“The punishment for apostasy from the religion of Islam is execution”
Here is a cluebat for those who might be tempted to believe the soothing lies that are coming from Islamic apologists in connection with theÂ Rifqa Bary story: “Why should a person who disbelieves after becoming Muslim be executed? The punishment for the apostate is execution. Why such harshness?,” fromÂ Islam Question and Answer, Fatwa No. 12406 (thanks to theÂ Jawa Report) via Jihad Watch:
The punishment for the apostate is execution. Why such harshness?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The punishment for apostasy from the religion of Islam is execution. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever”
And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever changes his religion, execute him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh. What this hadeeth means is that whoever leaves Islam and changes to another religion and persists in that and does not repent, is to be executed. It was also proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a person who bears witness that there is no god but Allaah and that I am the Messenger of Allaah except in three cases: a life for a life, a previously-married person who commits adultery, and one who leaves Islam and forsakes the jamaa’ah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
This harsh punishment is for a number of reasons:
1 â€“ This punishment is a deterrent to anyone who wants to enter Islam just to follow the crowd or for hypocritical purposes. This will motivate him to examine the matter thoroughly and not to proceed unless he understands the consequences of that in this world and in the Hereafter. The one who announces his Islam has agreed to adhere to all the rulings of Islam of his own free will and consent, one of which rulings is that he is to be executed if he apostatizes from the faith.
2 â€“ The one who announces his Islam has joined the jamaa’ah (main body) of the Muslims, and whoever joins the main body of the Muslims is required to be completely loyal and to support it and protect it against anything that may lead to fitnah or destroy it or cause division. Apostasy from Islam means forsaking the jamaa’ah and its divine order, and has a harmful effect on it. Execution is the greatest deterrent that will prevent people from committing such a crime.
3 â€“ Those Muslims who are weak in faith and others who are against Islam may think that the apostate has only left Islam because of what he has found out about its real nature, because if it were the truth then he would never have turned away from it. So they learn from him all the doubts, lies and fabrications which are aimed at extinguishing the light of Islam and putting people off from it. In this case executing the apostate is obligatory, in order to protect the true religion from the defamation of the liars and to protect the faith of its adherents and remove obstacles from the path of those who are entering the faith.
4 â€“ We also say that the death penalty exists in the modern laws of man to protect the system from disorder in some situation and to protect society against certain crimes which may cause its disintegration, such as drugs etc. If execution can serve as a deterrent to protect man-made systems, then it is more appropriate that the true religion of Allaah, which Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it [cf. Fussilat 41:42], and which is all goodness, happiness and tranquility in this world and in the Hereafter should punish those who commit acts of aggression against it and seek to extinguish its light and defame its image, and who fabricate lies against it to justify their apostasy and deviation.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 21/234-231.
An exchange with an Islamic scholar
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, has taken issue with my reference to him inÂ this article. This is what I wrote:
Other Islamic spokesmen in the U.S. have been even more flagrantly deceptive. M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of Law at DePaul University and President of the International Human Rights Law Institute, asserted about the notorious Abdul Rahman apostasy case in Afghanistan in 2006 that “a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law.” This is simply false. Islam’s death penalty for apostates is only a dead letter if no one cares or is able to enforce it in a particular case, but it is deeply rooted within Islam. Some argue that it derives from Qur’an 4:89, which speaks of those who have embraced the Islamic faith and then turned “renegade,” directing Muslims to “seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari, vol. 9, bk. 84, no. 57). This is a universal principle in Islamic law. The Islamic scholar and ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq explains that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach this: “Under Muslim law, the male apostate must be put to death, as long as he is an adult, and in full possession of his faculties….According to Hanafis and Shia, a woman is imprisoned until she repents and adopts Islam once more, but according to the influential Ibn Hanbal, and the Malikis and Shafiites, she is also put to death.”
I just received this email from Professor Bassiouni:
Mr. Robert Spencer
Dear Mr. Spencer,
I note once again that you are scurrilously attacking me. My position on apostasy has been expressed as early as 1983, namely that at the time of the Prophet it was not considered as only changing one’s mind but that it was the equivalent of joining the enemy and thus constituting high treason. In fact, at one time the Prophet had an agreement with the people in Makkah to return to Makkah all those who came from there, who wished to return after they had converted to Islam. I and a number of other distinguished Muslim scholars have long criticized the views of the four traditional Sunni schools. You may be interested to know that the piece you attribute as being “flagrantly deceptive,” which was published in the Tribune, was a written document submitted to the Court in Kabul in the Abdul Rahman apostasy case.
It is amazing to me how apparently little good faith and intellectual honesty you are displaying in your attack upon Islam and Muslims.
M. Cherif Bassiouni
Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus
President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University
I wrote this back to Professor Bassiouni:
Dear Professor Bassiouni,
Thank you for your kind note. May I publish it at Jihad Watch?
I fail to see how it is a lack of “good faith and intellectual honesty” to note what you yourself seem to assume when you say: “I and a number of other distinguished Muslim scholars have long criticized the views of the four traditional Sunni schools.” You thus appear to acknowledge that the “views of the four traditional Sunni schools” prescribe the death penalty for apostates. I am glad you oppose that position. However, it does seem to contradict the statement I quoted from you in my article: “a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law.”
If Islamic law doesÂ not view conversion to Christianity as a crime punishable by death, why do you criticize the views of the four traditional Sunni schools?
And if the traditional Sunni schoolsÂ do indeed teach death for apostasy, as they obviously do and as you yourself seem to acknowledge in this note, then why do you accuse me of lacking “good faith and intellectual honesty” when I characterize as false your assertion that “Islamic law” does not prescribe death for apostates?
I’m sorry I didn’t have the honor and pleasure of meeting you when I spoke at DePaul last year. I’d be glad to come back to DePaul at my own expense, at a time convenient to you, in order to engage in a public discussion or debate about the issue of Islamic apostasy law with you. It would be a signal opportunity for you to establish, once and for all and in a public forum, my lack of “good faith and intellectual honesty.”
I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you again for writing.