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About The Apostates

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Assalam-u-alaikum

 

I just had a very interesting day. I was recently hired at VWR International, Alhamdulillah, after almost six months of vigorous job searching. My superiors and colleagues are really nice people. On the first day, my supervisor herself came to discuss accommodations for saying my salat, which I think was a very a beautiful gesture. It’s a corporate environment and I intend to progress and develop within it. The atmosphere is really warm and friendly, Alhamdulillah.

 

Today, one of my Christian colleagues started a religious discussion with me. He was first talking about racism and discrimination and later he somehow went on towards religion. He asked some really intriguing questions. One of them kind of remained stuck in my mind since I didn’t know how to answer him without offending him. He asked why is it that an Afghani who changed his religion to Christianity was given the execution sentence in Afghanistan. He was surprised that the majority of the Muslim clerics agreed on this. So does Islam tell the authority figures to have the people, who change their religion (from Islam to another religion), killed? If yes, then doesn’t this defy the notion of free will? I mean consider someone who is born in a Muslim household but realizes that he doesn’t believe in Islam and would rather want to be a Jew. Then, if he converts, should he be killed? What is Islam’s take on this issue? How do I explain this view to a non-muslim/Christian person?

 

This brother also commented that Islam makes it impossible to consider other religions. He says that's the reason why people follow Bin Laden, the terrorist. Its because their religion makes it impossible for them to consider other religions. My take on this comment was to talk about Islam's take on terrorism and also to talk a bit about difference between cultural and religious values. I tried to explain that none of the religions promote voilence. Usually people who do such things, bomb a place and then say its in Quran, have their own political agenda in mind and they don't mind twisting the words of Allah for their own personal gains. But when I actually tried to explain the difference between religion and culture, he said both are interwined. This comment puzzled me a bit. I was unable to fully explain the difference between culture and religion although I understood. Perhaps the atmosphere there prevented me from thinking further. Its a corporate world. :-) I have to be careful about what I am saying without offending anyone. So my question is how exactly are culture and religion different and how do they relate or interact?

 

Thanks

Take care

Assalam-u-Alaikum

Edited by atha

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PropellerAds

In regards to religion and humans, i'd say that religion even that which is considered peaceful by it's followers is a rather useless tool. It's like Aristocracy. Philosophically it is the best form of government, but practically it is quite useless. If you say ppl use religion for their own personal agenda's my response is pretty much "well duh" - what did you expect would happen?

 

P.S. Did I mention how much I hate humans?

Edited by 3dshocker

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:D / Peace to all,

 

I mean consider someone who is born in a Muslim household but realizes that he doesn’t believe in Islam and would rather want to be a Jew. Then, if he converts, should he be killed? What is Islam’s take on this issue? How do I explain this view to a non-muslim/Christian person?

 

Answer : Please read this

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_63.175.194.25/index.php?ln=eng&ds=qa&lv=browse&QR=20327&dgn=4"]Answering non-muslims : Why is the apostate to be executed in Islam? [/url]

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_63.175.194.25/index.php?ln=eng&ds=qa&lv=browse&QR=811&dgn=4"]Answering non-Muslim : Why death is the punishment for Apostasy [/url]

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_63.175.194.25/index.php?ln=eng&ds=qa&lv=browse&QR=696&dgn=4"]Answering non-muslim : Punishment of the one who leaves Islaam [/url]

 

Allaahu 'alaam

 

Sis Zabrina

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or to simplify things, when a person willingly leaves the truth and turns towards falsehood something needs to be done, remember the devil will help one to commit sin

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Salaam,

 

Doesn't killing an apostate go against the whole "no complusion in religion" deal. You can't force someone to believe again with the threat of death, can you.

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I am reposting this again for the benefit of those who may not have read it in an earlier thread.

 

My view is that the penalty for apostasy in Islam is as stated in the Qur'an below:

 

"Those who believe, then disbelieve, then again believe, then disbelieve and thereafter go on increasing in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them, nor guide them to any way of deliverance". (4:137)

 

I think that it would immediately be obvious that if a person were to be put to death for apostasy, i.e. for disbelieving, it would not be possible to "believe, then disbelieve, then again believe, then disbelieve..."

 

A basic tenet in Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion. Death for apostasy therefore does not make any sense, unless such apostasy was accompanied by a betrayal of or treason or enmity/fighting against the Islamic state/community.

 

Perhaps it may be useful to look into the context and circumstances of the hadiths decreeing the death penalty so that this controversial (and to me unnecessary) subject is laid to rest.

 

My opinion is close to that in the following article:

 

"Is Killing An Apostate in the Islamic Law?" by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D.

President of the Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.

 

Ridda or Irtidãd: Literally means "turning back". The act of apostasy -- leaving Islam for another religion or for a secular lifestyle.

Murtadd: Literally means "one who turns the back." An apostate.

Murtad Fitri: Literally means apostate - natural. A person born of a Muslim parent who later rejects Islam.

Murtad Milli: Literally means apostate - from the community. A person who converted to Islam and later rejected the religion.

 

Due to lack of education and critical thinking several myths have taken root in the Muslim world over the ages, and there have not been any efforts in the past to clear these doubts. On the contrary, there has been a sort of effort to strengthen these myths and misconceptions. These misinterpretations of Islamic teachings have taken their toll on the Muslim world and have strengthened a misplaced perception that Islam is a symbol of obscurantism, a religion of intolerance and answers everything with the sword.

 

And there is no bigger misconception - strengthened with misunderstanding of Islamic beliefs over the years - other than the belief that Islam doesn't tolerate apostasy. The Christian missionaries and the Western world are cashing in on it. Ulama have tried to strengthen their point of view and several leading Muslim reformists have failed to tackle the issue. This misconception has also presented Islam as a medieval and killer religion. Islam bashers have time and again tried to carry the point by pointing out that Islam orders the killing of a person if he or she reverts to another religion from Islam.

 

Nobody has come forward to challenge this widely held belief as well as put forth a convincing argument about the misinterpretation of Qur'anic teachings by Ulama (Muslim religious scholars).

 

The Qur’an is completely silent on any worldly punishment for apostasy and the sole Tradition that forms the basis of rulings is open to many interpretations.

 

Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: ‘Whosoever changes his religion, Kill Him (man baddala Dinahu faqtuluhu)’”. It is this last quote from the Prophet that forms the basis of the said ruling.

 

While jurists are agreed on the authenticity of this tradition, they differ very widely on the appropriate interpretation and thus, the law concerning apostasy. Understanding the different viewpoints, and arriving at the truth is crucial to our discussion of this subject.

 

This tradition does not refer to Muslims who leave the religion of Islam for other religions. Finally, there is the crucial dispute over the nature of the punishment and the crime. Al-Nakha’ee and, according to Sha’rani, al-Thawri, hold that the apostate is a grave sinner who should however be continuously called back to the fold for the rest of his life, and not killed.

