A R Rahman gives befitting reply to the fatwa issued against him
A Muslim group in India has issued a fatwa against Oscar winner A.R. Rahman and Iranian director Majid Majidi. A Sunni group called the Raza Academy issued the fatwa on Friday in protest at Majidi’s film “Muhammad: Messenger of God,” for which Rahman scored the music.
In recent years, the term “fatwā” has been widely used throughout the media, usually to indicate that a death sentence has been dealt to someone or some group of people. The person who issues a fatwā is called, in that respect, a Mufti. A fatwa can be compared to the legal ruling of a high court or the Supreme Court, depending on the authority of the mufti behind it.
Set in the 6th century, the story revolves around the story of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Majid had worked diligently for the film with many historians and archaeologists. The group says that the film should not use the word Mohammad as its title, as criticism of the film could be misinterpreted as criticizing the Prophet Mohammad. And it says that Muslims are not allowed to depict God in images.
The Raza Academy says that it will ask the Indian government to ban “Muhammad: Messenger of God,” preventing it from being released in India. “We will contact Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to demand a ban on the film and legal action be taken against A.R. Rahman and Majid Majidi for hurting the feelings of Muslims,” said its chief Saeed Noorie.
A R Rahman finally sought to defuse the controversy surrounding the fatwa by uploading an image on his Facebook page and explaining his point of view. He has also generously quoted the verses from the Quran. Here is a summary of what he said:
1. He begins by making a straightforward declaration that he is not a scholar of Islam.
2. He points out that he was not the one who directed the movie and he has just composed the music and that he won’t explain the reason behind this as they are based on personal spiritual reasons.
3. Having said that, he says that the music was composed in good faith and with no intention of causing offense.
4. Further explaining his point of view, he believed that because of this movie, people will know about Prophet through the audio-visual medium, which will help them broaden their understanding.
5. He bats for religious freedom in India by saying that he is fortunate to live in India where religious freedom is practiced.