The Blasphemy merry-go-round | Pakistan Today

The Blasphemy merry-go-round

Do we have any grounds to condemn Mumtaz Qadri’s actions?

A lot of hypocritical toys were thrown out of the quasi-liberal prams following PTI MNA Mujahid Khan’s demand for Mumtaz Qadri’s release in a speech in the National Assembly. Mujahid Khan, by supporting Salmaan Taseer’s murderer and in turn echoing the popular voice in Pakistan, invited the wrath of many proponents of “freedom” and “justice” from our neck of the woods. According to them, Qadri did something unprecedented by killing an alleged “blasphemer.” Those who propagate, or buy this assertion are either kidding themselves, being deliberately dishonest or are simply oblivious of the past.

–Ilam Din’s (or “Ghazi Ilam Din Shaheed” as he is more popularly known) case is the obvious choice for the relevant juxtaposition. By killing Raj Pal in the year 1929, who was the publisher – not the writer – of a blasphemous book, Ilam Din managed to carve out a legacy of veneration in the hearts of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. This murder was defended by Father of the Nation, the “epitome of secularity”, Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the Lahore High Court, while the Poet of the Nation Allama Iqbal dubbed the killer a “matchless warrior”, and is on record as saying at Ilam Din’s funeral, “We just did all the talking, it was the carpenter’s boy who took home the glory.” Jinnah was a part of Ilam Din’s defence in court at a time when he was still the ostensible flag-bearer of Hindu-Muslim unity, while Iqbal extolled the murder while he was scribing The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, a book that later on confirmed that Iqbal’s apparent reconstruction was supposed to be done by brushing the 20th century paint on the same antediluvian bricks.

When the two founding fathers of our country can be traced on the gamut that runs between defending and extolling someone who murdered a “blasphemer”, when there’s a mosque built in the killer’s honour and when the murderer’s legacy is a part of the curriculum that is spoon fed to the children in Pakistan, is there any ground to condemn Qadri’s actions?

Massacring blasphemers is considered a noble acts by the scholars which laid the foundation of the Shariah.

Contrary to popular opinion among the Pakistani liberals, Ziaul Haq did not create the Blasphemy Law out of thin air. Through “blatant Islamisation” Zia merely gave us all a glimpse of what we all dutifully revere. Just because some of us couldn’t digest it, doesn’t mean that the dose wasn’t authentic. And the Blasphemy Law is an integral – albeit overly piquant – flavour of this dose.

The Blasphemy Law traces its origin in Fiqh – an integral part of the study of Islam – which involves expansion of the Shariah by Islamic jurists, taking into account the authentic traditions and narrations of the past. The examples of Asma Bint Marwan, Ibn Khatal’s slave girls, Abu Afak among many others are presented to show how Islamic scholars incorporated the Blasphemy Law as a part of the Shariah.

Every leader who has been at the helm of an Islamic empire has implemented the Blasphemy Law in all its blood and goriness. To question the blasphemy law would be akin to questioning the veracity of the actions of pretty much every single Muslim leader that is respected in Islamic history, which would be like stumbling upon the blasphemy jackpot. And therefore, when one condemns the act of killing a “blasphemer” as is the case with Mumtaz Qadri, one sets a blasphemous train in motion that stampedes over the ideological raison d’etre of Pakistan, and the unyielding belief system of over 97 percent of the country’s population.

For all practical and logical purposes condemning the murder of blasphemers means one is condemning an integral facet of over 1400 years of Islamic history, which in turn means that one condemns the jurists that incorporated the law via Fiqh in the Shariah, this takes us all the way to condemning Fiqh and the Shariah itself. It’s a merry-go-round of blasphemy that is instigated when one vies to condemn Mumtaz Qadri, and once you jump aboard it’s a never ending vicious circle.

When Pakistan’s founding fathers stand by the Mumtaz Qadri of pre-partition India, when Islamic history itself is brimming with practical implementation of the Blasphemy Law, and when the law itself traces its roots in the religion’s foundation, screaming bloody murder over Mujahid Khan’s claims can be dubbed hollow rhetoric or amateur jibes at best. Before slamming Mumtaz Qadri one should deride the legacy of Ilam Din and the mindset of our founding fathers. Before condemning Mumtaz Qadri one would have to chop off the theological and judicial roots upon which superstructure of Dar-ul-Islam stands. That would take the combination of cojones and honesty that the most vocal of Qadri’s critics seem to be devoid of.

The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @khuldune



16 Comments

  1. ATruthSeeker said:

    The old woman who used to throw garbage on Rasool Allah (SAWW), why Rasool Allah (SAWW) went to her place to enquire after her health? Didn't she commit Blasphemy by throwing garbage on him (SAWW).

    • Adnan said:

      The story you cite here of the lady is just that: a story. It does not have historical backing. Please provide a source of this story if you have one. There was none found by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra when queried about this specific incident. And I quote him below.
      "A Story that is Commonly Heard Today
      When asking whether this story is authentic or not, someone may be alluding to a tale that is commonly heard today:
      It goes that a Jewish woman in Mecca who would throw garbage on the doorstep of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in defiance of his message, and one day she fell sick and could not throw the garbage, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) visited her. Then it is said that she was so amazed at his character that she realized his prophethood and accepted Islam.
      I have not found a basis for this specific incident in the books of hadeeth or reliable works of prophetic biography, and it seems as though this story has become popular on the tongues of people without any source to support it, and Allah knows best."

