Freedom To Choose (former Muslim)
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Testimony of Leaving Islam
I was born to Muslim parents. A mother who had been very religious all her life, and a father who had become zealously religious (coming from a relatively liberal background) after his marriage to that woman.
As with every child born to Muslim parents, the adhan was recited into my ears and thus it was decided. My religion, my deen, was to be Islam, Islam was what I was supposed to be holding true till the day I die. Allah was the one whom I was supposed to be worshiping till my last breath.
Growing up, I was learning to read the Quran in Arabic, Allah’s language, I was learning to pray, fast and do everything Allah’s Prophet Muhammad taught the Muslim ummah to do. I loved the look on my mother’s face every time I recited a new surah for her, every time she was praised for bringing up a good Muslim girl. At the age of 12, I told my parents I wanted to observe hijab. They were so proud of me, everyone was. I was told Allah was pleased with me and that made me very happy at that time. To please my creator so he would save me from hellfire, the scariest thing I’d ever heard of, that was my goal.
Like any other child I was curious and I had many doubts and questions. My mother used to read to me stories of prophets: Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Yusuf, Musa, Isa and all the others. It was these stories that created first doubts in me back then. Why, for example, did Allah create Satan if He knew what he was going to do? Why did Allah have to test Ibrahim? Didn’t Allah see the future? Didn’t Allah himself determine the future? And how about us? Has Allah also determined which of us go to Heaven and which of us go to Hell? How was this life a test, if the result is what Allah wants it to be and is in fact predestined from the very start?
Every time I asked I got the same answer: Islam is blind faith, Islam demands blind faith Allah doesn’t want you to question (5:101). Besides, Allah knows best.
So the questions were left unanswered and I was forced to bury them, because Allah apparently didn’t want me to think about them. There was one question I didn’t ask, I somehow understood it was controversial and I kept it to myself. Though I couldn’t help wondering, what if we have the wrong God? What if Allah wasn’t God, what if it was Krishna or Jesus or some other God unheard of? What then?
Whenever I thought of this, I felt guilt, shame and disgust towards myself. I asked Allah to forgive me for having such thoughts and guide me, I tried doing every thing I could to please Allah, so that he’d be pleased and let me into Paradise. It became an obsession.
At 15 I had read the Quran several times in Arabic, but I felt the need to read it in a language I understood. I felt it imperative to understand what Allah was commanding mankind to do in His final book. So I took to reading the Quran in English.
At first I was fascinated, thrilled even by Allah’s words, but that died out soon enough. As I read on, I was surprised to find absurd, illogical stories, barbaric laws and more misogyny than I had ever come across. All those questions I had as a child and many more began to race through my head and I repeated to myself the same sentence my mother told me as a child: Allah knows best.
No I didn’t think a man should be permitted to hit his wife or even have more than one wife, to control them and ‘use’ them whenever and however he wanted to.
No I didn’t think a woman’s testimony was worth half of a man’s, or that men were better than women or that her period was dirty, an illness.
But it didn’t matter what I thought, this was what the Creator of the Universe had decided and this is how it was suppose to be. So once again I buried my doubts and continued reading.
Around this time I heard of EDMD – Everybody Draw Muhammad Day – on Facebook. I had never been more outraged. These people were mocking Prophet Muhammad, the noblest man to ever walk the surface of the Earth, the man Allah Himself chose as His Messenger, the best among the best of mankind. And these people, these ignorant people wanted to mock and disgrace this great man?
EDMD was something of a reality check for me. Up until now I assumed everyone in the world either belonged to one the Abrahamic religions or was a Hindu, those were the only religions I had seen. And as a good Muslim would, I hated them. I hated the Jews and Christians because they were enemies of Allah, of the Prophet and of the Ummah, constantly conspiring to destroy us. I hated the Hindus because they associated partners with Allah.
But on EDMD I found that not only people had myriads of very different religious ideas, but also that there were people who didn’t worship any god, or even said god didn’t exist at all. Atheists. I thought they were crazy, absurd for saying that the Universe wasn’t created. Where did it come from then? At that time, they were another group of people for me to hate. Another group of people who denied the true religion, Islam and had strange ideas I’d never heard of.
I was there, defending Islam, conveying its meaning to these delusional people, whose ideas came from Allah knows where. Here I was forced to confront the doubts and questions I pushed at the back of my closet, that I didn’t want to think about and so much more.
I heard of things about the Muslim Ummah I was unaware of. How Theo Van Gogh was brutally killed in the middle of the street by a Muslim for making a movie critical of Islam. How people were killed in Islamic countries for converting to other religions. How homosexuals were executed in public and so much more that Muslims never spoke of. All we cried about is how the West was destroying our countries and killing our people or how the Jews were torturing the Palestinians or how the Hindus discriminated against us in India but we never, ever spoke about how so many Muslims were being killed by Muslims themselves, how Muslims were killing non Muslims in so many places. All of that just didn’t matter. It was only important when we were victimized by someone else. That’s all we cared about.
I was questioned about Prophet Muhammad’s lifestyle. The man I held to be the perfect example to follow didn’t seem so perfect anymore. His marriage to 9 year old Aisha when he was 53 (it doesn’t matter if it was a custom then, Muhammad was supposed to the ultimate example for all times), his massacre of the Banu Qurayza tribe, his multiple wives and concubines and they way he “acquired” them. The robberies, rape and murders his men carried on by his command disgusted me. I was ashamed of looking up to this man but I was also afraid of admitting it. So I found myself trying to justify all of it and the more I tried, the more I realized I didn’t think it was right.
I decided to read the Quran again and not shut my thought process this time. When I did, I felt like the whole religion was falling apart. I found the story of the cow in Surah Baqra absolutely ridiculous, the story of Solomon and his talking ants silly to the maximum, the story of the elephants in Surah Feel absurd. None of it made sense. I was afraid to admit it to myself, but it was becoming undeniable. So I prayed to Allah to help me out of it. I thought He was testing me and I asked for help. But none came. Slowly I did admit that I didn’t agree with what the Quran had to say, I didn’t agree with Allah’s law and His Prophet’s teachings. I began viewing the Quran critically and now became bold enough to point out errors, in grammar; Allah is very confused when it comes to using pronouns.
I started to question the very core premises of Islam: for example, Allah’s hell clearly didn’t seem to be a form of justice, but a threatened eternal, unlimited, brutal punishment for a limited “crimes”
committed in a limited and short lifetime, the gravest of which was disbelief, the most heinous deed a person could do, in the eyes of Allah. Forget genocide, child rape, atrocious things like that – disbelief and/or shirk is what Allah cares about the most.
Allah’s dislike of, hatred even, for women, His own creation, and constant discrimination against them, was another thing that repulsed me. His constant calls for war against those who “deny” Him when He doesn’t bother to provide any meaningful proof of His existence … I could continue on and on and on.
I began studying the origins of Islam and it did seem very blatantly man made, created by Muhammad to control the Arabs and make them dance to his tunes.
Islam’s obsession with controlling every single thing, from how you position your feet while you pray, to how you clean yourself after defecating, to how men grow their beards, to how one should position himself while sleeping, to literally making regulations about passing gas, all this small-minded pettiness pointed towards an origin in a mind of an obsessive man, a petty control-freak, hardly a God who created the whole Universe. It seemed to me that such a majestic creator of something so vast would not be weirdly fixated on one tiny planet in one corner of a Galaxy and bothered to send “guidance” only to a single, geographically firmly constrained region of this tiny planet, the Middle Eastern deserts. An impotent God, because not only did He fail to protect the books He supposedly sent earlier but also the “final” book He swore to protect. It isn’t true that the Quran is in its original from, the way Muhammad apparently ‘revealed’ it, one needs to do very little research to realize that, but Muslims choose to ignore that and rant about how their perfect book is “unchanged” and “perfect”. As if it meant anything at all to begin with.
Islam isn’t divine, Allah isn’t a god and Muhammad was a liar, it took me a while to realize that but I did. It is not rocket science, all you need is a little rational thinking and honesty, it is difficult to let go of something you’ve been holding to be true for as long as you can remember but it doesn’t feel good to believe a lie and it can be a great relief to finally let go of ghastly and primitive desert superstitions.