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The embedding (i.e., codification) of harsh punishments for apostasy into Islamic law must be recognized as an historical and political by-product of these circumstances framed in accordance with human calculations and expediency, rather than assuming that Islam, and shari’a, must forever dictate punishment for changing one’s religion. A full analysis of the issue would make this posting far too long and is unnecessary in view of the detailed exposition in the two pieces linked in the section . The traditional Islamic scholars such as Shafi fail to distinguish between apostasy as active rebellion seeking to overthrow the Muslim state and a peaceful decision to stop being a Muslim and live, for example, as a law-abiding Christian within the Muslim state.
Most political jurisdictions have practiced the death penalty for treason, and it was perfectly reasonable for the Muslim state to do so.
It was pointed out that there is no verse in the Qur’an that lays down a punishment for apostasy (although chapter 5 verse 54 and chapter 2 verse 217 predict a punishment in the next world).It was also pointed out that the ambiguities in the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) suggest that apostasy is only an offense when combined with the crime of treason.