( 4 ) : The penalty of apostasy between Islam and the Sunny jurisprudence
Chapter Two


Chapter Two


The penalty of Apostasy

in the books of ancestors and in the history of Muslims




The events in Prophet's life negate the existence of a

penalty for apostasy


The events in the life of the Holy Prophet have been recorded before recording the sayings and the traditions attributed to him. Thus the events mentioned in the early books of the Prophet's biography are more accurate and in harmony with Qur’anic verities more than most of the sayings of the Prophet generally known as: Traditions.


The events in the Prophet's life were related to what has come to be known as: "Asbab-Un-Nuzul ", i.e. the circumstances in which certain verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed, and may be called: "reasons for revelation". There were some traditions mentioned by early commentators regarding the reasons of revelation. In the early gatherings held during the era of the Rightly-Guided Successors for the purpose of spiritual uplift and understanding, the subjects of the battles fought by the Prophet, the events of his life, reasons of revelation, commentary and interpretation of the verses of the Qur’an were dealt with. The scholars who used to conduct such gatherings were from among the Companions such as Ibn Abbas/ Ibn Maso'ud/ Ibn Umar/ Ibn Amr/ and Zaid bin Sabet.


By searching carefully in the events of the life of the Prophet and in the reasons of revelations related to the verses of the Holy Qur’an, we reach the conclusion of complete absence of the so-called penalty of apostasy.


The book: "Sirat Ibn Hisham", is the oldest among the books written on the life of the Prophet. It is also the most respected and authentic. Studying and searching such a book proves through the many traditions reported in it, that the Prophet did not know the penalty of apostasy and did not treat the hypocrites, who were the worst apostates, except in the best manner.


Ibn Hisham, in his book of history, mentioned concerning the battle of Uhud that the army of Muslims passed by a garden belonged to one of the hypocrites, "Mirba' bin Kayzee", who was blind. He started throwing dirt at the Muslims and told the Prophet: "Even if you were the Messenger of God, I will not allow you to enter my garden". Then he took a handful of dirt and said: "O Muhammad! I swear by God, if I knew that I would not hit anyone else with this handful of dirt, I would have thrown it at your face". The Muslims were agitated and wanted to kill him. The Prophet forbade them and said: "No. No one should kill him".


When the Chief of the hypocrites said in a derisive manner: "When we reach Al Medina, then the most honorable (meaning himself) will drive away from it the most humiliated (meaning the Prophet), the Muslims were outraged. Umar told the Prophet to direct Abbad bin Bishr to kill him, but the Holy Prophet objected saying, "How would it be if the people start saying that Muhammad kills his companions?"


Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, who was the Chief of hypocrites, continued to live his life, playing his role and plotting against the Muslims as much as he pleased until he died. At his death, the Prophet prayed for him. It is reported that Umar objected and told the Prophet: "O Messenger of God! How do you pray for the enemy of God, Abdullah bin Ubayy, who said so and so on such and such day, and who did so and so on such and such event"? The Prophet' smiled and said: "I have been given a choice, so I made my choice. I was told:


"Ask thou forgiveness for them, or ask thou not forgiveness for them; even if thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will never forgive them." (9:80)


Had I known that if I asked forgiveness more than seventy times then he will be forgiven, I would have exceeded that number". Then the Prophet' led his funeral prayer and walked with the funeral until his grave and prayed for him there. Thereafter a verse of the Qur’an was revealed stating:


"And never pray thou for any of them that dies, nor stand by his grave". (9:84)


after which he has never prayed for any hypocrite.


Similarly, Ibn Hisham reported that some hypocrites ridiculed the Messenger" when he went with the Muslim army to meet the Roman army at Tabuk. They talked about their expectations that the Romans will imprison the Prophet and the Muslims. When the Prophet came to know about what they had said, they came to him to apologize saying that they were only talking idly. The Word of God the Exalted was then revealed saying:


"And if thou question them, they will most surely say, `We were only talking idly and jesting" (9:65).


The Prophet took no action against them. [Seerat Ibn Hisham, second edition, part 3, pp 65, 291, 524, 525, 552]


These are some examples of what has been reported in the book: "Seerat Ibn Hisham".


We may take also some examples of Naysaboury's book: "Reasons of Revelation".


It says that a group of hypocrites met together and started hurling insults against the Prophet. In their company was a small boy from Al-Ansar, his name was Amer bin Qays. They said: "If what Muhammad proclaimed were true then we would be worst than donkeys". Amer went to the Prophet and told him of what happened. The Prophet called them to find out the truth. They said that Amer was lying. Amer swore that they were lying. The Prophet prayed and said: "Our Lord! Do not let us separate before you show the truth of the truthful and the lie of the liar. Then the Qur’anic verse was revealed:


"And among them are those who annoy the Prophet (9:61).


The same book also reported that some hypocrites joined the Messenger on the expedition of Tabuk. When they used to get together they vented their hatred and defamed the Messenger (SA) and attacked the religion. Huzayfa reported what they said to the Messenger, so the Prophet asked them: "What was that which was reported about you? They swore by God that they had never said anything. The Word of God the Exalted was then revealed:


"They swear by Allah that they said nothing, but they did certainly utter the word of disbelief, and disbelieved after they had embraced Islam. And they cherished enmity against believers" (9:74)


Naysaboury narrates another tradition related to the reason for revealing the above verse. He reported that some of the hypocrites conspired to kill the Prophet' on the night of Aqaba. The leader of his camel on that night was Ammar bin Yaser and the driver was Huzayfah. Huzayfah heard the sound of footsteps of some camels. He looked and saw some veiled men. He went to confront them, but they desisted and withdrew in the dark. The Prophet did not take any action against them and continued on his way till he reached his home.


Naysaboury has also reported several traditions related to the reason of revelation of the verse:


"O ye who believe! when you go forth to fight in the cause of Allah, make proper investigation and say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace, `Thou art not a believer'. You seek the goods of this life..." (4:94)


Among these traditions, one says that it was revealed concerning a battle in which the idolaters were defeated. One of them tried to escape but one of the Muslims got hold of him and drew his sword to kill him. Then the man cried: I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim. However, the man killed him. The Prophet resentfully said: Did you kill him after he claimed to be a Muslim. The man said: O Messenger of God! He said it only to save himself. The Messenger said: Have you opened his heart to find out whether he was lying or telling the truth?

Another tradition related that the Muslims found some spoils of war with an idolater who was guarding the spoils.

He offered them the greeting of peace and said: Peace be with you. However, they killed him and took the spoils, so the verse was revealed. [Naysaboury, Reasons of Revelation, pp 168, 169, 170.]


Thus it is an absolute Qur’anic fact which emphasizes that the Prophet did not know such a penalty for apostasy and never applied it to the hypocrites whom God has testified to their disbelief and exposed their conspiracies.


It is also an absolute historical fact in the biography of the Prophet which emphasizes that the Prophet did not know such a penalty for apostasy and never applied it to the hypocrites whom God has testified to their disbelief and exposed their conspiracies.


Some scholars felt obliged to admit this fact. In his book: "The Prophet's Sunnah between the Jurists and the Traditionists", Sheikh Mohammad Al-Ghazali said disproving the allegation: "When did the Prophet ever give any order to kill the hypocrites? This has never happened. On the contrary, he forbade it".


As the Prophet has forbidden to kill the hypocrites who have apostatized out of Islam, then what did the scholars of fundamentalism, as mentioned in the books of Islamic traditions, say about the implication of this in the fundamentals of jurisprudence? Imam Shatby said in his book: "Agreements" about the Sunnah of the Prophet in the sixth question under the title: The action of the Messenger (SA) is an evidence of the absolute permission for an act to be performed, and leaving it is an evidence of the absolute prohibition: Out of the matters that should be left out: Prohibition of the Prophet to kill the hypocrites. He said concerning this matter: "The people should not say that Muhammad kills his companions". [The agreements by El-Shatby.]


The previous tradition has been reported by Muslim in his book of traditions "Sahih Muslim".


The conclusion of all this is that as long as the Prophet has prohibited killing the hypocrites, it should be taken as an evidence of the absolute prohibition of killing the hypocrites. And as long as God has testified that the hypocrites have apostatized out of Islam, then the prohibition is a prohibition to kill the apostates. Consequently, it is an evidence on our side that the so-called penalty of apostasy is contradictory to Islamic Jurisprudence according to the testimony of the scholars of fundamental Islamic traditions.


However, those who are fond of the penalty of apostasy, among the scholars of jurisprudence, when they run out of evidence from the Qur’an and the fundamental traditions, they argue that Abu Bakr has fought the apostates. So let us discuss what is known as the wars of the apostates.




The penalty of apostasy and the war with the apostates.


It is commonly known that Abu Bakr has fought the apostates because they had withheld paying Zakat, i.e. the prescribed alms. However, this statement is an extreme simplification of the issue, rendering the events of history very doubtful.


Paying alms in the time of the Prophet used to be done voluntarily. God the Exalted has forbidden the Messenger from accepting the alms of the hypocrites because they proved to be unworthy of the honor of contributing. He said:


"And nothing prevents that their contributions should be accepted from them except that they disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger. And they come not to Prayer except lazily and they spend not in the way of Allah but reluctantly". (9:54)


Some of those hypocrites have made a pledge with God that if He should bestow upon them out of His bounty they will act righteously and will spend in the way of God. However, when God bestowed upon such people out of His grace, they withheld and became niggardly. The Lord of Glory said:


"And among them are those who made a covenant with Allah, saying, `If He give us of His bounty, we would most surely give alms and be of the virtuous'. But when He gave them of His bounty, they became niggardly of it, and they turned away in aversion. So He requited them with hypocrisy which shall last in their hearts until the day when they shall meet Him, because they broke their promise to Allah, and because they lied". (9:75-77)


Naysaboury reported that the reason for revealing these verses is that "Thaa'labah" said to the Prophet: "Pray that God may give me some wealth". The Prophet said: "Woe to you Thaa'labah! A little that you can give thanks for is better than much you cannot forebear". Thaa'labah said: "I swear by Him Who has sent you with truth that if you prayed that He may bestow upon me of His bounty, I would most surely give everyone his right". The Prophet prayed for him. His sheep multiplied greatly till Al Medina became too small for it, so he took his sheep out of Al Medina and occupied himself with it to the degree that he did not find time for prayers. He even refused to pay the prescribed alms, so the above verse was revealed. Then he came to the Prophet offering to pay the alms, but the Prophet refused to take it. After the Prophet, Abu Bakr also refused to take his alms. Similarly, Umar' refused to take it, until he died in the time of Osman (RA) .[Naysaboury, Reasons of Revelation, pp 170, 171]


Abu Bakr has lived his life in the company of the Prophet. He observed how the Prophet used to deal with the hypocrites and how he refused to accept their alms in obedience to the command of God, the Exalted.


Therefore, it is unimaginable that he would go to war with the apostates just because they refused to pay the Zakat. The matter was much more complicated than that.


Ibn Katheer says in his book of history, that after the Prophet (SA) has passed away, many tribes among the Arabs have apostatized and the hypocrites in Al Medina became very active. The danger of those Arab tribes lurking around Al Medina was enormous. Tribes of Hanifa and Yamama have joined Musaylama, the liar; and the tribes of Asad and Taye' have joined Tulayha the Asadi, who claimed also to be a prophet like Musaylama. Abu Bakr carried out the instructions of the Messenger" before his death and sent the Muslim army to an expedition under the command of Usama bin Zayd, thus Al Medina became virtually without any strong army to protect it. The Arab tribes around Al Medina were encouraged by this situation and started joining forces together, which imposed a serious danger compelling Abu Bakr to form groups to guard Al Medina. Such guarding groups were under the command of Ali,/ Zubair,/ Talha,/ Saa'd bin Abi Waqqas,/ Ibn Mas'oud/ and Abdul Rahman bin Awf.


At that difficult time, representatives of the rebellious tribes came to negotiate with Abu Bakr about paying the Zakat, but Abu Bakr refused to negotiate with them. Some of the Companions advised that he should accept their offer until the dangerous situation in Al Medina has improved, but he refused and said: "I swear by God that if they withhold an iota they used to present to the Messenger of God, then I would fight them for it".


Apparently, Abu Bakr has understood the true facts of the situation. It was not a matter of withholding the Zakat, but it was a rebellion against the State and a threat to destroy it. Therefore, Abu Bakr understood that those who came to negotiate were only a prelude for a bigger army and if he had taken a weak stand in negotiating any term with them, it may have exposed the weakness of Al Medina.


Abu Bakr told the Muslims in Al Medina that the negotiators will inform their people of the weak defense in Al Medina. Therefore he enforced the guarding points around Al Medina and everyone got ready to fight in defense of the city. He gathered the people in the Mosque and instructed them to be ready for war, i.e. he declared a general mobilization of the highest degree.


Three days after the negotiators have left, the vanguard of the apostates' army have arrived at the outskirts of Al Medina. The guards sent a word informing of the impending attack. Abu Bakr instructed the guards to stay at their places. He took the people of Al Medina who gathered in the Mosque and went to repel the attack. The rebels were defeated and withdrew, but the Muslims followed them till they reached the body of the army which was waiting at "Zee Hasee". The Muslims were taken by surprise at first, but they were able to secure a victory.


