Apostasy in Islam
So here's what the Qur'an has to say about belief and disbelief:
- "Let there be no compulsion in religion.' (2:256)
- "Surely as for those who believe, then disbelieve, again believe, and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them on the right path" (4:137)
- "If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?" (10:99)
- "(O Prophet) proclaim: 'This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it." (18:29)
- "If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message." (42:48)
Some salient points:
The message that religion is a personal matter, not for others to force upon someone, is repeated many times in the Qur'an. (This list is not comprehensive, it's a sampling.) Compare this to the mention of things which have consumed our community, like hijab -- two vague verses which can be interpretted as supporting hijab; or insulting the Prophet -- about which there are no verses, although one can extrapolate from a verse that tells Muslims not to insult the Gods of other religions because those who believe in those Gods will insult Islam.
These verses stand in direct contradiction to the hadith which purport that the Prophet killed apostates. The classical schools have opted in favor of the hadith over the Qur'an, which is yet again a demonstration of why we need to abandon significant chunks of the classical shariah and challenge the rulings of the four sunni schools of thought that have become orthodox.