This individual has been diagnosed as schizophrenic since 2011. Since diagnosis, he’s had delusions of grandeur where he thinks he’s a Messenger, has blasphemed and says Allah talks to him. He’s also sane enough to do certain things such as travelling out of the city independently occasionally, online shopping but has low motivation for other things e.g. working. Would this schizophrenic person’s insanity outweigh his sanity to the point where he would be regarded as ghayr-mukallaf (non-accountable)?



Islamic Text

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

Allah does not burden any human being with more than he can bear. (Surah al-Baqarah, 286).

When it comes to the issue of insanity, sometimes it is really quite clear that a person is insane, thus we can say that this person is not Mukallaf, meaning not legally responsible according to the law of Islam, and other times it is unclear.

The reality is only Allah (Most High) and the person knows what he is cognisant of, what he does understand and what he does not. Where he does have free will and where he does not. It can be very difficult for other people to know these things in such circumstances, and the situation described in the question certainly seems to be one in which it is difficult for others to understand.

Our duty is to advise the person while still bearing in mind that this person may not have volition regarding these actions. These can be exceedingly difficult situations to understand. Why is it that this individual can do certain things like a normal person and but engages in others that are totally unacceptable? It seems that the person does not have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing at times. However, this is not clear to us, so we will gently encourage the person to do the right thing in any given situation.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Shariah recognises that a person can be considered insane at times and sane at other times. Such a person will have the ruling of a sane adult when he is mentally sound.

فَيُحْتَرَزُ بِهِ عَمَّنْ يُفِيقُ أَحْيَانًا أَيْ يَزُولُ عَنْهُ مَا بِهِ بِالْكُلِّيَّةِ، وَهَذَا كَالْعَاقِلِ الْبَالِغِ فِي تِلْكَ الْحَالَةِ. (رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

This (the Ma’tooh) is different to a person who recovers sanity at times. Meaning, he completely recovers. Such that the ailment disappears entirely. Such a person has the ruling of a sane adult whilst he is in that state. (Radd al-Muhtaar, Imam Ibn Abideen).

And Allah (Most High) knows best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (24.02.2021)

See also:

Is a person with learning difficulties legally responsible (Mukallaf)?