The following is an answer to a question we receieved:
Question: If someone blatantly rejects the shariah laws of hudud like cutting the hand of the thief that is mentioned in the Quran with clear statements such as 'I believe that is backward' or 'these rules are not part of Islam and I believe they should not be applied today', etc as some of the modernists do, does this take someone outside of the fold of Islam and make them an apostate?
Answer: The following is a translation of an extract from the book entitled 'The punishement system of Islam' (Nizam al-Uqubat fil Islam) by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Maliki which answers your question:
The apostate is the one who disbelieves after his Islam so everyone who disbelieves after his Islam becomes an apostate. A Muslim disbelieves in four ways: Doctrine/belief ('itiqad), doubt (shakk), saying and action. As for belief, therein are two aspects. Firstly, the decisive belief in what came a decisive prohibition against it or the decisive command with its opposite, like believing that Allah has a partner or believing that the Qur'an is not the word of Allah. The second aspect is denying what is known from the deen by necessity (ma'lum min ad-deen bi ad-dharura) like denying jihad, the forbiddance of drinking khamr, cutting the thief's hand and the like. As for doubt, it is the doubt in the beliefs ('aqaid) and everything whose evidence is conclusive/definite (qat'iyy) so whoever doubts that Allah is One or Muhammad is a Messenger or the lashing of the zani or the like has disbelieved. As for the saying, its meaning is the saying that does not bear any interpretation (ta'weel). So whoever says that the Messiah is the son of Allah and that Muhammad came with Islam from himself or the like has disbelieved without doubt. Whereas the saying that bears interpretation does not make its speaker a kafir if the saying bears kufr 99% and bears iman 1%, the side of iman outweighs the 99% because it is the side of iman since with the existence of the 1% there exists the possibility of interpretation. So he is not made a kafir as he is not counted a kafir except if the saying is kufr in a decisive way. As for the action, its meaning is the action that bear no interpretation that it is kufr. So whoever prostrates to an idol and prays in a church the prayer of a Christian, he disbelieves and apostatises from Islam because the Christian's prayer is kufr without bearing interpretation so whoever does it had committed kufr without bearing interpretation. As for the action that bears interpretation, its doer does not disbelieve. So the one who enters the church does not disbelieve because it is possible that he entered for the spectacle (furja) and it is possible that he enters it for prayer. And the one reading the Bible has not disbelieved because it is possible that he read it to study it in order to refute it, and it is possible he read it believing in it and so on. So every action that bears interpretation does not make its doer a disbeliever nor is he an apostate if he does it. Apostasy is proven by what proves hudud other than zina, namely the testimony of two trustworthy men or a man and two women i.e. the Shari'ah proof because there came no text specific for it.