Thursday, August 18, 2022

Conflicting Perspectives on Blasphemy and the Practice of Taking the Law into One's Own Hands, Which Is Illegal and Punishable Under Islamic Sharia – Concluding Part 2

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 18 August 2022 Taking the Law into Hands Is a Criminal and Punishable Act in Islamic Sharia Main Points: 1. Instead of being useful and offering solutions to the problems, a number of articles following the murderous and dastardly attack on author Salman Rushdie, who is accused of blasphemy for his book The Satanic Verses, are merely contributing to confusing and frightening the public further. 2. No average Muslim has the permission in Shariah to impose punishment on others, regardless of whether it is sanctioned by the Quran or a Hadith. Only an Islamic court or the Sultan of an Islamic State has this sanction in Shariah. 3. Can the average Muslim have a grasp of the blasphemy-related scholarly discussion? Even the educated members of our society today, let alone the general populace, are unable to make wise decisions in the face of Ulema’s contradictory positions on blasphemy. .... It was established in the previous part that only the Islamic Court or the Sultan of an Islamic State has the ability to impose any Islamic punishment, regardless of whether it is evidenced by the Holy Quran, Hadith (Sunnah), consensus, or Qiyas. In India, there is no Islamic court. A common person who takes the law into his own hands to punish an accused person (whose crime has not yet been proven) or even a criminal (whose crime has been confirmed) is himself a criminal and punishable according to Islamic Shariah. We also made it clear that the general public would become confused if you presented them with incomplete information about any Hadith, its principles, its narrative, and its application. The science or understanding of the Hadith is not something that the general public or non-experts can readily understand or explain, thus even if you present them with academic interpretations or a thorough study of that Hadith, they will not be able to understand them. The pious predecessors (Salaf-e-Saliheen) have established some rules for the science of hadith or the jurisprudence of hadith that have been in use since the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). If one does not understand and accept these standards, one may interpret the Hadith incorrectly. Among the arts and principles that must be understood for the comprehension of hadiths are the knowledge of the Quran (ilm al-Quran), the knowledge of hadith (ilm al-Hadith), the knowledge of jurisprudence (ilm al-Fiqh), the Principles of Exegesis (usul al-Tafsir), the knowledge of hadith-narration (ilm riwayat al-hadith), the Knowledge of Dirāyat al-ḥadīth (lit. comprehension of hadith), the science of rijal (a branch of hadith sciences that examines the characteristics of hadith transmitters, particularly their trustworthiness in hadith transmission, as well as the associated standards and rules), the science of Al-Jarh wa l-taʿdīl (a subfield of hadith sciences that assesses the trustworthiness and unreliability of hadith transmitters and determines whether to accept or reject certain hadiths as authentic or unreliable) etc. However, if one is untrained in these fields and relies entirely on the literal meaning of any hadith, one will interpret many hadiths incorrectly. Let the hadith specialists and experts handle it; this is their area of expertise. The general public and experts from other fields are therefore recommended to study the subject at hand rather than getting sucked by their hypotheses and allegations in this domain; which have been highlighted and repeated throughout the aforementioned lines. As mentioned above, only the Islamic court and the Sultan of Islam have the power to impose Islamic punishments. No ordinary Muslim is permitted to take the law into his own hands and neither Islamic law nor the right to impose Islamic punishments is recognized by our country. Above all, Islamic Sharia declares that anyone who takes the laws into his or her hands is a criminal and punishable. However, instead of comprehending and helping others understand this straightforward topic, some people are making a concerted effort to demonstrate their intellectual acumen in relation to the punishment for blasphemy against the Prophet (peace be upon him) on social media and the internet. We are summarising their various positions as follows: 1. According to research cited by some, this hadith (Man Sabba Nabeeyyan Faqtuluhu, which means “kill anyone who insults the Prophet” was exclusively narrated by Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), and it is not referenced anywhere in any of the six trustworthy volumes of the hadith books (Sihah-e-Sitta). According to them, this hadith was first recorded some 270 years after Mauli Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) passed away. 2. Another study, which has been cited by some, states that this hadith is mentioned in the following well-known works written by distinguished Islamic scholars: (1) Al-Mu'jam as-Saghir, a Hadith book written by great Hadith Narrator and compiler Imam Al-Tabarani (874–971 CE, 260–360 AH) (2) Kitaab Firdaws bi-mathur al-khitab by Daylamī (3) Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa, (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen one) by Qadi 'Iyad (d. 544H / 1149CE) (4) As-Sarim al-Maslul 'ala Shatim ar-Rasul (The Drawn Sword against those who insult the Messenger), a book of Islamic creed written by Ibn Taymiyyah. (5) Majmu' al-Zawa'id wa Manba' al-Fawa'id, a secondary Sunni hadith collection written by By al-Hafiz Imam Nur al-Din Ali al-Haythami (1335–1404 CE/735–807 AH). (6) Kanz al-Ummal Fee Sunan al-Aqwal wa al-Af'al by ‘Ala al-Din ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd-al-Malik Husam al-Din al-Muttaqi al-Hindi (1472 - 1567 CE/888 - 975 AH) (7) Al-Jami' as-Saghir (lit. 'The little collection'), a Sunni hadith collection authored by the Islamic scholar Jalaluddin al-Suyuti (1445 – 1505 CE/ 849 - 911 H). (8) Faiz ul Qadeer Sharh Jame'u Sagheer by Hazrat Allama Zainuddin Muhammad Abdur Rauf Munawi (9) Silsilah al-Ahadith ad-Da'ifah by al Albani (10) Al-Rawd Al-Bassam by Jassim Bin Suleiman Al-Fuhaid Al-Dossary 3. Summarizing the opinions of muhadditheen on this hadith, some write that Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti has called this hadith weak in his book Al-Jami' al-Sahih. Similarly, Imam Suyuti declared this hadith as weak in his book ‘Manāhil al-ṣafā fī takhrīj aḥādīth al-Shifā, a commentary book on ‘Al-Shifāʾ bīTaʾrif Ḥuqūq al-Muṣṭafá by Qadi Iyad. Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani judged this hadith to be Munkar in his book Lisan al-Mizan. Ibn Taymiyyah proved that murder is the punishment for blasphemy against the Prophet, but he considers this hadith weak for a number of reasons. Al-Albani does not consider this hadith to be weak; rather, he views it as a fabricated hadith. Abduh Ali Kaushik examines this hadith and asserts that it is one of the Munkar Hadiths in his comments and annotations on Qadi Iyad Maliki's "Kitab al-Shifa". This study explains some of the reasons why this hadith is weak and notes that Imam Tabarani was the first who included this hadith in his book. This hadith was related by Imam Tabarani from his Sheikh Ubaidullah bin Muhammad al-Umari, who was described as a liar by Imam Nasa'i as stated in Majmu' al-Zawa'id by Imam Nur al-Din Ali al-Haythami. (Majmu' al-Zawa'id wa Manba' al-Fawa'id, Volume 10, page 392, Dar al-Minhaj al-Mamlakah al-Saudiyyah 2015) Imam Hafiz al-dhahbi wrote in his book “Tarikh al-Islam” citing Imam Nasa'i that Ubaidullah bin Muhammad al-Umari is a liar. (Tarikh al Islam wa Wafayatu al Masyahir wa al `A'lam vol. 22, p. 202, published by al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut 1991) Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani has declared Ubaidullah bin Muhammad al-Umari an unreliable narrator in his Lisan Al-Mizan. This narrator has been labelled weak by Imam Dar Qutni. Al-Albani even claimed that Ubaidullah bin Muhammad al-Umari had been charged with fabricating hadiths and that he was a narrator of the fabricated hadiths. (Lisan al-Mizan, volume 5, page 341, Dar al-Bashair al-Islamiya, Beirut, 2002) 4. According to another research cited by some on social media, Muhadditheen and Hadith experts have outlined several principles of Dirayat al-Hadith on the basis of which a Hadith can be rejected or accepted. These principles state that a hadith cannot be accepted if it is shādhdh if it is contrary to sound common sense, if it is against the Quran, if it is against the well-known hadiths, if it is contrary to consensus (ijma’), or if it is contrary to the events in the Holy Prophet's (peace be upon him) biography that have been proven to have occurred. (Note: a shādhdh hadith is one which is narrated by a trustworthy person who contradicts the narration of someone else who is more reliable and trustworthy than him) Then after describing these rules, they add that the referenced hadith violates these standards. They say that any man's wife is his greatest confidant and that the Prophet's wife Umm al-Mu'minin Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) describes the characteristics of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as follows: “The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) never took revenge on anyone for his own sake. But if someone had violated the sanctity of Allah, He would have taken revenge on him.” (Sahih Bukhari. Kitab Al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3560) Then they draw the conclusion that we cannot accept that the punishment for blasphemy against the Prophet should be death punishment as the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) never exacted any retribution for himself. They also mention that when ʿAbd Allāh ibn 'Ubayy ibn Salūl died, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave his shirt for his burial (Sahih al-Bukhari. Kitab al-Tafsir, Hadith No. 4672) and stood up to lead his funeral prayer. So Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Will you perform the funeral prayer of Ibn Ubayy, who said so many (inappropriate) things about you? At this, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) smiled and asked Umar to retreat, and then the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) offered his funeral prayer. (Sahih Bukhari. Kitab Al-Janaiz, Hadith No. 1366) 5. Contrary to the aforementioned viewpoints, some assert that additional research shows that various verses in the Holy Quran prove that Allah Almighty has cursed those who blaspheme against Allah, His Prophets and His Messengers and that He would severely punish those who insult His Prophets and Messengers. They consider the Quran and the Sunnah to be conclusive evidence of the punishment for blasphemy against the Prophets. In reaction to the hadith being deemed weak or fabricated, they state that the blasphemy-related hadith is actually weak but not fabricated. This study further suggests that even if the weak chain of hadith is unreliable for matters of action, it is acceptable if it is accepted by the majority of imams and scholars of the Ummah. In this case, taking further consideration into the weak chain of hadith is unnecessary. They also assert that the Quran and hadith contain several arguments in support of the meaning of the cited hadith, that the four great jurists have ruled on the same grounds that blasphemy carries the death punishment, and that numerous authors have cited the hadith in their various works. After briefly describing the aforementioned perspectives, we would like to inform the readers that some of their arguments can be refuted, while others call for interpretation. But what will happen if these kinds of statements are continued to be made in front of the general public? Can the typical person have a grasp of this scholarly discussion? Even the educated members of our society today, let alone the general populace, are unable to make wise decisions in the face of these contradictory positions. If they take any stance based on their intellect, will every member of the Muslim community be willing to accept the same? I do not hope so at all. This means that it is possible for the stance you have rejected to be accepted if it were presented to the general audience. However, whether or not the punishment for blasphemy against the Prophets carries the death punishment, one thing is certain, and no one will hesitate to accept it. This is the statement we made at the beginning, that any Islamic punishment, whether it is evidenced by the Quran or Hadith, the authority to impose this punishment is only with the Islamic court or the Sultan of Islam. No ordinary individual has the authority to take the laws into their hands, according to Islamic Sharia, and those who do so shall be held criminally liable and punished. (Concluded) ... A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. ... Part 1: Conflicting Perspectives on Blasphemy and the Practice of Taking the Law into One's Own Hands, Which Is Illegal and Punishable Under Islamic Sharia – Part 1 URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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