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March 27, 2006



Amen brother!

I'm so overjoyed to hear anyone of any faith taking a stand against religious fanatacism and hypocrisy... be they Jewish or Muslim or Christian or any other faith. Its radicals such as the people you are pointing out, that give religion an evil connotation.

Let's all live and let live in peace.


Muhammad taught that apostates are to be murdered, wherever they are. This death sentence can be carried out wherever these Muslims are found, either in a Muslim country, or in a non-Muslim country. The Quran supports this notion, and both the Hadith and Sirat establish this portion of Islamic law.


Silas isn't my prophet, Eeman.


No, of course not.

Your prophet is the evil Mahoma and he tells you to kill the apostate.

Wake up & smell the coffee!


You want to prove to me that I have to kill apostates? Is that it? If so, I've been through this whole thing many times with others. I'm not really interested in doing so with you. So you're welcome to believe what you like.

And I hate coffee. I prefer tea.


im shayna i've be learning about you


Eeman - One of the writers on my blog is interested in this topic, she may post on in soon. Unless you are reading into the Qur'an what you want to get out of it, it's fairly clear that the Qur'an's position on apostacy is "there is no compulsion in religion" (Surah 2: verse 257... I think, better check on that).

Some Islamic scholars have argued that while there is no compulsion in converting TO Islam, there is punishment for leaving Islam (and God). But there is no direct evidence that the Prophet aspoused this view, other than some hadith - which are likely forgeries.

But if its not a forged hadith, Manar argues that apostacy was originally a concept of treason developed under a Caliphate system. With the decline of the Caliphate, apostacy went from an essentially political concept to a spiritual idea. Even when early Shia's were killed (Husayn, etc), it is likely they were killed for their political challenge to rival religious leaders rather than the necessity of killing people who "leave Islam" for what was regarded as shirk (or placing something equal to or above God) by their rivals.

Anyways, thought this might inject some reason into the discourse!


I will disagree with you Steve: it would be wrong to suggest that apostasy has not been considered a crime by Muslim jurists and that they have not considered their arguments from various "proofs" (which is not what you suggest directly, but the implication is there). This would just be (bad) apologetics, which doesn't help anyone.

Muhammad Hashim Kamali has approached this matter in Freedom of Expression in Islam. What is important about this book is not that he approaches the issue of apostasy from the 'liberal' or 'modern' discourse of 'rights' or even from as a moral argument (though he does entertain both), but from the Muslim fiqhi tradition of textual examination and scholarly precedent (he cites many 'classical authorities'). This makes the book important because it works within the Muslim traditions so he can't be dismissed as a 'liberal apologist' by Muslims or otherwise.


So if the Caliphate is revived then killing apostates will be legitimized again, is that what you're saying ?

BTW, when it doesn't suit or when it becomes embarrasing then suddenly hadiths become forgeries, right ? No. Muslims have no credibility and the rest of the world is not stupid.

Finally, does anyone know if there are any Muslim countries who have not signed up to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 17 (the one about the freedom to change one's religion)?


BTW, when it doesn't suit or when it becomes embarrasing then suddenly hadiths become forgeries, right ?

I suggest comprehension classes if you cannot read English.


It's not clear either from the title or from the table of contents of the book you recommend that it has anything to say about those in a Muslim society who want be/become Christian and what is to be done with them.
Can you post some relevent extracts ?


Eeman : BTW, when it doesn't suit or when it becomes embarrasing then suddenly hadiths become forgeries, right ?

Thabet :I suggest comprehension classes if you cannot read English
I was hoping we could have an intelligent discussion without one of us regressing into an 8 year old. But what else can you do if you don't have a leg to stand on, right ?


Thabet - I don’t see where you get an “apologetic” take on apostasy in Islam from Steve’s comment. You said, “it would be wrong to suggest that apostasy has not been considered a crime by Muslim jurists.” This is precisely true. Muslim Jurists have gone out of their way to prove that apostasy is a crime punishable by death by way of Hadith and vaguely the Qur’an. What Steve pointed out was that Prophet Muhammad was not known to execute “apostates.” On the contrary, supposedly under a treaty with the people of Mecca in 630 A.D. he allowed those who renounce Islam to do so without punishment as it stood to be a matter of personal relationship with God. But while Muslims have focused on apostasy in Islamic Law from a fiqh perspective, I think it’s important to acknowledge it in context of history (Islamic Law is not a static 1400-year legal discourse).

Hurub al-Ridda (Wars of Apostasy) were declared under Abu Bakr when Muslims tribes began to announce their own prophets (and refuse to pay Zakah) following Prophet Muhammad’s death. This was a period when Islam was in danger in terms of its survival, coherence, and rising deviations. I’m not sure how saying that apostasy took new shape after the Prophet’s death as it stood to threaten the umma and the power of the Islamic State in general is being apologetic. No one is saying it’s right (or that it was once right) to kill “apostates.” On the contrary, Jurists (in any era) who read into Qur’anic text looking for how to punish apostates need to look no further: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:256).

Further, Islamic Law once laid down specific rules governing the relationships between master and slave (back in slavery days), as well men and women (back and still in their inequality days). But really why would Islamic Law provide rules for institutions that are clearly inconsistent (and in opposition) with divine concepts of equality, fraternity, and basic rights? Then again, we can agree that Islamic Law did not *create* the institution of slavery (or the idea of apostasy), and if it perpetuated it for a period of time, through discourse it was able to abolish it.

As such, we cannot change history or pretend Islamic jurisprudence is a vacuum concept either (or that fuqaha’ do not recognize the significance of an event like Wars of Apostasy as essential in Islam or deny the existence of slavery). We can change and reinterpret “apostasy” laws when we first realize they are inhumane, and second when we acknowledge their role in history (a role that has dissipated).

Abu Bakr once saw “apostasy” as a danger to a growing religion (and the Islamic State). Today, I think (hardliner) Muslims pose more of a danger to Islam. I think we can all agree to say “apostasy” laws are absurd. Hopefully, Muslim Jurists will eventually stop using “the authority of the Author (God) to justify the despotism of the reader,” as Khaled Abou el Fadl once wrote (if that’s even possible).


well put manar! you keep earning that degree!

Thabet I understand where you are coming from, viewing some ideas as the musings "liberal apologists" which denegrate the faith by injecting non-spiritual ideas into a divine concept.

Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, and al-Farabi (some of the most famous Muslim apologists c1000-1200 CE) argued, by contrast, that truth is a universal concept. Were truth not to be the same in the heavens and on earth (and in the Prophets time and present), then it does not exist at all. Creating the distinction between human truths and heavenly truths makes it impossible to distinguish between a truth and an untruth - for anything not provably truth becomes possibly divinely true. As such nothing can be false, or at least provably false. And if nothing is false, then there is no religion, no faith, no understanding of anything. Logic and discourse are absolutely necessary to religion, because without it, it is no more true than untrue. I hope this makes sense, they had over a 1000 pages to say what I did in two sentences, so I likely dishonored their memory there. Oh well.

And in response to those who dismissed their ideas as apologists, these great scholars could but shrug, because that had no bearing on the truthfulness of their statements - such accusations were logical fallacies (ad hominems).


Eeman: I tend to respond to people how they begin with me; a personal failing of mine. Think I'm being childish? Then change your own behaviour. Don't like that? Then start your own blog to "prove" your points in your own peurile manner. It's free with Blogger. My other response is usually to just ignore the individual. So think yourself lucky I even bothered to respond to you :-)

However, since I'm such a nice person, here is a link for you to read. Be nice to him.

To the lovely couple: None of what you've said I disagree with. I appreciate all the historical arguments for the formation of such laws.

I know Islamic law isn't static, Manar; that's fairly obvious even to an "unexpert" (my own made up word) like me. Al-Shatibi was quite different to al-Ghazali who was quite different to al-Sharaksi and so on. Indeed, I think Muslims have long known that religion is all about interpretation -- why else are religious interpretations are guarded so tightly (some might say jealously)?

Let me clarify my point on 'apologetics' to both of you. To be dismissive of this opinion as either a 'minority' one or based upon 'forged' hadiths is poor apologia (I can't comment on the quality of the hadith).

Now I suggested Kamali's book to Steve because Kamali approaches some of these questions on 'freedom' (to change one's religion in this case) from the fiqhi tradition of textual examination and scholarly precedent; he also examines case law in Muslim countries. This is important, not because I regard the discourse of liberal rights as intrinsically 'evil' or something, but because the appeal for the former amongst Muslims will be stronger. That is Kamali can't be dismissed by Muslims 'on the other side' as a 'liberal apologist' simply reinterpreting the texts to suit "liberal ideas", as he engages with their tradition from within their tradition and in support of their tradition, as a (contemporary) expert in Islamic law.


I see what you're saying. People are certainly more likely to listen to people from a Islamic jurisprudence perspective rather than letter-bombing Afghanistan with pamphlets of the UN charter!

I personally don't get this whole apostacy business. If the dude is going to hell, that's punishment enough. And the way I see it, he's happy and Muslims are happier without him.


Thabet ... Thank you for the link. I will read it when i get some time.


You're very much welcome.

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