Tuesday, January 4, 2011

About Murder and Blasphemy [Edited]

Murder is murder. Blasphemy is blasphemy. It's just a matter of how you connect these two sentences.

Murder is murder and blasphemy is blasphemy. And the country has put "but" in place of "and" and is changing the order of the two sentences. Although the political parties have a different debate altogether- pointing fingers. I ask the question, why am I supposed to take a side in this matter?
I believe the blasphemy law is right in its place and
I condemn the murder of the governor. Expressing his own opinion is not a crime. But calling a law, sacred to many, a black law is something he should have been more careful about.

About Freedom of Expression and Blasphemy:
I find many people complaining that the "ghairat brigade" troubles their freedom of expression. Let's define both of these terms. Does the term "ghairat brigade" refer to those who support the terrorists? Does it refer to those who demand the unconditional release of Dr Afia? Or does it consist of those who support the blasphemy law? Because I feel all these groups might overlap but are in no way the same. For instance, Dr Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi was a strong antagonist to terrorist forces and was martyred in his fearless struggle by a suicide attack in his Mosque. He issued fatwas against terrorists but I am sure he would have supported the blasphemy law, had he been alive. So generalizing people who disagree with you as the "ghairat brigade" is much more narrow-minded than the "ghairat brigade" itself.
As for freedom of expression, we need a definition too. In other words, we need to know where freedom of expression becomes a hate crime. Is a guy whistling at girls freedom of expression? Is a VJ prominently displaying her low neck on TV freedom of expression? Is a white person not allowing entry to a colored person to his shop freedom of expression? I believe the line is drawn wherever the feelings of a particular community are hurt.
Now the question of blasphemy. Most people fail to recognize the basis of this law. The law is made out of love; love of the best human being that God sent on earth. There is no being worthy of more love than him except God Himself. And God Himself praises the Prophet (PBUH). I did not make the law, nor did Zia-ul-Haq. It is adapted from the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) forgave every criminal on the day of the conquest of Makkah (including the murderer of his daughter), but those who ridiculed him and his message. Why? Because the Prophet (PBUH) and his message are from God, and making fun of them is making fun of God. Non-muslims might raise the question that the same should be the case with their religions and it really is! Muslims are not supposed make fun of non-muslims, thus the verse [Quran 109:6] "To you is your religion, and to me is my religion." You don't cross your limits and I don't cross mine. [It's pretty much man-made.]

About Murder:
All life is sacred. There is no denial to that. And any harm to life without any judicial grounds is a sin and deserves equal punishment. Same is the case with the murder of the governor- no one person has the right to declare someone a criminal under any law. This is the way educated and democratic nations deal with their issues. We have laws governing every aspect of our life and courts with judges to make decisions. Even in the Shariah, only the Khalifah or Qazi has the right to give a decision. And Khalifas don't operate underground. The murder is unlawful, with no religious or moral grounds. The governor did not even commit blasphemy the way I see it. He expressed his opinion, but was not careful in choosing his words. Calling the law protecting the honor of Prophethood a black law was like an open challenge to the already infuriated Pakistani community which had lost all it's faith in the government.
Comparing the murderer to Ghazi Ilm-din Shaheed is confusing too, as to whether people want to demean Ghazi or exalt the murderer.

The Next Step:
Pakistan is an Islamic republic. Most, if not all, Muslims love the Prophet (PBUH) and hold his respect above their lives. Most of them are uneducated. They know Islam but do not understand it. The blasphemy law was not there to start with, but now that it is implemented, going back will bring nothing but anarchy. I don't understand why would one want to have this law removed unless he/ she intends to disrespect the Prophet (PBUH) because the general rule of "Innocent unless proven guilty" is supposed to protect the innocent. It's like someone asking you to open the door; one would only ask if one intends to walk through it. The law should [be edited and then] continue to protect the honor of the Prophet (PBUH) BUT it must be made sure [by editing it] that it is not misused to harm the rights of the minorities since they have a high regard in Islam as well.


  1. I agree with everything you’ve said, Ahmad, about freedom of expression and the sanctity of human life...most of all, the impropriety of making such a statement in a country such as Pakistan...but, as far as i know, nobody ever intended to remove the blasphemy laws altogether...an amendment was being sought, so as to better define blasphemy that was punishable by death.
    Now, it doesn’t take a lot to take the Lord's name in vain, or to say something rash out of anger or desperation (as Asia Bibi did)and it probably happens a lot more than anybody realises...but do v round up every single person who commits such a sin? Alarming though it may seem to certain people, we need to use our heads and realise that surely, such a law is deficient in its technicalities and confusing in its implications...and perhaps that is what the governor was trying to correct.

  2. I totally agree with you.
    A rational amendment might even have been acceptable to the community.
    But calling the law a black law was a fatal mistake given the current circumstances.

  3. this is ghastly.
    a part of me trembles.
    this murder is reflective of what our society has become..intolerant.this also holds mirror to the major rift\confusion that we,as a nation,are riot with.under no pretext,is this murder justified.are we such extremists that anybody who as much as vioces his opinions is gunned down with 27 bullets!is this the ummah of the prophet who visited the sick old lady who used to throw trash on his exalted self.if she vr gunned down..neither she nor anybody who knew her would ever have converted.it was this show of humility that made that lady convert to islam.such is the example of tolerance that our religious history is rich with.i actually got texts from some classfellows ordaining me to hail the islamic hero mr.qadri..the derranged human,i was just speechless.i agree,that the governor should've beeen careful with his words but what happened to him is not justified in any way.
    yes,i would take sides.i'd like to slap the pyscho who did this and i'd like the court to give him a fitting punishment for this heinous act of terrorism.

  4. I agree with you.
    By the way, I think you misunderstood taking sides.
    The sides are meant to be whether you support the murder or blasphemy. I condemn both.

  5. lets not,however,rule out the-ever-so-popular factor of conspiracy.the manner and the circumstance in which the murder was executed..shouts conspiracy.we all know of the love betwen the governor and PML-N.the way in which no body from the remaining elite force as much as shot 1 bullet towards the killer while he had time to spray 27 and re-load his rifle,bespeaks itself of the political undercurrents.they were men of the "ELITE" force and on the scene of crime they were more useless that disarmed dummies.why?why was mr.qadri included in the squad at last min?why,all of a sudden,the man who the governor met in the market disapperaed from the face of the earth?.....are just few of the darting questions that would pop in anybody's head who professes to have any commonsense.

  6. " I actually got texts from some classfellows ordaining me to hail the islamic hero mr.qadri.."

    Now im trembling. Once again, fear turns into blind valour, and with it comes the death of reason.

    Kill me.(No pun intended.)

  7. care to explain the edition, ahmad?

  8. 1. Taking sides was automatic since Salmaan Taseer did not insult a Divine Law, he insulted a man-made law which was being misused. I was judging a book by its cover.
    2. The law, 295-C is man-made. It's illogical to justify it by Islamic evidence since a man-made law will always be a man-made law because the Quran is silent about this matter (rather tells you to simply avoid any blasphemous activity) and the Hadith have both punishment and forgiveness for blasphemy. I'm not the one to choose either from the two. Also, it hints that no one law should deal with a case. It should be flexible.
    3. The blasphemy law is NOT right in its place because it is being misused and bringing bad reputation to Islam. It needs to be edited so that at least it is not misused, even if death penalty is retained (which isn't there in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE etc, rather I didn't come across any Muslim country that has death penalty for it and they are much better Muslims than us Pakistanis).

  9. that too. But i feel 2 and 3 nailed it.