"Loon Watch" got it all worked out: "The Quran does not at all say to kill apostates"

“Muslims are undergoing a soft reformation, led by the Western Muslims and the likes of Dr. Tariq Ramadan.  But it will take time, just like Europe did not reform overnight.”

Waaahooooo!

The loons from Loon Watch are still in Hopey-Changey mode: who needs reality when you can cook your own?

Former Muslim receiving death threats

Ironically, just when the kooks from Loon Watch have decided that we got it all wrong and Islam has this great reform movement that forbids the killing of apostates, a former Muslim who is now an atheist, says he has been ostracized and threatened with death Sabri Husibi, who has an unlisted telephone number, said he received about 30 calls Saturday from people who were cursing him, calling him a traitor and threatening him.

One caller, whom Husibi would not identify, said that if he spoke at the meeting and said anything against Shariah (Islamic law), he would be killed.  Another caller offered Husibi’s young Muslim wife $10,000 to leave him and return to her native Syria, he said.  “Someone from Tulsa called my 76-year-old mother in Syria and said, ‘You’re not going to see your son anymore,’ ” he said. Tulsa World

Rifqa Bary

Fathima Bary Needs to Read Her Bible; “Final Word” on Islam and Apostasy

An emotional Fathima Rifqa Bary–whose personal writings reaveal that she wants to be a modern day prophet–said of her parents:

“My parents are Muslim…I don’t know if you know about honor killing…They have to kill me…Because if they love Allah more than me, they have to do it.It’s in the Quran. And you can, like, give them knowledge about it [gestures to someone off camera, who says something unintelligible].”

It seems that Fathima’s understanding of the Quran comes from whomever she pointed to, whom I can only assume is her pastor (or pastor’s underling more likely). A few more dry runs could have perfected the performance. She just had to memorize a few verses to prove her claim:

13:6 If–your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend, which is as your own soul–entice you secretly, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” which you have not known–not you, nor your fathers;

13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, near to you, or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

13:8 You shall not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall your eye pity him, neither shall you spare, neither shall you conceal him:

13:9 But you must surely kill him; your hand must be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

13:10 And you must stone him with stones, that he die; because he has sought to thrust you away from the LORD your God.

Well, that’s pretty damning evidence right there. That sounds a lot like “honor” killing: “If your brother…or your son or your daughter….entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’…You must kill him…you must stone him with stones, that he die.” Well, if that’s in the Quran, then we better ban all Muslim immigration to America!

But before we call Homeland Security, I hope you don’t mind if I check the Quran to verify if those verses exist.

[Flipping through pages of Quran]

Hmmm, can’t seem to find it.

Oh wait, *smacks forehead*, I remember now where those verses are from. Ahh yes, they are from theBible (Deuteronomy, 13:6-10). There are of course many other Biblical verses in the same vein, such as 2 Chronicles 15:13 which reads:  “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.”

Oopsie doopsie!

Maybe it’s not such a good idea to randomly quote someone else’s scripture or medieval texts without any context as a proof to demonize a people or to fear monger.

Introduction

Islamophobes insist that Islam says that apostates must be killed. These ardent critics of the faith are of the view that Islam is for this reason simply incompatible with the Western Judeo-Christian tradition.  Their view–which they try to propagate–is that Islam is somehow so inherently different from all other religions that it should be singled out as the one faith that we just absolutely cannot tolerate.

The issue of course is that “Islam” doesn’t “say” anything, since it is not a person.  Islam is in fact polyvalent: it has within it different understandings and interpretations of the religion.  On this particular issue, Islam itself doesn’t “say” anything.  Valerie Hoffman, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Illinois, commented on the issue of apostasy in Islam: “You can’t say Islam says this or Islam says that.” The question of course is “whose Islam” and “which Islam?”

Yes, the majority “classical” and “traditional” opinion codified hundreds of years ago was indeed that apostates from Islam should be killed. However, such views are abundantly present in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well, yet Jews and Christians have over the course of time reanalyzed their canonical texts and come to different understandings today.

Before the Great War, the Ottoman Empire united Muslim lands under one symbolic leadership. (Perhaps an oversimplification but it suffices for our discussion here.)  It is interesting to note that the Ottoman government eventually stopped enforcing the punishment for apostasy and finally abolished it altogether in 1844, more than one hundred and sixty years ago:

Punishment for apostasy (in any case, extremely rare) was not in practice enforced in later times and was completely abolished by the [Ottoman] Turks by a decree of the Ottoman government in 1260/1844.

(The New Encyclopedia of Islam, by Cyril Glasse, p.54)

And we read:

The Ottoman Caliphate, the supreme representative of Sunni Islam, formally abolished this penalty…The Shaykh al-Islam, the supreme head of the religious courts and colleges, ratified this major shift in traditional legal doctrine. It was pointed out that there is no verse in the Qur’an that lays down a punishment for apostasy (although chapter 5 verse 54 and chapter 2 verse 217 predict a punishment in the next world). It was also pointed out that the ambiguities in the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) suggest that apostasy is only an offense when combined with the crime of treason…

The debate triggered by the Ottoman reform was continued when al-Azhar University in Cairo, the supreme religious authority in the Arab world, delivered a formal fatwa (religious edict) in 1958, which confirmed the abolition of the classical law in this area.

(T.J. Winters writing for Newsweek)

It should be kept in mind that the Ottomans had embraced change, pushing what came to be known as the Tanzimat reforms, a drive to modernize the Islamic state to be compatible with the contemporary age.  They abolished the jizya and dhimmi system; the Hatt-i Humayun of 1856promised full legal equality for citizens of all religions, and the Nationality Law of 1869 created a common Ottoman citizenship irrespective of religious or ethnic divisions.

The point is that the Islamic state had embraced change and reform of their religious understanding.  The debate had begun, but after World War I, the Allies occupied Turkey and Arab lands.  They broke up the Ottoman Empire, and carved out mandate states, installing despots into power, something which of course retarded further Muslim intellectual growth.

The modern Muslim world is living with the consequences of these events.  Unfortunately, feelings of anti-Westernism have emerged as a backlash to colonialism and subsequent events.  Extremists and religious fundamentalists began to define themselves in opposition to the West; the more the West condemned their extreme understandings of Islam, the more “street cred” these fundamentalists garnered.  Hey, if the West hates you, and the West is the colonialist, then you must be right!  Such was the thought process.

So harsher understandings replaced more tolerant ones, and the punishment for apostates–which had been long abandoned by the Ottoman Empire–was re-instituted in a few Muslim majority countries.  As Dr. Tariq Ramadan put it:

The opposition and condemnations by the West supplies, paradoxically, the popular feeling of fidelity to the Islamic teachings; a reasoning that is antithetical, simple and simplistic.  The intense opposition of the West is sufficient proof [for them] of the [supposed] authentic Islamic character of the literal application of hudûd (Islamic penal code).

In the context of relationships between countries, we often tend to remember only the conflicts and the wars.  We focus on the battles and wars between the Muslim world and the Judeo-Christian West,  but on  a deeper level, there is another more significant aspect, which is an ideological cultural exchange.  Muslims now live in the West; when Western Muslims approach the Islamic texts, they come with a certain background and upbringing which necessarily affects their understanding.

What we have witnessed in the last couple decades is a growing trend of a return back to early reformist understanding of freedom of religion. These reform-minded Muslims have realized that not only is the modern concept of freedom of religion permissible in their religion–and not only is it wholly compatible with the Quran–but rather it is mandated and obligatory in Islam.

A “soft reformation” is taking place in Islam, as mentioned by Dr. Tariq Ramadan and others.  The reformists are challenging traditional interpretations and understandings of the religion, and pushing for a repeal of apostasy laws in specific where they exist.  The struggle is on, and change cannot and will not happen overnight; the post-colonial mess that the Muslim world finds itself in only retards intellectual growth but the process has begun.

Enter the Islamophobes

Instead of seeking to help the reform-minded Muslims, the Islamophobes have demonized virtually all Muslims, except of course a few self-hating Muslims who simply repeat whatever the Islamophobes want to hear (for which they are rewarded handsomely).

The main argument used by Islamophobes is that Islam as a religion itself advocates the death penalty for apostates, and therefore it is the religion itself–not the interpretation of it–that is the problem, an unusually obtuse and altogether unhelpful assertion. Furthermore, some of them argue, Muslims must abandon their belief in the inerrant nature of the Quran.  In other words, the Islamophobes posit that the only possible way for Muslims to become “civilized” is to view the Quran as any other text, deleting what they dislike from it and adding whatever they wish to it–or as Daniel Pipes puts it: to make it “defunct.”

While, certainly, that may seem like a plausible solution to an outsider, the problem is that for the vast majority of Muslims it is quite simply not a possibility; it is anathema to question the Quran’s veracity.  Regardless of the arguments back and forth on the issue, the practical reality is that the Muslim masses cannot countenance such a thing; the Islamophobes know this, and that’s why they set up this formula.  In other words, they know that the Muslims cannot do this and therefore it has become for the Islamophobes the “only possible solution” to the problem.

Yet, it is hardly the case that the Muslims can only take one possible route to modernization.  Reform-minded Muslims believe that a change in the texts is not required, but only a change in theunderstanding and interpretation of said texts.

Open Texts

The Quran is an open text, because it generally refrains from specifics.  In fact, names are almost never used in it, in order that its verses have not only a specific meaning but also a more general import.  For example, a verse may have been revealed to placate the Islamic prophet Muhammadduring a particularly difficult time in his struggle; so even though the verse will have a specific reason for revelation (to one particular man in one specific situation), it can also be used in a general context: Muslims will use that same verse when they themselves are going through tough times.

Because of this unique structure of the Quranic text, what one gets out of it depends a lot on the reader, who tends to inject into verses his own background and biases, for better or for worse.   Having said that, it seems to the author that an unbiased and neutral reading validates the argument of the reform-minded Muslims: nowhere in the Quran does it clearly and definitively say one must kill apostates.  In fact, it seems to say the exact opposite.

If Muslims can understand it in that way, why this continual insistence by the Islamophobes that the Muslims “must” abandon their belief in the inerrant nature of the Quran?  (Again, it is in order to set up a situation whereby Muslims simply cannot fulfill the requirements to be accepted into society, which is exactly what the Islamophobes desire.)

But enough jibber jabber; the proof is in the pudding.

The Quran

Ms. Fathima Rifqa Bary was incorrect: unlike the Bible, the Quran does not at all say to kill apostates if they choose to leave Islam. Rather, it says the exact opposite. The Quran declares emphatically:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth is distinct from error!” (Quran, 2:256)

Almost every Muslim knows this verse by heart. It categorically closes the door to religious compulsion, and is used by reform-minded Muslims to promote freedom of religion and the idea that the people have a right to follow whatever religion they so choose. Because “truth is distinct from error,” people should be able to discern it for themselves without having to be forced.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a classical Islamic text, says of this verse: “This was revealed concerning the Ansar who tried to compel their sons to enter into Islam.” Some of their children were Jewish, and the parents wished to force them to become Muslims. In Al-Suyuti’s classical text Asbab al-Nuzul(Reasons for Revelation), it also says that there was a Muslim father by the name of Husayn bin Salim bin Awf who had two daughters both of whom were Christians. After failing to convince them to convert to Islam of their own free will, he went to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and requested permission to compel them into Islam. It was for this that the verse “Let there be no compulsion in religion” was revealed, to forbid parents from forcibly converting their children to Islam.

The relevance to the Fathima Rifqa Bary case cannot be understated: contrary to Fathima’s claim, the Quran forbids religious compulsion in general.  The verse in question was specifically revealed for parents in regard to their children of different faiths. Amazingly, the Quranic verse was revealed to forbid a Muslim father from forcing his Christian daughters into Islam. Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like Mr. Bary and his daughter! So how accurate was Fathima’s claim that the Quran commands parents to force their children into Islam or kill them if they refuse?

Ironically, it is the Bible–the same one that Fathima holds–that has verses in it commanding parents to stone their daughters should they worship gods other than the Christian one. Considering that Fathima espouses a hardliner literalistic Christian fundamentalist mentality, we wonder if she would even contextualize the verse like the Christian mainstream does? (This is not about Christianity vs Islam; this is about extremists vs moderates; Fathima and the Global Revolution Church are notrepresentative of mainstream Christianity, at least not any more than Al-Muhajiroon is of the Islamic mainstream!)

Alas, I digress. Back to the Quran, which says:

“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?” (Quran, 10:99)

Reform-minded Muslims use the above verse to argue that forcing people into Islam is wrong because God Himself did not do that.  They believe that the power to guide and misguide people rests only with God, and nobody can share in that.  The next verse is used by reformists to show that Muslims should just worry about what they themselves do, instead of trying to force people into guidance:

“And had God willed, He could have made you all one [religious] community, but He sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.  But you shall certainly be called to account for what you (yourself) used to do [i.e. not what others used to do].” (Quran, 16:93)

The phrase–“God guides Whom He wills” and that He “misguides Whom He wills”–appears in dozens of Quranic verses.  All of these references are commanding believers that they cannot force or will people into the religion, but that only God can do that.

The Quran commands:

“The Truth is from your Lord; so let him who please believe and let him who please disbelieve.” (Quran, 18:29)

And the Quran says:

“Exhort them to believe; your task is only to exhort. You cannot compel them to believe.”  (Quran, 88:21-22)

Another verse in the Quran indicates that during the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, there were people who believed and disbelieved–and then believed only to disbelieve once again; in other words, people entered into and out of the religion freely. The Quran says that such people are weak in faith and God will never guide them in this worldly life. The verse reads:

“Those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor guide them to the Way.” (Quran, 4:137)

Reform-minded Muslims use this verse as a proof that there can be no punishment for apostasy. If that had been the case, then those who believe and then disbelieved (i.e. apostates) would have been put to death and therefore no chance would have been given to them to once again believe and disbelieve. Furthermore, the verse says that God will never guide them back to Islam, indicating that the Muslims are to ignore such a person: if God did not guide them to the Way, then why should Muslims?

So there are clear and explicit verses of the Quran that reform-minded Muslims naturally understand to mean that freedom of religion must be extended to all, and that compulsion into Islam is not to be tolerated.

The Hadiths

Enter the Hadiths. For those who don’t know, the Hadiths are a body of collection of the prophet Muhammad’s sayings or traditions. In other words, the Quran is considered by Muslims to be the word of God, and the Hadiths are the words of their prophet. Unlike the Quran however, Muslims do not believe that all of the Hadiths are authentic. Rather, many of them are apocryphal and therefore rejected. In other words, if some Islamophobe claims that such-and-such Hadith exists, be aware of the fact that many of them are rejected by Muslims. The Hadiths do not occupy the same rank as the Quran, but are rather a secondary source open to criticism.

In this huge body of collection, we find the Hadith that Islamophobes rely on as their trump card in this debate, which reads as follows: “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” At first glance, that seems pretty clear and unambiguous but has the Islamophobe proven his case? Well, let’s take into consideration that the Bible has many seemingly clear and unambiguous verses which call to kill apostates, yet we never assume that Christians today believe this, nor do we insist that Christianity itself demands it.

A Christian–when confronted with those verses in the Bible–would respond by saying something like the following:

“Well, that’s the Old Testament, and Jesus abrogated that part of the law. Back then during Biblical times, the believers were few and there was a real fear that they would be eliminated so punishing apostates was a deterrent. Furthermore, at that time apostasy was akin to high treason.”

And this answer would completely placate the Islamophobes. In other words, verses that seemed unambiguous and clear from a religious book seemed to indicate one thing at face value, but the people who follow that book have a different way of understanding it: they give an explanation thatcontextualizes the verses.

Let’s be clear here: we’re not trying to bash Christianity at all. What we are saying however is that if we extend the common courtesy to Christians that they can contextualize such verses in the Bible, then why do we not extend the same courtesy to the Muslims when it comes to the Hadiths? Keep in mind also that Muslims believe that their Bible–so to speak–is the Quran and not the Hadiths. In other words, if Christianity’s primary source seems to say that apostates are to be killed, then why do we not accept any explanation from Muslims about their secondary source? (Hint: Islamophobia is the answer!) It is this terrible double standard that bothers Muslims and those who believe in religious tolerance.

So how do reform-minded Muslims contextualize the Hadith in question (i.e. “whoever changes his religion, kill him.”)? First of all, they point out that these are not the words of the Islamic prophet Muhammad to begin with; rather, these are the the words of a man named Ibn Abbas who wasparaphrasing the words of the Islamic prophet. The full text of that particular Hadith is as follows:

Some Zanadiqa were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying: Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire). I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle: Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 84, Number 57)

If this was a paraphrase, what were the actual words of the Islamic prophet Muhammad? We find one such Hadith which says:

“The blood of a Muslim, who confesses that there is no God but God and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: (1) In penalty formurder, (2) a married person who commits adultery and (3) the one who reverts from Islam (apostates) and leaves the community.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 12, Book ad-Diyat, Number 6878, p.209)

Based on this, reformists say that a person cannot be given capital punishment except for three offenses: (1) murder, (2) adultery, and (3) apostasy combined with “leav[ing] the community.”Such Muslims say that apostasy is not punished except for when it is combined with “leav[ing] the community,” which they say refers to high treason against the Islamic state. What is meant specifically by “leaving the community” is of leaving the community to join the enemy forces. To bolster this claim, reformists point to another similarly narrated Hadith, which reads:

“The blood of a Muslim, who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but God and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: (1) a married person who commits adultery; he is to be stoned and (2) a man who went out fighting against God and His Messenger; he is to be killed or crucified or exiled from the land and (3) a man who murders another person; he is to be killed on account of it.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 4, Number 4353, p. 126)

In other words, we have the exact same three instances in which a person may be put to death: (1)murder, (2) adultery, and (3) “a man who went out fighting against God and His Messenger.”Reform-minded Muslims reason that since the Islamic prophet restricted capital punishment to three classes of people, the third instance must be referring to the same group. In other words “leav[ing] the community” refers to “a man who went out fighting against God and His Messenger.” Reform-minded Muslims tie these Hadiths to the following Quranic verse:

“The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: this is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.” (Quran, 5:33)

Notice how similar the above verse is to the Hadith mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawud (above). The Hadith mentions the one “who went out fighting against God and His Messenger” whilst the Quran says “those who wage war against God and His Apostle,” and the punishment for such is also the same in both: “killed or crucified or exiled from the land.” Reformists point out that the opinion of the ultraconservative Muslims–that peaceful apostates are to be killed–does not jive with the above, since that would mean that a person is to be killed for other than the three reasons, even though the Islamic prophet limited it to only three reasons, not four.

And even if we say that the Hadiths do not limit capital punishment to only three reasons, argue reformists, the issue is that the two Hadiths (as found in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan Abu Dawood) both mention three sins–murder, adultery, and apostasy/waging war. It is abundantly clear then that the third sin (other than murder and adultery) is in reference to the same thing in both narrations, due to the congruency of the two Hadiths–which firmly establishes the linkage so the linking of apostasy to treason is firmly established by the congruency of the two Hadiths. This argument stands alone in itself and is not dependent on limiting capital punishment to three sins.

Reasons for Revelation

At the time that this Hadith was said (i.e. to kill apostates that left the community), the Muslims of the city of Medina were under attack by the Quraish “idolaters” of Mecca (which at that time was predominantly non-Muslim). Many of the Muslims in Medina were emigrants from Mecca, who had converted to Islam. Do you see now why religion and national identity was fused at the hip back then? If you were a Meccan who converted from paganism to Islam, you’d be persecuted or even killed by your former co-religionists. So those who converted to Islam would “leave the community” of Mecca to join Medina.

The Meccans reacted harshly to this new religion of Islam and desired to wipe it off the map. They gathered armies and marched towards the fledgling Islamic city-state. Naturally, since the converts to Islam came from pagan families, such battles between Mecca and Medina would result in brother being pitted against brother, and father against son. Some of the newly converted Muslims naturally felt uncomfortable having to fight their families, and therefore would apostatize to the side of the idolatrous Meccans. Others were simply weak in faith and felt overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the invaders, so they defected to the pagan army.

More insidiously, there were some in Medina who conspired with the people of Mecca to betray the Muslims in battle. They hatched a plan that they would “convert” to Islam to join the forces of Medina, only to apostatize and abandon the Muslims in the thick of things, in order to destroy the morale of the Muslim army. The Quran says of this:

“A section of the People of the Book say: ‘Believe in the morning what is revealed to those who believe, and reject it at the end of the day, perchance they may themselves turn back.” (Quran, 3:72)

In the classical Tafsir (commentary) entitled Asbab al-Nuzul (Reasons for Revelation) it says of this verse:

…The town of Uraynah conspired with each other, saying: “Pretend to join the religion of Muhammad at the beginning of the day and declare your disbelief in it at the end of the day. Say: ‘We have looked in our Scriptures and consulted our scholars and found that Muhammad is not genuine; it is clear to us now that he is lying and that his religion is false.’ If you do this, his Companions will doubt their religion. They will say: ‘these are people of the Book and they are more knowledgeable than us. They will then abandon their religion and embrace yours.’”

Reformists believe it was in this particular situation that the Hadiths about killing “apostates” who“leave the community” and “wage war against God and His Messenger” were said. “Leaving the community” is a reference to leaving the community of Medina to join the invaders. Therefore, they reason, it was not merely “peaceful apostasy” which is to be punished, but rather high treason, i.e. trying to destroy the Islamic state’s army. It was a specific plot of the unbelievers to convert to Islam in order to mass apostatize and defect to the pagan side to destroy the Muslims.

One can see then how apostasy and defection are linked; back then, there was a pagan army and a Muslim army. If you were pagan, you fought for the pagan army. If you were Muslim, you fought for the Muslim army. If you converted from one to the other, then you’d likely abandon one army and defect to the other. Hence the phrase “the one who reverts from Islam (apostates) and leaves the community.”

Furthermore, the act of assisting in battle the unbelievers against the believers was in itself considered an act of apostasy. This is why reformists believe that back then religious identity was fused with national identity and state loyalty. This is what professor M. Cherif Bassiouni meant when he wrote,

My position on apostasy…[is] 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.

Going back to the now famous Hadith (“Whoever changes his religion, kill him”) this was–revealed about the Zanadiqa:

Some Zanadiqa were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying: Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire). I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle: Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 84, Number 57)

The word “Zanadiqa” translates to heretics, and here is referring to a group known as the Saba’iyya. The founder of this group, Ibn Saba, was believed by Muslims to be an enemy of the Islamic state who pretended to convert to Islam in order to instigate civil war and strife. Although his existence is a matter of dispute amongst scholars, his group–the Saba’iyya (Zanadiqa)–did exist. They claimed that the prophet Muhammad’s cousin–a man by the name of Ali ibn Abi Talib–was god incarnate. They instigated revolts against the government and eventually orchestrated the murder of the Caliph(Muslim leader) of the time, a man named Uthman ibn Affan. We read:

Ibn Saba…[whose] activity began during the caliphate of Uthman when he travelled from Hijaz to Syria, stirr[ed] up unrest and rebellion in Egypt, Basrah, and Kufah and incit[ed] to the murder of the caliph by the Egyptian rebels…Ibn Saba was also responsible for the outbreak of fighting between the armies ofAli and Aisha at Basrah. (Shi’ite Heritage: Essays on Classical and Modern Traditions, by Lynda Clarke, pp.9-10)

And:

The Khalif Ali caused the adherents of Abd Allah ibn Saba to be burnt to death…But when Ibn Abbas learned of the occurrence, he said: “I should indeed have put them to death, but certainly not burned them, for the Prophet has forbidden that any one shall be punished by fire, because this is the mode of punishment exclusively to Allah.”

(Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Edited by James Hastings, p.625)

In other words, the Zanadiqa being referred to here were not “peaceful apostates” who simply changed their mind, but rather they were guilty of high treason, causing a civil war, instigating a rebellion in Egypt, and ultimately killing the Caliph. Indeed, they were similar to the group of people who had pretended to convert to Islam in order to apostatize during the thick of things (i.e. in the battle between Medina and Mecca). The bottom line then is that even the Hadith that the Islamophobes rely upon can be used as a proof that only those apostates who wage war against the state are to be killed.

The Traditional Opinion

Yes, it is true that the majority “classical” and traditional opinion of Islamic jurists was that apostasy–even “peaceful apostasy”–should be punished by death. This belief was enshrined into Islamic jurisprudence in the medieval era, and therefore many “classical” Islamic texts do indeed say this. It is for this reason that Alan Kornman of ACT for America–a fervently Islamophobic group–was waving around a copy of Reliance of the Traveler, a fourteenth century manual of Islamic jurisprudence, which does say that apostates should be killed. Is it possible to point out the obvious? The text was written hundreds of years ago in the medieval era. The absurdity of using it as some sort of proof against contemporary Muslims is absurd. Muslims do not consider this book to be religiously binding upon them. The words of the classical scholars are not considered a part of the Islamic canon. Only the Quran and some of the Hadiths are said to have any divine origin.

Contemporary Muslims believe that they are free to agree or disagree with the words of classical scholars. There is no equivalent to the pope in Islam. Yes, they do respect the classical scholars, and do view them as some of the greatest scholars of all time, but that does not mean that they agree with them on all issues. As for “classical texts” like the Reliance of the Traveler, yes many moderate Muslims consider such treatises to be a good source of attaining their Islamic knowledge, but they don’t believe that they must accept every single sentence or dot therein! As the famous Islamic saying goes: they take the good in it, and leave the rest!

Even within the classical Islamic texts, one can find great disagreement therein. For example, there are classical texts which refute some of the views expressed in the Reliance of the Traveler. If that is the case–that Islamic scholars of that time disagreed with some views within that text and others–why shouldn’t contemporary Islamic scholars–and Muslims in general–disagree with some of its views? Is this really so hard to comprehend? I don’t think so.

We understand it perfectly well with classical Christian texts. Let’s look at the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the most influential Christian scholars in history. The Vatican considers him as “the model teacher” for those pursuing priesthood.

The Summa Theologica, a book written by St. Thomas Aquinas, is considered one of the best summaries of Catholic doctrine to this day, and continues to be relied upon. In other words, here we have a text that is certainly more central to the Catholic faith than the Reliance of the Traveler is to Muslims. Well, let’s take a look-see into what the Summa Theologica says about apostasy; the first part talks about how Jews are apostates and thus worse than regular disbelievers, and the second part talks about how apostates ought to be compelled by the sword to Christianity:

Question 10: Unbelief in General

… It is written (2 Peter 2:21): “It had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back.” Now the heathens have not known the way of justice, whereas heretics and Jews have abandoned it after knowing it in some way. Therefore theirs is the graver sin…He who resists the faith after accepting it, sins more grievously against faith, than he who resists it without having accepted it…[The Jews] accepted the figure of that faith in the Old Law, which they corrupt by their false interpretations, [so] their unbelief is a more grievous sin than that of the heathens, because the latter have not accepted the Gospel faith in any way at all…

Article 8. Whether unbelievers ought to be compelled to the faith?

…I answer that, Among unbelievers there are some who have never received the faith, such as the heathens and the Jews: and these are by no means to be compelled to the faith…On the other hand, there are unbelievers who at some time have accepted the faith, and professed it, such as heretics and all apostates: such should be submitted even to bodily compulsion, that they may fulfil what they have promised, and hold what they, at one time, received…

For, Augustine says “…When a man’s crime [apostasy] is so publicly known, and so hateful to all, that he has no defenders, or none such as might cause a schism, the severity of discipline should not slacken”…Those Jews who have in no way received the faith, ought not by no means to be compelled to the faith: if, however, they have received it, they ought to be compelled to keep itChrist at first compelled Paul and afterwards taught Him…the rites of other unbelievers, which are neither truthful nor profitable are by no means to be tolerated…

Do we then think it is justified to wave around this seven hundred year old text in the air as a proof that Christians believe that apostates should be killed? Or that “since the Jews are the slaves of the Church, she can dispose of their possessions” and the “the rites of other unbelievers, which are neither truthful nor profitable are by no means to be tolerated?” No sensible person can say so. Rather, Catholics are free to read the book, taking what they like and disagreeing with whatever they dislike.

So why then can’t these people understand the same thing for the Reliance of the Traveler, which says the exact same thing about apostasy as does the Summa Theologica?  Muslims use it in a similar manner to learn about traditional Islamic jurisprudence just as Catholics use the Summa Theologica to learn traditional Catholic doctrine, taking the good and leaving the rest. In fact, the Muslim translator of the book, Nuh Keller, did not even translate parts of the book into English which he deemed totally irrelevant to the modern day and age, which shows that Muslims do not consider whatever is in the text as religiously binding. It doesn’t mean that Muslims must abandon the book in its entirety, just as Catholics don’t need to abandon the Summa Theologica altogether.

The Four Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence

A critic of Islam argued back:

Yes there may be moderate Muslims but at this moment in time there is no moderate Islam, as defined by the [four] main schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

First, it is absurd to say that there is no moderate Islam; moderate Islam is what the vast majority of Muslims follow, and how they define it. As for the argument that “all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence demand the death penalty for apostasy,” isn’t this simply restating the obvious? Contemporary Muslims already admit that the traditional and classical opinion of Islamic jurists was that apostates were to be killed (which by the way was also amongst the “traditional and classical opinions” in Judaism and Christianity as well).

Since the four schools of thought were defined and codified hundreds of years ago, doesn’t it already go without saying that the four schools of jurisprudence would take the traditional and classical opinion on the matter? Stated another way: as the four schools were codified hundreds of years ago, is it any surprise that they should follow the old way of looking at the matter as opposed to the new?  So what exactly is the critic trying to say? It is simply restating and repackaging the obvious attack in attempt to give an air of authority to it.

His statement also betrays a superficial understanding of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. The four schools are not defined by their final rulings or verdicts, but rather based on their methodology (Usul). Within a school itself, all sorts of conflicting opinions can be found, since a school is defined not by a ruling but by the methodology one uses to arrive at such a ruling. In other words, contemporary Muslims can still follow the same methodology and arrive at different conclusions, without betraying the school of thought itself. Many followers of the four schools have done so with regard to the issue of apostasy.

So the fact that a person follows a school of jurisprudence does not at all mean that he must commit himself to one particular ruling. Furthermore, many Muslims do not follow a school of jurisprudence at all, with still others claiming that it is wrong to follow the four schools whatsoever. Bottom line: there are diverse opinions on this matter, and to pigeonhole Muslims into a particular belief is wrong.  It is just wrong to speak on behalf of Muslims; let them speak for themselves!

Contemporary Muslims argue that their rejection of an opinion held by the classical scholars does not amount to rejection of the scholars themselves, nor of the schools of thought they founded.  Rather, they insist that respectful disagreement is not only permitted but mandated in Islam. Furthermore, the new opinion of contemporary Muslims is simply a reflection of changed circumstances which have allowed Muslims to properly understand the issue. Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq says:

Undeniably, the traditional position of Muslim scholars and jurists has been that apostasy [riddah] is punishable by death. The longstanding problem of the traditional position, as held by Classical jurists or scholars, can be explained and excused as not being able to see apostasy, an issue of pure freedom of faith and conscience, separate from treason against the community or the state. However, the accumulated experience over the history in terms of abuse of this position about apostasy even against Muslims as well as the changed context of a globally-connected, pluralistic society should help us appreciate the contemporary challenges in light of the Qur’anic norms and the Prophetic legacy. In this context, while the classical misunderstanding about this issue of apostasy is excusable, the position of some of the well-known contemporary scholars is not.

Contemporary Scholars

Whilst ultraconservative scholars tenaciously cling to medieval opinions, moderate Muslim scholars are increasingly adopting the opinion that absolute freedom of religion is mandated in Islam.Hundreds of Islamic clerics have accepted this view as correct. Representatives from all the major Western Muslim organizations have spoken out against the death penalty for apostates.

Indeed, Islam is witnessing a “soft revolution” nowadays, and a reformation is taking place. It seems almost every other day another major Islamic scholar announces that he has studied the issue and come to the conclusion that there should be no punishment for apostasy.

Ijma

The conservative Muslims (and in turn the Islamophobes) insist that there is an Ijma (consensus) on the view that apostates are to be killed. This is an Islamic legal term which connotes a sort of authoritativeness to a ruling, almost like a papal decree. However, this is a hotly contested topic, and this article here explains why it is inappropriate to use Ijma as a proof.

Imam al-Shawkani argued:

“The one who claims that ijma constitutes proof is not correct, for such [a claim] constitutes mere conjecture (zann) on the part of an individual from the community of Muslims. No believer can worship God on the basis of this.”

Refuting Robert Spencer’s Drivel

Robert Spencer of JihadWatch argues that Fathima Rifqa Bary was correct for claiming that the Quran mandates death for apostasy. We have already outlined the numerous verses in the Quran that state the contrary. But let us now deal with Spencer’s “proof.” He claims that the following verse is “direct proof” that apostates are to be killed:

“And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.” (Quran, 2:217)

Sorry, Spencer, but I don’t see how that’s “direct proof,” especially in light of the explicit verses in the Quran that I have cited above which clearly and unambiguously forbid compulsion in religion. In fact, contemporary Islamic scholars use this verse (the one Spencer just used) as a proof that there is no worldly punishment for apostasy, only a heavenly one. For example, Dr. Jamal Badawi says:

There is no single verse in the Qur’an that prescribes an earthly punishment for apostasy. Verses about apostasy in the Qur’an speak only about God’s punishment of the apostate in the Hereafter [such as] “…But if any of you should turn away from his/her faith and die as a denier [of the truth] – these it is whose works will bear no fruit in this world and in the life to come; and these it is who are destined for the fire, therein to abide.” ([Quran] Al-Baqarah 2:217)

…The silence of the Qur’an on any prescribed mandatory capital for apostasy is quite revealing. More revealing is the fact that there is overwhelming evidence in the Qur’an of freedom of conscious, belief, and worship.

Of course, Spencer quotes an Islamic scholar who lived hundreds of years ago as a proof. Sorry, but that’s not a proof to Muslims, nor is it binding. Whilst moderate Muslims respect Imam al-Qurtubi like Catholics respect St. Thomas Aquinas, they don’t believe his words are divine and simply disagree with them. That is in actuality the bulk of Spencer’s argument, since the verse itself is not at all “direct proof” of anything!

