Saturday, November 04, 2006

Exposing the call for the reformation of Islam - Part 3

The following is a continuation from Exposing the call for the reformation of Islam - Part 1 and Exposing the call for the reformation of Islam - Part 2 and is the final part of this chapter.

Example 4: The punishment for apostasy

Many of the modernists attempt to cast doubt on the hudud (penal) laws of Islam and argue that they are inapplicable today. One such clear command that they dispute is the death penalty for Muslims who apostasise from Islam. Proponents of this view include S. A. Rahman, a former Chief justice of Pakistan and Dr. Hassan al-Turabi of Sudan.

S. A. Rahman, a former Chief justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty in the Quran. He said, "that not only is there no punishment for apostasy provided in the Book but that the Word of God clearly envisages the natural death of the apostate. He will be punished only in the Hereafter…" [Punishment of apostasy in Islam, S. A. Rahman, p. 54, Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, l972].

Other writers like Abdullah Saeed and Hassan Saeed argue that the law of apostasy and its punishment by death in Islamic law conflicts with a variety of fundamentals of Islam. They contend that the early development of the law of apostasy was essentially a religio-political tool, and that there was a large diversity of opinion among early Muslims on the punishment

Unfortunately Dr. Hassan al-Turabi is seen as a scholar of Islam by some and therefore people give more weight to his words. He also believes in the religious freedom for Muslims to apostasies, he says:

“The religious freedom not just of non-Muslims, but even of Muslims who have different views, is going to be guaranteed. I personally have views that run against all the orthodox schools of law on the status of women, on the court testimony of non-Muslims, on the law of apostasy. Some people say that I have been influenced by the West and that I border on apostasy myself, but I don't accept the condemnation of Salman Rushdie. If a Muslim wakes up in the morning and says he doesn't believe any more, that's his business. There has never been any question of inhibiting people's freedom to express any understanding of Islam. The function of government is not total.” [Quoted in Milton Viorst, "Sudan's Islamic Experiment", Foreign Affairs, Washington DC, Volume 74, Number 3, May/June 1995, p.53.]

Before demonstrating how this view cannot be considered ijtihad we need to appreciate that his mindset is of a modernist and not of a mujtahid. This is apparent if one reads through his book, ‘Tajdeed Usul Al Fiqh Al Islamiyyah’ (Modernising the Islamic principles of jurisprudence). He claims that the setup of the traditional Usul ul-Fiqh does not fit our contemporary needs. He argues that we are in need for a new outlook or understanding for rules of divorce and marriage in which we will benefit from the current social sciences and will build upon our inherited Fiqh, look into Quran and Sunnah equipped with all contemporary needs, sciences, and all Islamic and comparative Fiqh experiences. After this we will find a new way to what Allah's Shariah mandates within the context of our situation.

For example he says, “The Muslims are in need of new laws for divorce and marriage and we must take advantage of what the west has to offer…” [Tajdeed Usul Al Fiqh Al Islamiyyah , Hassan Turabi, p. 20]

More recently he has sanctioned mixed prayers so long as men and women did not sit too close to each other, in order to avoid “arousing sexual feelings” that could distract worshippers from their praying. He also promoted the permission of Muslim women to marry Christians and Jews even though this is expressly forbidden in the Quran. [Sudan Tribune, 24 April,]

Let us now look at the issue of apostasy. The evidence for imposing the punishment of death for the apostate is established by the Sunnah and Ijma as-Sahaba (consensus of the companions), these are also definitive sources of law. Therefore the argument of S. A. Rahman is inapplicable.

Ikrimah narrated, "Heretics (zanadiqah) were brought to Amir Al-Mu’mineen Ali (ra) so he burnt them. That news reached Ibn Abbas who said: If it were me, I would not have burnt them due to the Messenger of Allah (saw)'s saying: 'Do not punish with the punishment of Allah', no doubt I would kill them due to the Messenger of Allah (saw)'s saying: 'If somebody (Muslim) changes his deen, kill him.'" [Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 84, No. 57]

The Prophet (saw) said, “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.” [Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 83, No. 17]

Jabir narrated, “Umm Marwan apostatised and the Prophet (saw) commanded to offer her Islam: Either she repents or she is killed.” [Ad-Daraqutni & Al-Bayhaqi]

Narrated Abu Burda that Abu Musa said, "I came to the Prophet along with two men (from the tribe) of Ash'ariyin, one on my right and the other on my left, while Allah's Apostle was brushing his teeth (with a Siwak), and both men asked him for some employment. The Prophet said, 'O Abu Musa (O 'Abdullah bin Qais!).' I said, 'By Him Who sent you with the Truth, these two men did not tell me what was in their hearts and I did not feel (realize) that they were seeking employment.' As if I were looking now at his Siwak being drawn to a corner under his lips, and he said, 'We never (or, we do not) appoint for our affairs anyone who seeks to be employed. But O Abu Musa! (or 'Abdullah bin Qais!) Go to Yemen.'" The Prophet then sent Mu'adh bin Jabal after him and when Mu'adh reached him, he spread out a cushion for him and requested him to get down (and sit on the cushion). Behold: There was a fettered man beside Abu Musa. 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 Musa 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 and one of us said, 'I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'" [Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 84, No 58]

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." [Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 89, No. 271]

It is narrated that, “Abu Bakr asked a woman named Umm Firqah to repent. She disbelieved after her Islam and she did not repent, so he killed her." [Ad-Daraqutni & Al-Bayhaqi]

There is a consensus (ijma) of the Mujtahideen from the different schools of thought that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi'a scholars. One the reasons why the Hanafi’s believe this due to the narration from Abu Yusuf, quoting from Abu Hanifa, from Aasem Ibn Abi al-Junood, from Abi Razeen who narrated that Ibn Abbas (ra) said, "Do not kill women if they apostatise from Islam. They must be imprisoned, offered the chance to return to the faith, and then forced to do so."

As for the invalidity of apostasy from the child and insane, this is because they are not legally accountable. It was narrated by ‘Ali Ibnu Abi Talib that the Prophet (saw) said, "The pen is lifted from three: The child until he matures, the one sleeping until he awakes and the insane until he recuperates." [Abu Dawud]

As for the evidence for the apostate being asked to repent, this is due to the hadith of Umm Marwan that the Prophet (saw) commanded that she be asked to repent. Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra) continued in asking the apostate to repent before imposing the punishment. As for asking him to repent thrice, thrice is not a restriction but the least wherein an excuse occurs normally. Otherwise it is allowed to ask for repentance more times because the objective is offering him Islam to return to it and to be given sufficient time to return. It is narrated that Abu Musa asked the apostate whom Muadh demanded he kill and he killed to repent for two months before the arrival of Muadh. It was narrated from Umar (ra) that the period of asking to repent is three days; if he repents, his repentance is accepted and he is not killed.

Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abd Al-Qari narrated: "A man came forward to Abu Musa so he asked him: Is there any news from the west? He said: Yes, a man disbelieved after his Islam. He said: What did you do with him? He said: We brought him close and struck off his neck. Umar said: If only you imprisoned him three (days) and fed him a loaf of bread daily and asked him to repent. Perhaps he would have repented and return to the command of Allah? O Allah, I was neither present nor was I pleased when it was conveyed to me.” [Muwatta of Imam Malik]

Some modernists confuse between the evidences regarding rebellion against the ruler and apostasy, thus claiming that the Prophet (saw) and the Khulafah ar-Rashidoon accepted for apostates not to be killed. There is a clear distinction in Islam for the ahkam for rebellion (bughat) against the ruler are different to those of apostasy. Rebels against the Islamic state are still Muslims and effort must be made to bring them back under its authority and if they comply then they are not punished, if they do not they are fought until they submit. Allah (swt) says:

"And if two parties of the believers fight, reconcile between them. If one transgresses against the other, fight the one that rebels until it complies with the command of Allah. Then if it complies, reconcile between them justly and be equitable. Verily Allah loves those who are equitable." [TMQ 49:9]

This ayah considered those rebels believers so they did not leave their Iman by their rebellion.

