First posted: Dhul-Qa'dah 2, 1433, (18 September, 2012)
(Adapted from Aboo Aamir's Part Translation of al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah of Ibn Katheer Done for Daarussalam Publishers, Riyaad, KSA, 2012)
Ibn Katheer - rahimahullaah - recorded in his Al-Bidaayah Wa Anihaayah and Al-Imaam Adh-Dhahabee in his Taarikhul-Islaam of an incident that occurred in Greater Syria in Year 693 Hijrah during the reign of Al-Maalik An-Naasir, that was as regard a Christian man by name Assaaf, who reviled the Messenger of Allaah, salaLlaahu alahyi wa sallam.
Reported Ibn Katheer, may Allaah bestow mercy on him:
This man was from the people of As-Suwaida; a number of people testified against him that he abused the Prophet (sallalahu alahyi wa sallam). This Assaaf was under the employment of Baabin Ahmad the son of Hajee the leader in the Family of Alee. Ash-Shaykh Taqiyyudeen Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) and ash-Shaykh Zaynudeen Al-Faaruqee, the scholar in the Institute of Hadith, went to Amir Izzudeen Aybak Al-Hamawee, the Vice-Sultaan; they talked to him about the (affair of the) Christian man, and he granted their demand as regard him (that he was guilty of a capital punishment).
The Vice-Sultaan sent people to bring the man, thus the two Shaykhs alongside the multitudes that were with them left the presence of the Vice-Sultaan.
People saw Assaaf when he was brought (to the presence of the Vice-Sultaan); there was a bedouin with him (that is, with Assaaf). People cursed and despised him. The Bedouin said: 'He is better than you are.' He was referring to the Christian man. Upon that, people threw stones at both of them. Assaaf was hurt. There broke out a pandemonium. The Vice-Sultaan sent for the two Shaykh, Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Faaruqee (thinking they were the mastermind of the protest!); he had them beaten before him. He made an order about them in the official bulletin. The Christian man arrived and accepted Islam; a sitting was convened because of that (to ascertain whether he was still liable to be killed or not).
It was said that his accusers had grudges with him that was why they 'lied' against him, consequently his blood was spared.
Then the two Shaykhs were called for, they were begged and set free. After that, the Christian man went to the land of Hijaz. He met his death close to the city of the Messenger of Allaah (sallalahu alahyi wa sallam). A nephew of his got him killed.
It was that incident of the Christian man reviling the Prophet of Islam (sallalahu alahyi wa sallam) that made Ash-Shaykh Taqiyyudeen Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) wrote his book that was entitled: As-Saarimul-Masluul Ala Saabbir-Rasuul (The Drawn Sword Against the Reviler of the Messenger).
1. The Muslim Ummau had always been hard on the revilers of the Messenger of Allaah - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.
2. That in any calculated or otherwise act of insult against Islam or any of its tenets, such against the Prophet - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the Muslims should show their anger within the reasonable ambit such as taking the matter to the Muslim authorities.
3. That scholars of the Deen should always take the lead in guiding the Muslim populace during general angst arising from horrendous acts of the enemies of the Muslims.
4. That the Muslims will never tolerate any insult directed at the personality of the dear Prophet - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.
5. That speaking ill of our Prophet - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam - is an act of blasphemy punishable with death.