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In the Name of God بسم الله

Freedom Of Speech And Apostasy

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Guest Jebreil

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Gypsy and anyone who's already read OP

Yet how to reconcile this with the fact that we have reports which have the death penalty for apostasy? Please read further here: http://www.tashayyu..../hudud/apostasy

There is only one very weak, desperate argument for curbing Freedom of Speech and that is for the sake of stopping apostasy to spread by convincing more members of the public. But there are a number of strong counter-arguments to this:

- death penalty for expressing one's apostasy turns them into martyrs for human freedom of opinion, which is a God-given bounty

- people can become confused as to why Islam needs to silence dissent so desperately as to kill them - which does not reflect well on the religion

- sometimes, expressing one's doubts and arguing against Islam can lead to a better understanding of Islam and break away the superstitions

- killing an apostate creates unnecessary publicity for a person who spouts falsehood

- dissenters, in fear of their lives, would go underground, even so far as to conspire against the Islamic state which enforces this tyranny over opinion

- nifaq or hypocrisy in opinion and religion can affect other aspects of society too, giving rise to a distrustful, inauthentic and fraudster community.

- in the absence of the Imam, it becomes a tool for arbitrary punishment of any dissent against the ruling interpretation (even if they are scholars)

- it automatically positions the dissenter as somehow confused and needing rational cure, giving the rest of the population - including the rulers - a false sense of superiority.

- it stagnates understanding of religion, preferring the status quo even if it is full of superstition, and it helps prevent any reform

- people who would otherwise express their ideas and stimulate thought would, out of fear, keep silent. This discouragement of novel insight or criticism dulls the public intelligence and leaves them susceptible to private doubts and ignorance and superstition

- by cutting off voices, resentment can become widespread leading to revolts which would then endanger the Islamic state as well as Islam's reputation

- it dictates for the future generations what they must believe regardless of what they think or risk the death penalty, when they also would like to listen to the Qur'an, read the arguments, reflect free from any compulsion and choose as they see fit

- it is a massive vote of no confidence in rational discourse in solving problems, opting for force as the ultimate arbiter of truth

I struggle to find sense in the Laws of Apostasy beyond the exceptions set out in the OP.

(wasalam)

Edited by Jebreil
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(bismillah)

Just to add:

As a Muslim, you have a dilemma - and I want intelligent people who understand the problem and wish to resolve it to contribute:

If you believe that my analysis is correct and so there should be Absolute Freedom of Opinion and Freedom to express it (as outlined above), then the question is: what do you do with these hadith:

http://www.*******.org/hadiths/hudud/apostasy

But if you take those hadith as literally applicable - during the Imam's absence or his presence - how do you respond to the many counterarguments? What argument do you have which can sustain critique?

(wasalam)

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but these are hadith set at the time of the Imams, should we not have derived laws that fit within our era?

what are the rulings on apostacy of our maraj'a?

according to my knowledge of human rights in Islam, the right of your soul has priority, ie the right of tawheed. if your surpress that, you might as well kill yourself.

now, whether this hadd needs to enforced by the islamic state, I doubt it applies, due to the reasons you stated, but in the case this murtadd becomes a muharib, now that's a different story....

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contentedself

Thank you for your input.

The majority - if not all - maraje are clear that the penalty of irtidad is death.

However, you draw an interesting distinction between murtadd and muharib. My question is: does expressing doubt or denial of Islam and verbally yet respectfully arguing against Islamic beliefs and practices constitute muhariba?

If so, why? Isn't this a stretch of the word muhariba? If we did include this under muhariba, the above counterarguments would come into play again.

---

Correct me if I'm wrong, but these are hadith set at the time of the Imams, should we not have derived laws that fit within our era?

I think the shari'a is unchangeable by us. If the hukm of some issue is death, then it remains death until an infallible ruling abrogates it.

---

according to my knowledge of human rights in Islam, the right of your soul has priority, ie the right of tawheed. if your surpress that, you might as well kill yourself.

You have to trust people to discover the truth free from compulsion. I don't think God intended to compel us by fear to save our souls.

Your opinion may be proper, but I can't see how it solves the question.

(wasalam)

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(bismillah)

(salam)

contentedself

Thank you for your input.

The majority - if not all - maraje are clear that the penalty of irtidad is death.

However, you draw an interesting distinction between murtadd and muharib. My question is: does expressing doubt or denial of Islam and verbally yet respectfully arguing against Islamic beliefs and practices constitute muhariba?

If so, why? Isn't this a stretch of the word muhariba? If we did include this under muhariba, the above counterarguments would come into play again.

---

I think the shari'a is unchangeable by us. If the hukm of some issue is death, then it remains death until an infallible ruling abrogates it.

(wasalam)

There has to be a better argument than just kill whoever rejects his belief. There is an undisputed narration where the Holy Prophet (pbuh) dreams that many companions don't arrive at the pond of al kawthar (basically guaranteeing you entry into paradise), because they became apostate after his death. Obviously the ruling elite so no harm in their actions (no surprise the elite where hypocrites themselves), therefore let them get on with their lives, This situation remained until the caliphate of Imam Ali (as) who remained patient until the threat of NOT fighting the hypocrites was larger than keeping the (fragile) peace.

