Origins of the 'Islamic' Blasphemy Law?

It is argued by some that:

Blasphemy laws historically began in Christian Europe as a means to prevent dissent and enforce the church’s authority. They were exported to Muslim majority nations via British imperialism. Today, just about every Muslim majority nation that has blasphemy laws can trace them back to British statute from centuries prior.[1] This assertion may be disputed since Medieval Muslim scholars held similar views on blasphemy, as is evident in the books of Jurists, justfying their arguments based on unreliable sources. However, Judeo-Christian culture may have influenced the Muslim Jurists.

The Old Testament

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,14 “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. Leviticus 13-16 (ESV)

The New Testament:

 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Mathew 12:32 (ESV)

Apparently, according to the Gospels Jesus (peace be upon him) came to fulfil the supposed Law of Moses (peace be upon him), thus therein is no indication that the law was repealed during Jesus’s lifetime:

 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Mathew 5:17-19 (ESV)

However, the Quran abrogates [at least in part] the previous revelations, doctrines and precepts:

Neither the disbelievers among the People of the Book nor the polytheists wish that any good be sent down to you from your Lord, but God singles out for His Mercy whomsoever He will, and God is Possessed of Tremendous Bounty. No sign do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but that We bring that which is better than it or like unto it. Dost thou not know that God is Powerful over all things? [2:105 -106 (transl: Study Quran)]

The Quran is also a witness over previously revealed scriptures:

And We have sent down to you the Book with the truth, authenticating what is between your hands of the Book and superseding it. So judge between them by what God has sent down, and do not follow their desires from what has come to you of the truth. For each of you We have made laws, and a structure; and if God had willed, He would have made you all one nation, but He tests you with what He has given you; so strive to do good. To God you will return all of you, and He will inform you regarding that in which you dispute. [5:48 (transl: Monotheist)]

Moreover, the Quran is the ultimate Criterion to decipher right from wrong:

Blessed is the One who sent down the Criterion to His servant, so it can be a warner to the world. [25:1 (transl: Monotheist)]

God in the Quran does not prescribe any earthly punishment for blasphemy, despite what the clergy or jurist try to claim to the contrary. Rather, God the Exalted said in the Quran:

And it has been sent down to you in the Book, that if you hear the revelations of God being rejected and mocked, then do not sit with them until they move on to a different narrative; if not, then you are like them. God will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers in Hell all together. [4:140 (transl: Monotheist)]. In the same context, the believers should advise them against committing blasphemy. (Quran 6:69)

Anyone who is familiar with the conventional Islamic discourse or Muslim thought, has no choice but to acknowledge the truth of the fact that, narratives or discourses outside the Quran is (in the main) given precedence over the Quran - thereby leading Man astray. However, the Quran remains the best "hadith" or discourse for Man's guidance and salvation. (Quran 39:23) 

The tyranny of religious scholars is so intense that those opposed to these laws are condemned as non-Muslims punishable by death. Some of the scholars even encourage their followers to unleash terror against such people. Their arrogance has reached to a point that they do not want to listen to any argument based on the Quran and the teachings of the Quran. The religious and educational institutions of the Muslim world suffer from the tyranny of these scholars who justify their ignorance and arrogance on the basis of a literature that emerged at a time, when Muslims had lost connection with the Quran and by and large were at the mercy of despotic rulers and their hired religious scholars.[2]

And the Messenger will say, "O my Lord! My people did indeed treat this Qur'aan as a thing abandoned." [Quran 20:30 (transl. Shafi)]


And Allah knows best.


[1] Qasim Rasheed;

2 Aslam Abdullah, Cited: