Books and Documents

Islamic Sharia Laws (03 Sep 2012 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Pakistan blasphemes Islam

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

3 Sept 2012

 There is no Arabic word for blasphemy. Is that not interesting? English translators in their interpretative translations have translated the Arabic word kufr as blasphemy in several verses. There are twenty three verses in the Quran that contain the word blaspheme or its grammatical variants in Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Quran. These are 2:88, 102, 3:55, 4:155, 5:17, 64, 68, 72, 73, 103, 6:19, 8:35, 9:74, 10:70, 11:9, 14:28, 21:36, 21:112, 39:8, 39:32, 40:42, 43:15, 33. None of them speak about meting out punishment to the blasphemers by the ruler or by man. Verse 9:74 is about a ‘Muslim’ blasphemer a translation of which by Yusuf Ali is reproduced below. It speaks about Allah punishing them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the hereafter. By implication, the verse rules out punishment by man. Any law that seeks to punish a blasphemer is not in accordance with the Quran and goes against the letter and spirit of the Quran. 

9: 74. They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which Allah and His Messenger had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them; but if they turn back (to their evil ways), Allah will punish them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them.

 Verse 43:33 (a translation of which by Yusuf Ali is reproduced below), speaks about blasphemers and says that, were it not for making blaspheming very attractive and presumably making belief extremely unattractive in comparison, God would have granted immense wealth to every blasphemer.

43: 33. And were it not that (all) men might become of one (evil) way of life, We would provide, for everyone that blasphemes against ((Allah)) Most Gracious, silver roofs for their houses and (silver) stair-ways on which to go up,

The grievous penalty from God to one who blasphemes after belief in verse 9:74 is to help the believer return to the path of belief and righteousness if he would benefit from the punishment. God punishes in this life, those who do wrong and are likely to benefit from the punishment. Those who are too far gone and are unlikely to benefit from punishment are given a long rope and their life on this earth is made to look very attractive. Some of it is on account of their good deeds that have no rewards in the hereafter and some of it is as a test for the believers whose patience and quality of faith is tested through relative adversity when compared to the life of the non believers.

Verses 9:74 and 43:33 implicitly rule out punishment by man for blasphemy. The message of the Quran cannot be clearer on this issue for those who seek true guidance. Any law that seeks to punish a blasphemer seriously interferes with God’s plans described in 43:33. Every nation that calls itself Islamic, and has enacted laws of blasphemy, therefore seriously interferes with God’s plans and is at cross purposes with God and therefore in war with God. The nations that use the laws of blasphemy as a weapon to target and harass the minorities blaspheme Islam in the worst possible manner. May the curse of God and all Muslims be on such nations!

What then, is the basis for the law of blasphemy? When the Muslim armies conquered new lands, they came into contact with new civilizations. The first few centuries were periods of great learning. The Muslim conquerors adopted and assimilated many of the practices of the conquered territories. Muslim jurists found the legislative verses in the Quran far too little in comparison with Jewish and Christian laws. They therefore built an elaborate body of Islamic law using the principles of analogy and legal precedent to meet the requirements of governing vast territories with large non Muslim populations. The Law of apostasy, the law of blasphemy, the law of stoning adulterers to death and the practice of circumcision find no mention in the Quran but are found in Jewish and Christian scriptures. The Muslim jurists appear to have relied on the old and the new Testament for these laws although there is lack of sufficient and direct support from the practice of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for such laws.

Janab Muhammad Yunus has brought out the several glaring incidents of blaspheming that are mentioned in the Quran without a command to punish the blasphemer. I quote him below:

“The Meccan enemies of the Prophet called him impostor, a madman (30:58, 44:14, 68:51), and an insane poet (37:36). They ridiculed the Qur'anic revelation (18:56, 26:6, 37:14, 45:9), which they declared to be strange and unbelievable (38:5, 50:2), a jumble of dreams(21:5) and legends of the ancients (6:25, 23:83, 25:5, 27:68, 46:17, 68:15, 83:13). They accused the Prophet of forging lies and witchcraft (34:43, 38:4), forging lies against God, forgery and making up tales (11:13, 32:3, 38:7, 46:8), witchcraft (21:3, 43:30, 74:24), obvious witchcraft that was bewildering (10:2, 37:15, 46:7), and of being bewitched or possessed by a Jinn (17:47, 23:70, 34:8). By definition, all these accusations were blasphemous. Nowhere in its text does the Qur'an prescribe any punishment for those who uttered these blasphemies.”

