AwesomeA (former Muslim)
Testimony of Leaving Islam
Dear Muslims, Ex-Muslims and Non-Muslims,
I am an apostate of Islam. I have been putting off this testimony, but a friend has been insisting that I write it for long now. So here goes-
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio (USA) in an immigrant family of 5. We are of Arab ethnicity. We were considered rather liberal in the Arab community, but were conservative by American standards. We were not made to learn Arabic, grew up alongside Americans and my sister was allowed to leave home for college, unlike many Arab families we knew. My father also did not put constraints on my mother as was common. Sometimes that made him at odds with his family and society, but my father was very progressive and did not yield. I am very proud of him for that.
Religiously we were moderate. The only person in the family who performed salat (prayed) 5 times a day was my mother. My father was less regular, but tried attending Jumu'ah (Friday) group prayers weekly. My parents stressed more on teaching us good religious principles rather than enforcing daily prayers, a strict dress code, etc. I was somewhat religiously inclined as a child. I would ask my mother questions and would love hearing Islamic stories from her. Although I had not read the noble Qur'aan I could recite some verses in Arabic, say the Shahadah, etc.
After graduating from high school, I left home for college. The next few years of my life, religion did not get much of my attention with the exception of the weeks after September 11. I was very upset after 9/11 but was reassured shortly after then that Islam was peaceful. I continued my education and enrolled in law school. I loved my classes, the friends I made and the experience I had. I joined the MSA and read articles on Islamic websites. My interaction with Muslims increased and I found that so many people who prayed more than me did not get the 'essence' of Islam that my parents had taught me. As global terrorism increased, I felt it was my duty to help tell the world, Muslims and non-Muslims, what Islam really was. We were going through a difficult period and the world could not take Islam for what it appeared to be.
Still life was normal for me until 2005. A sense of guilt gripped me then seeing people dying everywhere from the Spain bombings to the Middle Eastern conflict. I felt I needed to do more stop the violence. After all I was intelligent and well educated, thanks to Allah. I started actively debating people in the MSA and on internet forums in an effort to show them my version of Islam. However, I soon faced the barrier of not knowing noble Qur'aanic verses. My opponents would quote verses and neither I nor my views looked credible.
Balancing my time consuming law classes and my new mission, I hit the Holy scriptures. I started reading the noble Qur'aan. I really liked some verses but as I read on, others did not appeal to me. Of course, I did not disagree with them. That was not an option. Somehow I thought I was not seeing them in the right way. But as i read on, more questions arose. In hindsight, I found the noble Qur'aan to be very repetitive and overly concerned with creating fear in the reader's mind, materialistic temptations and desperate to make the reader believe in it. But at that time, I was merely confused. So I went a layer deeper into the scriptures to answer my questions and started reading the hadeeths and reputed Islamic books.
Once I started, I could not stop. Night after night, I labored through the scriptures as I struggled to deal with law school on one hand and discovering Islam on the other. During those months I became socially withdrawn and my job hunting came to a halt. I was struggling to find 'my Islam' in the Holy books. I expected to see a divine message in the Holy Qur'aan. But, all I saw was a book that fell short of human standards, let alone Allah's. I was searching for peace, virtues, nobility, tolerance, mercy and an ideal human in the Prophet Muhammad (saaw). But the Hadeeths revealed a totally different picture! Page after page, I could see brutal history unfolding before my eyes. I was desperate for answers. I waited impatiently until I graduated with my law degree, and then instead of working I decided to pause my career until I had found my answers.
Following graduation I made my first visit to my ancestral country. I told my parents I wanted to know more about our religion. My father was surprised, but did not want to keep me from the call of Allah. My mother was very happy. I spent the next 2 months living with my relatives in my ancestral country. There were many positive aspects of this trip but I will focus on Islam here. I met with theology professors in the city I was in and even visited Al Azhar University in Egypt (Harvard of the Islamic world). From a religious aspect, a shocking world was revealed to me. I saw a controlling society and a ridiculous set of beliefs. The faith system was struggling to preserve a false belief when its very core was clearly shaken in the light of contradictory evidence coming from all sides. It is amazing how low people can stoop in justifying something they want to believe by making ridiculous arguments about morality, science, history or politics. Even the professors I met were of two kinds: those who were honest in telling me about Islam as it is and how my values of secularism, equality and freedom were wrong and those who argued with me by desperately trying to justify polygamy, science in the Quraan, etc. (To avoid repetition, please refer to articles on as www.faithfreedom.org and www.islam-watch.org).
I spent my flight back to America thinking about the last few months. I had set out to discover Islam, and here I was. I was amazed by how so many others and I could be so wrong about Islam for so long. Everything was clear now, but what was I thinking 6 months back? Why was I blinded? Why do so many people, Muslims and non-Muslims, not see the fallacy of Islam? Perhaps it is our innocence. Maybe it is our secular education that teaches us to respect others' beliefs. Perhaps, it was even the perpetual lies and myths we as Muslims hear about Islam. Or it was our ignorance out of which we made unqualified assumptions about what Islam was and believed historically distorted accounts of the Prophet Muhammad(saaw) and the Islamic empire. All these factors make a contribution.
However, the greatest cause of my illusion were my parents and all the other wonderful and highly moral humans who think they are Muslims but do not understand the actual faith. It is these remarkable human beings who follow a sanitized form of the religion that mask the real doctrine of Islam. They fall for the strictness of Islam as a test of one's devotion to Allah.
It was now apparent that the recent terrorism is not about the Iraq war. Neither was it about the Palestinian issue. It never has been. It is all about following the teachings of Islam and fighting the Kaffirs. The situation in Darfur is far worse than in Gaza. Yet I haven't heard about much action in the Muslim world to help the situation. When Afghanistan was being brutally ruled by the Taliban, nobody said anything. The reason is because there are no Kaffirs to blame or fight there. After all, these lands are Dar al-Islam. Ironically, it is the Kaffir countries that are doing something about the Darfur crisis in Sudan. I now understood the reason why the Islamic world is in great conflict with America. Because America is everything that Islam is not. By definition, it is the most un-Islamic country in the world. We have made mistakes but we stand for constant progress, Islam stands for stagnation. Our constitution progresses with time, the Shariah is frozen in time. We stand for separation of state and religion. Islam is both state and religion together. We stand for freedom of expression. Islam curbs freedom forever by killing its critics. We stand for equal rights of women. Islam does not.
Arabia may or may not have been worse off before Islam. Persia was easily far more advanced than the civilization Islam brought. We can argue about history, but in reality it does not matter. What matters is what we see today because today's world is what we can bear witness with our own pair of eyes. In effect, the success of the Kaffir nations like the USA, Germany and Japan is standing evidence that these countries can be better than those following Islam. They are proof that Islam is false because no human (American) system should be superior to that of the true God. Therefore, either the American system is better working more divine than Islam or both are man made. This truth is the essence of the Islamic world's hatred for America. As we flew over the Atlantic, I thought about the number of times the word 'hypocrite' is used in the Quraan. The irony is that there is perhaps no religion as hypocritical as Islam is.
We talk about science and medicine. The reality is that we relied on Persia and India for our knowledge (Hadeeth:Sahih Bukhari 7:71:611) back then. Today we rely on western medicine. Why don't any of us drink camel urine to cure ourselves (Hadeeth:Sahih Bukhari 7:71:590)? We claim to be the religion of peace. But we are by far the most violent religion. We talk about equality. Yet, Islamic societies are by far the most racist society today. Our countries were the last to ban slavery or give women the right to even vote, let alone other basic rights. Also, where else can you have Africans persecuting Africans based on race other than Islamic Sudan! We say others worship idols. But our holiest object on earth is the black stone in the Kabbah. We say Allah is omnipresent. Yet, we are the only religion that can only face Makkah when we pray (really Arab imperialism).
We claim this is Allah's way to keep the Ummah united. Yet, Allah has clearly failed us in this aspect as we are the most divided religion. Who else fights each other in the way Sunnis, Shias and other sects fight, killing and bombing each other's mosques. This fighting is despite the fact that both sects believe in the Quraan and the prophet (saaw), and we still say we are tolerant in religion? We claim the Kaffirs are blind. Yet, it is Muslims who are blindly following the unconfirmed word of one man who was not even a moral example for mankind.
When our house is on fire, we say it was the Kaffir miscreants who were the arsonists. When their house is on fire, we say the Kaffirs did it themselves so that they could blame it on the Muslims! Is the world really retarded? Why cannot we see that Islam is about empty words (about one nation, equality and peace), excuses and lame justifications. There is no doubt some good in the religion. But there is more good in many other religions. And God's religion needs to be perfect. Why cannot we accept that the holy Qur'aan is not the best holy book. No other book is as confusing or violent as it. Which other religion believes that Allah was so confused that He had to keep abrogating and substituting his verses. Why do we disgrace Allah by attributing the prophet(saaw)'s work to Him?
To be clear, I do not blame Islam for all the world's evils. But I can now look at the world in an unbiased manner, applaud the good and condemn the bad. The world had evils before Islam. The world has evils after Islam. As humans we should strive to remove these evils not justify them by saying things were worse before. We must not hide from the truth. We must accept that Islam has evils that must be eliminated. It is not our fault. It is not our parents or ancestors fault. But if we don't open our eyes, it will be our fault. After I landed into Chicago O'hare, I had to walk through US Immigration for the first time in my life. I noticed that the Immigration officer was spending more time on me than on others. In the past I have not cared as I understand their concern based on my ethnicity. But on that day I was thankful for the extra scrutiny.
Unlike some ex-Muslims, I have had no emotional problems apart from the period when I was discovering Islam. I still believe in God, just not in the prophet (saaw). I continue to love my food, language and culture. I even like the Hijab, but only if a girl is wearing it because she wants to. I have gradually explained my discovery to my father and he agrees with me. I debate with my mother often though she does not know yet. I will tell her gradually also.
I have seen that people often believe that America is anti-God. They forget that every US dollar bill clearly states "In God We Trust". Clearly we are not against God. Clearly, God is with us, our diverse people, our laws and our values.