Then Spencer uses verse 4:89 as a “proof:”

“If they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them.” (Quran, 4:89)

But he does not quote what comes right before and after it, thereby removing the context of the verse. The Quran says:

“Why should you be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? …If they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them; Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty of peace, or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If God had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you and fight you not, and instead send you guarantees of peace, then God Has opened no way for you to war against them…Therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and do not offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear authority (to war against).” (Quran, 4:89-91)

This verse is talking about a group of apostates who are pretending to be Muslims (and are thus Hypocrites), so that they can turn renegade during war and destroy the Muslim army from the inside. In actuality, this verse shows the mercy of Islam, in the sense that the Islamic prophet was forbidden to make war against these people until they picked up arms against the Muslims; if, however, they did not pick up arms and instead sent guarantees of peace, then Muslims were forbidden from fighting them. This verse can be used as a proof for the reformist position, namely that peaceful apostates cannot be killed, but those who wage war against the Islamic state (i.e. high treason) should be.

Spencer quotes Tafsir al-Jalalayn as a proof, yet doesn’t realize that the text itself negates his view.Tafsir al-Jalalayn says of the very next verse (4:90):

[Those who come to you] refraining from fighting either you or them, then do not interfere with them, neither taking them as captives nor slaying them…If they stay away from you and do not fight you, and offer you peace, reconciliation, that is, [if] they submit, then God does not allow you any way against them, [He does not allow you] a means to take them captive or to slay them.

Abrogation

Christianity was militarized after Jesus died, by latter day thinkers.  A similar thing happened with Islam.  The Quranic text prohibits military aggression, allowing war only in self-defense; it also gives absolute freedom of religion.  Latter day thinkers within Islam had such a hard time dealing with these issues that they simply decided to “abrogate” the peaceful and tolerant verses in order to make Islam “more compatible” with the warlike times.  For example, the author of Tafsir al-Jalalayn had such a hard time reconciling verse 4:90 with the view–that apostates are to be killed–that he rationalized that:“this statement and what follows was abrogated.”

This has importance here: Spencer uses the verse (4:90) as a proof that apostasy is mandated in the Quran, yet the classical scholar he quoted as a proof was so “frustrated” by this same verse–since it seemed to imply freedom of religion–that he was forced to abrogate it.  In other words, even those Muslim scholars who believe that apostates are to be killed had to get rid of this Quranic verse in order to make their claim, so how can Spencer now use the verse as a proof?

For those of you who don’t know what abrogation means, it means that a verse was rescinded and basically no longer counts. Translation: the verse still appears in the Quran but it has no legal import to it.  Contemporary moderate Muslim scholars reject such a haphazard abrogation of Quranic verses. For example, a Muslim cleric by the name of Shabir Ally says:

[Question:] Now this idea of abrogation altogether seems odd. You have a book–you say it’s from God–and you say ‘well, He didn’t really mean this.’ How does one justify this?

[Answer:] Well, Imam al-Tabari is in a way the father of tafsirs. And his tafsir is the monumental one that came to be used widely in later tafsirs…and he said very clearly that if a verse is to be agrogated, you have to have some definitive information from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself which says that this verse is abrogated, otherwise how would you know if a certain verse is abrogated? You shouldn’t claim that a verse is abrogated without this type of definitive information.

Dr. Jamal Badawi says:

While some scholars have claimed that hundreds of verses of the Qur’an were abrogated, the majority of scholars reject that claim.

Interestingly, the ultraconservative Muslim scholars are inconsistent in their own understanding of the Quran.  For example, the ultraconservative Saudi scholar Ibn Baz affirmed the idea that abrogation is to be used only as a last resort when understanding two seemingly “contradictory” verses of the Quran; Ibn Baz stated:

Whenever it is possible to show agreement or reconciliation between various narrations, in a manner which is suitable, without stretching their meanings, it becomes obligatory to do so.  Making Reconciliation (al-Jam) between the texts takes precedence over the other two methods of resolving apparent contradiction between proofs–the two other methods being Outweighing (al-Tarjih) and Abrogation (al-Naskh).  This is what has been agreed upon in the Science of Usul al-Fiqh.

The above might be very confusing to the layperson, so to summarize: he is basically saying that when two texts seem to contradict each other, then one should first try to reconcile them (al-Jam) before one claims that one is abrogated by the other (al-Naskh). In other words, when we have one text saying “Let there be no compulsion in religion” and another saying “Whoever changes his religion, kill him,” there seems to be an apparent contradiction between the two.  One way to resolve these two texts would be to say that the latter abrogated the former (and this is the argument of Bin Baz and other ultraconservative scholars).  Ibn Baz is quoted by an ultraconservative Saudi website as saying:

[Question:] Some friends say that whoever does not enter Islam, that is his choice and he should not be forced to become Muslim, quoting as evidence the verses in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning)…“There is no compulsion in religion” [al-Baqarah 2:256] What is your opinion concerning that?

[Answer:] …Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword)…and similar verses abrogate the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim.

Oddly however Bin Baz does not follow his own rule that Reconciliation of texts takes precedence over Abrogation!  Reform-minded Muslims reconcile the texts by simply contextualizing the second narration, which indicates that peaceful apostates are not to be killed but those apostates who “wage war” (i.e. high treason) are.

The way in which Ibn Baz, other ultraconservatives, and some classical scholars abrogated the peaceful verses without direct proof of that must be rejected, argue reform-minded Muslims.  As Ibn Al-Hassar, a classical Islamic scholar himself, stated:

It is not acceptable, in the matter of Abrogation, to accept statements of the interpreters of the Quran, not even the ijtihad (reasoning) of those engaging in ijtihad without authentic reports or clear evidence…What is acceptable in that matter is the [explicit] narration [of the Prophet] and history [Sunna/Sira] not opinion or ijtihad.

Therefore, reform-minded Muslims reject any classical or contemporary scholar’s opinion that such-and-such verse was abrogated, unless the claimant brings unequivocal proof of that, such as a direct statement from the Islamic prophet to that effect.  But in the absence of that, such arguments are rejected; otherwise, every single verse in the Quran could be abrogated by mere desire!  Therefore, when Islamophobes try to build their whole case on Tafsirs (commentaries) written hundreds of years ago, be extremely wary!  A Tafsir is not a proof in and of itself; it is simply one man’s interpretation of the Quran open to criticism.

Reform-minded Muslim scholars argue that their understanding of the Quran’s view on this matter is more accurate and truer to the text, since they take into consideration all of the verses instead of simply doing away with whatever verses they cannot reconcile to their preconceived view. Meanwhile, the ultraconservatives are forced to abrogate verses of the Quran without any proof for that, such as the verse that forbids compulsion in religion. Certainly, it is unacceptable to just abrogate verses that one does not agree with!

In other words, neither the ultraconservative Muslims nor the Islamophobes can make their case, i.e. that the Quran says to kill apostates, without having to get rid of certain Quranic verses, those that are abundantly clear that religious compulsion is forbidden.  This in actuality shows the strength of the reformist view, namely that if one looks at the Quran as a whole, it mandates religious freedom.

Hypocrites Worse than Disbelievers

In the Quran, it is clear that the worst of mankind are the Hypocrites, a group of people who pretended to be Muslims but were really disbelievers in their hearts.  They were a group that sought to destroy Islam from the inside.  Reformists point out that forcing people into Islam–be they disbelievers or apostates–would create a legion of Hypocrites within the ranks of the Muslims, something far more dangerous than people simply peacefully following whatever religion they want.  Dr. Jamal Badawiargues:

The fear of such assumed [capital] punishment [for apostasy] may lead many to hypocrisy; by pretending to remain Muslims just to save their lives. In the final analysis, hypocrisy is a greater danger to the community than apostasy in itself. Hypocrites may implode the Muslim community from within.

Reform-minded Muslims also point out the fact that there was a Bedouin who apostatized in the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad, leaving the Islamic city-state of Medina; he abandoned both his religious and national identity (as the two were fused back then).  Instead of punishing the man, the prophet Muhammad simply replied by saying: “Medina is like a pair of bellows (i.e. a furnace): it expels its impurities and brightens and clears its good.” (Sahih al-Bukhari,Vol.9, No.316, pp.241)  Reformists use this narration as a proof that someone leaving the religion is–in a way–a  good thing: it purifies the religion from those weak in faith who could become Hypocrites.  Is it not better to have a few strong believers rather than many weak Hypocrites?

Dr. Jamal Badawi notes that this incident involving the Bedouin took place after the Islamic city-state of Medina was up and running, so the Islamophobes cannot claim that this was before some mass abrogation of verses:

This incident took place in Madinah when Muslims were living in an independent Islamic “state,” where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had full authority to implement Shari`ah law.

If indeed the “revealed” prescribed punishment for apostasy is death, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have been the first to carry out the punishment. In fact, he did not even prescribe any punishment at all against that Bedouin, nor did he send any one to arrest him as an “apostate,” imprison, or ask him to recant or even reconsider his decision as later jurists prescribed. Nor is there any solid ground to claim that this and other similar hadiths were “abrogated.” In fact, these Hadiths are in conformity with the Qur’an and consistent with its central value of freedom of conscious and rejection of any compulsion in matters of faith (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

Nonsensical Defense

Some conservative Muslims argue that the death penalty for apostasy makes “perfect sense,” since “people choose to enter Islam knowing that it is a lifetime decision punishable by death” and therefore “it serves to ensure that their intention is strong” and “dissuades those weak in faith from entering it.”

Reform-minded Muslims argue that this argument is weak from many angles.  It is negated by the fact that the conservative Muslims do not differentiate in this matter between converts to Islam and those born into the religion: in fact, some of the classical scholars opined that born Muslims who apostatize (murtad fitri)  are more liable to punishment than those who had converted to Islam (murtad milli).  The question reform-minded Muslims ask is: does a born Muslim get the chance to enter the religion knowing that he will be killed if he ever leaves it?  The answer is of course no; one simply grows up following the religion of one’s parents; therefore, the justification that “apostates knew what they were getting into” falls flat on its face.

Reform-minded Muslims also say that it is quite simply common sense that people change their minds.  This is quite obvious: one day a person thinks Islam is the religion for him, but maybe ten years down the line he doesn’t.

Additionally, reform-minded Muslims argue that killing an apostate robs him of the chance to repent later in life.  There are for example many youth who leave religion only to come back to it in their elderly years when they become fearful of death and what follows that.  A person who apostates today could become Islam’s best follower some day in the future.

Lastly, reform-minded Muslims point out that the Quranic principle is that God has granted humans free will: they have the right to accept Islam or reject it. Nobody can force them to do so.  Why would God command Muslims to force people into Islam when it is He Himself Who gave people the ability to leave the religion?

An Important Clarification

Even if Fathima’s parents held the “traditional view,” this does not mean that they were going to kill her.  In fact, the traditional view–as espoused by the classical scholars and now championed by the ultraconservatives–has always been that corporal punishments–such as killing of apostates–must be done by the government and not individuals.

Vigilante justice has always been strictly forbidden, and in fact severely punished.  The second Caliph of Islam was in fact killed, and his son ended up killing the murderer, vigilante style.  Even though his case seemed just, the Muslim authorities punished him for murder, due to it being vigilante justice outside the court system.

We can read this from ultraconservative Islamic websites themselves, which quote classical scholars; for example, the Saudi based Islam-QA strictly forbids “honor killing” on the grounds that it is vigilante justice:

Al-Qurtubi said:

There is no dispute among the scholars that qisaas (retaliatory punishments) such as execution cannot be carried out except by those in authority who are obliged to carry out the qisaas and carry out hadd punishments etc, because Allaah has addressed the command regarding qisaas to all the Muslims, and it is not possible for all the Muslims to get together to carry out the qisaas, which is why they appointed a leader who may represent them in carrying out the qisaas and hadd punishments.

Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 2/245, 246.

No one should carry out the hadd punishments without the permission of the ruler. If there is no ruler who rules according to sharee’ah then it is not permissible for the ordinary people to carry out the hadd [corporal] punishments. Whoever does that is sinning, because carrying out the hadd punishments requires examining the matter and requires shar’i knowledge in order to know the conditions of proof.

The ordinary people have no knowledge of such things, and the carrying out of one of the hadd punishments by the ordinary people leads to many evils and the loss of security, whereby people will attack one another and kill one another or chop off one another’s hands on the grounds that they are carrying out hadd punishments.

Islam-QA: Honor Killings Forbidden in Islam

And that’s the opposite of a reformist site.  So even they don’t advocate honor killings or vigilante justice.  The point here is not to justify the ultraconservative view.  Rather, it is simply to show that this entire thing has been a hyped up situation used to demonize Islam and Muslims in general.  Most Western Muslims don’t believe in killing apostates, and even the small fraction that do don’t believe it can be done in the West.

Conclusion

The Quran does not at all say to kill apostates. As for the Hadiths, yes there are some texts whichcould be interpreted as such, but reform-minded Muslims believe that if you properly contextualize them, this is not the case.  Furthermore, they believe that if a Hadith contradicts a basic tenet of the Quran, it is to be rejected; in other words, the Quran takes precedence over all other texts.

As for a parent forcing a child to convert to Islam, an explicit verse in the Quran rejects this practice, which was specifically revealed for a Muslim father who was trying to force his Christian daughters to accept Islam, a remarkably similar situation to what we see in the Fathima Rifqa Bary case today.

What seems apparent is that Fathima’s parents never threatened to kill her; rather, she was brainwashed by some Christian extremists (who by the way look down on the Christian mainstream) into thinking that Islam itself–and the Quran in particular–mandates death for apostates.  Notice in her emotional interview that she clearly was of the view that: the Quran mandates it, ergo religious Muslims believe in it.  This logic is faulty and problematic.

The Islamophobes have jumped on this opportunity to spread fear and hate, insisting that Islam is intrinsically culpable, a pagan and heathen religion incompatible with those who love Christ.

Yes, a legitimate criticism is that it is unfortunate that there are Muslims–even some big time scholars who are not ultraconservatives–hold onto this view.  This is in fact a self-criticism that the reform-minded Muslims themselves engage in, and if the critics limited their input to this, there would have been no problem.  But the Islamophobes wanted to impugn Islam as a whole, and the Muslims in generality.

The issue of apostasy is at  “the heart of a burning debate among modern Muslims,” explainedSherman Jackson, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Michigan.  It is a time of reassessment, flux, and hopefully change.  But to reduce that all down to “Muslims (or Islam) say that apostates are to be killed” is preposterous.  Muslims are undergoing a soft reformation, led by the Western Muslims and the likes of Dr. Tariq Ramadan.  But it will take time, just like Europe did not reform overnight.

Even if there happens to be a case of Muslim parents killing their children for changing religions, this shouldn’t be used as an example of what Islam advocates, or what Muslims in general think.  Such demonization is altogether unhelpful and only helps to strengthen a binary worldview.  If indeed such a case takes place (and they do from time to time), then the fault lies with the murderers, not Islam and not the Muslims in generality.  Certainly we shouldn’t encourage extremists and xenophobes who seek to co-opt such tragedies for their own nefarious agendas of fear mongering and singling out of Muslims, who are already one of the most maligned minority groups in the West.

Florida Muslim Leaders “overwhelmingly” silent on pledge to stop threats against former Muslims’ human rights

Tallahassee– “Overwhelmingly, Florida Muslim leaders do not honor freedom to choose one’s beliefs as guaranteed under our First Amendment. That is the only conclusion we can draw from the overwhelming ‘silence’ and non-response to 47 letters containing a Freedom Pledge sent to Florida Muslim leaders by our organization in February 2010,” according to author and human rights activist Nonie Darwish. She is executive director of Former Muslims United (FMU) speaking at the America on Guard briefing to Florida legislators and staff about Muslim Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.

Former Muslims United (FMU) is a human- and civil-rights organization whose mission is to protect and defend those who have chosen to leave Islam and face threats to their lives and property under Fatwas or rulings from Muslim clerics and legal authorities both here in the United States and abroad. More from eyeontheworld

48 thoughts on “"Loon Watch" got it all worked out: "The Quran does not at all say to kill apostates"”

  1. I was going to add my two cents but I see it is all covered very well.

    There’s plenty of proof right there. What more do they need?
    A sign from Allah himself, a “bolt of lightning to strike them dead”?

    Gabriel coming down from heaven, sitting in the witness box, swearing on a stack of Bibles and Qur’ans, and stating the truth that it does mean “kill the apostates”?

  2. Hey Shake Yer Idiot! All you did was cut and paste an article that refuted every single one of your claims about Islam and apostasy. Since all you have the ability to do is rant on your site all day, I guess none of us sane people have to take you seriously. Now, why don’t you be a good little boy and go off and “Shake Your Mommy”.

  3. For the dronebait wannabees like Skhan & loonwatchers et al, the bottom line, the whole islamophobia scam, is predicated upon the simple assumption that only an irrational person would chose to not submit to islam and muslims.
    Unless/until the motley bunch of loonwatchers are willing to accept, and support, that every person has the free choice to follow any spiritual path they want, loonwatchers et al are no different than the jihadis who convince young boys to be suicide bombers for the jihad.
    With all due respect and appreciation for the effort put into dissecting the loonwatcher drivel, it is my opinion that it has as much hope of success as negotiating with the taliban.
    The islamist mouthpieces will always return to the arrogant and supremacist position, that only an irrational person would not chose to submit to islam.
    Only by exposing the hypocrisy of the entire notion of “islamophobia” can the foul campaign of false accusations be terminated.
    The “islamophobia” campaign is a smoke screen used by the islamists mostly in North American.
    In muslim dominated countries, the jihadi for sunni khilafah are freely refereed to as islamists, and with equal alarm.
    With respect to Sheikyermami,
    Sincerely
    Gypsy

  4. I’m posting here at the request of someone else. Normally I don’t bother with your site as anyone with half a brain cell can see your game just by reading the front page.

    Moving on; I note that you can’t argue against LW’s analysis. I mean, why would you be able to? They actually use Islamic law and tradition to make their point where as your ‘point’ is ‘some Muslims are doing this so Islam must say it’. As the article points out, Islam says the opposite and thus it is the Muslims that are saying this shite to ‘ex-Muslims’ that are wrong. Enough said really and all in all it just exposes how fraudulent your ‘methodology’ is.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  5. Jack, you got one thing right: I don’t engage in loon watch anal-ysis.

    I don’t engage in pretzel logic or in mental acrobatics either.

    I am a scholar of Islam and I rely on Koran, sira & hadith, not on loon watch.

    Islam is what Muslims do.

    “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” — Bukhari 9.84.57 ‘baddala deenahu, faqtuhulu’

    http://sheikyermami.com/apostasy-whoever-changes-his-islamic-religion-kill-him/

    250 to 500 million skeletons would testify in the world court if they could.

  6. I’ll offer a response.

    “I am a scholar of Islam and I rely on Koran, sira & hadith, not on loon watch.”

    Pardon me if I find this highly amusing because, again, anyone reading your site can clearly see that this is not the case. You have yet to provide anything like scholarly analysis and I believe that to be able to use the phrase ‘scholar’ you are required to have had peer reviewed articles etc etc.

    You are not this, what you are is someone who leads others into thinking that you know about Islam etc and then set out some preconceptions to ‘prove’ with various news articles and stuff pulled at random from Haidth and the Qu’ran with the views of one or two token Muslims (generally from Saudi or other Arab countries as well as Iran) ranting about something or maybe a ‘fatwa’ if it backs you up. In other words, weak sauce if you consider yourself a ‘scholar of Islam’.

    It is why your ‘interpretation’ may line up with some extremists and Saudi Arabia, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Queda. In other words, a handful of the 1.57 billion Muslims in the world. It is why I’ve never bothered engaging your website until someone asked me to respond to this.

    “Islam is what Muslims do.”

    No, it is what it says it is in black and white. Again, LW provides ample evidence and citations from Islamic history and historical documents that shows what Islam’s attitudes are towards this topic. Your hadith is covered as well, and I am not surprised that this is the only evidence that you can bring out.

    You cannot do this can you? Because again, you are not really a ‘scholar’ on Islam, hence why would you be able to? Why would you even bother reading what Muslims have winter for centuries about their faith?! It would bring the house of cards down right? And don’t bother bringing up ‘Reliance of the Traveler’, it’s one very old book that is a historical document at best.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  7. Also, just to add if ‘Islam is what Islam does’ then why do you not actually show this? Why is it, again, only news headlines and shite from Saudi et all? Because again, this would bring the house of cards down right? Can’t have the majority of Muslims telling you how wrong you are now can we!

  8. Pack it in, Jack.

    My credentials are impeccable.

    I have been a lecturer for the Mesa Nostra probably before you were born.

    40 years of Islam studies are enough to put any mufti to shame. I have written thousands of commentaries and hundreds of essays, so your efforts at belittling my knowledge or integrity is absurd.

    I hope you’re not brazen enough to deny the scholarship of Yusuf al Qaradawi?

    Its your house of cards, not mine, Jack.

    Why are you so afraid of the ‘Reliance of the Traveler’, Jack?

    The Koran is even older.

    Is it just a very old book that is a historical document at best?

  9. No thanks, I won’t pack it in. All that is important in this exchange is, despite the fact you laud yourself as a ‘scholar’ with 40 years experience, the best you can do is bring up one hadith as your ‘refutation’. It’s not looking very good is it? You’re integrity is very very very much your house of cards becuase, as I stated, you don’t seem to have any due to your methodology. That is not meant as any disrespect but it’s just how it is. Why for example does your view of Islam only conform to what certain hand picked ‘scholars’ state? Why isn’t it the majority view? As you say ‘Islam is what Islam does’.

    As for Yusuf al Qaradawi, I think he is a mixed bag and I do question a lot of his scholarship. A good chunk of it is good and sound but then he’ll come out with something so nutty and wrong that one wonders what he is on about and where he got it. The same goes for most of the Saudi type scholars you cite here. Again, if ‘Islam is what Islam does’ where are the other 1.57 billion opinions?

    And the Reliance of the Traveler is a Fiqh book from a time period before ours. If you really are a scholar then you will know why that makes it irrelevant when compared to the Qu’ran.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  10. And as expected any subsequent comments by myself are either blocked or put into ‘moderation’. Everything I need to know right there. Your house of cards really is that weak? Don’t worry, it’s all screenshoted and saved, it’s going to make a nice article.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  11. And nice try putting that one through to try and show that I’m full of hot air; I meant the long comment that I made pointing out the flaws in your argument. You really are quite predictable.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  12. Let’s give you one more chance as it could of course be my computer playing up:

    No thanks, I won’t pack it in. All that is important in this exchange is, despite the fact you laud yourself as a ‘scholar’ with 40 years experience, the best you can do is bring up one hadith as your ‘refutation’. It’s not looking very good is it? You’re integrity is very very very much your house of cards becuase, as I stated, you don’t seem to have any due to your methodology. That is not meant as any disrespect but it’s just how it is. Why for example does your view of Islam only conform to what certain hand picked ‘scholars’ state? Why isn’t it the majority view? As you say ‘Islam is what Islam does’.

    As for Yusuf al Qaradawi, I think he is a mixed bag and I do question a lot of his scholarship. A good chunk of it is good and sound but then he’ll come out with something so nutty and wrong that one wonders what he is on about and where he got it. The same goes for most of the Saudi type scholars you cite here. Again, if ‘Islam is what Islam does’ where are the other 1.57 billion opinions?

    And the Reliance of the Traveler is a Fiqh book from a time period before ours. If you really are a scholar then you will know why that makes it irrelevant when compared to the Qu’ran.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  13. Thanks for giving me another chance, Jack.

    I fished your comments out of the spam filter, Jack.

    You claim:

    “the best you can do is bring up one hadith as your ‘refutation’.”

    What would you like me to do? Send you the blood of the victims per Federal Express?

    You claim:

    Why for example does your view of Islam only conform to what certain hand picked ‘scholars’ state? Why isn’t it the majority view?

    Great. You claim you are the ultimate authority on 1.5 gazillion Muslims?

    Sorry Jack, the majority of Muslims would stone you to death for that.

    As for “where are the other 1.57 billion opinions?”–

    I let Allah sort them out.

    Like I said: I rely on your scriptures and on what Muslims do, that tells me and my readers everything I want to know.

    “the Reliance of the Traveler is a Fiqh book from a time period before ours.”

    Com’on, Jack.

    You didn’t start shaving before you sprouted whiskers, or did you?

  14. Most welcome, thank you for replying. However you still are doing the same old thing.

    “What would you like me to do? Send you the blood of the victims per Federal Express?”

    Do I deny that some Muslims pick up the wrong end of the stick and, for various reasons, decide to commit terrible crimes? No, never, however Islam is extremely clear in my opinion, and the opinion of others I have spoken to, on the matter. Indeed, some think that execution is the right way to go, others believe it is not. I’ll also add that said blood will be of very small amounts, it rarely happens does it? Saudi and Iran mostly but those two bits of ‘paradise’ are so messed up I’m surprised they haven’t imploded under the weight of hypocrisy.

    “Great. You claim you are the ultimate authority on 1.5 gazillion Muslims?”

    Actually I don’t, it’s you who claims to be an ultimate authority on Islam and does not post any dissenting views. I’m rather arguing that Islam is far from a monolith that sites like yours try to paint it as and is a very varied beast.

    “Sorry Jack, the majority of Muslims would stone you to death for that.”

    Really? My views are widely known and on the internet yet when I go to the Mosque for prayers no one stones me. I share an apartment two Muslims who know my views and, in fact, one of them does think that apostates should be executed. Unless my head was cut off and this is some sort of delayed death, it’s not happened. Again, we are not a monolith.

    “Like I said: I rely on your scriptures and on what Muslims do, that tells me and my readers everything I want to know.”

    You’ve pretty much firmly underlined your methodology there;’ what you want to know. Not what is really going on, what you *want* to show that is going on out of the mouthpiece of the more extreme elements of Muslim society and the headlines. I also see very little use of scripture in your posts to be honest.

    “You didn’t start shaving before you sprouted whiskers, or did you?”

    Again if you were a ‘scholar on Islam’ you’d be able to tell me why it is irrelevant in this day and age. Hint: it’s a fiqh book from the past.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

  15. Most welcome, thank you for replying. However you still are doing the same old thing and my comments once again are not going through.

    “What would you like me to do? Send you the blood of the victims per Federal Express?”

    Do I deny that some Muslims pick up the wrong end of the stick and, for various reasons, decide to commit terrible crimes? No, never, however Islam is extremely clear in my opinion, and the opinion of others I have spoken to, on the matter. Indeed, some think that execution is the right way to go, others believe it is not. I’ll also add that said blood will be of very small amounts, it rarely happens does it? Saudi and Iran mostly but those two bits of ‘paradise’ are so messed up I’m surprised they haven’t imploded under the weight of hypocrisy.

    “Great. You claim you are the ultimate authority on 1.5 gazillion Muslims?”

    Actually I don’t, it’s you who claims to be an ultimate authority on Islam and does not post any dissenting views. I’m rather arguing that Islam is far from a monolith that sites like yours try to paint it as and is a very varied beast.

    “Sorry Jack, the majority of Muslims would stone you to death for that.”

    Really? My views are widely known and on the internet yet when I go to the Mosque for prayers no one stones me. I share an apartment two Muslims who know my views and, in fact, one of them does think that apostates should be executed. Unless my head was cut off and this is some sort of delayed death, it’s not happened. Again, we are not a monolith.

    “Like I said: I rely on your scriptures and on what Muslims do, that tells me and my readers everything I want to know.”

    You’ve pretty much firmly underlined your methodology there;’ what you want to know. Not what is really going on, what you *want* to show that is going on out of the mouthpiece of the more extreme elements of Muslim society and the headlines. I also see very little use of scripture in your posts to be honest.

    “You didn’t start shaving before you sprouted whiskers, or did you?”

    Again if you were a ‘scholar on Islam’ you’d be able to tell me why it is irrelevant in this day and age. Hint: it’s a fiqh book from the past.

    Respectfully and with peace

    Jack

    1. Welcome back, Jack.

      Give me a chance to fisk that:

      Do I deny that some Muslims pick up the wrong end of the stick and, for various reasons, decide to commit terrible crimes?

      Good for you that you don’t deny.

      No, never, however Islam is extremely clear in my opinion, and the opinion of others I have spoken to, on the matter.

      If Islam is “extremely clear” then why are there so many misunderstanders and why do you need the opinions of others?

      Indeed, some think that execution is the right way to go, others believe it is not.

      Sounds like you can pick and chose, but you don’t have that choice in Islam.

      I’ll also add that said blood will be of very small amounts, it rarely happens does it? Saudi and Iran mostly but those two bits of ‘paradise’ are so messed up I’m surprised they haven’t imploded under the weight of hypocrisy.

      Please don’t beclown yourself with “a tiny bit of blood only” like its “only a tiny minority of excremists”- the so-called radicals know their Islam and they follow the book, Jack. You don’t. I agree with you that Saudi & Iran “are so messed up I’m surprised they haven’t imploded under the weight of hypocrisy”, but your country is getting there too: Malaysian Muslim political party moving forward with bid to implement hudud

      But why do you think Saudi and Iran are so messed up, Jack?

      Because they misunderstand their Islam? No, brother: they have implemented the sharia and that’s what ‘messed up’ means.

      “Great. You claim you are the ultimate authority on 1.5 gazillion Muslims?”

      Actually I don’t, it’s you who claims to be an ultimate authority on Islam and does not post any dissenting views. I’m rather arguing that Islam is far from a monolith that sites like yours try to paint it as and is a very varied beast.

      No Jack, I never claimed to be the ultimate authority on anything, you have to go to loon watch or to the mosque for that.

      I simply know my Islam better than most muslims.

      Fine. “Islam is not a monolith”- repeat, rinse and repeat, ad nauseam. Parroting this kind of platitudes are meaningless. Again: Islam is what Muslims do, and the radicals usually know their stuff, or they receive their instructions from the mosque.

      “…when I go to the Mosque for prayers no one stones me. I share an apartment two Muslims who know my views and, in fact, one of them does think that apostates should be executed. Unless my head was cut off and this is some sort of delayed death, it’s not happened.

      Too easy, Jack: Malaysia is not yet a full blown sharia state, but as you can see from the link above they’re working hard on it.

      ” I also see very little use of scripture in your posts to be honest.”

      If that’s what you want we can continue in Arabic, which you don’t read or understand.

      But I’ll give you this:

      Have you heard of Lina Joy’s nine year legal struggle to be legally recognized as a Christian in Malaysia? Why no public show of support? No contributions to her legal expenses?

      And are you familiar with the concept of abrogation?

      Please explain surah Al Kafirun
      Let me quote the verses:

      “Disbelievers!
      I do not worship what you worship,
      nor do you worship what I worship.
      I shall never worship what you worship,
      neither will you worship what I worship.
      You have your own religion and I have mine.”

      Are you referring to an abrogated part of the Quran to support your views? Don’t you know about the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, or are you mouthing smooth lies for the sake of my mostly infidel audience?

      More from Malaysia, Jack, just for you.

  16. Well thank you for keeping it respectful, I must say that I had my doubts. Anyway.

    “If Islam is “extremely clear” then why are there so many misunderstanders and why do you need the opinions of others?”

    ‘Misunderstanding’ comes from a variety of sources but I think that it is largely due to lack of education. Why do you think that the Taliban prosper in largely illiterate Afghanistan and that one of their main targets is schools? Same goes for the ‘wahibbi’ types in Saudi etc. Education will kill them and their ideas as through education you start to question what you were taught. Fundamentalism by it’s nature cannot stand up to questioning.

    As for their being a wide array of views, that is to be expected by it’s nature. However most agree on most things, the ‘fringes’ have some debate.

    “Sounds like you can pick and chose, but you don’t have that choice in Islam.”

    You do, why do you think their have been such a wide away of views on the topic throughout history? I debated this very topic (execution) last night and we had a wide array of ideas on it though I must say that those in favor of execution didn’t seem to have the same grounding in the texts as those against. And all agreed that it could only be carried out by a state, one of the key principles of ‘Islamic Law’ anyhow, and that thus any that happened in this day and age were void.

    Now, for your next bit we start to go down the road I knew we would come to; the fact that you a) state you know Islam better than Muslims and b) that the fundamentalist interpretation is the only way to go. I’ll deal with both simultaneously but first I’ll dissect the Malaysia bit (which BTW is not ‘my country’, I just live and work here) which, as expected, is from ‘Pedestrian Infidel’ who play up the whole Malaysia issue for the ignorant.

    Malaysia is a quasi-democracy with the same ruling party in power for the past 50 years (since independence) after a round of manipulations and purges by the likes of ‘Dr’ Mahathir. Their key aim now is staying in power and as such the opposition has become very good at opposing. PAS is a fine example and is effectively lead by the old deputy PM who got kicked out by the good doctor a while back. Obviously this pissed him off so we now have a little clan war.

    As I said, they are great at opposing each other and PAS are the masters. They know that the ruling BN coalition relies on being perceived as being ‘Islamic’ to win certain votes and they also know that it relies on being non ‘Islamic’ to win others.

    So they can easily put BN in a catch-22 situation where they scream out some random bit about implementing ‘hudd’ laws (the latest circus), knowing that they will never actually have to implement anything but that it will really bugger up BN as they have to play to both sides of the coin in their answer. Since it is now an election year these farces get more and more extreme and amusing.

    ‘The Anti-Jihadist’ and any other Malaysian knows this well enough to ignore the screaming in Parliament and get on with lives. However, ‘The Anti-Jihadist’ knows this and he knows your ignorance as well, it’s quite funny to watch him leading everyone on his merry dance and spinning it.

    Anyway, back to the rest of your stuff.

    Now, I found this quite amusing, and I’m sorry but it really really is just stupid. First of all:

    “Please don’t beclown yourself with “a tiny bit of blood only” like its “only a tiny minority of excremists”- the so-called radicals know their Islam and they follow the book, Jack. You don’t.”

    Well, yeah, it is a tiny minority else we’d be in a world of shite with 1.57 billion radicals. It is tiny, they are opposed and that’s the end of it. And no, they really don’t ‘know their Islam’ and they don’t ‘follow the book’, do I really need you show you the refutations from hundreds of scholars, even Saudi ones, about this?

    “But why do you think Saudi and Iran are so messed up, Jack?

    Because they misunderstand their Islam? No, brother: they have implemented the sharia and that’s what ‘messed up’ means.”

    Nothing in Iran or Saudi remotely resembles Sharia, for starters they are theocracies and Saudi is a monarchy, both opposed by Sharia. Like Malaysia, they use Islam as a means to an ends to keep power. If they were really ‘Islamic’ then they would have implemented Sharia laws and rulings on themselves (the rulers) but as we see they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want. It’s power power power. I really don’t need to pick this apart and give examples do I.

