Maligning Islam in the name of blasphemy

Published: November 7, 2014

The space – ought to be occupied by justice – between allegation and execution is filled by a mob and exploited, misconstrued beliefs. PHOTO: AFP

Charred remains of two human bodies become a question mark on our humanity. Smoke that rises from their ashes is denser than one that clouds our judgment. It will not vanish into the air; it will instead taunt our silence forever. What burnt was not bodies, but the very fabric of our society.

In the presence of the rule of law – as demanded by the Holy Quran and our constitution – blasphemy would be dealt with by the aggrieved party registering a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. A free and fair trial in a court of law would follow where the accused would be given an opportunity to defend himself and the alleger would have to corroborate his allegation with evidence. And if the accused is found guilty, he or she would be punished in accordance with the law and Islamic injunctions.

Sadly, in several cases of alleged blasphemy, the practice has been nothing but un-Islamic, unlawful and unjust. The space – ought to be occupied by justice – between allegation and execution is filled by a mob and exploited, misconstrued beliefs. There is no due process, no court and no opportunity to defend oneself.

The threat looms over all our heads, not just the non-Muslims. All you need to have me killed by an “angry mob” is an accusation of blasphemy. There is no need for any proof, a fair trial or even an actual occurrence to constitute someone as blasphemous.

All you need is:

1. A statement from a local or regional “religious” person that labels my action blasphemous,

2. Inciting locals of the area to stage a protest against my alleged act to reaffirm their faith, and

3. Inducting a few individuals in the crowd who will then finish the task.

It does not matter if the person is qualified to give such a grave statement or not. He only needs to have the appearance of a religious person, being “perceived” as a scholar is an added qualification. Reality does not matter, what matters is perception. My act does not have to bear any semblance to blasphemy. If perceived as a scholar, he can even tag my criticism of Ziaul Haq, or laws made by him, as blasphemous.

In matters of blasphemy, an accusation suffices. Chant the slogan “this is for Allah, or his Prophet (SAW)”, and it will give this farcical act a legitimate face for the simpletons who are often the tools used in such acts that demean both Islam and humanity.

When interpreting laws, courts pay heed to the language used by legislators for it is assumed that the words used have been used for a reason. Surely Allah is the best and wisest of all legislators. Why then did He use the word “person” and not “Muslim” in the Holy Quran when He equated the unjust, unlawful murder of a person with the murder of all humans? In Islam, the life of a non-Muslim is as sacred as that of a Muslim. Islam bestows the right to life and fair trial for all human beings without any preference to religious inclinations.

The debate pertaining to what legally constitutes as blasphemy is a separate issue. Is following the proper course of law next? Ending someone’s life on a mere accusation cannot be called fair under any law, especially not under laws of Islam.

Kot Radha Kishan was the latest burial ground for justice and rule of law. A couple was killed by a mob after being alleged of blasphemy. This of course is not the first, but one of many murders of people who have been accused of blasphemy. In July this year, Gujranwala saw murder of three members of the Ahmadi community. In July 2012, a mentally unstable man met the worst of fates by being burnt alive by an enraged mob. In December of the same year, a Muslim man was dragged out of a police station in Karachi, beaten and then burnt alive. The reason for all these horrible acts is “alleged” blasphemy. The word “alleged” does not carry any meaning when it becomes a prefix to blasphemy.

It would be refreshing to see religious scholars, real and perceived, coming together to condemn, and declare this vicious inhumanity in the name of Islam as unIslamic. The responsibility to correct this wrong falls on the shoulders of religious leaders. The interpretation of Islamic injunctions in accordance with the spirit of Islam is the duty of any person who calls himself an Islamic scholar.

Blasphemy is a crime in Islam; a blasphemer needs to be punished, but only in accordance with the teachings of Islam. We cannot malign our religion in its own name. It is the duty of the state through the government to call upon Muslim scholars and leaders to gather and work to eradicate this vice of extra judicial killings based on a mere allegation which may in all probability be false in many cases.

I know our heads of state are not Hazrat Umar (RA), but neither was this a dog or a camel, it didn’t happen at the banks of Euphrates and it wasn’t hunger or thirst that killed. They were two human beings, tortured and burnt alive for a crime they may not have committed.

