I disagree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

Published: October 17, 2014

So dear Sam Harris, I am not a “nominal Muslim” for rejecting the apostasy laws. Those who uphold these laws, in defiance of the Quran’s stance on freedom of conscience, are the ones who are “nominal.”

I read a fellow blogger’s post on why she agrees with Sam Harris and Bill Maher. I am sure the writer has her heart in the right place and I completely agree with her principal argument – that the Muslim world needs serious introspection and reform. Except this is not the argument Maher and Harris put forth. They believe that the Islamic faith, not just extremist Muslims, needs reform.

Academically speaking, Islam is defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not defined by what the ISIS or some ‘Muslim government’ endorses. Nor is it defined by what 64% of Egyptian Muslims (compared to the 2% of Bosnian and Turkish Muslims that agree with apostasy laws) think. Regrettably, Maher and Harris judge Islam by the latter standard. And this is where they go wrong.

To make my point, let us test Maher and Harris on the issue that was central to that heated debate on Maher’s show.

Maher alleges that Islam is the only religion that kills you for disagreeing with it or for leaving it. In other words, he singles out Islam for endorsing the apostasy laws. Harris agrees with Maher and further adds that Muslims, like me, who reject apostasy laws are “nominal Muslims” who “do not take Islam seriously.”

In my detailed debate, with a fellow new atheist on this issue of the apostasy laws, I show how extreme anti-Islam critics and extremist Muslims hold the same flawed narrative on Islam. On the contrary, the Quran and Sunnah and the majority “moderate” Muslims stand on the other side.

The Quran, for instance, says, explicitly states that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256) and for people to let those who believe, believe and those who disbelieve, disbelieve (18:29). What can be a clearer endorsement of the freedom of religion and conscience? The Quran upholds these values in explicit irrefutable terms, the only way one can deny this is by resorting to interpretations by extremist clergy. This is why when I presented these verses to another new atheist, as proof of the Quran’s literal endorsement of freedom of conscience, he replied,

“But there is a verse concerning dealing with ‘renegades’ that could be interpreted as punishing apostates.”

Ignoring a clear injunction of the Quran and leaning on extreme interpretations by extremist clerics is why Harris and Maher, and extremist clerics, are wrong in this debate. The fact is that there is not a single verse in the Quran that endorses apostasy laws. Harris himself has admitted to this in the past. Apostasy is mentioned twelve times in the Quran. In all of these instances, freedom of conscience, in line with the Quran’s explicit stance on the issue, is upheld. For example, the Quran says that if they (disbelievers) submit then they follow the right way, but if they turn back, only the responsibility of the delivery of the message lies on you (3:20). There is no compulsion anywhere. A few other verses reiterating the same principle are 3:145, 4:137, 5:55, 16:107.

So, when Maher says Islam is the ‘only faith’ that upholds apostasy laws, he is either genuinely ignorant of the Quran or deliberately misleading his viewers. Because the fact is that while the Bible upholds apostasy laws, the Quran unequivocally rejects them.

It must be remembered well that the Quran is the primary and supreme source of jurisprudence in Islam. The practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Sunnah, is second in line. Both leave no doubt that apostasy is not a punishable offense at all, let alone by death. Any counter narration or any counter interpretation of any scholar or cleric, let alone that of extremists, stands void when pitched against the Quran. Presenting such statements as evidence superseding the Quran only hurts the academic credibility of the critic, exposes their weak understanding of Islamic jurisprudence and bares their biases.

So dear Sam Harris, I am not a “nominal Muslim” for rejecting the apostasy laws. Those who uphold these laws, in defiance of the Quran’s stance on freedom of conscience, are the ones who are “nominal.”

That said, I agree with Harris on one thing; he affirms that those who reject apostasy laws are Islam’s reformers. I thank Harris for considering me a reformer. There are hundreds of millions of us reformers who chose to read the Quran as a whole rather than rely on the (mis)interpretations of extremist clerics. Maybe Maher could call one of us to a future debate on Islam.

