Last week, a Nigerian student in Sokoto state, Deborah Samuel was dragged by a mob, stoned to death and then burned. What was her offence? Blasphemy! She apparently, disrespected Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. The voice notes that were released after her death seem to indicate she was not happy with the religious posts on her class Whatsapp group and did not acknowledge Mohammed as a prophet.
After her death, the responses were divided, as they almost always are when there are these heinous acts carried out in the name of Islam. The first response, the most classic one, is “This has nothing to do with Islam and does not represent Islam at all”.
Are we not tired of hearing this? 9–11, Farouk Abdul-muttalab, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Taliban, Bin-Laden all claim to be Muslim continually citing the Quran and Hadith, yet they say these things have nothing to do with Islam. The murder of Samuel Paty, Charlie Hebdo, church bombings, have nothing to do with Islam at all!
A website called thereligionofpeace.com has been tracking Jihad activity since 9–11 and a quick visit to their website shows over 41,410 attacks. Just last month, according to that website, there were 6 suicide blasts, 174 attacks which led to 1132 deaths. Note that the website does not capture all attacks.
A certain Robert Spencer has in his website robertspencer.org, been tracking Jihad activity for almost 20 years, there is almost always an attack by people crying “Allah Akbar” (The same cry by the individuals who stoned and burned Deborah Samuel) or expressly admitting to carrying out violent acts in defence of or in the name of the Quran or Allah. But as always, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, authorities would say these people are out of their minds and they have mental issues.
The question must be asked. Of all the world religions on the planet, why is Islam the only one synonymous with violence? Why is Islam the only religion to be “misunderstood” this way? Could it be because of verses like
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, nor comply with what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth from among those who were given the Scripture, until they pay the tax, willingly submitting, fully humbled.” (Surah 9:29)
“So when you meet the disbelievers ˹in battle˺, strike ˹their˺ necks until you have thoroughly subdued them, then bind them firmly. Later ˹free them either as˺ an act of grace or by ransom until the war comes to an end. So will it be. Had Allah willed, He ˹Himself˺ could have inflicted punishment on them. But He does ˹this only to˺ test some of you by means of others. And those who are martyred in the cause of Allah, He will never render their deeds void.” (Surah 47:4)
Could Surah 47:4 in particular, be why we have so many reports and ISIS videos of beheadings? But no, Deborah’s death has nothing to do with Islam.
My response to this is to draw the attention of those who give this response to the Islamic books of hadith, Sunan An’ Nisai, Book 37 Haddith 105,
“Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that :
There was a blind man during the time of the Messenger of Allah [SAW] who had an Umm Walad by whom he had two sons. She used to slander and defame the Messenger of Allah [SAW] a great deal, and he would rebuke her, but she would not pay heed, and he would forbid her to do that, but she ignored him. (The blind man said) One night I mentioned the Prophet [SAW], and she slandered him. I could not bear it so I went and got a dagger which I thrust into her stomach and leaned upon it, and killed her. In the morning she was found slain. Mention of that was made to the Prophet [SAW] and he gathered the people and said: “I adjure by Allah; a man over whom I have the right, that he should obey me, and he did what he did, to stand up.” The blind man started to tremble and said: “O Messenger of Allah [SAW], I am the one who killed her. She was my Umm Walad and she was kind and gentle toward me, and I have two sons like pearls from her, but she used to slander and defame you a great deal. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not pay heed. Finally, I mentioned your name and she slandered you, so I went and got a dagger which I thrust into her stomach, and leaned on it until I killed her. The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: “I bear witness that her blood is permissible.” (Emphasis mine)
This is also repeated in Sunan Abu Dawuud, book 40 Haddith 11,
“Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (ﷺ) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (ﷺ) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (ﷺ) was informed about it.
He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.
He sat before the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: Messenger of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
Thereupon the Prophet (ﷺ) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.”
Both Hadiths are graded Sahih, which the highest rank of authenticity. Sunan An Nisai and Sunan Abu Dawuud are two of the most respected books of Hadith. We can see clearly from these books, that savagely putting to death anyone who insults or defames Mohammed is part and parcel of the world’s most peaceful religion.
One final point though, those who say Deborah’s killing has nothing to do with Islam would usually cite Surah 5:32, which says,
“That is why We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life — unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land — it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity…”
What they don’t tell you is that this instruction was directed to the Children of Israel, not those who follow Islam. The instruction for those who follow Islam follows afterwards in the very next verse,
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land is death, crucifixion, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or exile from the land. This ˹penalty˺ is a disgrace for them in this world, and they will suffer a tremendous punishment in the Hereafter”
Again, note that this war is waged not necessarily with sword and spear but by “spreading of mischief”. One of the classic scholars of Islam(Ibn Kathir) states that it is for these reason that those who criticise Islam must be punished.
So, what have we learned? Those who say terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam have nothing to do with it are either deceptive or ignorant of what the Islamic sources say.
The second response, are those who support the killing. Jumal Abubakar for instance says,
“In Islam we respect the Injil, Taura, Zabur, we were never taught to disresepct any of the book, or any of the prophets from Adam to Muhammad SAW & the Quran. The punishment for Blasphemy is DEATH! in most religions including Christianity. Respect people’s religion it’s simple”
(By the way I dare Jumal to show us his reference for the penalty for blasphemy in Christianity being death, this is either ignorance or a blatant lie in an attempt to look for “colleagues” for Islam in other to support this savagery)
The Commissioner for education in Bauchi Mr Aliyu Tilde states,
“Oh my god, oh my god The mouth cuts the neck. If you’re not provoked by this (i’e Deborah Samuel’s blasphemy of the prophet), visit a psychiatrist, please,” “We must teach our children to respect others.” (Parenthesis mine). Did you notice by the way, how he made reference to the neck in line with Surah 47:4 earlier quoted?