The act of accusing a man of having ridiculed our religion and then killing him – in the absence of any proof, process of law and justice – causes more ridicule to our religion than the alleged words or actions.   We, as Muslims, need to visit, I wouldn’t say revisit as many of us may not have deduced our beliefs but only adopted them as they have been portrayed, our beliefs. We need to ask ourselves if such acts of violence and injustice are a service to Allah or an invitation to his wrath.

zafar.zulqurnain.sahi

Zafar Zulqurnain Sahi

A Lawyer by profession. A Gold Medalist in LLB from Punjab University and has a LLM degree from University of Warwick, UK. He is also a former Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab (2008-2013). He tweets @ZafarSahi (twitter.com/ZafarSahi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sami

    Blasphemy law is not only practiced in Pakistan but it is a part of the constitution in Iran, Saudia and some Middle eastern countries too. So don’t you think may be many popular interpretations of Many verses and Ahadees infact support such argument and it is a part of many Popular sects as well?.
    Also you mentioned free and fair trail but unfortunately nobody is questioning that why Blasphemy law are there in the first place despite the fact that there is no Compulsion in religion according to Islam?.Recommend

  • wb

    Do Pakistanis doubt the divinity of Quran and Prophet Mohammed?

    If not, they why blasphemy law?Recommend

  • Lahore wala

    What you are doing is preaching. The same solutions, repeated again
    again and again. And you know nothing will come of it. Because this is
    now an ingrained behavior. It is in the national psyche. This has been
    going on for decades. Almost considered normal. Is accepted, condoned
    and facilitated by mullahs. Plus it is a very handy and convenient tool to
    deprive your neighbor of his property, if you have your eye on it. Very very
    convenient if you owe someone money. Just accuse them of blasphemy.
    It is used to settle scores. The list is endless. And illustrates the depravity
    to which a society or culture can sink to.
    This has nothing to do with religion now. It is used as a weapon.Recommend

  • Ram Raheem Robert

    Religious beliefs are
    private and should be kept private. If you are strong in your belief then
    blasphemy should not matter. By committing such revengeful act you are undermining
    your own belief and in the process becoming blasphemous yourself.Recommend

  • Critical

    Yawwn…..Another article by a “rational” muslim in an English paper(which hardly 10% of ur population reads) to protest against an atrocity committed related to the Blasphemy law…

    Also,instead of questioning why such a law is in place in the 21st century ,you are once again bringing up the old rants of “Islam is peace” “No compulsion in religion” blah blah blah…..(Alas,noone wants to join Salman Taseer)

    FYI,the ones who attacked werent the madrassa educated,brainwashed from childhood,learnt how to use AK-47 before using shaving blade terrorists who are looking to blast themselves but “normal common man” who are doing their daily duties just like others…

    Its no use of writing thousands of articles if the public dont come forward to repeal the law….If 1000s can demonstrate against a cartoon or youtube movie,then whats preventing them from coming ahead..Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Well written blog. Although there is not much that can be done in Pakistan until the laws which prescribe punishments for blasphemy are done away with. But when I look around I see that the mullahs with the beards and hitched up shalwars are not the only ones who condone these inhuman laws, no sir! many of our educated class have now become pseudo extremists because we have let extremist organisations take hold of our universities and colleges and these educated extremists are quite vocal in stating that blasphemy should be punished by death. I sincerely hope our politicians realize that they are pushing Pakistan towards death.Recommend

  • Roon

    What does this British instituted blasphemy law have to do with divinity of Quran and Prophet Mohammed?

    There is no punishment for blasphemy in the Quran and Sunnah.

    Not to mention that most of the accused are either wrongly convicted, mentally unstable or punished by mobs before the trail even takes place.Recommend

  • Ram

    why do you think Islam needs to be protected in a country where 97% are Muslims, how Islam practiced by billions of people is in danger by poor couples working in a brick factor. When a governor of largest and most powerful province punjab is shot dead by his own bodyguard who else is safe and has courage to speak against this law.Recommend

  • wb

    Exactly.

    10000%

    Even British law had been passed on based on an array of narrow minded Mullahs.

    So, why do you have them if Quran and Sunnah have no punishment for Blasphemy?

    Get rid of blasphemy laws.

    However, a secret: Make sure there are no Mumtaz Qadris around you.Recommend

  • Pin2

    Pakistanis are very good in weaving conspiracy theories. I am gonna weave one my self to explain how blasphemy allegation can be used to take revenge.

