Praise be to Allaah.
The answer to this question may be given by addressing the two following issues:
1 The ruling on one who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
The scholars are unanimously agreed that a Muslim who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becomes a kaafir and an apostate who is to be executed. This consensus was narrated by more than one of the scholars, such as Imaam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Qaadi Iyaad, al-Khattaabi and others. Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/13-16
This ruling is indicated by the Quraan and Sunnah.
In the Quraan it says (interpretation of the meaning):
The hypocrites fear lest a Soorah (chapter of the Quraan) should be revealed about them, showing them what is in their hearts. Say: (Go ahead and) mock! But certainly Allaah will bring to light all that you fear.
If you ask them (about this), they declare: We were only talking idly and joking. Say: Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?
Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed
This verse clearly states that mocking Allaah, His verses and His Messenger constitutes kufr, so that applies even more so to insulting. The verse also indicates that whoever belittles the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is also a kaafir, whether he was serious or joking.
With regard to the Sunnah, Abu Dawood (4362) narrated from Ali that a Jewish woman used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and say bad things about him, so a man strangled her until she died, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled that no blood money was due in this case.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Saarim al-Maslool (1/162): This hadeeth is jayyid, and there is a corroborating report in the hadeeth of Ibn Abbaas which we will quote below.
This hadeeth clearly indicates that it was permissible to kill that woman because she used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Abu Dawood (4361) narrated from Ibn Abbaas that a blind man had a freed concubine (umm walad) who used to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and say bad things about him. He told her not to do that but she did not stop, and he rebuked her but she did not heed him. One night, when she started to say bad things about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and insult him, he took a short sword or dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it and killed her. The following morning that was mentioned to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He called the people together and said, I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right over him that he should stand up. The blind man stood up and said, O Messenger of Allaah, I am the one who did it; she used to insult you and say bad things about you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not give up her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was kind to me. Last night she began to insult you and say bad things about you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Bear witness, there is no blood money due for her.
(Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 3655)
It seems that this woman was a kaafir, not a Muslim, for a Muslim could never do such an evil action. If she was a Muslim she would have become an apostate by this action, in which case it would not have been permissible for her master to keep her; in that case it would not have been good enough if he were to keep her and simply rebuke her.
Al-Nasaai narrated (4071) that Abu Barzah al-Aslami said: A man spoke harshly to Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq and I said, Shall I kill him? He rebuked me and said, That is not for anyone after the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) . (Saheeh al-Nasaai, 3795)
It may be noted from this that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had the right to kill whoever insulted him and spoke harshly to him, and that included both Muslims and kaafirs.
The second issue is: if a person who insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repents, should his repentance be accepted or not?
The scholars are agreed that if such a person repents sincerely and regrets what he has done, this repentance will benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and Allaah will forgive him.
But they differed as to whether his repentance should be accepted in this world and whether that means he is no longer subject to the sentence of execution.
Maalik and Ahmad were of the view that it should not be accepted, and that he should be killed even if he has repented.
They quoted as evidence the Sunnah and proper understanding of the ahaadeeth:
In the Sunnah, Abu Dawood (2683) narrated that Sad ibn Abi Waqqaas said: On the Day of the Conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted safety to the people except for four men and two women, and he named them, and Ibn Abi Sarh As for Ibn Abi Sarh, he hid with Uthmaan ibn Affaan, and when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called the people to give their allegiance to him, he brought him to stand before the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, O Prophet of Allaah, accept the allegiance of Abd-Allaah. He raised his head and looked at him three times, refusing him, then he accepted his allegiance after the third time. Then he turned to his companions and said: Was there not among you any smart man who could have got up and killed this person when he saw me refusing to give him my hand and accept his allegiance? They said, We do not know what is in your heart, O Messenger of Allaah. Why did you not gesture to us with your eyes? He said, It is not befitting for a Prophet to betray a person with a gesture of his eyes.
(Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2334)
This clearly indicates that in a case such as this apostate who had insulted the Prophet (S), it is not obligatory to accept his repentance, rather it is permissible to kill him even if he comes repentant.
Abd-Allaah ibn Sad was one of those who used to write down the Revelation, then he apostatized and claimed that he used to add whatever he wanted to the Revelation. This was a lie and a fabrication against the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it was a kind of insult. Then he became Muslim again and was a good Muslim, may Allaah be pleased with him. Al-Saarim 115.
With regard to proper understanding of the ahaadeeth:
They said that insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has to do with two rights, the right of Allaah and the right of a human being. With regard to the right of Allaah, this is obvious, because it is casting aspersions upon His Message, His Book and His Religion. As for the right of a human being, this is also obvious, because it is like trying to slander the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by this insult. In a case which involves both the rights of Allaah and the rights of a human being, the rights of the human beings are not dropped when the person repents, as in the case of the punishment for banditry, because if the bandit has killed someone, that means that he must be executed and crucified. But if he repents before he is caught, then the right of Allaah over him, that he should be executed and crucified, no longer applies, but the rights of other humans with regard to qisaas (retaliatory punishment) still stand. The same applies in this case. If the one who insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repents, then the rights of Allaah no longer apply, but there remains the right of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which still stand despite his repentance.
If it is said, Can we not forgive him, because during his lifetime the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forgave many of those who had insulted him and he did not execute them? The answer is:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sometimes chose to forgive those who had insulted him, and sometimes he ordered that they should be executed, if that served a greater purpose. But now his forgiveness is impossible because he is dead, so the execution of the one who insults him remains the right of Allaah, His Messenger and the believers, and the one who deserves to be executed cannot be let off, so the punishment must be carried out.
Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/438
Insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is one of the worst of forbidden actions, and it constitutes kufr and apostasy from Islam, according to scholarly consensus, whether done seriously or in jest. The one who does that is to be executed even if he repents and whether he is a Muslim or a kaafir. If he repents sincerely and regrets what he has done, this repentance will benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and Allaah will forgive him.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote a valuable book on this matter, entitled al-Saarim al-Maslool ala Shaatim al-Rasool which every believer should read, especially in these times when a lot of hypocrites and heretics dare to insult the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) because they see that the Muslims are careless and feel little protective jealousy towards their religion and their Prophet, and they do not implement the shari punishment which would deter these people and their ilk from committing this act of blatant kufr.
And Allaah knows best. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.
The rights of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the devotion, respect, esteem and honour that are owed to him are made clear in the Book and the Sunna and the consensus of the community. In His Book, Allah has made it haram to harm him. The community agrees that anyone among the Muslims who disparages him or curses him is to be killed.
Allah says, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Next World. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them," (33:57) and "Those who harm the Messenger of Allah have a painful punishment," (9:61) and "It is not for you to hurt the Messenger of Allah and you should not ever marry his wives after him. That is something terrible with Allah." (33:53)
Allah says, prohibiting the use of equivocal expressions in respect of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, "O you believe, do not say 'Observe us' but 'regard us' and listen." (2:104) This is because the Jews used to say, "Observe us, Muhammad," i.e. listen to us and hear us. They were using an equivocal expression, intending to make fun, so Allah forbade the believers to be like them and cut off the means to doing so by prohibiting the believers from using that expression so that theunbelievers and hypocrites would not be given an opportunity to insult and mock the Prophet.
It is said that it was censured because it was a common expression among Jews which had the meaning, "Listen, you did not hear." It is also said that was censured because, for the Ansar, it contained lack of manners and lack respect and esteem because in the Ansari dialect it meant, "Look at us, and will look at you." They were forbidden to say it since it meant that they could only look at him when he looked at them. The Prophet, may Allah bless and grant him peace, must be observed whatever the case.
Similarly he forbade the use of his kunya saying, "Name yourselves with my but do not use my kunya." This was to protect himself and guard himself harm since he had once answered a man who called out, "Abu'l- Qasim!" the man said, "I did not mean you. I was calling him."
After this it was forbidden to use his kunya as a name so he would not be annoyed by answering a call addressed not to him but to someone else. The hypocrites and mockers made this a means of annoying and belittling him. They would call him, and then when he turned, they would say, "We meant this one," pointing to someone else. Their intention was to inconvenience him and belittle him as is the custom of mockers and the insolent. The Prophet was protected from their harm in every way. The meticulous `ulama restrict this prohibition to the time he was alive and allow the Prophets صلى الله عليه وسلم kunya to be used after his death since the cause of harm is no longer there.
