Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab province of Pakistan, senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and also an industrialist, was brutally killed by his own security guard. The assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, on his arrest expressed happiness on Taseer’s killing and said since Taseer was critical of the Blasphemy law; hence he was insulted Allah, Quran and Islam.
On arrest, Qadri was not at all tensed, rather smiling. Taseer’s killing has once again initiated the debate- whose Islam is real and who is following the true Islamic teachings- liberal and progressive people following the tolerant Islam like Salmaan Taseer or the Talibani, extremist radical Mullahs like Mumtaz Qadri?
Extremists and radicals in Pakistan started raising their heads during the reign of General Zia-Ul-Haq. General Zia hanged the former liberal and progressive Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by falsely implicating him in a murder case. This was the beginning of the downfall of liberal Pakistan and rise of fundamentalist crazy nuts. And today Pakistan is paying the price of toeing the so called “Islamic” line of General Zia. Pakistan’s liberal Muslim is today feeling helpless and worried vis-a-vis the deteriorating global image of his country as a nation.
Measuring this assassination on the fundamentalists’ own criteria, the first question is whether the Prophet Mohammad, Hazrat Ali or any other member of their family carried on any such act in the Islamic history? Has the Prophet ever called for killing of any person indulging in “Blasphemy”? And finally-Is it an Islamic teaching that in the name of “religion,” you kill that very person whose protection is your duty? I think no other conduct can be more irreligious, inhuman and anti-Islamic.
What was the crime of Salmaan Taseer? That he was against the death sentence handed to a helpless Christian lady for “Blasphemy,” while extremists are favouring her hanging? One thing should be noted here. Instead of giving an ear to the woman’s argument, outrightly punishing her with death sentence can be called a Talibani and demonic act. Indeed, support and sympathy for such a helpless woman is very much enshrined in the tenets of Islam which teach us tolerance, harmony, love, peace and brotherhood. In the Islamic history, women were insulted only once in Karbala by the cruel “Muslim” ruler Yazid. And the replication of such act today will certainly be called an act of Yazidi forces.
Taseer’s assassination has once again brought forward a significant aspect of ideology clash in Islam which has happened since Islam is now largely seen from the prism of rulers, kings and monarchs. Instead, teachings of the Prophet and his loved ones- sacrifice, generosity and cooperation- should inspire the Muslims. Prophet’s Islam says that one should eat after addressing the hunger of neighbours. Providing relief to others while remaining in difficult condition is an important part of Islamic teachings. Loyalty and responsibility are ornaments of Islamic teachings. Thus, there is no scope in Islam for punishing a woman so vigorously just in the name of religion and killing of those people who question such mindless stupid act.
In reality, Islam has been separately interpreted by the Kings and monarchs as well as by the Prophet and saints. And unfortunately, these contradictory tendencies have persisted since the inception of Islam. Many critics of Islamic ideology are of the view that the fast spread of Islam across major part of the world was due to forceful and coercive attempts by the Muslim kings, monarchs and invaders. But this is not true. Spread of Islam was due to the Prophet’s teachings of love and brotherhood. It is evident from the fact that within 23 years of Prophet’s reign, Islam spread over the entire Arabian Peninsula, and that too when there were no modern means of communication and information.
Contrary to this, if we talk of the Islam of kings, rulers and invaders, for instance only in India the Muslim kings ruled for around 900 years in different parts of the country. But the swords of these kings were not able to get majority of Indian people adopt Islam. The only reason being the Islam propagated by these rulers was not the one which the Prophet propagated as an ideal social system; rather this was the Islam which has been witnessed in Karbala, later in India and today in Afghanistan. It can easily be concluded that the assassin of Salmaan Taseer actually belonged to which ideology? Whether Taseer was a true Muslim or his murderer Qadri?