Question: Does genuine blasphemy carry a death sentence?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Yes, genuine blasphemy is apostasy and carries the death sentence according to the Four Schools of Sunna jurisprudence.
This is based on what was applied by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) during his own lifetime, and how Sayyidna Abu Bakr dealt with the desert Arabs who apostatized during his reign (Bukhari).
This is on the proviso that a legitimate blasphemy case is brought against the blasphemer, that the court rules that it is genuine blasphemy, that the court rules that he is to be executed and that the blasphemer does not repent within three days (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).
The right of execution is solely that of the legal authorities, and it is forbidden and sinful for anyone, even after official conviction, to make any attempt on the blasphemer’s life (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).
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 a 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 Emirate penal code states something similar.
It is not a matter of scholarly consensus, and the Muslim ruler has the right to not enforce the death sentence if he sees fit.
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language