    “No Jack, I never claimed to be the ultimate authority on anything, you have to go to loon watch or to the mosque for that.”

    Maybe I got the wording wrong, what I mean is you claim that your interpretation is the ultimate authority with your hand picked selections from various ‘scholars’. This again is not the case.

    “Fine. “Islam is not a monolith”- repeat, rinse and repeat, ad nauseam. Parroting this kind of platitudes are meaningless. ”

    Only ‘meaningless’ to you as it upturns the house of cards. Again, if ‘Islam is what Islam does’ then where are the rest of the views from Islam presented on this website?

    “I simply know my Islam better than most muslims.”

    Really? You couldn’t explain to me that bit about Reliance of the Traveler now… last try then I’ll give you the answer.

    And you really really don’t, I get sick of this same old lie. Again, if you did then why is your view at odds with most of the 1.57 billion, including the majority of scholars, but amazingly in line with the ‘Wahhabi’ nutters who are so unpopular and wrong that they only survive because they have endless money behind them?

    You also later bring up the topic of ‘abrogation’ which, again, shows just how much you really know about Islam.

    “Too easy, Jack: Malaysia is not yet a full blown sharia state, but as you can see from the link above they’re working hard on it.”

    See my above comment on Malaysia.

    “If that’s what you want we can continue in Arabic, which you don’t read or understand.”

    I read and understand Arabic to an ‘basic’ level as I am still studying it along with other aspects of Islam. So I’ll call your bluff, let’s go to Arabic. I’m better in English by far but as you like.

    “Have you heard of Lina Joy’s nine year legal struggle to be legally recognized as a Christian in Malaysia? Why no public show of support? No contributions to her legal expenses? ”

    Yearp, it’s been all over and most people, if you talk to them, are sick of it. Again, it’s part of the clan infighting and both sides trying to call each other out. Sad really, poor woman.

    “And are you familiar with the concept of abrogation?”

    Yes, are you? Clearly not else you wouldn’t bring it up and state that surah Al Kafirun was ‘abrogated’ but it’s what I expected to happen pretty early into our conversation. It is a red herring at best and the number of ‘abrogated’ verses ranges from none at all to just over a hundred. Most go with nearer the former figure. And you tell me you ‘know Islam better than most Muslims’.

    “Please explain surah Al Kafirun”

    It is a call to Muslims not to abandon their faith under the weight of persecution and, that if if persecuted, they should repeat this verse to their persecutors. The literal historical background was Muhammad being asked to worship the local pagan gods to which he gave that reply.

    It can also be coupled with ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ etc as yet another call not to force Islam onto non-Muslims.

    “Don’t you know about the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, or are you mouthing smooth lies for the sake of my mostly infidel audience? ”

    I wondered when you’d accuse me of ‘taquiya’… last refuge of the scoundrel and all that! Again, yet more proof that you don’t know Islam.

    Respectfully and with peace, my apologies if I missed anything out

    Jack

    1. Jack, thanks for your teachable moments and your Islamic supremacy, but this is going nowhere.

      You are boring our readers with ad hominem attacks, with deflection, circular reasoning and demands.

      This bid is just sad:

      Nothing in Iran or Saudi remotely resembles Sharia, for starters they are theocracies and Saudi is a monarchy, both opposed by Sharia. Like Malaysia, they use Islam as a means to an ends to keep power. If they were really ‘Islamic’ then they would have implemented Sharia laws and rulings on themselves (the rulers) but as we see they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want. It’s power power power. I really don’t need to pick this apart and give examples do I.

      Jack, never forget: Islam means submission!

      Allah’s Apostle said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”

      I can only guess you’re working towards the caliphate, other than that there is no argument here to dissect.

      “…..more proof that you don’t know Islam.”

      There are nearly 18 000 blog entries on this blog. More knowledge than in all the libraries of Malaysia. Knock yourself out!

      My work is in hundreds of essays and thousands of commentaries, and I “don’t know Islam” because a student in Malaysia tells me there is some other mythical form of Islam that no one knows about?

      Are you referring to the prostitute John Esposito or the ridiculous Yvonne Ridley who claims my critique of Islam makes me “racist?”

      Or are you referring to the deranged ex-nun Koran Armstrong, also on the Saudi payroll?

      Is it the jihad and the sharia of Muslim Brother Tariq Ramadan, that you find more appealing than the Islam of the ayatollah’s?

      I don’t have time for that, Jack.

      How about I ask you a series of questions and you respond truthfully, that might be more productive.

      Let me know when you’re ready!

      Shalom!

  17. “Jack, thanks for your teachable moments and your Islamic supremacy, but this is going nowhere.

    You are boring our readers with ad hominem attacks, with deflection, circular reasoning and demands. ”

    Yet you are the one who is unable to answer any of my points and are the one carrying out ad hominem attacks, not me. If it really is so easy how about *you* refute any one of my points. For you are an expert are you not? You have proven time and time again that you are not, you can’t even explain basic principles such as Fiqh. This is a fact, not ad hominem.

    “Jack, never forget: Islam means submission!

    Allah’s Apostle said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”

    I can only guess you’re working towards the caliphate, other than that there is no argument here to dissect. ”

    Nope, rather I am pointing out the huge number of hypocritical flaws in Saudi and Iran. And the Calipate? That’s not something that is worked towards, it’s something that happens if and when the time is right. I’m fine with democracy TBH, it’s not perfect and needs a massive overhaul but it’s better than Saudi. And that my man is *is* and ad hominem attack.

    “My work is in hundreds of essays and thousands of commentaries, and I “don’t know Islam” because a student in Malaysia tells me there is some other mythical form of Islam that no one knows about?”

    You ‘don’t know Islam’ becuase you can’t even answer basic points, tactfully dropped the request that you use Arabic after your bluff was called and fail to answer any questions asked. As for these ‘thousands’ of essays and commentaries, I see no evidence and academics that I have asked certainly have never heard of you. Should be pretty easy to find a non-Muslim with 40 years of experience and thousands of pieces should it not? Even with no name given. Well there is no one in Australia fitting that description that is known about. Don’t worry, I’ll keep asking. Oh, and I have no interest in exposing your identity to the world, I won’t do that, I’m just calling your bluff.

    “There are nearly 18 000 blog entries on this blog.”

    Point? Some selected headlines and the fatwas of Wahhabi types don’t really count for much, especially when you don’t post anything much form any sources other than selected hadith and verses.

    “I “don’t know Islam” because a student in Malaysia tells me there is some other mythical form of Islam that no one knows about?”

    No one knows about? Don’t you mean ‘I’d rather my readers not know about’?

    “Are you referring to the prostitute John Esposito or the ridiculous Yvonne Ridley who claims my critique of Islam makes me “racist?”

    Or are you referring to the deranged ex-nun Koran Armstrong, also on the Saudi payroll?

    Is it the jihad and the sharia of Muslim Brother Tariq Ramadan, that you find more appealing than the Islam of the ayatollah’s?”

    Nope, I have no time for those ones really, they are nice but not really there or of much use to someone who is studying the faith. I’m talking about Muslim scholars, there are plenty of them for me not to have to resort to non-Muslims and other puppets. I am reading one of Yohonan Freidman’s books right now however which is very useful.

    “I don’t have time for that, Jack.

    How about I ask you a series of questions and you respond truthfully, that might be more productive.”

    How about you prove yourself and your claims? Or even refute a single point made. How about explaining what I asked about Reliance of the Traveler? Or the Arabic? Let me know when *you* are ready! Will you indeed ever *be* ready? Or will it just be more fluff and distractions?

    Wasalam

    Jack

  18. I regret I allowed you to waste my time, Jack.

    Our readers can draw their own conclusions from this exchange.

    I wondered when you’d accuse me of ‘taquiya’… last refuge of the scoundrel and all that! Again, yet more proof that you don’t know Islam.

    Taqiyya is essential to Islam just like terror, forced conversion, conquest, jihad and deceit. Whether you call it ‘last refuge of the scoundrel’ doesn’t make you smell better, just like the repetitive nonsense about the ‘monolith’ doesn’t turn the cubicle into a canon ball, Jack.

    ” interfaith relations in the Muslim tradition” –Yohanan Friedmann

    Da’awa, that’s what its all about, isn’t it?

  19. Jack,
    You are a typical islamic waste of space – go annoy your donkey. You muslims are condemned daily by your own actions – and no other religion behaves with such violent pomposity as does islam against others.

    I wonder why these idiot islamists don’t post in their own retarded names??

  20. @Shake Your Mommy: You don’t even know what taqiyya means, lol. Btw, Jack probably is trying to post. You must have banned him. His “waste of your time” must mean you’re pissed off at him actually arguing with you, unlike kaw up there who’s kissing your ass. I can understand that. Your Mommy likes ass kissers.

  21. Cleartly Skhan represents the typical erudiite muzzie parasite – ignorant, and with poor turn of phrase. Well paki wanker, we know what tacqiya (lol) and we are more than a little tired of the bad behavior that consistently characterizes you muslim parasites. Incidentaslly, it is very hard to think of positive reasons to justify

  22. apologies – keyboard problem

    Cleartly Skhan represents the typical erudiite muzzie parasite – ignorant, and with poor turn of phrase. Well paki, we know what tacqiya is (lol) and we are more than a little tired of the bad behavior that consistently characterizes you muslim parasites. Incidentally, it is very hard to think of positive reasons to justify your continued existence on this planet and we will have to decide shortly if you useless parassitic idiots are worth the effort that we have expended in putting up with your selfish and childish games. Dont worry you paki twit, the time we will have to make this decision is almost upon us.
    Do keep in touch – allways nice to know what the enemy is thinking and you are an open book. Not too much time now…………………

  23. @”sheik”
    “I regret I allowed you to waste my time, Jack.” actually you are the one one that is wasting time and bandwidth in not doing anything to refute jack copes comments as well as the article in question by loonwatch.

  24. Yawn.

    Headbangers ganging up to waste my time? No thanks.

    Been there, done it.

    Its always the same:

    Islam is not Islam, sharia not sharia, Islam is not a ‘monolith’, Aisha was not 6 when the profit married her, ‘non-muslims cannot understand Islam’, taqiyya is not religiously mandated lying , etc etc….

    All that infantile circular reasoning that is so typical of primitive Muslims interests no one.

    I’m happy to deal with grownups who are able to deal with reality, those who are able to take a critical look and reflect on the monumental disaster that Islam is and always has been.

    Islam stifles mental growth; that is not in question.

    Here we have a sly jihadist who presents himself as a ‘moderate’, who denies everything (Jack) who then rallies support from primitives (SKhan & anti-fascist) who spout vulgarities and rubbish from fake bible stories?

    Pathetic. Even Irshad Manji is more entertaining than that.

  25. “I’m happy to deal with grownups who are able to deal with reality, those who are able to take a critical look and reflect on the monumental disaster that Islam is and always has been.”

    Translated: If you agree with me then you’re cool but anyone daring to look critically at my work then I’ll ban you and have a bit of a screaming fit.

    Pathetic. School kids have greater intellectual capacity than that. They can also see irony which clearly you don’t have a grasp of.

    With Peace

    Jack

  26. @”sheik”
    now now I wasn’t trying to tell you how to run your website I was just pointing out the fact that you haven’t refuted any of jacks comments or the loonwatch article you have copied and pasted up there, instead you decided to go off on a tangent about your “your work” and “taqiyya”.

