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Islam/Question about apostasy


QUESTION: assalamualaikum,
In the Quran it states that there is no compulsion in religion (ie. you can`t/don`t need to force someone into believing the truth). how do you reconcile this with the hadith regarding the killing of apostates? ("he who changes his deen must be killed" - the book i read this in had no reference, so I am not sure about how authentic the hadeeth is). Please guide me? Are apostates really to be killed?

ANSWER: Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)


Dear Brother,

[Baqara 2:256] Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah/God has grasped the most trustworthy hand hold, that never breaks. And Allah/God hears and Knows all things.

One is free to choose his religion. Indeed once a person reverts to islam, he has joined the truth and has committed to stay with it till his death. Indeed its a crime to ridicule islam by coming into it for lust or for benefit or to create divisions/hatred/infighting and leaving it for the same. In order to protect the religion from such mischief makers, the law stipulates that such people who are double faced hypocrites should be killed so they do not do further damage to soceity as a whole.


Its my duty to help those in need. You are free to ask as many questions as you like.

If you are not convinced or feel the answer did not address all your questions, pls write back immediately without any hesitation. Please do forgive me if there is an unexpected delay in replying.


Pls spare some time and see these small video clips.


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( Note: I am not a mufti, if you are in doubt or want 100% accuracy please verify the above hadith with an authentic personality. However I have not altered any hadith and presented it as and how it was found. May Allah forgive our mistakes from time to time...ameen.)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear brother,
      I am yet not clear. There are several verses in the Quran that talks about apostasy but none of them prescribe worldly punishment for apostasy. Some are as follows:-

We know best what they say, and you are not one to compel them; therefore remind him by means of the Quran who fears My threat. (50:45)

"Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to God's will) in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please themselves: let (false) hope amuse them: soon will knowledge (undeceive them). (The Noble Quran, 15:2-3)"

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (The Noble Quran, 2:256)"

"God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (The Noble Quran, 60:8)"

"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Noble Quran, 8:61)"

There are more several verses. Moreover, I found the reference from sites. They are as follows:-

Hadrat Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz [d. 97 AH/720 AD]
[popularly known as Umar II and regarded as part of the Khulafa-i-Rashidoon]

Some people accepted Islam during the period of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, who is called the fifth rightful caliph of Islam. All these people renounced Islam sometimes later. Maimoon bin Mahran the governor of the area wrote to the caliph about these people. In reply Umar bin Abdul Aziz ordered him to release those people and asked him to re-impose jizya on them. [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, pp. 171-10, cited in M. E. Subhani,Apostasy in Islam (New Delhi, India: Global Media Publications, 2005), pp. 23-24. Abdur Razzaq ibn Humama (d. 211 AH). This is the earliest musannaf (a hadith collection arranged in topical chapters) work in existence.]

Ibrahim al-Nakha'i [d. 95 AH]
[a leading jurist and traditionist among the generation succeeding the Companions]

According to al-Nakha'i, apostate should be re-invited to Islam, but should never be condemned to death. [He] maintained the view that the invitation should continue for as long as there is hope that the apostate might change his mind and repent. [referred to in Chapter: Freedom of Religion in Mohammad Hashim Kamaliís Freedom of Expression in Islam Islamic Text Society, 1997]

Islamic Research Department, Al-Azhar University

"The Islamic Research Department of Al-Azhar University has called the penalty for apostasy as null and void and has said that the ways of repentance are open for the whole life. ... So an apostate can repent over his mistake anytime during his life and there would be no fixed period for it." [Al-Alamul Islami, the weekly organ of Rabita Alam al-Islami, 23rd August 2002, quoted in Dr. M. E. Subhani, Global Media Publications, 2005, p. 25]

Noble Verse 18:29 "Say, 'The truth is from your Lord': Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!"

Noble Verse 10:99 "If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!"   Allah Almighty doesn't like us to compel people into belief.

Dr. Jamal Badawi
[Professor Emeritus, St. Mary's University, Canada]

"The preponderance of evidence from both the Qur'an and Sunnah indicates that there is no firm ground for the claim that apostasy is in itself a mandatory fixed punishment (hadd), namely capital punishment." [Is Apostasy a Capital Crime in Islam?"

"when a man in Madinah apostated from Islam, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) neither ordered his execution nor punished him in any other way, and when the man finally left Madinah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never sent anyone to arrest him or punish him because of his apostasy."

There are several references that support the view that apostates are not to be killed. But on the other hand there are some references that say that apostates are to be killed. I know that this is a serious issue and I am really confused on it. One may call it a controversial topic. Many people say that it is the right of every person to choose or adopt any religion and absolute freedom must be given to every individual to select religion. There are several Muslim states that order death penalty for those who leave Islam. Finally, what about an apostates who does not harm Muslim community but adopts and practice any other religion. Should he still be killed if he is a "peaceful apostate"?

Detailed answer is preferable. Thanks you very Much. May Allah guide us all.


The law does not exist in the Quran similar to the law of stoning to death of married adulterers. It exists in hadith therefore subject of controversy. Its application cannot be justified by the Quran, but through the hadith only. So i guess the application depends upong the situation and has to be handled case by case ( as you have said in example of different rulers)

Bukhari Volumn 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 260.
Narated By 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.'"

Therefore i may hesitate to go more deep as finally like others, we too will fail to reach a convincing statement on this topic.



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