Does Islam Allow Freedom of Religion?

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Short answer: No. Islam promotes the killing of those who leave Islam.


The Scripture of Muslims (Qur’an):

In Quran, Allah commands Muslims to fight and kill those who ‘turn back’ and ‘turn away.’

Qur’an 4:89: ‘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 then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.’

Qur’an 9:73-74O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end. They swear by Allah that they said nothing (wrong), yet they did say the word of disbelief and did disbelieve after their Surrender (to Allah). And they purposed that which they could not attain, and they sought revenge only that Allah by His messenger should enrich them of His bounty. If they repent it will be better for them; and if they turn away, Allah will afflict them with a painful doom in the world and the Hereafter, and they have no protecting friend nor helper in the earth.

Qur’an 88:21-24: ‘Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder. You are not a watcher over them; But whoever turns back and disbelieves, Allah will chastise him with the greatest chastisement.’


The Traditions of Muhammad (Hadith):

Hadith records many instances to show that Muhammad ordered the execution of those who left Islam. There are many traditions. However, I have just quoted a few because of space. All these hadiths are considered Sahih– authentic by Islamic scholars.

Sahih Bukhari 2794: It was narrated from Ibn`Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever changes his religion, execute him.”

Sahih Bukhari 4:52:260Narrated 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.’ ”

Sahih Bukhari 9:83:17Narrated ‘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.

Sahih Bukhari 9:84:64: Narrated ‘Ali: … Allah’s Apostle saying, “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.


The Islamic Law:

There is a consensus among scholars that according to Islamic law, apostates are to be killed.

The Risala of Abdullah ibn Zayd al-Qayrawani (310/922-386/996) –The life of a Muslim is not lawful unless he apostasies after belief, commits illicit sex after he is muhsan, kills someone when it is not a case of retaliation, or engages in corruption in the earth or renounces the deen. [ The exception to this inviolability is for a legal right, which refers to the three matters which he mentioned. In property, anyone who destroys something must pay for it. The cases when taking life is permitted are indicated here. In the case of apostasy, he is asked to repent for three days. “Corruption in the earth” is banditry and highway robbery. Renouncing the deen is to embrace the dogma of the people of the sects about whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “They will pass through the deen like an arrow passes through game.” In the Misbah, it goes through one side and comes out the other. ]

Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (1.2): The following are not subject to retaliation: a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim; a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences);

Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law(8.1& 8.4): When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed… There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die).

The Penalties for Apostasy in Islam According to the Four Schools of Islamic Law (p.19): The Shafi´ites, Hanbalites and Malikites say: The verdict for the female apostate is the same as for the male. … the Prophet said, “It is good if she repents. If she does not, she is to be killed, since by apostasy she should be treated like a woman who has fought against Muslims, being taken captive in a holy war (jihad); thus it is lawful to kill her with the sword... The Prophet — the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him — said, “He who changes his religion must be killed“; this holds true both for men and women. The apostasy of a man calls for putting him to death. It is unanimously agreed upon that apostasy is a horrible crime deserving a horrible punishment. The apostasy of a woman is no less horrible. Therefore, it too deserves a corresponding punishment: death.


The Islamic Rulings (Fatwas)

Muslims scholars are clear about the punishment for apostates. They agree that Islamic punishment for apostates is death.

Fatwa Council of Al-Azhar–[A] man has committed apostasy; he must be given a chance to repent and if he does not then he must be killed according to Shariah.’

Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 12406–The punishment for apostasy from the religion of Islam is execution. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever” [al-Baqarah 2:217]

IslamOnline–“All Muslim jurists agree that the apostate is to be punished. However, they differ regarding the punishment itself. The majority of them go for killing; meaning that an apostate is to be sentenced to death.

European Council for Fatwa and Research–A group of Salafis and Imams are of the opinion that not every apostate should be killed, but rather only those who openly commit apostasy.

Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon–He should be imprisoned for three days, so that he may have the opportunity to reflect upon his situation. This three-day period has been deemed adequate. But if the man or the woman has not repented of his or her raddah, but has continued to persist in it, then he or she should be put to death. (This is in harmony with) Muhammad’s saying, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him: `Kill him who changes his religion’, as related by the Hadith authority, al-Bukhari, (in his Hadith collection).


A Former Muslim Notes:

Muslim scholars define apostasy as, ‘Riddah (apostasy) refers to when a Muslim becomes a disbeliever by saying a clear statement to that effect, or by uttering words which imply that (i.e., which imply kufr or disbelief), or he does something that implies that (i.e., an action which implies kufr or disbelief).’

I am an apostate, who rejected Islam by converting to Christianity. When I told my family about my conversion, they told me that ‘you are dead to us, we disown you completely.’ It was the most difficult time in my life. But thanks be to Christ that I did not tell them about my conversion face-to-face. I told them through an email.

If I was in front of them. I am sure that one of my family members would have killed me. When I share this story to Westerners, they often can’t get their head around this. They ask me, ‘they are your family, your father, and mother, surely they won’t kill you.’

To clarify this matter, I have given you a brief overview of Islamic teachings about apostasy. The Islamic holy book, Qur’an, the traditions of Muhammad, hadiths, the Islamic law all agree that those who leave Islamic religion must be executed.

Muslim apologists try to play tricks. They point to two verses: Q2:256 –‘Let there be no compulsion in religion, for truth, stands out from error.’ Q10:99-100, ‘Wouldst thou (Muhammad) compel men until they are believers?’ They argue that Islam promotes freedom of religion.

But they won’t tell you; these verses are abrogated (cancelled) by later verses. One Muslim scholar states, ‘this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad.’

Furthermore, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamic scholar, admitted that If Muslims had “gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.’

The bottom line is that Islam does not promote freedom of religion. It asks to kill those who leave Islam. I know of many secret apostates who have left Islam. They are afraid one day someone might find out, and they might lose their lives.