Before this, some Arab tribes who had apostatized have also attacked Al Medina with some elements from the tribes of Abs,/ Zubian,/ Kenanah/ and Murrah. The Muslims have repelled them but their danger lurked due to their nearness to Al Medina.


After victory has been achieved over the first army of the rebels which had come to attack Al Medina, an expedition was sent to fight the rebels, but the Muslims were defeated in the beginning. Abu Bakr (RA) continued to encourage the Muslims during the night and launched an attack during the last part of the night. The Muslims were successful and the rebels withdrew in defeat, but the Muslims pursued them till "Zil Qussah". This was the beginning of the victories achieved by the Muslims over the rebellious apostates. Such victories encouraged those who remained Muslims in each of the rebellious tribes to attack the rebels in every tribe. Then Usama bin Zayd and the Muslim army returned victorious, which enforced the strength of the Muslims in Al Medina. Abu Bakr assigned Ali as his successor in Al Medina and led the Muslim army to root out the rebel army groups in "Zee Hasee" and "Zil Qussah". He was victorious. After that he sent eleven armies to fight all the rebels in the Arabian Peninsula...[History of Ibn Katheer, Part 6, pp 311, 312]


The question here is: Where is the penalty of apostasy in all of this?


The apostates were not just apostates, but they were rebels who fought a rebellious war against the state with the objective of destroying it politically and violently. Abu Bakr had to stand against such rebellion and used force against force in order to protect the infant state. After achieving victory over the enemies within, Abu Bakr had to face the enemies outside the country, in Syria and Iraq.


This is what came to be known in history as: "The War With the Apostates", which had nothing to do with the so-called penalty of apostasy. Whatever Abu Bakr has done was not in any way to be taken as a source for jurisprudence. It was his own opinion which others may have the right to differ with. At first, Umar and some other companions had different opinions concerning dealing with the apostates. We feel that Abu Bakr took the right decision, politically and militarily. He was able to save Islam and the Muslims from that vicious tribal attack.


However, all this has nothing to do with the penalty of apostasy.


The penalty of apostasy is supposed to deal with a peaceful person who does not raise a sword. A person who joined Islam, or who was born and lived as a Muslim, but he wanted to leave it and to apostatize, without resorting to violence or fighting the Muslims. The difference is far more significant between the war with the apostates and the penalty of apostasy. Besides, the war with the apostates occurred in the time of Abu Bakr, but the penalty of apostasy was invented much later.

When some Companions argued with Abu Bakr concerning his position towards the apostates at the beginning of the crisis, he had never used the so-called tradition which says:

"You should kill whoever changes his religion"

This so-called tradition, came later to be known as: "Tradition of Apostasy", has not yet been invented up till that time!




Developing the penalty of Apostasy between the

two scholars: "AI-Awzae'ee" and "Ikremah".


The alleged penalty of apostasy is based upon only two traditions attributed to the Holy Prophet, one of them is reported by Ikremah, the servant of Ibn Abbas. The other was mentioned by Al-Awzae'ee without any authority and without a chain of reporters. It was indeed a precarious situation. Soon after, Muslim reported the tradition in his Sahih after giving it the authority and the chain of reporters.


Starting with Al-Awzae'ee and his role in inventing the tradition known also by the name: The Tradition of Apostasy, which states:


"The blood of a Muslim man should not be lawfully shed except in three situations: A life for a life, the married man who committed adultery, and the apostate who left his people".


Al-Awzae' ee has lived in the Umayyad state. He supported it and served it. Then he lived also in the Abbasid state. He also served it and was its backer. Both the Umayyad and the Abbasid states found in him the best person who was always ready to issue the verdicts required by the ruling authorities. Therefore, Al-Awzae'ee lived in great ease during the Umayyad era. When the Abbasyds took over and attacked their enemies the Umayyads and their agents, Al-Awzae'ee approached them offering his services. He was spared because they needed his services. He enjoyed the Abbasyds comforts as he enjoyed before the Umayyads blessings.


In the beginning, the Umayyads did not need what may be termed as: "A Jurist of the Authorities". This term describes a scholar who was ready to issue any verdict required by the ruling authorities to justify their decisions and legislate the laws they wanted to impose upon the people.( Mu'awiya) did not need "a jurist of the authorities" when he ordered to kill (Hijr bin Adeyy the Kindy) as a punishment for a word he uttered. (Mu'awiya) did not have to accuse him of apostasy and did not require any other justification to put him to death. Similarly, (Yazeed bin Mu'awiya) did not need a verdict to kill (Al-Hussain) and his family in Karbala'. He did not need a verdict to justify his invasion of Al Medina and the violation of its sanctity. He did not need a verdict to justify the siege of Mecca and profaning the Ka'ba and hitting it with Manganiq (catapult).


However, all these atrocities which occurred consecutively in so many years have left deep impressions on the Muslims which were exploited successfully by the enemies of the Umayyads from among the (Shi 'a), the (Khawarij) and the( Mawali). The propaganda apparatus of the Umayyads was not able any more to justify the murder of the Prophet's family members and violating the sanctity of Mecca and Al Medina by story-telling and tales-narrating which they used to circulate among the people. Such story-telling was one of the official duties of the state which is equivalent to media apparatus and public relations in our time.


The only way to justify all the wrongdoings was to attribute it all to the will of God. This is usually what the oppressor and the disobedient used to do in order to justify tyranny and disobedience. So the Umayyad propaganda started to follow a new line, saying that it was God's will that (Al-Hussain) and his family should be killed in Karbala', and it was His will to violate the sanctity of the Sanctified House and Al Medina. They claimed that nothing, in fact, was outside the will and the power of God. Consequently, whoever denied this would practically be outside the pail of Islam and would be deserving to be put to death.


That is how the doctrine of predestination started to develop in order to justify the atrocities of the Umayyads in the past and in the future.


(Al-Hassan Al-Basri) started to resist this doctrine very carefully out of fear of (Al-Hajjaj). However, (Al-Hassan Al-Basti) was encouraged by (Me'bad bin Khalid Al-Jahny) who announced his famous sentence: "It is not the will of God and the matter is against the will of people", by which he refuted the claims of the Umayyads that the will of God was involved in the atrocities they committed. He emphasized that the affairs of the people were run through tyranny and oppression against the will of the people.


(Me'bad Al-Jahny) moved to the city of Al-Basra. He met with (Al-Hassan Al-Basri) and told him: "O (Abu Sa'eed)! These kings shed the blood of the believers and usurp their properties and say that our actions occur according to the will of God". (Al-Hassan Al-Basri) responded: "Certainly, the enemies of God have lied". It is reported that (Me'bad) has participated in the rebellion led by (Al-Ash'ath) against (Al-Hajjaj Al-Thiqafy) who captured him. He died under torture sometime after the year 80 AH.' [Al-Qadi Abdul Jabbar, Tabaqat Al-Mu'tazala pp 334]


The doctrine of (Me'bad Al-Jahny) came to be known as: "Al-Qadariyyah ", which meant the doctrine of free will and the responsibility of man for his actions.


After (Al-Jahny), the flag of "Al-Qadariyyah" was held by (Gheelan) of Damascus who joined the rebels against (Hisham bin Abdul Malik), but the Umayyads captured him. He was very eloquent in speech which enabled him to attract a multitude of followers. (Hisham) was afraid to kill him without a formal trial, so he sent (Al-Awzae'ee), who was the Umayyads jurist in Damascus, to debate with him and put him on trial. A debate was held between them after which (Al-Awza'ee) gave (Hisham) a verdict that (Gheelan) and his friend in the prison should be killed. Until that time there was no existence of any "Tradition of Apostasy". (Hisham) ordered to cut off the hands and legs of both men then he cut off (Gheelan's) tongue. He died. [Previous Reference pp 230-233]


Here we pause a little while with (AI-Awza'ee) and how he grew under the Umayyads and what were the services he rendered to them and later to their enemies the Abbasyds.


(Abdul Rahman bin Amr bin Muhammad Al-Awza'ee) was born in Ba'albak in the year 115 AH. His mother raised him in Beqa' and used to travel with him from one town to another. He educated himself and was very ambitious. He realized that the way to be wealthy was to become famous among the people and to flatter with the Umayyads. It was difficult for a scholar to gain respect of both the people and the Umayyads in the same time in Iraq, where the Umayyads were hated by the Iraqi people. The situation was different in Syria where the Umayyads enjoyed support of the people. However, it was easy for (Al-Awza'ee) to gain the people's respect and also the favor of the Umayyads as well.


It was easy for (Al-Awza'ee) to gain prestige in the eyes of the people by putting on a garb of an ascetic and putting up a claim to working some miracles. The general populace used to have a great deal of respect towards ascetics and used to attend the gatherings they held. On their part, the Umayyads were in need of a popular scholar who would be ready to impress upon the people legality and justification, from the jurisprudence point of view, of their tyrannical rule. (Al-Awza'ee) exploited the popular desire of the general public to listen to stories of ascetics and righteous people. He exceeded all bounds in inventing these stories and tales, attributing many miracles to himself and claiming that he enjoyed a special favor with God to the degree that he received revelation from Him. Once he said: "I have seen the Lord of Glory in a dream in which He told me, `It is you who enjoins good and forbid evil'. I said, `By your grace O Lord!'. Then I said, `O Lord, make me die while I am following Islam'. He said, `And following the Sunnah"'. Such was the false revelation which (Al-Awza'ee) claimed for himself, but was accepted in his time, even though he has preceded by a century what the Sufis have claimed later on. In that dream of his, he claimed that the Lord of Glory has lauded and praised him.


The general public accepted such claims with admiration because the followers of (Al-Awza'ee)and his disciples spread out among the people the propaganda that some people have seen dreams in which was said that (Al-Awza'ee) was the greatest person who walked on earth in his time. Such tales used to mention at the end that those who have seen such dreams have died, so that such tales could not have been verified.


It became apparent that (Al-Awza'ee) was the best among the story-tellers. Story-telling became a profession for which the Umayyads have made an official department in the government through which they spread their propaganda and broadcasted their political and religious announcements.


In one of those gatherings of story-telling, (Al-Awza'ee) told a bizarre story about himself. He said:


"One day I traveled towards Jerusalem with a Jew. When we reached lake Tiberias he went in the water and brought a frog. He put a thread in the frog's neck and it turned into a pig. He said, `I will sell this pig to the Christians'. He went and sold the pig and bought some food which we ate together. Then we mounted our animals but did not travel long when we saw the people coming after us. The Jew said, `May be the pig turned again into a frog'. Then I looked and saw that his head was in one direction and his body was in another. I stopped. When the people came and saw him, they were terrified and returned back. Then his head asked me, `Have they gone?' I said, `Yes'. The head joined the body and we mounted again, but I told him, `I will never accompany you, so go away".


If such a tale were told by someone else it would have created nothing but ridicule, but as it was narrated by a Sheikh who enjoyed a high prestige and controlled the admiration of the populace, then it must be believed. (Al-Awza'ee) has succeeded in convincing the people of his piety. The propaganda spread about him portrayed him as one with extreme humility, just like the humility of a blind man, and that he used to admonish the people in his gatherings to the degree that everyone used to weep either with tears or in his heart. However, it was never reported that he ever wept in any of those gatherings. It was said that only when he was alone he used to weep, but no one stopped to think, if he was weeping only when he was alone, then how could anyone have seen him to report such a fact?


It is clear that (Al-Awza' ee) used to spread these incidents about himself so that he may gain fame and prestige among the people and to make them believe that he was a pious person.


His wife was among his propaganda team. It is said that one day a woman went to visit her. She noticed that the carpet was wet. She drew the attention of her hostess that a child may have urinated on the carpet. The wife said: "No, it was the Sheikh who was praying here and this wetness was due to the tears he was shedding during prostration. This was his habit every day".


For all this, (Al-Awza'ee) enjoyed a great deal of respect and honor among the people as has been reported by the Syrian scholar (Ibn Katheer), to the degree that he commanded more respect among the people than the Sultan himself. When the Abbasid ruler, (Abdullah bin Ali), after routing out the Umayyads, intended to kill (Al-Awza'ee) for being an agent of the Umayyads, his friends told him: "Spare him, for if he were to tell the people of Syria to kill you, they will surely kill you".


(Ibn Katheer) narrated the story of an important meeting between (Al-Awza'ee) and the Abbasid leader (Abdullah bin Ali), uncle of the Abbasid Khalifa known as (Al-Saffah), i.e. the Assassinator, the tyrant who routed out the Umayyads from Syria.


(Ibn Katheer) said about (Al-Awza'ee): "He had a share from the Treasure of the state which he received from the Umayyads, their relatives and from the Abbasyds, the amount of which was said to be about seventy thousand Dinars".


This shows that he benefited from both the Umayyads and the Abbasyds, and both have bestowed upon him a great deal of wealth.


