Islam – Blasphemy
Quran and Blasphemy
“The men who killed 12 people in Paris the week of Jan 5, 2015 yelled that they had “avenged the prophet.” They followed in the path of other terrorists who have bombed newspaper offices, stabbed a filmmaker and killed writers and translators, all to mete out what they believe is the proper Koranic punishment for blasphemy. But in fact, the Koran prescribes no punishment for blasphemy. Like so many of the most fanatical and violent aspects of Islamic terrorism today, the idea that Islam requires that insults against the prophet Muhammad be met with violence is a creation of politicians and clerics to serve a political agenda.” – as written by Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, January 8, 2015
Fareed uses the Bible in defense of Islam, his claim, the Quran does not penalize for blasphemy, “One holy book is deeply concerned with blasphemy: the Bible. In the Old Testament, blasphemy and blasphemers are condemned and prescribed harsh punishment. The best-known passage on this is Leviticus 24:16 : ‘Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.’”
New Testament Ignored
But what Fareed does not mention is the New Testament, a New Covenant for those that are believers in Christ, where the Laws, such as the one referenced in Leviticus, have been mitigated. There is no call for war or man acting on behalf of God to express God’s wrath for God. Not so in the Quran. This is a major flaw in arguments that reference the Old Testament. It is the New Testament and the Gospels that provide the pathway for salvation. Punishment called for in the Old, as all men sin, was taken by Christ for all mankind, those who believe. He suffered a horrific death as a substitute for you and me, and those who sinned past, present and in the future. We are forgiven. He serves as the example to follow. Compare the example of Christ to that of Muhammad as a guide to your life. Christ wins hands down, and with him there can be peace.
Fareed goes on to exonerate the Quran, and thus Islam, “By contrast, the word blasphemy appears nowhere in the Koran. (Nor, incidentally, does the Koran anywhere forbid creating images of Muhammad, though there are commentaries and traditions — “hadith” — that do, to guard against idol worship.) Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has pointed out that “there are more than 200 verses in the Koran, which reveal that the contemporaries of the prophets repeatedly perpetrated the same act, which is now called ‘blasphemy or abuse of the Prophet’ . . . but nowhere does the Koran prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death, or any other physical punishment.” On several occasions, Muhammad treated people who ridiculed him and his teachings with understanding and kindness. “In Islam,” Khan says, “blasphemy is a subject of intellectual discussion rather than a subject of physical punishment.”
Laws of Islam – Blasphemy
However it is a fact that the laws of Islam are based first on the Quran, but then on Hadith’s, sayings and the example of Muhammad. Shari’a is a composite. Fareed may be in the camp, as the Ahmadi’s, using only the Quran, yes ONLY, to find a peaceful solution to equating Islam with peace. In so doing does that peel the skin from the orange of Islam?
There is much support in the Qur’an and Sunnah for the death penalty for blasphemy. It can arguably be found in this verse: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (Sura 5:33)
Also: “Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (33:57) And: “If they violate their oaths after pledging to keep their covenants, and attack your religion, you may fight the leaders of paganism – you are no longer bound by your covenant with them – that they may refrain” (9:12).
There is more in the Hadith’s. In one, Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)
“A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (pbuh) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu-Dawud 38.4349)
Interpretation Completes Islam
Islam is not complete without interpretation. Fareed has provided his. Al Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph of IS, has provided his, and as Fareed has also noted there are many Muslim dominant Nations that invoke severe punishment for blasphemy.
Confusion as to What is Islam
What is clear is there are differences within the world of Islam as to what is Islam. Depending on the side you are on depends on whose weapon is aimed your way. You are or you are not a heretic, yet you call yourself Muslim. And the Quran makes clear all Muslims are to “strive hard (jihad) against unbelievers and hypocrites (moderates or those Muslims that do not agree with your Islam)” (Sura 9.73).
So, you decide. Is there death for blasphemy called for in Islam, regardless of what the Quran says or does not say?
Grace and Peace