Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Tariq Ramadan on Apostasy

July 25, 2007

In light of the texts (Qur'an and prophetic traditions) and the way the Prophet behaved with the people who left Islam (like Hishâm and 'Ayyash) or who converted to Christianity (such as Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh), it should be stated that one who changes her/his religion should not be killed. In Islam, there can be no compulsion or coercion in matters of faith not only because it is explicitly forbidden in the Qur'an but also because free conscious and choice and willing submission are foundational to the first pillar (declaration of faith) and essential to the very definition of "Islam". Therefore, someone leaving Islam or converting to another religion must be free to do so and her/his choice must be respected.

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