    The fact that couple were killed in the same brick kiln where the were employed after the brick kiln owner himself reported to the imam that he has seen some burnt pages of quran in the ashes of his Kiln and was quite sure that it was the couple who burnt quran and their employer / brick kiln owner and his accountant etc were leading the lynching from the front. 2+2 = revengeRecommend

  • Zafar Z. S.

    I don’t think my ifs and else – if any – are anything like that of the Mullah. I will not condemn the entire nation because I don’t deem it necessary. You are welcome to. I am averse to the idea of generalizing and categorizing a group, religion or nation based on the acts of it’s worst members. Again, you are welcome to.Recommend

  • Zafar Z. S.

    What amuses me is how you think this was done by a “normal common man”. Normal…really?Recommend

  • siesmann

    They are not pseudo extremists;they are super-extremists.Recommend

  • siesmann

    British-another convenient scapegoat for “Islam”.Intention is what accounts for authenticity of a law.Recommend

  • siesmann

    A better title would have been-”Maligning Blasphemy in the name of Islam”.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Let’s not make this about you.

    The Muslim majority needs to stop pretending that the primary casualty of the horrible lynching, is our country and religion’s reputation. It’s as callous as the US causing a civilian casualty in Pakistan and saying, “The real victims of this drone strike are the Americans, because it maligns our image”.

    It’s about the minorities, and how we can deliver them from this legal and social mess. Let’s focus on that for now.Recommend

  • You’re right

    I was against your comment ,until I read the last sentence.Recommend

  • asif

    At least the author admits that the law should be repealed but the real question is how? Who is going to risk his life to speak up against this law. You can condemn it by writing articles or by speaking in public or media but you are not going to oppose it openly because you yourself are afraid. This is a useless debate that the Islam is the religion of peace, or quoting examples from the history that how Islam used to treat the minorities. `
    As the author himself says “Blasphemy is a crime in Islam” then according to the law, every non-muslim is a criminal before hand because he does not believes what Islam says or does, similarly the Jews of the 1st century accused Christ of blasphemy when he claimed that I am son of God. He was crucified, but that does not means that all devout Christians are to be executed because they believe that the Christ is son of God. On very practical grounds the law should be amended keeping in view of the minorities residing in Pakistan, and how to safeguard their rights, freedom to express themselves and protect their lives.Recommend

  • Parvez

    At this particular time we really don’t need sermonising…..we need someone, anyone to step up and do what is necessary to STOP THE MISUSE of this law. A suggestion given some time back was to institute the same punishment on the accuser if it were found that the accusation was false…….seems logical and senior ulema on TV shows, tend to agree. So it seems that our lawmakers lack the will to do what is right……and in this process religion keeps imploding on itself.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I wanted to comment along the same lines. to be honest you have said almost exactly what I wanted to say. I would just like to add that even though these guys were not hardcore terrorists the man who instigated the violence was a mullah of the local mosque.
    (i see that my comment has now been posted lol)Recommend

  • Ali Sina

    Blasphemy is a crime in Islam. And why is this accepted at all? Muslims blaspheme the religion of everyone, including the sacred beliefs of other Muslims of different sects. So why is someone criticizes their religion they think it is okay to kill him? Truth does not fear criticism. True beliefs welcome criticism as they can refute them all and prove one more time their veracity. It is the false beliefs that fear criticism and want to science them them. The very acceptance that blasphemy is a crime in Islam is an admission that Islam is a false faith.Recommend

  • Ali Sina

    Oh! So the blasphemy law is a British thing now. I get it. Can you please tell us where in Britain this law is practiced? Also please explain what Muhammad meant when he said whoso insults the Prophet kill him.Recommend

  • Don Barzini

    Since “Stoning to Death” is a sanctioned by religions (all Abrahamic religions anyway) , i don’t think the concept of Mob Justice is alien to them, in fact, its an integral part of religion. The only difference in Islam, it seems ,is that you should verify the news before you turn into a Mob, if news is correct, fire away, else don’t do anything you will regret. The problem with religion is that they conflate “Sins” with “crimes”.. not believing in god or apostasy is supposed to be a Sin, but you get punished as if its a crime (death sentence too).. in fact just see the imagery and wording in the Holy scriptures regarding what is to become of those who don’t believe in God to see where all the problems and ignorance comes from.
    Religion is the biggest hurdle in the way of peace and progress not just in Pakistan but all over the world and the sooner people come to realize that and move away from it, the sooner they will stop being a threat to everybody around them… its like being drunk at the wheel.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    Yes , they do .Otherwise they wouldn’t have uttered so-called words like holy and saw . These are a sort of enforcement while they close their eyes to what others think about these things .Recommend

  • abvbe

    “pushing Pakistan towards death”. People behave in ways they believe will be rewarded. The society has been configured in a certain way and is behaving as expected. It’s not only the politicians who are to blame it’s the whole milieu which includes what’s taught in homes, schools and mosques. The army was also enrolled in this mission by changing it’s motto (Jihad fi sabilillah..).

