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April 8, 2011 / ghazwatulhind

Matter of Apostates in Islam

Question: And what about Muslims that want to leave Islam?


Leaving a religion is called “Apostasy” and is often considered an act for which penalty is nothing but death. To a point I also considered the same until I read what is view of Quran about this.  Read a very good article by Dr. Ahmed Shafaat over “Islamic PerspectivesTHE PUNISHMENT OF APOSTASY IN ISLAM“.

Read the Quranic verse which addresses apostasy and says:

Except those who join a group between you and whom there is a (peace-) treaty or those who approach you with their hearts restraining them from fighting you or fighting their own people. Had God willed he would have given them power over you and they would have fought you. So if they withdraw from you and do not fight you but give you (guarantees of) peace, then God has opened no way for you against them.

You will find others that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people. Every time they are sent back to temptation they give in to it. If they do not withdraw from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and kill them, wherever you find them. In their case We have provided you with a clear warrant against them. (4:90-91).

Apostasy in Islam is divided into 3 segments.

  1. Those who ally themselves with a group with whom Muslims have a peace treaty;
  2. Those who want to keep neutrality, committing themselves to peace with both the Muslims and their own people who had not accepted Islam;
  3. Those who provide no real guarantee of peace to Muslims and by all indications ally themselves with non-believers engaged in hostilities towards Islam.

The first two types of apostates are to be left in peace while the third one is to be treated like any non-believers in a state of war: they are to be seized and killed wherever they are found. Notice that the Qur`an uses the words “God has opened no way for you against them” in connection with the apostates of the first two types. This means that the Qur`an actually prohibits killing those apostates who want to live in peaceful terms with the Muslims.

Thus according to the Qur`an the apostates are to be treated like other kuffar: If they want to live in peace with the Muslims, they are to be left in peace and if they assume a hostile attitude, then they are to be treated accordingly.

As observed above the Qur`an expects us to deal with apostates like other kuffar. Therefore the Qur`anic guidance for dealing with the apostates is essentially the same as its guidance for dealing with other kuffar. Briefly, this guidance is that we should treat them according to the degree of friendship or hostility they show to Islam and Muslims.

Qurnic Verses which describe about apostasy also include:

2:17 They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say: “Fighting therein is a great (offence); but preventing (people) from following the way of God, denying him, preventing access to the Sacred Masjid, and driving out its people is a greater (offence) and al-fitnah (oppression) is worse than killing (in battle).” And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can. And if anyone among you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then the works of such as these will be lost in this life and in the hereafter they will be the dwellers of the fire, abiding therein forever.

3:86 How shall God guide those who reject faith after their belief and after they bore witness that the Messenger was true and after clear (signs) had come unto them? God guides not unjust people.

3:87 They are those whose recompense is that on them (rests) the curse of God, of the angels, and of all humankind.

3:88 They will abide therein. Their torment will not be lightened and they will not be given any respite –

3:89 Except for those that repent after that, and make amends (by righteous deeds), for, verily God is forgiving, most merciful.

3:90 But surely those who disbelieved after their belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief, never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray.

4:137 Surely those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe (again) and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief, God will not forgive them nor guide them nor guide them on the way.

9:66 Make no excuses. You have disbelieved after your belief. If We pardon some of you, We (may) punish others amongst you, for they are guilty.

9:74 They swear by God that they did not say, but they did say the word of disbelief and they disbelieved after their islam and meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out. And (by this) they avenged nothing except that God and his Messenger had enriched them of his bounty! If they repent, it will be better for them; but if they turn away, God will punish them with a grievous penalty in this world and in the hereafter. And there is none for them on earth as a protector or helper.

16:106 Whoever disbelieved in God after his belief – not he who is forced to do so while his heart is content with faith but he who opens his breast to disbelief – on such wrath from God, and theirs will be a great torment.

16:107 This is because they loved the life of this world more than the hereafter and God does not guide those who disbelieve.

16:108 They are those upon whose hearts, ears, and eyes God has set a seal, and they are heedless.

16:109 No doubt, in the hereafter they will be losers.

47:25 Surely those who have turned back (to their state of kufr) after the guidance was made manifest to them, Shaytan has enticed them and filled them with false hopes.

47:26 This is because they said to those who hate what God has revealed: “We will obey you in part of the matter”. But God knows their secrets.

47:27 Then how (will it be) when the angels take their souls at death, smiting their faces and their backs?


  • Its clear that the one who leaves Islam and doesn’t fight Muslims back is not penalized or given any penalty by Muslims, his matter will stay with Allah alone.
  • It is also clear that the one who leaves Islam and joins the group of people who Muslims have a peace-treaty with, is at peace, his matter will stay with Allah alone.
  • The one who leaves Islam and starts conspiracies against Islam, becomes hostile and fights with Muslims then he is asked to be killed to stop fitna.  Such apostates are treated exactly the way as the one who did not accept Islam the first place and stayed Kafir but started conspiracies or becomes hostile against Muslims.  Such apostates are killed by law and their matter will also stay with Allah as well.



Leave a Comment
  1. ghazwatulhind / Apr 8 2011 3:33 pm


    I am waiting for your comments over here. I hope you will be getting that there is more to Islam than you have ever been thought and taught.

