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Is mockery of aspects of the religion clear-cut unbelief?
Shaykh Muḥammad Bāzmūl
Yes, mockery of aspects of the religion is greater unbelief, and it is clear-cut unbelief because Allāh, in the Noble Qur’ān judged those who mocked Allāh as unbelievers:
Say, ‘Were you mocking Allah, His verses and His Messenger? Do not make excuses; you have become Unbelievers after your faith'”
[At-Tawbah 9:65 – 66]
Therefore, making a mockery of aspects of the religion, the Qur’ān, the Messenger ﷺ, or the Messenger’s ﷺ disciples is not permitted, this would be clear-cut unbelief. This is why the scholars rule that anyone who insults the religion, Allāh, the Messenger ﷺ, all the disciples, the Messenger’s ﷺ wives, the Islamic legal system or anything specific to the religion of the Messenger ﷺ is an unbeliever committing greater unbelief, excluded from the fold… unless he is under duress.
Does his action make it necessary to declare him in particular an unbeliever?
Shaykh Muḥammad Bāzmūl
Yes, once the excuse of ignorance has been removed. Yes, if he does it without being under duress, and the excuse of ignorance has been removed, he explicitly becomes an unbeliever. However, upholding the verdict of unbelief against him is the remit of the ruler and not the role of the average Muslim.
Have you not seen that man who said while he was on the minbar spoke words of unbelief? He said that if Allāh were to come down and take part in the elections, even He would not have won with this amount of votes. Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymīn said, “This man has committed unbelief by speaking these words, and should therefore be ordered to repent. If he repents, that is all well and good; otherwise he should be put to death.” The sheikh, despite his verdict that this man abandoned the faith, did not execute it. Their matter is simply referred to the rulers.
This is what we say; when someone speaks words of unbelief, the words are judged as unbelief, that is greater unbelief, and that this man in particular has abandoned the faith and his affair is left to the leader. It is he who will administer what that particular judgement demands. And Allāh alone we ask for help and support. This is not up to the average Muslim.