The Real Culprit Is Not Anti Blasphemy Law, It is the Way We Approach Religion

Raza Habib Raja

Right now, the news of a Christian woman being convicted and sentenced to death by a lower court, are making headlines in some of the liberal segments of society. The kind of sick society we are, I am not surprised that it is not inviting the outrage at a broader level. The Urdu newspapers have hardly given it the coverage but what is most regrettable is the overall virtual absence of large scale condemnation. The newspapers in Pakistan are commercial entities and cater to the “tastes” of their mostly rightwing conservative customers. Heck, even Talat Hussain has to transform into Ansar Abbassi when he writes in our “national” language.

 In that small liberal segment, actually a fringe in our society, the blasphemy law is under criticism with calls to repeal it. I would like to point out to all those that they are just targeting a symbolic thing. Culprit is the not the law. Of course law should be repealed, but repealing alone will never solve the issue. For that matter no one has actually been executed after even being convicted. Let’s not forget even if the law was not in existence, people would have simply killed the woman. In fact in blasphemy cases, people have been even killed in the jail when their cases were in progress. Repealing the law will only remove a symbol of religion’s infusion with state; it will by no stretch of imagination prevent people from becoming violent. For that matter repealing it without addressing the real issue will cause people to become even more bigoted than they are now. In fact the law cannot be repealed through democratic ways in the first place until the major issue is tackled.

The real issue is the general religious bigotry which is rampant in the society which in turn emanates from the mindset and the overall cultural set up of Pakistan. This cultural set up gives religion extreme reverence and cultivates an identity based on it, which is extraordinarily sensitive on all the religous matters.  This reverence of religion and the resulting bigotry is primarily cultural though has state as its major patron.  The issue is not restricted to the fusion of religion with state. State is one of the patrons of religion, but is not the sole determinant of its reverence.

The role of religion, particularly the sensitivity arising from it is chiefly coming from our childhood training during which religion is presented as something extremely venerable. A culture of not questioning it is imposed first at home and then later at the schools. The fusion of reverence along with its unquestionable status, cultivates a violent prone and bigotry ridden mindset. It cultivates an atmosphere where a mob can actually get away with extremely violent acts in the name of religion. People even if they do not actually feel the anger, can still get violent to vent out their gutter instincts under the guise of religious honour knowing fully well that no one will be able to stop them. In fact we know that several times Police became a silent spectator when the mob was imposing their “justice” on the victims. What happened at Gojra is still fresh in our memories. Police and the district administration actually became a de facto accomplice.  

 We cannot address the issue unless we are able to actually desensitize people from religion. And that cannot be done without cultivating a culture where religion can be critically discussed. Unless and until the educated of this country show collective courage and are ready to do that, frankly nothing can change. Moreover, change in this case has to take top down approach. Frankly the elite and the affluent middleclass have to play a role. The political elite which have historically shown impotence and  tried to manipulate religious sensitivity to their advantage, have to muster up the courage and promote liberal discourse on the role of religion in the public sphere. Only from such discourse can a change in educational curriculum can take place which in time will promote a culture of tolerance.

 Moreover, in Pakistan unlike Turkey, secularism and for that matter even religious tolerance cannot come from either barrel of a gun or other establishment institutions. This is because army in Pakistan has evolved to use Islam as a gluing force within its ranks. A powerful army in Turkey may be the guardian of secularism but this is not going to be the case in Pakistan. The best you can hope is that since army is still not radicalized and uses Islam only for strategic purposes (except during Zia’s time), it will not move in to thwart a critical discourse on religion. Our only hope remains democracy.

 Leaders of liberal parties like PPP have to show the courage. They have the sway over the masses and moreover I think they have to rectify their historical blunders such as 1973 constitution and second amendment. Despite its mistakes, PPP along with other liberal parties remains the only hope. So leaders of PPP, ANP and MQM, all those who claim to be liberal, please come forward and prove your credentials.

40 Comments

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40 responses to “The Real Culprit Is Not Anti Blasphemy Law, It is the Way We Approach Religion

  1. amar

    Raza writes: “This reverence of religion and the resulting bigotry is primarily cultural..”

    No it is isn’t. It is inherent in this arabic religion itself. Read the imported hadith and other islamic literature – it is full of whipping up unquestioning singularly-oriented ready-to-die-or-kill sentiment for islam.

    Culturally Pakistanis still are hindus. Hence the restposts of tolerance still to be found in Pakistan.

    Monotheism is by nature intolerant, finalist-absolutist-totalitarian and arrogant. Monotheism is not hindu. It is west-asiatic. It is alien to the Sindhu river basin – i.e. the land upon which Pakistan has situated itself at the cost of the hindus (who have been de facto exterminated in this land now).

    The solution for Pakistan is to reject the arabic imperialism and chauvinism and look to the original hindu/Sindhu culture with critical and adaptive-modernizing self-respect. Pakistan has gone down the drain from day-one due to this arabic export.

    Pakistan and pakistanis have only one real friend in this world and that is India and hindus. All others (China, Arabs, Turks, Iranians, USA, europeans etc.) are going to misuse you.

    Even Raza has to play to the galleries?

  2. Raza Raja

    @ Amar

    By cultural I did not mean the culture from Indus valley civilization. Culture changes over time. by culture, I meant the way we are raised up.

    So kindly do not misconstrue.

  3. Raza Raja

    My advice is to first read the article line by line and then comment

  4. Salman Arshad

    @ Raza
    Unless and until the educated of this country show collective courage and are ready to do that, frankly nothing can change.

    There are two aspects to this. One is that the law is working VERY well for the large majority as well as their rulers, so why should they change it just to please a few liberals ?

    The second issue is of the religion’s point of view itself.

    Liberal Muslims are too few to be considered seriously even if collectively they decide to do something.

    Even the “educated” Muslims in Europe and the USA are NOT against killing people for blasphemy. The most they would do is hide behind the need of an “islamic state” to impose such a punishment, and that an individual is not allowed to execute another (although even that is VERY clearly sanctioned by hadiths). So they are clever enough to rule it out while in Europe and the USA, but not denounce it.

    How can a Muslim denounce something the Prophet is claimed to have sanctioned ?

    The reason is not that people are wrong. The reason is that CURRENTLY you have to be intellectually dishonest with Islamic sacred literature in order to denounce killing for blasphemy.

    The only possible way to get rid of it is to prove through Islamic literature that the relevant hadith are extremely weak and cannot be even remotely associated with the Prophet, and prove beyond doubt that their narrators are liars.

  5. Nadeem A. Butt

    This religious intolerance, as it is now, was not here during the time of Akbar, or Aurangzeb or British rule. In Indian lads, I see some of it either during some year of Sikh Raj or ZiaulHaq Raj. There are some spots here and there during different times, where religion was misused by some people to attain or retain power. But this is something beyond your immagination – so many dimensions, so many patrons, so many reasons, so many victims, so many losses and so many contraditions and so many mistrusts and so many national and international or stretegical interests involved, that no one is there to be the first to leave this easy “Interest”! Looks like something from the heaven can only stop all this! … but that solution may be very very expensive…so I would humbly suggest to please stop misusing the faith, before it is too late!

  6. Perspective

    Capital Talk, on its facebook page, recently asked the question – instead of sacrificing animals on Eid-i-Qurban (?) should we give them away to people who depend entirely on livestock for their living and lost them in the recent floods.

    A good number of the comments were – we need to consult the ulema; and another number were – this proposal is against Islam. A number simply said – distribute the meat (I ask what about tomorrow’s meal, and the day after?)

    To me, it seems that no merciful God would grudge missing the sacrifice of a goat or sheep, if that goat or sheep is used to help restore the livelihood of a destitute person. There can be no question of it being against religion; IMO, it is common sense and requires no sanction of any ulema.

    If you believe in God, then the goat or sheep belongs to God, and the sacrifice to oneself in giving one up, dead or alive is the same. The sin if any in forgoing a sacrifice to help another person is worth bearing.

    To me, the attitude towards religion that was expressed in the vast majority of the answers to the question posed on Capital Talk’s facebook is the problem. The spirit of religion is missing, all there is, is a deadening legalism and literalism.

  7. Bilal Ahmad

    “Unless and until the educated of this country show collective courage and are ready to do that, frankly nothing can change.”
    I don’t think even educated of this country can do much to get rid of blasphemy laws. Whenever any educated voice is heard against these laws it is said that no one has been executed under these laws, so in popular culture it is not a big problem in Pakistan, that is because state has been patronizing religious extremism by making such laws. But it is an established truth that property conflicts and family problems are basis of many falsely reported blasphemy charges, i.e. it encourages abuse of religion for monetary benefits.
    I don’t agree that these laws are useful as now mobs are not killing people charged with blasphemy. To me these laws have firmed social status of religious extremist clergy. If the state had not made these laws, I hope with progressive coexistence of our society with others, and with close social interaction through progressive media our society would have become more dynamic and liberal, even in religious domain. But such harsh laws with barbaric outcomes have failed it all together. Now even polio vaccination teams are being killed in Pakistan, and Pakistan is known because of incidents like Gojra.
    So I am realistic to say that blasphemy laws can’t be changed as they are true reflection of our barbaric national attitude, even in religion.

  8. readinglord

    @Salman Rashid

    “The only possible way to get rid of it is to prove through Islamic literature that the relevant hadith are extremely weak and cannot be even remotely associated with the Prophet, and prove beyond doubt that their narrators are liars.”

    Why not treat them all as blasphemous as these ahadees seem to violate against the image of the prophet, presented by the Quran, as ‘Rehmatul- aalimiin’?

  9. amar

    to raza

    I also wrote that the restposts of tolerance in Pakistan are a result of the hindu culture being still there underground. Talking of basic culture – that is in Pakistan still hindu (which leads to many pakistani pure-muslims absurdly accusing hinduism for the caste system and other social ills in Pakistan – a clearly biased and false accusation since islam and arabs have their own caste systems and social ills too). This is also why pakistanis worship at shrines – something which the wahhabis resent deeply.

    What is happening/dominating in Pakistan is this “mohammad-bin-kasim-ism”. He is the real founder of today’s Pakistan (poor Jinnah is relegated to the second or later position again somethign which he utterly resented under the bania M K Gandhi). What the 10 muslim pakistanis attacking Mumbai did was a “bin-kasim expedition and adventure”. That culture is clearly an arabic-tribal-islamic one superimposed on the hindu one by slandering/ridiculing the basic foundational hindu culture. A common pakistani can come to India, call himself Ashok or Mohan, use lesser arabic words in his urdu/hindi and no one will notice that he not a hindu (by “religion”). So culturally racially he is a hindu – but his religion exported from Arabia is what makes him into an Ajmal Kasab.

    An alien religion from Arabia is the bane of Pakistanis, who are the real hindus.

  10. Salman Arshad

    @readinglord:

    Why not treat them all as blasphemous… image of the prophet, presented by the Quran…

    because hadiths are not “treated” to be one thing or the other..

    Quran is just one part of the dialogue between the Prophet and God, the hadiths present the other part … and no dialog is one sided..

    So there is no image of the Prophet presented by the Quran, so to speak, without involving the historical context of the presentation of that image which the hadiths provide..

    Additionally, “Rehmatu lilalamin” doesn’t have to mean a “peaceful” image.. Even violence can be “rehmat” for someone, lets say you commit violence against a violent adversary to protect someone..

    It is NOT violence that Islam is against.. not even the peaceful-Islam group will claim that..
    Islam’s slogan is that of Justice ..

    and all problems and contradictions have occurred because Justice is relative ..

    One can have absolutely no argument against someone who thinks killing a person for blasphemy is justice served divine style..

    the Prophet had repeatedly sanctioned killings for people who bad mouthed him, and he even allowed EXTRA-JUDICIAL killings without problem..