Now, my point is, we can't see these narrations in (i) isolation of current state of the islamic ummah, and (ii) other narrations that speak of freedom of belief and compulsion... just as the Quran is a living whole, so is the speech of the Imams (as). No contradictions allowed. If you have an issue with a concept and you see contradictions, know that it's a result of your/our presuppositions.

There's a logical answer to all this, we just need to put in the effort to come to that conclusion.

To answer your question, there is no sensible scholar that would call a murtadd's questioning his beliefs muharibah.

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(salam)

contentedself

Thank you

There's a logical answer to all this, we just need to put in the effort to come to that conclusion.

That's what I'm hoping from the intelligent people on Shiachat.

Now, my point is, we can't see these narrations in (i) isolation of current state of the islamic ummah, and (ii) other narrations that speak of freedom of belief and compulsion... just as the Quran is a living whole, so is the speech of the Imams (as).

Maybe, but this needs to be proven and applied. I can imagine some people rejecting these claims.

The hadith in that link (and others I believe) are very difficult to reconcile with the OP analysis.

(wasalam)

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Gypsy and anyone who's already read OP

Yet how to reconcile this with the fact that we have reports which have the death penalty for apostasy? Please read further here: http://www.tashayyu..../hudud/apostasy

The other sharia laws, even though they seemed harsh, are backed by the book in one form or the other. This one doesn't seem to be backed by the book. So I I don't see how you can reconcile the narrations/reports/traditions regarding apostasy. What's even more perplexing is that the book (Quran) is completely silent about it.

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(salam)

Interestingly my dad and me discussed this yesterday briefly.

The fact that the apostasy laws don't quite add up, if it were the case that ALL apostates were to be executed, whether they be hurting the ummah (e.g. salman rushdie) or apostating but keeping to themselves. The latter doesn't make any sense to me, if an apostate is deemed an apostate but keeps to himself and doesn't affect any one and believes that Islam isn't the truth, then is his punishment still death? By reading the hadiths posted that would be the case so it would seem..

I think the argument that hits home with me is the one you mentioned in the OP - 'In the absence of the Imam, who is to be the arbiter of when a given opinion transgresses the limitation?'

This arbiter, how can he be certain that the 'freedom of speech' that Islam actually encourages would and should be suppressed in certain cases where it isn't harming the ummah? Again he would be fallible so he cannot be 100% certain of the law to be applied. I believe a 'benefit of the doubt' should be given in the absence of the Imam (as), surely for an apostate ruling you need to be 100% certain that it is 'right' to execute him even though he is not harming the Islamic ummah. Or maybe these hadith's are enough to be certain.

I doubt it but do we have any hadith at all that show an apostate that has been let off from death?

(wasalam)

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Gypsy

What's even more perplexing is that the book (Quran) is completely silent about it.

It is perplexing. Isn't the Qur'an even consciously silent about it? Rather, preferring to say that the Prophet must leave them in a beautiful manner, or just leave them, or that God will deal with them, or that God will ridicule their mockeries, or that the afterlife would be the judgement of truth and false, or that Muslims must argue their case in beautiful discourse, or that there is no compulsion in religion (as you rightfully mentioned). Doesn't the Qur'an argue, appeal, warn of God's judgement?

It's easy to take the side of Freedom of Express Opinion - after all, we're not affected by it - but we seem to have solid consensus on death for apostasy across Muslim scholarship, emerging from the Sunna!

I also think it is a mistake to believe that we are not affected by it. Kufr is not just about someone who rejects Allah or the Messenger - but someone who rejects the Imams, someone who rejects one of the sayings of the Infallibles, and someone who has an opinion which is not compatible with the Infallibles.

With the absence of the Imam, this position is filled by scholars. We cannot limit interpretation to a group of scholars. Wasn't Avicenna given takfir? Wasn't Mulla Sadra forced to exile? Wasn't Shariati condemned?

With the Imam present, even if we become total devotees to the Imam, we must accept that doubt can arise in others, that people might find somethings difficult to agree with, that we cannot kill ideas by force but we should give them their voice, let them show themselves to be wrong. We cannot make martyrs out of erroneous ideologues.

We have to accept that the human being is free, needs freedom to develop, reflect, choose and that we are 'works in progress'. A Christian may become a Sunni, then become an Imami Shia, then a Zaydi, then a Quranist, then a Wahhabi, then back to Imami Shia. We cannot terrify people not to think, wonder, ask, not reject what makes no sense to them. We cannot dictate that our children, born Muslim, must remain so or be silenced or die.

Even when the Imam is present, I struggle to see how the Laws of Apostasy apply.

(wasalam)

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It's a little strange to me that folks will have such a dilemma on this, yet not have a problem with said apostate burning eternally in the Fire of God's punishment. Which is really more severe?