(Ibn Katheer) also related: "(Abdullah bin Ali), who had rooted out the Umayyads from Syria, who was uncle of the "Assassinator", and whom God had enabled to destroy the Umayyads' state; wanted to see (Al-Awza'ee), but he kept away for three days then he attended his audience".


This means that when the Abbasid General, who slaughtered the Umayyads and exhumed the bodies of the previous Khulafa from their graves and who had driven out all the Umayyads' supporters from Syria, wanted to see (Al-Awza'ee); he did not obey immediately the orders of the General but kept hiding for three days, then he attended his audience after he has carefully prepared what he should say in that difficult meeting in order to save his neck.


(Ibn Katheer) reported the events of that meeting and related: "(Al-Awza'ee) said: "I entered before him while he was sitting on the throne with a stick in his hand, surrounded by the Abbasid generals who were putting on black outfits and withdrawing their swords. I saluted him but he did not reply. He scratched the ground with the stick in his hand and then said: "(Awza'ee) What do you see in what we have done of removing the tyrants from the country? Do you consider it to be Jihad?" I said: "O Ameer! I heard (Yahya bin Sa'eed Al-Ansary) saying that he heard (Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Teemy) saying that he heard (Alqama bin Waqqas) saying he heard (Umar bin Khattab) saying he heard the Messenger of God saying: "Works depend on the intentions and it is for every person what he intended to do. Whoever intended his emigration to be for the sake of Allah and His Messenger then his emigration is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, and if his emigration was intended for worldly gains or for a woman to marry, then his emigration is for the purpose of his intention". The Ameer scratched the ground vigorously with his stick and the people around him started waving their swords, then he said: "(Awaz'ee)! What do you say about the blood of the Umayyads?" Then I said: "The Messenger of God said: "The blood of a Muslim man should not be lawfully shed except in three situations: A life for a life, the married man who committed adultery, and the apostate who left his people". The Amer scratched the ground nervously with his stick and said: "What do you say about the Umayyads' treasures?" I said: "If they were unlawful in their hands then they are unlawful for you too, and if they were lawful for them then they cannot be lawful for you except through a legal way". He scratched the ground more vigorously and said: "Should we appoint you to the Judgment Seat?" I said: "Your predecessors would not have held that from me, and I would wish to receive the favors they intended for me." He said: "It seems that you want to take leave." I said: "There are some women who need me to look after them and to protect them, their hearts must be worried about me." I expected my head to fall in my lap, but he allowed me to leave. When I left his presence, his messenger came after me holding two hundred Dinars and said: "The Ameer says spend this money as you please." I gave it away, but I took it in the first place out of fear". The narrator added that (Al-Awza'ee) kept fasting during the three days he was hiding. When the Ameer knew about it he invited him to break his fast in his palace but he refused".


We elected to bring to the reader this long narration which apparently (Al-Awza'ee) himself has woven its plot to fit him. It is clear that he had a great deal of talent in telling lies. However, even with the doubtful aspect of the events, it still reflects the cowardly nature of (Al-Awza'ee). Such cowardice does not correspond at all with those bold replies, being a jurist and scholar of the previous rulers, who was keen to save his neck from the present tyrannical rulers and their well-known cruelty in taking vengeance. It is unimaginable that he would say, for example, about the treasures of the Umayyads: "If they were unlawful in their hands then they are unlawful in yours, and if they were lawful for them then they cannot be lawful for you except through a legal way".


Such cowardice which characterized the personality of (Al-Awza'ee) caused him to hide for three days in order to prepare his defense before the new ruler-ship and to show his readiness to serve it in every manner. As he dared to claim that he saw the Lord of Glory in a dream and made Him to praise and laud him, then it would not be difficult for him to invent a tradition and attribute it to the Prophet', particularly when this invention of his will enable the Abbasyds to kill their opponents in three events: A life for a life, committing adultery by a married man and apostasy.


It may also be noticed that (Al-Awza'ee) has mentioned the famous Tradition of: "Works depend on intentions...". He was careful to mention in detail the chain of narrators. However, when he mentioned the so-called tradition of apostasy: "The blood of a Muslim man should not be lawfully shed except in three situations...", he never mentioned any authority of narration, simply because at that time there was no authority of any narration nor was there any chain of narrators. In other words, it was no tradition at all. (Al-Awza'ee) has invented a tradition and presented it as a gift to the new authorities in order to prove his willingness to serve them.


Naturally, (Abdullah bin Ali) was convinced to spare his life because killing him would not have benefited him much. It may even have caused the people of Syria to rebel against him because they respected and loved (Al-Awza'ee). Besides, keeping him in the service of the government was better to ensure total domination over Syria.


(Ibn Katheer) also mentioned that (Al-Awza'ee) has met with the Abbasid Caliph (Al-Mansour) when the latter entered Syria. (Al-Mansour) loved and honored him. So the grants and the properties kept coming his way as they used to do in the time of the Umayyads.


The respect for (Al-Awza'ee) continued to be held high among the people of Syria to the degree that "(Al-Zahaby)" in his book: "Meezanul I 'tidal' shied away from criticizing (Al-Awza'ee) in his biography and satisfied himself by saying about "(Masroor bin Sa'eed)", the narrator of (Al-Awza'ee), that: "(Ibn Hayyan) spoke ill of him and said that he used to narrate after (Al-Awza'ee) several unrecognized traditions".[Biography of Al-Awza' pp 117‑119]


Thus (Al-Awza'ee) used to narrate many unrecognized traditions.


The most horrible one was the so-called "tradition of apostasy" stating: "The blood of a Muslim man should not be lawfully shed except in three situations: A life for a life, the married man who committed adultery, and the apostate who left his people".


Here he provided two more situations to justify killing the soul that does not deserve to be put to death. This found favor with the Abbasid rulers. They saw in this traditions a legal cover to get rid of their Umayyad opponents, then the Persians.


The Abbasid State came with a new understanding of government which differed from that of the Umayyad understanding. The Umayyad government used force to dominate, but the Abbasyds who opposed using force, used to rule on the understanding that they were the descendants of the tribe of the Prophet. Under the pretense that they belonged to House of the Prophet, they wanted to paint their rule with a legal color, extracted from Islamic jurisprudence. So the new Caliph ruled through divine authority since he belonged to the House of the Prophet's. The Abbasid Caliph (Al-Mansour) addressed the people at the time of Pilgrimage, on the Day of Arafat and said: "O ye people! I am the Sultan of God in His land and I rule over you by His Grace and by His Wisdom and I am His keeper over His wealth which I divide by His Will and distribute by His permission".[History of the Caliphs, by A-Soyooti, pp 420-421]


In other words, he considered himself to rule by divine right, or what was known in Europe during the medieval age: The Divine Right of Kings.


Therefore, it was logical for him to support his rule with judicial arguments. However, when he did not find in the Qur’an what he desired, it was not difficult for the scholars of the government to invent what was required of traditions and to 1ssue what was in demand of verdicts.


Elimination of the remnants of the Umayyads was carried out in the early years of the Abbasid rule through the verdict of apostasy, by a tradition which was invented to justify shedding the blood of a Muslim in three situations, all of which were applicable to the fleeing Umayyads. After all, it was the Umayyads who killed the family of the Prophet in Karbala', and killed all who rebelled from among the progeny of (Al-Hussain), RA. The last of their victims was (Ibrahim bin Al-Mahdi) who was supporting the Abbasyds and who was murdered by (Marawan bin Muhammad), the last Caliph of the Umayyad dynasty in Syria. Therefore, from the Abbasid point of view, it was lawful for them to take a life for a life. Similarly, the Umayyads in their last years were involved in impudence and moral degeneration. They followed some of their Caliphs such as "(Yazeed bin Abdul Malik)" and "(Al-Waleed bin Yazeed)". In other words, it was easy to accuse them of committing adultery. It was easy also to accuse them of apostasy particularly when it was known of them that they did not use to offer the prescribed Prayers. So, forming the tradition in this particular manner was an expression of (Al-Awza'ee's) understanding for the requirements of the new Abbasid government and its need to get rid of its opponents under a false pretense of legality.


The tradition of (Al-Awza'ee) found wide circulation and was used extensively by the Abbasid authorities against their new opponents, the Persians.


The Persian allies helped the Abbasyds to establish their rule. (Abu Muslim Al-Khurasani) and his army were the fighting power the Abbasyds have used. However, when the time came for dividing the booty and sharing the political gains, the Abbasyds kept everything for themselves and murdered (Abu Muslim Al-Khurasani). His daughter rebelled in Khurasan and a sect named after (Abu Muslim) was formed to fight the Abbasyds in east of Persia. They had their own followers in Baghdad and in the Abbasid court. The Abbasyds dealt with the rebellion in east of Persia by sending the armies but they tracked down the agents of the rebels in Baghdad and accused them of apostasy and heresy. Therefore, the Abbasid Caliph became very active in tracking the heretics and killing them, accusing them of the three crimes mentioned in the tradition of (Al-Awza'ee). The well known immoral condition of the Persians helped in accusing and killing them according to this newly invented canon. The early days in the history of (Al-Mahdi) showed that he has rooted out the heretics and tracked them everywhere. It is well known that (Al-Mahdi) was the son of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansour. Therefore, no wonder that (Al-Awza'ee) enjoyed a high prestige with the Caliph (Al-Mansour), or according to an expression used by (Ibn Katheer): "He loved and honored him".


No wonder also to know that (Al-Mansour) has dealt so cruelly with another scholar of jurisprudence, then finally he killed him. He was the great scholar (Imam Abu Hanifa), founder of Hanafi jurisprudence, who was a complete opposite picture of (Al-Awza'ee).


(Al-Awza'ee) grew in Syria, he was an Arab and he served the Umayyad rulers, while Imam (Abu Hanifa) belonged to the Persians and grew in Iraq but was at odds with the Umayyads. When the Abbasyds took over, (Al-Awza'ee) quickly changed his color and straightened his affairs with the new rulers and became accepted and respected by the Caliph (Al-Mansour). However, (Abu Hanifa) who opposed the Umayyads, and finally got his hopes to get rid of them materialized, was alienated from the Caliph (Al-Mansour) who persecuted then poisoned him.


During the time of the Umayyad dynasty, (Abu Hanifa) used to support the Shi'a and Alawy rebellions against the government. Among those rebellions was the rebellion of (Zayd bin Zainul `Abideen) in the year 121 AH. There was no solid evidence that he had actually participated in any rebellion but the Umayyad government started to doubt his loyalty. The governor of Iraq, (Ibn Hubayrah), wanted to test his loyalty to the Umayyads. At that time Iraq was a scene of many troubles against the Umayyads. (Ibn Hubayrah) gathered the scholars and assigned certain task to each of them and assigned (Abu Hanifa) to be in charge of all of them, so that nothing should be done without his permission. The scholars agreed to serve the governor but (Abu Hanifa) refused. (Abu Hubayrah) threatened to flog and to torture him. The other scholars pleaded with him to save himself and accept the assignment. He said: "If he wanted me to count for him the doors of a mosque I will not agree to it, so how can I accept an assignment in which he wanted me to give my approval to justify the blood he wanted to shed. I will never accept such assignment". (Abu Hubayrah) ordered that (Abu hanifa) should be flogged and kept him imprisoned for a while. After failing to win his cooperation, he set him free. (Abu Hanifa) escaped to Mecca and stayed there until the Abbasyds took over. He came to Al-Koofa in the time of Caliph (Abu Ja'far Al-Mansour). [Managib Abi Hanifa, by Al-Makki, p. 1, pp 23 -24 & History of Baghdad, p 3, pp 326]


It was expected that the Abbasid rulers would welcome him for his stand in support for the family of the House of the Prophet and for his opposition to the Umayyads, being one of their victims. Indeed the Caliph (Al-Mansour) brought him close to him and used to consult him. However, (Al-Mansour)'s continuous attempts to take advantage of him, in addition to his brutality against his cousins the Alawis, when "(Mohammad Al-Nafsul Zakiyyah)" rebelled in the year 145 AH, made things go sour between (Al-Mansour) and (Abu Hanifa), the respectable scholar.


(Al-Mansour) accused (Abu Hanifa) of trying to dissuade the Abbasid commanders from fighting (Mohammad Al-Nafsul Zakiyyah) and his brother (Ibrahim). He started to plot against (Abu Hanifa) to incriminate him. In the meantime, (Abu Hanifa) went on issuing the verdicts which emanated out of his free conscience, though he knew that (Al-Mansour) wanted him to issue the verdicts which he needed to establish his authority.


