Sunday, January 22, 2023

Saudi Religious Rulers: There is no validity to apostasy law in Islam

    Sunday, January 22, 2023   No comments

For years, the Saudi political rulers used the fictitious apostasy law to kill political opponents, religious Salafi authority found the fictitious bases for the political rulers to do so. Now with the Saudi political rulers changing their tune about apostasy, the Saudi Religious Rulers are preparing the ground for them to change apostasy law. An influential Saudi religious authority just declared this: "There is no validity to apostasy."


Tolerance with regard to leaving the Islamic religion in Saudi Arabia, or what is known as apostasy and the apostate from Islam, was not permissible or open to discussion.

“There is no punishment for apostasy unless the apostate is against the ruler.”

However, as the Kingdom entered the era of openness, rational voices began to address these controls, the latest of which was what Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, the former director of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, dared to do, and his writing of an article entitled “There is no validity until apostasy.”


Al-Ghamdi said in his article, which sparked controversy among Saudis, that what is established in the court texts of the Qur’an is the freedom of man in his faith, and that there is no compulsion in religion. Abstract apostasy is an explicit, coherent, correct text that cannot be challenged.

Al-Ghamdi added: I will explain here the response to the suspicions of this objection, as follows: First: They argued with what the two sheikhs included in their Sahihs on the authority of Ibn Masoud, who said: The Messenger of God said: “The blood of a Muslim who testifies that there is no god but God and that I am the Messenger of God is not lawful except in one of three “A life for a life, the married adulterer, the one who separates from his religion and the one who abandons the group.” They said, “This is a report in the Two Sahihs that states that the apostate should be killed.” I said: This hadith is incorrect, and it is not accepted that it is clear for the following: First: Its chain of transmission is weak, because its effect is on the most basic, and it is fraudulent. He narrated it with cursing, and what he cursed will not be accepted from him.”


The Saudis were divided over Al-Ghamdi's interpretations. Some of them found that he inferred false evidence, and its purpose was to waste God's law, and some of them found that Sheikh Al-Ghamdi is leading a battle of thought and enlightenment against the extremists.

Those who rejected Al-Ghamdi’s article invoked what Ibn Taymiyyah said in Al-Sarim Al-Masloul: Apostasy is of two types: an abstract apostasy, and a severe apostasy, the law of killing in particular, and both of them have established evidence that the owner must be killed.

The Saudi authorities were leveling accusations of apostasy, not only with regard to leaving Islam, but those charges included insulting the divine being and the Prophet Muhammad, and criticizing the Saudi state for applying the provisions of Sharia, for example, the charges that were leveled against the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayyad, and a death sentence was issued against him. Then it was commuted to 8 years in prison.

Saudi Arabia has not yet abolished the “punishment of apostasy,” and in some cases replaces its mandatory punishment with death, with imprisonment.


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