April 6, 2014
A few days back, as an aftermath of the sectarian violence in Rawalpindi on Ashura last year, I saw a post on a social media site which supported the idea of death by hanging for any act of blasphemy done against Allah (swt), the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his companions (ra) and the Ahle Bayt. There were a lot of comments; emotionally charged Muslims, full with religious fervour, supported and encouraged the motion polishing their Imaan.
After going through a number of comments, I decided, it was time for me to finally explode. It had been a while since my last backlash on society, religious extremists and particularly anyone who likes poking their nose in other people’s business and so I decided to pen down my ideas.
If this law is to be passed and public hangings are to be a common practice in our otherwise ‘peaceful’ country, then each and every one of us is liable to be hanged.
Does blasphemy include only burning the Holy Quran or drawing cartoons and caricatures?
Since I was a child, I always got a good scolding – and sometimes a good beating – from my parents when I disobeyed them. They told me that if I don’t obey them, it’s an insult to the elders themselves. And then I thought, doesn’t it also hold good for Allah (swt), His Prophet (pbuh), the companions (ra) and the Ahle Bayt?
Doesn’t it also amount to blasphemy to disregard the teachings of Allah (swt) and His Prophet (pbuh)?
Isn’t this also blasphemy when a Muslim takes advantage of the curfew in a city and sells flour for Rs1200 and potatoes Rs105 a kilo?
We fail to understand that when it came to personal disrespect, we saw the Messenger of God (pbuh) and his companions (ra) practice humility and encourage the same.
I ask all those people who support such actions; where have you seen, in any of the history books or the books of Hadith, that any of the prophets or the companions killed someone for blasphemy?
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pardoned Hind, wife of Abu Sufyan and the mother of Muawiya and the grandmother of Yazeed, for killing Hazrat Hamza (ra). If the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) knew the signs of Quayamat and about the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra), don’t you think he would have avenged their deaths by killing Hind there and then? She was at fault by Islamic law; she had killed a human being. Yet, the Prophet (pbuh) pardoned her and her husband.
As per my knowledge, there are three forms of Sunnah; things which the Prophet (pbuh) said, things that he did and the things that he didn’t stop anyone from doing.
In the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) whole life, many people had committed blasphemy and hurt the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions (ra) but he never avenged them, he never asked anyone else to avenge them and he never encouraged or kept quite while anyone else avenged them.
At another instance, during a battle between the infidels and the Muslims, Hazrat Ali (ra) was about to chop off an infidel’s head when he spat on his face. Hazrat Ali (ra) stood up and walked away, when the infidel asked him why he didn’t kill him, Hazrat Ali (ra) replied that he was killing him when he was the enemy of Allah, but when he spat on him, then, if he would have killed him, people would have said that Ali (ra) killed him for revenge.
Another example is about Hazrat Umar (ra), one of the Prophet’s (pbuh) companions, known for his anger. But there is not a single instance in history where he had avenged blasphemy committed against the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Even at the incident of the Conquest of Makkah, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Umar (ra) brought Hind and Abu Sufyan to the Prophet (pbuh), not to avenge the death of Hazrat Hamza but to ask Prophet’s (pbuh) forgiveness.
If blasphemers were to be killed, do you think Hazrat Umar (ra) would have wasted a second to fulfil the biding of Allah and His Prophet (pbuh)?
Remember the old lady who used to spread thorns in the Prophet’s (pbuh) way? Did the Holy Prophet (pbuh) take revenge from her?
I fail to understand that if those things are only for the prophets, their family members and their companions, to pardon the blasphemy done against them, then why didn’t the Prophet (pbuh) leave a clear guideline for blasphemy when he did that for nearly everything else that happened in his lifetime?
Or are we overlooking something?
Was pardoning not an act of Sunnah?
Did the Prophet (pbuh) not pardon all those who blasphemed against him and Allah? And when Ibne Muljim attacked and injured Hazrat Ali (ra), didn’t the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) ask the people to loosen his ropes and give him water?
And didn’t Hazrat Ali (ra) state in his will that the man responsible for his death – Ibne Muljim – must only be punished for the act of killing a human being?
We all know that after the Prophet (pbuh) if any of the Caliphs got stuck on a technical matter that required utmost care in justice being done, they always asked for Hazrat Ali’s (ra) counsel. So if he had always been the most authentic source on justice, don’t you think he would have asked Ibne Muljim to be punished for blasphemy as well as murder as he attacked the companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who was also Ahle Bayt?
And hasn’t the Holy Quran stated that if a non-believer disrespects Allah (swt) or his Prophet (pbuh), then we should not hold it against them or revile them? Allah (swt) states that the non-believers will return to Him and then He will decide what their fate should be.
The Holy Quran clearly states that Allah (swt) will then tell them (the blasphemers) the truth of all they did. He will hold them accountable for their wrong doings. Why? Because it’s a sin towards Him, it’s a sin towards Allah (swt) if you blaspheme against someone whom He holds closer than anyone else.
Allah (swt) loves us sinners, more than the love of 72 mothers; just imagine how He would feel if someone disrespects His most beloved people? Allah (swt) says that a sin will be punished equal to its potency.
Do you think killing someone is a punishment worthy enough for disrespecting someone whom Allah (swt), the Creator of all things, the most Magnificent, the Mightiest, holds closest?
Furthermore, the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) had discouraged and actually forbade Gabriel (as) from hurting the people of Taif after they had stoned him so badly that his shoes had filled with his own blood speaks volumes. This occurred after three years of suffering a boycott at the hands of the Quraish, as a result of which Muslims were reduced to eating grass and leaves off of trees. This included his companions and Ahle Bayt.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) during this time only spoke to Allah (swt) and asked for His forgiveness and mercy. He did not ask Allah (swt) to punish these people with His wrath. He asked Him for mercy.
The Prophet (pbuh) did not only pardon the people of Taif but also stopped Gabriel (as) from destroying them. Even after the conquest of Makkah, none of the companions (ra) or the Ahle Bayt avenged the stoning.
So by what law, by what authority is death made the punishment for blasphemy?
The Holy Quran and Sunnah, both teach us to pardon and leave matters to Allah (swt). If we follow Sunnah to the fullest then we should follow these examples too.
The Prophet (pbuh) didn’t punish Hind, he only asked her never to come in front of him ever again. It teaches us that if someone hurts you or your loved ones, it’s better to forgive and move on. We, on the other hand, start punishing people rather than shunning and ignoring them as is the way of Allah’s (swt) Prophet (pbuh) and his companions (ra).
Blasphemy is Huquooq Allah (rights of Allah (swt), not Huqooqul Ibad (rights of fellow human beings). Muslims are to punish sins which hurt other people. If you kill someone for blasphemy, it’s a clear violation of Allah’s (swt) law.
Nowhere in the Holy Quran or Sunnah is it proven that a person committing blasphemy is to be hanged. Islam only states life in return of life.
So, even if it hurts us Muslims so much that we think death is the rightful punishment for a blasphemer, Allah (swt) forbids it, Holy Quran forbids it, Sunnah forbids it.