Why are apostates killed?

Question:

 

Please provide information about why apostates are killed along with the reference? What about the ayah 2:256 in this connection? And what about chapter 109? Anyone who insults the Prophet should be killed? Please prove? What did the sahabah do on such occasions? On many such occasions the Prophet forgave them.  How shall a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country react when someone insults the Prophet? Can a Muslim insult non-Muslim gods? What punishment will he get? Please shed light on the assassination of salmaan taseer, the Pakistani governor in this connection.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

You have posed seven questions.  We will respond to the first two only as they are inter-related and it will be more conductive for effective academic digestion.  You may forward your remaining questions one at a time after having understood and digested this information.

 

First and foremost, an apostate is killed simply because it is an order of the Sharī’ah.  We do not have any authority in questioning the law of Allah.  Allah Ta’ālā is the All-Wise.  The wisdoms and benefits behind His every ruling are unfathomable by our feeble minds.

 

The possible rationale behind this ruling may be understood through the death penalty executed in almost 60 countries.  For some criminal convictions where the death penalty is carried out are:

 

  • The United States of America
  • China
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Jamaica
  • India[i]

 

A person is condemned to death because he has committed an unforgivable crime.  A country is based on certain entrenched values.  There is no compromise on such values.

 

One who opposes these values is convicted of treason.  The penalty of treason in many countries is death.  If death is the consequence of rebelling against man made laws which are deficient, then shouldn’t rebellion against the laws of Allah which are perfect be viewed more seriously.

 

An apostate fuels widespread disorder and confusion.  His apostasy prompts others to question their beliefs.  He is the seed of imbalance.  Hence, it is better to uproot the mischief before it is deep rooted in the ground.  For example, if there is a basket of apples wherein there is one rotten apple, what will the owner of the apples do? He will get rid of the rotten apple to preserve the rest of the apples.  If he keeps the rotten apple merely because it is an apple, he will be deemed foolish.  In the very same manner, an apostate carries rotten beliefs; he must be removed from the basket of the world to preserve the spiritual welfare of others.  Anything which is a threat to Imān will be uprooted.

 

You further enquire regarding the following verse:

 

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَدْ تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى لَا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (سورة البقرة 256)

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Quran 2:256)

 

This verse orders the believers not to coerce anybody into accepting the fold of Islam.  This verse has nothing at all to with an apostate.  In this verse, Muslims are being reminded not to make people accept Islam by means of compulsion.  Hence, history testifies that all the cities which accepted Islam in the earlier times was due to them exercising their free will.  Forcing somebody to accept has no benefit at all.  It just creates more enemies from within.

 

An apostate had already entered Islam with his own will and then he defected.  He will not be forced to accept Islam.  He will be given an opportunity of three days to repent.  After three days, the apostate will be sentenced to death.[ii]

 

You also ask vis-à-vis chapter 109 titled surah al-kāfirūn.  Before explaining this chapter, it is necessary to understand that all these contradictions and misunderstandings are due to understanding texts out of their context.  One must study under a qualified and genuine scholar to really comprehend the message of the Qur’an.

 

Firstly, this verse was revealed in Makkah.  Hence, it preceeds any ruling in relation to apostates.  Secondly, this chapter was revealed with regards to a specific occurrence.  Once the disbelievers came and proposed to the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam that they should practice on a ‘multi-faith’; for one year, everybody should worship the idols and the next year everyone will worship Allah.[iii] It was after this that the Prophet was told to respond to them with the statement:

 

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ (سورة الكافرون 6)

“For you is your dīn for me is my dīn.” (Quran 109:6)

 

In conclusion, if opposition to the values of manmade laws is unforgiveable, imagine the severity of going against the core values of Islam, namely Tawhīd?

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Faraz Ibn Adam,
Student Darul Iftaa

Leicester, UK

 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
www.daruliftaa.net


[i] https://death.rdsecure.org/article.php?id=81

[ii] وفي المبسوط للسرخسي

(قَالَ) – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ – وَإِذَا ارْتَدَّ الْمُسْلِمُ عُرِضَ عَلَيْهِ الْإِسْلَامُ، فَإِنْ أَسْلَمَ، وَإِلَّا قُتِلَ مَكَانَهُ إلَّا أَنْ يَطْلُبَ أَنْ يُؤَجَّلَ فَإِذَا طَلَبَ ذَلِكَ أُجِّلَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ (ج 10 ص 98 دار المعرفة)

وفي الاختيار

(وَإِذَا ارْتَدَّ الْمُسْلِمُ وَالْعِيَاذُ بِاللَّهِ) عَنِ الْإِسْلَامِ (يُحْبَسُ وَيُعْرَضُ عَلَيْهِ الْإِسْلَامُ وَتُكْشَفُ شُبْهَتُهُ، فَإِنْ أَسْلَمَ وَإِلَّا قُتِلَ) ، أَمَّا حَبْسُهُ وَعَرْضُ الْإِسْلَامِ عَلَيْهِ فَلَيْسَ بِوَاجِبٍ لِأَنَّهُ بَلَغَتْهُ الدَّعْوَةُ؛ وَالْكَافِرُ إِذَا بَلَغَتْهُ الدَّعْوَةُ لَا تَجِبُ أَنْ تُعَادَ عَلَيْهِ فَهَذَا أَوْلَى، لَكِنْ يُسْتَحَبُّ ذَلِكَ؛ لِأَنَّ الظَّاهِرَ إِنَّمَا ارْتَدَّ لِشُبْهَةٍ دَخَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ أَوْ ضَيْمٍ أَصَابَهُ فَيُكْشَفُ ذَلِكَ عَنْهُ لِيَعُودَ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ وَهُوَ أَهْوَنُ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ.(ج 4 ص 146-145 دار الكتب العلمية)

