Indian musician and composer AR Rahman has responded to criticism against him for composing music for a film on Prophet Muhammad.
Rahman’s response which he posted on Facebook said he composed the music in “good faith”.
The Raza Academy in Mumbai said it issued a “fatwa” against Rahman and the Iranian director of the film Majid Majidi.
The institute also wrote to the Indian government, seeking a ban on the film.
The Oscar winning composer and musician was born a Hindu, but converted to Islam in 1989 at age 23, changing his name from RS Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman.
Correspondents say his decision to make a public statement on Facebook is interesting, given that the musician generally steers clear of media interviews and talking about his beliefs. Although Rahman is active on social media, he usually uses it to promote his latest work or to point people to other interesting compositions.
In his statement Rahman said, “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 about kindness, about uplifting the poor, and living in the service of humanity and not mercilessly killing innocents in my name.”
Majid Majidi’s film, Muhammad: Messenger of God, does not depict the face of the Prophet, but reportedly includes shots of the Prophet’s back, via a low-angle shot of a teenage Muhammad against the sky, and his hands and legs as a baby.
“Firstly, the name of the Prophet shouldn’t be in the film’s title. People use a film’s name loosely, like when someone says bad things about the film, it sounds like an insult to Muhammad himself. Secondly, photography isn’t allowed in Islam. We have a problem with various actors shown playing Muhammad,” a statement from the Raza Academy read.
It further said that Rahman would need to solemnise his marriage again and also read the Kalma once more.
Rahman’s response to the criticism has gained massive traction on social media, garnering more than 32,000 likes and 3000 shares. Most of the comments – from both Hindus and Muslims – have expressed support for him.