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Category Archives: APOSTASY

The Issue of Apostasy in Islam

JONATHAN BROWN

Dr. Jonathan A. C. Brown is the Director of Research at Yaqeen Institute, and an Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. He is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and the Law, and the author of several books including Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy.


The Shariah consists of some laws that remain the same regardless of changing circumstances and others that change with them. Most of the Shariah is up to individual Muslims to follow in their own lives. Some are for judges to implement in courts. Finally, the third set of laws is for the ruler or political authority to implement based on the best interests of society. The Shariah ruling on Muslims who decide to leave Islam belongs to this third group. Implemented in the past to protect the integrity of the Muslim community, today this important goal can best be reached by Muslim governments using their right to set punishments for apostasy aside.

One of the most common accusations leveled against Islam involves the freedom of religion. The problem, according to critics: Islam doesn’t have any. Read more of this post

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