Apostacy – A Road with No U-turn


By: Hassan Fartousi

Roads are many yet a few of them are u-turnable. U-turnable roads rob you of any free choice and instead provide you only one single option: driving straight ahead. Like roads, religion might be mono-directional. As a practitioner of a religion, you are tasked to be born and die as a stamped follower. Islam for instance, strictly prohibits any u-turns and a new-born baby would grow up and kiss the world goodbye while he remains a Muslim. Hence do you think such u-turns are synonymous with punishable crimes?

Islam by its word means submission (to God). Islam as a Din refers to a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. The Quran is the words of God and a respectfully sacred book revealed to the Prophet Muhamad (PBUH) through an angel namely Jibril. The prophet of Islam tried hard to preach and invite idolaters to Islam. He succeeded at the end. Since the prophet’s era till date, a non-Muslim can easily join Islam and become Muslim only by testifying two statements: There is only one God and Prophet Muhamad (PBUH) is his messenger.

On the other hand, deserting such a religion is considered a great sin and harshly compoundable. In case a Muslim wishes to convert from Islam into another religion, (s)he gets labeled apostate. Apostates in Islamic laws are of two types: natural and parental. A natural apostate is a Muslim whose one or both parents are/were Muslims and (s) he deserves Islam after the age of maturity whereas a parental apostate is known as a Muslim whose both parents are non-Muslim and (s) he leaves his religion after the age of maturity. Therefore, punishment wise, article 225-7 and 8 of the Penal Code of the Islamic republic of Iran clearly mandate death for a male natural apostate and life imprisonment for a female one. Parental apostates are punished by death unless they denounce. Some judicial authorities also base their convictions on decrees(fatwa) and Islamic laws.

Contrary to the above said punishments, the declaration of Human Rights of United Nations stipulates that every person should have the right to choose his/her religion and practice it individually or in group. The declaration is an antithesis to the penal code and the following Hadith (saying) of the Prophet of Islam :

“…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'”


-Articles 225-2,7,and 8 of Iran’s Penal Code

– Bukhari 52:260: “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'”

-Bukhari 83:37: “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas), (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse, and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle, and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

-Muslim 623: The Prophet said: “It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim except in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for a life (if the person is Muslim), and the deserter of Islam.”