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Fatwas Part One-Hundred-and-Thirty-Four
Messengers and Prophets of Africa, China, India, the Two Americas, and Australia
Jewish Sorrow Justifying the Sorrow of Others
Your freedom of choice should be respected
To the Afghan who converted to Christianity:

To the Afghan who converted to Christianity:

Your freedom of choice should be respected

Originally published in Arabic on April 4 2006

Translated by Mohammad Dandan


                                 In the name of God .The Merciful The Almighty


When I was in "Egyptian Turra prison" in 1987, there was with us in the same cell, an Egyptian young man who converted to Christianity...from Islam. Although a decree in his favor to be released was issued, the state security people refused to set him free, so he went on a hunger strike. My cellmates looked at him with disgust; I said to them, regardless of my disagreement with him in matters of creed, as a Muslim, I have to respect his freedom of choice. Matter of fact, he should be applauded and admired for publicly declaring his faith and holding on to it despite  all the hardships he went through. The Quranists among the cellmates were convinced and stood by him until he was released...before we were. I recalled this story when "Abdurrahman the Afghan", announced his conversion to Christianity and insisted on embracing it, despite all the hardships they caused him. Here, I would like to reiterate again what I have said before: I am a Muslim, very proud and well-grounded in my belief and will hold on to it until the day I die. At the same time, I declare, based on my Islamic belief, my respect for his freedom in choosing whatever he wants as a belief, whether it agreed with mine or not, moreover, I voice my admiration for him because he withstood all pressures and threats of death.


Being a scholar who graduated from Al-Azher University, specializing in Islam, I say that those who imprisoned Christianized "Abdurrahman the Afghan" abused Islam and contradicted it, and proved that the gap between them and genuine Islam is enormous. Here I am speaking of their deeds and actions, not of their hearts and beliefs


I will not repeat what I already have mentioned in my book (The penalty of Apostasy), available on the internet, which proves that this penalty contradicts Islam and that it is no more than an Abbasid political fabrications, of two narrations falsely attributed to prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

But I will show briefly that they, without their knowledge, have committed the most heinous sin by alleging Divinity, worse off, they elevated themselves above Almighty God. For it was Him who chose that people should have free will in their beliefs, free to believe after denial, and free in denial after belief, free to obey, and free to disobey, That is how God created them,. They are responsible as long as they have freedom of choice. So if they forgot or were forced, they are not held responsible. Consequently, those Afghans who persecuted The Christianized Afghan, elevate themselves above the Almighty, because they give themselves the right to interfere in issues that Allah prohibited any to interfere in and that is religion.


They also put themselves ahead and above the prophet (PBUH) who did not have any religious or temporal authority allowing him to interfere in people’s convictions. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) used to get saddened (only) when one of his companions would revert to old ways, Revelation would come down forbidding him, not to feel saddened, because those who reverted did not want to have any good fortune in the hereafter,   (3-176)

 Prophet Mohammad’s grief (PBUH) was based on his close acquaintance with them, his love for them and his profound desire for their well being, yet all those honorable good sentiments are not enough to justify interference in people’s free choice of their beliefs.. It is not permissible for a father to interfere in his son’s belief when the son comes of age, under the guise of love for him and concern for his welfare. He can only advice, discuss but no coercion, and the son has the absolute freedom in choosing whatever set of beliefs, immaterial whether it was in agreement with, or different than his father’s. At the end, every one is responsible for his life, his deeds and his beliefs; no one will bear the load of another, a person’s deeds in this life is what matters later on, and as Almighty God created us individually, We will meet with Him individually too on Day of Resurrection. Each one of us will come by themselves to be judged, no intercession and no one to intercede on his behalf except his deeds, his good deeds will bail him out, and if not, his bad deeds will witness against him


If a father does not have the right to interfere in his son’s/daughter‘s belief, it is more so when it comes to society or state. For the Quranic precept is (No coercion in religion) meaning no coercion to enter a religion, no coercion to leave a religion, no coercion in performing or not performing religious duties. All matters of religion, all matters dealing in relationship between the Creator and His creation, coercion has no place within it. Religion, faith, belief   all are private, very private relations between the individual and his Creator .be it belief or disbelief, obedience or disobedience, Man has the freedom of choice and he is responsible for his choices, before his Creator, Glory be to Him.


