The Apostasy Survival Kit

survival

After the summer break, we bring you an unabashedly provocative and controversial piece about what the author claims is a set of essential tools to survive the wave of doubt and apostasy facing Muslims in the West.

Essential and worrying reading.

A major event in world history went largely unnoticed by Muslims both in the West and elsewhere recently – namely the legalisation of gay marriage in Ireland, which, rather than the Vatican, is in fact the citadel of Catholicism in the West. Moreover, this occurred with the full consent of a significant majority of the population (over 60%) in a democratic referendum (unlike the recent liberalisation of marriage laws in the US, which essentially was pushed through a form of constitutional court after losing referenda in states such as California). My point here does not concern the merits or demerits of gay marriage, an issue that is wont to send both Liberals and the religious into conniptions, but rather to illustrate that despite the clear teaching of the Catholic Church on the very act of homosexuality let alone its institutionalisation, and the fact that the vast majority of the Irish did and would still describe themselves as Catholic, with some of the highest Church attendance in the Western world (which, granted is not saying much as congregations dwindle in developed countries year on year, with catastrophic declines in the UK and other European countries in particular), yet in little under five years the Gay Marriage lobby ‘won’, in the sense that there is no more way to justify homosexual unions in the Catholic tradition than there is to justify a ban on contraception or anal sex in the secular liberal canon. The point is that the secular liberal contingent was able to deal the Catholic Church what will one day come to be seen as a catastrophic blow in its stronghold. Among the many explanations that have been proffered, from the de-legitimisation of the Church due to child sexual abuse scandals (although non-religious people abusing children or adults is strangely never seen as a jumping off point to criticise atheism or agnosticism) to the inevitable march towards progress that secularism is alleged to bring, none are truly sufficient to explain the remarkable turnaround in so short a time. Catholic authorities in Ireland now know that they will be challenged on abortion next – and if they are realists, can expect a similar reversal.

Muslims have observed this, if indeed they have bothered to observe it at all, with a kind of detached bemusement. Many Muslim speakers and intellectuals (and I use this term in its loosest sense) have indeed seen the rise of ‘Gay Rights’ as a Godsend that allows them to emphasise the alleged decadence of the West. It escapes them that Catholic commentators were doing much the same a few years back. Too busy playing to the gallery as opposed to ‘preaching to the perverted’, they were left adrift as public opinion changed or was manipulated against them in the meantime. While Muslim speakers see it as self-evident that gay marriage is ‘wrong’, their congregations in wider society struggle to furnish any convincing arguments against it, and soon may not even be allowed to do so as disapproval of gay marriage is increasingly conflated with homophobia and can lead to serious censure.

Unlike Muslims, Catholics have retained a lot of their intellectual traditions, not rushed to incorporate Protestant movements (as Muslims have by giving up the field to Salafi and Wahhabi groups) and maintain an number of gifted thinkers and philosophers on their books, both now and in the recent past. A comparison for example of the Jesuits and the vile output of Medina University is perhaps illustrative of this point. But neither this nor the organisation, financial clout and centralisation of the Catholic Church was of any use against the arguments/propaganda/tele-evangelising of the Liberal contingent.

The question that arises is that if the liberal media complex can eviscerate the Catholic Church in the space of under a decade in its Western stronghold, what can it do to the Muslims when it turns its attention to them?

Whereas for much of the recent past, Muslims have been relatively ‘under the radar’ (save for places such as the USSR where they were subjected to sustained academic/educational system and other attack, resulting in mass apostasies if Soviet statistics are to be believed[1]), since 9-11 the aggressive actions of both international terrorists as well as Muslim apologists and ‘Dawah’ organisations have directed the eyes of Secular Humanists and Liberals towards Islam. Having suitably hammered both the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the last two Western societies where they still enjoy any influence (Ireland and the United States respectively), one can safely expect that ‘they’ will now turn their attention more fully towards Islam.

They will find an easy target: even in the United Kingdom, Muslim communities are under educated and under financed. Groups such as IERA who feign to represent Muslims on campus have been unable to furnish a single tenured professor or even a PhD candidate in over six years of (very well-funded) action. Atheists and Islamophobes will be looking on in glee: debaters and ‘activists’ such as Hamza Tzortzis speak to under and post graduate crowds but quite apart from not having any academic qualifications to speak of, IERAs’ years of preaching ‘Big Bang Cosmology’ has not seen it actually recruit or train or even sponsor a single actual cosmologist. There is much to be said for gifted amateurs (and sadly, IERA are not those either), but the fact is that all the talk of ‘science in the Quran’ and the ‘Big Bang’ (whose overuse by theists in an often non-rigorous fashion has no doubt contributed to the clear trend amongst physicists to try and get rid of it from their models entirely by emphasising ‘Eternal Inflation’ and the ‘Big Bounce’, which are essentially the eternal universe rehabilitated) is not actually resulting in a) any scientists converting to Islam and joining Salafist Dawah organisations or b) any Muslims mastering the discipline of Cosmology. This is blood in the water for both militant secular humanists and scientific atheists.

There are degrees of survival that Salafist organisations are willing to accept however: after exposing Muslims to the full brunt of the above groups’ wrath, they will be happy to not bother with debating anymore and to retreat, like Evangelical churches in the US, to their congregations of the already convinced (but increasingly irrelevant). Since virtually all groups representing Muslims are Millennial and essentially nihilistic, seeing changes in society as signs of ‘fitnah’ (trials and tribulations) and the ‘End Times’, they are frankly not too bothered with what goes on in larger non-Muslim society or even with Muslim apostasy, as this fits nicely into their world view in any case. In this, they share much in common with the Evangelical Christians and the idea of ‘The Rapture’. In fact, they both share the idea of a large segment of humanity being wiped out and true believers being rescued by Jesus Christ.

Essentially, such groups will put religious believers in the line of fire but when things don’t go well, they are happy to retreat and decry the ‘Age of Darkness’ we have (according to them) found ourselves in. They will try to argue and convince people but not very hard and when the going gets tough they will, in effect, run away and await their version of The Rapture. These people are present in all religions and amongst those with none: Lenin’s body is soon to be buried but it was meticulously preserved by his followers to await his scientific resurrection. Everyone has a version of a ‘better tomorrow’ or an unrealistic utopia.

Christianity may not seem to Muslims to be a good example but in this they are again mistaken. Although the defeats in Ireland and the United States are just the latest in a protracted process of increasing secularisation since The Enlightenment and before, many Christian thinkers have long realised that the Church had overplayed its hand in political meddling, self-interest at the expense of doing what was right (for example, during the Second World War where one could find the church effectively praying for the victory of both sides), social engineering and tampering in family affairs as well as oft-lamented anti-rationalism and textualism. All of these problems afflict Muslims too, though they have less insight than most Christian thinkers. Wont to look down on their Christian brothers, Muslims often suffer from hubris while having exactly the same gaping holes in their world view and theology.

Take the doctrine of the Incarnation of God or the Trinity. I witnessed the truly tragic exchange of a Salafi mocking a Christian about the doctrine of God being present in the body of a man, the dual natures of Christ as both God and man and whether the Trinity made sense. The problem with this was that the Salafi, much like many of the currently dominant groupings of Muslims also believes that God inheres in a body, and anathematise Muslims who reject the anthropomorphic descriptions of God found in some narrations accepted by them (such as of Adam in the image of God or God appearing as a beardless young man[2]). Needless to say, even the Christian, who presumably by his own admission is an anthropomorphist, went to town on this fellow: ‘so you agree God is a body, you just don’t agree he is Jesus’ body right?’ He then challenged him on the well-known Hanbali/Salafi assertion that God is literally sat on or above the throne (fortunately for the Salafi, the Christian was unaware that Salafis also consider that Muhammad will be sat next to him, much as Jesus is said to sit on the right hand of God in the Bible). ‘So God sits on the throne, and comes to Earth in the last part of the night[3]? So that means he enters the creation right? So why can’t he enter Jesus? Jesus is better than the throne or all of the Earth isn’t he?!’

And indeed Jesus is better than ‘The Throne’ and the whole world according to Muslims. The poor Salafi was visibly perspiring. I felt terrible. Here was a man being led to apostasy by a fellow anthropomorphist: what would an atheist, a logician, a philosopher or a Mu’tazzilite, who could attack the very concept of a God that is bound by space, time or a body do to him?

The problem was of course that the Salafi and the Christian in fact both have the same belief – namely that God is a body and can enter the universe and incarnate – they just disagree as to how and when. Of course, the Salafi replied with the tried and tested trope that God is on the Throne or comes to Earth but ‘without a how’. Which is exactly how Christians explain how Jesus can be both God and man or that the Trinity can be consistent with monotheism. ‘Without a how’ is Salafist speak for ‘I don’t know. It doesn’t really make sense. Don’t ask me about this’.

But of course, atheists and others will ask. In the example above, I could easily see a minor philosopher, even of the theistic variety, divesting both of them of their faith.

Muslims’ feeling more secure than other religious groups who have suffered a wave of apostasy when encountering Western Civilization or ‘the Monoculture’ is very dangerous for their future prospects. In addition to the problems with the concept of God that were highlighted by the combative Christian, Muslims have a number of social issues that are unique to them which are not shared by Christians: Christians have no challenges in terms of explaining their dress code or social interactions with women (at least not most Christians, although there are groups that do maintain Old Testament dietary and dress regulations, for example the Mennonites, at least in part). The great danger is in fact that many lay Muslims are labouring under the misconception that Muslim scholars and apologists from Yusuf Al Qaradawi to Zakir Naik can answer the questions they can’t and somehow ‘save’ them from problems. This is a colossal error and a tragic case of misplaced faith. The results of this are already being seen: scholars who have both good knowledge and can transcend their sectarian, or increasingly, Saudi-funding basis, are very hard to come by indeed. Scholars which have the necessary grounding in either science or philosophy are also next to impossible to come by. The self-satisfaction of practising Muslims who are ‘students of knowledge’ quickly evaporates with even a cursory session online where they find their interlocutors failing to even defend the authenticity of the five daily prayers against poorly read Islamophobes.

For some Muslims this will be a terrible shock from which they will not recover. For most in today’s world, exposed to ideas instantly and in doses which would hitherto be considered dangerous, there is only limited time to have their doubts answered before the dominant social and intellectual paradigms fill the void left by Muslims intellectual incompetence. Those Salafists telling their followers that applying the intellect is ‘haraam’ (prohibited and immoral) and is the way of the Mu’tazzila (early Islamic rationalists) will not last long against the plentiful engines of apostasy online and in daily life who are advocating that the person use his mind as much as he likes, much as throughout history the argument for celibacy has always, in the end, lost to some form of permissiveness, even if not unrestricted.

Another compounding factor is Muslim leaders persistent refusal to admit the actual causes of Muslims’ confusion and apostasy (in fact, it is next to impossible to get them to admit that there even is a problem, so fond are they of repeating the Islamophobes baseless assertion that Islam is ‘spreading’  in the West and that there are numerous converts). Groups such as Deobandis, Salafis and Brelwis are singularly unable to admit that it is many of the same hadith that they insisted were in fact uttered by The Prophet (to the point of anathematising those who disagreed) that are now causing many to leave Islam. For other groups such as HT, it is the refusal to admit that their emphasis on an ‘Islamic’ state and kowtowing to anyone who claims to furnish this (from Khomanaie to the Taliban) that causes many to become disillusioned with the utter inadequacy of the realisation of this concept and the disparity between those states and the quasi-mythical image of the ideal state portrayed by HT itself. They have learned their lesson by not openly supporting ISIS, but in fact are now further confusing their desperate adherents by not following a state which actually bases all of its rulings on the same textual and juristic sources that HT used to alienate Western Muslims from their host countries and justify the concept of an Islamic State in the first place. They essentially use fatwas, opinions and hadith from the same people that ISIS did but find the conception of the ‘Islamic State’ politically inexpedient or embarrassing and so try to backtrack in a manner that convinces no one of even average intellection that ISIS is not in fact an authentic realisation of their goals.

Likewise, as many have begun to realise, the reliance of the Salafi dawah (‘inviting’ people to Islam) movement on ‘science’ has in fact encouraged a type of militant scientism in their followers and has led to their suffering the same disease as Western proponents of that idea: regarding science as an ultimate end and an omni-competent tool for truth. Although such a world view sits very nicely with both the western Scientific and Salafist anti-philosophy bent, it leaves the latter uniquely unarmed to even articulate let alone defend their faith – especially against scientists. They are also leaving themselves open to a catastrophic refutation since despite all of the harping on about science, they are in fact textual literalists and will not in fact reject something from the hadith literature that conflicts with scientific research, resorting to a series of fudge tactics such as ‘science hasn’t explained this…yet’. These convince no-one, not even themselves most of the time.

Everyone has an angle. And if it is their angle that is causing the problem, they will never even admit it let alone resolve the issue.

My goal here is in the spirit of honesty exemplified by Jeffrey Lang in his latter day masterpiece ‘Losing My Religion’, in which he sought to honestly tackle those issues which he actually found causing doubt and apostasy amongst Muslims (as opposed to what he would like to be the case). Of course, people will object that there is no apostasy, these are not the reasons, it is empirically impossible to show that it is in fact these ones etc. That is fine by me. My aim here is simply to provide a roadmap, in its general outlines, of the methodologies, ideas, fatwas and leeway – the ‘tools’ if you will, that ordinary Muslims in the West or anywhere else for that matter, will require in the coming decades to hold on to their faith. It is my subjective perception of the problems they are already facing and will increasingly face and how best to circumvent them. It is not a detailed verse by verse apologia but rather a description of those attitudes of mind which if held may enable one to avoid the worst travails without necessarily having in depth knowledge of specifics. For example, unlike the majority of rather ineffective yet confusingly long and convoluted ‘explanations’, I won’t be trying to explain individual problematic hadiths or juristic decisions. Rather I will be trying to encourage an attitude or epistemology towards these that can enable one to avoid doubts in principle.

Of course, I am sure that my ‘toolkit’ will offend most sectarian and entrenched interests and raise their ire, but that is of no consequence as neither I nor any moral being can sacrifice the needs of many to lionise or safeguard the sensibilities of the few or the powerful. As it is with the financial 1% in the West, Islam has unfortunately acquired a religious or cultural ‘1%’ who disseminate and insist on their ideas often in contradiction to any evidence to the contrary, whether from the Quran or the lived lives of Muslims and others. I encourage readers to challenge the attitudes and prejudices of this ‘Islamic 1%’ and judge for themselves what is or is not the coherent and Islamic teaching on a particular subject.

Lay Muslims Need Free Deniability of Any Single Chain Hadith – i.e. Most of Them

Much of the fanaticism of the Salafist and Salafi inspired groups mentioned above is directed at defending the canonicity and authority of the hadith literature. Unlike the Quran, which in English translation is around six hundred pages, the hadith literature is an astonishingly complex conundrum of over two million narrations of wildly varying thematic content and believability. Sunni and even many Shia efforts have largely been directed at defending a ‘final redaction’ of these narrations in six canonical Sunni collections and in particular that of ‘Sahih Bukhari’ or ‘Al Kafi’ or parts thereof in the Shi’ite case of the ‘Akhbareen’ (roughly equating to the Muhaditheen of the Sunnis). The reasons for this are very complex and wide ranging and of varying legitimacy[4] but the position that nearly all Muslims groups extant today, from sects, juristic groups to Salafists such as Ikhwaanis and HT as well as Wahhabis find themselves in is that they have painted the redaction of Bukhari as final. The problem is that their opponents are now holding them to this indefensible position. Furthermore, Muslims have managed, through the prominent post-colonial Salafist organisations and groups such as the non-violent Tablighi–Jamaat through to wannabee genocidal militants such as ISIS, so successfully to inculcate in lay Muslims the idea that hadith in general and hadith in Bukhari in particular were in fact incontestably uttered by the Prophet himself, that when they hear hadith such as that the Prophet attempted a sexual assault on a captive woman or ordered no punishment whatsoever for the killing of non-Muslims, sanctioned the assassination of a single mother who mocked him or indeed said that the sun bows to the throne of God before rising again, they never stop to consider that these narrations are misattributed nonsense. Deviant groups who have come to ascendancy within Muslims themselves have so successfully conditioned the response [hadith = word of the Prophet] that instead of scepticism about whether the Prophet actually said this, we find in the main only two responses: doubts compounded by successively controversial and unacceptable attributions to the Prophet until there is the hadith that breaks the adherents faith and he apostates or in the better and more common scenario, the Muslim is sent scurrying to the scholars (or more commonly, the internet) to explain the hadith (which of course, he just like the apostate, is convinced was indeed uttered by Muhammad). I do not have time here to go into the varying standards of ‘scholars’ (or indeed dawah ‘experts’ or apologists and debaters) explanations of controversial hadith[5] except to say that in the vast majority of cases they will be seen to be both dishonest and abysmally poor. This also goes for the attempts made by many, such as Yusuf Al Qaradawi, to explain away hadith which deal with the killing of non-Muslims. An Azhari Salafist with admittedly impressive depth of knowledge, his attempts to refute ISIS’ use of these narrations was astonishingly poor[6], consisting like most such enterprises of accepting both the controversial hadith and then presenting others (usually not from Bukhari or the canonical six books of Sunnis) to contradict them. This can be called ‘rejecting with acceptance’ but it simply leaves many onlookers of any religious affiliation confused and concerned, and with good reason.

The actual end point is that some will be so shocked by certain narrations or rather the cumulative effect of numerous narrations they find unpalatable, that they will apostate, often quite vocally (hence it becomes easy to paint these people, who often then uncritically accept secular liberal or humanistic thought without the degree of critical thinking that they applied to Islam, as self-hating stooges of Islamophobes). Many of the genuinely intelligent and critical thinking people will in fact not make a song and dance about their apostasy nor try to bring harm to Muslims (which is a fashionable passtime for uncloseted apostates too, as individuals such as Maajid Nawaaz seem to be). They simply quietly leave the faith – which is a great outcome for Muslim groups since they can overlook these individuals and a terrible one for Islamophobes because they cannot exploit them. For those who seek to explain away these narrations while accepting them, there is in my opinion, only the chance of the most worryingly gullible and wilfully blind people accepting the explanations proffered. Even in these cases, doubts often remain that can later precipitate a crisis.

Of course, it is in the interests of the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ methodology used by most Muslim sects on this issue that it be assumed that there is no problem – and the use of these narrations is quietly minimised by most of them: Deobandis and Brelwis are very proud of having their seminarians do a ‘khatam’ or complete reading of ‘Sahih Al Bukhari’. But their ability to ignore all of the problematic narrations is perhaps much more impressive.

This attitude of self-editing and putting out fires or more often letting them burn themselves out has become slowly untenable since 9-11 and culminated in the ISIS crisis. Muslims have widely denounced the self-publicised actions of ISIS, most famously taking female captives as slaves, killing Muslim and non-Muslim captives by burning them and throwing a man who was supposedly gay off of building to his death (which they in fact failed to do so he had to be thrown off repeatedly)[7] as well as the perennial favourite of those who claim to represent ‘sharia’ everywhere – stoning someone to death for adultery. Another article has already convincingly addressed that unfortunately there are many in the Muslim community who in fact do not have an issue with these actions[8] but others have vocally denounced them also. The problem of course is that ISIS are quite justifiably vocal that their actions are justified by narrations attributed to the Prophet (burning apostates, flinging gays and mistreatment of prisoners are all found in Bukhari in precisely the manner that ISIS ‘scholars’ claim they are). Therefore it is harder for Muslims to ‘explain’ anything, at least while staying within the lines they have drawn for themselves: if they proffer a convincing explanation or resort to the understanding of those groups that they anathematised, they will become ‘hadith rejecters’.

As has been rightly said: those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Since controversial hadith are used by both Evangelical and missionary groups, Islamophobes and deviant Muslim groups to corrupt the faith and freedom of Muslims, it is not unreasonable to posit that an agnostic or ‘deniability’ attitude towards the hadith be a powerful tool for lay Muslims. All controversial narrations are single chain reports (apart from a few which are claimed by Muhaditheen as being ‘Mashoor’ or ‘famous’, such as stoning for adulterers). The Sunni and Shi’ite consensus on these (as well as that of the Mu’tazzilites and many other groups) is that they do not constitute certain knowledge. Even the Hanbalis have been subdued to this position over time. Since these are, and there is no way around this, speculative reports and may not have been uttered by The Prophet of Islam, is it not more useful to have this knowledge at the front of lay Muslims minds to prevent the vicissitudes of doubt that being accosted with a controversial narrations (admittedly often out of context or poorly translated) could cause? Instead of having to get doubts and run off and research each and every narration, an indulgence unavailable to some, is it not better if the aggressive Islamophobe or Evangelical Christian is simply silenced by saying ‘This is a hadith. We are not sure if the Prophet even said this. I no more blindly accept speculative reports that make no moral or other sense than you do, so why are you challenging me on this? Do you accept everything outside the Bible that is attributed to Christianity or Jesus for example?’

Such a stance would find much support in the classical sources, which described a hadith which is graded as ‘sahih’ as only potentially correct or ’50:50’. The reason for this was not to facilitate deniability or apologia but rather that considering narrations with single or a few sources documented two hundred years or so after the passing of the Prophet as ‘certain’ was never a tenable position and had been thoroughly criticised by many groups, including those extant today such as the Malikis and Hanafis. Put bluntly, arguing that Atlantis exists because Plato possibly had some chains of reliable narrators and documented it is not a position that Westerners would find credible. And the same goes for Muslims through much of history.

But the present day obsession with hadith by Salafis, Deobandis et al, often to justify their sectarian, isolationist and violent agenda or heretical theology as opposed to for reasons of genuine religious practice or even historical authenticity, has meant that hadith are grossly over emphasised and although most of these groups are forced under theological pressure to admit that the hadith, including those of Bukhari, are not all authentic and are indeed speculative knowledge, they resort to a second tier of blackmail if one can indeed get them to admit even this: namely that it is sinful to reject them without a reason, the consensus of the scholars, that everyone accepts them except deviant group ‘x’ and so on. In effect, this is just a backdoor way of again insisting on all sahih Hadith as certain knowledge again. As an adjunct, these groups often threaten individuals with the danger of ‘rejecting the words of the Prophet based on your own deficient intellect’. Quite apart from the fact the question is whether the Prophet actually said these things in the first place and that one’s own ‘deficient intellect’ is all one has to make any kind of decision anyway (including delegating ones thinking to others), this is a bizarre inversion that, if the recipient is intelligent, will actually speed apostasy: in effect, these people are saying that Muslims accept things that do not make sense to them because they allegedly make sense to someone else more knowledgeable to them. One wonders how they would apply this logic to the doctrine of the Trinity or the existence of God. Would they advise a Trinitarian or a polytheist not to think about these doctrines and leave it to their more knowledgeable scholars? If not, then what we have here is a case of manifest hypocrisy.

Most of the groupings in the past put restrictions on who could and could not reject sahih hadith, but given the paralysis (often induced by the desire for speaking engagements and Saudi money) amongst most who claim to represent Islam today when it comes to rejecting those narrations attributed to the Prophet such as those above, as many Muslims, notably the Hanafis, Malikis and Mu’tazzilites did in the past, today we have no choice but to empower the Muslim laity to question those hadith that conflict with their personal conscience and intellect. And if the scholars cannot furnish a suitable explanation, then to reject them without undue concern. As for the alternative, we are already seeing its dire consequences.

The Sanctification of the Scholars Must Stop

If Muslims and their supporters are in dire need of returning to the classical methodology of those who did not take Sahih hadith as ‘gospel’ – since people can and do attribute calumnies to the Prophets – then how much more so with the ever more fallible scholars? Although Shi’ites are famous for having seven or twelve ‘infallible’ imams, Sunnis in fact have hundreds. Authorities ranging from outright heretics such as Ibn Taymiyya through to more genuine ones such as Imam Shafi are considered beyond reproach. Or more accurately, beyond reproach by those same lay Muslims who are going to be exposed to doubt due to hearing their opinions. Muslim readers will be instantly familiar with the analogy of a doctor which is wheeled out by Salafis, Deobandis and Brelwis along with too many others to mention with nauseating regularity to explain this unquestioning deference to scholars.

