Ramadan Day 21:
Today, we are praying for Muslims who are forbidden from “blaspheming Islam,” a phrase which effectively means they cannot critically discuss or question any topic touching any part of Islamic history, practice, or law.
According to historical Islamic law and modern Islamic practice, a person is guilty of blaspheming Islam if he or she instigates or participates in one of these 8 things:
(1) Speaks words that imply unbelief such as ‘Allah is one of three’ or ‘I am Allah.’
(2) Reviles Allah or his messenger, Muhammad (this includes ‘desecrating’ the Qur’an by not showing Allah’s book appropriate reverence).
(3) Speaks sarcastically about Allah’s name, his commands, his interdictions, his promises, or his threats.
(4) Denies any verse of the Quran or ‘anything which by scholarly consensus belongs to it, or adds a verse that does not belong to it.’
(5) Holds that any of Allah’s messengers or prophets are liars, or denies that Allah sent them.
(6) Reviles the religion of Islam.
(7) Speaks sarcastically about any ruling of the Sacred Law.
(8) Denies that Allah intended Muhammad’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world.
(Note: this list is adapted from the medieval manual compiled by Ahmad ibn Naqib al—Misri (d. 1368), the “Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law,” quoted from the article “Insulting Muhammad: Free speech, and death in Islam” by James Arlandson)
Blasphemy, as can be seen from the broadness of that list, can almost be described as any speech or behavior that does not enthusiastically affirm Islam and celebrate Muhammad. Spreading “lies” about Muhammad is one of the most wicked actions a human being can engage in – the Qur’an repeatedly prescribes punishment for the blasphemer in this life and the torment of hell in the life to come.
“If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city [of Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while. They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed” (Qur’an, Surah 33:60-61).
Today, in Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, and many other Islamic nations, people who are accused of blaspheming Islam or insulting Muhammad are often arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and even executed.
We pray for those living in this bondage.
We pray for them to see the tyrannical nature of the religious system of Islam and long for something different. We also pray for Christians, in Islamic regions as well as in the West, to be bold with the message of Jesus. A slave cannot question his master, but a son can bring his struggles to his father. And Christians belong to a Father who does not beat them or punish them for asking Him hard questions (Galatians 3:26).