The Hanafi Madhab on Shatam-e-Rasool (Blasphemy)I
There has been a consistent iteration of a claim from the contemporary religious clergies that there has been a consensus amongst the four madhab, including the Hanafi Madhab which is the dominant source of Islamic Law in Pakistan. In order to present this law as a divine instruction, they have used the word hud and the word ijma on a consistent basis. We will review both these claims through the study of traditional hanafi madhab, including the Salaf within the Hanafi Madhab.
Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Al-Tahawi and Imam Thauris Position:
Imam Abu Hanifa said non muslim will not be killed on the basis of shatam-e-rasool. The crime of shirk that he is already committing, that in itself is a much bigger crime. This was narrated by Imam Khatabi in his book Ma`alim al-sanan `ala sunan Abi Dawud
Imam Abu Hanifa believes that a non muslim Shatam-e-Rasool (the one who commits blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad PBUH) will not be killed in punishment. Assarim al Maslool Ibn e Taymiyyah
Imam Abu hanifa and his students believe that Sabb o Shatam (Blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad PBUH) does not result in breaking of the (dhimmi) contract and will not result in his death. However public blasphemy will result in a punishment like other prohibited acts (like reading their own books loudly). Imam Al-Tahawi narrated the same opinion from Sufian Thauri. However, it is permissible to extend this punishment to death as a punishment if the subject repeats the offense repeatedly (habitual offense) and the hakim-e-wakt feels it is necessary to give the death penalty. Assarim Maslool Ibn e Taymiyyah
Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Thauri and the people of Kufa are of the opinion that dhimmi (non muslim) who commits blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad PBUH will not be killed. The shirk that he is already committing is a much bigger crime (and we dont kill him for that). However they can be punished in a tazeeri (a punishment that is not a hudd) manner in order to teach him better manners Allama Qazi Ayyaz Malik in Ash-Shifa Batareef Huquq Al-Mustafa
The same opinion can be found in Imam Qurtabis tafseer Aljame Alikham ul Quran while commenting on Chapter The Repentance Verse 8.
Imam Nawawi in his book al-Majmu sharh al-Muhadhdha writes that
Imam Al-Tahawi wrote in favor of his teachers opinion on the issue of sabb-e-rasool using the Hadith narrated by Syedna Anas (RA) for istidlal. Prophet Muhammad PBUH did not kill those who said Assam o Alaikum (instead of Assalam o Alaikum as a way of abuse). Imam Al-Tahawi further states that if a Muslim commits such blasphemy, he will be commiting an act of apostacy. However, non muslims are already committing greater crime in the form of their kufr. This is the reason Prophet Muhammad PBUH did not kill them.
In 944 AH, the Hanafi Position was the basis for an ordinance based upon repentance of the criminal will be forgiven unless it is clear that he is lying or has been a habitual offender.
Imam Abu Yusufs Position
Abu Yusuf writes in Kitab al-Kharaj If a Muslim abuses the Prophet (sws), calls him a liar or ascribes blemishes to him he becomes kāfir of the Almighty Allah. His wife is permanently separated from him. If he repents [he will be spared]. Otherwise he will be executed. The same is the ruling regarding such a woman. However, Abū Ḥanīfa [differs on this issue and] says that woman will not be killed. Rather she will be forced to reenter Islam.
Note: This book, Kitab al-Kharaj was written as an extended letter to Haroon Al-Rashid and therefore is written as a consultation to the State
Imam Ibn Abidins Position
Imam Ibn Abidin is one of the most important authorities in Hanafi Madhab after the first generation of scholars. His book radd-ul-mukhtar is seen as an authority in issuing fatwas and investigating the popular opinions in hanafi madhab over various issues. He has discussed the matter of sabb-e-rasool in great detail in this book as well as in Rasael-Ibn-Abidin.
Imam Ibn Abidin explains that the first Hanafi Scholar who claimed that the repentance of one who commits sabb-e-rasool will not be accepted was Bazazi in the 15th century AD. There is not a single Hanafi Scholar before him that has said something along the same line. Imam Ibn Abidin further explains that even Bazazi seems to have mis-interpreted the legal opinions of other scholars.
In Majmua-Rasael-Ibn Abidin, he writes If a non muslim commits blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, then as per our madhab (Hanafi), he will not be killed. The only exception is if the leader of the state decides to have him killed as a political punishment.
He goes on to explain later on that the killing is not prohibited in Hanafi Madhab if the subject is a habitual offender and in a rebellious manner persistently tries to set himself against the Muslims as a sarkhish.
From the book Sharh Al-tahawiyyah the following has been quoted in Rasael Ibn Abidin Those non muslims with whom there is a contract, if they commit blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, it does not result in the breaking of their contract. They will be asked to not repeat this offense again. If they do it again, then they will be punished but not killed
Al-Haskafis stance in Durr al-Mukhtar was refuted and elaborated on by Ibn Abidin. Ibn Abidin was a great admirer of Al-Haskafi in general but refutes the idea that the blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad PBUH in itself demands a punishment as Prophets own right. For muslims, he believed, this was a matter of apostasy. He believed that Prophet Muhammad PBUH forgave a number of people who had abused and injured him before accepting Islam like Abu Sufyan and others. This meant that the criminal will not be punished as a result of carrying out the right of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
Ibn Abidin explains that an opinion in Al-Bazzaziya and Al-Shifa has been misunderstood. He claimed that blasphemer can only be killed in the case where he refuses to repent.
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