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).
For more death and stoning to death in Judaism and Christianity see Islam-adultery & flogging.