Islamic preachers argue that blasphemy should be punishable by death as it offends the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims.
However, their argument is flawed., as it goes against "Human Nature" & "Justice".
Table of Contents:
- Equality of Basic Human Rights:
- Punishment of an "Oral" Insult cannot be any "Physical" Punishment:
- Freedom of Preaching and Criticism:
- The Right to PRAISE and to INSULT:
- Human Nature:
- Blasphemy laws are used as an EXCUSE to ban All Criticism of Religion (What are the boundaries between criticism and blasphemy):
- Islamic Sharia stipulates blasphemy ONLY for Islamic Prophets but not for other religions and their sacred personalities:
- Muhammad approved the insult of Goddess of Pagans:
- Full List of ABUSES that the Quran made against the non-Muslims:
- Islamic Apologists: But the Quran forbids the abuse of gods of non-Muslims.:
Islamic argument is deeply flawed as it suggests that the sheer number of Islamists grants them extra special basic human rights compared to individuals or smaller groups. Such a notion goes against principles of justice and humanity, which demand equal treatment for all individuals, regardless of their beliefs or numbers.
If 1.5 billion Muslims are hurt by the oral insult of the prophet, then the Secular Western Laws also allow these 1.5 billion Muslims to orally insult that person and hurt his feelings too in reply. And if the oral insult has any effects, then that person will surely die due to the curses and insults of these 1.5 billion Muslims.
Contrary to Islamic law, if someone is cursing you, then Western laws allow you to curse him back orally, but they don't allow you to start harming others physically.
Preaching and criticism are intertwined aspects of expression. Everyone has the liberty to preach their religion or ideology, but it also entails that others have the equal right to differ and criticize those beliefs.
Western Secular laws uphold the complete freedom to preach one's religion or ideology, protected under the right of Freedom of Religion. Simultaneously, these laws also grant the full freedom to criticize any religion or ideology under the right of Freedom of Expression.
Therefore, it is unacceptable for Islamists, or any other group, to demand the exclusive right to preach their religion while attempting to deny others the right to criticize it. The principles of free expression dictate that both preaching and criticism are integral components of open dialogue and debate.
Muslims hold Muhammad in high esteem, considering him to be the best of mankind. Therefore, they have the full right to "highly praise" him.
However, non-Muslims hold a different perspective, believing Muhammad to be a false prophet who made deceptive claims about his prophethood and revelations, and they attribute thousands of deaths to his personal interests. As a result, non-Muslims feel deeply hurt and emotionally harmed when Muslims "highly praise" Muhammad.
Nevertheless, the Western secular system respects the RIGHT of Muslims to freely PRAISE Muhammad in the name of Freedom of Expression, and non-Muslims cannot prevent them from doing so. Non-Muslims, in turn, have the RIGHT to freely express their opinions, even if it involves insulting Muhammad or blaspheming Islam. Muslims must accept this as part of the same Freedom of Expression and move on.
As a result, both praising and insulting are inherent aspects of discussions and debates, and people have a right to both of them.
It is a natural aspect of human behavior that people may become angry during discussions and debates due to differences of opinion. In such situations, they may resort to using harsh words against their opponents. This understanding of human nature forms the basis for Western law.
Even the writer of the Quran (who, according to non-Muslims, is Muhammad himself) displayed this very human nature. When his opponents did not accept his prophethood, he became angry and expressed his frustration by cursing and insulting them at several places in the Quran. He equated them to animals like Donkeys, Dogs, and Pigs, referring to them as the worst of creatures and using derogatory terms like "bastard" (Arabic: زنیم), "fools," "deaf," "blind," and "Kafir," etc.
Muslims claim that Allah possesses divine MORALS.
This raises the question: "If even the 'Divine Allah' (believed to have the best of morals) is not able to control his anger, resorting to cursing and abusing opponents, how can we expect mere human beings to have full control over their anger and demonstrate 'better Morals' than divine Allah, refraining from using harsh words?"
Moreover, this cursing and abuse of opponents in the Quran serve as evidence that there exists no Allah in the heavens. Instead, it suggests that Muhammad himself was the author of the Quran, and being human, he displayed human errors by becoming angry and resorting to cursing and abusing his opponents.
This alignment with human nature is the reason Western law cannot be altered to accommodate the one-sided and unjust blasphemy laws of Islam.
Blasphemy laws are used as an EXCUSE to ban All Criticism of Religion (What are the boundaries between criticism and blasphemy):
Islam advocates make the claim that non-Muslims may criticize Islam, but they are not allowed to insult it.
However, the problem with this claim is:
- How do you decide where criticism ends and blasphemy begins?
- Nowhere have these Limits/Boundaries been stipulated either in Islamic Sharia or in the laws of Islamic countries.