As a form of backward mentality exemplified by Wahhabism and practiced by the Saudi state is to coerce people to pray by the (Enforcers) with their thick sticks and heavy handed approach. God almighty does not accept a prayer unless it is sincere and offered in reverence and humility. Do the Enforcers’ thick sticks put sincerity and humility in their hearts? What if God Almighty left the hearts free to be humble or to be hypocritical or to be deceitful? Would the sticks of the Enforcers be higher in status than God Almighty? Some hypocrites used to fake prayers just to look good and impress the believing community, Quranic revelation came down to expose their deceit, asserting that they deceive none except themselves and their final abode, despite of their prayers will be the very bottom of hellfire. AN-NISA (WOMEN)( 004.142 ) ( 004.143)( 004.145) .

For the prayers and all good deeds to be accepted, they have to be sincere and true desire to please Allah Almighty, it could not be attained through coercion and oppression. And whosoever interferes in the personal freedom by coercion puts himself in a state of antagonism and hostility and rivalry with Almighty God.


Religion belongs to Almighty God alone. It is He Who chose to create mankind with free will, He chose that there is going to be no coercion in religion, He chose that everyone is going to be free in his choice, responsible for his choice, whether to believe or not, He chose to have a Day of Resurrection to judge people according to their deeds and beliefs. In all those details, Allah Almighty is the Final Judge with no interference from ecclesiastical or any other human interference. For that reason, the primary objective of legislating warfare in Islam is to fight to protect freedom of choice and to prevent coercion where Religion will be for Allah Almighty alone with no compulsion or coercion.( 002.193) ( 008.039 )


Truth be told, those religious-political systems that enforce the apostasy penalty, do so by adhering to the Salafi jurisprudence and it is contradictory to Islam in its precepts, its goals, its details and its rulings. We expanded on those matters in previous writings of ours. This Salafi jurisprudence was written during the medieval ages, between the Muslims’ camp and the western crusaders. From those concepts, emerged the terms, the abode of peace and the abode of war, and the continuation of the struggle.


Some of the terms of that struggle are to consider the one who reverted away from his religion a traitor who joined ranks with the enemy. If you were to read Ash-shaaf’i book titled (Al-Umm..The mother), you will find that the term apostate was wrapped with those militarized political views.

Although we are living in the 21st century, yet Wahhabism succeeded in reviving that stifling Salafi thought back into our times, and with the help of oil money it became rooted in our psyche as true Islam, through media, education, culture and mosques. American policy aided and abetted indirectly in implementing this culture of Wahhabism until the United States became its victim.


This culture of the masses considers the (abode of Islam) to be the (people of Mohammad) and considers the European and American West to be the (abode of war), and whoever Christianizes, is a traitor to the people of Mohammad, by doing so, he closes ranks with the enemies of people of Mohammad, thereby deserving to be killed.

Abdurrahman the Afghan, the Christian, faced that bloody culture with courage declaring his conversion. He could have appeased and dissimulated those around him, but he chose to be frank, open and clear in societies willful in considering hypocrisy the basis for dealing with each other. Because he differed with them in their belief in (people of Mohammad) and because he differed with them in their behavior (hypocrisy and color changing), they wanted to punish him..

It is not up to us to judge people’s intentions and beliefs and what hearken in their hearts, it is for Allah Almighty on Resurrection Day, but we can judge behavior and conduct, for they are external traits, so based on that alone, that Christianized Afghan is better than those who persecuted him because of his conversion away from Islam.


Muslims will remain in a state of antagonism with Islam as long as they, in their belief, deify Mohammad (PBUH), they consider themselves (People Of Mohammad) .We have tackled this concept in another article of ours ,titled (Who is the other in Islam).

The views and opinions of authors whose articles and comments are posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of IQC.