Does Islam proscribe the death penalty for Muslims who wish to embrace another religion?
Those who turn their back on Islam are to be executed. This is confirmed by the words and deeds of Muhammad. The only freedom of belief in Islam is the freedom to become Muslim.
Qur'an (4:89) - "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them"
Qur'an (9:11-12) - "But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief - Lo! they have no binding oaths - in order that they may desist."
The reason why executing apostates has always been well-ensconced in Islamic law is that there is an indisputable record of Muhammad and his companions doing exactly that according to the reliable Hadith. According to verse 4:80 of the Quran: "Whoso obeyeth the Messenger obeyeth Allah."
Bukhari (52:260) - "...The Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' " Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.
Bukhari (83:37) - "Allah's Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate."
Bukhari (84:57) - [In the words of] "Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"
Bukhari (89:271) - A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to "the verdict of Allah and his apostle."
Bukhari (84:58) - "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. Abu Musa added, 'Then we discussed the night prayers'"
Bukhari (84:64-65) - "Allah's Apostle: '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, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'"
Abu Dawud (4346) - "Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?" Muhammad is chastising his companions for allowing an apostate to "repent" under duress. (The person in question was Muhammad's former scribe who left him after doubting the authenticity of divine "revelations" upon finding out that he could suggest grammatical changes. He was brought back to Muhammad after having been captured in Medina).
Reliance of the Traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1 - "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed." (o8.4 affirms that there is no penalty for killing an apostate).
There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafii), as well as classical Shiite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. The process of declaring a person to be an apostate is known as takfir and the apostate is called a murtadd.
Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy: "An apostate...is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, 'Slay those who change their din [religion]'...Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition...prior to his execution."
From Andrew Bostom's CAIR's Silence on Pastor's Apostasy Death Sentence is Deafening
While the rest of the world generally believes that if God wanted people dead over their religious beliefs then he would do the job himself, apostasy is taken so seriously by Muslims that it spawned the first of many major internal wars.
Immediately after Muhammad's death, several tribes wanted to leave Islam and return to their preferred religion. In a conflict known as the Riddah (apostasy) Wars, they were slaughtered in such places remembered as "Garden of Death" and "Gulley of Blood" by the first caliph Abu Bakr's aggressive and violent campaign to force submission (and keep the tribute payments flowing back to Mecca, of course). Within months, a great many people were dead, including Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an by heart.
As Abu Bakr, Muhammad's closest companion, explained in a letter at the time, his prophet "struck whoever turned his back to Him until he came to Islam, willingly or grudgingly." Thus did Abu Bakr promise to "burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive" any who left Islam. (al-Tabari v10 p.55-57)
Ali, the fourth "Rightly Guided Caliph" was Muhammad's son-in-law and one of the first converts to Islam. He also had people burned alive for wanting to follow their conscience. An old man named Rumahis b. Mansur, who regretted leaving Christianity and vowed not to remain a Muslim, was beheaded by Ali. (al-Tabari v.17 p.191).
In 1400 years, there has never been a system of Islamic law that did not prescribe the death penalty for any Muslim choosing to leave Islam. Even in modern, ostensibly secular Islamic countries with constitutions "guaranteeing" freedom of religion, there is de facto enforcement of this law with intimidation and the occasional murder of apostates.
A sound philosophy never requires violence or threats to retain believers. Contemporary Muslim apologists thus find it embarrassing that their religion (and theirs alone) endorses killing over a change in opinion. As such there are various tricks played to deny or explain away this weak and draconian which is so well-ensconced in Islamic tradition.
Such defenders usually quote verse 2:256 to Western audiences. The verse states "Let there be no compulsion in religion, for truth stands out from error." They may also include a fragment of verse 10:99-100, "Wouldst thou (Muhammad) compel men until they are believers?" What they don't say is that nearly all Muslim scholars agree that both verses were spoken by Muhammad during an earlier time in his teachings, when he did not have the power to compel others. They are abrogated by later verses, such as verse 9:29, which clearly commands Muslims to fight unbelievers until they relent and either accept Islam or a state of humiliation under Islamic rule (an obvious illustration of compulsion).
These apologists also ignore the actions of Muhammad at Mecca and those of his companions following his death, particularly the bloody Ridda Wars. How could those closest to him have felt that there should be "no compulsion in religion" if they were instructed to kill anyone who wanted to leave Islam?
The "Religion of Peace" expanded across the globe by conquering people of other religions and then making life miserable for those who didn't "embrace Islam." Once spoken, a person was locked into the faith. Any sign of false witness - such as raising their children in another faith - was punished with death. Thus did Islam gradually supplant other religions.
Tellingly, the same apologists who lie about Islam's mandate to kill apostates do not appear all that bothered when it does happen, nor do they champion the right of other religions to evangelize in Muslim countries. In fact, they discourage it. They know as well as anyone that Islam cannot compete within the arena of free ideas and must rely on brute force at some level to retain believers.
Uganda Girl Learning to Walk after Brutal Torture for Leaving Islam
When And Muslims brag that theirs is the "fastest growing" religion... Now you know why!
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