Question: I hope you will read my letter in its entirety so that you can understand my following inquiries: When is a person considered as an apostate – we seek refuge in Allaah (from this)? My question may appear strange, but it confuses me a lot. Sometimes I have insinuations that give me a feeling that some of my actions denote apostasy, I seek refuge in Allaah (from this). I would like to inform you that my heart is at rest with eemaan (Faith), Praise be to Allaah, but as I have mentioned I have doubts regarding every act I do even before I do it. For example, if I speak with one or more persons; before uttering a word, I have doubts that what I will say may be a statement of Kufr (disbelief), I seek refuge in Allaah. Thus, I become hesitant and begin to stutter. Sometimes, I continue to talk and do not have the chance to reconsider whether to utter a word or not; I find myself making statements involuntarily without intending Kufr, I seek refuge in Allaah. Thereafter, I am attacked by thoughts as to whether or not I have become an apostate because of this. Some of the things that reinforce my insinuations are that people I talk to always stare at me expecting me to continue (talking). I find this a very weak excuse and so my doubts keep growing.
In spite of this, I feel I will never abandon this religion, regardless of the punishment that might be inflicted upon me; but I cannot understand what happens to me while I am talking. It is such an odd and painful feeling that I sometimes cannot sleep. When I try to ignore it, I cannot, and the thoughts return. Should I bathe as one does upon first embracing Islaam. Will my prayers not be valid unless I bathe? Will all my previous good deeds be nullified like an apostate person? Should I perform Hajj again, for instance? Also, I sometimes feel angry and stressed when I find myself directed toward certain thoughts – I cannot mention them – but quickly I manage to control myself and try to get rid of these thoughts. Is this considered Kufr, I seek refuge in Allaah?
I would also like to say that I read a Hadeeth that implies that if a Muslim charges his Muslim brother with Kufr, it will fall upon one of them. Does this mean that when a Muslim charges another with Kufr, he himself is a Kaafir (disbeliever), i.e. An apostate? What if I feel that someone is Kaafir without declaring it? Is believing in superstitions – such as believing in the unluckiness of the number 13 or believing in a bad omen from throwing nails on the ground – considered Kufr, given that the one who does this is a Muslim and believes in what Muhammad (peace be upon him) has come with? And if the person repents from this and no longer believes in them (superstitions), will his case be the same as one who enters Islaam? In other words, should he or she bathe?
A further question: Are doubts and insinuations in oneself considered a sin no matter how far they have gone? Given that I sometimes spend a long time trying to ward them (insinuations) off, I will not elaborate any further. To sum up, When is a person considered apostate?
I do not want to ask how an apostate be recognized, rather I would like to know how apostasy can be recognized in oneself? I seek refuge in Allaah (from this). Does an apostate take the same ruling as a Kaafir with regard to bathing when entering Islaam, even if he has had sexual intercourse or a wet dream during the period of apostasy? One more question: Hajj is an obligation that is performed once in lifetime, except in case of apostasy (I seek refuge in Allaah from this), are there other cases where a Muslim is obliged to perform Hajj again?
Answer: First: There are many reasons that make one’s religion null and void. They are explained by scholars in their discussion of the ruling on an apostate. If someone leaves Islaam and then re-embraces it, their good deeds performed while being a Muslim will not be annulled… read more here.