Apostasy (Irtidad)

Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion contrary to one's previous beliefs. One who undertakes apostasy is known as an apostate.


Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 month ago

This is a good question, and one that has received a lot of attention in the contemporary era.

Classically, many Muslims held that death is generally the punishment for apostasy (with some exceptions and conditions). Some Muslims today see this more in line with a modern treason law. That is, today, while killing someone for apostasy is considered a violation of human rights, killing someone for treason against their own nation is considered acceptable. This is because, in the past, religion was a primary marker of public identity and deliniation of the state; whereas, in the modern world, religion is considered a private matter and a matter of personal belief, and national identity is considered primary. 

Also, this law is based on hadith. Some people have challenged the authenticity of hadith that say this, because it seems to go against the Qur'anic view that there should be no compulsion in religion; it also seems unusually harsh, since the Prophet had a merciful and lenient character. Other people hold that it may have been appropriate in the time of the Prophet (where leaving the Muslim community would generally mean militarily aiding the enemy) but it is no longer valid today.

So, basically, one can say that, yes, this is a classical view; but it is still a subject of much discussion.

Also, note that even if the classical law is correct, it is not acceptable for a person to go around killing people because he or she thinks they are apostates. 

There are a number of pieces on this on al-Islam.org, which you can read by going to Google and typing "apostasy al-islam.org". 


Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

Islam does not force faith on any one. Allah, The Glorious says in the Holy
Qur’an : There is no compulsion in religion. (2:256). Allah SWT also says in
the Holy Qur’an : Say, the Truth is from your Lord. So whosoever wants
to believe or disbelieve, it is up to him. (18:29).

The faith is a matter between man and his Creator. But if he starts destroying the faith of others, he will be entitled to punishment. Even the punishment is not
emotional but it has got many conditions to be fulfilled before it can be
due. In our time, the conditions of such punishment is not available
because it includes among other conditions, the availability of a fully practicing Muslim ruler who provides justice to the people and implements the rules of
Allah (SWT).



Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answered 7 months ago

as salam alaikum

if a person is openly a sinner, unjust or oppress other people, he is considered a wrongdoer (zalim).

If a person consciously, willingly and openly fights the truth, while knowing that it is the truth, it is disbelief (kufr) or apostasy (irtidad).

If a person reveals what a Muslim person hide from his sins, it is called backbiting (ghibah). 

So the basic difference is that declaration of zulm, kufr and apostasy are related to open attitudes and behaviors while backbiting is related to something that a Muslim person wish to conceal about himself.

As far as the Khawarij, their enmity against Ali, peace be upon him, has been seen as an aversion for the truth even if it is not improbable that among their ranks were also unaware people misled by their leaders.

With prayers for your success.


Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 9 months ago


Thank you for your question. A solitary report that contradicts the infallibility of the Imam (as) would not be accepted.

May you always be successful.


Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 year ago

We need first to understand the reasons behind a person who claims that he wants to leave Islam. Usually such persons suffer from misunderstanding Islam, or having bad reaction to bad actions of some so-called Muslims.

We need to be sure that he had full access to real knowledge about Islam.

We are responsible to provide him with the facts from Quran and authentic Hadeeths from the Prophet (SAWA) and his Holy Progeny Ahlul Bayt (AS).

There is no question of punishment before being sure that all. facts are clear to him and he is insisting to damage the faith of others by claiming leaving the Religion of Islam.

In this time when the Islamic justice is not implemented and there is no government of the Infallible Imam, we have no right to punish such person. It is for the Infallible Imam or his deputy to decide not the public.


Abolfazl Sabouri, Abolfazl Sabouri is based in New Zealand and has an MA in Jurisprudence and Islamic Studies. He is a graduate of Elmiyeh seminary in Qom with more than 15 years of study and research where he has... Answered 1 year ago

If he started propagating against Islam, then he/she will be punished.

Verse 3:86 & 87 in the Quran are about irtedad but it is not about punishment. It is in ahadith.