 

By implication, they do not consider the offence a hadd (fixed penalty) offence with a fixed punishment that must be carried out. This view is similar to the view that apostasy is a sin that carries no fixed punishment, and any penalty for it is discretionary (ta’zeer). This is a view held by the Hanbali scholar, Ibn Taimiya and he attributes it as well to the Maliki Imam al-Baji. Among Hanafites, the jurist Shamsuddeen al-Sarakhshi holds the same view. He says in al Mabsut that the fixed penalties or hudud are generally not suspended because of repentance, especially when they are reported and become known to the Imam. He then adds in the case of apostasy “renunciation of the faith and conversion to disbelief is admittedly the greatest of offences, yet it is a matter between man and his Creator, and its punishment is postponed to the day of Judgement. (“fa’l jaza’ ‘alayha mu’akhkhar ila dar al-jaza”).

 

If repentance is accepted, then apostasy is not a hadd offence with a fixed punishment. Secondly, once scholars accept that a Muslim apostate has the right to be given the opportunity to repent, they lose the right to set a time limit for his repentance.

 

Allah (SWT) says in the Glorious Qur’an (39: 53-54: Say: “ O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy. Behold God forgives all sins, for verily He is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace! Hence, turn toward your sustainer and surrender yourselves unto him before the suffering (of death and resurrection) comes upon you for then you will not be succored.”

 

Any scholar who says the death sentence applies to leaving the faith, then the convict is to be given a life-time to repent, and this is the view of Sufyan al-Thawri, Ibrahim al-Nakha’ee, Shamsuddeen al-Sarakhshi, Imam al-Baji and, by strong implication, Ahmad Ibn Taimiya. One must conclude that the death sentence is not for “simple apostasy” (mujarrad al-ridda), but for apostasy accompanied by treason and sedition, or by the abuse and slander (sabb) of the Noble Prophet.

 

Freedom to convert to or from Islam

 

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

The Glorious Qur'an says, "Let there be no compulsion in the religion: Surely the Right Path is clearly distinct from the crooked path." Al Baqarah, 2:256.

 

"Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe again, then disbelieve, and then increase in their disbelief - Allah will never forgive them nor guide them to the path." Surah An-Nisa', 4:137.

 

For example, the Qur'an says: "Let him who wishes to believe, do so; and let him who wishes to disbelieve, do so." (Al-Kahf: 29)

 

In another verse, Allah Almighty says: "Yours is only the duty to convey the message; you are not a guardian over them." (Al-Ghashiyah: 21- 22)

 

The quotation from Surah An-Nisa', 4:137, shown above, seems to imply that multiple, sequential apostasies are possible. That would not be possible if the person were executed after the first apostasy.

 

From the above verses it can be argued that religious freedom and the absence of compulsion in religion requires that individuals be allowed adopt a religion or to convert to another religion without legal penalty.

 

Hence the death penalty is not an appropriate response to apostasy.

 

The former Chief Justice of Pakistan, SA Rahman, has written that there is no reference to the death penalty in any of the 20 instances of apostasy mentioned in the Qur'an.

 

Muslims who support the death penalty for apostasy use as their foundation the above cited hadith, in which the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: "Kill whoever changes his religion." But this is a weak foundation because this hadith was only transmitted from Muhammad (pbuh) by one individual. It was not confirmed by a second person. According to Islamic law, this is insufficient confirmation to impose the death penalty. The Shari`ah has not fixed any punishment for apostasy.

 

The hadith is so generally worded that it would require the death penalty for a Christian or Jew who converted to Islam. This is obviously not the prophet's intent. The hadith is in need of further specification, which has not been documented. Many scholars interpret this passage as referring only to instances of high treason. (e.g. declaring war on Islam, Muhammad (pbuh), God, etc.).

 

There is no historical record, which indicates that Muhammad (pbuh) or any of his companions ever sentenced anyone to death for apostasy.

 

The issue of killing a murtad or the apostate is not a simple one. Scholars have debated it from various angles and it is not simply an issue of killing someone for choosing one religion or another.

 

The question of apostasy has been debated among scholars based on their interpretations of some hadiths since the Qur'an does not specify any worldly punishment for it. For example, there was a case at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) where a man came to him in three consecutive days and told him that he wanted to apostate. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never took any action against him, and when the man finally left Madina, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never sent anyone to arrest him, let alone kill him.

 

This is why some scholars distinguished between individual apostasy and apostasy which is accompanied by high treason. So, it cannot be confused with the freedom of conscience for every individual, which has been guaranteed in the Qur'an through hundreds of verses.

 

For example, one version of a hadith narrated by `A'isha (RA) concerning apostasy relates to one who left his religion and fought against Muslims.

 

QUR'ANIC VIEWS

 

The Qur’an has referred to the issue of apostasy at more than one place (for example see Al-Baqarah 2: 217, Al-Baqarah 2: 108, A’l Imra’n 3: 90, Al-Nisa’ 4: 137 and Al-Nahl 16: 106). But at none of these places does the Qur’an mention the punishment of death for such people who change their religion. The Qur’an does mention that such people shall face a terrible punishment in the hereafter but no worldly punishment is mentioned at any of these instances in the Qur’an. This situation obviously raises a question mark in the mind of the reader that if Allah had wanted to give the punishment of an apostate a permanent position in the Shari`ah, the punishment should have been mentioned, at least at one of the above mentioned places. If the Qur’an had kept completely silent about the apostate, the matter would have been different. But the strange thing is that the Qur’an mentions apostasy, and still does not mention the punishment (if any) it wants the apostate to be subjected to.

 

Furthermore, the Qur’an has strictly disallowed the imposition of the death penalty except in two specific cases. One of them is where the person is guilty of murdering another person and the other is where a person is guilty of creating unrest in the country (fasa’d fil-ardh) like being involved in activities that create unrest in a society, for example activities like terrorism etc. The Qur’an says:

 

Whoever kills a person without his being guilty of murder or of creating unrest in the land, it is as though he kills the whole of mankind. (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 32)

 

Obviously, apostasy can neither be termed as "murder" nor "creating unrest in the land".

 

Thus, in view of the above facts, we are left with one option only. We can only say that either the saying has been wrongly ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), as it is clearly contradictory to the Qur’an and the Prophet could not have said anything contradictory to the Qur’an, or that the saying ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) relates not to all apostates but to a particular and specific people.

 

Shaykh Subhani

 

Shaykh Inayatullah Subhani (author of the Book Apostasy doesn't carry death penalty in Islam) says that neither Islam forces any person to embrace neither Islam nor it forces him to remain within its fold. He writes, "Apostasy has been mentioned several times in Qur'an. It also describes the bad treatment that will be meted out for committing apostasy, but it never talks of punishment for the crime in this world." The learned scholar mentions three Ayaat (verses) from Qur'an on apostasy (Al-Baqara 217, Muhammad 25-27 and Al-Maida 54) and then says that none of these Ayaat prescribes any punishment for that though these Ayaat pass strictures on the people who commit it. There are several other Ayaat on the same issue and none of them prescribes either death penalty or any other punishment for apostasy in this world. He then adds that had there been some punishment in Islam for apostasy there was no reason as to why the issue was mentioned repeatedly in Qur'an but no punishment was prescribed.

 

Misinterpretation of the hadith, Man baddala Dinahu faqtuluh (kill him who changes his religion) has caused the problem. This order has been made to look general and permanent, though it was said in a particular circumstance for a particular group. Shaykh Subhani writes that this order was made to counter a scheme prepared by Jews of Madinah. They had planned that some of them embrace Islam for some time and then return to their old religion. Then some other people do the same. It was aimed to create restlessness among Muslims against their own leadership so that the strong Muslim unity should start crumbling. It was made clear in Qur'an in (Aal Imran, 3: 72-73).

 

To counter this planning the Prophet (SAW) ordered his companions to act in such a manner. Despite this order lengthy investigations were made to ascertain that the case was true and the person concerned was given adequate time to explain before the punishment was carried out.

 

Shaykh Subhani says lack of clear grasp of Qur'an misguided even leading Ulama. Otherwise it was not difficult to understand the hadith. Qur'anic teachings on the issue were not kept in mind.

 

He emphasizes that people who were awarded death penalty for reverting to other religions from Islam during the time of the Prophet (SAW) or during the reign of his caliphs were not given the punishment for the crime of apostasy but for the fact that they were at war with Muslims and Islamic government.

 

Shaykh Subhani regrets that punishment that was prescribed for certain people under special circumstances was made to look like a general order. He says that it was the order for people who posed threat to Islamic state and became at war with Islam and not for any person who reverts to other religion.

 

A number of Islamic scholars from past centuries, Ibrahim al-Naka'I, Sufyan al-Thawri, Shams al-Din al-Sarakhsi, Abul Walid al-Baji and Ibn Taymiyyah, have all held that apostasy is a serious sin, but not one that requires the death penalty. In modern times, Mahmud Shaltut, Sheikh of al-Azhar, and Dr Mohammed Sayed Tantawi have concurred.

 

In conclusion, we must never confuse the issue of killing a murtad with the freedom of conscience guaranteed in the Glorious Qur'an. For a detailed discussion, one should read (1) the Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi's book on this issue: Jareemat ar-riddah wal murtadd (The Crime of Apostasy and Apostate) - published by Ar-Risalah foundation.

 

(2) Apostasy doesn't carry death penalty in Islam (Book: Tabdili-e-Mazhab aur Islam) by Maulana Inayatullah Asad Subhani)-published by Idara Ihya-e-Deen, Bilariya Ganj, Azamgarh (UP, India) Pages: 108, Price Rs 30.

 

REFERENCES

1. (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.religioustolerance(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/isl_apos.htm"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.religioustolerance(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/isl_apos.htm[/url]

 

2. "Islam, Apostasy and PAS," 1999-JUL-22, at: (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.muslimtents(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/sistersinislam/"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.muslimtents(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/sistersinislam/[/url]

 

3. S.A. Rahman, "Punishment of apostasy in Islam," Kazi Publ., (1986). Limited availability from Amazon(contact admin if its a beneficial link) online bookstore).

Edited by yusufar

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Salaam,

 

really excellent post Yusufar, very interesting to read, well argued and good examples/scripture to back it up. Thank you for posting it,

 

Peace and Love,

 

DARLA

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Selam aleykum

Mashallah yusufar that makes a lot more sense :D

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:D / Peace to all,

 

:D for this excellent piece. Beautifully written...

 

Sis Zabrina

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A basic tenet in Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion. Death for apostasy therefore does not make any sense, unless such apostasy was accompanied by a betrayal of or treason or enmity/fighting against the Islamic state/community

 

Islam never was and will never be, Quran only. The quote above is good example of the difficulties Muslims have with Islamic apostasy laws. To accept yusufar's explanation as reasonable argument, the reader would need to accept its logic-chopping.

 

The basic tenets of Islam is found in Sharia Law, and this law states an apostate refusing return to Islam must be put to death. Whitewash of a million words will not change the fact notwithstanding Muslims' discomfort with apostasy law.

 

Please notify the reference authors the so-called 'myth' can be readily found in Islamic law.

 

regards, joseph

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Greetings to all

 

What the devil!? Have I been cloned? :D

 

How exactly is this possible, and who is this false Joseph?

 

Must I remind our members that cloning is against the forum rules? :D

 

Regards,

 

Joseph / Yusuf

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Islam never was and will never be, Quran only. The quote above is good example of the difficulties Muslims have with Islamic apostasy laws. To accept yusufar's explanation as reasonable argument, the reader would need to accept its logic-chopping.

 

The basic tenets of Islam is found in Sharia Law, and this law states an apostate refusing return to Islam must be put to death. Whitewash of a million words will not change the fact notwithstanding Muslims' discomfort with apostasy law.

 

Please notify the reference authors the so-called 'myth' can be readily found in Islamic law.

 

regards, joseph

 

 

Greetings Joseph,

 

The Shari'ah (Islamic Law) is only one part of Islam. In the Qur'an and Sunnah (Examples or Way of the Prophet (pbbuh)) will be found the basis of Islam and the Shari'ah. When there is an apparent "conflict" between Sunnah and Qur'an, then depending upon the context and situation, the Qur'an takes precedence.

 

Everything in Islam is logical. Study of plain texts must always take into account the context, situation and explanation of any ruling and further purported rulings which are based on it. Rulings in Shari'ah also do take into account, among other matters, present circumstances - as long as the basics are adhered to and not changed.

 

When scholars disagree, usually the ruling with the more "merciful" interpretation is to be preferred. There is no question of any logic-chopping or white-washing in Islam, except in the fertile and futile imaginations of its detractors.

 

What passes off as Shari'ah in some Muslim countries and which defies logic is simply unIslamic. Any law purportedly in the Shari'ah which provides for death for plain apostasy (irrespective of circumstances) is unIslamic and is based on a non-logical interpretation of both the Qur'an and Sunnah.

 

Unfortunately, there do exist illogical Muslims, as with other communities as well.

 

The fact is that the basic tenet in Islam that there is no compulsion in religion has never been abrogated. If this is a myth, conqueror would not have taken on the religion of the conquered and Islam would have become a dead religion long ago. The truth is clear from error.

