Freedom of Speech: A Core Islamic Value!

Epigraph:

And if you are in doubt as to what We (Allah) have sent down to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a Chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful.  (Al Quran 2:24)

Kaaba: The very First House of God in Makkah

Kaaba: The very First House of God in Makkah

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD

Those of us, who have seen the Message movie, about the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and most of the Muslims have, would recall a scene, when the companions of the Prophet are saying the creed of Islam, in the courtyard of Kaaba, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of God,” and the non-Muslim Meccans start throwing stones at them and start beating them.

This physical struggle is going on as the main character of the movie, who is uncle of the prophet Muhammad, Hamza, who is not a Muslim yet, enters the courtyard of Kaaba and says tauntingly to Abu Jahal, one of the main leaders of the Meccans, “He is the bravest man in the desert, when he meets unarmed men!”  Abu Jahal retorts, “Muhammad is a liar,” to which Hamza responds, “Where is the lie and where is the truth, when it has not been spoken yet.  You do not let him speak.”

We find in the early history of Islam and all of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s life that he was a great champion of free speech.  How else would he propagate his religion, in Arabia?

The religion started with one man and everyone else was on the other side of the river, in a manner of speaking.

The famous British apologist for the Holy Prophet Muhammad wrote, in his book, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History:

Much has been said of Mahomet’s propagating his Religion by the sword. It is no doubt far nobler what we have to boast of the Christian Religion, that it propagated itself peaceably in the way of preaching and conviction.  Yet withal, if we take this for an argument of the truth or falsehood of a religion, there is a radical mistake in it. The sword indeed: but where will you get your sword! Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone, there it dwells as yet.  One man alone of the whole world believes it; there is one man against all men. That  he take a sword, and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must first get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.

There are at least five places, where the Holy Quran claims its uniqueness and puts out a challenge to non-believers to produce its equal:

And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a Chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful.  (Al Quran 2:24)

Do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call for help on all you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.’  (Al Quran 10:39)

Do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘Then bring ten Chapters like it, forged, and call on whom you can beside Allah, if you are truthful.’  (Al Quran 11:14)

Say, ‘If mankind and the Jinn gathered together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even though they should help one another.’  (Al Quran 17:89)

Do they say, ‘He has fabricated it?’ Nay, but they would not believe.  Let them, then, bring forth an announcement like this, if they speak the truth!  (Al Quran 52:34-35)

This challenge has never been met in fourteen hundred years, but, there is another aspect to this challenge.  This enshrines the freedom of speech of every non-believer in the eyes of everyone who believes in the Holy Quran to be the literal word of God.

If this is not freedom of speech, I do not know what is!  Any man has a God given right to produce the equal of ‘word of God,’ even though Allah says that no one can succeed at this.

Prof. Laura Vaccia Vaglieri, who was a professor at the University of Naples, has the following to say in praise of the Holy Quran:

For the book, besides its perfection in form and method, proved itself beyond imitation even in its substance. In it, among other things, we read a forecast of future events, and a description of events which had taken place centuries before but were generally ignored. There are frequent references to the laws of nature, to various sciences, both religious and secular. We find there vast stores of knowledge which are beyond the capacity of the most intelligent of men, the greatest of philosophers and the ablest of politicians. For all these reasons the Quran could not be the work of an uneducated man, who had spent all his life in the midst of an unrefined society far away from men of learning and religion, a man who always insisted that he was but a man just like any others, and, as such, unable to perform miracles unless he had the help of Almighty God. The Quran could have its source only in Him Whose knowledge comprehends everything in heaven and earth.[1]

But, a permission has been given to every non-Muslim, to claim in any Muslim country that the Quran is the word of Muhammad and not God and that he or she is going to produce its equivalent or something equal to part of it.

No Mullah dare take this right away from them, in defiance of the fact that God gave them this right, Himself.

I suggest that if any Mullah goes against the word of God, he should be charged with blasphemy and given a taste of his own medicine!

On a more serious note, what is blasphemy?  Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as follows:

Blasphemy is irreverence toward a deity or deities and, by extension, the use of profanity.

