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  • The Punishment Of Apostasy

     Umer updated 8 months, 2 weeks ago 5 Members · 34 Posts
  • Umer

    Moderator June 25, 2020 at 12:35 am

    The punishment of apostasy has arisen by misunderstanding a Hadith. This Hadith has been narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta) in the following way:

    مَنْ بَدَّلَ دِينَهُ فَاقْتُلُوهُ

    Execute the person who changes his faith.[1]

    Our jurists regard this verdict to have a general application for all times upon every Muslim who renounces his faith from the times of the Prophet (sws) to the Day of Judgement. In their opinion, this Hadith warrants the death penalty for every Muslim who, out of his own free will, becomes a disbeliever. In this matter, the only point in which there is a disagreement among the jurists is whether an apostate should be granted time for repentance before executing him, and if so what should be the extent of this period. The Hanafite jurists however, exempt women from this punishment. Apart from them, there is a general consensus among the jurists that every apostate, man or woman, should be punished by death.

    In my opinion, this view of our jurists is not correct. The verdict pronounced in this Hadith has a specific application and not a general one: it is only confined to the people towards whom the Prophet (sws) had been directly sent to do itmam al-huujjah (conclusive communication of the truth). The Qur’an uses the words mushrikin for these people.

    I now elaborate upon this view.

    In this world, we are well aware of the fact that life has been endowed to us not because it is our right but because it is a trial and a test for us. Death puts an end to it whenever the duration of this test is over, as deemed by the Almighty. Commonly, He fixes the length of this period on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom. However, in case of the direct and foremost addressees of a rasul (Messenger of God), once the truth is unveiled to them in its ultimate form after which they have no excuse but stubbornness and enmity to deny it, they lose their right to live. The Almighty had blessed them with life to try and test them, and since after tmam al-hujjah this trial becomes totally complete, therefore the law of the Almighty in this regard is that generally such people are not given any further right to live and the death sentence is imposed upon them.

    This punishment is enforced upon the direct addressees of a rasul in one of the two ways depending upon the situation which arises. In the first case, after doing itmam al-hujjah upon his nation, a rasul and his Companions (rta) are not able to achieve political ascendancy in their territory and migrate from their people. In this case, divine punishment descends upon their nation in the form of raging storms, cyclones and other calamities, which completely destroy them. The nations of the ‘Ād and the Thamud and the people of Noah (sws) and Lot (sws) besides many other nations met with this dreadful fate, as is mentioned in the Qur’an. In the second case, a rasul and his companions are able to acquire political ascendancy in a land where after doing ittmam al-hujjah upon their people they migrate. In this case, a rasul and his Companions subdue their nation by force, and execute them if they do not accept faith. It was this situation which had arisen in the case of the rasul Muhammad (sws). On account of this, the Almighty bade him declare that those people among the mushrikin who had not accepted faith until the day of hajj al-akbar (9<sup>th</sup> hijrah) should be given a final extension by a proclamation made in the field of Arafat on that day. According to the proclamation, this final extension would end with the last day of the month of Muharram, during which they had to accept faith, or face execution at the end of that period. The Qur’an says:

    فَاِذَا انۡسَلَخَ الۡاَشۡہُرُ الۡحُرُمُ فَاقۡتُلُوا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ حَیۡثُ وَجَدۡتُّمُوۡہُمۡ وَ خُذُوۡہُمۡ وَ احۡصُرُوۡہُمۡ وَ اقۡعُدُوۡا لَہُمۡ کُلَّ مَرۡصَدٍ ۚ فَاِنۡ تَابُوۡا وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ.(5:9)

    When the forbidden months are over, slay the Idolaters wherever you find them. Seize them, besiege them and every where lie in ambush for them. But if they repent from their ill beliefs and establish the prayer and pay zakah , then spare their lives. God is Most-Forgiving and Ever-Merciful. (9:5)


    A Hadith illustrates this law in the following manner:

    أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّي يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللّٰہُوَاَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُوْلُ اللّٰہِوَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَتِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّ الْإِسْلَامِ وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَي اللّٰہِ

    I have been directed to wage war against these people until they testify to the oneness of God and to the prophethood of Muhammad, establish the prayer and pay zakah . If they accept these terms, their lives will be spared except if they commit some violation that makes them lose this protection from Islamic law and [in the Hereafter] their account rests with God.[2]


