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'Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him' Hadith - Sahih Al-Bukhari (9:57)
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The Quran is contradictory on the fate of those who deny the truth of Islam.
Fourteen passages refer to apostasy and, of these, seven refer to punishment, generally to be given in the next life.
Sura 40 says that those who reject the scriptures will have iron collars and chains placed around their necks, be dragged into scalding water and burnt in the fire. Elsewhere the Quran seems to indicate a degree of tolerance. Verse 2.256 states: "There is no compulsion in religion." Two further suras, 10 and 18, include passages indicating that people who do not wish to believe should not be forced to.
But the Hadith, or sayings of the Prophet, condemns unequivocally those who renounce their religion. One passage advises the death penalty for murder, adultery and apostasy. Another cites Muhammad as saying: "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him."
According to Mufti Abdul Barkatullah, senior imam at North Finchley Mosque, North London, Islam simply took over biblical tradition and practice in this regard. Jesus promised in John XIV:6 - "No one comes to the Father except by me." Several other passages in the New Testament condemn non-Christians to eternal punishment. Mufti Barkatullah cited the Inquisition as an example of Christian intolerance.
Muslim scholars are divided over how the texts on apostasy should be interpreted. Mufti Barkatullah said that some countries would follow the Shafi'i school of thought and eschew the death penalty for apostasy. But many, such as Afghanistan, adhere to the Hanafi tradition, and take a strict line on apostasy.
You may already know about this one: O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. [al-Ma'idah 5:51.11]
But did you know that there are 123 verses in the Quran concerning fighting and killing for the cause of Allah? Here are but a few passages:
-Muslims are encouraged to be wholly occupied (Sura 2:273) with fighting for Allah's cause.
- Allah will give "a far richer recompense to those who fight for him" (Sura 4:96).
- Regarding infidels (unbelievers), they are the Muslim's "inveterate enemies" (Sura 4:101). Muslims are to "arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere" (Sura 9:5) for them. They are to "seize them and put them to death wherever you find them, kill them wherever you find them, seek out the enemies of Islam relentlessly" (Sura 4:90). "Fight them until Islam reigns supreme" (Sura 2:193). "Cut off their heads, and cut off the tips of their fingers" (Sura 8:12).
- If a Muslim does not go to war, Allah will kill him (Sura 9:39). He is to be told, "the heat of war is fierce, but more fierce is the heat of Hell-fire" (Sura 9:81).
- A Muslim must "fight for the cause of Allah with the devotion due to him" (Sura 22:78)
- Muslims must make war on the infidels (unbelievers) who live around them (Sura 9:123).
- Muslims are to be "ruthless to unbelievers" (Sura 48:29).
- A Muslim should "enjoy the good things" he has gained by fighting (Sura 8:69).
- A Muslim can kill any person he wishes if it be a "just cause" (Sura 6:152).
- Allah loves those who "fight for his cause" (Sura 61:3).
Anyone who fights against Allah or renounces Islam in favor of another religion shall be "put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off alternative sides" (Sura 5:34).
- Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him. Sahih Al-Bukhari (9:57)
- Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. (Quran 9:5)
- Take him and fetter him and expose him to hell fire. (Quran 69:30-37)
- I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them. (Quran 8:12)
- They should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides. (Quran 5:33)
- Know that paradise is under the shades of swords. Sahih al-Bukhari Vol 4 p55
All of these views, if firmly held, would tend to sabotage anyone's ability to investigate the Quran's distinctive take on violence.
There is another obstacle, and that is Western culture's own sense of guilt and suspicion of what it regards as Christian hypocrisy.
Any attempt to critique some of Islam's teachings is likely to be met with loud and vociferous denunciations of the church's moral failings, such as its appalling track record of anti-Semitism. And did I mention the crusades?
Finally, the reality is that Muslims adhere to widely varying beliefs and practices. Most people are understandably afraid to come to their own conclusions about violent passages in the Quran, lest they find themselves demonizing Muslims.
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