If a Muslim converts to another religion and goes away from Islam, What are the consequences for this person?
Submitted by on Mon, 07/09/2009 - 14:00
Dear Brother / Sister,
Murtad is the noun form of the verb irtidad, which means to return, to ask the return of and to go back to the previous state. As a religious term, the word murtad is used to describe a person who converted to another religion or to atheism after being a Muslim. Deserting the religion is defined as “riddah”(conversion).
Riddah is not in question for a person whose heart is full of belief but says that he has deserted his religion under compulsion: "Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters unbelief― except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith― but such as open their breast to unbelief― on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty." (an-Nahl,16/106). There is a criterion of compulsion. It is not regarded as compulsion to be forced to drink alcohol, to eat the meat of a dead person or to be threatened by being beaten or imprisoned; it necessitates hadd (punishment for serious crimes) punishment. Only being threatened by death can be regarded as an excuse if the threatening person has the power to do so. If the person shows patience, does not desert his religion and is killed, he will receive great rewards in return. (al-Ikhtiyar, II, 106).
Before the hadd punishment is executed, the murtad is asked to repent and to return to Islam. However, there is disagreement among scholars as to how to do it. According to most of the scholars, if he does not repent, he is killed after he is asked to repent three times. Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) says that the murtad is imprisoned for three days and is asked to repent and that he should be given bread as food during that period. The hadd punishment is definitely the duty of the state. Nobody else can give that punishment.
Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) carried out that period as a month. An-Nahai claims that there should not be a time limit and that he should be asked to return to Islam until he repents.
When the murtad deserts Islam, all of his good deeds are wiped off and he stays in Hell everlastingly: "If any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be Companions of the Fire and will abide therein." (al-Baqara, 2/217).
It is valid if the murtad does not repent. Islamic scholars have different views whether the deeds of the murtad before his ridddah are wiped off if he repents and returns to Islam. According to Imam Shafii, no good deed of the murtad including hajj is wiped off if he returns to Islam. According to Imam Malik, all of his deeds are wiped off as soon as he deserts Islam. (al-Qurtubi, al-Jami'li Ahkami'l-Qur'an, Beirut 1965, III, 48).
The marriage becomes invalid with riddah. However, if the murtad returns to Islam and if both parties want to continue their marriage, a new marriage ceremony and mahr are not in question. Hanafis regard divorce due to riddah as talaq bain (irrevocable divorce). The murtad cannot be an heir to his Muslim relatives; when he dies, his Muslim relatives cannot be heirs to him either: "A Muslim cannot be the heir of an unbeliever, nor can an unbeliever be the heir of a Muslim" (Bukhari, Faraid, 26; Muslim, Faraid, 1).
A committee of scholars should question the murtad in order to decide that a Muslim has deserted Islam. It is by no means correct to say that someone has become an unbeliever without such a questioning.
Questions on Islam
- How should we understand the command of Islam Kill the one who deserts Islam?
- What is the "Security of my Salvation" in Islam?
- What is Murted? Who is called an apostate; ex-Muslim? Can a Muslim be addressed as kafir (unbeliever)?
- If a person exits the religion of Islam and becomes a murtad (apostate), and becomes a Muslim again, what will happen to his previous deeds?
- Can an apostate (murtad) be killed before he is invited to repent? What is the view of madhhabs regarding the issue?
- The character of Muhammed pbuh and his attitudes
- For whom is the hadith ‘Belief wipes out the page before it’?
- What does “The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a mercy for all beings” mean?
- What are the fundamental rights Islam gives to man?
- THE BASIC CONCEPTS OF ISLAM