Punishing for blasphemy was never an Islamic idea. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) set a different example. He tolerated it.
Prophet Moses (PBUH), Jesus (PBUH) and Muhammad (PBUH) are all revered prophets of God, whose Sunnah (tradition) and teachings we revive every day and will do until the Final Hour. God has put in place noble means for praising Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the mercy to all the worlds. The Muazzin’s call to prayer reminds us that ‘Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.’ Respect for Muhammad (PBUH) is of such importance that an act of worship directed solely towards God makes provision for it: we request Allah five times a day to bless Muhammad (PBUH), just as He blessed Abraham (PBUH). Yet some Muslims have got it in their heads that a few stray words or caricatures will diminish the stature of a Prophet we revere in our prayer.
The important thing to remember is that as Muslims we are bound by the covenant we made to God: to abide by His Laws. His law tells us that He has forbidden murder and that killing a soul is to kill all mankind [Q 5:32]. Yesterday, in Paris, some people thought they avenged the Prophet of Islam. They didn’t. They stand as criminals according to Allah’s Laws, just as the village lynch mob who burnt alive a young Christian couple in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy.
Insulting revered personalities is a condemnable act and there should be international laws to deal with the culprits; however, there is absolutely no provision in Islamic law to take human lives in this manner. The perpetrators of this crime, without any doubt, have violated two key Qur’anic directives. First, they have taken the law into their own hands, an act of anarchy; second, they have committed murder in violation of the principle of sanctity of human life.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUIH) brought a revolution by upholding the Law, by condemning vigilantism and the mindless violence of tribal warlords. Unfortunately, some Muslims are stubbornly bent on returning to pre-Islamic times of tribal warfare, unsheathing a sword every time they hear something not of their liking. It is almost as if the glorious achievements of the Prophet of Islam never happened.
The age of the sword is long gone; we are now living in the age of the pen. Battles are now fought in newspapers, books and academic circles. We need to step away from this intolerance which only brings more misery and ridicule; we can already see the ridicule growing in the aftermath of the killings. We are Muslims, the khair-ummah. We must all openly and vocally condemn the Paris killings and make sure that our friends, family and acquaintances are aware of our views so we can start meaningful discussions on such issues.
May Allah return to us our ability to think, to see, to hear and to understand.
UIUK Team 8 Jan 2015