I am often asked, Why I left Islam?. As absurd as it may be, some Muslims cannot even allow themselves to think that leaving Islam is an option, or even possible. They rather think that those who leave Islam are paid Jewish agents than accept the fact that people have freedom to think and some may even think that Islam is not for them. The following are my reasons:
Until few years ago I used to think that my faith in Islam was not based on blind imitation but rather was the result of years of investigation and research. The fact that I had read a lot of books on Islam, written by people whose thoughts I approved of and delving into philosophies that were within my comfort zone, emphasized my conviction that I had found the truth. All my biased research confirmed my faith. Just like other Muslims I used to believe that to learn about anything one has to go to the source. Of course the source of Islam is the Quran and the books written by Muslim scholars. Therefore, I felt no need to look elsewhere in order to find the truth, as I was convinced that I have already found it. As Muslims say “Talabe ilm ba’d az wossule ma’loom mazmoom”. The search of knowledge after gaining it is foolish.
Of course, this is a foolish idea. What if we want to learn the truth about one of these dangerous cults? Is it enough to depend only on what the cult leader and his deluded followers say? Wouldn’t it be prudent to widen our research and find out what other people have to say about them? Going to the source makes sense only in scientific matters, because scientists are not “believers”. They do not say something because they have blind faith. Scientists make a critical analysis of the evidence. It is very much different from a religious approach
that is based entirely on faith and belief.
I suppose it was my acquaintance with the western humanistic values that made me more sensitive and whetted my appetite for democracy, freethinking, human rights, equality, etc. It was then that when I reread the Quran I came across injunctions that were not on a par with my newfound humanistic values, I was distressed and felt very uncomfortable to read teachings like these:
"But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith,- never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray."
"Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty."
One may think that the dreadful penalty mentioned here pertains to the next world. But Muhammad made sure that these people received their penalty in this world as well.
See the following:
Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Number 577:
"I heard the Prophet saying, “In the last days (of the world) there will appear young people with foolish thoughts and ideas. They will give good talks, but they will go out of Islam as an arrow goes out of its game, their faith will not exceed their throats. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for there will be a reward for their killers on the Day of Resurrection.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 63, Number 260:
"Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas, who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, “If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 63, Number 261:
"Eight men of the tribe of ‘Ukil came to the Prophet and then they found the climate of Medina unsuitable for them. So, they said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Provide us with some milk.” Allah’s Apostle said, “I recommend that you sh ould join the herd of camels.” So they went and drank the urine and the milk of the camels (as a medicine) till they became healthy and fat. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after they were Muslims. When the Prophet was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails, which were heated and passed over their eyes, and they were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody provided them with water till they died."
And from Partial Translation ofSunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4339 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: "The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) Said: The blood of a Muslim man who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle should not lawfully be shed except only for one of three reasons: a man who committed fornication after marriage, in which case he should be stoned; one who goes forth to fight with Allah and His Apostle, in which case he should be killed or crucified or exiled from the land; or one who commits murder for which he is killed."
The more I read, the more I questioned Muhammad’s sense of justice.
The following is very disturbing. I dare say any man who reads it and is not taken aback with disgust has a long way to go to become a human. Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4348
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: "A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it. He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood."
I felt the above story was a manifest injustice. Muhammad condoned a man killing a pregnant mother and his own unborn child just because he said that she insulted the Prophet! (Arabs used to sleep with their maid slaves. Qur’an perpetuates this tradition Q.33: 52. Muhammad himself slept with Mariyah, the maid slave of his wife Hafsa, without marrying her.) Forgiving someone for killing another human being just because he said she insulted Muhammad is unacceptable. What if that man was lying to escape punishment? What does this story say about Muhammad’s sense of Justice? During the past 1400 years, how many husbands escaped punishment for killing their innocent wives by accusing them of blaspheming the prophet of God and this Hadith allowed them get away with it?
Here is another one: Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4349
Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: "A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood."
It was not easy to read these stories and not be moved. There is no reason to believe that all these stories were fabricated. Why should believers, who have tried to depict their prophet as a compassionate man fabricate so many stories that would make him look like a ruthless tyrant?
I could no longer accept the brutal treatment of those who chose not to accept Islam, or that those who criticize any religion must be put to death. Faith is a personal matter.
See how Muhammad dealt with unbelievers: Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4359
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The verse "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite side or exile from the land...most merciful" was revealed about polytheists. If any of them repents before they are arrested, it does not prevent from inflicting on him the prescribed punishment, which he deserves.”
How could a messenger of God maim and crucify people because they resist accepting him? Could such a person really be a messenger of God? Wasn’t there a worthier man with moral and ethical fortitude to bear this mighty responsibility? I could not accept the fact that Muhammad slaughtered 900 Jews in one day, after he captured them in a raid that he started. I read the following story and I shivered:
Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4390
Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: "I was among the captives of Banu Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair"
Also, I found following story shocking: Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4396
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: "A thief was brought to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). He said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his hand. So his (right) hand was cut off. He was brought a second time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his foot. So his (left) foot was cut off. He was brought a third time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! So he said: Cut off his hand. (So his (left) hand was cut off.) He was brought a fourth time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! So he said: Cut off his foot. So his (right) foot was cut off. He was brought a fifth time and he said: Kill him. So we took him away and killed him. We then dragged him and cast him into a well and threw stones over him."
It seems that Muhammad passed judgment before hearing the case. Also by cutting a thief’s hand he is left with no other means to earn his bread except begging, which would be difficult since he is defamed as a thief and so hated by people. Therefore re-offending becomes his only means of livelihood.
After living many years in the West and being received kindly by people of other religions or of no religion, who loved me and accepted me as their friend, who let me into their lives and hearts, I could no longer accept the following mandates of the Qur’an as the words of God:
Q.58: 22 "You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger…"
Q.3: 118-120 "O you who believe! Take not as (your) bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made clear to you the aayaat (proofs, evidence, verses), if you understand. Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures [i.e., you believe in the Tawraat and the Injeel, while they disbelieve in your Book (the Qur’an)]. And when they meet you, they say, ‘We believe.’ But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: ‘Perish in your rage. Certainly Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).’ If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it…"
Q.5: 51 "O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as awliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but awliya’ to one another…"
I also found the above statement false. Evidence the Bosnia-Kosovo crisis; where a Christian country waged war against another Christian country to liberate Muslims. Many Jewish doctors volunteered to help the Kosovo refugees, despite the fact that during the WWII, the same Albanian Muslims took sides with Hitler and helped him in his holocaust against the Jews.
It became obvious to me that Muslims are accepted by all the people of the world yet our prophet wants us to hate them, to disassociate ourselves from them, to force them into our way of life or kill them, subdue them and make them pay Jizya. How silly! How pathetic! How inhumane! No wonder there is so much inexplicable hate of the West and of the Jews among Muslims. It was Muhammad who inseminated the hate and the distrust of the non-believers among his followers. How can Muslims integrate with other nations while holding these hateful messages of the Qur’an as the words of God? There are many Muslims who immigrate to non-Muslim countries and are received with open arms. Many of them get into politics and become part of the ruling elite. We suffer no discrimination in the non-Islamic countries. But see how our holy prophet tells us to deal with non-Muslims where we are the majority:
Q.9: 29 "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
I also find the following verses completely against my conscience. I love all humanity and wish everyone to be happy in this world and forgiven in the next. But my holy prophet bade me not to seek forgiveness for the unbelievers even if they are my parents and beloved ones. (Interpretation of the meaning by Muhsin Khan):
Q.9: 113 "It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allaah’s forgiveness for the mushrikeen, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in state of disbelief)."
Qur’an and hadith are full of outrageous verses like these that, to me, are clear proof that Muhammad was not a prophet, but a cult leader. To force people to denounce their own family is what cults do. He was an impostor who lied so loudly and so forcefully that the ignorant people of his time believed in him. Then the following generations echoed these lies passing them to the next. Philosophers and writers were born in this atmosphere of lies and elaborated on them, embellished them, and made them credible. But when you go to the core of the religion, when you read the Qur’an and study the hadith you see they are nothing but pure nonsense.
Rumi was a great poet and a mystic, he tried to give Islam mystical significance that it lacked. But what Rumi said is Rumi's thinking. The Qur’an is bereft of mystical meanings. Muhammad's concept of religion and god was extremely primitive. Why Rumi, Attar, Sohravardi or other mystics strive to attribute meanings to senseless verses of the Qur’an has to do with their upbringing as Muslim kids. On one hand, unlike the more rationalist thinkers such as Ar Razi, they could not denounce Islam altogether for it was ingrained in their subconscious mind.
Nothing is more difficult to get rid of than religion. This is truly the most potent narcotic if it is administered to a person from childhood. Yet as intelligent people, it was not possible for these great minds to accept the Qur’an at face value. Therefore they tried to find esoteric meanings in meaningless verses of the Qur’an and it was they who gave birth to a new religion that had nothing to do with what was taught by Muhammad. Yet this religion was palatable to those with brains.
Thus we have two Islams. One that makes strives to attribute mystical significance and otherworldly meanings to the inane teachings of the Quran, as is professed by Sufis, and the other that rejects any interpretation of these verses beyond their literal meanings, as is practiced by the majority of Muslims with their hob in Saudi Arabia among the Wahhabis. And of course there is a myriad of sects that go in between these two extremes, each interpreting the Quran according to their own whims and caprices, each calling others mortad or heretics and constantly making war among themselves to impose their own “right” version of the pure Islam on others. However, the real Islam is not what its philosophers and mystics have inferred but what is in the Quran and that is the Islam of the fundamentalist and the terrorist. The real Islam is the Islam that abuses women, that allows men to beat their wives, that imposes penalty tax on the religious minorities, that wants to
dominate the world by subduing all the non-Muslims, that calls for Jihad and killing the non-believers until Islam becomes the only dominant religion of the World.
My rejection of Islam is not based on the bad deeds of the Muslims but on the bad teachings of its holy book and on the bad deeds of its founder. Many cruelties and heinous acts of violence, perpetrated by Muslims throughout the centuries were inspired by the Quran and the Sunnah (the examples of the prophet). That is why I condemn ISLAM for the bad things that Muslims do. Any effort to humanize Islam is a waste of time. The obstacle to any reform is Quran. The enemy is Islam and that is the target of my attacks. I do that, despite knowing that I have become the magnet of the hatred of fanatical Muslims and my own life could be in danger. Yet I know that by eradicating Islam we can save the world from the dangers of a catastrophe that otherwise is looming over our heads and could cause more disaster than the 1st and 2nd World Wars combined. Eradication of Islam means restoring peace among humanity and civility, democracy and prosperity in the Muslim world.
(This article by Ali Sine published first on http://www.faithfreedom.org )