Is it a sin for a Muslim to make fun of the beliefs of people who have different religions and faiths?

The Details of the Question
Is it a sin for a Muslim to make fun of the beliefs of people who have different religions and faiths?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verse regarding the issue is as follows:

"Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance..."(al-An'am, 6/108)

Zamakhshari regards the meaning of the word "sabb" in the verse as "criticism" in general and states that it is a duty to criticize mistakes and bad deeds under normal conditions; however, he also states that it is also a duty to avoid criticizing if it criticism can lead to more harmful and destructive states than the criticized state. (II, 23)

However, as many mufassirs (interpreters) say the word "sabb" means "shatm", that is, "ugly words that are contrary to good manners and courtesy." It is necessary to criticize those who are in the wrong way and to show what is right and what is wrong, but according to the verse, it is not permissible to do it through a style that cannot be reconciled with the rules of lenience, good manners and courtesy of Islamic ethics like insulting, swearing and cursing. As a matter of fact, the fact that not the Prophet (pbuh) but the other believers are addressed proves it. For, swearing and cursing do not comply with the ethics of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); therefore, there is no need to warn him like that.

According to this verse, to insult others, their faiths and the values that they regard as sacred does not comply with Islamic manners and ethics; besides, it will harm the dignity of Islam. In fact, as Razi also states (XIII, 139), polytheists believed in Allah though they also worshipped idols. Therefore, it is out of question for them to insult Him without any reason.   

Then, excessive remarks of some Muslims about polytheists and their faith caused them to run wild and dared to curse sacred faith of Muslims by losing their temper though they did not intend to curse Allah directly. In this verse, Muslims are ordered to avoid the words and attitudes that could cause such acts.

There is an implication to Islam's method of conveying the message in the verse. According to this implication, just like our faiths and views, other people's faiths and views are valuable for them. The way to dialog and persuasion is through respect and courtesy. Insulting and cursing increases the addressee's feeling of hostility; it leads to polemics and conflicts. (Kur’an Yolu, Diyanet Tefsiri: II/358-359)

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