Blog by Moulana Muhammad
United Ulama Council South Africa Press Statement on the Islamic State
Q: What is Maradhul Mauwt?
A: Maradh al-Maut (sickness of death) refers to that sickness that led to one’s death. Sharīʿah has limited a person’s dealings during this time. The issue is defining that point in which dealings are limited, especially if one is a cancer patient or an acute diabetic. These are known to be terminal sicknesses, but in many instances a cancer patient lives on for years on end. So at which point will he be restricted from his dealings to safeguard the rights of his inheritors? This research presents the guiding principles for this critical issue. Other Ulama were consulted on this before arriving at a conclusion.
THE TYRANNY OF FREEDOM
The attack on Charlie Hebdo has rightfully attracted massive media attention worldwide, and the United Ulama Council of South Africa remains committed to its responsibility to unequivocally condemn extra-judicial killing. The attack on Charlie Hebdo will forever remain a blight on the lives of those affected by the murders. Their lives have irreversibly changed with the loss of their near and dear ones. Most publishing houses responded by adopting the “Je suis Charlie!” slogan in solidarity with the murdered members of the magazine's staff. A significant number of media practitioners have opted to publish the offending cartoons ostensibly as an avowal of their commitment to freedom of speech.
Whilst it is only human to feel revulsion for indiscriminate murder; those who claim solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, gloss over the fact that it has in the name of journalism produced some of the most racist and inflammatory cartoons directed at Muslims, Arabs, North Africans and other religious communities, which contributes to the culture of hatred and violence. Often times an inappropriate reaction to an atrocity can do more harm to society than the atrocity itself! A callous slur against 1.8 billion people is hardly an appropriate manner to demonstrate aversion to the criminal actions of two or three individuals. Is aggression under the veneer of satire not as harmful as physical violence itself? Is divisive, derisive and disparaging posturing in the name of freedom of speech not tantamount to the tyranny of freedom?
The chilling extra judicial killings on one side of the social spectrum contrasted with the brazen xenophobic and Islamophobic demonstrations on the other side of the spectrum clearly exhibit the fault lines of a society at war with itself. This tragic cycle of malevolent reaction is bound to infuse rather than defuse hatred and religious bigotry. The Charlie Hebdo massacre underscores the importance of balancing freedom with responsibility.
Provoking the six million Muslims in France and the larger 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide through constant insults and indignities is not only reprehensible but also an affront to inter-religious harmony and social stability. Freedom of expression is not the freedom to denigrate and desecrate millions and millions of Muslims. Surely, the right to protect one’s dignity, more so, the dignity of a global faith community is also a fundamental human right. The reality is that South African law, in line with international conventions, proscribes the absolute application of the right, and deems certain forms of speech illegal and unconstitutional.
According to the SA Constitution any speech which is deemed hate speech or incites to violence is illegal, and falls outside the ambit of this freedom. Humanity across the spectrum is in need of a new ethic which does not oversell rights and undersell obligations. Our destiny in this world is integrally linked together; we will have to navigate these turbulent times respecting each other's differing beliefs, emphasizing our common humanity or we will perish on account of our racist and, supremacist attitudes.
United Ulama Council of South Africa
Yusuf Patel, Secretary
Ighsaan Taliep, General President