An authoritarian ruler must get a grip. The first policy that he imposes on his people shuts down free speech that expresses dissent and criticism, especially if the speech questions the leader. He takes any questioning of his opinions and decisions as a personal insult of him, the head of state, and therefore a threat to his society.
Muhammad laid down severe restrictions on such free speech. He assassinated many who insulted him. In the Quran, he promises death and eternal damnation if anyone deviates in words and action from Allah and his messenger. In the hadith (Muhammad’s words and deeds outside of the Quran), we read that he kills dissenters and insulters. Later legal rulings, rooted in the Quran and hadith, follow his lead and decree that hard-hitting speech must be stifled. Indeed, the dissenters must die, if they cross the line.
In 1989, Iran’s Supreme Leader issued a fatwa (legal decree) to assassinate Salman Rushdie, a novelist, who wrote Satanic Verses, which includes questions about the angel Gabriel’s role in inspiring the Quran. Now the extremists in the highest levels in Iran have recently renewed the fatwa.