In Christianity, blasphemy has points in common with heresy but is differentiated from it in that heresy consists of holding a belief contrary to the orthodox one. Thus, it is not blasphemous to deny the existence of God or to question the established tenets of the Christian faith unless this is done in a mocking and derisive spirit. In the Christian religion, blasphemy has been regarded as a sin by moral theologians; St. Thomas Aquinas described it as a sin against faith. For the Muslim it is blasphemy to speak contemptuously not only of God but also of Muḥammad.

The Holy Quran says that Jesus was a noble prophet but also stresses time and again that he was not god and argues against his divinity.

It offers scores of arguments and in one place says that he had human needs, like eating, therefore, he was not God:

The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; surely, Messengers like unto him had indeed passed away before him. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We explain the Signs for their good, and see how they are turned away. (Al Quran 5:76)

Now, if a Muslim was to stress Jesus’ human vulnerabilities a little more, by pointing out his birth from female passage or his regular need to attend to call of nature, a zealous court made of right leaning Christians, may find it blasphemous.

This would certainly upset 1.5 billion Muslims that an articulate argument from the Holy Quran got someone on the death row, if the Christians follow the “Muslim,” style of capital punishment for blasphemy.

But, then the Muslims need to examine, what impressions their zealous courts, create for the 5.5 billion non-Muslims.

It seems in our global village, unless, we are to kill all religious discussion and communication, blasphemy laws are not tenable.  Especially, when we appreciate that most communications in discussion forums now occur across country borders, rather than within.

Yet, several recent incidents have drawn international attention to laws and policies prohibiting blasphemy – remarks or actions considered to be contemptuous of God or the divine. In a highly publicized case last summer, for example, a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan was arrested and detained for several weeks after she was accused of burning pages from the Quran.1 In neighboring India, a man reputed to be a religious skeptic is facing blasphemy charges because he claimed a statue of Jesus venerated by Mumbai’s Catholic community for its miraculous qualities is a fake.2 The man reportedly is staying in Europe to avoid prosecution.3 In Greece, a man was arrested and charged with blasphemy after he posted satirical references to an Orthodox Christian monk on Facebook.4

blasphemy-1

Pakistan, India and Greece are not alone in actively pursuing blasphemy prosecutions. A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that as of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith) or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions or religion in general). Of the 198 countries studied, 32 (16%) have anti-blasphemy laws, 20 (10%) have laws penalizing apostasy and 87 (44%) have laws against the defamation of religion, including hate speech against members of religious groups.

The previous study found that countries that have laws against blasphemy, apostasy or defamation also are more likely to have high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion than countries that do not have such laws. This does not mean that laws against blasphemy, apostasy and defamation of religion necessarily cause higher restrictions on religion. But they do suggest that the two phenomena often go hand-in-hand: countries with laws against blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion also tend to have higher government restrictions on religion and higher social hostilities involving religion.

Despite these wide spread laws in many Muslim countries, the variability in prevalence of these ideas, shows a lack of consensus about punishment of blasphemy and apostasy, among the Muslims.

One of the questions, which Pew asked of Muslims in 38 countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, was whether or not they support making sharia the official law in the country. In many countries, the answer was overwhelmingly yes, although Pew notes that many respondents said sharia should apply only to Muslims and, just as importantly, that “Muslims differ widely in how they interpret certain aspects of sharia, including whether divorce and family planning are morally acceptable.” Many respondents reject the stricter laws and punishments for which sharia is often, fairly or unfairly, known in the West. In other words, just because some people say they support sharia law does not mean they want to make their neighbors live in a 9th-century-style caliphate.

Still, amid an otherwise innocuous or even reassuring report, Pew’s study found some disturbing details. One that jumped out for me was the alarmingly high share of Muslims in some Middle Eastern and South Asian countries who say they support the death penalty for any Muslim who leaves the faith or converts to another.

According to Pew’s data, 78 percent of Afghan Muslims say they support laws condemning to death anyone who gives up Islam. In both Egypt and Pakistan, 64 percent report holding this view. This is also the majority view among Muslims in Malaysia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

It’s important to note, though, that this view is not widely held in all Muslim countries or even among Muslims in these regions. In Bangladesh, another majority Muslim South Asian state that has a shared heritage with Pakistan, it is about half as prevalent, with 36 percent saying they support it. Fewer than one in six Tunisian Muslims hold the view, as do fewer than one in seven Muslims in Lebanon, which has a strong Christian minority.

