Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani issued the fatwa branding as an apostate any Muslim politician who approves civil marriage legislation. “Any Muslim with legal or executive authority in Lebanon who supports the legalisation of civil marriage is an apostate and outside the religion of Islam,” he said on the website of Dar al-Fatwa, the official institution for fatwas. “There are predators lurking among us, trying to sow the bacteria of civil marriage in Lebanon, but they should know that the religious scholars will not hesitate to do their duty” and prevent the passage of such a bill. “[Such officials] would not be washed, would not be wrapped in a [burial] shroud, would not have prayers for their soul in line with Islamic rules, and would not be buried in a Muslim cemetery,” Qabbani added.
The issue of civil marriage gained momentum these past two days after President Michel Sleiman tweeted in support of a draft law to legalize civil marriage. Maronite Patriarch Rahi had already declared in 20112 that he endorses and the government should make it compulsory.
The first one to shoot down such law was our beloved Sunni Prime Minister who opposed such proposal because we “don’t need such controversial issues at the time being.”
So according to Sunni Grand Mufti and Prime Minister atheists in Lebanon have no right at all. Both of them are standing against the Lebanese constitution which states: “Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic based on respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinion and belief, and respect for social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination.”
What Mufti Qabbani failed to understand or grasp is that we do not live in an Islamic state run by Shari’a law. In addition, Muslim deputies are elected not only by Muslims but also by Christians and atheists. He raised the sword of apostate against any Sunni Muslim legislator if he vote for legalizing civil marriage in Lebanon. The verdict according to Muslim Shariaa against the apostate is death.
For the past few years, I heard many Christian Lebanese repeating like parrots what they leaders told them: “They (Sunnite Muslims) came to us”. Meaning they follow us now. How many times, I repeated that this is a false statement and Muslims will only follow their Muslim Shari’a. It is their religion, this is what they believe in and it is their right to do so. But a Mufti can’t send Lebanese Muslim lawmakers to death because these lawmakers work for their constituencies and not for Muslims only. In addition, you can’t label a Muslim lawmaker as an apostate because he is abiding by the Lebanese constitution which asks him to respect the social justice and equality of rights and duties of all citizens without discrimination.
Few week ago, when Christian political leaders and lawmakers supported a law which allow Christians to vote for their lawmakers and same for the Muslims, they were accused of driving Lebanon backwards and against the evolution and coexistence.
When many Lebanese realize that this country is based on religion and sects and ask for implementing a decentralized system or a federal system, they are accused of separation and division in the country. But these Lebanese totally understand that to be a Muslim, you have to follow your religion. A religion that controls the spiritual and social life of its followers. At least these Lebanese are not labeling others as apostate and not infringing on Lebanese rights to live equally in the country. On the contrary, it allows all Lebanese to live the way they desire to do so.
What Mufti Qabbani missed is that for around $1500, a couple can fly to Cyprus (24 minutes), get a civil marriage, return to Lebanon and their marriage is recognized in Lebanon. The proposed law states that civil marriage is optional. No one is forcing Muslims to have a civil marriage. So how the hell the Mufti saw this “optional” marriage an attack on Islam?