Mohamed El-Awa argues that the punishment for apostasy should be categorised as a Ta’zir crime, meaning a crime for which the Qadi may exercise a discretionary sentence instead of a hudud crime for which Allah (swt) has stipulated a specific punishment. The evidences he attempts to present demonstrate that modernists often infer meanings from the texts which are completely contradictory to the actual meaning of them. He says:
”Secondly, the Prophet who said these words about apostates never himself had an apostate put to death. There were some cases in which people apostasized after converting to Islam, but the Prophet never ordered any of them to be killed. On the contrary, Bukhari and Muslim related that "an Arab (a bedouin) came to the Prophet and accepted Islam; then fever overtook him while he was still at Madina, so he came to the Prophet and said, 'Give back my pledge,' but the Prophet refused; then he came the next day and said to the Prophet, ‘Give me back my pledge,' and the Prophet refused. The Arab did the same a third day and the Prophet refused." The report goes on to say that the man afterwards left Madina unharmed. This is a clear case of apostasy in which there was no punishment. It is clear from the words of the report that the bedouin was seeking to return to his old religion, or at least to leave Islam, but in spite of this he went away unharmed.” [Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, Mohamed S. El-Awa, Markazi Maktaba Islami, Delhi, India, 1st Edition 1983]

The hadith which quotes is actually about a bedouin asking to be relieved from the Bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to the Prophet (saw) as a ruler and is nothing to do with apostasy. The hadith is narrated from Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra) who said that a bedouin gave Bay’ah to the Messenger of Allah (saw), but he became ill, so he said: "Relieve me of my Bay’ah", the Messenger of Allah (saw) refused; he then came back and said: "Relieve me of my Bay’ah!" He (saw) refused, so the man left. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Al-Madina is like the bellows, she banishes her bad odours and manifests her sweet scent." [Bukhari]

Why would the bedouin ask to apostasise from Islam just because he became ill? Of course one can understand why he may have wanted to relieve himself from the obligations of being bound to the authority. The Bay’ah in Islam is a contract between the people and the ruler for him to rule by Islam and for them to obey him. This is clear from the multiplicity of texts upon this issue. For example, Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

"There are three types of people whom Allah would not talk to nor would He praise or purify them on the Day of Judgement, and they will be subjected to severe punishment: A man who has water to spare and would not give it to the wayfarer, and a man who gives his Bay’ah to an Imam for his own good, if he gave him what he wanted he would be loyal to him, otherwise he would not, and a man who offers another man goods for sale after Asr prayer, swearing by Allah that he was given so much price for it, and so he believed him and took the goods, while he was not given that price for it." [Bukhari & Muslim]

It is clear from this and many other texts that Bay’ah is a pledge of allegiance to an Imam (Khalifah) and it has no relationship with the issue of apostasy which is to do with rejecting the Islamic belief. Once the Bay’ah has been legitimately given those who gave it must be committed to it and have no right to take it back, this is confirmed by the refusal of the Messenger (saw) to relieve the bedouin from his Bay’ah. The Messenger (saw) did not question the belief of the man in Islam nor punish him he simply refused his request.

The enemies of Islam often use the issue of the punishment of apostasy in order to attack Islam. They misportray the ahkam shariah relating to apostasy and give the impression that the apostate is an innocent victim and that anyone has the right to kill him. This is not true. It is worth mentioning that in most societies in the world they have death penalties for certain crimes such as treason. Although apostasy from Islam is technically different to treason, the punishment for it is applied when it is done in an open manner in a society where the punishment of it is known. In reality if someone wanted to commit apostasy individually without creating an impact in society, they could either hide their disbelief in which case they would be a munafiq (hypocrite) and would not be punished as their disbelief would not be known. Or they would leave the country and move to a non Muslim country and apostatise, even the Khalifah cannot punish those living outside the authority of the Islamic state. The fact that someone would commit open apostasy in a country where the punishment for it is well known highlights that its nature as a deliberate action like a statement of rebellion against the ideology of society. Contrary to how it is portrayed in the media only the state has the authority to execute the punishment of apostasy and according to Islamic law if an ordinary citizen killed an apostate they would be punished just as if they had killed any non-Muslim citizen.

There are many other examples apart from the ones mentioned where the modernists are attempting to change Islam by claiming ijtihad in areas of law where difference of opinion is not possible. Some other prominent examples are the obligation of the khimar (headscarf) for the Muslim woman, the definitive prohibition of making peace with an occupier of Muslim land such as the illegal Israeli state, the prohibition of nationalism and the prohibition of Muslim women marrying non-Muslims.

We must take heed from the words of our master Muhammad (saw) who warned us of such people.

It is narrated by the Istinad (chain) of the men of Sahih that Awf b. Malik al-Ashja'i narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “My Ummah will become divided into some seventy sects, the greatest will be the test of the people who make analogy to the deen with their own opinions, with it forbidding what Allah has permitted and permitting what Allah has forbidden.” [Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabeer wal-Bazaar & Al-Haithami in Majma' Al-Zawaa'id]

The Prophet (saw) said, “The thing that I fear the most for my Ummah is a hypocrite with an eloquent tongue who argues with the Quran.” [Ahmed, Bazaar, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr. P. 439]

The Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever speaks about the Quran without any knowledge, then let him seek his place in the fire of hell.” [Tirmidhi & Abu Dawud]

Abu Shamah had narrated, via the Sanad of Abi Ziyad bin Hudayr, saying: "Omar said to me: Do you know what destroys Islam? I said, No! He said: A mistake made by a scholar, the argument of a hypocrite in writing and the ruling of leaders who wish for people to stray."

It was narrated by Anas that the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever cheats my Ummah has the curse of Allah, the Angels and the people combined, upon him. They asked: What is cheating, oh Prophet of Allah? He said: If he invented an innovation for them, and they acted upon it." [Al-Daraqtuni in Al-Afrad]

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi


Anonymous said...

The following article refutes those attempting to twist the quotes of scholars regarding this issue.

Critique of MH Kamali article
'Freedom of Expression in Islam'
by GFH

I found many problems in Dr. Kamali's article (which is available in full in the "Files" section) in connection with accuracy.

Kamali states:

Freedom of religion in its Islamic context implies that non-Muslims are not compelled to convert to Islam, nor are they hindered from practicing their own religious rites. Both Muslims and non-Muslims are entitled to propagate the religion of their following, as well as to defend it against attack or seditious provocation (fitnah), regardless as to whether such an action is launched by their co-religionists or by others. FOOTNOTE: 161. cf. Abu Zahrah, Tanzim al-Islam li'l- Mujtama', p.190; al-'Ili, al-Hurriyyah al-`Ammah, p. 330.

Is this the correct representation of freedom of religion in its Islamic context? For example, under the Ottomans and the Idrisis, were the non-Muslims (of the Middle East and North Africa respectively) at liberty to promote their faiths outside of their homes and places of worship? Or did the Dhimma rather only entitle them to practice their faiths - and that only for Divinely-revealed Religions of the Book, namely, Christians and Jews?

Kamali states:

The only notable difference between classical and modern works on religious freedom is that some of the earlier writers were persuaded by the argument that many Qur'anic passages which affirm the freedom of religion have subsequently been abrogated or superseded by other passages of a more restrictive nature. However, modern Muslim opinion on the subject tends to dismiss this rather weak argument.

The sahih narrations in al-Bukhari and Muslim establish that the Companions themselves explicitly mentioned the term "naskh" (abrogation) with relation to certain verses of the Qur'an. The attribution of weakness to the concept is classic Mu`tazilism.