You are sick, so this false analogy goes, and you go to a doctor to help you obtain a cure. Since you lack knowledge, you defer to his superior knowledge and trust him to help you get better. And thus with Muslims scholars, up to and including your local imam. Quite apart from the fact that this ‘analogy’ is completely incoherent since one freely chooses which doctor (or none) to go to, it makes no sense at all since one might follow one’s doctor in taking a mild painkiller for an inflamed joint, but if the same doctor asked one to undergo castration to avoid the inconvenience of nocturnal emissions and soiled bedsheets, one would in no way defer to his admittedly superior medical knowledge. That is because the degree of deference, or in Islamic terms blind imitation or ‘taqleed’, is directly proportional to the existential consequences of the particular course of action to be imitated unquestioningly. One would have assumed that this was a piece of what is (perhaps ironically) known as ‘common sense’, but this understanding has entirely evaporated from many Muslims.

I recall when I first started to seriously study Islam as an undergraduate at university. My instructor was a scholar from the Shafi School. It was all going swimmingly until he came to the (to put it mildly) ‘idiosyncratic’ opinion of the Shafis, which they trace to Imam Shafi himself, that if one has an illegitimate daughter, she was in fact not ones’ daughter. And so one could marry her. The response of a young convert in the class was actually what should have been my own: ‘Dude, what the hell?!’ he cried out loud. But rather than join the chorus, despite my, err, surprise at this information, I turned and reprimanded the other student, first of all for swearing and even more so for disrespecting the opinion of Imam Shafi. It is shocking to me now that I did this but so conditioned was I to uncritically defer to the opinion of scholars and so convinced of the infallible and unassailable opinion of Imam Shafi, who I was brought up by Islamic teachers in madrassa to consider virtually as unquestionably right as the Prophet himself, that my deference to him, temporarily at least, overcame my aversion to incest. Needless to say, my response and the approval of it by the teacher must have given the poor convert a very effective push on the road to apostasy. ‘I’ve joined an insane cult’ he must have been thinking. And he was right. But it wasn’t a cult of Islam but rather one of uncritical devotion to the opinions of (certain, select) scholars.

Recently, the bizarre opinion of Imam Shafi was being defended by a Muslim in a group discussion where it had been raised. An (allegedly) ‘modernist’ Muslim interjected and said ‘Shafi was talking rubbish. Islam would never allow you to marry your biological daughter. Arguing that a daughter born out of wedlock is not actually your daughter at all is mental’. I said nothing. I had learnt my lesson: the reputation of Islam and religion was more important than the reputation of Shafi by some infinity of degrees. I thought the interlocutor was harsh and rude. But if Imam Shafi really said that (and it seems he did) then he ‘messed up’. Badly.

The fatwa of Imam Shafi on marrying ones daughter is an extreme example, but it is illustrative of the legion of bizarre, dangerous and morally bankrupt opinions attributed to the famous scholars of Islam. Many of these are questionable but many others also certainly were uttered by them. And of course, they can cause huge doubts. In the case of the hadiths which caused doubt, the concern of Muslims was above all to salvage the authenticity of the patently fabricated hadith, to hell with the doubts of the lay Muslims: they lacked the necessary ‘faith’. Although it is unclear what level of ‘faith’ is required to have sex with one’s sister or daughter as some Shafis are implying, in the case of scholars opinions, it is again the concern of various apologists to salvage the reputation of the scholar in question or cry misattribution (no matter how implausible). This is of course if they do not, as my teacher did, simply defend the position.

Of course, both of these methods have merit: we do not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater and become ‘radicalised’ against Shafi if he did not in fact say this or if it was taken out of context etc (it isn’t unfortunately). Nor do we want to disregard the ‘good stuff’ he said on account of an error. The point is that errors should be called as such and that Muslims need deniability in the case of the opinions of the scholars, which is in this instance even more obvious and part of traditional Islam than it was for hadith, to protect them from needlessly questioning their faith because some followers of Shafi didn’t question something he probably didn’t say in the first place or because we have an unhealthy obsession with certain authorities (it is interesting to note that with many exceptions, these scholars, including famous Imams such as but of course by no means limited to Shafi, Malik, Al Ghazzali etc would criticise each other in the most disrespectful terms). My point is that lay Muslims are taught to defer to a group of people that did not in fact extend this courtesy to each other. Of course, the excuse is their superior knowledge but the argument that I need knowledge equivalent to Shafi to critique him on the issue of marrying my own daughter or know as many hadith as Ahmad to critique him on the issue of killing non-Muslims or women or children without punishment is patently idiotic, much like asserting that until I have am in depth working knowledge of Quantum Mechanics I am not to say that the Manhattan Project was a bad idea for humanity. Maybe this line of reasoning worked once, but today it is an Achilles Heel of epic proportions.

With many sects extant today, there is the added motivation that if people are free to exercise ‘deniability’ with regards to some of the famous Imams, this leaves their own founding fathers in a tight spot, as one finds increasingly disturbing and un-Islamic fatwas emanating from later Imams and especially from the founders of the popular post-colonial movements today such as Deobandism (for example, the works of Ashraf Ali Thanwi), Ahmed Ridha Khan and Brelwi’ism, Sayyid Qutb and of course the perennially moronic Ibn Abd Al Wahhab. If people are not too accommodating of Ahmad or Shafis’ stranger narrations then how much less so for these individuals, so their adherents seek to nip the problem in the bud and enforce a general ‘argument from authority’, despite the fact that even God failed to use this form of persuasion when he was questioned by Satan or the Angels, opting instead for rational and even empirical proofs[9].

Another misconception of Muslim scholars that helps speed people on the way to apostasy is that their (chosen) imam’s logic and learning is so deep that it is not in fact apprehensible to ordinary people. This was what my teacher told me about Imam Shafis’ fatwa on marrying ones daughter – there was a ‘logic’ to it but a man of my limited learning could not hope to fathom it. Without going into the details of Shafis ‘argument’, it was in fact, as I discovered many years later, not at all difficult to understand or falsify. It was an entirely feasible task for someone of normal intelligence without Arabic language skills. The same goes for most of the bizarre fatwas of the greats. It could be that the people who proffer this argument are genuinely surrounded by people of sub-par intelligence or more likely that they are merely enforcing their argument from authority by claiming that the argument is so refined so as to not be understandable by the laity. To the detriment of Muslim’s faith, the internet and academics are currently laying bare for all to see the reasoning or rather non-reasoning of many great scholars’ fatwas and people are realising that there are not any impressive intellectual gymnastics behind them.

This is not to say that the emperor has no clothes or to denigrate the Imams of Muslims, but rather if Muslims choose to pin their faith on these often very fallible people then they are heading for a fall. Much as with hadith, a generalised deniability would not go amiss.

Stop Making Mediocre People into Role Models

Closely allied to the cult of venerable imams of both Sunnis and Shi’ites, which frankly is a form of personality worship and an excuse to delegate ones thinking to other people, is the problem of selecting who is to be included in the venerable Imams and role model roll-call. This is no small matter and this is why I have treated it separately. In fact, my argument is that if one grows up wanting to be like Ashraf Ali Thanwi or Abd Al Wahhab or indeed even some of the Imams from the earlier period of Islamic history, one will not get very far in life.

I recall an interesting discussion between a non-Muslim orientalist and his Muslim student. It was regarding who was greater – not Muhammad or Jesus as is usually the case in these discussions – but rather a famous Sunni Imam (one of ‘the four’ – I won’t say which one to avoid offence) or Isaac Newton. Unfortunately, the poor Muslim student was badly shown up – the academic recounted a list of Newton’s impressive achievements from his theory of gravitation to his likely invention of calculus. Not being able to match any of these, the Muslim tried to focus on the spiritual excellence of the Imam and said that his opponent was comparing apples with oranges: the imam of course was a gifted legal theorist, a man of huge piety etc. But the Professor had, as they say, the students’ number:

Prof: So you are telling me that Imam X is better than Newton because he was a pious guy? I can just say the same for Newton. He was a Unitarian monotheist you know – he showed great courage in maintaining his beliefs – which if they were discovered would have led to his being killed for heresy. I can just as well argue that he was like one of your Sufi masters and he had followers and all that jazz. There’s no way of proving such things. That is why I am pointing out his concrete achievements – such as his contributions to our understanding of the universe and the subsequent betterment of mankind that has resulted from it. I mean the guy invented calculus, which is basically the underpinning of Physics, which in turn is the underpinning of modern technology. That guy did something. Can you make a similar claim for your Imam?

Student: Imam X laid down the foundations for a just and fair legal system. You can’t compare a lawyer to a physicist or mathematician. I can argue that he did more for mankind as he came up with a fair legal system, which is more relevant and necessary than technology. We can have a technocratic society that is unjust – look at the Nazis for example.

Prof: So Imam X saved us from Fascism and moral evils, assuming we listened to him right?

Student: That’s correct.

Prof: Which novel legal or ethical principles did he posit or elaborate by which he achieved this? Where and what is his moral philosophy for example? Where can I read his refutation of fascism or ideas like it in his time, like those of the Umayads for example, or his legal theory as compared to others of its time? Where is his moral ‘Principia’ if you will?

Student: Well, he derived principles from the Quran and hadith and they are all over his books.

Prof: Well, now you are saying that he merely stated what was already in the Quran and Hadiths so I don’t see how that makes him better than Newton who elaborated new stuff. So I should read the Quran and if I think that is a contribution to mankind then credit the guy who wrote that and not this guy.

Student: You could never understand the Quran without this guy!

Prof: Then the person who wrote the Quran didn’t do a very good job did he?

Student: There’s no need to be offensive!

Prof: You are the one being offensive! You are demanding that I pay homage to a guy for whom you cannot name me a single thing he did for humanity. As best as I can gather, he seems to be some kind of lawyer. Having a lawyer as a hero is a bit weird anyway but I can grant your argument if you tell me some of his morally superior legal theories and ethical positions. I’m open to it. But you haven’t given me anything. You are simply saying that this guy was great because he followed the Quran. Which is just like saying that the Quran is great and anyone who follows it will be great. But what did he do, in and of himself, which makes him better or even comparable to Newton?

Student: We will have to agree to disagree

Prof: No, rather we will have to agree that you are talking nonsense!

At this stage, looking aggrieved, the poor student turned to me for support.  But there really was nothing I could say. Newton was an extraordinary individual. There have been Muslim scientists, philosophers and theologians who did match up to or exceed him and may well have even done some of the groundwork which led to his own theories. But the student’s enterprise of putting up a random Imam, no matter how pious and saying that his contribution to mankind was objectively greater than Newton’s was doomed from the outset. If he had chosen an accomplished theologian such as Maturidi or Razi or a scientist such as Ibn Sina, he would have had more success. But he had chosen his favourite Imam. In fact he did not even know himself what was so great about him and in all honesty, his argument came down to ‘any Muslim is better than Newton, especially a famous Imam’. Although this in and of itself is very questionable, the question was not ‘who is the better Muslim’, in which case the answer could still have been the Unitarian Newton but rather ‘who made the greater contribution to civilization?’

The reason the poor fellow was in such a fix is that the process of veneration of scholars through Islamic history is hugely problematic and severely redacted. Today it is popular to talk about the ‘Four Imams’ as if they were a mutual appreciation society – far from true (Imam Al Ghazzalis hateful comments about Abu Hanifa showed how deep and late the animosity between Hanafis and Shafis ran). Many people are excluded from the list on an arbitrary or sectarian basis and people consign Imam Zayd or Hasan Al Basri to the back page and elevate others for political and other reasons. Khawarij (violent radicals) like Ikrima are included much to the chagrin of Shi’ites but people like Jafar As Sadiq are ignored in all but name. So one problem is that some of the people who Muslims are taught nowadays were ‘amazing’ and role models were really not that great or in some cases were dreadful people (such as many or all of those associated with Ummayad and Abassid governments who have now become ‘imams’).

Some people won’t care but others, who having been taught to tie their belief and practice of Islam intimately to certain scholars, upon finding that these people were intellectually or morally unimpressive or even just not very nice people, will now begin to get doubts about their faith.

This is already occultly admitted by many Muslims: when the glories of Muslim civilization are mentioned, Muslims rarely bring up, say Imam Ahmad. Instead they focus on Avicenna, Al Farabi, Al Haythami, Al Bayruni and even Suhrawardi and Ibn Arabi. The fact that virtually all of the famous Muslim scientists and philosophers, including the above, are considered heretics by most Muslim groups popular today is omitted for the time being.

So as well as taking people as role models without actually knowing anything about them or what made them great, Muslims exclude practically all of the great Muslim polymaths and thinkers as ‘bad Muslims’. Virtually all of these individuals were anathematised by the anti-rationalist and anthropomorphic orientation within Islam, which continues to do so today.

It is quite obvious which civilisation will gain ascendancy out of the one that takes a glorified lawyer as the pinnacle of human achievement (Imam X) and the one who aspires to the mathematician/alchemist/philosopher/scientist.

Like it or not, having no impressive or decent role models has a devastating effect on the intellectual and civilizational self-confidence of Muslims, especially against the onslaught of the Liberal Monoculture they find themselves in. And like it or not, the heavily redacted and sectarian list of notables in Muslim history is sorely lacking in genuine high achievers and role models.

The outcome of having unremarkable people from the past lionised is what we see amongst Muslim apologists and community leaders today: uncharismatic and inarticulate people, pleasing neither to the eye nor ear, representing Muslims in the media and academia and doing a very bad job of it. In a community where people as utterly banal as Akram Nadwi and Haitham Al Haddad can ascend to the highest echelons, one cannot be surprised at the messianic devotion that greets someone presentable and yet of still below normal intelligence like Jonathan AC Brown. In the kingdom of the blind…

 

Total Deniability on Any and All Tafseers (Commentaries) of the Quran

 

An interesting and oft ignored fact about the Quran is that the overwhelming majority of the Quranic commentaries are by Shi’ites and Mu’tazzilites (i.e ‘heretical’ groups). There are many, usually poor explanations as to why there are so few ‘Sunni’ commentaries as well as an effort to invent new ones – such as the recent commentary by Ibn Taymiyya. Except he’s dead and didn’t write one in the first place. What has in fact been done is to take parts from his (excessively) voluminous writings and fashion one in the present day, much like the Western practice of taking a hodgepodge of recordings from an artist who has died, say David Bowie, and then releasing them as a ‘new’ album.

One convincing explanation I have heard is that many scholars were too obsessed with hadith to focus on the Quran at the level required to write a commentary. They also believed, unlike the Shia, that the Quran is not understandable without the hadith and since they, at least in the Shafi and Hanbali case, allow the Quran to be abrogated and specified or even ignored by the use of ahad (single chain) hadith, they presumably felt less need for a closer study of the Quran. A corollary of this is that some of the famous tafseers amongst Muslims today, such as that of Ibn Kathir, are famous only because of those scholars leanings towards positions sympathetic to Salafis (Ibn Kathir narrated anthropomorphisms as brazen as God falling out of heaven and onto the Earth with the animals on the Day of Judgement. This is as befits a student of Ibn Taymiyya I suppose – they are interred next to each other).

In short, insistence on tafseers of the Quran, especially those popular today, is just as dangerous as the ‘don’t give an inch’ mentality inculcated in Muslims vis-a-vis hadith and scholars opinions.

This is most clearly seen in debates with Evangelical Christians, who often display impressively brazen hypocrisy by demanding that the Quran be understood in light of commentaries (they have their favourites – such as Ibn Kathir) while at the same time themselves being ‘Bible only’ (and even then, interpreting verses on their personal authority) and not admitting to the interpretations of the Bible given by any of the famous church fathers, commentators or theologians, all the while completely ignoring the greatest body of Christians in the world, the Catholics. Muslim apologists, not known for their overabundance of intellect, fall for it every time and start defending not only the Quran but the Tafseers as well (which contain such well known absurdities such as that the Earth is on the back of a whale in ‘Tafseer Jalalayn’).

A person of rudimentary intelligence could see the folly of this strategy, where the ‘area of attack’ for Muslims is the Bible only (excluding Church fathers writings, creeds, commentaries etc) but for Evangelicals is The Quran, any of its commentaries, all two million hadith and all of the opinions of the Four Imams and anyone else they fancy such as Ibn Taymiyya, Al Ghazzali etc. This is an immensely foolhardy pursuit and many Muslims are left in serious doubts because of it. A fair way would be to hold Evangelicals to all of the writings of the Church fathers, Calvin, Luther etc and their equivalent of hadith and commentaries and demand that they defend all of them (for example, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther all agreeing on forced conversion of the ‘heathen’). Rather, Muslim apologists, for the sake of pleasing a certain audience and of course securing Saudi and other money, allow themselves a target the size of a needle in a haystack (often the New Testament alone) and allow Evangelicals to carpet bomb the whole edifice of anything any Muslim ever said or did, ever. This is clearly because they have occultly bought into the Christians’ narrative, which is not difficult since Evangelicals and Salafists are theologically nearly identical.

If Muslims do indeed believe the absurd proposition that the Quran is incomprehensible without the hadith and or tafseers, then they have a bigger problem in that they are worshipping a God who can’t make himself clear and furthermore gives people a protected and unchangeable book…which then can only be understood in light of unprotected and changeable books.

Total Deniability from Cultural Accruements to Islam – Especially the Arab and Asian Ones

Saudi Arabia is a brand new country that did not exist until 1924, at which point the British brought it into being. Not that most Muslims would think that: they basically act as if the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet) had Saudi passports. This is a measure of both the poverty and lack of education in most of the Muslim world and the degree of success of Wahhabi propaganda in both presenting themselves as central to the Islamic project to Muslims (thorough sponsorships, scholarships and the annual Hajj as well as low cost published material. And if they can open and control the main mosque in London of all places, just imagine what influence they can wield in the Islamic and Third World – which in fact are interchangeable anyway) and to the West as an important bulwark against extremism and threatened oil supplies. It has been very important for Wahhabi states such as Saudi and Qatar to gain legitimacy with the wider body of Muslims by presenting themselves as Sharia compliant and representations of Islamic authenticity. In the post-colonial period, merely looking or speaking Arabic is sufficient to grant most Arabs the kind of celebrity status that Caucasian English teachers once enjoyed in Japan. Largely, they have pulled this off and most Muslims when they think of Saudi think of them as defenders of Islam. This has had a catastrophic effect on the intellectual and spiritual recovery of Muslims from their decline and colonialism.

It is exceedingly common to see practising Muslims in the West dressing not like Muslims but specifically like Saudis with a long robe and headdress that the Prophet never wore. Moreover, this is a deliberate choice on their part – it is not that they are confused as to how the Prophet dressed but rather that they wish to be identified with the Khaliji Arab dress, much how Caucasian hip-hop fans will adopt certain modes of dress from Los Angeles for example. Likewise, one often finds them to be the most vociferous defenders of the noxious fatwas that Arabs are inherently superior and not marriageable for non-Arabs: black and Asian Muslim youth, rather than rebelling against this vile piece of racism are instead using it as a badge of authenticity and are proud of pointing out that they are following the fatwas of Shafi and Ahmad[10] (one also sees this featured prominently in the books of the Deobandi sect such as Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s ‘Behishti Zewar’[Heavenly Ornaments] where he proudly asserts that a non-Arab can ‘never’ be a match for an Arab in marriage).

As such, the concerns, social norms and politics of certain Arabs (meaning usually Saudis) become generalised to any Muslims living in the West – much like those Caucasians who have a fetish for some other culture (usually oriental ones) in the West: they watch the movies, read the books, wear the T-shirts and sometimes even learn the language. They are often martial arts cinema groupies. So it is with the Arab groupies. They refer to each other in broken Arabic (of the non-Quranic kind) and copy the social norms and political concerns of Saudi uncritically and no matter how poor a fit they are in England or the US or in fact with Islam. Should any obvious or problematic clashes occur with Islamic practice, these will soon be smoothed over by the Arab scholars to whom they are beholden. Yes, you understood it correctly; these people are a cult at worst or like Goths at best.

Likewise, they uncritically adopt conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism from these Arabs. They are concerned about the Arab-Israeli question with an apocalyptic zeal…and little else in global politics. Despite the gross injustice that constitutes the Palestinian question, it is portrayed very willingly by Muslims as a global concern of the Muslim Ummah and even as a theological issue as pertains to the mosque at Al Aqsa. Issues such as Kashmir and Burma or the Uighurs in China…well they are local problems. Well, in that case, why isn’t the Palestinian question a ‘local’ question for the neighbouring countries? Arab problems are ‘Ummah’ problems, as the recent Saudi demand to Pakistan that it should intervene with it against the Houthis in Yemen showed. Saudi, strangely, has never intervened against the Taliban in Pakistan. Or anyone else (in fact, Qatar has provisioned and embassy for them).

There are a group of Muslims who have traded in the exotic fetishism of the colonised for the coloniser that was found amongst some subjects of the British and other empires for the new fetish of Arab culture.

There are a slew of practices which are desirable to certain Arabs and South Asians, specifically FGM[11] and early marriage without the consent of the woman (and often not even of the man), gender segregation as a necessity verging on total Freudian sexual paranoia as well as forced endogamy and cousin marriage, which are repeatedly emphasised by scholars and cultural partisans to the detriment of the wider image of Islam. Hadith that seem to embody these practices are emphasised and never allowed to lapse irrespective of their dubious authenticity: subcontinental Hanafites jettison their affiliation and become card carrying Hanbalis when it comes to their daughters marriage or ‘free mixing’. Their brand of jurisprudence is simply to writhe and twist until ‘Islam’ (by now a caricature of itself) becomes congruent with their cultural practices. This of course is found in all religions and cultures to some extent but it is a prominent cause of apostasy amongst Subcontinental and Arab origin Muslims.

Hilariously, when confronted by such apostates, Muslims usually reply with the truth, that these practices are cultural and not part of Islam. But by then it is too late. Having prostituted their religious ethics to justify their usually ugly cultural idiosyncrasies, they have turned people off for good.

 

Make Belonging to the Muslim Community Less Socially Punishing

All but the most self-delusional people know that Islam does not have a ‘cool’ image. Practically no one in the West grows up appropriating Islamic culture or wanting a Muslim boyfriend or girlfriend or hoping to make more Muslim friends. For most non-Muslims, a family member introducing a Muslim as a mate has the same stigma that bringing home a black man once did in ‘Look Who’s Coming to Dinner’ (with the added fear, not entirely unjustified, that your little princess will now be joining a terrorist organisation[12]). A lot of this is indeed down to the Islamo and generally xenophobic and Eurocentric media but even more is down to a complete failure of marketing by Muslims. To put it mildly, Muslims are not exactly Walt Disney, who could turn what is essentially household vermin into a cultural icon that everyone thinks is cute. It is interesting to contrast how Islamic culture is viewed in the West when compared with Japanese culture. This is illustrative as both groups are usually racially distinct from Caucasians and both have undergone a conflict with the West recently while at the same time having large communities resident in the West (Roosevelt proudly declared the holdings for Japanese internment in the US during WWII to be ‘Concentration Camps’, and newspapers published stuff like this:)

anti-japanese_world_war_ii_propaganda_poster_war_bonds

world_war_ii_patriotic_posters_usa_conservation_tokio_kid_saylg

However, both before and after WWII, Japan and Japanese culture has had a positive, or at least fetishized and exotic image in the West. This is partly down to attitudes to Japanese  female sexuality, which is eroticised by Western media (just watch literally any film where a ‘white guy’ goes to Japan from ‘You Only Live Twice‘ onwards) but also because Japanese movies, video games, manga, Samurai or Bushido culture, Kanji, Ninjas and art are considered ‘cool’ by many in the West. Few in the West who fetishise these aspects of Japanese culture (much like those who think Chinese culture is about Kung-Fu and nice looking handwriting) have ever had any direct experience of Japan or Japanese people. Their main point of contact with ‘Japan’ is the Japanese cultural output (broadly speaking, ‘art’) and the Western media representation and appropriation of this (not always positive but nowhere near as negative as in the case of the Middle East and Islam). Although Japan and the West don’t quite have the antagonistic history of Europe and Islam or Europe and Judaism, there are the recent Japan – Russian, Sino – Japanese Wars (which was a threat to the colonial powers in China) and Second World War, so the parallel is not too dissimilar. However, unlike Japan, Islam does not really have what Amy Chua has called (in reference to the United States) ‘an overseas fan club’[13]. By this she means that the US can get away with a lot more morally questionable behaviour than say Iran or Russia and still maintain a glamorous and positive image in the minds of many because it has a lot of people overseas who aspire to American culture and its symbols – in short, are its ‘fans’. Lots of people, especially young people born after the vicissitudes of colonialism, aspire to be Americans or French or English. Some in the West even aspire to be Japanese. Hardly anyone anywhere outside the Islamic world (and quite a few within) aspire to be Muslim or appropriate their cultural symbols or language.

