We have already discussed different issues concerning the Islamic Sharia Law and now we will discuss if Islamic Sharia is against freedom of speech or not.
Freedom of Speech & Islam
If freedom of speech means that a person can speak what he wishes without hurting anyone, without causing harm to any community, then Islamic Sharia is not against freedom of speech.
But if freedom of speech means that a person can abuse, criticize or blame anyone without any hesitation, then Islamic Sharia is against and as well as not against freedom of speech.

Let me clarify my statement.
There are different types of freedom of speech. If someone blames, criticizes or speaks against anyone without any proof or any solid fact, based on falsehood then Islamic fundamentalism is against such freedom of speech. As Qur'an says in Sura Humaza Chapter 104 Verse 1, "Woe to every kind of scandal mongerer and backbiter." Further the Qur'an says in Sura Hujurat Chapter 49 Verse 11-12, O you who believe, do not defame, do not be sarcastic, do not give offensive nicknames to anyone. O you who believe do not spy on one another, do not backbite. And the Qur'an asks, are you willing to eat the dead meat of your own brother? The Qur'an then replies, No you will abhore it!
What does Qur'an mean by comparing backbiting to eating the dead meat of one's own brother? Because eating dead meat is itself a sin and any doctor would testify that it can cause several diseases. But eating the dead meat of your own brother is a double crime and even cannibals, who eat dead meat and eat human beings, even they do not touch their own brother. In the same way speaking false against someone without proof is itself a sin and speaking behind their backs is a double crime because they are not even there to answer and is hence like eating the dead meat of your own brother.

Some may argue that writing or speaking bad against someone does not harm them physically. I agree! But many a times the mental torture is much more harmful and over-lasting than physical torture.
Suppose, a teacher slaps a student in a closed room with no one seeing around and that without any reason. Now lets take another example, in which the teacher abuses the same teacher in front of the whole class without any reason and calls him all sorts of bad names and all sorts of other non sense. In the first example, the pain of the slap would fade away within minutes. But in the later example, the mental torture caused by abusing would be much more over-lasting and much more harmful. So many a times speech and writing can be much more harmful and over-lasting than physical torture. Not always! But many a times. That's why, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Lets analyze what does the Qur'an say about free speech. Qur'an is one of the only holy scriptures, which gives the mankind several ways to prove the Qur'an wrong. Among one of the ways is mentioned in Sura Nisa Chapter 4 which states, "Do not they consider the Qur'an with care for had it been from anyone besides Allah, there would have had been many discrepancies, many contradictions." So if anyone wants to prove the Qur'an wrong, all they have to do is take out false in the Qur'an. So easy:) But at the same time Qur'an says, "produce your proof if you are truthful." Qur'an & Islam give freedom of speech with proof.
For instance, you must have heard the famous quotation from the Qur'an that wherever you find a Kafir, kill him. Suppose when USA and Vietnam were at war and a US army general told his troop that wherever you find a Vietnamese, kill him. That happened decades ago and now if I tell you that the US army general is saying that wherever you find a Vietnamese, kill him. It would be out of context because he said it during the battlefield because in the battlefield the other party is the enemy and if the enemy attacks you have to fight back and if necessary even kill the enemy. The Qur'an says the same that in battlefield if the enemy attacks, fight them and if necessary kill them, the enemy in the battlefield not innocent people. So if you wanna exercise your freedom of speech with the Qur'an, do not misquote and do not quote out of context.

Regarding the last type of freedom of speech that you can blame or criticize anyone with solid proof. It is divided into two sub-types.
Some facts are meant to be secret and some are not. Suppose if an American official working for the American govt gives the secrets of the American govt to  the enemy. Mind you! He is speaking the truth and with solid proof and with photocopies, blue prints and photographs. Would the American govt award that person? Certainly not! It would try him and punish him. So Qur'an is against revealing such type of truth, which is meant to be secret.
Now can one defame, blame and criticize someone with proof, which is not a secret. Suppose if an American official speaks against the corruption of the American govt, Islam encourages such truth to be told in public. As the Qur'an says, "When truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood perishes for falsehood by its nature is bound to perish."

About Unknown

Student of BA in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. Can be reached at @LiaqatQazi
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