People have taken different positions regarding this hadith. This is not the place to discuss it, and what we have mentioned below is the position most people adhere to and the correct one, Allah willing. It is based on esteem and respect for him, and is a recommendation, not a prohibition.
This is why he forbade the use of his name since Allah had forbidden that he be called by his name when He said, "Do not make your calling the Messenger among you like your calling each other." (24:63) Therefore the Muslims called him "Messenger of Allah", "Prophet of Allah" and some of them called him by his kunya, "Abu'l-Qasim", in certain instances.
Anas رضي الله عنه related from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم something that indicates that it is disliked to call people by his name since it could cause disrespect, "You call your sons Muhammad and then you curse them."
Abu Ja'far at-Tabari related that 'Umar رضي الله عنه wrote to the people of Kufa, "Do not call anyone by the name of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم." Muhammad ibn Sa'd related that he observed a man called Muhammad while another man was cursing him and saying to him, "May Allah do such a thing to you, Muhammad!" 'Umar said to his nephew, Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn al-Khattab, "I do not think that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, should be cursed on account of you. By Allah, you will not be called Muhammad as long as I am alive." He called him 'Abdur-Rahman. By doing this, he wanted to forbid people being called with the names of Prophets out of the desire to honour them, so he changed their names and said, "Do not name yourselves with the names of the Prophets," and he did not say anything further on it.
The correct position is that using the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم name and kunya is permitted after the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by the proof of the agreement of the Companions رضي الله عنهم about it. Some of them named their sons Muhammad and gave them the kunya, Abu'l-Qasim.
It is related that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم gave 'Ali رضي الله عنه permission to do so and the Prophet also said that his name would be the name of the Mahdi and his kunya.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used his name for Muhammad ibn Talha, Muhammad ibn 'Amr ibn Hazm, Muhammad ibn Thabit and others. He said, "It will not harm any of you to have one, two or three Muhammads in the house."
Know that all who curse Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or blame him or attribute imperfection to him in his person, his lineage, his deen or any of his qualities, or alludes to that or its like by any means whatsoever, whether in the form of a curse or contempt or belittling him or detracting from him or finding fault with him or maligning him, the judgement regarding such a person is the same as the judgement against anyone who curses him. He is killed as we shall make clear. This judgement extends to anything which amounts to a curse or disparagement. We have no hesitation concerning this matter, be it a clear statement or allusion.
The same applies to anyone who curses him, invokes against him, desires to harm him, ascribes to him what does not befit his position or jokes about his mighty affair with foolish talk, satire, disliked words or jies, or reviles him because of any affliction or trial which happened to him or disparages him, because of any of the permissible and well-known human events which happened to him. All of this is the consensus of the 'ularna' and the imams of fatwa from the time of the Companions until today.
Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir رحمه الله said that the bulk of the people of knowledge agree that whoever curses the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is killed. These include Malik ibn Anas رحمه الله, al-Layth رحمه الله, Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh رحمه الله, and it is the position of the Shafi'i school. Qadi Abu'l-Fadl رحمه الله said that it is based on the statement of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. His repentance is not accepted. Something similar was stated by Abu Hanifa رحمه الله and his people, ath-Thawri رحمه الله and the people of Kufa and al-Awza'i رحمه الله about the Muslims. However, they said that it constitutes apostasy.
At-Tabari رحمه الله related something similar from Abu Hanifa رحمه الله and his companions about anyone who disparages the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, proclaims himself quit of him or calls him a liar.
Sahnun رحمه الله said about those who curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, "This is apostasy in exactly the same way as heresy (zandaqa) is. Therefore there is some dispute about whether such a person should be called to repent (as a Muslim) or whether he is an unbeliever. Is he to be killed by a hadd-punishment (as a Muslim) or for disbelief?" We will make this clear in Chapter Two. We do not know of any dispute among the 'ulama' of the community and the Salaf regarding the permissibility of shedding his blood.
Several people have mentioned that the consensus is that he is to be killed and considered an unbeliever. One of the Dhahirites, Abu Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Farisi رحمه الله, however, indicated that there is some disagreement about whether to consider someone who belittles the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as an unbeliever. The best-known position has already been stated.
Muhammad ibn Sahnun رحمه الله said that the 'ulama' agree that anyone who reviles the Prophet and disparages him is an unbeliever and the threat of Allah's punishment is on him. The community's judgement on him is that he be killed. Anyone who has any doubts about such a person's disbelief and punishment is also an unbeliever. For a proof of this, Ibrahim ibn Husayn ibn Khalid رحمه الله, the faqih, uses the instance of Khalid ibn al-Walid رضي الله عنه killing Malik ibn Nuwayra for referring to the Prophet as "your companion."'
Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi رحمه الله said, "I do not know of any Muslim who disagrees about the necessity of killing such a person if he is a Muslim."
Ibn al-Qasim رحمه الله reports from Malik رحمه الله in the book of Ibn Sahnun, the Mabsut, and the 'Utibiyya and Ibn Mutarrif relates the same from Malik in the book of Ibn Habib, "Any Muslim who curses the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is killed without being asked to repent."
Ibn al-Qasim رحمه الله said in the 'Utibiyya, "Anyone who curses him, reviles him, finds fault with him or disparages him is killed. The community say that he should be killed just like the dualist. Allah made it obligatory to respect the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and be dutiful to him."
In the Mabsut from 'Uthman ibn Kinana we find, "Any Muslim who reviles the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is killed or crucified without being asked to repent. The Imam can choose between crucifying him or killing him." In the variant of Abu'l-Mus'ab and Ibn Abi Uways, they heard Malik رحمه الله say, "Anyone who curses the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reviles him, finds fault with him or disparages him is killed, be he Muslim or unbeliever, without being asked to repent."
Asbagh رحمه الله said, "He is killed in every case, whether he conceals it or makes it public, without being asked to repent because his repentance is not recognised." 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdu'l-Hakam رحمه الله said that and at-Tabari رحمه الله related something similar from Malik Ibn Wahb related that Malik said, "Anyone who says that the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم cloak (or button) was dirty, thereby intending to find fault with him, should be killed."
One of our 'ulama says that people agree that anyone who curses any of the Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام using the expression "Woe to him" or anything disliked is to be killed without being asked to repent.
Abu'l-Hasan al-Qabisi رحمه الله gave a fatwa that a man who called the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم "the porter, the orphan of Abu Talib" should be killed.
Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd رحمه الله gave a fatwa to kill a man who was listening to some people discussing what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم looked like. When a man with an ugly face and beard walked by, he said to them, "You want to know what he looked like? He looked like this passer-by in physique and beard." Abu Muhammad said, "His repentance is not accepted. He lied, may Allah curse him. That could not come out of a heart with sound belief."
Ahmad ibn Abi Sulayman رحمه الله, the companion of Sahnun رحمه الله, said, "Anyone who says that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was black should be killed."
He was told about a man to whom someone said, "No, by the right of the Messenger of Allah," and he replied, "Allah did such a thing to the Messenger of Allah," mentioning some ugly words. People said to him, "What are you saying, enemy of Allah?" Then he said some even harsher things and added, "I wish for a scorpion for the Messenger of Allah." When someone asked him for fatwa about this man, lbn Abi Sulayman said, "Testify against him and I will be your partner," i.e. in killing him and getting the reward. Habib ibn ar-Rabi' said that is because trying to explain away the literal expression is not accepted because it is clear contempt and lack of respect for the Messenger of Allah. His blood is permitted.
Abu 'Abdullah ibn 'Attab رحمه الله gave a fatwa about a tax-collector who said to a man, "Pay and complain to the Prophet. If I ask or am ignorant, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was ignorant and asked," to the effect that he be killed.
The fuqaha' of Andalusia gave a fatwa that Ibn Ha tim, the scholar of Toledo, be killed and crucified because there was testimony that he made light of what is due to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. In the course of a debate, he called him "the orphan" and the in-law of the lion (i.e. 'Ali رضي الله عنه)," and claimed that his doing-without (zuhd) las not intentional. He alleged that if he had been able to have good things, he would have eaten them. He said other similar things.
The fuqaha' of the Qayrawan and the companions of Sahnun gave a fatwa for the killing of Ibrahim al-Ghazari, a poet and master of many sciences. He was one of those who attended the assembly of Qadi Abu'l-'Abbas ibn Talib for debate. He was accused of objectionable things like mocking Allah, His Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام and our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Qadi Yahya ibn 'Umar رحمه الله and other fuqaha' summoned him and commanded that he be killed and crucified. He was stabbed and crucified upside down. Then he was brought down and burned. One of the historians related that when the post to which he was tied was lifted up, the body turned around away from qibja. It was a sign to all and the people said, "Allah is greater!" Then a dog came and licked his blood. Yahya ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, spoke the truth," and he mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "A dog will not lick a Muslim's blood."
Qadi Abu 'Abdullah ibn al-Murabit رحمه الله said, "Whoever says that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was defeated is asked to repent. If he repents, it is all right. If not, he is killed because it detracts from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Such a disparaging remark could not be said about the Prophet by anyone with understanding of his affair and certainty about his inviolability."
Habib ibn Rabi' al-Qarawi رحمه الله said that the school of Malik رحمه الله and his companions is that anyone who says anything disparaging about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is killed without being asked to repent.
Ibn 'Attab رحمه الله said that the Book and Sunna require that someone who intends to even slightly harm or disparage the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, either by allusion or clear statement, must be killed.
Anything like this which is something that the 'ulama' consider to be a curse or disparagement necessitates that the one who says it be killed. Neither the early or later people disagree about that, but they disagree about the basis for killing him as we have indicated. We will make this clear later.
This is also my position regarding the judgment of anyone who belittles him or insults him about having been a shepherd, oversight, forgetfulness, sorcery, any wound he received, the defeat of one of his armies, injury by an enemy, the intensity of his illness or his being attracted to his wives. The judgement of all this is that the one who intends to disparage him by it is killed. The position of the 'ulama' is as we have already stated and it will be proved by what follows.
The Qur'an says that Allah سبحانه و تعالى curses the one who harms the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in this world and He connected harm of Himself to harm of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. There is no dispute that anyone who curses Allah is killed and that his curse demands that he be categorised as an unbeliever. The judgement of the unbeliever is that he is killed.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Next, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment." (33:57). He said something similar about those who kill the believers. Part of the curse on them in this world is that they are killed. Allah says, "Cursed they will be. Wherever they are found, they are seized and all slain." (33: 61) He mentions the punishment of those who fight, "That is humiliation in this world for them." (5:45) "Killing" (qatl) can have the meaning of "curse". Allah says, "May the conjecturers be killed!" (51:11) and "May Allah fight them! How they are perverted!" (9:30) i.e. may Allah curse them.
This is because there is a difference between their harming Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and harming the believers. Injuring the believers, short of murder, incurs beating and exemplary punishment. The judgement against those who harm Allah and His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is more severe - the death penalty.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "No, by your Lord, they will not believe until they have you judge between them in what they disagree about." (4:65) He removes the badge of belief from those who find an impediment in themselves against accepting the Prophets صلى الله عليه وسلم judgement and do not submit to him. Anyone who disparages him is opposing his judgement.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet and be not loud in your speech to him as you are loud to one another lest your actions fail." (49:3). Such an action only comes about through disbelief and the unbeliever is killed.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "When they come to you, they greet you with a greeting which Allah never greeted you with." Then He says, "Jahannam is enough for them, an evil homecoming." (58:9)
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "Among them are those who harm the Prophet and say that he is all ear," (9:61) and, "Those who harm the Messenger of Allah have a painful punishment." (9:63)
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "If you ask them, they will say, 'We were only plunging and playing.' Say, 'What, were you then mocking Allah, His signs and His Messenger? Make no excuses. You have disbelieved after your belief."' (9:67-68) The commentators say, "You have disbelieved" refers to what they have said about the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.
We have already mentioned the consensus. As for the traditions, al-Husayn ibn 'Ali related from his father that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said in respect of this matter, "Whoever curses a Prophet, kill him. Whoever curses my Companions, beat him."
In a sound hadith the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded that Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf be killed. He asked, "Who will deal with Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf? He has harmed Allah and His Messenger." He sent someone to assassinate him without calling him to Islam, in distinction to other idol-worshippers. The cause of that lay in his causing harm to the Prophet. That indicates that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had him killed for something other than idol-worship. It was for causing harm. Abu Rafi,' who used to harm the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and work against him, was also killed.
Similarly on the Day of the Conquest, he ordered the killing of Ibn Khatal and his two slavegirls who used to sing his curses on the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
In another hadith about a man who used to curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Khalid رضي الله عنه said, "I will," so the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم sent him out and he killed him.
Similarly the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded that a group of unbelievers who used to injure and curse him, like an-Nadr ibn al-Harith and 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt, be killed. He promised that a group of them would be killed before and after the conquest. They were all killed except for those who hurried to become Muslim before they were overpowered. Al-Bazzar related from Ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنهما that 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt cried out, "O company of Quraysh, why is it that I alone among you am to be killed without war?" The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "For your disbelief and your forging lies against the Messenger of Allah."
'Abdu'r-Razzaq mentioned that a man cursed the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, causing the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to say, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Az-Zubayr رضي الله عنه said, "I will." He sent az-Zubayr رضي الله عنه and he killed him.
It is related that a woman used to curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he said, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Khalid ibn al-Walid رضي الله عنه went out and killed her.
It is related that a man forged lies against the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he sent 'Ali رضي الله عنه and az-Zubayr رضي الله عنه to kill him.
Ibn Qani' related that a man came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said, "Messenger of Allah, I heard my father say something ugly about you, so I killed him," and that did not distress the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Al-Mujahir ibn Abi Umayya, the Amir of Yemen, reported to Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه that a woman there in the time of the Riddachanted curses against the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, so he cut off her hand and pulled out her front teeth. When Abu Bakr heard that, he said to him, "If you had not done what you already did, I would have commanded you to kill her because the hadd regarding the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is not like the hadd regarding others."
Ibn 'Abbas said that a woman from Khatma satirised the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Who will deal with her for me?" A man from her people said, "I will, Messenger of Allah." The man got up and went and killed her. He told the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who said, "Two goats will not lock horns over her."
Ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنهما said that a blind man had an umm walad who used to curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He scolded her and restrained her, but she would not be restrained. That night she began to attack and revile the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, so he killed her. He told the Prophet about that and he said he had shed her blood with impunity.
In the hadith of Abu Barza as-Aslami it says, "One day I was sitting with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq رضي الله عنه and he became angry at one of the Muslim men." Qadi Isma'il and other Imams said that the man had cursed Abu Bakr. An-Nasa'i related it as, "I came to Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه and a man had been rude and answered him back. I said, 'Khalif of Allah, let me strike off his head!' He said, 'Sit down. That is not for anyone except the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'
Qadi Abu Muhammad ibn Nasr رحمه الله said, "No one disagreed with him." So the Imams take this, as a proof that anyone who does anything that might anger, harm or curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in any way should be killed.
There is also the letter of 'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz رضي الله عنه to his governor in Kufa. He had asked his advice about killing a man who had cursed 'Umar رضي الله عنه. 'Umar رضي الله عنه wrote back to him, "It is not lawful to kill a Muslim for cursing anyone except the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Whoever curses him, his blood is lawful."
Harun ar-Rashid رحمه الله asked Malik رحمه الله about a man who had reviled the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he mentioned to him that the fuqaha' of Iraq had given a fatwa that he be flogged. Malik became angry and said, "Amir al-Mu'minin! There is no continuation for a community after it curses its Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم! Whoever curses the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is to be flogged."
I do not know which of those Iraqi fuqaha' gave Harun ar-Rashid that fatwa. We have already mentioned that the school of the people of Iraq is that he be killed. Perhaps they were among those who were not known for knowledge or those whose fatwas were unreliable or idiosyncratic, or it is possible that what the man said was not taken to be a curse and there was a dispute as to whether or not it was a curse or he had retracted it and repented of it. None of these things were mentioned to Malik رحمه الله at all. However, the consensus is that anyone who curses him is to be killed as we have already stated.
That he is to be killed can be deduced by reflection and consideration. Anyone who curses or disparages the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has shown clear symptoms of the sickness of his heart and proof of his real convictions and belief. That is why most of the 'ulama' judge him to be an apostate. This is what is transmitted by the people of Syria from Malik رحمه الله, al-Awza'i رحمه الله, ath-Thawri رحمه الله, Abu Hanifa رحمه الله and the people of Kufa.
The other position is that it is not a proof of disbelief, and so the person in question is killed by the hadd-punishment but he is not adjudged to be an unbeliever unless he persists in his words, not denying them nor refraining from them. To be judged an unbeliever, his statement must either be a clear statement of disbelief, like calling the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم a liar, or originate from mocking words and censure. His open avowal of what he said and lack of repentance for it is an indication that he finds it lawful and this constitutes disbelief, so there is no disagreement that he is an unbeliever. Allah says about people like this, "They swear by Allah that they did not speak. They said the words of disbelief. They disbelieved after their Islam." (9:76)
The commentators said that this refers to the statement, "If what is said by Muhammad is true, we are worse than monkeys."
It is said that it refers to what one of them said, "Our likeness with respect to that of Muhammad is only as the words of the one who says, 'Feed your dog and it will devour you.' When we return to Madina, the mighty will drive out the weaker."
It is said that even if the one who says this conceals it, the same judgement applies to him as to the heretic and he is killed because he has changed his deen. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Strike off the heads of all who change their deen."
Because upholding the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم honour is an obligation owed by his entire community and anyone who curses a free man of his community is given a hadd-punishment, the punishment of someone who curses the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is that he is to be is killed because of the immensity of the worth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his elevation over others.
It might be asked why the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not kill the Jew who said to him, "Death be upon you" when this is a curse, and why he did not kill the other man who said in this respect, "This is a dividing out by which the face of Allah is not intended." When he annoyed the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by saying that, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Musa was harmed by worse than this," and was patient. And why he did not kill the hypocrites who used to harm him often.
Know that at the beginning of Islam the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to court people's friendship and he made their hearts incline to him. He made them love belief and adorned it in their hearts and he treated them gently to encourage them. He said to his Companions; "You are sent to make things easy. You were not sent to scare people away." He said, "Make things easy and do not make them hard. Soothe and do not scare away."
He said, "Let it not be said that Muhammad killed his Companions." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم cajoled the hypocrites and unbelievers, was cheerful in their company and lenient to them and endured their harm. He was patient when they were coarse. But it is not permitted for us to be patient with them in such cases. Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "You will continue to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them, so pardon them and overlook." (5:15) Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, "Repel with that which is better and the one between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were a close friend." (41:35) That was because people at the beginning of Islam needed to be brought close. People are unanimous about that.
Once Islam was firmly established and Allah سبحانه و تعالى had given it victory over all other deens, any such detractor that the Muslims had power over and whose affair was well-known was put to death. A case in point is that of Ibn Khatal and others whom the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said should be should killed on the Day of the Conquest and those among the Jews and others whom it was possible to kill by assassination. There were others who were captured but rectified their behaviour before they came into the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم company and joined the group of those who manifested belief in him. Among such people who had harmed him were Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, Abu Rafi', an-Nadr ibn al-Harith and 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt.
The same applied to another group who could have been killed with impunity like Ka'b ibn Zuhayr and Ibn az-Zaba'ra and others who harmed the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم but then surrendered and met him as Muslims.
The inward parts of the hypocrites were veiled and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم judged according to the outward. Most of these things were uttered by them in secret and among people of their own sort. Then they swore by Allah سبحانه و تعالى that they had not said them and uttered words of belief.
In spite of this, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم desired to make them return to Islam. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was patient with their faults and their coarseness as all the Resolute Prophets were patient until many of these people returned both inwardly and outwardly to Islam and were as sincere in secret as they appeared openly. Then Allah سبحانه و تعالى helped many of them and some of them established the deen as wazirs, helpers, defenders and Ansar as the traditions attest.
Because of this, some of our Imams have questioned whether their statements were confirmed enough with the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to raise a complaint. A single person who did not have the rank of testimony might have transmitted them -such as a child, a slave or a woman. Taking life is only permitted when there are two just witnesses. This can be applied to the affair of the Jews' greeting. They twisted it with their tongues and did not make it clear.
Don't you see how attention was drawn to this matter by A'isha رضي الله عنها. If the Jew had clearly enunciated it, she would not have been the only person to recognise it. That is why the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم informed his Companions رضي الله عنهم about what the Jews were doing and the lack of sincerity in their greeting and the deceit it contained through the twisting of their tongues and how they were really attacking the deen. He said, "When a Jew greets one of you, he says, 'Death be upon you,' so say 'and upon you'."
Similarly, one of our companions in Baghdad said "The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not kill the hypocrites in spite of what he knew about them. It has not been related that a clear proof was established regarding their hypocrisy. That is why the Prophet left them alone. Furthermore, the matter was secret and inward while their outward was Islam and belief and they were among the people of the dhimma and treaty and proximity. People were also new to Islam and could not distinguish the bad from the good. It is known that some of the Arabs who are mentioned as being suspected of hypocrisy are among the group of believers and the Companions of the Messenger and the helpers of the deen according to outward judgement of them. If the Prophet had killed them for their hypocrisy when it had not emerged from them because he knew what they concealed in themselves, those who were hostile would have found something to go on about, fugitives would have been suspicious and the impetuous would have spread lies. More than one person would have been alarmed and feared the company of the Prophet and coming into Islam. The claimant would have made false claims and the wrong-acting enemy would have thought that he was killed out of enmity and desire for revenge." Malik ibn Anas also said something to this effect.
That is why the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Let it not be said that Muhammad killed his Companions." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Those are the ones whom Allah has forbidden me to kill." This is not the same as applying the outward judgements to the Companions - such as the hadd-punishments for fornication, killing and similar things when the crimes were evident and people in general knew about them.
Muhammad ibn al-Mawwaz رحمه الله said, "If the hypocrites had openly shown their hypocrisy, then the Prophet would have killed them."
Qadi Abu'l-Hasan ibn al-Qassar رحمه الله and Qatada رحمه الله spoke regarding the commentary of Allah's words, "If the hypocrites do not stop and those in whose hearts is illness and those that make havoc in the city, We will urge you against them and then they will only be your neighbours a little. Cursed they will be wherever they are found, they will be seized and all killed. The sunna of Allah..." (33:60-62) and said that it means when they openly display hypocrisy.
Muhammad ibn Maslama رحمه الله related in the Mabsut from Zayd ibn Aslam رحمه الله that Allah's words, "O Prophet, strive against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh to them," (9:75) abrogates what came before it.
One of our shaykhs said that perhaps the words of the bedouin who said, "This is a dividing out by which the face of Allah is not intended," and "Be just!" were not understood by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as an attack or suspicion. He saw them as an error of opinion regarding the matters of this world and as striving for the best interests of people. He did not think anything of them and saw them as belonging to the kind of harm which should be forgiven and endured. That is why he did not punish him.
Something similar is said about the Jews for saying, "Death be upon you." There was no clear curse in it nor supplication except for death which all men must meet. It was said that what they meant was, "May you dislike your religion," "death" meaning boredom and disgust. This is a supplication for the deen to become boring which is not a clear curse. Therefore al-Bukhari has a section called, "The Chapter on when the dhimma or other people curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by allusion." One scholar has said that the allusion is not a curse, but rather to cause harm. We have already stated that cursing and harm are the same in respect of him.
Qadi Abu Muhammad ibn Nasr رحمه الله deals with this hadith by quoting some of what has already been mentioned. It is not mentioned in this hadith whether this Jew was one of the people of the dhimma and those subject to treaty or from those with whom the Muslims were at war. Things established by proof are not abandoned in favour of mere probability. The most suitable and evident reasons for the Prophet not punishing him was the intention to seek friendship and trying to bring such people around to the deen - perhaps they would believe. That is why al-Bukhari puts the hadith of "The Sharing-out and the Khawarij"under the title "Chapter: Whoever gave up fighting the Khawarij in order to create friendship and so that people might not harbour an aversion to him."
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم forebore what the Jews had done when he was bewitched and poisoned, which is more terrible than being cursed, until Allah helped him and gave him permission to kill those Jews who had acted against him and to drive them out of their fortresses and to cast terror into their hearts. He prescribed emigration for those of them he wished, removed them from their houses and demolished their homes at their own hands and the hands of the believers. He openly cursed them and said, "Brothers of pigs and monkeys." He said that the swords of the Muslims could be used against themand removed them from their neighbourhood and caused their land, homes and property to be inherited by others so that the word of Allah would be uppermost and the word of those who rejected underneath.
People might say that it has come in the sound hadith from 'A'isha that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم never took revenge on his own behalf for anything that happened to him unless the respect of Allah was violated, then he took revenge for the sake of Allah. Know that this does not necessarily mean that he did not take revenge against those who cursed him or harmed him or called him a liar. These actions contravene some of the inviolable things of Allah and so the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم took revenge for them. What he did not take revenge for was those things which were connected to bad behaviour in word or action toward himself or his property which were not intended to harm him, but were merely part of the natural coarse and ignorant disposition of the bedouins or the insolent nature of man in general, such as the bedouin pulling his cloak until it made a mark on his neck or the man raising his voice in his presence or the bedouin arguing about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم buying his horse to which Khuzayma testified. Another example was when two of his wives supported one other against him and other such things which it is best to overlook.
One of our 'ulama' has said that it is haram to harm the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by any action, even if it is an allowable (mubah) action. In respect of men other than the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, permitted actions are allowed, even if they harm someone. A proof is found in the general statement, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Next." (33:58)
In the hadith about Fatima رضي الله عنها, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "She is part of me. What harms her harms me. I do not make haram what Allah has made halal, but the daughter of the Messenger of Allah and the daughter of the enemy of Allah can never be together with the same man. "
Another example of his forbearance might have been something said by an unbeliever to harm him at a time when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم still hoped that he would later become Muslim, such as when he forgave the Jew who had bewitched him, the bedouin who wanted to kill him and the Jewess who poisoned him -although it is also said that he killed her.
He forgave this sort of harm to himself from the People of the Book and the hypocrites, desiring to bring about their friendship and that of others as we have already confirmed. Success is by Allah.
We have already discussed killing the person who, with intent, curses the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, belittles him or slights him in any way. The judgement in this case is clear.
The second case concerns when it is necessary to clarify what someone has said. This applies to someone who speaks about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم without intending to curse or belittle him and not believing his words to be true, but who nonetheless speaks about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم using words of disbelief which curse him, revile him or call him a liar or ascribe to him something that is not permitted or deny one of his necessary attributes, all of which constitutes disparagement in respect of him. For instance, he might ascribe a major wrong action to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, or say that he had failed to convey the message or had fallen short in a judgement between people or he might lower his rank, the honour of his lineage, the extent of his knowledge or his asceticism, or deny a famous matter reported from him which has come by many paths of transmission with the intention of refuting the report, or say something insolent and ugly or of a cursing nature in respect of him. However, the state of this individual indicates that he does not mean to censure the Prophet nor to curse him but that ignorance, discontent, drunkenness, carelessness, arrogance or hasty speech has led him to say what he has said.
The judgement in this case is the same judgement as that applied to the first individual. Such a person is killed without hesitation since no one is excused for disbelief by ignorance or by claiming a slip of the tongue or by any of the things, which we have mentioned if his intellect is basically sound. The only exception is when someone is forced to do it while his heart is at rest in belief.
This was the fatwa given by the people of Andalusia against Ibn Hatim when he denied the asceticism of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his family.
Muhammad ibn Sahnun رحمه الله said that someone in the hands of the enemy who curses the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is killed unless it is known that he was forced to become Christian or was compelled to say that against his will. Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd said that one cannot claim the excuse of a slip of the tongue in the cases of this kind.
Abul-Hasan al-Qabisi رحمه الله gave a fatwa that someone who reviles the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم while he is drunk should be killed because it is assumed that the drunkard believes that and does it when he is not drunk. Furthermore, the hadd-punishments for slander, murder and all the hudud are not removed by drunkenness because the person brought the state of drunkenness on himself. This is because someone who drinks wine knowing that it will confuse his intellect and cause him to do disliked things is the same as someone who intends doing the things that this will inevitably bring about. It is on this basis that we make divorce, emancipation, retaliation and the hadd-punishments binding on the drunkard.
This judgement is not refuted by the hadith in which Hamza said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, "Are you other than the slave of my father?"
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم knew that Hamza was drunk and turned away because at that time wine had not yet been forbidden. Thus there was no wrong action in the offences ensuing from it. The judgement was that what ensued from it was pardoned as is the case with what ensues from sleep or drinking a trustworthy remedy.
The third case concerns whether, when someone intentionally calls the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم a liar in what he said or brought or denies and rejects his prophethood or his message and its existence or disbelieves in it, he has, by saying this, moved to a different deen.
The consensus is that this person is an unbeliever and must be killed. Then one looks to see whether what he said constitutes a clear statement, in which case the judgement is the same as that for apostasy. There is strong disagreement about whether he is asked to repent or not.
According to another position, his repentance would not in any case prevent his execution because of what is due to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, if he in fact disparaged him in his lies.
If he conceals what he said, he is judged as a heretic (zindiq). Repentance does not prevent his being executed according to the Malikis as we will clarify. Abu Hanifa رحمه الله and his companions said that it is lawful to kill anyone who declares himself free of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم or calls him a liar. He is an apostate unless he retracts that.
Ibn al-Qasim رحمه الله said that if a Muslim says that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is not a Prophet or was not sent or that the Qur'an was not revealed to him, he is killed for being a liar. Any Muslim who disbelieves in the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم has the status of an apostate. It is the same with someone who openly declares that he denies the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He is like an apostate and is called upon to repent. Ibn al-Qasim said something similar about anyone who calls himself a Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and says that he has received revelation.
Sahnun رحمه الله and Ibn al-Qasim رحمه الله said that that is the same whether he makes that claim secretly or openly. Asbagh رحمه الله said that he is the same as an apostate because he has rejected the Book of Allah سبحانه و تعالى by forging lies against Allah سبحانه و تعالى.
Ashab رحمه الله said that any Jew who calls himself a Prophet, claims that he has been sent to people or says that there is a Prophet after our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is asked to repent if he openly declares that. If he repents, he is left. If not, he is killed. This is because he rejects the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who said, "There is no Prophet after me." Therefore he forges lies against Allah in making his claim to the messengership and prophethood.
Muhammad ibn Sahnun رحمه الله said, "Anyone who doubts a single letter which Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, brought, is a denying unbeliever."
He said that the judgement against anyone who rejects the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is that he is killed.
Ahmad ibn Sulayman رحمه الله, Sahnun's رحمه الله companion, said that whoever says that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was black is killed. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was not black.
Abu 'Uthman al-Haddad رحمه الله said something similar and said that if someone said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم died before his beard began to grow or that he was in Tahart (Morocco) and not Tihama, he is killed because this constitutes denial.
Habib ibn ar-Rabi' رحمه الله said that it is disbelief to alter his description and its details. The one who does that openly is an unbeliever. He is asked to repent. The one who conceals it is a heretic and is killed without being asked to repent.
The fourth case is when someone makes a general statement, which is doubtful and might refer to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or to someone else, or there is uncertainty regarding what was meant by it and whether it is free of what is disliked or evil. In this instance there is some hesitation and the opinion of the mujtahids varies. Those who follow the mujtahids hesitate to make a definite statement since anyone who is executed must be executed by a clear proof and those allowed to live are allowed to live by a clear proof.
Some of these people prefer to uphold the inviolability of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and protect his honour, and so they venture to execute those who fall into this category. Some people exalt the inviolability of taking life and avert the hadd from this person because of doubt as to the meaning of his statement.
Our Imams disagree about a man who becomes angry with another man to whom he owes money so that he says to him, "Bless Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace!" Then the one seeking repayment says to him "May Allah not bless the one who blesses him!"
Sahnun was asked, "Is not this man the same as someone who reviles the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم? Or who reviles the angels who bless him?" He said that it was not taken like that since it arose from his anger and he did not specify whom he was vilifying.
Abu Ishaq al-Barqi رحمه الله and Asbagh ibn al-Faraj رحمه الله said that such a man is not killed because he has reviled other people. This is similar to what Sahnun said because he did not make anger mitigation for the vilification of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The position he took was because he did not consider the words definite and there was no context there to indicate direct vilification of the Prophet nor vilification of the angels. The context indicated that what was meant were people in general. The man had said to him, "Bless the Prophet." His words and his curse were applied to the man who was blessing the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم at that moment and his curse was the result of the other man telling him to bless the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when he was angry. This is what Sahnun meant and it, however, is based on understanding the reasoning of the one who said it. Al-Harith ibn Miskin رحمه الله the Qadi and others believed that the man should be killed for something like this
Abu'l-Hasan al-Qabisi رحمه الله reserved judgement about killing a man who said, "Every owner of a hotel is a cuckold, even if he were a sent Prophet." He ordered that the man be bound in chains and confined until he could come up with a clear proof derived from the content of his words and his intention and whether he really intended by that hotel-keepers of his own time. It is well known that there could not be any sent Prophet among them, so the matter would become less severe if that were what he intended. The Qadi, however, said that the literal sense of what he had said applies to everyone with a hotel, modern or ancient, and that there may have been Prophets and Messengers among the ancients who earned money by keeping a hotel.
