It might be 1993 or 1994, if I try to remember the time I started thinking critically and weighing the teachings of Islam with logics. I was born to an orthodox Islamic family in an Islamic country (Pakistan). At the age of 5, I was sent to school. Besides, at the same age I was sent to Imam (Islamic priest) for learning reading Arabic to be able to read the Arabic text of Quran. In the next 4-5 years I was able enough to read the Arabic text of Quran. . So for as I understand, 90% Muslim population of Pakistan are unable to know what lessons the Quran gives, for they do not understand Arabic and they don’t bother to read the translation. There is a misconception in the minds of every Muslim that just reading the Arabic text of Quran is an act of great reward from God. While, in the schools Islamic Studies have been a compulsory subject for all the Muslim students.
Although there are some schools exclusively for the Christians, yet there are many places where there are none and they have to get admission in the Muslim schools where there is no alternate for them except to read Islamic Studies with the other students. Some days back I had to go to a school to get one of my nephew admitted in a school. As there is a practice of recitation of some verses of Quran, during the assembly before start of classes, I deliberately asked the teacher about the Christian students of the school and their listening to the Quranic recitation. She told me with proud that they had to be in the assembly and listen to all which, in my opinion, must not be compulsory for them being Christians. But they and the school as well do not have any alternate.
Worldly life is purely temporary and there is an unending life in the heaven for Muslims. Be a good Muslim to have a place in the paradise. This is the very first lesson for the Muslim children. In fact, it is an indirect attempt to create a sense of hate in their minds for this world.. Following is the summary of Islamic rituals which remind one that one is very much in an Islamic country and there is no other religion except Islam in the world. As there are many factions in Islam, I will try to mention those rituals which are followed by all.
Early in the morning (before dawn) there echoes adhan (call for Morning Prayer) with prefixing and suffixing poems praising Muhammad. It does not happen in one mosque but dozens of mosques around you. This sort of situation occurs five times a day.
Friday is the holiest day of the week. On Fridays Mullahs (Muslim Priests) are at liberty to use the platform (mosque) for delivering speeches in favor of their individual faction.
a. Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting): This is the holiest month of the Islamic year. Again Mullahs are free to extensively utilize these 30 days. Daily there is a special prayer in this month which is offered after the night prayer. In this prayer, each day, one of 30 chapters of Quran is recited with the roof top loud speakers on.
b. Eid-ul-Fittr: There is Eid (three days of happiness) just after the completion of the month of Ramadan. On day one, a special prayer is offered in the mosques after the sun rises.
c. Eid-ul-Adha: It is celebrated on the 10th to 12th of Islamic month Zilhaj A special prayer is offered in the mosques after the sun rises. And after offering the prayer, animals (sheep, got, cow, ox, camel) are slaughtered in the name of Sunnah of prophet Ibrahim. Moreover, on these days, Muslims from all over the world gather in Mecca (a holy city for Muslims in Saudi Arabia) to perform Hajj which is called one of the five pillars of Islam.
d. Moharram: This is the holiest month of the Shiite faction of Islam. During this month the Shiites mourn the death of grandsons, granddaughters etc. of Muhammad who were killed by Hasid, the then Governor of Koofa. The Shiites gather in their respective Imambargahs (mosques of Shiites) and then go in the form of procession to the main Imambargah of the city. All the way they beat their chests as a gesture of mourning. Some emotional hit their backs with knife-like blades tied with chains. It takes many hours for the procession to reach the main place. It is important to mention that when there is a procession on the road, the road is blocked for all type of traffic, in any case.
If I were not in Pakistan where Islam related activities surround me all the time, the situation would have been different. I may not be able to recall exactly that in the beginning what particular thing in Islam put in my mind something against it. It might be five-time prayers, 30-days fasting in the months of June and July or something else. I remember the time when I was in my teens and early twenties; I was an orthodox Muslim. I spent major portion of my life with an ideology, which is male dominated, sex oriented, moving around one person and some of his companions. In fact Islam is not what its apologists say but what is in the Quran. It teaches fundamentalism and terrorism. The real Islam disgraces women, permits men to beat their wives, imposes discriminatory laws on the religious minorities, wants to rule the world by converting all the non-Muslims into Muslims, calls for Jihad and killing the non-Muslims until Islam becomes the only religion of the World.