I don't see much difference between this and other crimes that Islam clearly punishes yet whose negative effect can be confined to the individuals involved if done privately. Take the case of two people secretly fornicating. Clearly a sin, clearly something that if discovered would be punishable by the law, but also something that (so long as we are talking about two unattached inviduals here) doesn't really have an effect on others, and also, if done secretly with no one witnessing, though punishable by God is not punishable by man. Why the difference? I see apostasy a bit like this. Criminal law cannot regulate the thoughts of the heart, so if someone inside themselves leaves the religion it's ultimately between them and God and nothing can really done about it by us. But if that apostasy is made public, like fornication being made public (either via witnesses or self-confession), then it is punishable. What is the difference? One might argue that with a public display of sin (whether fornication or apostasy, which I'd regard as much more severe than the latter) you are now engaged in spreading your corruption to others. The influence of sin in that sense can be as a disease, spreading from one to another whom it comes in contact with. And what sin could be worse for an individual than that one which opposes the entire reason for his creation and betrays the very nature upon which man was created? People tend to be weak, and easily fall under the influence of others. Most people simply conform to whatever they are told to do in trying to fit in to the society that are a part of. The harsh punishment against apostasy discourages one from considering such a step, but should he do so discourages him from spreading it to others out of fear he would be punished for it. So it acts as a measure of protecting people from themselves. The severity of the punishment in that light is in fact a mercy to us, to prevent us from doing something whose consequences would be the gravest of all for our eternal souls.

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It's a very hard law to swallow for many people (like myself), that is for sure.

Being sentenced to death for spreading your apostasy is understandable.

But being killed just for changing religion and not affecting anyone else, not violating anyone else's rights or harming them, is a very hard thing to fathom.

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Jebreil,

When the companions apostate from the religion of Islam, why didn't the Ahl al-Bayt (namely Imam Ali) enforce the laws of apostasy on the Muslims who backed away from Islam?

If you think Imam Ali was powerless with the Shaykhain (Abu Bakr and Umar), then explain why he let Ayesha and co go away after they rebel against Islam? He won the Jamal war and he let the people who rebelled against Islam go back home.

And what about all the Sunni Scholars from Bukhari right down to the current scholars that has perverted the Islamic teaching more than Rushdie and others like him. How come no-one said that the teaching of Sunnism is blasphemous and needs to be contained and constrained because essentially Sunnism is taking you away from the real teaching of Islam (teaching of ahl al-bayt).

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macisaac

The argument that aspotasy can be contagious seems horribly weak. I have given reasons for it, but I would like to add more specific ones.

- people can still spread their misconceptions and denials in private sessions - if there is no public outlet where scholars can listen, understand, discuss and debate and demonstrate these ideas to be erroneous, it would become private, where there are less scholars (if any) and where resentment against the tyranny of opinion can lead to conspiracy against the Islamic state

- a public apostate, if killed, receives some sympathy - it is a fact - a person who died for saying what he or she believed in because he or she came to that conclusion and wished to share it with others, to enlighten them as well. This creates martyrs out of the wrong people.

- Human beings are 'works in progress'. People can change sides during their development. These Laws stifle development and terrify the mind into obedience. This is not dignified. Human beings were created free to choose; however, because of my father, I am condemned to be a Muslim, or be silenced, or die.

- In the Day of Judgement all things will be made clear and justice will be served accordingly. However, in this world, things are not too clear, minds develop, thoughts need time, people convert and ideas are discussed and enriched. Most of us have made enough big mistakes before to know that it does not deserve the death penalty. Great minds, such as Avicenna and Razes, have been led astray despite their loyalty to truth and reason. That is the difference between killing someone here where truth is not transparent and punishing someone later according to the rule: "we will not burden a soul beyond its capacity".

- There is a beautiful legal principle: It is not sufficient that Justice is done. Justice must be seen to be done. People's trust in a system comes from seeing the system demonstrate itself. It is a vote of no confidence in reasoning or Islam's manifest truth that we should terrify people out of arguing against it.

- If people were meant to believe willingly, and if they refused, to be forced to feign belief, then I do not see why God gave the choice to disbelieve.

The severity of the punishment in that light is in fact a mercy to us, to prevent us from doing something whose consequences would be the gravest of all for our eternal souls.

Who is to say the person would not change and return to the Imamiyya after a few more years with a stengthened faith and better understanding? Is an apostate who is 19 really deserving death? S/he still has much to learn, probably much ahead of him/her and could develop and return with deeper insight and a determined faith.

(wasalam)

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(salam)

replicant

Thank you for your input.

Being sentenced to death for spreading your apostasy is understandable.

Why is that understandable? Is killing someone who respectfully expresses doubts and arguments against certain Islamic beliefs and practices really so understandable, just because you or a scholar believe that these doubts and arguments are a danger to truth?

I cannot appreciate it when we pass sentences so easily. Killing for fear of other ideas is not a sign of a superior idea. We might as well force everyone to believe Islam at the point of sword - because Islam is the truth. This does not resound with me.

----------

Gypsy

Thank you for your continuing input.

Your points are valid. But allow me to give a possible countercase:

Why did Amir al-Mu'minin burn someone who believed he (as) was god? Isn't it easier to argue against it? After all, the Qur'an is clear that God is not a human being.Why not just argue the case?

I can understand, however, if this was done to stop the kafir from spreading rumours that Ali (as) did not punish him for his kufr, which would endanger his (as) khilafa. Especially, in those days there was no mass media to quickly communicate views. Rumours were difficult to dispell. It still is.

However, these must be differentiated from someone who apostasises and argues his/her case, only for the sake of truth/goodness. Even a staunch atheist like Richard Dawkins argues his case (however badly). But he does so for the sake of human happiness and objective, verifiable truth. What would we do if Richard Dawkins had been an apostate Muslim?

---------

We cannot know we have the truth if we are unwilling to listen to others.

