The very first time i experienced an ex-muslim thought process was a small discussion of a young man named Nabeel Qureshi (2003). I saw him in a Youtube video where he was explaining his journey and advocating Christianity. I was very interested, as it generated the curiosity of how such a shift happens?
His arguments in the short reference was Chapter 15 verse 91 where he was sticking to one ayah and trying to prove that the Quran itself says that it is made in shreds. This was a very dishonest selective interpretations as the verse, if read in the context of the chapter explains that the “warning is given to the people who accept part of Quran and reject parts of it”, based on their own convenience. Later on, i watched numerous debates and came to the conclusion that his interpretations were nothing more than dishonest academic copy and paste work. He was refuted in many live debates with prominent Daee’s like Shabir Ally. The complete context can be understood if we refer the first four ayahs.
Holy Quran, Al-Hijr (15:89-92)
وَقُلْ إِنِّي أَنَا النَّذِيرُ الْمُبِينُ
And say, “Indeed, I am the clear warner”
كَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَى الْمُقْتَسِمِينَ
Just as We had revealed [scriptures] to the separators
الَّذِينَ جَعَلُوا الْقُرْآنَ عِضِينَ
Who have made the Qur’an into portions.
فَوَرَبِّكَ لَنَسْأَلَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
So by your Lord, We will surely question them all
Actually this reference made by Nabeel was a case against his own statement.
Later on in 2015, i had two personal experience with the people i know since long with the similar arguments. I can not put those details as this might offend them in disclosing the event in a public forum. Both the gentlemen, so far i know, were not practicing nor having any first hand spiritual insight to the subject of Islam. A recent clip by NAS Daily is of similar sort. A beautiful explanation on this subject can be found here: Reply to Ex-Muslim Nas Daily
These experiences became the profound inspiration for me. To me, in my dim past i had somewhat similar attitude to the whole subject of Islam and used to indulge myself in long discussion with practicing religious people, in proving the superiority of knowledge based on scientific methods than on spiritual insights. I remember in one of the heated discussion in my 3rd year engineering class i made a very strong statement in the jest. I said “is your Islam and Book (the Quran) more complex than the microelectronics we are learning here (pointing the famous textbook by Sedra and Smith)” In those days my argument was simple. Science and Technology works and religion takes us back in time. So what is the use of such a believe and system?
The reason i found truth and conviction in the message of Islam is a different story to be told. In this article i will try to put my perspective on self proclaimed ex-muslims.
Before i start, it is worth quoting the ayah from Chapter 10 verse 99. Here Allah sets the expectations clear that it is the will of Allah for some people to believe and some to not. No reasoning, logic or miracle can convince a person to believe if he/she is ordained to not believe.
Holy Quran, Yunus (10:99)
وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?
I believe that every event around is predestined and there is an element of test for people to choose from what is in truth from the options of falsehood. It is the only mercy of Allah that someone gets the understanding of Islam and follows the path to minimise sins. Understanding divine, believing unseen and receiving guidance is not in human capacity, rather the true intention of seeking knowledge can make one capable of getting in the fold of Almighty’s mercy.
This is also to be understood that our mental faculty is in a continuous learning evolution and our learning is limited to our sensory interpretations of the five senses. The senses serve as an input to mind, which in turns assimilates all what is seen, heared, smelled, felt and spoken at some event and gives us a unique experience for us to react. This experience, resulting in knowing something as a result of using our sensory is limited. If one of the sense is not present, or ill, we will get an entirely different experience. This is called knowledge based on learning using our sensory and mind. Further, this is contextualised based on observer’s condition as well. We tend to believe and make something true and false based on our subjective interpretations.
In the cases of ex-Muslims, i have a simple question to ask. I will put the question in a different way to make it clear. Imagine you are an Indian citizen living in Australia. You lived for some time in Australia and then decided to go back. For the entire stay, you never applied for a residency or citizenship. Is it a fair argument for you to make that i rejected being Australian citizen? You were a tourist for some time and you never had a citizenship in the first place. The fair statement could be, i didn’t like to be an Australian citizen and i am happy being Indian. However, saying that i rejected Australian citizenship is a false statement because,
- You never applied for an Australian citizenship,
- You were never offered to be an Australian Citizen.
And if you make a claim that you are rejecting Australian citizenship, then in case you have to prove that either you applied and withdrew your application or you were offered and then you denied.
So, when you say that you left Islam, you need to explain few things. A few critical questions like,
- Were you a Muslim by choice in the first place?
- Why you were a believer? What conscious, logical, rational or scientific reason was for you to choose Islam as a way of life?
- What are the reasons you choose to deny your creator now, and how do you reconcile your earlier acceptance of Islam.
If you look back in your life, in a typical scenario, the situation could be that you were born in a Muslim family. If you are born in a Muslim family, you do not claim paradise by virtue of having Islam as a religion in your birth certificate, rather it is your action which will make you enter in heavenly bliss or hellfire. Each one of us are tested. Born Muslims are tested for how they treat the message of Quran in their life and convey the message, on the other hand born non-Muslims are tested with how they deal with the message they receive in their holy books and if they lead the life following good or not. The ultimate judgement is with Allah the one, as Allah decides the Qadr. Each one of us in our lifetime gets a conscious moment to choose Islam. Islam i.e. submission to one unseen God alone. If we accept, we accept Islam.
So, in saying i reject Islam, you must accept Islam at some point in your life with all your conscious mental state. If you followed a religion just because your parents, friends or community was practicing it, well, you might be living in the Mercy of Allah in getting blessings out of rituals you perform. But, this is not called accepting Islam. In Islam, accepting Islam is called Shahadah, meaning declaring with your genuine self that you acknowledge a creator of this vast universe. If you were a Muslim due to n numbers of external reasons and one fine morning you realise this all wrong, it means you are rejecting the religious rituals you were surrounded with, not the religion itself. As in the case of Islam, it requires reason to accept and reason to reject. If you did not applied reason to accept the message, you can not apply a self created reason based argument for rejection.
In Islam, the divine book is Quran. In the second chapter itself is described as to what is to be believed in order to accept Islam. Anyone, who claims to be a muslims acknowledges that he/she believe in unseen and regard this book to be the book of Allah. So, if you say you were a Muslim and now you are an ex-Muslim, you must prove first the evidences you had to believe in unseen and considering this book divine, and now what you have to reject the same.
Holy Quran, Al-Baqarah (2:1-6)
Alif, Lam, Meem. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah. Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.
If you really introspect, you will see that you never were a believer in the first place. You are on the path of what you desire. You wanted a escape to the situations you were in or it could be many other reasons. Remember, you do not have the ability to leave or accept Islam. Islam accepts or leaves you based on what your intentions and actions are, and you exist just because Allah is the most merciful most high.