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Massive Online Encyclopedia of Islam : APOSTASY
APOSTASY

Ar: irtidad or riddah. An apostate is called murtad. There has been much controversy among Muslims whether the male apostate is to be put to death. Many Muslim countries prescribed the death penalty for the apostate if he continues in it. A certain grace period may be given for the apostate to for him to repent, after which he may be executed. Death bed repentance is not allowed. The female apostate is to be kept in confinement until she recant or death. If one of a husband or wife apostatize, a divorce takes place and the wife is entitled to her dowry, but if both apostatize together, then the marriage is not dissolved, but Iman Zufar regards that the marriage is annulled. However, if later, one of them returns to Islam, then divorce is necessary (Hamilton, Hidayah, vol. ii. p. 183).

According to Abu Hanifah, a male apostate is disabled from selling or otherwise disposing of his property. But Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad differ from their master upon this point, and consider a male apostate to be as competent to excercise every right as if he were still in the faith. (Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 16, citing Hamilton, Hidaya, vol. ii, p. 235)

If a boy under age apostatize, he is not to be put to death, but to be imprisoned until he come to full age, when, if he continue in the state of unbelief, he must be put to death. Neither lunatics nor drunkards are held to be responsible for their apostasy from Islam (Hidayah, vol. ii, 246). If a person upon compulsion become an apostate, his wife is not divorced, nor are his lands forfeited. If a person become a musalman upon compulsion, and afterwards apostatize, he is not to be put to death. (Hidayah, vol. iii, 467).

The will of a male apostate is not valid, but that of a female apostate is valid. (Hidayah, vol. iv, 537).

Narrated Abu Burda:
.... The Prophet then sent Mu'adh bin Jabal after him and when Mu'adh reached him, he spread out a cushion for him and requested him to get down (and sit on the cushion). Behold: There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, "Then we discussed the night prayers and one of us said, 'I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'" (
Sahih Bukhari 9.58, also Sahih Bukhari 9.271)


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