  27. Corey,
    I suspect we might find you and the idiot jack copes to be one and the same, or a least closely linked. I suspect that jack is not getting through because a) he doesn’t know how to use a computer or b) he really has nothing useful to say and is wasting time Actually all of moron jacks arguments have been refuted – ad infinitum – but you are too stupid or too afraid to understand that. Now go away, mohammedan troll.

  28. What do you think this is, corey? A quiz show?

    Jerry Springer or Oprah?

    Everything you need to know is explained above. This is an educational website: open your eyes and ears and learn.

    In my world camel urine is not a cure for AIDS, we rely on scientific proof before we enter into debate.

    Taqiyya is an established fact, and the ‘Reliance of the Traveler’ is the legal groundwork for sharia, endorsed by the highest institution of Islamic learning, (Al Azahr) in Cairo, where I spent 2 years of my life.

    Along comes a mental flatliner who dwells in the sewers of Malaysia who claims :

    “the Reliance of the Traveler is a Fiqh book from a time period before ours. If you really are a scholar then you will know why that makes it irrelevant when compared to the Qu’ran.”

    Do you really expect me to dive in the sewer with a halfwit?

    There was never a platform for debate here, there was not even as much as a basic premise for a discussion: it was the usual routine of smoke and mirrors, lies and deflection by a brain-dead headbanger who was trying to drag me down to his level.

    Like I said: been there, done that.

    Not playing these games.

  29. Oh dear Mr Scholar, and yes, I know you read these and I know you won’t dare publish it as you have once again shot yourself in the foot. But again, best not let the little ones see ya?

    Have you per-chance read ‘Reliance of the Traveler’? What does the title say? Ah, here we go:

    “Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik”

    Hmmm….. ‘classic’….. meaning old….. from the ‘classical’ period of Islam…. and it’s a Fiqh book. Oh wait, isn’t Fiqh only relevant to the time period it was written in and the opinion of but one Scholar to be interpreted and looked at again by every generation? Have you even read the translation? As the introduction (which you can find on Amazon) says:

    “[an] impartial student of jurisprudence must surely feel that the research of the schools should not only be learned and transmitted, but also sorted out and recast into a form accessible and suited to Muslim needs today.”

    Oops… and yes, of course it’s endorsed by “Al Azahr”, they endorse a lot of translations and books from a merely historical viewpoint, but as a foundation for Sharia? You’re really not that bright on this topic are you… only people reading this are historians and people studying the development of Fiqh. Oh and indeed some may use it as a reference for Sharia but it is one of many many many and I personally have never seen it used.

    Also let’s not even start to look at your Arabic shall we? We both know you have at best a basic grasp, as evidenced by your failure to respond to the request to write in Arabic as well as your atrocious Arabic presented on this site. Indeed, you say you were at Al-Azhar, which shaykhs did you sit with? Which texts did you study? I suspect that you were a maintenance technician as the PC Brigade demands we call bog scrubbers today since you can’t even spell the name of the university…

    As for the rest… kiddy comments from a man who doesn’t understand irony. You’re funny!

    You don’t play the games becuase you already lost.

    With Peace

    Jack

  30. And your fanboy is back! Admit it ‘Sheik’ that’s why you’re not arguing; to stop their brains from getting an opposing view. No matter, the truth always comes out right…

    With Peace

    Jack

    1. Fine, knock yourself out, Jack.

      You know the drill: no smoke and mirrors, no pretzel logic, no taqiyya, no tu quoque, no lumpy gravy, just beef. Got it?

      Stick to it and we’ll have fun, otherwise you’ll be exported back to cyber space!

  31. Sure, but you haven’t let a single one of my comments explaining through at all. Be a man, I’ve provided you with stuff, answer it.

    With Peace

    Jack

    1. Last call: cut the crap, Jack.

      You haven’t ‘provided’ anything to anyone, you threw some mud in my way, that’s all.

      I’ll try to ignore your supremacist allures. If you still don’t get it you’re gone for good.

      And take the peace of Islam with you.

      1. Gone for good, Jack.

        A ‘revert’, eh? You remind me of Nicky Reilly, a retard who blew up a loo in Londonistan. Or Richard Reid, the shoebomber. I wrote a song about him.

        There are many articles from Muslims and ex-Muslims on this blog that state the FACTS about taqiyya. Facts, Jack. Facts, not belief. Have you even read the title of this thread?

        Its “Loon Watch” got it all worked out: “The Quran does not at all say to kill apostates” which is idiotic because no one claimed it in the first place. Stoning is also not in the Koran, and it is as Islamic as polygamy, wife-beating and child marriage.

        ‘Reasonable debate?’

        Islam is the abandonment of reason, Jack, and you are a fine example to prove it.

        In parting, I give you someting to read on your way:

        The psychology of the Muselman:

        “Wherever Islamic psychology rules, there is the inevitable rule of despotism and criminal aggression.

        ‘The danger lies in Islamic psychology, which cannot integrate itself into the world of efficiency and progress, that lives in a world of illusion, perturbed by attacks of inferiority complexes and megalomania, lost in dreams of the holy sword.

        “The danger stems from the totalitarian conception of the world, the passion for murder deeply rooted in their blood, from the lack of logic, the easily inflamed brains, the boasting, and above all: the blasphemous disregard for all that is sacred to the civilized world…their reactions — to anything — have nothing to do with good sense.

        “They are all emotion, unbalanced, instantaneous, senseless. It is always the lunatic that speaks from their throat.

        “You can talk ‘business’ with everyone, and even with the devil. But not with Allah… ”

        Dr A. Carlebach, 55 years ago……

  32. jack
    The truth is always exposed for people to see (that is the correct statement – your usage has several possible meanings – all imprecise) … and that is why you loose. Do you seriously think we need an ignorant islamist to explain anything to us???!!!. I seriously doubt if you even have a triple digit IQ – and you can rest assured that many people who read and comment are SIGNIFICANTLY more intelligent that you can even pretend to be. So take yourself and your islamic dogma, and flush both away. If you have anything even remotely useful to say then let us hear it, but on current form you are simply a waste of bandwidth.

    If you were sufficiently observant you will have noticed that I strongly disagree with what SYM seem to believe on several key points, but one thing that unites us is the knowledge that the crap you are peddling (islam) needs to be showcased for what it is – poisonous rubbish.

    Now why don’t you count to ten, try and find a brain, and then try and write an intelligent piece. And please use your muslim name – having a European name associated with the illogical crap you are spouting is an insult to Europeans,

  33. Kaw;

    The truth is in the posts of mine that were deleted or otherwise removed; ya see your master doesn’t want you to get all confused and have to deal with complex things like opposing arguments.

    Jack Cope is my name, I am a convert to Islam from Atheism (not sure you can convert from Atheism but anyway…). Scarey convert alert! I also think you should be the one counting to 10, you’ll also need to be finding the meaning of ‘irony’.

    With peace

    Jack

  34. You’re funny, the irony really fails doesn’t it. It’s OK, I’ve got all the material I need and I think readers can see for themselves what is what quite easily. Of course, your cultist like fanboys and readers will support you no matter what, you are indeed their master but I’m not bothered by that tiny insignificant group of people. No, the rest are more important.

    Oh and facts? Ha, you don’t do facts, you still think that Taqyya is a key part of Islam, a concept might I add that most Muslims have never heard of and is not what people like you try and play it as. That and I’ve barely started looking. Again, keep your cultists, we in the real world have no need for them.

    As for the article from Loonwatch, it was in response to the ‘It’s in the Quran’ bit that that poor Fathima Bary girl was made to spout as propaganda by her manipulators. Plus the arguments of the article of course won’t register since your knowledge of Islam is as close to zero as possible.

    Your departing gift? Orientalist drivel but the sort of thing I expect you slavishly believe and worship as the ‘truth’.

    Oh my dear Lady Irony, you are a harsh mistress but one very capable of humor.

    With peace

    Jack

  35. Sorry ‘Sheik’ but, as has been pointed out time and time again, regardless of what you think or ‘interpret’ it’s wrong and, frankly, irreverent as you have no grounding or use in the Muslim world. At best, you have an opinion that has been formulated by dodgy logic or rather manipulating the facts that exist for an agenda.

    I could point out where you are wrong over taqiyya and Jihad but what would be the point? You’ll block it and just scream the special code words for your cultists to read.

    Because really t’s just you and your cultists, a small insignificant group in the world and you’re free to keep telling them the ‘truth’. And yes, this is very cultish over here, I can see how you manipulate the comments section to only let through certain comments from me that make sure no opposing argument goes in. You’re made for each other ya?

    With Peace

    Jack

    1. Well Jack, I told you repeatedly that I’m more than delighted to print any rebuttal on Islamic grounds that is funded by authoritative sources.

      Obviously, you are not able to do that.

      ” regardless of what you think or ‘interpret’ it’s wrong and, frankly, irreverent as you have no grounding or use in the Muslim world.”

      Jack, if you are able to do some close reading, and I suggest you do, usually I let Muslims speak for themselves. I don’t ‘interpret what they say and I laugh at you for being “irreverent as you have no grounding or use in the Muslim world.”

      Your only game, Jack, is admittedly, to focus on me, desperate to ‘out’ me and to get one of your misunderstanders of Islam to cut my throat.

      I offered you to publish anything that’s based on substance, (not lumpy gravy) but you offered nothing except attacks on me, just me, and now you deny it. The whole time you acted like a shape-shifting octopus. Childish, but very Islamic, Jack.

      Amused readers may link to ‘Spencer Watch’ to see how Judeophobic and Christianophobic loons spew venom at those who expose them!

  36. ^@Shake: Finally! The truth comes out! This is just like when [ANTI]”Islamic Scholar” Robert Spencer (Who has no credentials in islam, whatsoever) admitted on Alan Colmes’ show that Islam makes people live very “moral and upright” lives! Surely he wasn’t using some Christianized version of “Taqiyya”, the same “Taqiyya” that most of the Republican Party has been using for the last year…

    1. Robert Spencer (Who has no credentials in islam, whatsoever) admitted on Alan Colmes’ show that Islam makes people live very “moral and upright” lives!

      No unbeliever can ever understand Islamic rocket science, and few muslims understand the concept of ‘tongue in cheek’, but don’t worrySKhan, we all know there is no fun in Islam…..

  37. “My blog, my bandwidth, corey.

    Since when do Mohammedan trolls call the shots here?”

    Since when did anyone with any credibility as an “Islamic” “scholar” refer to Mohammedans? Like your sock puppet kaw, who doesn’t use his name but asks why Jack Cope – who does – doesn’t post in his “own retarded name”, and who refers to SKhan (on what evidence we will never know) as a “Paki”, you’re simply a racist fool dressing up a hatred of funny brown foreigners in a protective sheath of criticism of Islam. Well, we’ve seen how pathetic your attempts at taking part in a grown-up argument are, so why not just relax, quit your psudo-Islamic nonsense and just come out as a neo-Nazi xenophobe?

    1. I prefer ‘Mohammedans’ because that’s what Mohammed worshipers are. ‘Allah’ is Mohammed’s alter ego; and since ‘Mohammedans’ was the correct term for our ancestors It is the correct term to use.

      ‘Sockpuppet?’ Ever looked into a mirror, Rob?

      Islam is not a race, it is a violent ideology, a totalitarian theocracy and a genocidal cult. So the argument ends right there.

      I’m glad for you being able to spell ‘xenophobes’, Bob, but our problem is not with foreigners.

      We have a problem with terrorists, assassins and psychopaths who have declared everlasting jihad on the world until we’re all Islamic.

      Lastly, its the Mohammedans who sided with Hitler and the Nazis (imam Husseini and the Handschar brigades) so your Nazi argument sounds as dumb and ignorant as yourself.

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