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The Punishment for Apostasy From Islam

The Punishment for Apostasy From Islam

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Published by Tommy Peters
This article (by Silas) examines the Islamic source materials on the topic: the Quran, Hadith, and Sira. It examines not only Muhammad’s words, but his deeds, and the deeds of those who knew, loved, and obeyed him. It examines what exactly was the law during Muhammad's and the Caliph's time and what did the great scholars of Islam teach on this issue.

(Reproduced without permission)
This article (by Silas) examines the Islamic source materials on the topic: the Quran, Hadith, and Sira. It examines not only Muhammad’s words, but his deeds, and the deeds of those who knew, loved, and obeyed him. It examines what exactly was the law during Muhammad's and the Caliph's time and what did the great scholars of Islam teach on this issue.

(Reproduced without permission)

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Tommy Peters on Nov 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/10/12 8:28 AMThe Punishment for Apostasy from IslamPage 1 of 28http://answering-islam.org/Silas/apostasy.htm
THE PUNISHMENT FOR APOSTASY FROM ISLAM
bySilas
INTRODUCTIONTHE QURANTHE HADITHTHE SIRA AND HISTORICAL RECORDSJURISPRUDENCETHE TOMESOTHER SCHOLARS AND WRITERS ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTYDISCUSSIONCONCLUSIONREFERENCES
 
INTRODUCTION
The punishment for apostasy from Islam is a controversial topic for Muslims living in the Westand for ex-Muslims everywhere. That’s because Islam teaches that apostates are to be killed.We know from historic Islamic documents that during Muhammad's lifetime, and the lifetimes of the next four "Rightly Guided Caliphs", tens of thousands of Muslims left the faith of Islam andthousands were killed. On a large scale the Muslims made war on groups that chose to leaveIslam and massacres of apostates occurred. On a smaller scale individual apostates wereexecuted. This death sentence is in effect whether or not the apostasy occurred in or out of theIslamic state.Many Muslims living in Islamic countries have no problem with the rule of putting apostates todeath. The examples of Robert Hussein
[1]
of Kuwait, Abdul Rahman
[2]
of Afghanistan, andBahaa el-Din Ahmed Hussein el-Akkad
[3]
of Egypt come to mind. These ugly Muslimgovernments are succored by the West’s finances and blood while they impose an imperial andbrutal r eligion upon its citizens.On theother hand, Muslims living in the West are embarrassed by this death sentence. TheWest values the freedoms of thought and speech, Islam does not, and these virtues have never blossomed under Islamic rule. Consequently, when asked about the Islamic law for apostatesmanyWestern Muslims do their best to cover up Islam’s edict. Motivated by conviction, or shame, they make up various defenses and say whatever they can to put your mind at ease andmake Islam moreacceptable to a naïve, gullible, and ignorant Western audience. It is notdifficult to make the Quran dance and say what you want it to say. More on these argumentslater.We must examine the Islamic source materials: the Quran, Hadith, and Sira. We must examinenot only Muhammad’s words, but his deeds, and the deeds of those who knew, loved, andobeyed him. What exactly was the law during Muhammad's and the Caliph's time? What did thegreat scholars of Islam teach on this issue?It is left to the Muslims to define their doctrines. But once defined we should understand themfor they affect our lives. Note then that for some 1400 years the defined sentence for apostasywas execution. Few Muslim scholars have ever challenged this definition; the overwhelming
 
11/10/12 8:28 AMThe Punishment for Apostasy from IslamPage 2 of 28http://answering-islam.org/Silas/apostasy.htm
majority of Islamic scholars supported it. Later in this article as you read the objections of various modern Muslims arguing against the death sentence bear in mind that it is they who aredeviating from the judgment established by the depth and breadth of Islamic jurisprudence.Of course the best arguments for the death sentence are made by Muslim scholars themselves.Therefore, I will draw from their works, or from people who quote them. [NOTES: 1) This is a revision of an article I wrote many years earlier. Since that time I’velearned much and after re-examining the article I felt that it needed to be edited and improved.Therefore, I’ve abrogated some of my earlier statements on this topic.2) You can read more about various apostates from Islam at "Apostates of Islam"
[4]
]  _____________________________________________________________________ 
THE QURAN ON APOSTASY
Let’s start with the definition of apostasy. A simple definition of apostasy is "leaving, departingaway from, or deserting, one's religion." Further, the Dictionary of Quranic Terms andConcepts
[5]
defines apostasy: APOSTASY Arabic "irtidad". Traditional Islamic law prescribes the penalty of death for a Muslimwho commits apostasy. The punishment is not stated in the Quran, but is said to bebased on certain Hadith. The advocates and the opponents of the said penalty have,in their attempt to find Quranic support for their views, appealed to certain Quranicverses, but the fact is that none of the arguments offered do full justice to theQuranic context
 As noted above, the Quran does not come out and state explicitly that apostates should bekilled. All of the neutral references I examined took this position. However, there are a number of Quranic verses that pertain to apostasy and various Muslim scholars found in them the justification to execute apostates. We will examine a few.We’ll start with Abul Ala Mawdudi, a highly regarded Muslim scholar from Pakistan who died lastcentury. He argued for the death penalty and against the liberal Muslims. Mawdidi’s work wastranslated and is available online as "THE PUNISHMENT OF THE APOSTATE ACCORDINGTO ISLAMIC LAW"
[6]
. Some quotations are below. Bold emphasis is mine. 
ABUL ALA MAWDUDI
1 The Problem of the Apostate's Execution from a Legal Perspective

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