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Human Rights and Reformist Islam$
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Mohsen Kadivar

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474449304

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474449304.001.0001

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The Freedom of Belief and Religion in Islam and Human Rights Documents

The Freedom of Belief and Religion in Islam and Human Rights Documents

(p.209) 8 The Freedom of Belief and Religion in Islam and Human Rights Documents1
Human Rights and Reformist Islam

Mohsen Kadivar

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers the freedom of Belief and Religion in Islam and absolute rejection of worldly punishments for apostasy. The first section analyses the conventional Islamic reading of the issue of freedom of belief and religion, as well the evidence it is based on. The second section addresses the task of proving that the freedom of religion and belief is desirable and beneficial. In looking at original Islamic texts, extracting the fundamental criteria of the religion, and criticising the arguments of the conventional reading, the third section provides the evidence for the freedom of belief and religion in Islam. People are free to choose their religion and belief, and nobody can pressure or force another into accepting the religion of truth and correct beliefs. Islam recognizes the plurality of religions and beliefs, meaning that some will follow the Divine invitation and others will remain in error. No temporal punishments have been set for having a false religion or belief. One cannot force another into changing his or her religion. Apostasy has no temporal punishment The choice of non-Muslims between acceptance of Islam or execution (or enslavement) is in deep conflict with the explicit verses of the Qur’an and Prophetic Tradition.

Keywords:   Freedom of Belief and Religion, Plurality of religions and beliefs, Apostasy, Religious discrimination, Rights of non-Muslims, People of the Book (dhimmis), People of Treaty (mu’ahad), Non-believers at war with Muslims (kafir harbi)

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