Kamali states:

Abu Zahrah also tells of an incident where an elderly Christian woman came as a supplicant to the Caliph Umar b. al- Khattab, who met her request with favour. Afterwards, he invited her to embrace Islam, but she refused. At this the Caliph became anxious, fearing that his invitation might have amounted to compulsion, and he expressed his remorse in these words: 'O my Lord, I did not mean to compel her, as I know that there must be no compulsion in religion ...righteousness has been explained and distinguished from misguidance.' Thus, the Caliph Umar expressed the point that only God Most High can prevail upon the hearts and minds of people in matters of faith. FN 180: Abu Zahrah, Tanzim, p. 192.

Regardless whether Imam Muhammad Abu Zahra, may Allah have mercy on him actually said this, the above report has been embellished.

What is precisely related is that our liege-lord `Umar while in Syria was brought water for wudu' and said afterwards: "I never tasted sweeter water, from where did you get it?" They pointed him to the house of an elderly women. He went and said to her: "Old woman, surrender and you shall be safe! Muhammad came with the truth from Allah." She uncovered her snow-white hair and said: "Now? With one foot of mine in the grave?" Whereupon `Umar said: "O Allah, bear witness!" I.e. bear witness that I tried. Thus is it related by al- Daraqutni in his Sunan (1:32 "Wudu' with water from Ahl al-Kitab"), al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan (1:32 §128), Ibn Hazm in al-Muhalla (11:196), the latter with the wording: "O Allah, bear witness! There is no compulsion in the Religion," and Ibn Hajar in Taghliq al-Ta`liq (2: 131). So the entire segment that "he became anxious" and "expressed remorse" and said "I did not mean to compel her" is invented.

Kamali states:

Indeed, some commentators have drawn the drastic conclusion that the Qur'anic passages which validate holy war (jihad) and fighting against disbelievers actually abrogate the Qur'an's proclamation on tolerance and respect for other religions. [...] In his monograph, The Punishment of Apostasy in Islam, S. A. Rahman looks into the evidence in the Qur'an and the Sunnah in detail, and draws attention to the fact that the Qur'an is silent on the question of death as the punishment for apostasy, despite this subject occurring no less than twenty times in the Holy Book.

The above opinion is revisionism posing as scholarship.

Al-Jawhari [4th c.] in Nawadir al-Ijma` said there is ijma` among the Sahaba that the punishment of apostasy by death is meant by the verse of al-Ma'ida 33: {The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom}. This is mentioned in Ibn Qattan's encyclopedia of Ijma`.

See also the Tafsirs for the verses:

3:56: As for those who committed apostasy, then Allah shall torment them with a terrible torment both in the world and in the next life.

9:61 [...] Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom.

33:57 Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah hath cursed them in the world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained.

88:22-24 : You are not at all a ward over them except those who turn back and commit apostasy, after which Allah shall punish them with the greatest punishment.

Kamali states:

Rahman then traces the chain of transmission of the Hadith which proclaims 'kill whoever changes his religion' . As this is a solitary Hadith (ahad), Rahman finds some weakness in its transmission (isnad).

The hadith "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" is narrated in al- Bukhari, the Four Sunan, and the Musnad, and the hadith "The blood of a Muslim is sacrosanct except for three types: the murderer, the married adulterer, and the apostate" is narrated in the Six Books and the Musnad, so whoever finds weakness in such hadiths necessarily finds weakness in the bulk of the Law, which rests on such evidence in the majority of rulings pertaining to worship and transactions.

There is agreement on the binding force of this ruling among the Imams of the Four Schools except on two things: [1] gender, Imam Abu Hanifa sparing women from execution and jailing them for life instead, due to the Prophetic command not to kill the women of enemy combatants in time of war, and it is an "a fortiori" proof; and [2] timing before the ruling of exectution is enforced.

