al masri alyom 

Islamic Sharia Scholars Call for Applying Apostasy Punishment and Enacting a Law Criminalizing Inter-Faith Marriage

By  Ahmed al-Beheri  

Some participants in the symposium on 'Apostasy Punishment: Problems and Answers', called for the need to enact a law banning and criminalizing inter-faith marriage to overcome the problems that could occur between Muslims and Copts as a result of this marriage.

In his speech at the symposium organized by the cultural committee of the Syndicate of Journalists the day before last, Dr Mohamed Kamal Imam, Professor and Chairman of the Islamic Sharia Department at the Faculty of Law of the University of Alexandria, said why do not we pass a law expressly prohibiting marriage between followers of different faiths, especially in Egypt, so that to eliminate the problems that could occur because of this marriage and set off tension between Muslims and Christians.

He stressed that there is no contradiction between Allah's words: "Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve" and "There is no compulsion in religion" on the one hand and the punishment of apostasy in Islam, because the first case – according to him – deals with the belief and carrying out punishments.

Kamal pointed out that Islam is a universal religion that realistically recognizes other religions and allows Muslims to marry non-Muslims and that it is the only religion that permits this, but enacting a law preventing matrimony between Muslims and followers of other religions would eliminate many problems.

Dr. Nasr Farid Wasel, former Egypt Mufti, said that all scholars agree that the punishment for rejecting Islam is punishable by death, because Islam did not sanction apostasy, because it did not force or coerce any one into embracing Islam, therefore a renegade must either repent or be condemned to the punishment of apostasy, because it is the right of Allah, the Almighty.

According to all scholars, from the days of the foremost companions and their followers until this time, the punishment for apostasy was sanctioned to preserve the rights and the unity of the community and therefore non-application of this punishment leads to disunity. Allah the Almighty said: "And verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore fear Me (and no other)".

He pointed out that Islamic Sharia is the practical application of all acts of the people in life, for both Muslims or non-Muslims, and that it took into account every detail of the conditions of human life from birth till one meets his God, explaining that the practice of Sharia was in the area of general issues concerning the rights of God or the people, namely the 'punishments', as the scholars put it, which have been enacted to protect the rights of God and His servants.

"Whoever embraces Islam out of his own volition has made a contract with Allah and with the group, therefore he has no right to revoke it, because he embraced Islam after becoming fully convinced and he should bear the responsibility of his decision", said Wasel.

Dr. Mohamed Sayed Ahmed al-Musayer, professor of religion and philosophy at al-Azhar University, said that it is illogical for a Muslim to give up his religion, because Islam is a religion of reason and proof and its great miracle is the Holy Koran and that there is no other religion in the world that harmonizes with the mind, as people around us worship cows, stones, trees and humans.

"Some of those who have unstable ways of thinking believe that they are defending Islam when they abolish some punishments, including the punishment of apostasy. Those people have nothing to cry over, as they deny the punishment of theft today and tomorrow they will deny the punishment of adultery and after that the punishment of apostasy.

It is a series to nullify Islam. Those who deny the punishment of apostasy impugn the scholars and jurisprudents throughout the ages, since the application of this punishment is clearly defined in the Holy Koran before the Hadith (Prophet Mohamed's traditions). Allah says: 'Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbors for any length of time'", said al-Musayer.

"The punishment is unequivocally and indisputably mentioned in the Hadith: 'whoever changed his Islamic religion kill him'. These are incontrovertible Islamic facts. We are not ashamed of what we have, but those antagonizing Islam feel so ashamed, because they protect homosexuality and same-sex marriage. We do not want rifts in the community, because this is a Jewish scheme and all Islamic communities are infiltrated by the Mossad", said al-Musayer.

"We are proud of everything in our religion because other people want to depict us as being the accused, even though they do not have the faith and the policy to fight us. In their lives, they turn man into the animal of the jungle.

Some advocates of the materialistic thought think that Islam is a religion of heart that has nothing to do with life.  This is a fatal error, because those who claim enlightenment do not have proper awareness of the fact of Islam and treat us as if Islam is in the mosque only, although it involves doctrine, law, faith, work and diligence," he said.

"The freedom of thought embraced by the others is an evil-intentioned word. No word has been wronged in history more than this word," he said.

He pointed out that many people erroneously understand some verses of the Koran, such as: "Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve" and "Do what ye will: verily He seeth (clearly) all that ye do". The prophet said; "if you don't feel shy do whatever you like". "All of this came as a way of threatening not to give people the freedom to do whatever they like."

"The apostate is killed on the grounds that he has become an atheist, not as a punishment. His killing must be carried out under conditions, as he should not be washed, or prayed on, or be buried in Muslim cemeteries and no one inherits his properties," he added.

For his part, Dr. Mohamed al-Said, Deputy Director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that he has many reservations about the talks of al-Azhar scholars. "I do not agree with Dr. Nasr in saying that reversion from Islam is breaking with the creed of Islam and the contract that man has concluded with Allah. Man never makes contracts about the doctrine.

"There is a paradox in this opinion. I do not believe that this interpretation is logically consistent, because people change their views and ideas," he said.

"I do not also agree with Dr. al-Musayer when he used the term 'those who have unstable ways of thinking', because this is an adverse idea, as Islam has the logic and power of persuasion to convince. In terms of mental balances, we find that Islam is a religion that has expanded through its self-attractiveness of belief, not through the sword," he added.

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