    Extreme religification of every aspect of life has led to this.Recommend

  • sanity

    Same old boring lines on the rule of law blah blah. . The writer is out to project himself as liberal and progressive but condones such stupid laws on blasphemy and shariah. A religion and society having such laws and jurisprudence needs serious introspection.
    An Indian Muslim. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Lets take “Islam is peace” hypothesis and use logic to determine if its true.

    a) if its true, then people are misinterpreting it massively. That means its open to violent misinterpretation.

    b) If its false, all the activities around the world of its followers, makes perfect sense.

    So, the only 2 options are that the ideology is open to violent and regressive misinterpretation; Or, its not true at all in the first place.

    I don’t see any other possibility.

    Looking at other Religions, their followers do no exhibit such behavior in such massive scale. In fact, Christians are more in number than Muslims. Hindus aren’t far behind. Yet, Christians and Hindus do not exhibit such behavior.

    Blasphemy law inherited by Pakistan from the British, was also inherited by India. In India, its an ancient relic, unused and waiting to be discarded, while Pakistan has added to it. The only difference between India and Pakistan was and is its demographics.

    Political correctness and ego tends to limit free criticism of Religion one were born into or see around them. Like a mother who will never believe her son is a crook, a believer is incapable of rationally seeing his own Religion.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Not to forget, the Blasphemy Law inherited by Pakistan, was also inherited by India.

    India is equally Religious, if not more, than Pakistan. More diversity. More points of friction(Pakistan is 98% Muslim, if you count Shias as Muslim).

    While the law is a relic in India, never been used, it has assumed a different, violent, regressive form, exactly in line with the trend of the larger Muslim world.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    This is not just in Pakistan, but in the larger Muslim world. This is NOT Pakistan specific.

    Blasphemy law inherited by Pakistan from the British, is inherited by India too. In India, due to the inherent tolerant culture, its a relic.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Blasphemy Law inherited to Pakistan, was inherited to India too.

    Stop blaming the British. The law in India has never been used to prosecute someone, much less kill.

    Stop blaming British for something which is clearly Pakistan’s problem.

    Interpretation and application has a lot to do with the inherent culture of the land. India, due to its pluralistic and tolerant culture, has had no issues with it, but Pakistan has brought it in line with the punishment meted out in the rest of the Muslim world.Recommend

  • Heh ?

    ‘ All abrahamic religions..’
    Tell me Don,how many Jews have you seen following their religious texts & stoning someone to death for adultery ? Is it a law in Israel or practiced by Jews anywhere else today,in.the name of their God ?Recommend

  • : )

    This is the most enlightened & evolved comment in this blog.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Can you please tell me the chronology of how the British created the following penal codes?
    §298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places
    §298-C. Person of Qadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith:
    §295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet.

    I mean no disrespect to you, it is just that I could not find any evidence to support your claim that British Penal Codes gave Pakistani Blasphemy Laws.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Can you please tell me the chronology of how the British created the following penal codes?
    §298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places
    §298-C. Person of Qadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith:
    §295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet.

    I mean no disrespect to you, it is just that I could not find any evidence to support your claim that British Penal Codes gave Pakistani Blasphemy Laws.Recommend

  • Roon

    Hindu and Christian extremists weren’t armed and encouraged during the cold war in order to fight the red menace in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda, Taliban, etc most of them can trace their roots back to this event.Recommend

  • http://www.mmabbasi.com/ Mohammed Abbasi

    Religion and politics do not mix and the blasphemy law was only advanced by consecutive politicians to get the mullahs to support them (and in turn their flocks) – the real blasphemy is simply this blasphemy law and the mullahs and politicians who exploit religion for their own egotistical purposesRecommend

  • Ali Sina

    Muslims are incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions. It is always the fault of someone else even Al Qaida and ISIS have nothing to do with Islam and what Muhammad taught. They are the products of the west.
    Recommend

