Creed [Aqaid]

What Happens If A Muslim Insults Islam?

What do Islamic scholars say about this matter: If Zayd insulted the Islamic religion, what is the ruling on him?

Questioner: Muhammad Wasim Raza from South Africa.

Zayd’s insult to the religion of Islam can be interpreted in three ways:
  1. He directly insulted Islam with the intention of demeaning the religion itself.
  2. He insulted Islam by attributing negative aspects to it based on a Muslim’s bad actions.
  3. He inadvertently insulted Islam while discussing it with someone during a debate or conversation.

In the first scenario, Zayd would certainly be declared a disbeliever [kafir]. For the other two scenarios, there is room for interpretation [tawil], so he might not necessarily be declared a disbeliever. Nonetheless, it would be prudent for him to reaffirm his faith.

It is stated in Fatawa al-Shami:

حُكْمِ مَنْ شَتَمَ دِينَ مُسْلِمٍ ثُمَّ إنَّ مُقْتَضَى كَلَامِهِمْ أَيْضًا أَنَّهُ لَا يَكْفُرُ بِشَتْمِ دِينِ مُسْلِمٍ: أَيْ لَا يُحْكَمُ بِكُفْرِهِ لِإِمْكَانِ التَّأْوِيلِ. ثُمَّ رَأَيْته فِي جَامِعِ الْفُصُولَيْنِ حَيْثُ قَالَ بَعْدَ كَلَامٍ أَقُولُ: وَعَلَى هَذَا يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَكْفُرَ مَنْ شَتَمَ دِينَ مُسْلِمٍ، وَلَكِنْ يُمْكِنُ التَّأْوِيلُ بِأَنَّ مُرَادَهُ أَخْلَاقُهُ الرَّدِيئَةُ وَمُعَامَلَتُهُ الْقَبِيحَةُ لَا حَقِيقَةُ دِينِ الْإِسْلَامِ، فَيَنْبَغِي أَنْ لَا يَكْفُرَ حِينَئِذٍ، وَاَللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَعْلَمُ اهـ وَأَقَرَّهُ فِي [نُورِ الْعَيْنِ] وَمَفْهُومُهُ أَنَّهُ لَا يُحْكَمُ بِفَسْخِ النِّكَاحِ، وَفِيهِ الْبَحْثُ الَّذِي قُلْنَاهُ. وَأَمَّا أَمْرُهُ بِتَجْدِيدِ النِّكَاحِ فَهُوَ لَا شَكَّ فِيهِ احْتِيَاطًا خُصُوصًا فِي حَقِّ الْهَمَجِ الْأَرْذَالِ الَّذِينَ يَشْتُمُونَ بِهَذِهِ الْكَلِمَةِ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يَخْطُرُ عَلَى بَالِهِمْ هَذَا الْمَعْنَى أَصْلًا.
“The ruling regarding someone who slanders the religion of a Muslim: Moreover, what is implied by their statements is that he does not become an unbeliever by slandering the religion of a Muslim, i.e., he should not be ruled as a disbeliever due to the possibility of interpretation. Then I saw in ‘Jami’ al-Fusulayn’ where it was said after some discussion: ‘Based on this, it is appropriate that one who slanders the religion of a Muslim becomes a disbeliever, but it can be interpreted that what he meant by slander were his bad manners and ugly treatment, not the actual religion of Islam. Therefore, he should not be declared a disbeliever in such a case. Allah knows best.’ This is also affirmed in [Nur al-Ayn], and its implication is that one should not rule on the annulment of a marriage contract based on this. There’s the research that we mentioned. As for the recommendation to renew the marriage contract, there is no doubt that it is a precaution, especially concerning the rude and vulgar individuals who use these words without having this meaning in mind at all.”[1]

In response to a query about someone who speaks negatively of and insults Islam, His Eminence Taj al-Shari’ah Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan, may his sanctity be preserved, states: “Such a person is not a Muslim. Repentance and reaffirmation of faith are obligatory for him. Until he recites the declaration of faith and returns to Islam, it is essential to avoid him and those of similar mindset or condition.”

In summary: If Zayd has insulted Islam directly, he is certainly a disbeliever. In this instance, repentance, reaffirmation of faith, and renewal of marriage become obligatory and essential. However, if his insult falls under the latter two categories, then the ruling of disbelief might not necessarily apply. Nonetheless, the directive for repentance, reaffirmation of faith, etc., remains applicable.

In Durr al-Mukhtar along with Fatawa al-Shami under the chapter of apostasy, it is stated:

مَا يَكُونُ كُفْرًا اتِّفَاقًا يُبْطِلُ الْعَمَلَ وَالنِّكَاحَ، وَمَا فِيهِ خِلَافٌ يُؤْمَرُ بِالِاسْتِغْفَارِ وَالتَّوْبَةِ وَتَجْدِيدِ النِّكَاحِ.
“What is unanimously considered disbelief nullifies deeds and marriage. As for what there is disagreement on, one is commanded to seek forgiveness, repent, and renew the marriage.”[2]

Until Zayd adheres to Islamic commandments, Muslims should refrain from maintaining relations with him. Allah the Almighty says:

وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ ٱلذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
“And if the devil causes you to forget, then do not sit with the unjust after remembering” [6:68]

This is what I have, and complete knowledge rests with Allah, the Exalted.

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