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Is Blasphemy Punishable by Death?
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Posted on: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - Hits: 2535

What is the context in which blasphemy was made punishable by death. Is there a historical event related to this, apart from any verses in the Holy Qur’ān and Hadīth.

Notwithstanding the fact that many scholars of this Ummah believe that blasphemy should be punished by death, I am afraid that this crime was not made punishable by death either through the Holy Qur’ān or the Sunnah. No doubt, it is a wicked crime and thus indeed is contemptuous to humanity as well. Yet, it was never made punishable by death through the two fundamental sources of Islam. There has indeed been much hullabaloo over it in the last couple of centuries. However, we must know that Allah has explicitly prohibited killing of any human being except for two reasons: a court of law may deliver capital punishment to an intentional murderer or someone guilty of spreading anarchy in society. Apart from these two situations, any killing would be equivalent to slaughtering all of mankind. The Holy Qur’ān reads:

He who killed a human being without the latter being guilty of killing another or of spreading anarchy in the land, should be looked upon as if he killed all of mankind. (5:32)

I therefore maintain that the Holy Qur’ān itself stands against this sort of punishment. The proper way to deal with such sacrilegious acts is to ignore them. We must remain patient and let the petty issues die their own death. I am suggesting this because I believe any stirring from our side would only give a new life to the current of craziness. The Lord Himself advises the Prophet (sws) to adopt the same approach regarding the daggers of rebuke and scoff which are hurled towards him. He consoles the Prophet (sws) that he should rest assured that Allah will defend him and his scoffers will meet a grievous penalty for their untoward attitude. The Holy Qur’ān records:

And incline not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Disregard their noxious talk, and put your trust in Allah, Allah is sufficient as trustee. (33:48)

So proclaim that which you are commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters. We do defend you from the scoffers who set some other gods along with Allah. But they will come to know. Well know We that your bosom is at times oppressed by what they say. But hymn the praise of your Lord, and be of those who make prostration [unto Him]. And serve your Lord till the inevitable come to you. (15:94-9)


Jhangeer Hanif

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