Friday, December 12, 2014

How Intention Matters

Blasphemy is one of the hottest and the saddest issues going around in the country and it has been one of the most misunderstood topics in the current scenario. Legally, blasphemy is not just limited to Islam or Muslims. Section 295* of Pakistan Penal Code covers all the religions and anyone who hurts the religious sentiments of any other person shall be liable to punishment. So, no! It just doesn't protect Muslims but it protects other religions too. Although, the subsequent sections stipulate some more actions and punishments which protect the religious sentiments of Muslims only. The law is definitely a bit vague when it comes to Pakistani society as we don’t  take much time in getting hurt, religiously. A little work in the interpretation of the law would be of great help but that can only be useful if the cases are actually taken to the courts and not settled, out of court, by the angry mobs. A bill against the abusers of blasphemy law might be of some help.

Other than that, we should always keep in mind what can amount to the criminal charges. When a crime takes place, mens rea and actus reus, of the offender are kept under investigation. Mens rea happens to be the intention of the offender and actus reus is the action that amounts to the crime. A crime without intention of doing it holds no criminal value, in most cases, and a mere thought without giving it a practical implementation holds no worth either. Erroneous and the murder in self defense can never be punished with Qisas (equal punishment), under any law. In fact, the 2nd grievous kind of murder i.e. Qatl e Shibh i Amd (when the offender intends to hurt the victim but in causing the hurt he ends up killing the victim) is not punished with Qisas, either. This clearly shows how the intention to commit the crime, of the offender, plays a vital role in amounting to what liability it holds.

Depriving a human from his right to live happens to be the worst of crimes, all over the world and in all the religions and such a crime is excused till the offender actually intends to perform the act. That is about the rights of human beings. Let’s just look into the rights of Allah and how intentions can matter. A person who intentionally misses his prayers will be differently liable for this act when compared to the person who does it unintentionally. Same goes for every religious duty. Actions are always judged by the intentions they carry.

The simple point to conclude, for an action to hold blasphemy charges or before accusing anyone for committing blasphemy, always consider either he really intended to cause a harm to the religion or did he really wish to hurt your religious sentiments or not. A sentence spoken in haste or a mere slip of tongue can never amount to blasphemy. Blasphemy is no joke. It is a serious issue. Stop propagating your religious or political ideologies basing them on blasphemy. 

*Section 295: Injuring or defiling place or worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class. Whoever, destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defile­ment as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to two years, or with fine or with both.