Last week somebody posted very ugly and abusive comment at my blog. That was posted on Insulting Pakistanis issue and most probably by some Hindu. Off course I didn’t allow that to publish it. Later on a question arose What should be our strategy if somebody abuses Islam. I put this question in front of a person in my reach who has enough knowledge to answer it, that’s what I think.
Question: If someone is abusing Islam or Allah or Prophet Muhammad in front of us. What Islamic teachings say about that. If the said person is a non-Muslim and he is not in front of us but sending us email with abusive content. Is it become our religious duty to stop him by force, How should we treat such a person. In case we are unable to stop him by force, Is sin come to us? Let me know the answer in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
Answer: The situation was faced by the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم and his companions while they were staying at Makkah. Allah, the Almighty has guided us about this situation in the Quran:
وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّى يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ
Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. (Al Nisa 4:140)
So, according to the Quran, we should avoid such people until they change the subject of their mockery. From the question, it is apparent that you are thinking based on the Hadith that a person should stop the evil with hand, if not, then he should stop it by tongue and if not, then at least, he should consider it bad in his mind.
We should understand one thing about Hadith. Usually, in Ahadith, the narrators omit some important information because while narrating the Hadith, they do not keep in mind the audience of later generations. They describe the Hadith in context of their immediate audience. Therefore, the information which their immediate audience already knows is often omitted in the Hadith.
An implied condition to this Hadith is that it is all about the area of authority of a person. For example, if I am the head of an institution and find some evil within the legal boundaries of that institution, I should have enough courage to take an action against that evil within my authority limits. If I do not take an action, I should convey it to the concerned people by tongue or in writing. If I do not do so, I should consider it bad in my mind at least. This is the weakest state of faith.
The situation mentioned in this question is beyond our authority limit. We should analyze the situation in two different contexts: Whether the abusing person lives in a country where the blasphamey law is in place or he lives in a Non-Muslim country where there is no blasphamey law.
If he lives in a Non-Muslim country, I’ve learnt through my experience that the best way to treat such people is to ignore them completely. This will kill their ambitions. If we start arguing and fighting with them, it will strengthen their cause to abuse Islam.
Obvious examples are the malicious Salman Rushdie and the cursed cartoonist of Denmark. According to many Non-Muslim critics of literature, his novel was a third-class novel according to the literary standards of English language. It had nothing to inspire its readers. When the Muslims protested against it worldwide, it became one of the best-seller books. Instead of killing that abuse, we strengthen his evil cause by spreading his words around the world.
Muslims ran a campaign in the name of sanctity of the Prophet against the caricatures published in the Denish newspaper. As a result of that campaign, anti-Islamic forces strengthened themselves and started publishing such caricatures in many other magazines. The evil which was at a very low level, now became a hot issue of media and attracted the attention of everyone.
If the person abusing Islam or the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم is living in a Muslim country or in a Non-Muslim country where the blasphemy law is in place, we can take his matter to an appropriate legal authority. Al-Hamdulillah, there is legislation against this henious crime in Pakistan and many other countries. Taking law in one’s own hands is not permitted in Islam. We should launch a complain about that person to Police and other authorities and build a pressure on the authorities by media to execute the legal proceedings.
We often go beyond our authority limits. As a result of that, we are strengthening the mission of such malicious people who are running a campaign about Islam to be a religion of war and terror. Moreover, we are also portraying a wrong picture of our beloved Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم, who is declared as the mercy for all the universe by Allah. We should revise our attitude in this regard.
If we receive an abusive email, we can take a simple action ‘by hand’ on it. Report it spam. If a large number of people will do so, the malicious campaign behind these mails will die out. If you do so, there will not be any sin against you. You’ve done all what you can within your authority.
If the mail contains some serious academic issue about Islam and we feel that the sender gunuinely wants to understand Islam, we should refer it to some relevant scholar. I also offer my humble services to clarify the doubt of decent Non-Muslim / Muslim people having serious questions or even objections about Islam.
I hope that my point of view might be clear to you. If you’ve any further question, please feel free to share.
Muhammad Mubashir Nazir