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Interview: Dr Khalid Zaheer, Religious Scholar

By 28 December 2010 27 Comments

“Capital punishment for blasphemy is simply not Islamic”
- Dr Khalid Zaheer, Religious Scholar and Dean of the
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,
University of Central Punjab


Q: Is the death penalty prescribed under the Blasphemy Law Islamic? Has it been derived from the Quran?

A: A law that punishes people who are involved in the act of blasphemy, to me, is not directly derived from the Quran – there is no clear mention in the Quran about the punishment for blasphemy. Muslims have a right to frame a blasphemy law, but not to prescribe the death penalty as punishment.

Capital punishment can only be given in two instances, according to the Quran. If somebody is a murderer, he can be killed after his [act of] murder is confirmed. If somebody is involved in the act of spreading mischief on earth, that too is an act for which the ultimate punishment can be death. But no third crime has been mentioned by the Quran which is punishable by capital punishment.

The law currently in place is against this basic understanding. The Quran mentions quite a few instances of blasphemy that were committed by people during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH). And for all the cases that have been mentioned in the Quran, the Almighty has responded by asking the believers to just ignore them, or by telling the non-believers that they would face dire consequences in the hereafter.

One must concede that there are a few instances that have been mentioned in Hadith literature where the death punishment was apparently inflicted upon people who were involved in the act of blasphemy. However, if you look at these instances and then study the Quranic text, it seems there is a conflict or contradiction. In actual fact, all these mentions in the Hadith have to be read in the light of what the Quran says. When we look at these incidents in light of the Quranic understanding, things become quite clear.

The Quran tells us that the punishment for those who receive the message from the messengers [prophets] directly, yet go on denying it beyond a certain deadline (that is decided by the Almighty himself), and reject the direct message of the messengers, is death. But that sentence has got nothing to do with people other than those who receive the message from the messenger directly. So if there are mentions in the Hadith that give us an understanding that there were some people who were killed because they denied, rejected and ridiculed the Prophet (PBUH), the Quran also clarifies that this punishment has got nothing to do with any other nation except the one that received the message from the messenger directly.

Q: So does that mean that in today’s day and age, since the message is not being received directly, the state cannot carry out such a punishment?

A: The state cannot execute a punishment of this nature. If it wants to reprimand – by imprisoning or imposing a fine – that is within its jurisdiction. Of course, it still cannot be claimed that it is an Islamic punishment because for a punishment to be Islamic you have to bring forth evidence from the Quran and Hadith.

Islam does not disallow coming up with a law for your own purposes in the light of, and in keeping with the spirit of Islam, but then it has to be rational, fair and applicable to all people across the board and without any bias or prejudice. But capital punishment for blasphemy is simply not Islamic.

Q: Do you think the rest of the law is in keeping with Islamic injunctions?

A: No, not at all. I think the way it has been mentioned, it is clearly biased against non-Muslims. It does not include revered personalities of other religions. It provides people who would otherwise want to exact revenge from non-Muslims or even Muslims, the opportunity of involving them in the act of blasphemy, and I think this too is a clear weakness of the law.

Q: In several instances, innocent people, especially minorities, have been framed under the law…

A: Absolutely, and I can’t see any reason why non-Muslims who are living as a tiny minority in a country like Pakistan would do it [blaspheme]. And even if they do, the better approach would be to question them about [the nature of] their grievances. We are the kind of people who should be involved in preaching and disseminating the message politely. People are then inclined to take it more positively. With such harsh punishments for alleged acts of blasphemy, we are just driving people away from Islam.

Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She has a masters in English from the University of Karachi. Find her on twitter @FariehaAziz.

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The opinions expressed in this article and the views shared by readers in the comment forum below do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance or policies of Newsline.

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  • Asim Khan said:

    Thank you so much Dr Zaheer for speaking out against this barbaric law.

