Thank God Pope Benedict XV1 regretted his comments about Islam. It helped pacify the angry reaction of the Muslim world.
During his stay in Germany the Pope had quoted a statement about Islam, made by a Christian king of the 14th century. The king had said that Islam had shown inhumanity and stressed on the spread of religion with the help of the sword. Pope clarified that it was neither his personal statement nor his personal opinion and he has only given a reference of a remark given by a king.
In reality it did not behove of a respectable person as Pope Benedict, head of one of most important religions of the world, to include such a controversial reference in his speech.
By regretting his statement the Pope has proved that he neither wanted to start a controversy nor insult Islam. He felt sorry he had hurt the feelings of Mohammedans. He also said that he respected Islam.
Arguably there was a lot of demonstration from the Muslim world including Muslim leaders making sharp statements.
In my opinion Pope's apology reflects his greatness—he finished this controversy by his apology. Imagine what it could grow into otherwise?
The Pope however is not the first person to give such comments. The Danish cartoons row is a case in point.
If we accept that it is a conspiracy to affront Islam, there is nothing to worry for the Muslims of the world. My question is how do these people get a chance to give such comments?
In the reply to the controversial statement given by Pope Benedict, the Muslim leaders began to give examples of Hitler and Mussolini. There is no doubt that Muslims are facing hard times. However they can neither deny nor ignore the facts of Islamic history ie 1,400 years of Islam are littered with examples when so many Muslim kings and rulers have blemished Islam by their aggressive actions and cruelty much like Hitler and Mussolini.
Undoubtedly, tarnishing the Islam started immediately after the death of Prophet Mohammad. Islam is a religion that gives a message of peace, brotherhood and equality. But who was Yazeed who killed the maternal grandson of Prophet Mohammad, Hazrat Ali, Fatima's son Hazrat Hussain and his relatives in Karbala? Was he a Muslim or a Christian? Can this incident be hidden? Has that "Yazeedi" species vanished? Not at all!
In the 1,400 years of Islamic history, there was no era when a Muslim ruler had not been synonymous with terror.
We may talk of Hajjaj who was governor of Iraq in the 7th century or the ruler called Valeed, who collected all the Christians in a church and burnt them to death. In 1033, 6,000 Jews were killed in Morocco during the Muslim rule. Ebak in 1202 and after rulers like Iltutmish, Alaudin Khilji and Taimur in 15th century all did the same. After that Zahiruddin, Mohammad Babar who founded the Mughal dynasty in India, Sikander Lodhi, Mehmood Ghaznavi and in the present times Idi Amin, the ruler of Uganda, Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussain and the Taliban have ruled to destroy, kill, cause devastation and spread corruption.
They were responsible for religious extremism in the name of Islam which to this day is harming Islam.
Because of all this the Muslim community is suspected and opponents of Islam directly associate the activities of these cruel rulers with that of Islamic teachings.
To avoid such allegations, there is a way out. Islam should be freed from those cruel and wicked people who are Muslims but are affronting the Muslims because of their anti-Muslim actions.
As a poet said:
yeh nahin sheesha bacha ki toot gaya"
"Yeh dekhna hai ki patthar kahan se aaya hai."
Until this pious religion is associated with Yazeed to Laden and Mulla Umar, nobody can stop the fingers being raised against Islam. This is a pious religion that has got its inspiration and energy from Prophet Mohammad, Hazrat Hussain, Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani, Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Nizammudin, Amir Khusro, Baba Sheikh Farid and many Sufi saints.
The need of the hour is for Mohammedans from the entire world to try to live with the feelings of cooperation, brotherhood and mutual harmony among the people of all religions and sects.
Tanveer Jafri is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy and can be reached at email@example.com .
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