Messenger of Allah:
Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad
Qadi ‘Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsubi

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"Sahnun said about those who curse the Prophet, 'This is apostasy in exactly the same way as heresy (zandaqa) is. Therefore there is some dispute about whether such a person should be called to repent (as a Muslim) or whether he is an unbeliever. Is he to be killed by a hadd-punishment (as a Muslim) or for disbelief?"




Translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley
[reproduced with the translator’s consent]

Part Four
The judgements concerning those who think
the Prophet imperfect or curse him

Section One
The Judgement of the Shari'a regarding someone
who curses or disparages the Prophet

Know that all who curse Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or blame him or attribute imperfection to him in his person, his lineage, his deen or any of his qualities, or alludes to that or its like by any means whatsoever, whether in the form of a curse or contempt or belittling him or detracting from him or finding fault with him or maligning him, the judgement regarding such a person is the same as the judgement against anyone who curses him. He is killed as we shall make clear. This judgement extends to anything which amounts to a curse or disparagement. We have no hesitation concerning this matter, be it a clear statement or allusion.

The same applies to anyone who curses him, invokes against him, desires to harm him, ascribes to him what does not befit his position or jokes about his mighty affair with foolish talk, satire, disliked words or jies, or reviles him because of any affliction or trial which happened to him or disparages him, because of any of the permissible and well-known human events which happened to him. All of this is the consensus of the 'ularna' and the imams of fatwa from the time of the Companions until today.

Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir said that the bulk of the people of knowledge agree that whoever curses the Prophet is killed. These include Malik ibn Anas, al-Layth, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, and it is the position of the Shafi'i school. Qadi Abu'l-Fadl said that it is based on the statement of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. His repentance is not accepted. Something similar was stated by Abu Hanifa and his people, ath-Thawri and the people of Kufa and al-Awza'i about the Muslims. However, they said that it constitutes apostasy.

At-Tabari related something similar from Abu Hanifa and his companions about anyone who disparages the Prophet, proclaims himself quit of him or calls him a liar.

Sahnun said about those who curse the Prophet, "This is apostasy in exactly the same way as heresy (zandaqa) is. Therefore there is some dispute about whether such a person should be called to repent (as a Muslim) or whether he is an unbeliever. Is he to be killed by a hadd-punishment (as a Muslim) or for disbelief?" We will make this clear in Chapter Two. We do not know of any dispute among the 'ulama' of the community and the Salaf regarding the permissibility of shedding his blood.

Several people have mentioned that the consensus is that he is to be killed and considered an unbeliever. One of the Dhahirites, Abu Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Farisi, however, indicated that there is some disagreement about whether to consider someone who belittles the Prophet as an unbeliever. The best-known position has already been stated.

Muhammad ibn Sahnun said that the 'ulama' agree that anyone who reviles the Prophet and disparages him is an unbeliever and the threat of Allah's punishment is on him. The community's judgement on him is that he be killed. Anyone who has any doubts about such a person's disbelief and punishment is also an unbeliever. For a proof of this, Ibrahim ibn Husayn ibn Khalid, the faqih, uses the instance of Khalid ibn al-Walid killing Malik ibn Nuwayra for referring to the Prophet as "your companion."'[3]

Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi said, "I do not know of any Muslim who disagrees about the necessity of killing such a person if he is a Muslim."

Ibn al-Qasim reports from Malik in the book of Ibn Sahnun, the Mabsut, and the 'Utibiyya and Ibn Mutarrif relates the same from Malik in the book of Ibn Habib, "Any Muslim who curses the Prophet is killed without being asked to repent."

Ibn al-Qasim said in the 'Utibiyya, "Anyone who curses him, reviles him, finds fault with him or disparages him is killed. The community say that he should be killed just like the dualist. Allah made it obligatory to respect the Prophet and be dutiful to him."

In the Mabsut from 'Uthman ibn Kinana we find, "Any Muslim who reviles the Prophet is killed or crucified without being asked to repent. The Imam can choose between crucifying him or killing him." In the variant of Abu'l-Mus'ab and Ibn Abi Uways, they heard Malik say, "Anyone who curses the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reviles him, finds fault with him or disparages him is killed, be he Muslim or unbeliever, without being asked to repent."