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ

“Who listen to speech and follow the best of it.” (Quran

39:18)

(wasalam)

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(bismillah)

(salam)

macisaac

The argument that aspotasy can be contagious seems horribly weak. I have given reasons for it, but I would like to add more specific ones.

I agree, that was a horrible argument. Thats the kind of opinion that makes muslims look bad.

- people can still spread their misconceptions and denials in private sessions - if there is no public outlet where scholars can listen, understand, discuss and debate and demonstrate these ideas to be erroneous, it would become private, where there are less scholars (if any) and where resentment against the tyranny of opinion can lead to conspiracy against the Islamic state

- a public apostate, if killed, receives some sympathy - it is a fact - a person who died for saying what he or she believed in because he or she came to that conclusion and wished to share it with others, to enlighten them as well. This creates martyrs out of the wrong people.

- Human beings are 'works in progress'. People can change sides during their development. These Laws stifle development and terrify the mind into obedience. This is not dignified. Human beings were created free to choose; however, because of my father, I am condemned to be a Muslim, or be silenced, or die.

- In the Day of Judgement all things will be made clear and justice will be served accordingly. However, in this world, things are not too clear, minds develop, thoughts need time, people convert and ideas are discussed and enriched. Most of us have made enough big mistakes before to know that it does not deserve the death penalty. Great minds, such as Avicenna and Razes, have been led astray despite their loyalty to truth and reason. That is the difference between killing someone here where truth is not transparent and punishing someone later according to the rule: "we will not burden a soul beyond its capacity".

- There is a beautiful legal principle: It is not sufficient that Justice is done. Justice must be seen to be done. People's trust in a system comes from seeing the system demonstrate itself. It is a vote of no confidence in reasoning or Islam's manifest truth that we should terrify people out of arguing against it.

- If people were meant to believe willingly, and if they refused, to be forced to feign belief, then I do not see why God gave the choice to disbelieve.

Who is to say the person would not change and return to the Imamiyya after a few more years with a stengthened faith and better understanding? Is an apostate who is 19 really deserving death? S/he still has much to learn, probably much ahead of him/her and could develop and return with deeper insight and a determined faith.

(wasalam)

I agree with the bold statement, justice must be seen to be done. Macisaacs opinion of course presupposes too many things about what "justice" is.

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iDevonian

Thank you for contributing.

I agree with the bold statement, justice must be seen to be done.

Perhaps. But I have a lot of respect for macisaac's views and look forward to his response.

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(bismillah)

(salam)

replicant

Thank you for your input.

Why is that understandable? Is killing someone who respectfully expresses doubts and arguments against certain Islamic beliefs and practices really so understandable, just because you or a scholar believe that these doubts and arguments are a danger to truth?

I cannot appreciate it when we pass sentences so easily. Killing for fear of other ideas is not a sign of a superior idea. We might as well force everyone to believe Islam at the point of sword - because Islam is the truth. This does not resound with me.

----------

Gypsy

Thank you for your continuing input.

Your points are valid. But allow me to give a possible countercase:

Why did Amir al-Mu'minin burn someone who believed he (as) was god? Isn't it easier to argue against it? After all, the Qur'an is clear that God is not a human being.Why not just argue the case?

You are using a single dubious character like Ibn Saba to say that Ali implemented the law of apostasy?

Why haven't we seen more cases of people being burned for apostasy? What about Ibn Taymiyyah? My question is still valid. Why hasn't those who say Allah swt posses a corporeal body be killed for apostasy?

And again, why did Ali(as) worked with Shaykhain? He snubbed Abu Bakr and Umar for six months but later on he decided to speak to them and even work together.

And you didn't give a good explanation for Imam's Ali (as) action regarding Ayesha and co. The Holy Prophet clearly said that those who don't recognising the Imam of time died the death of jahiliah" This is in the state of kafir. The Prophet also said that those who wage war against the ahl al-bayt are waging war against Allah swt.

If you read the Sunni books, you'll find a lot of blasphemous statements in their books. We are supposed to tolerate these books that takes you out from the true teaching of Islam? These books are far dangerous than anything you have. 80% of the Muslim in the world are misguided through these books.

I have never heard of any apostate misguiding 80% of Muslims in the world!

Edited by Gypsy
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(salam)

Gypsy

I sympathise with this ^ post. It makes sense. But let me differentiate the cases, with possible responses:

- the actions of the Imam with the Shaykhan was because of maṣlaḥa. He did it because of the circumstances of unity - if he had stable power like the Prophet, he would confront them

- the actions of the Imam with Ayesha was because of her repentance, and possibly maṣlaḥa

- the actions of the Imams after Imam Ali (as) was one of weakness. They pronounced rulings, but they could not carry them out

- the actions of the Shia after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn was one of weakness. They could not confront scholars of the awām like ibn Taymiyya

- however, if the Shia found someone amongst themselves who apostasised and rejected the Messenger of God, it seems they were commanded to kill the person

It seems that the Murji'a were condemned as kafir, even though they believed in God, the Prophet, the Qur'an and practiced the Shari'a. It seems rash if a Shi'a developed Murji'ite tendencies, for us to do takfir on them - but I find it incomprehensible that their blood would be permissible? Would we force them into silence because of that, bar them from expressing their views on pain of punishment?

What if a Shi'a became a Qur'anist? Would they be outside the fold of Islam? They've rejected the wilaya, the sunna, a lot of the shari'a, and do tafsir bir-ra'y. But is their blood permissible? Must they be silenced from giving arguments?