He said that it is not valid to spill a Muslim's blood except when the matter is clear. Anything which is the result of interpretation must be closely examined. This is what he meant.
Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd رحمه الله spoke about those who said, "May Allah curse the Arabs," "May Allah curse the Banu Isra'il," and, "May Allah curse the Banu Adam," and said that they did not mean the Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام, but the unjust among them. He can be disciplined for that at the discretion of the Sultan. Similarly he gave a fatwa about someone who said, "May Allah curse the one who made intoxicants haram," saying that the man did not know who had made them haram.
Ibn Abi Zayd رحمه الله also spoke about someone who had cursed the hadith, "No selling by a city dweller to a bedouin," and cursed what had brought it and excused him for his ignorance and lack of knowledge of the sunan, but said that such a man was to be strongly disciplined. That was because he did not intend to curse Allah or the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He was cursing the people who had forbidden it on the basis of the fatwas of Sahnun and his companions.
The same applies to insolent people who say to each other in insults things like "son of a thousand pigs or son of a thousand dogs." There is no doubt that among that number of his ancestors there are bound to be a number of Prophets. It may even reach Adam, so one must restrain him and make it clear that the speaker was ignorant and discipline him. If it is known that he intended to curse the Prophets among his forebears, then he is executed.
A statement regarding things of this nature is treated in a much stricter fashion in the case of someone saying to a Hashimite, "May Allah curse the Banu Hashim," and then saying, "I only meant the unjust among them." Or if he says something ugly about his ancestors to one of the descendants of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم knowing that he is one of the descendants of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. There is nothing in either of the two statements to suggest that he singled out certain ancestors and removed the Prophet from those he cursed.
I saw that Abu Musa 'Isa ibn Manas said about someone who said to another man, "May Allah curse you up until Adam!" that he is executed if he sticks to it.
Our shaykhs disagreed about someone who testified to something against someone else and then said to him, "Do you doubt me?" and the other replied, "The Prophets were doubted, so why not you?" Our Shaykh, Abu Ishaq ibn Ja'far رحمه الله, says that he is executed because of the ugliness of the expression. Qadi Abu Muhammad ibn Mansur hesitated to condemn him to death due to the lack of definiteness. He took it as a report about those among the unbelievers who doubted. The Qadi of Cordoba, Abu 'Abdullah ibn al-Hajj رحمه , gave a similar fatwa. Qadi Abu Muhammad رحمه الله had the man bound and put him in prison for a long time. He later took an oath from him rejecting what had been testified against him since there was weakness in some of the testimony against him. Then he released him.
I saw our Shaykh, Qadi Abu 'Abdullah ibn 'Isa رحمه الله, when he was a judge and a man was brought to him who had spoken insolently to a man named Muhammad, going over to a dog, kicking it and saying, "Get up, Muhammad!" The man disliked that and some people testified against the man who had said it. He commanded that he be jailed and investigated him to see whether he kept the company of anyone whose deen was suspect. When he did not find anything to confirm doubt in his belief, he had him flogged and then released him.
The fifth case is when the speaker does not intend to disparage the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم nor mention a fault nor curse him. However, he appropriates some of the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم attributes or cites one of his states which were allowed for him alone in this world, likening himself or someone else to him. Or he might mention an unfortunate occurrence which happened to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or a mishap connected to him, not saying it by way of consolation and verification but rather with the intention of promoting himself or someone else or to liken him to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or out of lack of respect for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or meaning what he says as a joke.
An example of this is someone who says, "If something is said about me, it was also said about the Prophet," or, "If I am called a liar, the Prophets were called liars," or, "I am safe from the tongues of people while the Prophet of Allah and His Messengers were not safe from them," or, "I am patient as those of resolution were patient," or, "like the patience of Ayyub," or, "The Prophet of Allah was patient and endured his enemy and was forbearing in much the same way as I am." It is like the words of al-Mutanabbi:
I am in a community to which Allah has brought a stranger,
like Salih in Thamud.
And similar things are found in the poems of arrogant men who indulge themselves and speak carelessly like al-Ma'arri:
You were Musa to whom the daughter of Shu'ayb came,
although you are no pauper.
There is something terrible at the end of the poem which contains contempt and belittlement of the Prophet and preference for the state of someone else.
If it had not been that revelation was cut off after Muhammad,
we would have said that Muhammad is a stand-in for his father.
He is like him in excellence even though Jibril
did not bring him a message.
The first half of the second verse contains something terrible since it makes someone similar in excellence to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
There are two possible ways that this kind of insidiousness shows itself. One is that this "excellence" lowers the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the other is in order to remove excellence from him. The latter is more terrible.
We find a similar thing in another poem:
When his banners are raised, they are set in motion
between the wings of Jibril.
Another of the people of this time said:
He fled from eternity and sought protection with us.
Allah made Ridwan's heart patient.
Another example is what Hassan al-Masisi, an Andalusian poet, said about Muhammad ibn 'Abbad, known as al-Mu'tamid, and his wazir, Abu Bakr ibn Zaydun:
It is as if Abu Bakr were Abu Bakr ar-Rida and
Hassan was Hassan and you are Muhammad.
There are many more examples like this.
We have a lot of evidence of things of this nature but we are extremely loath to relate them and thus publicise them. People are loose in speech, indulging themselves by entering through this narrow door and attaching no importance to the gravity it entails. They do not realise what a terrible wrong action lies in it. They speak about what they do not know, "and you reckon it to be a light thing, while it is a mighty thing with Allah." (24:16)
This is especially the case with the poets. The worst of them regarding clears tatements and free speech were Ibn Hani' al-Andalusi and Ibn Sulayman al-Ma'arri. Many of their words reach the limit of scorn, disparagement and clear disbelief.
We have given the answer to this. Now we intend to discuss this subject through the examples we have given. All of this, even if does not contain a curse or relate to disparagement of the angels and Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام (and I do not mean the two wretched verses of al-Ma'arri nor the intention of the speaker to belittle and show contempt), nevertheless contains no respect for prophethood nor esteem for the message nor regard for the chosen ones nor consideration for the honour that is due them. Such people make another person similar to Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم regarding the honour in which they are held or regarding a blemish which they mean to make light of, or make a resemblance in connection with the delight of his company, or extol a quality to beautify someone's words by means of the one whose importance Allah has exalted and whose worth He honoured and whose respect and obedience He has made binding. Allah forbade that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم be spoken to loudly or that a voice be raised in his Presence. This right is defended by execution, discipline, imprisonment or strong reprimand depending on the enormity of what the person has said, the ugliness of what he has uttered, whether this sort of thing is a habit with him or a rare occurrence, the context of his words, and his regret for what he has done.
The early people objected to this sort of thing. Harun ar-Rashid رحمه الله rebuked the poet Abu Nuwas for saying,
If the magic of Pharaoh remains in you,
the staff of Musa is in a wealthy hand.
Ar-Rashid رحمه الله said to him, "Son of a stinking uncircumcised woman! You are mocking the staff of Musa عليه السلام!" He commanded that he be removed from his army that very night. Al-Qutaybi mentioned that the part of this poem for which Abu Nuwas was censured and charged with disbelief were his words about Muhammad al-Amin when he likened him to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by saying:
The two Ahmads compete in similarity.
They are alike in character and formed like a piece of a single shoelace.
They also objected to his words:
How can hope not be with you when the Messenger of Allah is among your party?
Because of the right of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and the obligation to esteem him, his position is too lofty for anyone to be related to it.
The judgement regarding things like this are as we have already detailed in the fatwas about this subject. The fatwas of the Imam of our school, Malik ibn Anas, and his companions have already been presented.
There are incidents from the transmission of Ibn Abi Maryam about a man who rebuked another man for poverty. He retorted, "Do you rebuke me for poverty when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, herded sheep?" Malik said, "He has alluded to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, outside its proper place and I think that he should be disciplined." He added, "When people of wrong action are censured, they should not say that the Prophets before them erred."
'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz رحمه الله said to a man, "Search out a scribe for us whose father was an Arab." One of his scribes said, "But the Prophets father was an unbeliever." He said, "You dare make this comparison!" He dismissed him, saying, "You will never write for me again."
Sahnun رحمه الله disliked people saying the prayer on the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on account of astonishment, unless it was out of regard and proper consideration because of the respect and esteem for him which Allah has commanded.
Al-Qabisi رحمه الله was asked about a man who said to an ugly man, "Like the face of Nakir!" and to a frowning man, "Like the face of angry Malik!" He asked, "What did he mean by that? Nakir is one of the questioners of the grave, and they are angels. What did he mean? Is it terror which filled him when he saw him because of his face or was he simply averse to look at him because of his ugly appearance? If this is the case, it is terrible because it is a way of belittlement and humiliation, so there is a more severe punishment."
There is no clear statement here which might be construed as cursing an angel. The curse falls on the one addressed. There is exemplary punishment by flogging and imprisonment for the insolence involved. He said, "As for mentioning Malik, the Guardian of the Fire, the one who mentioned him in connection with his dislike of the other man frowning was being coarse unless the man who frowned possessed power and hence the first man was alarmed by his frown. In that case the speaker compared him to Malik to censure the one who frowned for what he did and for holding to, in spite of injustice, the attribute of Malik, the angel who obeys his Lord in his action. It is as if he were saying, 'By Allah! He has the anger of Malik!' For this reason his punishment is lighter." However he should not allude to this sort of thing. If he was praising the frowner for his frown and used the quality of Malik to express his praise, that is even worse, and he should be severely punished. There is, however, no censure in this statement against the angel. If he had intended to blame the angel, then he should have been put to death.
Abu'l-Hasan al-Qabisi رحمه الله also said that a young man known as Khayr said something to a man and the man said to him, "Shut up, you are illiterate." The youth retorted, "Wasn't the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, illiterate?" He was denounced for that and the people called him an unbeliever. The young man became fearful about what he had said and showed regret. Abu'l-Hasan said, "It is an error to say that he is an unbeliever. But he made a mistake in quoting this quality of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as an argument. If he asks for forgiveness, repents, admits it and takes refuge in Allah, he will be left alone because what he said did not reach the limit of killing, and as for discipline, the one who voluntarily repents must be spared it."
There was a case where one of the qadis of Andalusia asked for a fatwa from our Shaykh, Abu Muhammad ibn Mansur , رحمه الله about a man who was demeaned for something by another man and he said to him, "You mean to say that I am imperfect. Well, I am a mortal and all mortals are touched by imperfection, even the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." He gave a fatwa that the man should be jailed for a long time and painfully punished since he did not intend to curse. One of the Andalusian fuqaha' gave a fatwa that the man should be killed.
The sixth case is when the speaker quotes something of this nature from someone else. In this case, one looks at the form his story takes and the context of his words. The judgement about it varies accordingly. It can be seen as belonging to one of four categories: obligatory, recommended, disliked or forbidden.
If he reports it by way of testimony and to give information about the speaker, to rebuke him and make known what he has said, out of aversion to it and in order to make other people dislike it and to make the testimony of the one who said it unreliable, it must be taken heed of and the one who does this is praised.
This is the case if he quotes it in a book or in an assembly in order to refute the perpetrator and criticise him and in order to carry out his legal obligation regarding the matter. Sometimes it is obligatory for him and sometimes only recommended depending on the state of the one who is relaying what was said and the state of the one from whom it is relayed.
If the person who made the original statement is among those from whom knowledge is taken, or who transmit hadiths or give judgement or testimony or fatwas on people's rights, it is obligatory for the one who heard the derogatory statement to repeat what he heard from him and to make people averse to him and to testify against him according to what he has said. Any Muslim Imam who comes to hear what was said must make the mans disbelief and the corruption of his words clear in order to cut off his harm from the Muslims and establish the due of the Master of the Messengers صلى الله عليه وسلم.
This is the case particularly if the man in question is one of those who admonish the masses or teach children. If this is something his heart contains, he is not safe from casting it into their hearts. In such cases, the obligation to deal with him is confirmed by the right of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the right of the Shari'a. If the speaker is not someone of this standing, then it is still a specific obligation to establish the due of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and to protect his honour and help him against harm, whether he is alive or dead. This is a duty for every believer. If someone makes the truth clear, and the case against the detractor is definite and evident, then no one else is obliged to testify but it is still recommended for many people to give testimony against such a person and to help in warning against him. The Salaf agreed that the state of anyone whose reliability in giving hadith is suspect is to be made clear, so it must be even more binding with someone of this nature.
Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd رحمه الله was asked whether a witness who has heard something of this nature said in respect of Allah سبحانه و تعالى should give testimony. He said that if it is expected that judgement will be effected through his testimony, then the witness should testify. That is what should happen if it is known that the judge does not think that execution would ensue as a result of his testimony. The speaker should be asked to repent and should be disciplined. The witness then gives testimony and must do so.
As for being allowed to relate these words for any intention other than in these two instances, I do not think that it should be included in this subject at all. One does not amuse oneself at the expense of the honour of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or soil one's mouth by saying bad things about him to anyone, either mentioning or quoting someone else's words without an intention for something allowed in the Shari'a.
As for the previous aims, they vary between the obligatory and the recommended. Allah سبحانه و تعالى relays the statements of those who forged lies against Him and against His Messengers عليهم الصلاة والسلام in His Book in order to reject their words and warn about their disbelief, to threaten them, and refute them by what He has revealed in His perfect Book.
Similarly examples of this are found in the sound hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
The Salaf and later Imams of guidance agreed that it was permissible to use stories about disbelief and heretics in their books and assemblies to make them clear to people and to refute that sort of thing. Although it has been reported that Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله objected to al-Harith ibn Asad al-Muhasibi doing this, Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله himself did something similar when he refuted the Jahmiyya and those who said that the Quran was created. It is permitted to relate this sort of thing.
It is, however, forbidden to relate things that curse the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or show contempt for his position, in tales, night talk, titbits, stories of the people and their good and bad words, the jests of the brazen and the anecdotes of foolish people. All this kind of thing is forbidden. Some of them are more strongly forbidden than others. Some of them incur punishment.
If someone says something unintentionally without realising the weight of his words or something he would not normally say or words which are not offensive in themselves and he does not approve of them or find them correct, he is restrained from it and forbidden to repeat what he has said. If he is put right by some disciplinary action, that is commendable. If what he says is offensive in itself, then the action taken should be more severe.
It is related that a man asked Malik رحمه الله about someone who had said that the Qur'an was created. Malik رحمه الله said about the questioner, "He is an unbeliever, so kill him." The man said, "But I related it from someone else." Malik رحمه الله said, "We heard it from you." Malik رحمه الله did this as a means of restriction and accusation of error. The proof is that he did not actually carry out the execution.
If a relater in this kind of instance is suspected of being the real author of what he says while ascribing it to someone else or it is his habit to do this, or it appears that he admires the statement he is conveying, or he is enthusiastic about such things and makes light of them, or he memorizes things like this and seeks them out, or he relates poems satirizing the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and cursing him, then the judgement of this person is the same as that of someone who actually curses himself. He is punished for what he said and the fact that he ascribes it to someone else does not help him. He is killed immediately and dispatched to his appointed place in Hell.
Abu 'Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Salam رحمه الله said about someone who had memorized half of a line in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was satirized, "It constitutes disbelief."
One of those who wrote on the subject of consensus mentioned that the consensus of the Muslims was to forbid the transmission of anything in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was satirized or to write or read such things. They should be left where they are found without being touched. May Allah have mercy on our god-fearing Salaf who guarded their deen! They excluded this sort of thing from the hadiths about the raids and from the sira and left out its transmission except for a few things which were not too offensive which they mentioned in order to show the revenge of Allah on those who said them and how those who forged lies against the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم were punished for their wrong action.
Abu 'Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Salam رحمه الله was careful regarding the satirical poems of the Arabs he quoted in his books. He alluded to the name of any person satirized by a metric equivalent of his name to keep his deen innocent and to preserve himself from being a partner, in what was said, in criticising anyone by his quotation or its publication. How much more should this be the case with someone who attacks the honour of the Master of Men, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?
The seventh case is when someone mentions what is permitted for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, or disagrees about what is permitted for him, regarding those ordinary human matters that happened to him. He might associate them with the Prophet or mention the severity of things by which he was tested and which he endured in the way of Allah سبحانه و تعالى - the harshness of his enemies, their injuring him, knowledge of his beginning, his life and the suffering he met in his time, and what he did for his livelihood. All these things have come by way of transmission and through study and through knowing what is sound in respect of the inviolability of the Prophets and what is permitted for them.
This is different from the six previous cases since there is no fault, imperfection, contempt, or belittlement involved in it for the speaker either by way of expression or intention. However, discussion about these things must only take place among the people of knowledge or intelligent students of the deen who understand what is intended and realise its benefits. Others should avoid it if they do not have sufficient understanding or it is feared that it might become a trial for them.
Because of what the story contains one of the Salaf disliked teaching women Sura Yusuf (12) due to the weakness of their understanding and their lack of intellect and perception.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, speaking about having been hired to herd sheep at the beginning of his state, "There is no Prophet who has not herded sheep." Allah سبحانه و تعالى informed us about the same thing regarding Musa عليه السلام. If this is mentioned in the proper way there is no fault in it. However, it is different if someone intends fault and contempt by it. It was the custom of the Arabs to do that. Indeed there is far-reaching wisdom in that for the Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام. Allah سبحانه و تعالى raised them by degrees in His esteem and trained them by their herding sheep so that they would be able to manage their communities both by reason of the honour which they already been shown before-time and the knowledge they had gained by their experience.
Similarly, Allah سبحانه و تعالى mentions the fact that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was an orphan and in order to show His favour to him and to demonstrate how He honoured him. There is no objection to someone mentioning this if his intention is to learn about the Prophet's situation and beginnings and to marvel at Allah's سبحانه و تعالى gift to him and His great favour to him. Indeed, it contains a proof of his prophethood and the soundness of his call since Allah سبحانه و تعالى gradually gave him victory over the leaders of the Arabs and all those of their nobles who opposed him and his importance grew until he had conquered them and taken over their reins of power and captured the property of many other communities. Allah سبحانه و تعالى gave him victory, supported him with His own help and through the help of the believers, bringing their hearts together, and He helped him by means of designated angels.
If he had been the son of a king or someone with a long-standing following, many ignorant people would have supposed that to have been the cause of his victory and what caused him to be elevated. This is why Heraclius questioned Abu Sufyan about him and asked, "Was there a king among his forebears?" and then said, "If there had been a king among his forefathers, we would have said that he was a man who was seeking his fathers' kingdom."
His being an orphan was part of the way he was described, and one of the signs mentioned, in the previous books and reports of previous communities. That is how he is mentioned in the book of Armiya' and how he was described by Ibn Abi Yazin to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and by the monk Bahira to Abu Talib.
The same applies to his being described by Allah سبحانه و تعالى as being illiterate. That is praise in his case, and a virtue and the basis of his miracle since his greatest miracle was the Qur'an. It is connected to the knowledges and insights which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was given and by which he was preferred. This has already been covered in Part One [of the Shifa]. When something like this comes from a man who could not read or write, did not study and was not taught, it provokes amazement and profound consideration. This is a miracle for a mortal man and there is no imperfection in it since the goal of reading and writing is to gain knowledge. Literacy is a tool for this and a means of gaining understanding, not an end in itself. If the fruit and goal of something is obtained without them, there is no need for the means and cause.
Illiteracy is a fault in others because it indicates ignorance and is a sign of stupidity. Glory be to the One who made the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم affair different from other people's and placed his honour in something that for others is a fault, and his life in what would have meant death for others. He had his heart split open and what was inside of it removed, and that was the perfection of his life, the extreme strength of his self and the firmness of his heart. For other people, it would have resulted in their destruction and death. It is the same with much of what is related concerning him and his life - about his making do with little of this world, his clothes, food, transport, his humility and employing himself in his business and serving in his house, his doing without and turning away from this world. Both the trivial and important things of this world were the same for him since its affairs pass away swiftly and its states are overturned.
All of these things are among his virtues and good qualities and part of his nobility. Whoever mentions them as virtues or with that intention has a good purpose. Whoever quotes these things in other than their proper context has a bad purpose which is connected to what we have been talking about in the previous sections.
The same applies to traditions which people quote about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or any of the other Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام in which there is some outward ambiguity which might be construed as referring to matters not befitting them. Such traditions need to be properly explained. What they refer to is unclear. People should only relate sound hadiths concerning them and quote only what is firmly known.
May Allah have mercy on Malik! He disliked teaching any hadiths which might lend themselves to doubt or whose meaning was obscure. He said, "What prompts people to teach this sort of hadith?" He was told, "Ibn 'Ajlan related them." He retorted, "He is not one of the fuqaha', and I wish that people would make him agree to leave these hadiths and help him to quote the good ones. 'Most of them do not lead to any positive action."
It is related that a group of the Salaf, or rather all of them, disliked discussion about anything that did not lead to action.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم brought this deen to an Arab people who understood the speech of the Arabs in its proper context and usage. They knew its figurative expressions, metaphors, rhetoric and terseness. It was not obscure for them. 'Then foreigners got hold of it and illiterates delved into it. They scarcely understood what the Arabs meant at all except in the case of clear texts and statements. They could not grasp what was alluded to when it was concise, revelatory, rhetorical or indirect. Therefore they disagreed about how to interpret it and applied it literally or differed widely concerning its meaning.
As for any hadiths which are not sound, they must not be mentioned at all, either in respect of Allah or in respect of the Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام. The meaning of such hadiths should not be discussed at all. The correct thing to do is to discard them and not be occupied with them. The only reason to mention them merely in order to inform people that they are weak in text and weak in isnad.
The Shaykhs objected to Abu Bakr ibn Furak concerning himself with obscure words in weak, fabricated hadiths which are without foundation which were transmitted from the people of the Book who mixed truth with falsehood. It would have been enough for him to discard them and make clear that they were weak. That removes any necessity of discussing them since the goal in speaking about an obscurity is to remove doubt regarding and to pluck it out by the roots. Discarding them removes doubt and heals soul.
When someone speaks, either in the course of study or when teaching, about what is permitted for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and what is not permitted re his states he must, as we mentioned in the previous section, show esteem and respect for him. He must be careful about what he says and not be careless. The signs of adab should be apparent on him when he mentions the Prophet. If he mentions the hardships the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم endured, he should show apprehension and grief, and antipathy towards his enemies, and wish that he could have protected the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from it if he has been able to and to have helped him if it had been possible.
When he begins to discuss the subject of inviolability and speaks about words and actions, he must be careful to use good expressions and have adab what he says as much as possible. He should avoid anything repugnant in and ugly terms - such as "ignorance", "lying" or "rebellion".
When he speaks about difficult things, he should say, "Is it not possible that there was a discrepancy in the words or that something had been reported differently from the way it happened by oversight or error?" He should avoid tilt expression "lying" altogether. When he speaks regarding knowledge, he should say things like, "Is it not possible that he only knew what he was taught? Is it not permitted for him not to have had knowledge of certain thing until they were revealed to him?" He should not use "ignorance" since that word is ugly and repugnant. When speaking of actions, he should say, "Is opposition permitted for him in respect of certain commands and prohibitions and by the occurrence of some wrong actions?" These are better words and show better adab than, "Is it permitted that he rebel or do a wrong action, or a certain type of rebellion?"
This is part of respect for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the esteem and consideration, which are his by right. I saw one of the 'ulama' who did not protect the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in this way and displayed ugliness regarding him. I did not find his expressions correct, and found that one of the tyrants attributed false reports to him which he had not, in fact, said, all because he had ceased to be careful in the way he expressed himself. This alim was denounced for his scornfulness and the tyrant was declared an unbeliever.
Since things like this are considered ordinary good manners and are employed by people in their daily society and speech, it is still more necessary to employ them in respect of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it is more important to hold closely to them in his case. The excellence of the phrase used can make a thing good or ugly. The formulation of the phrase and its refinement is what exalts or abases a particular matter.
This is why the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "There is magic in eloquence.". If someone quotes something in order to reject it and be clear of it, there is no harm in stating the term and being explicit, like saying, "Lying is not permitted for him at all, nor doing a major wrong action in any way nor tyranny in judgement in any case." But in spite of this, he must show esteem, respect and consideration when the Prophet is mentioned. Intense states were seen in the Salaf when he was simply mentioned as we have already noted in Part Two [of the Shifa].
Some of them even held to this when they recited the ayats of the Qur'an. In it, Allah سبحانه و تعالى relates the words of His enemies and those who rejected His signs and forged lies against Him. So they lowered their voices in those places out of esteem for their Lord, exaltation of Him and apprehension about being like those who rejected Him.
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