Executing one who apostatizes from Islam


Question:

I heard on a radio program interview that there is no evidence in the Noble Qur’an, the Hadith or even a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified scholar) permitting the execution of a Murtad (apostate) from Islam. Please, show the validity of this statement!

Answer:

The Noble Qur’an and the purified Sunnah have verified the obligation of executing a Murtad if they refuse to repent and this is understood in Allah’s statement (Glorified be He) in Surah Al-Tawbah: “Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikûn (See V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, then leave their way free. Verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Tawbah: 5]

Thus, this noble Ayah has indicated that whoever does not repent should not be freed. Moreover, it is related in the Sahih (authentic book of Hadith) of Al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: “Whoever (i.e. a Muslim) leaves Islam is to be executed.1

Further, it is reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said to a Murtad whom he saw when he visited Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari’s in Yemen: I will not dismount i.e. From Mu’adh’s riding animal, until he is executed. This is the Ruling of Allah and His Messenger. [see Hadiths narrated by Al-Bukhari [Book on Expeditions] no. 3996; and Al-Nasa’i [Book on sanctity of blood] no. 3998.

There are many other evidences clarified by scholars with respect to the chapter on “the ruling on a Murtad” according to the Four Madh-habs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali Schools of Jurisprudence), therefore, whoever would like to know more about this issue should refer to the mentioned chapter.


  1. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on Jihad and military expeditions, no. 2794, and the wording is his; and Al-Tirmidhi, Book on ordained punishments, no. 1378.