Zindik (pl. zanadika; abstract zandaka), the term
used in Muslim criminal law to describe the heretic whose teaching becomes a
danger to the state; this crime is liable to capital punishment ... and to
The term was borrowed in the 'Irak from the Iranian vocabulary of the Sasanian
Indeed, it appears for the first time in the 'Irak in
125/742, in connection with the execution of Dia'd b. Dirham; ...
The term became a technical one and literary tradition designates three famous
writers, Ibn al-Rawandi, al Tawhidi and al-Ma'arri, as the "three zanadika of
Islam". But in general use, the term lost its precision and if the official
definition of the zindik (a dualist ascetic, then a Muslim who is secretly a
Manichaean, according to the caliph Mahdi) is already carelessly applied to the
three first men executed mentioned above, it is clear that it does not at all
explain the psychology of the three "zanadika of Islam". In practice, the
polemics of the conservatives describe as a zindik or "free thinker" any
one whose external profession of Islam seems to them not sufficiently sincere
(cf. the poet Dj. S.Zahawi in Baghdad or the critic Taha Husain in Cairo). This
is the meaning in which it is already used by al-Ma'arri in his Risalat
al-ghufran. This meaning denotes the radical doctrines of the free-thinkers,
whose chief works, contained in Isma'ili refutations, derive from authors as
Eranshahri, Abu 'Isa al-Warrak, Ibn al'Rawandi (K. al-zumurrudh, cf. RSO, xiv.
1933), the great physician al-Razi(K. Makharik al-anbiya) and al-Thughuri, and
have been edited by P. Kraus.
The evolution of the term is explained by its political character; it brands the
heresy which imperils the Muslim state (this is already clear in the trial of
al-Halladj); and as the only crime systematically punished by the Prophet himself
by death had been sabb al-rasul, the jurists more and more made zandaka an
intellectual rebellion insulting to the Prophet's honour (cf. Ibn Taimiya and Ibn
The stages of this evolution can be brought closer
together by summing up the definitions given of the word zandaka by the various
Muslim schools.The Hanbalis, according to Khashish (d. 253/867), recognize five
sects of zanadika:
|mu'attila,|| who deny the creation and the Creator,
reducing the world to an unstable mixture of the four elements; |
|manawiya ||(Manichaeans) and mazdakiya who are dualists; |
|'abdakiya || (vegetarian Imami ascetics of Kufa; cf. Massignon, Recuiel
..., p11-12); and |
|ruhaniya || (four ecstatic sects, who seek to free
themselves from the constraint of observances and laws by an amorous union of the
soul with God, a union denounced as implying identity of nature between the
Creator and his creatures; ...) ... |
... As to the theologians, the Mu'tazilis at first saw in zandaka an
amorous devotion seeking liberation from obligatory duties (cf. Thumama, in
al-Baghdadi, Fark, abbr. and ed. Hitti, p. 105), then a tendency to the ibaha of
the Khurramiya; Muhji ed-din Ghazzali defines it as a tendency to atheism.
The Sufis were early persecuted as zanadika in view of
their doctrine of the divine love (trial in the year 262/875 of Nuri; execution
of al-Halladj); ...
- Shorter encyclopedia of Islam, edited by H.A.R.
Gibb and J.H. Kramers (Cornell University Press: Ithaca NY 1953) p 659
Islam requires that any person who even looks at the echo you are reading to get
my message, get offed in a gory pile of blood and gore. "ulhud" is the
word for atheist, and it almost means "flesh of satan". If they want me to
die without rights or trial, then I will state that even if they have some good
ideas, we can do better with reason.
- DW 10/31/94
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 1996 14:05:46 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 6, 1996
DIVORCE IS SENTENCE FOR PROFESSOR WHO PROFANES ISLAM
A happily married university professor must divorce his wife because he was
thought to have renounced the Islamic religion, a top appeals court in Egypt has
ruled. Nasr Abu Zeid, a professor of Arabic was accused by Muslim fundamentalists
of writings and interpretations of the Koran which were profane, and resembled
"atheism" -- a term used not to specifically refer to a non-theist, but rather to
those who do not believe in Islam.
The ruling by the Court of Cassation, the nation's top appeals body, upholds an
earlier decision where a judge ruled that Zeid's writings do, in fact, make him
an unbeliever. But the professor insists that he is still a Muslim, and continues
to accuse religious leaders of quoting the Koran out of context and making
Mr. Zeid and his wife, who is also a professor, fled to the Netherland last year;
officials declared that should they decide to return to Cairo, the couple would
be compelled to separate. But the Zeid case has become a major cause celebre for
human rights organizations, some of which expressed shock and dismay at
yesterday's ruling. The secretary general of the Egyptian Organization for Human
Rights told the New York Times: "This is a big shock to us. The ruling is a slap
in the face of civil society in Egypt and to its development. It is another
addition to the backward behavior in Egypt that is working to stop any real
development and it strengthens the limitations on freedom of opinion and belief."
Human rights groups immediately called upon Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to
overturn the ruling; they also expressed fears for Mr. Zeid's life, saying that
the decision would simply encourage the Muslim militant groups who have been
fighting to turn the nation into a strict Islamic state, modeled after Iran.