive.
In Islam, the Qur’an is the literal word of God, and Muhammad represents the embodiment of those words of God. If you want to know what Islam is in text, go to the Qur’an; if you want to know what Islam is in action, study Muhammad’s life. That’s what Muslims do. They study it, debate it, and investigate it obsessively. Muslims believe the road to goodness, to moral excellence and success in the afterlife, comes through an emulation of the Prophet (though that doesn’t mean humans don’t have an innate moral compass). As such, mocking the Prophet is offensive for several reasons (to say nothing of the long history of Western intervention in the Middle East and the traumatic aftereffects of colonialism, which could be a whole article itself). For one thing, Muhammad is dear to Muslim hearts in the way Jesus is to many Christians: He brought us enlightenment.
READ MORE AT Religion Dispatches