VIEW: Not in the name of my Prophet(PBUH) —Humaira Masihuddin - Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Today, those who do not have any knowledge of prophetic conduct are baying for a woman’s blood, and that too in the Prophet’s (PBUH) name. Islam allows people to return over and over again. That was the creed of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Let his seerah challenge anyone who says otherwise

I am both shocked and amazed at the audacity with which Aasia bibi’s case has been pursued in the electronic media by people who are supposed to be conversant with Islam. Leading from the front, along with the political maulanas, are some journalists who appear to be showing great loyalty to the personality of the Prophet (PBUH) by insisting that the punishment in Islam for blasphemy cannot be condemned and that it has to be carried out under all circumstances, where there is no room for repentance or forgiveness.

Then we heard that the standard of proof need not be so stringent, that anyone making a claim against another for blasphemy is to be taken seriously even if such blasphemy might have taken place in the privacy of a room. Clearly, those making such ludicrous claims in the name of Islam or Islamic law are committing the vilest of deeds and that too in the face of solid and foolproof evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

As for the controversy surrounding whether blasphemy can be forgiven or not, all we need to do here is take a seerah-centric approach to study the subject. The Quran unequivocally, and for all times, establishes the gentle and merciful disposition of the Prophet (PBUH) in the following verses: “It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them” — Surah 3, verse 159. “We sent thee not but as a mercy for all the worlds” — Surah 21, verse 106. This kind and gentle disposition of the Prophet (PBUH) remained a constant throughout his life whatever the circumstances, whether during the persecution in the “Makkan crucible” or the days of complete authority and power in Medina. So much so that R V C Bodley in his book, The Messenger, remarks: “I doubt whether any man whose external conditions changed so much ever changed himself so less to meet them.”

One of the most telling incidents from his life is his trip to Taif. Shibli Nomani narrates: “The scoundrels of the city flocked from all sides and stood in lines on both sides of the road. When the Prophet (PBUH) came along, they pelted his feet with stones so that his shoes were filled with blood. His bleeding feet compelled him to sit down, but his persecutors would pull him up by the arm and make him stand and as he moved onward, stones were showered again to the accompaniment of abusing and clapping.” But the story does not end there, it goes on to tell us that as the Prophet (PBUH) took refuge, angel Gabriel came and asked him if he desired to have the people of Taif punished. The Prophet’s (PBUH) famous answer was “No.”

Some argue that this was the Prophet’s (PBUH) conduct in Makkah but not so in Medina when he was in authority, but once again facts show that nothing could be further from the truth. We all know about the kind of treatment Abdullah bin Ubay extended to the Prophet (PBUH). He was known as the Raeesul Munafiqeen (the leader of the hypocrites) in Medina. He deserted the Muslim army along with 300 followers in the battle of Uhud, and with his attitude and words hurt the Prophet (PBUH) grievously yet, when he was dying, this is what happened according to Martin Lings in his book, Mohammad: His Life Based On The Earliest Sources: “The Prophet [PBUH] visited him in his illness and found that the imminence of death had changed him. He asked the Prophet [PBUH] to give him a garment of his own in which he could be shrouded and to accompany his body to the grave...he spoke saying, ‘O messenger of God, I hope that thou wilt pray beside my bier and ask forgiveness of God for my sins’...and after his death (the Prophet [PBUH]) did as he had promised.” Particularly interesting is his answer to Umar when the latter protested that the Prophet (PBUH) should not bestow such grace on a hypocrite. The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Stand Thou behind me Umar. I have been given the choice and I have chosen. It hath been said unto me, ‘Ask forgiveness for them, or ask it not though thou ask forgiveness for them 70 times, yet will not God forgive them,’ and did I know that God would forgive him If I prayed more than 70 times, I would increase the number of my supplications.”

Another outstanding example of forgiveness is that of the poet Kab ibn Zuhair ibn abi Sulma who used to write satirical verses against the Prophet (PBUH). His brother, Bujair, who was a Muslim, urged him to go ask for the Prophet’s (PBUH) forgiveness in the following words, “He slayeth not him who cometh unto him in repentance.” The poet approached him after the conquest of Makkah and said, “O messenger of God, if Kab, the son of Zuhair came to you in repentance...wouldst thou receive him?” As the Prophet (PBUH) answered that he would, the poet said, “I, O Messenger of God am Kab, the son of Zuhayr.” Then he recited an ode in praise of the Prophet (PBUH) and the emigrants. Upon his finishing, the Prophet (PBUH) took off his striped Yemeni cloak and gave it to Kab. This robe is enshrined in the Topkapi museum in Turkey, a testament of the Prophet’s (PBUH) magnanimity and the relish with which he accepted his former enemies wholeheartedly without rancour and grudges.

Abu Dujana was given the Prophet’s (PBUH) sword to fight with in Uhud. Witnesses say that he fought every man in his path but immediately withheld his sword as he came upon Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan. He said in later years that he did not think it appropriate to strike a woman with the Prophet’s (PBUH) sword. Today, those who do not have any knowledge of prophetic conduct are baying for a woman’s blood, and that too in his name. They say that during the conquest of Makkah, and despite the general amnesty given, there was a list of people ordered not to be spared but they fail to mention that only three men were killed and those who asked for forgiveness were forgiven. They also fail to mention that among the three who were killed, two were confirmed murderers and one was a torturer. One of the women in the list was killed but two others who asked for clemency were forgiven, including a woman named Sarah who was known to have caused the Prophet (PBUH) considerable harm.

The conquest of Makkah, far beyond being a conquest of territory, was a conquest of hearts. So eager was the Prophet (PBUH) to forgive that when Umair ibn Wahab asked for the forgiveness of Safwan — one of the men on the death list — the Prophet (PBUH) not only forgave, but when Umair asked the Prophet (PBUH) for a guarantee, he took off his turban as his personal guarantee.

If the above cannot prove the fact that there is no point of no return in Islam then nothing can. Islam allows people to return over and over again. That was the creed of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Let his seerah challenge anyone who says otherwise.

The writer has a degree in shariah and law, an MA in cultural anthropology and an MSc in criminal justice studies. She can be reached at

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