Leaving Islam



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As Qutb explains Islam, “no one is allowed to devise a law on his own and then claim that it accords with the Shari’ah unless Allah is accepted as the sole legislator and source of authority, rather than a nation, a party or an individual.”[1]  Man should obey none but God alone, for He alone is sovereign.  All other systems are doomed to failure at the outset.  Islam alone will prevail.  “Allah does not forgive any association with His person, and likewise He does not accept any association with His revealed way of life.”[2]  To elevate any human being to God’s sovereign status cannot be viewed as anything but sin.  Democracy is only idolatry disguised. 

“Complete submission to Allah comes by submitting to Him through belief, practice and observance of the law.  No Muslim can believe that any other being can be a god, or that one can ‘worship’ a creature of Allah or that it can be given a position of  ‘sovereignty.’”[3]  Worship, under Islam, is expressed as submission to Islamic principles covering “belief, principles of administration and justice, principles of morality and human relationships, and principles of knowledge.”[4]  Or, put another way, the citizen of Islam worships God by obeying the state.  “There is only one way to reach Allah; no other ways lead to Him.”[5]

According to Qutb’s logic, when men obey the laws of men they are the slaves of men.  When men obey the laws of God, they are free.  Eventually there would be “no need to enforce the limits and punishments that Allah has prescribed, because now conscience is the law-enforcer and the pleasure of Allah, the hope of Divine reward, and the fear of Allah’s anger takes the place of police and law enforcement agencies.”[6]  The Divine law that must now be enforced externally will become such a natural part of human thought and action, mankind will be in complete harmony with the universe, and thus heaven and earth will become one and the same. 

What is Freedom?

At the heart of this conflict between Islam and the western world are two vastly different conceptions of freedom.  In western thought, political organization is seen as a necessary evil brought into existence in order to protect individual rights to life and property.  The extent to which government may intrude on an individual’s liberty in order to protect liberty for all is strictly limited.  Thus, the power of the state and the power of the individual balance one another, each having its own limits.  

Like communism, Islam focuses purely on the collective.  The power of the Islamic state is unlimited, for the state represents the will of God for the collective good.  The concept of individual rights, or that individuals even have the right to do wrong, does not exist.  The Islamic “system” covers all aspects of life from cradle to grave and the state has total authority to impose its will upon the individual.  When westerners speak of the “will of God,” they are often talking about God’s personal involvement in the life of an individual, but a personal relationship with God is not found in Islamic thought.  In Islam, God deals with the community as a whole and only dealt with one individual personally, Muhammad.  So, “whoever obeys the Prophet, obeys Allah.”[7]  According to Islamic doctrine, it is man’s duty to fear and obey God; it is not necessary to love Him.  Men are servants and subjects of God; they are not His sons.

On this point, Qutb and the west would agree.  “This secret of man’s identity and his relationship with the creator and with creation, is the great question upon which man’s existence depends and will continue to depend until the end of time.”[8]  It is in answer to this question, where Islam and the West come to totally opposite conclusions.  The notion that government should facilitate mankind’s pursuit of happiness, is alien to Islam.  In its place, Islam offers the individual guaranteed Divine guidance.  Individual desires, opinions and aspirations are all vanity and caprice, leading only to destruction.  To rebel against the Islamic system is to rebel against God.  Freedom is only found by losing oneself in the harmony of the collective; a community in which the designing of ones own destiny cannot be tolerated.

Consider the following, “Some enemies of Islam may consider it expedient not to take any action against Islam, if Islam leaves them alone in their geographical boundaries with some men lords over others and does not propagate its message of universal freedom within their domain.  But Islam cannot agree to this unless they submit to its authority by paying the jizyah,” [the poll tax placed on non-Muslims within an Islamic government] “which will be a guarantee that they have opened their doors for Islam and will not put any obstacles in its propagation through the power of the state. . . . Indeed, Islam has the right to take the initiative.  Islam is not a heritage of any particular race or country.  This is Allah’s din and it is for the whole world.  It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions that restrict man’s freedom of choice.  It does not attack individuals nor does it force them to accept its beliefs.  It attacks institutions and traditions in order to release human beings from their pernicious influence, which distorts human nature and curtails human freedom.”[9]

Permanent Jihad

Qutb goes to great pains to explain that Islam does not overtly force conversion; however, since one is not “free” to live as a Muslim outside the Islamic system, Islam must seize the levers of power in order to provide men the freedom to choose Islam.  Furthermore, he rails against those apologists for Islam who describe Islamic holy war as a purely defensive reaction to outside aggression.  “If we insist on calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word ‘defense’ and mean by it ‘the defense of man’ against all those forces that limit his freedom.  These forces may take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well as political systems based on economic, racial, or class distinctions.”[10]  

Qutb quotes at length from the works of Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350) who speaks of jihad as having been revealed to the first Muslims in stages.  “For thirteen years after the beginning of his [Muhammad’s] Messengership, he called people to Allah through preaching, without fighting or jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance.  Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight.  Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war against him.  Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until Allah’s din was fully established.”[11]  Muhammad issued his own “manifesto” as follows:

“Different prophets,” said he, “have been sent by God to illustrate his different attributes: Moses his clemency and providence; Solomon his wisdom, majesty, and glory; Jesus Christ his righteousness, omniscience, and power -- his righteousness by purity of conduct; his omniscience by the knowledge he displayed of the secrets of all hearts; his power by the miracles he wrought. None of these attributes, however, have been sufficient to enforce conviction, and even the miracles of Moses and Jesus have been treated with unbelief. I, therefore, the last of the prophets, am sent with the sword! Let those who promulgate my faith enter into no argument nor discussion, but slay all who refuse obedience to the law. Whoever fights for the true faith, whether he fall or conquer, will assuredly receive a glorious reward.”   “The sword,” added he, “is the key of heaven and hell; all who draw it in the cause of the faith will be rewarded with temporal advantages; every drop shed of their blood, every peril and hardship endured by them, will be registered on high as more meritorious than even fasting or praying. If they fall in battle their sins will at once be blotted out, and they will be transported to paradise, them to revel in eternal pleasures in the arms of black-eyed houris.”[12]

Most Islamic scholarship would agree that, “After the Prophet, peace be upon him, only the final stages of the movement of jihad are to be followed; the initial or middle stages are not applicable.  They have ended[.]”[13]  Qutb further criticizes those who would

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[1] Qutb, Sayyid, Milestones (American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, IN. 1990) pg. 70  

[2] ibid. pg. 114  

[3] ibid. pg. 91  

[4] ibid. pg. 91  

[5] ibid. pg. 101  

[6] ibid. pg. 25  

[7] ibid. pg. 64  

[8] ibid. pg. 20  

[9] ibid. pgs. 60 and 61  

[10] ibid. pg. 50  

[11] ibid. pg. 43  

[13] Qutb, Sayyid, Milestones, (American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, IN. 1990) pg. 51  





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