Guide to Understanding Islam



What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About...

Insulting Islam



Does Islam teach that those who 'insult' the religion or its founder should be put to death?

Summary Answer

Under Sharia, those who insult Muhammad or Allah are to be executed.  So are those who desecrate the Quran or commit other acts of blasphemy.  This tradition began with Muhammad, as recorded in the Hadith and by his biographers.  There is also a Quranic basis for it.

The Qur'an:

Quran (6:93) - "Who can be more wicked than one who invent a lie against Allah?"  If the death penalty is prescribed for lesser crime, then it stands to reason that it should be imposed for the most "wicked".

Quran (33:57) - "Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them the doom of the disdained"

Quran (33:61) - [continues from above] "Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter."

From the Hadith:


Bukhari (59:369) - This recounts the murder of Ka'b bin al-Ashraf, a Jewish poet who wrote verses about Muslims that Muhammad found insulting.  He asked his followers, 'Who will rid me of this man?' and several volunteered.  al-Ashraf was stabbed to death while fighting for his life.


Bukhari (3:106) - "The Prophet said, "Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire."


Bukhari (4:241) - Those who mocked Muhammad at Mecca were killed after he had retaken the city and asserted his authority.


Additional Notes:

One of the tricks that Muslim apologists play to obscure the fact that Islam prescribes death for detractors is to quote Quran (3:186).  This is an earlier verse following a defeat in battle - when Muhammad's forces were relatively weak.  Though encouraging Muslims to endure insults at the time, the text goes on to say that if Muslims are patient, then a "grievous penalty" will befall those who mock them.  Indeed, the people to whom this verse specifically referred were put to death by Muhammad just a few short years later.


Muhammad executed his critics as quickly as he attained the power to do so.  His biographers list numerous citizens who were murdered merely for mockery or criticism, particularly poets - the media artists of the time.  One was a mother of five, who had her child pulled from her breast before she was run through with a sword.  See Muhammad's Dead Poets Society for more about this.


When author Salman Rushdie published "The Satanic Verses," a 1988 novel deemed offensive to Muhammad, the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence in the from of a fatwa that was supported by a majority of Muslims. 


After a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Muhammad in 2006, an imam (who had been welcomed to Denmark as an immigrant), traveled back to the Middle East and whipped up hatred that resulted in deadly rioting on three continents.  Demonstrators in London held signs reading "Massacre Those Who Insult Islam."


In the years since, there have been many incidents in which Muslims have whipped themselves into a violent frenzy over perceived insults to Islam.  At the same time, such outrage is notably lacking when innocent people, including other Muslims, are murdered in the name of this same religion..



A deeper discussion of this subject can be found in other places, including this article from Answering-Islam and Insulting Muhammad from American Thinker. Home Page


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