I strongly believe that Harris and Maher have all the right to criticise Islam. However, projecting the extremists as true Muslims and rejecting us reformers as “nominal” amounts to bigotry and bias. Instead of forcing us to give up the Quran, the duo should applaud us for reforming the rest of the Muslim world because, as we just demonstrated, it is not Islam, but parts of the Muslim world that need reform.

kashif.chaudhry

Kashif Chaudhry

A graduate of King Edward Medical University, Lahore and Mt Sinai University Hospital in New York, Kashif is currently completing his Cardiology fellowship in Boston, USA. He writes for various American newspapers and Pakistani publications and blogs at the Huffington Post. His interests include medicine, human rights and interfaith dialogue. He tweets @KashifMD (twitter.com/KashifMD)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Prashant

    “Regrettably, Maher and Harris judge Islam by the latter standard. And this is where they go wrong.”

    For a Non Muslim, Islam is how the Muslims project it, violence has a severe impact on a human psyche, I am sure most of us see very reasonable Muslims in our day to day life but when we see a Non Muslim being beheaded by a Muslim just because he is an infidel in the opinion of a particular Muslim or a group, it leaves an impression of Muslims which is very negative, the same applies to all communities but unfortunately in todays world, it is mostly the Muslims who make news for wrong reasons.

    Also, it should not matter for most of the Non Muslims what Islam is, if a Muslim tells me that Islam is a religion of peace, I should have no issues accepting it, it is the way some but a very significant number of Muslims behave which is a matter of concern for those who do not belong to the umma.

    Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Unoriginal and redundant.

    There have been many blogs, on this site alone, crucifying Maher and Harris for their insolence. In this country, it wins easy applause.

    Many would efficiently argue that Ahmedism itself defies the scripture’s injunctions, which is why liberals have embraced the idea that a religion can be interpreted in more than one ways. It is self-righteous to dispose that doctrine, whenever you feel the need to detach unwanted elements from your religion.

    We need reformists, not denialists.Recommend

  • Sami

    Mr Kashif unfortunately like many of my friends you are pretty selective in your approach while explaining some problem. If Quran states on one one point that there is no Compulsion in religion then at the same time the Laws to deal with Apostates is also defined. So why you never mention any reference in that regard? Also I have many Turkish and Bosnian friends and they are all Secular with Muslim names. Only less than 10 percent are practicing there.

    If you want to really gauge the stance on apostasy stance then start with the view of practicing Muslims like we see in Pakistan and Middle east.

    You simply maneuver around that subject and selected some verses that explains the religious freedom. Quran and Hadees are clear and there are many references in Hadees how to deal with Apostates.

    The fact is that around 99 percent Muslims in Pakistan do agree that Apostacy and Blasphemy carry death sentence and they argue with Quran and Hadees as well.
    If there are no such rules in Islam then why The constitution of Pakistan that conforms to Islam and rules in Saudia Arabia dont allow Preaching by Non Muslims and approve the death sentences of blasphemers and apostates.?Recommend

  • hassan

    excellentRecommend

  • raw is war

    @Kashif

    what you need to understand is- Maher and Harris are speaking about the violence and intimidation Muslims use to push their agenda world wide. If you disagree with this, you are lying. No need of writing such a long article.Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    Thanks Kashif for writing this! Agree with you 100%. The whole problem of the debate was that Bill Maher and Sam Harris were accusing Islam and not the minority of idiots do stupid things in the name of Islam. I agree with the other blogger (and so do you) that a lot of Muslims need to wake up and allow free thinking and freedom to choose (God also asks us to think and think and think but for some reason we ban free thinking). But blaming Islam as Sam Harris and Bill Maher did is not agreeable at all.Recommend

  • shaaziafaiz

    Brilliant. Makes me feel so much better a muslim, prouderRecommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    Islam as a faith is what a vast majority of Muslims believe, not the rosy interpretations of a few sane people. The Bible upholds many violent and misogynist things, and you try to wave it around as if this argument could be anything other than saying “Hey, they’re as bad as we are.”

    The truth, which you conspicuously forget to mention, is that you might not find even a single country today with a majority of Christians that would jail, fine, execute you for apostasy or blasphemy except perhaps Uganda. When it comes to Islamic nations, it’s the exact opposite: you might not find even a single country with a majority of Muslims that wouldn’t jail, fine or execute you for apostasy or blasphemy. Lay the blame on the followers or the book they follow.

