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According to Islam, an apostate must be killed. Really!

While surfing the Internet, I decided to visit one of the popular sites aimed at the youth of our community.  I went to the forum and had a look at the different categories, which included a ‘special guests’ section.  The special guests included a number of popular speakers with a wide following in our community and the questions posed to them were mainly of a  jurisprudential nature such as “are Chess and other board games haram?” and “is Music haram?”.  The guests’ responses to such questions were quotations and edicts from the Maraji’, which made me wonder what added value these ‘special guests’ were providing.  I would have thought that with their intellectual ability, Islamic scholarship coupled with their Western upbringing, they would have been able to offer a new thinking or different perspective to such questions rather than regurgitating what has been established for the past 900 years or so.  However, this is not what I want to address in this blog.  I was greatly concerned when I read one of the special guest’s response to a well thought-out question posed by a young man, who judging by his username, is 21 years old:

Does the killing of an apostate contradict these verses:

There is no compulsion in religion [2:256]
Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve [18:29]
Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path. [4:137]

With regards to the last verse, how could they believe, then disbelieve, and then believe, if they are killed as apostates?

The guest responds in a somewhat long fashion, essentially saying that this is what the shar’ia stipulates and therefore must be done. He also equates apostasy to treason, and since treason is punishable by death in many countries, the same case applies to apostasy. Treason, according to the Cambridge dictionary is defined as “(the crime of) showing no loyalty to your country, especially by helping its enemies or attempting to defeat its government”. How can one then infer based on this definition that irtidad equates to treason? A government, nation-state, are modern social constructs. Islam is a system of beliefs which people ascribe to and transcends governments, states and countries. Islam as a system of belief and a state are completely different things, so how is it possible to commit treason against a system of beliefs? The notion is ludicrous. And even if we make an assumption that there exists an Islamic state and an Islamic government (whatever that may mean?), why must we assume that the apostate’s opposition to Islam is of a political nature? Is it hard to believe that one may undergo a certain experience, bereavement, set-back, or an intellectual difference with the theological principles of Islam which my make him or her lose their faith without taking a political stance against the ruling government?

Our guest, who argues strongly for the death penalty for an apostate and a person who committed treason, will also argue strongly against the murder of Muhammad Baqir Sadr in 1979 or many of the opposition figures which Saddam killed in his brutal reign of Iraq. It can be argued that Baqir Sadr and the opposition figures were committing treason against the state? They were seeking to bring down the regime and assisted the enemy (Iran) to defeat the government. Since they committed treason, their murder was justified, according to the logic of our guest. To think this way is completely abhorrent in Islam. No man or woman should be killed for what they believe in. A life is sacred.
It is true that high treason is considered to be the most serious of offences and is met with death in many countries. However, this does not mean the punishment is correct and our guest cannot use it as a justification to espouse death to apostasy. In the UK, the last treason trial was that of William Joyce, who was executed in 1946. Since the 1998 Criminal Justice Bill became law, the maximum sentence for high treason in the UK has been life imprisonment. Killing a person because they simply differ with you in his their religious belief is offensive to our modern human sensibilities, especially in the 21st century when a great deal of emphasis is placed on universal human rights.
Back to our ‘special guest’. In his argument advocating the death of an apostate, he did not put forward a single Qur’anic verse to support the argument for killing an apostate, because it simply does not exist. The freedom to convert to another faith after accepting Islam, even to convert back to polytheism or atheism, is left to man’s essential free choice. It is very logical: if freedom of belief is guaranteed and secured against enforcement, the individual’s right to change his or her religion is protected. However, it is also expected in a religious text like the Qur’an that such an act will be subject to punishment in the life after. There is no immediate worldly penalty mentioned for such an act in the Qur’an. Such a penalty as prosecution or execution was later introduced by jurists and institutionalised as part of the faith.

Islam is a religion of freedom. I believe in it and follow it wholeheartedly because my heart and mind have accepted it. We should teach our youth to love this beautiful religion, which espouses tolerance, peace and love and not hatred and bloodshed. Our youth are getting brainwashed these people. They look up to them and follow them. These people have a HUGE responsibility on their shoulders, as one day they will face the ultimate Power who will question them on their actions and their words. I hope and pray they use their power and influence in the community in the most fruitful way.

35 Comments on “According to Islam, an apostate must be killed. Really!”

  1. Ali Latif May 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    I listened to an interesting take on this issue the other day. A PHD-level Islamic scholar suggested that the interpretation of the punishment for apostacy is context-specific. The link between apostacy and treason was made when the Islamic world was waged in war and there was a degree of existentialist threat. He cautiously suggested revising this link…best of luck to him.

  2. Ali_89 May 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Thanks for this Raeid, I agreed with almost everything you’ve mentioned. As you might have noticed by my username, I was the one who originally asked the question on the site (a long time ago).

    About 6 years ago when I was seeking to strengthen my understanding of Islam, I found this concept of killing an apostate completely illogical and confusing at the time, which I found perplexing at the time since Islam is a very logical belief system. After further research, I discovered how unIslamic this apostate law is.

    You mentioned: “Such a penalty as prosecution or execution was later introduced by jurists and institutionalised as part of the faith.” Do you have a reference to back this up? As I was informed that this originated during the Prophets time in Medina, but under completely different circumstances, and the explanation goes as follows:

    During a period of time in the Prophets life when Islam was growing, large groups of non-Muslims had decided to disingenuously convert to Islam and then pretend to leave the religion soon after their apparent conversion, to spread great confusion amongst Muslims. This is shown in the Quran:

    [3:72] A section of the People of the Book say: “Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they (Muslims) may (themselves) Turn back;

    To prevent this from occuring, it was said that anyone who chose to convert away from Islam should either leave the city or stay quiet – otherwise (unless I am mistaken) the death penalty was assigned for it.

    I don’t see how this could ever apply in today’s world. Applying it now is a sign of great insecurity and totally counterproductive, as it suggests Islam prohibits free thought and essentially “traps” someone into a religion. Its nonsense, all over the Quran it mentions the gift that is chosing to belief or disbelieve. Comparing it to treason just doesn’t wash.

    and btw – I’m 20, not 21 😉

  3. anonymous May 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    It is refreshing to see enquisting minds like yours thinking about the real values of Islam. This sort of reflection is what keeps the religion current, alive and trully eternal. It is not a surprise that the guest you talk about seems to merely repeat and copy what has been said before. Unfortunately, this is part of the process. The promise lies in people like you Mr Ghaleb and Mr Ali_89 and many others.

  4. Shaker May 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    The punishment for apostasy is not the Quran, but it is mentioned in dozens upon dozens of hadiths, and is accepted by all Shia scholars except a few contemporary ones. In fact, the Shia are especially harsh on the matter when compared to Sunnis. They say, someone who is born Muslim and leaves should be killed even if he repents.

    Look at this for example in Al-Faqih:

    And in the riwaya of Musa b. Bakr from al-Fudayl from Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام that a man from the Muslims became Christian. So `Ali عليه السلام came upon him and sought his repentance, and he refused him. So he seized him by his hair and said: Trample [upon him] servants of Allah! So he was trampled until he died.

    And `Ali عليه السلام said: When the father accepts Islam the child is drawn to Islam. So whoever of his children becomes mature, he is called to Islam, and if he refuses, he is killed. And if the child accepts Islam his parents are not drawn, and there is no inheritance between them.

    and there are many more examples.

  5. Ali_89 May 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    You will find all sorts of hadiths in hadith books and obviously not all would be authentic. Its not wise to self-evaluate the controversial ones without analysing the commentary, context, etc. Its a whole science in itself and views will differ. I could argue the verses already stated from the Quran would suggest otherwise.

    My understanding is that it is the majority of scholars’ opinion based on that circumstance in the Prophets time, which is clearly outdated since it cannot be applied now. My understanding is that they still maintain that an apostate should not be killed if they leave the city/country, and it could only happen under an Islamic government (whatever that is).

    I think a lot of reform is required in the scholarly world in this regard.

    As for mentioning that the Shia are particularly harsh compared to Sunnis, I’ve never heard that one before. The apostasy issue is one that transcends arguments about what the Shia and Sunni believe on this issue, because it is almost practically the same thing. You’ll find similar sorts of hadiths in Sahih Bukhari (eg. http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/083.sbt.html#009.083.017).

  6. Mohammed Abdullah May 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Ammar Nakshawani gave an interesting talk on the subject, and addresses the issue in the context of modern debate.
    http://www.sayedammar.com/main/zina/Ramadhan%20-%202009

    It’s clear most people have a natural propensity to object to the idea that people should be punished (never mind killed) for changing religious beliefs, given that belief is non-volitional. Someone may retort that it’s not (dis)belief, but action that is punished, in the same way that it is not homosexuality itself but homosexual acts in the presence of witnesses that is punished. However, every generation re-eveluates the beliefs handed down to it, and avenues for dissent should always exist.

  7. Shaker May 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    We are faced with such a large number of similar hadiths, all of which appear to be more wide-ranging and less conditional than you seem to be implying, so it is not possible to deflect the issue by raising context, commentary or authenicity. They seem to be quite straightforward and as far as I am aware, accepted by scholars (the ruling is anyway). Different people can interpret the Quran in different ways; hadiths serve as a way to get a better idea of which interpretation is closer to reality, and this makes it difficult to brush off the punishment for apostasy as being something brought in and institutionalised by later scholars or governments. A lot of the Shia hadith at least are by Imams who did not have any political power; their circumstances were quite different from that of the Prophet and Imam Ali.
    I find it a bit disingenuous to dismiss it as having no basis in the religion, or being restricted to those trying to destroy the religion from within during the Prophet’s time, when all these texts and opinions contradict that, but I’m hoping to see how the two are reconciled.

    http://www.tashayyu.org/hadiths/hudud/apostasy/from-al-faqih

    I heard Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام saying: Every Muslim from amongst the Muslims who apostasies from Islam and abjures Muhammad (sawas) his prophethood and denies him, then verily his blood is allowed to everyone who heard that from him. And his wife is clear from him so she is not to go near him and his property is divided amongst his heirs. And his wife performs the `idda of the one whose husband has died. And it is upon the Imam to kill him if he comes by him and his repentance is not sought.

    What I meant by harshness is that Sunnis allow the ‘apostate’ three days to ‘repent’ even if he was born Muslim, whereas the Shia would not offer him that opportunity and execute him regardless.

  8. Ali_89 May 15, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    The conditions that I mentioned (e.g. they are not to be followed if they leave; only in an Islamic government; they declare their non-belief openly) isn’t conditions that I invented, its what is apart of Islamic law. I don’t have the hadiths at hand where this is supported, but it is apart of the general consensus as far as I am aware.

    I stated a Quranic verse which showed what vast numbers of non-Muslims were doing during that time in a plot to convert the Muslims away from their faith, and then such a law was introduced at the time. If it was to be generic law for all times, I suppose it should have been in place instantly with the establishment of the Islamic state during the Prophets time rather than in response to that movement.

    I wouldn’t describe allowing an extra 3 days as being particularly lenient in comparison.

  9. Yusr Jawad May 15, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    That’s rather strange that, Imam Ali ‘seizing’ someone by the hair and so on, the brutality demonstrated in that narration is not characteristic of piety and infallibility. I’m not sure which Imam Ali is referred to here, but Imam Ali; commander of the faithful, the epitomy of mercy, compassion and humaneness?
    Now if we’re going to go ahead and quote ‘contextless’ narrations I could counter your narrations with numerous ones such as Imam Ali’s final words, as I’m sure you’ve heard and read umpteen times ‘Have mercy on your prisoner, my son, and treat him with pity and sympathy, Can you not see that he is trembling with fear and panic”. Or “Mercy and kindness are our traits. Feed him from your food and give him a drink from your water. Don’t tie his hands or his feet.” These ofcourse all referred to his killer, and themselves would have to be interpreted according to setting.
    Even if indeed this event did take place, and this harsh stance was necessary at a given circumstance, to recount this narration outside of its context and specific conditions and to take it at simple face value, Well I do find that to be somewhat insulting; to my intelligence aswell as my faith.

