The Wikipedia article on Shafi'i says:

He also argued that sunnah contradicting the Qur'an were unacceptable, claiming that sunnah should only be used to explain the Quran.

This implies that every hadith must have its roots in the Qur'an. This makes sense to me. It naturally raises the question I asked i.e. Under which Quranic injunction the hadith to kill apostates could be classified?


The Hadith I am referring to is Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84 (Dealing with Apostates), Number 57

Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57 :
Narrated by 'Ikrima
Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

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    Which hadeeth? Hadeeth of Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu anhu)? And if that is the hadeeth, you might want to mention which verse of Qur'an it contradicts.
    – Abdullah
    Jul 21 '12 at 9:47
  • -1 it's not really clear what you're asking here.
    – ashes999
    Jul 21 '12 at 10:05
  • @Ershad Yes, the Hadith of Ibn Abbas. Let me mention it in the question as well. And no, my question is not about contradiction at all. I'm simply asking about the ayat, if any, that is basis of the prophetic saying. Please keep in perspective the opinion of Shafi'i I highlighted above. Thanks!
    – a_fan
    Jul 21 '12 at 10:28
  • 3
    @Affan One of the things that Sunnah does is explain Qur'an. I am keeping in perspective Imam Shafi'i's opinion. What I understand is you ignore the first part of his opinion. For example, can you bring me one ayah from Qur'an that prohibits wearing Gold for men? As long as Sunnah doesn't contradict the Qur'an it is fine. The issue of Gold is not mentioned in Qur'an. However, Sunnah makes additional prohibition. So, Sunnah is what Allah commanded through the messenger.
    – Abdullah
    Jul 21 '12 at 10:51
  • 1
    @Affan I think you are applying ayah with your own interpretation. That ayah doesn't mention men alone firstly. And women are allowed to wear Gold. Extravagance is extravagance be it Gold or not.
    – Abdullah
    Jul 23 '12 at 5:48

Firstly I would like to clarify that there are things in the sunnah which are not in the Quran, and they are authentically reported, and it is required to accept it, for the Sunnah is revelation like the Quran. And the Authentic Ahadeeth never contradict the Quran, and lastly the Quran is in need of the sunnah for it explains it, while the Sunnah is not in need for the Quran to explain it.

Going to the next point. Imam Ashafi'i and others have used as proof from the Quran:

ومن يرتدد منكم عن دينه فيمت وهو كافر فأولئك حبطت أعمالهم في الدنيا والآخرة وأولئك أصحاب النار هم فيها خالدون

And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever - for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.

Surat Al Baqarah Ayah 217

As for the authentic proofs in the Sunnah for killing those who revert from Islam after entering it and not repent, are numerous. As well as it is the Ijma' of the Sahabah that the Murtad is to be killed if repentance is not done.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer! As a side note فيمت وهو كافر creates the possibility that من يرتدد منكم عن دينه dies a natural death. Isn't it so?
    – a_fan
    Jun 20 '13 at 9:13

During the lifetime of the prophet no one was killed for the mere act of apostasy. the hadith says: التارك لدينه المفارق للجماعة which means that for the apostate to be killed he has to have committed political treason by joining a hostile faction that fights the muslim community.

Ali and other companions might have killed some zanadiqa (which means heretics not atheists) for political reasons as there were some ages of total chaos in which it was necessary to fight political factions in the craddle.

The Sunnah must not contradict Quran and if it does then it didn't come from the Prophet. The Quran says in Sourat Al Kahf: وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِنْ وَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ whose translation in English: (18:29) Proclaim, "This is the Truth from your Lord: now whosoever will, he may accept it and whosoever will, he may reject it".

making it clear that everyone is free to chose his creed.

Allah knows best

  • Thanks for your answer. As I understand what you mean is: since the hadith I quoted in the question contradicts the verse you quoted, therefore it may not be accepted as it is. There must be some other details (e.g. treason) that the narrators could not communicate. Is that right?
    – a_fan
    Jun 20 '13 at 9:02
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    The hadith of the prophet I have mentioned litteraly says: "he who leaves the religion and quits the community". some explain that "quits the community" is a redundant expression that means quiting the religion. Others say no the redundance is not relevant here and quitting the community means separating oneself from the concerns and interests of the muslim community by joining factions that have an animosity towards it. So even Hadith wise this matter is not settled. The Quran makes it clear that freedom of religion is a right.
    – Averroes
    Jun 20 '13 at 9:32
  • Regarding the hadith you quoted if Ali's judgement really took place then there might have been RealPolitik reasons that have pushed Ali to make that decision out of Ijtihad. Ali had to face the outcome of Fitna from day one of his rule.
    – Averroes
    Jun 20 '13 at 9:44

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