Sunday, 11 January 2015

Images of The Prophet

A number of hadith and other writings of the early Islamic period include stories in which portraits of Muhammad (peace be upon him) appear.

It is important to realise that the prohibition of images of the prophet has not been universal, and that past depictions should not be airbrushed out of history. These are portraits by Islamic painters or scholars of the past, and to rewrite the past to fulfil the needs of the present is a principle which is dangerous.

If free speech is important, it is perhaps not so important in the depiction of cartoons which might be said to stir up hatred, as the freedom to talk and show the past as it was, and not as extremist groups would wish it to be. Rewriting the past is, of course, not something that is just done within Islam, and most countries have in the past (and some in the present), tried to write history as they would like to have been seen.

So while others have shown a support for free speech by printing copies online of the cartoons, I am doing so with respect, by showing Muslims their own gracious history, which they should celebrate and not try to forget.

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