Punishment for Apostasy and its Justifications

Author: u/butcher1239

December 30, 2020

Apostasy is a sin in Islam and the sharia punishment for this sin is death according to sects that contain majority of Muslims. According to a hadith, Ali, cousin of Muhammad and husband of his daughter burnt some people because they apostatized from Islam. On which Abbas commented he wouldn't have burnt them (because fire is Allah’s punishment) but would kill them according to this statement of Muhammad, "𝐖𝐡𝐨𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐢𝐦." [1] In another instance Muadh after hearing that a Jew who converted to Islam had then apostatized and converted back to Judaism called for his death and was not ready to sit down. He thricely said he won’t sit until the Jew is killed according to the decree of Allah so Abu Musa ordered to kill that Jew and the Jew was killed for apostasy.[2] There are multiple hadiths that report these instances and call for death of apostates.

The justification that Muslims use for this horrific law is that they say it’s similar to treason. It’s just false equivalence. First of all, you can leave your country and become a citizen of other country legally so leaving one religion should be fine too. Second treason means waging war against country or helping people who do that. How does anyone leaving a religion mean that person is harmful to the people or waging war against them? There’s probably lots of non muslims already in that country, so how does one more non muslim make a difference? If according to them becoming a non muslim is harmful than does that mean the non muslims already present in that country are harmful too? Isn’t being a good human enough? This is just very discriminatory to non muslims since a muslim becoming one of them is considered a crime punishable by death. Aren’t non muslims faithful to the country?

The other justification I've heard is that person can spread corruption like they can talk against Islam. Don’t Muslim criticize each other’s sects? Don’t muslims criticize some aspects with other muslims? Don’t they debate with non muslim over Islam? Don’t non muslims criticize Islam too? You can find plenty of material available online that criticizes Islam. So why should an apostate suffer if it’s already done by others and available abundantly online? Muhammad not only criticized pagan religions, he destroyed the temples of pagans and broke their idols in Arabia and made pagans leave their religion or leave Arabia (disclaimer: destroying others property and forcing others is very wrong), but muslims can’t handle people just leaving their religion? There is a story in Quran which glorifies the breaking of idols by Ibrahim (Abraham) where he not only breaks their idols but also mocks them after breaking it, but they want people who leave their religion or mock it killed. If your beliefs are true then criticisms will just make your beliefs stronger.

On one hand muslims preach Islam and want others to convert and glorify new converts but on other hand if a person leaves their faith sharia wants them killed. This is just hypocrisy! If pagans had the same law, Muhammad would have been killed long ago and Islam would not have been spread. Moreover, most of the people blindly follow their religion because they were indoctrinated by their parents in the childhood that this is the true religion. Also, most of them are ignorant about what’s in their religious scriptures. So, if some person looks into the scriptures and doesn’t believe in it anymore, they should have the right to leave it. Also, people change over time so if someone doesn't believe in it anymore, they should have the right to leave it too, just as others have the right to join Islam.

This also shows the thinking of their so called god. He doesn't care if he has ignorant followers or followers who just do it out of fear of hell, he just wants them to follow him and worship him. If they don’t do that, he wants them dead in real life and he will rot them in hell eternally in afterlife. God would rather choose an ignorant follower than a genuine person who tried his best but still couldn't believe in it. Lots of people in every religion don’t know what’s in their scriptures and follow it just because of their parents. God is fine with ignorant followers of his religion but expects people of other religion to criticize, come out of indoctrination, understand that the miracle in their previous religion are all false just to accept the miracles of Islam that don’t have any valid evidence either.