Enough of Nupur Sharma diatribe

‘Sar tan se juda’ has nothing to do with Islam! There’s no concept of blasphemy in Islam. It is a Pakistani import.

| Updated: 04 February, 2023 10:30 am IST
Nupur Sharma was suspended as BJP spokesperson for her controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad in June last year. Since then, she has been getting constant threats.

What a sad day that Nupur Sharma has to now carry a revolver to save her life from the ones, who are after her jugular.

I plead with the Muslim community to become Nupur Sharma’s saviour and protector, so that the young woman comes out of the horrendous asylum and renews her normal and natural life since she has apologised for her obnoxious comments and truly, had Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) been alive, he would have first pardoned her and then blessed her as his daughter! 

“Sar tan se juda” has nothing to do with Islam! Allah considers pardoning better/higher than punishing.

According to experts, disrespecting the Prophet is a crime in Muslim nations and may even result in the death penalty in some circumstances. However, this does not give Muslims the right to defend those who violate the law by acting as judges, juries, or executioners without following the correct processes.

“Sar tan se juda” is actually from a radicalised Pakistani outfit, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) that magnified the slogan among the masses of Pakistan in 2011 to shield Mumtaz Qadri – the assassin of Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer, who was accused of committing blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam.

There’s no concept of blasphemy in Islam. It is a Pakistani import.

The 37-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party lawyer-turned-politician and firebrand spokeswoman, Sharma’s snide remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), made during a television debate on May 26, after being provoked by one Taslim Rehmani (who had belittled Lord Shiva’s Shivling by calling it a fountain), a Muslim debater in the show, had gone viral owing to an Indian toolkit, drawing widespread ire and condemnation from Indian and global Muslims and from around twenty Middle East Islamic nations. She got the boot from her party, along with another party man, Naveen Jindal, who tweeted it. All this imbroglio amid Gyanvapi enmeshment.

On the other hand, there’s the video of Akbaruddin Owaisi, defiling, demonising and hooting at Hindu deities like Lord Rama, Lord Lakshman, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman etc. Is it not a version of “Gustakh-e-Rasool” (deploring the Prophet) for the other faith? No Hindu said, “Gustakh-e-Bhagwan ki saza/ Sar tan se juda! (Know the punishment of the Prophet’s desecrator?/ Head to be severed like a terminator!)”.

The Owaisis and many others are full of venom and vituperation against Hindu beliefs, including their daily rituals, polytheism, idol worship and treating cows as sanctimonious, as we have also seen in the case of Bamiyan Buddhas. Even the Quran forbids Muslims from criticising other religions so that their own religion is not criticized.

“Revile not those unto whom they pray other than Allah, lest they should ignorantly revile your religion in enmity!” (Surah 6, Verse 108). Another one says, “Argue not with the people of the Scriptures unless it is in the best manner.” (Surah 28, Verse 55), meaning never to indulge in a heated debate, and if it happens, it is best to ignore it and bow out. 

There are two sides to her remarks. Firstly, Sharma had disparaged the most highly revered deity of Islam in a manner despicable and deplorable, humiliating the Prophet’s (PBUH) third wife Ayesha, a remark considered highly offensive by Muslims across the world, besides her ridicule of his “ghora” (horse) Buraq, that took him from Mecca to Jerusalem and also to the heavens across the seven skies and back.

Second, whatever Sharma said in a jibe was not a figment of her imagination, but was stated in the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari (5134), which Muslims, of course, find highly offensive.

Sharma’s disparagement against the Prophet (PBUH) is no way near that of Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Danish cartoonist Charlie Hebdo or Samuel Paty, the French teacher who had shown students the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and was beheaded outside his school.

However, being a highly educated woman and a lawyer, she must have restrained herself, knowing well that a Muslim can tolerate disparagement about himself, his children and parents but never about the Prophet (PBUH), for which he is ready to sacrifice either his life or take one of the offenders.

However, the Arab nations were holding back their ire regarding the polarization of every aspect of Indian Muslims’ daily life – what they eat, how and where they pray, what they wear, what they can sell to earn a living, etc – a direct attack on the Prophet (PBUH) was the last straw for the Middle Eastern and some Muslim-majority Asian nations who deplored Sharma’s remarks and summoned Indian envoys to protest over the incident. They also believed that a fringe section in India has been manufacturing accusations against Muslims.

