Last week, a Muslim mob in India, seeking Taslima Nasrin’s blood for her writings critical of Islam, hounded her out of Calcutta. With assistance from police, she escaped from Bengal and is now hiding somewhere in the Indian capital. She had to flee her home country Bangladesh when a militant Islamic mob pursued her in 1994 in similar fashion on the same charges. She found a home of some sort in West Bengal, where people speak the same language she speaks and writes in. But now, Taslima has nowhere to go. She may well forget about her writing career altogether.
The mission of Muslims in life is to emulate Prophet Muhammad’s life in meticulous detail to gain access to Paradise. The slightest deviation from it will land them in hell for some time to be roasted in a terrible fire, before getting access to Paradise. Bravo Muslims of India, you are trying to emulate the Prophet. Let us go back 14 centuries to Prophet Muhammad's time.
Prophet Muhammad’s 13 years of preaching Islam in Mecca yielded only about 150 converts in all. By 620, his mission in Mecca had come to a standstill. Open preaching among Meccan citizens had been banned. In 620, he secretly started preaching to pilgrims from Medina during the Hajj pilgrimage at the idol-temple of Ka’ba. Six Medina pilgrims converted to Muhammad’s faith. Next year during Hajj, another six joined to give allegiance to Muhammad’s creed. The pilgrims returned with a Meccan disciple of Muhammad, named Musab, to instruct them in the Islamic creed in Medina.
Musab turned to be an able preacher; and came back with 75 converts during following Hajj season in March 622 to meet Muhammad at in secret at Akaba near Mecca. Obviously seeing the great success of his creed in Medina even in his absence, the Prophet expressed his eager desire to move there with them. In urging their support for his protection if moved there, Muhammad said: "I invite your allegiance on the basis that you protect me as you would your [own] women and children." The Medina converts replied: "By Him [Allah] Who sent you with the truth we will protect you as we protect our women. We give our allegiance and we are men of war possessing arms which have been passed on from father to son” [Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi, p204].
Muhammad was all set to move to Medina. In April he ordered his disciples to relocate there. Over the next two months, all Muslim converts left for Medina in small batches except Muhammad and Abu Bakr and their families plus Ali still left behind. It was time for Muhammad to leave; and in the company of Abu Bakr, Muhammad set off for Medina. Ali and females of Abu Bakr’s and Muhammad’s families, including Prophet’s child-wife Aisha, were still left behind. They set off for Medina after a few more days like nothing had happened [Ibn Ishaq, p219-221].
The departure of the Muslim community from Mecca was completed. Muhammad arrived in Medina on 21 June 622 CE to a hero’s welcome from his eagerly awaiting disciples, from Mecca and Medina combined.
Muhammad took about six months to build a communal abode for his community. Once his community comfortably settled, there came time for revenge against the Quraysh for rejecting his faith. Quraysh’s rejection of Muhammad’s creed, as described in the Quran―“to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members"―became tantamount to “Tumult and oppression,” which in turn was “worse than slaughter” [Quran 2:217].
Thereupon, Allah sanctioned Jihad or Holy war upon the Muslims to “fight them [Quraysh] on until there is no more Tumult or oppression [ie, rejection of Islam & practice of idolatry], and there prevail justice and faith in Allah” [Quran 2:193]. Muslims must “slay them [Quraysh idolaters] wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out” [Quran 2:191]. In other words, Muslims must take upon a mission exterminate the idolater Quraysh from Mecca once and for all.
For those Muslims, who did not like fighting as it involved violence and even bloodbath―they still had to fight, because: “Fighting [Jihad] is prescribed for you [by Allah], and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not” [Quran 2:216].
Having Jihad made an obligatory duty on all Muslims; Prophet Muhammad started sending his armed comrades in search of trade-caravans from Mecca to plunder them. Prophet himself pursued a few caravans; but they escaped before the messenger of Allah could be there on time. The first success came in January 624 at Nakhla, 9 days’ journey from Medina and only 2 days’ from Mecca. In the attack, one of the Quraysh attending the caravan was killed, two taken captive and another managed to flee. The raiders returned to Medina with the rich booty and two prisoners. The latter were ransomed bringing more revenue for the Prophet.
