The Conflict Between Human Rights and Apostasy in Islam 7
In terms of the hadith, they argue that the hadith of the prophet Muhammad does not hold the same rank as the Quran. The acceptance of the hadith may raise the question of abrogation of Quran by Hadith (Peter and De Veries, 1976: 14). I do not favor the rejection of the hadith for two reasons; first this hadith does not abrogate the Quran and does not contradict to any of its verses. Secondly, the hadith can be contextualized in a way that gives possible implications for our modern times. To give evidence for my first argument, a hadith which is narrated by a single person, known as
Kabar al- ahad
(Peters and De Veries, 1976:15), cannot abrogate the Quran according to the principles of hadith. Thus, the claim of rejection of hadith based on the notion of abrogation does not stand on firm evidence. To my second claim that this hadith can be employed in the modern paradigm of human rights, I would refer back to the time period right after the prop
het’s passing away.
I would say that I contextualize the hadith in a way that it can fit in modern paradigm of Human Rights. In addition to early mentioned context of the text, the penalty of the death for apostate was specified with the period right after the prophet Muhammad passed away because Many tribes renounced the Islamic religion at the time of first caliph Abu Bakr (Jordan, 2003: 62). Thus universalizing the hadith for every apostate at all times does not capture the true meaning of the hadith. This explanation of the hadith seems to be against the traditional understanding of Muslim scholars. However, in my opinion, this understanding of the hadith is also based on tradition of Hanafite Jurists. They do not issue a ruling to penalize the women apostate because their understanding goes back their analogy goes back to warfare (Jordan, 2003: 62). The opinion I have displayed also protects Sharia law from scrutiny of being inhumane or against human rights.
The Conflict Between Human Rights and Apostasy in Islam 8
Additionally, the prominent Pakistani Muslim scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi has explored the issue of apostasy and concluded that limiting apostasy to the death penalty has arisen because of a misunderstanding of the hadith of the prophet Muhammad. He goes into a detailed explanation of the hadith rather than invalidation of them. He explains that the prophetic command was only for Arab tribes and that is why the rule of apostasy is limited to them alone. (Moosa, 2012: 8). The hadith shows that if any of the Arab tribes after accepting the religion of Islam renounce it, they will be penalized (Moosa, 2012: 8). In this respect, the view of these scholars shows that the notion of contextualizing of the hadith of the prophet in terms of penalizing the apostate, reflected clearly in the above mentioned scholars view. The issue of reinterpreting the text and analyzing it in context of the time period must be taken seriously, because Islam is a religion of peace, respect, and freedom. These are some of the aspect of the objectives of sharia law. Implementation of the death penalty for apostate advocates to limiting the purpose of the text or objective of sharia law. Traditional scholars who hold early understanding of the text, they generalize the verse of the Quran which demonstrate the state of war while Quran does not specify the penalty of death for apostate. Hence, I will further investigate on what ground does traditional scholars justify the sharia law in terms of death penalty for the apostate? Penalty of the apostate in Quran:
Close readings of the Quran give a detailed account of the penalty of apostasy in Islam. Nevertheless, this penalty does not relate to any earthly punishment, but rather refers to the penalty in the hereafter. The Quran mentions the apostate in many verses and relates their severe punishment after this life. Moreover, the Quran mentioned thirteen places about the apostasy, all of these verses warn the apostate for forever punishment in the life after death (Jordan, 2003: 61)
The Conflict Between Human Rights and Apostasy in Islam 9
Therefore, extending the meaning of the Quran to death penalty to apostate in this world is considered against contextual understanding of the text. Conclusion To conclude, I do not doubt that the notion of Sharia
law as defined by the majority of Muslim scholars in the early Islamic era in terms of apostasy clearly conflicts with the notion of freedom of religion as it is defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This conflict occurs because of implementation of early understanding of the hadith of the prophet Muhammad which may work at the time when it was proclaimed. But in our modern period, endeavoring of implementation of early understanding may damage Islamic faith community significantly. That is why a group of contemporary Muslim scholars have attempted to redefine the Prophetic narration with regard of apostasy and contextualize with various aspects. I argue for rejecting the hadith and support the need to contextualize it because rejection is an option which offers no way of resolving the contradiction between the Quran and Hadith. If some explanation resolves the conflict between two notions, in this case there is no need to reject one of the main sources of sharia law. More precisely, in our case the hadith is authentic. However,
modern understanding of the text with it’s context can resolve the issue of conflict between
sharia law and Human Rights