You might be aware that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian formerly condemned of blasphemy and recently liberated, is being persecuted by some (what sometimes the Western press calls "radical" or "extremist") Muslims in order to put her to death with their own hands, given that the government "refused" to do so.

Now, in my google search, I find there is plenty of writing in the Quran about forgiveness (not minding that her culpability has not even been proven). A good example is here. Importantly, this mercy seems to be deserved also by non-Muslims. So, I don't really understand why these readings are not taken into account by those who persecute Asia Bibi. Are these verses perhaps superseded by other verses indicating that for some crimes, mercy is not longer to be offered?

1 Answer 1


Blasphemy is a punishable offense in Islamic law:

وإن نكثوا أيمانهم من بعد عهدهم وطعنوا في دينكم فقاتلوا أئمة الكفر إنهم لا أيمان لهم لعلهم ينتهون

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.

Quran 9:12

إن الذين يؤذون الله ورسوله لعنهم الله في الدنيا والآخرة وأعد لهم عذابا مهينا

Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment.

Quran 33:57

Like other Hudud (prescribed punishments), this is a command and hence enforcing the punishment is wajib (mandatory), it can not be waived out of mercy:

ولا تأخذكم بهما رأفة في دين الله

Do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah

Quran 24:2

There is no pardon for blasphemy, among the proof of which is that when the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ conquered Makkah he announced general amnesty for everyone but commanded the blasphemers to be killed even if they were clinging to the cover of the Kaabah.

In the verses and hadith you have linked to, 'Mercy' has either been used in the meaning of compassion or is limited to pardoning where it is our place to pardon. You can not pardon someone on Allah's behalf, when He has commanded you to punish them ... you may only pardon someone in your personal affairs.

  • 1
    First verse refers to "defame". What is that? Then it refers to the "leaders of disbelief". Who are these? The addition "fight them that" not sure where it came from. The second verse refers to Allah itself having prepared a "humiliating punishment". It does not state that the punishment is to be received in this world, not what the punishment is (could not be death). The third one is just an out of context verse, which contradicts the other verses in my question if also taken out of context. So, I still do not see a direct and self-evident command on this respect. Rather, an extrapolation.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 15:23
  • @luchonacho I am not here to debate interpretation with you nor to convince you, you wanted to know why Muslims do something and I've referred you to what they base their beliefs and actions on. This answer lists some scholarly exegesis of the verse and this one lists some evidence from hadith. 24:2 is about a prescribed punishment, it is a similar context, I do not see how that it contradicts anything.
    – UmH
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:06
  • If human interpretation (exegesis) is needed to set the issue, it is because the conclusion that anyone who commits blasphemy must be (i) killed (ii) by Muslims cannot be directly deduced from the Quram, as my previous comment states. Again, the first verse literally refers to "leaders" and the second makes no explicit mention of killing or that it is someone other than Allah who is to execute the punishment in this life. In any case, I am satisfied with an answer who is based on human interpretation. But I do take away the evident conclusion that there is no such direct mandate in the Quram.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:35
  • @luchonacho 9:12 is pretty direct IMO: kill those who vilify your religion. Those to be fought have to be who are being talked about within the context of the verse, who violate their treaty and commit blasphemy ... assuming that these are some distinct group and are unrelated to the beginning and ending of the verse is rather far fetched.
    – UmH
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:49
  • As for the second verse, the main point was that if Allah curses them then how can there not be hostility towards them and how can we be kind to them? Islamic law has to be in harmony with Allah's disposition, it can not be contradictory to it. The curse in this world includes the legal punishment that is through Allah's legislation. Also that Allah sometimes punishes people through the hands of His people (9:14) .
    – UmH
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 18:01

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