بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وصلى الله على خاتم النبيين
In yesterday's post, I explained that a claim to prophesy after the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم does not constitute blasphemy. While today's Ulama, especially the bigoted sections thereof, issue legal opinions to the effect that any claimant of prophesy is wajib al-qatl, such a view is contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. During his lifetime, a young Jewish soothsayer, Ibn Sayyad, announced that he was an apostle of God. Yet, the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم did not allow him to be harmed in any way, let alone executed:
أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ انْطَلَقَ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي رَهْطٍ قِبَلَ ابْنِ صَيَّادٍ حَتَّى وَجَدَهُ يَلْعَبُ مَعَ الصِّبْيَانِ عِنْدَ أُطُمِ بَنِي مَغَالَةَ وَقَدْ قَارَبَ ابْنُ صَيَّادٍ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحُلُمَ فَلَمْ يَشْعُرْ حَتَّى ضَرَبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ظَهْرَهُ بِيَدِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لاِبْنِ صَيَّادٍ " أَتَشْهَدُ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ " . فَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ ابْنُ صَيَّادٍ فَقَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ الأُمِّيِّينَ . فَقَالَ ابْنُ صَيَّادٍ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَتَشْهَدُ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ فَرَفَضَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَالَ " آمَنْتُ بِاللَّهِ وَبِرُسُلِهِ " . ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " مَاذَا تَرَى " . قَالَ ابْنُ صَيَّادٍ يَأْتِينِي صَادِقٌ وَكَاذِبٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " خُلِّطَ عَلَيْكَ الأَمْرُ " . ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " إِنِّي قَدْ خَبَأْتُ لَكَ خَبِيئًا " . فَقَالَ ابْنُ صَيَّادٍ " هُوَ الدُّخُّ " . فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " اخْسَأْ فَلَنْ تَعْدُوَ قَدْرَكَ " . فَقَالَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ ذَرْنِي يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَضْرِبْ عُنُقَهُ . فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " إِنْ يَكُنْهُ فَلَنْ تُسَلَّطَ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْهُ فَلاَ خَيْرَ لَكَ فِي قَتْلِهِ "
Umar b. Khattab went along with Allah's Messenger ﷺ in the company of some persons to Ibn Sayyad that he found him playing with children near the battlement of Bani Maghala and Ibn Sayyad was at that time just at the threshold of adolescence and he did not perceive (the presence of Holy Prophet) until Allah's Messenger (ﷺ struck his back with his hands. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: Ibn Sayyad, don't you bear witness that I am the messenger of Allah? Ibn Sayyad looked toward him and he said: I bear witness to the fact that you the messenger of the unlettered. Ibn Sayyad said to the Allah's Messenger ﷺ: Do you bear witness to the fact that I am the messenger of Allah? Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) rejected this and said: I affirm my faith in Allah and in His messengers. Then Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to him: What do you see? Ibn Sayyad said: It is a Dukh. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: May you be disgraced and dishonoured, you would not not be able to go beyond your rank. 'Umar b. Khattab said: Allah's Messenger, permit me that I should strike his neck. Thereupon Allah's Messenger ﷺ said: If he is the same (Dajjal) who would appear near the Last Hour, you would not be able to overpower him, and if he is not that there is no good for you to kill him.” (Sahih Muslim)
The saying of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to sayyidina Umar رضى الله عنه:
لا خير لك في قتله
“There is no good in it for you to kill him”
regarding Ibn Sayyad who had just claimed to be an apostle of God plainly indicates there is no legislated Earthly punishment in Islam for someone who falsely claims to be a prophet. On the contrary, we know that Ibn Sayyad eventually repented from his falsehood and converted to Islam, and likewise the two false prophets Tulayhah al-Asadi and Sajah bint al-Harith repented from their false claims of prophesy. If their claims to prophesy constitute blasphemy, according to the bigoted Ulama they should not have been given an opportunity to repent but executed.
The Abbasid ruler al-Mahdi (744-785 CE), who is highly regarded, generally speaking, among orthodox Muslims, likewise did not execute an individual who claimed to be a prophet and was brought to him:
A man was brought to al-Mahdi who claimed to be a prophet and when he saw him he said, “Are you a prophet?” and the man replied, “Yes,” so he asked to whom he had been sent, and he replied, “Have you left me to go to those to whom I was sent? I was dispatched in the morning, and you arrested me in the evening and put me in prison.” Al-Mahdi laughed at him and let him go. (The History of al-Tabari (English translation) v. xxix p. 252; Tarikh at-Tabari v.8 pp.176-177):
وأتى المهدي برجل قد تنبأ، فلما رآه، قال: أنت نبي؟ قال: نعم، قال: وإلى من بعثت؟ قال: وتركتموني أذهب إلى من بعثت إليه! وجهت بالغداة فأخذتموني بالعشي، ووضعتموني في الحبس! قال: فضحك المهدي منه، وخلى سبيله