Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

Why are they leaving Islam?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

An excellent article by Mathew Longacre,

I’d add that the spread of lies, half-truths, bad translations and scare tactics and confusing traditions or culture with religious tenets by Islamophobes, as well as the spread of misinterpretations, misconceptions and flawed fatwas (religious rulings) by fundamentalist Muslims as well as portraying terrorism, mass murder and suicide as Jihaad (!!), all leave the vulnerable and the gullible Muslims in confusion and doubt. It is the responsibility of parents, friends, preachers, scholars and media to rush to help those who have unanswered questions about Islam and answer them! We are all responsible for each other and will be questioned by God on the Day of Judgment if we have failed that responsibility. The Prophet (PBUH) made that quite clear when he said, “All of you are caretakers and all of you will be questioned about those you were to take care of!”, narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

Specificities meant for generalities

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In a previous post, you mentioned the hadeeth which instructs us to make up for missed prayers by praying them later. Most scholars who read this hadeeth agreed that it is specific for unintentional missing of prayers, such as due to sleep or forgetfulness, and that it does not include intentional missing. That is why they have ruled that prayers intentionally missed cannot be compensated, but that the repenting Muslim should offer a lot of nawafil (extra) prayers and hope that God will forgive him. Isn’t it true that the hadeeth is specific?

Scholars of Usool-ul-Fiqh (Foundations of Deduction) have noticed many examples in the Quran and the Hadeeth of statements using a specificity but whose coverage is clearly general. They coined this style خاص أريد به العموم (a specificity meant for generality). This Arabic style is an alternative way of quoting examples to illustrate a point which is general.

Let me give you an example. In verse 6:151, God says, “…and do not kill your children because of poverty; We provide for you and them.” Here God cites a specificity, namely, poverty, as the reason some people killed their children. Does that mean that killing one’s children for other reasons is OK? Obviously not. The reason given was only an example to illustrate the point that there is no cause for one to kill one’s children, as God is in control and provides.

One simple way to figure out if a specificity is meant for a generality is absence of the generality! And that is why the prayer expiation hadeeth was meant for generality, because we do not have any statement in the Quran or the Hadeeth that tells us what do with a person who purposely missed his prayers. It is that lack of direct evidence that forced scholars to conjure up an expiation. Some scholars even said that there is no expiation and that a man purposely neglecting his prayers is an apostate and must be killed! An opinion that is totally without merit.

Is apostasy preordained?

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

What is apostasy? On a forum we are discussing Qadar and apostasy. Here is the question that is being discussed.
if a person apostated from Islaam, do you believe that Allaah ordained for that person to apostate from Islaam?

Isn’t it interesting how people would blame God for all their bad decisions, but when good things happen to them they take credit?

God tells us in the Quran how disbelievers on the Day of Judgment will try to weasel out of the responsibility for their bad choice:

“And they said, ‘If the Beneficent had willed, we would not have worshiped them (the idols).’ They have no knowledge of that. They are but conjecturing.” (43:20)

Let’s examine their statement. Is what they said true? It sure is! If God wills for something to not happen, it cannot happen. So, does their statement logically lead to the conclusion they hope to make? Namely, does the will of God lead to some people’s wrong decisions? If so, then how can He punish them for such choice? That’s what they are hoping to conclude; that they should not be punished for a bad choice which they could not but make.

This method of arguing is a well known pseudo-reasoning method called red herring (or smoke screen). You change the premise without appearing to do so. Thus, the logical conclusion will be different than if you stay with the original premise.

The diverted premise is that we do not have a free will. The will of God surpasses any will we may or may not have. The original premise repeatedly stated by the Quran is that we should be accountable for the decisions we freely make.

So, I can see two steps to refuting the argument posed by your question. First, we need to establish that we do have a free will. This blows up the red herring and brings us back to the original premise. Then we need to establish that the will of God does not contradict our free will.

Does anybody seriously doubt that we have a free will? We instinctively know it. We feel it. When we make a decision, we know that we have alternatives and we know that we freely choose one of them.

The free will is the pre-requisite for life on earth. Check out the Story of Adam and Eve post. If you have doubts that we do have a free will, check out the previous posts in the Fate and Free Will categories.

The will of God has been that we have a free will. That is why God says,

“And you do not will but that God wills” (76:30)

We could not will anything if God did not will for us that we can.

Whether one apostates or stays faithful is foreknown to God, but it is not preordained. God could have stopped that person from apostating, but He had decreed that our choices will be free. That necessarily means that He would not interfere with them. It also means that the responsibility for our choices lie with us alone. Any attempt to escape that responsibility is therefore indefensible.

Did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) order the killing of apostates?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Hello, I have a question thats been bothering me for a week now. I was reading the hadiths and I came across a very disturbing hadith and it says: “Whoever changed his religion, then kill him” Sahih al-Bukhari, 9-84-57. Why does it say this? I thought the Quran talks about no compulsion in religion. Why is this hadith contradicting the message in the Quran? Personally I feel that if someone leaves Islam, it’s their personal choice. Because God gave them a free will and so they have the free choice to leave if they want. And if they’re killed because they left Islam then its not fair because they might come back in the future. Please just help me out with this problem of mine. Thanks!

That hadeeth contradicts the Quran. None of the versions of this hadeeth actually state that the narrator heard the Prophet (PBUH) say those words. The text of the hadeeth is like this,

“Ali was brought a gang of agnostics. He burned them. Ibn Abbaas, when he heard this, said, “If it was me, I would have killed them instead, because the Prophet said, ‘Whoever substitutes his religion, kill him.’ When Ali heard that, he said, ‘Woe unto Ibn Abbaas!’ ”

Do you sense the problems with this hadeeth? Does that sound like anything Ali or Ibn Abbaas would say? Is it conceivable that the Prophet (PBUH) gives a ruling of capital punishment that Ali had never heard? Is it conceivable that Ali would burn to death people even though he never knew he could kill them?

Is it conceivable that God will make a capital punishment ruling that we know about only through a narration? Did He not say in the holy Quran, “And We have not neglected in the Book not a thing” (6:38)

No, brother, the Prophet (PBUH) did not, and could not have said those words, for he does not do anything in violation of God’s orders. And he relayed to us God’s word in this matter,

“And say: The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills, let him believe, and whoever wills, let him disbelieve.” (18:29)

“And if God had so willed, all those in the earth would have believed together. Is it you [, O Muhammad] then who would compel people to be Muslims?” (10:99)

Check out the other posts in the Apostasy category. The evidence is overwhelming that, in Islam, there is no punishment, in this life, whatsoever for apostasy.

Is Sharia law cruel?

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I am a peace-loving person by nature. I simply hate, hate, HATE violence. I can’t stand it. I can’t watch gory things. I know Islam is peaceful. But people have told me that I’m so brainwashed that I can’t understand that Shariah Law is really not the right thing. Please note that I’m not saying Shariah Law isn’t the right thing, I’m just confused at what my feelings are.

I’ll get down to the questions. Please understand however, that these questions are of curious nature, and not to offend people or try to refute Islam. I’m simply keeping an open mind when asking so I can answer others and so I can be contented; I’m asking it the way others have asked so blatantly, so it’s more relatable. Forgive me Allah, if I have transgressed.

Bless your heart, sister. There is no sin in asking. When God Almighty told the angels that He was about to create Adam, they asked why! They said,
“Will you put in it (the earth) whom will corrupt in it and shed blood?” (2:30)

God did not chastise them. He simply told them that He knows what they do not.

Dr. Jeffrey Lang put it well in the title of one of his excellent books, “Even Angels Ask.”

1) Why does Shariah Law have to be torture before death?/Painful death?/Death in a very painful way?

The only penalty that involves pain before death is crucifixion for Hiraaba (terrorism), as stated in 5:33. Terrorists do not deserve any mercy. The pain they cause their innocent victims deserves to be returned likewise. You do not have to watch the crucifixion of terrorists, but only to know that they have been justly punished.

