Role of criticism in Islam
Sayyed Fadlullah: We say to
all Muslims that the Messenger was able, through his sublime
manners, his great patience and his unique wisdom to turn his
most vicious enemies into friends. They have to inspire this
attitude in all their political and emotional stands so as not
to turn their friends in the world into enemies, which might as
well be the main objective those have insulted the Prophet
wanted to reach.
Asked in his weekly seminar the following question:
To what extent are the
Islamists allowed to deploy the emotional side of man to accomplish
certain political or religious goals? What is the Islamic position
towards this issue?
The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein
Man is created of mind
and emotion, and God wanted man to live a balance between the demands of
these two extremities. He should use his mind to create and discover
without letting anybody appropriate this right and release his emotions
in all humane fields to feel and interact with the sorrows and pains of
Yet, it is the mind that
assumes leadership in organizing the movement of the emotion that should
not be allowed to overwhelm manís personality so as not to be led by
reactions and improvisations. This formula gives the emotion on the one
hand a dose of rationalism and balance, and gives the mind a dose of
emotion to become lenient and merciful.
Thus, we do not want the
emotion to surpass the limits of the mind and the constraints of
religion, as in many ceremonial occasions of various religions,
especially that of Ahsoura where expressions of grief could emerge in
ways that are not only unfamiliar or unnatural but also undermine the
great aims of Hussein's upheaval.
should always be practiced especially towards all non-infallible persons
whether religious men or others who assume political roles. Constrictive
and targeted criticism enriches thought, corrects wrong ideas and leads
experiments towards success.
Therefore, as we refuse
the exploitation of religions to silence the others, we also refuse to
employ them to arouse emotional reactions, since support of religion
cannot be achieved by emotional reactions that are against the religion
itself. On the other hand, it is not wrong to appeal to the Muslimsí
emotions to support their issues, as in the case of insulting the
Messenger. On the contrary, we feel that such an emotional interaction is
a proof of the importance of Islam and the Prophet (p.) and their
presence in the nation's conscience, which might not be as strong among
the adherers of other religions.
Religious scholars and
leaders as well as Islamic institutions should strive to guide the
emotions of the public in a way that serves the nation's interests and
does not distort the reputation of Islam and Muslims.
Noble emotions should not
be mobilized to serve wrong practices that hurt Islam and the Messenger,
as we are supposed to benefit of these atmospheres that were created by
the Western media to introduce the real image of Islam and to benefit
from this negative offensive to introduce to the Western nations the
virtues of mercy, forgiveness and tolerance in the Prophet's personality
that are unique in their superiority and humanitarianism.
We say to all Muslims
that the Messenger was able, through his sublime manners, his great
patience and his unique wisdom to turn his most vicious enemies into
friends. They have to inspire this attitude in all their political and
emotional stands so as not to turn their friends in the world into
enemies, which might as well be the main objective those have insulted
the Prophet wanted to reach.
As we refuse any external
insult to our sacred symbols, we call on the Muslims to be responsible
and not offend or insult the other's sacred symbols or the symbols of
other sects. We do not want to forbid certain wrongs and then commit
That is why we consider
the insult that has targeted these symbols to be unlawful. It also
incites sectarian strife that the Arrogance seeks to ignite in several
Islamic countries including Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Therefore, we have to
fear Allah in what we say or do, since any action that destabilizes the
Islamic unity is a criminal action that affects and hurts the entire