    Islam is a religion of peace and blasphemy law does not make sense in that context. If Islam allowed it Prophet Mohammed(pbuh) himself would have punished the old lady who used to throw rubbish on him. Instead he visited her home to find out about her health on the day she wasn’t there to ridicule him (by her apparently not-so blasphemous act). That is the true spirit of Islam.

  • temporal said:

    this should be translated into urdu and distributed to everyone after friday prayers

  • Newsline » Blog Archive » Pakistan and the Blasphemy Law said:

    [...] Interview: Dr Khalid Zaheer: A respected religious scholar discusses blasphemy and the death penalty [...]

  • Sarfraz Hussain Naqvi said:

    I agree with Dr. Khalid Zaheer. But how can you remove power of spreading hatred in the masses from the Mulla who is in MOST direct contact with the common Muslims five times a day and has the responsibility of delivering one sermon (at least) every week??? Mulla in the Mosque just cannot be ignored. In case we intend to control the situation and bring sanity in the masses then Mulla and Mosque have to be ISLAMISED in the light of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet of Islam. It is only the educated people who can do that. MEDIA in this regard is NOT doing its job as it should be done.

  • nilrem said:

    I have one question.

    I don’t support blasphemy law..i agree it needs fixing..BUT

    How did Dr.Khalid Zaheer reach the conclusion that the capital punishment is only for those who are given the message ‘directly’? How did he restrict the meaning of the word ‘directly’ to its literal meaning?

    I don’t think he can make the claim that the interpretation he has given of the word ‘directly’ is the ONLY intepretation that’ll be extremely obnoxious and narcisstic of him.

    The way to phrase this should’ve been:

    “according to Khalid Zaheer’s interpretation of the Quran, directly means so and so”

    this is small but it makes a lot of difference. when ‘scholars’ make such claims they mislead people. and scholars are amongst those who’ll be sent to dozakh before everyone else.

    thank you.

  • Wainwright: Taseer’s Assassination Lays Bare Contradictions in Pakistani Islam | Informed Comment said:

    [...] interviewed recently about the blasphemy law. Dr. Khalid Zaheer of the University of Central Punjab is against the death penalty for blasphemy and says: “One must concede that there are a few instances that have been mentioned in Hadith literature [...]

  • Absar said:

    Thank you, Dr Khalid Zaheer for enlightening us on the most important issue of today. I also loved your article at Tribune. May Allah bless you.

  • nauman said:

    rational scholar.

  • Ahsan said:

    I am really sorry for all of you but I am really amazed why no one here has raised a question here tht why Dr. Khalid Zaheer is just referring to Quran for explaining his point of view against blasphemy. Islam teachings cannot be completely understood without referring to Ahadith. As per Islamic law the punishment for the blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) is nothing but death. When the Prophet of mercy Muhammad (saaw) opened Makkah, he ordered the killing of few individuals “even if they were wrapped …in the curtains of the Ka’ba”, and among them were those who committed blasphemy against the Prophet. Abdullah Bin Khtal was killed while he was holding the curtains of the Ka’ba so were the two women Sara and Qareeba. [Tabari] Also in the third Hijra, The Prophet (saaw) got the Jew Ka’ab bin Ashraf assassinated through a commando operation led by Muhammad Bin Muslima [ra] who used to use foul language against the Prophet (saww). [Tabari] Muslim can never forgive the one who commit blasphemy of the Prophet (saaw) then how come these traitor rulers have the audacity to change the law of Allah? The so-called westernized NGO’s are once again mobilizing to ridicule the Islamic punishments. If Aasia Bibi has not committed the blasphemy against the Prophet (saaw) and was innocent then it is the fault of the western judicial system currently implemented in Pakistan and not the punishment system of Islam. In Islamic judicial system, a person is sentenced only through definite evidences (bayyinaat) in which no doubtful or circumstantial evidence or proof can used. As for the argument from certain quarters that blasphemy law is being misused and hence be repealed, then the same argument can be used for other articles of the penal code such as 302 (premeditated murder) and 307 (attempted murder). In fact the whole English penal code is defective and is regularly misused by the criminals. For example the mere registration of a case against a person allows the police to through the accused into jail whereas in Islamic justice system there is no room for such injustices.
    This whole discussion is manifestation of naiveness of the argument that the constitution is based on Islam. The reality is that the people want Islam and the system drives towards something else so consequently there will be a clash and so…neone might decide to take things in their own hand.
    be it lal masjid or this incident this discussion whether their actions were right or wrong is futile in my opinion. in both the cases people decided to take things in their own hand when they thought that the system is doing nothing to represent their opinion.
    people in Pakistan want Islamic law as polls after polls show. as long as that is not implemented we will keep on seeing this dichotomy and hence actions according to them. Although in Islam a qazi decides after all the evidences and discussions whether someone is guilty of blasphemy or not. but here we dont have the qazi and people dont trust the so called free judiciary which implements the British penal code and thus does not represent what people think.
    based on the evidences i quoted above and many other it is an established opinion through out history and now that if someone is committing blasphemy the punishment is capital punishment.
    Please watch this program and then you can make your on mind about this issue.
    Just for the punishment of blasphemy in other religions including christianity [Book of Leviticus 24:16] and Hindusm is also nothing but death [Manusmriti 9:248]. May Allah show us the right direction. Ameen

  • Mohammadan Slave said:

    Scholars like Khalid Zaheer are the by-products of West.

  • rehan said:

    I would like to say a couple of things in the context of Pakistan

    1)Lets put a hypothetical scenario that had there been no balsphemy law in Pakistan and someone God forbid try to disgrace our beloved Prophet SAW. In that case since a vast majority of people has a deep and emotional relationship with the prophet will definitely attempt to revenge by killing that person. That kind of scenarios will create a chaos in the society. The importance of law can hardly be overemphasised

    2) It is hard to accept that if one thing is applicable at one but it was not applicable now will also create a lot of confusion among the common followers of Islam

  • PJ said:

    To Ahsan: Quran first, Ahadith second. That’s what Dr Zaheer is saying.

  • Maheen said:

    Indeed it is amazing how people pass fatwas on something not being Islamic simply because it is not derived from the Quran ["Capital punishment for blasphemy is simply not Islamic”]!

    ["...With such harsh punishments for alleged acts of blasphemy, we are just driving people away from Islam."] There is a lot about Islam which if seen out of context will drive people away from it, but that does not mean we disown it. In fact we may not even know the context behind a lot of the “negative side” of Islam, but we leave it to the greater hikmat of Allah SWT rather than trying to shun it.

    I am no scholar and I do not intend to declare whether or not the law is even implementable in the current situation, nor do I intend to dig deep into the context behind the supposedly conflicting ahadith about blasphemous acts, but it is indeed highly irresponsible to pass such misleading, one-sided, statements.

  • Syed Abdus Sami said:

    I completely agree with the examples Mr.Ahsan has given above. We should take the teachings from ahadiths before getting to some conclusion..
    I do not want to comment on Mr Salman Taseer’s issue and whether Mumtaz Qadri did right to take the law in his hand. But its is proven from the life of Muhammad (SAW)that the punishement of someone commiting blasphemy is death.

  • Imran said:

    Ahsan, all the examples where blasphemers were punished by death was for those who habitually went around doing it. Not for those who said in an outburst. There are numerous examples of forgiveness too.
    The Holy Prophet(PBUH) was rehmatulil alimeen.
    Our laws r very islamic, the issue of islamisation was solved in the 1973 constitution where every religious party also agreed. No law against Quran and sunnah can be made in Pk. Thats written in the constitution. We also have laws for gambling, drinking, hudood, roza and our marriage and inheritance laws are islamic too. Judge ho ya Qazi, wat islam orders is justice and a muslim judge can give justice, we do not need a qazi for it.(Next we will say we need hakeems not doctors). Islam orders us to do justice whether a qazi or a judge gives it is immaterial. For purely religious matters we also have a federal shariat court. Our islamisation is complete.Its upto us now to become good muslims, its not upto rules and regulations. Our blasphemy laws has certain design flaws because of which justice is often not done so if someone says we should amend it to make it more compatible with justice and Islam, thats not a reason to kill him.

  • Imran said:

    Imran your hypothetical situation is interesting but you know, one angle to it is that in a country where muslims are 97% majority, do we really need a blasphemy law. Would a muslim do blasphemy and would a non-muslim do it in a muslim majority country?
    http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2010/12/pakistan-and-the-blasphemy-law/ in this article, the author revealed how Maulana fazlur rehman and other parties agreed to amend section 295C. He was the law minister at the time.
    read the last three paragraphs of this saudi editorial and see what the rest of the world thinks.

  • Bibi said:

    Why are some of our fellow Muslims so concerned with punishing people who they think committed blasphemy? Why cannot that time be better spent in promoting the correct image of Islam and doing something to make lives of fellow Muslims better? If there are some instances of our prophet (pbuh) having given punishment for blasphemy, then by that same token there are several other very prominent incidences of him having forgiven those who abused him. Also the decision to give death sentence was given by the prophet (pbuh), how can we who are mere men assume to have the same authority. Is that also not blasphemy?

    Also why is any tolerant, peaceful interpretation of Islam is quickly labeled as Western influenced? Have such people no knowledge of the history of Islam and it’s empires? Islamic empires promoted learning, peace, tolerance and were the fore fathers of scholars like Dr. Zaheer. They did not promote or support extremist thoughts, hate and narrow minded opinions. Our people need to read our history to open their eyes and minds to realise the truth and stop obsessing about the West. Muslims have their own ancient tradition of liberal tolerant thinking.

  • Khalid Zaheer said:

    I must thank Ahsan for sending a very eloquent description of the point of view the proponents of which believe that the punishment for blasphemy is death even though the Qur’an clarifies that death can only be pronounced as a punishment against two crimes: murder and causing mischief on earth.

    My friend has mentioned a number of ahadith which inform us that people were killed on charges of blasphemy. On the other hand the Qur’an mentions the incidents when hypocrites and others attempted to ridicule the Prophet alaihissalaam, his companions, and the message brought. See 2:104, 4:140, 5:57-8, 63:8, for instance. All these verses were revealed in Madinah where Islamic punishments could be implemented because the Prophet alaihissalaam, was the ruler there. Al-Maidah (fifth surah) in particular was one of the very last surahs to have been revealed. In none of these mentions we find any worldly punishment whatsoever desired against the perpetrators of these crimes. Let’s not forget that by its own description, the Qur’an is a clear book (44:1-2), it has come to resolve religious disputes (2:213), and no one, including the Prophet alaihissalaam, can go against its verdicts (10:15).

    Given these facts, Brother Ahsan, we have three options: We ignore what is mentioned in the Qur’an and follow what is mentioned in ahadith; we ignore what is mentioned in ahadith and follow what is described in the Qur’an; or we explain what is found in ahadith in the light of the Qur’an.

    I have attempted to go for the third option. And I have found overwhelming evidence in the Qur’an do to so. Without denying any of the incidents in the ahadith, one can explain them as God’s punishment for people who received His message from His messenger directly. In other words the attitude of ignoring the ignorants (qalu salama: 25:63) is meant for all times to come and the incidents not reported in ahadith were manifestation of God’s punishment on the immediate addressees of the prophet.

    View it from another angle: Imagine you were living in Iraq a hundred years after the demise of the Prophet alaihissalam. There weren’t any books of ahadith. At best some people were transmitting some information about the Prophet’s (PBUH) time verbally. But you had the Qur’an with you. What opinion would you have formed about blasphemy? Was Islam incomplete then and was completed later on the appearance of books of ahadith in the third century hijrah?

