September 16, 2005

Some more comments regarding apostasy...

This is more of a conversation I have had regarding the topic of apostasy. The Non-Muslim Lost Budgie appears to be the type of Christian who assumes that Muslims would convert in droves to Christianity if only they didn't fear being executed by other Muslims for apostasy. In fact, I believe Ann's comments (mentioned and linked at the very end of this post) are quite true.

Lost Budgie wrote: "Unfortunately, many Islamic scholars do not share your interpretation of Islamic scriptures and laws."

And many do. Read my last post [referring to what I have posted in my last entry on this blog].

"Whether apostates are killed by countries or individuals, the killings perfectly illustrate that this interpretation of Islam is held by many of the faith."

Many people of all faiths will have different interpretations regarding their religions. Some interpretations are held in ignorance; others are held as a result of correct study. Christians and Jews all supposedly follow the Ten Commandments, but that doesn't mean that they obey them (particularly the sixth).

"(For a tiny sample of what can be found on the web, click here for the photos and names of ten Iranian women who were all hung together for apostasy in 1983. Many since that time, of course. This was just a busy day.)"

Personally, I don't agree that these women were apostates; I believe they were murdered for following a different religion (their murders I condemn). If you want to argue that Baha'i's are Muslims (and thus apostates), then you're following a Shi'a perspective, which I don't think many people around the world (including Sunni Muslims) would agree with.

"References? Well, let’s start with Abul Ala Mawdudi and his book “The Punishment of the Apostate according to Islamic Law”. An English translation can be found here.

"Mr. Mawdudi was, of course, a founding father of Pakistan and has been described as 'the most widely read Muslim author of the 20th Century, contributing immensely to the contemporary resurgence of Islamic ideas, feelings and activity all over the world.'"

This is one person's view on the topic and, as such, doesn't carry much weight within the Islamic community. Even if Mawdudi's work is accepted within one of the madhab, that doesn't necessarily mean that any of the other madhahab would also accept it.

"Mr. Mawdudi also provided the introduction to A. Yusuf Ali’s 'The Holy Qur’an, Translation and Commentary'."

Not in any of the three volumes my wife and I have of Yusuf Ali's translation (including original version and revised). Not that, even if Mawdudi's introduction appears in some limited edition printings of Yusuf Ali's translation, would his work make a speck of difference.

"On the web today, you can find many Islamic websites that agree with the position that apostates should be killed. Try here or here to start."

You do know that you can't always trust what you read on the Internet, right? :) Why are you bringing up non-scholarly works?

"So JD…. you disagree with Mr. Mawdudi and others who hold the position that both the Koran and Hadith command (ie: COMMAND, not “recommend”) the execution of Muslim apostates."

You obviously didn't read my earlier post or the article I linked to. The Qur'an forbids the execution of apostates. The one hadith that supposedly forms the basis for the execution of apostates is, in fact, ignored for the imposition of a death penalty for apostates. As the article I linked to pointed out, "The Shari`ah has not fixed any punishment for apostasy." Just because other people may think differently doesn't mean that they're correct or that their thoughts supersede the Qur'an.

"Respectfully, I point out that the disagreement on this issue between Muslims of good faith well illustrates the problem confronting modern-moderate Muslims as they try to reconcile the foundations of Islam with contemporary living."

You crack me up. If you think that Muslims are struggling with some sort of "reconciliation" between Islam and contemporary life, then you obviously don't know Muslims very well. We live within the contemporary world very well, thank you very much.

In the meantime, this entire conversation about Muslim apostasy is largely moot for the most part. It rarely happens. As another Muslim on another blog recently wrote on this topic: "To be honest, this [contemporary apostasy] is not something that really comes up often. The missionaries would have you believe that this is because converts would be killed, as if masses of Muslims are yearning to be Christian, but they’re afraid. In fact, they have a very hard time converting Muslims, and when they occasionally do, it’s Muslims who are not very knowledgeable about Islam in the first place."


Lost Budgie said...


I appreciate your efforts to detail your position for me and other non-Muslims. Yes, I do understand that the opinions I quoted do not represent all, or possibly even the majority of Muslims.

But - Millions of Muslims disagree with your views, and do agree with the views I’ve focused upon.

In any event, I have posted a bit more at safiyyah's blog, and I'd be pleased to continue our discussion if you like.


Lost Budgie

JD said...

I've seen your latest post at Safiyyah's. Ironically, my ustaz (religious teacher) is going to tackle apostasy in next weekend's class, so I may have some more to write in a week or so. (I'm taking our conversation so far, plus the other article I've referred to, for him to read. I'm curious to see what he has to say.)

My wife read your comment regarding "Millions of Muslims..." She would like to know, how do you know this? Where is your proof for the "Millions of Muslims" claim? She asked, "Does he know that many Muslims?"

Lost Budgie said...


Good question by your wife. How do we know how many Muslims subscribe to a violent interpretation of Islam? How can Lost Budgie say that "millions" have a violent interpretation of Islam?

Firstly, let's consider the question, "What percentage of Muslims have a violent interpretation of Islam?" By this question, I don't mean how many actually commit acts of violence - but how many believe in a violent interpretation of Islam. You could even phrase the question, "How many Muslims approve of violent acts as committed by Muslims?"

Call the "violent acts" individual or group acts of violence, suicide bombings, violent jihad - whatever - that exhibit a religious motivation, outcome, inspiration or approval.


JD, would you or your wife agree that at least 1% of all Muslims approve of violent Jihad? Or that at least 1% of all Muslims admired and approved of the 9/11 attacks?

That would be 10 million Muslims or so.

But I don't think that 1% is anywhere near the proportion of Muslims who approve of violent Jihad. Even the Saudis - trying to limit the damage and downplaying the number of Muslims who follow a violent interpretation - said, "No more than 5%" of Muslims support violence.

(Haven't got the reference handy, but I will find it later - saw the quote in the English Arab press.)

Phrase the question any way that YOU want.

What percentage of Muslims do you think celebrated 9/11? What percentage have an interpretation of Islam that condones the use of violence to propagate Islam?

So... What is your estimate, JD?

JD said...

Now you're comparing apples to oranges. Apostasy <> Jihad.

Lost Budgie said...


Well, it may seem to be apples vs oranges to you - but its all murder to non-muslims. Yes, different types of murders in the name of Islam, but still murder.

You may not believe that Muslim apostates should be put to death - but many have been put to death, and there is much support for this position amongst various Islamic scholars, some of whom are highly regarded by many.

My point remains - significant numbers of Muslims, in the millions, believe in death to apostates. Millions also believe in death to infidels.

They say they believe this and they provide religious arguments in support. Many also go further and commit acts of violence.

Were the men who cut throats of the flight crews and murdered so many on 9/11 justified by Islam? Did Allah smile upon them? Are they true Islamic martyrs or monsters?

Should Muslim converts to other religions be murdered?

As a Muslim, what is your belief regarding these two specific types of killings, JD?

DrMaxtor said...

Millions of Muslims waiting to convert to Christianity? Yeah right. More like the other round. No Muslim in his right state of mind could convert to a religion which was destroyed long ago by its Popes and peddlers.
How many of these so called Christians today actually follow Christs(a.s.) teachings, even according to their own forged scripture?