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Slight of religious figures esteem in Islam is becoming a popular hobby of non-Muslims in Western world where media is spear heading this ignoble task. Unfortunately many lukewarm 'Muslims' are either guilty of insulting, degrading, disrespecting Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) or defending a individual who has done so. Without realising or knowing that the language they use/defend with regards to Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) is deemed offensive by the people who posses knowledge of deen. And when they are challenged rather then repenting from their kuffri'at they slander the Ulamah of Ahlus Sunnah by accusing them of adhering to medieval Islam or accusing them of over reacting on a minor issue.
This brief article will address key points such as; what is considered profanity in religious, social or cultural level and how one can be guilty of disrespecting Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). It will also give information on the punishment and types of punishments for those who insult, disrespect beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). All this in the hope that Muslims can be equipped with basic knowledge which will enable them to understand when cases of blasphemy come to light and not be at the mercy of media peddling secular humanism. Rather be able to judge for themselves, then decide based on the evidences of Quran as well as Hadith.
In general profanity understood as swearing, cursing, foul speech, slanderous language and cussing. It can take the form of words, facial expressions, hand gestures, or other social behaviours that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, obnoxious, foul, desecrating. Usually it's a show of disrespect of someone or something accompanied by intense emotions of hate, disgust, and anger. Profanity can be directed at a individual or something held esteemed by the one you intend to injure emotionally. Depicting a esteemed personality or object in a manner which contradicts the nature of personality or object is another form of profanity disguised under different labels, modern art being one of them.
Determining Irreligious Language:
Apart from the flagrant verbal, physical action gesturing of disrespect of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam); likening Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam), or part of him, one or more of his qualities, attributes, characteristics to a animal/human which is deemed filthy, unclean, ignoble, evil, lowly in a culture or religion would be considered disrespect of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). Even counting him amongst the filthy, unclean, ignoble, evil, lowly without likening him to any of them would be considered disrespectful. Act of belittling him or his qualities, or his attributes, or his behaviour or any part of his life (i.e. Sunnah) using any form satire (i.e. parody, burlesque, exaggeration, poetical satire) will be considered disrespectful. In short any word, expression, gesture, depiction which in religious or Islamic or social context can be termed disrespect will be deemed as disrespect if the intended target is Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). Also use of any word used for addressing beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) or a sentence describing him or his qualities, or his attributes which can be misconstrued by a non-Muslim or a hypocrite to insult or disrespect him is strictly forbidden.
Punishment Of Disrespecting Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam):
Within Islamic law any form of disrespect of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) is a criminal offence which is not judged according to motivations or intentions but rather the deed it self. No allowances are made for freedom of expression or modern art or comedy or being Muslim or Non-Muslim man or woman. Only exceptions made are with regards to minors who had not reached the puberty or a insane individual or a drunkard who has lost sense due to extreme intoxication. For any other individual if the criteria of witnesses is met and evidence against the accused is authenticated; or there are two or more confessions in presence of a Qadi (i.e. Judge) and witnesses by the guilty, then the person will be charged with the crime. Depending on the seriousness of the offence the severity of punishment is determined. The lightest of punishments may involve lashing for minor infringes and for serious offences punishment may involve execution by beheading or by crucifixion or any modern mean permitted by Islamic law.
Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi
-  The media in Muslim and non-Muslim countries is alike. They all peddle secular humanism ideology the only difference in Muslim countries is that this secular humanism is presented in the garb of Islam, Sufism, tasawwuff, moderate-Islam and the truth which opposes it is labelled extremism, fanaticism, primitive medieval theology incompatible with modern changing world. Note, Islam should not be made compatible with modern world and modern life style. Rather modern world as well as Muslim's modern life style should be compatible with deen of Islam. And a believer who walks, talks, dresses, eats, sleeps, in accordance with Islamic teaching and because of Islamic teaching, such individual as truly submitted to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) as a Muslim should. If one acts in a particular way due to social influence, cultural influence, or Westernisation and his these actions coincide with Islamic teachings his claim of adherence to Islamic teachings would be invalid until he intends to partake in deen for these actions.
-  In case if a believer uses such language which can be misconstrued to attack beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) then he will be warned to not to use such vocabulary. If he/she refuses to repent and continues the use of such language such a person is apostate. If person is non-Muslim and it is clear that his intent was to lampoon, insult, disrespect, insult beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) but to conceal his insulting intent he used vague words he is to be put to death. If his offence was one-off offence of this type and it can be established with proofs that he/she is not using such language repeatedly a Qadi may exercise discretion and based on available evidences of Hadith set the offender free or may inflict light punishment. A repeat offender in this context especially after the first conviction or aquittal would/should be punished with death penalty.
-  Example: When X is told Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) liked Z-fruite and X response: 'I still don't like it.' or states: 'I don't like it.' this is form of bad manners because one has prefered his 'likes' over the 'likes' of Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). The right approach would be to remain silent even if he did not like it and voice his dislike of it in different context.
addressing Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) with his personnel name without prefixing a befitting title.
-  Example: Accusing beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) of dishonesty or injustice or lying or accusing him of committing immoral acts or representing him or part of his life as evil, diabolical, immoral, irreligious.