Book Chapter

Pre-modern Islamic Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Religion, with Particular Reference to Apostasy and its Punishment

A Saeed

Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law | Published : 2013


The application of freedom of religion has been problematic in all three Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In their formative period, these three traditions saw apostasy as an apocalyptic manifestation of social and religious disorder. Once the Jewish people, the church, and the umma (community) had achieved legal and political power, apostasy was declared a public offense punishable by law. Although Judaism and Christianity have moved away from their earlier understandings of punishment for apostasy, Muslims are still engaged in a vigorous debate on the relevance of apostasy laws in the modern world. This chapter provides an overview of the apostasy law as it developed..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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