Review of Brother Rachid’s Book
“ISIS and Islam: Through the Eyes of a Former Muslim”
By Jacob Thomas
17 November 2016
A few weeks ago, Iraqi forces began their campaign to liberate Mosul, the “Capital” of Da’esh, known in the West as ISIS. Across the border in Syria, efforts began for the conquest of Raqqa, Da’esh’s stronghold. Since the beginning of November, Western media have been almost exclusively preoccupied with the aftermath of the national elections in the USA; information about the battles that are raging in the Middle East, has been scarce. Sooner or later, Da’esh will be back in the news.
Recently, an ex-Muslim, Brother Rachid, published his book, “ISIS and Islam: Through the Eyes of a Former Muslim.” The text is in Arabic; hopefully an English translation will be forthcoming soon.
The author is a Moroccan who converted to Christianity. He had studied Economics and Information Sciences at King Hassan II University, in Casablanca. In 2006, he began a weekly program on the satellite TV Channel Al-Hayat [Life] covering subjects on Islam and Christianity. Over 460 programs have been prepared and archived on YouTube. http://v1.brotherrachid.com/en-us/
Rachid’s father was an Imam of a mosque in a Moroccan town. Brother Rachid’s exodus from Islam was a daunting experience. Blessed with a keen and inquisitive mind, at the age of 12, he began listening to Trans World Radio, a Christian organization using the powerful transmitters of Radio Monte-Carlo to reach the Arab world in North Africa and the Middle East.
Rachid’s thesis is that Da’esh is not an aberration of true Islam. The West is made to believe that it is. And it is certainly true that millions of Muslims practice their faith, and live at peace with their neighbors. So why did Da’esh come to be?
Rachid knows from experience that both his father and mother are peaceful, loving, and compassionate Muslims. Da’esh is also Muslim; it adheres to all the basics of Islam: Qur’an, Hadith, and Sirat Muhammad. The latter text is a life of Muhammad written in the 9th Century from both authentic and less reliable collections of Hadith, which were compiled somewhat earlier, but well after the death of Muhammad. Da’esh takes these authoritative Islamic sources seriously, conforming its beliefs and practices to those original documents of Islam.
Rachid’s book is addressed to ordinary Muslims and non-Muslims; it attempts to lift the veil that hides the true nature of this faith. This is necessary because many books on Islam cover up its imperialistic nature, either out of ignorance, or purposely.
Islam counts around 20 exegetical sources. The most well-known are: “Tafsir al-Tabari” (883 A.D.), Tafsir ibn Kathir (1370), and Tafsir al-Qurtubi (1273). These men agree on the fundamentals of the faith and practice in Islam. (Tafsir is an Arabic term for Commentary)
Da’esh doesn’t disagree at all with the heritage; on the contrary it seeks to link itself to the earliest sources of Islam. The founder of Da’esh, chose for his name, Abu Bakr al-Qureshi, the very name of the founder of the Caliphate, and its first Caliph (632 – 634). He claimed to be a descendant of the tribe of Quraish, the very tribe that Muhammad belonged to in Mecca!
By literally following the teachings of the Qur’an regarding Jihad, Da’esh’s actions and propaganda are based on the principle that war between Kufr (Unbelief) and Iman (Belief) must go on until the Last Hour! Their source is Qur’an 9, Verse 111:
“Allah has certainly purchased from the believers, their lives and their wealth (and in return) for that there is the garden for them, they fight in the way of Allah so that they kill and are killed. A promise made by Him in truth through the Torah and the Injeel and the Quran. And who (can) fulfill his agreement better than Allah? So, rejoice in your trade which you have traded (with Allah) and that is a great achievement.”
“Jihad in the way of Allah” is a must for Muslims; its reward is eternal life in Heaven, al-Jannah (the Garden, Paradise)
Due to the prevalence of illiteracy among Arab and non-Arab Muslims, very few can find and read the exegetical books that refer to such teachings. Classical Arabic is not a spoken language; most Arabs from Morocco to Iraq, speak their specific oral, not written dialects that are not used in the literary circles.
In his book, “Da’esh & Islam” Rachid’s referred to his father and mother, his love for them, and their good qualities. How can one reconcile the actions of violent murderous Jihadists who claim to be following Islam, with other Muslims like his parents who strive to live in peace with those of other faiths?
Rachid comes up with this insight that is extremely helpful as we face the Global Jihad: Muslims don’t always behave in ways that correspond to the teachings of their religion. Their “humanity” transcends their “Islam.”
For example, when Rachid’s father was blamed for his son’s defection from Islam, his standing as the Imam of the town’s mosque, was “downgraded!”
At one point in time in their relationship, the following dialogue took place between father and son. Rachid put this question to his father:
“What does your religion require you to do with me?” The father looked at him perplexed, “What do you mean?” I responded, “you do know the answer, why do you ask?” The father answered, “Islam requires me to kill you, since you are a Murtad (Apostate); but I won’t do that, how can I kill my own son?!” In other words, when facing the dilemma regarding his son’s apostasy, which is punishable in Islam by death, the human (humane) impulse triumphed over the religious code of punishments, known in Islamic jurisprudence as Hudud. What a moving scene between a Muslim father, and a son who had crossed over to Christianity!
At the end of the book, Rachid offers solutions that would deal effectively with Irhab (Terrorism):
1-Requiring Islamic countries to respect Human Rights
2-Changing the educational systems in Islamic countries
3-Unmasking the double standards practiced by Islamic countries: Saudi Arabia’s claim to be an ally of the West is inadequate; its Wahhabi Islam propagates a culture of hatred vis-à-vis all non-Muslims, as well as non-Sunni Muslims.
4-Encouraging religious reformation
5-Reforming state-sponsored media by ridding it of the “Conspiracy Theory of History”
6-Making it a crime to label dissidents and apostates as Kuffar (Infidels)
7-Stopping the flow of monetary support from the Gulf States to mosques in the West, many of which are controlled by radical Imams preaching hatred towards non-Muslims.
8-Ending the support of Western political, cultural, and informational circles that defend the worst aspects of Islam, absolving it from responsibility for the acts of terror perpetrated against the West.
9-Vetting immigrants coming to the West from anywhere in the Muslim world. It is not racism to expect immigrants to appreciate and learn to love the West, rather than take all its benefits, and hate and seek to destroy it, as too often has been the case.
Rachid is brutally honest and fearless in his attempt to get the truth out about Islam, and its total hegemony over those who inhabit its political, religious, cultural and familial environs. We can learn a great deal from him. Equally relevant are the archived weekly programs seen on Satellite TV. The 90-minute weekly program includes phone calls and email messages in Arabic from Eastern Christians, Muslims, and former Muslims.
A visit to Rachid’s website will show that some of his “shows” are in English and deal with relevant topics such as:
“Political Correctness Toward Islam” “Islam Is More than a Religion” “Islamophobia Versus Freedomophobia” “Islam and the Duck Test” “What’s the Difference Between Saudi Arabia and ISIS?” “Why Do Muslim Terrorists Shout ‘Allahu Akbar’?”
A scholarly essay by Ibn Warraq, “Conversion from Islam to Christianity” was published in the February, 2016 issue of the New English Review. When dealing with the general subject of conversions to Christianity, Ibn Warraq made a special reference to Brother Rachid’s work.