  • SuperNeo

    Dear my comment is deleted not allowed , there was no abuse in my comment ?
    try to understand that’s the reality of a nation.hiding behind religion is best escape and you get lot of sympathy from radicals,Recommend

  • Don Barzini

    Which part of my comment are you replying to? The Part where i Did Not accuse the Jewish people of stoning anybody to death lately or the Part where i Did Not accuse Israel of having a constitution based on the Torah?
    Or did you Just read “Abrahamic Religions” and get worked up?
    Well, its true, Abrahamic Religions prescribe stoning to death for various offenses.. not just adultery (which seems to be the most popular). The Torah/Bible also recommends death for Blasphemy, Idolatry, murder, breaking the sabbath and disobedient children…
    The fact that the Jewish people do not carry these out is not surprising. No civilized nation should, which was my point in the later part of the comment… had you chosen to read it…Recommend

  • SuperNeo

    blame drone for everything in your life. and sleep tight.

    btw Drone is loved in equal percentage of pakis.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Blasphemy law was later amended in 1982. While India chose to ignore it.

    http://www.pakistanblasphemylaw.com/?page_id=15

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law#IndiaRecommend

  • Hasan

    “Blasphemy is a crime in Islam; a blasphemer needs to be punished, but only in accordance with the teachings of Islam.”

    I don’t really know on what grounds you concluded this.
    Clearly you don’t know your religion at all. There is NO PUNISHMENT FOR BLASPHEMY IN ISLAM. You wrote this article with noble intentions but please do not spread fallacies about Islam (due to less knowledge)Recommend

  • Hasan

    “Muhammad meant when he said whoso insults the Prophet kill him.”
    Where the hell did you get that? There is NO PUNISHMENT FOR BLASPHEMY mentioned in the Quran. If it isn’t in the Quran then how can the Prophet (pbuh) go ahead and sanction it?Recommend

  • Ghulam Faruki

    While the author means well, he falls short. The only civilized thing to do in this matter is to abolish all blasphemy laws. The only ones who need to be prosecuted are those who inflict violence or ostracism on the so-called “blasphemers”.Recommend

  • Snehil Sharma

    Is there any scope left as far as maligning Pakistan’s image is concerned ?Anjem Chaudhry , Pakistan’s export to Britain wants barbaric Shariah Law enacted in Britain where Muslim population is a mere 5%.Pakistanis have done themselves proud wherever they have gone.Recommend

  • Snehil Sharma

    We are proud of you Pakistan.You have made entire South Asia proud.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Kindly go through the hadith of sahi Bhukari. Blasphemy attracted punishment even during the times of Mohammed.Recommend

  • vinsin

    rangila rasool caseRecommend

  • shaolin321

    Disrespect of Holy Quran and two were killed by mob (I salute their awareness towards religion)!! but a Fidayin killed his own 60 innocent muslim brothers (and seriously injured 200 too) at Wagah border….but surprisingly no mob was seen throughout Pakistan to kill those left out Fidayin / groups ??…Nice approach :)Recommend

  • Jahil hamid

    LOL the author misses the point altogether. It is not that the law was not adhered to. The very fact that a Muslim majority nation requires a law to protect its majority religion against blasphemy from a fast dwindling minority, is ridiculous and contrived to subjugate and terrorise minorities.
    Okay, sing us another one.Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    Agree with this piece partly. Except that the real solution lies in understanding that Blasphemy is not a punishable crime at all, let alone by death. The Koran reiterates this in multiple places, yet its teachings are ignored in favor of the word of Mullahs. As long as this is not understood, ignorant over-zealous Muslims in countries plagued with Mullaism will continue to kill in the name of religion.Recommend

  • Jahil hamid

    May your tribe increase. People like you administered in liberal dosage and frequently may be able toy save your country. Respect.Recommend

  • Critical

    Well,what muslims have made the world,and Ben Affleck believe is that there are

    1% terrorists- who have been brought with ‘misinterpretations’ of Quran,groomed in a madrassa by mullahs,learnt to operate all weapons and carry out suicide attacks

    99% moderates – who have understood the ‘real’ islam, they are just like other people just that they abstain pork,alcohol,do prayers and very much friendly and tolerant to all communities

    SO,how many of the lynchers were madrassa bred?? How many of them were just waiting themselves to get blown up soon??

    So,the 99% ‘peaceful’ muslims are the ones who did this…I wont be surprised if ISIS killed a christian couple for blasphemy as they are brainwashed terrorists but when normal citizens do…Then the ‘normal’ muslim scare meRecommend

  • Fareed Khan Afridi.

    No one can make head or tail of what you are trying to fork
    across. US has never claimed what you failed to describe.
    Why pick US. By the same token, why not blame Saudia for
    the root cause of all the Khawariji ills in Pakistan? After all,
    this virulent ideology was imported, sponsored, nurtured in
    madrassas. All over the country. Financed by, you guessed it,
    Saudia. Besides, it’s not limited to minorities. The Khawariji/Takfiri
    sect, is bent on indiscriminate annihilation;…including Barelvis,
    now that, is the major Sunni sect. Latest case in point…Wagah.Recommend

  • rationalist

    “Blasphemy is a crime in Islam; a blasphemer needs to be punished, but only in accordance with the teachings of Islam.”

    “The act of accusing a man of having ridiculed our religion and then
    killing him – in the absence of any proof, process of law and justice ”

    Read the above two statements by the author carefully. The author is speaking through both sides of his mouth. He is not condemning the blasphemy law itself as a primitive and barbaric concept that it really is, but just wants the blasphemy death punishment to be determined by the “proper’ authorities.Recommend

  • Heh ?

    Many problems with your comments
    1. The torah is not the same as the entire chritian bible. The torah is a small part of the tanakh/old testament Look up what the torah,tanakh,midrash,gemara,mishnah,talmud,ketuvim & nevi’im are.
    2. You say abrahamic religions are familiar with mob justice-though jews are too humane to practice it-agreed. But christianity is also an abrahamic faith & mob justice the opposite of what is prescribed by Jesus in the new testament,which is solely what christians practice (though they read the jewish texts-its considered obsolete & not followed except for maybe the twn commandments ) Zero violence is condoned by Jesus Christ.
    3. The jewish punishments of death that you claim for disobedient children,breaking sabbath is wildly inaccurate.
    I agree with the spirit of your comment,but it has some factual inaccuracies.Recommend

  • Don Barzini

    Since your first and third points are related to each other, i shall address them first (even though this opens me up to the possibility of being attacked for Mathematical Inaccuracies as well)

    1). I know that the Bible is not the same as the Torah, the Torah is just the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers)… but the Torah was relevant to the point i was making therefore i named it.
    3) The wildly inaccurate claims i am making come directly from the torah. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 regarding disobedient children and the Exodus 31:14 regarding breaking the sabbath.
    2) As far as Christians rejecting the old testament is concerned, Matthew 5:17:
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”
    And its explained in greater detail in 5:18-19

    Even if you only believe in the 10 commandments, what is the punishment for breaking the 4th and the 5th?(obeying your father and keeping holy the sabbath). You will of course have to refer to the old law.
    Matthew 15:1-7 Makes an interesting read when it comes to people not following the rules set by God (in this case dealing with disobedient children)
    And what about the Parable of ten Minas? I know most people take it out of context to say that Jesus preached violence, but if the parable is analyzed Jesus is talking about his second coming (as King), reward for those who believed in him and did good deeds and punishment for those who did not believe in him…. (hence Jesus will return, kill Non believers and establish his Kingdom)…
    So when you read Luke 19:27
    “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. ”

    Its not Jesus asking his followers to become a violent mob…. not yet anyway.Recommend

  • Zafar Z. S.

    “Clearly you don’t know your religion at all”. I reply despite this comment.
    Hasan Sahab, The misuse of blasphemy law combined with intolerance towards others, and their opinions, makes for the horrendous outcomes as are criticized in my blog.

    Your assertion as to my having absolutely no knowledge of my religion is your opinion, thus respected by me – regardless of being far below the belt.
    As for my assertion of blasphemy being a crime (sin) in Islam. I do believe Allah does prohibit speaking ill of Him, His book, Prophets (PBUH) – if you believe otherwise, i would not say you have no knowledge of Islam. I would rather believe yours is a different approach than mine. And thankfully Allah is the only judge of intentions and understandings. Had people been the judge of people, we would all rot in hell.
    The second part of my statement says “needs to be punished in accordance with the teachings of Islam”. I completely stand by that too. I have not condoned any specific law of any state, including Pakistan, but only the laws of Islam as contained in the Quran – hence the phrase “teachings of Islam” and not “spirit of justice” or “law” or “constitution”.

