At what point does a devotee realize his devotion has backfired? The BBC reports a tragic case of personal loss, yet to be realized:
BBC Urdu’s Iram Abbasi travels to the Pakistani village [of Punjab] where a boy cut off his own hand after being accused of blasphemy – and is now being hailed as a religious hero.
This story is heart-rending. A 15 year-old Pakistani Muslim boy misunderstood the words of a cleric: “Who among you doesn’t believe in the teachings of the Holy Prophet? Raise your hand!” The boy misunderstood the clumsily worded statement to be, “those who believe in the teachings of the Holy Prophet raise your hand,” to which the boy exuberantly raised his hand, only to suddenly realize his hand was the only one raised. The cleric immediately accused the 15 year-old boy of blasphemy. The stunned lad immediately left the mosque. Upon arriving at his home he found his uncle’s grass cutting machine and with one quick slice, incised his right hand. Bleeding profusely, he put his severed limb on a platter and returned to the mosque, presenting it to the cleric. The shocked ummah watched in horror as the maimed boy fainted before them.
The one-handed boy’s explanation of his action?
“I didn’t feel any pain when I chopped it off so why would I feel any now? The hand that commits blasphemy should be chopped off,” he said, with a restrained smile.
His entire village is celebrating the act of expiation. The extreme nature of this “devotional” act has made Qaiser [the boy] into a revered figure. Read more.
Imagine that: a one-handed village boy is “revered” for his act of accidental blasphemy to the holy prophet of Islam. No wonder the devoted are so willing to don a suicide vest as they proclaim “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is Greater”) to the innocent masses impacted by a similar misguided devotion. The reverence and acclaim of other devotees is quite an inspiration to the young mind, and by age 15, it is clear that this message has been taught him since his earliest of days. At what point will the young man realize the worth of his severed right hand? Will he then ask himself if Allah was worth it? A one-handed man in a Muslim society quite normally communicates something quite different than the reason for this man’s actions:
[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah . And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. Qur’an 5:38.
How many times will the story be told before the young man gets tired of its telling. The young man’s crime was blasphemy not of theft so Qur’an 5:38 does not apply. He did not steal but accidentally blasphemed! The Qur’an provides death for those who blaspheme the prophet. I cannot help but wonder if the boy’s journey from the mosque to his home that night did not include the option of his severing his own head? A hand is of little consequence when the alternative is one’s head. Perhaps, some in the dark corners of Islamic thought might think the lad got off rather easily. The closing paragraph in the BBC article makes this point:
That Qaiser punished himself so severely after being accused of blasphemy is unprecedented in Pakistan. But some say he may have been spared a worse fate in an increasingly conservative country, where people accused of blasphemy, or those who defend them, can end up victims of mob violence and lynching….
The Qur’an claims itself to be the literal speech of Allah as revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. How can the creator of all life (assuming that Allah is the Creator as the Qur’an claims him to be, Qur’an 56:59) require the amputation of the hand, one of the Creator’s most exquisite of creations? Is it logical for the Creator to destroy what He has created? In “Allah: Is He God?,” authors P. Newton and M. Rafiqul Haqq, make this point:
The human hand is not a human masterpiece but a Divine masterpiece. It is more precious, and far greater than any human achievement. Will the Creator of the hand give orders for His masterpiece to be cut off and destroyed to penalize a person for the theft of property? Or did He demand that a greater amount of property must be given back; that the punishment for stealing property should be property, as in His commandment given to Moses? Property damage should be compensated for by property [loss, not by the loss of a body part]. … Could it be that the hand-cutting law originated from someone other than the hand’s creator? (p.14)
What would have happened to the young man if he had unwittingly blasphemed the Qur’an? Read more. Read more. Would it have been his opposite hand and leg as the “hudud” (the law of severe punishments in Islam) of Sharia law requires? Why does Allah need others to protect him (from blasphemy) if he is God? I have often wondered that.
Do you remember the story of Gideon who tore down Baal’s altar upon the command of God? When his neighbors rose up to kill him, his father, Joash, said,
But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” —Judges 6:31 (NASB)
And how can a cleric, a learned one of Islam, or the people he leads, revere the severing of a hand as an act of devotion rather than an act of barbarity and cruelty. What good God requires such punishment as a sign of devotion; or even as an act “to bring life” to others by insuring they do not do likewise because of the severity of punishment? (If I were Muslim, I think I would stop showing up at the mosque for fear I might make a similar mistake.) This is not an act of glory to a good God, but an act of glory to a cruel deceiver who is somehow satisfied by death, violence and pain. This, my friend, reveals the nature of the god that calls himself, Allah. He is not the same God that gives His only Son that we might be forgiven of our sins.
Does it not also reveal another aspect of Allah? Allah is not just. Justice is “Justice by its very nature is just — that is, the recompense is proportional to the crime, it is fair. There was no crime committed by the boy; an accident perhaps, but no crime. There was no intent to blaspheme Allah or the teachings of the “holy prophet.” In fact, just the opposite. When the boy raised his hand he did so to indicate he believed in the teaching of Muhammad, not the contrary. And, yes, it was the cleric who pronounced the judgment not the boy who pronounced his own judgment. Does Allah judge the accident of a child equivalent to an intended act of blasphemy by an adult, both of which the Qur’an requires a sacrifice not commensurate with the crime committed. I see no justice here.
There is that saying that goes, “There is no one so blind as he who refuses to see the truth.” If you see justice in Islam it is only because you refuse to see the truth about Islam. The Qur’an is the revelation of Allah because he literally spoke it into existence. This is not about the people of Islam, Muslims. It is about the Qur’an and the god that revealed it to the followers of Allah. He is not who he says he is.
Jesus come quickly.