    Kindly go through my article and the ensuing debate in the Express Tribune through the following link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/96867/the-real-blasphemers/

  • Asfiya said:

    The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was called names during his lifetime. The sahaba were aware of the saddening taunts and verbal abuse directed against the Prophet (s.a.w). Still, there were no cries for execution. No petitions or rallies.

    True, to insult any innocent person, especially a Prophet of Allah is a heinous and morally repugnant.
    A person who speaks foul words, foremost, exhibits his/her own insolence and ignorance. They, primarily defame themselves first, before disregarding anyone else. Such people have no worth in society. They are a fog that lifts on a heated day and makes the atmosphere blurry for a while. But because it has no weight, it lifts quickly and disappears. So try not to succumb low to the level of these insignificant and unintelligent people who create mayhem in society and spread resentment.

    Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was attacked, Allah revealed a ayah or a complete Surah in the Qur’an to defend him. We should study those revelations and teach them. Ustazah just gave a beautiful talk in UAE on Surah al Qalam. Muse over the pearls in this Surah and teach it – give talks in school, print/publish small pamphlets, booklets, make power point presentations, youtube videos to clarify the misconceptions people have about the Prophet (s.a.w) so they know that he was a noble man.
    We live in the information age. The world appreciates the people who can explain and express themselves eloquently. Violence and anger is a sign of weakness and retardedness. So be calm, retain your composure and respond to “talk” with “talk”

    Allah Knows Best.

  • Asfiya said:

    The worst way you can hurt me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBdzej8h3dA

  • Zakintosh said:

    The Qur’an, under all Muslims, is the only way to do things properly. This is under all different sects of Islam.

    Ahaadiths – many of which are unbelievably bad and can be dismissed, too – can be ‘sorted’ and those that agree with the Qur’an or its principles may be taken into account.

    In matters where nothing is written in the Qur’an (strange, since many feel it’s “a complete book”!) one should use one’s mind and take some of the Prophet’s words as directions. Culture, too, plays a part and if the act is not against the Qur’an it should be possible to do many of the things.

    I think this would suit all Muslims, without recourse to calling each other “kuffaar” and other stupid names. The first 200-300 years there were no Ahaadiths … and the Prophet was not in this world. Was Islam incomplete then? What about the Muslims of that time? Did they become hallf-Muslims since there was no Ahaadiths?

  • A Malik said:

    Schoalrs like him are gift from Allah, they are spreading true Islam. May Allah protect him and his whole team.
    I agree Hadees should be seen in the light of Quran. Hadees helps us understanding Quran not adds new things to Deen. so simple.

  • Haroon said:

    To all those people who THINK that punishment of DEATH is Islamic :

    Dear bro and sisters ,we CANNOT accept ANY hadith which contradicts QURAN! QURAN is the prime source .All the ahadees were written AFTER the demise of the Holy Prophet S.A.W .So many of them in renowned books as Sahi-Bukhari,Sahi Muslim and few others are accepted by majority and many are WEAK ahadees .So a muslim should first follow the QURAN and THEN haddes.As Allah has promised to save gaurd QURAN till the last day of judgement ,even little zaber or zair will never be changed.BUT any hadees can be questioned !many people added their own words or interpretations later while narrating Hazoor S.A.W words !
    u can take a look at this video


  • Sohail said:

    Dr Zahid, A Scholar of Islam???

    Would like to tell me from which institution have you studied the sciences of Islam? Your claim to being a scholar proves to be quite a farse as soon as the very first paragraph of your interview. I would suggest you consult a scholar, do tauba and read shahadah again!

  • fara said:

    The ruling on one who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)

    The scholars are unanimously agreed that a Muslim who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becomes a kaafir and an apostate who is to be executed. This consensus was narrated by more than one of the scholars, such as Imaam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad, al-Khattaabi and others. Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/13-16

    This ruling is indicated by the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

    In the Qur’aan it says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “The hypocrites fear lest a Soorah (chapter of the Qur’aan) should be revealed about them, showing them what is in their hearts. Say: ‘(Go ahead and) mock! But certainly Allaah will bring to light all that you fear.’

    If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’

    Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed”

    [al-Tawbah 9:64-66]

    This verse clearly states that mocking Allaah, His verses and His Messenger constitutes kufr, so that applies even more so to insulting. The verse also indicates that whoever belittles the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is also a kaafir, whether he was serious or joking.

    With regard to the Sunnah, Abu Dawood (4362) narrated from ‘Ali that a Jewish woman used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and say bad things about him, so a man strangled her until she died, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled that no blood money was due in this case.

    Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Saarim al-Maslool (1/162): This hadeeth is jayyid, and there is a corroborating report in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas which we will quote below.

    This hadeeth clearly indicates that it was permissible to kill that woman because she used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

    Abu Dawood (4361) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that a blind man had a freed concubine (umm walad) who used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and say bad things about him. He told her not to do that but she did not stop, and he rebuked her but she did not heed him. One night, when she started to say bad things about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and insult him, he took a short sword or dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it and killed her. The following morning that was mentioned to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He called the people together and said, “I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right over him that he should stand up.” The blind man stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I am the one who did it; she used to insult you and say bad things about you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not give up her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was kind to me. Last night she began to insult you and say bad things about you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.” Thereupon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Bear witness, there is no blood money due for her.”

    (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 3655)

    It seems that this woman was a kaafir, not a Muslim, for a Muslim could never do such an evil action. If she was a Muslim she would have become an apostate by this action, in which case it would not have been permissible for her master to keep her; in that case it would not have been good enough if he were to keep her and simply rebuke her.

    Al-Nasaa’i narrated (4071) that Abu Barzah al-Aslami said: A man spoke harshly to Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq and I said, ‘Shall I kill him?’ He rebuked me and said, ‘That is not for anyone after the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) .’” (Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 3795)

    It may be noted from this that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had the right to kill whoever insulted him and spoke harshly to him, and that included both Muslims and kaafirs.

    The second issue is: if a person who insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repents, should his repentance be accepted or not?

    The scholars are agreed that if such a person repents sincerely and regrets what he has done, this repentance will benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and Allaah will forgive him.

    But they differed as to whether his repentance should be accepted in this world and whether that means he is no longer subject to the sentence of execution.

    Maalik and Ahmad were of the view that it should not be accepted, and that he should be killed even if he has repented.

    They quoted as evidence the Sunnah and proper understanding of the ahaadeeth:

    In the Sunnah, Abu Dawood (2683) narrated that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas said: “On the Day of the Conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted safety to the people except for four men and two women, and he named them, and Ibn Abi Sarh… As for Ibn Abi Sarh, he hid with ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, and when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called the people to give their allegiance to him, he brought him to stand before the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, “O Prophet of Allaah, accept the allegiance of ‘Abd-Allaah.” He raised his head and looked at him three times, refusing him, then he accepted his allegiance after the third time. Then he turned to his companions and said: “Was there not among you any smart man who could have got up and killed this person when he saw me refusing to give him my hand and accept his allegiance?” They said, “We do not know what is in your heart, O Messenger of Allaah. Why did you not gesture to us with your eyes?” He said, “It is not befitting for a Prophet to betray a person with a gesture of his eyes.”

    (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2334)

    This clearly indicates that in a case such as this apostate who had insulted the Prophet (S), it is not obligatory to accept his repentance, rather it is permissible to kill him even if he comes repentant.

    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Sa’d was one of those who used to write down the Revelation, then he apostatized and claimed that he used to add whatever he wanted to the Revelation. This was a lie and a fabrication against the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it was a kind of insult. Then he became Muslim again and was a good Muslim, may Allaah be pleased with him. Al-Saarim 115.

