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“The Messenger of God is certainly a good example for those of you who have hope in God and in the Day of Judgment and who remember God very often.” (Quran 33:21)
The character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the best example for everyone whose Husn Khuluq (good character) cannot be described and expressed in words or otherwise. A model to be imitated, many have tried to draw pictures or make caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or sometimes controversy arise as some cartoonist try their hand in presenting him through cartoons. Muslims believe that it is totally forbidden to characterise the Prophet through any form of painting, cartoon or drawing and this belief has resulted in violence against those who try to draw the image of the Prophet.
This leaves us with some important questions. Who had made the first portrait of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? Were photos ever made in his period i.e. in and around 7th century? Had any perfect Muslim artist painted his picture while as per the popular belief it is prohibited for Muslims to take photos or keep images of human beings at home? Based upon the findings of Quran & Hadees, it can be safely said that the answer to all the above questions can be answered in negation. Many artists over a period of time has tried their hand in drawing pictures of the Prophet, but these were mere imaginative creations and inventions and have no authentication.
The lessons from the past and present day conditions has showed us that any attempt in drawing a caricature of Prophet has witnessed sharp reactions from the Muslim community which often results in violence. However, if one looks at the character of Prophet Muhammad and follows his life history, he will soon realise that the Prophet has always detested violence even under very compelling circumstances. He always preferred the olive branch over sword and taught his followers (Sahabas) to give preference to peace even if the counterpart is aggressive.
A very amazing but authentic story may be mentioned here, “The story mentions a neighbour of the Prophet Muhammad who tried her best to irritate him by throwing garbage in his way every day. One day, when he walked out of his home there was no garbage. This made the Prophet inquire about the old woman and he came to know that she was sick. The Prophet went to visit her and offer any assistance she might need. The old woman was extremely humbled and at the same time ashamed of her actions in light of the concern that the Prophet showed her”. Later she has accepted Islam. This story teaches all Muslims that love and compassion can win anyone’s heart. So all Muslims should take steps of brotherhood and love rather than violent protest even in face of extreme hostility. If the Prophet was so humble and forgiving, why can’t his followers be? His own relative Abu Sufyan who was responsible for innumerable atrocities was granted amnesty during the conquest of Mecca even when he was commanding an army 100 times bigger than that of Abu Sufyan. Later, Islam witnessed one of the greatest commanders in the form of Muawiyah (R.A) who was the progeny of Abu Sufyan. Muawiyah not only formed one of the strongest Islamic empire but was also responsible for advent of Islam in the Indian subcontinent through Mohammad Qasim. Taking a lesson from this, all Muslim must follow his peaceful strategy that will eventually win hearts of thousands of non-Muslims. It is said that non-violence and love can defeat anyone but revenge will always create enmity and agony.
Invented and self-created cartoons, caricatures and images cannot deteriorate the idealistic and admired character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The almighty God has said that Muhammad was the best man who was sent to Mecca as a Rasool (Prophet); he had forgiven all his mistakes and elevated his state above all Prophets and all human beings. One report carried out by Cambridge recently has supported that He was the kindest and best person in History. A solemn urge to all Muslims to practice true spirit of Islam and adopt His moderate behaviour and dealing that will create a universal society and organized community because some people always try to defame Islam by committing different blasphemies like caricaturizing, tearing pages of Quran and raising unacceptable slogans; Muslims should not give undue importance to these trivial issues rather they should imitate his character and present themselves to the world so that they may be imitated by others out of love and awe.