3. The riddah…a debatable issue not settled by scholars!

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The author discusses the different opinions concerning applying Ḥadd al-Riddah through interviews with different Islamic thinkers and scholars.

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There are more than 400 Christians that have converted to Islam, who are now attempting to return to Christianity. This raised arguments and contradictions amongst Islamic thinkers regarding Ḥadd al-Riddah, although legally they have done nothing wrong to be punished for.
D. Nasr Farīd Wāsil, the former Muftī of Egypt, says that converting to Islam is freely chosen. However, leaving Islam it is not permitted as if the person originally converted of his own free will. Islam is a contract between man and God, and abolishing this contract is an act that requires punishment, otherwise it will become appealing to other Muslims to leave Islam.
D. Muḥammad al-Masīr, a professor at the Azhar University, supports and agrees with hadd al-Riddah. He says that people who refuse it are weak.
Dr. Muhammad al-Sayyid Sa‘īd, the deputy director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies [See: http://acpss.ahram.org.eg/], believes in the freedom of religion. He rejects applying the death penalty on a Murtadd, saying that Islam is a not a contract between human and God as religion differs from business and trading, whereas people’s beliefs might change from time to time. Islam does not need Ḥadd al-Riddah to spread as it is strong enough. He asks what the situation would be if the U.S. were to apply Ḥadd al-Riddah on Christians who convert to Islam. Ultimately he says that Muslims failed to introduce Islam to the universe. Unfortunately, the West now views Islam as Usāmah Bin Lādin. [Reviewer: The phrase literally used by the author, in an attempt to his express his believe that the West regards Islam as the extremist radical image being delivered by Usāmah Bin Lādin]
Dr. Alī Jum‘ah, Muftī of Egypt, says that people have the right to choose their religion. Ḥadd al-Riddah was applied only to those who harmed their society with their Riddah. He proved that the holy Qur’ān allows Muslims to choose another religion. It is a matter of conscience between man and God.
Shaykh Jamāl Qutb, former chairman of the Fatwá Committee at the Azhar, says that Ḥadd al-Riddah can no longer be applied. It is not mentioned in the Qur’ān. The Prophet Muhammad mentioned it during his time because Islamic society was surrounded by many dangers, but now there is no need for it.
Dr. Tāhā Jābir, former director of the International Institute for Islamic Thinking [See: http://iiitweb.org/default.aspx], denies any incident during the time of the Prophet Muhammad where Ḥadd al-Riddah was applied.

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