Note: This was a letter I wrote to Malaysiakini in 2004 in response to an Islam Liberal from Singapore who advocated apostasy. Republishing it here for clarity and future reference on the issue.
I refer to the letter “Apostates angry with Islam or government?”
I, for one, am aware of the website that Shairul Fazleena is referring to. Although she asserts that she is not endorsing the apostates’ cause, let us state here very clearly that her suggestion that the Malaysian government should ‘review’ their policy with regard to apostates is tantamount to mocking the Deen itself.
It is without a doubt that apostasy is a very serious offence in Islam, and there are no “ifs” and “buts” about it. However, individuals like Shairul are from the flock of ‘liberal Muslims’ who prefer to abandon the Qur’an and Sunnah injunction with regard to apostates in favour of their ‘values’ from the West concerning freedom of religion.
True, Islam does espouses the freedom of religion (Quran, 2:256). Freedom of religion, however, is not to be confused with freedom to simply leave the religion and putting the Muslim ummah in jeopardy.
Let’s put it this way. Singapore is not Malaysia. If Muslims in Singapore want to tolerate apostasy at their whim and fancy, it is their business. That they are so far apart from the practice of Islam speaks for itself.
Shairul’s whimsical fancies about Islamic laws not being ‘relevant’ anymore in this day and age is a sign of how the liberal Muslims think. And just because there is no implementation of these laws is not an excuse to do away with them in totality. They claim that they accept the Qur’an as a Divine Book and yet they attempt to insult its laws at every juncture. It certainly sounds very hypocritical to me.
As a Muslim living and residing in Malaysia and one who believe in the implementation of Islamic values as a way of life, legitimising apostasy would be detrimental to the Islamic values as practiced by Muslims in Malaysia.
There should be zero tolerance to apostates and apostasy from Islam, and this should remain the official policy of the government of Malaysia.
Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi