Judging people who make mocking statements about religion
Fatwa No: 332269

  • Fatwa Date:18-9-2016 - Thul-Hijjah 16, 1437
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Question

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah. In my state, there are people who consider themselves Muslims (some of them pray sometimes, and some do not pray but just have Muslims names and consider themselves Muslims). Some of those people sometimes hear that one person who is good at practicing Islam (praying, doing Hajj, having a beard, and similar things) committed a bad deed - for example, he talked in a bad way about somebody or displayed some bad behavior - and say very bad things about him: They say (I am quoting) that he can urinate to his prayer, or they even curse his prayer or Hajj and similar things (with the intention that he will obtain nothing from his prayer or Hajj when his behavior with other people is bad). My question is: what is the status of such persons, because their words are without doubt Kufr (disbelief). Maybe they do not have the intention to talk bad about prayer or worship in general, maybe they are only angry at that person or persons and underestimate that [talking bad about] some worship is disbelief. Is it my obligation to consider the people who say those words disbelievers even if they consider themselves Muslims, or should I just believe that their words are Kufr and not regard them disbelievers individually without having explaned to them that their words are dangerous and are part of Kufr, or do they do not have an excuse in this case?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

You should know that it is a very serious matter that the Muslim labels his fellow Muslims as Kaafirs (disbelievers) for the least reasons. Therefore, scholars set strict conditions and rules governing the issue of Takfeer (declaring a Muslim individual or group non-Muslim) because he whose Islam is established with certainty cannot be declared a non-Muslim except with certainty. Please, refer to fataawa 84943 and 8106.

Most of the scholars held that the Muslim who abandons the prayer without denying the obligation to observe the prayer is not declared a Kaafir; rather, such a Muslim is declared a sinner. This is contrary to the view that abandoning the prayer takes the doer out of the fold of Islam according to the famous view of the Hanbalis. Please, refer to fatwa 84235.

The statements that those people make is definitely wrong and indicates great ignorance of religion. There is no doubt that deliberately making a blasphemous remark about one of the rituals of Islam takes the one saying it out of the fold of Islam. The Maaliki scholar Al-Qadhi ‘Ulaysh  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "Some lay Muslims, who lack knowledge of their religion, such as donkey and camel drivers and servants, are in the habit of cursing the religion, and some people other than them commit this sin as well. If the person, by cursing the religion, actually intends to curse the Islamic Sharee'ah prescribed by Allaah and revealed to mankind through His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then that person is definitely a Kaafir.

It seems that these people did not intend to mock these rituals; rather, they held a different meaning like intending to say that the acts of worship that do not help the person improve his religiosity are futile. Therefore, they are not to be declared Kaafirs by merely uttering this statement. Such statements are similar to the examples cited by some Shaafi‘i scholars or may be less grave.

The Shaafi‘i book Haashiyat Al-Jamal ‘ala Al-Manhaj, pertaining to apostasy because of mocking religion, reads: 

Blasphemous mockery is, for example, like when someone is told to cut his nails because it is an act of the Sunnah and he makes any of the following remarks: ‘I will not do it even if it is an act of Sunnah!’ or, ‘I will not do it even if the Prophet himself told me to do it!' Making such remarks does not entail apostasy if he merely intends exaggeration in expressing his unwillingness to do the act or does not hold such an intention, but it is most likely that he intends it. This was the opinion of my father following that of Imaam As-Subki; that when a person is asked to do something and he answers, ‘I will not do it even if Jibreel or the Prophet came to me' merely out of exaggeration, it does not count as blasphemy.

Our advice is to exert effort to teach these people about their religion. It seems that they are ignorant of their religion and distant from it. There is no doubt that educating them about their religion yields great rewards; Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allaah and does righteousness and says: Indeed, I am of the Muslims.} [Quran 41:33]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to ‘Ali  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him before sending him to Khaybar, “...and invite them to Islam and inform them of what Allaah has enjoined upon them. By Allaah! If a single person embraces Islam at your hands (i.e. through you), then that will be better for you than the red camels (the most valued camels).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allaah knows best.

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