Following the execution, many politicians, reporters, and Muslim spokesmen have condemned ISIS for burning a captive to death, insisting that Islam forbids putting captives to death by fire. The passage that condemns burning captives, however, is almost never quoted, because it explicitly promotes killing apostates:
Sahih al-Bukhari 6922—Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to Ali; and he burnt them. The news of this event reached Ibn Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”Though this hadith clearly forbids executing apostates by burning them to death, we know historically that Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and Ali all punished people with fire. How can we make sense of the Islamic position on burning captives?