  2. iPak / Apr 8 2011 4:51 pm

    So if a person let`s say left Islam and converted to Judaism which we clearly are in conflict, he deserves death then. And yes i know of such people.
    You simply do not understand that even if someone leaves Islam and then Insults Islam or the prophet, he must not be subject to your god`s commands.
    Freedom is to criticize any religion, no matter how harshly. Draw Mohammad day insulted most Muslim countries so much that they called for the death of those who did.
    Another example would be:
    Van Gogh worked with Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the film Submission, which was critical of the treatment of women in Islam. On 2 November 2004 he was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.
    When southpark aired Mohammad in a teddy bear costume, they were threatened with death and many religious leaders advocated for their death as well.
    You show me passages from the Qoran that justify what evil men do in the name of the religion but you simply do not understand that world of men is governed by rules of law and not the rules of god.
    I keep telling you that even if the religion is dear to your heart, living by laws of the Qoran and subjecting other people to the rules of your god is wrong when you are in society of men who do not think as you do, even if you disagree with their way of life.

    • ghazwatulhind / Apr 8 2011 5:30 pm

      You didn’t read my post and answered me.. and to help you understand, I am wiring in simplest words.

      1 – The one who leaves Islam and adopts Christianity, Judaism or becomes atheist is not punishable.
      2 – The one who leaves Islam and joins a group who Muslims have a peace treaty with (or those who are not at war with Muslims, let those be Jew or Buddhists or anybody at all) then he is at peace and is not punishable either.
      3 – If he joins a clan who is at war or is responsible to create fitna (lie and corruption to the level that it causes collapse of society) then those are and only those are asked to be killed. And those are not just Muslims, even if non-Muslims rage war against Muslims then those Non-Muslims are subjected to the same punishment.

      Conflict of belief or practices is never a question.. Islam and Judaism existed together and Muslims had peace-treaties with Jew-tribes in the past. I hope you would know some history on that at-least.

      It is simple. You are free to get in, free to get out and adopt any other religion you want until you rage wars against Islam. When you are at war, apostates and non-believers (who never had accepted Islam) are dealt the same way so even in this form, they (ex Muslims) are not killed because they left Islam. SO LEAVING ISLAM IS NOT A PUNISHABLE CRIME IN ANY SENSE but it is the act of raging war Against Muslims which is dealt squarely.

      Is that making scene now? You need proof? I have quoted verses of Quran for you. You can double check them to be sure. Islam doesn’t stop anybody leaving Islam and the ones who claim so are spreading false intentionally.

      We will come to another point when it is the time for that. For now stay on the topic of matter of Apostates in Islam. Now do you understand there a safe way out of Islam? The “Free Will” is honored and exactly the way you expected. Satisfied on this aspect yet?

  3. iPak / Apr 8 2011 11:57 pm

    Why do so many calls for death to the Apostles then? The way Islam is represented today is the way of violence,hatred and barbarity.
    You say this and that, Qoran forbids this, Qoran justifies this if certain measures are met etc etc. But the problem is that most people skip the certain measures and jump straight to the violence.
    In today`s world many apostles who leave Islam get death threats or are actually killed. Women are treated like garbage(In western standards), nothing good is attributed to Muslims and people see them as a disease consuming free countries.
    By no means are all justified and i am generalizing that all Muslims are evil but i am saying is that most of the people that are not evil and do not do evil, also do not speak out against evil because of fear of what other Muslims will do to them.
    And you, look at you, you are advocating why it is OK to stone people to death, why it is OK to beat your wife after she continues to cheat on you, why is it OK to kill non muslims during war, why is it OK to kill homosexuals.
    You seem to be a reasonable person, that i cannot argue, but your way of life is absolutely contrary to mine.

  4. iPak / Apr 9 2011 12:11 am


  5. ghazwatulhind / Apr 9 2011 12:58 am


    There are several parts of your questions and here I will only try to answer which is pertaining to this topic for now. Other topic could be started to discuss them all at their time.

    Right now I am going through Ahadith which are quoted as reference for killing apostasy. Quran is clear on this aspect that do not touch them unless they become hostile to you. The principle of life of Holy Prophet PBUH is also clear that he preached what Quran told. Now there is a saying (one saying alone) attributed to Hazrat Ali according to which Hazrat Ali burnt apostates (no one was burnt in the life of Prophet or Caliphs of Islam) but that Hadith says Hazrat Ali (who is one of the 4 early caliph) burnt few people who were apostates. Iban-e-Abass (the paternal cousin of the Holy Prophet PBUH) came to know about it and he said I would have killed them instead of burning as Prophet PBUH Said to Kill the one who leaves Islam. This Hadith is weak in several ways and is in contradiction with Quranic Teachings or life of Prophet PBUH himself. Also event is attributed to Hazrat Ali and there is only one companion who is reported to have told that.

    Death penalty is a big penalty and there is one reference from one resource which claims Prophet has said so (Never did himself nor this was done by any of companions of Prophet PBUH during his life time). Holy Prophet came across 1000s of apostates and no incident of punishing them (even a little) is reported. Now there is this one and poor reference which is though found in multiple books of Ahadith claims penalty for apostasy was death and this goes against teachings of Quran and can easily be nullified on these basis.

    Why is there so much hatred and misconception about Islam out there? I also have the same question that why do they attribute it to Islam when some crime is done by a bad Muslim?

  6. iPak / Apr 10 2011 3:20 pm

    I`d imagine because “good” Muslims have become a minority while the “bad” Muslims have taken over the religion.

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