The latest issue haunting the Muslim world is the derogatory movie made against the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The protest and the fire in the heart of Muslims across the world had not ceased, that a French magazine came up with the caricature of Prophet (PBUH) resulting in adding insult to injury. The only reason because of why Western world could come up with against all this derogation and hurting of billion Muslims is the Freedom of Speech.
Freedom of speech is to say what a person wants regardless of any insight to the consequences. The lines below give a detail of the concept of freedom of speech in West and their contradictions, along with the sayings of Islam on freedom of speech in light of holy Quran learning and Sunnah.
West And Its Contradictions:
Every where the modern countries of West are found speaking freedom of speech, however, firstly their lie contradiction in their saying and doing, and secondly, as per say there cannot be such a concept of freedom of speech.
Some of the major contradictions in the Western world pertaining to the slogan of freedom of speech are:
- In Europe certain social and legal limits are imposed on publication of Semitic cartoons, and as per law the person doing so is liable to be prosecuted legally. Moreover, in some of the European countries the law restricts everyone not to say that Hitler was the killer of Jews. On the other hand, when it comes to the movie and sketches against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the hypocritical Europe calls it freedom of speech.
- In UK there exists Official Secrets Act, which binds all the workers of UK intelligence agencies to sign a paper which restricts their freedom of speech in matters of national security.
- In United States also the CIA officials are bound to keep everything secret as per law. The law initiated when CIA officials started writing memoirs. Thus the hypocrisy of United States pertaining to freedom of speech.
As a matter of fact, no matter how liberal the West is, they have never been able to establish a true definition of freedom of speech. Would calling prostitution good, pornography a healthy thing be considered freedom of speech? The answer is that it is very subjective and the West could never define freedom of speech, neither can it allow someone to speak against its opinions. Therefore, the Western Freedom of Speech slogan is fallible; hence it needs not to be followed.
Islamic Point Of View:
The Islamic point of view about the freedom of speech is quite clear; there is no ‘freedom of speech’ slogan in Islam. Rather Islam has given us Quran and Sunnah as the boundaries, staying within which a Muslim can say or debate about anything. Therefore, there is no need to follow the Western slogan of freedom of speech. Allah Almighty says in Quran:
“We have set you on a plain way of commandment so follow it, and not the desires of those who have no knowledge.” (Quran 45:18)
Therefore, Holy Quran reading gives guidance to Muslim about anything they want to say about anything. In lights of Quran Muslims can decide whether the speech about a particular person or topic is to be made or not.
It is not that Islam does not allow proclamation of opinion freely; rather it is allowed but within the boundaries set by Quran and Sunnah. Some examples that show the Islamic freedom of opinion and respect to the feelings of others are given below:
- Harun al-Rahid would give financial incentives to those who would learn, teach and debate about issues of deen for the purpose of clear understanding.
- Prophet (PBUH) said: “The master of martyrs is Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and a man who stood up to an oppressive ruler, ordered hi (to do good) and forbade him (from doing evil) and was killed by him.” Thus Muslims have freedom of expressing their opinion when it is against an oppressor abusing his authority or anything happening against Islam.
- When it comes to tolerating non-Muslims, Prophet (PBUH) clearly said: “Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of an Islamic state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah”. (Bukhari) The hadith clearly shows the value preached to Muslims in respecting and securing the non-Muslim citizens, their beliefs and lives both.
In short, a Muslim of today’s world does not need to follow the Western hypocritical slogan of freedom of speech. Rather a Muslim needs to follow the instructions of Quran and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (PBUH) which in reality are what they preach on contrary to Western slogan. Therefore, a Muslim must always speak and express opinion in guidance of Quran and Sunnah and not follow the hollow charm of West.