Life-Cycle of a Rumour
“There are many signs in the heavens and the earth which they pass by; yet they pay no attention to them.” (Surah Yusuf, ayah 105)
Day One: ‘Disrespecting the Qur’ân: Girl turns into a lizard-like creature’ reads a caption. It has occurred somewhere in India. Girl was listening to music while Mom read the Qur’ân. She ignored Mom’s calls to turn-off the music.
Day Two: A local radio station presenter mentions the ‘incident’ fuelling more curiosity. A caller requests the website address where the ‘creature’ is posted. He wants to show this creature to his children as a lesson.
Day Three: A preacher uses the story to deliver a mimbar ‘lesson’
Day Four: The girl was watching TV
Day Five: Images (semi-nude) of the creature are posted on a masjid board to give musallees a ‘lesson with visual aids’.
Day Six: SkyNews reports of a hospital in India stormed by a riotous mob, curious to catch a glimpse of the girl-turned-lizard-like creature. Regardless, an Arabic website carries the image of the ‘lizard-girl’
Day Seven: Someone provides a web-link of the source page of the ‘creature’
Day Eight: The incident did not happen in India but in Oman
Day Nine: The Arabic website offers an apology for misleading the public. In other words, the matter is a hoax!
The Jamiatul Ulama is deeply concerned at the rate at which we are looking for ‘miracles’ to prove the validity of Islâm and its symbols such as the Qur’ân and so on.
While there are more than enough signs of Allâh’s Might and Wisdom within our own bodies and in the environment around us, the propensity to clutch on ‘miraculous’ occurrences and stories, regardless of their veracity is on the rise. Is it a symptom of the malaise and hopelessness in the Ummah? Is it a sign of growing inferiority complex?
Others have used numerology. Yet others catch snapshots of the kalimah or the name of Allâh curved in tree branches, on fish, on newborn foreheads, in clouds and so on. Recently, it was the tsunami waves which ‘read’ Allâh as they hit a South-East Asian beach. All this is said to prove the authenticity of our Dîn and its symbols.
Miracles do happen and indeed they point to the Majesty of the Almighty. However, it does not behove a believer to demand of them. That would border on disbelief. The Qur’ân is full of stories of generations who would demand a miracle as a sign but once the sign was given, it drove them deeper into disbelief. May the Almighty protect us.
The converse is also food for thought. If something does not happen to a desecrater of the Qur’ân (Guantanamo, Afghanistan, etc), does it mean (Allâh forbid) the Power of Allâh has failed? Would we doubt the existence of the Almighty then?
In one of the e-mails received on the story in question, one sender labelled the forwarding “unconfirmed.” This ‘unconfirmed’ tag should be the very reason for NOT forwarding such things through e-mails and other media lest we steep into cheap rumour-mongering!
When we send around stories like these, we portray of ourselves as people ready to jump on anything to ‘prove’ the validity of Islam and its symbols. Over time, we will not have anything but ‘miracles’ just as people of other faiths have become. Furthermore we risk clutching on something (possibly digitally-manipulated or otherwise) to prove that Islam is genuine only to discover later that it was all a hoax as has been the case in this ‘lizard’ story. Wouldn’t we playing into the hands of those bent at tarnishing the image of Islam?
It is therefore our appeal to all to stick to our heritage of what is sober, clean and elegant such as our own beautiful stories from the Qur’ân, Sunnah and the illustrious predecessors.
Let us leave all that digital manipulation bordering on vices such as nudity or other forms of indecency and stick to the pure and wholesome.
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Jamiatul Ulama, Johannesburg