  10. Shaker May 15, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    I was not trying to construct any sort of historical record from the narration, much less negate Imam Ali’s humanity and compassion which is beyond doubt. I was simply trying to put forth what the scholarly texts and canonical collections of hadith say about the topic at hand, irrespective of the historicity of particular anecdotes. There are a vast number of narrations supporting the death penalty for male apostates and “harsh imprisonment” for female ones, and admittedly brutality would seem to be a recurring theme. They are hardly without context; it is clearly in the straightforward context of dealing with various apostates or rulings on their status. If there is a third angle which I am not seeing, please mention it. I did not make up any of these narrations nor bring them up in isolation, but was simply trying to figure how the Islamic opposition to the death penalty for apostasy can be sustained in light of apparently strong support of it both in hadith and among the scholars.

  11. Hayder al-Khoei May 15, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    This conversation is one of the reasons why I am vehemently against any Islamic state being established before the Imam returns. People are killed, others are stoned and hands are chopped off because some Islamofascist genius reads a verse in the Quran or hadith from a 1,000 year old textbook and decides to force his interpretation of this beautiful religion on everyone else with the pompous self-righteousness of someone who has been touched by God and given divine right to adjudicate and execute.

  12. Mohammed Abdullah May 15, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    I don’t get this concept of waiting for the return of an Imam in order to establish an Islamic state. I mean supposedly, Islam was delivered in it’s complete form 1400 yeas ago, including rules on shariah that do include the death penality, lashing and cutting hands of the thief. Now we are supposed to believe that for the last 1150+ years of the occultation these laws are suspended or something? So the vast majority of the time Islamic laws don’t actually apply? What was the point? And why was this massively long suspension of the laws not elucidated and clarified by the Prophet. It’s not like the Prophet said, “here is Shariah, apply it for the next ~250 years, then put it on hold until further notice.” An objective reading would tell us that he very much intended to establish Islam and the Islamic state there and then, and to say that we should put it on hold until an Imam returns would place considerable burden of proof on the person making that claim. Why would we need to wait for an Imam any way, we can’t we do it ourselves? If it is the best and most just system, shouldn’t we be working towards it, even if we don’t get it completely right, why is it all or nothing? And are you telling me these laws that you find reprehensible now are suddenly going to become more palatable once the Imam returns? It all seems like a huge cop-out to me.

  13. Shaker May 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    If the Islamic government we aspire to or dream of in the future involves killing and stoning all shades of people (don’t we speak of human rights being universal), then I wouldn’t want to be part of it, whoever it is led by. It is not sufficient to dismiss more-or-less undisputed laws by talking about Islam’s beauty or mercy, because in that case you would be following beauty and mercy (or your interpretations of it), not Islam, nor can we delay the discussion until the return of the 12th Imam when faced with the teachings of his predecessors now.

  14. Hayder al-Khoei May 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    ‘I don’t get this concept of waiting for the return of an Imam in order to establish an Islamic state.’

    Simple equations.

    Man = imperfect
    Islam = perfect
    Imam = perfect

    Man x Islam = imperfect
    Imam x Islam = perfect

    Of course not all laws are suspended. Prayers, fasting, hajj etc carry on as normal, but the political rule of any man, who is not infallible, in the name of God is fundamentally flawed. The burden of proof is not on the vast majority of scholars who have rejected unlimited guardianship of the jurist (precisely because there is no evidence) but rather the burden of proof is on the tiny minority of scholars who say they have a semi-divine right to rule. You are looking at this backwards.

    The development of unlimited Wilayat al-Faqih has been the result of an evolution of hundreds of years of jurisprudential debate from as far back as the early scholars of the 13th century such as Tusi and Hilli to the relatively more contemporary ones such as Naraqi and Naeni.

    The Saffavid empire complicated things because a viable ‘Shia’ state was created but, even if we ignore the countless massacres and slaughter of innocent people the Saffavids committed (all in the name of Islam and Shi’ism of course), there was still strong opposition from Shia scholars in Najaf on purely jurisprudential grounds.

  15. Mohammed Abdullah May 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I did not have Wilayat al Faqih in mind, rather, the more general idea of Islamic state. Now we may like to pretend that the theological and jurisprudential aspects of Shi’ism are what they are because they reflect the truth, but it’s probably the case that their development was more or less shaped by the standing of Shi’ism as a minority sect; sure it’s easy to say that we should not have an Islamic state when we had no hope of creating one, as a minority in a sea of a hostile majority, or being under the boot of a repressive caliph. The problem of course is what happens when Shi’ites do come to power, such as in 1979 Iran, and 2005 Iraq, then they don’t know what to do.
    The 20th century is the century where Shia scholars were essentially forced to examine their role in politics, whether they liked it or not, forced by the demands of the followers. The rise of socialist movements that were the primary reactions to western Imperialsm in the region, and the installed puppet dictators, caused people to turn to them. Some scholars responded, others just “kept quiet”, and we have our outcome.

