Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Support Rifqa Bary

Embedded above is a video of Rifqa Bary, the young Muslim girl who converted to Christianity...and now fears that her family will kill her for apostasy. Details of her heartbreaking story can be read here. And remember, this isn't happening in Saudi Arabia or Somalia - it's happening in Ohio.

It is time for Muslim communities in the West and around the world to acknowledge the traditional Islamic death penalty for apostasy. Muslims today often claim that the Qur'an contains no directive for the execution of apostates, but some scholars see in the following verse a contradiction of that assertion: “They [the Hypocrites: Muslims of insufficient faith] but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks...”

Here is Baydawi's commentary on the above commandment: “Whosoever turns back from belief, openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard”. Ibn Kathir, Maududi and others agree that the order to kill apostates can be found in various passages of the Qur'an.

In any case, outside of the Qur'an, the death penalty for apostasy is well attested to. Muhammad said: “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Bukhari v.9, b.88, no.6922, and others) During his life, he ordered the assassination of several apostates, including some traitorous livestock herders whose limbs he ordered amputated and their eyes put out with heated iron bars, after which they were left in the desert to die (Bukhari v.8, b.82, no.794-97).

All the schools of jurisprudence teach that the apostate from Islam must be executed. Malik bin Anas, founder of the Maliki school, said:

“As far as we can understand this command of the prophet [in the hadith above] means that the person who leaves Islam to follow another way, but conceals his kufr and continues to manifest Islamic belief...should be executed after his guilt has been established. He should not be asked to repent because the repentance of such persons cannot be trusted. But the person who has left Islam and publicly chooses to follow another way should be requested to repent. If he repents, good. Otherwise, he should be executed.”

The Hanbali jurist Ibn Qudama (d.1223) said:

“In the opinion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal any adult and rational man or woman who renounces Islam and chooses kufr should be given a three day period to repent. The person who does not repent should be executed.”

The Hanafi jurist Abu Yusuf (d.798) said:

“I will execute an apostate and will not ask for repentance. If, however, he hastens to repent, I will leave him and commit his affair to God.”

According to Umdat al-Salik, the Shafi'i school teaches:

“When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.”
Similar cases to this one are, of course, widespread throughout the Islamic world, but even in America, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. In 2007, Aqsa Parvez, a Muslim girl from Toronto, was murdered by her father for refusing to wear a hijab. Then last year, two sisters, Amina and Sarah Said, were once again killed by their father apparently for dating non-Muslim boys.

In the wake of such incidents, Muslim leaders in America had the chance to speak out against honour killing and the killing of apostates, but they chose to either remain silent or engage in deflection tactics, denying that these horrific crimes had anything to do with Islam at all. But now, as with so many aspects of Islam, denial is no longer (and indeed never has been) a viable option.

Because the cost will be in blood.

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