apostasypaper3

apostasypaper3 - Religion 194B Installment 3 3/28/07...

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Religion 194B Installment 3 3/28/07 Apostasy in Modern Islamic Jurisprudence The issue of apostasy in Islamic law is not merely one that took place in pre- modern juristic discourse. The issue has arisen in recent years in the post-Taliban nation of Afghanistan in the case of Abdul Rahman and in Egypt with the case of Islamic Studies Professor Abu Zayd. The consensus of the clerics in these countries to publicly try apostates with the intention to procure a death sentence is not only an issue of debate with regards to the accurate interpretation and formation of Shari’ah by the pre-modern Jurists. This practice causes conflict between human rights groups quoting Article 18 of the UDHR backed by western governments and the local authorities that maintain the death penalty for apostasy. In most Islamic states however, the issue of apostasy is no longer as prevalent as in the past, although it still remains an issue of great importance to the scholar of Islam and the prospective evangelist alike. First, we will observe the case of Abdul Rahman and analyze the factors that brought this case to the forefront of international newsrooms, western Christian discourse, and garnered criticism from both Islam and non-Islamic sources. Apostasy in Afghanistan The post-Taliban Afghani government is based on Shari’ah law; the full name of the nation is “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” 1 The preamble to the country’s constitution reads “We the people of Afghanistan: 1. With firm faith in God Almighty 1 “Afghanistan Constitution.” 3/27/07. <http://expired.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/af00000_.html >.
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2 and…in the sacred religion of Islam.” 2 In other words, Afghanistan fits the claim by noted late Islamic scholar and death penalty proponent Mawdudi that Islam is, “no mere ‘religion’ but is a state which is constructed on a religion and the authority of its principles rather than on the authority of a family, clan or people.” 3 The Hanafi school of Islam calls for the death penalty if the apostate is male, and if he is of sound mind. 4 It is under this tradition in local law that Abdul Rahman a Christian convert from Islam was arrested and put on trial for apostasy in February of 2006. 5
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course RELIGION 194B taught by Professor Moosa during the Spring '07 term at Duke.

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apostasypaper3 - Religion 194B Installment 3 3/28/07...

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