بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We praise Allah, Who created mankind and revealed to us guidance from Him. May the best benedictions and peace be upon the best of creation, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who was sent to manifest that guidance, exemplifying it for all. To proceed:
Our time is truly a unique time in the history of Islam. Having masses of Muslims, entire communities living in the lands of and under the authority of disbelievers. This reality posses both novel trials and novel opportunities. It is up to us to utilize this situation to the best of our abilities and for the highest ends.
In the past, Jihad – and by this I mean specifically the full extension of political influence, be that education, propaganda, diplomacy and yes, physical combat – was a tool used in order to offer support to the common folk, merchants and scholars who interacted with non-Muslims. Similar to the way any country protects its citizens abroad. When Muslims were treated unfairly, oppressed or harmed due to the open practice and proselytizing of their faith, the legitimate Islamic authority over them would use their influence to guarantee for them security. When outright combat became necessary to achieve this, the aim was never to usurp land, natural resources or force conversion. Such is the aims of wars, warlords, and war-mongers (and failed or failing states). True Jihad has but two aims – 1.) to secure justice and the rights of others, stopping tyranny and oppression, and 2.) to allow people to experience the free and open expression of Islam in order that it’s beauty could be witnessed.
Why the seeming leap from speaking about the rare opportunity afforded Muslims today, living in great masses but as minorities within the lands of disbelievers to speaking about the physical combat aspects of Jihad? It is not a leap at all, that is why. When a believing army overcame a disbelieving force it was always termed “Fat’h”. This is the Qur’anic term as well as the prophetic term. Today, because of how and when it is used, it is so often mistranslated as “conquest” or “victory” but that is NOT what is meant. Fat’h means opening. It means that the lands were open to hear the message of Islam and the people were now able to experience the beauty and mercy of the Shariah. Many lands, after being opened to Islam, did not become Muslim lands for centuries. The people of the land retained their faith but under the authority of the Shariah and slowly, slowly, through everyday interactions, the people entered into Islam.
The physical fighting had to occur to protect the peaceful, everyday interactions between common folk and merchants, for the scholars to call to the deen openly and for the Muslims to have safety and security in practicing their faith publicly.
Today we have this without the need for physical fighting. (This in no way negates legitimate Fighting taking place around the world by Muslims who have had their lands and people ravaged by foreign forces!!!) Today, Muslims are welcomed, for the most part, in the lands of disbelievers and, for the most part, are not molested due to their open expression of their faith. These lands have been opened without the need for fighting.
Unfortunately, many Muslims are failing. Instead of seeing, practicing, manifesting, living the beauty of their deen, instead of showing the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to their neighbors, they hide away like isolationists. Or worse, they leave it and want instead to be like the disbelievers. The lands are open but we are failing to do our part. Indonesia was opened by only several merchants – they went there for business but due to the beauty of their character, their uprightness upon their faith, the manifestation of guidance, the entire country entered into Islam and now, until today it is the largest Muslim country. We have an opportunity.
Notice, however, that I speak of displaying character and showing the beauty of Islam. It is through the hearts that most Da’wa (inviting) is done, not the minds. Joining the two is best, and for some, the mind is the quicker route, but for most, the path to guidance is a path from heart to heart. We must show that there is something that is of such value that it is sought after. Rather than pushing our beliefs on others, if it is displayed in our lives, we will be pulled to deliver it. We need to manifest our faith with a mixture of firmness and gentleness.
I am aware that this article is entitled “On Apostasy.” By this point some may think this is an issue of “bait and switch” as I have yet to mention anything that seems to pertain to apostasy. And the truth is, this article does not. It isn’t a “bait and switch” either, but rather it serves as a means to open a discussion. Many times Muslims are asked irrelevant questions. We call people to have faith in the One True God, to cease associating partners to Him, to be dutiful to parents, to keep the ties of kinship, to live clean and healthy lives, to be models of manners, morals and uprightness, and to stand out against wrongs and transgressions but then, in the midst of this, out of the blue, we are asked about matters that have nothing at all to do with the common Muslim or the experience of Islam. Questions which, if they were turned around and asked to the average non-Muslim, we would be looked at like we were daft and.most people would not expect educated answers to. Still, in their striving to “make Islam clear”, Muslims attempt to answer these issues – sometimes with disastrous effects. Most of these answers are mere opinions steeped in ignorance while a few are at least attempts at sharing a wisdom behind the topic. The reality is, in these areas it is better to find a polite way to turn back the question and return to the topic at hand. Ultimately, if a non-Muslim agrees with every aspect of the Shariah but fails to believe in God’s absolute and Divine Singularity – what has been accomplished?
So, due to frustration (yes, I admit that) at the constant interest in non-Muslims regarding the laws pertaining to apostasy in Islam and the many well intentioned but incorrect responses by Muslims seeking to put a smiley face on their Da’wa efforts, I wrote a paper on this topic. After sharing the topic with a friend, he told me that I didn’t go into enough detail regarding the rules and regulations. I informed him that the point was not to unravel such a high level topic of jurisprudence for general consumption but rather to make it clear this is not a fitting topic for common folk amongst Muslims or non-Muslims to discuss like a daily paper. To this my friend told me that, in that case, it is not biting enough. I was too soft in my approach. So, this tells me that I was kind enough not to be blatantly rude but also, I honored the knowledge enough that I didn’t make it a general topic for everyone to discuss as though they were jurists … a good balance perhaps. This article serves as an introduction to explain the “why” behind it and make clear that my intentions is to say that our duty is to live our deen, to manifest it and display its beauty; our duty is to call people to faith and uprightness. Our duty is NOT to discuss matters of high level jurisprudence.
We, those already blessed with the greatest blessing of guidance have been chosen by our Lord to live in these lands, in this time for a purpose. The lands have been opened for us. We may not be called upon for open combat, but this does not mean we are not called upon to act. This life is a test and we have been given a rare, historic opportunity. Will we rise or fall? Will we be a means of people seeking guidance or shunning it? Will we be a means of people entering Islam or the generations after us leaving it? Everyday we live with that choice. Everyday we have been blessed with a new opportunity.
And with Allah alone is every success.
Pdf “Apostasy In Islam”