Before we get to the videos and the fatwa, bear with me a moment as I introduce you to a key figure in this article, Mr. Hande Abdel-Samad.
Mr. Abdel-Samad was born in Egypt in 1972 as the son of a Muslim imam and moved to Germany in 1995 when he was 23. He was educated in English and French at Ain Shams University in Cairo, politics at the German University of Augsburg, and in Japanese at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. Additionally, he is the author of 5 books and is an expert on Jewish and Islamic history.
While a university student, he became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He did not stay in the Brotherhood long, however, as became a skeptic of Islam and eventually an atheist.
It was many years later, in 2013, however, when his real trouble began; a fatwa for his death was issued, and remains in effect to this day. As Mr. Abdel-Samad states in his book “Islamic Fascism”
A talk I gave in Cairo on June 4, 2013, discussing religious fascism in Egypt, had, it turned out, prompted this call for my murder. My argument in the talk had been that a fascist mentality had made its way into Islam long before the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, that it was a product of the religion’s early history — early Islam had brought Arab religious pluralism to an end, demanding total obedience from its followers, brooking no dissenting opinion, and hungry for world domination. With this mind- set being early Islam’s predominant feature, outweighing all other aspects of the faith, I argued we could talk about such a thing as “Islamofascism.”
The footage of the talk was posted online and immediately caused a stir. It took almost no time at all for two Islamic scholars, cleric Mahmoud Shaaban and Abu Ishaq Al Heweny, to turn to television and quote passages from the Qur’an to show Muhammad was OK with dissenting ideas. Then, they issued a fatwa for Mr. Abdel-Samad’s death for being a dissenter.
Here’s the issuance of the fatwa on television:
Islamic apologists will say “But that scholar doesn’t really understand Islam or the Qur’an.”
Unfortunately for them, The Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA) agrees with the two scholars.
First, ISCA defines a fatwa:
“A fatwā is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue”
They also tell us who can issue a fatwa:
…the qualifications for a scholar to issue a fatwā based on legal precedent are nonetheless extremely taxing. He must:
- Know the verses of Qur’ān pertaining to the ruling at hand;
- Know the reason behind the verses of Qur’ān related to the ruling – when each was revealed and why;
- Distinguish the supportive and oppositional verses of the Qur’ān;
- Know all the hadith pertaining to the ruling and the soundness of their chain of transmission;
- Be familiar with the legal precedents of the issue before him, including the arguments or consensus reached by earlier scholars; and
- Be well-versed in the syntax, grammar, pronunciation, idioms, special linguistic uses, customs and culture prevalent at the time of the Prophet (s) and succeeding two generations.
Then they add this disclaimer:
“However, unless he who makes the declaration is extremely well-educated and trained in Islamic jurisprudence according to the requirements mentioned above, he has no authority to issue a fatwā… Of course to relate the rulings of qualified scholars is permitted, provided it is transmitted without changing the context or wording.”
Is Cleric Mahmoud Shaaban, who issued the fatwa, “extremely well-educated and trained in Islamic jurisprudence”?
Cleric Mahmoud Shaaban
- Professor at Al-Azhar University
- According to Wikipedia it is Egypt’s oldest degree-granting university and is renowned as “Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university”. In addition to higher education, Al-Azhar oversees a national network of schools with approximately two million students. As of 1996, over 4000 teaching institutes in Egypt were affiliated with the University.
It’s pretty clear that yes, he is indeed “extremely well-educated and trained in Islamic jurisprudence”. There is clearly nobody doubting any of his expertise, as endorsed by his status at such a prestigious Islamic university.
Thank you, Supreme Islamic Council of America for settling this for us.
As a bonus, if you’d like to see Mr. Abdel-Samad, here he is responding to an Islamist apologist on German TV.
Prepare to smile!
Islam: The religion of peace unless someone insults your peaceful religion and then you kill them.