Islamic apologists in the West, both Muslim and non-Muslim, routinely deny that Islam has a death penalty for those who leave Islam. They also deny that Islam allows for child marriage. How is it that so many Muslims in Pakistan have misunderstood their own faith? Says the local police chief in the article below: “The Muslims living in the area said nobody is allowed to go back to his or her old religion after embracing Islam. According to the Muslim faith, if someone tries to apostate, he or she could be killed.” And later on, the Washington Post informs us that Pakistan is “a country with no law against child marriage.”
“They 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.” (Qur’an 4:89)
A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-‘ashriyyah, Al-Ja’fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”
Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”
Few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
Marrying young girls was not all that unusual for its time, but because in Islam Muhammad is the supreme example of conduct (cf. Qur’an 33:21), he is considered exemplary in this unto today. And so in April 2011, the Bangladesh Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini declared that those trying to pass a law banning child marriage in that country were putting Muhammad in a bad light: “Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, [putting] the moral character of the prophet into controversy and challenge.” He added a threat: “Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.” The Mufti said that 200,000 jihadists were ready to sacrifice their lives for any law restricting child marriage.
Likewise the influential website Islamonline.com in December 2010 justified child marriage by invoking not only Muhammad’s example, but the Qur’an as well:
The Noble Qur’an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: “And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women, if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated” [Qur’an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur’an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet entered into a marriage contract with A’isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.
Other countries make Muhammad’s example the basis of their laws regarding the legal marriageable age for girls. Article 1041 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran states that girls can be engaged before the age of nine, and married at nine: “Marriage before puberty (nine full lunar years for girls) is prohibited. Marriage contracted before reaching puberty with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed.”
According to Amir Taheri in The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (pp. 90-91), Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight. Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful to give their own daughters away accordingly: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.” When he took power in Iran, he lowered the legal marriageable age of girls to nine, in accord with Muhammad’s example.
“A Pakistani girl ran away and converted to Islam. Now she cannot go back to her family,” by Tim Craig, Washington Post, June 20, 2016 (thanks to David):
The Kalash community is known as one of Pakistan’s most peaceful and mystical. Its members wear colorful gowns, practice their own religion and live in the shadows of mountains near Chitral, a tourist resort in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
For centuries, the Kalash community has lived trouble-free alongside their Muslim neighbors. But all that changed last week when a 15-year-old girl wandered away from her family and ended up at an Islamic seminary.
According to police and local officials, Rina showed up at the seminary and said she wanted to convert to Islam. The local cleric embraced her and started reading her the Koran. After a few hours, the cleric declared that Rina had converted to Islam, which entails reciting a pledge that there is “no God but Allah. The prophet Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The next morning, according to police, Rina’s parents and other members of the Kalash tribe went looking for her. They found her at the seminary and demanded that she return home, noting she is only in the ninth grade and too young to leave her parents.
What happened next underscores the combustible role that religion can play in rural Pakistan. There often is no safe way for a Muslim person in Pakistan to abandon Islam.
The Muslim inhabitants of the area, who form a majority of the population, claimed that Rina converted voluntarily. They refused to hand her over to her parents, saying Rina was now and should forever be considered a Muslim.
A fight broke out. As stones and punches were thrown, the fighting quickly escalated into a bloody battle involving hundreds of villagers.
At one point, the violence became so intense that police began firing bullets into the air to try to disperse the crowds, the BBC reported.
“The Muslims living in the area said nobody is allowed to go back to his or her old religion after embracing Islam,” said Asif Iqbal, the local police chief. “According to the Muslim faith, if someone tries to apostate, he or she could be killed.”
Indeed, throughout history, many branches of Islam have considered apostasy a capital offense. A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of Pakistanis believe that leaving Islam should be punishable by death.
Pakistan’s criminal code makes no direct reference to apostasy, although many legal experts believe a Pakistani Muslim who tried to leave that religion would be vulnerable to blasphemy charges. The country’s blasphemy law makes insulting the prophet Muhammad — even by innuendo — punishable by imprisonment or death….
As the fighting dragged into Friday, local authorities decided to haul Rina before a judge. During the court appearance, Rina “confessed that she embraced Islam of her own will,” said Abdul Mufttah, a police officer.
The judge ruled that Rina was an official convert to Islam, effectively severing ties between her and her family. Religious diversity among the same family is rare in Pakistan, especially in rural communities.
And in a country with no law against child marriage, a wedding between Rina and a local Muslim boy or man is likely to be arranged soon….