Refuting death for apostasy.

“Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will reject (it)” (Qur’an 18:29)

And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by Allah’s permission, and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.” (Qur’an 10: 99-100)

He said, “O my people have you considered: if I should be upon clear evidence from my Lord while He has given me mercy from Himself but it has been made unapparent to you, should we force it upon you while you are averse to it? (Qur’an 11:28)

“And whoever invokes besides Allah another deity for which he has no proof – then his account is only with his Lord. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed.” (Qur’an 23:117)


1) The argument from Logic.  Allah (swt) is All-Knowing.


The “traditional” understanding of apostasy laws makes sense in the context where Islam would always be the dominant polity. However, as we can see that has not been the case for some time now. As we can see in secular societies ex-Muslims are given no choice but to preach against the spread of Islam. Their very lives are at stake. So Muslims employ very circular reasoning. If people apostate it will encourage others to do so.  This is answered by saying that the first apostate is Iblis. Point of fact, Allah (swt) did not destroy him. Rather, Allah (swt) uses the apostasy of Iblis to test the believers until the end of time. 

Notice that Iblis knows full well that retribution is coming his way for going against Allah (swt).  Yet, look at what he asks for. He didn’t ask Allah (swt) for extra time so that he could do tawba. No! He didn’t ask Allah (swt) for extra time so that he could do good. No! He asked Allah (swt) for extra time for the expressed purpose of tirelessly assailing the hearts, and minds of the believers until the day of recompense. How brazen a request in light of his open apostasy! 

Ponder these verses…


He said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.” He said: Then lo! You are of those reprieved Until the Day of the time well-known.” He said: My Lord! Because You cast me out, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them every one, Except, among them, Your chosen servants.” (Qur’an 15:36-40)


He said: “Because you have thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful to You.” (Qur’an 7:16-17)


Iblis will assault from all directions. We should expect to be assailed spiritually, challenged intellectually, and on all fronts.


So the whole purpose of the first apostate as recorded in the Qur’an is to be fitna for the believers. Allah (swt) did not destroy him for his apostasy. Instead, he gave him respite.


2) The argument from hypocrisy.  

It should be clear to anyone who has even cursory knowledge of the Qur’an that Allah (swt) has the most damning words for hypocrites.

“The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper will you find for them” (Qur’an 4:145)

“To the hypocrites give the glad tidings that there is for them (but) a grievous penalty; (Qur’an 4:138)

“O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,-an evil refuge indeed.” (Qur’an 9:73)

And there are people who say, “We do believe in God and the Last Day,” the while they do not [really] believe. They would deceive Allah and those who have attained to faith-the while they deceive none but themselves, and perceive it not. And when they are told, “Do not spread corruption on earth,” they answer, “We are but improving things!” Oh, verily, it is they, they who are spreading corruption but they perceive it not?  And when they are told, “Believe as other people believe,” they answer, “Shall we believe as the weak-minded believe?” Oh, verily, it is they, they who are weak-minded -but they know it not! And when they meet those who have attained to faith, they assert, “We believe [as you believe]”; but when they find themselves alone with their- evil impulses, they say, “Verily, we are with you; we were only mocking!” (Qur’an 2:2-16)

“Deaf, dumb, blind – and they cannot turn back.” (Qur’an 2:18)

It becomes painfully obvious from the above verses that hypocrites are those who say what they do not really believe.  Their hidden hypocrisy is the cause for spreading corruption in the earth; they assert they believe as others believe but when they are alone with their evil impulse that is what they hold to.

Lastly, Allah (swt) asserts that such people can never revert or turn back.  Never!

This enough can end the debate about forcing apostates back into Islam at the point of a scimitar.  If the point is that apostates can bring harm to the faith, then why should someone be punished for their honesty in either having a crisis of conscious or not believing something, whereas a hypocrite remains in stealth weaving his or her destructive schemes within the rank and file of the Muslims?

“The Hypocrites-they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over-reach them: When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnest, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance.” (Qur’an 4:142)

The question is why would Allah (swt) speak so strongly against hypocrisy and yet institute a law that would strongly encourage it?

If people are threatened with a scimitar and they truly do not believe and yet ‘come back into the fold’ for fear of losing their life how will these people not be “those who stand up in prayer, they stand without earnest, to be seen of men?”

How will these people not be among those who say, “We do believe in God and the Last Day,” the while they do not really believe.”?

How will such people not be among those who assert,We believe as you believe”; but when they find themselves alone with their- evil impulses, they say, “Verily, we are with you; we were only mocking.”?

In other words: “Hey everyone it’s cool now I’m a Muslim again. You can put your scimitar down now.”

We have never been told by any of our scholars how the scimitar brings people back to faith?

For example: when we read this beautiful passage in the Qur’an.

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.”  (Qur’an 5:83)

Does the scimitar produce this type of Islam?

“Allah has sent down the best statement: a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. The skins shiver therefore of those who fear their Lord; then their skins, and their hearts, relax at the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whom He wills. And one whom Allah leaves astray, for him there is no guide.” (Qur’an 39:23)

Does the scimitar produce this type of Islam?

Or is there a very strong possibility that the scimitar invites the kinds of hypocrisy mentioned in the above verses. The very type of hypocrisy that Allah (swt) so strongly spoke against!    Does the scimitar invite disgruntled and restless souls who being forced back to Islam a chance to plot and plan vengeance within the community?


3)The argument from sectarian chaos: The implications this has upon sects and sectarianism in Islam.


Abdullah bin Mas’ud (r.a) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said,

It is impermissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, except in one of three cases: the adulterer, a life for a life, and the renegade Muslim (apostate), who abandons the Muslim community.”

Source: (Bukhari – Kitab Ad-Diyyat /Book on Blood Money/hadith #6878)

The first point this hadith mentions three things: life for life, apostasy, and adulterer.  You cannot decouple this hadith. You cannot accept part of it and reject another part. If any part of that text is found to be false the hall of the text is destroyed. It is absolutely my contention that the punishment for adultery is not being stoned to death, rather it is 80 lashes. Please see:

Please also see:


Now considering the name Mu’tazili’s ends up meaning ‘separate’, ‘withdraw’ and  Khariji means to ‘walkout’ or ‘go out’ from. Do you really think for a moment that these people called themselves Mu’tazaili and Kharijites?

The problem with the apostasy law is that it becomes a powerful tool to persecute other Muslims with different political and theological positions. The same as we saw during the Omayyad, Abbasid, Ottoman, Fatimid, Almoravid & Almohad dynasty not to mention the ‘Mihna’ and so on.


If it is claimed that when someone becomes an apostate or ‘abandons the Muslim community‘ we now have a tool that suggests to us that ‘might is right’.  Indeed throughout the centuries, various Muslim factions have claimed that other Muslim factions have become apostate and left Islam.

This concept puts many Muslim scholars today in a hypocritical position of condemning groups like ISIS but not condemning doctrinal/textual evidence used to make licit the blood of fellow Muslims.

Which begs the question of ‘what is Islam’?   And ‘what all does it entail’?

When a person embraces Islam, what actually do they embrace?   Would it be more appropriate for someone to say “I have embraced what I feel is Islam.”  Or “I have embraced the Islam I have learned thus far.”



4) The Argument from consistency: The self-refuting nature of apostasy laws.

The whole idea that is espoused by many is that if a person were to leave Islam they could corrupt the hearts and minds of other believers. Yet this argument already falls flat seeing that Allah (swt) has allowed the continued apostasy of Iblis for that very purpose. 

“Say: Allah is the conclusive argument. If He had willed He could have guided every one of you.´” (Qur’an 6:149)

“You cannot give guidance to whomsoever you wish, but Allah gives guidance to whomsoever He wills, and He best knows the ones who are on the right path.” (Qur’an 28:56)    

So we know that guidance is the purview of Allah (swt)- alone.

“As for those who have faith and then return to unbelief, and then again have faith and then return to unbelief, and then increase in unbelief, Allah will not forgive them or guide them on any path.” (Qur’an 4:137)

“O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die, except as Muslims.” (Qur’an 3:102)

The two verses coupled together show two things.

a) We need to be upon the cycle of faith and not unbelief if we have hope of Allah forgiving us and being guided.

b) We should not die unless we are in a state of surrender to Allah (swt) i.e-Muslims.

All these verses show the self-refuting nature of the apostasy laws.  They scimitar does not guarantee faith for anyone.  In fact, in this day and age, the apostasy law is the cause of apostasy!

It would be of utmost interest as a sociological experiment if someone were to take Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ and share them with Non-Muslims and ask them, ‘would this make you not want to be a Muslim?’  And then share with them the “traditionalist” view on apostasy and ask them, ‘would this make you not want to be a Muslim?” and let us see which one would be more effective in drive people away.

I read Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ it was absolute rubbish.   How many Muslims left Islam because of this book as compared to how many actually leave Islam because of the apostasy law itself?


Answering objections:

Compel or not to compel? 

“There is no compulsion where the deen is concerned. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has iman in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)

There are those among the “traditionalist” who say that you cannot compel people to accept Islam, however, once they accept Islam you can compel them.  Then are those who say you can compel people to enter Islam.

Go and look at their arguments here:

Notice that they say,

So no one is forced to enter Islam, but if he enters the faith and becomes Muslim voluntarily, then he is bound to abide by its rulings, whether he wants to or not, and one of the rulings of Islam is that the one who apostatizes from the faith is to be executed.”

This is like a person who has never traveled to some country; he is not obliged to travel to it or enter that country, and its laws do not apply to him, so long as he is in some other country and has not traveled there. But if he does travel there then he is bound by its laws and will be subject to them, and they will be applied to him; whether he wants that or not.”

So let us say that we were to agree with the first paragraph above.  ‘’But if he enters the faith and becomes Muslim voluntarily, then he is bound to abide by its rulings.’     Let us say we agree that this applies to people who are converts and have tied to weigh the merits of Islam.  What does this say however about the millions upon millions who were simply born and raised Muslims?   Are they allowed to leave Islam or convert to other faiths because they were born and raised Muslims by default?   Obviously, the arguments used above fall flat. As does the argument that one is not obligated to travel to another country because in that argument one can travel to another country (not like being there) and travel out of it without any threat to his/her life. 

#1) So let us deal with those who say that you can compel people to enter into Islam.  These are those who believe in a theory called ‘abrogation’.   It is a train wreck of a doctrine that is so bizarre and so incoherent that the only consensus that Sunni Muslims seem to have on it is that it exists.


So our brothers from among the Ahl Sunnah need to get this sorted out before they use any such theoretical concepts to say that Qur’an 2:256 is null and void.

2) Let us deal with those who say that you cannot compel people to enter into Islam.  Well, they are obviously refuted by those who say that you can in point #1 above.  We let them sort that out since it is their understanding and not ours.

So this doesn’t take Prima-Qur’an from the hot seat. What would be a Prima-Qur’an position on Qur’an 2:256 then?

“You have your deen and I have my deen.” (Qur’an 109:6)

So the Allah swt clearly tells us there is no compulsion in our deen.  However; once a person has chosen to embrace Islam as a deen (way of life) there becomes obligations upon him/her like paying the zakaat (purification tax).

When you live in any country you pay taxes to that land.   They say there are two things we won’t be able to escape ‘death and taxes’.   So just as an immigrant who came to the United States would be his/her consent agree to abide by the terms and conditions of that state so too would anyone who enters into the ‘deen’ -way of life of Islam agree to abide by its terms and conditions.  If you leave Islam than the zakaat (purification tax) would of course no longer be applicable to you. You would now be paying the jizya and/or other liable taxes. 


Verses misconstrued to justify death for apostasy within the Qur’an. 


“They ask you about the sacred month- about fighting therein. Say, ‘Fighting therein is a great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid-Al-Haram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah. And fitnah is greater than killing.” And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever-for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and in the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.”  (Qur’an 2:217)

No one is killed for changing their religion. The warning is that if these people die while they are in a state of unbelief (either from fighting Muslims, tonsillitis, slipping on a banana peel, old age, etc…) that it will all be for naught in the world to come.



“They swear by Allah that they said nothing, but they definitely spoke the word of unbelief and returned to unbelief after their Islam. They planned something which they did not achieve and they were vindictive for no other reason than that Allah and His Messenger had enriched them from His bounty. If they were to make repentance, it would be better for them. But if they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the Next World, and they will not find any protector or helper on the earth.” (Qur’an 9:73-74)

This verse is in reference to people who believed after their Islam and joined the ranks of enemies who were against the Muslim community. As you can see they were in that state for some time. This verse would have been a perfect time to implement a hudud law for leaving Islam.  None was implemented. If it were the proponents of apostasy would quote this all the livelong day.  So Allah (swt) will punish them in this life and in the next life.  Allah (swt) is not instructing any death penalties on Earth here.


“Do not try to justify yourselves; you have gone from belief to disbelief.’ We may forgive some of you, but we will punish others: they are evildoers.” (Qur’an 9:66)

This is actually a strong proof against any type of punishment for apostasy.  It clearly says that Allah (swt) will forgive some and punish others (which are clearly the prerogative of Allah (swt).  However, where is this punishment coming from?

The previous verse explains:

“Did they not know that whoever is hostile towards Allah and His messenger, he will have the Fire of Hell to abide in? Such is the greatest humiliation.” (Qur’an 9:63)

These people were doing what? They were mocking the Messenger of Allah (swt).

“And from them are those who harm the prophet, and they say: “He only listens!” Say: “What he listens to is best for you. He believes in Allah, and he has trust for the believers, and he is a mercy to those who believe among you.” Those who harm the prophet, they will have a painful retribution..” (Qur’an (9:61)

If only Muslims today could be patient and heed the advice of the Qur’an. There is no need to burn down embassies when people insult our beloved Messenger (saw). That does not honour Him (saw).  Allah (swt) is the best to set forth our affairs.

“So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller. However, he who turns away and disbelieves Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.” (Qur’an 88:21-24)


“They would love to see you deny the truth even as they have denied it so that you should be like them. Do not, therefore, take them for your allies until they forsake the domain of evil for the sake of Allah; and if they revert to open enmity, seize them and slay them wherever you may find them. And do not take any of them for your ally or giver of succor, unless it is such of them as have ties with people to whom you yourselves are bound by a covenant, or such as come unto you because their hearts shrink from the thought of making war either on you or on their own folk – although, if Allah had willed to make them stronger than you, they would certainly have made war on you. Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, Allah does not allow you to harm them.” (Qur’an 4:89-90)

Once again we are confronted with a context and situation of open war against Muslims by those who were in a treaty with Muslims and broke it.   So Allah (swt) says if they are in open hostility find them and slay them.    However, Allah (swt) says, “if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, Allah does not allow you to harm them.”

No killing apostates for simply leaving the faith in these verses. The killing of apostates is coincidental with them fighting against the Muslims, and if not they are to be left alone. 



The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or imapailed, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter, theirs will be an awful doom; save for such [of them] as repent before you become more powerful than they: for you must know that Allah is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace. (Qur’an 5:33-34)

We can see that for making war upon Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw) or for spreading corruption in the land that death be not necessarily mandated, as expulsion from the land is acceptable.  It would seem rather farfetched that death is mandated for one’s personal convictions when even making war upon Allah (swt), His Messenger (saw), or spreading mischief in the land can be dealt with by expulsion.

No killing for apostates in the above verses. In fact, expulsion from the land is a viable option. 


In the following verses, Allah (swt) could have at any moment mandated death for one’s personal convictions and did not.  Yet, even Allah (swt) admonished the Blessed Messenger (saw) to be patient and not to be ignorant.


O you who have attained to faith If you ever abandon your faith,” Allah will in time bring forth [in your stead] people whom He loves and who love Him – humble towards the believers, proud towards all who deny the truth: [people] who strive hard in Allah’s cause, and do not fear to be censured by anyone who might censure them: such is Allah’s favour, which He grants unto whom He wills. And Allah is infinite, all-knowing.” (Qur’an 5:54)

“Surely, those who disbelieve after their believing then increase in unbelief, their repentance shall not be accepted, and these are they that go astray.” (Qur’an 3:90)

“If their turning away is hard on you, then go down a tunnel deep into the earth, if you can, or climb up a ladder into heaven, and bring them a Sign. If Allah had wanted to He would have gathered them all to guidance. So do not be among the ignorant.” (Qur’an 6:35)

Say – For Allah’s is the final argument – Had He willed He could indeed have guided all of you. (Qur’an 6:149)

“Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will reject (it)” (Qur’an 18:29)

And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by Allah’s permission, and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.” (Qur’an 10: 99-100


Cases of the Blessed Messenger (saw) not executing apostates.

One of these so-called “apostates” supposedly is Dhu al-Khuwaysira al-Tamimi (Hurqus b. Zuhayr)-Al-Saidi.  It is obvious for anyone who reflects pensively about this. You cannot have a situation where Ahl Sunnah claims that all of the conflicts between the companions were a matter of personal ijtihad and than not do that with the major companions who differed with Ali (r.a) and his decision at Siffin. Therefore those companions need to be discredited.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (saw), at Al-Ji’ranah from Hunayn and there was some silver in the pocket of Bilal. The Messenger of Allah took a handful from it and distributed it among the people. The man said to him, “O Muhammed, be just!” The Prophet said, “Woe to you! Who will be just if I am not just? You would fail and lose if I were not just.” Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “O Messenger of Allah, let me kill this hypocrite!” The Prophet said, “I seek refuge in Allah that the people would say I am killing my companions. Verily, this man and his companions will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats. They will leave Islam just as an arrow passes through its target.”

In another narration, the Prophet said, “Leave him alone, lest people say Muhammed is killing his companions.”

Source: (Muslim 1063)

Comments: Notice the obscurity of the identity of the person. “A man”,  “The man”. 

Ibn Hajar al- ‘Asqalani mentioned a report from ‘Abd al-Razzaq al- San’ani who said,
Dhu al- Khuwaysira al- Tamimi’s real name was Hurqus b. Zuhayr and he was the founder of the Kharijites”. Thus the later-day Kharijites had the same mindset as their founder. 

Imam Ahmad was asked by his son Abdullah: “Was Abd Al-Razzaq of the Shiites? Did he go far in his Shiite leanings?” He answered: “Personally, I heard nothing from him on this point at all, but he was highly interested in historical reports.” 

Comments: Those people from Ahl Sunnah who usually quote this have not given me the sources nor any chains of narrations. Nor have they given the evidence by which Abd al-Razzaq supposedly made this claim.

As Imam Dhahabi states in his Siyar, “Abd Al-Razzaq bin Himam, Ibn Nafi’, the great hadith master, the scholar of Yemen, Abu Bakr Al-Humayri, their mawla Al-San’ani, the trustworthy, the Shi’ite.” (Kitaab Siyar)

“O, Muhammed! I have seen what you have done this day.” The Prophet responded, “Indeed, And how do you judge my actions?” Duh al-Khuwasira responded, “I have not seen you do justice.” The Prophet (saw) became angry and said, “Mercy on you! If justice is not from me, then from whom shall it come?” Umar bin al-Khattab witnessing this said to the Prophet (saw), “O Messenger of Allah! Shall I kill him? He said to Umar, “No, leave him! For surely there shall arise from him a faction who shall become so absorbed in the religion that they will exit from it the way that an arrow is extracted from the game. One looks at the arrowhead and finds nothing. Then, he looks at the shaft and finds nothing. Then preceding any excretion or blood.” Source: (Sira Ibn Hisham, p 649-650)   

This is supposed to be the same incident and the wording is very different. These hadiths are nothing more than fanciful fabrications created by a redactor and used as a polemic against other Muslims. 





The companion Al Ash’ath b.Qays. He entered Islam, left Islam -stayed away for Islam long after 3 days, and came back to Islam. 

Source: (Ahmad b ‘Ali b. Hajar al-Asqlani, Kitab Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, Beiruit: Dar al-Fikr, 1415/1995, p. 369)

Wikipedia has a short write up about him although it is important to take information from more official sources like the one above.


Another interesting case is: ‘Abd Allah b ‘Sa’d b. Abi al Sarh. This companion embraced Islam than left Islam and claimed that he was actually a Prophet! So not only was this a matter of leaving Islam the man was clearly involved in the sedition of the highest magnitude for the fledgling community. Source: (Abd al-Ghani al-Ghanimi al-Maydani, Sharh al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiya. Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 1988, p. 124)


You also have some brief mention of this encounter in the Sunan Abu Dawud:

Narrated Sa’d:

On the day when Mecca was conquered, the Messenger of Allah (saw) gave protection to the People except for four men and two women,  and he named them. Ibn Abi Sarh was one of them. He then narrated the tradition. He said: Ibn Abi Sarh hid himself with Uthman ibn Affan. When the Messenger of Allah (saw) called the people to take the oath of allegiance, he brought him and made him stand before the Messenger of Allah (saw). He said: Messenger of Allah, receive the oath of allegiance from him. He raised his head and looked at him three times, denying him every time. After the third time he received his oath. He then turned to his Companions and said: Is not there any intelligent man among you who would stand to this (man) when he saw me desisting from receiving the oath of allegiance, and kill him? They replied: We do not know, Messenger of Allah, what lies in your heart; did you not give us a hint with your eye? He said: It is not proper for a Prophet to have a treacherous eye.” Source: (Sunan Abu-Dawud Kitab Al-Jihad 14 hadith 2677)

Even though it shows that the Blessed Messenger desired that the man be killed he was not killed. He ended up re-entering Islam and fought on behalf of Islam.



The Companion Al-Abbas b Mirdas


This companion of the Blessed Messenger (saw) was do disturbed by not being given a larger portion of the spoils of a battle that he started to composed verses of poetry that scolded the Prophet (saw) for not giving him what he felt he rightfully deserved. Upon hearing the words of Al-Abbas, the Prophet (saw) ordered his companions saying, “Go and cut his tongue off from me.” Source: (Sira Ibn Hisham p, 649-650)

Which if you are not familiar with the eloquence of the Arabic language you can misconstrue this as the Blessed Messenger (saw) saying to go and literally cut his tongue out! He actually means to shut him up. The companions of the Blessed Messenger (saw) then went and gave this companion more of the spoils and kept giving him until he was content. 


In many ways, apostates today have legitimate concerns and justifications for expressing their discontent with some Muslims. the major mistake they typically equate the abuse of oppression they suffer in their cultural homelands with Islam. Islam does not oblige people to mutilate female genitalia, no does it authorize or condone honor killings, forbid women to drive cars, or stop women from getting a divorce!

Many Muslims are simply not used to be challenged for their faith.  Even though as mentioned before Iblis has promised (and Allah has allowed) that he will challenge us on all fronts.

The only time apostates are actually killed is not on account of their crisis of consciousness but when it comes coupled with acts of sedition, treason against the state, or any other act deemed as an act of war.  Allah (swt) knows best and the help of Allah (swt) is sought. 






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16 responses to “Refuting death for apostasy.

  1. You laid out wonderfully the rational argument – based solely on Qur’ān – against the opinion that apostasy deserves death, but in my lowly view, all that’s really required to turn it to dust is 2:256.

    As far as I’m aware in the Hanafi usūl, nothing can abrogate the Qur’ān but the Qur’ān. The only thing a hadīth can do, even a mutawātir/mashhūr one, is supplement a ruling or provide a substitute for it (e.g. wiping over khuffayn). You calling the doctrine a trainwreck is, I think, an apt description.

    • Thank you respected brother. The reason for calling that doctrine ‘a train-wreck’ is because what sense or what good is it to have a doctrine that there is claimed consensus on, of which no one seems to no heads or tails about what is what. I have to speak out strongly against it because of what happened in the case of the Torah and the Injeel. For Muslims to think that the trusted scribes and Rabbis just over night turned on their sacred text is not logical. So I see this concept of claiming the oral tradition can abrogate the divine revelation as a step in that direction.

      Maybe this will help our friend ‘Rider’ in the other thread as well. Insh’Allah.

    • Rider

      I accept the argumentation by Primaquran but I do not accept any claims you make about the Hanafi school.

      The usul you mentioned are not wrong though. The point lies in the interpretation of the quranic verses. The argumentation stands and falls with how the verses are understood correctly. If we take now the famous verse 2:256 “no compulsion in religion” we will have to see what it means actually.

      The majority of scholars said that it is only talking about Jews and Christians and that apostates are an exception. Now you can object to this but note that this is the majority opinion. For me it is sufficient. It is mutawatir by this fact.

      However, that is not the only interpretation. Maturidi has given an alternative view in which the term “ikrah” which is usually translated as “compulsion” is seen in a totally different context. The verse can then be translated to something like “nobody has to force oneself to follow religion (because religion is only natural and logical)”.

      We can extend the discussion about the verse and I can tell you that for me Maturidi’s interpretation is extremely convincing. It is more in line with the further context of the verse and does not have the inelegant exception of apostates like most interpretations.

      • “The majority of scholars said that it is only talking about Jews and Christians and that apostates are an exception. Now you can object to this but note that this is the majority opinion. For me it is sufficient. It is mutawatir by this fact.” That supposed “mutawatir” falls in the face of the Holy Qur’an which is not supposed mutawatir but IS indeed.

        You have not interacted with any of the material presented here. Just like with the comments you make under the Hanafi Usul for verifying ahadith. I would be interested in seeing either an e-mail exchange with you and Sheikh Atabek and the points you raised or Sulaiman Ahmed otherwise it is challenging to take what you say seriously.

        This site is Prima-Qur’an. We brought to you the words of Allah (swt) a revelation that is consistent with itself.

      • You still seem to be advocating for the illogical and oppressive position of killing a human being for nothing more than changing their mind, am I correct? I don’t care how vast a “majority” an opinion like that may be – it’s not logical, nor is it “mutawātir” (lol what?). Your misuse of terms like consensus and mutawātir thus far shows me what sort of person we’re dealing with.

        What proof is there for making an exception, if not ahad narrations? That’s against my school’s usūl, or didn’t you know? I think you need to re-watch Shaykh Atābek’s talk on the issue. He clarifies that the actual reason for passing a death sentence on apostates is for hirābah; the only disagreement in the school was about whether hirābah needed to occur, or just the mere possibility of it was enough (which is really just a lame excuse to kill people anyway).

        You haven’t addressed the article or the Hanafi school’s position or methodology, and you haven’t even clarified your own position. Every time you comment it’s a big muddy mess, and I’m beginning to think that you’re really just here to cause a ruckus.

      • Rider

        As Salamu Alaykum

        I am saying that the Qur’an is not in conflict with death penalty for apostasy and that it is commanded but not explicitly. So if the Admin wishes we can talk about the Qur’an.

        If not then let me just put some last words about this topic.
        What you Abu Talhah and Abdullah do not understand is what Islamic supremacy means. You compare faith and disbelief and make judgments about inequality and oppression. Well, faith and disbelief are not the same. It is rather illogical that you compare them like this. Disbelief is usually something in the mind, yes. But it is still an offence. A disbeliever is not innocent and Allah can order a punishment for this world. Faith matters.

      • Walakum salaam warahmutallahi wabarkatuh.

        Rider, everyone has limits to their patience and so let me say on the outset you have twice now stated
        “So if the Admin wishes we can talk about the Qur’an. If not then let me just put some last words about this topic.”

        You also stated:
        “If you wish and if this is the place for it I can give my thoughts on Shukurov’s proofs from the Qur’an against killing apostates.”

        You have now said this twice as if I have not published comments or would withhold comments. Yet you yourself have stated in another comment

        “Here on Primaquran everything is transparent. I might disagree with some opinions here but everything is laid out openly. There are no tricks and we can talk honestly.”

        Now I understand that there are Christians, and Atheist who are desperate to prove the case for Apostasy in the Holy Qur’an. We have answered those objections. So now once and for all you need to establish your proofs from the Holy Qur’an that death is mandated for those who leave Islam.

        Know this, if your next comment is more rhetoric without producing the evidence than KNOW you are in clear violation of what Allah (swt) has commanded us in the Holy Qur’an. “Produce your proof IF you are truthful.” (Holy Qur’an 2:111)

        I mean how many post in thus far and you haven’t produced your evidence from the Holy Qur’an? So your next comment WILL BE your best evidence, your most well thought out arguments as well as your claimed proof from the Holy Qur’an. If not I deem your contributions to this thread over. Why? Because Allah (swt) has given us a test that people who are truthful and sincere will produce their proof; those who are not will not do so.

        You may contribute to other threads your thoughts and views but no one, not Abu Talhah, Abdullah, nor the readers, want to go round and round the merry go round.

        Hatoo Burhanakum Inkutum Sadiqeen.

        Other than that I bid you As salamu ‘alikum

  2. Abdullah

    Salaam Alaykum brothers,

    I thought I’d share my humble 2 cents opinion in this matter regarding apostasy laws.

    May Allah bless you all and just wanted to say this is a well written article MaaShaaAllah. I totally agree with you brother when you said: “The question is why would Allah (swt) speak so strongly against hypocrisy and yet institute a law that would strongly encourage it”? I totally see your point here because FORCING people back into the deen will by logic only increase hypocrisy in society. And surely people who are forced back ONLY do so because they value their lives!

    You also said: “We brought to you the words of Allah (SWT) a revelation that is consistent with itself”. I mean common people, isn’t the Words of our creator sufficient?? No no brother! you see we need the scholars, and Madhhanbs, and Tafsirs, and opinions, and Hadith to clear up His Words rite? I Don’t think so! By the way, The Qur’an makes it clear that it was NONE other than the learned people (The scholars) who corrupted the texts in previous nations. This was because of their jealousy and enmity for one an other. But of course history doesn’t repeat itself rite?

    When I read the Qur’an, I believe it’s absolutely clear (Kitaabul Mubeen). Allah (SWT) makes it clear that no one is forced into religion! I mean I don’t understand how we can make Dawah by inviting them to leave their religion but if a muslim does this, he’s killed for it. Isn’t this double standards? Allah (SWT) stands not in need of the Aalameen! He does not need people to join His deen, we human being’s are in need of Him! And He has given us a brain to see what is true and what is false. But of course only scholars can tell us how to use our brains rite?

    There is no death penalty for apostasy brothers even if it’s the majority opinion! The Qur’an is absolutely clear about this so scholars can go barking all day long with their opinions! May Allah Bless us and guide us all!

    Jazaakum Allahu Feekum.

    • Walakum salaam brother Abdullah.

      “I totally see your point here because FORCING people back into the deen will by logic only increase hypocrisy in society. And surely people who are forced back ONLY do so because they value their lives!”
      Thank you brother. The Creator gives us that which is logical and filled with mercy. Those who leave Islam we know where they stand, we can keep relations with them, and show compassion and mercy as they may come back. As the verse clearly shows those that believe, than disbelieve than believe.

      Where as the scholars encourage a system of hypocrisy, in which people not loyal to Islam are forced back into its ranks. What is to keep these people from saying, “Fine they wan’t me to be a Muslim I’ll show them.” And than this person does something diabolical with in the ranks of the Muslims.

      “May Allah Bless and guide us all!” Ameen!

  3. Abdullah

    Salaam alaykum akhi,

    This is totally off the topic of apostacy but I was wondering if you would write an article regarding Ma Malakat Aymanukum (usually translated as those whom your right hands possess)? This surely is a highly controversial issue where classical and moderate scholars have had conflicting views. Some say it means slaves, some say captives, some say its people who live under your protection, etc.

    Brother Joseph Islam has written a brilliant article regarding this and concludes that you can ONLY ever have relations with someone under a marriage contract. This makes perfect sense and he puts forth all the verses to support his views. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the topic.

    Here’s Joseph Islam’s article:

    Jazaakim Allahu Khayr.

    • walakum salaam warahmutallahi wabaraktuh respected brother.

      Insh’Allah, I have some things lined up. I think I need to make a section of things I am currently working on. Also include in that section recommended readings, video’s I have been asked to watch so that none of the readers think that I am ignoring them. Insh’Allah.

      This is assuredly an important issue as it led to one of our dear beloved brothers coming on YouTube and saying that he could no longer identify himself as a Muslim.

      May Allah (swt) soften his heart and bring back conviction and strength to him!

      wa iyyakum.

  4. ibnmuslim16

    Interestingly enough, the Ibadis hold the hadd of riddah to be existent, something i still believe the Quran does not approve or permit it but Allah knows best, further study on this topic needs to be made.

    JazaKallah Khayran.

    • Especially when you consider the first Murtaad was Iblis and Allah (swt) did not kill him. Even Iblis said to Allah (swt) that he would lead mankind astray. That would be the perfect time to kill him. He asked Allah (swt) to with hold his punishment. Why? So he can reform? Do prayers? Do zakat? Sadaqah? No! So he can do lots of evil.

      So the death for apostasy law is inconsistent with out faith and makes our faith look terribly weak and insecure.

      • ibnmuslim16

        I agree with you the issue is people aren’t willing to budge this so called “ijmaa” which is why i believe people need to start approaching the Quran more often and discard hadiths based on matn but they don’t do that anymore and Allah knows best.

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