The Book of Prof Shad.docx

And kill applies only if they withdraw not from you

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and kill applies only if “they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands”. Surah 4:137 talks of repeated acts of apostasy. “Those who believe and then disbelieve and then again disbelieve and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them…” S A Rahman, former Chief Justice of Pakistan, points out that this verse is conclusive evidence that the Qur’an could not have contemplated the killing of the apostate for his act of defection. Otherwise there would not be a history of repeated conversions. 64 Surah 3:91 talks of “those who reject faith and die rejecting”. Surah 2:217 talks of those who “die in unbelief”. This is evidence that Allah envisages the natural death of the apostate without state intervention to kill him. Surah 3:89 speaks of the mercy and forgiveness of God for those who repent and make amends. Add to these verses other exquisite passages like “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Surah 2:256). “Unto you your religion, unto me mine” (Surah109:6). “If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will thou then compel mankind against their will to believe!” (Surah10:99). In innumerable passages the Holy Qur’an reminded Prophet Muhammad that he was only a warner (Surah 27:92). His duty was to draw people’s attention to Allah. But it was not the Prophet’s duty to use force to make people believe or to manage their affairs (Surahs 39:41; 88:21&22; 27:92). “Thy duty is to make the message reach them. It is our part to call them to account” (Surah 13:40). 63 The Holy Qur’an: Text and Translation by ‘Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur, 1994 64 S A Rahman, Punishment of Apostasy in Islam , The Other Press, KL, 2006, pp. 57-58 63
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It is clear, therefore, that in the Holy Qur’an apostasy is a sin (punishable in the hereafter) and not a crime (punishable by the state). Islam is a religion of persuasion, not force. The proposal to criminalise apostasy runs counter to the spirit of the Qur’an which is one of tolerance for the disbeliever. Despite the absence of a worldly punishment for murtads (apostates) in the Holy Qur’an, many Muslim jurists rely on two known hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet) that apostates should be advised, imprisoned and if they still persist, then beheaded. Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds, of course, deserve the highest veneration. But a very large number of scholars have pointed out that there is incontrovertible evidence of many instances when the Prophet allowed apostates to go without punishing them. 65 Some scholars assert that Prophet Muhammad never put anyone to death for apostasy per se. Al-Zayla’i says that “the reference in the hadith is to one who fights against us”. 66 Only the belligerent murtad who is involved in warring against the Muslims is to be killed. 67 “Mere change of faith, if peaceful, cannot be visited with any punishment”. 68 “The delinquents contemplated in the hadith
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