I would posit that a big part of this is that unlike the Chinese or Japanese culture, Islam has been furnished by its followers (of late) with very few points of interaction with others. This makes them appear alien and inscrutable and thus easy to misrepresent. For example, young people in the US and Europe interact with Japan and grow up admiring it because of its animations, cinema, comics (found in literally all major bookshops from Scotland to Spain – in the local languages), calligraphy, dress and other ‘cool stuff’. Islamic art has none of these ‘points of contact’ because it is largely decadent and assumes a religious component. There are even lots of ‘J-Pop’fans in the West, but again, this is made impossible for Muslims by their own leaders. The Japanese pop culture phenomena has recently been repeated in the case of South Korea, with a huge interest in this nation’s movies and music amongst Caucasian Westerners and the Koreans have done a remarkable job marketing themselves off the back of this with music and film festivals as well as cultural events. Of course, if Muslims were ever to have a foreign government sponsor a cultural event, we know who would be paying: there would be no music and the centrepiece would probably be the beheading of a Philippine domestic worker.

What any of this has to do with apostasy is that young Muslims feel alienated in that they are always appropriating and admiring the cultural symbols of others, to whom they can never belong as a community, and lacking any of their own. They listen to Japanese music, have a poster of Brad Pitt on their bedroom wall, watch American movies and consume French art. But Japanese people can listen to their own music, Americans can watch their own movies and so on. The decadence of Islamic cultural output, from the virtual absence of the novel in Arabic to the banal racket that passes for ‘Islamic’ music denies Muslims this opportunity. The reason that Islamic arts are decadent is partially colonialism but mainly puritanism – you aren’t going to excel at sculpture or drawing comic books if you think they are going to cause you to burn in hell. Islamic art had its heyday, in fields such as architecture and calligraphy and it has its apologists (such as Sayyed Hossein Nasr in his excellent ‘Islam and the World’ and other works) but it is utter self-delusion to believe that that was anything but another life.

Further, Muslim excuse making does not help: Calligraphy is not the only halal (permissible or licit) form of Islamic painting – where are the Islamic landscape painters? The Ottoman or Muslim Turner or Monet? No doubt some will try to point to Mughal miniature painting or the anthropomorphic representations allowed by some Shia artists as counter-examples but if such works are compared with the contemporaneous efforts of Dutch or French artists, the results are decimating to the ego of  Muslims (not that Muslims could furnish a single art historian to argue their case anyway, since studying art history would be considered useless by virtually all ‘practising’ Muslims in the West)

Outsiders do not in the first case interact with other cultures primarily via their religious text or ‘Dawah’ but rather through their art. That is how nearly everyone outside America first interacted with that culture. But what is called Muslim ‘art’ today and for a long time in the past is absolutely pathetic. Of course, people will be loath to believe this (and will be eager to point out minority cases such as Chinese Muslims} but it’s one of those things that one can’t prove…and yet everyone somehow knows is true.

The decadence of Islamic cultural expression and art has a dual purpose in apostasy: on the one hand it makes it very easy for opposing interests to make Islamic culture look ‘unfashionable’ (and fashion is a driving force in human relations. This is of course lamentable but it must be accepted and adjusted for) and thus dissuade many people from taking an interest in it (unlike how people graduate from watching Japanese animations to learning more about Japan or at least having a positive impression of the culture). Concurrently, it makes Muslims feel culturally vacuous and inferior, which sadly is largely true. But such feelings are often generalised to the religion of Islam too, which is surprisingly easy as Muslim authorities tend to use religion as the justification for practically everything, especially their recent artistic cultural and academic underachievement (‘well, we suck at music and painting because it’s haraam, a waste of time blah blah’).

Muslims are often, very rightly, fond of pointing out that apostates are ‘Uncle Toms’ who subserviently and uncritically adopt the dominant cultural values of the West. This is true. But Muslims rarely go on to ask why such people felt the need to do that – you know, if ‘Islamic culture’ was so great compared to the others that is. In movies, games, comics, clothes, art and fashion, we are all ‘Uncle Toms’ and cultural apostates but we can’t be blamed. Muslim music, clothing, art and other cultural artefacts are just not any good. And they haven’t been for a long time.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Muslims Must Stop Restricting Peoples Career Choices and Hobbies

Closely allied to the above – if you are a Muslim Mozart or Rodin (before people start pointing it out, yes I know some of the sculptures are nude, the fact that I had to mention that is illustrative of our mentality), you are finished before you have picked up a pen or a scalpel. This seems to most Muslims to be a minor thing but, say, to a potential Mozart, it’s a very big thing – not being allowed to do the thing you love, especially if the thing you love is not something obviously bad or evil like music or sculpture, can create a serious conflict in the minds of people. Most ‘practising’ Muslims seem to approach these kinds of problems in their brethren as a test of faith or as a chance to tell them to ‘man up’ and put their religion before their hobbies. But this ignores the fact that some people feel almost as strongly about other things as some do about their faith: when it is said of someone that ‘golf is his religion’, it is meant that golf is the thing to which all other things take second place. Whether this is a good or bad thig is another issue, but nonetheless, it is a reality for many people and despite their seeming denials, Muslims are just people: God only created one ‘operating system’ for humans, no matter how much Muslim scholars dislike it

For God’s Sake, Stop Bringing Religion into Everything

In a way today, Muslims, especially the practising ones, have become a kind of mirror image and reaction to secularists: whereas the latter insist religion should be kept out of ‘public’ life (by which they actually mean everything), Muslims instead try and inject religion into literally everything. In fact they are even proud of doing so and boast of how intrusive their religion is and that it prescribes everything for them and because of that they will find what I have said offensive. This is because of a number of reasons. A number of universal and noble moral and political guidelines in the Quran were exaggerated into a comprehensive political manifesto by certain sects. The A’shari theologians relegated the role of man in moral knowledge to total irrelevance and denied free will, creating the problems of God’s compulsion of man (jabr). The uninhibited indulgence in hadith by the Muhaditheen caused some of them to demand a narration for literally everything (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal upon not finding a narration for eating melons refused to eat them, with other jurists echoing this principle and saying that all things not ‘mentioned’ automatically had the designation of ‘forbidden’. The fact that this story of Imam Ahmad is proudly remembered by Muslims of a puritanical bent is illustrative). Those beholden to narrations, of often dubious authenticity by the standards of everyone other than the traditionists themselves will of course be more partial to arguing that a narration exists for every aspect of life (although this is patently false as we can see from the obvious fact that the very pertinent knowledge of Prophetic medicine is nearly entirely lost – which is why Muslims only ever talk about ‘Black Seed’ being a cure for everything, a position which Muslims, like Evangelicals and their alleged ability to drink poison unaffected, do not actually believe in).

Those (very few) Muslims who take the Quranic emphasis on intellection and investigation seriously will be less so inclined, but nonetheless, a devastating corollary of Muslims emphasis on the intrusiveness and all-encompassing nature of their faith (which in practice is not in terms of their moral or ethical lives but rather limited to hadith-spamming) is that whenever Muslims do something good (like win an award), they thank, credit and praise God. And when they do something really stupid, like blow up a train carriage full of kids, they likewise thank, praise and credit God. I’ve often said that Islamophobes just re-label crimes done by Muslims to make them religious in nature – so a crime of passion where a man kills his wife is apt to be just that if the man is a Caucasian but to be an honour killing if he is of a darker hue, but in reality, Muslims are largely guilty of this too, crediting God and religion for terrorist and interpersonal attacks or beating their wife as opposed to their own base motives. Christians, while committing far more and worse crimes in the West as is expected by their preponderance, are hardly ever seen to use the ‘Jesus made me do it’ excuse. 

Newly practising Muslims of the Salafist orientations remind me of puppets: you have to pull on a hadith otherwise it is impossible to get them to do anything, so assured are they of the need to find a narration to govern every aspect of their lives. This actually has the effect of atrophying their moral and intellectual faculties. Muslims are rightly proud of the well attested narrations (backed up by the practice of the Companions of the Prophet and opinions of the jurists) that empower them in good hygiene and manners, but they have mistaken the gentle guidance of the Prophet (and the authenticity of what remains of it) as a prescription that extends to what colour trousers to wear.

I was surprised to find the truth of Ibn Khalduns’ statement that the hadith literature is, as a rule, contradictory and requires expert appraisal and application when I undertook Hadith studies. When studying the issue of how to perform ablutions and timings of prayers from hadith alone, I was alarmed to discover that the hadith actually added to the variety of opinions and confusion, until clarified by my Maliki and Hanafi teachers using the amal (practice) of Madinan jurists and applications of the companions (in the Hanafite) case. Even this was a heuristic solution however. Not for nothing is it said that ‘hadith without fiqh [legal theory] is misguidance’[14].

So far as I am concerned, the belief that you can shut off your moral and intellectual sense because there is a narration to tell you how to do everything is observably untrue (sahih narrations do not even clarify how to pray a single cycle of the compulsory prayer let alone ‘everything’ such as how to cure cancer. Even Salafists know this idea is false, so to this they have added the comments of the ‘rightly guided’ Salaf, forgetting that most of the heresies in Islam including Sh’ism and others are directly traceable to the same ‘Salaf’ and opinions of scholars, thus introducing a truly vast and insurmountable corpus of varying but usually poor quality and attestation).

It might be going too far to say that Muslims do not take an interest in scientific issues as well as moral ones because they think that all of the answers are ‘already in Islam’, but the impression they gain from their religious leaders is certainly along those lines.

Sadly, I fear Muslims have gone too far along the lines of ‘naql not aql’- which is a formula Muslims bizarrely utter with pride that means Islam is a religion of imitation as opposed to intellect (despite God saying the opposite in the Quran – but what does He know!) to be lead back from this precipice without the loss of many lemmings. But at the very least, the Muslim propensity for ‘Islamicising’ the stupid and violent stuff they do based on revenge, nationalism, political motivations and just downright psychosis and stupidity tends to have the same effect as the Islamophobes assertions that the bad things Muslims do are due to their faith – putting religious window shoppers off and making Muslims, especially the thinking ones, ashamed of their community and faith, which is a necessary pre-requisite of apostasy.

Bringing religion into everything that you do has become a psychological identifier of ‘practising’ Muslims but it is in fact a handicap – far from being an antidote to secularism they have gone to the other extreme and brought Islam and religion into disrepute by reflexly involving religion in all the good and bad they do.

The Ability to Approach a Member of The Opposite Sex without Scrutiny, and Yes, DATE them if Needs Be (Yes, I said ‘DATE’): Muslims Must Stop Restricting People’s Ability to Find a Partner and Have Sex

Any system which brazenly opposes human biology, specifically those aspects pertaining to personal and species survival is doomed to failure. Muslims pay lip service to this by claiming that there is no monasticism in Islam but the reality is far removed. A generation of unwilling and unhappy virgins is found amongst practising Muslims and their desperation is such that fifteen year old schoolgirls are willing to leave England to go into a war zone…just to ‘get laid’[15]

The fact that all practising Muslims are more than familiar with is that ‘Islam’ is making it practically impossible to get a partner of any kind of quality. This makes life miserable and Muslims are constantly distracted by their unfulfilled or poorly satiated urges. Most young Muslims spend their time looking in at the rest of society like a penniless kid looking at a toyshop window. At Christmas.

The recent Ashley Madison adultery website hack, apart from demonstrating that IERA Salafi segregation masters also allegedly like a bit on the side[16], showed something else shocking: out of 33 million profiles, less than five million were women. And even many of those were fake[17]. You can bet that most of the ‘halal’ marriage sites are exactly the same (or try to attract women by making their memberships free unlike for men – about as fair as ‘ladies nights’ at nightclubs): that’s because you might have noticed that when attractive women want to cheat or find a partner, they can usually find a taker and thus don’t need to resort to these means. Muslims are living in a magical dream world where attractive men and women are in the ‘arranged marriage’ system or go to their local Imam to find a partner. As every American housewife knew from ‘I Love Genie’ onwards, the good ones are already taken.

Tragically, the magical thinking around the mating game disproportionately affects practising Muslims, who believe that God will find them a partner (though he made no such assurance, any more than he promised to find you a job or pass your driving test for you) and overlook the patently unrealistic formulas advocated to Muslims when it comes to finding a mate. I told a desperate not-so young man in mosque that he should start dating, while assiduously avoiding fornication, or likely with his lack of religious and family connections, he would be perennially single. I was almost lynched.

Quite apart from the fact that most ‘practising’ Muslims advocate that all of the means that could in any likelihood lead to meeting a guy/girl, from looking at them to being in the same room, are in fact haram or makhruh, (essentially ’illegal’ and ‘immoral’) even those willing to allow that much (a minority) started putting on their white hoods when I mentioned ‘dating’ because of course, dating means sex. Like it is impossible to just get to know someone and go out together, because you must have sex. We as a community have bought in to the dichotomy of the monoculture: there is only promiscuity or abstinence and if you see a member of the opposite sex and go out with them then the aim is to get them into bed as soon as possible as opposed to just getting to know them. But in the West, the only reliable way to get a partner is to approach someone you like, get to know them by spending time with them (yes, unsupervised, but not alone, for example, at the theatre or an art gallery) and then see if you want to get married. And this is not a decision that can be made in a single meeting or twelve or any fixed time – it depends how quickly and well you get to know each other. Some randy people will end up having sex in this process the same way that many unmarried people will start to masturbate compulsively, consume porn and become sexually deviant. Both have their dangers, not only the first scenario as scholars would have us believe.

The idea of curtailing all male female interaction because it may lead to fornication would be consistent if Muslims applied the same paranoia about sin to all aspects of morality (Muslims are noticeably less inclined to continuously audit people’s wealth to avoid non – payment of tithes or zakat as they are to monitor male female interactions to avoid ‘sin’, or to warn their children about reading Salafi literature because it may lead to killing people). This is about as stupid as banning books because some of them are ‘dangerous’ (the Saudis for example have ‘banned’ the Bible).

In any case, the idea that transgressions of a sexual nature are the worst things that can possibly happen to a person has become too ingrained in Muslims minds to address – the proof of this is that nearly all Muslims (wrongly) consider it to be valid that the punishment for adultery should be worse than for murdering a child.

Puritans of every bent and religion consider endurance of misery to be a sign of strong faith. In this they are mistaken, as the wave of Muslim apostasy will no doubt show once again. Labelling all pleasant sensations as ‘hedonism’ is banal and inaccurate but it is hard to deny that practically all Muslim groupings extant in the West are of such a puritanical bent. You have to already have a good knowledge of Islam to put up with this let alone try to fix it. Most others, quite wisely will see that this religion is making their life hard and restricting their choice of partner and not even providing them access to that restricted grouping either. They will make what is biologically the smart choice: look outside the community, with or without apostasy (usually with).

NOTES:

[1] ‘Islam and the New Central Asia‘ by Oliver Roy, the chapter on ‘The Sovietisation of Central Asia’ provides an excellent overview.

[2] Hammad ibn Salama reported from Qatada, from ‘Ikrima, from Ibn ‘Abbas, that the Prophet said, “I saw my Lord in the form of a young man, beardless (amrad) with short curly hair Ua’d) and clothed in a green garment.”

Ibn Hanbal made its belief obligatory: in his ‘Aqida III‘, ‘And that the Prophet saw his Lord, since this has been transmitted from the Messenger of Allah and is correct and authentic. It has been reported by Qatada from ‘Ikrima from Ibn ‘Abbas‘.


‘Aqida V’: ‘In one of the sound hadiths about the Messenger of God, it is said; ‘The Prophet has seen his Lord.’ This is transmitted from the Messenger of God. Qatada reported it from ‘Ikrima from Ibn ‘Abbas…. Belief in that and counting it true is obligatory‘. 

This hadith is reported twice in Ibn Hanbal’s ‘Musnad‘, and ‘Abd Allah narrates it repeatedly from Ibn Hanbal in his ‘Kitab al-Sunna

Ibn Hanbal also reported in his ‘Musnad’:


”One morning, the Messenger of God went out to them [his companions] in a joyous mood and[with] a radiant face. We said [to him]: “Oh Messenger of God, here you are in a joyous mood, with a glowing face'” “How could I not beT’ he answered. “My Lord came to me last night under the most beautiful form (ft:a~san ~ara), and He said [to me]: ‘Oh Muhammad!’-‘Here I am, Lord, at Your order!’ He said [to me]: ‘Over what disputes the Sublime Council?, – ‘do not know, Lord.’ He posed [to me] two or three times the same question. Then He put His palm between my shoulder blades, to the point where r felt its coolness between my nipples, and from that moment appeared to me [all] that is in the heavens and on the earth.

[3] “…When half o a third of the night passes by, Allah descends to the lowest heaven and says: ‘No one asks more about my servants thatn myself. Who is asking me, so I can give to him? Who is calling uon me, so I can answer him? who is seeking my forgiveness, so I can forgive him?'”

In case you think I am caricaturing Salafis, here they are asserting the ‘reality’ and ‘literalness’ of this descent from no less of a Wahhabiu authority than Uthaymeen:https://islamqa.info/en/20081

[4] For example, many of the groups in Islamic history which were anathematised by Sunnis, including the Mutazzila or Kharijites as well as most Shia and even many early Hanafis, were much more impermissive and catholic in their choice of hadith. By Salafi standards today, they would be considered ‘hadith rejecters’ – not in the sense that they rejected all hadith but rather employed a great deal of scepticism before attributing things to the Prophet Muhammad. Hence defending the hugely more permissive attitude of Hanbalism and the Shafis towards narrations, including allowing hadiths to abrogate, specify and replace the Quran or the practice of the Sahabah or the jurists of Medina, became a badge of honour for these groups against their perceived enemies. In the colonial period, many scholars, including many well-known and sympathetic ones such as Goldziher through Watt to Juynboll cast significant doubt on the hadith literature. The ideological component of the response from most Muslims was a doubling down of efforts to defend the entire canon but most importantly the redaction of Bukhari. They have now found themselves held to this and are in the astonishingly difficult position of defending all of the hadith contained in Bukhari, and many more besides – a task which had previously proved impossible even against Sunni interlocutors such as Darulqutni and of course the Mu’tazzilite theologians.

[5] For example, fathom even the famous jurist Qadi Iyad’s explanation for the hadith of Moses refusing to submit to God’s command when the Angel of Death was sent to him at the end of his life: there is simply no connection between his explanation and the text of the narration. The same can be seen with numerous other cases such as the editing out the word ‘anus’ in the text of Bukhari and the utterly scandalous ‘explanation’ for the hadith of the sun bowing to the arsh (throne) found in modern ‘tafseers’ such as ‘Maraful Quran’ by the Deobandi sect.

[6] For Al Qaradawi’s apologetics on Bukhari’s narrations about the killing of non-Muslims, see here:http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-scholar/crimes-and-penalties/retaliation-qisas/175024-killing-a-muslim-for-a-non-muslim.html

[7]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-throw-man-off-a-building-for-homosexual-affair-and-beat-him-to-death-when-he-survives-10012709.html

[8]https://asharisassemble.com/2015/07/05/many-muslim-leaders-denounce-isis-out-of-convenience-not-conviction/#_edn53

[9] 2:30 ”AND LO! Thy Sustainer said unto the angels: “Behold, I am about to establish upon earth one who shall inherit it.” They said: “Wilt Thou place on it such as will spread corruption thereon and shed blood – whereas it is we who extol Thy limitless glory, and praise Thee, and hallow Thy name?” [God] answered: “Verily, I know that which you do not know.”

Muslims, shamelessly, love to stop quoting at this point, to give the semblance of God using argument from authority. If anyone could, then it is He, but he doesn’t, and instead provides a QED:

2:31 ”And He imparted unto Adam the names of all things; then He brought them within the ken of the angels and said: “Declare unto Me the names of these [things], if what you say is true.”They replied: “Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! No knowledge have we save that which Thou hast imparted unto us. Verily, Thou alone art all-knowing, truly wise.”
Said He: “O Adam, convey unto them the names of these [things].”
And as soon as [Adam] had conveyed unto them their names, [God] said: “Did I not say unto you, ‘Verily, I alone know the hidden reality of the heavens and the earth, and know all that you bring into the open and all that you would conceal’?”

This constitutes nothing other than an empirical demonstration and response to the Angels question, followed by ‘I told you so’.

So God can be questioned but not the scholars it seems. Maybe we should worship them then?

[10] https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/are-arabs-superior-to-malays-and-everyone-else-imam-shafii-and-ibn-taymiyyah-think-so/

https://asharisassemble.com/2013/04/17/superiority-of-arabs-in-islam/

[11] https://shaykhatabekshukurov.com/2014/03/04/the-truth-about-islam-and-female-circumcisionfgm/

[12] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/somalia/11611954/White-Widow-has-killed-400-people-as-key-figure-in-al-Shabaab.html

[13] Amy Chua, ‘World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethinic Hatred and Global Instability ‘, page 200 onwards.

[14] Ibn Abî Zayd al-Mâlikî reports Sufyân ibn `Uyayna as saying: “Hadîth is a pitfall (madilla) except for the fuqahâ’,” and Mâlik’s companion `Abd Allâh ibn Wahb said: “Hadîth is a pitfall except for the Ulema. Every memorizer of hadîth that does not have an Imâm in fiqh is misguided (dâll), and if Allâh had not rescued us with Mâlik and al-Layth [ibn Sa`d], we would have been misguided.”

Ibn Abî Hâtim in the introduction of al-Jarh. wa al-Ta`dîl (p. 22-23); Ibn Abî Zayd, al-Jâmi` fî al-Sunan (p. 118-119)

[15] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-jihadi-brides-women-british-syria-kadiza-sultana-radicalise-terror-trapped-abuse-married-air-a7187946.html

And infinite other stories about girls going into war zones lured by catalogues of ‘Jihadi husbands’. In all honesty, you will not see even the most slut shamed girls in the West from non-Muslim cultures going to war zone to get sex. 

[16] IERA’s Hamza Tzortzis was implicated in the adultery site ‘Ashley Madison’ hack – hilariously, he is trying to bury the story using new ‘right to be forgotten’ legislation, as Google informs you when you search for his name and Ashley Madison:

”The recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has profound consequences for search engines in Europe. The court found that certain users have the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries that include the person’s name. To qualify, the results shown would need to be inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive.

Since this ruling was published on 13 May 2014, we’ve been working around the clock to comply. This is a complicated process because we need to assess each individual request and balance the rights of the individual to control his or her personal data with the public’s right to know and distribute information.”

Nice to see that the ‘kufaar‘ system has some useful laws for Salafis after all!

Here is one of the few news stories you can still find about him and this affair, which he denies. But wants forgotten. Go figure.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/08/24/prominent-muslim-preacher-denies-he-used-ashley-madison-despite-name-address-and-bank-info-showing-up-in-hack/

[17] https://theintercept.com/2015/08/20/puritanical-glee-ashley-madison-hack/

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243 thoughts on “The Apostasy Survival Kit

  1. To begin with, it is worth noting that Music is not even implicitly condemned in the Quran. The most the music haters can say is that ‘Idle talk’ in the Quran *must* refer to or include music which is of course unsubstantiated conjecture. If the creator and sustainer of the universe did not want human beings to music, it seems very strange that his book of revelation omits this; yet still mentions alcohol and gambling, which are clearly far more destructive.

    Does this mean that hadith all don’t matter and that no rule or teaching not mentioned in the Quran (which is of course far more descriptive then it is prescriptive) has any value? No; but when Muslims talk about huge major sins which can immediately damn you to hell, yet arent even implied in the Qur’an, the enormity of such sins can certainly be questioned.

    Furthermore, there are numerous hadiths which clearly permit the use of musical instruments such as:

    “Volume 6, Book 61, Number 568:
    Narrated Abu Musa:
    That the Prophet said to him’ ‘O Abu Musa! You have been given one of the musical wind-instruments of the family of David .’”

    and

    “Ibn Abbas said, ‘Aishah gave a girl relative of hers in marriage to a man of the Ansar. The Prophet (s.a.w) came and asked, ‘Did you send a singer along with her?’ ‘No,’ she said. The Messenger of Allah then said: ‘The Ansar are a people who love poetry. You should have sent along someone who would sing, ‘here we come, to you we come, greet us as we greet you.’”

    Of course, there are some hadiths which seem to suggest to some that musical instruments are not allowed such as:

    Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v: Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari: that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. ”

    When faced with the contradiction, music haters will usually say that in that case Islam only allows certain instruments at certain festive events. Thus already the case is not black and white (its not as if polytheism; something the wahhabis will try to somehow connect to music is okay with some Gods and only at some festive events!).

    However IMO even this interpretation is a poor one; it seems far more likely, that the ‘anti music’ hadith, if authentic is referring to a specific type of music which is genuinely destructive; as some types of music with crass and grotesque lyrics are. Some of the pre Islamic ‘parties’ which doubtless featured music were meant to be pretty lewd, so this may well be a reference to that.

    One view I have heard which sounds fairly credible is that the some of the meaning of the hadith above has been lost in translation and that ‘the drinking of alcoholic drinks and use of musical instruments’ is essentially one phrase which is condemned because of the ‘drinking alcohol’ part.

    If someone said:

    ”Going out on a Friday night and getting drunk is a bad idea,” they are not claiming that there is anything wrong with going socializing on a Friday night! Clearly, there is no grounds for believing that meeting up with friends on a particular hour or day is wrong; rather they are against the notion of drinking.

    However, the whole phrase is used and thus ‘condemned’ though only one activity featured is actually objectionable.

    If I said ”person X thinks its okay to befriend someone and stab them in the back” clearly only only the latter action that is being condemned!

    Though I am not linguist or hadith expert enough to give an ‘informed endorsement’ of this interpretation when it comes to ‘people will think alcohol and musical instruments will be permitted,’ it certainly seems plausible to me that it is just the drinking of alcohol that is essentially condemned, and that playing instruments may be something which accompanies alcohol or festivities with it, but is not in itself objectionable. The argument that music is ‘auditory porn’ or whatever and is destructive in the way NAK seems to mention is just false with any music that isn’t grotesque and crude.

    I really think its hard to make a case for music being clear cut forbidden; it isn’t mentioned in the Quran at all, and there are some hadiths which clearly show the Prophet allowing or even encouraging it. IMO we should also continually refer to our intellect and the essential traits of God (something many salafists object to in the case of the former, and just give lip service to in the latter case; i.e. God is merciful except to 95% of humanity who will be eternally damned).

    When something is at best unclear we should use our reason and intellect to consider its effects; smoking for example has clear destructive effects on the health, the environment (tobacco farming is horrendous on so many levels), the mind (being addictive) and the wallet (money which could help your family or the poor), which could (I’m no scholar to give a fatwa!) sway the argument towards it being forbidden. This appears not to be the case however with music; whilst some amoral and obnoxious music could make someone less God conscious, soothing and beautiful music can have the opposite effect.

    ‘Thats what nasheeds are for’ may be the response (ones without music), but it appears very strange that vibrations of air produced by say strings are somehow objectionable compared to ones produced by a human larynx. Ghazali (I think) once said that if God was against music, why do birds always sing, certainly in a very musical manner?

    In addition to reason, humans should remember the essential traits of God i.e. grace and mercy. It seems (and I dont want to be disrespectful here) that perhaps your feel on some level (as most Muslims these days seem to however practicing they are) that salafists and ultra puritans in general have the true or most consistent interpretation of Islam. The (VERY) limited extent to which they believe that God is merciful, just and does not ‘charge a soul with more then they can bear’ is a prime example of this.

    They certainly do not believe that God will be very merciful towards most of humanity, not only in the next life but seemingly this one, for expecting people to follow rules not mentioned in his revaluation, but rather reports from people who heard the companions of one of his messengers, and worse, ones which also contain more ‘lenient’ views which must of course be discounted. Essentially ‘if theres any doubt, make it haram to be sure.’ This is of course as bad or worse then wrongly claiming that forbidden things are allowed; not only will it make adherents of the faith overburdened and resentful, but it will deter non believers from being interested in a religion which they see as austere with countless arbitrary regulations.

    Even if this doesnt convince you, I think you should not fear accidentally encountering music. You can’t usually control what other people do and you cant avoid interacting with other people or being in their vicinity. You would definitely do far more damage to the well being of others and yourself by avoiding other people or clamping your hands over your ears etc when you hear music. Of course, puritans love to boast about how they’re willing to alienate themselves from wider society by doing this.

    @rektfaith: I dont think the Qur’an states that humans are created ‘perfectly’ in the sense of being flawless. Certainly not in a moral sense anyway; in that sense, humans are born with a clean slate, the understanding of what is good, but are also weak.

    From a physical perspective, everything on this earth might be ‘perfect’ in the sense that it is made as God intended but that does not mean ‘flawless.’ In fact, the idea of a flawless organism on this earth is pretty much a logical absurdity (which is why atheists who say that ‘God doesnt exist because look at how imperfect life is….our eye could have been better is X and Y were different’ are chatting nonsense). For example, a lion could be ‘better’ if it had high carbon steel claws loaded with venom. The zebra, its pray though could be ‘better’ if its skin was made out of kevlar. We could keep going until we essentially have a predator with infinite killing capabilities and a prey with infinite evasion capabilities. Which one would win? We essentially have a clash of infinities.

    I am not specifically arguing in favor of circumcision here except to say that no organism is or even can be ‘perfect,’ which seems to be the premise of ‘why is circumcision allowed if we were created perfectly?’

  2. @Adil.

    Thanks. I think what you said makes MUCH more sense than what I’ve heard from Salafist, etc, and it really helps me see how absurd how I was being with regards to this issue. It really baffled me how something like this is audio pornography or whatever crap NAK says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cjAOJ5qRWA.

    I guess my issues is that for so long I’ve thought Islam as a religion that prevents any happiness, and is more of “do this or do that, or else eternal Hellfire!”. You’re interpretation seems more in accordance with common sense, and thanks again. Also do you think it’s okay to hear a women’s singing voice as for me when I hear women singing I don’t feel any sexual desire at all, and just enjoy it for its own sake.

    • In my humble opinion I can’t see a problem at all.

      Something which I may write about in future is that a big problem with many Muslim spokespeople is that their understanding of secular issues is atrocious. Whilst the likes of Zakir Naik, NAK etc are good at recalling verses, hadiths etc and NAK in particular may be good at linguistics, when they give essentially secular justifications for what they think is allowed or forbidden they often just end up looking silly.

      Muslims, even laypeople should be encouraged to question the essentially secular arguments put forward by Muslim apologists, as these people are laymen also when it comes to such issues*. The example that you cited; music being auditary porn; its nonsense. Sure, some lyrics in some songs are vile and sexually depraved but then so are many books; that doesnt make books inherantly bad. A lot of music is soothing and spiritual; and not in a way that ‘takes us away’ from God either. I would have far more respect if the argument was just ‘God says its forbidden and we don’t know why.’

      Same when it comes to topics like hijaab and pork. Zakir naik and others have argued that the hijaab is essentially an anti rape device as justification for wearing it. I am all for Hijaab but this secular justification is silly; and in fact women in hijaab in Europe and America are probably more likely to get harassed and abused. And don’t even get me started on Pork; the ‘scientific’ reasons given for not eating it that Ive seen shared on social media (originating from zakir naik I think) are just laughable (apparently pigs eat tumours, contain parasites which are impervious to heating, regularly consume their own waste and pork contains no effective nutrition anyway) and again, not found in any Islamic texts. Tim Winter handles this one here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgDTzrUYXy0

      *Talking about things one is clueless about isnt of course exclusive to Muslim apologists, the worst people of all are probably secular liberal apologists. Not that I ever gave them much credence but as I continue to learn more about history, science and religion the more I realise just how much verbal effluent they’re talking. They are utterly clueless about history, and even most soundbites they ‘know’ are wrong or taken out of context. The percieved role of the church for example as being solely antagonistic towards science when it actually funded most of it in the middle ages (an era which most people know virtually nothing about, but think they do) is a prime example. Their philosophy is completely inept (they tend not to know that their own founding fathers like John Locke would have excommunicated them for their atheism and are never honest enough to admit that objective morality is at the very least, on shaky grounds in a solely materialistic world), and ironically very anti intellectual; when one points out the secular causes of most wars or genocides commited by atheistic regimes or for that matter the deep religiousity of most scientists prior to the 20th century you will rarely find any meaningful engagement beyond (excuse my french) butthurt reponses full of cognitive dissonance and IT WASNT IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM.

    • Nouman Ali Khan is Salafi – so I don’t even listen to them about God let alone Music.

      Also, what’s wrong with getting sexually aroused, even at music? How do you think the human race came about?

      Brother, if you listen to Salafi scholars and rules, your life will be full of guilt and very difficult. Please try to read some of the articles on this site and see if that helps you get an idea of the mentality of certain Islamic groups and the types of fatwas they give. The we can address any specific questions you have.

      If Music is to be banned because some of it is bad things or sexually arousing, then we have to ban books as well. Actually Salafis did this in Saudi where they banned the Bible.

  3. Thanks for the help everyone. I asked about women’s voice because someone on Avicenna Answers said something about singing voice being awrah here:http://www.avicennaanswers.com/gender-segregation-in-islam/, and I as you’ve seen I find it baffling because these Avicenna Answers as this site has said are are pretty good generally but like I said I in general find this weird as I don’t get aroused by a women’s singing voice at all.

    You’ve truly allowed me to get past my absurd issues. I would like to ask which guys I should avoid listening to. I already know NAK, Zakir Naik, IERA, and Bilal Phillips, but which other people should I watch out for?

  4. @Adil

    “IT WASNT IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM.”

    Whether it was in the name of atheism is debatable, as there are indeed many overlaps between religion and totalitarian ideology, and varying degrees of people claiming to be both religious and believing in totalitarism (for example people who call themselves Christian communists).

    But it was definitely in the name of Science and scientific progress. This is the one common denominator of all modern totalitarian ideologies. Did you know, for example, that when Chinese communists took over a remote, isolated village, the first thing they indoctrinated the people with was not class warfare or the communist economic system, but the theory of evolution ?

    So, contrary to what the mainstream media tell us, if anyone has some self-criticism to do, it should be Science and not Religion. Statistically the religious factor and the totalitarian factor appear in the most diverse combinations, indicating they are independent and unrelated.

    • Absolutely true.
      Have you come across Bryan Appleyard’s ‘Understanding the Present: An Alternative History of Science’?
      It explores these issues you mention wonderfully.
      He also has some choice words for Protestants.

  5. Aslamu’Alaykum all. First of all, I would just like to say that this is an amazing website that i have been using for quite some time. It has answered and is answering the doubts of many young Muslims caught between two extremes – the puritanical Salafi mindset which demands one to accept a violent, miserable and repressive version of the faith, and the modern (or Postmodern) West which is universalizing that liberalism, secularism, individualism (in a very extreme form) and reinforced by fellow ideologies such as feminism, is the only way to live on this Planet and and alternatives to this model are non-existent. It’s not that there isn’t any room for some, I stress some, secularism or liberalism to exist in an Islamic context as Sherman A. Jackson (a Maliki Ashari) argues quite persuasively (my opinion, feel free to disagree) in this document below e.g. traffic laws would not necessarily be Islamic and pertain more to a secular understanding (although i have seen fatwas on ‘Islamic traffic lights!)

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiLzd3NoqfSAhXhCcAKHdrFAhcQFggaMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alimprogram.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F12%2FThe-Affects-of-Liberalism-Secularism-and-Atheism-on-the-American-Mosque.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFV6un8rc1ebhd8RteznOAX5FqTuA&bvm=bv.147448319,d.bGs

    So I would like to thank the authors/contributors to this website as I can see, at least from the outer (I cannot judge the inward for that belongs only to Allah), a sincere drive to help rectify this modern crisis. It is also nice to see a Catholic engaging constructively – heck his responses are way better than most Dawah carriers today. (Should we Muslims be embarrassed?)

    Moving on, I’d like to add to the current conversation myself insha’allah. i am going to reproduce verbatim the words of Alija Ali Izetbegovic (1925-2003), the 1st President of Bosnia in his magnum opus ‘Islam Between East and West’ (Chapter 1 ‘Creation and Evolution’, p.32-40)

    “Man is not tailored according to Darwin, nor is the universe tailored to Newton.

    To strive for enjoyment and to flee from pain — with this lapidary sentence, two great materialistic thinkers, Epicurus in antiquity and Holbach in modern times, defined the basic principles of life, not only of human life but also than of animals. Materialism always stresses what is common to animals and humans, while religion stresses what makes them different. The meaning of some cults and religious prohibitions is only to underline these differences.

    In its effort to emphasize the animal nature of human beings, materialism sometimes shows more than a common concern for truth. A good example of this is the stubborn insistence that sexual relations were completely free during a great part of prehistory. Every woman belonged to every man and every man to every woman. Engels openly admitted that there is no direct proof that it was really so, but still he continued to insist upon it in his The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. Not scientific truth but ideological decision is the decisive factor here.

    Darwin did not make man an animal, but he made him aware of his animal origin. Out of this “awareness,” the others continued to draw the “appropriate conclusions,” both moral and political: a human society is a flock in civilized form, and civilization is the human awakening which goes accompanied with the rejection of prohibitions, power over nature, living with the senses instead of the spirit, and so forth.

    By establishing the unity (or continuation) between animal and man, evolution abolished the difference between nature and culture. Starting from a quite different point, religion reestablished this difference. Therefore, from the act of creation, man — and all culture with him — inexorably has opposed the whole development of human history. The divergence between culture and civilization began here. While Camus indicated that “Man is an animal which refuses to be so,” Whitehead saw in this negation the essence of the religious attitude, “this great rejection.” Religion seems to say: look what the animals do, and do the opposite; they devour — you should fast; they mate — you should abstain; they live in flocks — you should try to live alone; they strive for enjoyment and flee from pain — you should expose yourself to difficulties. In a word, they live with their bodies, but you should live with your spirit.

    Rejection of this zoological position, this “negative desire” which cannot be explained by Darwinian and rational theories, is the crucial fact of human life on this planet. This fact may be the human damnation or privilege, but is the only specific quality which makes one a human being.

    In reality, there exist both a complete parallelism and an absolute incongruity between man and animal. We find conformity in the biological, constitutional — that is, the mechanical aspect, but on the other hand, there is actually no parallel since an animal is innocent, sinless, and morally neutral like a thing. Man is never so and from the moment “animal became humanized,” from the dramatic “prologue in heaven,” or from the famous “fall to earth,” man cannot choose to be an innocent animal. Man was set “free without the option to return,” and so every Freudian solution is excluded. From that moment on, he could no longer be an animal or a man; he could only be man or non-man.

    If man was simply the most perfect animal, his life would be simple and without mysteries. Still, since is not so because he is a “worm of the earth and a child of heaven” and because he was created, he is a disharmonious being, and Euclid’s harmony is not possible. Not only our fundamental truth but also our sins and vices are based on the fact of the creation.

    There we find our human dignity, moral striving, and tragedies as well as our dilemmas, dissatisfaction, damnation, cruelty, and malice. An animal knows none of them and in this lies the meaning of this epoch-making moment.

    The question of creation is really the question of human freedom. If one accepts that man has no freedom, that all his action are predetermined — either by what is inside or what is outside him — one may consider that God is not necessary for an explanation and understanding of the world. However, if one gives man freedom, if one considers him responsible, one recognizes the existence of God, tacitly or openly. Only God was able to create a free creature, and freedom could only arise by the act of creation. Freedom is not the result of product of evolution. Freedom and product are disparate ideas. God does not product or construct. He creates. We used to say the same for artists, for the artist who constructs does not create a personality but rather a poster of man. A personality cannot be constructed. I do not know what a portrait could mean without God. Maybe, sooner or later, during this century or after a million years of continued civilization, man will succeed in constructing an imitation of himself, a kind of robot or monster, something very similar to its constructor. This human-looking monster may look very much like a man, but one this is certain: it will not have freedom, it will be able to do only what it has been programmed to do. In this lies the greatness of God’s creation which cannot be repeated or compared with anything that has happened before or after the cosmos. In one eon of eternity, a free bing started to exist. Without a divine touch, the result of evolution would not have been man, but rather a more developed animal, a super-animal, a creature with a human body and intelligence but without a heart and personality. Its intelligence without moral scruples might even be more efficient but, at the same time, more cruel. Some people imagine this type of creature as coming from a far planet; others see it as a product of our civilization on some high level of development. There is such a creature in Goethe’s Faust, but it is a quasi-man — a homunculus. It should be noted that there is no analogy between this cruelly indifferent creature, homunculus, and the worst criminal. Man can choose to go against the moral laws, but he cannot, as a monster, stay out of the moral sphere, beyond good and evil. He cannot “switch off” himself.

    Practical moral experience shows man’s greater inclination to sin than his striving to do good. His ability to fall deep into sin seems to be greater than to soar up into the heights of virtue. Negative personalities always seem truer than positive ones, and the poet who describes negative characters has an advantage over the one who describes heroes.

    Anyhow, men are always good or bad but never innocent, and this could be the ultimate meaning of the biblical story about the fall, the original sin. From the moment of the expulsion from paradise, Adam (man) could not rid himself of his freedom, nor escape from the drama, to be as innocent as an animal or an angel. He has to choose, to use his freedom, to be good or evil; in one word, to be man. This ability to choose, regardless of result, is the highest form of existence possible in the universe.

    Man has a soul, but psychology is not the science about it. There cannot exist a science about the soul. Psychology deals with some forms of apparent inner life. This is why it is possible to talk about psycho-physiology, psychometry, psycho-hygiene, and the physics of the psyche. The possibility of quantitative psychology confirms the thesis of the outer, mechanical, and quantitative, that is, the soulless nature of thought and feeling. Animal and human psychology may complement each other, for psychology has nothing to do with the soulnly with the psychological manifestations. John Watson writes: “Human psychology, as understood by behaviorism, must be built upon the example of the objective and experimental psychology of animals, borrowing from its way of examining, its method, and its aim. As such, there do not exist two types of psychology (human and animal), separated from each other; by an iron curtain, not knowing each other; having basically different objects, methods, and aims; but only one psychology which takes its place among the natural sciences.” This quotation needs no comment. If we use Islamic terms, we may say that psychology is the science of the nafsand not of the rūh, that is, a science on the biological and not on the personal level. There are three circles (the mechanical, the biological, and the personal) which correspond to the three degrees of reality (matter, life, and personality). This way of thinking leads to the application of the scientific method, which always implies an absolute causality, and this by itself means the negation of freedom which is the essence of the soul. Our attempt to “study” the soul in psychology brings us necessarily to the negation of the “subject of study.” There is no way out of the bewitched circle.

    The equality and brotherhood of people is possible only if man is created by God. The equality of man is a spiritual and not a natural, physical, or intellectual fact. It exists as a moral quality of man, as the human dignity, as the equal value of the human personality. On the contrary, as physical, thinking, and social beings; as members of groups, classes, political groupings, and nations; people are always very unequal. If man’s spiritual value is not recognized — this fact of religious character — the only real base of human equality is lost. Equality, then, becomes a mere phrase without a base and content and, as such, it will soon retreat, faced with the evident facts of human inequality or with the natural human desire to rule and to obey and thus to be unequal. As soon as the religious approach is removed, the empty room is filed by different forms of inequality — racial, national, social, or political.

    Man’s dignity could not be discovered by biology, psychology, or by any other science. Man’s dignity is a spiritual question. After “objective observations,” it is easier for science to confirm the inequality of man, and so, “scientific racism” is quite possible and even logical.

    Humanism is not charity, forgiveness, and tolerance, although that is the necessary result of it. Humanism is primarily the affirmation of man and his freedom, namely, of his value as a man.

    Everything that debases man’s personality, that brings him down to a thing, is inhuman. For instance, it is human to state that man is responsible for his deeds and to punish him. It is not human to ask him to regret, to change his mind, to “improve,” and to be pardoned. It is more human to prosecute a man for his beliefs than to force him to renounce them, giving him the well-known chance called “taking into consideration his sincere attitude.” So, there are punishments which are human, and pardonings which are most inhuman. The inquisitors claimed that they burned the body to save the soul. Modern inquisitors do the opposite: they “burn” the soul as the compensation for the body.

    To reduce a man to the function of a producer and a consumer, even if every man is give his place in production and consumption, does not signal humanism but dehumanization.

    To drill people to produce correct and disciplined citizens is likewise inhuman.

    Education, too, can be inhuman: if it is one-sided, directed, and indoctrinated; if it does not teach one to think independently, if it only gives ready-made answers; if it prepares people only for different functions instead of broadening their horizons and thereby their freedom.

    Every manipulation of people, even if it is done in their own interest, is inhuman. To think for them and to free them from their responsibilities and obligations is also inhuman. Our quality of man obliges us. When God gave man the ability to choose and threatened him with severe punishments, He confirmed in the highest way the value of man as a man. We have to follow the example set by God: let us leave man to struggle for himself, instead of doing it for him.

    Without religion and the concept of man’s ever-striving spirit, as stated in the “prologue in heaven,” there is no authentic belief of man as the highest value. Without it, there is no belief that man as man is at all possible and that he really exists. Atheistic humanism is a contradiction because if there is no God, then there is no man either. Also, if there is no man, humanism is a phrase without essence. The one who does not acknowledge the creation of man does not understand the real meaning of humanism. Since he has lost his basic standard, he will always reduce humanism to the production of goods and their distribution according to need. To make sure that all people are fed is of course a matter of great concern, but knowing affluent societies of today, we cannot be sure that in this way we would get a better and more humane world. It would be even less humane if the ideas of some people about general leveling, uniformity, and depersonification were put into practice. In such a world, as described by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, there would be no social problems, and evenness, uniformity, and stability would reign everywhere. Nonetheless, all of us consciously or instinctively reject this vision as an example of general dehumanization.

    “Man is a product of his environment” — this basic postulate of materialism served as the starting point of all subsequent inhuman human beings, which in our time reached monstrous proportions during the time of Nazism and Stalinism. All other similar seductive theories of society’s priority over individuals, of man’s obligation to serve society, and so forth, belong here as well. Man must not serve anybody; he must not be a means. Everything must serve man, and man must serve God only. This is the ultimate meaning of humanism.”

    • As a Christian, I am also glad to finally hear a Muslim say something intelligent about original sin. Obviously I’m not saying that there are no sharp differences between Islam and Christianity, but I’ve always said that original sin is one of those issues that Muslims oppose merely by reflex without any thinking.

    • Even according to the people who say that mahrem is needed, it is only for long journeys, not all journeys out of the house.

  6. @dantenerokg

    “But seriously, which people should I avoid?”

    The problem is, if you plan on seperating yourself completely from all people who frequently talk rubbish (i.e. mostly everybody today), you’ll end up living as a hermit on a desert mountain.
    The important thing is knowing who or what you’re listening to. Learn to turn a distracted ear when, out of necessity, you’re exposed to Salafi stuff. Isn’t patience a virtue that’s highly praised in the Qur’an ?
    The Qur’an also warns you that you’ll be tested.
    Even the dumbest Salafi preacher can be inspiring sometimes.
    St. Paul’s advice to “try a little bit of everything and keep the good part” is pertinent.

  7. I see your point, but I’m pretty introverted already so I could survive the hermit lifestyle. I’d rather be alone than listen to garbage. Your advice is good though, but for me I’m not really sure what is the good, and the true right now. I’m asking for a general overview on who to avoid so I can figure this stuff out.

    • I’ve stopped listening to pretty much anyone but Shaykh Atabek Shukurov, with occasional forays into Mufti Abu Layth al-Maliki and Dr. Shabir Ally material. I also can’t recommend highly enough Shaykh Atabek’s book on Hanafi hadith methodology.

  8. @dantenerokg Your question would probably be easier to answer if you started by giving us a list of Muslim public speakers you usually listen to or usually happen to hear rather than talking about all speakers in a very abstract way.

  9. Well the ones I hear the most are people like IERA, Nouman Ali Khan, Yasir Qadhi, Mufti Menk, Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Omar Suleiman, Shabir Ally, and people from Seekers Hub. Org. Also are some of these people really that bad as people like NAK or IERA do speak out against racism, terrorism, and other issues?

    • Do you think that people in the West can do anything OTHER than speak out against terrorism or racism?
      So can we give them credit for that?
      And if they say ‘we are not racist, but Arabs are superior’ or ‘we are against terrorism but support Syrian rebels’ do you understand what they mean?

  10. And how exactly are the likes of NAK, Yasir Qadhi, etc Salafist? I see it with IERA but not these two exactly?

    • A) Either read all of the stuff we have said about Salafis and their aqeeda on this site

      Or

      B) anyone who follows Ibn Taymiyya is Salafi, just as anyone who follows Martin Luther is Protestant.

      • I already told you that if you want to learn then Atabek Shukurov or Mahmut ‘Chuck’ Connors are the only people I recommend. You asked for advice, I gave it based on my experience.
        I’m not going to give you a list of all the ‘bad’ ones or famous or not famous. That would be stupid.
        Like someone asking what they shouldn’t eat. It’s easier to name what they SHOULD eat isn’t it, rather than listing all of the stuff that is bad from a to z.
        Tim Winter is okay too but too scared to speak out on stuff like Music.

  11. Oh, I missed that one on first reading : “Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther all agreeing on forced conversion of the heathen”

    I don’t care much about what Calvin or Luther said, but about Augustine or Aquinas I suspect that this is wrong. Do you have a quote ? If Aquinas believed in forced conversion, why would he have taken the trouble to write the Summa Contra Gentiles.

    By the way, maybe I am under-informed but I do not know of any individual case of any non-Christian “converted by force” to Catholicism (Christian heretics and apostates are another matter). All I hear is longish narrative chains like “Professor X quotes Professor Y as saying that Professor Z reported that according to Professor T, Catholics are sort of guilty of a lot of sort of forced conversions …” A huge generality with no concrete example it seems. Do Muslims who make similar claims have a name ? Just asking …

  12. I also have another question. Is what this wikipedia article claims about Sharia on regards to sentencing about the life of Muslim women, Jews, Christians, Atheist, and polytheist being less than that of a Muslim man’s in terms of compensation true?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia#Sentencing

    The source it claims is from Anver Emon who does specialize in Islamic Legal History at University of Toronto but I’m still skeptical as it seems to contradict the idea of “Whoever takes a life, it is as if he has killed all of mankind”?

    • Thanks. Also mmmclmru what do you think of punishment of the grave? I know Muatazillites thought it was not true due to hadith about it being ahad, but some people argue the hadith about them are muttawattir in meaning, so we should accept it. Also some say people like Abu Hanifa said it is disbelief not to believe in it, but I’ve seen articles where it seems to contradict the Quran so I’m not sure where to stand on this.

    • What do you mean it’s not rational? Sounds like a valid reason to have issues with it to me? So you’re just going to accept it because of the rule ‘I said so’?

  13. How’s it going, I hope you don’t mind me asking some question about Islam. I apologize in advance for the bluntness of the questions, and I hope I am not condescending in any way when I ask them.

    1. First of all why are there so many negative hadith reports if they are all false, like the banu Qurayza incident or the blind man killing the Jewish slave who criticized the prophet, and the marriage of Aisha, what are they doing there in the first place? How can so many scholars believe the moon split when all the other civilizations around havent seen it happen? Why did so many scholars report on and agree with those reports even if only your school of thought (Hanafism) disagreed with them, it’s three on one isn’t it? Why did so many contradictory hadiths make it in to the volumes that are considered most authentic?
    2. I have read in a hadith that a woman approached the prophet and asked him why women were not mentioned in the Quran and then later the prophet received a revelation that mentioned women, doesn’t that seem suspicious that only after the woman complained that the revelation began to include women? Why didn’t the previous revelation include women before? Doesn’t it seem that at times the prophet is acting on his own will?
    3. Why did the Quran come only in Arabic and not in other languages as well or in a universal language? If it came for all peoples and all times why does it only have Semitic/African references?
    4. Why does the Quran mention the Torah and the gospels as single revelations when they are split up into many books? Why does Injeel mean? I don’t recall Jesus receiving any scriptures or Abraham for that matter, where is the body of the pharaoh that was said to be preserved for future generations to see?
    5. How do Muslims explain human evolution when their texts claim Adam was created?
    6. How do you respond to those that claim Muslims slaughtered thousands of people in India when they arrived (according to Will Durant)? How do you respond to the accusation that the Arab slave trade was no different than that of the European one, and that Islam is just another racial supremacist religion but with Arabs instead of Europeans (according to Woke BLM and Hoteps)? Or that European colonialism was just a response to the Muslim conquests? Why were there Muslim conquests to begin with if Jihad was only for defense?
    7. Why did the prophet not end slavery right then and there? Why let it continue on for so long?
    8. Why are there blasphemy laws to begin with regardless of punishment? Don’t blasphemy laws make god and the prophet look weak that they need laws to protect them from insult, does the religion needs brute force? Why can’t it take criticism even if it is in an insulting manner?
    9. Why does god allow men to hit women if the Quran admits that men are stronger than women and that they are their protectors?
    10. Isn’t it strange that the prophet forgot what Jerusalem looked like after the night journey, but suddenly remembered it in detail afterwards?

    Thank you for reading the questions and again I hope I was not rude in any way shape or form when asking my questions.

    • Sorry but I have two more questions I forgot to add to the list:

      11. What are Muslims thought on Alien life, If God created intelligent life in another solar system, would Muhammad also be their Last Prophet? Did they have other Prophets? If they did wouldn’t that contradict with the statement that all the prophets are related by blood?

      12. Does the Qu’ran say that the intellect is in the heart or the soul? If someone gets a heart transplant does that mean their soul is being removed?

    • Also:
      13. If we were to invent Artificial intelligence would it have a soul? Or does it have to be Organic? I’ve read that angels breath in the soul after six months, would they breathe it into a machine if it were to gain consciousnesses?

      • Sorry to sound like a broken record but:

        14. Why did god allow his message to be distorted through out the ages? Why does god need abrogation, why didn’t he just send Islam as it were to begin with instead of allowing confusion through out the ages?

      • No problems – I’ll mention these issues.
        But first can you explain why you are posting questions without appearently having read the article you are posting on?

        I only mention this because y’know, when I said that it was saddening that people don’t read the articles and then ask questions, vis a vis your questions on hadith, you didn’t exactly come back and say ‘no dude, I read it but it didn’t help’ etc.

        Isn’t that a bit entitled?

        I’m not aiming this at you, but look at other threads: there are times when I’ve written 10 page replies in the comments section and then the plonker asking hasn’t got back to me. So I’m not playing that game again. Because Muslims act like professional piss takers if you let them.

        So first, did you read the article, and secondly, what about the issue of blasphemy that you clearly hadn’t thought through imho.

        Sorry, no offence intended, it’s just we need to ensure some reciprocity in light of people taking advantage recently.

      • You can also read my comment in this thread from 21st February for an example of what I mean.

        It may be useful for you too.

  14. @Gill

    “Why did so many contradictory hadiths make it in to the volumes that are considered most authentic?”

    Perhaps you should direct that question to the people who consider them most authentic, not to their critics (such as the Asharis Assemble team).

    “only after the woman complained that the revelation began to include women? Why didn’t the previous revelation include women before?”

    Even leaving aside the authenticity question, does the hadith really say that there a “previous revelation” (between the Tawrat/Injeel and the Qur’an) and does it really say that the Qur’an would not have included Surah An-Nisa if the woman hadn’t complained ?

    “Why did the Quran come only in Arabic and not in other languages as well or in a universal language?”

    Can you name one “universal language” ?
    If the Quran had come in several different languages, that would have put a strong additional burden on anyone wishing to learn Islam seriously, as they would be morally required to be acquainted with all the different versions.

    “Why does the Quran mention the Torah and the gospels as single revelations when they are split up into many books? Why does Injeel mean?”

    The most obvious and likely meaning of Tawrat and Injeel in the Qur’an is that of “Sharia”(=specific set of laws=specific alliance with God), not that of a set of books. In Judaism, “Torah” also very often means the law, and in Christianity also, the Gospel in the singular means the message of Christianity.

    “How do Muslims explain human evolution when their texts claim Adam was created?”

    Muslims or anyone else have no obligation to accept the theory of evolution.

    “Why did the prophet not end slavery right then and there? Why let it continue on for so long?”

    There is no question of an utopical “end of slavery” (anymore than an “end of stealing” or an “end of fornication”), only the question of its containment, prevention and punishment.

    What historical event are you alluding to, what did the Prophet do (and when) that he should have done earlier ?

    “Don’t blasphemy laws make god and the prophet look weak”

    Only if blasphemy laws are not taken seriously. In the West, generations of liberals have complained that religious laws made God look too strong.

    “does the religion needs brute force?”

    Organized brute force is an unescapable given of human social interaction (which is even shared by all animal species that have clans).
    The real question is, if organized brute force should not serve religion (as the modern, liberal Western consensus goes today) then who/what should it serve.

    “Why can’t it [religion] take criticism even if it is in an insulting manner?”

    Does honest criticsm really need all that insulting (and blasphemy as you say) ?
    What does insulting add to constructive criticism ?
    Can you give us an example of criticism where insult is needed (or improves the message) ?

    • @Catholic Commentator

      Thank you for your answers most of them made sense but there is a part of the blaspheme question that kind of bother me.

      Why must one punish a blasphemer? I can understand kicking out some one because they are screaming obscenities in a Church/Mosque but why should something like Charlie Hebdo (A degenerate and disgraceful group of human beings I must add) be silenced?

      Thank you for your responses.

    • @Catholic Commentator

      First of all thank you for taking the time and answering my questions, but I do have to ask you to elaborate on your comment on Evolution,

      “Muslims or anyone else have no obligation to accept the theory of evolution.”

      I believe in God, but the evidence does seem kind of compelling, especially with the paleontological and Archaeological findings of early Human like creatures. What is your response towards these findings?

      • Check out my responses regarding evolution below. Anyone who has seriously studied evolution knows it to be a fact and that includes Muslims evolutionary biologist, and Christians ones like the people at Biologos, and Fatima Jackson, etc. Denying it is like denying gravity. Catholic Commenter is good for religious issues but with regards to evolution last time he sent me a link to creation.com a creationist website who argue the earth is 6000 years old, and deny science, and have been widely discredited by actual scientist so no offence to him at all, but be a little on your guard with his response.

        Also check this out by another Muslim person who has studied evolution, and accepted it truths:https://mohamedghilan.com/2014/04/06/on-muslims-evolution/

        The problem with his response is that even if we have no obligation to believe these things that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accept the truth. We don’t have obligations to believe 2+2=4, does that mean we can deny it or not believe in it? Furthermore this leaves one open to many anti-intellectual positions because we can simply not “believe” in stuff due to lack of obligation. What would you do if an Islamophobe replied “he has no obligation to accept the facts discrediting his claims on Islam being violent, spread by the sword, etc”. This positions KILLS rational dialogue, and lets people end up talking past one another, with no advancements made. Denying the truth for personal reasons is dangerous as President Evil Von Stupid is proving.

      • Anyone who is as foolish to think that ANY version of evolutionary theory is as certain as 2+2 is not qualified to enter the discussion.

        Likewise, people who think that archaeology or paleantology are the main evidence for evolution didn’t study even the basics and should not discuss these matters.

        I think you are both suffering from Millennial Syndrome – getting too excited and opinionated without any experience or knowledge.

        Biologists do not dare to use such evidence amongst scientists (it is reserved for the gullible public). The main evidence they themselves use is genetics.

      • Ghilan is not an evolutionary biologist- he is an idiot salafi fan boy and his articles on evolution are laughable and show he doesn’t know basic biology.

        BTW, I do believe in (*most) evolution and I still you guys ‘proofs’ (YouTube videos and Muslim scientists who again are not qualified or senior and crappy blogs) are utterly laughable.

        If you believe stuff like that, you will believe anything.
        Please wise up.

      • If one doesn’t know enough about something (and unless you have conducted post graduate level research in molecular genetics, I assure you that you DON’T know enough), the SENSIBLE thing is to remain agnostic or sit on the fence or if that’s too hard (and it seems to be the case for you people), then believe but dispassionately.

        I worked professionally in research biology for many years and let me tell you, the pressure to accept the orthodoxy was a lot. But I still have backbone and think critically.

        You guys…honestly.
        All it takes is a YouTube video or a internet waffler and away you go.

      • Well I’m not offering my videos as “proof” of evolution, just to show how it can reconciled in Islam. And why do you think Ghilan is a salafi fanboy as you said one time he was one of the best writers on the net? I’m confused. I would also like to ask how do you personally reconcile evolution with Adam(pbuh), and what is the story of evolution according to you?

      • Also, you always see people like Dawkins and other foolish people saying things like ‘evolution is as well proven as gravity’.

        Have you ever heard a physicist say something like ‘gravity is as well proven as evolution’.

        Never. Because they aren’t that stupid.

      • DID they reconcile it with Islam?

        I’ve always said Ghilan’s articles on evolution are rubbish.

        And he is a fanboy. He’s trying to play ‘both sides’.

        Being Salafi or atheist or pagan doesn’t stop you being good at writing. Anyway, that was before he started helping Salafis.

        So instead of getting angry and emotional, stay relaxed and don’t get emotional about things that you DIDN’T study deeply (*not your fault, that would take years).

        Why do I have to provide you my position when you give a categorical opinion without any basis (apart from that its popular)?

        I’m a normal person: I don’t form opinions until I have enough data and understanding.

        Neither the Quranic account nor the various increasingly confused revisions of ‘Evolution’ provide enough basis for me to form an opinion anyway.

      • And believing 2+2 =4 IS an obligation.
        Rejecting rational proof is kufr.
        Because then you can reject anything.

  15. “4. Why does the Quran mention the Torah and the gospels as single revelations when they are split up into many books? Why does Injeel mean? I don’t recall Jesus receiving any scriptures or Abraham for that matter, where is the body of the pharaoh that was said to be preserved for future generations to see?”

    The Torah is one single revelation that was given to Moses. This is what the Jews and Christians believe too. The rest of the Jewish Bible is not the Torah and not referred as Torah in the Qur’an.

    The question of the Injeel/Gospel however is more complicated. The word “Injeel” is without doubt coming from the Greek “euangelion”. The Gospels we know today are not really compatible with Islam unlike the Torah. Many Christian apologetics suggest therefore that the Qur’an is ignorant about what the Gospel actually was and used the Greek word for it. Although there should be said much more about this issue I will explain something shortly now.

    What should be kept in mind when thinking about the Injeel in the Qur’an is this verse:

    “..and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.” Qur’an 5:46

    So the Gospel is only there to confirm the law of the Torah and give some further guidance. The four Gospels do contain something of this and there were many differences in opinion regarding exactly these issues in early Christianity that are recorded very well.

    The objection about the Greek origin of the “Injeel” can be answered by the fact that he aramaized form of this Greek word is also used in the Syriac Bible. So even the Semitic Christians of that time did not know the original word for Gospel used by Jesus in his tongue. Therefore it is understandable that the Qur’an chose to use the Greek word.

  16. @Amar-Kareem Guimba

    The article in question declares that killing blasphemers is forbidden in the Hanafi school of thought not that there should be no punishment at all:

    “Jassas stated in his book ‘Mukhtasar Ikhtilaf’ in the chapter titled ‘Dhimmi (Non-Muslim living in lands controlled by Muslims) insulting the Prophet’ (ﷺ) that according to Hanafi Imams, aDhimmi (recall, this is a non-Muslim citizen of an ‘Islamic State’) is not killed but insteadta’dheer (discretionary punishment, which is a maximum of lashing twenty nine) is applicable.[viii]”

    “So as you see that Hanafis are quite clear about this issue even when related to an insult in a public context.”

    Why should public blaspheme be punished? And i’m not talking about people parading in the street naked throwing their feces at people and mocking god and religion like self parodying monkeys(see Femen).

    • Please look up what the word ‘discretionary’ means.

      If I live in a country where there are a lot of Chinese people, and I decide to start insulting them and that causes riots or frictiom between communites then that’s fine is it? It should have NO consequences or punishment at all? Not even a warning or a fine?

      How about Holocaust denial? In the West people are jailed for that and for urinating on war memorials etc.
      But you are worried that there may be a small punishment (ranging from nothing to 39 lashes) for blasphemy because ‘that makes God look weak’. So does outlawing Holocaust denial make Jewish brothers look weak?

      So I’m afraid you didn’t think this through – and yes, that makes you look like a Social Justice Warrior.

      There is no such thing as unconditional freedom of speech anywhere in the West. So why is it that it’s blasphemy laws that are keeping you up at night.

      Also, a lot of personal here keep asking questions like ‘what about this hadith or the hadith that says so and so’.

      I can only imagine that you guys haven’t read the site, the book we feature on the site nor the article you are commenting on. Obviously that hurts my feelings.

      In those, I made it clear that isolated hadith don’t prove anything for me or my version of Islam. If you accept these Sahih hadith as ‘facts’ (I have already explained in this article and articles like ‘Blackmail With Bukhari’ why any and all ahad and sahih hadith are deniable and doubtful) then you have to ask Salafis to answer the doubts.
      Hanafis don’t get stressed about hadith and certainly don’t take them as facts or into belief.

      • “and yes, that makes you look like a Social Justice Warrior.”

        Getting an education in the west does that to you, even those who claim to be conservative usually end up being SJWs (at least when it comes to other cultures/religions). SJW movements tend to be enlightenment philosophy devouring itself like a snake eating its own tail as is the case with most secular philosophies.

  17. Also the article quoted this: “Remember, according to Imam Abu Hanifa the minimum punishment of ta’dheer is a stern look and the maximum is thirty nine lashes.” I don’t know if blasphemy falls under the maximum punishment, and I think maybe others could specify this more clearly.

    • You also need to look up the meaning of ‘discretionary’.
      If something is discretionary then it can’t be mandated to be maximum or minimum anything. It is DISCRETIONARY.

      It can be NOTHING or anything up to 39 lashes down to the DISCRETION of a magistrate.

      If something HAS to be done it’s no longer discretionary or in Arabic ‘tadheer’.

      • Would you get angry if I said it was out of laziness? But in all seriousness I should have read the articles before I commented but like many in my generation (millennial) I was too lazy to do the research (by just looking through the website) that is a character flaw on my part and I apologize.

        As for the entitlement yes growing up spoiled unfortunately does that to you too. I think many commentators/questioners on websites generally don’t do research before they comment and just want people to give them answers (again a problem among younger generations in general) living in a world of instant gratification often molds in the mind in a way that makes one intellectually lazy.

        But thank you for putting up with my questions anyway, even if you’ve answered them a million times before. I apologize once again for my sloth and I thank you for your endurance with my question.

  18. Also I have my own question.

    1. Under Islamic rule does the Jizya still apply today, and a common allegation raised is that Dhimmis are treated as second class citizens according to this wikipedia article (I know it’s wikipedia but this is where Islamophobes get most of their sources anyway, and clearing this up would be a good place to start) under restrictions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi#Restrictions. And do the claims by IERA’s chairmen like ‘The purpose of the jizya is to make the Jew and the Christian know that they are inferior and subjugated to Islam, OK? or if you find the Jew or a Christian walking down the street, push them to the side. It is well-known from what Umar ibn al-Khattab and the khulafa ar rashidin used to implement, that the Jew and Christian was not allowed to ride on a horse when the Muslim is riding on a horse. They would have to walk” have any truth to them in historical context or in Islam?

    2. What is the purpose of the women’s awrah being more restrictive exactly? Believe me I would NEVER support restricting a women’s right to wear a hijab unlike the recent ruling in the EU, but what is the reasoning behind it? I know a Muslim women can go out, and have a career, and still hold positions of power, etc, and men/women must both restrict their gazes, but it strikes me a little unfair that the awrah of a women is more restrictive than a man as it seems done from a male perspective. I saw a video where Avicenna Answers said it’s because men are “aroused mainly by sight, and women by voices”(which also justifies why women go in the back at prayers) but I’m not sure how much truth this actually has objectively as weren’t in other cultures women were thought to have more of a sex drive than men like in Ancient Greece/Rome

    3. And another point, I can understand the prohibition on being alone together in a locked room, and agree with it, but why are gender interactions in so general so restrictive such as men/women touching each other/have skin contact if there not related. It seems to me a bit excessive/paranoid, and gives the impression the opposite sex is just a walking sex encounter waiting to happen/objectifies them as living sex objects. I mean in the past I’ve say hugged girls, high-fived them, ect that I’m not related just for the sake of being friendly without any intention of sex at all, and so have A lot of people I know. I think it also creates unnecessary tensions/bring up sexual thoughts on innocent issues/interactions such as a women teaching a class of men, etc as Avicenna Answers even had a video for a situation like that. I know some people argue it’s because they COULD lead to sexual interactions but as mmmclmru said the same thing could be said for say books, and by that logic we should ban them because they COULD have sexual content or immoral content in them.

    4. Also why can’t women be imams(as far as I know), and haven’t been prophets?

    Hope I don’t sound like a whiny social justice warrior or offensive to anyone, and all the best.

  19. “3. Why did the Quran come only in Arabic and not in other languages as well or in a universal language? If it came for all peoples and all times why does it only have Semitic/African references?”

    The first higher developed cultures and writing systems started in the Orient. So the Orient does have a special role in human history. The Semitic people who were part of this history had an even more special role. They became the people from which the main early prophets came, the chosen Israelite tribes, the Messiah Jesus and in our Islamic belief the final Messenger Muhammad.
    Now one could ask why were they chosen for this and not others or somehow all people. The answer is simply that God has willed it like that. What matters for people is that everyone has the fair chance to come to salvation and is only punished for something he is himself responsible for.

    “5. How do Muslims explain human evolution when their texts claim Adam was created?”

    The Qur’an states clearly that the first people were Adam and his wife Eve and that they came to earth from paradise as adults. Any other claim would go against the clear and unambiguous verses of the Qur’an.
    The evidence for human evolution is in the fossils of other humanoid species and their genetics. Based on this a model of how the human evolved is constructed. This model, even if it is absolutely consistent in itself and with fossil evidence would not be categorically true. It is only a reconstruction based on data that can be obtained now. When talking about happenings from the past they may only be falsified but not verified categorically. The Qur’an is clear evidence and therefore taken before the theories.
    Regarding other living beings on earth the Qur’an does not have much precise accounts about how they originated. Therefore the theory of evolution can be considered as a possible but not categorical explanation about how they came to existence.

