No doubt you’ve heard this before. As an ex-Muslim with a Muslim-only family, I have heard it repeated over and over that Islam is the best religion; Islam is a way of life; Islam is the religion of peace. Let’s take a deeper look at this, why don’t we?
Mohammed is considered the best human being that ever lived, sinless and perfect in every way. He is considered so perfect that some regard it as blasphemy to not say Peace Be Upon Him after his name; not only that, but if one Muslim says it, whoever hears him has to repeat it or say it with him. Have you seen Game of Thrones? When the Ironborn make the statement, “What is dead may never die,” and everyone repeats it? Exactly like that.
Besides going to Heaven, it is the dream of every good Muslim to emulate Mohammed’s actions. Whatever action he did, and the manner in which he did it, is called the Sunnah, or tradition. For instance, it is a sunnah to eat with one’s right hand, as Mohammed did so; it is a sunnah to lick one’s fingers after eating; it is a sunnah to narrate a good dream to one’s friends, and to not disclose one’s bad dreams; it also a sunnah for a man to marry four wives, as Mohammed did so.
From a young age, little boys and girls are indoctrinated to believe that Mohammed is this perfect man of such immaculate character that to question it is unthinkable. One need only look at the likes of Nazi Germany and North Korea to see how harmful it is to brainwash children into believing that there exists anything like a perfect human. When you strip away a child’s ability to ask questions, you take away any chance that they have of ever reaching any form of true self-awareness. They will never forge an identity that is truly theirs because, not only is their ability to ask questions gone, but their desire to do so as well. They become complacent with the world view that they’ve been fed by their parents, and so grow into complacent adults. Complacency is the death of human intellectual progress; a barren field in which the seeds of doubt cannot sprout; a field where hope comes to die.
And death is essentially the purpose of not only Islam, but all Abrahamic religions. Death is the one thing that any good Muslim should look forward to. I mean, why not? After death you meet your god and your prophet, and live happily ever after in a garden of bliss – as long as you meet the terms and conditions to god’s unconditional love.
Muslims believe that after you die, you are visited by two angels – specifically, they come to your graveside, but they are said to visit you even in cases where your physical body is completely disintegrated. These two angels then ask you a series of questions about your faith and your prophet: answer correctly, and the grave widens and becomes a window to Paradise; answer incorrectly, and the grave shrinks, crushing you in such a way that your rib cage interlocks – like lovers’ hands – and you find yourself in a mini pit of Hell, a taste of what is to come after Judgement Day.
Bare in mind, I was told all this as a little child. Regardless of the fact that this counts as child abuse – to tell a child that they will be crushed and burnt if they do not obey – this also plants the seeds of violence in malleable minds. If I walked up to you and, out of nowhere, proclaimed that I would reward you handsomely in exchange for your undying devotion, and punish you most cruelly if you refuse, would you call that love? Would I be someone worthy of respect, let alone worship? Well, clearly the answer is no! But why is this behaviour in god so adored and revered? If you are a religious Muslim reading this, and you have an answer for me, please let me know.
No doubt we’ve all heard of evil acts carried out by terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabbab and – most notoriously – ISIS. I fully condemn these attacks; when I do, almost everyone I know agrees with me (yes, that’s right: almost everyone). But when I make the observation that they are all Muslim, carrying out what they believe to be their religious obligations, everyone jumps on the Islamophobia-butthurt bandwagon. What the hell is Islamophobia?
It is a word created by the human followers of an all-mighty being in order to protect said being’s feelings from being hurt. No other religion has the freedom to criticize while simultaneously being free from criticism quite like Islam does. Muslims have made quite a few outrageous claims and remarks, and they have the freedom to do so; but try and call them out on their foolishness and you’ll see what I mean. For a religion that brags of being the fastest-growing in the world, they sure do have some self-esteem issues. You know the Platonic bully on the playground, the one that you tell your child to ignore because the bully probably has their own issues to deal with, and is only bullying because he feels insecure about himself? Islam is the bully.
A man can fly a plane into a building to shouts of “Allahu Akbar!“; a prisoner can be publicly beheaded for being an Infidel; suicide bombers can reek havoc while proclaiming the awesomeness of their god; all this can happen and the first statement to be made by Muslims and sympathizers is: “Not all Muslims are terrorists!”
Of course not!
No one has ever said that, and if they have, then they have no right to be taken seriously. Anyone who believes that ~1.2 billion people in the world can be classified as terrorist simply for which imaginary friend they have, is an idiot. But…
Does not the fact that most acts of brutal terrorism committed by Muslims are done in the name of Allah and of Mohammed carry any weight at all? The reply I might get is, “Well, they’re not real Muslims.” Funny thing is, that’s the same thing they’re saying about the Muslims not with them. So now we have this game of inconclusive back and forth, how do we resolve it? Well, the only objective guide we have is the fundamentals of religion, is it not? Anything else we have is just an opinion, an interpretation. When god says Adam and Eve ate from an apple and caused sin to be brought into the world, that’s what he says; whatever your Imam or your Rabbi or your Priest tells you is not the objective word of the god you serve. So we revert to the fundamentals of religion to sort out the “real” Muslims from the wannabes.
The Qur’an, the sunnah and the Hadith (sayings of Mohammed) all call out for the killing of non-Muslims. The context of these sayings is insignificant, because they can be manipulated by anyone with religious authority for their agenda: ISIS could say that these kill-commands are applicable at all times, and hence justifies killing non-Muslims, while your local Imam could say that these commands were given to Mohammed and the sahaaba to be used only during times of war, or during a particular battle (such as the Battle of Badr), and hence do not apply during modern times. You see what I mean by the book and the tradition being the only objective rubric we have for judging whether or not someone is a “true” Muslim? Anything else attributed to this is just human fancy.
Both the Qur’an and the Hadith mention the famous 72 Virgins. Despite the fact that this teaching is disgustingly sexist and misogynistic (I could write a whole blog post about that), this idea is also one that leads to much violence and death. The Qur’an states that the “Companions of the Right Hand” (those destined for Paradise, or Jannah) will receive virgins, pure and undefiled, beloved in nature and equal in age. However, take a look at the following Hadith:
It was reported in the hadeeth of al-Miqdaam ibn Ma’di Karb that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The martyr (shaheed) has seven blessings from Allaah: he is forgiven from the moment his blood is first shed; he will be shown his place in Paradise; he will be spared the trial of the grave; and he will be secure on the Day of the Greatest Terror (the Day of Judgement); there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, one ruby of which is better than this world and all that is in it; he will be married to seventy-two of al-hoor al-‘iyn [virgins of paradise]; and he will be permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives.” According to another report, the martyr has six blessings from Allaah. According to other reports (the number is) six, or nine, or ten – Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Sunan, by Ahmad, by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf, by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and by Sa’eed ibn Mansoor in al-Sunan (source)
This is a saying by the most perfect man in the world, a man sinless and without flaw, on the authority of some of the most trusted and respected scholars of the Muslim world. Muslims are here enticed to martyrdom, to die for their religion, by offering them all that they seek: forgiveness of sins; Paradise; freedom from the scary grave; no fear on Judgement Day; treasure and honour; sexual rewards; and finally, the ability to spare their relatives from the hellfire. How can any Muslim who truly believes not want that? I’m an Atheist and even I admit that it sounds enticing; you get rewarded better than any mortal could ever dream of and all you have to do is die? Sounds simple.
On a Muslim site, a question was posed concerning an issue with Palestinian women “carrying out martyr operations.” You know what the issue was? That the woman would be travelling alone, without a male relative as a companion, and that this martyr operation may cause her to reveal her Awrah (the part of the body she should keep covered; everything except her hands and face), which is totally Haraam or unlawful. Yes, let her go and blow herself up, taking innocent human lives with her, but for fuck’s sake don’t let her go alone or show her ankles!
“And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the pleasure of Allah; and Allah hath compassion on (His) bondmen.”(Al-Baqarah: 207)
With the above Hadith – and also many other Hadiths and Qur’anic verses like it – in mind, it’s now easy to see why so many Muslims are sympathetic to the suicide bomber, and the ones like them: the ones who go willingly to their god, dragging those around them, kicking and screaming, with them in a maelstrom of fire and destruction. The argument might be made that although these Hadith and verses exist and are read by most Muslims, most Muslims are not suicide bombers. Most Muslims are your everyday people, who go to work and eat and sleep and play just like us, and they despise martyrdom – that’s simply just not true.
- The world’s most quoted independent Islamic jurist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, calls the bombs “commendable” and “among the greatest form of holy struggle against oppression”, while 75% of people in the Middle-East support suicide bombers, according to polls done in the area.
- In 2004 a report done by Pew found that 65% of Pakistanis held a favourable view of Osama bin Laden; 47% believed that Palestinian suicide attacks on Israelis were justified; and 46% thought that attacks on Westerners in Iraq were justified.
- 63% of Egyptians and 61% of Libyans support the acts of terrorism committed on 9/11
- Palestine (40%), Afghanistan (39%), Egypt (29%) and Bangladesh (26%) believe that attacks on civilians in defense of Islam can be justified.
- 1 in 8 UK Muslims support terrorist attacks.
- In 2007, 7% of British Muslims said they admire organisations like Al-Qaeda which are prepared to fight against the West.
There are many more polls that I could reference, but I won’t bother; I think the point is clear. There are many, many, many Muslims – the ones who sit at home and go to work and play and fuck just like the rest of us – who walk around with the opinion that the act of blowing oneself up and taking innocent civilian lives is not only justifiable, it is admirable in the eyes of god. Only a poisonous, cruel, backwards ideology can make perfectly good, sane people believe such a thing.
When the focal point of your religion is death and the man whom you revere calls out for the killing of infidels and polytheists and hypocrites, when the holy book that you consider the divine and literal word of god contains instructions for war and killing and even abusing one’s wife, when the greatest form of devotion one can show to one’s god is to kill, then how can you claim to follow the religion of peace?