Disclaimer: Please be aware that the movie clip is violent.
Directions: Please open both links and play the soundtrack in the background as you watch the movie clip.
The words of Iqbal resonate with a fierce cry of un-justice. He pens,
“Now the secret of the garden by the
rose’s scent is spread;
Shame it is, the garden’s blossoms
should themselves the traitor play!
Now the garden’s Lyre is broken, and
the rose’s bloom-time sped,” (Arberry, 30)
In the Iranian movie, The Stoning of Soraya M we see the murder of an innocent, woman at the hands of her husband, sons, father and villagers. The film is based on a true story, and recounts the events that led to the stoning of Soraya. Soraya is a hardworking mother whose husband in his quest to take a new wife, gathers four false witnesses to Soraya having committed adultery with her employer who is a newly widowed man. This movie brings to light the themes in Iqbal’s The Complaint and Answer, depicting clearly the death of the Prophets message and the debauchery of Islam. We witness the triumph of the evil that lurks in human nature over justice, under the false guise of Islam.
The end scene of her stoning, provides evidence for Iqbals words,
“Abrahams their fathers were; the
children merit Azar’s name” (Arberry, 43)
As we see the struggle of the men who are the false witnesses, it is clear that they are aware that this is a sin and a crime against an innocent. However, just knowing is not enough. Justice cannot take place merely by recognizing what is unjust, it must be fought against and diminished. In the crowd of stoners we observe the loss of truth and the strength of true faith. Leaders of this community, including the Imam who is supposed to be their religious guide and uphold God’s law as well as the Mayor who’s duty it is to manage lawfully the affairs of the village, knowingly allow and on the part of the Imam assist in the carrying out of Soraya’s stoning. For as Iqbal writes the answer of God,
“Ever truthful, ever fearless was the
Muslim in his speech,
Strong and sure his sense of justice,
clean of partiality;
High exalted was his courage, far
Above the common reach,” (Arberry, 54).
While Iqbal laments on of the abandonment by God of his devotees who have been the only ones to take up the fight for justice; God replies back that in having lost their contact with God did they fall out of favor with him. He emphasizes that when there are no real seekers of guidance, how can God guide them? This horrific and tragic conclusion that is shown in the clip captures for me the central point of The Complaint and Answer. On the one hand, the crowd are a clear depiction of the complaint, Muslims upholding the teachings of the Quran in their own understanding of themselves. Nonetheless, on the other hand, when we shift perspective that same crowd serves as the answer of God, as their motivations are materialistic and far from the fight for truth and justice. Rather we see those that would spill innocent blood then to be seen lacking in upholding a self interpreted patriarchal Islam that is not just. Essentially, we have lost our way and the beacon of light to the true path dwindles. Only in facing that which is un-just can we bring back the blessing of justice, that which is Islam.