It really is a sign of just how skewed our priorities are when a couple of Twitter postings about the Prophet (PBUH) cause more of a stir than the killing of innocent people. Or, as a friend of mine Tweeted “killing an innocent in the name of my religion is 1000 times more offensive than Hamza Kashgari’s tweets”
For those who missed it, tens of thousands of people are calling for the head of a 23 year old Saudi journalist, Hamza Kasghari, who on the Prophet’s birthday, wrote a series of messages that were partly disparaging. As well as saying that there were certain things he loved and hated about the Prophet, he said that he would like to meet him and shake his hand ”as an equal”.
It is not easy for a Muslim to stomach anything that is remotely insolent towards the Prophet, but I have two problems with the reaction of the baying crowds calling for Kasghari to be “brought to justice” (including the Sheikh who in a YouTube video was so overwhelmed with sorrow at the crime that he started crying). Firstly, we saw far less frothing at the mouth with anger and indignation at the tens of thousands of innocent people (most of them Muslims no less), murdered in markets and mosques (!) inIraq by crazed terrorists. Fine, they want to protect the sanctity of the religion, but what about the sanctity of a human life? It’s all about getting the priorities straight, and it seems to me that when it comes down to priorities, Muslims are living in a topsy-turvy world.
The second reason I disagree with the reaction is because I think, to a certain extent, Kasghari raises an important point. Muslims need to revisit their relationship with the Prophet and start thinking of him as a man. Deifying him does him an injustice. I am far more comfortable thinking of the Prophet as a great man who made incredible sacrifices to better himself and pass on the message than to regard him as someone who has been granted infallibility by God. I know this is bordering on the sacrilegious for many, but if the Prophet’s message is universal for humanity, relating to the bearer of that message is hugely important. And can we, the fallible, really relate to the trials and tribulations of a man who, by virtue of a God-given gift, is infallible?