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if this comment is published but I hope, keeping with the spirit of the blog which says people should have the right to criticise faiths, I hope I see this here when I wake up tomorrow. Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    Islam as a faith is what a vast majority of Muslims believe, not the rosy interpretations of a few sane people. The Bible upholds many violent and misogynist things, and you try to wave it around as if this argument could be anything other than saying “Hey, they’re as bad as we are.”

    The truth, which you conspicuously forget to mention, is that you might not find even a single country today with a majority of Christians that would jail, fine, execute you for apostasy or blasphemy except perhaps Uganda. When it comes to Islamic nations, it’s the exact opposite: you might not find even a single country with a majority of Muslims that wouldn’t jail, fine or execute you for apostasy or blasphemy. Lay the blame on the followers or the book they follow.

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if this comment is published but I hope, keeping with the spirit of the blog which says people should have the right to criticise faiths, I hope I see this here when I wake up tomorrow. Recommend

  • sarageet

    Good job! Indian troll will hit now.Recommend

  • sarageet

    Good job! Indian troll will hit now.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I would tend to go with the view that most religious texts are worded so that you can garner from them what ever meaning you wish in order to suit the circumstance.
    Recommend

  • Parvez

    I would tend to go with the view that most religious texts are worded so that you can garner from them what ever meaning you wish in order to suit the circumstance.
    Recommend

  • Omer Masood Sadiq

    The matter is slightly more deep.
    Because there are some Sahih Hadith that support the death penalty for apostasy. However, no one was ever punished during the life of the Prophet(PBUH).
    Why?

    To answer this, we have to understand the structure of society in Arabia at the time. There was no central government at the time. Instead, the law was enforced by tribes and clans who formed alliances and enmities among each other. The advent of Islam in the region was not just as a personal set of beliefs, but as a nation.

    It is during the time of Abu Bakr(RA) that apostates were punished. Apostasy at the time was not just about abandoning a belief, but about declaring separation from the system. Refusal to pay taxes, building and strengthening armies to essentially create a state within the state.
    Tell me, what country today will accept this within it’s borders? And yet we seem very comfortable with that today and label it punishment for ‘treason’.Recommend

  • Undergrounded

    Thank you Kashif for taking the time to remind everyone that the bottom line is that Quran and Sunnah are the only two sources of Islamic legislation and some self proclaimed Caliph cannot speak for billions of Muslims around the world. Brilliant work!Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    Key word “interpreted.” You are welcome :-) Recommend

  • inti

    Are my comments going to be posted?Recommend

  • inti

    I posted a comment along the same lines, but it did not pass the censorship.Recommend

  • Hasan

    “We need reformists, not denialists.” So when Ahmadi’s interpret the scriptures thereby ‘reforming’ the religion you treat it as an ‘-ism’ to alienate it from Islam?

    You don’t want a reformer, what you want is an excuse that’s all.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “We need reformists, not denialists.”

    Faraz, does reform not sound too strong a word for a community where blasphemy, either perceived or real is punished with death?Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Right behind you kashif :) Recommend

  • “Neo-Atheist”

    No offence, but in an 1 on 1 debate Sam Harris would rip you apart. Your position is untenable.Recommend

  • Rob

    Stop playing hide the ball. If you really disagree with awful attitudes such as homophobia, mysiogyny, killing of apostates and so on then reject the doctrine and reform. Make no mistake the bible is equally heinous but you won’t see Christians demanding a return to slavery. The mainstream defines the Zeitgeist not the text. If you are happy to reform then shout louder, if you do you will find Islamophiles everywhere.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    It’s ahmadiyyat* Recommend

  • نائلہ

    And let me know exactly what he “denied”Recommend

  • Hasan

    Dear Sami,

    You are terribly wrong when you say that Laws to deal with apostates is defined in the Quran. On the contrary we see the Quran talking about people who embrace Islam and leave it and then leave it again.

    Al-Nisa’ Chapter 4 : Verse 138

    So if according to you, apostates were to be KILLED, again believe shouldn’t have been there. There is no law for blasphemy mentioned in the Quraan too.Recommend

  • Unoriginal

    Faraz, What are the practical reforming steps you have taken so we may follow you. Where did “Ahmed-ism”
    come into the discussion? The discussion is on how Maher & team are
    inciting hatred for Muslims by their attack on the religion of Islam.
    No doubt Muslims need reformation BUT that does not mean ambiguous and
    criminal generalizations by Maher against 100% of the Muslim population
    all over the world. There is a distinction, stop denying it.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    You tell him bro! Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I don’t alienate it from anything. You assume too much.

    I’m asking you to then apply the same approach to other Muslims, instead of trying to unilaterally throw them out of the Islamic circle because their presence inside embarrasses you.Recommend

  • L.

    Frankly, no sane Muslim is denying that there is a problem. But who here is reforming this faith back to its true teachings?

    And your use of the word “community” is incorrect if you are referring to Islam. But in Pakistan’s context, right on point. Recommend

  • L.

    Did you not read the whole “compulsion” paragraph? When he clearly states that forcing someone to follow this faith is against the religion, then how is he NOT disagreeing with the violence? Recommend

  • L.

    I thought atheism came about for ppl who did not care of religion, but look here they are, divided into sects now! Recommend

  • L.

    You are using the constitution of Pakistan- as a primary source of your belief system? Do you think they looked at the quran/ Hadith before passing it?

    The constitution also states that for a rape to be acknowledged, one needs 4 witnesses; whereas even the least educated of Muslims would know that this rule was for protecting women from being accused of adultery rather than for rape. Recommend

  • thruththseeker

    One wise man rightly said long time back, ‘actions speak louder then words’ . What the author says is classic case of, believe what I say not what you see.Recommend

  • Mohammed Iqbal

    Were the Christians who opposed burning at the stake during the Middle Ages either nominal Christians or Christian reformers?Recommend

  • Samad

    Can you both quote the Verse which defines the law “on how to deal with apostates”? Try reading the article one more time, there is no SUCH VERSE*Recommend

  • Reddy

    Someone explain me why there are so many interpretations? Can’t you guys sit together and fix the interpretations and get over with and leave the rest of the world in peace?Recommend

  • Reddy

    You got one in :)Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    That’s only if he agrees to a debate. So far, he’s been resisting it. Recommend

  • Rahul
  • TimeHasCome

    Is it not more appropriate to disagree with ISIS, AQ, TTP and all those who commit violence in the name of Islam? Declare them apostate. That is the root of Sam Harris and Bill Maher’s points.Recommend

  • L.

    That is only possible if contradictions exist, why, are you saying that the Quran has contradictions?! Recommend

  • Hasan

    There is no law for apostasy neither the Quran calls for the killing of apostates, you should read it once again before alleging made up stuff towards QuranRecommend

  • Omaidus Malik

    Would love to read your refrences of apostasy from quran, as there are none.Recommend

  • Raven Woods

    Turkey has majority Muslims, and they don’t fine or jail apostates!Recommend

  • LegalizeReason

    Please, stop lumping the views of Maher and Harris together. They are not the same. Maher’s are the views of a sometimes funny comic who has no deep understanding of his own position. The views of Sam Harris are not as simplistic as Maher’s and are the product of extensive research and education. We would have found out the difference between the two had not the ADHD of Ben Affleck kicked in. Affleck made some good points, but he could have actually learned something had he not shouted down Harris every time he tried to speak. Do some research on Sam Harris and you might learn something about Islam, as well. Recommend

  • ed

    I guess now we have to find these true muslims and hold them accountable for letting Islam getting out of control.Recommend

  • Syed Amir

    M S Hussain booted out of india for drawing an image of Hindu Godess .. Go Figure sonRecommend

  • Syed Amir

    Sam Harris is a shill who choses his opponents carefullyRecommend

  • Some Guy Somewhere
  • alssignup

    Another article making the common error of conflating criticism of the ideology with criticism of people themselves in the first paragraph and snowballing from there.Recommend

  • Leonard Henderson

    I disagree. It’s time to throw out these half baked fables altogether. Muslim, Christian, Hindu, whatever.Recommend

  • Richard

    لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ (There is no compulsion in religion), meaning, “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam.
    As you can see this refers to those who are not yet Muslims it does not refer to this who were Muslims in the past and after numerous readings of the Koran have decided that its all a bit far fetched and morally wrong. For these people there is plenty of compulsion.Recommend

  • Yaesin

    I am a former Muslim.
    Kashif, seriously?
    Not impressed at all by your interpretation. You completely ignore fundamental parts of Islam that make it unique among the religions of the world. Mainly, the absolutist claim that it is the FINAL religion. A final solution. “Surrendering to god’, as you surely know the word Islam means. In other words, Muslims do not claim to be exclusive, however they do claim to be FINAL. Islam agrees with the existence of Abraham’s sacrifice, and the virgin birth of Jesus, etc, however the Islamic claim (god speaking to Muhammed, the merchant) is the final one. Surely, the worst thing anyone can ever say in today’s world is:

    “Nothing further is required. There have been previous words from god, we admit that. We don’t claim to be exclusive, but we do claim to be final. There’s no need for any further inquiry on this point. All else is commentary.”

    That’s deadly.
    And…..if Islam is going make claims of this magnitude, it has to IMMEDIATELY drop the demand that it be immune from criticism, and especially from satire. History (Danish cartoons, etc) only shows that it is unable to do this. Where are the Jewish and Christian riots from the anti-Semitic/Christian propaganda that is pumped out daily from radio stations across the Muslim world? This article reads too much like Muslims claiming a special right to be offended, again.

    Essentially, the only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam. Enough with the self pity and demanding a special right to be offended. Protecting free speech, women’s rights, diplomatic immunity (don’t ever forget the Danish embassy bombings), etc. are WAY more important than protecting the right of Muslims from having their feelings hurt.Recommend

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    Not all Nazi’s are Fundamentalist Nazi’s, one only need to look at the work done by moderate Nazi’s to see the true meaning of National Socialism.Recommend

  • abhi

    it is only matter of time. Under Erdogan turkey is slowly turing in to theocratic society.Recommend

  • OZ

    Gentlemen,

    Whenever you are ready to dismiss entire Hadith collection from al-Bukhari and Muslim (which are the most credited hadith people in Islam) the rest of the world can agree with you. We know Qur’an does not include a direct verse but everyone who read it also knows what happens with ‘Tevbe’ and jihad topic. I honestly find “explicitly states that there is no compulsion in religion” quite hypocritical in this context.

    In addition discrediting Hadith as “non-authentic” will not either help because of not having a copy of the Qur’an collected and kept by the prophet itself. Moreover the language that it is written is not the same Arabic that is spoken 14 centuries ago. So no scientific proof of the scripture anyway.

    Turkey is a secular country for now and should be kept out of this debate. Those who know a little history would also realise why Bosnians became muslims. As long as muslims “around the world” do not disown and take action against extremism instead of just defending Islam, no way I can believe their sincerity in human equality and emphaty.

    Telling all these I do not necessarily imply anything against the muslim people who do not have the chance to look ahead and see things clear. Merely those who defend Islam against the Atheists instead of those who actually harm.Recommend

  • Branka

    Qur’an (4:89) – “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”Recommend

  • Prashant

    Community here meant Muslims and that too not all but enough to be significant, If I had used the word Pakistanis, the mods might not have allowed my comment and some would have thought I was too blunt.Recommend

  • Matthias Ladwig

    It is really a sign of intellectual dishonesty to quote a verse (2:256) that seems to propose religios freedom, (there is widespread disagreement amongst scholars on the interpretation of that verse, as you probably well know) when we all know there are plenty others that do exactly the opposite.Recommend

  • Mick Watson

    Religions themselves are a bit like guns. Guns without people kill no one. They are safe. Only when an insane person picks up a gun do people die. It’s the same with religion. And we regulate guns and ban them from certain situations, so we should do the same with religions.Recommend

  • abhi

    any thoughts on blasphemy law?Recommend

  • abhi

    What about laws related to stoning to death for having sex out of marriage, punishment of chopping hand for theft and numerous other Islamic laws? Are they part of Quran or just figment of imagination?Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    That is the problem my friend. The ‘Majority of Muslims’ have given up thinking and handed over their intellectual responsibility to the ‘trained jurists’.

    If Muslims gave more weight to what the Quran says than what the majority of Muslims and so called ‘trained jurists’ are saying, we wouldn’t be in a situation we are in right now.Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    The only example you could come up with is one where secularism has been militarily enforced for decades.
    Even then, perhaps you haven’t read about the Turkish writers and artists facing prosecution or bans for blasphemic statements.Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    Again, your only excuse is that Hindus are as bad as you are. Sadly for your argument against my point, I’m not a Hindu and I despise what was done to M.F. Hussain.

    Anything else?Recommend

  • Benjamin Scott-Pye

    This is pure xenophilia (The opposite of xenophobia, where someone assumes that because something is foreign and strange that it must be decent and any doubt abgout it is automatically a result of ignorance)Recommend

  • Darren Wilson

    Utter rubbish. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in deities. Nothing more, nothing less. Other than that, we’re free to hold whatever opinions we like. Except that in some countries you can be executed for not believing – this is why, personally, I care and I will voice my opinion on the subject.Recommend

  • Darren Wilson

    I thought the Quran was the inerrant word of God. Surely there shouldn’t be room for interpretation?Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    Qur’an (4:89), (9:11-12) (2:217) (9: 73-74) (88: 21) (5:54) (9:66).
    From the Hadith. Bakhari (52:260) (83:37) (84:57) (84:58) (84:64-64)
    Abu Dawud (4346)
    Reliance of the traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    What is the difference between muslim world- islamic faith. It is the faith that need reform through irradiation with information and maturityRecommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    Qur’an (4:89), (9:11-12) (2:217) (9: 73-74) (88: 21) (5:54) (9:66).
    From the Hadith. Bakhari (52:260) (83:37) (84:57) (84:58) (84:64-64)
    Abu Dawud (4346)
    Reliance of the traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    Read the quran before stating there is or isn’t. Dishonest rhetoric everywhere lately. Especially above article
    Qur’an (4:89), (9:11-12) (2:217) (9: 73-74) (88: 21) (5:54) (9:66).
    From the Hadith. Bakhari (52:260) (83:37) (84:57) (84:58) (84:64-64)
    Abu Dawud (4346)
    Reliance of the traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1Recommend

  • Myster Bee

    You said “The fact is that there is not a single verse in the Quran that endorses apostasy laws.” The Quran says: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” (4:89)

    The Hadith is also VERY clear: “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ ” Bukhari 52:260

    Bukhari 84:57 states [in the words of ]Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’
    Recommend

  • Myster Bee

    (4:89)Recommend

  • Myster Bee

    “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” (4:89)Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    Key word “interpretation.” You are welcome. :-) that’s my whole argument. Reading Koran vs relying on extremist interpretations. Recommend

  • Benjamin Scott-Pye

    Also the majority of websites aimed at educating people to be good Muslims also disagree with you. Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    It’s what mullahs say vs what the Koran says. Like I point out, Islam is defined by Koran, not Mullahs. Let’s join hands against the extremist Muslims, not flaunt their interpretations as legit.Recommend

  • Abreka

    Sam Harris doesn’t rip people apart. His words just make molecules disassociate so they can be closer to him.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “The constitution also states that for a rape to be acknowledged, one needs 4 witnesses; whereas even the least educated of Muslims would know that this rule was for protecting women from being accused of adultery rather than for rape.”

    So is it being implemented the way it was meant to be? When a women accuses a man of raping her, Is she being asked if she could present 4 witnesses or not?

    Is there no other way of protecting a women? If a law is being misused, why not revoke it and why do people talk about religion when some people talk of having it revoked?Recommend

  • Prashant

    Correct, arrival of Erodgan was a matter of time and implementation of his version of religion is also a matter of time.Recommend

  • Prashant

    That was Hindu fundamentalism.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “No doubt Muslims need reformation BUT that does not mean ambiguous andcriminal generalizations by Maher against 100% of the Muslim population
    all over the world. There is a distinction, stop denying it.”

    I am not sure if Muslims need to reform, I don’t even know what you mean by reform and if it is practical enough, tell that to a Maulvi and see the reaction you get and let me tell you at any point in time, a Maulvi will command more respect and following than a person like you.

