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Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

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Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The discriminatory and oppressive use of Blasphemy laws has been the cause of much violence in Pakistan during the recent couple of decades, affecting the minorities particularly harshly. The application of blasphemy laws whose purpose was to protect religious sentiments while maintaining the freedom of speech has instead been used to instil fear and justify the culture of mob justice. The history of Blasphemy laws in Pakistan dates back to pre-colonial times. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

In 1860, the British introduced three blasphemy laws in the Indian Penal Code, 295, 296, and 298. The next addition to these laws came in 1927 when Section 295-A was added, which introduced punishments for deliberately hurting the feelings of any religious group. Pakistan adopted these laws in the same form into its constitution. In the 1980s, Zia-ul-Haq, the then military dictator, made certain amendments in these laws to ascertain his dictatorial rule with the support of religious parties.

Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

Zia ul Haq incorporated 295B and 295C into the penal code in 1982 and 1986, respectively. 295B stated that it “offends a copy of the Quran. Who deliberately insults or describes a copy of the Holy Bible. The Qur’an, a passage from it or its use in an offensive manner or for any illegal purpose is punishable by life imprisonment. ” 295C states that any use of comments, insult, etc.

in connection with the Holy Prophet, by any word, spoken or written, or visible expression, or any imposition, suggestion or suggestion, direct or indirect, is offensive. The holy name of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will be punished by death or life imprisonment, as well as a fine.

Blasphemy laws that were enacted by the British covered all the religious beliefs whereas the amendments made during the 1980s have reduced their specificity only to Islam, thus creating a vacuum between the majority Muslim population and minorities. The re-enactment of these laws has led to an increase in blasphemy cases. Between 1986 and 2010, a record number of 1284 cases have been registered under the blasphemy law. Before 1986, only 14 such cases were registered. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

This colossal increase in the number of cases indicates how these laws have been used for personal vendettas. The discriminatory nature of these laws has incited hatred and violence and a trend of vigilante justice. Moreover, these laws have been actively used as a tool against religious minorities, which is evident from the fact that presently, minorities constitute 3.7% of the total population of Pakistan. In contrast, the number was around 23% at the time of Independence. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The main query that often circles this debate is that if section 295C is a law designed to end blasphemy, the evidence suggests it has failed. Over the decades, he has filed countless indictments, murder and dismemberment cases. Blasphemy accusations have distorted our policies and permeated our daily lives. Regrets, often voiced over the “abuse” of blasphemy laws, are often forgotten. The fact that Mashaal Khan was accused of blasphemy by students in 2017 is a lasting memory. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

. The law designed to protect the honor of the Prophet had such tragic consequences, you must ask yourself.It may be time to revise section 295C, section 295C, which violates fundamental human rights. After all, Section 295C is an artificial law, and if Islam is primarily a justice-oriented religion, this law needs to be reviewed and re-evaluated. you decide. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

This article reviews the blasphemy laws and their application in the light of Islamic principles and how these laws are strictly in contrast with the teachings of Islam.

Islam and Blasphemy

The original Islamic thought is based on two main things; Quran and Sunnah. The Islamic law, known as Sharia, is based on the precepts derived from Quran and Sunnah. Other than that, those matters which have no clear interpretation from Quran and Sunnah are sought through ‘Ijma’ or ‘Ijtihad’. In the case of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, there is a popular misconception that their application is based on the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. The case is altogether different. There is no mention of capital punishment for committing blasphemy anywhere in the Quran. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

According to the Qur’an, blasphemy is a grave sin against God, but no earthly legal punishment is mentioned in the holy book, instead of emphasizing that God will ultimately punish criminals. Power, though not through any human laws. The punishment for this crime in the Qur’an raises questions about how traditional Islamic law justifies the death penalty for blasphemy. sayings of the prophet Muhammad.