  2. Manji said:

    How Salman Taseer Shaheed had committed Blasphemy?

    • Muhammad Sufyan said:

      are you idiot or some thing he ofter send The Law of Allah is Black Law (Naauzubillah)

      • Manji said:

        Are you deaf or what? when did he say that?

      • gaspipe said:

        sir he said about the law which are made by assembly not to saud about Quran and Hadith.Plz becarfull all about it.IT is not a emotional case.this a sensitive issue to disscuss it with proper word.

  3. Virkaul said:

    Another excellent article by Kunwar Khuldune. It is not talked anywhere that Ilamudin, who killed Rajpal, the publisher of a book called "Rangeela Rasool" was defended by Jinnah and supported by Iqbal. If blasphemy is in the DNA of Pakistan, why complain?

  4. reasonlight said:

    Both PTI and Jamat Islami are supporting Mumtaz. MQM has no support from political parties due to jealousy.

  5. ns said:

    You all know where this will end… It will go straight to mohammed throat and all skeletons will hang loose. Keep the caulk tight they say as cupboard of islam is real thin.

  6. Ghazi Ilam Din said:

    You should keep the Hindu name "Kunwar" and remove your Islamic name "Khuldune Shahid", because it seems like you are reverting to the filth from which a previous ghazi rescued your ancestors. It is the ghazis who kill blasphemers who helped convert your ancestors out of Vedic filth and into Islamic noor.

  7. asd said:

    Why neglect to mention that Salman Taseer's father, M.D. Taseer, was a supported of Ilmudin?

  8. Leela said:

    Religion of 'peace'? With all the blood and goriness prescibed and a huge trail of historical evidence to back it up, I wonder how muslims can keep claiming it to be a religion of peace. It is similar to the oft repeated story of the woman throwing garbage!

  9. AnonymousMusalman said:

    Ugh touche. Another tantrum from our liberal ilks. There's absolutely "moral ground for condemning Mumtaz Qadri" for murdering Salman Taseer for standing up against a woman wrongly accused for blasphemy.

    "And therefore, when one condemns the act of killing a “blasphemer” as is the case with Mumtaz Qadri, one sets a blasphemous train in motion that stampedes over the ideological raison d’etre of Pakistan, and the unyielding belief system of over 97 percent of the country’s population."

    That's quick. The "merry-go-round" cycle of connecting any dots to the creation of Pakistan has been our liberal ilks favorite past time and their "intellectual" contributions to the world. Hence, blasphemy law now is linked to the "raison d'etre" of Pakistan. As if, Pakistan would not manifest or could not exist, without the"blood and goriness" of blasphemy law and could only manifest for the desire to create a "Dar ul Islam" next to "Dar Ul Harb".

    Put aside the whole scholarly debates of whether Asma bint Marwan was killed by the demand of the Prophet. If she were killed, for the sake of argument, why was she singled out and others who had condemned the Prophet including poisoning the Prophet were left by the Prophet without any retribution? If the Prophet, who set a great role model for Muslims, approved of killing Asma, why would he not kill everyone who eagerly condemned him? While there are hadiths of the Prophet's examples of forgiving those who tried to murder him, why then a liberal ilk like you could only recognize the story of Asma Bint Marwan (which Muslim scholars themselves have been debating for centuries for its authenticity)? Because the latter was the image of the Prophet you knew and the former was too good to be true?

    "For all practical and logical purposes condemning the murder of blasphemers means one is condemning an integral facet of over 1400 years of Islamic history, which in turn means that one condemns the jurists that incorporated the law via Fiqh in the Shariah, this takes us all the way to condemning Fiqh and the Shariah itself "

    There's nothing "practical and logical" about the above argument. Fiqh is a product of minds interpreting Sharia. When Sharia itself has not laid down the foundation for punishing blasphemers or what considered as "blasphemy" (or if the story of Asma was valid, then sharia has laid down contradictory punishment for blasphemy), then fiqh incapable of laying down one unified method of dealing with "blasphemy" or "blasphemers". Scholars' reactions to blasphemy and blasphemers have ranged from no punishment to exoneration if he repented. So condemning a blasphemer or exonerating him are all within the boundary of Sharia and Fiqh. So, whose "integral facet" needs to be checked now? Yours or Sharia?

    Instead of using this diverse set of opinions within fiqh and sharia to recognize the various debates within Islam, why would a liberal ilk like you jumped into this instead: "one would have to chop off the theological and judicial roots upon which superstructure of Dar-ul-Islam stands." Is it because you are "devoid of" and lack the "combination of cojones and honesty" to deal with your current mental state? If that is the case, you need some "cojones and honesty" to be reflexive about your current mental and treasonous state where hatred to Pakistan is now being linked to Islam.

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