Blasphemy: Open Letter to Nigerian Muslims on Young Man Sentenced to Death in Kano State.
Dear Nigerian Muslim Ummah,
May peace be upon you all, I’m very sure that we are all aware of the Kano State Upper Sharia Court ruling that sentenced a 22 years old singer, Yaya Aminu Bello, to death over one of his songs allegedly to be blasphemous against Prophet Muhammad (saw).
This issue is currently eliciting different reactions in the public as many Nigerians are surprised that a court in the 21st century could sentence someone to death in the Federal Republic of Nigeria that practices democracy just because of blasphemy.
I’m analyzing this issue from a Muslim perspective.
We have to first ask ourselves, is blasphemy punishable by death in Islamic? Is the law present in the Qur’an? Does the prophet during his lifetime punish anyone for blasphemy?
Base on my little research, there is no place in the Noble Qur’an where Allah stated the punishment for blasphemy, unlike some other holy books. For instance, the punishment for blasphemy is expressly stated in the Bible (Leviticus 24:16).
The Qur’an also shows that the prophet was insulted, blasphemed, and verbally abused during his lifetime but no one was physically punished for that.
Prophet’s opponents accused him of being a sorcerer (sāhir, Qur’an 38:4), a poet (shāhir, Qur’an 37:36), a soothsayer (kāhin, Qur’an 52:29; 69:42), and possessed or crazy (majnūn, Qur’an 68:2; 81:22).
It is obvious that the idea of capital punishment for blasphemer was initiated by followers and lovers of Prophet Muhammad (saw) out of their ultimate and unending love for him. Surely, their intention was good and pure because as a Muslim, you should not tolerate any slander or insult against the prophet in your vicinity. However, their action might be against the Qur’an and the teachings of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Surely, Islam is a religion of peace that tolerate love and forgiveness. Muslims must imbibe the spirit of love and forgiveness embedded in Islam as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (saw) during his lifetime.
Despite all the atrocities of the people of Mecca against the prophet, they slandered, harmed, and even forced him out of his father’s land yet he forgave and embraced them with love when he conquered Mecca.
We must show the beauty of Islam by extending love and forgiveness to the enemy of Islam just like the prophet did.
We must understand that the execution of the young guy at this period is a bad omen for Islam in Nigeria. Especially at this period when we are still trying to distance ourselves from the devilish and barbaric acts of Boko Haram Insurgents who are trying to hide under the umbrella of Islam.
We should also note that the incidents that will follow the execution of the singer will be more than the offense he committed. Non-Muslims reactions and comments about the prophet and Islam have been worrisome and discouraging since the Sharia Court ruling made public, how are we going to prosecute these people on social media.
Also, the execution of the singer will send a signal that the Sharia law in Nigeria is only for the poor masses. Many politicians including the governor of the state that gave the ruling were caught red-handed embezzling funds or committing adultery but no Sharia Court has sentenced anyone of them.
Also, the government that granted amnesty to Repentant Boko Haram Terrorists doesn’t have the moral right to execute a civilian for alleged blasphemy.
We Muslims must forgive the young musician and tamper justice with mercy. Surely Prophet Muhammad (saw) is a respected and supreme being and we must protect his dignity at all times.
President Muhammad buhari should immediately grant the young man a state pardon. As a Muslim, he should understand that killing the young man will do more harm than good to his administration, especially now that some people have accused him of trying to Islamise the country.
This is not to say that there should be no sanction against statements that hurt the feelings of others without reason, and which do not contribute to a debate of public interest. However, my submission is that blasphemy is not a physical offense but a spiritual offense. Let leave the blasphemer for Allah to judge him. He is the All-Knowing and All-Forgiving.
Yours in faith.