In Islamic law, apostasy leads to death — something this writer conveniently leaves out. But that fact is crucial in understanding the often violent hostility sparked by perceived to insults to Islam, and the threats frequently faced by Muslim skeptics and would-be reformers even on the most minor of levels.
“Blasphemy can lead to apostasy,” by Dr. Wan Azhar Wan Ahmed for The Star, May 25:
Though Islamic tradition offers no exact equivalent for the term blasphemy, Muslims without proper knowledge who criticise the religion may fall into infidelity or apostasy.
Blasphemy, derived from the Greek term meaning “speaking evil”, is contemptuous or irreverent words or speech about God or things regarded as sacred.
Its synonyms, among others, are abuse, desecration, execration, profanation, repudiation, derogation, denunciation, heresy, insult, impiety, sacrilege, scurrility and reviling.
“To blaspheme” is to speak about the Divine or those sacred things impiously, disrespectfully.
In Islam, words that pierce the Almighty God with insults (sabb), insinuate the Prophet Muhammad, or mock any part of the Revelation constitutes religious crimes.
Though Islamic tradition offers no exact equivalent, these situations are analogous or comparable to blasphemy. The Quranic term that comes fairly close to blasphemy is “words of infidelity” (kalimat al-kufr).
Theologically speaking, blasphemy may overlap with or lead to infidelity, i.e. deliberate rejection of God and Revelation.
To a lesser degree, but equally destructive, expressing religious opinions at variance with the standard established Islamic worldview or creed could easily be looked upon as blasphemous.
And this blasphemy may also be defined as any verbal expression that possibly gives grounds for apostasy (riddah). […]
From the inception of Islam, the religion has been confronted with a lot of opposition. The Prophet Muhammad himself encountered vehement rejection from the Arab people and leaders of Mecca. They disputed, abused, rejected and ridiculed many Quranic teachings brought by him. They not only mocked his claim as the prophet of God but also accused him of many derogatory names and professions.
To make a long story short, people died.
Based on the Noble Quran and Sunnah, the nature and conditions for blasphemy have been elaborated upon by scholars. They describe it as the expression of denigration, contempt or scorn for God, the Prophets, the Quran, the angels, or the traditional religious sciences based on Revelation.
The list goes to those remarks that offend the qualified and true religious scholars. Insults to the authoritative religious scholarship is tantamount to rejection of religious knowledge itself. It implies that the Revelation is untruthful, implicating the Prophet and ultimately Almighty God.
The aforementioned antagonism has been taking place in Islamic history since the time of the Prophet. It is still happening today and will continue to the future.
What is more unfortunate, is that it is done by Muslims themselves, the confused ones. They question the rationale and even validity of certain religious pronouncements, claiming injustices and discrimination, for example, against gender, as well as violation of human rights on the part of Islam. […]
Blasphemous Muslims must be aware that they may fall into infidelity or apostasy if they choose to remain obstinate after being told the truth.