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Does Islamic Literature Contain “Scientific Miracles”? (Short Answer: No)

This article refutes the common claim of Sunni Islamic apologists that the Qur’an contains “scientific miracles”

Read the article here

 

Islam As An ‘Arab Pride’ Movement

Excellent article that dovetails very well with this article

While central authorities in the Muslim world since the caliphate on to the current Saudi monarchy have done their best to obscure the actual origins and history of Islam, astute observation reveals that Islam is an amalgamation of Abrahamic and Arab pagan traditions. Reading the Qur’an in chronological order reveals a politically savvy prophet borrowing the mythologies of the Jews & Christians and combining them with the rituals and practices of the Arab pagans. There are certainly original rituals and mythologies that are unique to Islam, but the melting pot nature of Islam cannot be denied. In contrast, modern Muslims often pride themselves in the uniqueness of Islam, and it’s complete rejection of pre-Islamic paganism, a time referred to as the age of ignorance. And yet, historical study shows that the pilgrimage to the Kaa’ba, the fast and feast of Ramadan, the shahada, and even the crescent star symbol have pre-Islamic origins, to name a few.

Muhammad’s genius was in concocting a melange of acceptable doctrines, stories and rites that the warring tribes of Arabia would find palatable enough to accept. Now, personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that Islam is an evolution of earlier religious traditions, but Muslims would howl blasphemy at my assertion that they share common spiritual heritage with pagans. But if the Christians can acknowledge their evolution from Judaism, then surely Muslims must come to grips with the origin of their faith, as well.

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Only recently did it strike me that ultimately, the doctrines of Islam are not really about universality. Instead, Islam is essentially an Arab pride movement aimed at codifying and preserving Arabic culture. Particularly as modernity challenges the tenets of Islam, Arabian culture clings to Islam as a signifier of status.

As a Bengali, it wounds me to think of the thousands of years of spiritual development wiped out by the Arab invasion of the Indian subcontinent. Not all Bengalis are Muslims, but those who are take pride in their religion and view their own religious heritage—the rich Bengali/Indian traditions that predate Islam—as disgusting. As a Bengali-American exploring my ancestry, this self-hatred of pre-Islamic Bengali culture strikes me as a curious kind of cultural Stockholm Syndrome. The Arab invasion was so successful that Bengalis are cursing their own ancestors’ spiritual traditions in favor of an essentially Arabian cultural movement. The pre-Islamic days of the Indian subcontinent offered a rich variety of spiritual traditions from non-dualist Buddhism, to pantheist Hinduism, and even some forms of monotheism. These traditions are much, much older than Islam and when studied carefully, they are much more nuanced and spiritually powerful.

Read it all here

Muslim Evangelists Peddle Lies About How Science is contained by Islam

The dialogue between science and religion is a topic of immense interest to many philosophers, theologians and scientists. While academics debated over the boundaries of science  or the validity of religious experience, a much cruder relationship between the two fields began to trend in Muslim communities across the developing and developed countries in recent decades. Many Islamic proselytizers began to widely publicize the belief that the sacred Islamic text, the Qur’an, contains scientific information that had only been discovered recently.

As a proselytizing tool, claims of scientific foreknowledge are found in the evangelical practices of many major religions.  However, this belief has gained much mainstream acceptance in the Muslim world, with adverse effects.

Read it all here

The Day of Judgment

Even as a Muslim, I have to admit having some of the same thoughts:

Why Do You Believe YOUR Particular Religion Is True?

Another excellent video by the CEMB presents a question to believers of all types:

Truth is that those brought up in Christian families (even many atheists) enjoy celebrating Christmas and other joyous occasions with their families. It is the same with Muslims. And it is the same with Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and other religions. Cultural influences are much stronger holds on one’s identity than religion alone. For a Turkish individual, for example, to be Turkish is to be Muslim and to be Muslim is to be Turkish. This is also why we see Christianity wrapped in nationalism and jingoism with many (admittedly not all) Christians in the United States. Even the flavor of Islam in the United States is taking on a more and more evangelical Christian flavor. In effect they are becoming like “Muslim protestants” and run many of their Islamic Centers in much the same way a church is run. Many American mosques have “Sunday schools”, boy/girl scout programs, voting drives and emphasize forgiveness and peace more just as churches do. We are also seeing American mosques soften on the gender segregation issue. (Next thing you know, there will be choirs!) The point here is that the American culture is influencing the shape the version(s) of Islam in the United States is taking. The other point is that it shows that the important thing to the Muslims that have come here is their identity as Muslims and they will change things to make them feel more comfortable rather than changing the religious identity itself. If the culture becomes more liberal, the religion will become more liberal. If the culture becomes more conservative, the religion will become more conservative. Cultures around the world are shaped around the religion of their nation and this informs the way they perceive themselves.

