By Justice Markandey Katju–
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)
Some mischievous person burned a copy of the Holy Quran in front of a mosque in Sweden, and almost the whole Muslim world is raising a hue and cry over it.
Many Muslims around the world have protested against this desecration of the Holy Quran, including in India (see photo above). In Baghdad, the Swedish embassy was stormed; Iran has decided not to send an ambassador to Sweden; and in Pakistan and elsewhere, there have been massive demonstrations.
Muslims should realize that such acts like burning the Quran or portraying cartoons of the Holy Prophet are deliberate acts by miscreants to provoke a reaction, and by reacting to them Muslims are giving publicity to such rascals, which is exactly what they want, and on which they survive.
In my opinion, the best way to react to these provocations is by not reacting at all. In other words, ignore them.
When the great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib was asked why he did not respond to malicious criticism he replied, “If a donkey kicks you, do you kick it back?”
There are millions of copies of Quran in the world. Anyone can go to a shop and buy one. Once he buys it, it becomes his property, and he is entitled to do anything with it, even tear or burn it. Why should Muslims get so worked up about it?
By reacting to such mischief, Muslims only play into the hands of such rascals.
When the Babri Masjid was demolished, there was a huge uproar by Muslims all over the world, who held demonstrations and all manner of protests against this outrage. At that time, a prominent social activist and leader of Kerala, Panakkad Sayyid Muhammad Ali Shihab Thangal, appealed to Muslims to remain silent, and told Muslims to protect Hindu temples which may be attacked by agitated Muslims.
Today, a Keralite post-graduate student of English Literature, Sayyid Muhammad Hafiz, met me in Calicut (where I have come for a conference). I asked him what should be the reaction of Muslims to burning of the Quran in Sweden? He replied that it should be ignored. I told him that is the correct answer, and he has displayed the maturity and wisdom which all Muslims in the world should cultivate and develop, instead of behaving like fools.
Sayyid Muhammad Hafiz told me that in the Holy Quran there is a an ayath: “Turn away from the ignorant” (Surah A-araf-Ayat 199).
Sayyid Hafiz also told me many incidents when the Holy Prophet was abused, taunted and jeered, but he did not react, but kept silent. A woman would throw garbage on him, but he would only smile. One day, when she fell ill, the Prophet went to enquire of her health.
Muslims should follow the example of the Prophet, and stop behaving like fools.
By Justice Markandey Katju–