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  12. Watty

    @Raza Habib Raja
    “We cannot address the issue unless we are able to actually desensitize people from religion. And that cannot be done without cultivating a culture where religion can be critically discussed…”

    The process of desensitizing an entire society with deep rooted belief system may turn out to be a Sisyphean task. Instead the strong bond of Islam among the people offers the best hope to leverage and elevate into center stage a specific set of “Islamic human values” that are compatible with the modern world. For instance, Islam prohibits the taking of life other than for a “just cause”. What is the strict Islamic definition and interpretation of “just cause”? Can we promote a definition of just cause that prohibits the taking of life for blasphemy? To this list we can add the many prohibitions against the female gender, the intolerance of nonbelievers among the citizenry and destruction of their temples etc.

    Islam is long overdue for a genuine process of reformation to be enacted voluntarily among the Ummah. Islam’s close cousin Christianity had to go through a similar process of reformation. Wiki informs to the effect that Britain’s last blasphemy execution was of an 18-year-old Thomas Aikenhead who was executed for the crime of blasphemy in 1697 – prosecuted for saying on a cold Edinburgh night, “I wish I were in that place Ezra calls hell so I could warm myself.” The thought of killing a human being in an attempt to stop the spread of an idea is unacceptable and further it will no longer be tolerated…

    The Subcontinent has still a long way to go to completely wipe out intolerance and bigotry.

  13. @raja
    There was nothing wrong with Nazism (and Islam) its just the way it was implemented.

  14. By and large the essay by Raza Raja Habib Sahib is noteworthy as well as commendable. I will drink (7-Up! of course) to that.

    The Blasphemy Law (as well as perverse practices to pander and personnelize these – – as a front/font and as ostensible route to tripple-breasted huris awaiting in the havens yonder) is not the cause of the cause being the cause of the effect. It is a new low in our Modern Jurisprudential Hysteria). It indicates deadly poisonous fruit of a forbidden tree. Horriblized/Bastardized by our (proliferating like raBITS) rightwingers operating as a WicKKKed Gang (of Evilmongers) against dwindling RightsWingers (admittedly a fringe: but thanks Heaven for the little girls that get Bigger everyday…). This has triggered (and engines) an Alternate (albeit domineering) culture of bigotry, Systemic Bigotry and Big O’Try.

    But, let’s not feel disAppointed. Zulm Phirr Zulm Haey Barrhh Jawta Haey Toe Mit Jawta Haey… That represents the ultimate law of Mother Nature. It operates sua sponte, suo motu. Media are not its massage. Trailers of its Message have been experienced (at long last!) in the exemplary Earthquakes and the Hyperfloods of recent vintage.

    By the Right Way (Sarate Mustaqueem), I must relay that Bin Qasimism that has proliferated in Pakistan is no cause for applause. In 2008, I was in Kerala (India). It has a mosque constructed (and operating continually) while our Holy Prophet (MohamMED, peace be upon him) was alive … in Kochi, Muslims (belonging to all 72 schools of thought constituting Islam) are living (and prospering with dignity and Equal opportunity to excel in life here and hereafter) in peace, cordiality and harmony with Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Jews, Christians, Parsis, Agnostics, Hieratics, (tiny smattering of) Iqbalgeoffreyhaters and what have you. The modernday State of Kerala produced, and I respectfully cite it only as a straw example, A.R. Rehman, which is more than what can said about Shiekhupura or Gujranwala. We have reducted and diminished ourselves into a cabal of frogs-of-the-pond deliriously playing music on our armpits. Music direction needs symphony not sycophancy.

    Although it has taken us longer to implement (unlike Vietnam or Nepal – – both I, mashaLaw, visited last fortnight), but a changE is at the anvil; to wit, around the corner. Pretty soon our ill-bred, nouveau riche Third Gender geese will wholesale lay the golden eggs.

