Perspectives from Muslims who oppose punishment in this life for apostasy.
Apostasy in Islam
A Historical and Scriptural Analysis
by Taha Jabir Al-Alwani
In response to the hadith that states, "Whoever changes his religion, put him to death," Alalwani writes:
"It should be noted that the unconditional application of this hadith leads to a result that no one would ever advocate, namely, the abrogation or suspension of nearly two hundred verses of the Qur'an which reject the principle of coercion in matters of faith and stipulate absolute human freedom to choose what one will believe and what religion one will profess!
"As has been seen, the Qur'an affirms that there is no earthly penalty whatsoever for the decision to change one's religion (so long as the individual concerned is not guilty of some other crime). On the contrary, what the Qur'an affirms is that the right to declare the penalty for simple apostasy (that is, apostasy not associated with any other crime) belongs to God alone."
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Islam and Belief
At Home with Religious Freedom
by Abdullah Saeed
Islam and religious freedom: are they compatible or on a collision course?
Abdullah Saeed examines Islamic teachings in the Quran and in the Hadith regarding the status of religious minorities living in Muslim-majority societies and he surveys the perspectives of major Muslim scholars around the world today on whether or not Islam and religious freedom can coexist. In addition, he considers whether Muslim societies stand to benefit or face a threat from religious freedom, not least of all the freedom to explore and debate their own faith.
Saeed finds that "[d]espite the many restrictions that have emerged for both Muslims and non-Muslims in the course of the development of Muslim theology and law in the post-prophetic period, the realities of the modern world are forcing Muslim thinkers and scholars to rethink such restrictions and argue for religious freedom for all. In doing so, these Muslims are coming closer to the teachings of the Quran and the actual practice of Prophet Muhammad."
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
On apostasy, see pages 12-13.
Abu Amina Elias [aka Justin Elias Parrott]
Ahmad, Syed Barakat. "Conversion from Islam" (ch. 1, pp. 3-25) in The Islamic World: From Classical to Modern Times, eds. Bosworth, Issawi, Savory, Udovitch. (Princeton: The Darwin Press, 1989)
Saeed, Abdullah. “Rethinking Classical Muslim Law of Apostasy and the Death Penalty.” in Silenced: How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide. 2011, pp. 295-303. In English and Arabic.