Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ sanctity and respect resides in the heart of every Muslim, love for His Sunnah and admiration of His humanity, humility, generosity, sincerity and kindness is the key for unlocking the belief system of every momin. The respected Muslim Theologian and Scholar, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, has explained it very carefully and clearly, about how to maintain a tactful approach, when dealing with sensitive religious issues, such as the respect and honor of our beloved Prophet ﷺ:
“The first basic thing to understand is that in religion, inferences are not firstly derived from events. That is, if a command is to be given in religion, it must be clearly stated in the Qur’an. If the Prophet ﷺ is giving any guidance based on the Qur’an, then it should also be explicitly stated in his words. Because it’s not acceptable that you allow someone to be killed, human life is sacred. The Prophet ﷺ taught us that human life is as sacred as the month of Hajj, the city of Makkah. The Qur’an states that whoever kills a single person kills the whole of humanity. This means that this is too important an issue to base it on events here and there. Just as the Qur’an has clearly stated what the law is about the punishment of a thief, and what Surah Noor says about the law of punishment of an adulterer. In the same way, the punishments of those who cause mischief are clearly stated in Surah Al-Ma’ida. The point here is that Allah Almighty has clearly declared in the Qur’an that the life of a human being cannot be taken except in two cases. In words of the Quran, Surah Al-Mai’dah, verse 32:
“… whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity …” (5:32)
There are only two cases in which you can kill a person; one is that he killed someone and he is being killed in Qisas, the other is that he stood up to cause mischief, he became obsessed with people’s lives and property e.g. terrorism, he started committing robberies, he stood up to rape women. These are the cases of mischief which obviously can be determined. If a person has committed them then he can be killed. So these two cases have been specified by the Qur’an. No tradition can be against them. Because the Messenger of Allah ﷺ never speaks beyond the limits set by Allah. Look at the whole collection of hadith from beginning to end, there is no such law in it.
Now the events. Events are reported by people. For example, cases in courts. The fact is that unless you look at two or four newspapers, you do not understand what events in court would have taken place today. The records of these cases are written, the judgments of the cases are written, people later debate and comment on these cases, about what was meant by such and such a decision of a judge. This is a delicate matter. If the Prophet ﷺ has taken any action on any occasion, his narrations will be looked at, all the narrations will be collected, and the general principles of the religion will be kept within them and analyzed as our jurists do. Unless this is the case, you cannot make a law based on an incident/event.
The correct order to determine such cases is;
- The Qur’an
- The Sunnah
- Instruction from the Holy Prophet ﷺ, then what is the ruling in that instruction.
Any related event will be studied in the light of these 3 elements first, not the other way round.
I have written an article on all the events you have mentioned and it is under the same title as the subject under discussion. In my book ‘Maqamaat’ I have said that all these people were very big criminals. Among them were those who attempted murder, who had committed war crimes, who posed a threat to Medina at the most critical junctures. This, Abdullah ibn Khatal for instance, he was sent with a responsibility of an Ansari with him, but he attempted murder, then he fled. These are people whose crimes should be investigated and reasons found out about why they were punished. All of them were either in the ranks of the people who denied the Prophet’s ﷺ itmam e Hujjat, or they were the ones who caused mischief. These are the ones about whom the Qur’an says that they could be killed, or could also be punished.
So, this is the right way to understand a law. Neither the narrations in this regard are correct, nor the interpretations of these events are correct. The (so-called) preachers have started narrating such things, these have no status.”
While commenting on people who commit such insensitive crimes, he explains:
“First of all, decide who these men are. If he lives in a Muslim state, and he is a Muslim, then they should enquire what happened to him? Has he lost his balance? Is he Muslim?
Muslims are the ones who consider the Prophet ﷺ as the last source of religion and respect his sanctity more than anything else. So why did he do it? If, for instance, that person clarifies that he did not disrespect the Prophet and it took place in a different context. That he is a Muslim, that he believes in the last prophet ﷺ. In this case, what right do we have to hang such an accusation around his neck?
If he rebels and says that this is what he will do, then no doubt he is riotous. For such mischievous people will be dealt with, will be seen, under which Allah has stated a whole law in Surah Al-Maidah of the Quran. It also states that if the offender deserves a waiver, he may be given a lesser punishment, and if he does not deserve a waiver, the harsher punishments may be given. But instructing, advising, asking the respondent, giving him a chance, these will all be options.
If he is not a Muslim, and he lives in an Islamic state, he should be asked, why he did it. If he lives among Muslims, doesn’t he know that he should be polite and courteous in such matters. Criticism is the right of every non-Muslim, because they do not believe. But to ridicule or utter such insulting words… even if someone says something about one’s parents, he should be warned and warned.
If a man does this somewhere in the world, what will you do there? There, he is deserving of your invitation. And tell him what is the religion of the Prophet ﷺ, what is the invitation, what is the message. Because it is not possible for a person to say such a thing unless his mental balance is disturbed, while he has no basis. What could’ve happened? He may have misunderstood the Book of Allah, misunderstood a tradition, reacted based on an action of the Muslims, so correct it, and make argument. The bottom line is that religion, religious cases, and religious sanctities, and the concepts of religion, are protected by reason, not by guns.”