Can You Advise and Explain on Dealing with Apostate Relatives?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

How Should I Deal with Family Members Who Have Left Islam?

Why in the answer in the link above do you give the advice to continue to keep family ties with apostates when the spirit and letter of the law according to the four schools is the exact opposite? What wisdom is better than the law itself? Don’t you think there is a risk of enabling and spreading kufr by normalizing it within Muslim families?

Isn’t deterring via cutting off apostates a more effective approach that is in line with the law (e.g. punishment of death, cutting off ownership, wealth, inheritance, immediate invalidation of marriage, etc.) Isn’t your advice anti-Islamic or misguidance? Kindly advise with your proofs.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

If we were in an Islamic country, with a legitimate Caliph appointed by the people on the basis of righteousness and religious merit, and the entire society was free from corrupt elements that spread wrongful beliefs or spread beliefs that prove detrimental to the faith of the Muslims-the approach to an apostate may be greatly different.

However, we do not live in those times nor in those circumstances. Furthermore, killing an apostate is a Hadd punishment, and the objective of the judge is to avert such punishments whenever possible due to any suspicion of excuse (shubha).

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Avert punishments (Hudud) as best as you can.” [Tirmidhi]

Ubaidullah bin Jahsh

Another proof of why this ruling does not apply in today’s society and circumstances is the story of the husband of Umm Habiba (Ramla), ‘Ubaidullah bin Jahsh who became Christian in the lands of Abysiniyya and due to that Umm Habiba’s marriage with him was annulled and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) married her. [‘Amiri, Bahjat al-Mahafil]

Notice that even at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ‘Ubaidullah was not killed. [Ibid.]

The Sanctity of Life

The Sacred Law commands us to preserve life. For that reason, even the smallest of excuses not to establish the punishment on someone is sought.

There are many examples of this, such as Umar (Allah be pleased with him) withholding the punishment of stealing because of a famine and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) turning away from a woman who admitted to fornications multiple times, to give her a way out. [Malik, Muwatta; Nawawi, Riyadh al-Salihin]

Excuses of Our Time

Due to the widespread corruption and misinformation about Islam being spread, many Muslims are affected negatively and become confused. Sometimes this confusion leads them to believe certain things that are contrary to the sound belief of Islam: some being wrongful beliefs and others manifest disbelief.

Due to this fact, if someone leaves the religion it is not so clear that they understood the religion in the first place, and perhaps their leaving of the religion was in fact rejecting something that True Islam rejects as well: the oppression of women or terrorism.

For example, someone may say, “I don’t believe in Islam anymore because it teaches the oppression of women.”

Cutting this person off for their statement or worse, killing them is not in accordance with our desire for their guidance. This is a time to call people to Allah Most High, with our character and mercy first and foremost, before our words.

Please see this as well:
What Is the Punishment for Apostasy in Islam?

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.