My Story with the Quran: How I Left Islam; How to Fight It?
08 Sep, 2008
"Without raising an eyebrow, I also read about Mohammed's genocide of the Jewish tribe of Bani Quryza. I had developed the concept that committing Islamic genocides against the Jews are no more disturbing to an Arab than slaughtering a herd of cattle."
In practice with other Muslims, during the month of Ramadan, I used to read the Quran from cover to cover, a tradition that stayed with me all my life as a Muslim. I used to plan the event so that I would finish the last chapter on the 27th of the month of Ramadan. I used to experience some strange and disturbing feeling about the quality of what I was reading. That feeling used to get worse as I went through the chapters and by the time I got to the last few chapters it reached its peak. Those 'satanic' feelings were especially troubling because I used to read those last few chapters on the 27th day of Ramadan, which is known among Muslims as 'Laylat al quadr' when the spiritual feelings supposed to be at its zenith. However, I was a well-trained Muslim and knew what to do in such circumstances; I used to pronounce the famous sentence "auzu billahi mina shaitani al rajeem" to seek refuge with Allah from the Satan, whom I blamed to be behind my 'satanic thoughts'!
My problem was that, as a Muslim, I was supposed to believe that the Quran has a superior language style that is impossible to be matched by a human, but deep in my mind I wasn't truly convinced. The above allegation is essential to Islam and Muslims use it to support their ultimate lie that the Quran has a divine origin. In connection with the above allegation, all the Arabs seem to believe that all the legendary Arab poets and writers, in the past and present, were stunned by the Quran, which is another big lie that I also believed. To me, It was unthinkable to allow myself to be the odd one out. It was also totally unacceptable to my Islamic mind to live without being genuinely impressed by the Quran and legitimately believing in Allah's superior writing style. Therefore, I self censored my thoughts and silenced my mind and covered it with an Islamic mask to conceal my real doubts. I blamed my standard of knowledge and my poor language taste for not properly appreciating the eloquence of a good book!
I spent several years suffering from that psychological conflict between what truly I believed and what I was supposed to believe. I was aware that those 'satanic' thoughts were there deep in my mind and would surface unless I continuously suppress them, which I did well. In those days, if someone asked me about what I thought about the Quran, I would have given an automatic answer in support of the common Muslims' assertion, without even being aware that it didn't represent my real feeling. Fearing of the thought of being branded as an unbeliever, I kept my secret sin to myself and never mentioned it to any one no matter how he/she was close to me.
Those days, the myth of the so-called scientific miracles in the Quran was not yet an issue and I never associated the Quran with science. I accepted the Quran just as a religious message from Allah to the early Arabs, revealed in their own language and at their level of knowledge. I was aware that the Quran was not particularly scientific when it mentioned things like the flat earth or the development of the embryo. During that period nobody claimed that the Quran has scientific miracles, and all the ambitions of Muslim scholars of that time were to emphasize to the ordinary Muslims not to examine the Quran with a scientific perception. Those days the Muslim scholars promoted the Quran as a language miracle, which is another myth that all Muslims believe. Considering that the vast majority of Muslims have no or very little knowledge of the classic Arabic language, it is safe to conclude that the vast majority of Muslims who defend the above claim do not actually know what they talk about.
Moving to the West
When I moved to the UK in the late 1970s, I was already a non-practicing Muslim who hardly thought of Islam or read the Quran. I started to have more contacts with the non Arab Muslims, usually friends and colleagues. I was amazed by their zeal towards Islam, and their ability to read some suras from the Quran in Arabic, which is not their language. They claimed that reading the Quran gives them a calming feeling, and envied me because, they thought, I enjoyed the full experience as I read the Quran in my own language. They were all in agreement that the Quran should be read in its original language to appreciate its eloquence and style. I found it strange that somebody who does not speak the language can make such an assertion with such a confidence, especially that unbiased readers think that the Quran is in fact far better after translation, which sanitizes it from many of its blunders and weaknesses.
Though impressed with the faith of the non Arab Muslims in the Quranic style, it did not convince me of their postulation. The opinions expressed by the non Arab Muslims cannot be genuine since they do not speak the language of the Quran. Those Muslims were obviously repeating what others told them. This is also true for the majority of the Arabs who can hardly write an error free sentence in classic Arabic, but fiercely guard the myth of good standard in the Quran. The opinions expressed by those Muslims helped me to come to my conclusion that to be convinced of the alleged high standard of the Quran you only need to be a Muslim, no knowledge of Arabic is required.
I moved to another town but maintained contacts with my Muslim friends. One of them was so worried about my liberal understanding of Islam that he kept sending me some free Islamic literature to strengthen my faith. Those booklets were superficial and boring; I only read them to improve my proficiency the English language. But eventually my friend succeeded when one day I received from him a copy of Baucailles' book about the Quran and science. I read some parts of it like the origin of the universe, the shape of the earth and the development of the embryo. I didn't find any of the arguments presented in the book to be convincing but surprisingly I liked the book! I only liked it because the author happened to be a Christian who believes the Quran had scientific miracles! That must be a big win for Islam.
