The Jewel of Medina- Is this Sherry Jone’s idea of “Honouring” Islam?

Asian Leader By Majed Iqbal- The passion of the Christ, The Satanic Verses, The Last Temptation of Christ, Danish cartoon of Prophet Mohammad and sketches of Hindu Goddess- recent times have seen plenty of controversies surrounding religion under the shroud of Freedom of expression.

In addition to these on-going debates lands the latest hot issue in the form of a Book titled “Jewel of Medina” by Sherry Jones that has made it one of the most controversial books of the season is the next showdown in this battle of ideas of religious sensitivities and the values of the ‘free world’.

Jones book is based on the life and events surrounding the Wife of the Prophet of Islam, Aisha, a renowned and well respected figure head for all Muslims referred to as “The mother of the believers”.

Sherry Jones has said, “I wanted to honor Aisha and all the wives of Muhammad by giving voice to them, remarkable women whose crucial roles in the shaping of Islam have so often been ignored – silenced – by historians. Anyone who reads the book will not be offended,” Jones said. “I wrote the book with the utmost respect for Islam.”

But despite these re-assurances by the author, the content of the  book has already been dubbed as offensive and provocative.

Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas, who has written Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of ‘A’isha Bint Abi Bakr, said about Jones’ book, “I don’t have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography (referring to a scene involving Muhammad consummating his marriage to Aisha).

Even Salman Rushdie came into the open for Jones’ defense criticising the London Publishers, Random House, who had pulled out of the deal to publish the book. The Langum Charitable Trust, which awards lucrative literary prizes, said the company was too easily intimidated.

“Random House has exhibited a degree of cowardly self-censorship that seriously threatens the American public’s access to the free marketplace of ideas,” the trust said.

The War on Terror climate has seen continued attempts from different quarters to present Islam, Muslims, Shariah law and their History in a derogatory light whilst continuously hiding behind Freedom of expression. In this case the author apparently was trying to honour Islam, The prophet and his wifes through the book which has merged fact, fiction and fantasy to pander to the sexual tastes of its audience.

It is of no surprise to hear the detailed accounts of sexual adventures of celebrities, the break-ups, divorces and one -night stand stories. To use the same norms and values and thrust them onto depicting religious figure heads of Islam surely would un-nerve any one, regardless fo their faith or background.

Sherry Jones apparent detailed study of Islam and the lives of the Prophet and wives is surely questionable. What is even more questionable is the universality of the concept of Freedom of Expression and its suitability for protecting the dignity, rights and accommodation for people of differing persuasions.

Sherry Jones surely was mocking Islam when she mentioned how she was honouring Islam by writing this book.

Well, some can argue, that you cant stop her from saying that can you? Freedom of Speech!

PICTURED ABOVE- Serbian publisher decided to re-release the novel about the Muslim prophet Mohammed’s love life, after it was withdrawn in August 2008, the Tanjug news agency reported on September 14. Publisher, BeoBooks, withdrew 1,000 copies it printed in Serbian on August 18 under pressure from Islamic leaders. It was the first to be published in the world, according to local reports.

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Comments

  1. Muhammad bin inayat says:

    everything has two faces. Negative and positive. so, if we take this novel “the jewel of madina” in the optimistic way, then it’s not bad because Sherry Jone has just expressed the views. Or if we take it pessimisticaly,then we are not goin’ to make progress in our life.

  2. Abu Ruqayah says:

    Would like to start by stating the Aaisha (ra) and the wives of the prophet do not need honoring by such low life authors who view everyone through their warped view on life and morality!

    Honor in this society means… to hell with the feelings of everyone else, as long as you are fine! Denigrate other people as long as it puts money in the bank! In Sherry Jones case $100, 000 for her first set of publications!

    Despite intense protests from Muslim groups around the world. Once again Muslims are expected to subscribe to West’s notion of freedom of expression… yet at the same time the west will, support and crush the views of the mass majority of Muslims who want change from the tyrannical leaders in the muslim world. Publications like ‘the Jewel of Medina’ will only assist the Muslims into a realisation that the leaders of the Muslim world do not care about this Ummah and they certainly don’t care about the Honour of the Mother of the believers!

    Muslims around the world need to realise that…. this is just an annex to the continued war on Islam and no protest or demonstration will put an end to this. Muslims MUST now sincerely think about why we are in a situation today were we can not even defend the honor of the one we love more then anything in this world! How will we show our faces to the Prophet (SAW) on that day when He (SAW) will be waiting at the well of Kauther… Isn’t it high time that we look to our glorious history for solutions and remember that Muhammad bin Qasim was sent to the Indian sub continent over the honor of one Muslim women… let alone the one Muhammad (saw) loved the most!

    It is reported in one Hadith that Amr bin-al A’as asked the prophet (saw) “to whom do you love the most?”
    “Aaisha”, he replied.
    He repeated the question and said, “amongst the men”.
    “the father of Aisha (Abu Bakr ra)”.

    I think that Muslims need to get their priorities right… removal of the tyrants in our counties needs to be followed by leaders that look after the interests of the Muslims… leaders who will Stand for Islam and put an end to the atrocities faced in and around our countries and protection of our deen must take priority above all!

    Anyone who does not understand from our history that it was the unification our lands that protected the rights of Muslims and non Muslims alike, must think again!… are we then, really and sincerely working for the Deen of Allah (swt)?

    May Allah (swt) reward you brother for raising these vital issues on your blog and may Allah (swt) count us as the Ummah of Muhammad (saw)… the ones whom felt dishonored when the Honor of the most beloved of Allah was dishonored!

    May Allah (swt) unite the Ummah under one sincere leadership and make the Muslims realise the they most not drink from very cup of poison that has led them to silence concerning the situation around the world!
    the Prophet (saw) said; the one who sees munkar, then let him reomove it by his hand, and if he can not then, let him remove it by his tongue, and if he can not, then hate it in your hard and know that this is the lowest level of Iman!

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