In the wake of recent events, we find it necessary to write upon a Japan-specific news that has been circulating in social media and local media. Apparently, a manga is ready to be published, in the coming days, on the Holy Book, Qur’an.
East Press writes about this Manga de Dokuha series on the Qur’an:
The Koran is the foundation of the daily life and ideology of people who believe in the teachings of Islam. The name Islam is often heard in the daily news, but because we Japanese aren’t usually familiar with it, a perverted image [of Islam] as abstemious or linked to terrorism is liable to persist. So what kind of teachings do [Muslims] actually believe in? What are they thinking about? To understand the modern international community and Islam, let’s try to experience the scriptures where all that is written down.
With the freedom of speech fanaticals (and I choose to use that word not without reason) this paragraph by East Press seems very ingenuous. If it was really the intention of these Manga producers to understand what teachings Muslims believe in, would they not have contacted Muslims themselves to understand their beliefs? If someone, and particularly a Muslim scholar, has been approached before the making of this Manga, then of course this Team Banmikasu will be coming up with an accurate portrayal of the true beliefs of Muslims. But if that is not the case, then it is as clear as day that what they are coming up with will not reflect Islam’s true teachings at all. In fact, we can expect anything from them. It will be a surprise, apart from a relief, if it is not full of misinterpretations. But I would rather that we are surprised, and that this article proves redundant, rather than the other way around.
It should be noted, that the science of the book, Qu’ran, which according to Muslims, is the Word of Allah, as opposed to the Bible, for example, which has had so many editions that no one can deny that there have been changes, man-made, in the original scripture that was in Hebrew. Whatever exists today is its translation. The Qur’an has never changed; it still exists in the same language it was revealed in. In this Pristine form, it is a book that is simple and straightforward, yet deep and transcendental. There are ayahs (verses) that talk about the dos and don’ts. There are others that are very spiritual. There are those that need an in-depth background and contextual information (which the Muslims get from the second source of religion- the hadith) Hadith itself has been recorded, sifted through, and developed through an intricate system of two sciences within itself- that of the chain of narrators and that of the text (matn). Each narrator has been graded and categorized in a multitude of books. Each text, with any change in narrator or text (even if it is a word) has been categorized in detail. Using this extensive methodology, the Muslims use the life of the Prophet (s), his words, recorded in Hadith, and understand this book of God.
There is an understanding of the book that you get as a layman, and there is a deeper understanding that you get the more and more you go deeper into the science of Qur’anic interpretation.
If Team Banmikasu portrays an entire ideological system without sufficient and authentic knowledge, then any thinking, pondering, true person will realize that this is just a joke. Under the guise of freedom of speech, which we would rather call freedom of insulting, led by a radical passion of freedom itself, is a need for reassurance that they are free to think and speak of others as they wish, even if they do so with complete and utter ignorance and lack of even wanting to understand something from another perspective.
But we wish to act differently, and we know that our Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) acted differently. We will see things from their perspective, when they deny seeing it from ours. We find that this same East Press has come up with various editions of the Bible as Manga. In 2010, the Word of Buddha was also released by the Manga de Dokuha series. The Manga on Adolf Hitler, published in 2008 by the Manga de Dohuka series, remains banned to this day in Germany. In other words, this love for so-called freedom in actuality is a freedom to loiter close to verbal abuse and insult of other people, beliefs and ideologies.
Whenever a person holds something dear, and someone attempts to spit at it, malign it, make fun of it, it hurts. It hurts deeply. But that said, the beauty in this scenario is that within our belief system, within the beautiful Sunnah of our Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) that we hold SO dearly, we find that insults, taunts, and even physical persecution, were dealt with the Prophet (s) in the most beautiful of ways.
The most hurtful of times to the Prophet (as he recounted in years to come when he told his wife Aisha (radiAllahu anha) that years have passed and I still feel the hurt of Taif) was when he travelled alone to Taif (maybe on foot, or maybe with just one camel) It is a very hard way to those dry hills, but he thought perhaps these people would believe or at least grant the Muslims shelter and refuge – (it had been 10 years since the Quraysh had been persecuting the Muslims). Not only did they not believe him, but they did not even welcome him. They did not even let him enter a house, let alone say a few words to them at all. He was ridiculed and thrown pebbles at by adults and even little children who were told to do the same.
But this is when he made the most beautiful dua ever:
He sought refuge in a garden just outside Taif and under the shade of a tree said these words:
“Oh Allah, I complain to You alone of my weakness, of the lack of my resources and of my insignificance in the eyes of the people. O, Most Merciful of all those who show mercy, You are the Rabb of the weak, and You are my Rabb. To whom are You to going to entrust me? To a stranger who would scowl at me? or to an enemy to whom You have given control over my affairs? If You are not angry with me, then I do not care ; for Your Favour is of relief to me. I seek refuge in the Nur(Light) of Your Face(Countenance), by which all darknesses are removed and every affair of this world and the next are set right, lest Your anger or Your Displeasure Descend upon me. I desire to Please you, till You are pleased. There is neither any strength nor any power except with You.”
From weakness to strength…
So what should our reaction as Muslims be? Very Simply, salaam. Peace. Practically, do not go even near this Manga. You do not want to “see” for yourself what they have written or come up with. If you want to know, you can ask the hundreds of non-Muslims that will read this manga. You do not want to read something that may even slightly disrespect your beloved Prophet (s). You want to stay away from it. Do not click on any link that has the manga in it. Yes, that is our love for our Prophet (s). I will not face any person who I know may verbally assault my beloved parents. And the Prophet (s) is more beloved to us than our parents.
And if, we somehow do happen to read or see something that hurts us, then we will have the most beautiful patience. Just think: these people do not know the most beautiful human being that walked this earth! Feel sorry for them. Pray for them: “we pray that they open their hearts to the beauty of this most beloved man on earth.” It is their ignorance of the kind of man he was that results in their actions. So we will let it go. There is no anger. No hatred from our side. Our beloved Prophet (s) was such a human, that if we only became a true ummati (person of his nation/follower) of this Prophet (s), people would see the beauty that he brought in this world for themselves.
So it is time we stopped bothering about what people who have no knowledge say and do. It is high time we strove to increase ourselves in knowledge and action, in prayer and devotion to Allah.
“And those who strive in Us, we shall surely Guide them to our ways.” (Quran 29:69)