(Al-Mansour) had made a pact with the people of Moosel in Iraq, that if they rebelled against him, their blood will be shed with impunity. The people of Moosel rebelled in the year 148 AH. (Al-Mansour) then gathered all the scholars of jurisprudence, including (Abu Hanifa), and addressed them saying: "The people of Moosel have made a pact not to rebel, but they rebelled. Now it is lawful for me to shed their blood". The scholars said; "If you forgave them, it will be out of your grace, and if you punished them, it will be for what they deserve". But (Abu Hanifa) said: "O Ameerul Mo'mineen! (i.e. O Prince of the Believers!) When you made a pact with them that they should offer you the right to shed their blood if they rebelled, they offered what they did not possess, and you imposed on them a condition that you had no right to. Do you think that a woman has a right to offer her body without marriage?" The Caliph said: "No". (Al-Mansour) then terminated the meeting and dispersed the scholars. However, he warned (Abu Hanifa) saying: "Do not give verdicts which embarrass your Imam and put him in a weak position which would encourage rebellion against him and strengthen the hands of Khawarij . [Managib Abi Hanifa by Ibnul Barazy, p 2, pp 17]


It may be noticed that the scholars who acted hypocritically towards (Al-Mansour) were the same scholars who offered their services to (Ibn Ali Hubayrah), the Umayyads' governor over Iraq. Among them were (Ibn Abi Layla)/, (Ibn Shabramah)/ and (Ibn Abi And). They were among the famous scholars in Iraq.


Naturally, they felt envious of (Abu Hanifa) for his unbiased verdicts and opinions which exposed their hypocrisy, so they entertained rancor against him. Therefore, they welcomed the Caliph's invitation to attack (Abu Hanifa). They organized a propaganda campaign of hatred and false accusations against (Abu Hanifa). He was accused of denying the so-called traditions which were invented to serve the objectives of the Abbasid rulers. (Ibn Abi Layla) reached the extreme bounds in attacking (Abu Hanifa) to the degree that (Abu Hanifa) said about him: "(Ibn Abi Layla) has justified for himself out of me what I could not justify for myself out of an animal" !


This campaign of hatred and false accusations produced its results. It gave (Al-Mansour) the pretext to murder (Abu Hanifa) by poisoning him after throwing him in prison and flogging him a hundred and ten lashes in the year I50 AH.[ Al-Kainil by Ibnul Atheer, p 5, pp 217]


However, what has all this to do with (Al-Awza'ee)?


The difference between (Al-Awza'ee) and (Abu-Hanifa) in character, in personality, in attitude and in their position which both have taken towards the ruling authorities, was reflected upon the ideological approach of each of them.


(Abu Hanifa) was careful to protect lives and to avoid shedding of blood. He was also very careful to reject the false traditions. When they accused him of giving lie to the Messenger of God, he used to say: "My rejection of every person who narrates a tradition that contradicts the Qur’an is not a rejection of the Prophet nor giving lie to him but it is a rejection of him who reported falsely after the Prophet [Managib Abi Hanifa, p 1, pp 99]


As for (Al-Awza'ee), who was a contemporary of (Abu Hanifa), he used to report after the Messenger" many false traditions as has been reported by "(Al-Zahaby)" in his book: "Mizanul I'tidal". (Al-Awza'ee) used even to fabricate traditions about the Lord of Glory. With the same vigor, he used to produce verdicts that made lawful for the rulers to shed blood with impunity. He issued a verdict for (Hisham bin Abdul Malik), the Umayyad, to murder (Gheelan) of Damascus. Then he issued verdicts for the Abbasyds to shed the blood of the Umayyads. (Abu Hanifa) had to face the persecution of both the Umayyads and the Abbasyds.


Naturally then, love was lost between (Al-Awza'ee) and (Abu Hanifa).


The traditions which were reported, or rather fabricated, by (Al-Awza'ee) were rejected by (Abu Hanifa). There were some discussions and arguments between them concerning raising hands before bowing down in Prayer and after standing. (Abu Hanifa) gave preference to his opinion and syllogism over the traditions reported by (Al-Awza'ee) and his like.


On his part, (Al-Awza'ee) said: "We do not blame (Abu Hanifa) for using his opinion. We all use our opinion", meaning that all followed their own opinion and syllogism, "but we blame him for rejecting a tradition of the Prophet and accepting what contradicts it .[Explanation of contradictory traditions, by Ibn Qutayba, pp 63]


(Al-Awza'ee) used to believe that as long as he has invented a tradition, it meant that the tradition became a tradition of the Messenger. (Abu Hanifa) used to say in reply to (Al-Awza'ee) and his ilk of the government's scholars: "My rejection of every person who narrates a tradition that contradicts the Qur’an is not a rejection of the Prophet nor giving lie to him but it is a rejection of him who reported falsely after the Prophet.


The Tradition of (Al-Awza'ee) As Reported In Sahih Muslim


The scholars of the Abbasyds worked on spreading the tradition of (Al-Awza'ee). They created an authority for it and a chain of reporters, although when (Al-Awza'ee) mentioned it the first time there was no chain of reporters


for it. After this Hadith has found wide circulation, Muslim reported it in his Sahih two centuries later, long after (Al-Awza'ee) has died, but without mentioning him in the chain of reporters.


Muslim mentioned the reporters as follows:


(Abu Bakr bin Abi Shayba) reported on the authority of (Hafs bin Ghiyath) and (Abu Mu'awiya), on the authority of (Wakee'), on the authority of (Al-A'mash), on the authority of (Abdullah bin Murrah), on the authority of (Massrooq), on the authority of (Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood) who said that the Messenger of Allah said: "The blood of a Muslim man who bears witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah is not lawful to be shed except in three situations: The married man who committed adultery, a life for a life, and the apostate who left his people". [Sahih Muslim, p 5, pp 106]


We can see the (Awza'ee) style in the text of this tradition, which enabled the Abbasid rulers to eliminate all the male rebels who revolted against them.


However, the rules concerning penalties in Islam were mentioned in both genders, males and females. As it is mentioned in the Qur’an:


"The adulteress and the adulterer..." (24:2)


"And as for the man who steals and the woman who steals..." (5:38)


"And such of your women as are guilty of any flagrant impropriety... and if two from among you are guilty of it..." (4:15-16)


A pronoun may be used to refer to both men and women as in what God the Exalted says:


"And those who calumniate chaste women..." (24:4)


"The only reward of those, who wage war against Allah and His Messenger..." (4:33)


It may be also mentioned in more explicit way as in:


"O ye who believe! equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you; the free man for the free man, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female". (2:178)


In the (Awza'ee) tradition, it mentions: "A Muslim man", "A married man who committed adultery" and "a man who apostatized and left his people".


As the male gender only was mentioned in the tradition, therefore, women are not to be punished in all three situations mentioned in that tradition, as if the verses which mentioned penalties for women should be cancelled!


When we go back to the circumstances in which (Al-Awza'ee) has uttered this tradition, or rather invented it, when he was under the threat of being killed while his women were waiting for him, then we can understand why he dropped the females out of the penalty imposed by the tradition. He wanted to get out, as soon as possible, of the meeting with the tyrant of the Abbasyds (Abdullah bin Ali), in order to get back to his women. (Abdullah) noticed his desire to leave and said: "It seems that you want to take leave". He answered: "There are some women who need me to look after them and to protect them, their hearts must be worried about me".


Therefore, the text of the tradition mentioned the male gender only, but a woman needs someone to protect her and to look after her, and it is enough that her heart should be worried about her man!


This was the psychological position of (Al-Awza'ee) when he invented this tradition and when he uttered it.


In addition, how could it be that a: "Muslim man who bears witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah", be considered an "apostate who left his people"?


The tradition uses the present tense: "The blood of a Muslim man who bears witness that there is no god but Allah...", which means that at the time he was a Muslim, how then, in the same time, can he become an "apostate who leaves his people"?


Had the reporter of such tradition used the past tense saying: "The blood of a Muslim man who used to bear witness that there was no god but Allah", then it could be understood that such a person used to be a believer, thereafter he became an apostate. But how can he be an apostate while in the present tense he bears witness of the Oneness of God?


Besides, what is the meaning of "leaving his people"?


It may have a political implication. In the expression of the Umayyad and the Abbasid understanding, the expression may mean to be among the (Khawarij) who revolted against the people. But it does not have any religious aspect that agrees with any of the teachings of Islam.


A Muslim may leave his people, his family and his town emigrating towards God the Exalted. Would he then be deserving to be killed?


This may be permissible in the logic of idolatrous Quraish.


It may also be permissible in the logic of the Priesthood in every time and age.


But can we imagine that the Prophet would possibly say such words?


We shall not discuss here the contradictions of this tradition with the Holy Qur’an and the true Sunnah, the practice of the Messenger, we have already discussed these contradictions, but we want to concentrate on a specific point which is: the style of the Prophet and his time and how careful he was in choosing his words, also the necessity that harmony should have existed between the words and the historical circumstances in the prophetic era.


The Prophet and the Muslims emigrated to Al Medina and left their people in Mecca. The Quraish used to accuse the Prophet of "dividing the people", and "revolting against the religion of the ancestors". They plotted to kill the Prophet and his Companions. Does it make any sense then to consider that the Prophet has followed the same route and applied the same logic of his enemies and even used their own expressions?


In addition, what about all those people who have been mentioned in the books written on the life events of the Prophet, who were reported that they have apostatized and joined Quraish, did the Prophet ordered them to be killed because they have changed their religion and left their people?


Then what about the Treaty of (Hudaybiyyah) in which the Prophet agreed to send back to Mecca those who wanted to apostatize from among those who joined him as believers and emigrated to Al Medina? He agreed to give them the freedom to do so and agreed to let them join the idolaters. Did that treaty agree with what (Al-Awza'ee) said to kill him "who apostatized and left his people"?


After we discussed the text of the (Al-Awza' ee) tradition, we should look into the reporters and the authorities which "Muslim" has mentioned in his Sahih.


What did the scholars say about those reporters mentioned in the tradition of "Muslim" and (Al-Awza'ee)?


"Muslim" started by (Abu Bakr bin Abi Shayba). His real name was (Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Malik) who died around 220AH. (Al-Hakim) said about him: "Not accurate". (Abu Bakr bin Abi Dawood) said about him: "Weak". (Ibn Hayyan) said about him: "He may make mistakes". [(Al-Zahaby, Mizanul I'tidal), p 3, pp 292, and p 6, pp 177]


Next reporter is Hafs bin Ghiyath/. His surname was /Abu Umar Al-Nakh' ee/. He was a Judge for the Abbasyds and one of the scholars who cooperated with the state. He died in 194AH. (Abu Zar'a) said about him: "His memory was not good after he became a Judge". In other words, he was not trusted after becoming a Judge. (Ibn Ammar) said about him: "He was not able to remember the traditions".

(Abdullah bin Ahmad) said: "My father said about him: "He made mistakes". (Ibn Hayyan) said about a tradition reported by him: "No one reported this tradition except (Hafs bin Ghiyath), and it seems that he has imagined it". This shows that he has reported a tradition that has never been reported by anyone else, and because he was not trustworthy, (Ibn Hayyan) accused him of imagination.[ Mizanul I'tidal, p 2, pp 90-91]




Next reporter is (Abu Mu'awiya). He was blind and (Al-Hakim) said about him that the Two Sheikhs (i.e. Bukhari and Muslim) argued for him, but it was known of him that he was an extremist, which means that either he used to exceed reasonable bounds or he belonged to the Shi'a, since the term "extremist" was synonym of the Shi'a at that time. (Ibn Mu'een) said of him: "(Abu Mu'awiya) reports unrecognized traditions". (Al-A'gly) said about him that he was trustworthy, but he accused him of belonging to "Murje'a" sect. Such an accusation rendered his authority questionable. (Ya'qoob bin Shayba) said about him: "He was trustworthy but he may cheat". (Abu Dawood) said about him that he was a Murje'. (Abu Mu'awiya Al-Bajly) said about him: "There was some ignorance in him".[Mizanul I'tidal, p 6, pp 249]


Next reporter is (Wakee') : His name was (Wakee' bin Al-Jarrah Abu Sufyan AI-Ro'as) of Kufa. (Ibn Al-Madany) said about him: "Wakee' used to make mistakes", also he said: "He had some tendency towards Shi'a".




Now we reached (Al-A'mash), who was the most important reporter and the most famous one among all others. His name was (Soliman bin Mahran Abu Muhammad Al-Kahili Al-A'mash). He died in 148AH. (Al-Zahaby) said about him: "They had nothing against him except cheating, he used to cheat". (Ibn Al-Mubarak) said about him: "(Al-A'mash) and (Abu Ishaq) have corrupted the Tradition in Kufa". (Jareer bin Abdul Hameed) said about him: "Your (A'mash) and (Abu Ishaq) have led the people of Kufa astray". (Ahmad bin Hanbal) said about him: "There are too many contradictions in the traditions reported by Al-A'mash". He also said: "He used to report on the authority of (Anas) but his reporting was not true because he did not hear anything from Anas". (Abu Dawood) said about him: "His reporting on the authority of Anas was not true". (Ibnul Madani) said about him: "Al-A'mash used to have great deal of imagination". (Al-Hakim Al-Naysaboory) considered him among the cheaters and reiterated what (Al-Shazkoony) said about him: "Whoever wanted to learn religion should not accept the traditions reported by (Al-A'mash) nor those reported by (Qatadah) except they said that they have personally heard such a tradition".


What is left of the reporters are (Abdullah bin Murrah) and (Massrooq). (Al-Zahaby) said this about (Abu Murrah): "He did not report true traditions". (Abu Hatim) said this about (Massrooq):


“He was not a strong confidant". [Mizanul I'tidal, p 6, pp 10, p 2 pp 414, p 3, pp215, p 5, pp223 and: Knowledge of the science of Traditions, Al-Hakim Al-Naysaboory, pp 105 pp 107, Bayroot.]


Thus when the Abbasyd government scholars chose some reporters for (Al-Awza'ee) tradition they all were not above suspicion. Some of those may have contributed to spreading the tradition among the populace and may have been among those who lived in the Abbasyd era and reported it later, like (Al-A'mash) and (Abu Mu'awiya) and (Hafs bin Ghiyath) and (Abu bakr bin Abi Shaybah). A tradition should be rejected if there was any doubt concerning one of its reporters, so what is the position of this tradition when all of its reporters are doubtful and are accused?




Now we finished with the tradition of (Al-Awza'ee). What remained is the other tradition which was invented by (Ikremah), servant of (Ibn Abbas), which was reported also by (Bukhari) in his Sahih.


The reader may be perturbed to read that there may be some doubtful traditions in (Bukhari). But if the reader should discuss the matter quietly he may be able to get all the facts. In any case, (Bukhari) was after all a human being not a god nor was he above error or forgetfulness. He has mentioned in the introduction of his book "Sahih-ul-Bukhari" that he has chosen the contents of his book, which were about 3000 traditions, from among 600,000. Naturally, there should be some percentage for human error that must be considered among the traditions which he has chosen. This should be accepted by every fair-minded student of that book. No doubt that the so-called Tradition of Apostasy: "Whoever changed his religion should be killed", which was reported by (Ikremah), servant of (Ibn Abbas), is one of those false traditions.


It may be noted that the scholars of fundamentalism and those who specialized in criticizing the authenticity of traditions had their own criticism of (Bukhari) and (Muslim). The Sheikh of (Bukhari) who was also his teacher said about him: "(Bukhari) is an innovator". The reason was that (Bukhari) was of the opinion that the Qur’an was created, while his Sheikh had a different opinion. He believed that the Word of God was not created. He said about (Bukhari): "They accused him, so none attended his meetings except those who agreed with his views".[Mizanul I'tidal, p 6, pp176]


Obviously, the difference in opinion between (Mohammad bin Yahya Al-Zahly) and his student (Bukhari) was due to difference of opinion regarding the subject of whether the Qur’an was created or not. However, some critics had their reservations against (Bukhari) regarding the traditions themselves. Some traditionalists have criticized him such as (Abu Hatim Al-Razi) in his book. (Al-Zahaby) considered him of the weak reporters.


Some traditionalists have criticized 110 traditions, 32 of which (Muslim) have agreed with (Bukhari) and included them in his book, [Al-Razi, Criticism of Traditions & their reporters, (Al-Jarh Wal‑Ta'deel), p 3, 192] while 78 were reported only by (Bukhari). They also criticized 80 reporters from whom (Bukhari) has collected his traditions. They considered them untrust­worthy. They also criticized 160 of (Muslim)'s reporters to be untrustworthy. (Al-Hakim Al Naysaboory) said about one of the reporters, whose name was (Isa bin Mousa Ghingar): "(Bukhari) considered him to be a worthy reporter in his book Al-Jame' Al-Sagheer, but he was said to have reported unrecognized traditions from untrustworthy authorities. [Ma'rifat Uloom M-Hadith, 106]


In his book: `Uloomul Hadith, (Ibn Al-Salah) says that (Bukhari) has reported on the authority of some people who were not accepted by others, such as (Ikremah the servant of Ibn Abbas), (Ismail Ibn Abi Owees)/, (Asem bin Ali)/, (Amr bin Marzook)/ and others. (Muslim) also reported on the authority of (Suwaid bin Sa'eed) and others whom were doubted by some scholars. [Ibn Al-Salah, `Uloomul Hadith, pp 96, Al-Medina edition]


It is clear from the above quote that (Al-Bukhari)'s reporting on the authority of (Ikremah servant of Ibn Abbas), has been criticized, and that (Ikremah) has been also criticized by many others. (Ikremah) was the reporter who narrated what is known as the `Tradition of Apostasy': "Whoever changed his religion should be killed".


(Ikremah) was a slave of (Abdullah bin Abbas), he heard from him many traditions and reported his commentaries of the Qur’an. He remained a slave for (Ibn Abbas) and was 1nherited by his children, then he was sold, thereafter he was set free. His intelligence, in addition to being in the service of (Ibn Abbas) for a long time, enabled him to learn from him a great deal. Knowledge was the means for slaves to distinguish themselves in a society dominated by Arab nobles. The Umayyads were known to feel superior over the slaves who were mainly from non Arab tribes. As the Arabs were busy in the military expeditions and in dealing with rebels within the State, the slaves and their children found a golden opportunity to dedicate their time to learning and advancing in knowledge to distinguish themselves, as many of them belonged to some noble tribes and nations which had long traditions in culture and civilization. Therefore, most of the scholars of that time were from among the slaves.


Among them was (Ikremah). However, this (Ikremah), in particular, had a grudge against the Arab aristocracy to a degree that can be likened to the opinion of the Khawarij who did not see any difference between the Arabs and the slaves and who did not agree to the condition that the Caliph should be from the Quraish as came to be known according to a famous and widely spread tradition in that regard.


Because (Ikremah) was not unbiased, his achievements were colored with this bias which was obvious throughout his life.


The final outcome of (Ikremah)'s achievements in knowledge and of his personal biography was the invention of some traditions which he claimed to have been reported on the authority of his master (Abdullah Ibn Abbas), among which was the tradition: "Whoever changed his religion should be killed".


Let us pause for a while to study (Ikramah)'s history, his understanding and how he was accused of lying.


(Ikremah) used to see eye to eye with the Khawarij. This was what the scholars concluded about him in his biography, though they have differed about which sect he was inclined towards, as the differences between various sects of Khawarij were not defined clearly in the time of (Ikremah).


(Ibn Al-Madini) reported that (Ikremah) belonged to the (Abadhi sect of Khawarij). (Ata') supported this view and said that (Ikremah) was an (Abadhi). However, (Ibn Al-Madini) added that (Ikremah) used also to be inclined towards the opinions of (Najda Al-Haroory).

(Ahmad bin Hanbal) used to say that (Ikremah) was inclined towards (As-Sufreya sect of Khawarij) and that he did not leave a place without visiting. He visited Khurasan, Syria, Yaman, Egypt and Africa; which meant that he went to all these countries to spread the Khawarij views without clearly defining any particular sect among them.


(Yahya bin Bakeeran) said: "(Ikremah) came to Egypt on his way to Morocco where the Khawarij of Morocco learned a great deal from him". This shows that he went there as a scholar, a teacher and an Imam for the Khawarij in Morocco.


During his travels in various countries, he used to exploit the governors to receive some handouts. (Ibn Yasar) said: "I saw (Ikremah) coming from Samarkand mounting a donkey, on its back were two large bags full of silk which were given to him by the governor of Samarkand. He was asked what brought him to these countries? He said: "The need"!!


While the governors of the far off countries used to think high of him, the governor of Al Medina was aware of his opposing political inclinations against the Umayyad State. (Mus'ab Zubairy) said: "(Ikremah) has adopted the views of Khawarij, which meant that he attributed to (Ibn Abbas) after his death what he used to reject during his life".


It so happened that (Ikremah) died on the same day on which the famous poet: "(Katheer Azza)" had died. The people of Al Medina left (Ikremah)'s funeral and went to attend the funeral of the famous poet who gained fame through his love for (Azza). People marveled at the coincidence of their death on the same day though they were at variance regarding their views. (Ikremah) was inclined to the views of Khawanj who gave themselves the right to consider a person to be an apostate, while (Katheer) was a Shi'a who believed that (Ali) and his children will come back to life.


The reason why the people of Al Medina used to dislike (Ikremah) in spite of his knowledge was that they considered him a propagandist for the (Khawarij): the (Haroorys) and the (Ebadhis).


The (Khawarij) of the (Haroorys) were well known for their extremism regarding shedding blood. (Al-Malty) said about (Najda Al-Haroory): "(Najda) came from the mountains of Uman, he killed the children, captured the women, shed blood, exploited women, plundered and looted. He used to consider the ancestors as apostates until he was killed".


(Al-Malty) said about the Ebadhis that they were the followers of (Ebadh Ibn Umar). It is said that his name was (Abdullah bin Yahya bin Ebadh). They came from Kufa in Iraq, murdered many people and killed the children and considered that the Ummah has apostatized. They spread evil and terror in the country. Then he said: "There is only some remnants of them in Kufa".


He said about (As-Sufreya) sect that they were the followers of (Al-Muhallab bin Abi Sufra), but more accurately they were the followers of (Zeyad bin Abi Sufra). They rebelled against (Al-Hajjaj) but he defeated them and exterminated them. [Al-Multy, Al-Tanbeeh Wal Radd, pp 52]


We can observe the views of (Khawarij) in the sayings of (Ikremah). It is reported by (Ibn Al-Madini) that (Ikremah) stood beside the door of a Mosque and said: "All who are inside are apostates".


Similarly, we can observe the cruelty of the (Khawarij) and their boldness in shedding blood reflected in the statements of (Ikremah) in the time of Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) while the people had crowded around the Ka'ba. He said: "I wish I had a spear in my hand to kill all those who came to pilgrimage on this year".


Finally, we can observe the effect of all this reflected in the tradition reported by (Bukhari) on the authority of (Ikremah): "Whoever changes his religion should be killed".


The question that may arise here which should be addressed to the fundamentalists is: What are their views concerning a reporter who had some personal crooked inclinations, who wanted to spread an innovation or who invited people to adopt his innovation, particularly when he invited people to consider Muslims as apostates, to justify shedding their blood, to violate their honor, to plunder their properties and to kill their children?


(Imam Malik) said: "Knowledge should not be accepted from a person who had personal inclinations and who invites' people to adopt his own inclications".[Al-Hakim Al-Naysaboory, Ma'rifat Uloomul Hadith, pp 135]


(Ibn Salah )says in his book: `Uloomul Hadith: "They differed about accepting the report of the innovator whose innovation does not amount to apostatizing. Some did not reject completely his report because he is only considered to be a Fasiq (rebellious), due to his innovation. Others accepted the report of the innovator if he does not lie to support his own views. Some accepted his report if he was not inviting to his sect. Some rejected his report if he invited to his innovation. This was the views of the majority of the scholars". (Abu Hatim Al-Basty) said: "Whoever invites to an innovation should not be considered trust-worthy. This is the opinion of all our Imams and leaders, and I do not know of any difference in this regard".[Ibn Salah, `Uloomul Hadith, pp 103]


(Ikremah) used to spread the bloody views of the (Khawarij). He also used to lie, but the accusation of lying is another story.


Accusation of (Ikremah) of lying was clear throughout his life.


(Ibn Syreen) said of him: "He used to lie". (Ibn Abi Ze'b) said about him: "I saw (Ikremah) and he was not trustworthy". (Mohammad bin Sa'd) in "Al-Tabaqatul Kubra" said: "His reports were not authentic and people had doubts about him". (Sa'eed bin Gereer) said: "You narrate after (Ikremah) some traditions which had I been with him he would not have dared to report". (Sa'eed bin Al-Musayyib) said: "The slave of (Ibn Abbas) will not desist until a rope is tied around his neck and then taken around". (Sa'eed) also used to advise his slave "(Burd)" saying: "Do not report any lies and attribute them to me as the slave of (Ibn Abbas) did to him". (Ibn Umar) also used to advise his slave (Nafe') saying: "Do not attribute to me any false traditions as the slave of (Ibn Abbas) has done".


Due to the enormous amount of false traditions reported by (Ikremah) and attributed to (Ibn Abbas), after his death, his son, (Ali bin Abdullah bin Abbas) tied a rope in (Ikremah)'s hands and legs and held him at the door of a toilet. When he was asked about it he said: "This wicked man attributes false traditions to my father".


It is said that "(Muslim)" avoided reporting on the authority of (Ikremah), but he reported some traditions where some other authorities were mentioned in conjunction with his, but did not report on his authority alone.


(Malik) avoided reporting on his authority except one or two traditions. (Mutraf) said: "I heard (Malik) saying that he disliked to mention (Ikremah), and I do not think that he reported on his authority". Similarly, (Ibn Hanbal) said: "(Malik) reported one tradition on the authority of (Ikremah)". [Biography of Ikremah in: "Al-Tabaqatul Kubra" by (Ibn Sa'd). p 2, pp133, p5 pp 212, (Al-Zahaby), Mizan Al-I'tidal p4 pp 13-17 23] However, (Bukhari) reported on his authority, and was criticized for this by the scholars as has been explained before.




Discussing (Ikremah)'s Hadith in: "Sahih-ul-Bukhari":


(Al-Bukhari) has reported the tradition in question on the authority of the following reporters:


"Abul Nu'man Mohammad Abul Fadhl/ informed us on the authority of /Hammad bin Yazeed/, on the authority of /Ayyoob/, on the authority of /Ikremah/ who said: "Ali (RA) captured some Zendeeqs and burnt them with fire. The matter reached (Ibn Abbas) who said, 'If it were for me I would not have burnt them because the Messenger of God had prohibited that. I would have killed them because the Messenger of God said, 'Whoever changed his religion should be killed'.[Al-Bukhari, p 4, pp 196 footnote by Al-Sanady]


(Ikremah) reported the tradition on the authority of (Ibn Abbas) and claimed that (Ibn Abbas) has heard it from the Prophet.


It was discussed above how (Ikremah) used to report false traditions, attributing them to the authority of his master (Ibn Abbas), to the degree that the scholars of Al Medina have condemned this attitude of his, among whom was (Sa'eed bin Al-Musayyib)', the greatest scholar of his time, and before him was (Abdullah bin Ulnae)'.


Due to (Ikremah) and others, the number of traditions reported on the authority of (Ibn Abbas) was greatly inflated. (Ahmad bin Hanbal) reported 1696 traditions, although (Al Amidi) said in the book: 'AI-Ehkam Fee Usool AI-Ahkam


"(Ibn Abbas) did not hear from the Messenger of God more than four traditions because he was very young at the time".[Al-Amidi: Al-Ahkam, p 2, pp 178 – 180]


(Ibnul Qayyem) said in his book: 'AI-Wabil AI-Sayyib Menai Kalimit Tayyeb': "What (Ibn Abbas) has heard from the Prophet did not reach twenty traditions".[Ibnul Qayyim, Al-Wabil, pp 77]


This estimation is more closer to the truth of the matter, which is mentioned also in the biography of (Ibn Abbas) in the books of history. (Ibn Abbas) became a Muslim when his father joined Islam just before the fall of Mecca. He met the Messenger" in Jahfah on his way to enter Mecca. When the Prophet passed away, (Ibn Abbas) was ten years old, or fifteen years old according to another report. This means that he accompanied the Prophet for a short period while he was still being raised by his father. How then could he report all this number of traditions?


(Ikremah) reported the tradition: "Whoever changes his religion should be killed" and attributed it to (Ibn Abbas) among what he attributed to him of hundreds of other traditions. This tradition was then reported by some hermit who was famous in his time and whose name was (Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiyani) who was known by the name (Abu Bakr bin Tamima). In spite of his fame, he was not mentioned in the book: Mizanul l'tidal by (Al-Zahaby). However, he was mentioned by (Ibn Sa'd) in his book: Al-Tabaqatul Kubra. [Al-Muntazim, Ibnul Jawzy, p 7, pp 288, p 9, pp 41] The tradition was then reported on his authority by his disciple (Hammad bin Derham), who was mentioned in Al-Muntazim by (Ibnul Jawzy) and by (Ibn Sa' d) in Al-Tabaqatul Kubra. However, (Al-Zahaby) did not mention him also in Mizanul I 'tidal.


In mentioning the critique of (Ikremah), (Al-Zahaby) narrated that (Hammad) said that his patron (Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiyani) was asked: Was (Ikremah) accused of being an undependable authority in reporting the traditions? He kept quiet for a while then he said: "I did not accuse him of that".


It meant that others used to accuse (Ikremah) in the gatherings held by (Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiyani). In spite of that, (Ayyoob) insisted that he was trustworthy and should not be accused.


(Yahya bin Sa'eed) mentioned that (Ikremah) did not offer his Prayers properly, but (Ayyoob) defended him and said he was praying properly, which shows that (Ayyoob) used to defend him on every occasion.


Similarly, it is reported that (Yahya bin Sa'eed) has mentioned once that (Ikremah) used to lie in reporting the traditions he used to report, but (Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiyani) refuted this and said: No, he did not lie.


By this attitude towards (Ikremah), (Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiyani) was trying to justify reporting and narrating traditions on the authority of (Ikremah). The traditions which (Ayyoob) reported on the authority of (Ikremah) were reported later on his authority by his disciple (Hammad bin Zayd bin Derham). Then the tradition was reported on the authority of (Hammad) by another Patron who was (Mohammad bin Al-Fadhl) whose nickname was (Abul Nu'man) and his surname was `(Arem), who died in 224 AH and was the Patron of (Al Bukhari). It was on his authority that (Al Bukhari) reported the tradition of (Ikremah) about killing the apostate.


It is worth mentioning that (Abul Nu'man `Arem) was criticized by (Abu Hatim) who said that his mind became unstable in the latter part of his life. Even (Al Bukhari) himself admitted that his mind has changed. (Abu Dawood) also said: "His mind became greatly unstable". Similarly, (Ibn Hayyan) said: "His mind became unstable in his old age to the degree that he was not able to define what he was reporting. He used to report many unrecognized traditions, so it is important to avoid receiving from him or reporting any tradition on his authority".


This is what has been mentioned about (Abul Nu'man Muhammad bin Al-Fadhl) whose surname was '(Aron), and who was the first reporter in the chain of reporters of the tradition: "Whoever changes his religion should be killed". (Ikremah) was the last reporter in that chain. Thus at the beginning of the chain there was unstableness and raving, while at the end of the chain there was lying and falsehood. What in between, was (Hammad bin Zayed) and (Ayyoob Al‑Sakhtiyani). Both were hermits who were ready to believe everything that has been said.




Then we have to take a pause with the text of the tradition.


In the text, (Ikremah) says that some zendeeqs (heretics) were brought to (Ali bin Abi Talib) and he burnt them.


It has never been mentioned during all his life, that (Ali bin Abi Talib) has burnt his opponents. He was very well known to avoid shedding blood as much as possible. This can be seen clearly in the battles he fought and in his dealings with the (Khawarij), also in his will on his death bed regarding his assailant (Ibn Muljam) of the (Khawarij).


When we know how much the (Khawarij) used to hate Ali(RA), we can realize why (Ikremah) has inserted this sentence in the text of that tradition in order to defame (Ali) and to achieve his real objective in creating division between the Muslims and getting them to fight one another according to his words: "Whoever changes his religion should be killed".


The (Khawarij) considered everyone else to be an apostate. Therefore, they justified shedding blood of all Muslims, including women and children. Accordingly, (Ikremah) has issued a verdict for everyone who could kill to kill as many as he could, considering that the victim had changed his/her religion.


The statement of the tradition was mentioned in a general form: "Whoever changes his religion", which is applicable to everyone who changes his religion, including Muslims, Christians and Jews. In its general form, it can literally mean that whoever changes his religion from among the Christians and the Jews and became a Muslim, then he should be killed. May be then (Ikremah) would be pleased!


It may be mentioned also that this tradition was the only one among all the traditions attributed to the Prophets' in which the word: "zendeeqs" has been mentioned. It is a Persian word. (Ikremah) was also a Persian. In the Persian language it means: "Zend coro", meaning a person who believes time to be everlasting without end. (Imam Tha'lab) said that the word "zendeeq" did not exist in the speech of the Arabs. However, (Ikremah) has introduced this word in the text of the tradition which he had attributed falsely to the Messenger of God, peace be on him.




Is it permissible to put people to death based upon traditions that have been reported by one person?

The penalty of apostasy was based on two traditions, both of which we have proven to be false according to the rules of examination and criticism of the traditions, and through the evidence taken from the books of the ancestors. Similarly we had proven before that they were in contradiction with the true jurisprudence of Islam as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an which is considered to be the ultimate authority of what is attributed to the Messenger.




Let us assume that the two traditions defining a penalty for apostasy were true and not false traditions. Let us also assume that the Holy Qur’an does not contradict them both, but does not support them either. The question is: Is it permissible to depend on two traditions to constitute a law in Islamic jurisprudence?


Is it permissible to create jurisprudence based only on two "Ahaad traditions", i.e. traditions which, the end of the chain of reporters, mentioned only one person?


Is it permissible to put people to death branded as apostates based only upon two traditions?


Is life so valueless to this degree?


Let us seek the opinion of what the scholars have decided in this matter!


Let us start the subject with a glimpse in the tradition attributed to the Prophet.


When the Prophet passed away, the Muslims did not have any reference other than the Holy Qur’an as a written book, which the Prophet had admonished the Muslims to hold fast to. This is what (Al Bukhari) and (Muslim) have both reported in a tradition on the authority of one of the Companions: (Abdullah bin Awfa).


This (Abdullah bin Awfa) was one of the Companions who had made a "Bai 'at", (i.e. sworn allegiance), under the tree, whom God has described in the verse:


"Surely, Allah was well pleased with the believers when they were swearing allegiance to thee under the Tree" (48:18)


(Abdulllah bin Awfa) has participated in six expeditions with the Prophet. He was wounded in the battle of "Hunayn", and was the last one among the Companions to die in Kufa.


(Abdullah bin Awfa) was asked: Did the Messenger of God make a will? He said: No. He was asked: Why not, while the believers were commanded to make a will? He said: His will was the Book of God.


(Al-Hafiz bin Hijr) in explaining this tradition said in the book "Fet-hul Bari":


"He meant to hold fast to the Book of God and to follow its teachings. He may have pointed to what he had said before: `I left with you that which if you hold fast to, you shall never go astray: The Book of God'. He confined his will to the Book of God, being the greatest and the most important guide, which contains every guidance, either explicitly in the text or implicitly by inference. Thus if the people followed the Book they will be acting upon all the Prophet's teachings".


This tradition was reported by Muslim as included in the Last Sermon of "Hujjatul Wada" (last pilgrimage of the Prophet) where the Prophet has said: "I am leaving with you that which if you hold fast to, you shall not go astray". In another narration on the authority of (Jabir), when the Messenger gave a Sermon on the Day of `"Arafah", he said: "I left with you something which if you hold fast to you shall not go astray: The Book of Allah". [Fet-hul Bary Fee Sharhil Bukhari, p 5, pp 377] Later, they have manipulated this tradition and added: "The Book of Allah and my Sunnah", although the text of the tradition has mentioned "something", in the singular form, which means holding fast to one thing only, and that one thing was the Book. Had there been anything else with the book, he would have said: if you hold fast to both.


Al-Bukhari has reported a tradition on the authority of (Rafi') who said: I and (Shaddad bin Mi'gal) visited (Ibn Abbas). (Shaddad) asked him: Did the Prophet leave anything behind? He said: He did not leave anything except that which is in the Book. Then we visited (Muhammad son of Al-Hanfiyya) and in reply to the same question he said: He did not leave anything other than that which is in the Book.


This shows that when both (Ibn Abbas) and (Muhammad son of Al-Hanfiyya) (Muhammad son of Ali bin Abi Talib) were asked about what the Prophet has left behind, both said that he left the Book.


Later on, many false traditions were attributed to the Prophet. Then, they started collecting and writing down the traditions of the Prophet although he has said, as was reported by (Ahmad/, Muslim/, Darami/, Termizi/ and Nesa'i): "Do not write anything of that which I say except the Qur’an. Anyone who has written anything I have said other than the Qur’an should erase it".


(Abu Bakr) also prohibited writing down the traditions. In the book: "Tazkiratul Huffaz" by (Al-Zahaby), it is mentioned that he has said: "You narrate some traditions attributed to the Messenger of God on which you differ, the people who will come after you will be more divided concerning these traditions, so do not narrate anything attributed to the Messenger of God. Whoever ask you, you should say, `The Book of God is there before us and you. You should act upon what it made lawful for you and refrain from doing that which it made unlawful'.


(Umar) RA was more strict in prohibiting writing down the traditions of the Prophet and said, as has been narrated by (Al-Bayhaqi) and (Ibn Abdul Barr): "I wanted to write down the Sunan, (i.e. the practice of the Prophet), but I remembered how some of the people who were before you, have written books, then they became fond of them and left the book of God which was sent to them. I swear by God that I shall never mingle the Book of God with anything else at all".


However, after the events of "Al-fitnatul Kubra", (i.e. the Great Affliction), that spread among the Muslims during the time of (Ali bin Abi Talib), and then during the era of the Umayyad and the Abbasyd dictatorships, so many traditions have spread around. Each party used to invent a tradition to support its views. After all parties found the courage to shed the blood of their opponents, they found the courage to lie about the Messenger of God and to attribute to him so many false traditions.


The large multitude and the enormous number of false traditions in circulation have terrified some scholars who took up the responsibility of purifying the true traditions of the Prophet by separating the false from the true. Thus a new branch of knowledge was developed which has come to be known as: "Al-Jarh Wal Ta'dee! ", i.e. the rules of examination and criticism of the traditions in order to examine the authenticity of the reporters and the texts.


They have divided the traditions into two categories:


(1) Ahaad, (i.e. those traditions which at the end of the chain of reporters there is only one person who heard the tradition from the Prophet. However, some scholars consider the traditions which at the end of the chain of reporters there is only a few persons who heard the tradition from the Prophet to be categorized also as "Ahaad" tradition).


(2) Mutawatir, (i.e. those traditions which at the end of the chain of reporters there are many persons who have heard the tradition from the Prophet. As there is no specific number defined for "few" and "many" reporters to categorize a particular tradition as "Ahaad" or "Mutawatir", the scholars differ in their categorization of the traditions).


