Excerpts From Islamabad High Court Ruling Regarding Islam's Blasphemy Laws In The Case Of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, The Assassin of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer

April 9, 2015

Screenshot from the ruling

On January 4, 2011, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, an elite security commando deployed to protect Salman Taseer, the liberal Governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, shot and killed him for advocating reforms to Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which carry the death penalty, and for campaigning for the release of Asia Bibi, a destitute Pakistani Christian woman jailed after being sentenced to death for committing an act of blasphemy, which she has denied.

Qadri is a member of Dawat-e-Islami, an organization representing the Barelvi movement of Sunni Islam in Pakistan, India, and other countries. Qadri was later given a death sentence. After Taseer's assassination, Pakistani lawyers garlanded Qadri and kissed his hand in respect, especially when he was brought before the court for trial. Subsequently, an appeal was filed against Qadri's conviction, and those who came to defend him in court included Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, the former chief justice of the Lahore High Court (see the names in above image). The two judges of the Islamabad High Court who heard the appeal are Noor-ul-Haq N. Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi.

After a series of hearings on February 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11 of 2015, the Islamabad High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the conviction of Malik Mumtaz Qadri on technical grounds, stating that an individual cannot usurp the right of the state to judge and execute. The court's judgment, announced on March 9, 2015, is of special significance for noting how blasphemy-related cases were dealt with during the era of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. The judgment cites numerous examples of early Islamic literature, and is especially relevant in view of the January 7 jihadist attack in Paris on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons deemed blasphemous of Muhammad.

The following are excerpts from the ruling, which cites blasphemy-related instances insofar as they concern the era of Prophet Muhammad and his successors:

Some Of Key Arguments Cited By Counsel In Favor Of The Assassin/Appellant Malik Mumtaz Qadri, Now Convicted And Sentenced To Death

"Learned counsel M/s Khawaja Muhammad Sharif … [argued] that the learned trial court wrongly held that act of the appellant [Malik Mumtaz Qadri] had terrified masses as there was not an iota of evidence on record to show that any panic or sense of insecurity was created in the general public and in fact general public was relieved on the death of the deceased [Governor Salman Taseer] in view of the notoriety of his character and his messy utterance about the blasphemy laws. The act of appellant was highly appreciated by the lovers of Prophet…"

"Learned counsel for appellant further contended that [the] deceased had himself committed the serious offence by condemning the blasphemy laws and became 'Shatim-e-Rasool' [blasphemer of the prophet] and 'Muba-ud-Damm' i.e. one who could legitimately be killed with impunity; that the learned trial court failed to appreciate this aspect of the case as the utterance of the deceased caused grave and sudden provocation to the appellant in particular and public at large in general..."

"Learned counsel of appellant further submitted that act of appellant, taking life of deceased can be ascribed as 'extra judicial' but not beside the law. While defining law learned counsel described [law to include] the Holy Koran and Sunnah of Prophet…"

"Learned counsel … [citing past cases] contended that act of the appellant committing the murder of deceased was/is absolutely no offence … under the Islamic Law which is supreme and fundamental law of the State of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and [under] various judgments rendered by the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the cases of the murders of the contemnors [i.e. blasphemers] of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

"Learned counsels for the appellant have further argued that deceased had committed contempt of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as he had criticized the blasphemy law and declared it as black law [of Pakistan]; that the State and its functionaries failed to convict him for the offense U/S 295-C of PPC [section of Pakistan Penal Code that provides for a death sentence in blasphemy cases]; that after failure of the State it had become responsibility of all Muslims of the State [of Pakistan] to enforce Hadd [punishment] for the crime committed by the deceased; that it was bestowed on the appellant from Allah Almighty to enforce Hadd by committing murder of the deceased…"

"[Learned Counsels for the assassin] further argued that there are [a] number of instances that the individual Muslims had killed the contemnors in the lifetime of Holy Prophet Muhammad without seeking his prior permission and subsequently their acts were ratified and that appellant is also placed in a similar situation."