    This law, as has been stated before, is specifically meant for the mushrikin on whom Muhammad (sws) had directly done itmam al-hujjah. Apart from them, it has no bearing upon any other person or nation. So much so, that even the people of the Book who were present in his times were exempted from this law by the Qur’an. Consequently, where the death penalty for the mushrikin is mentioned in the Qur’an, adjacent to it has also been stated in unequivocal terms that the People of the Book shall be spared and granted citizenship if they pay jizyah. The Qur’an says:

    قَاتِلُوا الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ لَا بِالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَلَا یُحَرِّمُوۡنَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللّٰہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ وَ لَا یَدِیۡنُوۡنَ دِیۡنَ الۡحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡکِتٰبَ حَتّٰی یُعۡطُوا الۡجِزۡیَۃَ عَنۡ ‌یَّدٍ وَّ ہُمۡ صٰغِرُوۡنَ.(29:9)

    Fight against those among the people of the Book who neither believe in God nor in the Last Day, and who do not forbid what God and His Prophet have forbidden and do not accept the religion of truth as their own religion, until they pay jizyah out of subjugation and lead a life of submission. (9:29)


    The foregoing discussion outlines a law of the Almighty. There is a natural corollary to this divine law as obvious as the law itself. As stated earlier, the death penalty had been imposed upon these mushrikin if they did not accept faith after a certain period. Hence, it follows that if a person among the mushrikin after accepting faith reverted to his original state of disbelief, he had to face the same penalty. Indeed, it is this reversion about which the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: “Execute the person who changes his faith.”

    The relative pronoun “who” in the above quoted Hadith qualifies the mushrikin of the times of the Prophet (sws) just as the words “the people’ (al-nas) in the Hadith quoted earlier are specifically meant for the mushrikin. When the basis of this law as narrated in these Ahadith has been specified in the Qur’an, then quite naturally this specification should also be sustained in the corollary of the law. Our jurists have committed the cardinal mistake of not relating the relative pronoun “who” in the Hadith “Execute the person who changes his faith” with its basis in the Qur’an as they have done in the case of “the people” (al-nas) of the Hadith quoted above. Instead of interpreting the Hadith in the light of the relationship between the Qur’an and Hadith, they have interpreted it in the absolute sense, totally against the context of the Qur’an. Consequently, in their opinion the verdict pronounced in the Hadith has a general and an unconditional application. They have thereby incorporated in the Islamic Penal Code a punishment which has no basis in the shari‘ah.

    (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi)

    (Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

    ____________

    [1]. Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 3, 1098, (no. 2854).

    [2]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 1, 53, (no. 22).

  • Umer

    Moderator June 25, 2020 at 12:37 am
  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 22, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    “However, in case of the direct and foremost addressees of a rasul (Messenger of God), once the truth is unveiled to them in its ultimate form after which they have no excuse but stubbornness and enmity to deny it, they lose their right to live.”

    I find this statement from Ghamidi saab highly problematic. If we accept this argument, it will mean that any human who claims to be the messenger of God can claim lives of the people if those people don’t accept him.

    Who will decide whether the disbelievers are denying him in stubbornness or they genuinely don’t believe in him ? Even if they deny him in stubbornness, what right does he have to kill them ? It is God’s job, and not his.

    It also contradicts the verse 2:256 which says there is no compulsion in religion.

    • Hamza Khalid

      Member July 31, 2020 at 11:15 am

      from what i understand (might be wrong), yes, their is no compulsion in religion but if a person believes or doesnt believe, he/she will bear the consequences of his belief outcome. The next verse after that shortly, says that whoever follows satan will abide in hell for eternity. This means, and from other places in the quran, their is a mudat or period of time given us to either believe or not believe (no complusion), but when our life ends (ie mudat ends) we will be judged accordingly.

      from what i understand from ghamidi saab is that, just to leave no doubt about the judgment day, allah has demostrated his court of justice on this earth as a small judgment day ( like a laboratory experiment, where it can be proved and showed for something of a massive scale), this is done by rasuls/messengers, who act as the representative of god to the people. Messenger of god gives them clear signs and warns them of the judgment day. and remove any doubts and answer any question. since it is a small scale of judgment, their is period of time given for people to accept or reject the message (no compulsion). during this period the messengers communicate gods message to the point their is no doubt and if people do reject it, it clear that it is due to their pride or arrogance or malice of one another until their mudat ends and small judgment day’s court is established in this world.

      they are still given the right and freedom of belief, but under a period of time. We are in same case where our mudat ends when we die, we can accept or reject before that. only difference is that they had the prophet/messenger, god’s representative on the face of earth. They were given clear signs, and could ask questions if they wanted. We dont have representative of god, hence the our and theirs mudat/period of time to accept/reject is different.