The precedents that may have been relied upon by the Islamic jurists could be the killing of Asma and Abu Afak. First of all, these two were guilty of far worse crimes than just blaspheming. They were very active and influential instigators of violence against the Muslims who incited their people to kill Muslims. These two threatened the very existence of the small band of Muslims and their killing could be described as killing in self defence. Does anybody question the killing of Osama Bin Laden although OBLhimself may not have directly killed anyone? When there is evidence that there were thousands of blasphemers in the Prophet’s time, who were not harmed or punished for their various acts of blasphemy, how can exceptions which are not even exceptions on close scrutiny,  be made the basis of a rule or the law a hundred years later?

There is no evidence however, that the Muslims misused the law of blasphemy to harass the minorities in the first thousand years of Islamic history. This law existed only as an equivalent of the Jewish and Christian law on the same subject and the law was invoked very sparingly for deliberate and very public attempts to malign Islam or its Prophet.

Perfectus, a Christian priest in Muslim-ruled Córdoba, was beheaded (middle of the 9th century) after he refused to retract numerous insults he made about Muhammad (PBUH) publicly and repeatedly. Numerous other priests, monks, and laity followed his example as Christians became caught up in a zest for “martyrdom” and according to an account, about forty such deliberate and determined blasphemers were decapitated over a period of the next ten years after which blaspheming appears to have come to a stop.

The important point to note is that every blasphemer was given an opportunity to retract. A person who had blasphemed and retracted was not punished. If retracting was allowed, there was no question of punishing based on hearsay or innuendo or implied blasphemy.

 The same holds good for apostasy as well. There are several cases of apostates in the Prophet’s period who were left alone. The few who were punished were those who were also guilty of high treason endangering the lives of Muslims in a state of war or for apostasy combined with killing. There is no example of punishing anyone for a simple act of apostasy.

Pakistan is the most serious offending nation in regard to the law on blasphemy. In 1986, Section 295-C was added as follows: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Between 1927 (year in which Bristishers introduced section 295-A) and 1986 there had been only seven reported cases of blasphemy. However, 1986 onwards as many as 4,000 cases have been reported. Between 1988 and 2005, Pakistani authorities charged 647 people with offences under the Blasphemy Laws. See the contrast between the earlier practice of allowing blasphemers to retract and the Pakistan’s newly added subsection 295 C which can be invoked for “imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly”! This allows immense leeway to charge anyone with blasphemy. Going by a simple reading of the section, every non-believer is a blasphemer of Islam and its Prophet and going by the behaviour of the people, they appear to treat every non-Muslim as a blasphemer!


Pakistan’s laws on blasphemy are demonstrably unjust, unislamic and violate the letter and spirit of the Quran and without precedent from the life of the Prophet or as the law was practiced for over the first 1,000 years of Islamic history. The law promotes acts of terror on the minorities, and the practice of the law leaves no room for doubt that these laws seek to legalize acts of terrorism against the minorities. The case of the hapless 11 year old Rimsha Masih underscores the depth to which Pakistan society has descended. Pakistan blasphemes Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (who was sent as a mercy to all nations) by their barbaric laws of blasphemy and the practice which leaves no room for doubt about the intention. It is incumbent on the Muslim citizens of Pakistan to wage jehad on the infidels who defame Islam with acts of terrorism on the minorities and against the State which enact laws that blaspheme Islam and bring disrepute to Islam and its Prophet (PBUH).

Naseer Ahmed graduated from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the public and private sector in responsible positions for over 3 decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/pakistan-blasphemes-islam/d/8542



  • Only ten? Why only ten? Who were these ten specially chosen? The rest were I  suppose all his admirers.
    If you have used the word Taqiya, then you should know it's meaning. Can you tell us what it is citing your sources? 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/7/2012 4:53:41 AM

  • Another attempt at Taqiya.
    What happened to Afak and Asma ?
    When the prophet entered Mecca, he ordered about 10 people killed.  These 10 were those who blasphemed him.

    By Barani - 9/6/2012 7:54:18 PM

  • Man takes an action of dropping a stone from a height. Who decides that the stone shall fall down and not stay in the air at the spot it is left without support or rise up? The laws of nature which are by Allah's command.

    Man's actions also have consequences in accordance with God's law in a similar fashion.

    God could have created man like the angels who have no autonomy and can only be obedient but God gave man both autonmomy and intellect and provided guidance through his prophets and the Quran and yet man wants to play God and instead of trying to understand God's word, challenges God and His wisdom which is what Satan did while disobeying.

    Man can debase himself to a level lower than that  of beasts or raise himself above the level of the angels. For every effort in the positive direction, God promises help. If man chooses to distance himself instead, then God lets him loose after man reaches a point of no return.

