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Free Speech, Islam, Muhammad, Religious Violence

Would Muhammad want the Paris attackers punished?

Muslim leaders have been on the TV a lot lately, rightly so after the attacks in Paris. Only this morning as I sat in bed a Muslim leader on the BBC was telling me how peaceful Muhammad was, and how he would have been distraught at what had happened in Paris. The problem is I’m not quite so sure. Most Western Muslims understand that murdering someone for mocking your religion is not a palatable option in the modern world. But is this because of the Qur’an and the Sunnah or because of the values they have absorbed in the West? Nevertheless, what Western Muslim leaders tell us on the BBC isn’t necessarily what Muhammad thought or implied my his action’s and inaction’s, his example was in fact strikingly different from what what I was told on the BBC this morning.

Please don’t misunderstand me though, most of the my Muslims friends are lovely, caring, intelligent and friendly people. Only a minority have made me feel uncomfortable with their candidness on what they want the future of Britain to look like. After all, any good and obedient Muslim wants to see the country they reside in eventually worship Allah alone as God and acknowledge Muhammad as the final Prophet of Islam. It is a basic tenet of Islam that all of creation should submit (Islam إسلام means submission in Arabic) to Allah and that is the job of every Muslim to practice Da’wah which literally means to call or invite non-Muslim’s to Islam. How exactly is Western civilization going to respond to a growing Muslim population who are zealous to see the West turn to Islam? Does the secular West have the spiritual resources to respond, or will it need to return to the spiritual source that laid its foundations?

What might Muhammad say about the Muslim’s who committed the recent murders in Paris?

We actually have an example in the Hadith where the wife of a follower of Muhammad is murderedkeep-calm-follow-the-sunnah by her husband in front of her child because she ridiculed Muhammad. You can read the whole passage found In Sunan Abi Dawud Book 40 Number 4361. This incident is narrated in several versions (e.g. Ibn ‘Abbaas etc) and is as reliable as any Hadith can be and we therefore have good reason to think Muhammad’s reaction to the murder is accurately recorded.

What exactly is Muhammad’s reaction? Nothing, no retaliation or punishment necessary. Murdering a young mother for mocking him isn’t deemed fit to warrant any punishment at all. So we don’t need to infer from what Muhammad said about some other event, we have an event analogous to the recent Paris attacks and can be reasonably sure he wouldn’t want the perpetrators punished. It seems obvious from the passage that he tacitly approved of what had been done in his honour, we must remember that in an honour-shame culture being ridiculed or mocked by another person is extremely serious.

In case you suspect that I have quoted this passage out of context or making unwarranted conclusions about why the young woman was murdered, here is what Al-San’aani  said:

“This report indicates that the one who reviles the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is to be executed and no blood money is to be paid for him; if he is a Muslim his reviling of him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is apostasy for which he deserves to be executed. Ibn Battaal said: without being asked to repent.”

So there you have it, an early Islamic source telling us that executing someone who ‘reviles’ Muhammad is permissible in Islam. I’ve found some other online sources that respond to this passage from worried Muslim’s, here.

I understand why the media ignore such passages, it doesn’t fit the Western narrative that Muhammad was peaceful and they are fearful of the radical fringe of Muslim’s who take such passages seriously.

I don’t plan to mock Muhammad anytime soon out of respect for how highly Muslim’s think of him, and also I’m scared of the radical fringe who take his implied consent that it’s okay to kill non-Muslim’s in certain cases seriously. It is because of this fear that in principle there can be no such thing as free speech in a majority Muslim country.


About @Nicodemus

I'm a Holmesian Christian, a former atheist, university lecturer and a husband of one wife.


3 thoughts on “Would Muhammad want the Paris attackers punished?

  1. Reblogged this on John Allman . UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by John Allman | January 14, 2015, 7:17 pm
  2. “The terrorists who gunned down the Charlie Hebdo team have already paid with their lives,” is what I imagine Prophet Muhammad would say if you could ask him.


    Posted by khavianlogic | January 15, 2015, 2:59 pm

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