TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

 

 

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About...

Apostasy

 
 

Question
:

Does Islam proscribe the death penalty for Muslims who wish to embrace another religion?


Summary Answer
:

Those who turn their back on Islam are to be executed.  This is confirmed by the words and deeds of Muhammad.  The only freedom of belief in Islam is the freedom to become Muslim.


The Qur'an:

Qur'an (4:89) - "They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper."

Qur'an (9:11-12) - "But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief - Lo! they have no binding oaths - in order that they may desist."   

Other verses that seem to support the many Hadith demanding death for apostates are Qur'an verses 2:217, 9:73-74, 88:21, 5:54, and 9:66
 


From the Hadith:

 

The reason why executing apostates has always been well-ensconced in Islamic law is that there is an indisputable record of Muhammad and his companions doing exactly that according to the reliable Hadith.  According to verse 4:80 of the Quran: "Whoso obeyeth the Messenger obeyeth Allah."

 

Bukhari (52:260) - "...The Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "  Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.

 

Bukhari (83:37) - "Allah's Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate."

 

Bukhari (84:57) - [In the words of] "Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

 

Bukhari (89:271) - A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to "the verdict of Allah and his apostle."

 

Bukhari (84:58) - "There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, 'Who is this (man)?'  Abu Muisa said, 'He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.'  Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, 'I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice.'  Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, 'Then we discussed the night prayers'"

 

Bukhari (84:64-65) - "Allah's Apostle: 'During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'"

 

Abu Dawud (4346) - "Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?"  Muhammad is chastising his companions for allowing an apostate to "repent" under duress.  (The person in question was Muhammad's former scribe who left him after doubting the authenticity of divine "revelations" upon finding out that he could suggest grammatical changes.  He was brought back to Muhammad after having been captured in Medina).

 

Reliance of the Traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1 - "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed."  (o8.4 affirms that there is no penalty for killing an apostate).

 


Islamic Law:

 

There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafii), as well as classical Shiite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death.  The process of declaring a person to be an apostate is known as takfir and the disbeliever is called a murtad.

 

Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy: "An apostate...is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, 'Slay those who change their din [religion]'...Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition...prior to his execution."


The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy endorsed 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 apostasizes 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."


The equivalent, gravely negative implications of the OIC's Sharia-based Cairo Declaration are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, which proclaims: "Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism." Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the "punishment" of so-called "apostates" from Islam: "[19d] There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.; [22a] Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.; [22b] Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.; [22c] Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith."
 

From Andrew Bostom's CAIR's Silence on Pastor's Apostasy Death Sentence is Deafening

 

In 2012, the website, Islam QA, offered a studied defense of killing apostates and "enemies of Islam" which was captured by Jihad Watch: Apostates from Islam and Those Who Wage War Verbally on Islam Must be Put to Death

 


Additional Notes:

While the rest of the world generally believes that if God wanted people dead over their religious beliefs then he would do the job himself, apostasy is taken so seriously by Muslims that it spawned the first of many major internal wars. 

 

Immediately after Muhammad's death, several tribes wanted to leave Islam and return to their preferred religion.  In a conflict known as the Riddah (apostasy) Wars, they were slaughtered in such places remembered as "Garden of Death" and "Gulley of Blood" during the first caliph Abu Bakr's aggressive and violent campaign to force submission (and keep the tribute payments flowing back to Mecca, of course).  Within months, a great many people were dead, including Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an by heart.

 

As Abu Bakr, Muhammad's closest companion, explained in a letter at the time, his prophet "struck whoever turned his back to Him until he came to Islam, willingly or grudgingly."  Thus did Abu Bakr promise to "burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive" any who left Islam. (al-Tabari v10 p.55-57)

 

Ali, the fourth "Rightly Guided Caliph" was Muhammad's son-in-law and one of the first converts to Islam.  He also had people burned alive for wanting to follow their conscience.  An old man named Rumahis b. Mansur, who regretted leaving Christianity and vowed not to remain a Muslim, was beheaded by Ali.  (al-Tabari v.17 p.191).

 

In 1400 years, there has never been a system of Islamic law that did not prescribe the death penalty for any Muslim choosing to leave Islam.  Even in modern, ostensibly secular Islamic countries with constitutions "guaranteeing" freedom of religion, there is de facto enforcement of this law with intimidation and the occasional murder of apostates.

 

A sound philosophy never requires violence or threats to retain believers.  Contemporary Muslim apologists sometimes find it embarrassing that their religion - and theirs alone - endorses killing over a change in opinion (as critic Geert Wilders puts it, "Any religion that invites you in but then will not let you out is no longer a religion").  As such there are various tricks played to deny or explain away this weak and draconian which is so well-ensconced in Islamic tradition.

 

Such defenders usually quote verse 2:256 to Western audiences.  The verse states "Let there be no compulsion in religion, for truth stands out from error."  They may also include a fragment of verse 10:99-100, "Wouldst thou (Muhammad) compel men until they are believers?"  What they don't say is that Muslim scholars agree that both verses were spoken by Muhammad during an earlier time in his teachings, when he did not have the power to compel others.  They are abrogated by later verses, such as verse 9:29, which clearly commands Muslims to fight unbelievers until they relent and either accept Islam or a state of humiliation under Islamic rule (an obvious illustration of compulsion).

 

These apologists also ignore the actions of Muhammad at Mecca and those of his companions following his death, particularly the bloody Ridda Wars.  How could those closest to him have felt that there should be "no compulsion in religion" if they were instructed to kill anyone who wanted to leave Islam?  How could the mandated killing of apostates have become a part of Islamic law?

 

The "Religion of Peace" expanded across the globe by conquering people of other religions and then making life miserable for those who didn't "embrace Islam."  Once spoken, a person was locked into the faith.  Any sign of false witness - such as raising their children in another faith - was punished with death.  Thus did Islam gradually supplant other religions. 

 

One of the world's most respected Sunni scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, admitted in 2012 that if Muslims had "gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn't exist today".  (Astonishingly enough, he was not apologizing for the beheading, torture, burning and murder of millions but rather trying to justify it).

 

And, while some apologists bend the truth in order to distance Islam from one of its most draconian rules, one of the world's most popular recently affirmed that the death penalty should be applied to those who leave Islam and share their faith with others.  (Ironically Zakir Naik made his comments on a British television channel called Peace TV).

 

At the end of the day, even Muslims who insist that the mandate to kill apostates from Islam isn't a part of the "true" religion,   never appear all that bothered when it does happen, nor do they champion the right of other religions to evangelize in Muslim countries; In fact, they discourage it.  They know as well as anyone that Islam cannot compete within the arena of free ideas and must rely on brute force at some level to retain believers.


A Sample of Modern Day Treatment of Those Who Leave Islam:


Young Girl Killed for Helping 'Apostate' Cousin...
Egypt Sentences Christian Convert to Five Years in Prison...
Pregnant Woman Sentenced to Death for Choosing Christianity...
17-Year-Old Girl Beaten to Death by Father for Becoming Christian...
Man Stabbed in Refugee Center for Leaving Islam...
Family Tries to Poison Apostate...
Teen Hacked to Death in Church for Changing Faith...
Two Christians Beheaded in Front of Children...
Woman Hacked to Death in Church for Leaving Islam...
Imam Converts to Christianity - Father Tries to Stab Him...
Man Leaves Islam - Home Burned Down by Relatives...
Afghan Parliament Member Calls for Execution of Christian Converts...
Woman Kidnapped, Sexually Abused for Becoming Christian...
Young Girl Shaved and Beaten for Converting to Christianity...
15-Year-Old Boy Executed for Denying Belief in God...
Ex-Muslim Couple Imprisoned for Converting to Christianity...
Saudis Lash and Jail Man Accused of Helping Woman Convert...
Morocco's Highest Islamic Body Demands Death of Anyone Rejecting Islamic Faith...
Christian Widow and Mother of 5 Hunted Down and Murdered for Leaving Islam...
Iran Tells Imprisoned Pastor the Torture Will End When He Renounces Faith...
Wife Kicked Out of Home for Becoming Christian...
Two Christian Converts Murdered by Islamists...
Christian Convert Jailed and Tortured for Leaving Islam...
Imprisoned Pastor's Health Worsens as Beatings Intensify...
Woman's Entire Family Threatened with Death for Her Leaving Islam...
Prominent Muslim-American Group Backs Death Penalty for Leaving Islam...
Ex-Muslim Turned Pastor Gunned Down...
Teacher, Father of Four Shot to Death...
Christian Convert Denied Right to See His Children...
Egypt Imprisons Entire Family of Christian Converts...
Girl's Face Burned by Parents for Embracing Christianity...
Islamists Behead Convert to Christianity...
Ex-Muslim and Family Denied Fresh Water...
al-Shabaab Shoots 3 Christian Converts in Somalia...
Teenage Girl Gets Two Years in Prison after Leaving Islam...
Apostate Preacher Murdered in His Own Home...
Criminal Past Invented to Punish Christian Convert...
Convert Released from Solitary Confinement After 105 Days...
Five Christian Converts 'Disappear' in Iranian Prison System...
Atheist Sentenced to Three Years for Denying God's Existence...
Muslims Offer Prayers as They Cut Man's Throat for Embracing Christianity...
Apostate's Brother Urges Sudan to Kill Her...
Death Sentence Fatwa Placed on Head of 'Apostate' Rapper...
Church Pastor Abducted for Baptizing Muslim Girl...

Apostates Jailed, Families Mocked...
Christian Converts Describe Torture by Muslim Fundamentalists...
Ex-Imam and Wife Nearly Beaten to Death for Converting to Christianity
Girl Severely Beaten, Families Threatened for Showing Interest in Jesus
Iran: No College for Ex-Muslims
Two Converts to Christianity Stabbed in Norway
Uganda Girl Learning to Walk after Brutal Torture for Leaving Islam
Egyptian Cleric Says to Behead Apostates
Convert Beheaded for Leaving Islam
Iran Jails Christian Woman for Two Years over Leaving Islam
Muslim Father Arrested to Lure Christian Sons Back to Fate
Zanzibar Christian Suffers in Jail after Incarceration and Torture for Apostasy
Christian Woman Faints While Being Publicly Flogged for Leaving Islam
Secularist Endures 'Unbearable' Torture, Prepares for Execution
Apostate Pastor Blinded with Acid in Uganda
Children Murdered to Punish Ex-Muslim for Embracing Christianity
Christian Convert Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison following Baptism

Iran Orders Ex-Muslim Pastors to Serve Prison Sentences
Kenyan Convert Stripped and Beaten with Iron Rods at Kenyan Church
Christian Convert Tied Up and Stomped On
Five Afghan Christian Converts Martyred...
Converts from Islam Detained and Beaten
Christian Convert Survives Brutal Stabbing in "Moderate" Morocco

Converts to Christianity Ordered to 'Repent' or Face 'Social Boycott'
Schoolteacher Gunned Down After Converting to Ahmadi Faith

Man Beheaded for Leaving Islam and Embracing Christianity...
Christian Girl Tortured and Killed for Leaving Islam...
Christian Convert Flees after Severe Beating by Family...
Swedish Imam Calls on Muslims to Kill Converts...
25 Ex-Muslims Arrested in Iran...
Morocco Gives Ex-Muslim 15 Years in Jail for 'Proselytizing'...
14-Year-Old 'Apostate' Girl Unable to Walk after Torture...
Court Orders Apostate to 'Repent His Christian Faith' or Die...
Christian Released after 9 Months in prison for Leaving Islam
New Ground Zero Imam Says Apostates Should be Jailed...

Muslim Murdered for Intention to Convert to Hinduism...
Palestinian Couple Declared Apostates, Forcibly Divorced...
Time Running Out for Apostate Pastor Facing Execution...
Muslim-American Leaders Challenged to Reject Killing Apostates
Palestinian Authority Labels Ahmadis 'Apostates'...
Suicide Bombers Close in on 'Apostate' Pakistan Ahmadi Community...
'Blessings' Promised to Those who Kill Ahmadiya 'Apostates'
'Apostate' Ahmadiyahs Brutally Murdered by 'Allah Akbar' Mob
Man in Britain Beaten with Plank for Leaving Islam...
Christian Couple Stabbed in Home for Leaving Islam...

Iranian Christian Beaten to Death by Relative
21-Year-Old Christian Executed for Leaving Islam...
Afghan Released after 9 Months in prison for Leaving Islam...
Christian Father of Ten Executed in Front of Home
Christian Faces Death Penalty for Leaving Islam...
Father of 6 Jailed and Beaten for Leaving Islam...
Tortured Aid Worker Faces Execution for Becoming Christian...
63-Year-Old Convert & Son Beaten for Leaving Islam...
Imprisoned Pastor Faces Death Penalty for Leaving Islam...
Ethiopian Stabbed for Leaving Islam...
Son Confesses to Killing Father for Leaving Islam...
17-Year-Old Girl Beaten by Family, in Shackles for Leaving Islam...
15-Year-Old Girl Attacked with Acid for Leaving Islam...
Asylum Seekers in Norway Scald Christian Convert with Boiling Water...
Christian Convert Flees Torture in Bangladesh...
Christian Convert Beaten to Death...
False Cattle Theft Charge Used to Stop Christian Convert...
Egyptian Muslims Attempt to Behead Christian Convert...
Afghanistan Detains 20 Christian Converts amid Call for Death...
Torture Fears for Humanitarian Worker Charged with Apostasy...
Schoolchildren Forced to Watch Execution of Christian Convert...

Pastor to Hang for Apostasy...
Islamic Scholars Mull Putting Ex-Muslims to Death...
Pastors Warned to Return to Islam or Risk Murder...
Australian Islamists Vow to Murder Ex-Muslims...
Cleric: Ex-Muslims Should be Reasoned With - Then Killed...
Egypt Jails Christian Convert Accused of Distributing Bibles...
Elderly Woman Burned to Death for Converting Family from Islam...
Christian Convert Executed by Somali Islamists...

Malaysia: Whipping, Prison and Fines for Anyone Trying to Convert Muslims...
Bangladeshi Christian Convert Threatened with Death...
Ethiopian Christian Convert Languishes in Jail over Bibles...
Bibles Burned, Christian Converts Threatened with Same Fate...
Family Ordered to 'Sacrifice' Christian Convert Son...
Judge Tells Christian Convert of His Desire to Kill Her...
Police Round Up Christian Converts in Iran...
Comoros Imam who Converts to Christianity is Forced into Hiding
Elderly Christian Converts Driven from Home...
Police Rape and Torture Christian Convert - Promise to Release Her if She Will Return to Islam...
Christian Converts Hunted Down and Beaten in Comoros...
Son of Murdered Christian Convert Also Faces Death...
Iran's Parliament Votes to Kill Christian Converts...
Christian Convert Shot to Death by Devout Muslims...
Mob Pelts Christian Converts with Rocks...
Innocent Man Slain After Cleric Declares Ahmadis to be Wajibul Qatl...
'Moderate' Malaysia Sends Christian Converts to Re-Education Camps...
Jordan Annuls Marriage of Christian Convert...
Christian Convert & Wife Beaten, Flee to Save Children...
New Zealand Christian Convert Goes Underground to Stay Alive...
Christian Convert Needs Police Protection - in the UK!...
Genital-Shocking Egyptian Police Detain Christian Convert...
Ethiopian Islamists Stab Christian Convert's Son...
Christian Convert (Father of 4) Murdered by Islamists...
Christian Convert Murdered by Islamic Radicals...
16-Year-Old Christian Convert has Muslim Man Forced on Her...
Imam Calls for His Own Son's Murder for Leaving Islam...
Somali Christian Shot to Death for Leaving Islam...
Father of Two Shot to Death for Leaving Islam...
Palestinian Terrorists Butcher and Cut Christian Man into Four Pieces...
Iran Holds Women in Notorious Prison for Leaving Islam...
Christian Woman Divorced and Beaten for Leaving Islam...
Libya Urged to Stop Torturing Christians for Leaving Islam...
Graphic Video Posted of Man Beheaded for Leaving Islam...
Christian Beheaded for Leaving Islam...
Saudi Cuts Out Daughter's Tongue and Burn Her Alive for Leaving Islam...
Prominent Canada Threatens to Kill Daughter for Leaving Islam...
Yemen Arrests Nine for Leaving Islam...
Maldives Cleric Vows to Kill Anyone Leaving Islam...
Four Christians Sent to Jail for Leaving Islam...
Elderly Woman Burned to Death for Leaving Islam...
Malaysia Officially Bars Muslims from Leaving Islam...
Young Christian Murdered after Leaving Islam...
Apostate Woman's Fingernails Torn Out by Family...
Apostate Spat on in the UK, Threatened with Death...
Poll: 4 in 5 Pakistanis Support Stoning Adulterers, Apostates...
Iraqi Mujahideen Post Video of 'Apostate' Beheading...
Harvard Chaplain Defends Killing Apostates...
Executed Somali Christian was Accused of Apostasy...
Man Under House Arrest over Son's Apostasy...
(Canada) Mother Threatens to Kill Apostate Son...
Apostasy: Iran to Enforce Death Penalty Worldwide?...
Apostates Suffer Religious Persecution in Britain...
UK Clerics Refuse to Denounce Killing Apostates...
Somali Christian Casually Executed for Apostasy...
Dutch Muslims Assault Apostate...
Non-Muslims Horrified by Details of Apostate Family's Murder...
Apostate and Christian Father of 7 Shot Dead in Ethiopia...
Islamists Post 'Hit List' of Apostates...

When And Muslims brag that theirs is the "fastest growing" religion... Now you know why!

 

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