Is Apostasy a Capital Crime in Islam?


By Dr. Jamal A. Badawi**

 

Apr. 26, 2006

    Introduction

·         Methodology

·         Evidence from the Qur’an

·         Evidence from Hadith

·         Actions and Interpretation of the Companions and the First Generation

·         Conclusion

Introduction

Apostasy, or riddah in Arabic, literally means defection or backsliding.1 As an Islamic legal term, it means denouncing Islam as one’s religion by a Muslim. There has been a wide variety of opinions by Muslim scholars throughout nearly fourteen centuries concerning punishment for apostasy with the majority of the opinion that apostasy is a capital crime as it threatens the integrity and stability of the Muslim community and state. This paper aims at critically evaluating these views in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith.2

http://www.islamonline.net/English/contemporary/2006/04/article02.shtml

 

Methodology

 

Apostasy is a capital crime as it threatens the integrity and stability of the Muslim community and state.

Apostasy is a capital crime as it threatens the integrity and stability of the Muslim community and state.

 

Examination and evaluation of such diverse opinions requires clarity of the proper methodology in the study of any topic relating to Islam. While this methodology is the focus of a profound discipline known as ‘ilm usul al-fiqh,3 or the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, there are a few fundamental general rules that may be summed up as follows:

1. Actions of Muslims, whether or not they are claimed to be in the name of Islam or in the name of God are not to be equated with normative authentic Islam. It is the later that is the criterion of evaluating such actions and to judge whether they are consistent with it or not and to what degree.

2. Normative authentic Islamic teachings are based in the first place on its supreme source; the Qur’an which is to Muslims the verbatim word of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The Qur’an has been preserved intact since its revelation and in the original language in which it was revealed. Next to the Qur’an is Hadith, sometimes used interchangeably with the term Sunnah4. Hadith is defined as the words, actions, and approvals of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the context of understanding and implementing Islamic teachings.5 In the case of Hadith, due care must be given to the degree of authenticity of each hadith.

With this hierarchy of sources, we can begin our enquiry by asking if there is any reference in the Qur’an to capital punishment for apostasy.http://www.islamonline.net/English/contemporary/2006/04/article02.shtml

 

http://www.islamonline.net/English/contemporary/2006/04/article02.shtml

Evidence from the Qur’an

There is no single verse in the Qur’an which prescribes an earthly punishment for apostasy

Read More

Number of View :686