Since 2015 Sheharyar Shaikh serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Kingston, Ontario and he also served as the President of North American Muslim Foundation and the Imam of Masjid Qurtabah in Scarborough, Ont. In recent years, he also took part in Dawah (introducing Islam to disbelievers) with activists affiliated with the Islamic booth at Toronto’s Dundas Square.
Supporter of the establishment of a Caliphate, or The Islamic State, Sheharyar Shaikh believes that the Islamic Law (Sharia Law) is essential to maintain a healthy and moral society which can be achieved by using the Islamic punishments (execution, crucifixion, flogging etc.) as effective deterrents against potential criminals. In this regard he emphasized that punishment for apostates, Muslims who left Islam, is execution. The following are excerpts from a sermon entitled “There Is No Compulsion In Islam” which was delivered in English in 2013 (29:47-31:46):
There is an extensive topic on compulsion in religion (اكراه في الدين). I especially want to look at one aspect – the punishment for apostasy.
When a person in an Islamic State apostasies, leaves religion, let Allah be a witness that I am telling the truth, that the punishment for apostasy is death.
Anybody telling you anything else, I swear by Almighty Allah (والله العظيم), they are lying to you. This is in Islamic Law, if you apostasies, if you turn your back from Islam, according to the [Islamic] Law it is death.
And it is not something new. It is the same in the Judaic Law. It was the same in the Christian Law as well and it has been ever since [when] Islam was there.
If you turn back, if you commit treason against the country there is punishment of death.
If you commit treason against the state there is death. You commit treason against Allah, against the
Creator, there is punishment [of death] as well.
How could it be, I ask you, is this logical the danger to life, of someone’s life, is deterred by retributive justice (Qisas قصاص). If you kill somebody, if you want to kill anybody there is retributive justice (Qisas قصاص) in effect.
If there is a danger to someone’s honour, you cannot dishonour somebody because there is flogging. You cannot go and damage someone’s property, because there is deterrence, because you know that there will be either crucifixion (صلب) or exile (جلاء). There will be crucifixion or exile or even worse. You cannot go out and rob people’s property.
Similarly, the greatest thing is when you’re coming to Islam, right? you have now made a pact. This is a contract. Every time we stand up and we say: Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek (إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين) we’re renewing this contract. This we’re taking very seriously. You are alone we worship, You are alone we will worship has both meanings. This has implications.
Similar position was echoed by Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Kader Kandil (أحمد عبد القادر قنديل) who is a member of Conseil des imams du Québec (Imams Council of Quebec).
Of Egyptian descent Kandil was in 1990-96 an imam of several mosques in Cairo and Alexandria and worked for 8 years as an imam, preacher and teacher for the Egyptian Ministry of Endowment. In Canada Kandil worked as a teacher of Arabic language and Koran in private schools in Edmonton and Montreal and was for two years the imam of al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton before moving to Laval and served as the Imam of al-Jisr Mosque.
The following are excerpts from Kandil’s sermon entitled “The Types of Apostasy” and given on May 12, 2013 at Alrawdah Mosque in Montreal (originally in Arabic):
The apostasy and the meaning of apostasy… [i.e.] a man uttered the two testimonies. He said I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and he was pleased with the Sharia [Law] of Islam and was pleased with the constitution of Islam… whether he was born as a Muslim or became Muslim after being an infidel, and then removed this [Islamic faith] from his mind, [meaning] he removed from his mind the bond which he tied to his soul by disowning the religion as a whole or by disowning part of it or information regarding the religion that must be known [to Muslims]… meaning that you as a Muslim are being held as a person who knows this religion, i.e. that the prayer is a religious duty, that fornication is forbidden and is regarded in the religion of Allah a major sin, that theft is a major sin, that drinking wine is a major sin… you left the religion of Allah… meaning that a person who commits one of these deeds… turns apostate…
The ruling on apostasy… the apostate must come to the [Muslim] judge or to the Imam of the Muslims… meaning the emir or the head [of the state] or the ruler… the meaning of the Imam in this context is that he [the apostate] should be brought to the emir or the head of the state or the judge who is in charge of Sharia [Islamic Law] affairs in the Islamic country…
There are two types of apostates… one of them is a person who committed apostasy… and uttered it [the act of apostasy]. We heard him [saying] ‘I’m apostate, I don’t believe in this prayer… I don’t like Islam, I left Islam and turned for example a Christian… He left Islam for another religion or disowned information about Islam that should have been known to all Muslims, but his actions were done on the personal level, he stayed in his home and did not went to fight against Islam or the Muslims or joined a group that fights against the Islamic State or he did not come out and spread his beliefs among the people and launched a website and spread atheism in the country etc…
The second type is a person who committed apostasy, but he did not stop there and joined a vile group in fighting Islam and spread atheism and provoked suspicions [about the Islamic faith] and tried to spread the corruption among the people.
Each one has a different ruling. Jurists’ opinions were divided on the first case. Most of the jurists agreed that he will be asked for three days to repent. He will be given a period of three days for repentance [and during this time] the scholars will sit with him, pose arguments against him, remove his confusion, answer his doubts and try to convince him. If after the third day he still adheres to his position he will be killed. This is the opinion of the mainstream jurists. Abu Hanifa [founder of a school of Islamic jurisprudence] said that if [the apostate] is a male he will be killed… a woman will not be killed… she will be jailed until death… According the Shafi’i and Maliki [schools of Islamic jurisprudence]… the apostate, male or female, who did not join a group and did not fight [against Islam] will never be killed… he [or she] will be asked to repent and then will be incarcerated till he changes his mind or dies in jail…
The second case deals with a person who fights against Allah and His messenger and joined a vile group. His verdict will not be a regular execution. His verdict will be identical to the punishment for banditry. ‘Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides.’ [Quran 5:33]. This is the difference between them. The first will be asked to repent and the second will be killed immediately without repentance or asking him to repent…
The third type… there are people called the Westernised Muslims. Did you hear about them? Who are the Westernised Muslims?… There are people called orientalists. The orientalists are European, American and other scholars who came to our countries, learned the Arabic language and the culture of the Arab and the Muslim society and started trying to find doubts in the [truthiness of] the religion of Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, in order to use them to destroy Islam. Unfortunately, some of them are our kin… our respected secular brothers… they traveled to their [orientalists] countries and learned from them or mingled with them in our countries and started repeating these words of folly uttered and made by the orientalists, for example that Islam oppresses the woman…
They started spreading these suspicions and sedition saying that Islam treats harshly women and that Islam is a rigid religion. [They say:] ‘why the hand of the thief is chopped off? And why the person who commits fornication is stoned to death… and why a person who drinks wine is flogged 80 times? This is a rigid religion. This is cruelty. Is this Islam? Is this the Sharia [Islamic law]? Is this tolerance?’
By doing so and by these words they addressing Allah directly and accusing Him , Glorified be He, of injustice. They say: ‘Our Lord, you are unjust…’ The Westernized Muslims repeated these statements and this is one of the facets of apostasy, because they accused Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, of injustice…
Another aspect of apostasy is the alliance with the infidels… ‘O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies.’ [Quran 5:51]. This is a very important issue… the meaning of the alliance is support, you support him [the infidel] against the believers, subordination, you act in self-deprecation, submit to him or make him judge in issues commanded by Allah, and then love, which makes you love him more than the believers or give him precedence over the believers… and humiliation by belittling yourself in front of him and surrendering to him on the expense of your religion. All of this is alliance, meaning that you are helping an infidel against a Muslim, that you give precedence to an infidel over a Muslim in a matter… that adds strength to the heresy and weaken the power of Islam.
Shaykh Said Rageah (الشيخ سعيد راجح) the founder and Imam of Sakinah Center in Scarborough, Ont., justifies the death penalty in Islam for apostasy. Of Somali descent Said Rageah is founder of Masjid Huda in Montreal, an Imam at Masjid Aya in Maryland and Abu Huraira Islamic Center in Toronto and an advisor for Muslim Youth magazine, and a member in the Aqsa Association. He teaches and travels for Al-Maghrib Institute and he also holds the post of Chairman for the Journey of Faith conference.
In the Q&A session following his lecture (the video was posted in April 2012), titled “Sharia: Does it Have a Place in The 21st Century”, Shaykh Said Rageah spoke in favor of implementing the Islamic Law (Sharia) as the only ruling system that can provide justice to mankind.
In this regard, he implicitly justified the death penalty prescribed to Muslims, including converts, who turn their back to Islam for adopting other religion and to non-Muslims (and Muslims) who dare intentionally to insult the Prophet Mohammad or any of the other Prophets of God.
According to Said Rageah, the Islamic Courts Union’s rule in Somalia that implemented the Sharia (Islamic law) was legitimate and reflected the democratic will of the people. He blamed the US of unjustly intervening in Somalia and destroying the “peace” the Islamic Courts Union achieved in order to deprive Muslims of their democratic rights.
Here are excerpts of his Shaykh Said Rageah’s speech:
Anybody who insults Mohammad, peace be upon him, Muslims do not tolerate anyone to insult Mohammad, Issa [عيسى] or Jesus, Moses, any of the prophets of God.
If you are in a Muslim country and you insult Mohammad or Jesus you receive the same punishment, because both of them are the messengers of God. You cannot discriminate Mohammad or one over other, no, you are not allowed. And these prophets of God we are ordered to honour and respect and protect their honour as long as we live, and Muslims will do this as long as they live. So it’s not only Mohammad, it’s [relevant to] all prophets, all the prophets.
In Christianity they make fun of Jesus. Right? You know, they make fun of Jesus and all this, and it’s fun for them, they laugh and this is just for fun. If a Christian does that in Saudi Arabia or in a Muslim country he will be in trouble, because this one is a messenger of God and this one is a messenger of God.” [Note: The Muslims scholars unanimously agreed that a Muslim who insults the Prophet becomes an apostate who is to be executed].
The one who gets in trouble, what is the penalty?
It depends, it depends if the person knew what he was talking about. If he didn’t know the severity of what he said he could be just ok, just be aware of this, please respect these people. But if in purpose he do[es] this, they go back to the ruler, [it] goes back to the ruler and the judge of that time, but it could also be to the point as far as ‘kill that person’, if he doesn’t repent what he is saying, he doesn’t stop insulting Jesus, Moses or all the prophets of God…
The punishment of an apostate (مرتد) is death in Islam. Isn’t that against the freedom of speech?
Islam give you this, and number one, the ‘murtad’ is someone who apostates from Islam, [he] becomes a Muslim and go[es] back, he doesn’t want to be a Muslim anymore. Now, it doesn’t exist because there is no Islamic Law implementing anywhere in the earth that I’m know of that 100%.
Islam tell you [that] before you become a Muslim [that] these are the rules, this is our system, if you’re in [Islam], you’re in for life. You cannot turn back.
If I right now, if I work for the government of Canada and then I go and I expose some of the top secrets. What will happen to me? What they try do to me? treason… In anywhere, if you do something like that the punishment, whether it is life in prison or whatever it is, there are punishments.
When [it] comes to Islam, I’m telling you, [if] you want to stay non Muslim [so] stay non Muslim, the day you become Muslim then be careful, you cannot go back, it’s your choice. However, as I’ve said, now it doesn’t exist…
This guy, this group called Sharif [Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed الشيخ شريف شيخ احمد], the guy who flipped, courts [محاكم] they came up with something and said: ok, we call ourselves courts [Islamic Courts Union – ICU اتحاد المحاكم الإسلامية] and are going to rule Somalia by the Sharia [Islamic Law].
Somalia has no system, no civilization, no oil yet, none of that, right? and all of a sudden they came and saying: you know what? We gonna take over this and we gonna rule everybody based on the Sharia. WOW. America was out of norm. In six months these guys were able to establish peace. In six months. Everything was normal.
But America, they have to come and destroy. Why? It is in east Africa. You’re as far away from America, they don’t want you. What happened to democracy? I want democracy for my people. This [is] what they chose, leave them alone. No, no, you’re Muslims, democracy for everyone except for Muslims…
Activists at the Islamic booth at Toronto’s Dundas Square handed out in copies of the book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions” authored bt Abdul-Rahman al-Sheha. The sticker on the back of the book read: “Walk-In Islamic infoCenter, 2535-1 Dundas street west, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3, Canada. (647) 994-6807 & (647) 782-2303, [Email] [email protected] [Facebook] WalkInIslamicInfoCenter. Learn Islam in 85 languages:www.collectfreequran.org”.
The following are excerpts from the book that deal with the punishment for apostasy in The Islamic State:
Islamic Shari’ah decrees execution for the person who apostatizes after accepting Islam as a way of life, and rejects Islamic beliefs and laws…
Rejecting Islam as a way of life after its acceptance implies malicious propaganda against Islam and a disgrace to the immediate Muslim community where the apostate lives. Such rejection will not only discourage people from accepting Islam as a way of life, but will encourage all varieties of criminality and blasphemy…
Declaring general disbelief and rejection is unacceptable in Islamic Shari’ah because such a person does not honor the sacred commitment to his or her faith. He is more dangerous and worse than an original non-believer who never was a Muslim…
We should take the following points into consideration concerning apostates from Islam.
The killing of an apostate from the Islamic faith implies that such a person has violated the basis of Islam and attacked Islam openly and publicly with treachery and blasphemy. As such, he threatens the very basis of the moral and social order. This treachery may precipitate the beginning of internal revolution and dangerous rebellion within the Islamic society. This kind of crime is the most serious in any society, and therefore is called ‘High Treason’…
Execution of such an apostate is, in reality, a salvation for the rest of the society members from the maliciousness and violence he would spread if left to propagate his disbelief and blasphemy among the other members of the society…
Islam does not treat rejection of the faith as a personal matter but rather a rejection that harms the entire system. This rejection is a seed of internal revolution and instigation towards rebellion in the society… Islam only punishes the apostate himself with the simple, direct and very effective deterrent…