Blasphemy: Sins of the ignorant mob

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By Haroon Ishola-Balogun

When the Israelites made a stupendous blasphemy against Allah saying, “The Most Gracious has betaken a son,” referring to Isa, (Jesus) peace be upon him, they did not know the gravity of their speculative thought. In the following verse, Allah describes the blasphemy as capable of pulling down the skies, and the earth splitting asunder, and leaving the mountains in utter ruins.

It was a negation of Allah’s being and destructive of all moral and spiritual order. A great sin before Allah. Yet, Allah did not order that these people were destroyed. We did not also hear in the exegesis of new testament 8 (Injeel) neither in commentary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w) nor while teaching his companions on similar issues that the blasphemers ought to have been obliterated, let alone ordering a jungle justice of anyone guilty of that offense.

The killings in Talata-Mafara community in Zamfara State following violence that erupted over alleged blasphemy by a student of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata-Mafara was shameless and sinful.

The student was alleged to have made a blasphemous statement against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and was consequently attacked by a mob. The boy was said to have been beaten to pulp by the mob. A good Samaritan whose name was given as Tajudeen, (a Muslim) took him in his car to a hospital. Enraged by the act of the man who rescued the student, an eye witnesses said that the mob moved to his (Tajudeen’s) house, set it on fire and killed eight persons.

While discussing with a notable Islamic scholar, Sheikh Monsur Majolagbe, the Mufti of Ikorodu Division, Lagos State, said the action of the mob was reckless, shameless and un-Islamic. Majolagbe who is very vast in Islamic Jurisprudence said their action against the alleged blasphemer was crazy and has has no place in Islam.

He stated: “The Islamic law or Shariah they hang their excuse on states that an alleged blasphemer should be arrested and tried before the law of the land and this applies only where there is full Sharia law in operation. Unfortunately, what is in place in Zamfara is a like a family law which cannot be binding on the entire people of Nigeria since it cannot be said as the law of the land.

“Even in an environment where the Sharia law subsists, the law assumes that the person is ignorant of what he has said and will be educated on the gravity of the offence and persuaded to renounce his statement, and if he does, he goes free. But if he maintains his statement, he will be given fair trial and if convicted, the execution of judgment lies with the state, not any overzealous group or individual.

“The Prophet (s.a.w) emphatically warned Muslims not to implement Sharia law in an non-Islamic state,” adding that what happened in Zamfara was sheer rascality of overzealous individuals who call themselves Muslims.

Over the last few decades, there have been many incidents in which Muslims have whipped themselves into a violent frenzy over perceived insults to Islam with Muslims killing their own brethren alongside other innocent people in the name of this same religion that is noted for peace. Haba!

Islamic scholars have warned against jungle justice and have agreed as “non permissible” in islam. Some of this include: Imam An-Nawawi: “No one has the right to execute free (non slave) persons except the ruler, or a representative of the ruler, because none has ever executed someone during the time of the Prophet (s.a.w) except with his permission. Same trend followed the reign of all his successors. Because execution is something that requires deep knowledge, and could be done wrongly. So, it is not permissible except with the permission of the leader (khalifah)

Besides, let’s look at the majesty of the Most Gracious, God (Ar-Rahman) the synopsis of the entire discourse. He bestows his love on all his creatures including those who commits blasphemy against him. He cares and provides for even the sinners.

He is capable of destroying the sinners and blasphemers under the blink of an eye, yet the un-noticed sinners and un-identified blasphemers enjoy His grace, His love and care and even answers their supplication. That is why in the verses quoted above, on blasphemy, the word Most-Gracious, (Ar-Rahman) comes succeedingly. (Q19 vrs 88-93 Check it out)

The lesson therein is to give ample opportunity to the offenders with a view to transforming them and bringing them back to the right path. If Allah is so magnificent that He spreads His grace, love and care over all including the sinners and blasphemers, it behooves on us, mere mortal who crave for compassion in the Hereafter to show mercy, love and care for others.

For orderliness, justice and peace, the state has been empowered by the Creator to adjudicate on issues of conflicting interest. No individual has the right to take laws into his hands. Islam emphatically orders obedience to constituted authority, and as Muslims, carrying out this order is an integral part of obedience to Almighty Allah.

Jumuah Mubarak!

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