This Is What Made Me a Freethinker
19 Aug 2004
Sometimes I wonder why I am not near what my most relatives and friends believe in by heart. I have my own values. I always want to enjoy my personal freedom, see all people equal, and do something better for this wide world. However, Islamic teachings in childhood strived to squeeze my mind. I was confused to make a choice between my thoughts and Islam.
In acknowledgement I must thank my father who never said to me to practise Islam, not even once, and my elder sister who first sow the seed of doubt in my mind about Muhammad and the absurdity in Quran. Today I will present my views on Islam that led me to become a freethinker.
A hujur (Islamic teacher) was hired for me when I was about ten. He used to teach Arabic so that I can read the Quran. He taught me how to perform the prayers and observer the fast. I prayed and fasted but did not feel anything. They were just fake rituals. My hujur used to give a boyan (lecture) after every visit and he made me believe in Allah and Muhammad. He taught me how to stand by the Ummah (Muslim brotherhood) and not to be friends of non-Muslims, especially the Jews.
My hujur said only Muslims deserve to go to heaven and non-Muslims are enemies of Allah. We therefore need to fight for Islam until the end. This is what I learned also from other Muslims. Despite this sowing the seeds of hatred, I was constantly told that "Islam is a religion of peace."
After a few years, many questions were knocking on my head. My primary questions were:
- Why would I be a subject of hate if I were born to a non-Muslim family?
- What is wrong with innocent non-Muslims and why would Allah put them to hellfire for eternity?
- Why would Allah create a wall between them and us?
- If we dislike so much the non-Muslims, then why do we say Islam is a religion of peace?
I thought I must have been mistaken to know the fact of Islam. I realised that I must know the real Islam to get rid of such misconception. I went to many Islamic scholars to ask my questions and found strange answers.
The majority of Muslims are good people. However, I must admit the truth that most of them talk brainlessly and some of them want to eliminate Jews or non-Muslims and other religions only when they go defending Islam. These Muslims are very nice, but they become bloodthirsty for Islam while arguing.
I wanted to be unbiased about non-Muslims but the comments that I heard about them were often fuzzy and not without a prejudice. I was always told to give preference to Muslims. This sounded very unfair.
As a matter of fact, we can know the tree by its fruits. A Muslim is the fruit of Islam. Therefore, Islam means Muslims. Islam and Muslims depend on each other. If we cannot expect good things from Muslims, then who can present the goodies of Islam? This is what made me very disappointed of Islam.
I tried to find the advertised "peace" in Islam. We all know that critics and apostates (Murtads) of Islam are killed. Non-Muslims must not be friends or brothers. The adulterer must be stoned to death. Drinkers and other wrongdoers are flogged. Thieves lose their hands, and many more. How can all these represent peace? Can killing, fighting, flogging, stoning, and hating be a symbol of peace? How can I say Islam is a religion of peace when it kills its critics and apostates? I cannot find justification in this teaching.
I was trying to see why Bangladeshi people needed to worship the Arab imperialism. Does it make us lead better? We adopt their (Arabs') culture and religion, but we are not treated well by them. What is the actual point to follow their values? We had our own culture and religion.
Islam says all non-Muslims will go to hell. I could not agree with this. Would humanitarians like Mother Theresa burn for eternity, but tyrants like Saddam go to heaven eventually just because they are believers? Would God send people to hell just because he made them born in non-Muslim families? This seemed to be too much discrimination.
People of my host country have been a greater help to me. The visa officers issued visas for us. The authority of my host country lets us enjoy equal rights. The health ministry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatment of my father and relatives. The government of the country unconditionally help poor countries. The question is - why will the generous people of my host country burn in hell for eternity? I cannot accept this value of Islam at all.
It is true that the innovative infidels (Kafirs) are making Muslims much easier to practise Islam than ever. All the useful stuffs that you see in your open eyes are invented by the infidels. Muslims waste time for their five-time per day prayers and Ramadan. Muslims use aeroplanes and speedy vehicles to go to Mecca for hajj. They use calculators to make payments for Zakat. Four of the five pillars of Islam are performed with the help of non-Muslim products. Unfortunately, the helpers of Muslims will be residents of hell. I could not agree with the judgement that the creative infidels who made the world better will burn in hell for eternity.
My suspicion in Islam grew more day-by-day and many questions came to me but found no good answers. I tried to look for people who think like me. About two and half years ago, I found a website www.vinnomot.com operated by someone form Bangladeshi origin. I was surprised to read the posts on the site. Although the articles were new to me, I imagined that I was expecting the same for a long time. I realized I am not alone I my thinking, but many others have the same doubt about Islam as I do.
Despite that, I thought what if all these secular people on the site are misguided and misinterpreting Islam? Therefore, I started reading the Quran and Hadith to know the truth about Islam. Later on, I came to know that the authors on the site were correct, Muslim propagandists were not presenting the truth, and my suspicion about Islam was confirmed.
Imran Hossain is a Bangladeshi-born ex-Muslim.