I'm not trying to goad anyone, or start a fight, or pass judgment. I'm asking out of genuine curiosity. Please read accordingly.

I seek to learn how Muslims choose their response to deliberate, gratuitous abuse of Islam, the Qur'an, Muhammad, Allah, the Prophets, or anything else relating to Islam. I assume that it is prescribed, by one or more doctrinal authorities. I did a very rough, informal search of some Islamic resources, I found many items in favor of a mild response, but only one in favor of a more vigorous response. I've listed all that at the end of the post, because someone will surely want to see it.

My observations in online forums have been overwhelmingly biased toward the vigorous response. My observations of video footage of angry mobs of non-radical Muslims tend to provide reinforcement. I'm trying to find the religious motivations behind it, and get any other related knowledge that anyone can share.

I've asked Muslims before why they're bothered about insult to Islam. Almost invariably, the response is along the lines of, "How would you feel if someone insulted your mother?" Beside not being an answer, that's an aspect of culture rather than religion. I'm hoping for something a bit more doctrinally rigorous.

Genuine question, no judgment, just curiosity, please interpret as such.

Here are some items I found in support of a mild response.

Sura 3:186 - You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah - indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.

Sura 7:200 - If a provocation from Satan should provoke thee, seek refuge in God

Sura 23:96-98 - Repel thou the evil with that which is fairer...And say: 'O my Lord, I take refuge in Thee...and I take refuge in Thee, O my Lord'

Sura 41:34 - Not equal are the good deed and the evil deed. Repel with that which is fairer and behold, he between whom and thee there is enmity shall be as if he were a loyal friend.

Anas reported: A Bedouin urinated in the mosque. Some of the persons stood up (to reprimand him or to check him from doing so), but the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Leave him alone; don't interrupt him. He (the narrator) said: And when he had finished, he called for a bucket of water and poured it over. (Muslim hadith 557, Book of purification)

Here is the item I found in support of a vigorous response

Sura 9:12 - And if they break their oaths after their treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths [sacred] to them; [fight them that] they might cease.

There was quite a lot of Tafsir commentary on this verse, but I didn't find any other Ayahs or Hadiths on the subject.

  • Do you consider blasphemy let's take the Muhammad pictures as an example as mockery etc.? – Medi1Saif Jun 15 '18 at 9:34
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    Yeah, that's mockery. But don't take me too specifically. I really just mean anything that upsets a Muslim when someone hasn't done something to him personally. – SaganRitual Jun 15 '18 at 9:44

For reference, here is the link to my previous answer which details the stance of the schools on blasphemy and its basis in 9:12. Apart from that, 9:61-66 and 33:57 are also sometimes cited as supporting evidence.

Hadith which are cited as evidence include narrations about:

  • The slave-woman of the blind sahabi who he killed. And the Prophet declared that the blood of the blasphemer was permitted (narrated in Abu Daud and Nasai).

  • The execution of Ka'ab bin Al-Ashraf (see Bukhari and Muslim) where the Prophet specified that he had أذى الله ورسوله (hurt\abused Allah and His Messenger).

    وقال السهيلي : في قوله : " من لكعب بن الأشرف " جواز قتل من سب رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم

    Al-Suhaili said: The saying: "Who would kill Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf" is evidence of killing the one who abuses the Prophet

    Fath al-Bari

  • Abu Bakr forbidding from killing someone who had insulted him, unlike the killing of someone who had insulted the Prophet (see Nasai).

  • Thanks, I'm looking into everything you've said. One problem I have: Ka'ab wasn't executed specifically for abusing Muhammad. Ka'ab was a propagandist. His abuse of Muhammad was expressly for political reasons. I can't think of that as gratuitous abuse--propaganda was the job of a poet. Muhammad had Ka'ab executed to silence him for political reasons, not because he was offended by Ka'ab's abuse. Is my understanding of that history different from yours? – SaganRitual Jun 18 '18 at 9:52
  • I realize I've made a serious mistake. I meant to ask about personal responses, not state responses. I'm really sorry. I'll fix that. – SaganRitual Jun 18 '18 at 10:00
  • This is all really useful information for me, thank you so much. I apologize again for not wording the question better. Cheers – SaganRitual Jun 18 '18 at 10:03

The doctrinal authority on this should be Quran and as long as they do not contradict with Quran, hadith. Your observation with Quran is correct. Quran instructs Muslims to listen to their colloqutors, speak softly to them, when faced with insults, say peace and leave the conversation; yet many Muslims don't.

What you have been observing though has several reasons. A few I can think of:

  • If someone is not good at language, it puts pressure on the person which comes as anger at the colloqutor. Or choice of words might not be correct due to not championing the language; English in most cases that you have seen I assume. I had this problem several years ago. I would be upset that I could not translate thoughts in my mind to English. This also increases the chances of misunderstandings like thinking you have been insulted or belittled.

  • European colonialism: Millions of Muslims have been killed or at least their countries were attacked by non-Muslims: colonialists and imperialists. One thing common among colonialists is to see indigenous people as inferior, barbaric etc. and treat them accordingly. There is also a deeper historical background. From Muslims perspective, for centuries those barbaric Crusaders travelled thousands of miles to attack and kill them (here is a horrifying incident: https://www.historychannel.com.au/articles/crusaders-become-cannibals/) And still it is happening in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc. It is not easy to forget and not to get upset when somebody is attacking you and the most important part of your identity: you religion given that they have been attacking you for centuries.

  • And education. Most majority Muslim countries are one-man rule countries which limits access to a good education in order to keep people docile, not able to question and the most important: easily manipulated. People who do not think before acting is what authoritarian regimes love and produce. Being born and lived in such countries, Muslims tend to react first, think later. Also they don't read Quran that much to be reminded of being soft, gentle, kind is the way Allah wants them to be.

Hope these make sense. By the way, I will highly recommend talks by Jeffrey Lang. It feels like he might be answering some of the questions you have or might have. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jeffrey+lang+

  • 2
    This does nothing to answer the question. – Jamila Jun 19 '18 at 6:02
  • Needless to point out: asker is expecting to find an answer to his geniune question, so rather than responding to me, consider replying to the asker. – paralaks Jun 20 '18 at 3:58

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