It shocks me to see the things Muslims do in the name of Islam. We have stopped looking inside ourselves and only focused on correcting others. Asiya Bibi, a Christian woman who has been sentenced to death after being accused of blasphemy in Pakistan is a victim of this outlook. Blasphemy laws were introduced by General Zia in an attempt to Islamicize the state. According to these laws, a person who passes on derogatory remarks for the Prophet or desecrates the Quran is to be put to death or imprisoned for life. There have been many occasions where these laws have been used and abused for political purposes and personal rivalries. The case of Asiya Bibi is no different. However, regardless of Asiya Bibi’s innocence, these laws don’t fall in line with the lessons we learn from the life of our Holy Prophet. The Prophet, in whose name we carry out these sentences, had avoided these proceedings.
Let me narrate to you an incident from the Prophet’s life. As the story goes, the Prophet travelled to the valley of Tai’f to invite its people to Islam. At the Prophet’s arrival, he was not only mistreated by the locals but children were made to run after him throwing stones at him. The Prophet was injured so badly that his shoes were filled with blood. Allah was displeased by the behavior of the people of Tai’f and sent the messenger Gibrael to tell the Prophet that if he wanted, Allah would destroy the whole valley bringing down its people under the mountains. The Prophet responded with asking Allah for forgiveness for the people and praying for their future generations to be shown the right path.
Imagine now, how the Prophet would have responded to the use of derogatory remarks for him. He would have forgiven the person and prayed for him to be shown the right path! Why then do we acting on the Prophet’s behalf sentence these people for life imprisonment or put them to death. The Prophet surely wouldn’t have wanted this. He would be displeased not with the people who ridicule him but rather people who follow him but misinterpret his teachings.
The minorities have been the ones to suffer most by these laws. These laws have bred intolerance amongst the general public and this intolerance is what causes such incidents in the first place. Let’s learn the lessons of compassion and forgiveness from the Prophet’s life and raise our voice against these cruel laws. Let’s stand up with Asiya Bibi and fight for her release. Most importantly, let’s ask for these laws to be repealed to avoid the mistreatment of minorities in our country in the future.