Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1: Aren't there other scholars who have a different position about punishment of apostasy?
Yes, there are scholars who hold the traditional position of either capital punishment (hadd) or some form of punishment (ta'zir - discretionary) for apostasy. However, as the compilation of 100+ notable voices indicate that the position is tilting away from the traditional position.

Question #2: How can the traditional scholarship be wrong on this for so long?

This is an important question. However, as explained by many contemporary scholars, the traditional position failed to separate the issue of simple apostasy from treason. The real question is that Muslims are supposed to follow the Qur'an and the legacy of the Prophet.

While considering apostasy as a major sin, there is nothing in the Qur'an that suggests or specifies any punishment for simple apostasy (merely changing one's faith) in this world. Also, there is no incontrovertible hadith that informs us that during the time of the Prophet (s), there was any case of simple apostasy where worldly punishment was given.

Instead of asking the question how the traditional scholarship could be wrong for so long, the real question is whether we are supposed to uphold the Qur'an and the legacy of the Prophet. Furthemore, do we as Muslims affirm the freedom of faith, which includes the freedom to change one's faith? That's the crux of the issue.

Question #3: Why does this blog focus only on apostasy? Aren't there other pressing problems?

Yes, there are other pressing problems or issues. However, this is just a focused approach, where resources addressing one particular issue or problem are being presented. Such focused presentations can be helpful for those who want to understand a particular problem or issue.

Furthermore, apostasy issue is related to a fundamental principle of freedom, which is central to Islam and it has many other ramifications. It is also indicative and test of our attitude of tolerance. There is also abuse of this apostasy law or rules. While the issue of apostasy should pertain primarily to those who abandons Islam and publicly avow so, it is undeniable that apostasy law has been also wrongfully directed against even fellow Muslims.
Question #4: Is this a fatwa?

No. Fatwa is issued by competent religious scholars/authorities. This is an initiative to raise our collective awareness at the broader level. However, the 100+ opinions/views presented at this blog also include some specific fatwas, for examples, from Shaikh Mahmuf al-Shaltut [former and late Grand Mufti of al-Azhar], Shaikh Al-Tantawi [Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar], Dr. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Hanooti [Mufti of Greater Washington], and so on.

Question #5: What is the relevance of non-expert/non-scholarly endorsements of this Statement?

We all will stand before Allah for our own accountability. We as Muslims are supposed to understand and know our faith and also take stand on fundamental matters as part of affirming our faith. Indeed, on such matters, where are collective awareness and understanding are at stake, it is vitally important that such broadbased expression of views are on the record for the humanity. On fundamental matters of principles, it cannot be left to a selected or privileged view to exclusively speak for all of us. More importantly, in a world, where there is so much confusion about Islam both among Muslims and non-Muslims, and also with so much prejudicial propaganda against Islam, we must clearly let the world know that we value, cherish and uphold Islam, but Islam that is by choice, as per the sublime values of the Qur'an and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (p). The bottom line is that since it is a collective awareness-raising initiative, it requires broader participation from both experts/scholars as well as non-experts/non-scholars.

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