Allah says there is no compulsion in Deen, the right way is clear from the wrong [2:256] and the truth is from your lord, whoever wills, let him believe and whoever wills, let him disbelieve [18:29].
Apostasy is when one abandons or renounces his religious and/or political beliefs and allegiances.
Whenever one testifies there’s no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s apostle, we assume that he’s Muslim based on his outward deeds.
However, there may be times these individuals manifest disbelief through their deeds. If he opposes the Rasul after guidance is made clear to him and follows other than the believers’ path, then clearly he’s among those who disbelieve [4:115].
Either he never believed or he believed then disbelieved or he’s filled with doubts. The ayat in surah an-nisa 89-91 tell us not to take them as allies until they emigrate in Allah’s path and if they turn away, seize them and kill them but if they restrain their hands against you and offer peace then Allah has not made a way for you against them, only those who have joined the enemy in fighting you should be fought against.
There are mainly three narrations which allude to killing apostates:
– whoever changes his deen, kill him
– the one who comes out against Allah and His Rasul
– the one who forsakes Islam and parts the jama’ah (or parts from the jama’ah)
The first: whoever changes his deen, kill him
If this were taken generally, then a pagan or a Jew who becomes Christian should be killed. Even if a Christian or Jew who becomes a Muslim should be killed, following the obvious wording of the narration. If someone says only Islam is deen, then they are mistaken. Why? Because Allah tells the people of the scripture not to exceed the limits of their religion… [4:171], calling their ways ‘deen.’ Therefore, this narration is problematic with the Qur’an.
The second: the one who comes out against Allah and His Rasul
The Qur’an has already detailed the punishments for hiraba in surah al-ma’idah, regardless of whether or not it’s done by one who used to say he’s Muslim or one who still claims he’s Muslim.
The third: the one who forsakes Islam and parts the jama’ah (or parts from the jama’ah)
By jama’ah, it’s not speaking about the sect that emerged after the Rasul’s passing, calling themselves ‘Ahl us sunna wal jama’ah. No, rather, the jama’ah is the Muslims and splitting their ranks. But due to the word “and” in the narration, this individual must be doing both: leaving Islam and splitting the ranks of the believers, causing sectarian strife. If the other wording is used -or parts from the jama’ah- then it implies he has parted ways with the jama’ah, in which case we apply the ayat in surah an-nisa depending on which camp he’s joined, a neutral party or the enemy…
Muhamad bin Muhamad