Criticizing Religious Figures via Comedy

In his answer to al-Sharq al-Awsat Newspaper’s question about the permissibility of criticizing a religious group in a comedic way as in Arabic drama, his eminence sheikh Abdullah ibn Bayyah, member of the Fiqh Academy in Mecca, said:

 

 

Basically, it is definitely prohibited to criticize, mock at, or deride of the right religion and whoever does this bears enormous sin. But if this is about irreligious or improper practices or about things attributed to the religion while they are not of it, this apparently seems permissible.

The sheikh added that criticizing the commissions that enjoin good and forbid evil, which are not infallible, is not permissible except in a respectable manner and after verifying the credibility of some issues to shun sinful accusations and defamation. He pointed out that criticism should be only for rectification not for spreading chaos in society. He considered resorting to sardonic comedy in criticizing practices attributed to the religion as something that Muslim communities are not familiar with. This thus could lead to evil when criticism turns to be impugnment.

Dr. Ibn Bayyah likened criticism in some cases to walking on thorns. It may also give the impression of being part of an international program that aims at distorting Islam and some of its institutions. This could stir and fuel troubles.

 

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