Asbagh said, "He is killed in every case, whether he conceals it or makes it public, without being asked to repent because his repentance is not recognised." 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdu'l-Hakam said that and at-Tabari related something similar from Malik Ibn Wahb related that Malik said, "Anyone who says that the Prophet's cloak (or button) was dirty, thereby intending to find fault with him, should be killed."

One of our 'ulama says that people agree that anyone who curses any of the Prophets using the expression "Woe to him" or anything disliked is to be killed without being asked to repent.

Abu'l-Hasan al-Qabisi gave a fatwa that a man who called the Prophet "the porter, the orphan of Abu Talib" should be killed.

Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd gave a fatwa to kill a man who was listening to some people discussing what the Prophet looked like. When a man with an ugly face and beard walked by, he said to them, "You want to know what he looked like? He looked like this passer-by in physique and beard." Abu Muhammad said, "His repentance is not accepted. He lied, may Allah curse him. That could not come out of a heart with sound belief."

Ahmad ibn Abi Sulayman, the companion of Sahnun, said, "Anyone who says that the Prophet was black should be killed."

He was told about a man to whom someone said, "No, by the right of the Messenger of Allah," and he replied, "Allah did such a thing to the Messenger of Allah," mentioning some ugly words. People said to him, "What are you saying, enemy of Allah?" Then he said some even harsher things and added, "I wish for a scorpion for the Messenger of Allah." When someone asked him for fatwa about this man, lbn Abi Sulayman said, "Testify against him and I will be your partner," i.e. in killing him and getting the reward. Habib ibn ar-Rabi' said that is because trying to explain away the literal expression is not accepted because it is clear contempt and lack of respect for the Messenger of Allah. His blood is permitted.

Abu 'Abdullah ibn 'Attab gave a fatwa about a tax-collector who said to a man, "Pay and complain to the Prophet. If I ask or am ignorant, the Prophet was ignorant and asked," to the effect that he be killed.

The fuqaha' of Andalusia gave a fatwa that Ibn Ha tim, the scholar of Toledo, be killed and crucified because there was testimony that he made light of what is due to the Prophet. In the course of a debate, he called him "the orphan" and the in-law of the lion (i.e. 'Ali)," and claimed that his doing-without (zuhd) las not intentional. He alleged that if he had been able to have good things, he would have eaten them. He said other similar things.

The fuqaha' of the Qayrawan[4] and the companions of Sahnun gave a fatwa for the killing of Ibrahim al-Ghazari, a poet and master of many sciences. He was one of those who attended the assembly of Qadi Abu'l-'Abbas ibn Talib for debate. He was accused of objectionable things like mocking Allah, His Prophets and our Prophet. Qadi Yahya ibn 'Umar and other fuqaha' summoned him and commanded that he be killed and crucified. He was stabbed and crucified upside down. Then he was brought down and burned. One of the historians related that when the post to which he was tied was lifted up, the body turned around away from qibja. It was a sign to all and the people said, "Allah is greater!" Then a dog came and licked his blood. Yahya ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, spoke the truth," and he mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet said, "A dog will not lick a Muslim's blood."[5]

Qadi Abu 'Abdullah ibn al-Murabit said, "Whoever says that the Prophet was defeated is asked to repent. If he repents, it is all right. If not, he is killed because it detracts from the Prophet. Such a disparaging remark could not be said about the Prophet by anyone with understanding of his affair and certainty about his inviolability."

Habib ibn Rabi' al-Qarawi said that the school of Malik and his companions is that anyone who says anything disparaging about the Prophet is killed without being asked to repent.

Ibn 'Attab said that the Book and Sunna require that someone who intends to even slightly harm or disparage the Prophet, either by allusion or clear statement, must be killed.

Anything like this which is something that the 'ulama' consider to be a curse or disparagement necessitates that the one who says it be killed. Neither the early or later people disagree about that, but they disagree about the basis for killing him as we have indicated. We will make this clear later.

This is also my position regarding the judgment of anyone who belittles him or insults him about having been a shepherd, oversight, forgetfulness, sorcery, any wound he received, the defeat of one of his armies, injury by an enemy, the intensity of his illness or his being attracted to his wives. The judgement of all this is that the one who intends to disparage him by it is killed. The position of the 'ulama' is as we have already stated and it will be proved by what follows.

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