“On February 3, 2015, the world was horrified when the criminals known as Isis burned alive Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh in a cage. My horror was doubled when I learned that this heinous act has its counterpart in the narrations attributed to Prophet Muhammad (S) and His Companions, known as the hadith:
‘Abu al-Nu‘man Muhammad ibn al-Fadl related to us: Hammad ibn Zayd related to us from Ayyub from Ikrimah who said: “Ali burnt some people (apostates) and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas, who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him”‘ (Sahih Bukhari Vol 4, Book 52, No. 260).
How could one of the most righteous companions of Prophet Muhammad (S), Ali (RA), have burnt alive apostates? The other companion, Ibn Abbas, was apparently not much better. He would have “killed them” as well, if not burned them!
How do we reconcile this narration with the benevolent injunction of the Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:256)? How are we Muslims to be taken seriously on any human rights platform if narrations such as these taint our belief system?”
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An Open Letter to a Traditionalist Muslim Friend