Junaid Jamshed: Blasphemy, an act Well-done

by Saira A. Nizami

Junaid Jamshed apologizing for his Comments
Junaid Jamshed apologizing for his Comments

Many would be aware of the recent Junaid Jamshed controversy that rocked Pakistani news channels some time ago. The singer-turned-scholar Jamshed became much too comfortable demonizing women stripping them of their rights, maybe to side with the public male opinion. One would think that in a country where women’s rights need to be handed back and reminded that they exist, that the abuse needs to end, a scholar would give the opposite teaching rather than further cause restrictions. It was just a matter of time before more lines got crossed and he attacked one of the biggest scholars and revered women of Islam from Prophet Muhammad’s time, his wife Ayesha r.a.

At this, with a blasphemy accusation against him, finally the sleeping public woke up and a huge condemnation of this act followed that now, to safeguard his own life Junaid Jamshed had to go and take refuge in the United Kingdom. Ironically, where police suddenly arrest people on a mere complaint of blasphemy without evidence, or come under mob pressure, here Junaid Jamshed wasn’t arrested for his actions. I really hope that more so-called religious scholars, who pick on women and the weak commit such blasphemies, so that other so-called scholars come to their defense and also ask the people not to be violent or hateful towards the perpetrator, instead to be “kind and understanding.” Even found are those scholars who side with blasphemy laws now sugarcoating the act as being not serious enough to be blasphemous, nor that one deserves to be punished. This is the only way the general public can understand the flaws that come with scholars’ sudden designation, their teachings, and most of all, their imbalanced stance on blasphemy. Normally, when such cases are brought to light the general public either chooses to ignore or will say “He deserved it,” “why speak of the killing of these people when there are so many deaths happening all over.” They have a care-free attitude towards these inhumane killings and persecutions as if life and human rights are of no value. This double-standard towards the powerful and non-powerful needs to come up more often so that people can see and reflect otherwise minorities and the weak will keep getting falsely blamed and punished or ruthlessly killed in the name of blasphemy.

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws:

PPC

Description

Penalty

§ 298

Uttering of any word or making any sound or making any gesture or placing of any object in the sight with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person.

1 years imprisonment, or fine, or both

§ 298A

Use of derogatory remarks etc., in respect of holy personages. 1980

3 years imprisonment, or with fine, or with both

§ 298B

(Ahmadi blasphemy law) Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places, by Ahmadis. 26 April 1984

3 years imprisonment and fine

§ 298C

(Ahmadi blasphemy law) Aka Ordinance XX: An Ahmadi, calling himself a Muslim, or preaching or propagating his faith, or “in any manner whatsoever” outraging the religious feelings of Muslims, or posing himself as a Muslim. 26 April 1984

3 years imprisonment and fine

§ 295

Injuring or defiling places of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class

Up to 2 years imprisonment or with fine, or with both

§ 295A

Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. 1927[13]

Up to 10 years imprisonment, or with fine, or with both

§ 295B

Defiling, etc., of Quran. 1982[14]

Imprisonment for life

§ 295C

Use of derogatory remarks, spoken, written, directly or indirectly, etc. defiles the name of Muhammad. 1986

Mandatory Death and fine (Feb. 1990[15])

Trial must take place in a Court of Session with a Muslim judge presiding.[16]

 

See more: Respected Maulana Tariq Jameel Sahab

Just take for example the recent cases of the christian couple, Shahzad and Shama, who were brutally beaten up and burnt to death for committing blasphemy, a norm to blame people of committing blasphemy to cover financial arguments. The couple repeatedly pleaded their innocence yet it fell on deaf ears as the community mullahs (scholars)’ ghairat had awakened and they had called for their death. Police also, while present did nothing to come to their aid. As Shama at that time was expecting, this ruthless killing amounted to 3 deaths. Right two days after this killing a mentally challenged man, Tufail, accused of blasphemy was brutally axed by a policeman in lockup. The reason given was that Tufail’s blasphemous comments were too much for the policeman to bear and so he had no other choice. Given precedent it seemed O.K. to take up the law in one’s own hands.

Shahzad and Shama
Christian couple Shahzad and Shama

Aasia Bibi, again wrongfully blamed for committing “blasphemy” had been rotting in jail since 2009.   Normally the argument given in defense of Pakistan’s blasphemy law is that no one has been given the death sentence but this 5-year pending case finally lead to the sentencing of Aasia Bibi to death. Now, according to those who believe in the so-called scholars, this is a huge win and Islam is now saved. When speaking of blasphemy law and the public’s atrocities that come along with it, there has to be a case of Ahmadi persecution.

Aasia3-640x480.jpg

Come July, in the month of Ramadan, when religiousness awakens even more, there began a false accusation of a certain “facebook post” against an Ahmadi youth that he has blasphemed against the Prophet of Islam. It was a matter of few moments before a violent mob gathered in Gujranwala, headed towards the Ahmadis’ houses and lit up 5 houses on fire. They bolted the doors shut from outside, happily chanting at the pain of Ahmadis. These stone-hearted people rejoiced as they got badly injured and there was loss of 4 lives, 55-year-old Bashiran Bibi, her two granddaughters and an unborn child due to suffocation. Police, again present on the scene chose to be silent spectators and joined in. The same mob also looted the houses – come to think of it, if Ahmadis are so “achoot”, then why bother with their belongings?  ….But wait, let’s not talk about it, just forget it all and turn a blind eye towards it. These people certainly cannot be innocents, no humanity is deserved for them, and no scholar will speak up for them as they are the children of a lesser God.

Gujranwala: Mob burning Ahmadi houses
Gujranwala: Mob burning Ahmadi houses

See more: But What About Blasphemy Against Human Decency?

Today all of these scholars are coming to Junaid Jamshed’s aid, calling him “our brother.” Yes, he is their brother in faith and they speak as if he is a naive soul despite being at the designation of a scholar, but where are these sentiments when someone from the general public is wrongly blamed? Included are even those scholars who normally side with the blasphemy law and announce that no one should be left unpunished, that Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law is to “save Islam.” These are the scholars – the ones people look to for guidance today who keep on coming up with their own opinions, bashing women, the weak, minorities, those of a different faith or non-faith. There will be solid proof against these scholars of wrongdoing, but the others have committed a greater sin because there is no proof against them, only what exists is the heresy of blasphemy or a mere calling for their persecution or killing.

Whatever these scholars say, there is no end to it because the naive public just engulfs it whole as if this is the last word, and won’t bother to do any sort of research on it nor simply refer to Ahadith or Quran for its teachings. Such blind faith on mere men over Islamic teachings, or humane teachings is uncalled for. Islam itself gives one the right to question their faith, and if people keep listening to such scholars like cattle then what to say. The moment other scholars come to the blaspheming scholar’s aid, the people follow, saying that yes, to err is human and it is not “such a big deal.” Yet there is no such condemnation when innocents are falsely blamed of blasphemy, and there is pin-drop silence both from these considerate brotherly scholars or the general public. The term “saanp soongh gaya” goes perfectly here. If it was anyone else who gave such a comment, it would become a huge case of “ghairat” for all those siding with Junaid Jamshed today and overlooking his comments. They would surely want the perpetrator beaten and would want their head as the ultimate reward of “saving” Islam.

See more: توہین مذہب کی مختلف اقسام اور ہمارا رد عمل

Women speaking up in Junaid Jamshed’s favor may still recall him from his golden days of Vital Signs or solo singing, unaware of his comments and teachings of today regarding women, which is not once or twice, rather a repeated gesture. Maybe the current incidents will make him stop with such bashful comments but who knows, we already have Aamir Liaquat as a sorry example, who also had people suddenly speaking up for him after his apologetic comments and blaming his actions upon others..

So yes, there is need of more such blaspheming statements by known scholars so that it comes in front of the public eye, and after these acts when other scholars come to their aid to stand with them to make it alkaline, the general public will heed to it and chant that “he makes sense, the act wasn’t so bad after all and he should be forgiven.” After such repeated cases only then will people get to understand what’s what, that somewhere a sense of humanity will rise inside them and maybe, just maybe they will also stand up for those innocents who have no voice and give the same statement some day that “it is not such a big deal and these people should not be hounded.”

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