Apostasy in Islamic Republic of Iran


As former political prisoners who survived the “mass executions of the 1980s” ,we decided to become one of the voices that speak out about today’s prisoners and ask all critical people globally as well as progressive and revolutionary institutions, to support the Women, Life, Freedom movement and push for the release of political prisoners. This article is translated from the sources at the bottom.

Apostasy is a term in military (religious) jurisprudence that means leaving your religion and disbelief in Islam. An apostate is someone who is already Muslim and then disbelievers. (In Islam) apostates are divided into two categories: “Natural” and “National”, each of which has its own rulings.

1- Literary meaning

Apostasy literally means to “leaving” and “Departing” (abandon or renunciation of a religious belief).

Definition of apostasy by Mariam-Webster: 1: an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith. 2: abandonment of a previous loyaltyDEFECTION  (All in prentices and definition are added by Translators)

2- The meaning of the term

The term of apostacy in Islamic jurists is defined as turning away from the religion and becoming an infidel. Infidelity in Islam is a person who was Muslim and then became an infidel by leaving Islam, which defines an apostate.

3- Apostasy in the Quran

Its root in the Qur’an is as follows:

«وَ مَنْ یَرْتَدِدْ مِنْکُمْ عَنْ دینِهِ فَیَمُتْ وَ هُوَ کافِرٌ فَاولئِکَ حَبِطَتْ اعْمالُهُمْ فِی الدُّنْیا وَالْاخِرَةِ وَاولئِکَ اصْحابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فیها خالِدُونَ؛

“Whoever of you turns away from his religion (Islam) and apostatizes, then s/he dies while they become an infidel; “The deeds of such people are corrupt and void in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will be caught in the Fire and will abide in Hell forever.” [1]

Whoever among you turns back from his religion and dies a disbeliever—those are they whose works will come to nothing in this life, and in the Hereafter. Those are the inmates of the Fire, abiding in it forever.)

whoever among you renounces their own faith and dies a disbeliever, their deeds will become void in this life and in the Hereafter. It is they who will be the residents of the Fire. They will be there forever.”(Other Islamic translations)

4- Types of apostates

There are two types of apostates: “Natural” and “National”.

4.1 – Natural apostate

A “Natural apostate” is a person who, at the time of fertilization, one of his/her mother or father, or both, were Muslim (and) but has converted to Islam after reaching adulthood and then has left the religion of Islam.

4.2 – National apostate

A national apostate is a person whose parents were infidels during the coagulation of sperm (conception) and who, after reaching adulthood, declared infidelity (believes in his/her parents’ religion), then converted to Islam, and then returned to infidelity again.

5- How to realize disbelief

How is disbelief achieved? Infidelity is realized in several ways: by “intention”, by “word” and by “deeds”.

5.1 – Infidelity with intent

Infidelity with the intention is to decide on infidelity in the future, even doubting the origin of the world of creation or the mission of the Messenger of God “Mohammad” (peace and blessings of God be upon him) is disbelieving.

5.2 – Linguistic infidelity

Blasphemy is a language that denies God with words, or denies the mission of the divine prophets, or considers halal haram, or considers haram halal, or denies one of the duties of Islam, such as prayer, fasting, and so on. In short, the general criterion is the denial of one of the necessities of religion if this denial goes back to the denial of the mission (prophecy). It goes without saying that it does not matter whether it is due to stubbornness or belief or ridicule.

5.3 – Practical disbelief

Practical blasphemy refers to an explicit and insulting act that violates the holy Shari’a, which implies a violator of Islamic Shari’a, such as violating the Qur’an, the names of God, the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the names of the infallible “Shiite’s Imams and their relatives” (peace be upon them), their holy books and Islamic books. . or setting them on fire [2] (For more information, you can refer to the article of the infidel. [3])

6- A narration from Imam Sadegh

Ibn Sinan has narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) as follows:

“Whoever doubts in the sight of God Almighty and in His Messenger, Mohammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), is a disbeliever; [4]

7- Conditions of apostasy

Apostasy, whether “Natural” or “National”, must meet the following conditions:

1- Maturity

۲- Wisdom

3- Authority

4- Intention [5] [6]

8- The sentence of a “Natural Apostate”:

Inherently converting to Islam by an apostate is not accepted. If the apostate is a man, he will be killed. [7]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever turned Islam into infidelity, kill him.” [8] And his wife should divorce him, and her marriage would be dissolved without divorce. She does not need to wait for “Death kit” (عدّه وفات*) to get re-marry, so if she wishes, she could marry (right away), and the property of the apostate, which belonged to him at the time of his apostasy, should be divided among his heirs after the payment of his debts, Like a corpse. [9]

And if the “Natural apostate” is a woman, she will not be killed. Rather, she is imprisoned forever and at the time of prays (five times a day) should be lashed, and she should be deprived of her livelihood. If her repentance is accepted, so if (only) she repents, she would be released from prison. [10]

* Death Kit ( عدة الموت): Is the waiting period for a women to re-marry, whose husband died, which is four months and ten days, except if she is pregnant.

9- The verdict of a “National Apostate”

The national apostate man should be advised to repent, so if he refuses, he will be killed, and the precaution is to ask him for three days to repent (and if he does not repent) he will be killed on the fourth day. [11]


1)  Baqarah / Sura 2, verse 217.

2)  Mohammadi Gilani, Mohammad, Criminal Law in Islam, p. 256, with intrusion Changes

3)  See: Wiki Fiqh, article “Infidel” : صفحه اصلی – ویکی فقه (wikifeqh.ir)

4)  Horre Ameli, Mohammad ben Hassan, Vasayelo shie’ P.568 Volume 18.

5)  Khomeini, Ruhollah, Tahrir al-Wasila, vol. 2, p. 529

6)  Mohaqeq Hali, Ja’far ibn Hassan, Sharia al-Islam, vol. 3, p. 617.

7)  Khomeini, Ruhollah, Tahrir al-Wasila, Imam Khomeini, vol. 2, p. 528

8)  Mohammadi Rey Shahri, Mohammad, Mizan al-Hikma, vol. 2, p. 1062.

9)  Khomeini, Ruhollah, Tahrir al-Wasila, vol. 2, p. 395, Al-Mawarith, issue 10.

10. Khomeini, Ruhollah, Tahrir al-Waseela, vol. 2, pp. 528-529, issue 1.

11)  Source: A group of authors, Research Institute of Islamic Research, Military Terms in Islamic Jurisprudence, p.13.

ارتداد (اصطلاحات نظامی) – ویکی فقه (wikifeqh.ir)

Article by Ali Abani

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