 

At worst, Muslims can say that anyone who leaves Islam is stupid, but they do not have the right to kill him because of that. We can only leave it to God to deal with such persons on Judgement Day.

 

Regards,

 

yusufar

 

See this article on the Islamic Forum:

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.gawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?act=ST&f=127&t=30070&st=0#entry309887"]The Global Insurgency Against America[/url]

Edited by yusufar

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Greetings to all What the devil!? Have I been cloned? :D How exactly is this possible, and who is this false Joseph? Must I remind our members that cloning is against the forum rules? :D Regards, Joseph / Yusuf

 

I wondered on reason for receiving some messages whose contents were unrelated to my posts. It was not suspected the system would allow registration of username already taken. After today I will re-register as Joseph2, this should return to you what is rightfully yours and help prevent confusion.

 

regards, joseph

 

Mod- we'll take care of that and get back to you :D amani

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May you be well Yusufar,

 

Please know for certain, I do not wish to put myself between progressive and fundamentalist Muslims on issue of apostasy law. What role Sharia has as governing instrument in modern Islamic societies is entirely intramural affair for Muslims.

 

The Shari'ah (Islamic Law) is only one part of Islam. In the Qur'an and Sunnah (Examples or Way of the Prophet (pbbuh)) will be found the basis of Islam and the Shari'ah. When there is an apparent "conflict" between Sunnah and Qur'an, then depending upon the context and situation, the Qur'an takes precedence.

 

Frankly I cannot see where making the distinction between Sharia and Fiqh has anything to do with what I said. The subject concerns apostasy law, governing body where found and prescribed punishment i.e. the reality of capital punishment for apostasy. In saying, apostasy, I am refering to mere conversion and nothing else in the broadness of the term.

 

Everything in Islam is logical. Study of plain texts must always take into account the context, situation and explanation of any ruling and further purported rulings which are based on it. Rulings in Shari'ah also do take into account, among other matters, present circumstances - as long as the basics are adhered to and not changed.

 

It is not logical there should exist need for this discussion. Right of conscious to worship God as person sees fit, is matter between God and person, only. Ascertaining of circumstances, precedence or whatever science of religion, should yeild without hint of ambiguity to the God given right rather then being the cause of religious paralysis.

 

When scholars disagree, usually the ruling with the more "merciful" interpretation is to be preferred. There is no question of any logic-chopping or white-washing in Islam, except in the fertile and futile imaginations of its detractors.

 

What possible disagreement can exist (if as you say) Quran categorically guarantees freedom of conscious. What need for mercy if punishment is nonexistent and harm never committed?

 

You can point finger wherever you like, yusufar, but all Muslims for 1400 years, know the existing reality of capital punishment for leaving Islam. It is not myself who created it nor the person who is attempting to evade it with so many words. Really, I am baffled by the reception of your article, as though, everything was made well and now Muslims can continue on.

 

What passes off as Shari'ah in some Muslim countries and which defies logic is simply unIslamic. Any law purportedly in the Shari'ah which provides for death for plain apostasy (irrespective of circumstances) is unIslamic and is based on a non-logical interpretation of both the Qur'an and Sunnah.

 

So you say yusufar, this is your opinion, but you are not the person who adjudge Islam orthodoxy: Nor are you the person to determine logical interpretation of Quran and canonical traditions. Opinions of few Muslim intellects or scholars (past or present) is not representative the of mainstream Muslim jurists consensus.

 

Again I wish to remind you the subject is apostasy law, not whether the matter is un-Islamic or illogical. The former does not concern me and the latter 100% certainty

 

The basic tenet in Islam that there is no compulsion in religion has never been abrogated. If this is a myth, conqueror would not have taken on the religion of the conquered and Islam would have become a dead religion long ago. The truth is clear from error.

 

Although I agree the conquered peoples conversion to Islam was generally free choice, survival of Islam without conquest remains an uncertainty. With that aside, in your premise I found no relevance to the topic of apostasy laws

 

At worst, Muslims can say that anyone who leaves Islam is stupid, but they do not have the right to kill him because of that. We can only leave it to God to deal with such persons on Judgement Day.

 

Stupid people may commit criminal acts but stupidity is not criminal, yet the major schools of Islamic thought unanimously agree apostasy is one of the most serious offense in Islam and criminal. At best Muslims can say Islamic jurisprudence is divided on type punishment for the 'crime' of apostasy. All in all, you are arguing with the wrong person, yusufar, it is not my reasoning that needs changing.

 

regards, joseph

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Stupid people may commit criminal acts but stupidity is not criminal, yet the major schools of Islamic thought unanimously agree apostasy is one of the most serious offense in Islam and criminal.

 

 

2 – What constitutes apostasy

 

The matters which constitute apostasy are divided into four categories:

 

(a) Apostasy in beliefs, such as associating others with Allaah, denying Him, or denying an attribute which is proven to be one of His attributes, or by affirming that Allaah has a son. Whoever believes that is an apostate and a disbeliever.

 

(B) Apostasy in words, such as insulting Allaah or the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

 

© Apostasy in actions, such as throwing the Qur’an into a filthy place, because doing that shows disrespect towards the words of Allaah, so it is a sign that one does not believe. Other such actions include prostrating to an idol or to the sun or moon.

 

(d) Apostasy by omission, such as not doing any of the rituals of Islam, or turning away from following it altogether.

 

 

Well, suffice to say i believe that the order to "kill one who changes his faith" was given in a time when a lot of non-muslims were entering Islam then leaving it immediately to tarnish the reputation of Islam and to descourage new converts. In that specific case, yes apostacy i believe was rightly punished by death.

 

In modern times, converting from Islam from another religion does not negativelly affect the ummah in any way. in the 7th century, due to the small number of muslims, apostasy was tantamount to treason. Nowadays it is not.

 

 

Anyways , as ive said before, a lot of the Schools of Fiqh are very inflexible , unable to bring Islam out of 7th century type of thinking, into the 21st century, where people are all free to choose and change their religions as they see fit.

 

You cannot force a person to believe in something by threatening him with death, he will appear to believe just to stay alive....and then what has been solved? absolutely nothing, except forcing the apostate to live a big lie.

 

"(d) Apostasy by omission, such as not doing any of the rituals of Islam, or turning away from following it altogether. "

 

If that's what the schools of Fiqh say is apostasy, then millions of muslims should be killed (those that do not perform their daily prayers or fast on ramadan).

 

 

Have fun killing millions of people for exercising free choice that is between them and god.

Gotta love literalist interpretations of the shariah.

Edited by anthony19832005

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:D my sisters and brothers,

 

 

Many reasons justify the death penalty as a punishment for apostasy:

 

1) This is the ruling of God (Allah) and His Messenger, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever changes his religion, kill him." (reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3017).