The Prophet, upon him peace, spelled out the condition for killing the apostate: that he be a muharib i.e. a vocal or active enemy of Islam:

"The blood of a Muslim is illicit to shed except for one of three reasons: a married adulterer must be stoned; one who wilfully commits murder must be put to death; and a man who comes out of Islam and fights Allah and His Prophet must be put to death or crucified or banished from the earth."

It is narrated with transmission chains of trustworthy narrators from `A'isha by al-Nasa'i and Abu Dawud in their Sunan and al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra. This hadith explicitly makes "fighting Allah and His Prophet," i.e. fighting Islam and Muslims, a condition sine qua non for punishability by death. For then the murtadd becomes the same as an enemy soldier in wartime (muharab), i.e. an enemy of Islam on the battlefield.

An even stronger proof than non-mutawatir hadiths is the Consensus of the Sahaba:

"Whoever reverts from Islam, men and women, it is obligatory to kill him due to the Prophet's saying: "Whoever changes his religion, kill him." The scholars have reached consensus on the obligation to kill apostates. This has been narrated from Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Mu`adh, Abu Musa, Ibn `Abbas, and Khalid, and it has not been opposed (by a single companion), therefore it constitutes consensus."

Baha' al-Din `Abd al-Rahman al-Maqdisi (d. 624) "al-`Udda sharh al-`Umda fi fiqh Imam al-Sunna Ahmad ibn Hanbal al-Shaybani" (The outfit: commentary on Muwaffaq al-Din Ibn Qudama's [d. 620] "The Reliance" in the jurisprudence of the Imam of the Sunna, Ahmad ibn Hanbal), Book of Punishments, first words of the Chapter on the Ruling Concerning the Apostate (Beirut: Dar al-arqam, n.d.) p. 531.

Kamali continues:

Rahman's conclusion is also supported by other evidence, such as the fact that neither the Prophet himself nor any of his Companions ever compelled anyone to embrace Islam, nor did they sentence anyone to death solely for renunciation of the faith.

This is in point of fact false, the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, did sentence to death `Abd Allah ibn Sa`d ibn Abi Sarh (cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Sarim Maslul p. 791-793 and Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Durar fi Ikhtisar al-Siyar p. 219) for apostasy, even if he was never actually executed. As for the apostate Muqayyis ibn Sababa he was executed but the fact that he was also a murderer blurs his case.

Kamali states:

In the light of this, it is not surprising to find a number of prominent 'ulama', across the centuries, subscribing to the view that apostasy is not a punishable offense. Ibrahim al-Nakha'i (d. 95/713), a leading jurist and traditionist among the generation succeeding the Companions, and Sufyan al-Thawri' (d. 161/772), who is known as 'the prince of the believers concerning Hadith' (amir al-mu'minin fi'l- Hadith) and is the author of two important compilations of Hadith, namely al-Jami' al-Kabir, and al-Jami' al- Saghir, both held that the apostate should be re-invited to Islam, but should never be condemned to death. They maintained the view that the invitation should continue for as long as there is hope that the apostate might change his mind and repent.FN184. Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Sarim al-Maslul `ala Shatim al- Rasul, p. 321; al-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, VII, p. 230.

This is a misreading of al-Nakha`i's statement: "The murtadd is summoned to repent indefinitely" (al-murtaddu yustatabu abadan) [`Abd al-Razzaq 10:166, Mughni 8:125] which does not mean that the hadd is not applied, for that would violate the Sunna and Consensus, but rather that if the murtadd re-enters Islam then recants a second time he is summoned to repent a second time, and if he recants again after his second repentence he is summoned a third time, and so on indefinitely; however, if he refuses to repent he is killed, as al- Nakha`i himself said: "The male murtadd is summoned to repent, and if he repents he is left alone, otherwise he is put to death" [Abu Yusuf, kharaj no. 180, Mughni 8:123-124], and "The female murtadda is summoned to re-embrace Islam, and if she surrenders she is left alone, but if she refuses she is put to death" [Abu Yusuf, Aathaar no. 161, `Abd al-Razzaq 10:176, Ibn Abi Shayba 2:137].

