Saudi Arabia: Views of Apostasy



36 Responses

  1. Sad that such a poll needs to be put up. Life is sacred, we spend our lifetime trying to save lives and yet it’s so easy to kill for idiotic reason.. sad

  2. Granted, this is a small sample (at least at the time that I checked the results). But I find it disturbing that, if one makes the assumption that all of those who voted yes for the first question are Muslims, that approximately 20% of Muslims who responded here believe that one should be put to death if he/she leaves the religion.

    Doesn’t sound very peaceful to me.

  3. It would be nice if one or more of those that voted FOR death would come forward and explain their reasoning to those who are trying to convince us non-Muslims that we are nuts/haters/Islamophobes for thinking that it is. Y’all are the ones they need to be preaching the peace angle to. 🙂

  4. We no loner live in the dark ages. Even Christianity had its dark moments but no one deserves to be put to death for changing faiths.

  5. It sickens me that someone can believe that if a person changes religion they should be put to death. It is absolutely sickening. Religion is man-made in the first place. Even though I am not a religious person I doubt very much that God/Allah would wish that anybody be put to death for this reason. Very sad to see the results.

  6. Seriously, does no one who voted FOR death want to come out and help us to understand why they believe that Islam prescribes that punishment?

  7. Hi Lynn 🙂 I didn’t vote for death for apostasy, but I think I can help you understand what they are thinking. I am a Muslim and I do not believe that Islam calls for death for apostasy. It does call for death in specific cases but it really has nothing to do with simple apostasy and I’ll make that clear later. This is going to be a little long winded so hopefully I’m not going to bore anyone but I want to give all of the information I have and then people can make their own decision when they hear the other side of the coin so to speak.

    The religion of Islam is like any other religion on earth in that it is polyvalent and within it has many different interpretations and understandings of what is what. I will say that classical Islamic texts insist on death for apostasy. The thing is that these texts were written by man based on an opinion and interpretation by man. This will make more sense later.

    When the Ottoman Empire united the Islamic empire under single leadership (its complicated, but that’s the basics), it officially abolished any death penalties for apostates that were in place at the time. At this point, it wasn’t widely practiced at all, but the Ottomans made it basically illegal. The Caliph (the Sheikh Alislam who was the ultimate authority at the time pointed out that the Quran didn’t support this punishment and that upon close inspection of related hadith and clear understanding of how a couple of them interconnect with one another, there is no support there either. The hadith do support death for apostasy when it is combined with treason against the state. More detail coming on that too. Al-Azhar University which was one of THE authorities on Islam, issued a fatwa confirming this in 1958. At the time, the Ottomans were attempting to reform old practices and bring Islam back to what it was intended to be without cultural interference. The National Law of 1869, for example, guaranteed all citizens equality under the law regardless of ethnicity or religion. Basically, they embraced change and had open minds. When WWI happened, the Ottoman Empire was broken up and the path to enlightened reform and open mindedness closed with their defeat.

    The fall out is still felt today. Extremist and fundamental Muslims began to take on a heavy political ideology that was largely anti-western due to the effects of colonialism among other things. When the west criticized Islam, these loose cannons gained more support from the Muslim community around them and used it as propaganda. Interpretations began to get more hard lined and strict and they began to take on a literal interpretation of the Islamic code. This way was adopted by several Islamic nations (obviously included KSA).

    As more Muslims now reside in western countries and are born out of western backgrounds (like yours truly) there is going to begin to be a conflict in interpretation and understanding simply because of the context in which each Muslim was individually raised and affected by those around them. Western Muslims have largely returned to the reformist type of Islam that is struggling to return to a more pure Islam (which shockingly is completely more flexible, open minded, tolerant, and generally more warm and fuzzy than the Islam found in countries like KSA). I honest to god believe Islam is peaceful because that is my understanding and interpretation of the text. Because those strict countries have never moved past their drastic change after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they have not and they teach their version of Islam to subsequent generations and these people are under that impression that their responsibility is to blindly follow and not ask questions. Those poor unfortunate people. Muslims like myself who haven’t been influenced by the cultural baggage and mumbo jumbo the old creaky sheiks spew out function at a different level that those who have grown up dimply following. I hope that makes sense. I actually believe that modern freedom, democracy, etc. is not only completely halal in Islam but mandated. We should ask questions. We should never blindly follow. Sadly, intellectual growth in certain countries is not encouraged and they are certainly not catching up to the rest of us.

