Blasphemy laws of Pakistan: Indian clerics are no less extremist and obscurantist – Part 2

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 20 Jan 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com

In the second part of his article Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi expresses his horror at the fact that the assassinated Governor of Pakistani Punjab Salman Taseer “felt sympathy for a Christian woman who committed blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) and even went to jail to meet her.” Of course, the Maulana has no use for any evidence against the lady who has simply been accused of some sort of blasphemy – exactly what blasphemy Asia Bibi committed no one knows as no one can ask the accuser, her sister-in-law with whom she had had a family quarrel earlier, to repeat the blasphemous statement.

Maulana’s advice and chilling warning to imaginary blasphemers against whom there may not be a shred of evidence that can stand in a civilised court of law: “People who have made it a habit to commit blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) should take a lesson from this incident. I will reiterate my stand that Muslims can tolerate anything but insult to the Prophet (PBUH). If the law does not punish such culprits, Muslims will be compelled to punish them themselves. There have been a number of incidents in the past when the law did not do its job, the Muslims came forward and made the guilty realise that their crime was unpardonable.” I wonder if such threats attract any laws of the land.

But the Maulana is ecstatic that “today, Salman Taseer has come down to zero and is lying underground while his assassin Mumtaz Qadri is ruling the hearts of millions of Muslims. The proceedings of the case have been started in the Islamabad court. Three hundred advocates have offered to fight the case without any fee. The court may adjudicate against Mumtaz Qadri and pronounce death sentence against him but nobody can stop him from attaining martyrdom. Saluting the courage of Ghazi Aleemuddin, Allama Iqbal had said that he wished that he had done it. Today every aalim, rather ever Muslim of Pakistan has the same feeling.”

In a tone of competitive extremism, as the “honour” of killing Salman Taseer has gone to the Barelvi sect, which was supposed to be more inclusive, tolerant and broadminded, the Maulana says: “The ulema of Deoband too declare the blasphemer deserving to be killed. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi says: ”Committing blasphemy against prophets is infidelity (kufr)” (Imdadul fatawa 393/5). Hadhrat Allama Syed Anwar Shah Kashmiri says: “Muslims have unanimity on the view that he who abuses Allah or the Prophet (PBUH) is a Kafir” (Akfarul mulhideen p 119). Hadhrat Maulana Kifayatullah Dehlvi’s fatwa is:” The person showing disrespect to the Prophet (PBUH) or Hadhrat Aysha (R.A.) is a blasphemer and the one not angry with the blasphemer is a Kafir.”(Kifayatul mufti 31/1).The principal mufti of Pakistan Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi Usmani says: “The open pronouncement of the Islamic Sharia is that the punishment for apostasy is death.”

The Maulana goes on to pronounce his considered fatwa of death to the alleged blasphemer who can virtually be any one: “The ulema agree on the fact that those committing blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) deserve the most severe punishment. The verses of the Quran, the hadiths and numerous incidents in the Islamic history prove that the blasphemer cannot be left alive. It is not an issue of mere emotions but of beliefs. In his book Al Sarim al mas-ool fi hukm-e-Shatimir Rasool, Imam Ibn Taimiyya has compiled all the logical and theoretical arguments in this regard. Even when Salman Rushdie had written a book committing blasphemy and a fatwa ordering his murder was issued against him the question was issued why Muslims consider blasphemers against the Prophet (PBUH) deserving to be killed. On that occasion a book titled ‘Sanctity of the Prophet (PBUB) and the punishment for blasphemy’ was published in Pakistan. The book consisting of about 800 pages sheds light on all the aspects of the issue. Those who are undecided on this issue should read this book.”

Maulana Wajidi in not alone in proffering these threats of death to anyone who is accused of blasphemy, without the accuser even asked to repeat what he claims has been said. Urdu Press in India, as its counterpart in Pakistan, is coming out daily with new write-ups in a similar vein. It’s time for a reality check for those who nurse the illusion that living in a multicultural society under a secular constitution has impacted our Mullahs and made them somewhat civilised. Far from that. Indeed even our Press keeps providing generous space to these Juhala. Editorial space in Urdu dailies is practically reserved for such fulminations. Conspiracy theorists and other enemies of civilisation rule the roost.

Thankfully, there are still some Muslims who believe Islam is a religion of civilisation. Islam had brought order in unruly Arabia and other parts of the world at one time. It stood for and established the rule of law. Let us hope such people take the threats from Maulanas seriously and get together to think a way of saving Islam from these marauders and even surviving themselves from this onslaught that is coming as much in India as it has come in Pakistan. Let us also hope that these Juhala do not further inspire Hindu right wingers too who have been dreaming for decades of Muslimising Hinduism. For, while Maulanas have only one person , Mohammad (PBUH), – that too not a god, just a messenger of God – the Hindus have 330 million gods and there are myriad ways in which these Maulanas keep expressing contempt for them or at least for their images.

Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted India to be a Hindu state as he wanted Pakistan to be a Muslim state. He was clear that Hindus in India should be free to treat Muslims the same ignominious way as Muslims of Pakistan treat the Hindus. His vision has come true in Pakistan. Let us hope he does not succeed in India. — Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam

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