The view is especially rare among Central Asian and European Muslims. Only 6 percent of Russian Muslims agree that converts from Islam should face death, as do 1 percent of Albanian Muslims and, at the bottom of the chart, 0.5 percent of Kazakhs.

death penalty

Article 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights state:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

As most countries are signatory of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, one can clearly argue that laws against blasphemy and apostasy are against the spirit of International Law.

Robert P. George wrote in a recent Op-Ed in Christian Science Monitor:

As the UN General Assembly begins its new session, a colossal gulf is again visible – a gulf between what international human rights law and UN resolutions say, and what some member nations do. A concrete effort must be made by the international community to close this gulf.

One glaring example is how some countries treat people who dare to express dissenting views about religion. A number of nations uphold and enforce laws that punish their own citizens for religious dissent or what they view as deviance from sacred norms. Under such laws and practices, dissidents may find their views labeled as blasphemous, defamatory, or insulting to religious symbols, figures, or feelings. If they are tried and convicted, some face draconian punishments, including execution.

But, it seems Mullahs in Pakistan are in love with their blasphemy laws and do not want to give those up, despite the wide spread condemnation that they have received.

Pakistan’s constitutionally mandated Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), in their strange twist of logic, told the government, anyone who wrongly accuses a person of blasphemy against Islam must be executed — a measure intended to protect innocent people who are often killed by mobs.

The CII demanded the measure after endorsing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which allow a death sentence for people found guilty of desecrating the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad, mosques or Islamic beliefs.

It seems that Mullahs want someone to die, if not the accused, at least the accuser!

On the other hand, one finds that there are laws against anti-Semitism and denying of the holocaust, in the West that cherishes its freedoms.

What is so wrong about anti-Semitism and denying of the holocaust that we need to legislate these issues?

May be the answer lies in the 2,000 years history of anti-Semitism in the Christian world, which most recently manifested itself, as holocaust.

Speech against a minority or a twisted presentation of their beliefs can lead to discrimination, exploitation, murder, mayhem and genocide and not necessarily in that order!

So, from this we can draw that no one approves of hate-mongering and sometimes hate-mongering touches the limits of legality.

Perhaps my right to swing my fist or my stick ends where the other man’s nose begins.

Many a problems can be tackled if we follow the Golden rule and allow each one the same rules and stop claiming exceptionalism and veto rights.

It is obvious to everyone that one cannot shout fire in a crowded theater and then there is the saying, ‘loose lips sink ships.’

The phrase originated on propaganda posters during World War II.[1] The phrase was created by the War Advertising Council[2] and used on posters by the United States Office of War Information.[1]

The most famous poster that helped popularize the phrase (pictured at right) was created for the Seagram Distillers Corporation by the designer Seymour R. Goff (also known by the pseudonym “Ess-ar-gee” or Essargee).[3] This type of poster was part of a general campaign of American propaganda during World War IIto advise servicemen and other citizens to avoid careless talk concerning secure information that might be of use to the enemy.[4] The British equivalent used variations on the phrase “Keep mum,”[5] while in neutral Sweden the State Information Board promoted the wordplay “en svensk tiger.”

The gist of this particular slogan was that one should avoid speaking of ship movements, as this talk (if directed at or overheard by covert enemy agents) might allow the enemy to intercept and destroy the ships.[6]

There were many similar such slogans, but “Loose lips sink ships” remained in the American idiom for the remainder of the century and into the next, usually as an admonition to avoid careless talk in general.[6][7]

Where the limit of freedom of speech ends and the jurisdiction of ‘Law and Order’ starts and what is proportionate punishment for perjury and like, is up to the learned men and women of Law to decide, after detailed debates in legitimate and respectable courts.

But, I am here to claim that polite exposition of ones religion and exposure of others’ religions, respectfully done, is certainly within the limits of freedom of speech, otherwise, soon enough there will be limits on how to think and perceive!

Epilogue

I believe there should be no blasphemy laws.

There are laws against hate mongering and slander and if someone is accused of those crimes, he or she can be prosecuted under those laws.

I conclude with the following verses of the Holy Quran, where God challenges the non-believers of the time, to bring forth their arguments.  The Quran invites them, to not only bring a few arguments, but to bring a whole book, in favor of what they claim:

Now ask them whether thy Lord has daughters whereas they have sons.

Did We create the angels females while they were witnesses?

Now, surely it is one of their fabrications that they say, ‘Allah has begotten children;’ and they are certainly liars.

Has He chosen daughters in preference to sons?

What is the matter with you? How judge ye?

Will you not then reflect?

Or have you a clear authority?

Then produce your Book, if you are truthful. (Al Quran 37:150-158)

If writing a book against the claims of Allah, in the literal word of God, the Holy Quran, is not freedom of speech, I do not know what is?

Reference

1. Laura Veccia Vaglieri.   An Interpretation of Islam.  First published in 1957.  Goodward books, 2004.  Page 42-44.

19 replies

  1. The Holy Quran says that Jesus was a noble prophet but also stresses time and again that he was not god and argues against his divinity.

    It offers scores of arguments and in one place says that he had human needs, like eating, therefore, he was not God:

    Jesus entered into our humanity
    That was the wonderful message, the profound message that he could take bread and break it and say ‘do this in memory of me’ Take the wine and say do this in memory of me. The fruit of the vine and the work of human hands.

    Wheat and wine are symbols of Gods great willingness to enter into a new covenant with believers.

    I am more than ready to believe in Jesus Gods son because he came among us and ate and slept with us and walked and talked and did the simple things well. He healed the sick and the lame. To do that he had to have a close relationship with the Father God in Heaven. the power to heal only comes from God. To raise Lazarus from the dead can only come from God. Jesus healed and worked wonders while He was walking among the people. Nobody can talk that away. It was real. There were numerous witnesses and yet Jesus Healed people and asked them to go sin no more. I have seen people with the gifts of healing achieve miracles in our own time.

    I can’t believe in a far off capricious God who plays with and manipulates its believers like puppets.

    The God of love who entered into a close intimate relationship who broke bread and touched people has to be the God of choice.The Christian God makes a better connect.

    The God who distances himself from its people and keeps them in the dark has to be a scary proposition.

    So who is your God ? Who are you? Where are you going? 3 questions I and you can’t avoid.

    My personal answers. I am a Christian and a Catholic by birth and born again by choice.
    I am only on this earth as a pilgrim passing through. What fortune I amass is irrelevant. I leave this world naked as the day I was born.
    As scary as that maybe.

    My God is a God of love and Mercy. God wants so much to forgive and heal me as a sinner. It is I you and we who grow tired of asking Him.

    As you go on your knees in the privacy of your room or where it is private for you ask the God of love to personally intervene in your life and to touch you and show you His face in the people you meet. I will pray for you NOW as you read this message.

  2. Thank you Mike Wyatt for your comment.

    I am hoping that this post and thread remains devoted to freedom of speech.

    As regards the exposition and comparison of the Christian and the Muslim traditions, let us pursue that in other posts, more specific to those issues.

    Peace!

  3. The claim that Islam gives freedom of speech and expression is only a lip service to fit into western core values.
    Even In our Jamaat no one can dare to express his ideas and opinion without fear of being getting excommunicated.

  4. In years 610 AD in Mecca (Makkah), one person wanted to say something. The local people did not allow him to speak freely. There was a struggle, belief and disbelief, enmity and persecution just because one man was not allowed to speak freely.
    That person told the Meccans “You say what you like. Let me say what I like.”

    The Meccans said “We will say what we like but we will not let you speak freely.” Gradually, that person gathered followers in the face of much opposition. The struggle continued.

    The most important thing was even though the person (The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s.) wanted to speak on spiritual matters, the opponents took it as a challenge to their political status.

    It has happened in time of many prophets, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (a.s.) and Muhammad s.a.w.s. The prophet Abraham a.s. was threatened by his people and the king. So he had to migrate to a new land to uphold (gain) his freedom of speech.

    Moses a.s. was restricted by the King Pharaoh of Egypt even though Moses a.s. was not stirring up any trouble. He only wanted a peaceful exit order for his people from Egypt.

    The stand of King Pharaoh was totally wrong. He said that Moses wants to dislodge the kingdom and wanted to take over Egypt. But as Moses a.s. was asking for permission to leave Egypt freely, the king was not allowing it. There was a fallacy in the attitude of the Egyptian rulers against the children of Israel.

    If there was danger of being overrun, the best answer was to let the Israelis get out of the country.

    Jesus a.s. was delivering his sermons to improve the lot of the Jewish people of his time. When the corrupt elders were trapped, they approached the mother of Jesus a.s. to help quieten her son. She did not indulge and told the elders to speak to her son Jesus. As they were religious elders and Jesus was also speaking about religious matters, she said, the best thing to do was to speak to him.

    In order to stop Jesus from speaking any more, the elders decided to have him arrested, and planned to kill him on the Cross. That was just to suppress the freedom of speech. What was the result of that suppression? Three hundred years of persecution and turmoil and finally the defeat of enemies of Jesus a.s.

    The actions of the opponents of Muhammad s.a.w.s. (instead of allowing freedom of speech) led to wars and finally, admission of the opponents of freedom of speech that Muhammad could have his say in the matters. That was at Hudaibiyah. In the end, the opponents of freedom of speech were defeated in Makkah.

    Had they allowed the freedom of speech in Makkah, there would not have been killing and wars. The change would have come peacefully, in whatever way.

    The next important topic could be the limits to the freedom of speech. What kind of speech should be restricted by mutual consent?? or there should be no restriction at all. I am not clear on that topic.

  5. In general any speech which is likely to cause serious Law and Order situation, is likely to get censored.

    The trick for leadership or Judiciary, of any society, is to allow creativity and free discussion, while outlawing chaos.

    The boundaries may not be so sharp or black and white, always.

    Even in science, sometimes, issues are vague.

    The Editor, who first saw Einstein’s work did not know its value, but, allowed it to be published, just in case.

  6. Mohammad SAW was free to propagate his message for a while. The problem arose when he SAW started degrading and disrespecting their ( Meccans ) idols. This was obviously did not sit well with the Meccans. Respect for others faith no matter how wrong they are is needed to avoid animosity towards self. If you read history written by none other than Muslims it clearly says that Meccans offered all kind of wealth and women to Prophet Muhammad SAW on one condition, stop disrespecting their idols.
    Whether Idol worship is right or wrong is a different story if we view it based on our own understanding of faith. After Prophet Muhammad based on his religious principles declined to do so then Meccans started the opposition. Which is very understandable in view of even modern day society.

  7. And if you are in doubt as to what We (Allah) have sent down to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a Chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful. (Al Quran 2:24)

    I am not trying to disrespect Quran or anyone’s faith but just want to ask a simple question. There are several thousand books written by extremely wise and highly intellectual people of the world. If we present a quote from their sayings in comparison to an verse of Quran who will decide which one is superior?
    As far as I understood it that’s what Quran is claiming no one can make a verse superior than Quran.

  8. See, the challenge of the Quran is about a chapter or sura or ten chapters.

    The Holy Quran talks about unknown of the past and future and humans, without God’s help, have no access to future.

    The Holy Quran is the only book, which has been preserved over time. The same cannot be said even about the books of Hadith.

    So, there are different characteristics of the Quran, which can be shown to be unparalleled and humans cannot match the Divine.

    Additional ideas on this issue can be picked up from a book by the Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, Haqeeqatul Wahee:

    Click to access Ruhani-Khazain-Vol-22.pdf

    English translation of this book, is likely to be available in near future.

  9. Dr. Zia ASA,

    I read your article, very nicely written, but I am spectacle about the claim that freedom of speech is core Islamic value. In fact no religion give you complete freedom, instead they set guidelines to his followers how to live. I did not saw a single verse in Quran which give you Freedom of speech,even the verses you quoted were not saying that you have freedom of speech.The verses you are revealed on specific occasion and we have to translate them according to its context. These are two verses which clearly provide guidelines to his followers and they clearly restrict complete freedom of speech.

    Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
    [4:149] اللہ سرِ عام بُری بات کہنے کو پسند نہیں کرتا مگر وہ مستثنیٰ ہے جس پر ظلم کیا گیا ہو۔ اور اللہ بہت سننے والا (اور) دائمی علم رکھنے والا ہے۔
    “But speak to him a gentle speech that he might possibly heed or fear.”
    [20:45] پس اس سے نرم بات کہو۔ ہو سکتا ہے وہ نصیحت پکڑے یا ڈر جائے۔

    It is long discussion but freedom and religion don’t coexist together.

    Was Salam,

    Younus M. Ismail, MD

  10. (This actually is my respond to Dr Zakir, at same time I post here too, the same issue, namely Apostasy and Blasphemy )

    Bismilahirrahmanirrahim
    Assalamu’alaikum wrwb.

    I strongly disagree with Dr zakir on the issue of Apostates.
    Dr Zakir agree to kill apostates in Islamic countries.
    Dr Zakir Naik follow the Book of hadith instead of Al Quran.

    Imam Muslim or Bukhari order Muslims to kill apostate as described in in the book of Hadith.

    Anyone who changes his religion (out of Islam, apostasy) then kill. Wherever you meet them, then kill them. Because real people are killed they will get a reward at the Judgment Day “Bukhari

    I strongly believe that this Hadith is false Haditha because it is against A Quran,.
    Those who follow Imam Muslim or Bukhari fall into sinful Syrik.

    Dr Zakir interpretation of Islam is wrong and against Al Quran or Allah as described below;

    Whoever rejects Faith, his effort will go to waste and, in the Hereafter, he will be among the losers. QS 5;(5)

    O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islâm), Allâh will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allâh, and never fear of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allâh which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower. QS 5;(54)

    So, if they turn away, then We did not send you (O Prophet,) as a supervisor over them. You are not responsible but for conveying the message. And when We make man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices with it, and if an evil befalls him because of what their hands sent ahead, then man becomes ungrateful. QS 42;(48)

    It is very clear that Allah and Prophet Muhammad pbuh never command to kill apostate or Murtad, or those who leave his religion or Islam.

    May Allah guide Dr Zakir Naik and other Muslim scholars to the right path of Islam.

    Wassalamu’alaikum wrw
    With all my love

  11. Dear Younus Ismail

    From my understanding, Yes, freedom of Speech and religion is a core of Islamic teaching based on these verses;

    وَعِبَادُ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَمۡشُونَ عَلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ هَوۡنً۬ا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ ٱلۡجَـٰهِلُونَ قَالُواْ سَلَـٰمً۬ا
    The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace; QS 25:(63).

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)was a champion to protect the right of citizen (people)(to speak,express,worship his belief)

    وَمَا لَكُمۡ لَا تُقَـٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡوِلۡدَٲنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَخۡرِجۡنَا مِنۡ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡقَرۡيَةِ ٱلظَّالِمِ أَهۡلُهَا وَٱجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّ۬ا وَٱجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا (٧٥)

    And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help.QS 4:75.

    TAURAT.
    Speak up for people who can not speak for them selves. protect the rights of all who are helpless.speak for them and be a righteous judge.protect the right of the poor and needy. Proverb 31:8.

    LIBERTY and FREEDOM OF SPEACH, EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.
    QS 90;10. And showed him the two ways? QS 90;10.( God’s way, and evil’s way.)
    BIBLE
    Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, or between a blessing and a curse, between life and death. (Deuteronomy 30; 1,15)

    And say, “The truth is from your Lord. Now, whoever so wills may believe and whoever so wills may deny.” QS 18;29.

    LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL PEOPLE

    لِذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَادْعُ ۖ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ ۖ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ ۖ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ ۖ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ ۖ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

    And say ( Muhammad ), “I believe in whatever book Allah has sent down. And I have been ordered to do justice among you(Christian, Jews, Quraish, etc ). Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us are our deeds, and for you, your deeds. There is no argumentation between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the final return.” QS 42:15.QS.60:7-8. QS.5:8

    So Based on those verses above it is very clear that the freedom of speech, expression and religion is the core of Islamic teaching. On other word, Human right is the core of Islamic teaching (from Bible and Al Quran )

    Was Salam
    With my love

  12. Dear Zia Shah

    The word of “Blaspheme” came from the book of Hadith, not from Al Quran.

    ” That there is a Jewish woman who often denounce and vilify the Prophet . (Due to the offense ) , then the woman had been strangled to death by a man. It turns out that the Messenger of Allah justifies his blood ” . (Abu Dawud )

    When the end times will appear young people and bad attitude. They said word by using the word of GOD , when they had come out of Islam as an arrow from his bow slipping . Wherever you meet them , then kill them . Because real people are killed they will get a reward on the resurrection day ” HR Bukhari.

    Those who believe in the Book of Hadith,a blaspheme has to be killed-

    So I believe that these Hadith are false Hadith.
    Extremist Muslim use these Hadith to justify their act of killing blaspheme.

    The book of Hadith is the root of violence
    Was Salam

  13. At least Ali Hidaya is honest enough to admit that the hadiths proclaim the death penalty for apostasy. Assuming that words like blasphemy and apostasy are not in the quran, the hadith provisions are just as binding. A lacuna in the quran is easily filled by an appropriate provision in any other part of the trilogy of muhammadanism.
    However, not using a particular word to express one’s mind or action does not mean that another word cannot convey the same meaning. To murder, for instance, means to kill or to eliminate or exterminate.
    When the quran and the hadiths say that any muhammadan who changes his deen should be killed, it is referring to apostasy.
    The hadiths, which convey Muhammad’s sunna, explicitly contain how Muhammad killed or caused to be killed those whom he considered to have insulted him and his allah. The question to ask is, what does ‘blasphemy’ mean?
    According to the Concise English Dictionary e-edition, it means: ‘PROFANE OR SACRILIGIOUS THINGS ABOUT GOD OR SACRED THINGS’.
    Muhammadans consider their allah, Muhammad, the quran and even the hadiths as holy.
    It was on the basis of that definition, that Muhammad caused the elimination of Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf, whose head he received with shouts of ‘allahu akbar’ which has become the signature tune of muhammadans, especially the terrorists. There were others too numerous to mention.
    Zakir Naik bases his position on what is obtainable in muhammadan literature. Those who think he is wrong are called ‘nit wits’ by the muhammadan sage of the last century, Ayatollah Khomeini.

  14. Zia’
    Again: muhammadan countries are busy promulgating blasphemy laws based on what their ‘prophet’ handed down to them.

  15. There is no clear teaching about freedom of speech as we understand it today, in the Holy Quran. Of course those who believe in it will derive it indirectly from some verses and others will not see it. The practice of great majority of Muslim scholars over the last 1500 years tells us that there is no freedom of speech in Islam. In the present day due to better understanding by living in the West some Muslims are insisting that Quran gives complete freedom of speech. This is not so. Quran gives full freedom when it comes to choosing a religion. It also give full freedom to practice any religion of your choice. It also does not prescribe any punishment for blasphemy or apostasy. But as for the freedom to insult, or disrespect authority or public disagreement with the religious leaders or challenging their views or interpretation of the Quran: it will result in immediate action against you. So the freedom of speech as understood in the West does not exists in the Holy Quran. There is freedom but with strict boundaries. And these boundaries are much narrower than what we have in the Western political dominions.

  16. Whatever is written by CS above is true but let us look at it from another side. The lack of freedom of speech in Islam mentioned above is not from Islamic point of view. It is wrong practice of the Muslim rulers.
    In Makkah, the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. wanted to say something. He was not allowed. He said, “O, people, say what you like and let me say what I like.” But his opponents, the enemies did not allow him to speak.
    When he was in Madinah, and he was in good position, one of his opponents abused the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. The prophet did not stop him or punish him.
    The verse which says “There is no compulsion in religion”, in fact, in other words it provides freedom of speech because the religion needs to be preached in different words. The only condition is that it should be peaceful preaching.
    The system of Mushawarat (consultation) in Islam is another proof of freedom of speech.
    Speech may be some kind of question or Criticism. It was allowed in Islam. During the time of Hazrat Umar Rz.a. some one openly asked him about how he could make a garment that he was wearing when every one else could not make their garment from the free cloth that they received?
    At another instance, when the Khalifah Umar Rz.a. passed an order to restrict the amount of money to be given to a bride as Haqq Mehr. One lady questioned him by reference to a verse of the Quran which said, “When you separate from your wives, do not take anything back from them even if you had given them a huge amount of gold.” (This I have stated from memory and may convey the meaning but may not be exact words of the Quran).
    On hearing the speech of the lady, Hazrat Umar Rz.a. cancelled his order and said “The ladies of Madinah have more knowledge about the religion (?) than Umar.”
    The teaching of the Quran cannot be against the freedom of speech. World is a global village now and need for freedom of speech has been realized after much ado. It was predicted in the Quran ” And when book (periodicals) will be published” v 10/11 chapter 81. In Arabic it says ” Wa Idha al Suhuf e Nushshirat”.
    There is ample material to prove freedom of speech in Islam. It is a core Islamic value.

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