In other words, a "Mutawatir" tradition is a tradition which has been heard from the Prophet by so many persons who could not have possibly conspired together to invent such a tradition in order to attribute it to the Messenger of God. Such a tradition is certainly genuine and does not need the rules of "Al-Jarh Wal Ta'deel",i.e. the rules of examination and criticism of the traditions and the authenticity of their reporters. Such rules were made to look into the doubtful traditions, but the "Mutawatir" traditions were considered to be above doubt.


However, they said that it is very difficult to find a "Mutawatir" tradition. (Al-Shatby) said that it is very difficult to find a tradition of the Messenger of God that can be categorized as Mutawatir. (Ibn Hayyan Al-Sabty) said that all reported traditions of the Messenger are Ahaad. (Al-Nawawy) in the book "AI-Taqreeb" said that the Mutawatir of the known traditions in jurisprudence and its origins are very rare which hardly exist.


In the opinion of many scholars, all what have been reported of the Messenger are "Ahaad" traditions. Therefore they have divided the "Ahaad" traditions into many categories according to their degree of truthfulness. Such categories are: True, Good and Weak. All such "Ahaad" traditions are considered doubtful even though they may be true. However, the scholars are divided concerning this matter because these rules are subject to difference of opinions and variety of views.


It was noticed that the "Ahaad" traditions used to multiply and to increase the more time has passed after the time of the Messenger (SA). Such traditions were much less in number in the time of Umayyads than their number in the early part. of the Abbasyds' time. For example, (Imam Malik) wrote his book: "Al-Muwatta'" during the latter part of the reign of Caliph (Al-Mansour), the Abbasyd. It was in the year 148 AH. The number of traditions contained in this book was 1008 traditions, after he had rejected so many and made a careful selection.


One century later, in the time of (Al-Bukhari), there were 600,000 traditions in circulation of which (Al Bukhari) chose between three and four thousand traditions. (Al Bukhari) died in the year 256 AH and after him the number of traditions in circulation inflated so much to the degree that (Ibnul Jawzy-died 597 AH) wrote a book about the false tradition. Similarly, with passing of time, the number of the "Ahaad" traditions has increased also, because every era was producing traditions that reflected the various situations and attitudes of its people.


All such traditions were foreign to the illuminated era of the Prophet. They reflected the era in which they were produced. Therefore, the scholars who came in later times, like (Al-Soyooti-died 911 AH) were less strict in criticizing and accepting such traditions and more defensive of the false among them.


Then came the era of Islamic awakening in recent time. (Imam Muhammad Abdu) did not accept any "Ahaad" tradition, no matter how truthful it was in the consideration of the scholars of tradition. That is why he rejected the tradition about the Jew who performed magic on the Prophet, although this tradition is mentioned in /Al Bukhari/, /Muslim/, /Ahmad/ and/ Nessa'i./


Both traditions mentioning apostasy are of the "Ahaad" traditions. The question then is: Is it logical to take them as true? And can both be used to constitute jurisprudence?


In the famous book: "Jurisprudence According to the Four Schools", it is mentioned that the penalties of which the scholars of jurisprudence have agreed upon were three only (for stealing, adultery and accusing an innocent). This proves that the scholars of jurisprudence were not in agreement concerning what is called the penalty of apostasy,


which means that some scholars have not accepted the authenticity of the two traditions mentioning apostasy. In other words, there is no complete consensus among the jurists concerning a penalty for apostasy.


(Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali), who was so enthusiastic about the penalty of apostasy, has mentioned what contradicted the penalty of apostasy in his book: "The Prophet's Sunnah between the Jurists and Traditionalists". He said: "I counted more than two hundred verses in the Qur’an that emphasized freedom of faith, considering that true faith should be based upon personal conviction while compulsion should be rejected. It should be emphasized that inviting people to a religion should be done through clear conveyance of the message". Then he said: "Presenting Islam as if it were a provoking religion and as being thirsty for shedding blood is preposterous and mere fabrication of false charges against God and the Messengers. We have dealt with the subject thoroughly in many other books of ours, yet it is still necessary to speak on the subject again because the lies never end". Then he said: "In these ill-omen days, the differences have become so wide-spread in the Ummah. They killed one another to the degree that the number of those who were killed in internal afflictions has exceeded the number of those who were killed fighting the foreign occupation".


Based on what the Sheikh has said, the so-called penalty of apostasy contradicts all the verses of the Qur’an which emphasized freedom of faith and prohibited compulsion in religion. The sentences which we have quoted from his writings fit exactly those who defend the so-called penalty of apostasy and want to propagate its authenticity, those who have specialized in accusing others of disbelief and apostasy and who are thirsty to shed the blood of Muslims.


(Sheikh Al-Ghazali) also rejected the idea that the Prophet has ordered to kill anyone from among the hypocrites; and said: "When did it happen that the Messenger of God has directed to kill anyone of the hypocrites? It has never happened, but rather he has prohibited it". In other words, he was pointing out to the fact that the penalty of apostasy did not exist in the time of the Prophet, otherwise, the Prophet would have had applied it to the apostates from among the hypocrites. Also, (Al-Ghazali) said that a tradition should not be used as an argument if it has serious flaw or if it was odd. The two traditions relating to apostasy are odd and both have serious flaw as long as they contradict two hundred verses of the Qur’an, which were counted by (Sheikh Al-Ghazali) relating to freedom of faith, and as long as the Prophet himself, as has been mentioned by (Al-Ghazali), has never killed anyone of the apostates.


In addition, (Al-Ghazali) also said that an "Ahaad" tradition, even if it were true, does not provide certainty. He said: "Claiming that it provides certainty as the "Mutawatir" traditions is an unaccepted risk".


It means that it is a risk to shed the blood of Muslims depending on a true but not certain tradition. What then if the tradition was not true but a false one?


(Sheikh Al-Ghazali) clarified the matter concerning the weak traditions which he might not reject on the outset if they were not related to matters of faith and jurisprudence. He said: "It may be the right of those who take interest in the weak traditions to use them outside the circle of beliefs and laws of jurisprudence, because the blood, the property, and the honor are more important and should not be dealt with based on rumors".


Therefore, both traditions of apostasy, which are nothing but "rumors" should not be used as a judicial justification for shedding blood unjustly.


The Sheikh resented those who used false traditions. He said: "I am fed up with the people who know but a little of Qur’an and jurisprudence, but look too much in the traditions and invent new laws and issue various verdicts which increase the confusion and bewilderment of the people. I continued to warn the Ummah against the people who did not look much at the Qur’an but were emboldened to say their mind on important Islamic issues depending mainly on reported sayings which they did not know their real position in the realm of Islam". [Al-Sunnah between the Jurists and the Traditionists, pp 104, 107, 29, 22 and an article by the anther published in "Al Al-Ahaali newspaper on 14/7/1993 under the title: "Al-Ghazali refutes Al-Ghazali"]


Thus he clarified and defined many points in the subject of apostasy which depended only on reported sayings that were unrecognized in the realm of Islam.


In his book: "Our Ideological Legacy", (Sheikh Al-Ghazali) used a verdict issued by "Al-Azhar" Institution concerning anyone who denies the validity of Traditions as a source for jurisprudence. Would such a person be considered a disbeliever or not?


(Sheikh Al-Ghazali) said in the above mentioned book: "Some young people create conflicts and confusion in our time through their ill-behavior and wrong attitude". Then he said: "I mention this while I have in my hand a verdict issued by "Al-Azhar", the Noble, giving a decision regarding so many problems created by some immature young men in the name of holding high the Sunnah and following the ancestors. The verdict has explained in details the judicial laws and their arguments in order to block the way against those who have personal inclinations and selfish objectives".


The Sheikh then presented the text of the verdict as follows:


Dear Sir, Professor in Chief of Al-Azhar Committee for Issuing Religious Verdicts.


Peace be with you, the Mercy of God and His blessings.


The person who denies that the traditions of the Prophet alone should be taken as a source for jurisprudence, would he be considered a disbeliever or not. Please provide your opinion giving supporting arguments in this regard. Thank you.






The Verdict

In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful


May the peace and the blessings be upon our master Muhammad and his family and his Companions and those who followed.


Judicial injunctions are divided into five categories:


What is obligatory, "Wajib": It is that which is enjoined upon a person according to a text in the Book of God or in a "Mutawatir" tradition of His Messenger, which is clear, its authenticity is certain and its meaning is also certain, i.e. it has only one meaning, so that the scholars should not differ in understanding its meaning.


What is prohibited, "Haram": It is what the Legislator has required of a person to avoid, according to a text in the Book of God or in a "Mutawatir" tradition of His Messenger, whose authenticity is certain and its meaning is certain.


What is mandated, "Mandoob": It is what the Legislator has required of a person to do but without putting emphasis on it, so the person would be rewarded for doing 1t, but would not be punished if he does not do it.


What is disliked, "Makrooh": It is what the Legislator has required not to commit but without putting emphasis on it, so the person would be rewarded for not doing it but is not punished for doing it.


What is allowable, "Mubah": It is what a person has been given a choice to do or to leave, but there is no evidence to support its prohibition.


The Sunnah (i.e. the traditions of the Prophet) is divided in two categories: "Mutawatir" and "Ahaad".


The "Mutawatir" is that which has been reported by a group of people who are impossible or unlikely to agree together to agree to a lie. "Al-Hazimy" says in the book: The five conditions of the Imams, page 37: "It is very difficult to prove that a tradition is "Mutawatir". (Al-Shatby) said in the first part of the book: "Al-I'tisam", page 135: "I could not find a "Mutawatir" tradition". As for the differences among the Sunnah scholars, the majority among them were of the opinion that whoever denies that a "Mutawatir Sunnah" can be used independently in defining an obligation "Wajib" or a prohibition "Haram", then he should be considered "Kafir", an apostate. I say that most of the practical Sunnah is "Mutawatir".


The "Ahaad Sunna" are the traditions of the Prophet, which have been reported by a number of people less than a "Mutawatir". The scholars have differed on the principle of whether the "Ahaad" tradition can be used independently in defining an obligation "Wajib" or a prohibition "Haram". The scholars of the "Shafie'" school and their followers considered that whoever denied this principle in matters of performed injunctions like Prayer, fasting, Hajj and paying the Zakat, should be considered an apostate. But whoever denied this principle in matters of doctrines related to God, the Messenger, the events of the Hereafter and the matters of the Unseen, then he should not be considered an apostate, because doctrines are defined only through an absolutely authentic evidence from the Book of God or from the "Mutawatir" tradition of His Messenger.


The "Hanafi" school and their followers were of the opinion that the "Ahaad" tradition should not be used independently in defining an obligation "Wajib" or a prohibition "Haram", whether the obligation was in the area of performed injunctions or a doctrine. Accordingly, whoever denied this principle should not be considered an apostate. This was also the opinion of the scholars of fundamental "Hanafi" Jurisprudence. "Al-Barzawi" said: "The claim of certainty concerning the authenticity of the "Ahaad" traditions is a false claim, because the truth of an "Ahaad" tradition is only probable, thus nothing could be described as probable and certain in the same time. Whoever made such a claim is an insolent who has let his mind go astray". This is the opinion which was followed by (Sheikh Muhammad Abdu) and (Sheikh Abu Daqeeqa) and others. The late (Imam Muhammad Abdu) said: "The Holy Qur’an is the only evidence in Islam presenting its message. Anything else which is mentioned in the traditions, whether the authenticity of such traditions was true and well-known or doubtful, are not of absolute certainty". (Sheikh Shaltoot) also mentioned in his book: `Islam, Doctrine and Jurisprudence' : "The Sunnah, i.e. the traditions, are doubtful concerning the "Sanad", i.e. the reporting point of view, and their "Dalalah", i.e. their meaning and interpretation. In other words, their authenticity is doubtful and their meaning is probable.


In his book "Al Muwafagat", (Imam Al-Shatby) opined that the Sunnah should not be taken independently in defining an obligation "wajib" or a prohibition "Haram". Its purpose is only to define what was mentioned in the Qur’an in absolute terms, or to explain in detail what was mentioned in general terms, or to clarify what was mentioned in abstract form. However, this should be done using the "Mutawatir" traditions not the "Ahaads".


All the above mentioned opinions are supported by what has been mentioned in "Sahih-ul-Bukhari" in a chapter on the Will. It was mentioned about the will of the Messenger of God (SA): On the authority of (Talha bin Masraff) who said: (Abdullah bin Awfa) was asked: Has the Messenger of God, His peace and blessings be upon him, made a will? He said: No. I said: How is that, while he has enjoined upon the people to make a will? How then he did not make a will? He said: He made the Book of God his will. (Ibn Hajar) said in explaining this tradition: He meant that his will was to hold fast to the Book and to act upon its teachings. He pointed to what the Prophet said: "I left with you something if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray: the Book of God". He confined his will to the Book of God because it explained everything either through a stipulation in the text or through extracting a point from the text. Thus if the people followed what was in the Book, they would have acted upon all of what they have been commanded.


Similarly, the above is supported by a tradition of "Salman the Persian", who said: "Lawful matters are those which God has made lawful in His Book, and prohibited matters are those which God has prohibited in His Book. What God has declined to mention under any of these two categories, is allowed out of His favor for you".