Perhaps the foreign affairs ministry agencies of the government responsible for retaining India’s clean slate in these Arab nations, seem to have failed to deliver the goods despite a dynamic foreign minister, like Mr S Jaishankar! This pressure resulted in the BJP seeking distance from the spokeswoman, calling her a “fringe element”, which was unfortunate as per some senior BJP leaders and, of course, Subrahmanyam Swami, who accused the party of ditching a faithful leader.

On the other hand, if we look at the freedom of expression, of course with the required restraints, the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been a subject of threadbare discussion compared to other historical figures. Scholars like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Ed Marques, Jonathan Brown and Usra Ghazi, have attended to the criticisms rather academically, rationally and more convincingly than by displaying violent ranting on TV channels or otherwise, threatening to go for the offender’s life. These lacklustre shows have been causing a wedge in Hindu-Muslim mutual understanding and testing the prestige of India internationally to the extent that even a failed state like Pakistan has the temerity to point fingers at India.

Nevertheless, the unfortunate fallout of this impasse, as per some political pundits, is that the present controversy has nothing to do with PM Narendra Modi’s governance, Sharma or the Prophet (PBUH) but under its pretence, the anti-Hindu cabal of the Middle East, west and China has drawn clear battle lines against Hindu civilization after the Hindus, crushed over by the foreign marauders, are realising their value and getting vociferous under the leadership of PM Modi.

Nonetheless, Sharma supporters believe that PM Modi could have taken the same stance as Emmanuel Macron. They did, however, catch PM Modi in the tweezer’s grip when he had to remove Sharma from the party, causing dissatisfaction.

Had he not booted her out, the Arab countries’ cabal would have been after PM Modi and with the question of almost ten million Indians working in these Arab countries and the trade contacts, he had to buckle under pressure, denting his immensely unquestionable popularity.  

In the aftermath of this entanglement, very unfortunately, the way there has been a flurry of threats for Sharma and her family’s lives, including raping her and turning her body into mincemeat, has been equally blasphemous, as Islam has never given a Muslim permission to go after anybody’s jugular.

Utterly un-Islamic, illegal and unconstitutional slogans like, “Gustakh-e-Rasool ki kya saza/ Sar tan se juda! (Know the punishment of the Prophet’s desecrator!/ Head to be severed like a terminator)” have been doing the rounds after the frenzy in the aftermath of Friday’s congregational prayers in Kanpur.

Kanpur’s Shehr-e-Qazi, Haji Maulana Abdul Quddus, threatened, asking the Muslims to wear the “kafan” (shroud) and flood the city roads. No action has been taken against him.

Similar was the threatening tone of one Mufti Nadeem, who called for cutting the bodies of the offenders to bits. And there is no dearth of such threats from all quarters, especially in the cities of Kanpur, Mathura and Agra. It’s good that some FIRs have been filed but from those even, many names are missing.

Both Sharma and Jindal have apologised. However, the spate of threats against them has been raging unabated from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

In her public apology, Sharma stated that it was hurting for her to attend the television debates only to bear the heartburn of the Shivling, her Mahadev, being ridiculed as a fountain, besides other derogatory sarcastic remarks.

Sharma had mentioned that if her words had caused discomfort or hurt the religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, she was retrieving the said rant against the Prophet (PBUH). But Sharma’s sacking has angered the party’s hardline members, who said it is “humiliating” that the government buckled under pressure from the Muslim world.

Let me categorically mention that all those Muslim individuals or groups that are issuing the most horrendous of threats are indulging in an un-Islamic and unconstitutional act. There are numerous verses in the holy Quran as well as the six major Hadiths, namely, Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nasa’i, and Sunan ibn Majah, that call for mercy when the choice is between punishing and forgiving an individual, such as:

The Surat Al-A’raf 7:199 “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.”

The Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Musnad Ahmad, (Grade 16999) states, “O Uqbah, reconcile whoever cuts you off, give to whoever deprives you, and pardon whoever wrongs you.”

In the same way, in the Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Sunan At-Tirmidhi (Grade 2016), it has been stated, The Prophet was not indecent, he was not obscene, he would not shout in the markets, and he would not respond to an evil deed with an evil deed, but rather he would pardon and overlook.

Similarly, in the Hadith, Sunan At-Tirmidhi Hasan, (Grade 1949), Abdullah ibn Umar reported: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, how many times should I pardon my servant?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Seventy times!”

The author believes that sooner or later this controversy will die down, once again letting the two great Indian communities of Hindus and Muslims gel well like sugar and milk and like the two bright eyes of a bride known as India, as in the words of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is the former chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, a political commentator and the grandnephew of Bharat Ratna Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.) 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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