IS BLASPHEMY PUNISHABLE BY DEATH IN ISLAM?

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( This article is taken from the facebook page of Dr. Safiya Stephanie  Musa)
Islam condemns Blasphemy BUT there’s NOT a single verse in the Holy Quran that teaches Muslims to punish someone who insults the Prophet!
There is nothing in the Quran or the authentic teachings of Prophet Muhammad justifying the killing of people for opposing, criticizing, humiliating or showing irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs and beliefs of Islam.
If blasphemy was punishable by death in Islam, then the Prophet  would have been the first one to order the killing of hundreds of his foes who later became his closest companions.
With the exception of a very few earlier Arabs who accepted the Prophet as the Messenger of Allah, the majority of people of Makkah opposed him, humiliated him, cursed or blasphemed him or even tried to kill him, yet he preferred to practice forgiveness and to seek the divine mercy for them.
The old woman who used to throw garbage on the Prophet was visited by him when he did not see her throwing it anymore to learn that she was not well. When Suhail bin Amr, a poet who composed poetry blaspheming the Prophet was taken as a prisoner of war after the battle of Badr, the Prophet asked his companions to show kindness to him.
There are examples after examples to prove that the Prophet never resorted to violence against those who were showing utter disrespect to him.
Those who are supporting such killings or similar actions are the worst enemy of Islam who neither understands Islam nor respects the Prophet. No matter who they are, they must be challenged on the basis of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet.
Unfortunately, their argument is built on a position that is supported by a good number of Muslim religious scholars all over the world that demand death for acts of apostasy and blasphemy, two of the practices that were developed under the influence of corrupt despotic Muslim rulers who misused their power to twist religious scholarship to serve their political interests.
This position is rarely challenged by those who claim to have knowledge of the Quran and Sunna. Often, they use their religious authority to suppress debate on the issue.
The tyranny of some religious scholars is so intense that those opposed to these laws are condemned as non-Muslims punishable by death. Some of the scholars even encourage their followers to unleash terror against such people.
Their arrogance has reached to a point that they do not want to listen to any argument based on the Quran and the teachings of the Quran. The religious and educational institutions of the Muslim world suffer from the tyranny of these scholars who justify their ignorance and arrogance on the basis of a literature that emerged at a time, when Muslims had lost connection with the Quran and by and large were at the mercy of despotic rulers and their hired religious scholars.
The un-Quanic and un-Prophetic practices adopted by many Muslims scholars must be challenged. Islam is not the monopoly of self-imposed scholars. It is a faith given to people for their well being and guidance without any interference from any authority other than Allah , the almighty..
Those who assume the divine role in condemning people and deciding their life and death must be challenged and what better way than to seek the repelling of blasphemy law in light of the Quran and Sunna.
It is time that Muslim scholars from all over the world revisit issues such as blasphemy and apostasy in the light of the Quran and Sunna rather than falling victim to positions that can not be substantiated by the divine writ.
Source: Islamicity

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