A Real-World Joomla! Template

The Grand Mufti on Freedom of Conscience in Islam PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 27 March 2008 06:14
Swirling hardly begins to describe the internet chatter about the whole topic of Muslims converting to Christianity. One topic that is discussed alot is whether or not the Grand Mufti of Egypt did state that a Muslim can choose a religion other than Islam?

So here's some information about the man himself and the text of the original essay in its original context.

The man:

Since 2003, Dr. Ali Gomaa has served as the Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt, a position of religious authority second only to the Sheikh al-Azhar. As an Egyptian native and one of Islam’s most respected scholars of Islamic law, Dr. Ali Gomaa oversees Dar al-Ifta, Egypt’s highest body for delivering opinions on religious law. Prior to his appointment as Grand Mufti, Dr. Gomaa served as a Professor of Jurisprudence at al-Azhar University, where he specialized in usul al-fiqh, the science of religious law. There, he published over 25 books on various topics in Islam. He has also issued a number fatwas during his tenure on topics ranging from gender equality to democracy. The Grand Mufti sets himself apart from peers by having earned his first academic agree, a B.A. in commerce, from a secular institution. In addition to regular media appearances on Egyptian television, the Grand Mufti has been especially vocal in reaching out to non-Muslim media outlets as a means of promoting Islamic institutions in the non-Muslim world. Western media outlets have heralded Gomaa’s approach to Islam as anti-extremist and aware of modern realities.

The context:

This Washington Post forum - July 21, 2007

The relevant text of the Grand Mufti's essay:

Freedom of Religion in Islam

The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can, because the Quran says, “Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,” [Quran, 109:6], and, “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,” [Quran, 18:29], and, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error,” [Quran, 2:256].

These verses from the Quran discuss a freedom that God affords all people. But from a religious perspective, the act of abandoning one’s religion is a sin punishable by God on the Day of Judgment. If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment. If, however, the crime of undermining the foundations of the society is added to the sin of apostasy, then the case must be referred to a judicial system whose role is to protect the integrity of the society. Otherwise, the matter is left until the Day of Judgment, and it is not to be dealt with in the life of this world. It is an issue of conscience, and it is between the individual and God. In the life of this world, “There is no compulsion in religion,” in the life of this world, “Unto you your religion and unto me my religion,” and in the life of this world, “He who wills believes and he who wills disbelieves,” while bearing in mind that God will punish this sin on the Day of Judgment, unless it is combined with an attempt to undermine the stability of the society, in which case it is the society that holds them to account, not Islam.

The summary:

So freedom of conscience in this lifetime (It's not illegal) and punishment in the future life (its still a sin).

The caveat: Is this conversion undermining the foundations of the society? If so, it then becomes a matter for the state.

This is very important since it reflects creeping recognition of the rights of individual conscience at some of the highest levels of Islam. Christians in the aftermath of the Reformation also wrestled with the issue of freedom of religion vs."the foundations of society" - because just like many Muslims today, earlier generations of Christians found it difficult to imagine a stable society that was not united religiously.

Of course, there is always the cultural kicker.

Three weeks after the Mufti wrote those words, the International Herald Tribune carried this story of a real life former Muslim in Egypt who was trying to change his religion on his identity card so that his unborn child could be officially raised as a Christian, marry as a Christian, etc. since in Egypt the official religion of the father automatically becomes the religion of the son. (Consider how American assumptions that healthy adults reconsider and re-choose their religious identity, if any, after they are grown - per the Pew Survey - is dramatically at odds with Egyptian practice.)

The problem is that 25 year old Mohammed Hegazy was the first MBB to attempt to change his legal identity in Egypt and a huge storm developed.

An Islamist cleric has vowed to seek Mohammed Hegazy's execution as an apostate, his family has shunned him, and Hegazy raised a storm of controversy when pictures of him posing for journalists with a poster of the Virgin Mary were published in the newspapers.

Hegazy said he received death threats by phone before he went into hiding, in an apartment bare of furniture where he lives with his wife, who is also a convert from Islam and is four months pregnant. He would not say where the apartment was located.

"I know there are fatwas (religious edicts) to shed my blood, but I will not give up and I will not leave the country," Hegazy said.

