Exactly two months ago, on April 13, 2017 Pakistan’s image received another blot when Mashal Khan, a student of journalism at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, was brutally killed by an angry mob over false blasphemy allegations. Anger, fear and disgust were the main emotions felt by the majority of the population of Pakistan, when the video of Mashal’s brutal death surfaced on social media.
Before his death, Mashal Khan had criticised the administration of his university, stating how the vice chancellor never once came to the university, and how the students were to continue their studies, uncertain that they would get a degree in the end. So on April 13, 2017 the university expelled Mashal Khan, along with two other students, accusing them of blasphemy and putting it on the notice board. The notice had enraged the other students, who without confirming the news formed a mob to teach Mashal a lesson; it’s all pretty ironic when you stop considering that the Qur’an advises everyone to confirm any news before acting upon it, but alas!
Several arrests have been made, including Bilal Baksh; who was inciting the mob, Fazl Raziq; who had desecrated Mashal’s dead body, and others.
A 13-member JIT constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave its final report on June 3, 2017, rejecting the blasphemy accusations on Mashal and his two friends and declared the lynching incident as a premeditated murder done by certain members of the student body and the University administration.
The first thing that had come to people’s mind was if he had actually committed blasphemy or not; if he did not, then the killers should be punished, but if he did, then his death was justifiable. This logic is totally absurd, not only from an ethical point of view, but the Qur’an itself advises us to avoid taking law into our hands against the blasphemers, here are a few verses to prove my point:
“And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together -”
(QS. An-Nisaa 4: Verse 140)
“And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.”
(QS. Al-Qasas 28: Verse 55)
“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,”
(QS. Al-Furqaan 25: Verse 63)
There are several other verses in the Qur’an quite similar. It clearly shows how Allah advises to avoid the blasphemers until they either change topic or to turn away from their company. Allah is the only one to decide who is to be punished for blasphemy, not me, not you and not the state.