I would like to respond to Truth Seeker's letter.
In his letter, Truth Seeker states: "With due respect, hadiths are by nature subjective. Various schools of Islamic thought will accept some hadiths and reject others."
He later alludes that the hadith should be rejected and the Quran should be the only source for interpretation.
I for one would like to accept his challenge and offer Quranic proof for the punishment of apostacy. One only have to refer to Al Baqarah verse 54 in which Moses decreed upon the calf worshippers to kill themselves for punishment of apostacy.
Haris Ibrahim in his letter tries to paint the picture that punishment to apostasy is not decreed by God in the Quran. He then quoted three verses while conveniently leaving out verse 02:54. He refuses to take into account verse 02:54 when reaching his conclusion.
I am also perplexed by both Truth Seeker and Haris Ibrahim's stand on this issue. They seem to reject the role of Al Hadith (reports from the Prophet) on this issue.
The scholars of Islam reached a consensus on the punishment for apostacy by referring not only to the Quran but also the hadith. Why is this so? Because the hadith is also another form of divine revelations from God.
One only has to open the pages of the Quran to find an abundance of evidence pointing to this fact. For instance verse 02:189, 04:113 and 03:164 clearly prove that the Quran is not the only revelation from God. The Sunnah is another form of revelation from God.
The 'anti-hadith' would argue that the Al-Hikmah verses above refers to the Quran itself. The trouble with that claim is it contradicts the Arabic grammar. Therefore, such argument is rejected.
In addition, verse 16:44 spells out clearly that the Prophet is to explain the meaning of the Quran. The verse negates Truth Seeker's claim that the hadith is subjective. In fact, it is the clarifier of the Quran's subjectivity, when needed.
In 07: 157, the Prophet's role is also to enact and legislate law by legalizing what is legal and prohibiting what is prohibited.
All these confusion is brought about by the act of some who interpret the Quran merely form it's Malay or English translations. Such act contradicts at least 10 verses in the Quran in which the Quran unequivocally states that it is sent down in the Arabic language.
Al Imam Asy Syafiee has forewarned the Muslim ummah of such inevitable mistakes1,200 years ago in his monumentous book Ar Risalah. He says that interpreting the Quran without a good command of Arabic is a disaster waiting to happen.
He even puts it clearly that the only person he knew able to master the Arabic language in its entirety was none other than the Prophet himself. In fact, scholars have shown us that a a clear sign of a fabricated hadith is the bad Arabic in the hadith's text.
In short, such confusion caused by these exchanges should not have happened if not for certain people trying to bring up issues that have been resolved a thousand years ago. Muslims should not be apologetic to the West. In fact, we should invite our western brothers to understand us as much as we would like to understand them.