Islam: Cult or Religion?

Isam is known as the second largest religion. The very fact that 1.2 billion people call themselves Muslims vests Islam with the mantel of legitimacy and confirms the claim that it is a religion. But is it?

Can 1.2 billion people be wrong? Well, in logic we have something called “argumentum ad numerum“. It states that something is true if a lot of people believe in it. But argumentum ad numerum is a logical fallacy. Truth cannot be established by the consensus of the majority. In fact many arguments have been proven to be false, even though everyone in the world once accepted them as true. For example, not until a few centuries ago everyone believed that the Earth is flat and is at the centre of the universe. Despite that common belief both geocentricity and the idea of the flat Earth were false. A false belief does not become true even if everyone thinks they are true.

Therefore, not only 1.2 billion people, but the entire mankind can be wrong. As Bertrand Russell said: “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

After shattering the myth of argumentum ad numerum, let us put Islam under scrutiny and see whether it is a religion or a cult.

The following is a description of what cult is:   

  1. A cult is a religious group with extreme beliefs and practices – beliefs that are often contrary to science and logic but they are believed as “obvious” truth by the cult members.
  2. The members of cults often isolate themselves from friends, family and society and use deceptive and unethical recruiting techniques
  3. Use manipulative methods to control the minds of followers
  4. Venerate a human leader or leaders
  5. Recruiting work is performed by all of the members
  6. People are not allowed to criticize the leader, the doctrine, or the organization, or read information that is critical of the cult.
  7. Members are trained to reject and disbelieve criticism of the cult as lies from Satan.
  8. Members spy on one another and report improper activities or comments to leaders.
  9. Members are taught to suppress anything which might reflect negatively to outsiders about the cult.
  10. The doctrine is absolutist and the ideology is internalized as “the Truth.”
  11. Members are told to avoid contact with ex-members or critics, even their relatives.
  12. Members are instilled with a deep fear about ever leaving the organization, and anyone who does depart is of the devil and sometimes severely punished.
  13. Members are emotional controlled and warned of being caught and punished.
  14. Disciplinary action is administered by group leaders, which may involve excommunication for such things as questioning organization policy or doctrine.
  15. People are encouraged to sacrifice education, career and family interests to server the interests of the cult.
  16. Advocate socializing only with other members in the organization and avoiding outsiders.
  17. The belief in apocalypse and Dooms Day.

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All these traits are present in Islam.