    ” 6. How do you respond to those that claim Muslims slaughtered thousands of people in India when they arrived (according to Will Durant)? How do you respond to the accusation that the Arab slave trade was no different than that of the European one, and that Islam is just another racial supremacist religion but with Arabs instead of Europeans (according to Woke BLM and Hoteps)? Or that European colonialism was just a response to the Muslim conquests? Why were there Muslim conquests to begin with if Jihad was only for defense?”

    1. Nowadays we often hear about India and Islamic conquests. This is due to the intensive spreading of it by Hindu nationalists on the internet. This should always be kept in mind.
    In general what can be said is that as long as the Islamic rules of war are kept there cannot be any objection against anything. Like in any war crimes happened also in wars by Muslims since people with materialistic motivation can always be found where there are wars. Islamic wars were dominantly correct in upholding moral standards when compared to other people. But the example of how to behave in war is ultimately set by the Prophet and his four Caliphs.

    2. That Muslims played a role in the international slave trade is known very well. The role that Jewish traders played too. What makes the difference is that Muslims but also Jews had clear religious rules for treating slaves. When judging morally about something the historical context has to be looked at. And this fact makes the whole Islamic slave issue totally different then.
    The claim that Islamic slavery had anything to do with racism is to be rejected completely. The origin of slavery was always war and raiding. Racial inferiority as a motivation (for at least keeping slavery) was something only found in later times. Wars and raiding were part of human behaviour and motivated materialistically. Islamic motivation for war can only be a higher objective.

    3. The claim that European colonialism was a reaction to something implies that the reason for a ruler or state to conquer something is any other than materialistic. But actually the reason for any ruler to conquer something is the mere ability to do so. The only thing that prevents someone from doing so when able to is religion. Christianity and Islam forbid a ruler to wage war against another rulers of the same faith. But rulers of other faiths can be fought against.

    4. In the classical understanding Jihad was not only defensive but also offensive with intention of conquering and implementing Islamic rules and spreading the message of Islam. Since the attitude in this time towards offensive wars has changed new interpretations of Jihad could be made which will make it defensive only. But in pre-modern times offensive wars were in no way something considered immoral. It was part of the nature of human behaviour.

    • Although I do have to ask, why did Will Durrant declare that the Muslims slaughtered many Hindus when they came to India, was he trying to cover up for the British Empire’s crimes by exaggerating the Muslim ones? I mean he has said some positive things about Islam, why would he suddenly declare the Muslims as murdering conquerors?

      • Will Durrant is surely not that kind of historian that will try to relativize colonialism in that way. I think he simply wanted to highlight that there was a pre-British history of conquerings of India that is not known popularly. Because of this he described the happenings in a tendency that depicts the Muslim invaders only negatively. This is clearly not a scientific method of describing history.

        Those who talk about a genocide of Hindus and of numbers like 80 millions have nothing but a Hindu nationalist, islamophobic or simply populist motivation. These numbers are based on a demographical analysis which is based on extensive extrapolation.

        What indeed happened and what is not be objected from Islamic perspective is the conquering. The Ummayads did not reach deep into India. It were later Turkic and Persianate rulers who led the campaigns that are objected. There were many acts of war excess during conquests and especially to break rebellions. Islam cannot be blamed for the war excess of Muslim rulers nor any kind of unjust treatment by them. But even these rulers cannot be blamed for genocide. They had no intention to eradicate the Hindus.
        There also no fatwas that call for killing all Hindus. If anyone had the religious intention to destroy the Hindu existence there would be fatwas for it. The only thing Islam can be “blamed” for are conquests.

    • Regarding evolution, I am no materialist, but evolution DID happen, and humans are no exception. I’ve seen the evidence first hand. Not to cause offence, but I must ask if you’re an evolutionary biologist or have studied the science behind it because it is more than a “theory” and is considered almost all scientist to be true. Many Muslim scientist who have studied evolution consider it to be true such as Fatimah Jackson and Dr. Rana Dajani even with regards to humans. Denying science is not going to win anyone over to Islam, and will only make atheist laugh at us even further.

      @Gill, regarding evolution, and Adam/Eve I suggest you look at the works of biologos:
      http://biologos.org/ or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etP_YJ5jWsY.

      Or this: http://www.nature.com/news/why-i-teach-evolution-to-muslim-students-1.17364

      Also look out for works by Fatimah Jackson, Dr. Rana Dajani, Dr. Ehab Abouheif, and others in regards to this issue.

  20. @wahby

    Thanks again for your answer, I am grateful to the fact that you actually took time to read and respond accordingly.

  21. Also how would you deal with issues on on the historicity of people like Moses(pbuh), Abraham(pbuh) and other people etc because the modern consensus scholarly based on what I’ve seen is that there is no evidence for the existence of Moses(pbuh), Noah(pbuh), Abraham(pbuh) but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist exactly though.

  22. I have some more questions. I’m sorry but this may seem scattered and unorganized. But hopefully someone can make sense out of it.

    How do I know if Islam is the right religion? How do I know if the Quran is word of God? How do know it’s not some random book like the Vedas for example? If I was born a non-Muslim, I saw half of the crap some Muslims are doing or read a couple of problematic verses and/or wikiislam, would I have ever converted to Islam? Why would I even attempt to sift through all of the stuff I come across like I am right now? For example, I’m not worrying over or trying to make sense of problematic verses from the Bible since I am not Christian nor am thinking of becoming one. If I was a non-Muslim, would I have thought Islam was just some Arab religion with ‘weird’ customs just like how right now I’ve grown up to think Hinduism is some Indian made up religion or Shintoism or whatever is some Asian myth? For instance, one of my friends told me that some Hindus don’t eat onions or garlic for whatever reason and I thought that was weird. He said that he thought it was equally as weird that I didn’t eat pork. (Obviously I think there’s a difference and pork is a bad example. Maybe substitute it with how wearing gold isn’t allowed for guys? I guess his point was that it seemed arbitrary.) How do I know if the Prophet (pbuh) wasn’t just another person who made up his own religion? Like how I think Joseph Smith just made up his own religion. Another thing I’ve come across is that some aspects of Islam are similar to/borrowed from other religions (not including Judaism and Christianity). For example, the story of the Prophet (pbuh) journeying to heaven is similar to some Zoroastrian story. Or another example, jinns are just a continuation of Arab mythology. What should I make of this? Right now what I think is that Allah said He has sent a bunch of messengers (even ones we don’t know about) and their sayings have gotten mixed in and twisted. Maybe someone here has a better explanation or perspective.

    Also, what should I make out of Dajjal/Yajuj and Majuj/Mehdi? All the prophetic miracles like Red Sea parting, stick turning into a snake, etc make sense because (if my understanding is correct) those events were there to be crystal clear signs that they were messengers of God and weren’t supposed to be events governed by naturally occurring physics. But the events to come has me confused. Like where is the nation of Yajuj and Majuj supposed to spill out from? Where’s the iron wall?

    I understand the Quran says multiple times to critically think but there’s a verse where it says that believers “hear and obey” and that when Allah has already decided on a matter, it’s not good to question it (don’t remember the exact wording). How do I tie that with verses asking to think and ponder?

    Again, sorry, if these questions are stupid and scattered. Or if they’ve been answered elsewhere. I’ve just been thinking too much about my perspective if I were not born a Muslim. I’ll try my best to not respond too late.

    • @rektFaith

      as I said in an earlier comment, I disagree with some of the advice Wahby gave you here. Now I provide you mine and leave you to choose between the two.

      You tell us about your thought experiments about thinking like a non-Muslim. In itself, this is a praiseworthy effort towards truth. But remember that at the end of the day, this was just a thought experiment and you are still a person with a particular cultural (Muslim) baggage.
      You’re already confused enough sorting out your own culture, so why waste time trying to sort out cultures that are foreign to you (such as Mormons or Zoroastrians) ? Also, you might avoid calling the Vedas “a random book” just because you know very little about it -no need to offend Hindus without reason.

      “How do I know if the Prophet (pbuh) wasn’t just another person who made up his own religion? Like how I think Joseph Smith just made up his own religion. ”

      Well, for starters even if you’re confused you know a thousand times more about the Prophet than you know about Joseph Smith, so it is very unreasonable to compare the two at this point.

      “Also, what should I make out of Dajjal/Yajuj and Majuj/Mehdi? All the prophetic miracles like Red Sea parting, stick turning into a snake, etc make sense because (if my understanding is correct) those events were there to be crystal clear signs that they were messengers of God and weren’t supposed to be events governed by naturally occurring physics. But the events to come has me confused. Like where is the nation of Yajuj and Majuj supposed to spill out from? Where’s the iron wall?”

      Imran Husein says a lot about all those. I’m not saying he has the perfect answer (he himself does not claim that). When you’ve heard his theories you may disagree with all of them, but I think you will be less confused as you will have been provided an example of using one’s brain in accordance with the Islamic data.

      “I understand the Quran says multiple times to critically think but there’s a verse where it says that believers “hear and obey” and that when Allah has already decided on a matter, it’s not good to question it (don’t remember the exact wording). How do I tie that with verses asking to think and ponder? ”

      This is what we call the alleged “Faith and Reason” conflict in the West. If the media endlessly hammered propaganda about “the tremendous difficulty of eating and breathing at the same time”, most people would start becoming ashamed of breathing while eating or vice-versa, the way religious people are ashamed of using their brain in religion, or ashamed of mentioning their religion in a “secular” environment. So I say to you, just try it and come back to us if you have more difficulties.

  23. “How do I know if Islam is the right religion? How do I know if the Quran is word of God? How do know it’s not some random book like the Vedas for example?…”

    In order to answer these questions you have to understand Islamic exceptionalism. Islam contains two exceptionalist concepts which are pure monotheism and universalism of the message.
    Monotheism or parts of monotheism are found in many higher developed religions or philosophies. Many Greek philosophers like Aristoteles did believe in a monotheist god. Even Hinduism has monotheist elements. But only in Islam and Judaism you will find an absolutely logical belief in monotheism and from that an explanation of fundamental principles in this world.
    Universalism of the message is only found in Christianity and Islam. Judaism does not have a very consistent universalist message. Christianity however, is not monotheist since it contains belief in a human god.

    In the other comment I mentioned that understanding Islamic monotheism (Tawhid) is essential. All other issues are secondary. Even if the Qur’an was false Tawhid would not be.

    “Also, what should I make out of Dajjal/Yajuj and Majuj/Mehdi? All the prophetic miracles like Red Sea parting, stick turning into a snake, etc make sense because (if my understanding is correct) those events were there to be crystal clear signs that they were messengers of God and weren’t supposed to be events governed by naturally occurring physics. But the events to come has me confused. Like where is the nation of Yajuj and Majuj supposed to spill out from? Where’s the iron wall? ”

    The exegetes of the Qur’an have never given categorical explanations of such stories. There is not enough information about it. Someone who wishes to investigate these stories will have to study the Qur’an and history extensively. However, these issues are not fundamentals and a lay person should only concentrate about their general message.

    “I understand the Quran says multiple times to critically think but there’s a verse where it says that believers “hear and obey” and that when Allah has already decided on a matter, it’s not good to question it (don’t remember the exact wording). How do I tie that with verses asking to think and ponder? ”

    The Qur’an says to think critically about what people are capable of. This is to understand God’s existence and to understand what He wants. Thinking critically about something that people are not capable to is not actually critical. It is speculation. People must understand what they are able to understand and where their limits are. That is also a question philosophy is concerned with.

  24. ” Christianity however, is not monotheist since it contains belief in a human god. ” 

    This is pure nonsense, of course, as the distinction of the divine and the human nature starts from day one in Christianity, for example in Mark 10.18.
    In case you’re not aware, monotheism is the first and most important commandment of the Ten Commandments of both Judaism and Christianity.
    I respectfully point out to you should have at least some piece of evidence, say a literal citation from an official creed, before making such an accusation on a whole religion.
    You seem to say that Islam is universalist and exceptionalist at the same time, but that doesn’t make much sense. In reality, every religion starts by being universalist, and progressively turns exceptionalist through human weakness and corruption.
    Exceptionalism is obviously the version of Islam that you believe in, but I think you are mistaken in believing that it will work equally well with our friend rektFaith. Rather, exceptionalism seems to be one of the factors that make rektFaith confused.

  25. 16. Judaism does not believe in an afterlife, and yet the Qur’an states that they believed in one, the Qur’an also states that the past nations all believed in a monotheistic but the vast majority of societies were either polytheistic or Animists according to most Archaeological and written records, why is that? There is also the matter of The Qur’an claiming that the Bible predicts the Prophet Mohammed, how do you respond to the counter arguments made by James White and other Christian theologians who claim otherwise?

    Thanks again to those who answered some of my questions before and to the owner of the site for letting me post these questions, I appreciate it.

  26. Well I was asking because I myself don’t know how to interpret the story of Adam(pbuh) in light of modern biology, and thought that maybe you could give me a pointer on where to go.

    • Please don’t be offended.

      I just have to be blunt when people are getting too excited over these matters. I wish someone did that for me when I was young.

      So to reconcile the account of modern biology, you should know that account (most scientists don’t even know – lool at Ghilan) and be SURE that it’s correct, so that Quran has to agree.

      So you, and most people don’t know and aren’t sure isn’t it?

      • Just to clarify what do you mean exactly by “the account isn’t known”, and what “account” are you talking about exactly? Is it regards to humans evolving, or evolution in general?

        Why are you so hostile to Ghilan? I know you really dislike salafist, and who doesn’t but Ghilan to me doesn’t strike me as say like IERA or their stooges. He actually does emphasize the importance of philosophy, and doesn’t seem to repeat the typical salafist obsession with forbidding gender-interaction, music, emphasizing hell-fire, hating sufis etc and even has said this kind of stuff is a puritanical form of Islam? Are you sure he’s a salafi fanboy?

      • First of all, thank you for your bluntness, I understand the need to be straightforward, especially when you have answered these questions dozens of times before, I am very much an ignoramus trying to learn more about the world, unfortunately I have taken many things for granted such as accepting any criticism of religion, while ignoring any criticism of mainstream materialist/enlightenment thought. You are absolutely right in regards to accepting or sitting on the bench in regards to theories, one should do their research first, but with a lot of social pressures from academia, friends, and the media people unfortunately buckle under the wait and follow the opinion of the masses which I am very much a part of, although I will admit that is no excuse, having fossil and skeletal remains shoved into your face with two charactors dangled in front of you like a marionette one of Evangelical fanaticism that espouses flat earth theories and violence and one of a benevolent skeptic that loves humanity and hates superstition, propaganda like that is bound to affect young minds like myself, influencing our beliefs subconsciously. But I will take your advice and spend some time reading and pondering before forming opinions based on pop science articles and pseudo philosophical jargon.

      • He supports IERA.
        Even wrote a review of Tzortzis’ book for them.

        I mean YOU don’t know the account or the molecular genetics behind it. And neither do most people.

        It is not insult.
        It requires huge research and critical attitude.
        Most people don’t have that time of course.
        But everyone has opinion nonetheless.

  27. @Gill Thank you for your kind feedback. Regarding your question about evolution, I invite you to read “The transformist illusion” by Douglas Dewar. I think it will make you change your mind about the alleged ” fossil and skeletal remains” evidence.

    “the vast majority of societies were either polytheistic or Animists according to most Archaeological and written records, why is that? ”

    This is according to Western archeologists’ preconceptions, not according to the written records. Among others, the late René Guénon has well exposed how the modern West’ obsession with Greek-Roman civilization makes ethnologists and archeologists see pagan polytheism everywhere, and Salafis have inherited this attitude too.
    To mention a typical example, just because the sun symbolizes God in some Hindu texts doesn’t mean Hindus are dumb sun-worshipping idolaters. Islamophobes notwithstanding, Muslims do not believe that the jamraat are the devil or that the Kaaba is God.

    “There is also the matter of The Qur’an claiming that the Bible predicts the Prophet Mohammed”

    I would disagree with that, first of all because the Qur’an does not mention the “Bible”, only the Injeel and Muslims are not clear about the exact relationship between the Christian’s Bible and the Injeel.
    Typical dawah carrier hypocrisy : the Bible is the Injeel when it suits me (to claim that Muhammad is prophesized in it), but it is not when it doesn’t suit me (when there are conflicts between the Bible and Islam).

    If Muhammad is prophesized in the Bible, the least thing one can say is that this prophecy does not play the same role prophecies play in Christianity. Christianity defines itself as a fulfillment of prophecies, and in a sense any one who converts to Christianity does so because of the prophecies. How many people have converted to Islam because of that alleged “prophecy of Muhammad in the Bible” ? I know no record of any.

    • @Catholic Commenter.

      I want to apologize if my comments in reply to Gill have offended you in anyway. Didn’t mean that, and mmmclmru helped me see I’m not as knowledgeable as I thought. That being said I still disagree strongly with you in regards to evolution as Dewar to my knowledge has been discredited as a serious threat to evolution, and putting Gill on the path to creationism . I would recommend checking out biologos as they can give Gill an overview regarding evolution from a non-biased(non-materialistic viewpoint) viewpoint.

      • @Amar-Kareem Guimba

        I don’t remember any of your comments offending me- or are you the same person as “Wahby” ?

        “Dewar to my knowledge has been discredited as a serious threat to evolution”

        Where by whom ?

  28. I have some clarifications I would like to ask about. I went to a presentation by my universities Muslim Student Association on dealing with faith and reason and they quoted Ibn Taymiyyah quite a bit in the handouts they had. Furthermore on facebook the president likes Yusuf Estes, Nouman Ali Khan, Bilal Phillips, Tzortzis, and Raheem Green. Based on this would this be an indication that there could be a Salafist influence looming by?

  29. That’s a shame. He seems like a really nice guy though. I hope salafism isn’t too deep in the rest of the association.

  30. If anyone wants an alternative source to regarding the Quran as a literary miracle then they should check this out. I’m bringing this up because Adil mentioned NAK is good at linguistics or something but I saw awhile ago on reddit what he advocates in that area isn’t THAT special, and he has a tendency to use poor apologetics(embryology) so this to me seems a lot more convincing, and stronger: https://ismailignosis.com/2016/12/08/proof-of-prophecy-a-logical-argument-for-muhammads-prophethood/#AppendixA

  31. “most ISOCS are also a racket for the senior people to get laid *(multiple times).”

    Reminds me of that famous Abu Hurairah hadith about three categories of people Allah will not even speak to on the day of judgement, one of those categories being aged men who commit zina

  32. I know I’ve asked this before but the more I think about it, and experiences I have the more this issue seems to make less sense to me. I skimmed through some of Sheik Atabek Shukurov video on gender-segregation but my opinion didn’t change as he said stuff like how shaking hands with(correct me if I’m wrong but that’s what I got) a young women isn’t allowed and melodious voice of women like reciting poetry is “awrah”. The restrictions on gender-interactions in Islam (from what I’ve heard at least) seem to be excessively paranoid, created unwanted fear of sexual tension in innocent situations, and unnecessary. I mean the other day I did a psychology experiment where I was alone in a room with a female experimenter for like an hour, and….nothing happened at all. I didn’t oogle her or anything, and acted like a complete gentlemen. She also had to touch my hands a few times for measurements, and again NOTHING happened at all. It just strikes me as absurd that God would send me to hell for this interaction of hands. I know some argue it COULD lead to something but in that case we should restrict all things which COULD lead to something. This is something I really can’t understand rationally, and there was once in Malaysia possible ARREST/FINING consequences for Muslim girls hugging pop-stars which is well to me ridiculous. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, and just needed to vent out my thoughts. Can someone please allow me to have some more perspective on this?

    • First of all, that’s NOT an ‘experiment’ of any kind.
      That is not called an experiment.
      It doesn’t prove anything.
      It is your one off personal experience.

      Should religion, law or science be decided on your one off personal experience?
      Why not MY personal experience then?
      Or Hitlers?
      That’s not logic, reason, experiments, nothing.
      So getting doubts based on stuff like that, you will have a very difficult life.
      I’m not even going to ask about the conditions of this ‘experiment’ or if this girl was attractive (*no, not all girls are attractive).

      I’m also not going to discuss this from Sharia point of view because your reason for questioning or doubting is too…baseless.

      How do you think sex happens dude?
      People are attracted to each other. Then they go somewhere private. To have sex. Literally everyone knows that.

      But its not your ‘experience’. I don’t know what to say other than if you are an unattached heterosexual male and there is an attractive female in your vicinity, you WANT to look, talk, and yes, have sex with her. Whether one acts on that is another issue and depends mostly on how much guts, or conversely, self control you have.

      If you DON’T feel that, there is something wrong with YOU, (vis a vis all other men), not religion.

      What you said about Sheikh Atabeks talk is wrong too but please refer to the answer I gave you before when you posted about womens sexuality being the same as mens and that Greeks and Romans said this (*which was totally wrong as well).

      Most Muslim men are inexperienced with girls so they are clueless. Also, some Muslim men are at that level where they are not attracted to girls (yet or ever). Nothing wrong with either of those but making ones inexperience and naivete a challenge to common sense rules of religion = very annoying and risky.

      We have all been naive and inexperienced. No problem. But to act on it is going to be bad for us.

      And have you ever thought about the Islamic issue about rape allegations if unrelated people are unwitnessed in a room? What would you do if she turns around tomorrow and says you touched her or raped her? Let me guess: that never happens right? Women are SOOOOOO sweet, they would never do that!

      Wise up bro.

      General advice (don’t be offended – you sound like you badly need it and I wish someone would have given ME some):

      – if you hug an unrelated woman who is fit and you don’t feel anything, that’s not normal (*unless you are a Shaolin Monk or a Priest – and you don’t even see THEM doing that).

      – women don’t actually allow guys they want to have sex with to hug/touch them (in public especially). That’s for people in the ‘friend zone’.

      – people in the ‘friend zone’ are considered the same as women by girls. Ditto for gays. I.e they treat you as if you are dickless and might even joke about you and cuss you when you are not there (*just like they do about their female friends).

      – women don’t respect guys who don’t try and ‘get’ them. Unless there is a good reason for that. (*being their ‘friend’ is not a good reason BTW)

      – there is a massive difference in the way women interact with people they are attracted to (i.e guys they would have sex with) and others. This is also the case with most ‘normal’ men.

      – if attractive girls are treating you as if you don’t have a dick, this is BAD, you have to fix that. We’ve all been there.

      – obviously, if two people who are NOT mutually attracted to each other are in a room alone, nothing usually happens. The rules are based on the assumption that these ARE people attracted to each other. How do you not know this?

      That’s just commom sense bro. I’m not explaining religion here, just common sense.

      It’s not your fault. Young people nowadays are prevented even from learning common sense by both liberals and religious people. So they end up confused to the max. But please don’t bring religion into it.

      When a woman recognises a guy as a red blooded heterosexual male, she doesn’t get alone with him or touch him unless she is letting him put the moves on her. This is universal in all cultures.
      Basically, they treat those guys as if they have a dick and will use it.
      Hence women are careful around them.

      Also, having lots of ATTRACTIVE female friends that you aren’t trying to get with = not normal or masculine. Girls you are not attracted to – like a big or little sister relationship, no problem.

  33. Okay first of all when I mean “experiment” I didn’t mean that I went and actually isolated myself on purpose to prove a point or something. It’s just that the girl I was with was an assistant for a psychology experiment I took part in related to physical health measurements. Should’ve made that clear. That was the background conditions for meeting her.

    I’m looking for your responses but I don’t see your response to the Greek/Roman woman thing and women’s sexuality issue. Where was it published?

    You do seem to make good points and I guess I haven’t had as much experience with these issues as you. That being said I do agree with the locked room thing now that you spelled it out more clearly but even if two people are attracted to each other I still don’t see what’s so wrong with a quick hug or any physical contact that doesn’t lead to anything else or for friendly reasons.

    • I’m afraid you persist in talking nonsense. Sorry to be blunt.

      I know EXACTLY what you mean by ‘experiment’ – I made it ABUNDANTLY clear that your ‘example’ PROVES NOTHING to anyone INCLUDING YOURSELF. If you locked yourself in a room with Nicole Kidman and she RAPED you, that STILL wouldn’t be something we could generalise into some deep truth about sex or religion. It’s just some one off unusual crap that happened to you – assuming you are even ‘normal’ – a dangerous assumption for anyone to make about themselves.

      I just told you that neither I nor the world give a damn what you ‘think’. I’m only interested in what you can PROVE or SHOW. i.e the REAL world doesn’t revolve around you, only your SUBJECTIVE world does that.

      You aren’t ‘thinking’ at all but feeling. And you are even doing that wrong.

      You insist on making confusion for yourself. Hence you are confused. I don’t even feel all that sympathetic for you any more. To be honest, you sort of deserve it.

      Example: you don’t see what’s SO wrong about people attracted to each other hugging. First of all, who in the blue hell said it was SO wrong? Does it have death penalty associated with it or something? Is there any punishment?

      And do you REALLY not see what’s ‘wrong with it’? Shall we all start hugging chicks we fancy alone in locked rooms and see what happens?

      What planet are you from brother?
      Do you know how babies are made?

      God is giving you free advice. i.e. be careful with the opposite sex when it comes to physical contact when alone. It will, in normal hetero people, lead to either sex, misunderstandings or false accusations. Maybe nothing will happen but be careful. No punishment associated with it and even 3rd base (if you young and confused people even know what that is) is only a MINOR sin with NO PUNISHMENT. Just free advice from God. Found in ALL religions. Just to make it easy.

      But you are like ‘WHY LORD!!! WHY???! TAKE ME NOW LORD!! ITS TOO MUCH LORD!!!’

      You don’t know this yet brother, but you are a full liberal: why can’t I do what I want even if it doesn’t make sense and is objectively bad for me…AND God should agree with me!

      Islam allows you to talk. To date. To be alone as long as you leave a door open or there is a window. Go to dinner. See movies. Go to a park. You can shake hands. But that’s not enough. Why can’t you ‘hug’ and get a feel of some tit and smell some hair. Hell, why not just start fingering them? It doesn’t HAVE to lead to sex, right?!

      Or are you ‘special’? You can hug hot chicks without feeling their body or boobs.

      So WHAT exactly is your doubt brother? Why men and women are attracted to each other maybe? Why God made it that way? Why everyone isn’t as asexual or self controlled as you?

      What?

      If you said that Muslims are paranoid about sex etc and make too big a deal of it, I agree with you. That’s why I set up a FIVE HOUR conference with Sheikh Atabek to put those idiots in their place.

      Meet your own girl. Date her. Marry her if you like or otherwise move on to another. Don’t need anyones permission, either of you. Just don’t have sex before marriage, it is sinful.
      Anything less than full sex is minor sin.

      But you want to have physical contact with attractive females that DOESN’T lead to sex.

      My question:
      – why?!
      – both religious and secular people think that’s stupid.

  34. Yeah, I got it the FIRST time that my example doesn’t prove anything, and I admit I’m wrong here using it an counter-example as you pointed out, it’s anecdotal evidence, which is bad. I just wanted to make it clear that I didn’t actually put myself in a room(it wasn’t even locked BTW, and if you check my responses I didn’t mention locked) with a girl as some kind of “experiment”(who even does that?). I swear. I didn’t even know the person in charge of the psychology experiment would be a female before coming in. In fact these thoughts only occurred after the experiment was done.

    Look, I don’t know as much about Islamic ruling like you or who tell apart whose right 100%. I’m asking why it’s “so” wrong and might think there’s a punishment because of this incident and the scandal it caused to see the real truth behind it: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/k-pop-boy-band-at-centre-of-controversy-over-hugging-three-muslim-girls

    And let me clarify something else. If you mean two people in a locked room hugging and who are attracted to one another, then yeah I can see the reasoning behind not doing it. You’re right here when I actually think about it in this case. But what about hugs like this which are in public, and done for non-sexual reasons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKEKiwB1A3E. This is what I’m mainly asking about like with the shaking hands things. I admit I could’ve been more clearer and should’ve clarified that from the start. When I meant two people attracted to each other hugging, I meant it like that, and again I should’ve been more clear and shouldn’t have assumed we meant to the same thing. I’m asking about physical contact in public not alone which is non-sexual in nature. I know 3rd base, and other things are bad, and haven’t done it nor do I have any intention of doing so.

    There’s no need to go all Richard Dawkins on me. Now if you’ll excuse me I need go start campaigning for gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, etc, because I’m a full-blown “liberal”.

    *Though in all seriousness I hope we don’t develop a kind of animosity towards one another as you and this site has helped me with other issues I’m dealing with.

  35. Look, I didn’t intentionally put myself in a room with a girl as an ‘experiment’ as your quotation marks imply. In fact the door wasn’t even locked. These thoughts only occurred AFTER I left, and I didn’t even know the person in charge of the psychology experiment I was taking part in would be a woman at all. I do agree it’s a bad example to use as proof as it is anecdotal evidence which doesn’t cut it. I don’t know why the hostility as I didn’t say anything in my second comment that indicates I was still using it as proof, and just wanted to clarify I didn’t set up the situation myself. Sheesh.

    Also I think I need to be more clear by “hug”. By that I don’t mean two people locked in a room hugging each other or leading into 3rd base or whatever(yes I do know what that means, and have no intention of doing that or any of the other stuff you mentioned like boob grabbing or fingering). By “hug” I mean something like this :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKEKiwB1A3E&t=91s in a non-sexual manner in public, similar to a situation in shaking hands. Oh and the reason I might have gotten the impression that two people who are attracted to each other hugging was “so bad” in Islam was due to incidents like this: http://www.tnp.sg/entertainment/msian-fans-who-hugged-k-pop-band-b1a4-could-face-arrest-public-indecency. I don’t know as much about Islamic rulings like you so I’m ASKING.

    • No one accused you of orchestrating a hug with a girl dude. You got accused of using a stupid example to doubt Islamic norms.

      If you ask in a stupid way, you get told. Be greatful people are even bothering to answer.

      I’m not watching stupid videos of how to hug girls. I’m an adult. Grown ups know that it takes a lot of self control to not get at least a bit of a twinge in your groin when you hug an attractive girl. And girls know that too. No one cares about Millennials definition of ‘hugs’ (*or anything else).

      If YOU don’t feel anything when you hug girls (= good self control or abnormal person), it’s not sin for you at all anyway. Carry on and enjoy the friend zone.

      And cut the drama please – now you realised and changed your mind. Before you said you didn’t see the problem even with people who are ATTRACTED to each other hugging. So I explained it to you clearly.

      Maybe part of the reason you ‘don’t know’ is because you are getting information about Islam from the entertainment section of the newspaper?

      Do you think it’s a good source?

      Anyway, we have many draconian institutions like religious police in Muslim countries (*I don’t know why you choose Malaysia whereas the ones in Saudi etc are much worse but I agree) taking the piss and enforcing fake/unislamic rules as Sharia. That is why I organised a talk by Sheikh Atabek to clarify. But it wasn’t made clear enough for you. Fair enough. I clarified more. You feel offended. Tough.

      There is something called hikmah. It means wisdom. You need to develop it. There is also something called ‘urf’ or ‘respecting the customs in Islam’ in Qur’an. I told you I was not getting into that because of the way in which you asked your question and the level of doubt a very silly ‘experiment’ seemed to cause in you (*now you claim you know it isn’t valid. Look at your first comment though).

      ‘Wisdom’ means that when one of my female collegues tries to hug me to say goodbye or even kiss me on the cheek, I don’t spas out or push her away, I let her so as not to cause offence. God understands that not hurting her feelings and not causing offence are more important. I also know that I shouldn’t explain the sharia stuff to her as it will make it weird.

      ‘Urf’ means that you respect the customs of others and they can be a source of sharia law. So if Korean boy bands are used to hugging, you understand that. If you are in Korea, you respect all their customs. According to JAWI, Music and dancing are bad too. So why didn’t they arrest them for that?
      Because they are full of shit obviously.

      Before even studying sharia or any legal system, you need wisdom and Knowledge of culture as well as a lot of life experience.
      Of course these ‘Muslim’ groups have none of these, including knowledge.

      You said you don’t have knowledge. I didn’t criticise you for that. But like those groups and liberals, you also showed a lack of wisdom.

      So I tried to help you to wise up.

    • @Amar-Kareem Guimba

      “I’m ASKING”

      Be fully honest about that please, and explain WHY you ask it.

      “By “hug” I mean something like this :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKEKiwB1A3E&t=91s in a non-sexual manner in public, similar to a situation in shaking hands.”

      Where is your evidence that what they do in that video is “non-sexual” and “similar to shaking hands” ? Did you check that none of the pairs of people that participated in that other “experiment” didn’t have sex with each other afterwards ?

      “the impression that two people who are attracted to each other hugging was “so bad” in Islam was due to incidents like this: http://www.tnp.sg/entertainment/msian-fans-who-hugged-k-pop-band-b1a4-could-face-arrest-public-indecency.”
      I read the article, and the information it gives is extremely vague. We know next to nothing about what happened. For all we know, some of the fans had sex with some of the artists (a very common occurrence in that sort of event). So that example is completely wrong also.

  36. @mmmclmru

    Ok then. Glad we clarified that. I’ll accept those charges/criticism you labelled at me.

    @Catholic Commentator

    The REAL reason I’m asking to see if the situations mmmclmru described with female colleague offering a goodbye hug or stuff would be okay or not.

    I have no evidence they didn’t have sex nor had sex afterwards in both cases. I’m not here to debate the background behind the things I linked to. But for the second case there is a video of what happened.

    Since you’re here on another note I have another question regarding the Crucifixion issue and whether or not God is a deceiver. Someone I’m discussing about the issue pointed this out with regards to it:

    “(The Qu’ran is clear that it wasn’t Jesus on the cross; hence, if God swapped Jesus with a duplicate, he deceived everyone who thought Christ was on the cross (or something close enough to deceived, i. e. barring finnicky stuff over intentional states); hence, God deceived the apostles.

    But surely the apostles weren’t wicked people.)”

    What do you have to say to this?

  37. You guys are right as I was being pretty stupid with my examples, and “problems” related to my questions or “arguments”. I’m sorry for acting that way, and wasting your time with irrational stuff. Like mmmclmru said I need to develop more wisdom. That being said since Ramadan is coming up, I’ve decided to innoculate myself against the salafist/irrational mindset as I think I still have the impression that Islam is the draconian, misery-inducing thing they make it out to be. Which articles would you recommend that are the best to overcome this mindset for good?

  38. I have some more questions with regards to the Islamic view on the problem of evil. It is commonly said that the rewards in Heaven will make up for the suffering of those here, and while this is good for compensation, I’m not sure if it is good for justification. This quote explains what I mean in more detail:

    “… may stem from imagining an ecstatic or forgiving state of mind on the part of the blissful: in heaven no one bears grudges, even the most horrific earthly suffering is as nothing compared to infinite bliss, all past wrongs are forgiven. But “are forgiven” doesn’t mean “were justified”; the blissful person’s disinclination to dwell on his or her earthly suffering doesn’t imply that a perfect being was justified in permitting the suffering all along. By the same token, our ordinary moral practice recognizes a legitimate complaint about child abuse even if, as adults, its victims should happen to be on drugs that make them uninterested in complaining. Even if heaven swamps everything, it doesn’t thereby justify everything.”

    Another issue is with regards to the suffering of beings incapable of moral actions such as babies, or animals. What can they be tested about as they cannot perform moral actions? I know some people may respond that suffering affects these beings and may allow for being capable of moral actions to perform good, but what about needless animal suffering that occurs everyday which no moral agent can actually do anything to alleviate such as animals hunting one another in the jungle, ocean, etc.

    • The first problem is that that quote, wherever it’s from, contains no argument or information of any kind whatsoever. In other words, it is shit. What exactly did you understand from that qoute? Because I understood nothing.

      • I mean, what has parents being on crack beating their kid got to do with God compensating for earthly suffering in Heaven?

        Isn’t even taking such a bullshit argument proof of shocking gullibility?

      • No, you’re misunderstanding the quote entirely, and I don’t know you got the “parents on crack beating their kids” from it as that’s not what it says at all or is related to it. The quote states that in heaven people are in a state of infinite bliss and do not dwell on past sufferings as there are no grudges/negative emotions in heaven and thus all is forgiven. The quote then goes on to question if that justifies suffering as for example, if a person was victim of horrific child abuse, but now was put in state of bliss say induced by drugs or whatever to compensate for their suffering(that’s what the drugs implied) and couldn’t complain about their suffering, would we then say their suffering was justified? Or as another example put it, if I punched you in the face, and then afterwards gave you 5,000 dollars that would compensate for my action, but would it justify it?

      • You see, ANOTHER one of your problems, and like any young person, you seem to have a few, is being a bit of a drama queen. I understood it just fine. You need to rather question YOUR repeated ‘habit’ of getting doubts based on BS (*last week it was a one off case of being alone in a room with a girl and SHOCK! – nothing happened! So how can sharia be true?! I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean).

        So is Paradise the same as being on drugs? You’re just going to GIVE him that?! Is the ‘bliss’ or forgetfulness from drugs real or beneficial? If you are SO lenient with the arguments of atheists, say goodbye to your faith now.

        If I punch you and give you 5000 pounds, that ‘doesn’t justify’ it?

        REALLY?

        What were Joshua and Kiltchcko punching each other in the face for last week then? Fun? Foreplay? Or was it the FINANCIAL REMUNERATION that ‘justifies’ the whole sport of boxing?

        The dumbest part of all this is that literally all students in the UK would gladly let someone punch them in the face for 5000 pounds.

        I bought a ‘Big Issue’ from a homeless guy last week. I didn’t really want the ‘Big Issue’, it was an excuse to give him money. I didn’t even tell him that’s what I was doing. I guess I should start doubting Islam because of this incident.

        All this is assuming that theists justify ‘suffering’ by the principle of compensation in Heaven (*which they don’t).

        You know what’s funny? People who ask these questions about the ‘problem of suffering’ are those with First World Problems. You never see these types of half ass criticisms of religion in places with ACTUAL suffering, like the Third World. Of course atheists explain this by saying that this is because these poor people have not had the benefit of a ‘liberal education’ (not seeing the contradiction in what they are saying).

        After the South East Asian Tsunami, in which close to HALF A MILLION people died, our televisions were full of (*white, western) atheists asking where is God etc.
        Funnily, they couldn’t find a single Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu victim of a dead baby to ask this question for them. Millennials would do well to think on this (*if they could pay attention to anything longer than 6 seconds). You could try my article on ‘First World Problems’.

        When people ask a shit question, or in a shit way, especially about something important like religion, the first thing to do is to not engage with it and point out that it is in fact shit. This is pertinent to your lamentable ‘qoute’, not YOUR question. If instead of analysing the ‘arguments’ of such things you automatically take them seriously, life becomes astonishingly hard, like it is for people who read the ‘Daily Mail’ and think it’s ‘news’.

        The ‘Problem’ of Evil does not exist. Just like the ‘Problem’ of eternal hellfire or punishment. Before asking EITHER of these banal questions, people have to prove logically or morally that oblivion or non-existence is better than even eternal suffering without respite. And I have not seen anyone who poses these ‘questions’ do that.

      • Would you say this is an accurate summary of your argument of suffering being a “first world problem”. Correct me if I’ve made a strawman

        1. People who claim that suffering presents a problem for theism don’t (ever??) really suffer.
        2. Those who do really suffer rarely (never??) claim that suffering presents a problem for theism.
        3. Suffering does not present a problem for theism.

      • While your other points do seem to refute the heaven compensation criticism, I’m not sure about your claim of the problem of evil being a “first world problem”. I mean I asked some people who specialized in philosophy such as philosophy of religion what they think of this claim and they stated that they don’t see how the less fortunate have a unique perspective on the compatibility of evil and God. They did agree that the less fortunate have more reasons to cling to religion like you pointed out and agreed with the point about education, but they said they didn’t see how this is relevant to your claim. I’d agree with them on one point though, in the sense of the problem of evil not being new as they rightly pointed out to me it’s been around for thousands of years, and dealt with by many theologians/writers for all this time like Augustine, Aquinas, Epicurus, etc.

      • Okay, really you need to chill. I told you the first time, I didn’t agree with what they said entirely, and I’m not using them to voice my opinions. Your accusation of racism are baseless as you’re assuming I agree with the person who asked the question entirely when I said I didn’t. I’m not complaining about you on a forum, I’m posting your questions to see what other people who have researched this topic have to say on your claims. I’ve done this before on other forums where I look at what some people say, and ask those who know about it. They don’t assume I’m using the other person as a mouthpiece and voicing my opinions through them as they know I have genuine questions. I didn’t say I agree 100 percent with the problem of evil or other things, just I have questions about it. I asked you their claims to see if they had any substance or weight to them. I’m not trolling forums or doing anything malicious. I have read your “First World Article” on the problem of evil. I’m sorry if I didn’t 100 percent agree with you and decided to ask others who know about the topic what they think. I’m going back, and forth between you, and them to see who has the better argument with regards to the issue. I’ve done this before with other people who have helped me with regards to other issues with regards to theism on other forums. If you want to assume the worst about me, and make baseless accusations, fine. I’m just explaining myself. I’m not going to trade insults with you as it won’t accomplish anything. I told you his questions aren’t mine nor do I agree with them but you ignored me, and accuse me of racism(really?). These people aren’t even my friends nor do I know them that well and neither do you, so let’s not make unwarranted assumptions about them and throw around crude insults. I’m not afraid to think, I’m suspending judgment on a topic I don’t know well. You really need to calm down.

        I’m still going to visit this site as I think it has the best materials on Islam I’ve seen in a while.

      • People ‘get’ what you are doing on forums because they are annoying Millennials, like you bro. You are doing exactly what I thought you were i.e you are an irritating and entitled brat. I told you THIS IS NOT A FORUM but you are going “back and forth between this and other forums’.

        Its like pissing in a swimming pool after you have been told its not a toilet and then getting annoyed that people are telling you off. I said its fine if you tell us what YOU think and if YOU want to ask questions or have a discussion or if YOU correct me. That’s because I am an amazingly wonferful human being who takes time out of my ADULT JOB to engage with people even when it’s of NO BENEFIT to me and they are being entitled and annoying. But you bring me cut and paste shit from others and expect me to miraculously know what YOU actually think of it. I literally feel like dying now after engaging with you. I got the same feeling the last few times too but didn’t say anything because we’ve all been like that when we were young. But Goddamn.

        All these students (*average time of waking up = 1400hrs) who are SO keen to post online GONNA BE GONE as soon as they get a girl or a job. Believe that.

        SHOCK! When you offer unqualified qoutes people assume you agree with them YOU JABRONI! If you quote a racist argument without context or explaining what part of it you DO agree with, people assume you too are a racist. And you lie bro, you DO agree to some extent with it because that’s why you posted it here – because you want an answer because you don’t know what’s wrong with it. Nothing wrong with that but don’t act the misrepresented martyr.

        Taking what people say, telling it to others and posting their replies instead of engaging with people is RUDE. You are a baby. Go hang out with other babies on your forums.

        People like you: ‘Hitler thinks Jews were messing up the German economy. Hmmmmm…’

        Us: ‘Dude, you sound like a Nazi’

        People like you: ‘What gave you that impression? I never said I agreed with it!’

        Us: ‘…’

        That’s the problem – you have SAID NOTHING, you merely quote DUMB people, which gives everyone a bad impression of YOU. THAT’S HOW LIFE WORKS.

        And STOP threatening to deprieve us of your presence on this site. Do you think you have contributed anything useful here or are enhancing my life or something? Spare us your demands to be treated as YOU think you deserve (with kid gloves).

        IF you were not an entitled millennial BRAT you would think: ‘damn, I seem to have pissed two guys off here. COULD IT BE something I did?!’ That’s what a normal person would think.  Instead you tell US to chill, or we are to psychically know what parts of qoutes you DO agree with.

        And you ask ‘questions’. Where are your questions? Nowhere! You didn’t ask anything. You repeatedly posted shit from othet people that was incoherent crap and then you complain when people point that out. In other words YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ACT. You kids live in a digital world of mutual dick holding where acting like this is fine. If you behave like this with real life people they will get MEGA PISSED at you.

        For example, you quoted a shit analogy about paradise being similar to drugs. I pointed out that this analogy is SHIT and you SHOULD have noticed that yourself. Instead of dealing and working through that so people could benefit, you just move on like a teenager with an attention span of six seconds. You are too busy ‘posting on different forums’, letting people do your thinking for you and thinking by commitee (*of dumb people).

        This is what sensible people do:

        ‘I saw this statement ‘X’ online. It caused me some consternation. I feel so and so part of it valid because of ‘Y’. What do you think?’

        Me: ‘That’s dumb because of ‘Z’. Don’t fall for shit like that ‘

        You: ‘Hmmm, this guys a bit abrupt and rude. Maybe he’s just like that or maybe I did something to piss him off (*this bit should be SILENT and in your head. I know I have to tell you babies that). I think you are right or wrong because of ‘W’ and ‘V’.

        Me: Well, what about so and so.
        Wow…normal discussion!

        And I don’t NEED you to approve of me or tell me this is one of the ‘better Islamic sites’. You just arrogant man! How would you or even I know that! I don’t NEED vindication from you. I’m not looking for followers or fane or starting a cult like those other morons. I wouldn’t have minded discussing the Problem of Evil with you however but WE DIDN’T EVEN GET THAT FAR because YOU – yes YOU! are galactically annoying.

        And DON’T tell people to chill as if your behaviour had nothing to do with their getting annoyed in the first place.

        Look how you talk. It makes me want to kill myself. And slap you. ‘SOME things I agree with, OTHERS I don’t ‘.
        Who the Hell talks like that?! WHAT things do you agree with? Which don’t you? And WHY?! How can any COMMUNICATION take place in this bizarre format?

        A woman: ‘would you like to have sex with me?’

        You: ‘I may. Then again, I may not. At the moment, I am trying to understand the philosophical issues around sex, and looking at various viewpoints. On forums’

        A woman: ‘you are gay’

        You: ‘you need to chill. I’ll admit you are fit but how can you talk to me like that?! I never said I was gay or not gay. You can’t judge me. Other women who I have interacted with have bo problem with me acting thus. On forums for example.

        A woman: FULL CONTACT SLAP TO YOUR FACE

                                   END SCENCE

        We had the SAME problem about gender segregation a few days ago. We DIDN’T EVEN get to discuss the religious rulings because you were being TOO NAIVE and ABSURDIST, or at least managed to PISS EVERYONE OFF. It probably doesn’t happen on forums, and that’s good. They are like you perhaps. If you find them beneficial that’s good, carry on, but DON’T ask us to act like YOU LOT and conform to YOUR EXPECTATIONS for NO GOOD REASON.

        And ANOTHER reason we don’t want to act like that is that you seem to have gotten some rather weird ideas from forums or acting the way to do.

        You DO see that some of your ideas are weird right?

        Like about girls etc? You DO see that the qoute comparing Paradise to Crack Cocaine was BLOODY STUPID right? You DO see that asking for theologians from Guinea Bussau is something a MUPPET would do right?

        What I wanted was to tell you to immunise yourself against such extravagant bullshit, find out where it comes from and limit your exposure to it or at the very least be cautious about forwarding it to others.

        But now I have lost the will to live.

        And if you ever tell me to chill again I will find you like Liam Nesson in ‘Taken’ and waterboard you.

      • By comment I didn’t mean act entitled or give you approval or be arrogant. Just that I really find this site helpful. I’m not threatening to leave or anything. I think you’re now reading into my comment, emotions that aren’t thereTo clarify I didn’t agree with his assessment regarding the countries in Africa he quoted as to me it seemed to be coming from an elitist perspective, and looking down at them, but I didn’t know to properly respond to his question/claim on my own.

        Look I really am sorry for making you so mad, and I do want to know the proper response to the problem of evil. I’m quoting so much because I don’t know much about the problem of evil or think I can form judgements about it that are sound/accurate about it. That being said, I’ll stop my behaviour now, and say what I really think about the problem of evil. But you seriously need to calm down even if I made you really mad as now you’re making threats of torture, and insulting people you don’t know very well using some very strong accusations of their intentions.

        I think that you have a point that for people in Third World countries see suffering as a part of life like any other event, and for them the problem of “evil” doesn’t arise anymore than the problem of say some other event that would be part of their life such as the problem of say why there are animals or something. That being said I don’t think this response takes away the problem of evil or does much as the problem doesn’t focus on who suffers exactly, or focuses on the perspective of those who suffer, but how can God who is supposed to be all-good exist with evil as God is supposed to be infinitely good, and evil is supposed to be finite, so God as Aquinas notes should be able to cancel out evil entirely? I think it concerns the nature of who God is, rather than the perspective of those who suffer, and I think your response focuses on the latter rather than former.

      • I want to die.

        You don’t think you DESERVED to get insulted after your behaviour?

        You SERIOUSLY think I’m threatening you?

        This is what I mean. You can’t tell when people are joking or anything.

        It’s not normal.

      • How am I supposed to tell if you’re joking online or not? I don’t know you at all. Threats are taken seriously everywhere. Securities in the past have arrested people for making “joking threats”. Would you say their behaviour is not “normal”? In terms of insults, I do deserve them, but with regards to the people I’m asking such as calling them “dumb” when you don’t know them well is uncalled for, and you’re assuming I blindly agree with them, when I don’t.

        Another point regarding the problem of evil being a “first world problem” is that I think you’re solutions relies too much on the intuition of the common man, which I’m not sure is the correct approach to this problem. The common man also has a belief that God is anthromorphic or has a body, but we don’t go with their approach in dealing with the attributes of God such as omnipotence and whether there is a paradox with it(not that I think that). I think the problem of evil due to dealing with the nature of God falls into this category.

        I do mean it this time that I am sorry for my behaviour, and I don’t want there to be hard feelings between us as I really value this website, and need it for a lot of Islamic issues.

      • You aren’t sorry and you don’t understand what I’m talking about. I wrote a massive tract to say that calling it a first world problem WASN’T my solution. But you are telling me that my solution has problems. You seem to be unteachable.

        Don’t get offended, but are you perhaps very young or a bit autistic? I’m asking sincerely to try and understand why you are like this.

        Also, you don’t know how to talk to people without pissing them off. I can forgive it if there is some reason for it.

        Anyway, I wasted a whole day and you didnt understand anything I said.

        Sorry if I made you feel bad. You certainly ruined my day.

        Call the cops if you think I’m really Liam Neeson.

      • And the best advice you are going to get in your life: while you are in university, find an eligible girl *regardless of her religion even, target and acquire, instead of wasting time with these dick for brains philosophy students and ISOC. University is the place not only to get good with girls but to find a suitable one. Once you leave that environment, it is very hard to meet girls (*and almost impossible to meet Muslim ones) and the pretty ones all get used up and shagged (a lot in uni) and disillusioned as they get older anyway (yes, that includes the Muslim ones if they are fit).

        So we have different spheres in our life: health, wealth, relationships and spiritual. Make sure you are taking care of each of these properly or you will regret. Most ‘religious’ and ‘atheist’ people are very unbalanced. Tolerate them in small doses only and pursue your own interests and relationships that benefit you.

    • First of all, there is no such thing as argument from authority in philosophy or science, so I don’t care WHO you talked to.

      Secondly, they sound as fantastically naive as you: so the opinion of people who suffer the most doesn’t carry more weight?

      You are talking crap isn’t it?

      I made it abundantly clear what my point about First World Problems was.

      • Who said I was making an argument from authority? I just told you who I asked about your claim. I only said I agreed on their
        last point, and for the other points I see where their coming from not that I agree with it entirely. You really need to chill, and stop being so hostile. I accepted it last time because you were right about the gender things, and the compensation thing, but now you’re just being unnecessarily unpleasant. I’m not talking crap as I wanted to ask what your point is exactly so I understand you correctly, and don’t make a strawman when I ask other people.

        For your second point one of them told me to ask you this:

        “Here are some questions I’d like you to ask this person:

        People who ask these questions about the ‘problem of suffering’ are those with First World Problems. You never see these types of half ass criticisms of religion in places with ACTUAL suffering, like the Third World.

        If the Problem of Evil is a half-ass criticism of religion, why do top theologians often describe it as the most difficult problem atheists challenge them with? Why is it given so much coverage in the history of theology?
        What kind of commentary or philosophical positions has this person seen coming out of Timor-Leste, Malawi, Mali, Togo, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Liberia, or the like?

        What should victims of serious crimes, accidents, diseases, and natural disasters in the First World refer to what they go through other than “ACTUAL suffering”?”

        If you want you can go engage them here if you’re interested: https://www.reddit.com/r/askphilosophy/comments/6a0x1e/is_the_problem_of_evil_a_first_world_problem/

      • You don’t need to ‘take it’. You and your questions can get lost for all I care!

        I don’t owe you kid. I’m doing you a FAVOUR, you entitled brat, by taking time out to answer your questions. And you are so disrespectful that they aren’t even YOUR questions. You are bringing me dumb stuff OTHER people said LIKE A SCHOOLKID and saying ‘Oi, so and so said this about you!’

        I don’t care. I’m a grown up. You and your stupid friends on forums mean nothing to me unless you say something of SUBSTANCE.

        Your original qoute was STUPID. I was nice to you and didn’t say that YOU TOO ARE STUPID for taking it seriously and rather explained it to you. But you demand more ego massage.

        Now you have brought ANOTHER MORON LEVEL qoute from a philosophy student (*invariably the dumbest students on campus) which is similarly IDIOTIC – and you expect NORMAL people like me to reply to shit you neither thought of yourself NOR are savvy enough to critique before regurgitating it onto my website. You absolute entitled cornflake!

        Look at this SHITE you are asking me – ‘theologians say this is the biggest challenge… they have dedicated more time to this blah blah…’ has your friend in the philosophy department done an audit of all theologians writings and then ranked what they discussed by relative word count and then decided that this is the ‘biggest problem’? Did you bother to ask him WHICH theologians? Does it even bloody MATTER how many theologians reply to a problem which actually isn’t a problem? Does that make it real? Does the fact that I am wasting my life and brain cells responding to your nonsense make it a legitimate issue?

        Theologians spent a lot of time defending polytheism. So bloody what?

        Apart from the moronic selection of countries (*Egypt and India and Thailand are Third World  countries and have produced loads of theologians – did you ask him why he picked obscure and small countries instead of those others? No you didn’t, because you are a gullible muppet), who in the blue hell says that theologians have a superior understanding of suffering ANYWAY?!

        You complete MARSHMALLOW. I told you that it’s interesting that the problem of evil is most likely to be articulated by entitled idiots in the First World as opposed to people in the poorer countries where they suffer much more and you reply by saying (*through your friend) that we can safely ignore these people because they didn’t produce any theologians (*except they did – you and your friend didn’t study a single book or oral tradition from your RACISTLY selected group of countries- you merely ASSUME that poor Africans are unable to have a discourse at you guys philosophical level (*which is shit btw). How DARE you?!

        And then you ask what about people in the West who have suffered. It just shows how foolish both of you are. Did I say ‘the answer to the problem of evil is that you can ignore it because only entitled pricks doing waster courses at Western universities ask this question?’

        No.

        I merely pointed out that this question is hardly ever asked by those who suffer the most but very frequently asked by entitled pricks i.e it is a First World Problem (*but instead of reading the suggested article you started trolling forums).

        Get this through your head: this isn’t a forum, nor a free Q&A site. It is an essay blog.

        I told you at the outset that I’ll not discuss the problem of evil with you because your 1. Reason and quote for your doubt was too silly to legitimise with a discussion and 2. The problem of evil and suffering is an inevitable byproduct of the existence of sentient beings so the only way to do away with evil and suffering is to not exist (Buddhists have long understood that).

        I didn’t get into other details because I was implying in a nice way that you aren’t equipped to handle the discussion yet – based on the quote you brought and the level of confidence you hold baseless positions with. You bloody well proved that by conducting the whole subsequent ‘discussion’ by demanding people treat you with kid gloves, allow you to conduct the whole discussion by proxy through qoutes from other people etc. But then these other people are DUMB nobodys. That IS argument from authority because you are too pussy to make your own point or analyse those of others. Nay, rather it is deliberate brainlessness.

        Let me give you EVEN more free advice: pissing about on forums and YouTube is NOT a good way to find the truth about ANYTHING. It doesn’t make your friends bad ass if they can troll people on forums and threads on Redditt, which is why you don’t see me doing it.

        I made a website – you can engage with my ideas by reading it. Instead you insist on dragging everyone into the gutter with you. From your questions its obvious you haven’t read many of our articles.

        Your problem is simple: you don’t know how to differentiate bullshit from facts. We have all been there. But you can’t improve because you get excited and form opinions without meditating or verifying. On top of that, you are rather unobservant and naieve. A while back you were confused because you thought men and women had the same sexuality. Literally no one sensible thinks that. Why do you think that people can name loads of female models but not a single male model? Why do females get paid much more for modelling and do most of the sex work? Why is most rape by men? Is it because the female body and the male body illicit the same response in the opposite sex? Why do women wear less clothes to do THE SAME sporting events? Are you from Earth dude?

        And then you complain that how dare people say you are talking crap, we need to be nice to you etc: you don’t deserve it kid. If you ask silly questions in a silly way, be greatful adults with jobs and real problems take the time to engage with you.

        Also, I’m rude to you because you act like a passive aggressive man child who keeps speaking through others. You will get slapped many times in life for such ‘charming’ behaviour. Grow some balls and say what you want to say in your own words. Like a man. But you lost your chance with me kid.

        I answered many points, explained using examples. You don’t engage or reply but go off to some forum (*like a baby) and get them to reply to some next shit. You jump from topic to topic (*like a baby). Am I having the discussion with them or you? You are afraid to think for yourself. Basically, you don’t know how to act and you are very irritating. You need to be told so that Insha’Allah you can improve.

        You ungreatful donut.

      • And before you use the last point as a springboard for a hostile comment, no I don’t agree with what the person asked me entirely as I think some of their claims regarding what they wanted to know seem to be coming from a “first-world perspective” as you would put it.

      • In that case, I’m still not sure if it still is a “first world problem” because by first world problem you seem to imply it’s not very significant, and I’m not sure if I agree with that assessment. I mean I wouldn’t say that someone like Ellie Wiesel who struggled with the problem of evil after the Holocaust, would be “entitled” in the same sense of Richard Dawkins.

        I’m not autistic, I just have the trouble of communicating my thoughts to others in a clear way.

      • You have problems LISTENING to others we get what YOU are saying just fine. You don’t get what I say. It’s a serious problem. You talk past others.

        How old are you? Why not tell?

        Holocaust – here you go again. Is it happening to the people asking these questions? You don’t understand brother. I can’t make you. The worst part is you don’t understand but you think you are clever. You think you can catch people out. Catholic Commentator realises this about you too. That’s why we get annoyed.

        I told you, over reams of text, that Problem of Evil is MOST FREQUENTLY brought up by people in the West, where there is on AVERAGE less suffering such as infant death etc. This is rather self evident and even admitted by atheists who know that poorer countries have more faith in God.

        You go and bring up a Western person complaining about the problem of evil. Why? And even that, in the context of the Holocaust which OBVIOUSLY isn’t relevant to the relatively pampered lives people in the West lead NOW. No one describes the inhabitants of Warsaw ghettos or Dachau as ‘first world’. If you mean that people who survived the Holocaust had doubts about God that is somewhat true. But so what? That actually proves my point – that being a product of a Western mindset predisposes people to regard the problem of evil as a serious contention.

        And I never said it wasn’t significant. The problem of evil is very significant for people who survived the Holocaust. Just as someone who in the third world asks why his baby died has a non trivial point. But you and your jabroni philosophy mates aren’t those people and your asking the question has less weight than them. It’s also curious that ON AVERAGE this question is asked in developed societies as opposed to poorer ones – suggesting that those who suffer less paradoxically question God’s existence more. It’s an observation about the TYPES of people who TEND to ask these questions NOT an answer to the question.

        This is the third and last time I shall explain this or anything else to you brother.

        In the time I have spent labouring this point to you over 10 pages of dense type I could have tried to write a beneficial article.

        It is too hard for me to make MYSELF understood to you. It is rather possible that this is my shortcoming in which case may God and you forgive me.

        All the best and good day!

      • Since anyone reading this will be WELL confused now, I will post a small comment about the ‘Problem of Evil’. It is from a post a few years ago and is brief. I am respectfully not discussing this with the original questioner because he wasted 6x the time needed to discuss this on other crap and misunderstandings.

        It was written when I was much more ignorant of other religions but I haven’t changed it so as not to be fake. Apologies to Christian brothers.

        If there is a God, why is there suffering?

        (This is usually asked by people influence by the Christian conception of God)

        This usually divides into two things: People cannot really have a problem with the suffering caused by human action/inaction: this includes war, poverty etc. since this must exist if we have human ‘free will’: if God stops it everytime we are about to mess up and kill someone then there is no free will and how can he judge us? Therefore when people talk about the ‘problem of evil’ they usually mean stuff like childhood cancer, earthquakes etc. which is out of human control.

        1) The assertion that suffering of this kind negates the EXISTENCE of God is false, since it has nothing to do with His EXISTENCE at all. The most they can argue is that ‘God exists but he is evil by some definition’. This problem came about because Christians emphasise that ‘God is Love’ for 2000 years, so people used it against them. Technically, in Islam we do not have this problem at all. If people DO say ‘God is out of order’ We could say ‘Yeah, so what? What are we going to do about it?’ But that is not a very good answer, though it is ‘true’.

        2) Related to this is the question of what is ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ for God and man. Since these concepts don’t have any reality a priori to God for theists, then it is an interesting question in theology: is good something God decrees is good or is it good in and of itself? Obviously there is no such thing as ‘Good’ in the universe which imposes its will on him. This does not help answer the question though, but it does show that this question is something atheists like to troll poor Christians with while conveniently not having to answer what ‘good’ and ‘justice’ are without the concept of God.

        It is likewise deceptive of them to use a false psychological distinction and pretend that the existence of suffering makes people doubt God when in fact people ‘invent’ God to make sense of suffering according to these same atheists, who then claim that we no longer need God because we have other explanations (science etc), all the while ignoring that by their own token the God hypothesis is there to help ‘dumb’ people make sense of things. So the existence of suffering, if it is not explained by God is very much at odds that God explains these things for ignorant people.
        Rather, most people regard God and The Day of Judgement and Paradise as an epistemic framework for pain and injustice to be explained.

        So the idea that suffering is a huge issue to theism is being imposed by atheists as opposed to a genuine concern for theists as much.

        3) This question has a ‘logical fallacy’ which Islam addresses since it assumes that the purpose of life is to NOT suffer horribly (and it is therefore about having fun). But where is the proof of this? Who said the purpose of life is to not suffer? The Quran explicitly says ‘Verily, we have created man in strife’.

        I could just as easily argue ‘What kind of God allows us to live in a world of complete bliss?’ it is logically the same but this will not satisfy the heart of a person, who wants to believe in a loving God, which is indeed what he is. But this argument shows that the question does not, in terms of cold hard logic, make any sense. So again, it is very fake ass and disingenuous of ‘rational’ people to ask it.

        4) As per above, also it is arrogant to assume that you have a right to not suffer, it is also arrogant to assume that God does not have the right to MAKE you suffer or that there is indeed not SOME benefit in events like the Holocaust or childhood cancer in SOME way, i.e the Holocaust may have prevented the REPEATED pogroms against the Jews which were a feature of European history, even though in and of itself it was abominable.

        i.e. Pointless suffering may not be pointless from God’s perspective. This ‘consequentialist’ argument has been made by many and is non falsifiable and a bit unsatisfying. But suffering being purposeless is not accepted by anyone, including atheists, who posit various biological functions and necessities for it.

        5) Similarly, suffering may lead to necessary functions such as empathy and even consciousness itself, how do we know empathy can exist without us witnessing suffering (as per the story of Buddha who lived sheltered in a palace and then one day saw a sick person and a dead person etc. and formulated Buddhism around that. TIll that moment of witnessing suffering he didn’t have any insight and Buddhism is largely based on this).

        6) Also, God has the right to make you suffer, or make you stand on your head or send you to Hell forever since he made you from non-existence to existence in the first place: without him, you would not exist AT ALL: So is non-existence preferable to suffering? Is non-existence preferable even to Hell? No one can prove that oblivion or non existence are preferable to suffering so as long as we can show that suffering is an unavoidable part of mortal and conscious existence (*a claim made by all major religions) then the question of the Problem of Evil is reduced to ‘why does desire exist’? Or ‘why does consciousness exist’ and these questions sound stupid which is why atheists don’t ask them in that way but rather frame it as ‘God’s fault’ for making evil. But religions tend to assert that evil or suffering is an unavoidable corollary of creating consciousness etc.

        And God has rights over you that other people do not: just like in UK law if a mother kills her baby it is called ‘Infanticide’, not murder, since even the law acknowledges the right of the mother is different to a normal person.

        7) Another example is this: Imagine if I torture you to death. That’s horrible and murder, right? But what if I could bring you back to life? Is it still murder now? What if I could not only bring you back to life but give you eternal Life? Eternal Bliss? Was it still murder? Was it even still suffering since any amount of pain compared to an infinity of bliss is like any number compared to infinity (i.e. Zero). So God is like that. Yes, he kills babies: but he can bring them back to life and give them eternal bliss. If one doubts this then one will feel the loss of the baby a lot more. In Islam this is expressed in the narration where the inhabitants of Paradise who suffered the most are asked if they suffered at all and they will say ‘No!’ and this makes perfect sense since a lifetime of suffering compared to eternal bliss is literally nothing.

        So the ‘problem of evil’ is only a problem if God doesn’t exist i.e evil has no recompense or payback and this is a bigger problem and cause for nihilism than God as a guarantor on loans of pain in this life. Which is why atheists are keen not to provide any explaination of suffering themselves because theirs is to not bother to give one.

        If however there is NO afterlife, then indeed this life is guaranteed to be a mixture of pain and pleasure, and no-one can be sure which one there will be more of, so as I say to atheists, suicide is the only rational answer to prevent suffering since I cannot be sure that I am not going to accumulate more pleasure than pain in my limited life. Why take that bet?

        This is as someone said: the Nihilist is the only intellectually honest atheist.

        There are many more arguments, but this is just off the top of my head.

        The quick way to handle it: ‘Who say the purpose of life is pleasure and not suffering? (certainly not us)’ and ‘Any amount of suffering is negated by eternal afterlife’ and like it or not, that is an irrefutable and Mathematically true.

        BUT the deepest and most irrefutable point of all is:

        Are creatures not capable of suffering even Human as we know them? Is not suffering necessary to the human condition?

        Bon Jovi put this beautifully by saying: ‘I need you like the poet needs the pain’

        And as the Sufis say: Is not life merely the attempt to understand the existence of the rose from the thorn?

      • I see your point now. In that case in general it is a First World Problem. And these people I’m talking with aren’t my “mates” nor am I trying to “team up” with them to refute your points.

        All the best you too, and I hope in the future we can have better discussions with no hard feelings.

      • Bro, I don’t CARE even if you were teaming up to refute me – I don’t mind that at all. My problem, as I repeatedly told you was with your style. I’m not bothered HOW many of those MORON campus atheists and ‘philosophers’ team up against me. I can beat the living shit out of all of them AND their ‘Professors’ AT THE SAME time and it would look like Neo beating up agents in ‘The Matrix’ sequels. That’s not because I am smart or good, it’s because these guys are FANTASTICALLY SHIT drama queens who aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. They literally suck – I hope you can see how SHIT their ‘arguments’ were. Even intelligent atheists like John Gray are sick of these idiots and realise that they are WAY DUMBER than religious people and that religious people are way more open minded than them.

        Its the same with Liberals/Libtards – they are uniformly stupid: in the US, you will find SOME Republicans/Conservatives who support gay marriage, abortion etc, but you won’t find a SINGLE liberal against these things. Why? because their ideas are baseless, based on fashion and they are incapable of independent thought.

        You being 19 explains a lot.

      • I don’t mean LITERALLY that its the best advice you will ever get. I know I have to clarify that for you.

  39. @Amar-Kareem Guimba

    No suffering or evil is indeed justified by itself in isolation, but becomes justified in a larger whole. There is no such thing as “needless” suffering except from an incomplete point of view.

    Surah Al-Kahf contains several examples of this. In this surah, Nabi Musa sees several events that seem “needless evil” to him, but later understands they were in fact good when he sees the larger context.

    Needless to say, the surah itself delivers the message much better than a (non-Muslim) nobody like me does, so you might go and read it.

  40. Yeah, I know there are other responses to the Problem of Evil. The Islamic version focuses on compensation which is I why asked that.

    So just to clarify, what point are you trying to make with the problem of evil being a first world problem?

  41. @Amar-Kareem Guimba

    I would add another piece of advice to all the ones mmmclmru gave you : where was your quote from ? Are you afraid/ashamed to name the source here ? It’s not very polite to throw unsourced quotes this way, you know.

  42. “I bought a ‘Big Issue’ from a homeless guy last week. I didn’t really want the ‘Big Issue’, it was an excuse to give him money. ”

    In that situation, I always tell the person that I’m OK to give him money but I don’t want any of his paper. All the homeless people I met were perfectly fine with that. But I’m not living in the UK, so maybe there is a context that I’m unaware of …
    I must admit I don’t get it : why would people need “excuses” to be generous with each other ?
    Is there some Islamic principle preventing you to do this ?

  43. @Amar-Kareem Guimba
    Obviously, you’re not getting mmmclmru’s point about arguments of authority at all. You wrote :

    ” If the Problem of Evil is a half-ass criticism of religion, why do top theologians often describe it as the most difficult problem atheists challenge them with? (…) like Augustine, Aquinas, Epicurus, etc.”

    Your analogy is flawed, as “the Problem of Evil” can mean completely different things to different people.
    Augustine and Aquinas engaged in strong discipline and voluntary suffering (called “penitence”), as required by the Church, unlike the academics you consult. They realized that before speaking about suffering, you should get to know it a little bit, unlike the academics you consult.
    What people call “The problem of evil” in today’s world is rather different. It usually is political propaganda. Everytime the US Empire destroys a country somewhere, it always brings in its team of NGO-s explaining to the world that US mass murder and oppression is not so bad, because, you know, all those people were suffering from “the problem of evil” – be it dictators, misoginy, you name it. The West (and its Westernized allies such as Saudi Arabia) plunders and oppresses, and calls it all “the problem of evil”, “the axis of Evil”, i.e. blames it on God.
    Look at what is happening in Syria now, with nearly all the journalists spreading the official propaganda, except for a few brave people like Eva Bartlett.
    If you don’t perceive the connection between what you’re propagating and political manipulation, you are indeed shockingly naive as mmmclmru said. In technical terms, a “useful idiot”.

  44. Didn’t I already say that wasn’t me who asked the question, and I’m not using them as my mouthpiece? I really didn’t expect baseless insults from you Catholic Commentator.

    • Whilst I agree with mmmccluru short summary on the Islamic viewpoint on evil. Syed Hussein Nasr says something very similar. Effectively it is a western, christian-judeo struggle. The eastern religions didnt have this problem. (They don’t now)

      Have a look

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