    PS: No wise purpose will be served by telephoning Harvard University about me (okay, ab initio, in order to save foreign exchange – – for a sizeable portion of our phonecalls dues are remitted abroad by our foreign-owned mobile phone operators – – of my Motherland), I grant ex gratia, that I was not educated at Harvard; I educated Harvard. That I transliterate my family name as I may flexi-desire. I descend from Caliph Hazrat Ali (ES), the doorway to knowledge which has rubbed off on me, albeit a micromini-tinniest bit, in the realm of AesthETHICS…

    As for as my Pinglish Think is concerned, Her Majesty The Queen and a lot of other worthies have started emulating that.

    Slow and Steady wins the race (against racism!). Those who have never filed a public interest Writ during their worthless lifetime (and have ‘lawnet’ written over their faces) or those hallo-ed dudes and dudenis who abscond-begging-bowls-in-their-Hidden-Hands overseas to divert attention from huge industrial loans that their beloved-spouses obtained /swindled (resultantly Roti Kappra and Makkan are now out of the reach of the common man) are not my cuppa or my class. Those threatening me are gravely mistaken.

    NB: Except for the ‘Postscript’ addendum, these views are also simultaneously institutional … that of the proactive, outspoken Pakistan Institute of Human Rights founded in 1959 in Lahore (Barrister Qamarul Islam, me and Justice Malik Mohammed Akram) and registered in Karachi in 1971 – – that, folks!, is over half a century ago.

    Causa Honoris “—-Nathing Gangadins” as well as mismade-in-Pakistan Speedy Gonzalezs ought not further expose/demean themselves by striving for stigmatization that inevitably boomerangs and eventually would never stick on the object of their crass affectations. Those (who could achieve nothing during any stage of their lifetimes) luxuriating in open graves should not dig more graves of their own. And for themselves.

    WARNING: Space is getting shorter and sho()ter and (s)ho()ter in PAKistan.

  15. To the pig-a-gogic and the anonymous fringe: i am sorry, very sorry, by appointment, there exist no typos in the above obiter dicta. This is as and how i wanted to rite it.
    Normally my typos are Works of Art.
    This write up is l————-o———–n————–g as helluva Crash ‘N Carry. My ubiquitous nemeses can hang their Ego’s with it.

  16. I agree to the extent of the purpose of longivity of the above-mentioned Rope that is in the Functional League of the Damocles’ Sword…

  17. readinglord

    @Salman Arshad

    Thank you for your kind comment but excuse me I could not understand ‘the other part’ when you say:

    “Quran is just one part of the dialogue between the Prophet and God, the hadiths present the other part … and no dialog is one sided..”.

    The Messenger is there, the message is there, but where is the addressee or his reply to God’s message. Where is the messenger of man to God to start two-way dialogue?

    I know one named as Ghalib who had said:

    “Kia woh Namrood ki khudaaiy thi
    Bandigi mein mera bhallah nah huaa”?

    Btw; when I talked of blasphemous ahadees I had in mind the following:

    “Sunnan Abu-Dawud
    Book 38, Number 4348:
    Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
    A blind man had a slave-mother (A slave-woman bearing children but not treated as a wife?) who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it.
    He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.
    He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
    Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.”

    What dialogue that poor slave mother, stated to have been killed so brutally by a blind Sahabi, could have with God about His Messenger and what message He sent for her?

  18. Good day!
    I humbly welcome my distinguished mentor and guru: Paris Biennial Laureate Syyed Iqbal Geoffrey back to the hallowed columns of the PTH. I am pleased/proud to second/quadruple his learned recent views.

    I state the above although I am Geoffrey’s loyal cousin. Furthermore, for ten years, I have been studying fulltime and training stenuously in order to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from the august: Syed Iqbal Geoffrey University of Art Criticsm which during last Sixty (60) years has awarded only two degrees: D. Litt to Dr. Khalid Hasan; and a causa Honoris Juris Doctor (= LL.B. Magna cum Laude) to Najam Sethi, Esquire. Both of them honourably worked hard over quarter of a century to merit these coveted ‘don’t-call-us-we-will-call-you’ degrees par excellence.

