I was born and raised into a Muslim household in the UK. I guess was more of a cultural Muslim more than anything. There were many beliefs/practices within Islam that I disagreed with – but I simply told myself that I personally didn’t believe that as a way of rationalising all the immoral/evil teachings contained in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Even from an early age, I was an ultra liberal progressive Muslim – a lot of my personal beliefs were diametrically opposed to traditional Islam e.g. I didn’t believe in hell for unbelievers, stoning people to death, segregation of the sexes etc.
As I got older, I found it harder to believe in miracles, superstition and even an omnipotent god that intervened in my daily affairs. I developed a naturalistic view of the universe. I believed in science. Though I am ashamed to say that I didn’t believe in evolution. Whenever evolution came up, I irrationally rejected it simply because of its contradiction with the Islamic creation story (this irrational rejection subsided gradually as I was exposed to more and more facts about evolution).
I was generally apathetic to the practising of my “faith”. I fasted, I prayed Friday prayers, I ate halal food – I think the label of cultural Muslim fits me rather well at that stage in my life.
One day at the age of 17, my friend was giving me dawah (Arabic word for proselytising). He was telling me the story of Buraq from the Qur’an. In this story the Prophet Mohammed flies on a flying donkey from Mecca to Jerusalem. He was telling me this in a matter-of-fact way, believing it to be 100% true. My reaction to the story was one of confusion. I was confused as to how someone could believe such a thing. It was ridiculous. I found that I couldn’t believe it even if I tried. I went onto Islamic forums and asked them whether they thought the story was true – they said unapologetically, that they believed it to be true and tried their best to convince me that it happened. They failed.
If anyone skimmed the last paragraph, let me repeat this point.
MUSLIMS BELIEVE THAT THE PROPHET MOHAMMED FLEW ON A FLYING DONKEY FROM MECCA TO JERUSALEM.
MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN FLYING DONKEYS.
MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN FLYING DONKEYS.
At this point my faith in Islam was at a critical low. The story of Buraq seemed so unbelievable, the Prophet Mohammed claimed it to be true without any evidence, without any witnesses, it seemed so implausible – I was absolutely convinced that he made it up. There it hit me. If he made that up without any evidence, what else could he have made up? I went on a spiritual and intellectual journey. A journey that would lead me to posting this 🙂
I began to research Islamic teachings – I familiarised myself with passages from the Qur’an, the hadith, Islamic history. I read up on the arguments for and against Islam. The “evidence” for Islam is laughably weak – most likely because there is none. None whatsoever. The “proofs” Muslims use are as follows:
1. The beauty and poetry of the Qur’an. In the Qur’an there is a challenge to disbelievers to produce another verse like one found the within it. I immediately recognised the subjective and arbitrary nature of this “proof”. It’s amazingly obvious that this is the case; though Muslims still use this proof that Islam is the one true religion in a very dogmatic and unrelenting way. They just don’t accept that the claim is subjective – proof positive that religion blinds people. It’s laughable that this was the only “proof” Islam had. It’s scary that the only proof that Islam had for centuries was this, and that it spread so far and wide with so little proof. The Persian free thinker Al Razi – who was part of the “Islamic” Golden age and made innumerable contributions to science – said this:
You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.” Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. … By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”?!
Haha. He also said:
If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.
Even in though he was born in the Middle Ages, he thought that Islam was barbaric. It also shows how intolerant Islam is to scepticism and criticism.
2. More recently, there has been a movement within Islam that has misappropriated actual science and has used it for its own means. They claim that there are scientific miracles in the Qur’an that couldn’t have been known at the time – and is proof that the Qur’an is divine in origin. A claim with is patently false. They mistranslate passages from the Qur’an; make distortions of history and science and mislead people. The say that the big bang theory, intricate explanations of embryology, that the light from the moon is reflected from the sun, that the earth is spherical is contained in the Qur’an – and that these couldn’t have been known at the time of the prophet Muhammad. You’ll be glad to know that all these “miracles” within the Qur’an are completely made up. This new movement has gained a lot of traction and is propagated by popular preachers such as Zakir Naik (a rhetorically gifted lying scumbag who supports the death penalty for apostates and is beloved by the Muslim community) on Islamic channels on satellite TV. This has convinced a lot of the Muslim community that Islam is the ONE TRUE RELIGION – even more so than before. These channels go unchecked and are brainwashing the next generation of children with absurd lies.
3. There are various numerological miracles claimed to be within the Qur’an by Muslims. They say that the words Man and Woman are repeated 23 times each, a reference to the number of chromosomes received from each parent – this is an outright lie. They claim that the word day is repeated 365 times – again another lie. I’ve saved the best one for last. They claim that the speed of light is contained within the Qur’an. Haha. Their attempts to prove this would be laughed at by anyone with a modicum of mathematical knowledge.
4. This isn’t exactly a proof but Muslims love to use the “appeal to authority” fallacy. They lie about conversions to Islam by famous of people. The most absurd of these false conversions is that of Neil Armstrong converting to Islam which is a relatively widespread rumour. They say that Neil Armstrong heard the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer) on the Moon and subsequently converted to Islam – despite how ridiculous this is, it is believed by many.
The disproofs are apparent. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE. It is clear to me that the Prophet Muhammad was making it all up as went along. A lot of his revelations were self-serving and were used to control and manipulate those around him. Islam permits polygamy: a man is allowed to have up to 4 wives…except for the Prophet Muhammad. When he wanted marry his adopted son’s wife, he received a “revelation” from Allah that he was allowed to do it. When his wives were upset with him after he had cheated on them by having sex with a slave-girl (something that is permitted in Islam) – he received a “revelation” from Allah telling them to forgive him or they’d burn in hell. It’s painfully obvious that he was making it all up. This passage from the Qur’an tells us so many things about him:
Quote from: 33:53
O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT. You learn so much from this one verse. It’s amazing. It shows quite clearly how much of a controlling and manipulative piece of crap he was. He wants people who are guests at his house to leave immediately after they’ve eaten to avoid any awkward moments, so he places a Quranic injunction on them to leave, haha. It also shows how possessive he was of his wives. Not only did they have to be covered from top to toe when outside (with his permission of course, they weren’t allowed to leave the house without it), they had to behind a partition unseen by guests. How possessive is that? What makes this even more funnier is that the Qur’an was written AFTER his death. The Qur’an contains instructions of what to do when you’re at a guest at a dead man’s house. HAHA. It also stops his wives from remarrying after he died. When he died his youngest wife Aisha (the child bride who he had sex with at the age of 9) was 18 – so for the rest of her adult life, she was alone, without a partner and without child. How horrible is that? Possess, manipulative piece of crap, indeed.
All the immoral things in Islam – which I was in denial over when I was a Muslim – came to the fore. The Qur’an and the hadith permit slavery, sex with whatever “your right hand possesses” (which means female slaves), wife beating, the unequal treatment of women, the stoning to death of adulterers, stoning to death of apostates (something which is defended by a LOT of Muslims, liberal Muslims completely ignore and deny this issue), I could go on for quite a long time.
This all made me leave Islam, however it took me a while to reach the Atheist position which I now resolutely hold. Thank you, Richard Dawkins, for being one of the people who helped liberate myself from a totalitarian ideology. Even though this isn’t his site, I also want to thank Christopher Hitchens. His debates on youtube are extremely enjoyable and immensely informative.
Richard Dawkin Hu Akbar!
Christopher Hitchens Hu Akbar!
Bangladeshi Apostate from London