وفي الجوهرة النيرة

قَوْلُهُ (وَإِذَا ارْتَدَّ الْمُسْلِمُ عَنْ الْإِسْلَامِ وَالْعِيَاذُ بِاَللَّهِ عُرِضَ عَلَيْهِ الْإِسْلَامُ فَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ شُبْهَةٌ كُشِفَتْ لَهُ) لِأَنَّ الْعَرْضَ عَلَى مَا قَالُوا غَيْرُ وَاجِبٍ لِأَنَّ الدَّعْوَةَ قَدْ بَلَغَتْهُ كَذَا فِي الْهِدَايَةِ وَفِي الْخُجَنْدِيِّ إذَا ارْتَدَّ الْبَالِغُ عَنْ الْإِسْلَامِ فَإِنَّهُ يُسْتَتَابُ فَإِنْ تَابَ وَأَسْلَمَ وَإِلَّا قُتِلَ مَكَانَهُ وَمَنْ سَبَّ الشَّيْخَيْنِ أَوْ طَعَنَ فِيهِمَا يَكْفُرُ وَيَجِبُ قَتْلُهُ ثُمَّ إنْ رَجَعَ وَتَابَ وَجَدَّدَ الْإِسْلَامَ هَلْ تُقْبَلُ تَوْبَتُهُ أَمْ لَا قَالَ الصَّدْرُ الشَّهِيدُ لَا تُقْبَلُ تَوْبَتُهُ وَإِسْلَامُهُ وَبِهِ أَخَذَ الْفَقِيهُ أَبُو اللَّيْثِ السَّمَرْقَنْدِيُّ وَأَبُو نَصْرٍ الدَّبُوسِيُّ وَهُوَ الْمُخْتَارُ لِلْفَتْوَى إلَّا إذَا طَلَبَ أَنْ يُؤَجَّلَ فَإِنَّهُ يُؤَجَّلُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ وَلَا يُزَادُ عَلَيْهَا وَلَا تُقْبَلُ مِنْهُ جِزْيَةٌ قَوْلُهُ (وَيُحْبَسُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمَ وَإِلَّا قُتِلَ) هَذَا إذَا اسْتَمْهَلَ فَأَمَّا إذَا لَمْ يَسْتَمْهِلْ قُتِلَ مِنْ سَاعَتِهِ قَالَ فِي الْفَوَائِدِ لَا يَجُوزُ الْإِمْهَالُ بِدُونِ الِاسْتِمْهَالِ فِي ظَاهِرِ الرِّوَايَةِ وَعَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ يُسْتَحَبُّ الْإِمْهَالُ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَمْهِلْ وَكَذَا رُوِيَ عَنْ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ أَيْضًا.

وَفِي الْجَامِعِ الصَّغِيرِ يُعْرَضُ عَلَيْهِ الْإِسْلَامُ فَإِنْ أَبَى قُتِلَ وَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ الْإِمْهَالَ فَيُحْتَمَلُ عَلَى أَنَّهُ لَمْ يَسْتَمْهِلْ.(ج 2 ص 276 مير محمد كتب خامه)

وفي بدائع الصنائع

وَمِنْهَا أَنَّهُ يُسْتَحَبُّ أَنْ يُسْتَتَابَ وَيُعْرَضَ عَلَيْهِ الْإِسْلَامُ لِاحْتِمَالِ أَنْ يُسْلِمَ، لَكِنْ لَا يَجِبُ؛ لِأَنَّ الدَّعْوَةَ قَدْ بَلَغَتْهُ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمَ فَمَرْحَبًا وَأَهْلًا بِالْإِسْلَامِ، وَإِنْ أَبَى نَظَرَ الْإِمَامُ فِي ذَلِكَ فَإِنْ طَمِعَ فِي تَوْبَتِهِ، أَوْ سَأَلَ هُوَ التَّأْجِيلَ، أَجَّلَهُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَطْمَعْ فِي تَوْبَتِهِ وَلَمْ يَسْأَلْ هُوَ التَّأْجِيلَ، قَتَلَهُ مِنْ سَاعَتِهِ.(ج 7 ص 134 دار الكتب العلمية)

[iii] وفي صفوة التفاسير

قال المفسرون: إن قريشاً طلبت من الرسول صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم َ أن يعبد آلهتهم سنة، ويعبدوا إلهه سنة، فقال، معاذ الله أن نشرك بالله شيئاً فقالوا: فاستلم بعض آلهتنا نصدّقك ونعبد إِلهك، فنزلت السورة (ج 3 ص 587 دار الصابوني)

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