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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Questions about Islam from a Non Muslim to MAHAGURU58.

Hello Mahaguru58,

I'm already a regular visitor of your Mahaguru58 blog. I read it like newspaper everyday, and your content is always up to date and very interesting.

Hurray for Pakatan Rakyat!!! Keep it up!!

I must salute you for your initiative to start this new blog with regards to the education and more importantly the perception of Islam.

I find that the main stream media has failed to not only explain and educate Islam in a open way to the Non-Muslims but also a big portion of the Muslim community as well.

I really hope your blog will reach out to more people in Malaysia and have everyone understand Islam better.

I'm a Non-Muslim Malaysian working overseas for many years and have had the opportunity to meet Muslims from many different countries.

I have to say, that the perception of Islam I got before leaving Malaysia and after meeting all these foreign Muslim people is very different.

So, I'd like to post some questions here and hope that you can help with clarifying it.

1.When someone embraced Islam but after sometime, decided to quit, is this allowed by Islam?

From my foreign Muslim friend, this is not a problem.

Islam is a free religion, and if a person stops believing in Islam, they have the right to quit.
There's no point forcing someone to believe in Islam.

However, I have the perception that in Malaysia, when someone try to quit from Islam, they are put into a rehabilitation center to try and "bring her back to the right path"?
  • For e.g the Revathi issue? Can you please clarify on this?
2.If a person is born into a Muslim family, does the person have the choice of quitting Islam and join another religion?

3. If a person embraced Islam, why is it that in Malaysia you are forced to change to a Muslim name?

From what I understand from my foreign Muslim friend, there's no such enforcement in Islam.

4. Is it true that a Muslim can marry only another Muslim person?

What I understand from my foreign Muslim friend is that any Non Muslim can marry a
Muslim (It doesn't matter whether it is a male or a female.)

But the Muslim person must explain the benefits of Islam to his or her spouse. Of course, over time the spouse will hopefully be converted to Islam.

5.However, is it true that it is the right of the person to choose whatever religion he or she wants even though they are married to a Muslim person?

These are few of the different views I have between the perception of Islam in Malaysia and Muslims from different countries.

Thanks in advance for clarifying this. Some of the questions might be due to my wrong perceptions.

Please clarify and correct me.

If you think this is not too sensitive, can you please post this on your blogs to benefit others?

Fatt Monk.

*********************************************************************************

First and foremost, I'd like to thank you sir for emailing me these questions.

I have been getting some ribbing from Sister Aliya that I have been preaching and that would soon bore people to death as there are too many sites online doing just that!

Anyway, if I were to wait for questions to be posed to me first before I write anything in response, I might just end up dropping dead before unloading here all that I have acquired and learned about Islam in my lifetime?

We can never tell, can we?

Life is so unpredictable that out of the blue, before we realize it, our time is up and there's just no delaying our departure by even a split micro second?

So, forgive me for being preachy but that's exactly what I have and am destined to do?

Well, here are my answers to the first of Fatt Monk's questions. I will answer them one by one, per dedicated article, Insya Allah.

1.When someone embraced Islam but after sometime, decided to quit, is this allowed by Islam?

Dear Brothers & Sisters reading this,

Islam is the culmination of the complete revelations of Allah the Almighty, our Lord and Creator who has been sending to us Mankind more than 124,000 Prophets and Messengers over Time!

Starting with the creation of
our Father Prophet Adam Alaihis Salam, right until the very last and Final Messenger and the Seal of the Prophets, the Blessed Messenger Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam ( May peace be upon him).

The Declaration of Faith in Islam constitutes denying any other forms of imagined deity or deities save for attesting that Allah is the Only God worthy of worship and declaring that Muhammad is the (Final) Messenger of Allah.

A person who after being a Disbeliever @ Kaffir, decides to embrace Islam without being forced or compelled to in the first place and after studying the basic principles of the faith or after years and years of in depth studies about Allah, His Prophets, The Do's & Don'ts in Islam ; decides with a clear, rational knowledgeable state of mind and in full awareness embraces Islam and accepts Allah the Almighty as his or her Lord and testifies to Muhammad being Allah's Messenger is deemed to have entered into a Covenant with Allah and is forbidden to break such a bond.

I stated before a full house crowd of Malaysians from all walks of life, ethnicity and creed at the DAP organized 'After Lina Joy Forum' at the Hotel Armada in Petaling Jaya last year that 'Islam is not like a country club membership which one enters and leaves as one pleases?'

The moment that you declare that you willfully and rationally accept No other God but Allah the Most Supreme as your Lord, you are forever obliged to not break your bond with Him, God Almighty!

You do not acknowledge Allah as your God and then make an about turn and walk out on Him!

This is Allah, God Almighty we are talking about?

Not a fellow human being or any other creature that Man is known to have betrayed and abused the trust or friendship over and over again through the Sands of Time?

The punishment for such an act of 'Apostasy' is very severe.

We are talking about the maximum penalty that an apostate from Islam has to face as the ultimate consequences of his or her crime of denying Allah as his or her Lord.

You can read about the details for such a punishment here in the Wikipedia.

I have scanned the particular Hadith (Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW) with regard to the case where he states that the blood of a Muslim (male and female) who has testified that 'There is no other God but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger' cannot be shed except in 3 cases:
  1. Where the Muslim has killed someone willfully (not as an act of self defence but as an act of intentional homicide out of rage, spite, hatred, enmity, etc.)
  2. A married Muslim (male or female) who has committed adultery @ illegal sexual intercourse with one who is not his or her married partner.
  3. The one (Muslim) who turns renegade from Islam (apostates) and leaves the group of Muslims ( the Ummah) by innovating acts of heresy, innovations and other unlawful new things into the Islamic religion.













Please click on to the scan here and read it in a larger view.

Do take note that there is a typographical error in the translation above with regard to the 1st clause : 1. Life for life ( in cases of '
international' murders without right - which should read ' intentional'.

To answer the question as to whether someone who has come to embrace Islam and declared or testified that There is No Other God but Allah and declared Muhammad as to being the (Final) Messenger of Allah is allowed to leave the faith of Islam?

The answer is NO.


The Islamic authority is to first advice the said apostate and help to show him or her as to the errors of his or her way and to guide the said apostate back to the Truth of Islam 3 times as in the act of holding the apostate in official custody and after 3 failed attempts to bring the apostate back to the fold of Islam, to put the apostate to death.

This is not my ruling or any other humanbeing but the decree of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala Himself as the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam never issued forth any rule or command until he gets the revelation from Almighty Allah through the intermediary of the Archangel Jibreel Alaihis Salam @ Gabriel (peace be upon him).

So to all would be Muslims, my advice to you is to fully understand that when you come and make a covenant with Allah to take Him as your Lord and accept Muhammad as His Messenger, you do not have a choice to break such a covenant and expect to get away just like that?

The repercussions of turning yourself away from your Lord is not something simple.

Islam is not a faith to be played around with?

It is the birthright of those who can see the virtues of being a Muslim and gain Allah's Mercy and Protection but it does not take any affront to His Majesty as something forgivable.

You either enter into Islam wholeheartedly or stay out of it as a Disbeliever?

The Choice is yours. Hope that answers your question, brother.

* I will write about the Revathi case in the next article.

May the Guidance of Allah be upon us all. Ameen.

I will answer the next question in the following article.

Insya Allah @ God Willing.

* This article is my response to Fatt Monk who posted his questions to me at my new dedicated blog on Islam at ISLAMIC CENTRAL.

9 comments:

technorati said...

Dear Mahaguru58

As a non-muslim, my understanding of Islam and the Koran is limited but what I have read is that there is no compulsion in Islam, so a person is free to believe or not to believe, correct?

So given your reply, if a person willingly accepted Allah, but later also wilfully reject Allah, what you are saying is that Islam commands that the apostate be 'killed'?

Isn't the 'covenant' between this person and GOD/Allah something private - ie. between the person and Allah and if it is 'punishable' then surely Allah is the only being who has that right to punish and not other human beings....

MAHAGURU58 said...

Dear brother technorati,

I had placed a link to the Wikipedia article about the matter of apostasy of any Muslim FROM the faith of Islam in my article answering the question from Fatt Monk.

Maybe you missed it?

Well anyway, just to help you understand the Islamic context of understanding about the Qur'anic verse stating 'Let there be no compulsion in Islam' in the Surah Al Baqarah Chapter 2 Verse 256 :

YUSUFALI: Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

PICKTHAL: There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

SHAKIR: There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

All the above translators of the verse being mentioned above were explaining about there being No Compulsion on Non Believers to ENTER Islam.

It means that no one should be forced to enter or embrace Islam for why would Allah want to create us Mankind in the first place if we are to be allowed Not to Worship Him as our Lord?

Why would He bother having to send 124,000 prophets and messengers over time to lead us to Him?

It's a matter of perception dear brother as to coming to understand the individual's circumstances of being born as a Muslim or as a Kaffir @ Disbeliever?

The choices of born Muslims is just not there for we are forbidden to Deny Allah after growing up to believe in Him and worship Him wholeheartedly?

There are many within Islam who do not practice the faith.

It is up to him or her to either live as a Muslim or die as a Munafik @ Hypocrite.

As far as Malaysian Muslims are concerned, the legal authority does not have any provisions for any apostate or apostate wannabe to declare his or her apostasy publicly!

He or she will face the consequences of their actions according to the Laws of the Land.

Read here about what Imam Maududi has to say about the matter of apostasy:

Maududi considers the threat of execution as not forcing someone to stay within the fold of Islam, but as a way of keeping those who are not truly committed out of the community of Islam.

Maududi rejects the third criticism because unlike other religions which are free to exchange believers, Islam is "on whose ideas and actions society and state are constructed" cannot allow "to keep open its door that would spell its own ruin, the scattering of its own structure's parts, the stripping away of the bonds of its own existence", and he compares this to the treason penalty on the books of the U.S. and Britain.

Maududi also rejects the charge of contradiction.

In his words:

"There is no compulsion in religion" (la ikraha fi'd din: Qur'an [Qur'an 2:256]) means that ***we do not compel anyone to come into our religion.***[2]

And this is truly our practice.

But we initially warn whoever would come and go back that this door is not open to come and go.

@@@Therefore anyone who comes should decide before coming that there is no going back.@@@

Please click on to the link in the article above and read the relevant details in the Wikipedia on this.

Regarding your saying that the covenant is between Allah and the human concerned, if this particular human does not live in a Muslim society or nation, then that human would be free to do as he or she pleases but when one is living in a land where he or she is subjected to the laws of the land and that particular land is a Muslim land, then it is compulsory upon the ruling Muslim authority to watch out and govern the affairs of said Muslims.

This is exactly what is happening in Malaysia.

The country is ruled by the Malay Muslim Sultans as their rights as the Sovereign Owners of this land.

The Freedom of religion is granted upon all Non Muslims and no Non Muslim is forced to embrace Islam without his or her own free will!

The fundamentals of Islamic Faith is Belief in Allah and His Last Messenger all all other pillars of Faith and Islam.

For a Non Muslim, he or she is advised to fully understand that Islam is a ONE WAY TICKET to Allah and there is NO TURNING BACK from HIM the Almighty!

So I hope that you are clear now that as long as a person who is living here in Malaysia comes to embrace Islam on his or her own free will, he or she is forever obliged to remain as a Muslim and be a servant of Allah.

If the said person lives on his or her own island where no Muslim Authority has jurisdiction over them, then they can do as they please?

They will eventually have to answer to Allah in the end but for the moment being, here on Earth, they are their own master on that island or non Muslim land or country?

Muslim authorities have the legal power to see to it that any Muslim who tries to apostate from the faith is advised 3 times to repent failing which the apostate is dealt with according to the Islamic Sharia Laws which are from Allah the Almighty Himself and as per the rulings of Allah's Final Messenger who acts according to what Allah Commands.

Hope you are clear about this.

Thank you.

petestop said...

So, it is OK to torture and kill apostate, as what happened in Turkey, in the name of Allah ?

The 2 Turkish got their throat slit,
as does the 2 innocent Indonesian Christian girl.

Be afraid... be very afraid..

"Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone"
http://www.keyway.ca/htm2004/20040811.htm

MAHAGURU58 said...

pete,

Why do you say that?

If you fail to see the reasons as to why apostasy is forbidden in Islam after all the above info relating to it has been shown as above, I see no need to try and explain the matter to you for the matter.

Why the hell for should I be afraid?

I did not invent the ruling or the Quranic law?

You not happy about it?

Complain to Allah when your time comes to stand before Him.

Peace.

petestop said...

Exactly, let Allah (yes, we call our God by this name too - it is not exclusive to Muslims) be the judge.

Not men who claim to act on his behalf further commit the atrocities that giving rise to Islamophobia around the world.

That is the essence of what Jesus is teaching us by saying "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".

That is what he stood up for against the cruel Mosaic Law practised by the Jews of that time and obviously still practised by those who took the literal interpretation of the various sacred books of Abrahamic descent.

It is a irony how the 3 different religion of Abrahamic root: Judaism, Christianity and Islam can diverge so much due to human interpretation.

Abraham (Ibrahim) is the first to profess there is only one God and no other God, the basic tenet of all these religion.

Still as everything in this world, it ultimately gets corrupted by human.

Let's face it even Sunni is calling Shia heretics and vice versa.

Demonstrating the fallibility of man. May God have mercy on their souls and may he give us wisdom to think for ourselves and not let other man do the thinking for us.

Laura Austin said...

Dear mahaguru,

Thank you for such initiatives, I believe that it will be an eye opener for many non-muslims to understand Islam if not embracing them. Your great initiation moves me because I know 'the wall of Berlin' will be soon cracked and unite the people greatly through the test of time.

I have been trying to convince my own kind that they should not be afraid of Islam and muslim or 'run away' when they see someone with kopiah or songkok or tudung. Sadly, after more than 20 years of pyschology threats by some irresponsible people the non-muslims have formed some kind of mindset that continue to reject,stereotype and suspicious of muslims in general.

Why I am saying such because I am non muslim too. Before I step in the soil of Peninsular, the word of 'racist' and 'discrimination' have never been part of my dictionary. For awhile, I was a lone ranger because I didnt feel comfortable joining either of the ethnicity groups. I was in dilemma until I met wonderful friends from different background: ethnicity, culture, and religion. Yes, we are an odd group that often get stares and whispers.

At times, I feel vulnerable and have been reframing myself to praise my wonderful muslim friends whom I cheerish until today. I, selectively, discuss or educate certain non-muslim of mine about principles of Islam and the do's and don'ts. I hope with your inputs and information I could help, within my vicinity, to explain and scatter the untruth about Islam.

I believe if Muslims in this country practice what they preach and up hold the Islam principles without offending the rights and freedom of religions of others, they will definitely gain a lot of respect from the non-muslims.

Till then, peace upon Malaysians who believe on racial and religious harmony.

MAHAGURU58 said...

Dear Laura,

May Peace be upon you dear Sis and that Almighty Allah, God of us all will bring us all together in a common understanding of peaceful co-existence despite our obvious differences.

My aim is to help explain the various aspects of the Islamic Faith and it's Universal Values that draws so many of Mankind today to come and learn about what many are discovering to be not that dangerous or extreme as you yourself have come to experience?

God willing dear Laura, I will continue to shed some light into the many subjects that Non Muslims and even Muslims have yet to fully understand about Islam?

I have at times and times again clarified that I do not claim to be a scholar but I have distinguished academics come tell me that they appreciate what I am sharing with my readers here in my blog!

That to me reminds me that Alhamdulillah @ Praise be to Allah, I am on the right path so far?

Please pray for my being able to remain so as long as I shall live.

Do send me feedback and questions that you might still have with regard to Islam?

May you be blessed with the best of this life and in the hereafter and God Willing be able to claim your birthrights to be amongst those who have found His Mercy and attain Salvation!

Amen.

Best regards.

donplaypuks said...

Dear Mahaguru

I am not a Muslim but do firmly believe in the existence Universal God. At the same time I have not the slightest doubt that Prophet Muhammad delivered a great religion for the benefit of all mankind. The Prophet and Islam have withstood the test of time.

So, as an unbeliever (in Islam as a whole) for me to talk about the rights and wrongs of Islam would not be very appropriate here.

Leaving aside Koran & Islam, I think that there are inalienable human rights and universal principles we should consider, and some of these are:-

1. One should, of his own free will and accord, be allowed to choose his own religion.

2. One should, of his own free will and accord, be allowed to convert out of his previously chosen religion (called an apostate in Islam). After all, human beings, by definition, are not perfect (as opposed to God. ) and can, and do, make mistakes.

Should one have to live in misery all one’s life and wait till death for a single error? You have already agreed that no religion should keep in its fold a reluctant convert or believer.

3. I agree, that religious authorities should be allowed to counsel (say, no more than a 3-month cooling off period) those seeking to opt out.

How then can we reconcile these universal rights and truths to the Malaysian Constitution & State Laws that allow for:-

1. A Malay to be automatically ‘born’ a Muslim for life. How can any baby, child or teenager seriously believe in any religion? They can be brought up in the religion of their parents, but they should be allowed to make their own choice when they become adults, without ridiculous obstacles being strewn on their paths.

2. Imprisonment and whipping of apostates.

3. Hospital bedside conversions of non-Muslims (and at that by self-appointed zealots!!) when clearly a person who is not of sound mind and body should not and cannot be permitted to opt out, especialy where wives/husbands and immediate family members are not informed.

Wives (home-makers who have sacrificed working careers) of long-standing marriages have an inalienable right to be protected and not be left hanging ‘high and dry’ by xenophobic laws.

4. Forced conversion of non-Muslims seeking to marry Muslims.

The main thrust of the establishment’s answers to these vexing questions has been that if one does not like the situation, one can choose to live abroad.

But that really is answer.

In a Global and fast becoming more open and knowledgeable World, one will pay a severe price for having laws and practices which go against internationally accepted norms.

It is no accident that far more MNC’s and Research Organisations establish their HQ’s in S’pore and fly in and out when they have business meetings in M’sia.

Let’s have a reason and logic based discussion and not one permanently anchored on ‘because it says so in this book or that.’

art harun said...

Tuan Mahaguru,

That was a very well written article on a very important and not to mention touchy subject. Your effort surely deserves nothing but praise.

May I however be permitted to just state my personal opinion on the matter. With all due respect to you Tuan Mahaguru, I beg to differ from your opinion on apostasy.

There is no prescribed earthly punishment against apostasy. In fact the contrary is clear, namely, there is no compulsion in Islam. Verse 2:217 says that apostates will be dealt with by God and their place is of course in hell. Verses 4:88 however seems to call for Muslim to slay those who turn away from Islam. But in my humble opinion verse 4:88 should also be read together with verse 4:89. When read together, what the two verses say is that those who turn away from Islam should be slayed EXCEPT when they (the apostate) agree to live peacefully with the Muslims. It is to me quite clear that apostates should be left alone and dealt with by God unless they in any way harm the Muslim community.

However I admit that the issue is by n means an easy one which could yield an absolute answer. Only God knows best. Wallah hu'alam mu bisawab. But Islam is a living concept and religion. When God asked the Prophet to read in the very first verse revealed to the Prophet by the angel Jibrael (Gabriel), the Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa says that there are 2 things which are to read, namely, the hidden (the ways of the world and universe) and also the written ones. If we are to read the universe with the written words of God, I sincerely believe that Islam is far more beautiful that what it s made out to be.

NO less than Ali Gomaa has given an edict that an apostate who is not a threat to Islam should be left alone. But that does not negate the fact that apostasy is a grave sin. Perhaps the following website would help shed some lights on this issue :

http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.
com/

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/
onfaith/muslims_speak_out/2007/07/
sheikh_ali_gomah.html

Salam.