But, it was the sacred month of Rajab in which fighting was prohibited in Arabian tradition. This bloodbath, therefore, created unhappiness among the people of Medina and the region, Prophet’s disciples included. Allah made this illegal holy-month attack and bloodbath justified claiming that the ‘Tumult and Oppression’ [ie, the rejection of Allah’s religion] committed by the Quraysh was “worse than [the] slaughter,” which his henchmen committed at Nakhla: “They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter” [Quran 2:217].
In a couple of months, the Prophet pursued another huge caravan returning from Syria under the care of Quraysh leader Abu Sufyan. This led to the bloody battle of Badr, in which the Quraysh got defeated. Some 50 Quraysh were slain and a similar number captured, while Muhammad’s side lost only 15 Jihadists.
Muhammad’s violent plundering raids one after another and such bloodbaths, rather uncommon in Arabia, enraged some conscientious intellectuals of Medina. There was among them the first Taslima, named Asma bte Marwan ― a poetess. She composed poetic verses disparaging Muhammad’s heinous acts and railed the men of Medina for allowing such as a bloodthirsty person to settle in their community, who had no regard for life whatsoever even of his own kinfolk of Mecca.
As her verses spread quickly, an exasperated Muhammad said: “'Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?” Umayr, a disciple of Muhammad, took up the job of finishing Asma off. On one night, Umayr stealthily entered Asma’s apartment, when she was deep asleep with her suckling baby on her bosom. Umayr removed the child quietly and plunged his sword into her breast with such force that it got stuck onto the couch. The next day at the mosque prayer, the Prophet thanked Umayr: 'You have helped God and His apostle, O 'Umayr” [Ibn Ishaq, p675-6].
Umayr belonged to Asma’s clan and when he was returning from upper Medina and passed by Asma’s sons burying their mother―they accused him of killing her, to which he responded: “if they dared to repeat things such as she had uttered, he would slay the whole clan of them” [William Muir, The Life of Mahomet, p240].
The next intellectual to be in line to embrace the same fate was another poet, 120-year old Abu Afak. Horrified by the bloodthirsty zeal of Muhammad’s followers in the name of their God and religion―he wrote verses condemning his actions. He even wrote a poem to incite the Quraysh to take revenge against Muhammad’s Badr massacre without regard for kinship whatsoever. The prophet sent another disciple, named Salim, to finish him off [Ibn Ishaq, p675].
There started the journey of Holy terror or Jihad against the intellectuals critical of Islam. Six years later when Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630 CE, he ordered death penalty of 10-12 people, who had criticized, strongly opposed, or, apostatized from, his creed. Those belonging to influential families were spared upon reconciliation achieved by lobbying from their families. Finally, four persons were executed, among whom were two singing-girls, who had composed songs ridiculing Muhammad [Muir, p392-3].
Four centuries later, we meet the great blasphemous thinker Ibn Sina, who considered that Greek Philosophy was revealed truth, not the Quran; and that Aristotle and Plato were greater than Muhammad. Enraged by this, the jealous Sunni and barbaric invader of India, Sultan Mahmud ordered hunting Ibn Sina down. To save his life, Ibn Sina fled to Egypt to take refuge under the deviant (Ismaili) Fatimid rulers. Some two centuries later in 1190s, the great thinker Ibn Rushd, a commentator on Aristotelian philosophy, got banished from Spain for his heretical views. French author, Renan writes, “Not a Musalman philosopher and scholar escaped persecution… who passed half their life in prison, in forced hiding…” [Ibn Warraq, Why I am Not a Muslim, p274].
Continuing in the Prophet’s footsteps, we witness his steadfast followers putting his writ into action in India. The Prophet must be delighted sitting among at least 72 celestial virgins in Paradise.
However, the Muslims in India deviated a little from Prophet’s protocols by alerting Taslima beforehand, saving her from embracing the fate of Asma. Muhammad sent his assassins to Asma and Abu Afak quietly without alerting them. Muslims in India have failed to fully emulate the Prophet’s example in meticulous detail. Infidel observers may see this as a sign of their progress towards civility. But Allah and His Prophet may not be all too happy by this lapse of theirs.