Muslim apologists often quote “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256) to argue that Islam does not punish those who may abandon their Islamic religion. Quoting tolerant verses such as this is a tactic that is often used, but the apologists fail to reveal that the tolerant verses were written in the early days of Islam while Muhammad was trying to garner support through peaceful means. It is the verses Muhammad received later that are crucial since the later verses have abrogated (annulled) the earlier verses.
This becomes especially important for those in the West when we look at the number of Westerners who converted to Islam, but then changed their minds. The New Statesman reports that over 100,000 people in Britain converted to Islam between 2001-2011, but up to 75% of them have since become apostates – leaving the religion. Many of those that have left Islam are women who married a Muslim, but later divorced. This puts not only the women themselves in danger since they are apostates, but it also jeopardizes any children from the marriage. Islam considers children of an Islamic father to be Muslim regardless of whether or not they are raised in a Muslim home. The arrest of Mariam Ibrahim in Sudan is a good example. Her Muslim father’s family believes she is an apostate from Islam because her father was a Muslim – even though her Christian mother raised her as a Christian.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the most influential Sunni Islamic clerics in the world. He is the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and the European Council for Fatwa and Research. He hosts a weekly television program called Sharia and Life that is broadcast on Al Jazeera to an estimated audience of 60 million, and he is also the chief religious scholar for IslamOnline, a popular website containing a wide range of Islamic topics ranging from news to fatwas (religious rulings on matters of Islamic law). He is also considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. His opinions on topics are embraced by millions of Muslims around the world.
In an interview, al-Qaradawi admitted, “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today… Surah 5:33 says, ‘The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle…is that they should be murdered or crucified.’ According to Abi Kulaba’s narration, the verse means the apostates. And many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad’s companions state that any apostate should be killed.”
Perhaps the best evidence that killing apostates from Islam is still held by many Muslims can be found in the fact that 27 countries consider apostasy from Islam illegal and a prosecutable offence. The punishments vary from fines, imprisonment, flogging to the death penalty in 11 of the 27 nations.
Apostasy laws are the ultimate form of control over the Muslim people. Islam imprisons its adherents and eradicates its rivals.
Pray that citizens in nations that are democratic in nature and allow many freedoms will value their liberty and thank Almighty God for His incredible blessings.
Jesus came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free. People who are unable to leave a religion are not free – pray for God’s discernment and declare His freedom to those who are captives of Islam. In addition, pray for protection for those that have left the religion of Islam.
Pray that Western governments and the United Nations will expose the nations involved in religious oppression. Ask God to reveal to them to reconsider giving financial support to nations that do not allow basic human rights such as the freedom to choose your religion.