As for al-Thawri, his position as related by the same sources is identical or stricter, since he says that the maximum number of repetitions is three.

Thus, the verse which Kamali later cites in support of his view that execution is cancelled actually does not support it, since it means it is only cancelled conditionally by repentence, even repeatedly, short of which it remains the ruling for apostasy by default:

{Those who believe then disbelieve, then believe again, then disbelieve and then increase in their disbelief -God will never forgive them nor guide them to the path.}

Kamali continues:

'Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani has also cited the views of al-Nakha'i and al-Thawri and adds that 'the apostate is thus permanently to be invited to repent'.FN185. Al-Sha'rani, Kitab al-Mizan, II, p. 152.

There is nothing in Imam al-Sha`rani's text that indicates he understood the above rule other than in the terms we explained above.

Kamali continues:

The renowned Hanafi jurist, Shams al-Din al-Sarakhsi, is rather less explicit but what he writes amounts to saying that apostasy does not qualify for temporal punishment. He begins by stating that apostasy is not an offense for which there is a prescribed punishment (Hadd), because the punishment for it is suspended when the apostate repents:

The prescribed penalties (Hudad) are generally not suspended because of repentance, especially when they are reported and become known to the head of state (imam). The punishment of highway robbery, for instance, is not suspended because of repentance; it is suspended only by the return of property to the owner prior to arrest. ..Renunciation of the faith and conversion to disbelief is admittedly the greatest of offenses, yet it is a matter between man and his Creator, and its punishment is postponed to the day of judgment (fa'l-jaza' 'alayha mu'akhkhar ila dar al-jaza'). Punishments that are enforced in this life are those which protect the p~DJ1e's interests, such as just retaliation, which is designed to protect life…FN186: 186. Al- Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, X, p. 110.

Al-Sarakhsi goes on to recount the punishments for adultery, theft, slanderous accusation, wine-drinking and highway robbery - namely, all the hud[u]d punishments -but leaves apostasy out altogether from the list.

This is yet another astounding misreading on Kamali's part since, quite contrary to his claim, al-Sarakhsi does mention apostasy and clearly states the man is killed but not the woman, who is only imprisoned. As for the statement that requital for apostasy is postponed, it is not at all meant in the sense claimed, namely, the cancellation of the hadd ruling, but rather, in the sense that Imam Zakariyya al-Ansari said as cited by his student al-Sha`rani in his Mizan on the very page Kamali cited below (II, 134), that "the Muharib is the only one concerning whom we have been assured that he is punished both in this life and the hereafter" and he cited verse 2: 114, {... Theirs in the world is ignominy and theirs in the Hereafter is an awful doom} i.e. the `adhab al-akbar or "greater punishment" - greater than what if not the "lesser one"? - which is the full requital meant in so many verses, among them the verse we already cited:

88:22-24 : You are not at all a ward over them *except* those who turn back and commit apostasy, after which Allah shall punish them with the greatest punishment. I.e. they are punished both here and hereafter, whereas all other punishments are only once, either here or hereafter.

Kamali continues:

The Maliki jurist, al-Baji (d. 494 A.H.), also observed that apostasy is a sin which carries no prescribed penalty (hadd), and that such a sin may only be punished under the discretionary punishment of ta'zfr.FN187 The renowned Hanbali jurist, Ibn Taymiyyah, also categorically agrees on this latter punishment for apostasy.FN188

The two footnotes he gives are as follows:
187. Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Sarim al-Maslul `ala Shatim al-Rasul, p. 318; al-Sha'rani, Kitab al-Mizan, II, 134; EI-Awa, Punishment, p. 55. 188. Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Siyasah, p. 124.