When the scholars argued against (Al-Shatby) using what God has mentioned in His Book:


"Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you" (4:59)


He said that what was mentioned of the obligation to obey the Messenger' is related to his definition of what was mentioned in the Qur’an in absolute terms, and in his detailing what was mentioned in general terms, and in his explanation of what was mentioned in abstract terms. However, this should be done using the "Mutawatir" traditions not the "Ahaads". In any case, all what the Prophet would have had said should be necessarily based on the Qur’an, because "A'esha" said about the Prophet: "His disposition was in complete harmony with the Qur’an".


The meaning of what God the Exalted has said:


"And We have sent down to thee the Book to explain everything" (16:89)


is that the Sunnah is included in its entirety. (Al-Shatby) supported this opinion by what God the Exalted has said:


"We have left out nothing in the Book" (7:38)


Regarding what the scholars have argued against (Al-Shatby) using the tradition of the Prophet: "If anyone among you would say, `This is the Book of God, whatever is made lawful in it, we will consider it lawful, and whatever is prohibited in it, we will consider it prohibited', let it be known that whoever received a tradition from me and he belied it, then, he in fact has belied God and His Messenger". (Al-Shatby) said that among the reporters of this tradition was (Zayd bin Al-Habbab) who is known to commit many mistakes, and that is why the Two Sheiks, i.e. (Al Bukhari & Muslim), have not reported any tradition on his authority.


It was mentioned in "Muslim": "A tradition reported by one person only does not reach absolute certainty, irrespective of whether the tradition was mentioned by the Two Sahihs (i.e. by (Al Bukhari and Muslim) or by others".


From all of the above, it became clear that making things obligatory "Wajib" or prohibited "Haram" is not possible except through an absolutely authentic evidence with an absolutely clear meaning. This cannot be realized in the realm of traditions except through the "Mutawatir" traditions. As such traditions almost do not exist since there is no consensus among the scholars regarding such traditions, then we can conclude that traditions cannot be taken independently to define obligatory and prohibited matters except regarding things performed (by the Prophet) or in conjunction with the Holy Qur’an.


Consequently, whoever denies that traditions should be taken independently in defining obligatory and prohibited matters is a person who denies something of which the scholars have differed upon, something that is not considered among what is necessarily known of religion. Therefore, such a person should not be considered a "Kafir", i.e. an apostate."




This verdict was issued by /Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mashadd/, chief of the committee for issuing verdicts on first of Feburuary 1990. [Al-Ghazali, "Turathunal Fikry - Our Ideological Legacy", pp 175, 179. This verdict was also published in "Al Ahrar" newspaper on 5/8/1993]


Therefore, according to this verdict issued by "Al-Azhar", traditions cannot be taken independently to create a jurisprudence that makes anything obligatory. Consequently, traditions cannot be taken independently to create a jurisprudence for shedding blood of the people, particularly when such jurisprudence depend only on two traditions, concerning which there is a lot of doubt and both contradict the Qur’an and the practice of the Messenger of God, peace be on him.


Thus, the above verdict of "Al-Azhar" negates the penalty of apostasy and makes it obsolete, unworthy of being acted upon.



The Penalty of Apostasy

A verdict to kill all people


The "Mu'tzila" have dominated the Abbasyd Khilafa in the time of the Caliph (Al-Mu'tasim) and (Al-Wathiq). They have persecuted (Ahmad bin Hanbal) and his followers. In the time of (Al-Wathiq), (Ahmad bin Nasr Al-Khuza'ee) was tried in front of Caliph (Al-Wathiq). The Caliph killed him with his own hands, believing that by shedding his blood for apostasy and for being a zendeeq, he was doing a beneficial act to earn God's favor.


The "Mu'tazila" were of the opinion that the Qur’an was created and that seeing God is impossible. The "Hanbalis" were of the opinion that the Qur’an was not created because it was the Word of God the Exalted, and that seeing God, on the day of Judgment, is possible. Every side had his own arguments derived from interpretation of verses from the Qur’an and from the traditions which supported his own views.


From the history book of (Ibnul Jawzy), who was a "Hanbali", we present the trial of (Ibn Nasr Al-Khuza'ee) in front of Caliph (Al-Wathiq):


On Saturday, the first day of the month of Ramadhan 231 AH, the Caliph asked him:


"What do you say about the Qur’an?" He said: "It is the Word of God". He asked: "Is it created?"


He said: "It is the Word of God".


He asked: "Would you see your Lord on Resurrection?".


He said: "So mentioned the traditions".


He said: "Woe unto you! Would He be seen as a created thing is seen?".


He said: "It is the Word of God".


He said: "Being limited, embodied, contained in a place and encompassed by sight, I disbelieve in a god who has these attributes".


Then he asked those who were present: "What do you say of him?"


(Abdul Rahman bin Ishaq) the Judge said: "It is lawful to shed his blood".


A group of jurists agreed with the Judge. However, (Ibn Abi Dawood), who was the "Sheikh of Mu'tazila" appeared to be opposing killing him. He said: "O Amir-ul- Mo'minin! He is an old man, who may be confused or his mind may have gone astray. His case should be postponed but in the meantime he should be asked to repent".


The Caliph (Al-Wathiq) said: "I see that he is a profound apostate who is strictly adhering to his beliefs".


The Caliph then ordered to prepare the "Samsama", which was the sword of (Amr bin Ma'd), and said: "When I stand to kill this man, no one should come to help me. I hope that God may reward every step that I take to kill this infidel who worships a god whom we do not worship, nor do we recognize by the same attributes which he has ascribed to him".


Then he ordered to prepare the (Net'), which was a special cloth on which the person to be executed should lie down so that his blood would not soil the place. He was made to sit on it being tied down. The Caliph ordered his head to be pulled straight by a rope and ordered him to be stretched. Then the Caliph walked up to him and smote his neck separating his head from his body. He ordered his head to be taken to Baghdad to be hung in the eastern side for some days and in the western side for other days. A piece of paper was attached to his ear on which it was written: "In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. This is the head of (Ahmad bin Nasr bin Malik) who was invited by the servant of God, (Imam Haroon Al-Wathiq Billah, Amirul Mo'minin), to say that the Qur’an is created and to deny that God can be seen, but he refused and insisted on his beliefs, so God has hastened to send him to His whereabouts..." [Al Muntazim, p 11, pp 166, 168]


In other words, the Caliph (Al-Wathiq) convicted the man as an infidel, killed him with his own hands, then he decreed also that he should go to the whereabouts.


Thus the stupid Caliph did not leave anything for God the Exalted.


The head of (Ahmad bin Nasr) was kept crucified in "Baghdad", while his body was kept crucified in "Samarra'" for years until he was taken down. Thereafter, his head and body were collected and buried in a grave.


The (Hanbalis) spread so many rumors about the miracles performed by the head of (Ahmad bin Nasr). They also circulated many traditions which supported their own views and emphasized the importance of changing evil by hand. When he was alive, (Ahmad bin Nasr) was very well known to promote the principle of changing evil by one's own hand. However, in the end, the Abbasyd Caliph (Al-Mutawakkil) adopted the views of the "Hanbalis", who persecuted their opponents, the "Sufis".


Time passed. Then the "Sufis" got the upper hand and became dominant. They also persecuted their opponents, the "Hanbali" jurists. During the eighth century of Hijra, (Ibn Taymiyya( was the greatest "Hanbali" jurist who was facing persecution of the "Sufis" and the supporters of their jurisprudence. He was moved from prison to exile. He faced many attempts on his life. All of this was reflected in the verdicts he used to issue. He became more incensed in passing judgment against his opponents and more daring in committing them to death.


Through a quick glance to the verdicts issued by( Ibn Taymiyya), we can see him distributing verdicts of death to everyone who may differ with him in opinion. He was of the opinion that the innovator should be put to death. It was so easy for every party to accuse the other of being innovator. Keeping in mind that Muslims are divided in so many sects and parties, we can understand that (Ibn Taymiyya) gave a judicial justification for every party to kill its opponents by accusing them of apostasy.

(Ibn Taymiyya) even has opined in a verdict that a Muslim who says loudly his intention to perform the Prayer; is to be considered an infidel who should be put to death, even if such a person believed that his action was according to the command of God!


Similarly, (Ibn Taymiyya) opined in a verdict that a Muslim who does not perform the prescribed Prayer on time or postpones the Morning Prayer till after sunrise or postpones the Noon and the Afternoon Prayers till after sunset, should be put to death! !

He also issued a verdict that a Muslim who comes to the Mosque but does not join the congregational Prayer should be put to death! !


Also he gave a verdict that a Muslim should be put to death if he opposed the views of (Ibn Taymiyya) concerning shortening the Prayer during travelling. In all cases though, the offender should be asked to repent first.


He even gave a verdict to kill a Muslim on the premise that he was a hypocrite, who was inwardly infidel but outwardly appeared to be a Muslim. In other words, he gave everyone the excuse to kill whoever one may like among the Muslims by accusing him of such a charge, even without giving him a chance to repent. (Ibn Taymiyya) says: "Killing a person who put on a Muslim appearance while hiding disbelief has been approved by the majority of jurists, because such a person is a hypocrite who is considered by the jurists to be a zendeeq, so he should be killed even if he repented" ! !


In other words, repentance is of no avail as long as some jurists considered a person to be a zendeeq. [Verdicts of Ibn Taymiyya, p l, pp 359, 366, p 2, pp 50, 52]


Thus he gave a verdict to kill all people.


However, (Ibn Taymiyya) was not able to put his verdicts into practice. The "Sufis" and their supporters of jurists, together with the "Mamluks" have put an end to his movement. Sufism dominated the era of the Mamluks and the Ottomans. Then the Muslims woke up to find the western occupation knocking on their doors.


Two revival movements have started in the Middle East. A movement in the Arabian Peninsula led by the "Wahhabis" who opposed "Sufism" and its symbols. They revived the views of (Ibn Taymiyya) using the "Hanbali" jurisprudence and extremism of the ancestors. The other movement occurred in Egypt with a desire to take after Europe. It was led by (Mohammad Ali) who established the new Egyptian state. He sent many commissions and delegates to Europe. In the meantime he obliterated the old symbols of the "Mamluks" and the "Ottoman" garrison. He put an end to the authority of the sheikhs of "Al-Azhar". He even sent his army to destroy the "Wahhabi" state and its capital. Thus he was able to get rid of the remnant of the Ottoman garrison. Then he started creating the Egyptian army.



Time passed. The foreign occupation has gone. The Third Saudi State was established with its oil-wealth effects on the region. In the meantime, the Egyptian role retreated in the eighties, while the oil states became the dream place for the Egyptians and for others to make a good living. Thus the views of (Ibn Taymiyya) started to spread again and his verdicts got the opportunity to be acted upon.


This contemporary religious revival was tarnished by the extremist Bedouin "Hanbali" jurisprudence which put great emphasis on applying penalties and took up the right to prohibit and to ban, then it raised high the banner of the penalty of apostasy in order to terrorize its opponents.


Naturally, in such environment, the great religion of Islam is subjected to accusations of terrorism, extremism and blood shedding.


Although God the Exalted has sent His Noble Messenger as a mercy for the whole of mankind, not to shed the blood of mankind.


Although it is obligatory upon a Muslim who wants to slaughter a chicken to ask permission of God the Exalted by mentioning His name.


However, those who have taken religion for a profession gave themselves the right to issue a verdict to kill all of mankind, in the name of God and in contradiction to His jurisprudence.


The definition of apostasy as we learned it at "Al-Azhar" University was defined as saying anything that can be considered (Kufr) i.e. disbelief, or believing anything that is considered disbelief, or doing anything that is considered disbelief. By such a definition, it is very easy to accuse everyone of apostasy, then it becomes very easy to kill them all!!


These were just a few lines from the ancestral books of jurisprudence which we had to study in the early years of our education at "Al-Azhar".


However, the oil jurists and the mercenary scholars gave wide circulation to these statements making them appear as if they were the teachings of Islam. The state has given them the opportunity to control the media, so a new generation have sucked the milk of extremism considering it to be the true Islam. Because it was a generation whose dreams have been denied and whose humanly aspirations of finding a job, a home and a decent life have been lost, it developed a grudge against the state and against the society and condemned all as being infidels. Consequently, the new generation has found justification for killing all people. For the first time, Egypt has seen some of its children killing people randomly in the streets. The bombs exploded killing innocent people among whom were women and children, young and old.


This bottom pit to which we have slid had its beginning. It was a verdict of unjustly killing a soul. The consequence of such a verdict was the justification of killing all people, according to what God the Exalted had said:


"That whosoever killed a person, unless it be for killing a person, or for creating disorder in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind" (5:32)


Truthfully speaks Allah the Great


And Always indeed: Truthfully Speaks Allah the Great

Dr. Ahmad Subhy Mansour


The penalty of apostasy between Islam and the Sunny jurisprudence
( The penalty of apostasy in fundamental historical study () was my Arabic book translated into English . Then I wrote another article in English in the same subject. Now the old book and the later article are published here in this book ( Penalty of apstacy between Islam and Sunny Jurisprudence )