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In Judaism and Christianity, blasphemy is defined as an indignity or an offense uttered against God, whether through words or deeds. The punishment prescribed in the Old Testament for the offender was stoning to death. (See Leviticus 24:16.)

Jesus Christ was himself blamed for committing blasphemy and was considered liable to be put to death by stoning by his antagonists in First Century Roman-occupied Palestine. We read in the Holy Bible:

But Jesus responded, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?"

"We are not stoning You for any good work," said the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God." -- John 10:32-33

From the context of the text it is clear that Jesus does not challenge the prescription of this punishment in the Law of Moses itself but responds to the allegation leveled against him.

Islamic laws of crime and punishment are encoded in the Holy Qur'an, with its veritable interpretation derived from the case studies in the life of Prophet Muhammad (called Sunnah). It is an established and unanimously agreed-upon rule of Islamic Jurisprudence that any tradition (called Hadith) related to the Prophet is considered authentic only if it does not contradict the fundamental teachings of the Holy Qur'an. Thus the Holy Qur'an is the true source of Islamic law.

There is no particular terminology coined for blasphemy in the Qur'an. However, it states clearly what is the proper response if someone insults Allah, the Holy Qur'an, the prophets, or the religion:

And He has already revealed to you in the Book that, when you hear the Signs of Allah being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they engage in a talk other than that; for in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will assemble the hypocrites and the disbelievers in Hell, all together. [Ch. 4, V. 141]

And when thou see those who engage in vain discourse concerning Our Signs, then turn thou away from them until they engage in a discourse other than that. And if Satan cause thee to forget, then sit not, after recollection, with the unjust people. And those who are righteous are not at all accountable for them, but their duty is to admonish them, that they may fear God.

And let alone those who take their religion for a sport and a pastime, and whom worldly life has beguiled. And admonish people thereby lest a soul be consigned to perdition for what it has wrought. It shall have no helper nor intercessor beside Allah; and even if it offer every ransom, it shall not be accepted from it. These are they who have been delivered over to destruction for their own acts. They will have a drink of boiling water and a grievous punishment, because they disbelieved. [Ch. 6, V. 69-71]

It is clear from these verses that blasphemy should be avoided it as it darkens the heart and leads to perdition, a bad resort in the Hereafter. The believers and righteous Muslims must admonish those committing blasphemy to stop it for their own good. Then they must let them alone. They are not made guardians over the disbelievers and the hypocrites. In other words, there is no worldly punishment prescribed by Islam for blasphemy.

NAN Religion on 01/05/2019

Print Headline: Let Allah deal with blasphemy

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