(wasalam)

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Gypsy

I sympathise with this ^ post. It makes sense. But let me differentiate the cases, with possible responses:

- the actions of the Imam with the Shaykhan was because of maṣlaḥa. He did it because of the circumstances of unity - if he had stable power like the Prophet, he would confront them

Again, this is not a valid reasoning. Remember that there was never a time in Imam Ali (as) life which was stable enough for him or the Muslims. Imam Ali became the caliph at the worse time in the Islamic history. He fought 4 wars in five years. And yet you said he had burned Ibn Saba to death for blasphemy/apostate. How many people are follower of ibn saba vs followers of Shaykhain.

- the actions of the Imam with Ayesha was because of her repentance, and possibly maṣlaḥa

We, Shias, don't believe that she repented. We don't really have any single evidence in our corpus that she even felt sorry for her action in the Jamal war. And she came out fighting again when they wanted to bury Imam Hassan (as) with his grandfather.

Ali (as) could have easily punished her in the Jamal war. And no one would blame Ali because Ayesha caused death of thousands of Muslims. Everyone knew what she did and everyone saw it with their own eyes. But, he let her go. Despite the Holy Prophet saying that those who fight Ali are disbelievers.

And what about Kharajites who were probably the earliest apostates in the Islamic history. Ali fought them but not because of apostasy but because they were going around murdering people. http://researchintoo...abel/Kharijites

- the actions of the Imams after Imam Ali (as) was one of weakness. They pronounced rulings, but they could not carry them out

- the actions of the Shia after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn was one of weakness. They could not confront scholars of the awām like ibn Taymiyya

I don't know about that. As far as I know, even the non-Shia scholars think ibn Taymiyyah was a bit crazy with his idea of a walking and a sitting god. And it was the Sunnis who first brought Ibn Taymiyyah in for questioning about his faith.

- however, if the Shia found someone amongst themselves who apostasised and rejected the Messenger of God, it seems they were commanded to kill the person

I don't know about this. Do you know the number of Ghulats who used to circle around our Imams? These Ghulats were condemned by our Imams and we are told to stay away from them. I am not sure how many of them were killed though. But you can correct me on this if you have a reference to this.

It seems that the Murji'a were condemned as kafir, even though they believed in God, the Prophet, the Qur'an and practiced the Shari'a. It seems rash if a Shi'a developed Murji'ite tendencies, for us to do takfir on them - but I find it incomprehensible that their blood would be permissible? Would we force them into silence because of that, bar them from expressing their views on pain of punishment?

In general people who promoted false belief about Islam and the the ahl al-bayt were condemned by our Imams. The list of those who were condemned is very long which included Kharajite, Murjiyah, Zaydis Batris, Sufis, Ghulats, Ismailis and also Sunnis (mostly their leaders/scholars).

The Imams in general told the people to stay away from them and not listen to their false doctrine even though it may seem attractive to you. They didn't promote killing anyone; they speak about harsh punishments awaiting those who perverted the pure teaching of Islam. But again most of our Imams never become caliph of land. The one that did rule the nation like Imam Ali (as) was not interested to prosecute deviant people because of their faith.

What if a Shi'a became a Qur'anist? Would they be outside the fold of Islam? They've rejected the wilaya, the sunna, a lot of the shari'a, and do tafsir bir-ra'y. But is their blood permissible? Must they be silenced from giving arguments?

I think you can easily counter all their arguments without shedding anyone's blood. All you need to do is present facts. Present Islam and clarify their misunderstanding. No need to kill people who are extremely ignorant about Islam. Even if they choose to stick with their version of the Islamic religion then you can't do much.

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(salam)

Gypsy

Very convincing, sister. Could you now please reconcile that with this:

[ 34897 ] 7 ـ وعن الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار ، عن سهل بن زياد ـ في حديث ـ أن أبا الحسن العسكري ( عليه السلام ) كتب إلى بعض أصحابنا في كتاب في حق الغلاة ، قال : وإن وجدت من أحد منهم خلوة فاشدخ رأسه بالصخرة .

7 – And from al-Husayn b. al-Husayn b. Bundar from Sahl b. Ziyad in a hadith wherein Abu ‘l-Hasan al-`Askari عليه السلام wrote to some of our companions in a writing regarding the truth of the ghulat. He said: And if you find one of them alone, then smash his head with a rock.

Perhaps macisaac or anyone who has researched this could provide other examples if they exist, apart from the ones here: http://www.tashayyu..../hudud/apostasy .

PS. Is there no body else to defend the Laws of Apostasy, or give a different slant to it?

(wasalam)

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Did the Ghulat got his head smashed? As far as I remember from my reading, we had lots of Ghulats in the past. Any documented case of any ghulats having their head smashed?

Also, we still have some Ghulats in the modern time living in Syria. They enjoy the freedom of religion. No Shia scholars have pronounced death fatwa on them.

Edited by Gypsy
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I am asking if the directive from the Imam was carried out or not. So far you only have one single report of someone being killed for apostasy.

I've given you plenty of examples where people were not killed for turning against Islam. I honestly don't know why we have conflicting report on this issue. Isn't this the reason why you started this topic? To find out where we stand?

