Category Archives: Opinion

The Qur’an and why I am not Impressed

When talking to friends, if the topic of why I am no longer a Muslim ever pop up, I usually reply saying that I don’t have any reason to believe in Islam, and that it has failed to produce the evidence needed to back up its claims. This is when they whip out the Qur’an and present if as if it were some sort of divine trump card able to magically obliterate all doubt and skepticism. The following is a list of reasons why I reject the Qur’an as evidence. Please note that by doing so I am expressing my freedom of speech and I do not intend to offend anyone. If you are likely to find this offensive, or to preach, proselytize and condemn, please move along. As always, criticism (of all sorts) is more than welcome.

1) I am not convinced that the most important message that I am ever to receive, the most important message bar none, was revealed privately to an individual who lived 1400 years ago, in a culture that I am not familiar with and in a language that I do not even speak. When most of these barriers are removed, i.e. when it is translated and annotated by both Muslim and Non-Muslim scholars throughout the ages, it still fails to make any logical sense or appeal to my sense or morality. This will be further elaborated upon in the following points.

2) I cannot accept the premises that this book is everlasting and unchanging. Reading translations or commentaries made by scholars such as Yusuf Ali disrupts the transmission between the author (supposedly God) and its intended recipient (me, in this case) as they (the translators and interpreters) are human, therefore are neither infallible nor immune to bias (not to mention corruptible by Satan, but that’s a different story). Even if the book’s scriptural characters were preserved for 14 centuries (which is highly doubtful considering recent archaeological evidence and historical narration of how the book was originally compiled), the meaning of the contained verses are dynamic further adding to my disbelief. The fact that controversial verses have more than one interpretation clearly illustrates this point.

3) If I were to suspend my disbelief for a moment and accept the author of the book as God, then He strikes me as an unjust, immoral, cruel and petty being, far removed from what my expectations of an immortal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient & omnibenevolent entity that genuinely cares about it’s creation. This being, who claims to have authored the Qur’an, relishes in flawed human emotions such as jealousy and anger, filling page after page of the book with boastful tales of how He destroyed entire nations for their impiety and not to mention His intentions of torturing those who disobey Him for all eternity. Which incidentally brings me to ask yet another question… since when did Humans ever exhibit the best qualities of their nature while cowering in fear? On a side note, I know that my expectations does not hold any weight in the face of reality, but they are inspired by the existing body of knowledge in my mind so I cannot modify them in the absence of reasonable evidence. The Qur’an is NOT that evidence for the simple reason that this would create a logical fallacy of a circular argument.

4) I am skeptical of the book’s claim to be inerrant. It contains various contradictions (and not all of them arise due to flawed translations) within its pages and I shall focus on one of my favorite: what did God use to create Man? Was it water, blood clots, mud, dust, fluid drops or nothing? Of course, being the unabashed polishers of turds, Muslim Apologists don’t shy away from making up excuses for God’s sloppy copy-editing. They claim that all of the references mentioned above are all scientifically proven to be part of the “recipe” to make Man. Zakir Naik asserted that this contradistinction, not contradiction and made the analogy of the ingredients needed for a cup of tea. My only contention is that no competent person would include an ingredient list to produce a cup of tea (let alone a human being) scattered across pages 13, 29, 53, 68 ,87, 93 and 145 of a book he was writing. It is also important to note that these apologists gleefully claim that modern science has revealed dust to contain all the elemental ingredients of Man, they categorically reject anything else in modern science that is in conflict with their precious scripture, which means they are selectively accepting hard-earned knowledge that only conforms with their introverted ideologies. This is the reason behind my wholesale rejection of all scientific miracles claimed by these contemptible charlatans. The Qur’an is poetry and its verses are open to deeper interpretation that can yield basically anything the reader desires. Modern scientific facts can even be claimed from literature that doesn’t have anything to do with it as demonstrated in this video.

5) While I am not altogether entirely skeptical about the Qur’an’s inimitability or uniqueness, I do doubt its (i.e. its inimitability) significance. I could argue (and I am sure literary experts will agree) that the works of Shakespeare, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Dante’s Divina Commedia or Milton’s Paradise Lost are unique and inimitable in their own right but this does not prove that their origins are divine, no more than the Qur’an’s does, despite its insistence.