I must say that the Baucaille factor brought me slightly closer to Islam. I started to acquire some other Islamic materials about the miracles of the Quran. I had a friend who brought me some video tapes of the activities of sheikh Zendani, a wahhabi Muslim who presided on a Saudi organization dedicated to propagate the scientific miracles of the Quran. That was the time when Professor Keith Moore was recruited, probably by this organization, to quote the Quran in his embryology book.
In the late 1980s, I made two work related trips to Saudi Arabia and performed a mini pilgrimage, called omrah, during each of them. I had a firsthand experience with how the Saudi regime brainwashes, not only its citizens, but also all those who come to the country for work. The Saudi/ Wahhabi system expects all Muslims to adopt their own understanding of Islam which, they claim, is the true Islam. I resented that claim in private but I must admit that I was wrong and the Saudis were right. All employees had to stop work for half an hour to perform the miday (Zuhr) and afternoon (Asr) prayers. It caught my eye that when the Muslim employees, of any nationality, read something during their breaks, they read either a newspaper or the Quran. There was a good number of Quran books stacked in the coffee room to keep with the high demand. I was shocked by the obvious manifestation of racism in the Saudi society, but even more shocking was the speed at which the other Arabs and Muslims switch to adopt a Saudi life style like wearing a white dress (thub) to look like the Saudis, and improve their standing in the society.
I visited a big bookshop in Riyadh and was amazed to see that Islam related books dominated the display. I browsed some of the non Islamic sections, like history, to find all the books on display were the ones that were in line with the Saudi/Wahhabi system. I also noticed a good number of books about dreams and jinn, which are essential parts of the Islamic culture. I also spoke to many local 'intellectuals' and despaired of the way they see the world and think of the others.
During those visits I had a chance to meet with some Syrian friends whom I haven't seen since the days of the university and was surprised to see the level of thinking they had descended to after spending so many years in Saudi Arabia. They were advocates of the Zindani's claims about the scientific miracles in the Quran. Their only proof was the common Islamic myth that all scientists in the world are waking up to those 'facts'. They made me watch more of Zindani's tapes but I didn't find any of his claims to be scientifically convincing. Also I didn't like the practice of his group to fund and organize conferences to overpower some international scientists and tempt them to say some positive remarks about the Quran.
I became suspicious about those claims and my suspicion made me go back to Baucaille's book and read it again, this time with an unbiased and open mind. My aim was to look at a convincing argument. My first alarm was to learn that the author was working for the Saudi king, because, from experience, I knew that most westerners working in Saudi Arabia would do anything to please the Saudis. Then I read the specific scientific areas, which the author claims that the Quran comes in agreement with science. The more I read from Baucaille's book the more I became disgusted about how low some scientists are prepared to descend to please their masters. In short, Baucaille book was based on twisting the language to come up with a suitable meaning. It is interesting to note that Baucaille's book has been in circulation for decades but I never met an Arab who had actually read it, although they all praise it with enthusiasm.
The fasting month of Ramadan was approaching fast and with it begins my traditional reading of the Quran. That year was the first and only time in my life I felt eager to read the Quran. My aim was to study the Quran rather than just read it. I was mainly interested in having a general contemplation of the language style and the contents of the Quran. By then, I already made up my mind that the scientific issue was a myth and intended to ignore it during that reading and focus on the language, but I couldn't. Having just read Baucaille's book, I couldn't help noticing that the Quran made serious mistakes whenever it touched on a scientific issue. Those scientific blunders that never caught my eyes in the past have become major obstacles to me in accepting the Quran.
I couldn't help noticing that:
The Quran commits Islam to serious mistakes in describing the origin of man. Muslims are still in dilemma as to what to do about it.
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the shape of the earth.
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the origin of the universe,
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the space (sky) and earth and referring to both in equal terms.
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the formation of mountains and claiming that Allah dropped them to stabilize the flat earth.
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the development of the embryo.
The Quran makes serious mistakes in describing the heart as the center of intelligence and completely ignoring the role of the brain.
The list can go on and on. In short, the Quran only agreed with the common knowledge of the seventh century Arabia. This is clear from the fact that the early Arabs never objected to the above information because it was the information they knew already. The early Arabs wrongly believed the earth was flat, so did the Quran. They wrongly believed that the mountains were dropped on the flat earth to stabilize it, so did the Quran. They wrongly believed that the sky was attached to earth then separated by god, so did the Quran. They wrongly believed that the heart was the center of intelligence, so did the Quran. They wrongly understood the development of the embryo and so did the Quran.
That reading in the late 1980 was my first and only reading of the Quran with an open and critical mind. However, it wasn't a complete reading because I had to abandon it after only a couple of weeks when it became clear to me that the Quran is not worth reading.
I came to the conclusions that:
The Quran is full with major scientific errors. The myth of scientific miracles is designed to cover up those errors.
The Quran is full with grammatical and other language errors that would never be accepted in any other book or from any other writer.
The Quran has been deliberately wrapped by confusing sound and visual effects so that it doesn't look like a normal book when heard or read.
The Quran is full with repetitions of stories that have no relevance to our time, or even to Mohammed's time. Such repetitions account for nearly one thirds of the book.
Some verses are incomplete, while others contain irrelevant insertions or seem to be completely out of place. It is likely that the scribes or the people who collected the Quran committed such errors.
There is almost no resemblance at all between the Meccan verses and the Medina verses, a fact well known to Muslims. However, the Muslims' explanations are not convincing. We do not expect Allah to change his style or dialect when Mohammed moves from one place to another. A more logical explanation is that the authors or Mohammed's sources have changed.
Humans' errors of the scribes and the people responsible of the early collections of the Quran may account for many of its errors. Some verses could have been included more than once (hence the excessive repetitions) and some may have been misplaced or gone completely missing.
The myth of scientific miracles in the Quran is a replica of the myth of language miracle. In the last few decades, the Muslim scholars employed all the resources available to them to spread their big lie that claims the Quran agrees with science. They used every possible means: schools, mosques, printed publications, TV programs and international conferences and more. Muslims believed it and now talk about the issue as an agreed fact that is supported by another fact that most of scientists who read the Quran were convinced. This strategy was used successfully to spread their lie that the Quran is a language miracle that stunned all the early Arabs.
Gradually, I started to gather enough pieces to complete the picture. The Quran is all about myths and big lies. As I started thinking about the Quran, the inevitable happened and I came to my conclusion that the Quran could never be divine. Once the Quran was stripped off its divine halo everything looked different. I watched with disbelief as everything I learned about Islam suddenly became meaningless. I felt betrayed and angry because of my wasted years just to follow a liar. At the age of forty, I had to rethink everything about my life all over again. I felt lonely as I couldn't discuss my thoughts with anyone around me; I knew well what the consequences could be. I also knew well what could happen to me if my relatives, back home, find out what I think of Islam. My only option was to live with two personalities, my real personality and an Islamic one, which I put on whenever I am among relatives or friends in Syria. In other words I started to practice a non Islamic taquiya!
I moved away from Islam at a time when most Muslims seemed to move towards it, which made me feel even more isolated. I was firm and confident of my decision, there was no way back. I maintained my relations with other Muslims but never disclosed my thoughts to any of them. My friends and relatives already know me as a 'liberal Muslim living in the west' and not keen on practicing the religion. I am keen on maintaining that image, the only change they noticed about me is that I stopped rejecting Mohammed's ahadiths and sira (life story).
I resisted all the financial temptation to return and work in the Middle East. My presence in the UK helped me to live my life the way I wanted and to control my contacts with the Islamic community. Although I never wasted an opportunity to carefully disseminate the seeds of doubt in the minds of Muslim friends and colleagues, but my strategy was just to ignore Islam and live without it. For years, I did not give a minute of thought to Mohammed or the Quran; I put all behind my back.
I maintained my visits to Syria as well as other Middle Eastern countries like Jordan and Egypt. I became increasingly worried about the obvious signs of Islamification of the people in those countries, especially in Egypt. Those years in the 1990s, the world had daily loud alarms about what the Islamists can do. Every week we heard about the massacres carried out by the Islamists in Algeria against other Muslims. The Islamists occupied villages and slaughtered their inhabitants by cutting their throats! Hundreds of thousands of Algerians lost their lives in that way. In the 1990s, Egypt also was a play ground for Islamists, but the victims were European tourists. The Egyptian president frequently blamed the west and the UK in particular for opening its doors and protecting the Muslim terrorists. The Islamic organizations made no secret of their hatred to the west and their wish to destroy it. I just couldn't understand the western apathy towards the coming threat. My only surprise about 9/11 was that America was surprised!
My freedom of not practicing Islam started to come under threat with the rising Islamic influence in the UK, my adopted country. One day, I was outraged when a Muslim asked me why they do not see me in the mosque and why my wife is not covered. It became so obvious that the Islamification of the UK was proceeding at an alarming speed.
The picture was really gloomy and depressing as nobody in sight seemed capable or willing to stand to the evil of Islam, which openly threatens all what civilization stands for.
Fortunately that all changed a few years ago. One day I was surfing the Internet and stumbled upon FFI. I felt like I spent years in a deserted Island then I spotted a ship. That night, I spent hours reading the published articles about Islam, and was surprised of how little I knew about Mohammed. I soon realized that FFI, IW and other similar Internet sites are the first real force to face Islam since its birth. All those who fought Islam in the past did so using their military forces and were only interested in political or military gains. Internet sites like FFI and IW are interested in exposing the truth of that evil cult that lives in darkness and survives on lies. This is the first time in history when Islam is under pressure to provide convincing answers to protect it from the light of the truth. But Islam has no answers.
Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.