According to the Islam saying of prayers (five times a day) is the vital difference between Muslims and non-Muslims. Moreover, it keeps the Muslims away from doing bad acts. As a matter of fact I have been closely observing many people saying prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan, performing hajj etc. for years. I also found them equally involved in the evil activities.
In contrast I do know people who are not religious, but do good for others, are well mannered, kind hearted and patient. I would say that if a person is not helpful or beneficial to the mankind he is not a good person and whether he is religious or not makes no difference. .
I hate those who kill people in the name of religion. They are nobody to take the law in their own hands. They are the people who have destroyed peace on this earth. They should be dealt with iron fist. According to them Islam gives this lesson, if it is true, it is a lesson of bloodshed and if so, it is a lesson of destruction.
Instincts of humans are the same. To me, religion does not bring significant behavioral changes but circumstances and environment. If one lives in a good environment, one develops positive approach, which helps one to be positive. In contrast if one is brought up in a wicked surroundings, one develops mischievous attitude.
Muslims say Islam is the only religion that teaches goodness well and stifles bad. I do not see any other religion that teaches evil. Obviously good is good in all the religions and vice versa.
Further, Muslims believe that Islam is the only true religion. I see no quality distinguishing it from the other religions. Generally, I do not see the Muslims’ character in conformity with the accepted principles of right and wrong.
I NEVER FOUND AN ANSWER FOR THE FOLLOWING:
Following are some of the points, I have depicted from the Quran, which are unsolvable for me. Either, I may not have the required knowledge and wisdom to understand Islam or there are ambiguities and errors in it. I would appreciate if somebody makes me understand.
Creation of Adam
“Note that occasion, when your Rabb said to the Angels: I am going to place vicegerent on earth. The Angels said: “will you place there one who will make mischief and shed blood while we sing your praises and glorify Your names?” Allah said: “I know what you know not.” (Quran: 2:30).
The Question arises that how did the Angels come to know that the vicegerent will shed blood when he is yet to be created by the God. How did they (the Angels) come to know the behavior or attitude of the man when the God had just decided to create him despite the fact that the Angels themselves admit that they don’t know but what is told by the God.
“When We ordered the Angels: “Prostrate before Adam in respect”, they all prostrated except Iblees (Satan) who refused to his arrogance and became a disbeliever.” (Quran 2:34)
In the above verse God asks the Angels to prostrate before Adam and Iblees being an angel refused to do so whereas angels do not have their own will to do anything except what God orders them (Quran: 2:32, 66:6). According to the Muslims, Iblees (Satan) is a Jinn but the above verse describes him as an angel. Let’s assume that he is a Jinn and, if so, he was not asked but Angels to prostrate before Adam.
“To Adam We said: “ Dwell with your wife in paradise and eat anything you want from this bountiful food from wherever you wish, but do not approach this tree, or you shall both become transgressors.”(Quran: 2:35)
The above verse (2:35) contradicts the verse (2:30). In the verse “2:30” God tells the Angels that He is going to place a vicegerent on earth. Surprisingly, the verse (2:35) describes that after creating Adam God ordered him to dwell with his wife in paradise whereas he was supposed to be sent on the earth to live in there as His vicegerent
“But Shaitan (Satan) tempted them with the tree to disobey Allah’s commandment and caused them to be expelled from Paradise, and We said: “Get out from here, some of you being enemies to others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and provisions for a specified period.” (Quran 2:36)
After creating Adam God ordered him to dwell with his wife in paradise. (2:35) According to Quran there is no place in paradise for the transgressors and for those who disobey God. The verse (2:36) tells that Satan (Iblees) was in the paradise, in spite of the fact that he disobeyed God’s order of prostrating before Adam. Why was Adam expelled from Paradise? Obviously, for disobeying God’s order. Whereas, Satan was not expelled for his disobedience.