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Apostasy in Islam facts for kids

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Apostasy in Islam is when a follower of Islam tries to change their religion. When someone tries to reject their religion, this is called apostasy. There are different cases to be handled:

  • The follower of Islam must be an adult, the rules usually do not apply to children.
  • The follower of Islam must be sane. Insane people cannot make decisions.
  • The follower must change their religion because they want to. Being forced to change their religion is not apostasy.

Most Sunni Islam and the Twelvers Shi'a Islamic schools of thought agree that apostasy is a sin. There is a difference between harmful apostasy and harmless apostasy (also known as major and minor apostasy). According to Wael Hallaq nothing of the apostasy law are based on the Qur'an, although the jurist al-Shafi'i interpreted the Qu'ranic verse 2:217. This provided the main evidence for apostasy being a capital crime in Islam. Sharia says the punishment for apostasy should be death, but the Qu'ran does not have a punishment for apostates in this world.

Some Islamic jurists argued or issued fatwas that either the changing of religion is not punishable or is only punishable under restricted circumstances Some groups within Islam, such as the Shi'a Ismaili, reject death for apostasy altogether.


  • Salman Rushdie was condemned to death in 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini, (ruler of Iran at the time) for his book The Satanic Verses
  • Abdul Rahman, an Afghan convert to Christianity, was arrested and jailed on the charge of rejecting Islam in 2006 but later released as 'insane'.
  • Many converts have been recently changing Islamic teachings to fit western lifestyle and living

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Apostasía en el islam para niños

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