Apostasy in Islam
The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. (February 2012)
Apostasy in Islam is when a follower of Islam tries to change or reject their religion. When someone tries to reject their religion, this is called apostasy. The three traits listed below are what is needed for apostasy to be taken seriously.
- The follower of Islam must be an adult, the rules usually do not apply to children.
- The follower of Islam must be sane. Insane people cannot make decisions in Islam.
- The follower must change their religion because they want to. Being forced to change their religion is not apostasy.
This means if a Muslim is a child, insane, or being forced, their action does not count as apostasy.
Most Sunni Islam and the Twelvers Shi'a Islamic schools of thought agree that apostasy is a sin. There is a difference between harmful apostasy and harmless apostasy (also known as major and minor apostasy). According to Wael Hallaq, none of the apostasy laws are based on the Qur'an, although the jurist al-Shafi'i interpreted the Qu'ranic verse 2:217 as proof that apostasy is outlawed. This provided the main evidence for apostasy being a capital crime in Islam. Sharia --Islamic law-- says the punishment for apostasy should be death, but the Qu'ran does not have any instructions for punishing apostasy.
Some Islamic jurists argued or issued fatwas that the changing of religion is not punishable or is only punishable under restricted circumstances. Some groups within Islam, such as the Shi'a Ismaili, reject death for apostasy altogether.
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