• EN (English)
Fatwa ID: 76706
Title: Leaving Islam
Category: Basic Tenets of Faith (Belief)
Scholar: AmjaOnline
Date: 10/26/2008


Assalaam alaikum,


A question was posed about what happens to a Muslim who leaves Islam, either to another religion or to no specific religion. If you please, could you provide details on what would happen during the Prophet's (pbuh) or the Caliphs' (ra) time, versus what would be the procedure now?


Jazak Allah khair, wa `alaikum assalaam.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,


All praise is due to Allah, and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah, upon his household, his companions and true followers. To proceed:


The majority of the People of Knowledge hold that the apostate should be asked to repent, that his misconceptions should be clarified and that the proof should be presented to him without pressure. For, certainly, it is more beloved to Allah that he should remain alive through repentance than that he should die on apostasy. Should he refuse, he would deserve to be executed by the hadd, or specific, prescribed criminal punishment, according to the saying of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), "Whoever exchanges his religion, execute him." Abu Hanifah dissented concerning [the case of] a woman who apostatizes; his stance is that she should be held in confinement indefinitely until she returns [to Islam].


As is well-known, this ruling regarding the apostate rests with the prevailing authority; there is no place for the common person or the quasi-common person [anyone less than a full-fledged scholar]. Such is the status of the hudud (pl: hadd) punishments in general; they are wholly dependant on a powerful, authoritative Islamic state. It is the state that presents the proof, clarifies the misconceptions and undertakes all the proper investigative procedures, without prejudice or injustice. If it sees that the source of the apostate's problem is a misconception to which he remains attached, the state will wait until its effects are completely gone, no matter how long that takes, so that nothing remains thereafter but mere stubbornness, arrogance and defiance. In the establishment of this ruling, there is protection for the sanctity of religions not to be toyed with, lest those who are manipulative and desire-driven do not obtain the means to advance their personally-motivated ambitions and objectives. Furthermore, in that which Allah has ordained, He has the perfect proof and argument, as well as the Ultimate Wisdom. We ask Allah to grant guidance to all.

And Allah Almighty is the Most High, and He knows best.