Someone who became Muslim and had second thoughts:
Former Catholic Convert to Islam: Study Islam and Leave It
21 Nov, 2008
I was raised in a very strict Catholic family and grew up in a loving environment. I converted to Islam long ago. Even though my conversion was a big shock for my parents, they always considered me as their beloved son.
Many people convert to Islam because their partner is Muslim. They think Islam is equal to Christianity plus Muhammad: a type of 2.1 version of the Windows of religion. For men like me this is because it is a (legal) obligation or necessity to marry a Muslim woman. Women mostly convert because their partner shows so much love for his religion and the rituals (praying, fasting, ...) have a charming effect, and to come closer to their partner, they just want to join in and convert. One falls in love with the so-called Islamic atmosphere and solidarity without knowing what Islam really is about.
When I proposed to my fiancé, she wanted me to convert to Islam, which I did. I realize now that it was not wise to convert to a religion, which I hardly knew anything about. So I converted to Islam without studying it carefully.
This is a very common phenomenon; I’d even say it’s typical. The Muslim(a) with whom one has a personal friendship or relation knows very little about Islam her/himself, did not study it systematically and does not even know how to start studying it.
If one asks information about Islam to Muslims, they will give you a few innocent books to show how beautiful Islam is. These books are mostly misleading and even texts written by the "Centre for Islam in Europe", linked to the University of Gent (Belgium) are a twist of "real Islam" and a denial of the teachings of the four main Schools of Islam. The pattern of their thinking is that the good verses of the Quran are generally applicable and the passages that call for violence are contextual and only meant for a specific situation. The Quran however does not make this distinction. These books justify the negative side of Islam by very “creative” reasoning, by concealing things, by wrong translations from Arabic and by outright lies.
My conversion to Islam was in a period of my life in which I was building up my career and family life and there was no room for studying Islam. As a matter of fact, I had no idea how to start studying it. At the time, there was no Internet yet.
I think very few people, Muslims as as well candidate-Muslims, understand anything of the Quran. The reason is simple: the Quran is badly structured, very confusing and jumps from one subject to another. It’s an endless repetition of the same theme: believe in Allah and his Messenger Muhammad or you will receive the most horrible punishments in hell. This is repeated endlessly. Hundreds of times.
I have never met anyone, who can tell me which verses he or she was moved by or found touching, or new things Muhammad brought that weren’t already in Christianity or Judaism except the well-developed Jihad doctrine, and the threat and declaring as enemy anyone who does not believe in Allah and Muhammad. There must be war until the whole world accepts Islamic laws, as illustrated in the following Quranic verses and in a tradition/hadith considered as authentic:
Quran 2:193. "And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors."
Quran 8:39. "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do."
Bukhari 2:24: Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."
The Quran is undoubtedly the miracle of Islam. I really think Muhammad was an incredible genius to “sell” a book with....
Absurdities (the sun goes down in a muddy pond Quran 18.86)
Contradictions (initially everyone has the right to choose his own religion, Quran chapter 109, and in the end polytheists have to be killed in Quran 9.5),
Logical mistakes in thinking (according to the Quran, verse 4.157, the Jews say that Jesus is the Messiah and a Prophet of Allah, which they never did)
threats (the unbelievers are fuel for hell Quran, 2.24)
... as a book coming from Allah and the top of communication between Allah and mankind—the perfect book. In the meantime this book became so holy that mistreating it can be a legitimate reason for murder.
As a matter of fact, even devout Muslims will confirm that the Quran is hard to understand. They even prove it by the existence of the so-called tafsirs, Quranic commentaries. The Quran claims to be a guide for the believer but to understand it one needs 10 more books. This cannot be right! A guiding book has to be clear!
In one respect the Quran is rather harmless for a candidate-Muslim. It is so boring and unreadable that hardly anybody gets any further than the first few pages, then gives up. Personally, I don’t know any book that is so confusing. I think there is none. It wouldn’t get published anyway.
