1) Gasp in awe at my thread necromancy
2) I'm interested in what you think of this Not the bumf about atheism at the beginning, the later part about the interpretation of the hadith and its applicability to the present day.
Its interesting to see the thread coming to life again.
Now as for the article you linked Kythia , let me explain what I can. But I'll only provide my own insight. I do not claim to understand or govern the body of Islam in any way.
Contradictions within Islam has always been present. But with their existence , is it a question of why , or how did they come to exist?
Apostasy is a sudden absence of belief in a certain religion. It has existed in every form before. But for Islam , its quite different.
The article states a ' new law ' in Saudi Arabia about Apostasy. I had to search before I even posted here. But it was all a reminiscing of an old ' already existing ' law. Some of the human rights members in Saudi Arabia thought they should shed the light upon this part . Why? It is beyond me and I do not wish to disclose my opinion regarding their reasons. But there was no formal statement , or any public announcement about any rules regarding Apostasy.
Muslims in Saudia Arabia are brought up with the Belief that Islam is the one and only valid
religion right now.
Islam Acknowledges the other religions brought forth by the prophets of God. ( E.g. Judaism & Christianity ). And while Islam welcomes any who converts from these religions to Islam. It is unforgivable to abandon Islam for another religion.
But if you follow the historical events , you'll notice something critical regarding ' Apostasy'. There was never any trusted records about Muslims being executed for converting to another religion. Only those who wished to be unbound by any religion were executed. Why?
It is implied that Islam is one of the Religions that God Almighty ( The entity and Deity served by the trinity Heavenly Religions . Judaism , Christianity & Islam ) has bestowed upon mankind. And while it is unforgivable for one to relinquish the belief of Islam in favor of another. They still serve God. But when someone chooses not to believe in God at all. That is when Punishment becomes severe. This is one way to look at it.
Now back to the controversies in Islam. Does anyone know that at the early years of Muhammad's Prophecy , Drinking was allowed? There was even a verse in Quran that said " Do not attempt prayer while drunk and senseless. " It was understood that one was allowed to drink as long as they do not get drunk when it is time to pray. And there's five prayers to be performed everyday. But on the fifth year of Muhammad's rule in Medina , Drinking was forbidden at any time. This is one of the controversies that piqued at many who wished to relinquish the laws of Saudi Arabia.
Another would be Listening to Music. It is forbidden by a verse cited in Qur'an. However , Muhammad did not comment about it when the Muslims welcomed his first Arrival to Medina with songs and Music. And even now , The Royal Family of Saudi Arabia has their own anthem. And the Orchestra is always available to greet any guests of the Royal family under formal visits.
The reason I mentioned these examples is because of what I think regarding the laws of Apostasy. The Hadith could be fake. Or it could be true. If it was true , this my own reason for it. Islam was a slowly growing Religion during the days of Muhammad. One was bound to relinquish their beliefs , especially since Muslims were hunted down in Mekkah. But as it grew bigger and stronger , to maintain its strength , whose to say this law was invented to keep people from revoking their belief? Intimidation is a powerful tool , especially when it is associated with a punishment as severe as death.
The Khalifas that followed Muhammad has also enforced that rule as well. But now? I can't recall an instance where someone was beheaded for such a reason. Also , there's a lot of people from all over the world who belief in something else entirely. Buddhists , Hindus , Other religions from Africa and even Europe. Examples can be vast , but the point is. Did we ever execute any? Not really.
Another thing to point out regarding the the article linked within the original one. Stating that some people were holding signs in sacred places within the country that says ' They're Atheists '. Why would they do such a thing? And how would a country Ruled by an iron hammer reacts? Imagine someone walking into the Vatican , standing before St. Peter's Basilica , and holding a sign that contradicts Christianity. Why would someone do that? Why would someone choose to contradict a religion before its one of its sacred marks? Any authority would easily take it as an act of mockery. Wouldn't they retaliate. Of course this is all hypothetical. It never happened within the country , because if it did , it'll cause an uproar even among the citizens.
Atheism exists everywhere. And in Saudia Arabia too. Anyone can be an Atheist. If you do not attend the prayers in Mosques , no one will drag you to prison. If you do not fast during Ramadan , no one will cut your head off. But when you say it out loud , there will be ramifications. This is how the country is ruled. I could've have just committed apostasy right now by claiming that a Hadith could be fake. No one will hunt me down for it because I do not bother disclosing these beliefs with anyone close to me. This is how it goes , and this is how it will be for a long time.
I hope that helps clarify it Kythia.