Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Open Forum: There is no compulsion in Islam

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In response to Kristy Kistner’s Jan. 24 letter, which asserts that Islam commands the death penalty for apostasy, I would like to point out the following verse of the Quran: Those who believe, then disbelieve, then again believe, then disbelieve and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor will He guide them to the right way. (4:138)

The preceding verse outlines Islam’s approval of freedom of human conscience, to make decisions based on the individual’s understanding of religion.

You can accept Islam, reject it, accept it, and reject it again. The cycle is endless. No human can punish another for believing or disbelieving, for this duty is ultimately, and only, in God’s hands.

Just as a friendly reminder for Ms. Kistner, and anyone else who is unsure of Islam’s stance on forcible religion, the Quran states quite simply: There is no compulsion in religion. (2:257)

Wajeeha Choudhary, Garnet Valley, Pa.