Ruling On One Who Reviles The Religion
Of A Muslim: Is There Expiation Required?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
Is expiation required of one who reviles a
Muslim, such as saying to a Muslim "May the religion
of your mother be cursed" [an Arabic form of insulting
Praise be to Allaah.
Reviling the faith or the religion or Islam is major
kufr, according to scholarly consensus. The one who
does that should be asked to repent. If he repents,
all well and good, otherwise he should be executed.
Allaah forbid. See question no. 42505 and 65551.
With regard to reviling the religion of a particular
Muslim person, such as saying "May your religion be
cursed" or "May the religion of your mother be cursed
" – if his mother is a Muslim – is also reviling the
religion, as appears to be the case, which is kufr as
stated above. Some of the scholars suggested that it
may be interpreted differently, and that what is
referred to is the person and his religious
commitment. This may be based on circumstantial
evidence. In this case he should be punished and
disciplined. In any case he should be asked to repent
and the matter should be discussed with him.
It says in al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah (24/139): The
fuqaha' are unanimously agreed that the one who
reviles Islam or the religion of the Muslims is a
kaafir. As for one who reviles the religion of a
Muslim, the Hanafis said, as mentioned in Jaami' al-Fusooleen:
The one who reviles the religion of a Muslim should be
denounced as a kaafir, but his insult may be
understood as referring to that person's bad attitude
and bad treatment of others, not Islam itself [because
the word ‘deen' in the phrase under discussion may
refer to one's religion or to one's way and conduct],
in which case he should not be denounced as a kaafir.
Shaykh ‘Ulaysh al-Maaliki said: In it [in al-Barzali]
there is another issue, which is if a man ridicules
the prayer and people who pray, and many people
testify against him, some of whom are credible
witnesses and some are not. If it is interpreted as
ridiculing the worshippers because he thinks ill of
them, then it is to be regarded as reviling the
Muslims, so he should be disciplined as the judge sees
fit. If it is interpreted as ridiculing the worship
itself, the correct view is that this is apostasy,
because he has done that openly and many people knew
about that, which is different than heresy, and the
ruling on apostasy should be applied. End quote.
I say: From this ruling it may be understood that the
one who reviles Islam or the religion or a madhhab is
that this is often done by some of the dregs of the
common folk, such as donkey-drivers, camel-drivers and
servants, or it may be done by others. If he was
referring to the sharee'ah and the rulings that Allaah
has prescribed for His slaves on the lips of His
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
then he is definitely a kaafir. If he does that openly
that then he is an apostate who should be asked to
repent; if he repents, all well and good, otherwise he
should be executed. If he does not do it openly then
he is a heretic who is to be executed even if he
If he was referring to an individual person and his
religious commitment, then this is reviling a Muslim
and he should be disciplined as the judge sees fit.
The two cases may be differentiated on the basis of
confession and circumstantial evidence. Some scholars
said that the ruling is the same in the second case as
in the first. In al-Badr it is narrated that Bahraam
said concerning apostasy: If the one who does not pray
says to the one who tells him to pray: When you enter
Paradise, lock the door behind you – if what he meant
is that prayer has no effect on one's religious
commitment then he has apostatized, according to
scholarly consensus, but if he meant that the prayer
of the speaker has no effect because it does not stop
him from committing immoral and evil actions, then
there are two views as to whether he is an apostate.
It is well known that the Holy Qur'aan is also part of
the religion, and reviling it is kufr as was stated by
al-Barzali in several places. End quote from Fath al-‘Aliy
al-Maalik fi'l-Fatwa ‘ala Madhhab al-Imam Maalik
The other possibility that he mentioned may occur
rarely, but the basic principle is that cursing a
person's religion is cursing Islam, and no one would
do that but a reckless person who is so audacious that
he transgresses the sacred limits of Allaah and
commits this grave evil that may lead to his doom.
Because the other possibility is unlikely to be the
case when someone utters these words, Shaykh ‘Ulaysh
(may Allaah have mercy on him) did not mention it
anywhere else, when he was asked: What do you say
about a man who curses the religion of another, and a
man who curses his madhhab, or one who says to him,
"May Allaah curse your madhhab, the madhhab of cats" –
are they apostates?
I replied: Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace
be upon our master Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Yes, they
are apostates because of that, and they deserve to be
executed if they do not repent, according to scholarly
consensus, because reviling religion or a madhhab is
only done by one who is a kaafir, and because it is
worse than belittling it which implies kufr, and
because it comes under the second category mentioned
by Ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam, al-Qaraafi, Ibn Rushd and
others. And Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted,
knows best, and may Allaah send blessings and peace
upon our Prophet Muhammad. End quote from Fath al-‘Aliy
The expiation for reviling – whether one reviled the
religion or the person – is sincere repentance. If a
person repents, Allaah will accept his repentance.
Otherwise the one who reviled another deserves to be
punished and disciplined. Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have
mercy on him) was asked: What should be done to one
who calls a Muslim a dog or a pig and other bad words.
Is he sinning?
He replied: Praise be to Allaah. He is sinning and he
should be punished, and he has to repent. And Allaah
knows best. End quote from Fataawa al-Nawawi, p. 224.
See also question no. 42505 for more information on
the repentance of one who reviles the religion.
And Allaah knows best.