Tag Archives: Muslim

BLASPHEMY

Photo by rikka ameboshi on Pexels.com

Blasphemy: Quran has a different view

When I speak to Muslims in Pakistan, they say you cannot discuss the Islamic laws  its blasphemous, not agreeing with them is blasphemous, not following the Quran the way they are following is blasphemous, not believing in all of the Ashabs of the Prophet Mohammad is blasphemous, and not praying the way they pray is blasphemous.

Men made laws cannot be discussed or criticised in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but Quran provides me the space to discuss anything. When I speak to Quran; God says ignore them, it’s my PREROGATIVE not theirs, it’s my Book not theirs, I have sent the Prophet not them, I have sent my Book through Prophet not them, I, the God is the guardian of the Book, not them, to guard even a single dot in Quran is my RESPONSIBILITY.

They can’t guard the sanctity of my Prophet and my Book, Can’t you read?

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.”

The Quran, Al-Hijr 15:9

Let’s discuss the background of the law, an international view, some recent incidents, and the replies of the Holy Quran to my questions, about blasphemy, finality of the Prophet Mohammad pbuh, and who is the GUARDIAN of the Holy Book and the Prophet’s honour.

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: “Pakistan’s frequently invoked blasphemy law carries the death penalty or life in prison. There are no procedural safeguards, making the law ripe for abuse. While the death penalty for blasphemy has never been carried out, individuals accused of blasphemy have been murdered in vigilante violence. Mere allegations often serve as an accelerant in combustible situations, resulting in mob attacks or violence that undermines Pakistan’s stability and empowers EXTREMISTS. Despite the law’s rampant abuse and lack of procedural safeguards, Pakistan’s Federal Sharia Court recently ruled that the death penalty should be the sole penalty for blasphemy.”

The Pakistan Tehreek Insaf government on Tuesday introduced the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the National Assembly to make intentional ridiculing and defaming the armed forces as a punishable crime. According to an insertion 500A in the Pakistan Penal Code Act 1860, whosoever intentionally ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the armed forces or member of the armed forces shall be guilty of the offence. It will be punishable with two years’ imprisonment or Rs0.5 million fines or with both.

In June this year the National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution making it mandatory to write ‘Khatam-un-Nabiyeen’ along with Prophet Muhammad’s name in official documents, books and wherever the holy name is used. 

Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from ERROR.

The Quran, Al-Baqarah 2: 256

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law enacted by President General Zia-ul-Haq in1986 and later amended by the parliament in 2004. The penalty includes a mandatory death sentence for defaming Prophet Mohammad pbuh and life imprisonment for desecrating the Holy Quran. Prior to 1986, only 14 cases pertaining to blasphemy were reported. An estimated number of 1,500 people have been charged under the stringent blasphemy laws of Pakistan between 1986, and 2017.

Junaid Hafeez: a university lecturer was arrested in March 2013 and accused of posting derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad on social media. He had studied a Master’s degree in the US on a Fulbright Scholarship, specialising in American literature, photography and theatre. After returning to Pakistan he took up a lecturer position at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, where he worked until his arrest. 34 year-old has been imprisoned without trial for six years, with much of that time spent in solitary confinement. He was sentenced to death in December 2019.

Mashal Khan: In April, 2017, a large group of students formed into a mob, accusing these students of running a Facebook page where Mashal was allegedly publishing blasphemous material. Mashal was killed inside the premises of the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan. He was in the hostel of the university when he was stripped naked and severely beaten by a group of students and then shot. He succumbed to his injuries. Graphic video footage of the lynching showed Khan was lying on the floor; his body bore marks of severe torture and was not moving. The mob was seen kicking his lifeless body and beating it with wooden planks. He was also thrown from the second floor of the building. At least 25 policemen were present in the university premises when Khan was killed. On the following day, Mashal Khan’s funeral was led by his father. Most neighbours kept away from the funeral, as threats made earlier by a local to anyone attending led them to fear follow-up attacks from religious mobs.

On the topic of blasphemy:

And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together.

The Quran, Al-Nisa 4:140

Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant.

The Quran, Al A’raf 7:199

And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.

The Quran, Al-Furqan 25: 63

Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend. And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.”

The Quran, Al-Qasas 28: 54, 55

[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs. And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance. And leave Me with [the matter of] the deniers, those of ease [in life], and allow them respite a little.

The Quran, Muzammil 73: 9, 10, 11

On the Finality of the Prophet:

 “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.”

The Quran, Al-Ahzab  33: 40

About the book itself: He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. But none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding.

The Quran, Al Imran 3: 7

Please read the verses yourself to confirm what I have quoted from the Quran.I will be at peace even if one person will understand what Quran is preaching not a cleric.

Sanity must prevail.

Nothing is sacred…..

A lot has been penned since the suicide attack outside Lal Shahbaz Qalendar’s Shrine on Thursday last week and much more should be written to denounce the ISIS mindset who is critical of rituals performed at the shrines, and is viewed as heretical by some hardline groups.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said;
This is an attack on Pakistan’s future.

Sehwan Sharif is one of the oldest towns of Sindh. It is highly respected in Sindh because of resting place of the great mystic poet Syed Mohammad Usman Marvandi known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, who preached religious tolerance among people of many religious, especially Muslims and Hindus and therefore his mysticism attracted people from many religions. He was called Lal after his usual red attire. His shrine is a true synthetic place, where Hindus and Muslims are as welcome and worship together. One of my acquaintances told me that hereditary guardian of the tomb is still a Hindu. It is narrated that there was a Shiva lingam right there in the shrine until the 1970s. All these Hindu legends and beliefs have come together with the religious belief of the Muslims to create a truly extraordinary place. It is a habitat where different religious identities are embraced.

William Dalrymple spent some time at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, meeting devotees and dervishes to understand the syncretic culture of the Sufis. In his book, Nine Lives, he describes the shrine as;

“A place where for once you saw religion acting to bring people together, not to separate them”.

In recent history the ideology of Extremism and bombing the Shrines started from Najaf. On 29 August 2003 a massive car bomb rocked the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf soon after Friday prayers, which claimed the lives 124 including one of Shiite top cleric Ayatullah Mohammad Baqar Al Hakeem who returned to Iraq after living in exile in Iran for 20 years. The bombing was the most virulent attack in Iraq in 2003. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS follows a rigidly austere threat of Islam that believes shrines are inverse to Islam and should be demolished. To further their ideology of anti-shrines second major attack was carried on 22 February 2006 on Imam Askari’s Shrine, which shattered the golden dome of one of Iraq’s most revered Shiite shrines.

al-askari_mosque_2006

On 29 March 2016 at least 72 people were wiped out in a suicide blast that took place in Lahore’s crowded Gulshan-I-Iqbal park. The powerful blast ripped through a massive crowded area of the park. Witnesses stated the crowd included a large number of Christian families celebrating Easter. Easter Sunday was supposed to be special. After going to church services, families gathered in the vast Gulshan-e-Iqbal park. Most of the victims were from Lahore’s beleaguered Christian community.

On 22 June 2016 Pakistan’s most respected musicians Amjad Farid Sabri, celebrated for devotional Qawalis from a century-old mystic tradition, was gunned down near his Liaqatabad residence. But both the music, and the shrines at which it is often performed, have long been a target for religious conservatives who despise all forms of music and consider the shrines eccentric and un-Islamic.

maxresdefault

Whether it is an attempt on the Imam Ali Shrine in Iraq or Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan or the loss of uncounted precious lives, nothing is sacrosanct to any hardline Islamists. The incorrigible behavior that Pakistan is seeing today is nowhere near the antiquated devotional attitudes and tolerant sentiments of the homeland. This is an attempt on a Pakistan’s pluralistic history, the attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar has once again demonstrated that the militants consider pluralistic Islam a threat to their own version of Islam. 305 people have been killed in 10 different attacks on Shrines since 2005.

We are not constrained by the confines of religious perimeters; this is the answer of the resilient majority of Pakistanis. We are united to overcome the extremists, and this is final.