    Rejected of the laws mandated by the Quran is not necessary for reform to occur in Islam. Rather, a change in UNDERSTANDING is what is needed. Many Muslims just believe what so-and-so tells them and they don’t bother to seek their own knowledge and form their own opinions. It’s b.s.

    the Quran is written in an open form for the most part meaning that while partof it may have been revealed to comfort the Muslims at the time in a great time of need, the comfort it offers can be applied to a Muslim’s life and bring them comfort too. Make sense? This, too, is where a lot of Muslims go completely wrong and lose their common sense. Another topic though. With the openness in mind, however, it is also open to what the reader gains from their personal understanding. Their culture, their biases, their opinions all influence their understanding. The reading should be done without biases and with neutrality or the real meaning gets lost which is exactly what you see happening in many cultures. The Quran never states that apostates should be killed definitely. That’s the bottom line. There is a verse that states “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth is distinct from error” (2:256). Every Muslim knows this verse and we use it to defend ourselves constantly when it is direct contradiction with something like killing apostates. God is telling us that people have free will and freedom of choice.

    Here’s an example of the actual practice of religious choice: a man named Husayn bin Salim bin Awf had two daughters. Both of them were Christians. He attempted to persuade them to Islam but they declined. He then went to the prophet (pbuh) and asked him for permission to force his daughters into Islam. This verse was revealed from this instance and forbade parents from forcing their children into a specific religion.

    Further, the Quran states, “And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed; will you then force men till they become believers?” (10:99). God is saying here that only he has the power to force people to believe or not or accept Islam or not; people have no authority here. Muslims should also worry about themselves and their own relationship with god, not others choices: “And had God willed, He could have made you all one [religious] community, but He sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. But you shall certainly be called to account for what you (yourself) used to do [i.e. not what others used to do]” (16:93). The phrases in this verse are repeated many many times in the Quran which is that no one can force or will people into religion. Why then would we kill them for leaving?! How does that possible make sense? And yet another verse: “The Truth is from your Lord; so let him who please believe and let him who please disbelieve” (18:29). AND “Exhort them to believe; your task is only to exhort. You cannot compel them to believe” (88:21-22).

    There are people during the time of the prophet (pbuh) that believed then disbelieved and believed again (and maybe disbelieved again). Clearly, people were entering and leaving the religion of their own free will during the prophet’s (pbuh) time. God does not say to kill them when he discusses these people. Rather, he says, “Those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor guide them to the Way” (4:137). The punishment is in the afterlife. Period. It’s God’s punishment, not earthly.

    The other issue rests with the hadith. This is where arguments can be formed, but I will share my understanding. A lot of the time, I get a particular thing thrown in my face about the whole apostasy issue and it is part of a hadith that says, “whoever changes his religion, kill him”. Sure, looking at it as it is here is damning evidence. But it’s incomplete. Just like biblical things need context, Islamic things do too. The phrase I quoted above never came from the prophet (pbuh) rather it came from a man named Ibn Abbas. In this hadith, he is paraphrasing the prophet (pbuh), not directly quoting him. He says, “Some Zanadiqa were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying: Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire). I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle: Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 84, Number 57). This hadith is not referring to peaceful apostasy, but rather those who embraced Islam with the intention of creating civil strife and destroying it. More on this coming.

    What were the exact words of the prophet if these were not it? Well they were, “The blood of a Muslim, who confesses that there is no God but God and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: (1) In penalty for murder, (2) a married person who commits adultery and (3) the one who reverts from Islam (apostates) and leaves the community” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 12, Book ad-Diyat, Number 6878, p.209). So there are 3 instances in which a Muslim can be killed: (1) murdering another, (2) committing adultery, and (3) apostasy combined with LEAVING THE COMMUNITY. Leaving the community can be further explained when we look even closer at the issue in another hadith, “The blood of a Muslim, who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but God and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: (1) a married person who commits adultery; he is to be stoned and (2) a man who went out fighting against God and His Messenger; he is to be killed or crucified or exiled from the land and (3) a man who murders another person; he is to be killed on account of it” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 4, Number 4353, p. 126).

