Prophet and Laws

Tonight, it being already quite late (and I must rise far too early in the morning tomorrow), rather than attempting to whip up anything worthwhile of my own I will poach an interesting piece from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. It points out that, contrary to the impression most people have of the strictures of Islam, there is in fact in Islamic doctrine no absolute prohibition of depictions of Mohammed. Apparently this was simply a custom that was adopted as a result of Jewish and Christian influences in Islam’s earlier days. To buttress his point the author, the well-known writer and editor Amir Taheri, cites many examples of paintings of the Prophet, including this:

Peace be upon him, unlike his short-tempered followers

Mr. Taheri then goes on to debunk the idea that all Muslims are entirely devoid of humor when it comes to their religion (although one might be forgiven for forming such an impression; certainly it would be hard to mistake, say, Moktada al-Sadr for Chris Rock, and I think it’s safe to say that the Taliban’s Mullah Omar would have “bombed” at the Improv). He offers as a counterexample to this stereotype the sublime Rumi, whose heart was indeed as light as an April morning. Nevertheless, though, while it may not be true that all Muslims are congenitally unable to take a little ribbing without blowing a gasket, it certainly seems to be the case with the ones I’ve been seeing on the news lately, trashing embassies and burning the Danish and Norwegian flags that everyone keeps handy in that part of the world.

Anyway, you can read the essay here. I’ll make a little more of an effort tomorrow.

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