Stripped of its cover of being the last and final testament of God, I perceive the Qur’an as yet another construct of humans to control mankind. It’s authors (who are very likely to be anything but divine) can at this point be accused of plagiarism as it extensively borrowed from existing Judeo-Christian traditions, which can only be for political reasons. And not surprising, when you consider the early political climate of Arabia. For example, possibly in order to placate the Jews, Muslims were first required to pray facing Jerusalem when eventually fed-up, Muhammad changed it to Mecca. Christians and Jews shouldn’t probably feel too comfortable. Modern archeology has found that historical variants of biblical stories (such as the Genesis account of Adam & Eve) in numerous cultures that far, far predate the whole concept of monotheism (i.e. older than 3,000 BCE).

I can’t tell anyone else what to believe and what not to, but I acknowledge that there are many, many holy scriptures that humanity has produced under the pretense of divine revelations or authorship (or even inspiration) and they can be traced back possibly to the very invention of writing. (See Ancient Sumerian Hymn from the c. 2,000 BCE). As an end note, think about why there are no traces of the God of Abraham beyond 5,000 years of history when the human race has existed for over 200,000 years.

So what if I am wrong about God, the Qur’an and Islam? Well…

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Thoughts on his holiness Zakir Naik

I confess not knowing much about this so-called religious maverick of Dr. Zakir Naik from our neighboring lands to the north, and to change that I have started viewing a few videos of him on YouTube and I can tell (from a million miles away) that there is nothing exceptional about him. He presents himself as a super-devout muslim and a master of comparative religion, often parroting verses from scriptures as diverse as the Hindu Vedas to the Old Testament. Again, nothing spectacular about that as there should be untold thousands if not millions with a similar kind of bland penchant for mindlessly memorizing nonsense. He also likes to flaunt his medical credentials which turns out to be an MBBS that he earned a few decades ago. Of course, none of his audience ever seems to have summoned up the courage to ask him about the relevance of this, especially seeing that the guy hasn’t practiced medicine for years. I suppose a lot of people doesn’t know that the a non-practicing medical doctor is essentially worthless, as the profession requires constant revision and reference, not to mention the actual practice. Moving on…

A local fanboy of the good doctor had published a transcript of one of Naik’s miraculous atheist-converting-on-the-spot speeches and I couldn’t help myself but to laugh at the feebleness of both the attempt and the mind of its writer. He talks as if an atheist is someone who wakes up one fine morning and decide that he doesn’t believe in the supernatural without any contemplation on his existence, reality or the deeper meaning of life. He chants the age old argument of creation by design, perhaps because he has never encountered a real life atheist who would immediately ask him “the machine was made by an engineer, alright, but we’ve got proof of that. Show me how exactly this ethereal being, god, made you, me and the universe now”. And then he goes on and on about scientific miracles in the Koran, all of which, conveniently remained hidden well inside the dusty volumes until the opportunistic moment where a real, hardworking scientist discovered it and subsequently, a mullah who has a fledgling understanding of science chances upon a poetic, dreamy reference, inextricably sandwiched between divine mentions of how martyrs will have ancient Rome style orgies. This is the point where proponents of scripture’s divine origins, such as Naik, will essentially hijack real science and, gracious and meek as they are, claim all the credit for god. Of course, they will never mention any of the passages that contradict modern science such as how the earth is flat (perfectly in line with 7th century geology) or how we were all created from magic dirt resulting in man, woman, children, and a whole lot of incest that followed. Which brings me to my next point of contention.

Evolution. Dr. Naik seems to be under the impression that evolution is “just a theory” and apparently he has never encountered to it being referred to as “the fact of evolution”. Anyone who has completed an undergraduate course in science (or even a good high school science student) would be able to answer this ignoramus, who incidentally, flashed his doctor credentials as if this adds any weight to his idiotic understanding of fact, theory, science or the scientific method. Again, I kept wishing some delightfully intelligent person from his audience would stand up and point out that the average medical doctor has the same likelihood of knowing evolution, universally accepted amongst biologists, as a mechanic or lawyer does.

Even considering the little I’ve been able to glean from his online presence, there is not a single redeeming quality about this “scholar” that the Maldivians seem so eager to welcome to their sandy shores. For all I care, he is just another egoistical, fanatical, apologetic, sanctimonious, religious bigot, and frankly, he makes Akon seem like a very wise man indeed.

Take a ¬†look at this video featuring Naik and Shri Shri Ravi Shankar discuss the concepts of God in Hinduism & Islam. I am not a fan of organised religion per se, but at gun point, I’d choose the former. Peace out!

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