    The same three instances appear in both hadith, but one is more clear than the other. Leaving the community refers to a man who changed sides and fought against the Muslims basically committing treason. Killing a Muslim outside of these boundaries is obviously going outside of the prophet’s (pbuh) orders. These hadith are so similar with 3 reasons listed with 2 of them identical, the third reason is clarified with the second hadith. There are only 3 reasons, not 4 and apostasy is not one of them unless they apostatize to fight in war/battle against the Muslims. At the time of the prophet (pbuh) there was serious conflict happening with the Meccans and the Muslims (in Medina). Some Muslims apostatized at this time because they had no desire to fight their own families and would rather fight with them. Others did because they felt they couldn’t possibly win due to the number and force they were facing. More of a problem though were those who embraced Islam and joined the Muslims but falsely with the intention of converting and joining forced with the Muslims only to abandon them and fight against them in their greatest time of need attempting to destroy the morale of the Muslim army. Quran says, “A section of the People of the Book say: ‘Believe in the morning what is revealed to those who believe, and reject it at the end of the day, perchance they may themselves turn back” (Quran, 3:72).

    I believe that the killing of apostates was directly in reference to these people who converted only to try to destroy the Muslims. Peaceful apostasy was not punished as long as the people didn’t pick up arms against the Muslims. They continued to live in the community and they were Christians or Jews. The people in question of apostasy were not peaceful. They had deadly intentions and it amounted to high treason against the state (in which the prophet (pbuh) was the leader and there was a system of government). Apostasy and defection/treason are connected here. Apostasy was not simply changing one’s mind, rather it was joining the enemy (the Meccans).

    The madhabs all agree that apostasy should be punished by death. However, many of these laws were made by man based on their personal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and even other variables. Again, background and bias plays a large role here in interpretation and understanding. I respect the classical scholars and believe they had the best of intentions when they created their madhabs, however, I don’t have to agree with them and in fact as a Muslim, I should never ever blindly follow them and question them when things don’t add up. The madhabs were formed hundreds of years ago, so it goes without saying that they would automatically adopt the classical opinions. They looked and interpretated texts through their old time glasses through their biases and their cultural baggage. Why can’t Muslims revisit these opinions and look at it through our glasses??? We can. It’s just that many won’t. My belief is that it is wrong for one person to speak for all Muslim understanding and that Muslims should speak for themselves in these matters. We are not rejecting the scholarly opinions and interpretations, rather we are looking at them in contemporary times. The classical misunderstanding of the apostasy issue is excusable, but the modern positions from many hard line scholars is not. Many scholars tenaciously cling to medieval rulings and opinions. It’s irritating!

    Ultimately, neither uber-conservative scholars or Islamophobes who love to cling to this issue can make a case of killing apostates without actually getting rid of some of the Quran which calls for tolerance and forbids compulsion. I am not sure how this is unclear to people but alas it seems it is. We can also point out the fact that there was a Bedouin who apostatized in the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad, leaving the Islamic city-state of Medina; he abandoned both his religious and national identity (as the two were fused back then). Instead of punishing the man, the prophet Muhammad simply replied by saying: “Medina is like a pair of bellows (i.e. a furnace): it expels its impurities and brightens and clears its good.” (Sahih al-Bukhari,Vol.9, No.316, pp.241) Reformists use this narration as a proof that someone leaving the religion is–in a way–a good thing: it purifies the religion from those weak in faith who could become Hypocrites. Is it not better to have a few strong believers rather than many weak Hypocrites?

    If indeed the “revealed” prescribed punishment for apostasy is death, the Prophet (pbuh) would have been the first to carry out the punishment. In fact, he did not even prescribe any punishment at all against that Bedouin, nor did he send any one to arrest him as an “apostate,” imprison, or ask him to recant or even reconsider his decision. Further, vigilante justice has always been expressly forbidden so those who believe apostates should be killed are disobeying god.

    Finally, if a hadith contradicts the basic tenant of the Quran, it is to be rejected. God never said kill apostates in the Quran. The Quran also shows value for human life. How does it make sense to kill someone because of a hadith when it goes completely against the Quran???? I don’t get it. Muslims need to stop blindly following something some old man said 48 million years ago and LEARN FOR YOURSELVES. Seek knowledge. It is an obligation of a Muslim.

    So the longest thing I’ve ever written in a comment on a blog, and I hope this helps to see where both sides are coming from and I hope some of those people who said yes read this. While they may not initially agree, I hope to at least make them question enough to go back and READ and think for themselves, god willing.

  8. And while I am on my soap box, the blasphemy laws are also unacceptable and have no basis in Islam. Maybe this topic will pop up again sometime and I can’t rant on that too!

  9. Irritated, Thank you for sharing your beliefs but I really, really, really want to hear from the ones that say that death should be the punishment.

    Also, as the mother of an American born and raised ‘revert’ I have to say HA! to your statement ‘As more Muslims now reside in western countries and are born out of western backgrounds (like yours truly) there is going to begin to be a conflict in interpretation and understanding simply because of the context in which each Muslim was individually raised and affected by those around them.’

    The problem is that those who are NOT as ‘enlightened’ as you are are teaching their version of Islam as the ‘real’ Islam. Not just to non-Muslims like my daughter but also to the children of Muslims such as yourself and the parents are just oh so happy that their children are finally taking interest in their religion that they don’t even notice that their kids have been taught the other version until they are denouncing their own parents as being influenced by the kafir ;-). I understand that just like Christianity with the Catholic Church and the Baptist church and the Pentacostal Church and the Morman Church etc that Islam has different ‘sects’ My problem is that all the Mosques are just Mosques. Supposedly Islam is just Islam. So, if you want to go to the Extremist Mosque where do you go? If you happen to go to a mosque and you hear the Imam preaching something that goes against your beliefs what do you do? Do you get on your soapbox there? Because what I or other non-Muslims think about apostasy is really irrelevant, no?

  10. Actually, I think what others believe in the apostasy laws is clear in what I wrote. They blindly buy into religious dogma. I gave the verses that they use to justify this. I’ve heard their side so to speak and I gave you theirs and my understanding to counter that. I’ve read a lot of your comments about your daughter and honestly she is misguided. She is one of those who has blindly followed what someone else has told her and believed it to be the absolute authority without question. This is not what Muslims were told to do… its what the religious authorities want us to believe. And yes, if the imam is saying something that doesn’t sit well with us, we have the responsibility to clarify it and question it. Imams are not infallible just as the prophets were not. And not all mosques are just mosques. The “tone” of the mosque and the breadth of the community is heavily influenced by that mosque’s leadership. For example, a mosque that has a primarily south Asian leadership is going to preach their madhab and like I said, their cultural baggage and their personal experiences will drastically affect their understanding of Islam to pass onto the congregation. And Islam is not Islam. Put two Muslims in a room together from different backgrounds and I assure you they will do nothing but argue. That’s the problem. People who believe that we all believe the same is where stereotypes and assumptions become dangerous and offensive. Like Christians and Jews and Buddhists, and Hindus, Muslims each individually have their own opinions and understanding of their religion. I’ve had conversations with Muslims before… arguments even. When I ask them where they get their understanding or proofs for what they are arguing, I have always been told that Imam so-and-so or sheik so-and-so and they start giving me links and crap to these proofs. The problem is that they are simply believing everything they are told with their own eyes closed regardless of how they feel about it and feel it is forbidden to not believe it! Your daughter falls victim here obviously. Your right, how non-Muslims feel about apostasy is irrelevant to what we will ultimately believe if our religion tells us, but in this case, apostasy is an issue within the Muslim community and they are divided on the issue therefore calling for closer examination by each individual to form their own opinion rather than turning toward some Saudi sheik who believes that grown women can breastfeed grown men in order for them to work side by side.

  11. I will also add to this that your daughter doesn’t need to abandon her American identity and ideals to be a Muslim. I completely stand by my statement that Muslims who have converted from western backgrounds really are undergoing a reformation in their religion. I strongly believe that Islam is easier to practice in the US than other countries simply because there is an absence of that cultural baggage and we are free to think what we want. Your daughter sounds like she’s in a dangerous place of misunderstanding because just the fact that she has abandoned and distanced herself from you or anyone else in your family is completely forbidden in Islam. Regardless of your personal beliefs, Islam demands tolerance. Your daughter is committing sin. So between her and I you can clearly see the divide in the community and the vast variances you find in the ranks. We’re not all the same and we certainly don’t believe all the same things. There are some indisputable things we all believe (i.e. the pillars) but the rest is subject to this concept.

  12. @Lynn, on March 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm said:
    If you happen to go to a mosque and you hear the Imam preaching something that goes against your beliefs what do you do? Do you get on your soapbox there?

    That’s an excellent question. If a “modern” moslem like Irritated goes to an extremist mosque with her excellent analysis of the death for apostasy issue, would she be then get accused of heresy? I bet the imam would declare her an heretic and ex-communicate her from the mosque.

    @Irritated, on March 12, 2011 at 10:34 am said:
    Western Muslims have largely returned to the reformist type of Islam that is struggling to return to a more pure Islam …..

    Irritated, I enjoyed your exhaustive “modern” analysis on Death Penalty for Leaving Islam. Unfortunately, you are in the minority opinion on the issue. Anyways, It is not as big as issue here in the US as it is in moslem countries.

    I guess one can pick and choose which verses and hadees to use to support one’s position … pro or con on death for apostasy. Here is a sample of koran and hadeeth that some imams use advocating death for apostasy:

    “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him.” —Quran 3:85

    “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” —Muhammad; Hadith, Bukhari 84:57; Narrated ‘Ikrima

    It seems like that in moslem countries, there is no exit from Islam. Once a person has spoken the 13 words of the Shahada—the “first pillar” of Islam—there is no way out. Leaving Islam is a capital crime under Sharia law.

    No freedom of religion. No freedom of thought. No freedom. Period. No religion kills those who decide to leave it. Islam does.

  13. ‘People who believe that we all believe the same is where stereotypes and assumptions become dangerous and offensive.’

    THAT is why I said that they should ‘clarify’ what kind of Muslim they are. How many Muslims come on here, and we will use this topic of apostasy as an example but it is just one out of how many topics regarding Islam? But there are some that say that one view is ‘Islam’ and others say that the other view is ‘Islam’ Does that offend you? Or is it only if a non-Muslim, who has been told the ‘truth’ from a Muslim that believes differently than you and then carries on believing as they were told by a real ‘Muslim’? Following me? Bottom line, don’t blame the non-Muslim for their ‘ignorance’ they probably got that way paying attention to Muslims. lol

  14. Islam would improve immensely if it abandoned the idea that all Muslims are on community (or a few more if you count Shiites and other distinct secst as a separate groups). The disunity of Christianity may be seen by Muslims as a flaw but it allows Christianity to adapt to different cultures and it allow most Christians to easily separate themselves from crazies like Jim Jones or from groups whose beliefs and practices they do not share. The Islamic world cannot do this. Some sheik in Saudi Arabia says something really idiotic and every anti Muslim group in the world can distribute that as soon as provides the video. There is no simple way for Muslims who believe differently to divorce themselves from their backward brethren.

  15. @Harry – “No religion kills those who decide to leave it. Islam does”. Hmmm, I disagree. While the Quran doesn’t advocate death for apostates (PEOPLE do), the Bible is clear on this issue.” 13:6 If–your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend, which is as your own soul–entice you secretly, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” which you have not known–not you, nor your fathers;

    13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, near to you, or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

    13:8 You shall not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall your eye pity him, neither shall you spare, neither shall you conceal him:

    13:9 But you must surely kill him; your hand must be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    13:10 And you must stone him with stones, that he die; because he has sought to thrust you away from the LORD your God.”

    These verses are from Deuteronomy.

    I’m not trying to start the mine says this but so does yours argument, but it’s wrong to say that Islam is the only religion who kills for apostasy (which my position is made clear). The thing is that I hate it when people refuse to accept the fact that Muslims are not all alike. Like Jerry believes, “There is no simple way for Muslims who believe differently to divorce themselves from their backward brethren”. Muslims are individual people. We don’t share a brain and we’re as diverse as any other body of religious people.

    And Harry, the verse you used as your example for verses imams use (“Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” —Muhammad; Hadith, Bukhari 84:57; Narrated ‘Ikrima) is completely out of context. There is an entire story line that that phrase comes out of. The hadith itself is quite long actually. I would clarify the context, but I doubt my efforts would be accepted. Because, again like Jerry so pointed out, I can’t divorce myself from my “backward” brethren.

  16. @Irritated,

    You can believe in anything you like. However, you do not define Islamic jurisprudence (Shiriia). It is defined and codified by the Mazhabs. In Sunna Islam those are Shafii, Hanafi, Hanbali, and Maliki. The founders of all these Mazhabs all agree that the punishment for apostates is death very clearly. Now you can argue the point that the Quraan does not have the ruling, but as it is often the case rules in Islam are based on Hadith since the Quraan does not provide enough coverage. The top researches of Islam have looked at the passive verses you list and have determined that the were not specific enough to over rule the Hadiths.

    Note Mazhab is a codification of the rules of Islam based on Figh Research.

    The debate of the issue is below as I explained it to Sarah. Please review and tell me which of the traditional 4 Mazhab defines the Shariia rules you are arguing here. If you cannot then do you have your own Mazhab? and let us know how many Muslims follow you?

  17. MoQ – I never claimed to have followers. I never claimed to have developed my own madhabs. I’m also not a scholar though I do hold a BA in Islamic Studies, so thanks for the introduction to the madhabs but I’ve got that covered. My point was clearly not to say that I overrule the madhabs. You’re not saying anything I didn’t say in my post. I fully disclosed that classical texts all agree on and all four madhabs agree on the apostasy law. I never claimed to say that Sharia agreed with me. I gave my OPINION and understanding of the text as I read it and interpret it. That’s all. The madhabs were created by man. Man is not infallible and each of those scholars stressed the fact that their rulings were not going to always be free from error and that they were only human. Like I explained before, it is my OPINION that these men hundreds of years ago created the madhabs in a time in which coincides with the classical interpretation of apostasy. I am not bound to follow a madhab. They are created largely by ijtihad (reasoned deduction) of how a man understands a text. I challenge the correctness of the apostasy law because by MY PERSONAL UNDERSTANDING it contradicts the Quran. Period. Lynn asked for opinion. I gave it.

  18. As I said earlier – ‘Irritated, Thank you for sharing your beliefs but I really, really, really want to hear from the ones that say that death should be the punishment.’

    I still want to hear from them. There are what? 15 on here that agree that the punishement should be death and a number of others that are undecided. I want to hear what they have to say. Wouldn’t you as well?

  19. Actually yes Lynn, I agree. I most surely would like to hear as well very much.

  20. Good, so you are a good person.

    The point is Islam has Laws and until you reach a level of leadership where people will follow your interpretation of the Islamic laws, Islam will remain a religion that executes its apostates.

    By the way I agree with you Christianity as described in the bible is no better than Islam in this area. The only difference is Christians are less knowledgeable and less inclined to follow their religion. However, the bible remains a possible source for future radicals

    As I have said many times, people are more peaceful the more they stay away from following their dogma.

  21. I actually challenged my fellow Muslim Facebook friends (several hundred) to explain their understanding to me and I have no takers there either. If one of them decides to take me up on it and explain to me what they believe and why I’ll share it here, but it’s seeming to be unlikely I will have anything to share.

  22. I agree with you here MoQ about the dogma. That’s exactly what it is… dogma. People need to learn to use their own brains and develop their own understandings. Blindly following will only make you run into walls.

  23. Please do share with us if any of your Facebook
    Buddies gives you an answer. But, I can pretty much guarantee you that you do not have any extremist FB Friends. They don’t risk that kind of ‘mixing’ on that ‘Western’ technology as it is HARAAM! 😉

  24. loooooooool Lynn. You’re probably right. But I do have many friends from those backgrounds I discussed who were raised to think a certain way and I swear at times they believe everything anyone of any kind of “authority” tells them. I want to know what they have been told and I want them to tell me why without saying “because so and so told me” if you get me.

  25. Can everybody please stop using the bible as a reference that the bible is a nasty book too? It doesn’t change that fact that the writings of the Quran are nasty too.
    It’s a logical fallacy.
    Islam is an Abrahamic religion, all three Abrahamic religions are closely related, Christianity and Islam are both lased on Judaism, All three Abrahamic religions are nasty, misogynist and have caused a lot of suffering.
    This is well known.

    So can everybody please stop using this logical fallacy.

  26. I agree with everything Irritated said.

    In general I’d agree with you- but Harry made the claim only Islam considers Apostasy a capital crime. I think it was appropriate here to provide the Biblical verse showing that not to be the case. I don’t think it was intended as a “but they do it to” sort of redirect.

