Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has posted a video of recognized religious scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi speaking about the Sialkot lynching incident. Hundreds of religious extremists tortured a Sri Lankan national and then burned his corpse after accusing him of committing blasphemy. In the video, Ghamidi talked about the parties responsible for this heinous incident that has sparked an outcry against the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. The scholar stated that the way politicians, clergy, and lawmakers have been portraying extremists as the heroes of Islam is the primary cause of such radicalization. Even though the legislation was present, the mob acted lawlessly and killed the general manager over false accusations. Then they proudly claimed to have done a pious Islamic act by sending a non-believer to hell.
The barbaric act caused widespread outrage, with many Muslims standing up to condemn the act. Professor Javed Ghamidi was one of them who explained how this incident was not related to Islam in any way but a result of cultivating a certain mindset.
Are There any Blasphemy Laws in Islam?
Ghamidi held the lawmakers equally responsible for the incident because of the blasphemy laws. The scholar said that such laws contradict the principles of Islam, Hadith and Shariah and have grave errors. Pakistan’s clergy has also tragically acknowledged those laws without even considering correcting the wrongs in accordance with Islam. Former Pakistani actor Hamza Ali Abbasi shared a clip from the video in which, Ghamidi explained how some elements attributed fabricated Hadith to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to justify blasphemy murders and glorify the killers. He said that such laws that have no support in Holy Quran and the Hadith create the foundation of intolerance and ultimately cause extreme radicalism in the society.
The video argued that when ordinary folks are raised in such an environment, they are likely to turn radical. It is because the clergy projects the extremists as righteous. It stresses that killing a blasphemer is an opportunity to get a key to heaven’s door.
Perversion of Islamic Values
Ghamidi questioned why extremist groups had been allowed to continue with slogans and discussions that promoted intolerance in society. He referred to the murder of former Governor Salmaan Taseer, who was killed by one of his personal bodyguards, Mumtaz Qadri. Ghamidi said that Taseer became a target of extremists after his statements were twisted, leading to his murder. The courts ruled Qadri as a criminal and executed him, but the clergy turned him into a martyr, creating further room for intolerance.
An entire religiopolitical party came into existence after Qadri’s sentence, known today as TLP (Tahreek-E-Labbaik Pakistan). They aimed to take violent actions against those who disrespect Prophet (SAW) without the due legal process. Moreover, the intellectuals, politicians, and lawmakers who saw the extremists as opportunities for political gains allowed them to politicize Islam in Pakistan. The blasphemy laws have been misused by many, even against other Muslims, to achieve political goals. They did not condemn such extremists right away, which is why they were equally responsible for creating such a mindset and ultimately incidents, like the Sialkot lynching.
Shall these Laws be Amended or Revoked?
Javed Ghamidi suggested that the issue can be resolved by amending the blasphemy law under “Fiqah Hanafi” to send a “correct” message. It is a man-made sect in Islam which the majority in Pakistan follows. However, many disagreed with this statement due to many reasons. One was probably the fact that Islam never encouraged sectarian segregation, but Muslims did it anyway. Due to this, many sects of Islam have committed the act of blasphemy without even recognizing it. For example, Sunni and Shia sects often rip off and burn away posters of each other on which religious verses are written.
Another renowned religious scholar, Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza, cited a verse from Seerat Ibn e Hashim to affirm that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never permitted to kill those who disrespected him. He said that the scholar Ibn Taymiyyah committed corruption long ago when quoting the verse to justify blasphemy murders. Ibn Taymiyyah did not add the complete verse stating that Prophet (SAW) never allowed anyone to kill in his name.
Ghamidi ended on a note that whether these misguided people were punished or not, they will undoubtedly be answerable to God on Judgment Day for committing injustices. He hoped that Pakistan stayed informed and understood that “killing people” did not serve Islam, God or any Prophet.