For the last time, there is no ‘blasphemy law’ in Islam

The fair name of Islam has recently been darkened by the murderous directive issued by certain Muslim leaders and endorsed by their supporters that Aasia Bibi must be assassinated as a result of her making blasphemous remarks about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Aasia Bibi might be guilty of blasphemy but this is not an offense for which the death penalty is prescribed by Islam. Not at all. No such instruction is contained in the Holy Qur’an and it is a significant point to bear in mind, that not one protagonist demanding her assassination has quoted a single verse from the Holy Qur’an as a basis of authority.

No Prophet of God was more blasphemed, maligned, insulted and abused during his lifetime than the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).  He and his faithful followers were subjected to every kind of verbal invective and physical harassment. He was forced to migrate from Mecca to Medina due to the severity of persecution by the Meccans. Ten years later he returned to Mecca with ten thousand followers who could have taken the town by storm but the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade any bloodshed. Much to the amazement of the Meccans he forgave them their cruel enormities and this was his general attitude throughout his life towards his enemies and blasphemous opponents. All Muslims look upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as a perfect exemplar for mankind and they would do well to be moved and guided by his noble example.

There is no mention in the Holy Qur’an or anywhere else of any punishment for a blasphemous act. The consequences of her blasphemy in this world and in the next life lie solely in the hands of God. Humans are free to accept or reject whatever they believe in. God says in the Holy Qur’an:

‘There is no compulsion in religion.’ (2:256)

‘It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will believe and let him who will disbelieve.’ (18:29)

Islam recognizes the right of freedom of conscience and freedom of belief and that as far as one’s religious belief is concerned one is answerable to God alone. No man has the right to punish another for his choice of belief. There is absolutely no compulsion whatsoever in Islam and no punishment of any kind permitted in the Holy Qur’an for blasphemy.

Human rights are laid down in the Holy Qur’an which guarantee man the right of perfect freedom of faith and conscience. In such matters God is the Judge – not man.

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Why blasphemy law is not ‘Islamic’

After my previous post on the subject of ‘The Blasphemy law: (From being unIslamic to Islamic)’, I have been getting a lot of hatred for calling the law un-Islamic. Sadly, all of it is coming from (so called) Muslims. It is a disappointment that people do not ponder into religious history in the light of the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I was shocked to see people defending the law as if it was a part of some Holy Scripture.

None of them could answer my simple questions that were

“Give me any example where the Allah commanded to kill the blasphemer? Why didn’t The Prophet (peace be upon him) killed any blasphemer in his life? Why is it, that this ‘blasphemy law’ wasn’t in place during the Khilafat-e-Rashidah (the period of ruling of the four Caliphs of Islam)?”

While many came up with stories about it, some just opted to talk rubbish. The stories were fascinating, I was amazed to see how individuals can distort facts just to gain their interest and influence. Not only it is a distortion of facts about the personality of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) but it is a distortion of the teachings of the peaceful religion called Islam.

The (so called) scholars focus on the execution orders that were given out by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) on the day of Mecca’s conquest. Here are some names and their real cases:

Abdullah ibn Sa’d:

Abdullah ibn Sa’ d, who had become Muslim and been appointed as a scribe of revelation by the Prophet. He later reneged and joined the infidels. After the Conquest of Mecca, when he heard that the Prophet had ordered his execution, he took refuge with his milk-brother Uthman. The latter gave him shelter, then took him to the Prophet with a request once again to accept his conversion to Islam. The Prophet remained silent. Then Uthman asked a second time, whereupon the Prophet accepted Abdullah ibn Sa’d’s oath of allegiance. The latter subsequently became governor of Egypt during the caliphate of  Umar and Uthman, playing a major part in the conquest of Africa.

Abdullah ibn Khatal:

Abdullah ibn Khatal, who had previously accepted Islam and been sent by the Prophet to collect alms tax. A slave and one of the Ansar (dweller of Medina) went along with him. Coming to a halt in their journey, Abdullah ibn Khatal told the slave to prepare a chicken for a meal, but the slave went to sleep instead, and was unable to prepare the food in time. Abdullah ibn Khatal became angry and killed the slave. Fearing that if he returned to Medina, the Prophet would exact retribution for the slave’s death, he reneged and joined the infidels. On the day Mecca was conquered, he was executed upon orders of the Prophet (peace be upon him), not for apostasy, not for blasphemy, but for the killing of the slave.

Miqyas ibn Ayubabah:

Miqyas ibn Ayubabah, Hisham ibn Ayubabah’s brother. In the Dhu Qarad campaign, an Ansari(Medina dweller) had killed Hisham by mistake. After this Miqyas came to Medina and accepted Islam. He asked the Prophet for compensation for his brother’s death, and his request was granted. He stayed in Medina for a few days, then killed the person responsible for his brother’s death, escaped to Mecca and reneged. The Prophet ordered that he be put to death.

Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl:

Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl who, following in his father’s footsteps, was an uncompromising opponent of Islam. Seeing that he was sure to meet his end in Mecca, he fled to the Yemen. His wife, Umm Hakim bint Harith, who had accepted Islam, appealed to the Prophet for asylum on behalf of her husband. Her request was granted, and she went to the Yemen to collect Ikrimah. He returned with her and became Muslim at the hand of the Prophet.

Habbar ibn al-Aswad:

Habbar ibn al-Aswad, who had been responsible for great persecution of the Muslims. When the Prophet’s daughter Zaynab, was on her way from Mecca to Medina, he stabbed her camel’s side with a spear. The camel went into a frenzy and Zaynab fell down. She was with a child at that time. Not only did she suffer a miscarriage, but the effects of the mishap remained with her for the rest of her life. Orders were given for him to be killed, but he came to the Prophet and pleaded for mercy. “Prophet of God,” he said, “forgive my ignorance. Let me become a Muslim.” The Prophet forgave him.

Where in all of these events, was an execution for blasphemy? One should remember that before the migration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), all the time he spent in Mecca was among those who used to conspire his murder, abuse him in front of the crowds, attack him and chase him through streets. Why were those people set free? Of course the ones who were executed were also blasphemers, but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a greater man. He never seek revenge upon anyone for his personal grudges.

If however, we are lead to believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered those executions on the basis of ‘crimes of blasphemy’ then it will make it seem like that was (God forbid) an act of revenge. Qur’an is clear about revenge

‘And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but who so forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers.’

[Ch. 42 V.41]

There had been incidents where even God wanted to take revenge for the abuse and blasphemy done with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the famous incident of Ta’if should be recalled. The Prophet asked God for their mercy from God not revenge!

For those who still think the infamous blasphemy law is Islamic, they should re-visit Islamic history and see on that day when Mecca was down on its knees, Prophet Muhammad had all the chance to take revenge from each and every living being in that city. If blasphemy law was Islamic, the Mecca should have had been bathing in blood. The truth is death penalties have never been common in Islam.

The actions and decisions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on that day clearly showed the world that he was a very wise intellectual and what he did on that day was justice to those who were wronged by these individuals mentioned above.

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