A few years ago, I mentioned to my wife that all news about Islam was so negative that I wondered what Islam really teaches. She told me there were no secrets and that everything was written in the books. Of course, I had Muslims confirm that these were the best sources and I could buy them from online Islamic bookstores. I searched the Internet to make a list of original source-books on Islam and I purchased these books. I have read the following 20 books:
1. The Quran
2. The authentic traditions of Muhammad (Sahih Hadith) by Bukhari: 9 books
3. A summary of the authentic traditions of Muhammad by (Sahih) Muslim: 2 books
4. Life of the Prophet: oldest biography by Ibn Ishaq
5. Life of the Prophet: Tabari: 4 books
6. Life of the Prophet: Ibn Sa'd: 2 books
7. Shariah book called Umdat as-salik / Reliance of the Traveller of the Shafi'i school (1 of the 4 large schools of Islam recognized by the Al-Azhar university in Egypt). This is not an original source but it is how the Quran, the hadith and the biographies of the Muhammad are interpreted by Muslim scholars and are being turned into laws. This book is incredibly user-friendly and I use it to check my interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith.
This Shariah book does not contain any surprises because it is consistent with the Quran and the Sahih Hadith.
After reading these books, I could no longer remain a Muslim. There is no greater insult to Muhammad as a prophet and for Islam as an ideology, than the Quran and the original sources of Islam: books written by Allah and Muslims for Muslims. That is why websites that criticise Islam advise everyone to study Islam from these original sources.
What is written in these books is too crazy for words. Many practices that we consider as immoral in the 21st century have been permitted by Muhammad.
I have found the following issues very disturbing:
Muhammad was keeping slaves and made trade in them. This means that slavery is part of Islam forever. Slavery has only been abolished in Muslim countries under Western pressure. Therefore, slavery can be reinstated at any time. Islamic legislation concerning slavery is being reprinted up till today by the main schools of Islam, so that scholars are aware of it. Furthermore Islam allows female slaves and female prisoners of war to be raped on condition that well-established rules are followed.
Muhammad himself encouraged this, see the following authentic tradition/hadith transmitted by Muslim. The title of chapter 29 is already very revealing:
Sahih Muslim 8:29: “IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A CAPTIVE WOMAN AFTER SHE IS PURIFIED (OF MENSES OR DELIVERY) IN CASE SHE HAS A HUSBAND, HER MARRIAGE IS ABROGATED AFTER SHE BECOMES CAPTIVE.”
Sahih Muslim 8:3432: “Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:" And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (verse 4:24)" (i.e., they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end).”
2. The humiliating position of women
They cannot decide whom they get married to and can be divorced any time without any formality. ... or can be exchanged for another woman. Quran 4:20 says:
“And if you wish to have (one) wife in place of another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from it anything; would you take it by slandering (her) and (doing her) manifest wrong?”
Women have to obey their husbands and if the husband fears she will not obey she may be beaten. Quran 4:34:
" Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
Note: "beat them (fem. pl.)" in Arabic, is often translated by "discipline her" or “scourge her” because the translator is obviously too ashamed to use the word beating.
One of the four schools of Islam, namely the Shafi'i school, states without shame that the only duty of a woman is to sexually satisfy her husband. Through her dowry he gets a one-off payment. This reminds me of the oldest profession in the world. Scholars of the Shafi'i school do not make this up. They simply learn this from the Quran:
Quran 4:24. “...Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed...”
Quran 4:20. “And if you wish to have (one) wife in place of another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from it anything; would you take it by slandering (her) and (doing her) manifest wrong?
Quran 4:21. “And how can you take it when one of you has already gone in to the other and they have made with you a firm covenant?
This also has been confirmed by authentic traditions of Muhammad, which clearly state that the dowry is only linked to sexual intercourse with the husband. If he divorces her after having sexual intercourse even only once, he loses this money. (Muslim, Book 9, number 3557.)
