What happens when a Muslim becomes an apostate and renounces Islam? This is what the Islamic scriptures say – OpIndia

Posted By on May 31, 2022

Back in May 2022, a resident of Kerala named Askar Ali told the media that he was abducted by his relatives, hours before he was scheduled to hold a press conference about renouncing Islam.

Alleging harassment at their hands, Ali said, I left Islam after I studied it in detail. When I was doing the [Hudawi] course, there was very little opportunity to read materials other than those related to Islam. During the lockdowns, I got to read other disciplines, which opened my eyes.

He emphasized that those who leave the religion are seen as despicable creatures by their family members. Ali had braved attacks from a frenzied Muslim mob for committing the sin of apostasy. Unlike others, he had studied Islam for 12 years, only to abandon it later.

Askar Ali is not the only ex-Muslim, who has been at the receiving end of harassment. Recently, another apostate named Sahil was intimidated on live TV by an Islamic cleric. The Maulana repeatedly branded the man as a Murtad and thereby exposed him to real-life threats from fellow Islamists.

A Murtad (apostate) has no right to speak about Islam. Shut up, you cannot speak a word, declared the cleric. He then targeted the news anchor for inviting apostates on the show, who speak ill of the faith.

This is a conspiracy against Islam. India Muslims will show you, your place, the Maulana continued with his threats.

The intolerance displayed towards an apostate by a practicing Muslim on live TV is not a one-off incident. Individuals, who renounce Islam, are often subjected to death threats by their co-religionists.

To understand whether such behaviour towards apostates is influenced by religious diktats, we need to take a closer look at the teachings of the Holy Book and the Hadiths.

Chapter 9 (At-Tawbah) Verse 66 of the Quran says:

Make no excuses! You have lost faith after your belief. If we pardon a group of you (those who repent), we will punish others for their wickedness.

Chapter 16 (An-Nahl) Verse 106 of the Quran says:

Whoever disbelieves in Allah after their beliefnot those who are forced while their hearts are firm in the faith, but those who embrace disbelief wholeheartedlythey will be condemned by Allah and suffer a tremendous punishment.

Chapter 88 (An-Ghashiyah) Verses 22-24 of the Quran says:

You are not there to compel them to believe. But whoever turns away, persisting in disbelief, then Allah will inflict upon them the major punishment.

Sahih al-Bukhari (one of the 6 major hadith collections) states in Volume 9, Book 84, Hadith 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 Allahs Messenger forbade it, saying, Do not punish anybody with Allahs punishment (fire). I would have killed them according to the statement of Allahs Messenger, Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'

It further states in Volume 9, Book 84, Hadith 58:

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

According to Pakistani Islamic theologian Dr Israr Ahmed (1932-2010), the punishment for apostasy in Islam is death. Any Muslim who leaves his faith and exits from the Jammat i.e. becomes a Murtad, he must be punished with death.

He pointed out that some Islamic scholars, under the influence of the West, had succumbed to notions such as Freedom to change ones religion. He said that those scholars argue that apostates should only be killed if they conspire to overthrow the Islamic State.

Ahmed claimed that those scholars opine that merely deserting Islam does not amount to death. He claimed that such assertions were made by those scholars under pressure and that the act of renunciation of Islam automatically implied capital punishment.

Another Islamic scholar named Assim al Hakeem remarked, Is killing others justifiable? This depends on where you are coming from. If you are a Muslim, then, you say yes It is a prescribed punishment. He went on to explain that leaving Islam after having accepted it is a cardinal sin.

Following closer scrutiny of the Quranic verses, along with the sayings of the Hadiths and the Islamic scholars, it becomes clear that leaving Islam is not an easy option for people born as Muslim. Besides the sanctions of death for apostasy, there can be societal consequences of such an act. And it is not limited to India alone.

According to Humanists UK, there are 13 countries in the world that award the death penalty either for blasphemy or apostasy. These countries include Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.

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What happens when a Muslim becomes an apostate and renounces Islam? This is what the Islamic scriptures say - OpIndia

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