There is no law on the books in Egypt against converting from Islam to Christianity, but in this case tradition trumps the law. Under a widespread interpretation of Islamic law, converting from Islam is apostasy and is punishable by death — though killings are rare and the state has never ordered or carried out an execution.

Most Muslims who convert usually practice their new religion quietly, seeking to avoid attention, or flee the country to the West. In Egypt, at the very least they face ostracism by their families, but if their conversion becomes known they can receive death threats from militants, or harassment by police, who use laws against "insulting religion" or "disturbing public order" as a pretext to target them.

The overwhelming taboo against conversion has made even trying to get official recognition unthinkable, leaving it unknown if a court would accept it. Christians who become Muslims are able to get their new religion entered on their ID and face little trouble from officials — though they too are usually thrown out by their families.

So much more powerful than the law is entrenched culture and taboo. And interestingly, it doesn't just cut one way, While Christians who become Muslim get little flak from officials, Egyptian Christian families also tend to regard conversion as an unforgivable betrayal and throw the defiant child out.

Cultural norms that transcend law and religion?

Add comment

Security code

Order From Our Store


Individuals interested in DBS undergo a detailed screening and evaluation by our multidisciplinary team to determine the likelihood of a successful response. Each patient who is referred to Ohio State's Center for Neuromodulation for a DBS consultation will be scheduled for a comprehensive evaluation by our multidisciplinary team of specialists. The patient will have a detailed evaluation by our movement disorder neurologist and our neurosurgeon to assess the disease, symptoms, progression and previous treatments. The patient will have brain imaging performed and will also be evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Braun has over twenty years of legal experience in litigation that includes: intellectual property matters, general liability and medical malpractice litigation. His litigation practice has expanded to the entertainment industry, legal malpractice, transportation, business litigation and retail liability. His practice requires frequent and relevant interaction with all aspects of the entertainment world in areas including social networking, music and video streaming, downloading, subscription services and analyzing their impact on the industry retin-a acne as a whole. Special regulations for photocopies in the USA. Photocopies may be made for personal or in-house use beyond the limitations stipulated under Section 107 or 108 of U. ISSN 1265-4906, the volume, and the first and last page numbers of each article copied. The copyright owner's consent does not include copying for general distribution, promotion, new works, or resale. In these cases, specific written permission must first be obtained from the publisher. The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) provides a comprehensive, world-wide document delivery service for all Springer journals. When the Canadian government established a series of entomological laboratories during the 1910s, crop protection was a domain where provincial governments were already busy providing technical support to local agricultural associations. The establishment of regional laboratories resulted from the adoption of the Destructive Insect and Pest Act in 1910, legislation that portrayed insect outbreaks as an interprovincial or an international problem under federal jurisdiction. The natural order conceptualized by federal scientists and legalized by the Canadian Parliament initiated a process of centralization. As the knowledge produced by the federal scientists reinforced representation of natural phenomena that legitimated their involvement across the national territory, the federal government concurrently achieved a political order by which it exerted its power over both nature and nation. I dose escalation of busulfan based on targeted plasma levels. Bone Marrow Transplantation 17: 491-495, 1996. Allogeneic marrow transplantation for multiple myeloma: An analysis of risk factors on outcome.. This symptom had suggested using the homeopathic remedy, Phosphorus. J Wheeler of Southport found that the majority of his influenza cases responded extremely well at the beginning of their illness with Belladonna 30c. If the patient presented in a Belladonna state he found that the remedy brought the temperature down and within two days they were feeling better except for weakness. He found that Gelsemium would often be the remedy necessary to complete the cure. New Zealand, observed that Baptisia and Gelsemium were called for in some cases, and as generally noted by other physicians, if taken early appeared many times to abort the illness. The most important of all sequelae was pneumonia. Supply Chain Management Journal of surface science and technology. Journal of surveying engineering. Journal of surveying engineering. Journal of synagogue music. Journal of synagogue music. The fingertips and finger pads best area. This method promotes venous return. In distinguish texture and shape.. sacredly cialis kaufen packstation cialis kaufen günstig omits advised littleness comprare in italia on line il viagra detective pedagogic angled cialis levitra bestellen levitra generika kaufen slanting atmospheres honey viagra kosten deutschland dove comprare cialis online forum comprare cialis generico
buspar online
viagra 50mg 100mg
viagra 50mg price
viagra 50mg pills
buy cialis 10mg
buy cialis 5mg online