The concept of blasphemy and the prescribed capital punishment defined in Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code is contradictory to the Quran and the conduct of the Prophet (PBUH). In many instances, Quran has prescribed restraint and forgiveness in such situations. The following verses of the Quran are pertinent to 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.” Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

“And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: “to us our deeds and to you yours; peace be to you.” Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

“Have patience with what they say, and leaves them with noble (dignity).

“Allah is with those who restrain themselves.Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

“. . . But they uttered blasphemy . . . if they repent, it will be best for them, but if they turn back, Allah will punish them.Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The literary sources of the Sunnah, Hadith, and Tarikh present stories of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) agreeing to the assassination of people who had mocked, insulted or troubled him. But there are also stories of Muhammad tolerating insults or leaving the punishment to Allah. Many of the blasphemy stories appear in the hadith collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslims. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The most common story is that people who satirize Muhammad through poetry are killed. Several of the poets in the stories are women, while some are slaves and others are Jews. Some Muslim scholars consider ka’b ibn al-Ashraf to be the first person executed for speaking against Muhammad. There are also stories of Muhammad tolerating insults or leaving the punishment to Allah. These stories tend to appear less frequently in the early Muslim narrative sources but are familiar to many Muslims.

One of the best-known stories of this kind narrates Muhammad’s resistance when he visits the town of al-Ṭaif. According to al-Ṭabari, the town elders will not help Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and their slaves shout at him and revile him. In this account, Muhammad (PBUH) is alone and has already been rejected by the Quraysh of Mecca. Muhammad (PBUH) finds refuge in a garden, where a Christian slave from Nineveh named Adidas brings him a bunch of grapes and converses kindly with him.

As Islamic jurisprudence has developed over the centuries, more has been added to the spirit of the Qur’an, often based on dubious reports of the Prophet’s words and deeds. Blasphemy, especially the crime of “insulting the prophet,” gradually turned into a crime. However, this happened despite the objections of prominent jurists such as Abu Hanifa, the 8th century founder of one of the four main Sunni schools of thought, who believed that the greatest sin than insulting the Prophet was not faith in God, but Islam. do not dictate. any punishment for it. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

Imam Abu Hanifa says that a non-Muslim will not be killed for Shazam e Rasul (slander of the Prophet Muhammad). don’t kill him for it. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The four Sunni schools of thought, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, and Hanbali, predominant in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, share convergent views on blasphemy and punishments for committing it. There are indeed differences among the schools of law related to the status of blasphemers and the punishment they deserve. Malik ibn Anas, Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, reputedly held that those who speak against Muhammad (PBUH), whether Muslim or not, must be punished by death.

Malikis say that blasphemers become apostates; they should be given a chance to repent. Otherwise, they deserve death. Similarly, Abu Ḥanifa is believed to have accepted the repentance of the blasphemer. Shafi’s hold two views: some say that blasphemers apostatize and should be given a chance to repent. In contrast, others consider speaking against Muhammad a ḥadd offence that should be punished by death and cannot be set aside by repentance.

Further, there was disagreement among the four schools and even within the schools themselves, as with the Ḥanafis, concerning whether leniency could be shown to non-Muslims accused of blasphemy. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

Inherent Flaws in Blasphemy Law

The most controversial section that is often misused is section 295-C, which addresses derogatory remarks for the Holy Prophet (SAW). Essentially the punishment for committing this offence was either imprisonment for life or a death sentence. But in 1991, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan struck down the punishment of life imprisonment and made the death penalty mandatory. A very important flaw in the drafting of this provision is that it does not consider the intention of an offender. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

The complainant should be punished if he does not have concrete evidence. My recommendations include the discriminatory nature of blasphemy laws and their misuse for specific agendas, or personal vendettas suggest that it is the need of the hour to review the text of these laws and make certain amendments so that these laws are by Islamic law and hence are not abused. Blasphemy Laws and their Misuse in Pakistan

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The writer has a bachelors degree in International relations from Quaid-e-Azam University.He is an avid reader with an expertise in Foreign policy,Nuclear studies,Politics of South Asia etc.He has a knack for critically denconstructing the socio-political issues which are present in the society.

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