Edited by Gypsy
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(bismillah)

(salam)

Gypsy

I honestly don't know why we have conflicting report on this issue. Isn't this the reason why you started this topic? To find out where we stand?

Yes. I think you have brought forth good points. But like this, it seems that the consensus of scholars on the death penalty for apostasy or the death penalty for publicly (but respectfully) arguing against Islam is unfounded. But it cannot be so.

There must be other traditions on this topic which unequivocally condemn an apostate or a public proselytiser to death.

I wish others contributed too.

Edited by Jebreil
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The effect of the apsotacy laws on the Islamic world is difficult to judge. For all we know, without these laws Islam would be weaker today and there would be fewer muslims. Take Ibn Saba, if Imam Ali hadnt killed him, would there be far more people who take Imam Ali to be God today? Maybe. For all we know, killing Ibn Saba saved hundreds of thousands of Muslims from misguidance over the last 1400 years. Given that the historical effects of these laws is difficult to judge, I wouldnt be surprised if their effects were overall positive. But if they were overall positive, then thats an argument in their favour. Of course it could be that the effects of these laws were beneficial in the past, but not so in the present.

Edited by .InshAllah.
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(bismillah)

(salam)

Inshallah

Interesting brother. Thanks for the contribution.

I'm unsure about the argument you imply.

Wouldn't forcing everyone to be Muslim by the sword 1000 years ago (or even now if we could?) save many future generations? Would that be proper? How instrumentalist can we become? When do the ends stop justifying the means?

If the Muslim nations were the superpower today, would it be Islamic to impose Islam on everyone - including the people of the book - for the sake of future generations? If not, why not?

(wasalam)

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Im starting with the assumption that these are divine laws, and Im asking myself 'what would justify these laws?'. There isnt any reason to believe that forcing everyone to be muslim by the sword is a divine law, so the question doesnt arise. But in any case its harder to see how following such a law would be overall beneficial compared to following apostacy laws, because it involves more force and coercion, and consequently people are more likely to rebel against it. For all we know, such a law would be overall detrimental.

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It's an interesting topic.

Let's say there is a person who believed in 'Religion X', and lived in a country that was run by this religion.

Let's say he converted to Islam and according to the laws of 'Religion X', he had to be killed for apostasy.

All of us Muslims around the world would be protesting outside the embassys of this country and accusing this country of oppression, violating human rights and killing people just because of their beliefs and not having freedom.

However, when an Islamic State kills apostates, then some Muslims think that is fine.

I find that inconsistent.

Edited by Replicant
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(bismillah)

(salam)

But the rationale for the laws of apostasy was: For all we know, killing Ibn Saba saved hundreds of thousands of Muslims from misguidance over the last 1400 years

But by forcing the Christians and Jews of Arabia to become Muslim (rather than just pay jizya), the Prophet would also save hundreds of thousands from being trinitarians and other errors. This would not need any force beyond the capacity they already had.

The utilitarian logic can be applied in both situations. My point is: do the ends really justify the means here?

If we had such firepower to blast our enemies, would we be justified in compelling others to profess Islam (regardless of what they felt in their hearts)? Is that the religion we are following? I'm deeply struggling here.

This rationale, by itself, does not appear to me to be excellent. (but thank you for bringing it up) First, it is presumptive. Second, it could be applied to other non-existent laws. Third, Gypsy gave examples where the Prophet or the Imams or Shi'i scholars did not confront certain persons despite the fact that they are the reason why 80% of the Muslim population today are misguided. Fourth, and this is crucial, it relies on force and fear to save the truth, and there is something deeply unsettling about that. Other counterarguments have been presented before.

I cannot uphold that the laws of apostasy make sense, because it presupposes Islam is clearly and obviously true to everyone. I do not think it is so objectively manifest. Evidently, it is not. I also cannot see the value of reasoning, if it is to be backed up by a gun. There is also the element of choice. My children, born from a Muslim, cannot choose to be anything but a Muslim; they are compelled in their religion. If seen practicing another religion, they are pronounced fitri apostates and the execution drums roll. But this is compulsion in religion - no doubt. Where goeth human dignity?

(wasalam)

Edited by Jebreil
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It's an interesting topic.

Let's say there is a person who believed in 'Religion X', and lived in a country that was run by this religion.

Let's say he converted to Islam and according to the laws of 'Religion X', he had to be killed for apostasy.

All of us Muslims around the world would be protesting outside the embassys of this country and accusing this country of oppression, violating human rights and killing people just because of their beliefs and not having freedom.

However, when an Islamic State kills apostates, then some Muslims think that is fine.

I find that inconsistent.

If the principle was 'It's fine for a state to kill apostates from the religion of that state' then yes, there would be inconsistency. But that isnt the principle. The principle is 'It's fine to kill apostates from Islam'. Someone who believes the latter is not inconsistent in objecting to the killing of converts to Islam because there is no contradiction involved. Such a person may reason: its right to convert to the true religion, and evil to kill converts to the true religion. Islam is the true religion, so its evil to kill converts to Islam.

(bismillah)

(salam)

But the rationale for the laws of apostasy was: For all we know, killing Ibn Saba saved hundreds of thousands of Muslims from misguidance over the last 1400 years

The advocate of apostacy laws may think like this.

[Person a] Hadith say apostates should be killed, so we should kill apostates.

[Person b] Why do we have such laws?

