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“Verily, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe (again), and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief; Allaah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (right) way” [al-Nisa’ 4:137].

Does this mean that anyone who leaves Islam twice or more can never be Muslim again? Or never be forgiven?

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The words "go on increasing in disbelief" refer to being disbelievers until death. This is reported from Ibn Abbas and also Mujahid.

Ibn Kathir says:

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that his father said that Ahmad b. 'Abdah related that Hafs b. Jami' said that Samak said that 'Ikrimah reported that Ibn 'Abbas commented;

ثُمَّ ازْدَادُواْ كُفْراً

(and go on increasing in disbelief), "They remain on disbelief until they die.'' Mujahid said similarly. (Ibn Kathir 4:137)

Allah says in another verse similarly:

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. (2:217)

So, the verse is not to be understood as saying those who apostate twice cannot repent. Rather, it means those who died as disbelievers will not receive God's forgiveness.

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