Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Does Islam say Apostates should be killed?

Many Muslims say that this is just culture, that it is not in the religion at all. However, there are many Hadith (sayings and doings of the "prophet" Muhammed) which state this (the links are from a Muslim site with Hadith online):

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 17

Narrated 'Abdullah:

“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, 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.'"

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 84, Number 58

Narrated Abu Burda:

...Behold: There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed...

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 89, Number 271:

Narrated Abu Musa:

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

Sahih Muslim, Book 016, Number 4152

'Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony (to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, but in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for life, and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.

Sahih Muslim, Book 020, Number 4490

It has been reported on the authority of Abu Musa who said: ... Mu'adh said: Who is this? Abu Musa said: He was a Jew. He embraced Islam. Then he reverted to his false religion and became a Jew. Mu'adh said: I won't sit until he is killed according to the decree of Allah and His Apostle (may peace be upon him) (in this case). Abu Musa said: Be seated. It will be done. He said: I won't sit unless he is killed in accordance with the decree of Allah and His Apostle (may peace be upon him). He repeated these words thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered him (to be killed) and he was kilied.

Muslims are supposed to follow the Hadith as well as the Quran, not just selective parts of it. They say that this isn't Islam. If they admitted otherwise, it kind of makes it laughable that they say the religion is peace. Killing apostates is a part of Islam, although a part they wish to remain hidden from non-Muslims.


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Blogger CK said...

Do you know anything about ijtihad, and its role in all of this? I've only read Irshad Manji, and she repeatedly argues that there's a way of interpretation that avoids these issues...

May 8, 2007 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Not Muslim Anymore said...

No I don't, CK. I think that Muslims saying there is a different interpretation to something so obvious are just trying to deny (maybe even to themselves) what Islam is, or make it into what they want it to be.


May 8, 2007 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger juffie said...

Oh, yeah, and years ago our UU congregation had an Interfaith Service. Two men from the local large Mosque had agreed to chant from the Koran in Arabic. It was hauntingly lovely. Then they read the English translation. Basically anyone who has been a Muslim and then rejects it will be damned in hell forever. (Perhaps they had read from the Hadith knowing no one would know the difference.) Turns out they had been offended that representatives of BaHai were also taking part in the service, and wanted everyone to know that whole religion was damned because of its origins among Muslims. Sigh!

May 8, 2007 at 3:24 PM  
Anonymous ck said...

I guess what I wonder (and it is purely that, since I know very little about Islam) is whether the arguments against moderate Muslims, or people like Irshad Manji, are in any way similar to the arguments against liberal Christians.

They, too, have to deal with some ugly stuff in the Bible, and their approach is condemned by conservatives because it seems to take the authority out of the text, and the center out of the religion. And, interestingly, people like Sam Harris and Dawkins argue that they're not "really" following their religion. They get it from both sides!

But does that follow?

So I'm very interested in these differences, since Islam didn't have the equivalent of a Reformation which impacted hermeneutics so tremendously (as far as I've gathered from reading Karen Armstrong).

But yes, on the face of it, the hadiths are pretty clear and would be difficult to contextualize away...

May 9, 2007 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Not Muslim Anymore said...

I think some liberal Christians don't take the bible as the literal word of god. The Quran is supposedly the "word of God". But many things aren't in there, like more details on how to pray, and many other things that they have to look to the Hadith (aka Sunnah) for. There are some Muslims (I can't remember the name) who only follow the Quran, not the Hadith.

I considered myself a liberal/modern Muslims for years before I shed it altogether. That is when I finally really questioned things like this in the religion. But if someone doesn't believe in everything in the Quran and Hadith, they technically may not be a Muslim (at least they won't be considered one by other Muslims).

Although I don't put labels on anyone. I have a friend who hasn't taken the Shahada (testament of faith), but she's pretty much Muslim in many other ways. She even wears the hijab. Her problem is that she's married to a non-Muslim, and the Muslims she used to hang around told her she had to get rid of him to become Muslim. I told her to do what felt right in her heart, take the Shahada if she felt that's where she was going, and deal with everything else later. It's between her and God, not anyone else.

May 9, 2007 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous ck said...

Interesting. Thanks for your blog and your thoughts. I appreciate it.

May 9, 2007 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. The Qu'ran never speaks of the death penalty for apostacy and while many Muslims believe in the hadith recorded by Bukhari and Muslim, many do not. Check out http://www.free-minds.org.

--Dave, http://parallelsidewalk.wordpress.com

May 10, 2007 at 2:10 PM  

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