    The people in the world should just keep their religion to themselves along with its interpretations rather than throwing their weight around and exhibit holier than thou attitude, the moment religion is brought into public life, you see a clash of interpretations and there never would be a consensus.Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    I have tried multiple time to cite the Quran passages that mention death to apostates but the admin will not let them thoroughRecommend

  • Prashant

    but ask those who do not believe in these organisations, they would have a different interpretation of the same verses, I believe that is what Pervez was referring to.Recommend

  • http://pjlowry.wordpress.com/ P.J. Lowry

    You’re cherry picking a holy book… that makes you a nominal follower of your faith.Sam Harris is right. The entire Christian faith needed reform to get where they are today… Islam needs it too. Dan Brown doesn’t have a three million dollar bounty on his head, but Salman Rushdie does. You guys do need a reforming and hopefully it happens sooner than later…Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    Quran (4:89) (9:11-12) (2: 217) (9:73-73) (88:21) (5:54) (9:66)

    From the Hadith. Bukkhari 52:260, 83:37, 84:57 84:58, 89:271, 84: 64-65,
    Abu Dwaud 4346
    Reliance of the traveler (Islamic Law) o8.1Recommend

  • God

    Quran 4:89 (6 different translations)

    Sahih InternationalThey wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.
    Muhsin KhanThey wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliya’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad SAW). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya’ (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them.
    PickthallThey long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them,
    Yusuf AliThey but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;-
    ShakirThey desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
    Dr. GhaliThey would like you to disbelieve as they have disbelieved; then you would be equal. So do not take for yourselves patrons from them until they emigrate in the way of Allah. Yet in case they turn away, then take them and kill them where you find them; and do not take to yourselves from among them a constant patron or a ready vindicator.Recommend

  • L.

    My thought is that there is nothing islamic about it. Recommend

  • Stuart Pullinger

    Dishonest. Why wont you let my posts through that answer these comments on apostates. I posted 8 citations to giving apostates death from the quran. & from the hadith and 1 of islamic law. If you want a mature discussion you have to be truthful with your information and honest in your rhetoric,Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Have a look at 4.89! “They but wish that you should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing as they: but do not take friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah from what what is forbidden. But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them; and take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”Recommend

  • Epicurus Jones

    Did Muhammad have anyone killed for mocking him? Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Surah 4.89 has the apostasy language in it, I believe.Recommend

  • L.

    The first testament states to not drink alcohol or eat pork; Christians have included that in the bible, yet we all know that there are plenty others who do the exact opposite. Recommend

  • 5thApe

    I think the author should review the numbers on what large portions of the Muslim community believes. Further, this statement:

    “It must be remembered well that the Quran is the primary and supreme source of jurisprudence in Islam.”

    Is why religion needs to be pushed back into it’s tiny hole for the good of all humanity.Recommend

  • reggie66

    Imams, when defending death for apostates, tend to quote Qur’an (4:89) – “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
    I have also heard the quoting of Qur’an (9:11-12) – “But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief – Lo! they have no binding oaths – in order that they may desist.” as if to appear a little more tolerant.

    You could also look up 2:217, 5:54, 9:66, 9:73-74 and 88:21

    I think it may be time to stop looking at writings as any kind of source for how one should lives one’s life in the 21st century. Welcome to Humanism, welcome to humanity :) Peace.Recommend

  • Some Guy Somewhere

    Agreeable, perhaps not… but correct. Sam Harris said, at this moment, Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas. you can argue the point… but you’ll still be wrong.Recommend

  • Izzy

    But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on
    adding to their defiance of Faith,- never will their repentance be
    accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray.

    — Quran 3:90

    Make ye no excuses: ye have rejected Faith after ye had accepted it.
    If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you, for that
    they are in sin.

    — Quran 9:66

    He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is
    compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who
    opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the wrath of Allah, and
    they shall have a grievous chastisement.

    — Quran 16:106

    Allah’s Apostle said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none
    has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle,
    cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married
    person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts
    from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”

    — Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17

    Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas, who said,
    “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet
    said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I
    would have killed them, for the Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim)
    discards his religion, kill him.’

    — Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:260

    A man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Mu’adh bin
    Jabal came and saw the man with Abu Musa. Mu’adh asked, “What is wrong
    with this (man)?” Abu Musa replied, “He embraced Islam and then reverted
    back to Judaism.” Mu’adh said, “I will not sit down unless you kill him
    (as it is) the verdict of Allah and His Apostle.

    — Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:89:271

    “(4152) ‘Abdullah (b. Mas’ūd) reported Allah’s Messenger as saying:
    It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony
    (to the fact) that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of
    Allah, but in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for a
    life, and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.”[28]
    — Sahih Muslim, 16:4152Recommend

  • Some Guy Somewhere

    I think part of the problem is defining a “true teaching” of any religion. Let’s face it, everyone cherry-picks the passages in their holy books that resonate with them. Recommend