  1. Islam claims to be a religion with strong devotion to Muhammad and a set of unsubstantiated doctrines presented by him. Monotheism is used as a pretext to exert absolute control over the believers, leaving them no chance to question or investigate alternative paths.
  2. Muhammad forced his followers to leave their families (8:72) and gathered them in Yathrib. He said: “And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes”. He warned those who did not follow him, leaving behind their families, will be cursed by Allah and “their habitation will be hell”(4:97). Muhammad went as far as to order his followers to murder those Muslims who defected his barricade.(4:89)  In Yathrib he banished and killed the Jews who did not believe in him, thus eliminating the chance of his followers coming in contact with outsiders and being influenced by anyone. In this way he exerted absolute control over the lives and the minds of his followers. Jim Jones did the same. He called his town “Jonestown”. Muhammad changed the name of Yathirb to Madinatul Nabi (Prophet’s Town)
  3. He used manipulative methods to control the minds of his followers. These methods ranged from threat of hellfire, and promises of paradise, to exhaustive rituals of prayers and fasts, devised to numb the thought, and threat of physical punishment including execution and constant warfare, keeping his followers in perpetual state of agitation.
  4. He established himself as the sole authority among his followers and the only source of guidance to the extent that they looked up to him for every detail of their lives, including how to dress, how to shave, how to pray and even how to urinate and how to clean after bowl movement. Ostensibly the worship was to God but effectively he was the only object of veneration of his followers and the only authority. Nominally God was to be obeyed but he was God’s proxy, thus assuming the authority of God.
  5. All believers were asked to promote his cause through Jihad, propaganda or by giving generously from their wealth. 4:95, 9:20, 49:15, 61:11
  6. The criticism of Muhammad and Islam was totally prohibited and if anyone dared to question him or his decisions, Omar swiftly unshielded his sword and threatened to slash the throat of the intrepid questioner forcing him to apologize. The message was sent in a very clear tone that no one must question Muhammad and his authority. 1400 years later, the message remains the same. If you question Islam you will be killed.
  7. Muslims are told to dismiss any criticism of Islam as coming from Satan and they often avoid reading critical views about their Faith. I have received testimonies of apostates who confessed that at first when they came across this site they stopped reading it and dismissed it as the work of Satan. See this I myself never read any book critical of Islam and once frowned at a friend who expressed her curiosity about Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.
  8. Muslims are encouraged to spy on each other and report any sign of dissent. Amr bil Maroof wa Nahi anil Munkir (Commanding to follow the religion and preventing from doing what is prohibited) is a tenet of Islam. Every Muslim is required to poke his nose in the private lives of others, spy on them and tell them what they should do and what they should not do. Every Muslim is an enforcer of religion and the moral police for others.
  9. Muslims suppress anything that might present Islam in negative light. Preserving the image of Islam is of utmost importance and Muslims lie with clarity of conscience to misrepresent their religion and make it look good. For example women in Islam are treated like animals and are considered as deficient in intelligence. Every Muslim knows that including the women, who blame the men for it but not the Islam. But they lie through their teeth bragging about the “elevated” status of women in Islam. Jihad means aggressive war to expand Islam. Every Muslim knows that. Yet all of them lie and say Jihad means “self defense”. A couple of years ago I received a very angry email from a Muslim who cursed me for revealing the fact that Muhammad had slept with a 9-year old child and at the end he said “the damage is already done” and I will be certainly punished for what I had done. The fact that Muhammad slept with a child did not bother this Muslim but what bothered him was revealing this fact.
  10. Islam is extremely absolutist and Muslims believe that it is the only true religion. This “truth” however is not self evident. It is “true” because Muhammad said so.
  11. Muslims are told to shun the apostates and the critics of Islam. New converts are often circled and are isolated from their non-Muslim family and friends. They are showered with love and receive a lot of emotional support until the brainwashing is complete.
  12. Muslims are instilled with the fear of leaving Islam. This fear comes in two forms. One is the fear of Hell and of eternal punishment and the other is the fear of being caught and put to death by fellow Muslims, including their best friends and family.
  13. Those who leave Islam must live in constant threat of being discovered and killed. In Muslims’ Comments section of this site you can see that Muslims often talk about this fear and say they pity me for having to look over my shoulders all the time and live in fear of being assassinated. The values are so distorted that they do not pity themselves for being the assassins but pity me for having to live in their fear.
  14. In Islam disciplinary action includes beating, maiming, stoning, beheading or jail. Excommunication is for minor offenses. The poet Ka’b and two others were excommunicated for fifty days and during that time no one spoke to them. Ka’b’s wife was told to leave him and wherever he went people ignored him as if he was invisible. All this, because he did not accompany Muhammad in the war of Tabutk.
  15. Muslims are told to sacrifice their comfort, their wealth and including their lives to promote Islam. Young men are encouraged to leave their studies and work, wage Jihad, and commit suicide bombing to make Islam dominant. Family and even children are regarded as “tests” of the believers. To prove their loyalty to Allah, they must be able to forgo all these “worldly attachments” and get ready to sacrifice their lives in the cause of Islam.
  16. Muslims are discouraged to take friends from amongst the unbelievers even if these unbelievers are their kin. 3:28 They are told the unbelievers are najis (filthy) 9:28  and that the believers should not associate with them.
  17. The belief in the Day of Judgment and the Dooms Day is one of the pillars of the Islamic Faith.

Based on the above, Islam is a cult. It is the biggest and the most successful cult. It practically reunites every feature of cult. Other cults may not be cultic in some of the above points. But Islam is cultic in every way and it would be a gross mistake to number it among religions just because 1.2 billion benighted people call themselves Muslims.