The most precious freedom of man, which is vital for the purpose of enabling him to achieve the object of his life on earth, is the freedom of conscience, which includes freedom to profess, practise, propagate and, should his conscience so impel him, to change his religion. Islam is the one religion whose scripture guarantees freedom of conscience and belief in express and emphatic terms. This freedom is so repeatedly affirmed in the Holy Quran, with such a wealth of illustration and exposition, that it does not leave the slightest room for any doubt on the matter. This is one of the many outstanding proofs of the truth of Islam. Unfortunately, a section of the so-called Orthodox Muslim divines have progressively adopted the position that though Islam does not permit any kind of pressure or coercion in its propagation, and that no one can under any circumstances be forced or compelled to profess Islam, yet a professing Muslim, should he cease to have faith in Islam, would not be free to affirm that he no longer believes in Islam. Should he do so, he would forfeit his life. This is a notion which is utterly abhorrent to Islam, and indeed to human conscience. Also it renders altogether nugatory the freedom of conscience and belief that is so emphatically guaranteed by Islam, and is contradictory of it. If the position on this question were that which these misguided divines seek to uphold, Islam would be guilty of promoting hypocrisy and would not be a true religion.
This small booklet endeavours to carry out an examination of this question from every possible angle within a brief compass, so as to set at rest any doubt or suspicion on the teaching of Islam in this respect. Unless otherwise specified all references are to the Holy Quran.