Recently, on the arrival of infamous (but popular in the west) Salman Rushdie in India, an expected dispute came to fore. At that time some Muslim scholars opined that instead of staging violent protests against (the arrival of) Rushdie, he should be invited to a dialogue on Islam and the Prophet’s Seerah. This proposal was dished out during a seminar on “Azmat-e-Namoos-e-Rasool” organised by Wahdat-e-Islami in Mumbai on 27th January when renowned lawyer and active member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Yusuf Muchala, on the question of arrival of Rushdie, said Rushdie should be challenged at the academic level. The Advocate said, “Instead of opposing his visit to Mumbai, let us invite Rushdie to this city and answer our questions. If he has the guts he should explain to us why he wrote such a blasphemous book.” (The Times of India, Nagpur, 28th January) Professor of Aligarh Muslim University Shakil Samdani and some other persons also supported the view of Muchala but many people opposed the view. They are of the view that no sort of talk can be held with this blasphemer, for he is making these activities quite knowingly and with perfect understanding.
The argument of the dissent is strong
The argument of those opposing Rushdie that this so-called writer has written this Satanic book against Islam and the Prophet of Islam under the planning of anti-Islam forces, is weighty. However, the proposal of Advocate Muchala also is not wrong rather is in accordance with the practice of Islam and the Prophet of Islam. The Qur’ān has challenged such persons, saying that they should bring forward any argument against the truth if they have one. Besides, it enjoins the believers to argue with such persons in a good manner. When the leaders of Quraish proposed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) that he should follow their faith for one year and in return they would follow his faith for one year, the Prophet of Islam, even knowing that this was an impossible, impractical and ridiculous proposal, told them to wait while he would seek guidance (in this regard) from his Lord. Then Surah al-Kafiroon was revealed to him which was in response to the proposal of the polytheists. Islam is in favour of academic debates and discussions based on arguments. Just for the sake of argument, it is necessary to invite a liar to such a discussion. Therefore, this should be our approach howsoever we are in know of their reality.
But it’s a wrong number
However, Muchala and his supporters have dialled a wrong number. They should throw this challenge to those forces who are exploiting Rushdie, Taslima and other unfortunates of this sort. Rushdie in himself is nothing; he is an instrument in the hands of anti-Islam forces – he is their carrier; and no talk can be held with the carrier of a message. Every Muslim having knowledge and wisdom knows that the appreciation Rushdie and other unfortunates like him are getting in the world is part of the international campaign against Islam. When Rushdie penned this Satanic book in 1980s, the enemies of Islam in the west gave him warm welcome. Again, when 9/11 happened, viz. when on 11th September 2001 America having destroyed the towers of New York launched a global campaign of character-assassination of Islam and the followers of Islam, it was the time for the unfortunates like Rushdie and Taslima to gain ground; their importance got boosted in the eyes of the west. The protest of the Muslim Ummah against this attitude of anti-Islam forces was and is right. But along with it, there must be debates at academic level. And the real addressee of such debates should be unbiased people of the world.