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['Aalim Network QR] Apostacy (Irtidad) in Islam

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
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Salamun `Alaykum

The following question was kindly answered by Dr. Takim.

Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim
Moderator - 'Aalim Network

---------- Forwarded message ----------


My questions are about boundaries of ertedaad (kufr) and the philosophy
of its feqhi hukm. 

1) I know if a Muslim rejects an essential belief of Islam, he is
   murtadd. But nowadays, some people don't reject an Islamic belief in an
   outright manner, instead, they give wishful interpretations of some
   beliefs that make them similar to non-Muslim ideas. So these people know
   themselves Muslim, but they are clearly different. (For example, one says
   prayer can be done in any form you like and Islam does not mean people
   should do it in its formal way.)

2) Some other people believe that Islam or Quran should be modified and
   adapted to modern ideas. Still, they call themselves Muslim and even use
   some Islamic principles to justify their position for change, often
   making them similar to non-Muslims. (For example, some say hijab is not
   for our time and should be modified.)

3) There are others who don't reject a principle of Islam, but deny it
   ever existed in Islam, or deny some important aspect of that principle
   and not its entirety. (For example, one says belief in imamat or in ismat
   of the imam is an add-on, and was not a part of authentic Islam.)

4) Some people of the above categories are ignorant of what they say,
   some are not saying these seriously but repeat it, and some are knowingly
   insisting on what they say. 


A) Which group of the above is murtadd and which one is not? 

B) For those who are murtadd, what is the duty of other Muslims, if they
   are confident that the murtadd person can not be guided? 

C) Under what conditions should a murtadd be executed?

D) What is the philosophy of execution of murtadd?

E) Is this execution against the free will and choice of Muslims, as
   compared with persons who are raised kafir and knowingly insist on it? 

Please give answers according to Agha Khuee and Agha Khumaini.


Salaamun 'Alaykum,

I believe that the best way to answer is to clarify what apostacy is and
to whom it is applicable: 

Apsotacy (irtidad) is the act of turning away from Islam having accepted
it.  This involves the rejection of tawhid and nubuwwa and the essentials
of Islam (e.g. that the Qur'an is a book of God). 

There are 2 types of murtadd - fitri and milli.

A fitri murtad is one who was born of Muslim parents (or at least one
parent) and then rejects Islam. If he rejects Islam, then, according to
the fatawa of our maraji (including Ayatullahs al-Khu'i and Khumayni) he
is to be killed. 

A milli murtad is one who converts and then rejects Islam - He is to be
given 3 days to repent and accept Islam again. If he does not accept by
the fourth day he is to be killed. 

A Murtadd has to be baligh, be sane, be free in his rejection of Islam. 

A woman murtadd (whether of the fitri or milli type) is not to be killed.
She is to be imprisoned. 

Those who accept (but do not practise) Islam cannot be considered to be
murtadd. So a person who doesn't pray is not a murtadd. One who recites
the shahada and then states that the prayer should be done in a different
way is not a murtadd but is a sinner since he/she has rejected the form
prescribed in the Qur'an and in the sunna of the Prophet (SAW).
Similarly, one who believes in a fresh and different interpretation of
the Qur'an is not an apostate as long as he/she does not reject the
Qur'an itself. 

The questions you have raised e.g. on hijab concern the furu' not usul -
therefore one who rejects them is still a Muslim but a sinner. However,
one who states that the salat for example is not a part of Islam or
rejects the essential teachings of the Qur'an or believes that the
Shari'a is no longer to be practised falls outside the pale of Islam (He
is different from a person who believes in Islam but does not practise
the shari'a at all)

One who does not accept the Imamat or isma is not considered to be an
apostate - however, he/she is not amongst the followers of the ahlul bayt
since he/she has rejected the wilaya of our ai'mma (peace be upon them
all). The Sunnis do not accept the wilaya of the Imams but are still
considered to be Muslims. 

For those who are murtadd, since the hudud can not be practised in the
west, it is merely better, in my humble view, to show them the true and
unadulterated teachings of Islam through our actions. Insha-allah, one
day they will see the light again. 

The punishments prescribed above are to be applied when a person
voluntarily renounces Islam. A person who is a kafir is not an apostate
but a disbeliever. 

As for the philosophy of the punishment of irtidad, I would refer you to
a book called HUman Rights and the Conflict of cultures: Western and
Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty

BY David Little, John Kelsay and A. Sachedina.

And Allah Knows best]


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