    But getting back to my main point, I think your equations are too simple. Besides that, even if the state is not perfect, so what? Which state is perfect? Democratic states are hardly perfect, and not even that democratic much of the time (eg, corporate influence on the President of the US, circumventiing judicial process, and millions of other things). We don’t throw them out because they are imperfect, we try to remove the imperfections. Rejecting an Islamic state on the grounds that it would not be perfect doesn’t make much sense. If Islam and Shariah present anything of value to us, we should be trying to get as much out of it as possible, rather than putting it on the shelf and pretending that we are going to return to it when a messiah returns. People are not going have the mentality of ever going back to theological rule and Shariah law after liberal democracy has become ingrained into them. The irony, of course, is that Shia are supposed to be working toward preparing for the Mahdi, and he won’t return until people are ready for him. Liberal democracy, which many Shia Muslims advocate is a road firmly in the opposite direction. There’s no propblem with that, I just don’t like it covered with the jurisprudential fig leaf of “Only an infallible Imam can rule an Islamic state- no Imam, no state”. My point in a nutshell is this: 1)If a person actually believes in the value of Islam as a divinely mandated system and ideology, then they should walk the walk rather than just talk the talk, and 2)the “no-infallible, no state” principle, is in all likelihood, nothing more than an abberation of the Quran and Sunnah that arose out of the repressed minority status that Shia endured in the first 900 years or so of their existence.

  16. Ali M May 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    As a matter of fact, during the 11th century CE, considered a period of theological Shia development and the crystallisation of the sect’s fundamental beliefs, the Buyid dynasty, who were Twelver Shia, ruled Iraq and Twelver Shia dominated the government of the figurehead Abbasid caliph. However, even in this case there was no Islamic political theory established by the Shia scholars at the time, even though equivalent Sunni scholars did just that, nor was there any move to portray the government as being representatives of Al-Mahdi in his occultation or doing his work for him.

    As Muslim opponents of an Islamic state and supporters of secular democracy, it is not simply finding a religious get-out clause. There is no firm reason to believe, neither from Shia tradition nor the Quran and the Imams, that we should strive to form an Islamic state. There is no instruction from the Mahdi in his occultation that this is what we should be doing. All we do know is that the Imams after Al-Hussain more-or-less stayed out of political life and eschewed any role in government when presented to them either by the caliphs or by rebels. So I do not see the attraction in devastating regions or countries by fighting for an ad hoc Islamic state which will inevitably fail and start killing people as every other Islamic state in modern history has, when it isn’t even part of our religious instruction, and when we have a perfectly acceptable system that serves the people and is accountable to them, and unlike an Islamic state has in-built mechanism for change and rectification. Islam is a religion which covers your personal life and your interaction with others; it doesn’t have to be a religion that deals with the state and how to govern countries and peoples.

  17. Mohammed Abdullah May 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    AFAIK the Buyids were Persian aristocrats who had inherited the Abbasid caliphate who they had on puppet strings anyway. They were essentially just a continuation of the previous power structures. They were content to continue the status quo. In any case, this was, as you say, now the 11th century, and by this time the parallel strands of development on matters of politics and religion is clearly seen as a result of the previous 300 years since the Prophet’s death.

    As to the Imams, sure they were offered positions of power by the caliphs, but those positions were basically a farce to legitimise the caliphs’ hold on power. It’s clear from history that the Imams did actually want to be in power.

    it doesn’t have to be a religion that deals with the state and how to govern countries and peoples.>

    But it *is* a religion which deals with matters of state. Some Shariah is purely personal, others is not. The fact is that Muhammad established a state, and conquered lands. He established laws governing the people, including everything from a penal code to a tax system. The Quran gives rules about witness testimony in courts of law as well as prescribed punishments for various crimes. There are hundreds if not thousands of hadiths that go into considerably more detail, and like another person said above, it is disengenuous to just flippantly write these off because they are not to our tastes. I don’t know how it can be more clear that Shariah was intended to be established in the land. All that is happening here is picking-and-choosing which parts of the religion you find palatable and which you don’t. I find strange the notion that God would engineer a religion so poorly that it takes a perfect person to run the show or else we should just ignore a huge part of it. It’s not like he would micro-manage everything anyway, when he does return to establish a state.

  18. Hayder al-Khoei May 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    How can an Islamic State (and all its legalities) not be intrinsically linked with the notion of Wilayat al-Faqih? You simply cannot separate the two. The Shia being in power or in opposition has nothing to do with this because essentially it is a theological debate and scholars on both sides of the argument refer back to scripture. Yes being in power or in opposition is important from a historical perspective but bears absolutely no weight on the jurisprudential side. The Shia were in power in Saffavid Iran and yet still scholars (the most vocal was Qudaifi in Najaf) were against the idea that the clergy should somehow hold political power because there was simply no evidence to suggest such an innovation could possibly be backed up with hadith.

    God did not engineer this religion so poorly that it takes a perfect person to the run the show, but God created a complete religion where the link is between God and man through a divinely appointed messenger. ONLY a specific group of people have that kind of authority over us.

    ‘Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.’ [Shakir 5:55]

    No one is saying don’t live an Islamic life, no one is saying don’t be a good Muslim, no one is saying Islam is incomplete. What the scholars are saying is no once (except for a specific few) can have absolute authority over society and rule in the name of Allah.

  19. Mohammed Abdullah May 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    I don’t want to let this topic run on, so I will make this my final comment.

    What the scholars are saying is no once (except for a specific few) can have absolute authority over society and rule in the name of Allah.>

    And I agree, when you are talking about absolute authority, the only acceptable dictator is the Divine Dictator, or His emmissaries. However, I see no reason why you would restrict your conception of an Islamic state to a model which necessitates such a dictator. You might, for example, have elected structures with a committee of jurists who act as a consulting service to the government. Legislation can still require ratification by parliament or other elected bodies. The definition of an Islamic state need not be so restrictive that it becomes unnatainable in practice, nor does it need to be such that we consider it perfect (which is fanciful to say the least – it will never be perfect).

    Anyway, I am not advocating an Islamic state, my participation in this topic is to highlight this seemingly incongruent view of some Shia Muslims of accepting one face of Islam (“personal” aspects if you like), and rejecting another (“matters pertaining to state”) that was clearly part and parcel of the original founder’s intentions, on the basis of some rather strange assertions relating to the theoretical return of a messianic figurehead. I just think if you believe there is a geniune place for Islam in state affairs, then it should not need the return of such a perfect person for us to want to establish it.

  20. Hayder al-Khoei May 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    ‘why you would restrict your conception of an Islamic state to a model which necessitates such a dictator’

    Simply becuse of its definition. An ‘Islamic’ state in its essence would by its very definition have to be run by a man whose orders should be obeyed by everyone and whose power is not restricted by any institution. It wouldn’t be an ‘Islamic state’ otherwise.

    If your definition of an Islamic state is a country which has a body of scholars who advice elected members of a parliament then this already exists in Iraq. These scholars however are not above the constitution nor are they above the law.

    It is not the ‘incongruent view of some Muslims’. The overwhelming majority of Shia scholars say there is no evidence to suggest an ‘Islamic state’ in the absence of the Imam would be an ‘Islamic’. A tiny minority argue the opposite.

    Of course I believe there is a place for Islam in state affairs. I believe there is a place for Islam everywhere. Scholars have just as much right to be part of a government as doctors, lawyers and engineers. I do not think there is anything wrong with scholars holding positions of power. My problem is with any scholar who abuses his position of power and forces his interpretation of Islam on all others ‘because God says so’.

  21. Ridha Al Khazraji May 18, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    “which made me wonder what added value these ‘special guests’ were providing”

    I find this a little harsh if you look at some of the replies of certain guests and read their answers you will find that time and effort has been put into their answers. Its simply unfair to base that comment upon a couple of threads that you may have read.

    Having said this I really appreciate this blog and believe more can be done to perhaps push the idea behind this blog into the forefront of younger people. Perhaps one of the writers here may be willing to contribute to that website you mentioned. People are always looking to be inspired perhaps the sheer amount of expereince shared here may be useful for young people to read or engage with on that website.

    Just a thought.

  22. mustafa May 18, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    During a period of time in the Prophets life when Islam was growing, large groups of non-Muslims had decided to disingenuously convert to Islam and then pretend to leave the religion soon after their apparent conversion, to spread great confusion amongst Muslims. This is shown in the Quran:

    [3:72] A section of the People of the Book say: “Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they (Muslims) may (themselves) Turn back;

    apostacy= treason from Quran

  23. mustafa May 18, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    “Our youth are getting brainwashed these people”

    relative statement- could easily be thrown back at your conclusions

  24. mustafa May 18, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    1) The guests’ responses to such questions were quotations and edicts from the Maraji’, which made me wonder what added value these ‘special guests’ were providing. I would have thought that with their intellectual ability, Islamic scholarship coupled with their Western upbringing, they would have been able to offer a new thinking or different perspective to such questions rather than regurgitating what has been established for the past 900 years or so.

    intellect/west/scholarship—–900 yrs back– intellect/east/scholarship
    same answers- different methods of explaining

    2)“We should teach our youth to love this beautiful religion, which espouses tolerance, peace and love and not hatred and bloodshed”???????????

    Raied. have you not studies Ali b Abu Talib- im sure his life was full of bloodshed from his famous zulfiqar

  25. Ali_89 May 19, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    “have you not studies Ali b Abu Talib- im sure his life was full of bloodshed from his famous zulfiqar”

    Mustafa, don’t make audacious claims which aren’t backed up by the reality.

    The Prophet (saw) and Imam Ali (as) never took part in any war as aggressors, only in self-defence.

    [60:8] Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.

    http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/

    Nahjul Balagha, a beautiful book.

  26. mustafa May 19, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    How about Prophet Muhammads mass execution of the Jews of Qurayza? Islam and tolerance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now put that into perspective with the apostacy issue and the apostacy ruling does not sound barbaric

  27. mustafa May 19, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    ali_89, dont make audacious claims about the science of hadith which `arent backed up by the reality’

    are you an expert in the field to say that Shaker’s hadiths from Saduq’s masterpiece is unauthetic?

    or are you going to throw the one of the four canonical works down the drain simply because their hadiths dont agree with your 21st century islam?

    Kulayni,saduq and tusi turning in their graves?

  28. mustafa May 19, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    …and Nahjul Balagha beautiful? Have you read his words on women!

  29. mustafa May 19, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    …and please dont say `oh its not all authentic” because you are picking and choosing once again,

  30. Ali_89 May 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    “Mustafa” – or whatever your real name is, calm down. Judging by your ill-advised comments here and elsewhere it is clear you are either an overly excited non-Muslim pretending to be a Muslim, or a bored Muslim trying to spice up this forum. I don’t have time for either, so also taking into consideration that this has veered well off the original topic, I envisage this to be my final post directed towards you.

    “How about Prophet Muhammads mass execution of the Jews of Qurayza? Islam and tolerance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Apparently a Muslim talks about Islam in such a tone and manner(!).

    The Jews of the tribe of Banu Qurayza were living in Medina alongside the Prophet in Medina. Under the agreed Charter of Medina, it was their duty to fight alongside the Muslims should Medina come under attack. During the Pagan siege of Medina in the battle of Khandaq (the Trench), they infact contributed no men or materials and instead conspired with the Pagans to defeat the Muslims. The plan was that the Pagans would attack from one direction upon entering Medina, with the Jews of Banu Qurayza attacking from behind. The ultimate betrayal.

    The plan failed as the Pagans were unable to enter Medina due to the trench that was formed around it (and thus the Jews could not attack simultaneously), and then Jews of Banu Qurayza shut themselves away. The Prophet then agreed with them that in order to decide their fate, they can choose their own arbitrator who would decide and have the final say.

    They chose Sa’ad ibn Muadh, the leader of their former allies (the Aus) and thus expected him to be lenient with them – which wasn’t the case. He saw their betrayal as worthy of treason and ordained the death sentence for the men of the tribe.

