BEIRUT: Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani Monday took a firm stand against the legalization of civil marriage in Lebanon, saying any Muslim official who supported it would not be considered a Muslim.
“Every Muslim official, whether a deputy or a minister, who supports the legalization of civil marriage, even if it is optional, is an apostate and outside the Islamic religion,” Qabbani said in a religious edict, or fatwa.
“[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.
Qabbani’s fatwa came less than two weeks after President Michel Sleiman came out in support of granting Lebanese the right to an optional civil marriage.
Sleiman proclaimed his support a week after a couple who had deleted mention of their religious identity from their civil registration document attempted to make their civil wedding official.
The mufti criticized the attempts of some officials and civil society groups to pass a law legalizing civil marriage, saying that such efforts target the personal status laws of Muslims.
“All Muslim men and women and all Muslim ulema (scholars) are duty-bound to prevent such attempts to legalize civil marriage,” Qabbani said.
“In the face of an attempt to plant this germ of civil marriage… the ulema will not hesitate to do their job and defeat such attempts in Lebanon,” he added.