3. The killing of apostates
Most Muslims and non-Muslims think this is an anomaly. They are wrong. This practice is not only in the collective memory of the population in Muslim countries, but all shariah handbooks tell the same story. Everyone who has studied Islam seriously knows that Shariah prescribes the death penalty for apostates. This is based on the authentic traditions of Muhammad who said:
"If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him." (Bukhari, Book 52, Number 260)
"The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims." (Bukhari, Book 83 Number 17)
In most Islamic countries the death penalty for apostasy is not applied because this is an inhumane law. In these countries however apostates are harassed administratively by all possible means or are punished in one way or another. In the so-called moderate Muslim country Malaysia they have sent a woman to a psychiatric institution and her child has been taken away from her because she had turned away from Islam and became a Hindu. Fortunately she lives in "moderate" Malaysia. If she were living in Saudi-Arabia, she would be beheaded.
4. Polygamy as legalized adultery.
Contrary to what some Muslim(a)s claim, polygamy is not an exceptional situation and the first wife does not need to give permission. The man has the unconditional right to four wives if he gives them a dowry according to their status and if he can provide for them. Women who don’t grant this right to their husbands are ungrateful and therefore they will go to hell. This is described in the tradition of Muhammad narrated by Muslim in Book 1, Number 142.
5. The call of the Quran and Muhammad for eternal war until Islam is the dominant system everywhere (see above)
6. The inhumane punishments for theft and adultery with the idea in mind (Tradition by Muslim in Book 1, Number 171) that Allah can forgive anything except worshipping other gods besides Him. If one says that Jesus is the Son of God one goes to hell, but when one commits theft or adultery and only believes in Allah one can go to heaven.
7. The double personality of Muhammad, who on one hand was completely reliable, beloved, patient, and even timid and who on the other hand encouraged killing, torture, robbing and rape.
8. The inconsistence of the Quran.
It is hard to believe that this is the work of a Supreme Being. One has to be unbelievably brainwashed to think this is sublime. In Pakistan however, you will be beheaded if you throw the Quran in a waste-bin.
Many a Muslim will claim that what I have written has nothing to do with Islam and that all of it are culture-related issues. This is completely false. The situation of the Muslim has nothing to do with a so called backward culture in Islamic countries but has everything to do with true Islam itself.
In my opinion Islam is in violation with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on many issues and poses a danger to society. Reformation of Islam is impossible since everything is described in detail in the Quran and the Hadith/traditions of Muhammad. The Quran and the Hadith are complementary and provide explanations for one another. The so-called reformers or moderate Muslims pretend that a large part of the Quran does not exist. Or they try to distort the truth because it so ugly.
The extremists (Wahabi, Salafists, ... ) or so-called “radicalized youth” just go for the whole story. If in the West Islam is considered as an “approved” religion, one cannot blame these people that they use their right to effectively follow the Quran and the Hadith.
One forgets that Islam is not only a religion but also a culture, a social system, a legislation, a political system, a military system, ....and that these cannot easily be separated.
An example: one would expect that prayer belongs to the religious domain. During prayer muslims read a chapter of the Quran. When they choose chapter 9 and recite that polytheists should be killed (9:5) and that Christians and Jews have to be fought until they submit (9:29) and that you may not spend time with your ‘unbelieving’ family members (9:23), one enters in the military, social and political domain. And then muslims are surprised that they have to explain to those Polytheists, Jews, Christians or atheist relatives that these verses are no longer valid and were meant only for specific circumstances, wherease Islamic scholars claim the exact opposite.
When I put everything in perspective I cannot understand how anyone who has studied Islam thoroughly on the basis of the Islamic sources, still can remain a Muslim. I am no longer a Muslim. i hope every Muslim will study Islam thoroughly and follow suit.
Finally I wish peace to all my Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters!
This article first appeared in Faithfreedom.org. It has been slightly shortened.