    So for a people that conspired with the Pagans to attack and kill the Muslims of Medina (and it would have happened had the Pagans successfully entered), and broke their promise to fight alongside the Muslims, and were even given the chance to choose their own judge, I wouldn’t call that injustice; and certainly no reason to hyperventilate.

    The truth is you can’t come up with a single example of an aggressive war from the Prophet/Imam Ali, and your claims are totally unsubstantiated.

    As for ahadith, read what I said again – I didn’t claim any hadiths mentioned by Shaker as authentic or otherwise, I merely stated that in order to analyse hadith and these topics it has to be done properly and their is a whole science behind it. My point was that the discussion is bigger than quoting a single hadith in isolation – and this was proven to be the case.

    In Shia Islamic theology, the only book that is deemed to be 100% authentic is the Quran; there are no 100% accurate hadith books.

    I have indeed read the sermon you are referring to, and sorry to break it to you but this sermons authenticy is disputed. The Prophet/Imams always told us to refer back to the Quran to see if any so-called “hadith” narrated contradicted it, to check for authenticy. If we took every hadith at face value we would be in a mess.

    Although there is no doubt it is a great book, most Ulema do not hold this sermon in Nahjul Balagha to be 100% authentic and state that this sermon was either not said by Imam Ali, or it was Imam Ali and it was referring to one particular woman who led a battle against Imam Ali (in the Battle of Jamal). Have you read Share’ Nahjul Balagha which mentions all this before jumping to your conclusions?

    As for picking and choosing, I think you need to calm down, have some chai and contemplate taking your own advice before throwing numerous off-topic accusations.

    Anyone can play the game of taking things out of context or ignoring the explanation and commentary. It can be done with most things in life.

    [4:19] O you who believe! it is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not straighten them in order that you may take part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency, and treat them kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it.

    Salam

  31. mustafa May 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    “As for ahadith, read what I said again – I didn’t claim any hadiths mentioned by Shaker as authentic or otherwise, I merely stated that in order to analyse hadith and these topics it has to be done properly and their is a whole science behind it. My point was that the discussion is bigger than quoting a single hadith in isolation – and this was proven to be the case.”

    single hadith, quoted in isolaion, now show thats its unreliable- dont just tell me you disagree with apostacy ruling

    anyway, you have shown a typical stance- Islam is love,love,love,tolerance,
    even thought its traditions) full of blood and such apostacy rulings

    God Protect Saduq

  32. Hayder Al-Khoei May 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Ali don’t waste your time. He is obviously not here to debate and instead just trying to provoke everyone with his ignorant inflammatory remarks so if you ignore him I promise you he will eventually get bored and go somewhere else.

  33. mustafa ali May 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    regarding the main subject bought up by Mr Ghaleb, you mention:
    “I would have thought that with their intellectual ability, Islamic scholarship coupled with their Western upbringing, they would have been able to offer a new thinking or different perspective to such questions rather than regurgitating what has been established for the past 900 years or so”

    So questions will have the same answer today, tomorrow and in 900 years..the answer will always be the same, i.e. is eating pork haram? its always going to be haram ,even in 900 years! And again who are you or even the guest himself to give a different answer to the marji’s answer given? why should you question great scholars like Al Mufid or Al Sadooq (900 years ago) just because you live in the west?
    And anyway isnt this forum called british iraqi forum, why involve yourself in other subjects like this that your not fit to discuss! Just because you live in the west, and maybe bought up in a western way…your ways shouldnt change! such a shame i see youth here with this thinking!

  34. kaveh yousefzadeh June 10, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    damn to all of despotic,inhuman,satanic beliefes!
    i believe on the main culprit are developed countries.because they can smash all of satanic and cruel ideologies easily.

  35. mohammed anon July 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Salaam , are u an imam or scholar. Remember quran is a book like no other. U don’t just interpret just the way u read it. It requires a 20 year course just to understand it e.g. Post migration and pre migration verses.

    I am no scholar but have heard that the reason for punishment for apostacy came about beacuse the many kafirs during the time of the prophet muhammed (saws) would purposefully become muslims and a short time later would leave the religion. The onlookers would then doubt about the religion and would think something wrong about the religion. Then when the punishment for apostacy was given guess how many people did the same thing, ZERO.
    Wasalaam

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