AP0STASY FROM ISLAM Arabic irtidad إرتداد
According to Muslim law, a male apostate, or Murtadd, is liable to be put to death if he continue obstinate in his error; a female apostate is not subject to capital punishment, but she may be kept in confinement until she recants. (Hamilton’s Hidayah, vol. ii. p. 227.) If either the husband or wife apostatize from the faith of Islam, a divorce takes place ipso facto; the wife is entitled to her whole dower, but no sentence of divorce is necessary. If the husband and wife both apostatize together, their marriage is generally allowed to continue, although Imam Zufar says it is annulled. But if after their joint apostasy, either husband or wife were simply to return to Islam, then the marriage would be dissolved. (Hamilton’s Hidayah, vol. ii, p. 188)
According to Abu Hanifah, a male apostate is disabled from selling or otherwise disposing of his property. But Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad differ from their master up to this point, and consider a male apostate to be as competent to exercise every right as if he were still in the faith (Hidayah, vol ii., p. 235).
If a boy under age apostatize, he is not to be put to death, but will be imprisoned until he came to full age, when, if he continue in the state of unbelief, he must be put to death. Neither lunatics nor drunkards are held to be responsible for their apostasy from Islam. (Hidayah, vol. ii. 246.). If a person upon compulsion becomes an apostate, his wife is not divorced, nor are his lands forfeited. If a person become a Musalman upon compulsion, and afterwards apostatize, he is not to be put to death. (Hiddyah, vol. iii., 467.)
The will of a male apostate is not valid, but that of a fema1e apostate is valid. (Hidayah, vol. iii., 537.)
‘Ikrimah relates that some apostates were brought to the Khalifah ‘Ali, and he burnt them alive, but Ibn ‘Abbas heard of it and said that the Khalifah had not acted rightly for the Prophet had said, “Punish not with God’s punishment (i.e. fire), but whosoever changes his religion, kill him with the sword.” (Sahihu l’-Bukhari).
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam