The Age of Apostasy: Frustrations Of A New Muslim

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Allow us to introduce a dazzling new contributor: Alex Mack. Hailing from the USA, he offers us a window into a world few of us have ever truly thought about, unless of course we too are converts to the faith. And his observations are not only brilliant and astute, he also pulls no punches…

To make a conversion/reversion story short, I read the Qur’an on my own and fell in love. The interpretation I have and enjoy is by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

 http://www.amazon.com/Quran-English-Translation-Commentary-Arabic/dp/091332101X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402621786&sr=1-1&keywords=maulana+muhammad+ali

It has an extensive commentary that helps dispel all the misconceptions about Islam. I am not an Ahmadi Muslim, I’m just a Muslim. The interpretation is by an Ahmadi group, but their work helped bring me to Islam, so put a sock in it.

This is a list of frustrations of a new Muslim I apologize in advance for any inconsistencies or grammatical errors.

1.) Dajjal this, Dajjal that, Dajjal, Dajjal, Dajjal. He lives here, no there; it’s a man from Iran, no wait, Israel! Oh did you hear what he said (during a casual conversation) that’s where Dajjal is supposed to come from!  This needs to stop; it’s weird and sounds similar to Christians with the rapture. Maybe as Muslims we should stop adopting Christian problems (we should be aware of this). It seems as though Muslims mix Christianity with Islam.  As an Ex-Roman Catholic (whom I respect), I have a hard time seeing the similarities between Islam and Christianity. It might just be me, but the similarities seem shallow or irrelevant and Dawah carriers should stop pushing this. Every time we say this the Christian says to him/herself “So if we have similarities that means we might be right.” Or “So those verses were stolen from the Bible.” This of course is food for thought.

Oh, one more thing: if you make fun of other peoples Deen, rituals, and practices, you should be back handed, on the spot, because you are backbiting. It’s rude and inconsiderate; all you’re doing is contributing to the hate and bigotry that pollutes the world. When you do this you are no better than an atheist. My parents are also both still Roman Catholic, so you disrespect the Vatican, you disrespect my family. You don’t know the level of spirituality someone else may have so shut your trap and learn a little respect for other people’s traditions. Now this doesn’t mean someone can’t be critical about certain things, but there’s a difference between bigotry and honest intellectual discussion. Last, my father encourages me to be the best Muslim I can be, yes that’s right hardliners, encourages me!

2.) The Qur’an is not much different from modern Arabic. If I’m not mistaken there is a difference.

3.) A constant denial that there are hadith in Muslim and Bukhari that are problematic, even responding with “Well, Allah says he was going to protect hadith.” I don’t think Allah has stated this anywhere. Again, if I’m not mistaken, he ONLY thing he said he is going to protect is the Qur’an.

I think this might be a form of denial, mental illness, or severe brainwashing. My issues as a new Muslim did not occur until the good old hadith spammers showed up with the famous lines “Authentic Hadith from Muslim and Bukhari….blah blah blah.” Then you get the “it’s Sunnah”, of which I have heard some strange things that make little to no sense in today’s world. Let me emphasis this once more: strange things I have heard on my journey brothers and sisters, strange things! Sometimes I hear things from kids that are just out there, I’m assuming they get this from two sources, parents and the inter webs.

4.) When pressed during dialogue, and you reply with “Well brother, Allah guides whom he wills and leads astray whom he wills.” I understand this but in dialogue (dare I say “Socratic Dialogue”) and looking to find the reasoning behind peoples assertions, it gets you nowhere and exposes your weaknesses. Secondly, I know it’s in the Quran, but a complex theological topic can’t just be thrown around to hide your inability to answer questions. Just say ‘God knows best’, which is the equivalent as the atheist saying ‘I don’t know’.

Side note, ever notice how atheist always say “We don’t know” when arguing about something related to science, as if they are part of the Scientific community or something?

5.) 99% of Khutbahs suck, far too much yelling and irrelevance. Every time I attend one I can hardly pray, I get so pissed off. All that goes through my mind is “Who let this guy get up here and where is the bucket of water?”  I attended one that was excellent though, mind you, just one, and he didn’t raise his voice. He only used Qur’an as his reference, if I recall properly.

6.) If it’s from Saudi, it’s authentic. This seems to be a sort of ‘cultural fashion’ that new Muslims adopt unintentionally. I can speak from experience, almost falling into the trap of thinking “Saudi Law is Islamic Law”. If that is Sharia I don’t know what is –  just look at their government,  and you’ll know what a police state and monarchy looks like. Furthermore, the history of the Wahhabi movement isn’t a peaceful one. I run into great Saudis by the way, in no way am I making a hasty generalization.

One more thing to think about, all of the books published in Saudi, block out woman faces (or at least the ones I have seen). If you cut men and woman off from each other to the extreme, you get problems possibly severe psychological ones. Lowering your gaze does not mean don’t give salaams to a sister or completely ignore her. From a westerners point of view (oh wait does that make my view Kufr?!) it means don’t ogle at each other like pieces of meat.

Stop giving slippery slope scenarios about interacting with the opposite sex, if you can’t control your animal desires then you have a personal problem. If I’m not mistaken that’s what practicing Sufism and Tasawwuf is for, but of course that’s ‘Kufr’ too.  So it seems that if you’re Salafi or Wahhabi you’re in a bit of a pickle…

7.) Why do countries Bastardize Islam for political purposes? It makes me sick!

8.) Muslims are the only people who truly test my Islam. This has solidified itself recently, atheists don’t bother me at all anymore, and Islam has all the answers to atheist sophistry (insert internet sophistry here).

This doesn’t relate to Islam having answers but, I have a theory: the only reason internet atheism exists is because people of religion give meaning to them.

Here’s some atheist logic for you from the good old “Stop Spamming1” person on YouTube. I’m sure you’ve stumbled across his vitriolic comments before. I removed the agnostic points for the sake of “understanding atheism”, as this seems to be his last resort when probed. This is from his YouTube page.

An atheist does not believe there is evidence for the existence of gods.

An atheist does not make any claims.

An atheist passively and patiently waits for evidence.

I’ll leave this to the reader to decide whether or not this makes sense.

9.) Lastly, Allah has a hand, but it’s not like our hand, so on and so forth down that terrible slope into anthropomorphism. I’m sorry it’s not a slope, it’s a cliff and at the bottom is atheism.

When I first heard a brother tell me this I almost jumped out of the car.  What you are doing by uttering these words is spreading cancer. This cancer seems to be coming from the Salafi/Wahhabi movements, as a matter of fact all problems seem to stem directly from them.

These frustrations have sent me to darkest depths of doubt and unnecessary skepticism but, Alhumdulilah it was a good thing. What brought me out were Sufism and Tasawwuf. It calmed me down, and brought out the best in me and then I started asking simple questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how’ (especially how). You would be surprised how far those two questions will take you.

Last, Islam has taught me to not be a sheep, to be aware of B.S, reflect on creation, ponder, meditate, notice sophistry, not only tolerate but accept people for their differences, and not be a sucker for every fancy Imam who speaks Arabic and flashes fancy clothes and has a big beard.

Peace and blessing of Allah be upon you all!

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16 thoughts on “The Age of Apostasy: Frustrations Of A New Muslim

  1. Salaam Mack Daady, Good to see a fellow Ameriqi. Allow me to be arrogant and give my opinion:

    1. Ahamdis are NOT Muslims and never will be. Yes, Ali’s copy of the Quran is the one that I too found in University Libraries and it serves well. Many Muslims maybe converting in bathrooms of clubs or with their boyfriends and girlfriends, but that obviously does not mean we can go say ‘oh well it’s 2000, it’s okay now’.
    2. WOW! I have been complaining that there are not enough lectures and reasoning about getting knowledge about the Dajaal. So many dumb Muslims pretend they live in this this pathetic wretch world and it will go on and on and on…SHY and Shaykh Imran Hossein (with many faults) seem to be the ones that show any keenness. The issue of the day, especially by house salve Muslims seem to be feminist temerities and allowing sexual degenerates to be be “free as the wind”. The world will come to end, and in my opinion the sooner the better, (though I don’t think I am fit to stand trial an the end?!?)
    2.True that.
    3.True that but let’s not all become Qurranaties like Gary Miller.
    4.Well I guess you may think God does not know, Idk…
    5.True that. Give the people sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll.
    6.I’m not even gonna get into this…Saudi Zionist Family should be given the Najibullah trial. Damn Saudi…
    7.True that. Keep separating men and women to such a degree will only encourage ‘experimentation’, ‘perversion’, ‘masturbation’, ‘porn addiction’ and just retardness. They are wretched women out there, but most can be pleasant company.
    8.True that. If I ever leave Islam (astigfurllaha) it will probably be because of the lewdness of mind and thought and actions of fellow hypocritical Muslims.
    9.Again this is nejdi jayail point that has gotten too much attention, “god created in the image of man”. Damn.

  2. Peace Alex,

    I was born and raised in Ahmadiyya, and I too respect Maulana Muhammad Ali. When I was seventeen I became a Wahhabi, and eight years later I was just Muslim but totally all over the place before I finally “evolved” and embraced Universalism and became an agnostic mystic seeking gnosis. The Perennial philosophy that says all traditions are local attempts to pursue the infinite and with the use symbols and languages and interpretations organized religions developed amidst cultures, geographies and time periods but all point to a transcendent unity (God) and beyond that all is one with Spirit (God). Sufis, Gnostics, Kabbalists, Buddhists, Shamans and Hindus have all alluded to the oneness or unity of all there is was and ever will be. The Sufis call it wahdatul wajood (unity of existence) and Hindus have called it Advaita or nonduality. I have found solace in the notion that all genuine paths lead to salvation and liberation. All genuine paths lead to God consciousness and morality and discipline and spirituality and love and compassionate and harmony and unity.

    Organized religion on the other hand divides people. After majoring in Psychology and working in mental health I could no longer believe in a doctrine that people who did not practice and worship in Arabic and follow specific rituals and necessarily hold into certain doctrines and dogma that they would go to Hell and be tortured for eternity.

    So I read the Baghavad Gita, the Dhammapadda, the Daodejing, and fell in love with Eastern Mysticism that taught that all was one. This resonated with my experience.

    Although like you I now fully appreciate Tassawuf, especially Jalal ad-Din Rumi and recently Hazrat Inayat Khan and Llewellyn Vaughn Lee of the Golden Sufi Center. These Sufis believe in Universalism and the perennial philosophy. They understand concepts like heaven and hell as states of mind and being instead of literal rivers of honey and milk or fire torture.

    I have realized that I don’t need to claim to be a former Muslim because Islam is a part of my spiritual life and Muslims are my brothers in humanity and they have a legit relationship with God. We all seek the Divine. I have no problem praying and fasting with Muslims even if meditation and jnana yoga are my focused practice.

    Good story Alex, welcome to evolution and consciousness expansion. There is a paradigm shift in consciousness going on in the world and we all are a part of this new age. May we all wake up and fall in line with Divine unity and harmony. Amen and Amen.

  3. Thanks for this list. I was born a Muslim and have experienced many of the things you went through. In an age where extremist ideologies run wild among our Ummah, its only natural that more youth would have a problem struggling to come to terms with Islam. Sufism saved me too. Not that Sufism was foreign to me before, its just that I was caught up in all this Salafi nonsense during my late highschool and early college years. I finally decided to turn back to what I was taught growing up. Some people call it Anatolian Islam. In reality we are mainstream Hanafis with a strong Maturidi and Sufi influence. My Deobandi friends were shocked when i told them that our Imams allowed music.

    Do people forget that Rumi was a Hanafi jurist? He was still in favor of Islam and its practices. I dont think he would approve of Inayat Khans universal sufism. Sorry if I offended you Mr. Qureshi.

    • you’re not alone; even though I was never really caught up in salafi esque extremism at any point myself, there has always been that peripheral exposure to it which makes it a struggle for many young Muslims to hold onto faith because we are told that such niche and seemingly innocuous things are major sins to the extent that people think that if this is what Islam ‘clearly says’ then … ”I guess I can’t really be a Muslim then” This is why it is so dangerous when Wahabbis insist that not only is music forbidden, interacting virtually AT ALL with the opposite sex is forbidden, niqab is compulsory etc…and that there is NO difference of opinion in this matter, and that believing otherwise virtually if not totally constitutes to apostasy they are not only lying, but facilitating atheism more then the new atheists ever could in their wildest and wettest dreams

  4. Which of your imams taught you those bad manners. How do you expect me to take you seriously when you call me a filthy infidel. You must have failed to realize that there are real people behind each comment so what you say counts as a very serious charge against another one of your Muslim brothers. You dont even know me. Yet you make takfir based on the fact that I follow a scholarly opinion which allows the use of musical instruments. If you disagree, feel free to. But be polite about it.

    Mmmclmru: I have to thank you for this blog first. Its wonderful. Im afraid that I am not at the level of knowledge yet to write a long piece. Im kind of in a spiritual transformation even as I type. Plus i’m in a moving process now and I’m really busy. Still though I will constantly check this website for updates and new articles as I feel that I connect a lot with the content published here.

    P.S. I recommend everyone visit Chicago at least once in their lifetimes. The architecture is amazing.

  5. This music business is utterly ridiculous. If a Muslim can’t handle it then he/she has a person problem. Calling the dervishes infidel!? Be careful who you call infidel, what happens if you’re wrong, I for one will let Allah sort em out on that day.

    Furthermore, no offence but its people like you Namir who make things difficult for the rest of us. Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear someone pull some “knowledge” off of some forum or half baked imam, who thinks he knows. Ask yourself, am I on the right path of seeking knowledge, or am I being lead astray?

    • Good advice! But that loser ‘NASIR’ (and all his other names) got banned like a year ago…I let his posts through if they were dumb/funny enough. But they aren’t so I just blocked him for being takfiri and abusive and NEVER having given a reference for anything. Like, ever.

  6. “99% of Khutbahs suck, far too much yelling and irrelevance.” try a different Masjid.

    “Just say ‘God knows best’, which is the equivalent as the atheist saying ‘I don’t know’.” not really.

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