One of the very first visitors, after the inauguration of this latest religion wing in the museum, registered his comments.
According to him, the exhibition depicts that ‘Islam is a refined and peaceful civilisation’.
This is the swift impact which art can generate on the minds of the recipients. It’s a feasible and effective tool for making religious principles more comprehensible. The Islamic world needs to change the gear for countering actions that openly aim at denigrating Islam.
Islamic calligraphy and art itself is renowned and lauded all over the world. Any form of art should be considered for utilisation to target both believing and non-believing audiences. An anti-Islam film calls for elucidating and clarifying religious injunctions with a motive of communicating their true essence.
Comparing this aesthetic medium with the grotesque protests in the streets of Pakistan in the name of ‘Day of love for Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)’ makes one think that ‘artistic manifestation’ of religion is far better.
This can have a longer and profound impact of a religion that is a symbol of peace. Muslim countries across the world need to react unanimously and with prudence. Even if they label it as propaganda, then an intelligible ‘counter-propaganda’ is required.
Art is among the long list of peaceful ways of propagating Islam, as it is. A more sensible attempt was made by ‘Discover Islam UK’, a non-profit organisation working to promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
After the release of anti-Islam film, this organisation started to distribute large numbers of copies of books, which reflected the correct version of Holy Prophet ’s life.
Islam is a peace-loving religion and it does not need burning tyres or remonstrating mobs to claim that we love the torch-bearer of this religion.
Those who chant slogans of jihad must carefully look at its forms as well. One of the forms, known as ‘Intellectual Jihad’, demands that the arguments raised by non-believers are answered carefully. For that Muslims should accoutre themselves with weapons of intelligence, reason, truth and logic. In my opinion, art can make ‘Intellectual Jihad’ much easier.
Originally published in Dawn newspaper, September 28, 2012.