That is why it is ridiculous for Christians and Muslims to expect mass conversion of a culture from one religion to another. Yes, you will get some malcontents at the edges, but you will never convert the masses from their traditional religion – short of war/genocide. Now a Muslim apologist will mention that there are many converts to Islam. But he will not mention that a) many (if not most) of those converts leave the new religion and b) there are Muslims that also leave Islam. So it all pretty much balances out.

In the weeks before I finally left Islam the question that I deliberated over for remaining Muslim was not theology (I was 100% convinced that Islam is man made at this point) but my IDENTITY as a Muslim. I had spend years as a Muslim and people knew me as such. I thought, “Should I just claim Islam as an identity like most Muslims?”…”Iftar is kinda fun. I don’t have to fast, but I can still enjoy the friends I’ve made over the years” etc, etc. Ultimately, as the video suggests, I was honest with myself and saw that these were not good reasons to claim a religion, so I stopped claiming to be Muslim.

Now, obviously many, many others have made different decisions. They have decided that their identity as Muslims must be maintained even if they do not believe. I know many people like that and I don’t blame them for doing what is right for themselves and their families. On the other hand, I have enormous respect for those who take that final step and risk losing everything. These people deserve our love, respect and support in whatever way that we can give it.

The Fallacy of “Real” Islam

One of our themes here of late is in debunking the idea of a “real” Islam. Many non-Muslims like to say that “moderate” Islam is the “real” Islam (as Tony Blair does here) and the more militant versions are “false”. While we definitely prefer the non-violent and non-fundamentalist versions of Islam to the militant brands, it is not true to say that those particular versions of Islam are “true” just because we prefer it to the others.

On twitter, our friends at the Council of ex-Muslims were on fire on this subject (follow them on twitter) and I decided to share some of their tweets here in chronological order on the subject and why it matters that we do not empower the charlatan professional Muslims that claim to represent this “one body” that they are calling “the Muslims”:

~If you think you are Muslim & follow the correct version of Islam, don’t worry, some other Muslim out there thinks you’re a kafir.

~Every single person who thinks he/she is Muslim is considered a kafir by another person who think he/she is Muslim.

~Maybe Muslims are right, because when you ask them, you will find there is no ‘real’ Islam. It doesn’t exist in reality.

~What does exist are the careers of professional Muslims – imams, clerics, ‘community leaders’ who need the illusion of a ‘real’ Islam.

~As Muslims realize there is no ‘real’ Islam, since they’re all Kafirs acording to other Muslims, professional Muslims lose subscribers.

~The ones most invested in bleating loudest about ‘Muslims’ being offended are the ones most worried about their own cash cow aka “Islam”.

~As long as Muslims do Daw’ah (evangelizing / preaching to others), we & others have the right to criticize Islam.

~Because if you make your personal faith a public spectacle, it will be criticised, analysed, & mocked like all other ideologies are.

~Get used to having your ideas treated like everyone else’s.

Here in the United States we also have “professional Muslims” who claim to represent the entirety of a group that is extremely diverse in thought, sect/ideology and nationality and have turned it into a business. They desire the ascendancy of a “Muslim establishment” with all those professional Muslims descending upon Washington D.C. to establish and staff think tanks, foundations or civil rights organizations. It is an excellent business and they have done an outstanding job of creating demand for their product. They also like to attack those who criticize them as thought they are criticizing all Muslims. In other words, to criticize CAIR (for example) is tantamount to an attack on “all American Muslims”. This is false.

The “professional Muslim” game has become a money-grubbing scam that is totalitarian in the way it operates and disseminates ideas. The professional Muslims at the top give themselves near perfect freedom to decide what opinions count as “Islamic” and those that are beyond the pale. They decide what is and what is not offensive. Even Muslims who dissent risk ostracism, harsh rebuke and name calling (like being called a “House Muslim”). A good example of this is Maajid Nawaz who when he disagreed with the professional Muslim establishment in the UK was viciously attacked much like the “two minutes of hate” from Orwell’s 1984.

These professional Muslims (at least the ones in the UK) seem to tolerate the more vulgar, angry versions of Muslim ideology while the most vicious attacks are reserved for “turncoats”, like Maajid Nawaz.

It is too bad that a respectful debate on Islamism and Jihadism can not be held (yet) because of these professional Muslim gate-keepers that must continue to propagate the “real Islam” fallacy.

Can A Person Criticise Muhammad?

Jaclyn Glenn responds to some Muslims who were offended at her critiques of Muhammad.

When I was Muslim, I must say that I never got so riled up that I wanted to send a person a death threat when a person criticized Muhammad. Even at my most religious, I always found it to be childish and thought that it exposed an inferiority complex.

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