Death By Prayer Or Lack Thereof

Oh dear…

MOGADISHU — Mogadishu’s new rulers, the Union of Islamic Courts, have promised to implement Islamic Sharia law and vowed to kill anyone failing to perform daily Salaad prayers.

Mogadishu’s Shabelle Media Network Radio reported on Wednesday that the Union of Islamic Courts intended to implement Sharia law throughout the country and particularly in Mogadishu, which they captured last month.

One of the Union of Islamic Courts’ founders is Sheikh Abdullah Ali. Ali said during a speech at the opening ceremony of an Islamic Sharia law court in Mogadishu’s Gubta neighborhood that “when people accept practicing Islamic Sharia law everybody will enjoy life based on peace and prosperity.”

Ali also promised that the Union of Islamic Courts will kill anybody that fails to practice Salaad, commenting, “He who does not perform prayer will be considered as infidel and our Sharia law orders that person to be killed. The Sharia law orders the killing of any Muslim person when he fails to perform prayer.” [source]

I think these rulers should be killed for whatever it was they were smoking when they came up with this. I can hear them hacking away at the pillars of Islam.


  • “Those who would sacrifice liberty for temporary security deserve neither.” I guess this sayng now applies to the Somalian leadership as well.

  • “He who does not perform prayer will be considered as infidel and our Sharia law orders that person to be killed.”

    I bet Pamela Anderson knows more about Islam than this idiot does!

  • Hypothetical here. If you, a Muslim in Jordan were to travel to Mogadishu and they were to somehow see you not praying, would they kill you? That would terrify me if I were a Mulsim traveling in Somalia.

    On another note, how long before people start accusing each other of not praying. Like in divorce proceedings. “My spouse didn’t pray…” Would they kill over that.

  • I think that there is a hadith stating that a muslim who doesnt pray is considered to be an atheist. I am not sure how valid this hadith is, but I remember that someone who used to work at the same company with me had something like this printed out and hanged on the wall of her office.

    Does anyone hear about this? How valid such hadith? Sometimes people take things to the extreme.

  • This is what happens when you have people with no education putting themselves up as judges. You get a mish mash of Islam and culture mixed together than makes for a certain hell.

    Allah knows best.

  • Allow me to disagree. As usual, the media is interested in “BIG HEADLINES’ about prayers, while forgetting the real issues. Please allow me to explain how I see this subject.

    I agrue that the Somali Islamic Courts are NOT WRONG but not POLITICALLY SMART by mentioning a controversial impractical issue. I also argue that the media is wrong by focusing on these minor issues.

    Before I proceed, I want to stress that I don’t personally agree with this ruling, but allow me to explain it.

    Regarding “Neglecting-Prayers” subject:
    1- It’s true that in traditional mainstream Fiqh, the ruling on the person who insists on leaving prayers is death. Check any of the 4 juristic schools, and you can find this.
    2- HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, throughout Islamic history, there is NO RECORDED INCIDENT of any person killed for leaving prayers. There is also no recorded incident of any Islamic “police” going around checking people for praying. For further discussion on this point, check Rashid Al-Ghannoushi.
    3- Some recent scholars have rediscussed this issue and have new ideas. Nonetheless, it’s not in mainstream yet.

    Thus, this is one of those “theoretical” statements, where the purpose is usually emotional and NOT actual. Compare this to Jamal Abdel Naser’s “we will throw them into the sea” or when Americans shout “Nuke’em”. People say these things, but they don’t mean them literally.

    So, this statement is really part of a big propaganda by the Somali Courts to push the Somali population from being separated under many tribes to being unified under one thought/religion.

    In war-torn areas, this is a very logical and expected move. Any government that expects to last must unify people’s feelings around one subject – usually with a lot of propaganda (be it nationalism, communism, socialism, fighting poverty, farmers rights, taxation-without-representation, etc.). The Somali Islamic Courts are using the religion of Islam. I think they should review the propaganda they use so that it won’t remind the world of other ‘suspecious’ movements elsewhere. They should use methods that work well in Somalia and does not enrage world opinion about them. Finding this middle ground is not easy, but it’s the “wise” thing to do, IMHO.


    The real issue in Somalia has NOTHING TO DO with people praying or not. The real issues:
    1- Would people have security?
    2- Would people have basic living needs of food & water?
    3- Would Somalia be united under a just government and say goodbye to warlords?

    If the Islamic Courts can solve these REAL issues that plauge Somalis everyday, then they deserve to be there. They might be strict at the beginning, I agree, but this is normal for a country emerging from a long civil-war. Throughout history, countries leave wars with very intolerant laws, and then gradually move to being liberal and tolerant. Look at US in the 50s (Japanese concentration camps) or 60s (McCarthian anti-communism investigations). Look at Islam during Omar bin Khattab (intolerant of other cultures evident by burning many Persian books) to the time of al-Ma’mon (he sponsored a huge translation effort to learn from other cultures, mainly greek).

    Let us not be distracted by cheap media news. Let’s focus on the real questions. And let’s leave propaganda at that.. propaganda.

  • Muhammad Arabi, good post, you may have some valid points regarding post civil-war intolerance, but this in no way justifies such ruling, and having such news in media is just another slap to Islam and Arabs.

    You said: “throughout Islamic history, there is NO RECORDED INCIDENT of any person killed for leaving prayers”

    Are you talking about Islamic history at the time of the Islamic emperor till the Othmani emperor? or it includes current Islamic affairs, and intruders to Islam as of current bunch of terrorists?

    Did Talban applied such a ruling, have anyone been killed in Afghanistan during their ruling for leaving prayers? What is the rule in Saudi Arabia? I am not sure, but arent prayers forced on people there somehow? and what about Somalia now? did they apply such ruling? and would it enter Islamic history if it does?

    I think that such an important issue shall be addressed and studied comprehensively by Islamic leaders, and a clear interpretation and desicion shall be make.

  • Salam The Observer,

    1- I’m not justifying the ruling (personally I’m against it) – I’m saying we shouldn’t get hung up on it in regard to the Somalian case.

    It’s just like teaching a young person to paint: it’s OK to go off the line at times.
    Somalia is a young country, torn by a civil war for more than 10 years. Let them make few mistakes as long as they are progressing in the right direction.

    Civil liberties come at the peak of civilization. Don’t do like the new religious converts – they don’t have patience for others who did not convert like them yet. USA took more than 250 years to grant citizenship to Blacks. You can’t say that USA did not have the right to exist in 1770 because of the slavery issue. Social justice takes a while, and is a result of a stable country & thoughtful people who are not under fear of war or hunger.

    2- On the other hand, the issue itself, which is Tolerance for Freedom of Religion is VERY IMPORTANT and is widely discussed by many scholars of the Islamic World in stable countries (e.g.

    3- Regarding the “Apostasy Punishment in Juristic Islamic History” – I should have explained. I’m quoting a traditional islamic scholar (I think Ibn Qutaiba) who was quoted by Rashid Al-Ghannoushi on AlJazeera (I can’t find the quotation on the net yet). This mainly includes the older times of Islam – not the modern movements (e.g. Taliban, etc). On the other hand, I’ve never read that Taliban ended up killing people for apostasy – they just talked a lot about it. Another note: this is separate from “treason combined with apostasy” which has lead to capital punishment in Islamic history – just like other civilizations.

    4- I hate to see the Media focusing on some random flaming statement from a Somalian leader talking to his people. To be objective, they should focus on the real issues that face Somalis and whether they are being solved correctly.

    If the Islamic Courts are sincere about “doing the right thing” (be it going back to religion & spreading justice) then I hope they do it correctly. I just hope that they are not another “veiled by religion” movement using it gain power for its leaders and tribe.

  • Salam Muhammad Al Arabi :),
    I can see your point of the media not being objective and concentrating on this instead of other issues. I would consider this as a real issue as well, and yes, I can also see your point of liberties coming at the peak of civilisation, which may explain the Somalian leaders behaviour now, but it doesnt mean that the rest of the world has to stop and watch when a basic human rights issue is violated. Let them talk about it at least.

    I know that you were not justifying the ruling, I didnt say that you did, and I am glad that you even cleared it better. I guess that what you were saying that it isnt as bad as it sounds (I mean with media exaggeration).

    I just wish Islamic leaders push more and more towards a tolerate Islam. Thos leaders of Somalia are only making it look worse.

  • I’m sorry Muhammmad Arrabi, but according to my understanding of the position of Ahlul Sunna wal-Jamaa’a, someone who leaves prayer is not killed. Here is the difference:

    – If you believe that prayer is obligatory for Muslims, but don’t pray, you’re still a Muslim, but a sinning one. You can’t be touched.

    – If, however, you believe that prayer is not obligatory, only then do you become a “kafir”, according to Sunnis.

    The Observer- there is a difference between atheist and kafir. an athiest doesnt believe in God. the word kafir means someone who conceals something and tries to burry it, or rejects it. Thus rejecting something in the Qur’an would make you a kafir, but not necessarily an athiest.

Your Two Piasters: