Thank you Sina for your email, and I will
check the site you mentioned in your email. If I may start our
conversation by asking the first question, that is: describe to me
the kind of Muslim you were before you left Islam? Were you a
practicing Muslim, did you read any of the original resources of
Islam, and in what language, were you raised as a Muslim, did you
attend congregational prayer, for example, and participate in
Islamic activities. Your answer will help me understand why you
I have met people who say they were Muslims
before, but on questioning them on what it is they understood from
Islam, they did not indicate that they really knew the religion.
Some of them were angered by what some Muslims did or said and
confused that with Islam. Finally, you are welcome to post our
conversations on your website so that the benefit is transferred
You can say I was a typical Iranian modern Muslim.
The majority of Iranians are Shiites, which is the second largest sect of
is also the birthplace of Sufism and Sufism has had a great impact on the
way the average Iranians view Islam. Many Iranian sages found the Quran
too mundane with little or no spiritual content, so they tried to
reinterpret the verses of that book and vest them with spiritual
significance to satisfy their own refined mystical palate. As a result,
Sufism does not have the hard edges that traditional Islam has. It is much
more tolerant and much more mystical. Therefore it is fair to say that
Iranian Muslims are distinct from the typical Muslims, the kind you find
in Saudi Arabia
and Pakistan. You could say the Iranian Muslims fit the ideal picture of the
"moderate Muslim". I come from this background.
Most of the Iranian modern Muslims did not go to
mosques or paid much attention to the Mullahs. The Islamization of Iran
which led to the Islamic revolution was so sudden that took everyone by
surprise. Khomeini said people did not make the revolution because they
wanted a better life; they made the revolution because they wanted Islam.
That of course was not true. People made the revolution because they
wanted freedom of speech. But foolishly they followed a religious leader
who lied to them and promised them such freedom.
The average Iranian is still a moderate Muslim. He
does not go to the Mosque, does not respect the Mullahs, he fasts and
prays and views Islam as a personal faith. The average Iranian has a Sufi
understanding of Islam. But of course Sufism is not Islam. It is a
borrowed philosophy. So in a sense the mainstream Muslims are right to
call Iranians heretics.
If you want to show I have never been a Muslim to
begin with, you are absolutely right. Most of the Iranians and perhaps
most of the Muslims are not real Muslims in the true sense of the word.
Frankly I never thought men are exalted our women and are a degree
superior to them. I never thought chopping hands of the thief is justice.
I never agreed with stoning victims of rape. I never thought apostates should be put to death. I never hated the Jews
enough. I always thought God is interested in our deeds and not in our
beliefs and good people will not end in hell just because they do not
believe in Islam. These are very much the Sufi influence in the Persian
psyche but they are not Islamic. Iranians adore their great poets and
their poets invariably were Sufis. So Sufism has left an indelible mark on
the way Iranians perceive Islam.
The moment I read the Quran and realized my
romantic view of Islam is based on false premises and Islam is completely
deprived of any humanity, I realized I have never been a Muslim in my
So if you say that a true Muslim would never leave
Islam, I agree. I was not a true Muslim and I suspect the majority of so
called Muslims are not true Muslims. I am interested to reach out to these
people and tell them the truth. The true Muslims are the terrorists. I
will never be able to reach them nor am I interested to do that.
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