(see examples of apostasy as a crime here)
Muslims who leave Islam (by losing faith or converting to other religion) commit the crime of apostasy, punishable by death.
According to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'" (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57)Muhammad again:
It was narrated from Ubadah bin Samit that the Messenger of Allah said: “Carry out the legal punishments on relatives and strangers, and do not let the fear of blame stop you from carrying out the command of Allah.” So we know (1) that the penalty for apostasy is death, and (2) that Muslims are supposed to carry out the penalty on relatives. (Sunan Ibn Majah 2540)Muhammad once more:
"Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17Bukhari (Volume 9, Book 84, Number 58) describes the relaxed attitude of Mohammed and his followers after killing an apostate (they kept on their "religious duty" as if nothing had happened):
Narrated Abu Burda: ... There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, "Then we discussed the night prayers and one of us said, 'I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'"The Manual of Islamic Law Umdat al-Salik from the "moderate" Egyptian Al-Azhar University (the same where US President Obama spoke in April 2009 in an attempt to reach out to the Muslim world) says that:
08.1 When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes (changes religion) from Islam, he deserves to be killed.
08.4 There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (O. or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die).
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.Apostasy is excellent for tyrants: whoever opposes them politically, are accused to be apostates and then incarcerated or killed – that is why apostasy is a crime in all 57 Islamic countries.
"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" -- Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
If an ex-Muslim lives in a Non-Islamic country, he may be away from an Islamic government, but he is fair game for other Muslims, sometimes even persecuted by his own family.
The Baha’i (in Iran) and the Ahmadiyya (in Indonesia) have been persecuted because they are considered apostates. The former believes Mohammed is not the last prophet; the latter rejects violence.
See examples of former Muslims being punished by this crime in another post Kill any Muslim who leaves Islam.
There are two types of apostasy (murtad)
Murtad fitri (natural apostate) - Anyone who is born to Muslim parents and leaves Islam is stigmatized as in the sense that he was born genetically Muslim and has rejected his gift of birth.
Murtad milli - anyone who converts to Islam and later leaves it (a person who has turned his back to the Ummah).Update on Mar 2011 - I found in Islam Online the answer to the following question: Why is the apostate to be executed in Islam? The answer, based on the same Koran and Hadith verses mentioned abova, includes explanations such as (emphasis mine):
If a Muslim apostatizes and meets the conditions of apostasy, i.e., he is of sound mind, an adult and does that of his own free will then his blood may be shed with impunity. He is to be executed by the Muslim ruler or by his deputy, such as the qaadi or judge, and he is not to be washed (after death, in preparation for burial), the funeral prayer is not to be offered for him and he is not to be buried with the Muslims.
Perhaps you think that if a person follows the truth and enters into it and embraces the one true religion which Allaah has enjoined, then we allow him to leave it quite easily whenever he wants and to utter the words of kufr (disbelief) that put him outside of Islam, so he can reject Allaah, His Messenger, His Books and His religion, and there is no punishment as deterrent, how will that affect him and others who enter the religion?
Do you not see that this would make the one true religion, that everyone should follow, like a shop or store which a person can enter when he wants and leave when he wants, and it may encourage others to forsake the truth.
Moreover, this is not someone who has never known the truth and practiced it and worshipped in accordance with it; rather this is a person who has known the truth, and practiced the religion and done the rituals of worship, so the punishment is no greater than he deserves. Moreover, such strong rulings as this are only applied to such a person whose life is no longer considered to be useful, because he knew the truth and followed the religion, then he left it and forsook it. What soul can be more evil than the soul of such a person?
In conclusion, the answer is that Allaah is the One Who revealed this religion and enjoined it. He [Allaah] is the One Who ruled that the one who enters it and then leaves it is to be executed. This ruling does not come from the Muslim' s ideas or suggestions. As this is the case, then we must follow the ruling of Allaah so long as we are content to accept Him as our Lord and God.Where is that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Well, it has never had any legal value according to the "true religion" and its Sharia.