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Practicalities of Apostasy

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: What practical steps should we take if our family members leave Islam?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

First of all, one is not responsible to label people and know who is a believer and who is not. If any practical considerations arise, one should refer the specific case to a mufti. One should not come to one’s own conclusions.

The only practical repercussions of someone else in one’s family are the marriage, inheritance, and any meat that they may slaughter. Besides these practical considerations, one should not go about ferreting who or who has not left Islam.

If one’s spouse does something that is clear disbelief, one should tell them to repent and utter the testimony of faith (shahadah). If they do not desist, one should take the matter to a mufti as soon as possible.

If the mufti deems the words/actions to be apostasy (ridda), the meat they slaughter would not be halal to eat, they could not inherit from other Muslims in the family, nor could any Muslims in the family inherit from them, and the wife in the marriage would enter her divorce waiting period (idda). If the spouse who apostates does not enter Islam again before the waiting period (idda) is over, then they are divorced.

Please also see:

With the exception of the very sensitive scenario of one’s spouse apostatizing, one should not be overt about the matter. One should just give them space to rethink things. One shouldn’t push them further away.

‘Make things easy, and don’t make things hard. Give glad tidings, and do not make people turn away’ (Bukhari).

Please also see:

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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