- What guarantees that Muslims won't completely block criticism of Islam in the name of blasphemy?
- This is why there is a significant flaw in the blasphemy laws of Islamic countries; they don't define what constitutes criticism and what qualifies as blasphemy. As a result, even the slightest criticism of Islam gets banned, and the critics are immediately accused of blasphemy, often leading to fatal consequences.
In Islamic Pakistan, you cannot publish a single book that criticizes Islam, nor can you deliver a speech criticizing it. Any criticism of Islam is strictly restricted under the pretext of blasphemy.
Thus secularism.org.uk makes this point clear in these words (link):
Allowing people to criticise, critique and mock religion has been fundamental to human progress. If people can laugh at a religious figure, (only then) they can challenge or disbelieve them ...
This also means religious extremists can easily label any criticism as mocking or insulting and shut down all dissent.
Therefore, the question remains what these so-called limits of criticizing are? For example, divine Allah has divine morals. Still, this same Allah is saying "Bastard" to an opponent in Quran (Verse 68:13), this same Allah is "Cursing" the opponents everywhere in Quran, this same Allah is saying "Donkey" and "Dogs" and "Worst of Creatures" to the opponents in this same Quran.
So, the question remains, what are the so-called limits of criticism? For example, divine Allah, with supposed divine morals, uses derogatory terms like "Bastard" to describe opponents in the Quran (Verse 68:13). The Quran also CURSES opponents, refers to them as "Donkey," "Dogs," and "Worst of Creatures,". (Quran 68:4 انک لعلی خلق عظیم ). Moreover, accounts of Muhammad supporting abusive language raise concerns about double standards for normal individuals compared to religious figures.
Even if limits exist, they should apply equally to all, including Allah and Muhammad. If they were allowed to curse and abuse, then ordinary people should have the same right.
It's unfair to expect "Normal Humans" to show better "Morals" than Allah/Muhammad when even these divine figures allegedly didn't abide by those limits.
These double standards are evident when Muslims accept Allah/Muhammad's cursing/abusing others, but when non-Muslims do the same, they cry "blasphemy" and resort to violence.
Islamic Sharia stipulates blasphemy ONLY for Islamic Prophets but not for other religions and their sacred personalities:
According to Islamic teachings, those who mocked Prophet Muhammad were subject to severe consequences. However, if Muslims were to mock other religions, their gods, or sacred figures, there is no specific punishment mentioned in Islamic Sharia for such individuals. In an incident, Abu Bakr used extremely offensive language towards the female god of pagans in front of Muhammad, but he neither punished nor rebuked Abu Bakr (this incident will be further discussed later in this article).
This highlights the inherent injustice in the blasphemy laws of certain Islamic countries today, where insulting Islamic Allah or Prophets is met with severe punishment, even death, while the same is not applied to gods and sacred figures of other religions.
For instance, if we examine the blasphemy laws in Islamic Pakistan:
- According to the Pakistan Penal Code, insulting sacred personalities of other religions will be punished with 3 years of imprisonment, while insulting prophets of Islam will result in the DEATH penalty. What kind of Equal Rights are they?
- Similarly, defiling sacred things of other religions will be punished with 2 years of imprisonment, but defiling the Quran will result in a lifetime imprisonment.
The injustices in these laws are apparent.
In the original Islamic Sharia, there was no prescribed punishment for insulting non-Islamic religions. However, present-day Islamic countries faced a dilemma in unilaterally allowing insults towards other religions, leading them to introduce an Innovation (i.e. Bid'ah) and make it a crime. Nevertheless, they don't punish Muslims EQUALLY as they do non-Muslims in the name of blasphemy, which is a violation of Equal Human Rights.
… Then ‘Urwa said, “O Muhammad! Won’t you feel any scruple in extirpating your relations? Have you ever heard of any one amongst the Arabs extirpating his relatives before you? On the other hand, if the reverse should happen, (nobody will aid you, for) by Allah, I do not see (with you) dignified people, but people from various tribes who would run away leaving you (i.e. Muhammad) alone.” Hearing that, Abu Bakr abused him by saying ‘Go suck clitoris of al-Lat (i.e. the female goddes of pagans)’ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُو بَكْرٍ امْصُصْ بَظْرَ اللاَّتِ
Prophet Muhammad didn't intervene to stop or rebuke or punish Abu Bakr for his actions, and his silence on the matter is seen as support, known as Taqriri Hadith, making it an established "Sunnah" of the Prophet and a part of Islamic Sharia law.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani wrote (link):
As the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was silent on saying of Abu Bakr and didn’t rebuke him, it shows the permissibility of using these words ...