    For those who want to hear Barrister Syyedna Iqbal Jafree argue against degree mills in Pakistan, can hear him ought, i re: Mohamnmed Iftikhar Hussain Rajpooot+ Pir Ally Immran Sahar Essrawphel versus The (so-called) Leads University and 49 Others, in the Lahore High Court (Presiding Judge, The Right Hon. Senior Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chodhry, Sahib) inshawLaw on December 2, 2010 at about 8:30 am.

  19. @ Readinglard:

    The so-called hadis (hadith) attributed to a decision of the Holy Prophet that you quote is NOT muttfiquah-ellah (fully accepted as uncontroverted).

    But assuming, arguendo, that the incident actually occurred as narrated by you. It is not all that illogical or illogical. The Impugned-Laidy was doing what she did again and again with no end in sight. She was repeatedly forewarned and forbidden. The manslaughter was indubitably provoked. Besides, even if the woman was sentenced to death by the sitting Chief Justice, her heirs apparent and legal representatives, a fortiori, would forgive that crime.

    Law accepts the impossible but not the futile or the unnecessary.

    Arguendo, for a moment: suppose a Sehngal gentleman marries a pompous SharrrReef damsel who bears him two beautiful children and much fruits of laterday patronage. But one murky night, the Sehngol kills his wife while taking a walk in the Lawrence Gardens (which is no Hyde Park).
    Would the Perverse Sehngol be hanged? Not in a million years! Her husband has the money to hire the most influential (albeit corrupt to the tune of crores) Lawyers and Liars Both; and her two surviving children are the only surviving progeny, who with their depraved daddy make the net sum total of her legal representatives. They will at once pardon/forgive the sexy Murder.

    For God’s sake, let’s make things easier, don’t generate off-the-wall hurdles or hypothetical obstacles in laws or lives where none exist.

    With the grace of God, I am not a lawyer or Dungar Doctor.

    I am just learning to emerge as an honest-to-goodness art critic (who has the decency/integrity/vision to boldly sign his name accurately), nonetheless, I am writing common sense. It sounds in wisdom not in doom. Nor in psychology or veterinary medicine.

    As Iqbal Geoffrey would say to the naysayers (and the soothesayers) , what has no meanings can make sense. And vice versa.

    Beyond that I am totally against blasphemy laws.

  20. Mnoor

    We don’t have a counter narrative to extremists’ version of the society. The liberals are not as organized as the right wingers, and these liberals are have not able to attract youth in sizable numbers.
    I don’t see nuch betterment in the future.

  21. Salman Arshad

    @readinglord:

    The Quran is the set of words that God used whenever He felt it was time to intervene in the worldly matters surrounding Muhammad, both his private family matters, and public matters. Its nothing more.

    Due to that aspect of the Quran, it is just one part of the dialogue. The worldly matters corresponding to each statement of the Quran are the other part. We cannot understand God’s statements unless we know what was going on when He intervened. It has even happened in certain cases that the Prophet gave a certain verdict or was doubtful, but then God intervened to correct him.

    The Prophet’s hearing and subsequent forgoing of the slave-mother’s murder (that occurred without trial) is part of the same context, the worldly matters in which God was ever ready to intervene whenever required.

    Something occurring right before the Prophet, and being sanctioned by him, without God’s intervention only means that God was pleased with him.

    During the lifetime of a Prophet, everyone around him who has had access to him are part of that dialogue God is having with those people, through His messenger. In all stories of previous prophets too you will find that those who refused to believe in their messages were put to death after a certain deadline of sorts. Noah’s is a well-known example. This principle is technically called Itmam ul Hujjah in Islam.

  22. Hayyer

    DDR…………………………………………………………………………..Slarpur:

    I notice Jehlum is not included in the sentence quoted below;

    ‘State of Kerala produced, and I respectfully cite it only as a straw example, A.R. Rehman, which is more than what can said about Shiekhupura or Gujranwala.’

  23. Iqbal

    Raza, the blasphamy Law itself is proof that we approach religion in the wrong way.

    This law has abolutely NOTHING to do with Islam. Just what on earth are you suggesting?

  24. Iqbal

    @ DDR… Slarpure,

    Kindly note it was not the state of Kerala that produced A.R. Rahman, but the state of Tamilnadu.

  25. Md Iqbal

    @DDR….. Slapore,

    Ki dly note that it was not the State of Kerala that produced A.R. Rahamn, but he State of Tamilnadu.

  26. Raza Raja

    @
    Iqbal

    “Raza, the blasphamy Law itself is proof that we approach religion in the wrong way.

    This law has abolutely NOTHING to do with Islam. Just what on earth are you suggesting?”

    I am suggesting exactly what you are saying. For us to debate that this law has nothing to do with islam, we need to have a crtical view on the present way of thinking towards religion. so essentially my point is synonmous with your point of view

  27. readinglord

    @Raza Raja

    Frankly speaking I read you article carefully when I read the comments of some of the frequent posters on this blog whom I considered to be quite liberal. I see how they are afraid to comment freely to criticize a hadees which is patently negating the basis of Islam which is JUSTICE according to the Khutbah of Mufti-e-Islam, delivered only yesterday on the occasion of Hajj.

    In fact the said hadees which shows endorsement of lynching by the prophet is obviously tantamount to tarnishing the image of the prophet as ‘Rehmatul-allimiin’ and as such is patently blasphemous. But the irony is that the extremist groups like LeT and their ilk use this very hadees to justify lynching of the alleged blasphemers. They are out to kill and Islam, distorted by dubious Ahadees, provides a convenient handle for them. Unfortunately our self-seeking and power hungry politicians are prone to follow the line of least resistance to onslaught of such elements as they also draw their selfish benefit from the same distorted Islam though using it rather moderately.

    As it is we are obviously caught in a no-win-situation as according to Iqbal’s hakeemanah mode:

    “Laakh hakeem sar bajeib, ek kalim sar bakaf”.

    (A hundred thousand intellectuals are nothing against one person with his head on his palm of the hand)

    The extremist are armed with the ultimate terror weapon, the suicide bomber who may some day use a nuclear device and cause mass destruction of the people including the Islamists of course.

    So dear Raza Raja, the stage is set for the final war not between wrong and right approach but among the intensity of the approach of the various islamist groups.

    We can perhaps only wait and see how the dialectics of Islam work.

  28. readinglord

    @Salman Arshad

    “Something occurring right before the Prophet, and being sanctioned by him, without God’s intervention only means that God was pleased with him.”

    I know dear that Mohammad’s God must have been pleased with him, but what about the god of the poor ‘mother slave’ who was lynched without proper trial when justice is claimed to be the basis of Islam?

  29. msm

    Can somebody enlighten me on the text and context of blasphemy laws of England and (?USA) other countries.

  30. msm

    I searched web and found that blasphemy laws were enacted by UK and USA too. Only recently these have been abolished. I wonder how we can be labelled as uneducated, intolerant etc. I will really welcome comments.

  31. readinglord

    @msm

    I don’t think no body would hold us uneducated, intolerant, etc. for having enacted properly a blasphemy law, justice-able by a court of law, as a normal defamation law is there on all statutes of the countries with rule of law. However only a law expert like YLH can enlighten you better in the matter.

    What is condemnable as a sheer barbarism, however, is the vigilante lynch law on this account prevalent in the Pakiland.

    Btw, will you kindly let us know the laws enacted on this account in UK and USA and the reasons for abolishing them?

  32. Cubano

    Who cares about what happens in UK or USA. What’s wrong is wrong regardless of where it’s happening. The author has presented his arguments about Pakistan so why bring up other countries? It’s a common way to divert attention from the topic at hand by pointing out others who may be committing similar injustices. It’s a very weak form of arguing and a cop out actually. When you have no reasonable or logical response to the problem at hand you divert attention to other things to move away from the topic at hand. Injustice should be condemned universally but at this time the topic is the blasphemy laws of Pakistan and the role of religious bigotry in Pakistani society.

    Great post btw🙂

  33. readinglord

    Sorry! A correction to my previous post!
    Please read ‘I think’ instead of ‘I don’t think’ occurring in the start of the post.

  34. Salman Arshad

    @ readinglord:

    Oh ok… if your question is directed at my personal opinion, I wasn’t giving one. I was explaining what Islam holds as justice, and trying to point out why this very different concept of justice cannot be refuted.

    Yes Islam upholds justice as its supreme “slogan”. And what happened to the slave mother IS justice. If you don’t think that is justice, you simply have to redefine justice so that what happened to the slave woman IS justice. Of course, belief in Islam is crucial for that, since your idea of justice is derived from more “modern” ideologies.

    Personally, I am in full support of the idea of extra-judicial killings of blasphemers, because that is only honestly what the blind man did, although I don’t “agree” with it on principle. I will support anyone upholding this point of view as Islamic, as there is no documented evidence against this and other such incidents.

  35. readinglord

    @Salman Arshad on 19/11

    Horrible! Excuse me, you have left me speechless. I agree that the humanity will have to redefine the meaning of justice to justify the slavery of a mother, in the first place, and then her lynching by a blind man.

  36. Bin Ismail

    @readinglord (November 20, 2010 at 7:07 am)

    “…..I agree that the humanity will have to redefine the meaning of justice to justify the slavery of a mother, in the first place, and then her lynching by a blind man…..”

    May I most humbly draw your kind attention to the following points:

    1. The Hadith has to be examined in light of the Quran. The Quran, the Word of God, is preserved perfectly and has remained immune to interpolation of all forms, from the time of its revelation. The text of the Quran, we read today, conforms perfectly with the copies preserved from the Prophet’s days. The Hadith was compiled, of course, with great care and meticulously, around three centuries after the Holy Prophet. While the greater part of the narrated accounts of Hadith exhibit acquiescence to the Quran, in both letter and spirit, there are however, a sizable number of accounts that are in conflict with the Quran. This does not at all suggest the the Prophet said or did anything in conflict with the Quran. It only means that all such accounts do not represent the words or deeds of the Prophet. Any such account could either have been a forged quotation attributed to the Prophet or at best a poorly comprehended version quoted by someone. The rule is to not accept any such account of the Hadith as genuine, that contradicts the Quran.

    2. In the Quran, the Word of God, there is no punishment prescribed for blasphemy.

    3. The “Sunnah” too, which is the practice of the Prophet clearly belies the concept of punishment for blasphemy. Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulool, the greatest of all blasphemous enemies of the Prophet, was forgiven by him.

    May I suggest that let us not base an entire hypothesis on an account from the Hadith, that could so conveniently be classified as a forgery, due to the simple fact that it is in direct conflict with the Quran.

  37. readinglord

    @Bin Ismail
    (November 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm)

    You are right but what could one do when some people not only politicize religion but even criminalize it, by interpreting it negatively according to their wishful thinking however it may be in conflict with the Quran and even in defiance of logic and common sense.

  38. amar

    to bin ismail

    Your M. was a man of contradictions. Jinnah too. These persons will cause more conflicts and confusions than solve any. This is proved by the history of islam and Pakistan.

    They have done and said good and bad things. Propping them up will only lead to conflicts and arrogance.

  39. Bin Ismail

    @readinglord (November 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm)

    I agree. Not only that – these “politicizers” and “criminalizers” of Religion are bothered least with Religion – the realm of self-discipline, morality and spirituality. Their sole concern is access to political power. That is why it is imperative that State and Religion be separated at the level of both Constitution as well as Convention.

    @amar (November 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm)

    If for whatever reason, one chooses to view personalities, philosophies and religion in the mirror of the clergy or alternatively through the lens of bias, one is bound to get the wrong picture.

  40. Samachar

    amar,

    No human is free from contradictions.

    Sir Isaac Newton gave us laws of mechanics and the law of gravitation among other things. He also spent a huge amount of his time, and wrote more than a million words on the subject of alchemy – which we completely ignore today.

    We need the same approach with religious and political figures.