    With regard to proper understanding of the ahaadeeth:

    They said that insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has to do with two rights, the right of Allaah and the right of a human being. With regard to the right of Allaah, this is obvious, because it is casting aspersions upon His Message, His Book and His Religion. As for the right of a human being, this is also obvious, because it is like trying to slander the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by this insult. In a case which involves both the rights of Allaah and the rights of a human being, the rights of the human beings are not dropped when the person repents, as in the case of the punishment for banditry, because if the bandit has killed someone, that means that he must be executed and crucified. But if he repents before he is caught, then the right of Allaah over him, that he should be executed and crucified, no longer applies, but the rights of other humans with regard to qisaas (retaliatory punishment) still stand. The same applies in this case. If the one who insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repents, then the rights of Allaah no longer apply, but there remains the right of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which still stand despite his repentance.

    If it is said, “Can we not forgive him, because during his lifetime the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forgave many of those who had insulted him and he did not execute them?” The answer is:

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sometimes chose to forgive those who had insulted him, and sometimes he ordered that they should be executed, if that served a greater purpose. But now his forgiveness is impossible because he is dead, so the execution of the one who insults him remains the right of Allaah, His Messenger and the believers, and the one who deserves to be executed cannot be let off, so the punishment must be carried out.

    Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/438

    Insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is one of the worst of forbidden actions, and it constitutes kufr and apostasy from Islam, according to scholarly consensus, whether done seriously or in jest. The one who does that is to be executed even if he repents and whether he is a Muslim or a kaafir. If he repents sincerely and regrets what he has done, this repentance will benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and Allaah will forgive him.

    Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote a valuable book on this matter, entitled al-Saarim al-Maslool ‘ala Shaatim al-Rasool which every believer should read, especially in these times when a lot of hypocrites and heretics dare to insult the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) because they see that the Muslims are careless and feel little protective jealousy towards their religion and their Prophet, and they do not implement the shar’i punishment which would deter these people and their ilk from committing this act of blatant kufr.

    And Allaah knows best. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions

  • rehan said:

    To me hadith is a very important source of guidance for us and there should be no contradiction between quran and an authentic hadith. As all the acts and words of our prophet were strictly in line with shariah. We must also accept that it is very sentimental matter for muslim ummah.If we have a consensus that our beloved prophet perfomred some act during his life time or some act is performed during his life and he endorsed this act; we should take this act as a part of sunnah and should act upon it in the true spirit.

    In this context; now if the killing of Kaub bin Ashraf who tried to insult or disgrace our prophet during his life and a follower killed him. This follower subsequently got full support of our prophet for his act.

    And secondly after the Muslims entred Makkah and our prophet ordered to kill one of a poet who tried to humilate him through his poetry. That person was subsequently killed in Haram. We must remember that at that time complete pardon was given to all and sundry of Makkah but that person was an exception. If these two incidents are correct; then we cannot say that the punishment under blasphemy is incorrect. Although after that we can still discuss the procedural aspect of law and we can still make a debate that which act comes under the blasphemy or not

  • Asad Noor Pugganwala said:

    We should be so much thankful to Allah the Almighty for creating such learned people like Dr. Khalid Zaheer and Javed Ahmad Ghamdi.They are learned, brave,couragous to enlighten our society with their in depth and true knowledge of Islam.May Allah protect them and give them long life AMEEN.As muslims we should only and only take guidance from Quran and Hadees.Balsphemy law in Pakistan has nothing to do with Islam.The Quran mentions quite a few instances of blasphemy that were committed by people during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH). And for all the cases that have been mentioned in the Quran, the Almighty has responded by asking the believers to just ignore them, or by telling the non-believers that they would face dire consequences in the hereafter.I think that is enough for our guidance.