Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Death Penalty for Leaving Islam?

An atheist stated: The Quran says that anyone who changes their religion from Islam to some slightly different form of idiocy such as Christianity should be put to death regardless of if they did so because of " honest intellectual inquiry and search" or not. 

Answer: The Quran does not prescribe the death penalty for conversion from Islam to another religion. However, mainstream Islam does, i.e. Muslims do believe and try to implement it. This understanding is based on non-Quranic sources. According to the Quran, these matters are for God to judge and not left to the hands of humans. Consider the following verses regarding faith, leaving the faith and blasphemy: 
2:256 There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower. 
4:137 Those who believe, then reject faith, then believe (again) and (again) reject faith, and go on increasing in unbelief,- Allah will not forgive them nor guide them on the way. 
10:99 If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! 
16:93 If Allah so willed, He could make you all one people: But He leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions.  

In that background, the question that arises is does the Most Compassionate prescribe death sentence for blasphemy? I search the Quran and come across the following verses. If I understand correctly, the Most Compassionate only directs the believers to abstain from the company of blasphemers till they stop blaspheming. We are enjoined to keep sharing the message of faith to all who are willing to listen, to share the verses of the Quran and let people take their own decisions, as only willing submission is required. 
6: 68 When thou seest men engaged in vain discourse about Our signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes thee forget, then after recollection, sit not thou in the company of those who do wrong. 6:69 On their account no responsibility falls on the righteous, but (their duty) is to remind them, that they may (learn to) fear Allah. 
4:155 (They have incurred divine displeasure): In that they broke their covenant; that they rejected the signs of Allah. that they slew the Messengers in defiance of right; that they said, "Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah’s Word; We need no more)";- Nay, Allah hath set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy, and little is it they believe;- 4:156 That they rejected Faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge; 
5: 64 The Jews say: "(Allah)'s hand is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.

And also consider: 
43:33 And were it not that (all) men might become of one (evil) way of life, We would provide, for everyone that blasphemes against ((Allah)) Most Gracious, silver roofs for their houses and (silver) stair-ways on which to go up, 43:34 And (silver) doors to their houses, and thrones (of silver) on which they could recline, 43:35 And also adornments of gold. But all this were nothing but conveniences of the present life: The Hereafter, in the sight of thy Lord is for the Righteous. 43:36 If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of ((Allah)) Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him. 43:37 Such (evil ones) really hinder them from the Path, but they think that they are being guided aright! 

In the light of the above verses, can it be permissible for us humans to judge or prescribe punishment for blasphemy? Can we implement something in the name of Islam disregarding the verses of God Almighty? Is Allah not enough to take people to account?

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