The Judgment Cites Koranic Verses To Establish The Honor Of Prophet Muhammad

"Conversely learned Advocate General and Standing Counsel for the State [opposing the assassin] have rebutted the arguments of the learned counsel for the appellant by contending that judgment of the learned trial court did not warrant any interference as appellant had admitted the charge with the specific plea to the effect that: 'I have not committed the murder of an apostate like Salman Taseer (the then Governor of Punjab) contrary to dictums of Holy Koran and Sunnah [meaning that he assassinated as per the Koran and Sunnah, an act requiring him to prove under Pakistani laws that he was justified in committing murder].'"

"We [the two judges who heard the case] are fully conscious of the fact that matter in hand is delicate in nature, sensitive in terms and serious in consequence. We are totally convinced that best guidance comes from Allah Almighty, who through commands enshrined in the Holy Koran, leads everyone to just decision, as directed in Surah Nisa (Verse 135): … 'O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be rich or poor, Allah is a better protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid justice; and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever well-acquainted with what you do.'

"The grace and honor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is not only well-entrenched in various verses of Holy Koran but [also] in other divinely testaments. It would be appropriate to quote a few examples about the greatness of the Holy Prophet from Holy Koran:

"In Surah Al-Najm Verses No. 1 to 4 it is ordained that: … 'By the Star. When it set, your companion is neither gone astray nor deluded. He does not speak of his own desire; it is but a revelation which is sent down to him.' In Surah Al-Inshirah [Verses 1 to 8] it is ordained that: … '(O Prophet!) Have we not opened up your breast for you? And removed from you the heavy burden that was weighing down your back, and exalted your renown for you. So, the fact is that along with every hardship there is also ease. Indeed, with every hardship there is also ease! Hence, when you are free, devote yourself to the labor of worship, and turn all your attention to your Lord.'

"In Surah Al-Ahzab in Verses No. 56 to 58 it is ordained that: … 'Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and his angels, (ask him to do so) O you who have believed, ask (Allah to confer) blessing upon him and ask (Allah to grant him) peace. Allah has cursed in this world and in the Hereafter those who cause trouble to Allah and his messenger, and has prepared for them a disgraceful punishment. And those who cause trouble to the believing men and women for no fault of theirs, have indeed born[e] on their head the burden of a grave slander and a manifest sin.'

"In Surah Al-Hujrat Verses No 1 to 3 it is ordained that: … 'O you who have believed, do not go in advance of Allah and his messenger… and fear Allah: Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing'; 'O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the Prophet's voice, nor speak to him loud as you speak loud to one another lest all your works be rendered void, while you do not know. Those who lower their voices in the presence of the messenger of God, are, in fact, those whose hearts Allah has disposed to piety. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.'

"In Verses No 12 & 13 of Surah-e-Anfal it is ordained that: … 'And remember when your Lord was inspiring the angels with this: I am with you: so keep the believers steadfast. I am now going to fill the hearts of the disbelievers with awe: so smite their necks and beat every joint of their bodies. This is because they have opposed Allah and his messenger; whoso opposes Allah and his messenger, surely Allah is very severe for him in retribution.'"

"Narrated Abu Huraira [Prophet Muhammad said]: … 'By Him in whose hands my life is, none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children' (Sahih Al-Bukhari. Volume 1, Book No.2, Hadith No. 13)."

Pakistani lawyers honor and garland the assassin Malik Mumtaz Qadri when he is brought before the court for trial

The Judgment Observes: "It Is The Verdict Of The Allah Almighty That In No Case, The Case Of The Person Who Gives Any Sort Of Complaint To [i.e. Blasphemes Against] The Holy Prophet Muhammad Is To Be Condoned"

"The above-mentioned verses of the Holy Koran and sayings of Prophet reveal that it is the verdict of the Allah Almighty that in no case, the case of the person who gives any sort of complaint to [i.e. blasphemes against] the Holy Prophet Muhammad is to be condoned. The prophethood of Holy Prophet Muhammad was entrenched in the heavens and all the other great prophets aspired to have been included in the group of followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

"To respect and love him more than any person(s) on the global face [i.e. on the earth] is the requirement of faith… [The judgment goes on to cite Bible, Indian ancient books and several Western writers to ascertain a high status of Muhammad]."

"The Hon'ble Federal Shariat Court [a court that runs as parallel to the Supreme Court of Pakistan], in a case titled as Muhammad Ismail Qureshi Vs. Pakistan, reported as 'PLD 1991 Federal Shariat Court 10' which is binding upon this Court in terms of Article 203-GG of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, observed: The Holy Koran, as a glorification of the Holy Prophet, prohibited even the slightest cause of annoyance and declared that marriage with the wives of the Prophet after his death is prohibited for the believers so as to avoid not being means of the contempt of the Prophet. Holy Koran says –

"'O ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited enter and when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! That would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer of your hearts and for their hearts. Lo! That in Allah's sight would be an enormity (33:53).'"

The Judgment Cites Muhammad's Orders To Kill Blasphemers: "Holy Prophet Sent Some Persons Of Ansar … To A Jew Named Abu Rafia Who Used To Tease The Holy Prophet And They Killed Him"

"The Holy Prophet is the best interpreter of the above-noted verses of the Holy Koran and it is also proved by his Sunnah that his contemner is liable to the penalty of death. Reference may be made to the following Ahadith [sayings and deeds of Muhammad]:

"(i) It has been related on the authority of Hazart Ali that Holy Prophet said: 'Kill the person who abuses a Prophet and whip by stripes the one who abuses my companions.' (Al-Shifa, Qazi, Ayaz Vol.11, page 194).

"(ii) It has been related on the authority of Ibn Abbas that a blind person in the period of Holy Prophet had a female slave who used to abuse the Holy Prophet. This blind person bade her to abstain from it and warned her not to do so but she didn't care. One night when she was as usual abusing the Holy Prophet, this blind person took a knife and attacked her belly and killed her. Next morning when the case of murder of this woman was referred to the Holy Prophet, he collected the people and said, who has done this job. Stand and confess because of my right on him for what he has done.

"On this the blind person stood and came rolling the people before the Holy Prophet and said, O Prophet, I have killed this slave woman because she abused you. I have constantly forbade her but she didn't care for that. I have two beautiful sons from her and she was my very good companion, but yesterday when she started abusing you, I took my knife and attacked on her belly and killed her. The Holy Prophet said, O people! Be witnesses that the blood of this woman is vain. (Abu Daud, Vol. II, pages 355-357).

"(iii) It has been related on the authority of Hazrat Ali [the son-in-law of Muhammad] that a Jew woman used to abuse the Holy Prophet and thus a person killed her. The Holy Prophet declared her blood as vain (ibid).

"(iv) It has been related on the authority of Abu Barzah who said, 'I was sitting with Abu Bakar when he became furious at a person.' I said to him, 'O! Caliph of the Prophet of Allah. Order me to kill him.' On this he became normal and stood up and went inside and called me and said, 'What did you say?' I said, 'Order me to kill him.' He said, 'Had I ordered you, would you have killed him?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'No, I swear by Allah that no one other than the Holy Prophet is in the position that his contemner be killed.' (ibid).

"(v) It has been related on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abdullah that Holy Prophet said, 'who will help me against Kaab bin Ashraf [a Jewish leader]. He has indeed teased Allah and His Prophet.' On this Muhammad Ibn Maslamah stood and said, 'O Prophet of Allah! Do you want me to kill him.' Prophet said, 'Yes.' Then he went along with Abbas Ibn Hiber and Ibad Ibn Bishar and killed him. (Bukhari, Vol. II, page 88).

"(vi) It has been related on the authority of Bara Ibn Azib who said that Holy Prophet sent some persons of Ansar [Helpers, inhabitants of Madina who welcomed him as he migrated from Mecca] under the headship of Abdullah Ibn Atik to a Jew named Abu Rafia who used to tease the Holy Prophet and they killed him. (Assarimul Maslul by Ibn Taimiyyah, page 152)."

The Judgment Cites Muhammad's Orders To Kill Blasphemers: "A Person Came To The Holy Prophet And Said, 'O Prophet! My father Abused You And I Couldn't Bear It, Thus Killed Him.' The Holy Prophet Confirmed His Action"

"(vii) It has been related on the authority of Umair Ibn Umayyah that he had a 'mushrikah' [idolater] sister who teased him when he [Umair] met the Holy Prophet and used to abuse the Holy Prophet. At last one day he killed her with his sword. Her sons cried and said, 'We know her murderers who killed our mother and the parents of these people are mushrik (infidels).'

"When Umair thought that her sons may not murder wrong persons, he came to the Holy Prophet and informed him of the whole situation. The Prophet said to him, 'Have you killed your sister?' He said, 'Yes.' Prophet said, 'Why?' He said that she was harming me in your relation. The Prophet called her sons and asked about the murderers. They showed other persons as murderers. Then Prophet informed them and declared her death as vain. (Majmauz Zawaid wa Manbaul Fawaid, Vol. V, page 260).

"(viii) It has been narrated that after the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophet, after giving general pardon, ordered killing of Ibn Khatal and his sheslaves who used to compose defamatory poems about the Holy Prophet. (Al-Shifa by Qazi Ayaz, Vol. II, page 284 Urdu Translation).

"(ix) It has been narrated by Qazi Ayaz in Shifa that a person abused the Holy Prophet. The Prophet said to Sahaba, 'Who will kill this person?' On this Khalid Ibn Walid said, 'I will kill him.' The Prophet ordered him and he killed him (ibid).

"(x) It has been narrated that a person came to the Holy Prophet and said, 'O Prophet! My father abused you and I couldn't bear it, thus killed him.' The Holy Prophet confirmed his action.' (ibid), page 285).

"(xi) It has also been related that a woman who belonged to Bani Khatmah tribe used to abuse the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet said to his companions, 'who will take revenge from this, abusive woman.' A person of her tribe took the responsibility and killed her. He then came to the Holy Prophet who said: 'In this tribe the two goats will not quarrel and the people will live in unity and integrity.' (ibid), page 286)."

The Judgment Cites Punishments Approved By Muhammad: "A Woman Used To Abuse The Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet Said, 'Who Will Help Me Against My (This) Enemy?' On This Khalid Ibn Walid Went After Her And Killed Her"

"Abdur Razaq in his Musannaf has related the following traditions [Hadiths] about the contempt of the Holy Prophet and its punishment:

"(i) Hadith No. 9704: It has been related on the authority of Ikrimah that a person abused the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet said, 'who will help me against my (this) enemy?' Zubair said, 'I.' Then he (Zubair) fought with him and killed him. The Holy Prophet gave him this goods.

"(ii) Hadith No. 9705: It has been related on the authority of Urwah Ibn Muhammad (who relates from a companion of the Prophet) that a woman used to abuse the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet said, 'who will help me against my (this) enemy?' On this Khalid Ibn Walid went after her and killed her.

"(iii) Hadith No. 9706: It has been related on the authority of Abdur Razaq who relates from his father that when Ayub Ibn Yahya went to Adnan, a man was referred to him who had abused the Holy Prophet. He consulted the Ulama [Islamic scholars] in this matter. Abdur Rahman Ibn Yazid Sanani advised him to kill him and he killed him. Abdur Rahman had related to him a hadith in this regard that he had met Umar and had got a great knowledge from him. Ayub also referred this action to Abdul Malik (or Walid Ibn Abdul Malik). He replied him appreciating his action.

(iv) Hadith No.9707: It has been related on the authority of Saeed Ibn Jubair that a person falsified the Holy Prophet. The Prophet sent Ali and Zubair and said to them, 'kill him when you find him.'

(v) Hadith No.9708: It has been related on the authority of Ibn Taimi who relates from his father that Hazrat Ali ordered the person who blamed (abused) the Holy Prophet be killed. (Musannaf Abdur Razaq, Vol. V, pages 377-378)."

Salman Taseer (who was killed for advocating reforms in blasphemy laws) with Asia Bibi, the Christian woman convicted of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad

The Judgment Observes: "Holy Prophet Had Pardoned Some Of His Contemners But The [Islamic] Jurists Concur That Prophet Himself Had The Right To Pardon His Contemners But The Ummah Has No Right To Pardon His Contemners [Blasphemers]"

"It is pertinent to mention here that Holy Prophet had pardoned some of his contemners but the [Islamic] jurists concur that Prophet himself had the right to pardon his contemners but the Ummah has no right to pardon his contemners. (Assarumal Maslul, Ibn Taimiyyah, pages 222- 223).

"Ibn Taimiyyah writes, Abu Sulaiman Khattabi said, 'When the contemner of the Holy Prophet is a Muslim then his punishment is death and there is no difference of the opinion among the Muslims about this matter in my knowledge.' (Assarimul Maslul, page 4). Qazi Ayaz writes, 'Ummah is unanimous on the point that the punishment of a Muslim who abuses the Holy Prophet or degrades him is death. (Al-Shifa, Vol. II, page 211).

"Qazi Ayaz further writes, 'Everyone who abuses Holy Prophet, points out any defect in him, his lineage, his religion or in any of his qualities, or makes allusion with him or resembles him with another thing as his insult, disrespect, degradation, disregard or his defect, he is contemner and he will be killed, and there is consensus of the ulema and jurists on this point from the period of Sahaba [the companions of Muhammad] till this time. (Al-Shifa By Qazi Ayaz, Vol. II, page 214).

"Abu Bakar Jassas Hanafi writes, 'There is no difference of opinion among the Muslims that a Muslim who maligns or insults the Holy Prophet intentionally becomes apostate liable for death. (Ahkamul Quran Vol. III, page 106). It will be useful to note one Hadith here: 'It has been related on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Abbas that Prophet said, 'Kill the person who changes his religion (Islam).' (Bukhari, Vol. II, page 123)."

"It has been related by Qazi Ayaz that Haroonur Rashid asked Imam Malik about the punishment of the contemner of the Prophet and told him that some jurists of Iraq had suggested the punishment of whipping him stripes. Imam Malik became furious on that and said, 'O Emir-ul-Momineen! How the Ummah has the right to exist when her Prophet is abused. So kill the person who abuses the Prophet and whip stripes to one who abuses the companions of the Prophet.' (Al-Shifa, Vol. II, page 215).

"Ibn Taimiyyah, while relating the opinions of the jurists in this connection, writes, 'Abu Bakar Farsi Shafie has related that there is consensus of opinion among the Muslims that the punishment of contemner of the Prophet is death, if he is Muslim.' (Assarimul Maslul, page 3)."

The Judgment Notes: "[There Is No] Doubt That According To Holy Koran As Interpreted By The Holy Prophet And The Practice Ensuing Thereafter In The Ummah, The Penalty For The Contempt Of The Holy Prophet Is Death And Nothing Else"

"The above discussion leaves no manner of doubt that according to Holy Koran as interpreted by the Holy Prophet and the practice ensuing thereafter in the Ummah, the penalty for the contempt of the Holy Prophet is death and nothing else. We have also noted that no one after the Holy Prophet exercised or was authorized the right of reprieve or pardon. The next question arising in the case is thus to specify or clearly define the offence of contempt of the Holy Prophet.

"The words Shatam and Azi have been used for the contempt of the Prophet in Holy Koran and Sunnah means to suffer, to harm, to molest, to contemn, to insult, to annoy, to irritate, to injure, to put to trouble, to malign, to degrade, to scoff. (Arabic English lexicon, E.W. Lane, Book-I, Part-I page 44). The word Shatam means to insult, to abuse, to revile, to scold, to curse, to defame. (Ibid. pages 212, 249). Allama Rashid Raza, while explaining the meaning of the word Azi writes, 'It means anything with which the body or the mind of a living person is pained though very lightly.' (Al-Manar, Vol. X, page 445).

"Allama Ibn Taimiyyah, while explaining the significance of the contempt writes, 'It means to curse the Prophet, prays for any difficulty for him, or refers to him such a thing which does not behove with his position or uses any insulting, false and unreasonable words or imputes ignorance to him or blames him with any human weakness etc.' (Aasarinul Maslul, Ibn Taimiyyah, page 526). Ibn Taimiyyah, while concluding the discussion about the scope and what constitutes the offence of the contempt of the Prophet writes,

"'Sometimes a word in a situation may amount to injury and insult while such a word may not amount to injury and insult on another occasion. This shows that the interpretation of the words which bear different meanings and senses changes with the change of circumstances and occasions. And when (insult, contempt) has neither been defined in Shariah nor in dictionary, the custom and usage will be relied upon in determining, its interpretation. So what is considered contempt and insult in the custom and usage that will be considered contempt and insult in Shariah as well and vice versa.' (Assarimul Maslul, Ibn Taimiyyah, page 540)."

The Judgment Observes: "In The Shariah, It Makes No Difference Whether The Criminal Intent Precedes The Offence Or Synchronizes With It. In Either Case The Penalty Is Identical"

"The Hon'ble Federal Shariat Court concurred that the alternate punishment of life imprisonment as provided in Section 295-C of PPC [Pakistan Penal Code] was repugnant to the injunctions of Holy Koran and Sunnah and said words be deleted therefrom. Now the only penalty [stipulated later in the PPP] for the contemnor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is penalty of death. It is further observed that the blasphemy is offence which is recognized in every religion…."

"In the Indo-Pak Subcontinent during the British rule, the blasphemy towards the prophet was not specifically an offence and such like matters were dealt with U/S 153-A of Indian Penal Code. The wretched [Lahore-based] Rajpal publisher of blasphemous book at that time was tried U/S 153-A of Indian Penal Code and was convicted in January 1927, his conviction was, however, set aside by the High Court in May 1927 and ultimately he was done to death by Ghazi Ilm Din on 06.04.1929. During that era first time offence U/S 295-A was included in Indian Penal Code. The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973… ensured gradual Islamization of the existing laws and inconsequence thereof in the year 1984, offence U/S 295-C was inserted in PPC through Act of Parliament [inserting death penalty]."

"In the Shariah, it makes no difference whether the criminal intent precedes the offence or synchronizes with it. In either case the penalty is identical. This principle is substantiated by the following tradition of the Holy Prophet: 'Allah condones all those sinister ideas coming into the minds of the members of my Ummah which they have not expressed or put into practice.' That is why the Shariah draws no line of distinction between homicide or infliction of injury decided upon beforehand and unpremeditated homicide or injury and lays down identical penalty in both the cases. The prescribed punishment for murder is 'qisas' whether it is premeditated or not. The intention may be definite or indefinite. The intention of an offender to do a definite wrong to an indefinite person will be regarded as definite intent. If the offender is conscious of the potential results of his act and does intend to produce all or some of those results his offence would in spite of its indefinite results be treated as a definite act, whatever the results produced by it.

"The Hanafites and the Hamblites [schools of Islamic jurisprudence] as well as some jurists of the Shafi'ee School do not differentiate between definite and indefinite intents in criminal cases including homicide. Hence if the act of the offender results in homicide he is a wilful killer whether or not his intention of murder involves a definite victim. Further, in determining the accountability of the offender and the sort of offence he is guilty of, the jurists place both definite and indefinite intents on equal footing and regard them as subject to the same injunction except when the offence consists of homicide and the criminal intent is indefinite."

"Maulana Ahmad Yar Khan Badayuni writes, 'intention' of the contemner is necessary for proving the offence of contempt of the Holy Prophet: 'If a person said, The Holy Prophet was poor and was not a fortunate. So he will become infidel only when he intends the contempt of the Prophet with that.' (Nurul Irfan, Part X, page 74). Some of the jurists are, however, of the opinion that if the contempt of the Holy Prophet is in manifest and express words, the contemner will not be asked as to what was his intention but if the words are such which bear or have the capacity of bearing different meanings and senses out of which only one amounts to contempt, he will be asked as to what was his 'intention' (Al-Shifa by Qazi Ayaz, Vol. II, page 221)."

The Judgment: "There Is No Denial That Punishment Of … [The Blasphemer] Is Capital Punishment, But Question... That Can It Be Awarded And Executed [By Non-State Entities Like The Appellant] Without Production Of Evidence, Answer Is In Negative"

"We, however, do not agree. Firstly, the meaning and import of words differ from place to place. Again context may also suggest different meaning. The accused therefore must be allowed an opportunity to explain lest an innocent person is punished. It is related that Holy Prophet said the mistake of Qazi (judge) in releasing a criminal is better than his mistake in punishing an innocent. (Sunan Al-Baihaqi, Vol. VIII, page 184). The Holy Koran also confers right of hearing on every accused… See Koran [verses] 17:13, 14, 36:65, 27:20, 22, 16:93 and 21:23."

"As is evident … [from record before the court], appellant admitted that he had committed the murder of deceased but with a very specific plea that this act of commission of the murder was not contrary to the dictums of Holy Quran and Sunnah."

"[The people] of the State of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, by virtue of the framing of the Constitution, had executed a social contract and they agreed to surrender their individual authority in favor of the State to be exercised through the chosen representative of the people. After framing of the Constitution of 1973 no individual person or individual citizen of the State was left with any authority to take the law in his own hands and to pass the judgments for himself touching the rights of the others and it was only for the State and its various pillars /organs to resolve the controversies and disputes between the individuals, the citizens of the State and to ensure that the principles of the Islamic law would be implemented in every sphere of life qua individual, social and international level."

"[As] per the plea of appellant the deceased had committed the offence U/S 295-C of PPC declaring blasphemy law as black law. The version of appellant as recorded through his statement U/S 342 Cr. PC [Criminal Procedure Code] does not reflect that he had ever made any effort to report the commission of attributed offence by the deceased to any law-enforcing agency…."

"[The] appellant was getting all the benefits from the State in the shape of the salary/protection of job and all other allied benefits in accordance with law but he opted to take the law in his own hands which is totally unjustified, uncalled for and unwarranted to any citizen of the State of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and especially from the member of disciplined force established to protect the State from the internal aggression and threats posed to the State."

"The Holy Prophet Muhammad in the post-migration era was head of the State [of Madina, being the first Islamic state], Commander in Chief of the army, the Chief Executive of the State and also the Chief Judge, ultimate legislative authority of his territory and therefore, if the Holy Prophet Muhammad ordered the killing of some contemnors or he ratified some individual acts of killing of the contemnors by the Muslims, he was exercising the power which accumulated in his personality with above status"

"[Before the first Islamic state was established in Madina, the pre-migration] era witnessed that any contemnor of Holy Prophet Muhammad was never sentenced as at that time the struggle of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was [an] individual in capacity and at that time the Holy Prophet Muhammad was not heading any State and there was no Islamic law concerning the Governance of the State, the inviolability of the head of the State and the prestige and honor attached to the office of Holy Prophet Muhammad."

"There is no denial that punishment of Shatam-e-Rasool [the prophet's blasphemer] is capital punishment, but question... that can it be awarded and executed [by non-state entities such as the assassin/appellant] without production of evidence, answer is in negative."

Source: Ihc.gov.pk (Pakistan), accessed March 11, 2015. The original English of the judgment has been mildly edited for clarity and standardization. Honorific words associated with names have been removed.

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