However, on the page of the Sarim (Dar Ibn Hazm ed.) quoted there is not what he said, rather, on the next page (p. 319) Ibn Taymiyya said: "It is categorically obligatory to kill the insulter of the Prophet, upon him peace, and if such a person was a Muslim he became a murtadd, and killing the murtadd is even more obligatory than killing the disbeliever." Nor is there anything of what he claimed on the page he cited for Ibn Taymiyya's al-Siyasa al-Shar`iyya (in the Dar al-Ma`rifa edition). As for Imam al-Sha`rani I did not find what he said on the page he cited but rather, in the "Bab al-Ridda" of his Mizan (II, 120) he states in the very first line: "There is agreement among the Imams that whoever commits apostasy and leaves Islam it is imperative (wajaba) to kill him."

All the above shows the unreliability of modern readings and their tendency for blatant revisionism. On the subject of hudud and apostasy please refer to Anwarullah's Criminal law of Islam (1995) published by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Brunei Darussalam.

Kamali states:

Mahmassani has observed that the death penalty was meant to apply, not to simple acts of apostasy from Islam, but when apostasy was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community .The Prophet never killed anyone solely for apostasy. This being the case, the death penalty was not meant to apply to a simple change of faith but to punish acts such as treason, joining forces with the enemy and sedition.

The above reasoning is fallacious from two perspectives: [1] it dresses in the robe of ijtihad what is already established in the hadith without need for ijtihad, namely, "and a man who comes out of Islam and fights Allah and His Prophet" as we already cited. [2] The claim that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, "never killed anyone solely for apostasy" is misleading since the Law considers the Prophetic verbal injunctions to have precedence the Prophetic acts, so in the presence of his explicit and unambiguous commands to that effect, the fact that he did not do something is the weakest counter- proof possible.

Furthermore, it is not exactly true that he never killed anyone solely for apostasy as shown in the case of Ibn Abi Surayh over whom the Prophet, upon him peace, made his will clear that he should have been killed. And the Prophet's reasoning for executing two specific kafir prisoners of war days after the battle of Badr was over such `Uqba ibn Abi Mu`ayt and al-Nadr ibn al-Harith al-`Abdari was their extreme enmity to Allah and the Prophet. Such was also the reason why the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, ordered the assassination (which `Abd Allah ibn Unays carried out successfully) of Ibn Nubayh al-Hudhali who was mobilizing people to raid the Muslims, similarly when the Prophet ordered the assassination (which `Umayr ibn `Adi al- Khatmi carried out successfully) of Asma' bint Marwan who reviled Islam and exhorted the disbelievers against the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace.

Kamali states:

Ibn Taymiyyah further added that the Companions reached a consensus (ijma') on this, for when the Prophet passed away, most of the Arabs, except for the residents of Mecca, Medina and Ta'if, apostasised, including many followers of the self- proclaimed 'prophets', Musaylimah, al-Anasi, and Tulayhah al- Asadi, who renounced Islam and were subsequently fought by Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and other Companions until they returned to the faith again. They were left unharmed and not a single one of them was killed because of their renunciation of Islam. This, Ibn Taymiyyah adds is common knowledge.FN203: [Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Sarim, p. 318.]

The above shows more dishonesty in quoting. What Ibn Taymiyya said is that "none of those apostates *who repented and returned to islam* was harmed in any way." It is common knowledge indeed that al-`Ansi was killed by Qays ibn Makshuh who was sent to Yemen by Abu Bakr for that mission, Musaylima was killed by the army of Abu Bakr, specifically by the spear of al-Wahshi, and Tulayha al-Asadi was spared only because he repented after being routed.

And why this insistence on making Ibn Taymiyya say the opposite of what he said? On the very same page (al-Sarim, p. 318) he states: "As for the Prophet's statement 'Whoever changed his Religion, kill him,' we say that it is imperative, but he changes his religion only insofar as he persists in so doing and remains in that state, but if he returns to the Religion of truth then he is no longer changing his Religion."

And this is the position of all the Four Schools over which there is unchanging agreement, and Allah knows best.

[SP 2006-03-31]

Anonymous said...

An excellent article that refutes the subjective reasons launched by the kuffar regarding the death penalty for apostates: