Questions and Answers > Qur'an > Moral

Qur’an 48:29: Is the Qur'an punishing Muslims who leave Islam?

Some Muslims claim that they can use violence against Muslims who leave Islam. Leaving Islam is called apostasy which means that a person stops following the practices of Islam. Also Muslims who became a Christians by baptism is considerate as apostasy. In practice, fathers as head of a traditional Muslim family may use violence against Muslim converts to Christianity. More liberal fathers may put someone who is leaving Islam out of the family. They refer to Qur’an verses where Muslims were commanded to stand up for their religion and defend themselves against the persecution of the disbelievers:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.” (Qur’an 48:29)

A precise analysis of the verse shows that it is against human rights and that the violent character against mankind is in line with other verses in the Qur’an:

1. Qur’an verses about punishment of ex-Muslims

"Forceful against the disbelievers" is a license to kill against mankind. The Qur’an is telling us here that it will not help to end human suffering and achieve complete happiness of mankind. There is a big risk that this verse may be used for uneducated Muslims who follow the Qur’an without thinking, so that they are killing people who eat pork or drink a low quantity of alcohol, even when they have a high moral level.

2. Context within the Qur’an

In Islam, the Qur’an is the highest authority. Within the Qur’an many other verses are telling us that a Muslim is allowed to act with violence against mankind (Qur’an 2:190-193, 2:216-217, 2:244-245, 4:74-77, 4:95-96, 5:51, 5:72-73, 8:12-15, 8:37-39, 9:5, 9:14, 9:20, 9:29, 9:41, 9:73, 9:123, 22:38-39, 25:52, 47:4, 60:4, 61:9-11). Some uneducated and narrow-minded Muslims have drawn the conclusion from the mentioned hate filled verses against mankind that Islam will kill anyone who doesn’t join them. In 21th century unfortunately mankind has seen too much practice of this violent Muslim fundamentalism. It helped to create an image of modern Islam as a violent religion.

3. Human rights and the Bible

Several Muslim states did not want to approve the United Nations human rights, because freedom of religion implies that Muslims can convert more easy to Christian faith [1]. Both the Holy Scripture and human rights agree that killing is wrong. Only the Most High as Creator of heaven and earth has the right to take life. Therefore Jesus said that you have to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:40) and not call to initiate violence (Matthew 5:43-45). The call to use violence of this Qur’an verse is an illustration of the moral inferiority of Islam to Christian faith and a confirmation that Islam is the religion of the sword.

4. Conclusion

There is no logical explanation why Qur’an 48:29 should be acceptable to mankind, and the verse is an argument for the violent character of Islam to human rights.

Notes

1. Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, 2003, 309.