 

2) Abu Bakr Assiddik (May Allah be pleased with him), the best of Muslims after the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the first guided Khalifa, who knows Islam better than me and all IF members, launched a series of wars called "Horoob Arridda" (wars of apostasy, led by Khaled Ibn AlWaliid) against people who refused to pay the obligatory Zakat.

 

3) The apostate is not to be killed without warning. Even though his crime is so great, he is given a last chance, a respite of three days in which to repent. If he repents, he will be left; if he does not repent, then he will be killed.

 

4) The one who has known the religion which God (Allah) revealed, entered it and practised it, then rejected it, despised it and left it, is a person who does not deserve to live on the earth of God (Allah) and eat from the provision of God (Allah).

 

5) By leaving Islam, the apostate opens the way for everyone who wants to leave the faith, thus spreading apostasy and encouraging it. Islam, the one true religion, is not like a shop or store which a person can enter when he wants and leave when he wants.

 

6) If the punishment for murder and espionage (also known as high treason) is death, then what should be the punishment for the one who disbelieves in the Lord of mankind and despises and rejects His religion? Is espionage or shedding blood worse than leaving the religion of the Lord of mankind and rejecting it?

 

7) None of those who bleat about personal freedom and freedom of belief would put up with a neighbor’s child hitting their child or justify this as "personal freedom," so how can they justify leaving the true religion and rejecting the Sharee’ah which God (Allah) revealed to teach mankind about His unity and bring justice and fairness to all?

 

 

:D

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Please know for certain, I do not wish to put myself between progressive and fundamentalist Muslims on issue of apostasy law. What role Sharia has as governing instrument in modern Islamic societies is entirely intramural affair for Muslims.

 

Good to know that. However, this issue is not one between "progressive" and "fundamentalist" Muslims. Personally, I am against any such misleading labels. As we know, even eminent Muslim scholars who were probably even more "fundamentalist" than any Muslim "fundamentalist" today did not agree with the punishment of death for apostasy.

 

What I believe misled those who insisted on such a punishment was more political expediency rather than any thing else.

 

Frankly I cannot see where making the distinction between Sharia and Fiqh has anything to do with what I said. The subject concerns apostasy law, governing body where found and prescribed punishment i.e. the reality of capital punishment for apostasy. In saying, apostasy, I am refering to mere conversion and nothing else in the broadness of the term.

 

What some, even scholars, have accepted as Shari'ah, may not be supported by the real fundamentals of Islam. If neither the Qur'an nor the Prophet (pbbuh) made any capital punishment ruling on such an important issue as apostasy - mere conversion, as you put it - then I can only say that any attempt to impose capital punishment in such a situation is not Islamic.

 

That it has somehow come into and is accepted as part of the Shari'ah is to be regretted, but there are more than a few things in the Shari'ah and what Muslims do today which could do with more rigorous study and criticism in the light of the real fundamental tenets of Islam.

 

It is not logical there should exist need for this discussion. Right of conscious to worship God as person sees fit, is matter between God and person, only. Ascertaining of circumstances, precedence or whatever science of religion, should yeild without hint of ambiguity to the God given right rather then being the cause of religious paralysis.

 

Agreed. That is exactly what the Muslim scholars who disagree with the death penalty for apostasy say. That is also what God in the Qur'an says.

Yet mankind is perverse enough to decide otherwise, as if it knows better than God.

 

What possible disagreement can exist (if as you say) Quran categorically guarantees freedom of conscious. What need for mercy if punishment is nonexistent and harm never committed?

 

Mankind will always disagree even in the face of clear proof. Muslims are not immune to such perverse behaviour, even if some of them sincerely believe that what they do is in the name of God or Islam and even misguidedly believe has been ordained or permitted by Him.

 

In reality they have set up their egos as God and follow the dictates of their own egos.

 

You can point finger wherever you like, yusufar, but all Muslims for 1400 years, know the existing reality of capital punishment for leaving Islam. It is not myself who created it nor the person who is attempting to evade it with so many words. Really, I am baffled by the reception of your article, as though, everything was made well and now Muslims can continue on.

 

Do not be baffled. The "existing reality of capital punishment for leaving Islam" was created by perverse politicians and jurists and blindly followed by the mass of unquestioning sheep. These are the same perverse persons who would kill a Muslim for wearing shorts when there is no such punishment in Islam.

 

There is no question of evasion. Muslims have to deal with such perversion from within all the time and even worse perversion from outside as well.

 

So you say yusufar, this is your opinion, but you are not the person who adjudge Islam orthodoxy: Nor are you the person to determine logical interpretation of Quran and canonical traditions. Opinions of few Muslim intellects or scholars (past or present) is not representative the of mainstream Muslim jurists consensus.

 

Yes indeed it is my opinion, and backed with the analysis I present has to be given some weight, even if I am not the person to determine any interpretation of anything.

 

Mainstream jurists' consensus is not a valid yardstick to measure correctness - many jurists have kept silent in the face of oppression or manufactured judicial pronouncements in aid of the powers that be and have even been responsible for the extermination of many pious scholars and Muslims.

 

Again I wish to remind you the subject is apostasy law, not whether the matter is un-Islamic or illogical. The former does not concern me and the latter 100% certainty

 

Any law in the Shari'ah must find its basis in and be measured against the fundamental tenets of Islam. If that law is unIslamic when measured against the plain provisions of the Qur'an and Sunnah, then it cannot validly be a part of the Shari'ah. It is unconstitutional.

 

Although I agree the conquered peoples conversion to Islam was generally free choice, survival of Islam without conquest remains an uncertainty. With that aside, in your premise I found no relevance to the topic of apostasy laws

 

Really?

 

Stupid people may commit criminal acts but stupidity is not criminal, yet the major schools of Islamic thought unanimously agree apostasy is one of the most serious offense in Islam and criminal. At best Muslims can say Islamic jurisprudence is divided on type punishment for the 'crime' of apostasy.

 

In this instance, even if what you say is correct, which is doubtful, I can only say that it would certainly be extremely difficult to legislate anything to do with one's internal beliefs and even if a Muslim wishes to apostasize, what would killing him achieve? His repentance?

 

I for one don't see this as a crime against Islam or the Muslim Community and there are many others, including prominent scholars of Islam, who see it the same way. It is an affront to God, who will punish it as He pleases or He may forgive it in the case of sincere repentance (which does not come at the point of the sword).

 

Islamic jurisprudence is only really divided on this issue in the sense as to whether it is a "crime" or not.

 

All in all, you are arguing with the wrong person, yusufar, it is not my reasoning that needs changing.

 

I am well aware of that. :D I'm not so much arguing with you as giving a different perspective even for Muslims to ponder. I know that this is a major issue which non-Muslims like to capitalize on and I don't expect them to change their reasoning no matter what the Qur'an, the Prophet (pbbuh) or any Muslim, scholar or otherwise, says.

