In good faith

A.R. Rahman’s defence of his music for an Iranian film is a lesson in religious tolerance.

By: Express News Service | Published: September 17, 2015 2:35 am
A R Rahman, Fatwa, Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi, Majid Majidi, A R Rahman Fatwa, Prophet Mohammad film, Majid Majidi fatwa, entertainment news Mumbai-based Raza Academy had objected to the film “Muhammad: Messenger of God” and issued a fatwa against A R Rahman and Iranian director Majid Majidi, calling the movie against Islam.

Last week, Raza Academy, a Mumbai-based Sunni religious body, asked music legend A.R. Rahman to apologise for composing the music for the Iranian film, Muhammad: Messenger of God. Raza Academy found issues with the film, supported by the Iranian government, and wanted the director, Majid Majidi, and the crew to disavow their film on the Prophet. Rahman clarified that he worked with Majidi in good faith and the Iranian embassy in New Delhi has defended the film.

Rahman’s response to Raza Academy is a gentle reminder that no one can monopolise faith. While issuing a fatwa, Raza Academy had claimed it was necessary for Muslims to act when something was done against their religion, so that Allah would not chide them for inaction when they meet him. Rahman’s poser is, “what, and if, I had the good fortune of facing Allah, and he were to ask me on Judgement Day: ‘I gave you faith, talent, money, fame and health… why did you not do music for my beloved Muhammad film? A film whose intention is to unite humanity, clear misconceptions and spread my message that life is kindness, about uplifting the poor, and living in the service of humanity and not mercilessly killing innocents in my name’.” Rahman also provided a context for the film: Majidi’s work could help explain the message of the Prophet to all those who make “unethical, unacceptable and unkind remarks” about Islam. The musician’s explanation of his own self — following “the middle path”, “part traditional and part rationalist”, “living in the Western and the Eastern worlds” — is a near-description of many Indians.

In fact, the Constitution provides for and protects the individual’s liberty to possess and live in multiple worlds — traditional and modern — and follow her own faith as long as she does not infringe on her neighbour’s freedom to do so as well. Raza Academy may disagree with Majidi’s endeavour, but it must respect artists’ right to freedom of thought and practice.

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    Rahul
    Sep 17, 2015 at 11:31 am
    What i find strange is that why no moderate muslims come forward and condemn such attacks. If their prophet is name-called, they start having rallies, comments, etc. But why then no rallies, comments to condemn all inhuman acts ISIS and others terrorist organizations commit in the name of islam? If you are moderate then you guys should take up mantle, come out bravely and condemn it, oppose it...via social media, tv debates, rallies, posters, etc. Otherwise world will start hating muslims more and more. Not good for anyone.
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      asif
      Sep 20, 2015 at 9:08 am
      Look brother!!Isis,al Qaeda ,boko haram and other terrorists groups have nothing to do with Islam .Islam never permits to kill a innocent human but if anyone do it ,then he is the most tyrant human on this planet ...there is no place in Islam for such people .dear bro!!hundreds of our Indian maulana had condemned the Isis and other evil groups scathingly.
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        RajKumar
        Sep 17, 2015 at 8:00 am
        A fatwa is a threat against life. Isn't it against the law? Why aren't they arrested? The academy should be deemed a terror group now.
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          Saima
          Sep 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm
          Sorry, I wanted to upvote....
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            Saima
            Sep 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm
            Fatwa is only an opinion. We should not give much importance to such opinions. We should support Rahman's stand w heartedly.
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