Islam Needs Satire


I am reminded after today’s terrible events of an incident from the very early days of the Prophet’s message. It is a story every Muslim child knows. The Prophet would walk through the streets of Mecca, and on a particular street a lady would throw garbage at him. He did not change his route, and every day the lady would demonstrate her disdain.

One day the lady did not appear, and when the Prophet learned she was ill he went to visit her. She feared he would gloat, or insult her in return, but he merely prayed for her wellbeing and wished her a speedy recovery.

That’s it. That is the example we are given to follow. That is the lesson from the earliest story children learn. It doesn’t matter what abuse or opprobrium we face, the answer is to rise above it, and still show compassion and human sympathy for our abuser.

In that spirit my thoughts are will those who have suffered a terrible loss today. I condemn and reject utterly and without reservation the actions of those violent monsters who have suborned my religion and claimed the justification of insult to the Prophet for their hideous actions.

I am a Muslim. The Quran is for me the revealed word of God, and tells us that there was no word or deed of the Prophet that was not divinely inspired. That makes his character above reproach and impervious to insults and ridicule. Although the humour of Charlie Hebdo was intended to be offensive, it has no bearing on the true character of the Prophet and therefore it is ridiculous to take offence on his behalf.

And that is why we need satire. Being satirised and ridiculed is a test of faith, one that we should meet with open hearts and minds, to prove our own trust in the word of God is stronger than anything the haters and the humorists can concoct. To rise above it, to open our arms in friendship in spite of the insult is in the traditions of the Prophet. The gunmen have nothing to do with Islam, they do not represent me, or my brethren in faith.

To the cartoonists and the comedians: keep it coming, I will smile, and open my arms and hopefully in time you will find something to admire.


More thoughts on the growth of terror in I am Cassandra, you are Niemoller and The Cancer Magnet.
And because I could not let it go, a story from the other side of the debate A Sacrifice for Satire

8 thoughts on “Islam Needs Satire

  1. I didn’t know that story about the Prophet, Ali, and so I really appreciate you sharing it. I second your sentiment and extend it a bit, in that Religion (all religions), in general, needs satire, humor, and (re-)examination. My humble opinion is that faith (or at least people of faith) can “take it [when the ‘it’ is words or drawings or nonviolent actions],” peacefully and in stride, and, as you wrote so eloquently, “Being satirised and ridiculed is a test of faith, one that we should meet with open hearts and minds, to prove our own trust in the word of God is stronger than anything the haters and the humorists can concoct.” FWIW, a big bravo from me for your wise words after the tragic events of today in France.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the insight of the story from the Quran. Faith in Christianity also benefits from the test of satire (or indeed the challenges of athiest scientists!) Well written Ali 🙂


  3. Brave and sane words. I feel, not only the families of the people killed, but also for all the ordinary faithful, humane muslims who have to live with this too and have to watch their faith vilified by others for the deeds of a fanatic few. I speak as an atheist and a fellow human.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ali, Martin (2e0mca) sent me the link to your blog. I think he want to linki us together because from the opposite sides we are saying the same thing. Here is the link to my blogpost:
    More important than the post, however, is the conversation following in the comments. So if you have time to read the post, do also read the comments, where the very same dynamics you are talking about display themselves.
    I never knew the story about the Prophet; and that is EXACTLY the kind of story I think it is urgent for Muslims such as you to make known to the rest of us. We need to know it, and you need to tell it.

    Liked by 1 person

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