All the Prophet’s Men
Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article belong solely to the writer and are not a reflection of the views supported by ProperGaanda itself.
Michael Hart had to make a difficult decision when deciding on the most influential person in history. Alas, Michael made a decision. It had to be the Prophet of Islam. It was eventually shot down by one publisher, but later another agreed. And in 1973, a book titled “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History” was released.
The book was widely discussed and criticized by some. Michael had declared Muhammad (PBUH) as the most influential man in History. Now, you probably know that the Prophet of Islam had topped the list, but what became a further point of contention for many readers was Jesus being placed second. This was discussed and criticized alike, but all in a cordial manner. And just like that, people moved on.
One wonders what the public reaction would have been had the first and second places been swapped.
44 years later, the people of Pakistan face a similar predicament as Michael Hart.
Today our leaders, anchors, and influencers are all eager to prove that they are the protectors of the Prophet’s legacy. Interestingly, unlike the Jewish writer, a few of our Pakistani brethren possess limited knowledge about the life and teachings of the Prophet.
How many times have we asked ourselves who the Prophet (PBUH) really was?
A person, who was able to pass on a legacy that, not only remained intact but, years later, created a following of 1.4 billion people. One of the sentinel reasons for Prophet’s success was his proposal of changing a centuries-old system to a new and progressive one, which promoted equality and acceptance. One really has to wonder if that is the system Pakistan is heading towards now.
Presently, the government in power is too eager to play tip top with extremists and militants. Or, simply too scared to counter them. Both things are equally problematic. The opposition goes a step further. They make extremist elements and draconian ways part of their manifesto. The country’s own military, on the other hand, remains hesitant to get involved.
Their reasoning remains ambiguous to the masses, as the ISPR limits communication between the public and the army.
The court, however, has shown signs of breaking the belief regarding the Prophet’s legacy being tarnished. But their approach seems a little short-sighted. And a tad bit opportunistic. For example, while denouncing the TYLRA sit in as illegal and terroristic, a few months ago the courts indefinitely delayed Asia Bibi’s case. If you examine the lower courts, the situation only appears to get progressively worse.
When we come to the common man, s/he has two paths to opt for. Either he or she is labeled a liberal, or a conservative. There is simply no middle ground. It is automatically assumed that one who opts to talk about progressive values like equality, minority rights, or dare I say, feminism, is simply not on the right path. A debate between a so-called ‘liberal’ or a ‘conservative’ leaves no room for actual discussion.
In fact, it becomes this obnoxious battle where the former throws around quotes from the Quaid, and the latter from Islam.
The blasphemy law itself is a topic that has been much debated. Criticism of the law can prove dangerous as it makes the critic a target. An example of this was when a sitting governor was assassinated by his own guard for speaking about reforming said law.
When did Prophet’s legacy become one of blood and hate?
Who allowed that to happen?
One needs to remember that the Prophet is the same person who, after being tormented in Taif with stones, only had a message of forgiveness and peace for the perpetrators. In this adrenaline pumping and high cholesterol society that we belong to, we are living in a false, made-up fantasy in which we think we are the Guardians of the Prophet. At the end of the day, we must ask ourselves, whether we are the ones tarnishing the Prophet’s legacy.