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 Regarding the Killing of Apostates

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Obedient Angel

Join date : 2011-04-30
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Regarding the Killing of Apostates Empty
PostSubject: Regarding the Killing of Apostates   Regarding the Killing of Apostates Icon_minitimeTue Aug 21, 2012 4:02 am

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “It is unlawful to shed the blood of a Muslim person who testifies that there is no God but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah except in one of three cases: the married person who commits adultery, legal retaliation for murder, and a person who leaves their religion and divides the community.”

[Sahih Muslim, Book 16, Number 4152]


Respected scholars, as-salamu alaykum. Is it true that in Islam a person must be put to death if he or she converts to another religion? Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Wa alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks a lot for your question, which reflects your care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands Muslims to refer to knowledgeable people to learn more about the teachings of Islam.

It is absurd for anyone to suggest that Islam advocates killing people who choose to leave Islam. To kill anyone who chooses to follow a religion other than Islam is against the fundamental teachings of the Qur’an. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental principle of the Qur’an that is clearly stated. Thus, if apostates cause no harm to the Muslim community and do not call for spreading hostility towards Islam, they should not to be punished; rather they should be advised kindly and wisely to learn the truth about Islam.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

Freedom of conscience is one of the fundamental rights of humans enshrined in the Qur’an; it is therefore, absurd for anyone to suggest that Islam allows putting people to death just because they convert to another religion.

Even a casual reader of the Qur’an will not fail to be impressed by its emphasis on the freedom of conscience as a cornerstone of its moral structure. To cite a few verses as follows:

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in false gods and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

[Surah Al-Baqarah 2]

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?

[Surah Yunus 10]

فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then upon you is only the [duty of] notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.

[Surah Ali Imran 3]

وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَاحْذَرُوا فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. And if you turn away – then know that upon Our Messenger is only [the responsibility for] clear notification.

[Surah Al-Ma’idah 5]

فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ

But if they turn away – then We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], over them as a guardian; upon you is only [the duty of] notification.

[Surah Ash-Shura 42]

I should further state that all of the moral teachings of the Qur’an are based on the notion of moral responsibility, which entails the freedom of choice. Therefore, to state that one must be put to death for choosing to disbelieve would only undermine the entire moral edifice of the Qur’an.

Furthermore, the Qur’an does not allow anyone to harm those who are leaving in peace, no matter what religion they hold on to. This principle has been clearly stated in the Qur’an as follows:

فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْا إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلًا

So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause (for fighting) against them.

[Surah An-Nisa 4]

In pursuance of this policy, the Prophet, peace be upon him, issued clear directives to his soldiers never to disturb those who are engaged in any form of worship. The policy of living and letting others to live is firmly enshrined in the following verses:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ

لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ

وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

[Surah Al-Kafirun 109-6]

In full conformity with the above teachings, neither the Prophet, peace be upon him, nor any of the four rightly guided caliphs who succeeded him were in the habit of hunting down people and executing them for merely changing their religions. Rather, they refrained from doing so except in rare cases involving treason. Treason, however, is another matter. The punishment for treason in the Qur’an is as strict as it is in the Hebrew Bible. But it must never be confused with mere change of religion.

In conclusion, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that Islam advocates killing people who convert to another religion.

[Source: OnIslam]

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