Apostasy in Islam

Islam is not just a religion it is also a political and legal system and ideally there is no separation between church and state though this ideal situation did not last very long. It's difficult for secular and Christian Westerners to understand but you cannot renounce Islam, the penalty for apostasy is death. This is a religion that will kill you if you decide to reject it. You'd also think that people would be ashamed of such a rule but this is not the case. Most of us unreligious Australians assume without giving it much thought that at the heart of all religions is a core set of similar ethical values shared by all faiths. This turns out to be wishful thinking.

Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty. - Quran (16:106)
… the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' - Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260)

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a respected Muslim scholar and one of the two most popular imams on TV with an audience of 60 million. He appears on Al Jazeera the most popular TV station in the Middle East. Eat your heart out Wallyd Aly:

If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn't exist today. Islam would have ended with the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). So opposing apostasy is what has preserved Islam to this day. Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:33) says: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, … is that they should be murdered or crucified." According to Abi Kulaba's narration this verse means the apostates. And many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad's companions … state that any apostate should be killed. Ibn 'Abbas's hadith: "Kill whomever changes his faith [from Islam]." Ibn Ma'sud hadith: "Kill these three criminals: the adulterer, the murderer, and the apostate that leaves [our] community." That is in addition to a big number of other narrations, by other companions, about apostasy.

That's right, this most respected Muslim scholar says that only by killing Muslims who reject Islam has the "Religion of Peace" been preserved. He reels off a verse from the Quran and a few ahadith from the centuries of devout, meticulous Islamic reflection on the problem of apostasy (Susan Carland would approve) proving that execution or crucifixion is Allah's penalty for the crime. Of course, it's okay to be a bad Muslim, it's okay to be an evil Muslim as long as you don't publicly abjure the religion itself. That's what gets you beheaded or crucified. It's not just a few crazies, as many as ¾ of Muslims in many Islamic countries agree that death is the only option.

Hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers are converting to Christianity in Germany. The conversion boosts their chances of being granted asylum by allowing them to claim they would be executed for apostasy if sent back. But even in Germany it can be dangerous as one convert was attacked by fellow inmates of a refugee shelter for converting. Of course ordinary Christian refugees in Germany are routinely attacked by their Muslim brethren. Ah Islam, the religion of peace.

Muslims use many English words but the meaning is not necessarily the same as in the Concise Oxford. Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad is a Senior Fellow for the Centre for Syariah, Law and Political Science, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) . Here he discusses apostasy:

"Muslims firmly believe that they are in the territory of truth, the right path. They are bathed in the brightest light. For Muslims, truth is light, falsehood is darkness. Therefore, it is a grave injustice to them if they were to deviate from that truth. Furthermore, the fact that Islam prohibits apostasy reflects the integrity and credibility of the religion. If Islam were to grant permission for Muslims to change religion at will, it would imply it has no dignity, no self-esteem. And people may then question its completeness, truthfulness and perfection.

"Freedom" or ikhtiyar means a choice for the good or better. So it is neither one's right nor is it freedom to choose something evil, false, wrong, incorrect or imperfect."

"If Islam forbids apostasy, not only the Muslims must observe it, but the followers of other religions that do not have such provisions must appreciate and respect this position as well. This is actually the freedom of worship that must be perceived by all."

Apparently "freedom of worship" demands that non-Muslims must grant Islam the right to use violence against apostates and approve of it as well because "freedom" only goes in one direction.

  • Nomad - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • Why We Left Islam - Susan Crimp
  • Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out - Ibn Warraq