While I somewhat have respect for those who openly state that their religion condones such savagery and do not try to hide it, I must also say the hypocrisy in both statements is pungent. They says “respect people’s religion and respect others”. Does Islam respect other religions? Jesus’ divinity and in particular his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection forms the basis of Christianity, Islam denies that any of that is true, it teaches that Jesus is just another Prophet despite Jesus expressly denying same in the Bible.
When Jesus asked His disciples who do men say I am, one of the answers was “one of the prophets” but when Jesus asked them “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered “The Son of God” and Jesus completely agreed with this stating it took revelation from God to know this (Matthew 16:13–17)
Does Islam respect Jesus by demoting Him from divinity as the only begotten Son of God and calling Him a mere prophet? By spitting on his suffering and death on the cross for the salvation of mankind, saying it never happened and it was all one big illusion? Never mind that the prophet came 600 years after the fact and not one single historical book agrees with the Quran’s take on Jesus’ death.
Does Islam respect other people? How does the Quran address those who do not believe in Islam?
“Indeed, those who disbelieve from the People of the Book and the polytheists will be in the Fire of Hell, to stay there forever. They are the worst of ˹all˺ beings.” (Surah 98:6)
We are (for not believing in Mohammed and his god), the worst of all creatures. This view is further supported by the Hadith,
“Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Verse: — “You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind.” means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam.” Sahih Bukhari (Book 65 Hadith 79)
So muslims are the best of creatures according to the Quran (3:110) and are supposed to bring the rest of the world with chains to Islam. Do you see how respectful Islam is of other people and other religions? So respectful that if a person changes his religion, they ought to kill him (Sunan An Nisai. Book 37 Hadith 94).
So respectful, that this is how they ought to treat Christians according to the Hadith,
“Narrated Abu Hurairah:
That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion.”
[He said:] There are narrations on this topic from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah Al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet (ﷺ)…
And regarding the meaning of this Hadith: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians”: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, and the Muslims were ordered to humiliate them. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.” (Jami At’Tirmudi Book 21 Hadith 65)
You see how respectful the religion is? How come when people of this view talk about respect, it always has to be respect for Islam, but never the other way round?
Again, note that those who have supported the killing are highly intelligent, wealthy, respected Muslims. It is unthinkable to the rest of the world that such a savage act was done and that anybody would support this, but some Muslims think this is all well and good.
Mr Anas Sani (who claims to be an Aide to the Sokoto Government, where this happened) says,
“Muslims don’t take insults against beloved prophet in whatever form.”
“The earlier our Christian brothers and sisters understand this, the better for all of us. May the recklessness of our tongues never drive us to (an) early grave.”
We have just a life to live and enjoy. We can make noise on Twitter and condemn the mob action using the Queen’s English. However, that cannot bring back Deborah back to life. More so, if anyone will repeat it tomorrow, the probability of being served same meal is 99.9%”
These are just a few of the well known Nigerian Muslims with a platform to speak up, God knows how many others support this both openly and tacitly. This reminds me of a favourite argument that only 10% of Muslims are terrorists, just 10% but if there are 1billion+ Muslims world-wide, I think we should be concerned about 100million terrorists, but I digress…
There is yet another response, a third group, which to me is the vilest and most hypocritical. This is the group which “Condemns the mob for taking the law into their own hands”. This is the most vile group of all because this position is Orwellian “double-speak” at its finest. It does not mean what you think it means. Let me translate this position for you.
“Yes, Deborah blasphemed our prophet, Yes, she ought to have died anyway, but she should have been taken to a shariah court, where she would have been sentenced to death for blasphemy rather than being stoned and burned by a mob”
May I reiterate that the problem is not HOW Deborah died, it is the fact that what she did is deemed worthy of death that is the problem.
I write this article not to raise hate against Muslims, but just to point out the psychology of Islam itself, it is a dictatorship (as can be seem from Muslim majority countries), a religion bent on claiming privileges it does not give, a religion bent on world domination through sustained attacks and manipulation (suppressing you and your right to speech when in the majority, then calling you an Islamophobe if you point out the obvious when they are not yet in the majority). To point out there is absolutely no peace in Islam. To point out the lengths Islam would go to silence and censor those who do not agree with it or speak against it (which we have every right to do especially as the religion itself speaks against other religions, particularly Christianity and Judaism). The double standards in defending a prophet (who stated that he was sent to fight against all of mankind till they believe in him and his god, who married a 6 year old girl and had sex with her at 9, who permitted people to kill in his name) who insults Christians and Jews from being insulted. The double standards of crying “Blasphemy!” of a religion which at its very core blasphemes Christianity by saying Jesus Christ is but a man and His death and resurrection, but an illusion.
And yes, there are peaceful, loving, decent Muslims out there who are every wit as appalled and disgusted by the Deborah Samuel incident as the rest of the world is, but perhaps it is them who misrepresent the true Islam, not the terrorists or those who support Deborah Samuel’s killers.
We must love Muslims, as our neighbour, as Christ instructed us, but we cannot, must not and will not be silenced by Islam.
I hope that the ugly, gruesome and savage death of Deborah Samuel would serve as an eye opener, one that would at least cause us to consider the claim that Islam is a religion of peace a bit more sceptically.