From Religion to What Reason Exactly? A Response to Ali A. Rizvi

A few days back I happened to read The Atheist Muslim by prominent former-Muslim clinician Ali A. Rizvi. Before beginning I thought it would be filled with all sorts of cosmological and philosophical arguments with a heavily notated section on the existence of God and why that belief is questionable according to that community. But I was surprised to not find much of that. The bulk of the book was based on Ali’s opinion and (mostly) unpleasant experience of religion. The passages of his experience were interspersed with some arbitrary factual and political trivia and tid bits here and there. You would think that that content must be normal. It is Ali’s book and it should have Ali’s opinion and experience but the reason of my surprise was how ex-Muslims like Ali come off on social spaces. They from time to time dictate how others’ belief system should work. Funnily enough they would make mockery of beliefs and then also dictate how the adherents of that belief should react to that mockery. If it is let known that sentiments are hurt then they would dictate that there is no reason for that since oh well.. the ideas are being criticized. Who cares if I hold something dear. With the mention of “dictation” I am saying that these people more often than not come off as experts and authorities of something that they are not experts and authorities of. Then with that in mind if you go ahead and start reading material like The Atheist Muslim you would be surprised too to find just opinions and experience in something that is supposed to somehow “disclose” the “hidden Islam” and to show the “true picture”
Here is the thing guys, your opinions and experiences are exactly that. Opinions and experiences. As much as I empathize with you, they don’t have absolutely any bearing of what the reality actually entails.

So for example, criticizing ideas being different than criticizing people is a thought process emanating from YOUR worldview and so it doesnt become applicable universally. Many including me hold a different view.

Another problematic aspect of the book is the generalizations. The author conveniently while attempting to show the “true picture” brings up the alleged excuse of things taken out of context and links this concept to Islamic apologists. I would take liberty here and state plainly that yes context is in fact important. It is very important. Other than that, reading things with basic comprehension is also important. Otherwise one can make Harry Potter books also into a violent scripture.

The weakness of the context debate is suddenly thrown out the window when Armin Navabi, Mimzy Vidz, Veedu Vidz and Harris Sultan scramble to defend their rock-band-new-album photoshoot at the Holocaust memorial in germany. The defense tweets were basically the ex-Muslim version of things (the picture) being taken out of context. I don’t normally mind. Defend away. But if they will pounce upon the real scholarly class and learned men saying that what extremists do is in fact wrong and bring up the weakness of things being taken out of context then I have the right to question them on their defending too.

And then there is the Most Muslims are better than Islam thing. It fascinates me that they jump on the opportunity of linking the allegedly violent aspects of Islam to the practises of certain deviant groups, they clearly go out of their way to divorce the good teachings from the practices. One should not look farther than br. Adnan Rashid’s debate with Armin Navabi where Navabi was intellectually forced to admit that the concept of Zakat is an exclusively Islamic concept and that Islam by way of that teaches Muslims to be intrinsically generous. Navabi was bent on seperating them saying that if you take out Islam or Zakat from their life they would still give making them better. Navabi however failed to realize that being the big fan of evidence that he is, the proposal of what would happen if Zakat and Islam are taken out of a Muslim’s life is still an analogy that rests on no evidence. He himself said that there is no recorded charity for atheists.

The contradictions and fallacies are abundant and so are the generalizations based on mere opinions and experiences. the O and E however are yours having no bearing on the reality.

Categories: Islam

12 replies

  1. An excellent and well-written exposé of anti-Muslim polemics. Thanks Mohammad.

  2. Masha’Allah great post. Yeah, there seems to be a strange thing with many of the main stream ex-mooozlims. They talk about how important it is to be rational all the time, and downplay subjectivity, but then when it comes to explaining their reasons for leaving the religion their accounts are riddled with something they constantly ridicule, and consist of very little logical argumentation for many of the greatest arguments in favour of religion and belief in God.

    They mostly revolve around “I don’t think this is moral, I don’t like it”, but then fail to offer any foundation for their own morality, all of which seems to be underpinned by intuition and lack of justification. It’s infuriating to see when they consider themselves super rational.

    Any way, great article, and you did a good job at putting across the major issue these pop-ex-moozlims constantly neglect to face. Look forward to more of your work in the future insha’Allah 🙂

  3. While I haven’t spoken with too many ex-Muslims, I can sympathize with the general lack of intellectual rigor and bottle of the barrel condescension which is all too frequent with militant Atheists online.

    The problem arises with the apparent anonymity that social media allows since this means people who may otherwise be decent in the outside world will spew whatever unfiltered thoughts they have because they don’t see the effect there words may have on others whereas, in the real world, they would.

    That and, of course, social media rarely has space for detailed discussions. The answer I think can be found in the Qur’an:

    …”when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,” – Surah Al-Furqan

    Often far too much energy is expended in pointless arguments that end up being dragged into the mud. Sometimes the best thing when folk starts getting aggressive or offensive is to simply not tolerate this and calmly explain why you are leaving the discussion, perhaps if more people do this they’re online loneliness will change their behavior, kind of like a virtual naughty corner 😉

  4. Great job brother Mohammad.

    An important point that is noteworthy to add to your comment…

    “It fascinates me that they jump on the opportunity of linking the allegedly violent aspects of Islam to the practises of certain deviant groups, they clearly go out of their way to divorce the good teachings from the practices”

    To add fascination onto fascination, almost 100% of the extremist violence around the world attributed to Muslims is from Salafis.

    Salafis make up a minority within Sunnis, let alone all profess to be Muslims.

    Of course, these deviant groups that do violence are condemned by the vast majority of Salafis.

    But almost all members of these deviant groups hold dearly Salafi texts and only Salafi texts.

    Most Sunnis do not subscribe to the methodology and mindset in these Salafi texts.

    • @ Ihsan

      How is any of this relevant to the article?

      • Read….

        “they jump on the opportunity of linking the ****allegedly violent**** aspects of Islam”

        “The contradictions and fallacies are abundant and so are the ***generalizations*** based on mere opinions and experiences. the O and E however are yours having no bearing on the reality”

        Please stop wasting my time…..

      • @ Ihsan

        Questioning your nonsensical post that had nothing to even do with Salafis is “wasting time”? Like your bias is just hilarious that even in a post about atheist you find the need to talk about Salafis.

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