Yet there is a case of blasphemy so serious that it is recorded in the Holy Quran itself, which speaks of Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, known in the history of Islam as the Chief of Hypocrites. Once returning from an expedition, Abdullah bin Ubayy declared in the company of others that the moment they returned to Medina, the noblest would expel the meanest among the Medinites...
Everyone understood the implied insult to the Holy Prophetsa. They were seething with indignation and rage to the extent that, if permitted, they would have most certainly put Abdullah bin Ubayy to the sword. It is reported authentically that tempers were running so high at this incident that no less a person than the son of Abdullah bin Ubayy himself approached the Holy Foundersa of Islam seeking permission to kill his father with his own hands. The son argued that if anyone else did so, he might later on, in ignorance, entertain the thought of revenge against his father’s killer. For centuries, the Arabs were accustomed to take revenge at even the smallest insult hurled at them or their close relative. Perhaps, this custom was what the son had in mind. But the Holy Prophetsa refused to grant his request nor did he permit anyone else from among his Companions to punish the hypocrite, Abdullah bin Ubayy, in any manner whatsoever.
Having returned to Medina after the expedition, Abdullah bin Ubayy continued to live in peace. When he died at last, a natural death, of course, to the surprise of everyone, the Holy Prophetsa gave Abdullah’s son his own shirt so that he could enshroud his father’s body for burial - a singular act of blessing, indeed, which must have left the other Companions yearning to barter it from the son at the cost of all their possessions. Not only that, the Holy Prophetsa decided to lead his funeral prayer. This decision must have deeply disturbed many of his Companions who could never forgive Abdullah for the grievous offence mentioned above. Yet, it fell to the lot of Umarra, who later succeeded the Prophetsa as the Second Caliph to give voice to their suppressed uneasiness.
It is reported that as the Holy Prophetsa was proceeding to the funeral, Umarra suddenly stepped forward and stood in the way begging the Prophetsa to change his decision. In doing so, Umarra reminded the Prophetsa of the verse of the Holy Quran in which reference is made to some known hypocrite on whose behalf intercession would not be accepted even if the Holy Prophetsa prayed for him seventy times. Incidentally, the number seventy should not be taken too literally because, according to Arab usage, it was only employed to indicate a large number.
However, the Holy Prophetsa smiled and responded: Stand aside, Umarra. I know better. If I know God would not forgive him even if I seek forgiveness seventy times, I would seek forgiveness for him more than seventy times. The Prophetsa then led the funeral prayer.
This is a fitting rebuttal to those who are crying themselves hoarse in demanding death for the blasphemer who dares to insult the Holy Foundersa of Islam and nothing but death. Such a religion must have a claim to establish inter-religious peace in the world.
- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Islam's Response to Contemporary Issues