Apostasy in Islam

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Apostasy in Islam is when a follower of Islam tries to change their religion. When someone tries to reject their religion, this is called apostasy. There are different cases to be handled:

  • The follower of Islam must be an adult, the rules usually do not apply to children.
  • The follower of Islam must be sane. Insane people cannot make decisions.
  • The follower must change their religion because they want to. Being forced to change their religion is not apostasy.[1][2]

Most Sunni Islam and the Twelvers Shi'a Islamic schools of thought agree that apostasy is a sin. There is a difference between harmful apostasy and harmless apostasy[3] (also known as major and minor apostasy).[1] According to Wael Hallaq nothing of the apostasy law are based on the Qur'an,[4] although the jurist al-Shafi'i interpreted the Qu'ranic verse 2:217. This provided the main evidence for apostasy being a capital crime in Islam.[5] Sharia says the punishment for apostasy should be death, but the Qu'ran does not have a punishment for apostates in this world.

Some Islamic jurists[6][7][8][9][10] argued or issued fatwas that either the changing of religion is not punishable or is only punishable under restricted circumstances[11][12][13][14] Some groups within Islam, such as the Shi'a Ismaili, reject death for apostasy altogether.

Examples[change | change source]

  • Salman Rushdie was condemned to death in 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini,[15] (ruler of Iran at the time) for his book The Satanic Verses
  • Abdul Rahman, an Afghan convert to Christianity, was arrested and jailed on the charge of rejecting Islam in 2006 but later released as 'insane'.[16]
  • Many converts have been recently changing Islamic teachings to fit western lifestyle and living

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Is Apostasy a Capital Crime in Islam?" Archived 2009-10-04 at the Wayback Machine Islam Online, 26 April 2006
  2. "Should an Apostate Be Put to Death?" Archived 2007-03-19 at the Wayback Machine www.islam.ca, 27 March, 2006
  3. "Apostasy Major and Minor" Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine, Qaradawi, 13 April 2006
  4. Encyclopedia of the Quran, Apostasy
  5. W. Heffening, in Encyclopedia of Islam
  6. Abdullah Saeed and Hassan Saeed (2004), Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam, p. 85, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0754630838.
  7. Mohammad Hashim Kamali (1998), "Punishment in Islamic Law: A Critique of the Hudud Bill of Kelantan, Malaysia", Arab Law Quarterly 13 (3): 203-234, Brill Publishers.
  8. Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Gomaa's Statement on Apostasy Archived 2008-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, The Washington Post, July 25, 2007.
  9. Nashwa Abdel-Tawab, 'Whosoever will, let him disbelieve' Archived 2012-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 857, 9-15 August 2007.
  10. Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri: "Not Every Conversion is Apostasy", by Mahdi Jami, In Persian, BBC Persian, February 2, 2005, retrieved April 25, 2006
  11. What Islam says on religious freedom, by Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC Arab affairs analyst, 27 March 2006, retrieved April 25, 2006
  12. Fatwa on Intellectual Apostasy Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine, Text of the fatwa by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
  13. S. A. Rahman in "Punishment of Apostasy in Islam", Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, 1972, pp. 10-13
  14. The punishment of apostasy in Islam, View of Dr. Ahmad Shafaat on apostasy.
  15. On this day: February 14, 1989; BBC News, accessed March 17, 2009
  16. "Afghan convert freed from prison", BBC News, March 28, 2006, retrieved April 11, 2006