    Make up your mind then MY2 Sb. in which direction you would like to move.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/6/2012 5:15:12 AM

  • Dear naseer Ahmed sahib, If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together."(Q.32.13).
    What I understand from the above verse is: Allah decides who will receive guidance. It is common understanding of all Muslims and I don't reject their understanding. Because He didn't will therefore majority in the world is without guidance even though He sent 1,24,000 prophets. Allah is admitting it. He is issuing threat of Hell.

    Perhaps I may be one of them He left without guidance.
    Is He just? Is he merciful?
    waiting for your answer.........

    By mohd yunus - 9/6/2012 2:11:00 AM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed sahib. You may be right. In my view The noble Quran is not a mubeen book.
    Thank you for your views.
    By mohd yunus - 9/6/2012 1:56:49 AM

  • Naseer Sb's article and comment both are adorable and worthy to be followed in practicle. Generally, a sensible person seeks guidance directly from Allah's book of wisdom, and not from Maulana. Such Islsmic scholars should come forward to help and guide the needy people with sense of true Faith in a positive way.
    By Raihan Nezami - 9/5/2012 11:38:41 PM

  • There is no dependence on the 'Maulana' for namaze janaza or for anything else.
    From Robert Grieve’s book on Islam:
    “The desertman's profound sense of equality and self reliance on which Islam is based prevented the development of any version of a church hierarchy. There is no mystical ritual, there are no human intermediaries or divine interceders between man and God. There are no sacraments to be administered by the ordained few to the supplicant many. This unadorned relationship cancels the need for baptism, confirmation, confession, extreme unction as well as the functions of a ministering priesthood.
    The Quran is God's legacy to man, unreservedly available to all. For a Muslim therefore, the central act of devotion is not to be found in following any supervised rite or sacrament, but by reading and contemplating God's direct word to man, set out in a book which he can open, read and interpret for himself.
    Conversion to Islam, as a practical example of this straightforwardness, follows a simple formula. After repeating the words of the Kalima (I affirm that there is no god but the God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God), the speaker has become a Muslim, responsible for gathering his belief for himself directly from the original sources of the Quran and Hadith, although this process may, of course, be assisted by the writings and teachings of experts.”
    When there is no official religious hierarchy or a priestly class based on birth, and when the Quran is a book that makes things clear (Kitabum Mubeen) and without any crookedness, and requires no intermediary or scholar to understand its basic message, why blame anyone except oneself for not understanding it?  Contrary to what is said, the Quran is very easy to understand even without knowing the context in which the verses were revealed. 
    Every other scripture other than the Quran is available only as a translation since the original language of revelation is no longer spoken or understood today. In some cases, the priestly class, while translating, have deliberately used allegorical language to make it difficult to understand by the layman making the services of the priest indispensable and also to render the verses to be interpreted in many ways to suit the priests purpose.
    In the case of the Quran, while no one dare touch the original word, the scholars have spun a mystique about the book to make the lay person think that it cannot be understood except through their interpretations. God however says that it is a book that make things clear. So trust God and seek God's help to understand the Book and proceed. The only condition to receiving guidance is that the Book should be approached in a manner befitting it's majesty - after performing ablution and with humility and reverence in the heart and after a small prayer for guidance or Surah fateha.
    Stop asking people to explain . Seek God's help.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/5/2012 8:25:54 PM

  • Naseer Sb. says, " If the Quran deals with the subject of blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality and does not prescribe any punishment, there the matter ends." - - I fully concur.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/5/2012 2:54:02 PM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed Sahib
    I agree that the noble Quran does not give any authority to clergy.
    I think:
    1. It is easier to follow and difficult to search own path.
    2. The majority of Muslims consists of common man, and common man don't think ahead. They are busy in earning their bread. They need some entertainment, so movies, serials, etc are attractive options.
    3. Clergy has taught easy lessons. Recite Quran for sawab, offer namaz, go to Urs, ask the saints  offer the Qurbani, etc. 100 baar kalima padhen, 100 bar darood sharief padhen, 100 baar astagfar padhen. sab theek ho jayega duniya men bhi aur akhirat men bhi.
    4. Wear Islamic dress (I don't know what is it). Keep the women under control (parda)
    4. Highly educated Muslim first they don't feel any need. Some come across secular thinking . They have some doubts. When doubts are not cleared they chose path of atheism.
    5. Dua se sare kaam ho jaate hain. Dua ibadat ka magz hai.
    There are more reasons.
    You asked What Maulana control?
    Maulana create atmosphere for their purpose. If you confront them, you may be framed in apostasy. Your namaze janaza may be denied. Muslims ask fatwa for everything. They shower  you with Dua.
    Muqaalid are better than gair muqqallid.
    Since I am not a scholar and good writer my points may look scattered. But the readers are smart, they will understand.
    I don't know where do you live? Neither I want to know. But your question about clergy's influence is astonishing for me.
    I don't  agree with you on "
    I repeat for the upteenth time that the Quran can be understood from a simple, unadorned, literal translation"

    If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together."(Q.32.13)

    "This is an admonition: whosoever will, let him take a path to his Lord. But ye will not, except as Allah wills ... He will admit to his mercy whom He wills. But the wrongdoers - for them has he prepared a grievous penalty."

    I want to see what a common man will understand from quoted verses.
    I share the view with majority Quran can't be understood without Ahadith.
    I share the view with critics that neither the Quran is a miracle nor easy as it claimed by the Quran.

    We can start serious discussion without any sarcasm, threatening or insult.
    Because you are better educated than me I will learn from you. I reserve the right of disagreement and you too.

    By mohd yunus - 9/5/2012 8:17:59 AM

  • Dear MY2 Sb,

    If all the Muslims read the Quran and follow it and disregard the Mullahs what can they do?

    What is it that they control? Does the Quran grant any authority to the `scholars, maulanas etc' over the common Muslim?

    The problem is that the common man will make no attempt to read and understand the Quran and has 'abdicated' his responsibility. The Quran is meant for every Muslim to read,  understand, and follow.

    I repeat for the upteenth time that the Quran can be understood from a simple, unadorned, literal translation.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/5/2012 3:45:01 AM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed sahib
    Do you remember if you read history, how Rajpal publisher of "Rangeela Rasool" was killed by Alamdeen geting inspired by a fiery speech of a maulana. What role Muslim leaders and Muslims played at that time? How Alamdeen  earned the title Ghazi? What Allama Iqbal said about Alamdeen?
    Think about Sharaddhanand.
    I just mention Governer Taseer rest you know.
    What power you have to stop if you think it is wrong?
    The Maulanas are smart enough. They deliver speeches, and Muslims implement. Their own children never kill anybody. They kill by speeches because they will not be caught on the basis of speeches.
    Islomophobia is real. you want to delude the people by saying it has no base. It is creation of enemies. Let us suppose enemies are creating, but who is validating them?
    If you believe it is lawful to kill the apostates, refute the article of Md Yunus(1) on apostasy law.

    By mohd yunus - 9/5/2012 12:21:44 AM

  • allah has declared penalty for the blaphemes accordinglly, "The grievous penalty from God to one who blasphemes after belief in verse 9:74 is to help the believer return to the path of belief and righteousness if he would benefit from the punishment". Yet people of this world are unaware about the Qur'anic didtacts and are victimizing innocents for
    By Raihan Nezami - 9/5/2012 12:19:20 AM

  • Salman Rushdie has come out of hiding and no one has killed him. He has not retracted either. The death sentence was for lampooning the Ayatollah is what people say. This is what the Ayatollahs have descended to. Is Islam to blame for it?
    For me, Islam is in the Quran. If the Quran deals with the subject of blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality and does not prescribe any punishment, there the matter ends. There were many apostates and blasphemers in the Prophet's time who were left alone.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/4/2012 11:54:57 PM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed. I read your comments you shared with Editor. It allowed me to see how do you think, and what you believe. You have every right to believe in whatever you like.
    Hasan Abbas saheb has raised a very valid question. I ask the same Question with some addition. How are you going to save the apostates from Muslims. How much time you will take? Some like Md Yunus(1) perhaps you also say that there is no capital punishment for apostasy in Quran.  But it is in Islam, do you want to refute come on. Actions speak louder.
    Do you want to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich?
    Please visit the wikiislam.net. Refute them and if successful ask them to remove. khalqe khuda gumrah ho rahi hai bhai. Satan is using his freedom with the permission of Allah. Please do a greater Jihad
    Aisa bataya jata hai ki Aalam Arwah men Allah ne hamse vada liya tha ki hum allah ke siva kisi ki ibadat nahi karenge. What is the proof? Proof is Quran and Ahadith. But non-Muslim don't believe in these proofs.
    Is there any other proof?

    By mohd yunus - 9/4/2012 11:49:02 PM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmad Sahib:
    Contrary to your opinion, all the Islamic sects, in accordance with their interpretation of Quran and Hadith,  recommend capital punishment for apostates. Now the question is: Who has the authority to resolve the controversy? 
    Salman Rushdi was awarded death penalty, forcing him to remain in hiding for a long time. Danger is that a zealot like Qadri (murderer of Salman Taseer) may try to kill him. 

    By Hasan Abbas - 9/4/2012 1:25:16 PM

Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.