In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
The Qur’an was revealed over a period of twenty-three years; during this long period, unless he received Divine Revelation in the matter, the Prophet followed the teachings of the Bible, which requires death to the adulterer, the unchaste bride, the apostate the blasphemer and the homosexuals; which Biblical laws were annulled by subsequent Qur’anic revelations–(Qur’an 2:106; 16:101. See Muhammad Ali’s comm. His translation of the Qur’an can be viewed online: www.muslim.org). Prophet Mohammad taught according to the Qur’an–(Qur’an 10:15; 21:45; 46:9; 53:3-4).
There is no Qur’anic order to kill blasphemers. Allāh reveals in His Qur’an that: “when you hear the Signs of God being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they enter into some other talk”–(4:140. Also 6:68). And, “Revile not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance”–(6:109). Clearly, there is no order to kill the deniers/mockers/revilers of Allah.
Allāh says: “They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary.” “They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity …”–(Qur’an 5:75, 76). If there was a law against blasphemy in Islam, according to these two verses there probably would have been no Christians in the dominion of the Prophet Mohammad during his reign; neither would there have been any Christians in the countries ruled by Muslims: they would either have had to revert to Islam, flee, or face imprisonment or death.
Allāh says that Muslims will face “much abuse” from the People of the Book and the Idolaters; but Muslims must be “patient and keep your duty” (there is no order to kill)–(Qur’an 3:185).
Allah says: “And those who molest the Messenger of Allah, for them is a painful chastisement” (this is a Madinan chapter revealed “in the ninth year” of the Hijrah, near the end of the Prophet’s mission. And there is no order to kill–(Qur’an 9:61). Even in the early Madinan chapter, there is no order to kill those who “annoy” the Prophet: they are “cursed” and would receive “an abasing chastisement”–(Qur’an 33:57).
If there was an order to kill denigrators, the Prophet would not have forgiven anyone. Mohammad’s justice was so pronounced that even if his beloved daughter, Fatima, was to steal he would have dismembered her–(Bokhari Vol. 4, # 681. Vol. 5 # 597). The king who would tell his cherished child to go and pray to Allāh instead of granting her a servant, to alleviate her suffering at the hand-mill, could hardly be unjust–(Bokhari Vol. 4, # 344).
Regarding the instances where the Prophet is said to have ordered death to those who denigrated him. From the beginning of his ministry the Prophet was a target of annihilation attempts. There was tacit warfare by his opponents. By intriguing against his life and openly reviling and advocating killing the Prophet these opponents identified themselves as “enemy combatants” and were subjected to reprisals –even today and in “civilized” society during times of tension “free speech,” which may even express the truth, may be viewed as an incitement to unrest against the State, and be subjected to reprisals. People are targeted for opposing authority.
A typical example of this suppressing of free speech is the jailing of Canadian civil rights advocate Jaggie Singh, prior to their demonstration against the G8 meeting in Vancouver. And unlike Jaggie Singh, the opponents of Mohammad not only advocated the killing of the Prophet but also intrigued and engaged in attempts to annihilate the Prophet and his peaceful followers. (Imagine what would be done to a person should he/she advocate the killing of a member, especially a leader, of society).
Unlike rogue leaders, the Prophet Mohammad was no tyrant, occupier, oppressor or exploiter. This state of warfare was also true during the reign of the Caliphs, who were fighting wars with the enemies devoted to destroying the fledging Islamic State. (These executions were only to curb mischief, which carries the maximum penalty of death or crucifixion–Qur’-an.5:33. If the enemies had not become physical, Mohammad would not have retaliated).
The Prophet himself is reported to have sanctioned the lampooning of the pagans–(Bokhari Vol. 4, #’s 434-435, 731). This seems to show that there are different ways to respond to attacks on the Prophet, according to the prevailing atmosphere. In the absence of war, physical attacks and advocating of killing of Muslims, Muslims are to respond to the denigrators of Islam intellectually. Islam, the religion of wisdom, argument and examples does not seek to silence voices; Islam seeks to enhance mentality–(Qur’an 16:125).
While there is no Qur’anic law against blasphemy, there is, however, a law against slander–(Qur’an 24:4; 33:58); and against mischief–(Qur’an 5:33). There is a law against blasphemy in Judaism and in Christianity:
“And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed….let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.…And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death….And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses”–(Lev. 24:11-16, 23). (This is one of the Biblical laws that the Qur’an has abrogated–(2:106; 16:101).
For more death and stoning in Judaism and Christianity see Islam-adultery & flogging.