Apostasy in Islam

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People should not be killed for thought crimes!

As anyone can tell from the name of this site, I'm about conversation, discussions and rational thinking.

A person who changes his religious views by rejecting a religion he had followed before is called an apostate. Clearly, I don't think a person should be punished in any way for being an apostate.

When it comes to freedom of religion, my view lines up directly with the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

A Policy Exchange report finds in a 2007 study that more than a third of BRITISH Muslims aged 16-24 years old believe that "if a Muslim converts to another religion they should be punished by death." This compares to "19% of 55+ year olds" who believe the same thing.

The following question was asked:

"The following is a list of laws that are defined in most scholarly interpretations of sharia law. Please say if you personally agree or disagree with the law mentioned:

That Muslim conversion from Islam is forbidden and punishable by death

Ages: 16 - 24 25 - 34 35 - 44 45 - 54 55+ Total

% Agree

36 37 27 19 19 31

What is this based on? Sharia law is based on the Hadith, which gives a clear ruling on the matter.

First, a brief background: Hadiths are oral traditions about prophet Muhammad. The most trusted Sunni collection of Hadiths was collected by Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari (810 - 870 CE) is called Sahih al-Bukhari (which means "authentic al-Bukhari").

The following quotes from the Hadith and the Koran come from the USC Compendium of Muslim Texts and I've linked each one to the source material.

Direct quotes from the Sahih al-Bukhari:

Hadiths about apostates...

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260:
Narrated Ikrima:
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57:
Narrated 'Ikrima:
Some Zanadiqa (atheists) 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.'"

Volume 9, Book 83, Number 17:
Narrated 'Abdullah:
Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

People honestly feel that others should be killed for a thought crime.

This is another example of why it matters what people believe!

It isn't just apostates that get a raw deal, unbelievers like me don't fare much better.

Koran (Quran) verses about 'disbelievers'...


They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.


The disbelievers are an open enemy to you...


If they … assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief. … Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them


Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.


O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end.


Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you.

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