    I agree that all three faiths have been used by people to be nasty, misogynistic and to cause suffering. As have many other ideologies and belief systems throughout mankinds history. It seems to be a charactaristic of a certain percent of the population, that unfortunately the rest of us have to live with.

  27. The way I see it is that the three faiths had similar things written in the early days. There is only one faith that seems to think they should still sanction barbaric practices. I do not think that in today’s world people leaving Judaism or any of the Christian churches would be stoned. The thought or idea would never arise or would even remotely be sanctioned. Death, stoning …. I don’t think so!!!!

  28. Irritated —

    You say: “I honest to god believe Islam is peaceful because that is my understanding and interpretation of the text.”

    Oh yes, what text? Are you going to quote the few nice verses and pretend the “attack and kill” ones are not there? Are you aware that your prophet spent 10 years attacking non-Muslims in about 12 battles (only two defensive) and 40+ raids, every one an attack on innocent, peaceful villages. How can you say “Islam is peaceful”? How can you say PBUH after this man’s name? Think of those raids. Now think of dead and broken bodies. Now think of enslaved men women and children. Now think of raped captives. Now say “Praise be upon him” again. It doesn’t bother you , does it? Well, anyway, they were just dog infidels and every Muslim knows that Islam is perfect and Mohammad is a great moral example. Right?

    Quote: “When the west criticized Islam, these loose cannons gained more support from the Muslim community around the”. You just have to blame others, don’t you. You are a good Muslim, Irritated – blaming others and making excuses. The fact that all schools of Islamic jurisprudence have declared death to apostates for hundreds of years means nothing to you. You associate with this group even as you say you are different. You say you have a degree in Islamic studies, so I would think you would have an idea of the content of the traditions.

    As to your argument that you are somehow different, I was under the impression that all Muslims believe in the Quran, and love Mohammad and consider him to be a great moral example. In my understanding, that makes you just like them. In fact, in case you don’t know, if Mohammad says one thing and Allah says another, poor Allah dances. Question: How many times a day do you pray? Do you understand what I am saying?

    All religions suck, but Islam is in a class by itself. Whatever the faults and failing of other beliefs, they are nothing compared to the people that follow, Mohammad, Allah and and the Quran. I hate to use this analogy (Goodwin’s law) but I’m sure there were Nazis that never hurt a jew and KKK that even had black friends. It is the big picture that counts. By submitting to Islam you are part of the Ummah. You must accept responsibility for the actions of your prophet, and for what Muslims do – or you cannot criticize others. You have selected Allah as your god, and so you accept the teachings of the Quran. If your god cannot even write clear, simple rules that her followers can understand, that is your problem.

    PS: While you on the “no compulsion” horse, perhaps you would care to explain why your dear prophet attacked a mosque at Dhu Awan (that is Quran 9:107, in case you don’t know). The verse says he did it because of their “unbelief”. Would you kindly explain how this fits in with your understanding of Quran 3:20.

    Ah, what the heck, I’ll even give you some ideas:
    1. Bad translation and out of context (Good ol’ excuses, always there for ya).
    2. It wasn’t an attack, it was to deliver flowers.
    3. It was really infidels in the mosque, pretending to be Muslims.
    4. The women and children in the masjid were really really dangerous. They did not obey their husbands and deserved everything they got.
    5. The 3:20 verse was given afterwards, so at the time it was fine and dandy.
    6. Hey, if the prophet did it, it was ok, because Mohammad is the chosen messenger and everybody knows he was a great example that always did right and Allah and Mohammad talk all the time and lets not let a little thing like this spoil the ‘islam is perfect’ big picture.
    7. The “no compulsion” phase really means “no compulsion as long as it is Islam”. Everybody knows that.

    Have a nice day, tomorrow may not be as pleasant.


  29. Let me ask you a question Jay? I have responses for everything you wrote (and they are likely not going to be what you presume you think I can going to say) but what will I be accomplishing by having this conversation with someone like yourself? I highly doubt I will change any of your ideas, beliefs, or perceptions, and you will be unlikely to accept anything I say, so what is the goal here?

  30. Sandy, oh ok. Yes, if you want the real nasty stuff from the bible Dueteronomium is a good place to start. It also says you have to kill your neighbor if you see him/her mowing the grass on a sunday…..
    And kids if they are not obedient to their parents.
    It’s a miracle the early christians didn’t all die out.

    I agree too with Sandy and Irritated.
    The problem is that that I don’t think you have dogma and the scholars on your side. nor the vast majority of muslims.
    At least not at the moment. Not until all Muslim countries get secular constitutions and Islam looses it’s power. Christianity was in full dark age suppression, kill, burn, murder mode until that happened.

    While I think you two are examples of enlightened Muslims you do not have really have the support of your own scriptures.

    For example: ”there is no compulsion in religion” Sound excellent but it doesn’t count. It is an early sure from when he had no power and had to lure in followers and behave.
    And he changed his mind later big time didn’t he? Which is when you get all those hadith about killing anybody who becomes ”apostate”. he changed his mind about other things too, so that’s when he had the rule put in that all later verses abrogate earlier verses, which min effect means that the nicer bits, which are always the earlier bits, are abrogated by the later suras if they contradict them.

    I like your point of view, naturally. But you will always be on the losing end when you want to put your view on things forward against a fundamentalist Muslim. The scriptures support their, not your view.

  31. @Aafke,
    I choose to believe I get nowhere with fundies-not that I’m on the losing end! Sometimes it’s all in interpretation.

    I think you misunderstand abrigation in Islam. I have never- not even from fundies heard that all later sura’s negate the early ones. They themselves will quote, “there is no compulsion in religion” (though not seem to realize they negate it through some of their behaviors and beliefs)

    Anyway- I’ll not try to convince you- because as it is, too many Muslims don’t even see it. And really it’s more important to convince them.

    Anyway- someone as extreme liberal as myself – who doesn’t feel bound by mahdabs, scholars and hadith is definately in the minority. But there are many who “cherry-pick” their way to good practice and that is the first step.

    Education is the key to all good progress.

  32. ‘Education is the key to all good progress’

    I agree but I have seen too many instances of nominal, or liberally raised Muslims finally getting ‘educated’ in their religion and the result does not resemble ‘progress’ to me! Just sayin’…

  33. But who is doing the educating Lynn? Those who don’t have any liberal beliefs. I am highly educated in my religion by a university in an Islamic country and I still hold on to my beliefs. Its that blind following again… gets ’em everytime.

  34. How can there be abrogation in the Quran?

    Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad


    I have heard from many sources, one of them is not Muslim, who say that what is revealed in the later sura’s in the Qur’an supersede the earlier surahs. When I heard this I was extremely skeptical, however I thought I would ask you sidi just to confirm this…


    Among the verses in the Quran containing orders or laws there are verses that abrogate verses previously revealed and acted upon. These abrogating verse are called _nasikh_ and those whose validity they terminate are called _mansukh_.

    The common notion of abrogation, that is, canceling of one law or code by another, is based on the idea that a new law is needed because of a mistake or shortcoming in the previous one. It is clearly inappropriate to ascribe a mistake in law-making to God, Who is perfect, and whose creation admit of no flaws.

    However, in the Quran, the abrogating verses mark the end of the validity of the abrogated verses because their heed and effect was of a temporary or limited nature. In time the new law appears and announces the end of the validity of the earlier law.

    Considering that Quran was revealed over a period of twenty-three years in ever-changing circumstances, it is not difficult to imagine the necessity of such laws.

    It is in this light that we should regard the wisdom of abrogation within the Quran:

    “And when we put a revelation in place of (another) revelation and Allah knows best what He reveals — they say: you are just inventing it. Most of them do not know. Say: The Holy Spirit (Gibril) has revealed it from your hand with truth and as a guidance and good news for those who have surrendered (to God)” [16:101-102]

    It is a science on its own in Islam to know the Nasikh and Mansukh.

  35. ‘But who is doing the educating Lynn?’

    I don’t know. I think that THAT is the purpose in the ‘Radicalization’ hearings. Sometimes it is because they have gone to ‘a university in an Islamic country’ or they have started attending halaqas at their local mosque, or they educated themselves on websites promoted by their mosque’s website (Islam Q&A for example was the go to website for knowledge according to my daughter’s mosque until I, a NON Muslim, brought it’s questionable subject matters to their board).

  36. Wow! Lynn! Islam Q&A is easily the nastiest site, there is much nicer one :

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