It's important to note that the exact words of Abu Bakr were so offensive that ALL Muslim translators of Sahih Bukhari opted to distort them in translation to make them milder. This action, however, is pure dishonesty, which is shameful and must not occur in the matter of religion, where Muslims claim to be morally above others. Please read the details about this distortion and dishonesty in our article: Abu Bakr's Blasphemy: Go and SUCK the clitoris of pagan goddess al-Lat.
Please also note that there was no insult or abuse present in the words of 'Urwah (i.e. the ambassador of polytheists of Quraysh), and he was only telling his opinion as Muslims had already run away once during the battle of Uhud, leaving Muhammad alone. So, how does it become blasphemy if 'Urwa mentioned his opinion that he felt that Muslims would once again leave Muhammad alone on the battlefield?
It is human nature when people lose their argument (especially those who are not well-civilized), then they become aggressive and abusive. The same thing happened with Abu Bakr and Muhammad and they became aggressive and abusive towards 'Urwah. As 'Urwah was an ambassador, a more diplomatic and civilized response would have been appropriate from Abu Bakr and Muhammad.
Quran says that non-MUSLIMS:
- Are asses 62.5, 74.50
- Are dogs 7.176
- Are cattle 7.179, 25.44, 47.12
- Are losers 2.121, 3.85, 5.5, 8.37, 10.95, 27.5, 29.52, 39.63, 39.65
- Are wicked 8.37
- Are insolent 6.146, 7.166, 40.75, 67.21
- Are hard-hearted 39.22, 57.16
- Are deaf 2.171, 5.71, 6.39, 17.97, 30.52
- Are blind 2.171, 5.71, 17.97, 30.53, 41.44
- Are dumb 2.171, 6.39, 17.97
- Are ignorant 6.111, 39.64
- Are miserly 4.37
- Are begrudging 3.120
- Are transgressors 5.64, 5.78, 6.110, 7.186, 10.11, 10.74, 37.30, 50.25
- Are corrupting 5.64, 10.40
- Are filthy 9.28
- Are superficial 19.73-74
- Are traitors 5.13, 22.38
- Are liars (Over 10 verses)
- Are perverse 5.75, 9.30, 10.34, 35.3, 40.63
- Are envious 2.90, 2.109, 2.213, 3.19
- Are evildoers (Over 10 verses)
- Are degraded 5.41
- Are feeble 22.73
- Are deluded 3.24, 6.130, 7.51, 35.40, 45.35, 67.20
- Are arrogant (Over 10 verses)
- Are defiant (Over 10 verses)
- Are conceited 38.2
- Are ungrateful 22.38, 35.36, 39.3
- Are the vilest of animals in Allah's sight 8.55
- Are the worst of all creatures 98.6
- Are Allah's enemy 2.98, 8.60, 41.28, 60.1
- Are Muslims' enemy 4.101, 8.60, 60.1-2
- A Bastard (68.13)
- Have impure hearts 05.41
- Have schadenfreude 3.120
- Allah hates them 35.39, 40.10
- Allah does not love them 3.32, 22.38, 30.45
- Allah destroys them 3.141, 17.58, 21.6, 28.43
- Allah disgraces them 9.2, 16.27
- Allah defiles them 6.125, 10.100
- Allah tortures them 4.56, 18.29, 22.19-22, 40.71-73
- Allah forsakes them 7.51, 20.126, 32.14, 45.34
- Allah curses them (Over 10 verses)
- Allah humiliates them (Over 10 verses)
- Allah casts terror into them 3.151
- Allah turns them into apes 2.65, 5.60, 7.166
- Allah turns them into pigs 05.60
- Allah turns them into worshippers of evil 05.60
- Allah turns them into scum 23.41
- Allah sends devils on them 19.83
- Allah ignores their good deeds 18.105
Islamic apologists often present the Quranic verse 6:108 as evidence to question the incident where Abu Bakr allegedly abused Urwa in the presence of Muhammad. The verse states:
Quran 6:108: Do not revile those who invoke others apart from God, lest they begin to revile God out of malice and ignorance.
It is important to understand the context of this verse, as it was revealed during the last years of Meccan life when Muslims were in a vulnerable position and feared the power of the Meccan polytheists (Kuffars). However, the incident involving 'Urwa and Abu Bakr occurred much later, during the Medinan life, specifically during the incident of Hudaybiah in the 6th Hijri year. By this time, Muslims had become stronger and were no longer in fear of the Meccans.
The whole Quran is a witness that during the early Meccan period, the Quran primarily focused on non-violent teachings and did not contain verses about fighting (Qataal) or Jihad (war). But later in the Madinan life, when Muslims became stronger, then the Quran talked only about killing and Jihad and threatening the Kaffirs. For details, please read our article: When Islam was Weak, then Quranic Verses taught peace. When Islam became stronger, the Quranic Verses taught violence, cruelty, coercion, and intolerance.