In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
The Qur’an was revealed over a period of twenty-three years; during this long period, unless he received Divine Revelation in the matter, the Prophet followed the teachings of the Bible, which requires death to the adulterer, the unchaste bride, the apostate the blasphemer and the homosexuals; which Biblical laws were annulled by subsequent Qur’anic revelations–(Qur’an 2:106; 16:101. See Muhammad Ali’s comm. His translation of the Qur’an can be viewed online: www.muslim.org). Prophet Mohammad taught according to the Qur’an–(Qur’an 10:15; 21:45; 46:9; 53:3-4).
There is no penalty of “death” for the apostates. This is made clear by the following Qur’anic statements:
“And whoever of you turns back from his religion,
then he dies while an unbeliever
–these it is whose works go for nothing in this
world and the Hereafter”
“How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved
after their believing,
and (after) they had borne witness that
the Messenger was true and clear
arguments had come to them?”
(Qur’an 2:217; 3:85).
“Those who believe then disbelieve,
again believe and again disbelieve,
then increase in disbelief,
Allah will never forgive them nor
guide them in the (right) way.”
(If apostates were to be killed there would be no question of them “believing” then “disbelieving” then “believing again” as 4:137 says”).
“Whoso disbelieves in Allāh
after his belief–not he who is
compelled while his heart is content with
faith, but he who opens (his) breast for disbelief
–on them is the wrath of Allāh
and for them is a grievous chastisement.”
(The wrath of Allāh is on them; not that they are to be killed).
The Prophet governed by the Qur’an–(10:15; 21:45; 53:3-4). Prior to Qur’anic revelation on a subject the prophet was required to govern according to the Torah. Killing of apostates would have been prior to the above noted Qur’anic injunctions, in which event the Prophet was following the Bible which requires death to apostates:
“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt….If thy brother…entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou has t not known, thou, nor thy fathers…thou shalt surely kill him…..” (Deuteronomy 13:5-16).
“If there be found among you…man or woman….And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded…..Then thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman …and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.” (Deuteronomy 17:2-5). (This is one of the Biblical laws that the Qur’an has abrogated–(Qur’an 2:106 16:101. See Qur’an-abrogation & collecting).
Regarding the report about the Prophet Mohammad ordering the death of the men of Ukl who had accepted Islam and who later killed the camel-herders and stole the camels. These thieves/killers were not necessarily apostates. Muslims of today seem to be killing Muslims for less than camels; and they are not apostates. Even if these killers of the camel-herders were apostates from Islam and if initially apostates were given the death penalty (as per the Torah), the revelation of the above Qur’anic verses would have put an end to such a practice. The Qur’an supersedes all other sources of guidance.
There is no compulsion in religion
(Qur’an 2:256; 6:107; 9:6; 10:99-100; 17:7; 18:6, 29; 50:45; 76:3; 109:1-6).
Stoning and death is the Jewish and Christian law:
1. (Apostasy): Those who “secretly” entice another to follow an unknown God are to be stoned to death:
“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt….If thy brother…entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers…thou shalt surely kill him”–(Deut; 13:5-16).
“If there be found among you…man or woman…. And hath gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, either the sun or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded…..Then thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman …and shalt stone them with stones, till they die”–(Deut; 17:2-5).
2. A “stubborn and rebellious son” is to be stoned to death–(Deut. 21:18-21).
3. (Honor killings): Married damsel without the “token of virginity” is to be stoned to death: “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you”–(Deut. 22:20-21 Notably, the man with whom she played the “whore” is not stoned).
4. A virginal damsel who lies with a man other than her “betrothed,” both are to be stoned to death–(Deut. 22:23-24).
5. A witch is to be put to death–(Exodus 22:18).
6. Who curses his father or mother is to be put to death–(Lev. 20:9).
7. Punishment for adultery is death–(Lev. 20:10-12; Deut. 22:22).
8. Homosexuals are to be put to death–(Lev. 20:13).
9. A man who takes a “wife and her mother,” both shall be burnt with fire–(Lev. 20:14).
10. Who commits bestiality is to be put to death–(Lev. 20:15-16).
11. (Blasphemy): “And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed….And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying…let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.…And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death”–(Lev. 24:11-16, 23).
12. The adulteress is to be stoned–(John 8:3-5).
(The Christian’s claim that Jesus forgave the adulteress is baseless–(John 8:1-11). Strangely, there is no mention of the man with whom the woman is said to have committed adultery. Neither did the woman confess to nor deny the charge, nor was she asked if the charge against her was true. (Some justice!)
Jesus not only says that he came to fulfill the law,3 he explicitly instructed his followers to “observe and do” whatever the “scribes and Pharisees” bid hem to do, because they sit in Moses’ seat;4 and two of the Mosaic teachings are to take an eye for an eye, and to stone the adulterer/adulteress. Jesus could not be said to have abrogated these Mosaic laws and yet tell his followers to observe them.
It would be a contradiction –Jesus’ turn the other cheek5 and that the one who is without sin to cast a stone at the adulteress do not abrogate the Mosaic teachings of an eye for an eye6 and to stone those guilty of adultery.7
To give the “other cheek” is not applicable to infractions against cardinal laws. Jesus’ give the “other cheek” and to forgive seventy-times seven were meant to reform his people into being more tolerant of one another (and his mission was only for Jews). However, if any aggrieved Jew would have demanded “an eye” in turn from his transgressor Jesus would have had no choice but to apply the law which he came to, and vowed to, uphold.
If the woman was guilty and Christ did not stone her then Christ had simply failed to enforce the law of God.
Jesus telling the Scribes and Pharisees, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” does not mean Jesus forgave her or that this statement abrogated the law of stoning.
To say that the law of stoning was abrogated because no man is without sin and therefore no one would be able to “cast a stone,” it would have been pointless for God to have given such a law that man could not have carried out.
Further, there was no case to begin with; the woman’s accusers had all left without “condemning” her. Jesus, rightly, as he had no evidence in the matter, could not condemn her either; him telling the woman to “go, and sin no more,” is not a reflection that a sin (adultery) was committed. While this may be the best advice that Jesus could have given, it certainly wasn’t “forgiveness.”
Aside from that, not only did the Jews not accept Jesus, Jesus was in no official capacity to execute judgment in the matter, and, therefore the case should have been decided by the very scribes and Pharisees that brought the woman to Jesus. Jesus must have known that they were “tempting him that they might have to accuse him,” as John 8:6 says, and was only being clever with them in saying “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
It would have been interesting to note Jesus’ response if the scribes and Pharisees had said to him that, since he, Jesus, was without sin, for him to first cast a stone at her.
Another observation. Jesus conversing with the Samaritan woman is not a sign of liberation of women. God decreed that woman be dominated by her husband; and this is what Paul taught.
All Jesus wanted from the woman was a drink of water: “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water (from Jacob’s well): Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink;” but she gave Jesus an argument as to why a Jew was seeking drink from a Samaritan seeing that “Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans”–(John 4:5-28).
As prophet of God, Jesus could not turn anyone away; but he could avoid them, and which he did, as is evident from his admonition to his disciples to not preach to non-Jews (and even Samaritans who also were Jews) whom he regarded as “dogs” and “swine” and from his preaching in parables so they would not understand and be saved. Obviously, Jesus had no intention of indulging in argument with the Samaritan woman. But the woman was sharp. And Jesus was cornered into it. This is no liberation. Jesus was on self-defense).
The Qur’an abrogates these laws of stoning and death in the Bible. Allāh speaking about abrogating and changing of mess-ages–(Qur’an 2:106; 16:101) does not mean that one verse of the Qur’an abrogates another, as is believed by many. It refers to the replacing of laws/messages of Scriptures previous to the Qur’an. Muhammad Ali has dealt with this topic in his Qur’anic commentary #152–re: Qur’an 2:106. His translation of the Qur’an can be viewed online: www.muslim.org.
3. Matt. 5:17-18
4. Matt. 23:2-3
5. Luke 6:29.
6. Exodus 21:24.
7. Lev. 20:10/John 8:5.