Where and how to begin? Two and a half years after the APS massacre of teenaged students and the National Action Plan, and much in between, the country was shell-shocked Wednesday by the savage lynching of Mashal Khan, a journalism student of 23 summers at the Mardan University. People in Pakistan are regularly lynched, burnt, beaten or shot, or left to rot in jail after being falsely accused of blasphemy. But this horror moved the country like no other lynching because the cold-blooded killers released the video-tape of the gruesome murder which went viral. Admitted, I have not watched it myself – but by all accounts he was stripped naked, beaten to death with sticks, bricks other sharp and blunt objects and then thrown two floors down from his hostel building.

Do these people really believe that the Holy Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) would have condoned this exhibition of love for him, or smiled broadly enough at the faithful carriage of his orders? That he would recommend a higher jannah to those who would then kick and bash further the lifeless Mashal, and ensure the seventh heaven for those who would desecrate it by burning the naked body of the man they heard had committed blasphemy?

Where did this mob find such teachings of Rehmat-e-do-Alam (pbuh), to rip off the clothes, expose private parts, strip the dignity, inflict the animal in you on anyone who was a soft, thinking, curious, gentle, intellectual, poetic being, if he the Prophet (pbuh) was disrespected, never ask for evidence, never look for witnesses; kill the man and then burn him? Because that’s how the mob of 500 believers executed his teachings. He must also have left instructions somewhere to ignore what Allah said in the Qur’an, but to seek guidance from 21st century televangelists, Taliban, Sunni Tehreekists, Khatm-e-Nabooatists, local mosque clerics, Sheikh Khadim Husain Rizvis, Orionic bureaucrats, alims online, drunkards turned preachers, Farid Parachas or other Jamatias masquerading as journalists.

In some Davincian code passed down only to Alims-Jamatias-Oryas-Rizvis etc, the Prophet (pbuh) must have exhorted his Ummah to defy Allah and each and every Qur’anic Surah and Ayat mentioning The Prophet’s actual, real disrespect (not accusations thereof):

1. Sura Ahzab: 57:

a. Lo! Those who malign Allah and His Messenger, Allah hath cursed them in the world, and the Hereafter and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained (Pickthall)

b. As for those who abuse Allah and His Messenger, Allah’s curse is on them in this world and the Next World. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them. (Bewly)

c. Verily as for those who (knowingly) affront God and His Apostle, God will reject them – in this world and in the life to come; and shameful suffering will He ready for them. (Muhammad Asad)

Pick up any translation of this widely quoted ayat in support of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and you will find that the punishment for those tormenting, abusing, mocking, disrespecting, annoying Allah or the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) has been reserved for himself by Allah to mete out, in this world as well as in the hereafter. He does not give authority to Muslims, or other people in general, nor to any state, to punish such a sin.

2. Sura Hijr: 95

a. Lo! We defend thee from the scoffers (Pickthall)

b. Surely! We suffice to deal with those who scoff at you (Asad)

c. Verily We are enough for thee against the scoffers (Palmer)

Here too, Allah’s instructions to Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) were to leave his insult to Allah himself – meaning no human was to take Allah’s prerogative in his hands.

And these and other ayat dealing with blasphemy, mocking, disbelieving at either the Prophet or at Allah himself relate to actual, visible, proven blasphemy. Not with regard to accusations.

But the Davincians deliberately mislead their followers. One thing is for sure though, the followers, the lynching mobs, do not read the Qur’an. The other thing which is clear is that the Davincian Alims-Jamatias-Oryas-Rizvis have read the Qur’an and can and do quote it at will in Arabic, a language that Pakistanis neither understand nor speak. And they deliberately misquote, distort, misinterpret Allah’s will and mislead the faithful mobs who put out Mashals and other gentle lights who actually read with meaning, read widely, use the brains Allah gave them, and are the light for mankind Allah meant them to be.

Taking advantage of the Arabic language being alien to Pakistanis, the Alims-Jamatias-Oryas-Rizvis etc. also regularly quote other ayat of the Qur’an that have nothing whatsoever to do with blasphemy and mistranslate them for the unsuspecting believers to give them the impression that ‘sar tan se juda’ (head cut off from body) is the prescribed Islamic punishment for blasphemy. As a quick example, and without quoting, many ‘Alims’ are on record quoting in Arabic the Sura Muahida (verse 66), Sura Kausar (verse 3), Sura Anfal (verses 12 & 13), Sura Nisa (verse 65) etc. as having prescribed killing of blasphemers.

I would invite my readers to look these up themselves. They are not even remotely connected with any form of imagined or real blasphemy. So what is going on? The molvis, alims, and others in other institutions are actually belying the Quran to achieve political objectives like hunger for power, the power of fear, control on narrative, killing dissent on political issues, and in some cases sheer bloodlust. Thought about carefully, these contractors of Islam are regularly committing blasphemy themselves, by arrogating to themselves the power Allah preserved for himself; by changing his words in their rattled off dishonest translations; by creating fitnah on this earth in the name of Allah and His Prophet himself, which they forbade; and finally, by inspiring in people’s hearts an image of the prophet of Islam of a man who instructed people to kill anyone one who disrespected him or mocked him, not as the awe and love inspiring man who preached forgiveness, and not as the man who went asking after the health of the woman who would daily throw garbage on him and abuse him when he passed by under her window. Most importantly, just as Allah ordained, these Alim blasphemers can also only be dealt with by Allah, not by us, not by our courts, not by our state. Not for blasphemy.

But these Alims-Jamatias-Oryas-Rizvis’s etc. ignorant, blind, unread followers in universities, government jobs, bazaars, mosques, courts, follow them, believe them, torture, kill, desecrate all in the name of the man and the God who never gave them the power to do so. Allah, his messenger (pbuh), his Quran also did not give any government or state the power to behead or kill anyone for blasphemy.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist. She can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter 

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