Following the Prophet’s (PBUH) way of dealing with blasphemy
If there is one thing we, the Pakistanis, are vigilant at, it is killing in the name of honor. It has become our favorite game to play and that too at cost of precious lives. The so called honor-saving mode is stimulated mostly when it is about a woman or when it involves a religious conflict.
Another common and shared habit of ours is that we all believe it is our ‘divine’ right to not only judge others but also suggest punishments for them.
Mashal Khan lynching is one such case that explains our violent attitude as a nation. He was brutally killed by a mob over allegations of blasphemy. Later the investigations revealed that Mashal was innocent and was jeopardized in a situation where he despite trying hard couldn’t escape and met a tragic death. Clearly someone misused the blasphemy card to serve their own purpose.
The murder of Shahbaz Bhatti and former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Gojra Riots and burning of 100 houses and killings of Christians in Qasur district in 2009 and now Asia Bibi’s trial are some examples when either mobs were used to target the minorities or extremist fatwas were used to arouse the emotion of Muslims that lead to loss of so many precious lives.
According to law, the penalty of Blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) is death. But what is the criteria to determine that the person accused has actually blasphemed?
One of the most quoted examples in this regard is of Ghazi Alam Din, who killed a Hindu over blasphemy and was later sentenced to death for it. The accused had written a whole book that was against our Prophet (PBUH). So it was a planned, deliberate and intentional act. He was rightly accused.
Asia Bibi’s case is quite a contradiction. She was rebuked in the name of religion and only reacted. The people made her do it. She didn’t plan at home to be involved in any activity against the Prophet (PBUH) or Islam.
A Hadith might make this matter easier to understand for us. It is narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr , that Allah’s Apostle said. “It is one of the greatest sins that a man should curse his parents.” It was asked by the people “O Allah’s Apostle! how does a man curse his parents?” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “ The man abuses the father of another man and the latter abuses the father of the former and abuses his mother”
The man who abuses someone else’s parents has cursed his own in fact. Can’t the same be applied to someone’s Prophet or religion?
In this context, it should be reasoned if Asia is actually to be blamed or the people who uttered derogatory words about her religion should be blamed. Imagine the situation of Muslims in America after 9/11. How can we blame other nations for the Islamophobia over Hijab and beard when we are showing such relentless attitude towards our minorities?
There are other examples of those who have blasphemed but later converted to Islam at will. For example, Balbir Singh, one of the people involved in demolition of the Babri mosque in India converted to Islam later and vowed to build 100 mosques to make up for his dreadful act.
Another example is of the man who made the controversial movie ‘Fitna’ against our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Arnoud Van Doorn, a member of the city council in the Hague and a leading figure in Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamic freedom party, was among the producers of the film. He now identifies as a Muslim. The reaction of Muslims across the world against his movie made him read about Islam, and as a result he became a Muslim. He has vowed that he will now produce a new film which will show a true picture of Islam.
Imagine if he was killed over blasphemy too, would he be able to have a change of heart?
If you go back to the beginning of this blog and read again, you will realize that there are three sequences to this blog. The initial events tell how humans treat humans and validate their status of being from those people Allah mentions in Surah Asr “ By the time of the beloved Prophet (PBUH), undoubtedly man is necessarily in loss ”.
Humans are not ready to forgive, tolerate or understand the other person who might, if given a chance, improve himself. They like to kill when Allah has declared it the biggest crime. Killing a human means you steal away their chance of betterment, forgiveness and redemption.
In the next series of events, we saw how our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) treated people. He tolerated them with the universal kindness that was part of his personality.
People usually discredit these events saying that at that time Islam was not complete, people were entering the religion so they were forgiven and that once the Wahi (revelations) concluded and Quran and Islam were complete, there remained no forgiveness for blasphemy.
The third series of events actually provide the true picture. They are recent events. They show us how Allah treats his servants. How He still waits for them to repent, and changes their fate. The stories of Bilbir and Arnoud Van Doorn offer us so much to learn.
Doorn said: “Right now. I am still feeling regret for having distributed the film. I have a responsibility to correct the mistakes that I’ve done in the past”. Bilbir, who knows goes by the name of Amir stated he wants to make up for his mistakes.
They both are Muslims now, I hope better Muslims than us. Arnoud also had the opportunity to perform Hajj this year. His son also converted to Islam. If they were killed at that time when they were still non-Muslims , someone would have taken their right of becoming a Muslim, even their families’ , who followed their path.
Can we think bigger and better before passing judgments on people? Can we save the honor of Islam and our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) by following the Islamic traditions and the Sunnah? It is about time.