Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Punishment of Apostasy in Islam

The majority of scholars in Islam stand for the punishment of an apostate. The following key passage in the Qur'an is used: ‘But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks; except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace) or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. (4:89-90). Other passages are used with an interpretation to punish apostates: 2:217; 3:72,90; 4:137; 5:54; 16:106.

Since the Qur’an does not have many aspects of religion in detail, Muslims follow what Muhammad said and did. For example, the Qur’an states to establish prayer however it is in the traditions (Ahadith/Sunnah) that Muslims find the number and methodology of prayer. According to the Qur’an what Muhammad say or do has to be followed: ‘Whoso obeyeth the Messenger obeyeth Allah.’ (Qur’an4:80).

The most reputed Hadith conveying the death penalty was reported by Ibn Abbas that Muhammad said: “Whoever renounces his religion, kill him.” This statement has been related in the following collections accepted by all Muslims.
{Sahih Al-Bukhari, “Bab Hukm al Murtad wa al Murtadah”, Vol. 8, pp. 50, 163;
Al Muwata’, “Kitab al Hudud”, Vol. 2, p. 736;
Sunan Al Tirmidhi, “Kitab al Hudud”, Vol. 4, p. 48;
Sunan Abi Daud, ‘Kitab al Hudud”, Vol. 4, p. 126;
Sunan Ibn Majah, “Kitab al Hudud” Vol. 2, p. 848;
Sunan AL Nasaee “Al Hukm fi al Murtad”, Vol. 7, pp. 103-104;
Al Musnad, “Musnad ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas”, Vol. 1, pp. 466, 605, 606, 691;
Sunan Al Daraqutni, “Kitab al Hudud”, Vol. 3, p. 113}

Also Al Hakim reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad said: “ The Muslim who converts his religion, kill him. If the person says: {there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger}, then you have no right to punish him except for the crime he commits.”(Al Mustudrak, “Kitab al Hudud”, Vol. 4, p.366.

All schools of thoughts among the Sunni and Shia agree for the punishment of an apostate except some disagreement on detail of prescription (For a quick example read:

Imam Shafi’s manual of Islamic Law, ‘Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states: ‘Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst…When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasies from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory…to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.

Hizb at-Tahrir (HT) an Islamic group that has taken up re-establishment of Khilafah as its core mission, in a draft constitution (dustoor), proposed by its founder/leader Taqiuddin al-Nabhani and adopted by HT states in Article 7c:
“Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtad) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have themselves renounced Islam.” (Taqiuddin al-Nabahani. “The System of Islam,” Hizbut Tahrir, p. 116, also on line:

One of the most dangerous issue the West is facing is the ‘2 faces of Islam.’ On one hand Muslims tell us there is no compulsion in their religion ( and yet on the other they tell among themselves to clear up apostasy from among them. (See: Qardawi:

Why I followed Jesus and not Islam?

Like the Jews of Paul’s day Muslims too are very zealous for God. But their zealousness is in the wrong place. Like Paul’s heart cried for his fellow Jews, my heart cries for Muslims to know Christ. I love them all. It is not the Muslims but the ideology of Islam that is the problem. The ideology and faith that is very much ‘works’ related and still a Muslim is not sure whether God will accept him in His paradise as only martyrs in the way of Allah have Qur’anic assurance.Although the Qur’an talks about reward for good deeds, it also states that God has created some to lead them into the straight path of God and yet others to lead them astray. As a young Muslim this was my dilemma. From with one scholar of Islam to the other, I studied. My question was how could we be sure that we are on the right path, doing the right things that Allah has commanded and that we have assurance that we love him so much by keeping all the commands, that He now in return is loving us. Well, there was no easy answer. I looked into the life of Muhammad and found Muhammad saying to his companions:`No one of you will enter Paradise through his good works.' They said: `Not even you, O Apostle of God?' `Not even I,' he replied, `unless God covers me with His grace and mercy.'" (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).I asked, so how can one get this covering of His grace and mercy? Neither the Qur’an nor the Ahadith tells how. Well, one night scared of death, hiding in a secure place, as there was a war going on between India and Pakistan and because of the air raid shells were falling, I was reciting one after another verses of the Qur’an from memory. It was, as if I was asked, that what I was reciting, did I really believe it? And indeed in my heart and mind I said, yes, I do. The next question came, so why don’t you act upon them? When was the last time you read what was revealed to Moses and given through Jesus? You say, you believe in them but you really do not act upon them. You say, you do not make any distinction among them, yet you claim whatever Moses and Jesus brought are corrupted. Well, I was reciting Sura 3:84.

The next day I got myself a Bible. Although at age 13 I had been given the Gospel of John and at age 15, a Gideon NT, but I always thought the message was corrupted and only the message of Islam was intact. Now at age 21 I started reading the Bible carefully. To make the whole story short, one day I found what I was looking for. I found God’s grace and mercy I was looking for. Right in the first chapter of John I found that the law was given through Moses but grace has been granted through Jesus. While the Qur’an was offering me conditional love of Allah, that it is I who had to take the initiative to love him first and still not know whether he loved me, the Christian Scripture was telling me that before I loved Him, he has loved me. There was Muhammad in the Qur’an who does not know what will happen to him or me (Sura 46:9), here was Jesus who knew where he came from and where he was going. Here was Muhammad who said to his own daughter Fatima, I cannot save you. Here is Jesus who claims, believe in me and you will have eternal life.

At age 23, I accepted the message of Jesus and him as my Savior and Lord. My situation since then has been like a beggar finding food and now wants to tell other beggars where to find it.We are living in a world where in the name of interfaith and so-called bridge building, Christians who have been blessed with the truth, are sadly letting Muslims die having no hope. If we really love Muslims, we should be sharing the Gospel of Jesus with them.