 

For a fairly objective study, although I may not agree with all that it says, I would recommend the following:

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.findarticles(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/p/articles/mi_m2267/is_3_70/ai_110737774"]"Apostasy as objective and depersonalized fact: two recent Egyptian court judgments - Part II: Islamic law: boundaries and rights"[/url] Social Research, Fall, 2003 by Baber Johansen

 

What this study basically shows is that the creation of the death for apostasy law is not to be found in the Qur'an, but rather that it was established by Muslims (i.e. it was man-made law) for politically expedient purposes.

 

As far as the Shari'ah is concerned what is made by man can be undone by man - especially where there is no Divine ordinance for it. What was reportedly done during the time of the Prophet (pbbuh) for a specific purpose cannot be (mis)interpreted as giving carte blanche to succeeding generations to follow suit, purposely or otherwise, in blind imitation without the benefit of the direct Divine Guidance which he had.

 

In reality therefore, the situation is a lot more complex and complicated than the critics of the "death for apostacy punishment" which is purportedly in Islam or Islamic Law, will give credit for.

 

My stance must therefore not be taken as an apology for the fact that the so-called "death for apostacy punishment" exists (perversely though it may be) in Islamic countries purportedly applying the Shari'ah.

 

Some excerpts from the above (my emphasis added in italics):

 

..."The Muslim jurists of the premodern period had assigned ethical norms an important place and had clearly distinguished purely ethical from enforceable legal norms. The notion of the individual believer as someone who takes ethical responsibility for his acts independently from the decisions of the judiciary and the political institutions found its expression in the concept of the individual's own interior forum (batin). This holds especially true for questions of belief and unbelief. In the last instance, these questions were considered a matter of religious conscience, even if judicial decisions against apostates were legitimized for political reasons. When the modern nation-states' codification of the law reduced Islamic law to personal statute law, the state's written law abandoned the purely ethical norms of that tradition and with them the concept of the individual's own forum (batin)..."

 

"...Fourth, the notion of a modern, tolerant, and pluralist Islam is not rendered obsolete by these trials. State institutions, such as the prosecution, often side with the accused intellectuals against the apostasy procedure of the judges. Many intellectuals, lawyers, journalists, writers, and artists opt for an understanding of Islam that encourages public debates about the way in which Islam can be harmonized with notions of freedom and democracy guaranteed by the constitutions of the modern Arab nation-states. The courts that condemn Muslim intellectuals as apostates constitute one--and for now probably the most powerful--institutional component of modern Islam at the end of the twentieth century. But the reality of modern--and classical--Islam is much more complex than the courts' reasoning allows us to understand..."

 

"...The Koran, on the other hand, discusses apostasy in a number of verses (sura 95, verse 54; sura 47, verse 25; sura 2, verse 217; sura 3, verse 80; sura 16, verses 108-109) but nowhere mentions a punishment in this world. The Koranic text threatens the apostates with punishment in the hereafter only. Verse 217 of the second sura translates well the Koranic stance on this matter: "But those of you who turn back on their faith and die disbelieving will have wasted their deeds in this world and the next. They are inmates of Hell, and shall there abide forever."

 

Apostasy and unbelief are here seen as a matter between God and the concerned individuals. Apostates will be punished in the world to come. Yet, many reports about the normative practice of the prophet, his Sunna, require the punishment of apostasy in this world. In all fairness it has to be said that there are more reports warning the believers that it is a mortal sin to declare the fellow Muslim an unbeliever. The fiqh specialists, finally, whose literature springs into existence in the second half of the eighth century, agree on the idea that the apostate has to return to Islam or be killed..."

 

"...Classical Hanafi doctrine holds that the capital punishment of the apostate serves mainly political aims. I quote two famous Hanafi jurists from Central Asia on this matter. The first is the eleventh-century Transoxanian jurist Sarakhsi, one of the major authorities of the Hanafi school. He says:

 

"The change of religion and the original form of unbelief

belong to the most abominable of crimes. But [their judgment]

is a matter between God and his servant and the punishment

[of this crime] is postponed until the hereafter.

The measures advanced in this base world [and which thus

precede God's judgment] are matters of political expediency

[siyasat mashru'a] ordained by the law in order to protect

human interests" (Sarakhsi, n.d., vol. 10: 110).

 

In the same vein, the twelfth-century Hanafi jurist Marghinani, whose book al-Hidaya exerted a lasting influence on the Hanafi jurists of the Near East, states his position with the following words:

 

"In principle, punishments are postponed to the hereafter

and the fact that they are advanced [so that they precede

the hereafter] violates the sense of probation [as the sense

of human life in this world]. One deviates from this principle

in order to defy a present evil and that is warfare

[against the Muslims]" ('Ayni, vol. VI: 702-703). (2)

 

"...The classical Hanafi doctrine defined the punishment of apostasy as a punishment for warfare against the Muslim community, not as a punishment for unbelief. This approach, unique among the schools of fiqh, spells out the jurists' hesitation to directly interfere with questions of belief..."

 

I trust it is clear where I'm going with this. Islam will never be damaged by apostacy, and where apostates actively fight or wage war against the Muslim Community, the right of self-defence is and must always be available just as it is to any other community on earth.

 

But the punishment for apostacy per se can never be death. That will have to wait till after death.

 

Regards,

 

yusufar

 

Please take a look at the following article on the Islamic Forum:

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.gawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=30070"]The Golbal Insurgency Against America[/url]

Edited by yusufar

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allahu akbar!

 

How correct you are in my opinion Yusufar.

I totally agree, too bad a lot of muslims dont.

 

There is only one cure for that - education and critical thought, especially on the real basis and tenets of Islam - the path in Islam has been clearly set – worship of Allah, prayer, spirituality, righteousness, piety, knowledge, good thought, good action, good behaviour, good deeds, trust, humility, kindness, tolerance, justice, equity, legitimacy, faith, reason, rationale, charity, peace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, brotherhood and love.

 

These are all powerful weapons against oppression, wrongdoing and injustice.

 

Muslims have to figure out for themselves where they are going wrong if they wish to avoid getting frustrated by oppressive and unjust conduct of other Muslims as well as non-Muslims - to the extent that they are willing to blow themselves up along with innocent victims and call for the killing of apostates who do Islam and the Muslim Community no harm (they only harm themselves after all).

 

Did God give any Muslim the right to do what many assume they can do in His Name and in the name of Islam, when it is only their own egos which make such assumptions?

 

Regards,

 

yusufar

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education and critical thought, especially on the real basis and tenets of Islam - the path in Islam has been clearly set – worship of Allah, prayer, spirituality, righteousness, piety, knowledge, good thought, good action, good behaviour, good deeds, trust, humility, kindness, tolerance, justice, equity, legitimacy, faith, reason, rationale, charity, peace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, brotherhood and love.

 

Well, realistically you should strike reason and rationale off that list. Faith is unreasonable/irrational as it is belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence :D (If you have both all it means is that you think logically sometimes )

Edited by 3dshocker

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Apostasy is not punishable by death. Those who think so are so, so narrow in their interpretation.

 

7) None of those who bleat about personal freedom and freedom of belief would put up with a neighbor’s child hitting their child or justify this as "personal freedom," so how can they justify leaving the true religion and rejecting the Sharee’ah which God (Allah) revealed to teach mankind about His unity and bring justice and fairness to all?

 

How terrible of a logic is this. No offense, but this honestly is completely laughable. Makes no sense at all and goes against Islamic principles so blatantly.

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Good to know that. However, this issue is not one between "progressive" and "fundamentalist" Muslims. Personally, I am against any such misleading labels. As we know, even eminent Muslim scholars who were probably even more "fundamentalist" than any Muslim "fundamentalist" today did not agree with the punishment of death for apostasy.

 

May you be well Yusufar,

 

Labels I used here are those which Muslims themselves used in email discussions on the same topic, and there are more. For people of good will, the labels should present no difficulties: Few of us would assume persons identified as Liberal or Conservative means they disagree on everything. Nonetheless, Thank you for discussion in a spirit that honors God. Hopefully, the contributed articles to topic will help readers make an informed opinion on the matter.

 

regards, joseph

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If that's what the schools of Fiqh say is apostasy, then millions of muslims should be killed (those that do not perform their daily prayers or fast on ramadan). Have fun killing millions of people for exercising free choice that is between them and god. Gotta love literalist interpretations of the shariah.

 

I understand the point you wish to make, but the premise is contrary to Islam doctrine. Muslims who do not perform religion are not considered apostates unless they belive their sins are permissible. At least this is instruction as I remember.

 

regards, joseph

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:D warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

 

I mean consider someone who is born in a Muslim household but realizes that he doesn’t believe in Islam and would rather want to be a Jew. Then, if he converts, should he be killed?

 

 

I asked a scholar about your query and his reply was:

If he didn't believe in Islam and he never applied it then he's not a Muslim so you can't say he left Islam!

But if he believed and then he disbelieved then yes the punishment should be applied.

 

I hope that has shed some light to your question.

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:D

The following article may also cast some further light on the issue of apostacy:

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.toledomuslims(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=300&posts=1"]Apostasy & Islam: Through the eyes of A Former Apostate by T.O. Shanavas[/url], the author of the book, CREATION AND/OR EVOLUTION An Islamic Perspective (ISBN 1-4134-6581-1)

 

A Few years ago, during question-answer session in the Islamic Center of Greater Center, a member inquired about the punishment for apostasy in Islam. It is an unfortunate common belief among many Muslims that Shariah prescribes death for the apostate!!!

 

I was once an apostate and openly declared I did not believe in Islam and rejected even the existence of God. Thank God! I was then living in a country, India, where people did not execute apostates. I thank God for giving me a chance to repent and return to the fold of Islam. I, being an apostate once, became free from the cultural and ethnic Islam to study true Islam with an open mind. "Islamic scholars" and imams do not anymore control my mind and beliefs unless their decrees (fatawa) are (1) in conformity with the Qur'an, (2) the hadiths that they quote do not contradict the Qur'an.

 

Many Muslims today practice an ironic form of idolatry (in Islamic terminology, shirk, the one sin Allah does not forgive). We, Muslims, criticize other religions for not being truly monotheistic, yet so many of us are guilty of another, more subtle form of shirk: we worship our scholars instead of Allah! We commit the sin for which other people are condemned by God in the Qur'an:

 

"They have taken as lords besides Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only one God. Be He glorified from all that they ascribe as partner unto Him!” [9:31]

 

Now, most classical commentators of the Qur'an agree that the grave transgression alluded to here is not the literal worship of the learned people. According to Tirmidhi, the Holy Prophet was asked to explain this verse by Adi ibn Hatim, a convert (or apostate) from Christianity, and he confirmed that the sin was the people, "considering lawful what their priest declared lawful, even though it was forbidden by Allah." (Al-Jami, 44:9;IJ).

 

I believe that many Muslims are reluctant to speak up because many "Islamic" cultures today encourage docility and teach to unquestioningly accept the decisions of "qualified" scholars. This is a new phenomenon; in the time of Muhammad (s), ideas were only supported after they had been proven to be in harmony with the Qur'an. Scholars could not just pull rank, as they were expected to be able to argue their cases. In fact, in a famous incident of Islamic history, a humble woman of Medina publicly corrected the Caliph. One day, Hazrat Umar (RA) was announcing a change in the rule mahr, when the woman in the crowd suddenly stopped him in his track by loudly quoting a verse of the Qur'an which contradicted his proposal. He had to relent, saying, "The women of Medina know the Qur'an better than Umar." So, it is time for Muslims to question the imams and scholars if they deviate from the Qur'an and hadiths that do not contradict the Qur'an. We must not only be satisfied by the answer of the scholars, but we must verify the source of their references. Remember, if Hazrath Umar (RA) can make a mistake, ordinary scholars and ordinary people like us also can make greater mistakes.

 

The Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet (s) require Muslims to think critically. Pagans are repeatedly berated for not questioning, for not using reason, even being compared to dumb animals on several occasions!

 

"When it is said unto them: 'Follow that which Allah has revealed:' they say: 'Nay! We shall follow the ways of our fathers.' What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?....Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.” [2:170-171]

 

"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the

Book.....” [3:7]

 

"Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found herein much incongruity.” [4:83]

 

So, the principle established here is that (1) Muslims are required to think critically and not blindly accept the authority of their scholars, and (2) that the clear message of the Qur'an is to be preferred to any isolated law interpretation which contradicts the Qur'an's clear spirit.

 

The Qur'an teaches that human beings are individually responsible. So, I believe that Allah would not forgive my sins on the Day of Judgment even if my sins were the result of following the advice of a certain Imam. I would not be able to hide behind any Imam or behind his fatwa even if coming from the most respected and revered Imam of any time.

 

Therefore, views expressed here are my opinions based on the references given. I do not claim to be a scholar, but there are sometimes cases where the violation of the Qur'an is so self-evident that all Muslims can see them.

 

I believe that inhuman law of apostasy has nothing to do with Islam of the Prophet (s) and it is an interpolation into Islam by fanatics among us and the selfish rulers. There are many reasons for me to believe that execution for apostasy is a manufactured law rather than divine law.

 

Holy Prophet (s) spent his entire life fighting in defense of fundamental human rights that everybody should be free to choose his religion; no one must be physically forced to change religion. Prophet (s) struggled with the Meccan establishment to have the freedom to invite non-believers to Islam. This was consistent with the practices of all other Prophets.

 

The Qur'an states:

 

"...There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is here forth distinct from error...”[2:256]

 

In the light of the above verse, a person has to be insane to belief that Islam prescribes execution for apostasy.

 

The Qur'an further states:

 

" Say (Muhammad) it is the truth from the Lord of all. Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, LET him disbelieve.” [18:29]

 

In no uncertain terms, Allah commands Prophet to allow people to believe and disbelieve. If the Shariah recommends to kill an apostate, this law cannot be Islamic because it contradicts the above two verses.

 

The Qur'an further states:

 

"And so, O Prophet, exhort them, thy task is ONLY to exhort; thou canst NOT compel them to believe.” [88:21-22]

 

"Thy duty is to make the message reach them; it is OUR PART to call them to account." [13:40]

 

"Call thou (all mankind) unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in MOST KINDLY MANNER...” [16:125]

 

While the Qur'an commands the Prophet (s) not to compel people to believe in Islam and invite people with the most kind manner and words, fanatics among us threaten people with death mercilessly to keep them in the Muslim Ummah as hypocrites as if the dishonest hypocrites are better than honest apostates. It is a most heinous crime against Islam and Prophet (s) to manufacture inhuman law of execution of apostate. If the Qur'anic verses tell the Prophet not to compel people to believe in Islam (88:22) and the responsibility to call disbelievers to account rests with God only (1:40), the law of execution of apostates is of human origin.

 

Initial reluctance of the people of Arabia to accept Islam disturbed Prophet (s). Then the following verse was revealed:

 

"And had your Lord willed, whoever in the earth would have believed all together, will you then coerce people to become believers?” [10:99]

 

According to the above verse, even God will not coerce people to become Muslims or remain as Muslim once a person accepts Islam. So, Muslims must condemn the law of apostasy and save innocent Muslims becoming intolerant and violent by the henious indoctrination by fanatics among us because Allah says:

 

"Who can be more wicked than the one who invent a lie against God,...” [6:93]

 

So, religious belief is a personal matter. It is God alone -- not the state or religious authorities -- who know what is in the heart of the people. If the highest human authority, Prophet (s), cannot call anyone to account for belief or disbelief, no sane person can believe that religious scholars and the state have the authority to execute people for their personal belief.

 

The Qur'an states:

 

"A section of the People of the Book say: 'Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, Bur reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back." [3:72]

 

A section of People of the Book used a tactic to create doubt among the Muslims in the hope that some of them might thereby be beguiled into repudiating Islam. How could it be possible for non-Muslims to have enacted this plan to entice Muslims to believe one day and reject next, if death was the penalty for apostasy? This tactic of a group of People of the Book mentioned in the Qur’an exposes apostasy law of the Muslim fanatics as un-Islamic. In spite of the deceptive behavior, the above verse cautions Muslims that “perchance they may themselves turn back” truly to Islam. The Qur’an does not rule to kill the apostates.

 

Abdullah b.Ubayy b.Salul was the leader of the munafiqun (hypocrites). But Prophet (s) took no action against him. Prophet (s) prayed for him and stayed at the grave until he was buried. Those fanatics among us must explain the reason for Prophet (s) not executing the known hypocrites like Abdullah b.Ubayy. Ubbay lived until death plotting to destroy Islam and Prophet (s) knew it. He was not executed for apostasy. This suggests that apostasy law is not a divine law but interpolation by fanatics among us.

 

Another verse states:

 

"Those who believe, then reject Faith, then believe (again) and again reject Faith, go on increasing in Unbelief -- God will not forgive them nor guide them on the Way.” [4:137]

 

An apostate cannot enjoy the repeated luxury of believing and disbelieving if punishment is death. A dead man has no further chance of again believing and disbelieving. Furthermore, if taken at face value, this verse indicates that God will only withdraw His guidance after repeated rejections. It does not tell Prophet (s) to kill these apostates. So, what right do these religious authorities and imams have to deprive a person of access to the divine guidance after the first?

 

The Qur'an states:

 

"How shall God guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the apostle was true and that clear signs had come unto them? But God guides not a people unjust. Of such the reward is that on them (rests) the curse of the God, of His Angels, and of all mankind; -- In that will they dwell; nor will their penalty be lightened, nor respite be their lot; -- except for those that repent (even) after that, make amends; For verily God is oft-forgiving, most merciful.” [3:86-89]

 

It is obvious from these verses that no punishment is to be inflicted by one man or another for apostasy. By no stretch of the imagination can the phrase, "curse of Allah," be interpreted to be a license to murder anyone who he considers to be an apostate. If any such commandment was prescribed it would have been clearly defined as all other punishments are in the Holy Qur'an.

 

The fact is that the Qur'an even mentions that apostates can be forgiven if they amend and repent. How could they repent if apostates are killed? By forced repentance? Then, does not Qur'an state that there is no compulsion in religion? The one verse that states that there is no compulsion in religion should be enough for a fair minded person to realize that Islam does not teach death to apostates.

 

Finally, can any one hadith suggesting to kill the apostate invalidate all the Qur'anic verses quoted earlier? We, Muslims, blame the West for anti-Muslim reporting. What do you expect from the West if we provide the sticks to beat us up? Will Muslims object the persecution of the new Muslim convert for his/her apostasy by his/her erstwhile co-religionists? If we believe that it is injustice to kill a new Muslim by non-Muslims for his/her apostasy from his/her former faith, you must give the same just treatment to Muslims who become Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, etc. Let Allah call to account those people who left Islam.

 

I, like many Muslims, am still bitter over smear jobs done on my religion by Western media over the Gulf war, and the Rushdie affair. So, the last thing that I want is to see Islam slandered all over again because of the barbaric and un-Islamic apostasy law. Ask yourselves: what kind of religion kills people for simple choice of faith, a change of heart? Not a religion of love and peace, not a religion worthy of respect! Perpetuation of the law to kill apostates can only increase or create doubts in the heart of the Muslims and potential Muslims, as people everywhere are already bombarded by negative images of Islam.

 

My message to those Muslims who, like me, yearn to project true compassionate face of Islam is that Dawa will never be successful in the West as long as crazy nonsense of law of apostasy is unchallenged by Muslims. If Muhammed Ali, Cat Stevens, and Murad Hoffman were harassed by a reactionary Christian group, the Muslims will be up in arms! We must be consistent in our attitude and compassionate to those

Muslims who want to leave Muslim community.

 

"Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil....” [9:71]

 

Therefore, let us protect the rights of all people to have freedom to believe and disbelieve. In closing, Islam is only vulnerable when Muslims abandon its clear teaching of reason, religious freedom, tolerance, and peace.

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