      As as far as right for the prophet to punish, he is the representative of god himself, and when god orders to establish the court of justice and punish the rejecters (like in surah Tawbah), it is as if god himself has punished the disbelievers. at least thats what make sense to me.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

      I think I request you to read my comments on “No compulsion” thread. This topic is discussed in detail there already.

      On the point of God’s punishment being carried out by Rasul.. let me bring another angle, which I see to be more likely.

      A person claims to be the messenger of God.. and kills some people by saying that God ordered him to ..

      Interestingly God doesn’t use any natural calamity to kill the disbelievers. It is done by the man himself.. if it was God’s work, he would have brought any natural calamity on the disbelievers..

      We hear such stories for many people all the time.. we call them false Prophets… it is just that when our favourite leader does it, we feel he is the representative of God.

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 23, 2020 at 2:28 am

    Now, some scholars and English translators of Qur’an, insist that the verse 2:256 means there is no compulsion in “acceptance” of religion, thus explaining the contradiction that apostates need be killed. According to those scholars and translators, it is fine to accept Islam, but once you enter it, leaving is not permissible, and there is compulsion in leaving Islam.

    In a fair and just world, belief in an ideology can’t be made compulsory. Even nation states don’t put patriotism or love for the country as a mandatory condition.

    I like Qur’an verse 2:256 for it professes, freedom of belief, but these interpretations and the supposed abrogation claims dilute it. If I am not wrong, many reputed early scholars, including Ibn Kathir talked about abrogation of this verse.

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 31, 2020 at 6:21 am

    {

    As stated earlier, the death penalty had been imposed upon these mushrikin if they did not accept faith after a certain period. Hence, it follows that if a person among the mushrikin after accepting faith reverted to his original state of disbelief, he had to face the same penalty. Indeed, it is this reversion about which the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: “Execute the person who changes his faith.”

    }

    Suppose a Christian becomes Muslim after listening to Prophet’s direct message and agreeing to it . Then sometime later, after Prophet’s death, he apostatises from Islam and reverts to the Christianity . Is he supposed to be killed or this law applies ONLY to mushrikin ?

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 31, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Any answers to this question ? Can an ex-Christian be punished the same way as mushrikin ?

    • Mashhood Irfan

      Member August 6, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      I don’t think so because he would become ahl e kitab, for whom the punishment is that of subordination by making them pay jizya.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 7, 2020 at 5:37 am

      So, a Christian will be given chance to remain alive even after deliberate denial of the “truth” and apostasy, but the same act done by a Pagan apostate will invite death ?

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 31, 2020 at 6:30 am

    There is a hadith regarding it .. what does “during the last days” mean here ?

    Narrated by ‘Ali

    Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah’s Apostle, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky than ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you (not a Hadith) then it was indeed a trick (i.e., I may say things just to cheat my enemy). No doubt I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “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, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.”

    • Mashhood Irfan

      Member August 6, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      I think here the question arises as to what is meant by “last days”? Last days before Qiyamah or the Prophet’s life? And what was the context of this Hadeeth? Did the Prophet just randomly say this?

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 6, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      I don’t know .. in general when the Prophet used “last days” in other hadiths, what did he really mean ?

    • Mashhood Irfan

      Member August 6, 2020 at 11:40 pm

      The reason for nit picking is that we’re talking about taking someone’s life. I’m not in favour of deriving such directives when:

      1) The text of the Hadith is vague

      2) It was told only to one person

      3) If by “last days” he meant Qiyamah, then why tell his companions to kill? Obviously they won’t be alive then.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 7, 2020 at 2:59 am

      1. Yes, but all hadiths are vague to some extent.

      2. That one person was none other than Ali..

      3. So it may indicate that the ruling was not for his companions but in general for all believers.

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor August 6, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Also, the hadith from Ali says this : “for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection” .

    So, it is rewarding to kill the apostates .

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 7, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Any Hadith which is not in line with the Qur’an is not acceptable regardless of who has narrated it. I will not waste my time arguing about such a hadith.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 7, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      Do you think Prophet did not order the killing of apostates in his time also (completion of proof) ?

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor August 7, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    It seems according to this hadith that apostasy law was applicable on Jews also who accepted Islam and then reverted to Judaism… not sure about it being only applicable on Mushrikin ..

    A man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Mu’adh bin Jabal came and saw the man with Abu Musa. Mu’adh asked, “What is wrong with this (man)?” Abu Musa replied, “He embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism.” Mu’adh said, “I will not sit down unless you kill him (as it is) the verdict of Allah and His Apostle.”

    — Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:89:271

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Only those people were put to death on the orders of Allah by the swords of the companions of the Prophet sws who had received the message of the Quran with completion of proof. There is no punishment for apostasy or blasphemy in the Qur’an by an individual

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 7, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Yes and we can assume that once someone became Muslim at the time of Prophet, he would have done after being convinced of the truth of Qur’an with completion of proof, unless he was a hypocrite ..

      After that if he left Islam, he would have been ordered by Prophet to be killed, right ?

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 7, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Then such people who had embraced Islam and then reverted were put to death. But no individual Could just take a sword in his hand and kill another human being on apostasy charges

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Ali killed people for apostasy .. as evident in the hadiths .. must be when he was Caliph..

      So, you agree that apostasy punishment was part of Islam .. even though at the time of Prophet only. So, you agree that killing of apostates in principle is not against Qur’an as Prophet himself permitted it ..

      The only point is that it is not permitted now .. but at the time of Prophet it was (completion of proof).

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 8, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Yes I understand the same. But this was applicable only at the time of the Prophet sws when a man had accepted Islam and then decided to leave it. Apostasy only becomes a crime after one accepts Islam after itmam-e-Hujjat of Rusul and then leaves it. These were the directives of Allah. Please note that this was not applicable at any other times on the Muslims and is not applicable on any Muslim today. Unfortunately some people decide to apply directive which were time specific at the time of Prophet sws, today with grave consequences. Therefore the State has to make a law against the misuse of blasphemy and apostasy instructions

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 8, 2020 at 10:48 am

      Why Jews were punished for the same crime, if Prophet only meant it for Mushrikin ?

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 8, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    I checked with a scholar the Jews were never punished for apostasy and the above Hadith is incorrect..only Mushrikeen were punished once they embraced Islam and went back on it during the time of Prophet sws.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 8, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      This hadith is also incorrect .. hmm..

      So, let me understand it correctly.. let’s take following cases..

      1. A polytheist A accepts Islam and then converts to Judaism after some time ..

      2. A polytheist B accepts Islam and then reverts back to polytheism.

      3. A Jew C accepts Islam and then converts to polytheism after some time..

      4 A Jew D accepts Islam and then reverts back to Judaism..

      Who all among A, B, C and D are fit to be killed and what is the rationale of God behind the ruling ?

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 22, 2020 at 6:55 am

      Can someone please help answer the question ?

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Please remember all the punishments were only during the time of Prophet sws and after his passing away No punishment could be given to anybody for apostasy. Only Allah can punish them on the Day of Judgement

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor August 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, I am talking about the time of Prophet only… please answer my question about 4 people A, B, C, D above considering them all to belong to the time of Prophet only.

  • Rafia Khawaja

    Member August 8, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Please ask one of the moderators to ask one of the Scholars at Al Mawrid to answer your above questions You will get a satisfactory answer

  • Umer

    Moderator August 22, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Every point raised has been answered in the above article:

    “This law, as has been stated before, is specifically meant for the mushrikin on whom Muhammad (sws) had directly done itmam al-hujjah. Apart from them, it has no bearing upon any other person or nation. So much so, that even the people of the Book who were present in his times were exempted from this law by the Qur’an. Consequently, where the death penalty for the mushrikin is mentioned in the Qur’an, adjacent to it has also been stated in unequivocal terms that the People of the Book shall be spared and granted citizenship if they pay jizyah”…

    …”The foregoing discussion outlines a law of the Almighty. There is a natural corollary to this divine law as obvious as the law itself. As stated earlier, the death penalty had been imposed upon these mushrikin if they did not accept faith after a certain period. Hence, it follows that if a person among the mushrikin after accepting faith reverted to his original state of disbelief, he had to face the same penalty. Indeed, it is this reversion about which the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: (“Execute the person who changes his faith”).”

    Sameer Sahab! It is again requested of you to kindly read the resources first before putting forth a question to avoid duplication (most of the times, questions posed by you have already been answered in the resources provided here).

  • Umer

    Moderator August 26, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    The Punishment of Apostasy – Misconception and its basis:

    (Part-1) – from 22:17 onward

    https://youtu.be/mvY-uSczND8?t=1337

  • Umer

    Moderator August 26, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    (Part-2) – from 00:00 to 25:41

The discussion "The Punishment Of Apostasy" is closed to new replies.

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