This particular post was inspired from a 'The Star' reader who sms-ed his view about the recent Syariah High Court decision to allow a convert to renounce Islam and revert to her original faith. What exactly sparks my interest was his comment that reads :
"Rapists, robbers, assailants gets jail sentences but wanting 2 revert back 2 own religion can get death? Abdul Hakim Othman, do u even know what u saying?"
Source : The Star
Read what he is referring to here.
So, who is Abdul Hakim Othman, and what was his rights to says that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah should be punished with death when she never ever practised this faith in the first place? It was an absurd idea, because all this happens when a Muslim chose to put hadith before the Holy Quran.
Now, if you are a Muslim and you are reading this, and you think I'm kuffar because I don't believe 100% in hadith, can you actually quote any verses from the Quran that tell us Muslims to kill any apostate? Just because they no longer have faith in Islam? The answer is : None.
In the Quran, it has been clearly mentioned over 90 times that there is no compulsion in this religion. Yes, Islam fully endorsed the freedom of religion.
Surah al-Baqarah, 2:256, Allah explicitly states: "Let there be no compulsion in religion". This Medinan verse was revealed when some Companions asked the Prophet for permission to compel their relatives to profess Islam. It has been widely interpreted to mean that no one can be compelled to embrace Islam because religion depends upon faith and will, and this would be meaningless if induced by force. Islam itself means submission to the will of God; and the willing submission of the self to faith and belief must be attained through conviction and reason, not through coercion and duress. (Source)
But, of course, radicals like Abdul Hakim Othman will prefer a weak hadith with only one single isnad (one chain of transmission or narration) to Allah Almighty words. Astaghfirullah.
The particular hadith Abdul Hakim Othman mentioned on their website :
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260:
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'
- First, this hadith is considered a weak hadith with just a single isnad (this means there is only one chain of transmission or narration) and thus according to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence, it is not enough to validate the death penalty.
- Second, this hadith is also considered a general ('amm) hadith in that it is in need of specification (takhsis); for it would otherwise convey a meaning that is not within its purpose. The obvious reading of the hadith would, for example, make liable the death punishment on a Hindu or Christian who converts to Islam. This is obviously not the intention of the hadith. According to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence, when a text is interpreted once, it becomes open to further interpretation and specification. Therefore, many scholars interpret this hadith to apply only to cases of high treason (hirabah), which means declaring war against Islam, the Prophet, or God or the legitimate leadership of the ummah.
- Third, and most importantly, there is no evidence to show that Prophet Muhammad saw or his Companions ever compelled anyone to embrace Islam, nor did they sentence anyone to death solely for renunciation of the faith.
In modern times, the celebrated Sheikh of al-Azhar University, the late Mahmud Shaltut who was esteemed for his vast knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence and Qur'anic interpretation, wrote that many ulama are in agreement that hudud cannot be established by a solitary hadith and that unbelief by itself does not call for the death penalty. The current Sheikh of al-Azhar, who was Egypt's former Grand Mufti, Dr Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, also declared that apostasy is not a capital crime.
Many scholars, including Ibn Taymiyyah, Shaltut and Tantawi, said that the death penalty was not meant to apply to a simple change of faith, but to hirabah, that is, when apostasy is accompanied by rebellion against the community and its legitimate leadership.Source : Sisters In Islam. (Article no longer available online)
So, my only advice to those who think this particular decision is threatening and insulting to the Muslim community, please think again and read the Quran carefully. For Allah is the Al-Hakim who we should fear. (When you disobey His commands)