[Person a] For all we know the effects of these laws has been overall positive.

But by forcing the Christians and Jews of Arabia to become Muslim (rather than just pay jizya), the Prophet would also save hundreds of thousands from being trinitarians and other errors. This would not need any force beyond the capacity they already had.

[Person a] But he didnt.

[Person b] Why?

[Person a] For all we know the effects of such actions would have been overall negative

The utilitarian logic can be applied in both situations. My point is: do the ends really justify the means here?

Note that its not the consequentialist logic that is the ultimate reason to believe such laws, its the hadith. The consequentialist logic is just there to help in understanding these laws. Do the ends justify the means? For all we know, yes.

This rationale, by itself, does not appear to me to be excellent. (but thank you for bringing it up) First, it is presumptive.

We're not starting from a blank slate and trying to figure out with reason alone what the laws should be. We are starting from the assumption that apostacy laws are divine laws (based on hadith), and then thinking about what would justify them. This process of trying to figure out a rational justification can be presumptive, because its not the source of our acceptance of the apostacy laws (hadith are).

Second, it could be applied to other non-existent laws.

But there would be no reason to accept these non-existent laws (there are no hadith or verses about them), and probably good reason to reject them.

Third, Gypsy gave examples where the Prophet or the Imams or Shi'i scholars did not confront certain persons despite the fact that they are the reason why 80% of the Muslim population today are misguided.

For all we know, confronting them would have done more damage than good.

Fourth, and this is crucial, it relies on force and fear to save the truth, and there is something deeply unsettling about that. Other counterarguments have been presented before.

Its not always wrong to save the truth by fear or force. Doesnt the Quran threaten those who spread lies about the truth with hell? When the value of whats at stake is very great, threats of punishment can be justified. You said that speech that endangers the existence of an Islamic state can warrant the application of apostacy laws. But for all we know, without these laws there would be no Islam state at all, because Islam would be weaker, there would be fewer muslims, or fewer Shia.

I cannot uphold that the laws of apostasy make sense, because it presupposes Islam is clearly and obviously true to everyone.

Not necessarily. It could be the case that most apostates are not evil in their apostacy, but given the damage they would do by professing their apostacy in the long run, killing them is the right thing to do.

nb, in saying the above Im not professing any opinion on the ultimate validity of the apostacy laws which depends amongst other things on a comprehensive investigation of Islamic texts.

I suppose I should also point out that Im not advocating that anyone should go out and kill or harm apostates.

Edited by .InshAllah.
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If the principle was 'It's fine for a state to kill apostates from the religion of that state' then yes, there would be inconsistency. But that isnt the principle. The principle is 'It's fine to kill apostates from Islam'. Someone who believes the latter is not inconsistent in objecting to the killing of converts to Islam because there is no contradiction involved. Such a person may reason: its right to convert to the true religion, and evil to kill converts to the true religion. Islam is the true religion, so its evil to kill converts to Islam.

Put it this way - if we were not Muslims, we would deem Muslim countries who kill apostates as violating human rights.

If a 'Christian State' killed apostates who were turning into Muslims, we would be protesting against this country for oppression.

At the end of the day, all religions believe they are correct.

A Christian State may kill people who apostasize because they believe Christianity is the true religion and it's a crime to believe in anything else.

A Jewish State may kill people who apostasize because they believe Judaism is the true religion and it's a crime to believe in anything else.

An Islamic State may kill people who apostasize because they believe Islam is the true religion and it's a crime to believe in anything else.

As long as you're not harming anyone else and not violating anyone else's rights, then I find it hard to fathom why you should be killed for changing your religion.

God knows best.

Edited by Replicant
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(bismillah)

(salam)

Gypsy

I found this on a website:

«من بدّل دینه فاقتلوه» Whosoever changes his religion, kill him. (- Messenger of God (pbuh) - reported in Wasa'il ash-Shi`a)

(مستدرک وسایل الشیعه جلد 8 صفحه163باب45حدیث

Any thoughts?

Inshallah

Thank you for the continuing contribution.

My response to Person 'a' would be: no, we don't know. You suppose.

Note that its not the consequentialist logic that is the ultimate reason to believe such laws, its the hadith. The consequentialist logic is just there to help in understanding these laws. Do the ends justify the means? For all we know, yes.

Assuming the hadith, you asked for a possible justification - that the law was the means producing an overall positive consequence (the end) and, because good ends justify the means, therefore the consequence justifies the law.

However, you are implictly presuming that the ends justify the means. We have no naṣṣ that this is so. The ends do not always justify the means. The laws against torture teach us that.

I would have to differ thusly: We do not know that the ends justify the means. It is very counter-intuitive - even inhumane - to think that it does. It can be argued on the basis of certain rulings that the principle is even unIslamic. Therefore, I find it problematic to speculate any rationale based on that principle.

This process of trying to figure out a rational justification can be presumptive, because its not the source of our acceptance of the apostacy laws (hadith are).

But one problem I have with the rationale is that you are speculating that this is the reason for the law. But is it? This is why I call it presumptive.

But there would be no reason to accept these non-existent laws (there are no hadith or verses about them), and probably good reason to reject them.

If your rationale is what creates that law, it should create the other law. I fail to see a difference. The rationale yields both results.

Not necessarily. It could be the case that most apostates are not evil in their apostacy, but given the damage they would do by professing their apostacy in the long run, killing them is the right thing to do.

This needs to be proven.

There are, in my opinion, strong counterarguments against this which have been presented before. Here, Gypsy's counterarguments also apply, where dangerous ideologues were not killed despite their danger for the future of Islam. Also, supposing there is danger in people professing different ideas, isn't this a sign of weakness by the Religion of Reason to kill its ideological dissidents because they wish to argue their case? This is nothing short of compulsion. Is this honest? Is this humane?

I struggle to see why God just didn't create everyone Muslim if He wanted people to be forced to believe or have their voices silenced on pain of severe punishment.

nb, in saying the above Im not professing any opinion on the validity of the apostacy laws. That ultimately depends on the comprehensive investigation of the Islam texts.

Inshallah you could contribute in that as well.

replicant

God knows best.

But God speaks through verses and traditions. Can you reconcile?

(wasalam)

Edited by Jebreil
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Guys, guys you need to take a step back here.

There are fundamental definitive muhkam laws in the Qur'an that state 'no compulsion in religion, the right path is clearrly distinct from the crooked', 'come together to a common word..' etc

Any hadith that goes against these verses must be anaylsed further and put along side other narrations dealing with the same subject. as I said before, you have to understand the context of these narrations and the verify the Prophets' or Imams' intentions with either applying or not applying these laws. Remember any narration going against what the Quran states, is worthless.

Now apparently there are narrations with this regard related to Ibn Abi 'l-'Awjã' (during the days of Imam Ja'far as-Sãdiq) and Ishãq al-Kindi (during the days of Imam Hasan al-'Askari). I couldn't find them, maybe someone can help. But the basic idea is that once you've accpted Islam, and you're alligned with your fitrah, there's no turning back. That's a fact as well. Treason comes to mind. Now treason is punishable by death in some countries. Do you get the same outrage about that as you do for apostacy?

Another thing that comes to mind is Salman Rushdie. But this goes back to my point about muharibah, and therefore 'to us', it makes more sense that the death penalty should be upheld. Tainting the purity of Islam in such a way goes beyond just keeping yourself to yourself or your family and announcing Islam isn't for you....

Another thing, if a person has been through the effort and time (in some cases risking total rejection from his family and near ones) to accept Islam, announces it to the world, and then rejects it after some time...what kind of submission is that? could we consider that person serious in his pursuit? can we consider people born into Islam and never having practised the religion TRUE apostates? Compare that to those that publicly reject and denounce Islam after leaving it and therby causing fitnah...

Some stuff to think about...

some more background (from Seyyed M Rizvi):

Murtad can be of two types: fitri and milli.

(1) Murtad Fitri means a person born of a Muslim parent and then he rejects Islam. Fitri means nature or natural. The term "murtad fitri" implies that the person has apostated from his nature, the nature of believing in God.

(2) "Murtad Milli" means a person who converted to Islam and then later on he rejects Islam. Milli is from millat which means a community. The term "murtad milli" implies that the person has apostated from his community.

In the first case, the apostacy is like treason against God; whereas in the second case, the apostacy is like treason against the Muslim community. Probably, that is why there is also a difference in dealing with these two kinds of murtads:

A former kãfir who became a Muslim and then apostates (Murtad Milli) is given a second chance; if he repents, then he is not to be killed.

But one who is born as a Muslim and then apostates (Murtad Fitri) he is to be killed even if he repents. His repentance might be accepted by Allãh but he still has to go through the punishment prescribed for his treason in this world.

This punishment is only applicable in case of apostacy by men; in case of women, the punishment is not death but life imprisonment. And if such a woman repents, then her repentance is accepted and the punishment is suspended.

In the writings of some of the mujtahideen, I have sensed that the punishment of a murtad is to be implemented only in dãru 'l-Islãm (i.e., the Muslim world) and not if the murtad flees to dãru 'l-kufr (i.e., the abode of kufr).

What are the sources for these laws?

The sources on which these punishments have been outlined in the sharí'a are the authentic and reliable ahãdíth from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Those who know Arabic and have the aptitude to handle the fiqh istidlãli text may refer to the late Ayatullãh al-Khu'i's Takmilatu Minhãju 's-Salihiyn, vol. 1, pp. 324-337 for the ahãdith used by our jurists.

This is not a new issue or a controversial one among the Shi'a jurists. Even the scholars of the past centuries had the same views; for example, Shaykh at-Tusi (d. 460 AH) in an-Nihãya; Ibn Idris (d. 598 A.H.) in as-Sarã'ir; Ibn Hamza at-Tusi in al-Wasila, al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli (d. 676 A.H.) in Sharãya'u 'l-Islãm, al-'Allãma al-Hilli (d. 726 A.H.) in Qawã'idu 'l-Ahkãm, and the First Martyr (d. 786 A.H.) and the Second Martyr in Sharhu 'l-Lum'ati 'd-Dimishqiyya.

Those who might suspect a division on this issue between the "usuli" and the "akhbãri" schools, they should know that even the muhaddithin have chapters in their collections of hadith on "the punishment for murtad" citing the ahãdíth on this subject. See, for example, Shaykh Hurr al-'Ãmili, who has seven pages of ahãdíth under the title "abwãb haddi 'l-murtad - sections on the punishment for murtad" in volume 18 of his Wasã'ilu 'sh-Shí'a.

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