2)Why does Islam practice an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ in these matters? Isn’t that a vengeful way out? Forgiveness in Islam was also heavily emphasized. I would think that a hurt family member would have wanted the killer killed.

Family members of a murder victim are offered three choices: (a) kill the convicted murderer, (b) take a ransom, or (c) pardon the murderer. That is Sharia law. The choice is not the judge’s or the jury’s, it’s the murder victim’s family’s. This makes provision for families who are unable to forgive. It also makes provision for families who will benefit more from punitive damages. It also does not leave out the pardon option you are looking for.

3)I’ve heard the church burnings of before were done to save the burning person from the even more dangerous “fires of Hell.” And then they say Islam wants the accused to be saved from an even greater danger (Hell), which is why the rapist for example, has to be set to death.

Nonsense. Rape is terrorism and adultery combined. The punishment for terrorism is one of four, as clearly stated in the Hiraaba verse, (5:33): (a) Killing, (b) crucifixion, (c) severing a hand and a foot on opposite sides, or (d) permanent deportation. The choice is left to the judge and is based on the severity of the crime. If the punishment for a rapist was death, that does not mean he is saved from Hell. That is God’s decision to make.

4)Why are apostates killed? Freedom of religion is emphasized in Islam, so why is there an apostasy rule? There are answers in my head, but I still can’t comprehend it.

They are not. This is one of the misconceptions about Sharia. There is no punishment for apostasy. See the posts in the Apostasy category for details. You are right; freedom of religion is guaranteed in Islam and mandated by God in the Quran.

5)Islam cannot change its rules. I accept Shariah Law, I guess, but it’s easier said than done. If I saw it with my own eyes, being carried out, I’m very scared of what will happen to my faith. Any way of understanding the wisdom behind Shariah Law?

Don’t see it. Most people are like you. The few penalties in Sharia that are tough are tough for the reasons I mentioned above. The punishment must suit the crime and there must be a visual deterrent to potential criminals who do witness a penalty carried out.

6)What does “stoning” mean?

It means throwing stones at someone until he or she dies. It is a Jewish custom that crept into Muslim society and it has no basis in Islam. It is another misconception about Sharia. Read this post for details, also check out the Misconceptions and Islamophobia categories, where many of your concerns are discussed and clarified. There is a lot of misunderstanding, even among Muslims, of what Sharia includes and doesn’t include.

7)Why doesn’t Islam offer rehabilitation for homosexuals? I’m not making my own rules, btw. Why is it stoning instead? What is the validity of this:

“Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68):

. . . Ibn Abbas ruled that they be thrown headlong from the highest summit.”

The punishment in Islam for male homosexuality is discipline, not death, as clearly stated in 4:16. Any fatwa saying otherwise is in contradiction to the Quran, and therefore must not be considered. In fact, rehabilitation for homosexuals is precisely what the Quran encourages. In 4:15, God says that female homosexuals are to live under house arrest “until God makes for them a way out” (4:15). The house arrest gives rehab a chance. It also saves the women’s dignity and privacy and saves their families honor. Many exegetes have interpreted the “way out” as proper marriage. As for male homosexuals, 4:16 clearly states that if the two men repent and reform, then Muslims must not bother them anymore. That’s rehab, isn’t it? And it’s a far cry from killing them, wouldn’t you say?

Please understand that it is not my intention to mislead or offend, nau’uzubillah (seeking refuge in God from such). I myself have no proper knowledge on this matter. I believe in Islam; it has far too clear a message to ignore. I am trying to learn, since a lot of websites do not explain this matter satisfactorily to me. They don’t give proper reasons, therefore this doubt lingers on. May Allah Forgive me if I’ve said anything wrong.

Don’t stay in doubt and don’t settle for bad or half answers. I hope that you read my humble answer and that it is clear enough for you. Islam and its Sharia are innocent from the lousy interpretations Muslims and others have made of it.

What to tell a pantheist?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My older brother who’s 18 years old just left Islam. Now he’s a pantheist. Would you please help me to give a beautiful explanation, so he’ll think of Islam again? What should I say to him? What would YOU say to him if you were my parent? I don’t understand his philosophy very well, except that he believes in impersonal god and everything occurs in the universe has always been a mere mechanical process (not God’s will). He’s trying to convert me, my sisters, and my mother, a few days ago older sister’s starting to believe his conversion was making sense.

Sorry to hear that. I know you must be feeling terrible.

God is not a person, but He is not impersonal either! These terms apply to creatures only. He is above and beyond everything that we can imagine or conceive of. Everything in the universe did develop in a mechanical way, but it was God who created the mechanical and physical laws, right? God says in the holy Quran,

“[Pharaoh asking Moses and Aaron] saying, “Who then is your Lord, O Moses?” He said, “My Lord is He who gave everything its form and then guided [it]” (20:49-50)

The main question that no atheist has been able to answer is: who created the laws that operate everything? They say they don’t know how any law evolved and may never know. God tells us in the Quran that it is He and no one else who created all, including the laws by which all operate.

Why do these laws operate so orderly and so consistently? Has your brother ever been wounded? Did he ever reflect on how the wound heals? What tells scar tissue to form, just above new skin cells that are too ripe still to be exposed to air?! How does scar tissue know that new skin cells are ready and thus it drops off having served its purpose?! Isn’t this a sign of God, the Healer?

Atheists may think that they are intellectuals, but they really are irrational. Their motivation, IMHO, is one or more of three things: (a) Resentment of God for His Power over them, (b) resentment of God for allowing imperfections in this world, or (c) evasion of religious obligations. All three reasons are ill conceived. God’s power over us is a good thing, because we tend to abuse our powers while God never does, so He is the Balance in the universe. Imperfections in this world is the result of the exercise of the free will. Without the free will, no atheist would have been able to reject God! Finally, religious obligations are for our own benefit. They are our connection to God and the food for our souls.

Remain a good brother to your brother, and pray for him, but educate yourself and him. I suspect that the main reason he veered from Islam is that he knew little or knew wrong about Islam. Yes, many Muslims are ignorant about their religion, I’m sad to say.

How can I defend Islam and the Prophet (PBUH)?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I’ve been coresponding with a Christian missionary about Islam. He had been reasonable until his last email in which he accused Islam, Islamic history and the Prophet (PBUH) with the most horrid charges! He did not comment on, or indicate that he even visited the links I recommended to him. Then he finishes his vile email with the words “Perhaps a look at Zakaria Boutros ‘Truth Talk’ would be useful as he clearly articulates the Muslim position from Muslim sources, and the Christian position from Christian sources. Wishing you every good thing and blessing of Christ.”

How do I reply to him and defend Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) when he would not even visit the links I recommended to him?

Tell him that he cannot learn about Islam from Islamophobes like Zakaria Boutros any more than you can lean about Christianity from agnostics.

The sources of Islam are not the books written by Muslims! The sources of Islam are the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth. If the charge he made about Muslims persecuting Christians are true, it was the fault of those Muslims, not the fault of Islam, which prohibits persecution in religion and guarantees freedom of belief to all. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and Islam are absolved from the horrible things some Muslim did or do. Did Christians ever commit atrocities? They sure did. The Crusades come to mind and so do the Conquistadors and the IRA terrorist war against Protestant Britain. They were all done in the name of Christianity! Are those the fault of Christianity and the teachings of Christ, or are they the fault of Christians from whom Christ and Christianity are absolved?

The charge against the Prophet (PBUH) that you mentioned in your more detailed email, is a famous fallacy. See this post for explanation,

Also read the posts about apostasy if you like to reply to him about it. I doubt, however, that he will listen. He has taken the posture of self-righteousness. It is futile to converse with such people. Their arrogance deafens their ears.

You may also find the posts in the category: Muhammad very relevant to your question.

Christian, Muslim then Christian again

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

On a forum that I follow, there was a post about a woman who was raised Christian, then she accepted Islam, but lately decided to go back to Christianity. I was dismayed by that, but more dismayed by the attitude of Muslims on the forum of condemning her and some suggested that she should be killed because they claim, apostasy is punishable by death! Is there a basis for that?

She can become Muslim again! God says in the holy Quran, “Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve then increase in disbelief, God would not forgive them nor show them a way.” (4:137)

From that we learn two things:
That one can still go back to belief after they went back to disbelief, and
That there is no punishment for apostasy, or else God would have mentioned it here!

The fact that God says that an apostate may go back to believing is solid proof that they may not be killed! Because, obviously, if they are killed, they cannot have the chance to believe again!

The apostasy ruling of the capital punishment is based on a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaari and nararted by Ibn Abbaas. It is in direct conflict, however, with the teaching of the Quran,

“And say: the Truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills, let him believe, and whoever wills, let him disbelieve” (18:29).

The Quran trumps any other source of ruling, especially if the matter is ending someone’s life!

He went back to atheism

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

A 17-year old atheist young man chronicled his experience with conversion to Islam briefly as follows,

Day 1: I haven’t looked into the basic pillars of Islam, but I assume I will find out by reading the Qu’ran? I have begun, and I am currently reading the second Sura (Chapter). I am finding it hard to understand but no doubt I will understand in time.
Day 2: I have changed. I have accepted Islam as my religion and Allah as my God. I have much to learn, but I will be a good Muslim, in time.
Thank you to those who gave me advice and kindness.
Alhamdulillah (Praise to God) for changing me in such a profound way.
Day 3: Thank you all who welcomed me with kind words. I now feel that I have opened my mind and I have found purpose. I know it seems a fast reversion to Islam, but truth be told, I have always, deep down felt an attraction to it in some way.
Day 4: I went to a mosque today and had an awesome experience there. Everybody was kind and helpful.
I do, however, have many questions and need a mentor.
Day 30: I attended the mosque and such, but, after a while, I realized that I never truly believed in this religion. I am an atheist, and I always was, because when I took shahadah (testimony of faith) I didn’t do it with belief and sincerity. And now, while I respect and admire this religion, I can not be a Muslim. I do not believe.
However, I wanted to thank everyone here and at the mosque for being so incredibly kind and welcoming. May your lives be filled with faith.

Obviously, you are free to make that decision. However, forgive me for saying, the way you proceeded with your journey was like a homework assignment, rather than a lifelong matter of the utmost import.

You did not ask about the things you do not understand. You hastily decided to convert, without sufficient knowledge and with many questions remaining unanswered. While such a sudden conversion does and has occurred, you did not tell us why you accepted Islam, or how did you understand Chapter 2 which you just the day before could not.

Attraction is not a solid foundation on which to found the most important part of your life. Being so young, I’m not too surprised though, because the youth tend to act on impulse.

My humble comment is that you were looking for a religious experience, a spiritual wow. While that does and has happened to many people, one of them is a well known American Professor of Mathematics and author, Dr. Jeffrey Lang, who was atheist, it is rare. You could have contacted him, read his books, or asked us the questions that bothered you or discussed with us the issues that make you lean toward atheism. There is no guarantee that any of that would have helped persuade you, but you should have tried.

I hope that you consider Islam again in the near future and give your quest a no-holds-barred approach, i.e., ask all the questions and get all doubts out of the way, so that you do not keep fluctuating like this.

What in Islam is the punishment for apostasy, adultery and homosexuality?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Apostasy: is mentioned twice in the Quran, in verses 5:54 and 2:217. In neither verse does God specify any punishment. In fact, in 2:217 God threatens the apostate of a punishment from Him in the Hereafter.

This makes sense since the freedom to believe is guaranteed in Islam,

“There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256),
“And say: The Truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills to believe, let him believe, and whoever wills to disbelieve, let him disbelieve!” (18:29)

Adultery: The punishment for it is clearly, emphatically and finally specified in the Quran, verse 24:2, as one hundred floggings in public.

Homosexuality: For women, the punishment is house arrest (4:15) and for men, the punishment is hurtful discipline (4:16).