Islamic Experts Call for Mohammed Hegazy's Death
Members of the Faculty of Islamic Studies and Law Specialists agree "apostates of Islam are to be counseled; should they refuse -- they are to be killed."
From the August 9, 2007 edition of Al-Masaa newspaper
By Mohammad Omar. Translated by Rasha Noor & Kresteen Sfwat
Aug 9, 2007 - Members of the Faculty of Islamic Studies and the Law Specialists have been deeply troubled since being notified of Mohammad Hegazy’s case, a resident of Port Said who has converted from Islam to Christianity. Upon hearing of Hegazy’s case, faculty members have requested to subject Hegazy under the death sentence according to the Apostate Sharia Law for he has spoken poorly about Islam and was flippant around with the religions. Unless he repents and comes back to his religion by his own will and not under any pressure from anyone, it was stated, the punishment stays.
Although it is unfortunate for the Islamic Advisor to not have been present, it was stated according to Dr. Ibrahim Negm, the Advisor’s media consultant that “the death sentence upon the apostates of Islam is done so according to the judge of each case. In this being so, factors of leaving Islam have to be carefully examined – financial reasons, personal reasons, reasons of rebellion against the law, etc. Such a decision making process is important because it is once and for all determined by the last saying of the Judge leading the court”. Dr. Rafaat Ossmaan, a faculty member of Islamic Studies also agrees and states that the above statement has not been rejected by any other faculty members.
It is important to note that the religion is not forced upon anyone unless one desires to enter the religion as written in the Qur’an: “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way” Al-Baqara 256. Subsequently, this clearly shows that no one is forced to enter the religion of Islam should they do not wish to do so. Religions are not toys to fool around with. Naturally, many people enter into the Islamic religion and simply leave it ultimately carrying false excuses to leave the religion as one must face the Apostate Sharia Law.
Although there is no reason to change religions since there are numerous guarantees to support one’s religious choices, any individual entering Islam must acknowledge the fact that playing around with Islam is not a joking matter. Becoming an apostate is the mother of all crimes as it is said in the famous quote “there is no sin beyond infidelity”. As with all crimes, such a major crime carries its big punishment. Simply put, the size of each punishment depends on the crime committed and logically then, there is no room for any objections. Why? It’s simply due to the fact that Islam has given the infidel the freedom to enter the Islamic religion. Note however, after entering in the religion, one must abide by the rules of Islam and the rules simply do not allow any one to convert out of Islam – changing religions is not an easy process and should not be taken lightly.
It comes to one’s mind that the situation of the new Muslims leaving Islam is nothing but a trap for enemies of Islam to speak poorly about Islam. However, Islam is a religion with its fixed rules and fixed facts and so there is no reason to be astonished in regards to the fact that the punishment of apostates lies within the death sentence.
In perusing the death sentence, the Islam teachers heavily depend on the hadiths such as “who changes his religion, kill him” –a famous hadith found in Al-Bukhari the most accurate of the Sunnah. If one must explain the path in which such a punishment has come about, it is clearly identifiable with the consequences one must deal with should he/she commit a crime against his/her country. Dealing with Apostasy is by accepting the automatic death sentence.
Dr. Omar Hasham, Faculty Member of the Islamic Studies and President of the Religious Committee of the Egyptian Parliament, states the following:
“The Punishment of the Apostates is the death sentence. Counseling sessions are provided in order to repent and return back to Islam. Should one not repent, the punishment is decided under the Sharia Law as Prophet Mohammad has said ‘kill those who change their religion’ and ‘you cannot kill a Muslim –there is none but Allah, Mohammad the Prophet of Allah – unless one kills, commits adultery, or leaves his religion”.
Although this clearly indicates the strong demand of the death sentence to the apostates of Islam, Islamic teachers have differed in opinion regarding the time span of the counseling sessions of repentance provided to each apostate. While many agree that counseling should last for a time period of three days, others believe it should be for a longer time period, and some leave the questionable issue an open case. The main issue lies, however, in the fact that not only did the true hadith of Al-Bukhari affirm the death sentence, but that Prophet Mohammad himself has demanded it.
It is vital to explain an important fact of the Islamic faith – it is by no means a right to play around with the Islamic Doctrines and beliefs. Nor is it a right to expose the Islamic secrets and spread them to the Non-Muslims of the world and the enemies of Islam. Thus, in order to protect the Islamic nation, the legislation of the Apostate Sharia law must take place – for the apostates are cheating not only the Muslims but the non-Muslims of the world.
I wish to momentarily clarify the fact that people do not truly have a free will in changing their Islamic faith for another religion. As it is a fixed and clear fact stated by Our Prophet Muhammad –it is a truth. The understanding revolving around one’s freedom to convert out of Islam is nothing but a misconception.
Besides the fact the true hadiths have said, “those who leave their religion are to be killed”. Although the Qur’an states "To you is your religion, and to me is my religion" Al-Kaaferoon 6, this does not by all means ever mean that one has freedom to convert out of Islam. It is also written “then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve” Al-Kahf 29. Similarly, this verse does not mean once again that an individual has the free will to convert out of Islam. Rather the verse simply means that each person is responsible for his crime and punishment. And so, it does not mean at all that any Muslim may have the freedom to leave Islam once it is desired.
In regards to the factors which led Mohammad Hegazy out of Islam, Dr. Ahmad Omar Hasham said: “no one may convert out of Islam unless he/she was originally spiritually weak and does not have faith in his/her heart. In the true hadith of Al-Bukhari, we are told by Abu-Sefeyan that ‘there is no room to ignore one’s loyalty to his/her religion if his/her belief is right –never can he leave Islam’ after being asked by Hercules through his translators ‘has anyone left his religion and ignored his loyalty to his religion?’” Dr. Hasham continues on saying “one who is solidly fixed in his religion could never become an apostate for the beauty found in one’s faith is mixed in with his entire being…when this happens, no one can leave his religion but rather hates the idea of leaving; he/she begins to hate the idea of converting out of Islam more than being thrown into the hell gates of fire.
Hassan Khaleel, a supreme judge of the court, states that “there is a conflicting issue between the opinion of religion and the opinion of the law revolving around the crime of apostasy. Yet there is no sharp opinion of the law to outweigh the religious opinion and to ultimately declare the final process of action in such a situation.” The current case, Khaleek continued, is taken out of proportion and has caused the current adversity in the community.
“The person converted out of Islam, but did not take away from Islam and did not add to Christianity. He is nothing but ignorant and abusing his religious decisions solely for attention – to receive his 15 minutes of fame. The Muslims are threatening him with death and the Christians are applauding him,” Khaleel states.
Khaleel concluded his statement by saying “these crimes are personal and not communal and are not as phenomenal as they appear to be – so why give it the weight it does not originally have? The most dangerous aspect of this crime is its influence in dividing the community. It is ultimately the country’s responsibility to stop such crimes from initially happening.”
Editor's note: For updates and background on Mohammed Hegazy's case, please see the following links:
January 25, 2008: Tempers Flare into Melee at Egyptian Convert’s Hearing
December 4, 2007: Muslim Converts to Christianity Could Die at Hands of Attackers
October 10, 2007: Egyptian Islamists Join Case Against Convert to Christianity
August 9, 2007: Islamic Experts Call for Mohammed Hegazy's Death
August 8, 2007: Egyptian Convert in Hiding After Lawyer Backs Out,
August 5, 2007: Muslim Convert Requests Religion Change on Egypt's ID Card