Third part

The second part: Critical review of the documents of the popular interpretation.

The critical review of the deniers of freedom of thought and religion would require a long time and can not be paid to just in this article. In the time that we have among the various judgments we would pay to three famous judgments that deal with freedom of religion and thought and we believe that these three are the most important concerning this area. These judgments are: 1) Death Penalty for the apostate 2) tribute for the followers of Zoroaster, Moses, and Christ who, after entering into agreement with the head of the Islamic government, acquire rights and obligations under law ,and 3)Not having the right to live for an infidel who does not pay tribute. In the second part we had pointed to the most important documents of these three judgments. Here we would evaluate and have a critical look at these documents considering the evidence that had been presented about freedom of thought and religion.

-  1- A critical review on the punishment of the Moslem apostate in this world

The documents that is referred to about the execution of an apostate goes back to some narratives from the prophet( in the jurisprudence of the Sunnis)and from the household of the prophet ( in the jurisprudence of the Shiite)Based on some of the popular jurisprudence some of these narratives are taken to be valid documents, and even if we conclude that this to be unquestionable this has to be accepted notwithstanding the intellectual and Koranic understandings, but there are some points to be said in this area.

1. In executing the judgment of an apostate, anything that it would be, there is nothing to be said at the time of the imNawaatulates, because they themselves knew all the angles of the judgments canonical-wise more than any other person, and they are familiar with all the advantages and disadvantages of the holy judgment and there is no doubt permissible in what is carried out by them as a canonical judgment. The thing that is questionable is the judgments of an apostate at the time when the imNawaatulates are not present. Even if we assume these documents to be completely valid, we would need to ask if the execution of these judgments for he time of the imNawaatulates only if it can be carried out after them also, and as a result if it is a judgment that is changed with time or not. There are two opinions presented the scholars of Shiite. The famous opinion [1] is the impermissibility at the time when the imNawaatulates are not present [2], to the point that some have had a claimed consensus [3]. As the penance of apostasy from the viewpoint of the well-known opinion is a canon one [4] this judgment is not to be executed at the time when the imNawaatulates are not present. The importance of this judgment considering the problems that it has would become clearer at this time. Especially that based on the most dominant opinion the preliminary holy war is one of the special judgments of the era of presence and these two subjects have a common point and that is Islam. One of them is bringing Islam (the preliminary holy war) and the other leaving Islam (the punishment of apostasy).

2. The mentioned documents concerning execution of the apostate are all tradition with a single transmitter [5]. Basis and validity of the reliable tradition is the wisdom of the scholars. The scholars on vital and critical subjects despite other matters do not only rely on the reliable tradition. One of the most important things to pay to is the matter that has to do with the life of an individual (the right to live). The right to live can be breached when there is an undeniable document at hand meaning the text of the Koranic verse itself or a successive textual tradition. Execution cannot be based on tradition with only one transmitter, meaning that carrying out of the execution is in need of undeniable valid proof. Caution in the subject of spilling blood (because of its great importance and the attention that the legislator has given to it) necessitates not issuing the death penalty of any one without a valid proof (not even a dubious valid document).

As the great skilled researcher, Ardebilli, states that:” Murder is a great thing because the legislator tries to safeguard life, it being the axis of prosperity and duty therefore protecting it is indispensable, even not protecting life is not permissible, to kill another to save your own life, and a sound mind also attests that, and to sum this up it is important to take full precaution regarding this important matter.” [6]

The great contemporary scholar Ayatollah Ahmad Khansari has made it clear that:” The validity of the reliable tradition with the confirmation of prominent scholars or them modifying for the sake of giving it an intellectual base or using some of the traditions concerning blood is not without its problems, and specially with the great importance that the subject has don’t you think that the sage will not only rely on the tradition with a single transmitter for vital matters?” [7]

Kashef’olsam with caution has appropriated the carrying out of the canon punishments such as death penalty only to the imNawaatulate Imam [8]. Since the documents for the death penalty of the apostate are some unique traditions and unique traditions are not valid documents that can be proof for death penalty therefore because of the rule of caution in this matter as a result death penalty does not prove to be the solution.

3. If a person is threatened that “if you o not become a Moslem we would kill you” undoubtedly this would be a clear case of duress and if we would threaten a person that “ if you abandon your religion, and become an apostate we would kill you” then nonetheless duress has been realized in religion. Based on the clear Koranic verse duress has been prohibited. Therefore the death sentence of an apostate is in contrast with the great verse that states “there is no duress in religion” and many other verses that were pointed to at the beginning of this discussion. The traditions that come up wit the death sentence as the solution are in contrast with the context of the mentioned Koranic verses. These verses mean to appropriate and obligate because they refer to a rational judgment (as it was covered in the section dealing with the rational good of the freedom of religion and thought) therefore such traditions would be void and we would let the people who are qualified decide meaning that the exact context of these traditions are not hat clear to us and we must clarify the ambiguities through resort to the ImNawaatulate excellencies and can not act on the context of these traditions until then.

-  2. The judgments of the followers of Zoroastar, Moses and Christ who after entering into agreement with the head of the Islamic government acquire rights and obligations under law.

Paying tribute which is the most important judgment concerning the followers of Zoroaster, Moses and Christ who after entering into agreement with the head of the Islamic government acquire rights and obligations under law is a Koranic judgment at the time of the prophet and it was exercised after the prophet. The question is that if these judgments are constant, permanent, and not changeable with time Islamic judgments or are one of the special judgments of the height of Islam and are changeable, time dependant ones that would become void with time and place. This judgment at its own time was based on absolute good otherwise it would not become a divine law, and it can be added that this judgment is not considered a religious judgment that has to do with devotion or salvation. Yet the humble opinion of the author is that at least today it is this judgment can not be considered good in the seven areas that were covered in section two. The judgment for tribute as judgments in servitude have been for set times and Koran in addition to judgments that are for all times has had no choice but to point to some judgments that were particularly for the time of revelation. The judgments for the followers of Zoroastar, Moses and Christ who after entering in to agreement with the head of Islamic governments acquire rights and obligations under law were the same.

It is interesting that of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the slogan of its written laws being in correspondence with the laws of religion, the judgments of apostasy and the judgment for the followers of Zoroastar, Moses, and Christ who after entering in to agreement with the head of the Islamic government acquire rights and obligations under law.

The infidel who lives in the Islamic country and does not pay tribute being deprived of the right to live

The holy war is one of the most indispensable judgments in Islam. Yet contrary to the popular belief this does not mean using military force in order to make the heathen become Moslem and bring death but the point of this holy war is that if a country is occupied by the heathen in away that the freedom to religion is forbidden and the people are not let to choose the right religion and the religious information is not abundantly accessible and the Moslems are able to correct this fault then it is necessary for them to go to war with the heathen and the unbelievers and free them from the shackles in order for them to choose the religion that they want freely . It is natural that many people when free would choose the just religion. Therefore the preliminary holy war is in a way a kind of protective war. It is defending the freedom of people in religion and not forcing a religion even the just religion.

If a non-Moslem lives in or out of an Islamic society if he does not go to war with the Moslems he would never have to make a choice between Islam and death only because he is a believer of another religion or belief. He would keep his religion or belief any thing that it would be and no Moslem with the excuse of a different religion does not have the right to harass him.

It seems that the verses in Koran that are for all times would express the mentioned interpretation and not the popular one.

Conclusion :

Even though the popular interpretation of Islam in many cases does not reflect the freedom of religion and belief yet the other interpretation of Islam that is based on the original rules of Islam is in concord with the freedom of religion and belief that has been mentioned in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.

April 2001 ,Tehran



1 Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khansari, Jame ol’ Madarek Fi Shrh ol’ Mokhtasar ol’ Nafe, ch 5, pg.411.

2 researcher Helli, Sharaye ol’ Islam Fi Masael ol’ Halal Ve Eltezam, ch. 1, pg.344. [By the meaning of the word Appoint (Mansoub) is the special one and not the general one, refer to Javaher ol’ Kalam ch.21, pg.368.

3 Ebn Adriss Helli, Al’Saraer Al’ Havi Ol’Tahrir ol’Fatava, ch.2, pg.25.

4 the other opinion considers apostasy as a punishment that has a minimum and a maximum and not one that has been mentioned in Koran, refer to the Sharaye ol’ Islam, ch.4, pg. 147.

5 Mesbah Osoul, ch. 2, pg.196.

6 Majma ol’ Faydeh Ve Borhan Fi Sharh Ershad ol’ Azhan, Ketab al’ Hodoud, ch 13,pg 90.

7 Jameh Ol’ Madarek Fi Sharh Ol’ Mokhtasar ol’ Nafeh, Ketab al’ Hodoud, ch.7, pg.35.

8 Baha edin Mohammad ebn al’ Hassan known as Fazel Hendi, Kashf ol’ Sam en al’ Ghavaed ol’ Ahkam, ch.2, pg. 405.


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