Saturday, June 16, 2007

What would Mohammed Do?

In response to my previous column at Malaysia Today, one Muslim left this comment:

“…if Muslims who followed Prophet Mohamed was [sic] in charge, anyone including theantijihadist would be unrestricted in raising their voice.”

So, if I understand this commenter correctly, in his views, the ideology founded by Mohammed, i.e. Islam, enshrines freedom. In particular, he alleges that Islam values and protects freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of skeptical enquiry and the freedom to question authority. The commenter, of course, does not provide any evidence or support to back up his claims.

However, it seems the Muslim who made this comment has views that are not universally accepted by Muslims.

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, an open supporter of Osama bin Laden and a preacher of armed jihad in the UK for many years, had this to say:
“…in Islam, God said, and the messenger Mohammed said, whoever insults the prophet, he must be punished and executed” (emphasis added) [1].
The British Jihadist group Al-Ghurabaa published a similar statement, referring to incidents in Mohammed’s life to justify its position:
At the time of the Messenger Mohammed (saw)[2] there were individuals like these who dishonoured and insulted him upon whom the Islamic judgment was executed. Such people were not tolerated in the past and throughout the history of Islam were dealt with according to the Shariah (Islamic law). Shortly after these incidents the people began to realize that insulting the Messenger of Allah (saw) was not something to be taken lightly and doing so could get you killed, a concept that many seem to have forgotten today. [3]

Al-Ghurabaa is quite specific about Mohammed’s example:

Ka’ab ibn Ashraf was assassinated by Muhammed ibn Maslamah for harming the Messenger Muhammed (saw) by his words, Abu Raafi’ was killed by Abu Ateeq as the Messenger ordered in the most evil of ways for swearing at the prophet, Khalid bin Sufyaan was killed by Abdullah bin Anees who cut off his head and brought it to the prophet for harming the Messenger Muhammed (saw) by his insults, Al-Asmaa bintu Marwaan was killed by Umayr bin Adi’ al-Khatmi, a blind man, for writing poetry against the prophet and insulting him in it, Al-Aswad al-Ansiwas killed by Fairuz al-Daylami and his family for insulting the Messenger Muhammed (saw) and claiming to be a prophet himself. This is the judgment of Islam upon those who violate, dishonour and insult the Messenger Muhammed (saw). [3]

When Mohammed entered Mecca as conqueror in A.D. 630, he also had Abdullah bin Khatal executed, whose crime was apostasy; al-Huwayrith bin Muqaydh, who had insulted Mohammed, and some others. [4]

Simply put, the claims that Mohammed was a man who valued, or practiced freedom, are not in accord with the facts of Mohammed’s life.

1. “Cleric calls on Mohammed cartoonist to be executed,” The Telegraph, Feb 6 2006
2. ‘Saw’ stands for “Salla Allahu aalayhi Wasallam,” which translates as “May the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him.”
3. “Kill those who insult the Prophet Mohammed (saw),” Al-Ghurabaa, http://www.alghurabaa.co.uk/articles/cartoon.htm
4. Muhammed Ibn Ishaq, “Sirat Rasul Allah” 550-551

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