    I would not go into further details of my beliefs and understanding of the subject, since you wouldn’t want any enlightenment on the subject from someone who knows nothing about his religion.Recommend

  • Hasan

    Dear Mr. Zafar,

    While you do criticize the brutal misuse of the ‘Blasphemy law’ in your piece (which again, for all intents and purposes I agree is written with good intentions), I believe you are mistaken when you claim there is any punishment for blasphemy in Islam. I don’t have the right to teach you about your religion, but I cannot stand the thought of anyone professing something that is utterly alien to Islam, as Islamic.

    “As for my assertion of blasphemy being a crime (sin) in Islam. I do
    believe Allah does prohibit speaking ill of Him, His book, Prophets
    (PBUH) – if you believe otherwise, i would not say you have no knowledge
    of Islam. I would rather believe yours is a different approach than
    mine. And thankfully Allah is the only judge of intentions and
    understandings. Had people been the judge of people, we would all rot in
    hell.”

    So now let’s read this in contrast with what you have written in your blog.

    “Blasphemy is a crime in Islam; a blasphemer needs to be punished, but only in accordance with the teachings of Islam.”

    Obviously blasphemy is a sin and while I am at it, blasphemy not just towards Islam or the Prophets of Islam, blasphemy of every religion has been prohibited by Islam (Yes it includes Hinduism, Buddhism etc).

    What I take contention with, is the quote from your blog which suggests that it is obligatory on a Muslim to carry out the said punishment (which by the way is not mentioned in the Quran).

    Only God Almighty is the one who will punish them. By stating that “…. needs to be punished, but only in accordance with the teachings of Islam”, you are claiming that Allah has asked Muslims to take the blasphemer to task. No verse in the Holy Quran or the Hadith states that blasphemer ‘should be punished’ (I can challenge you on this one). The only punishment the Holy Scriptures suggest is the one that will be given in the afterlife.

    Many Muslims may agree with your views, my request is simple. Blasphemy punishment is not even remotely Islamic, so please do not in anyway profess that somehow it is.Recommend

  • Hasan

    It has been researched that the first use of blasphemy laws in Islamic history was in the Abbasid Caliphate. It was ‘inspired’ (to an extent) by the (infamous) Spanish inquisition. But people are hell bent on proving that it is IslamicRecommend

  • Heh ?

    The slaying is a reference to Satan.
    Interpretations are to be made systematically-the text in itself & then again in context of its entirety.There are several methods-Historical analysis,with knowledge of the period of the authorship & the condition of the people & the politics of the time etc.Materialist analysis.Structuralist analysis.Comparison with documents,literature & sermons of the time. Doing any in isolation put the reader in danger of getting carried away & mislead.
    Thanks for the references.Recommend

  • Heh ?

    Sorry for the late reply.I read your detailed reply & am fascinated by the references you’ve taken the pains to provide.esp re: jewish punishments for disobedience in children
    There isn’t a ‘rejection’ of the OT-not really. My understanding is that,it’s taken in a ‘calmer’ way. And I don’t know how to explain this,but in fulfilling the law,He did render it obsolete,in a way..let me explain..for eg.-the ot says don’t eat pork/get circumcised,but it’s not followed anymore-not as a ‘rejection’,but more as ‘yeah,that was in BC, before He fulfilled the law & it doesn’t need to be done anymore’. Another small eg.-He was also baptized by John,in the Jordan-which John didn’t want to do,as it’s pointless to baptize God-but He told John to do it,to fulfil what’s written-maybe by Isaiah or whoever,centuries before. About punishments for the ten commandments-the old laws of stoning etc will not be followed. Whatever attitude is held in the n.t. towards spiritual punishment of sins, will hold good for violations of the ten commandments too. An elaboration of the enemy/’Satan’,I mentioned in my morning comment-its also a reference to the slaying of the evil inside man/corruption of human nature/evil inclination- before the righteousness of God. No one should forget that He said that one of the highest laws is ‘love your neighbour’( not,love only neighbours who’re religious/believers)-it means love all mankind,without exception.He also said to ‘turn the other cheek’. Rest everything has to be seen in the right context,& always keeping ‘love ur neighbour’ in mind. I haven’t given a scholarly reply-just conveying the right spirit of my long-sighted,lay view to you.(scholarly study of text-as I’ve mentioned in my morning comment) Couldn’t find my glasses this morning for a longer reply,so kept the morn. comment short.Loved your well researched reply-it was a pleasure to read & contemplate it.Thanks again.
    Recommend