Should a Disbeliever Be Allowed to Say His Religion is Better than Islam?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Should a disbeliever living in a Muslim country be allowed to say that his religion is better than Islam, or will it be considered blasphemy? And should they be allowed to express their disagreement on the interpretation of the Holy Quran and have other views, or will it also be considered blasphemy? I was reading a post on a Pakistani Christian page saying that these things qualify as blasphemy in Pakistan. What is the ruling according to the Holy Quran and Sunna? Please reply.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

Scholars say the case of non-Muslims living in a Muslim state is much more complex. This is because the state has both an interest to protect the religion and its symbols while also acknowledging that non-Muslims clearly do not see Islam or its symbols in the sacred light that Muslims do. For this reason, many jurists gave non-Muslim leeway in expressing their beliefs, even if it was otherwise seen as ‘blasphemous.’ Again, there are many details and debates surrounding this.

A mere fatwa does not legitimate a death sentence. It must be a formal court ruling.
It is worth noting that many, if not most, Muslim countries still have blasphemy laws but do not enforce the death penalty for it. Article (283) of the Jordanian Penal Code, for example, states imprisonment for blasphemy and not execution. Article (312) of the United Arab Emirates penal code states something similar.

It is not a matter of scholarly consensus, and the Muslim ruler has the right not to enforce the death sentence if he sees fit.

Call to Sound Guidance

Mercy and patience with blasphemy was the general rule applied by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), while legal punishment was the exception, only when it was compounded by high crimes of apostasy, treason, warfare, sedition, or incitement. Our religion is of mercy; we should work towards inviting all to accurate eternal guidance by clearing their misconceptions. This is the proper understanding and spirit of Islam.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.

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[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.