Leaving Islam





Intellectual Freedom and Islamic Pretensions


 By I Kahn

To quote Descartes, “I think, therefore I am” perhaps encapsulates the quintessentially human commodity that sets humanity apart from any other entity: Thought.  It is the possession of this vitally critical apparatus that not only ensures human existence but perhaps more importantly, makes existing worth the existence. Existence per se is dismissible, it has no worth or value of its own accord unless infused with a realisation of its own presence and its potential to comprehend and exploit the consequences of such a realisation. Even an amoeba can exist; can it dissect the causal complexities of third world poverty however? If there is one moral absolute in this universe, which simply cannot and dare not be questioned, it is the one thing that makes us human. To relinquish freedom of thought would be akin to genocide.


Great works of literary endeavour inspire, enrich and enhance the existential human experience. It matters not if the product of one’s mind agrees with the critiquing faculties of another’s; merely the presence of the varying shades and shapes of thoughts create a scintillating, uniquely humanistic, ambience of emotional experience. It is essential for humans that their inherent competence of thought is rejuvenated, enthralled and revitalised with refreshing new flavours, by a miasma of contrasting and complimenting ideas that serve up a treat to be consumed ravenously. For if it were not for this gluttonous penchant for the novel, humanity would simply stagnate in a state of wretched blandness and pitiful subservience to anything and everything else. The mental faculty by its very nature is boundless; it knows no parameters and requires no sanctions.


Once the absolute sanctity of thought has been acknowledged it becomes a moral imperative to resist any idea that threatens to abolish this moral absolute. It is no surprise that the dogmas which aspire most to the control of the human spirit are the one’s that are fundamentally opposed to the proliferation of freedom of thought, be they communism, totalitarianism, Nazism or Islam. Muslim advocates would vehemently protest that Islam does not discourage freedom of thought or the _expression of it. If that really were to be the case however, why would stringent punishments have been advocated for thoughts professed that were at odds with those sanctioned by Quranic decree? Portrayal of eroticism in any medium, for example, within Islam is strictly prohibited and is punishable. Adoration professed for an alternate political or social paradigm is met with scorn by the “Almighty” as is the attempt to invent or better ones own understanding within these alternative spheres of thinking. Creation and portrayal of art, in all its forms (pictorial, auditory, visual), if deemed to be outside the realm of prescribed constructs of Islam, would be branded as heretical and would be destroyed with gleeful disdain. Imposition of morality as a fastener restraining thought and free speech and the fear instilled through promises of consequent punishment both in the contemporary as well as the next life serve as an ideal mechanism of the subjugation of the human capacity to think and create.


The life prescribed by Islam is that of denial, of subservience, of humility with a healthy dollop of inevitable mediocrity, of accepted norms, of one size fits all, of ultimate adherence to an insipid set of draconian rules derived, quite obviously, more from contemporaneous whimsical fancies than divine inspiration. Islamic life, when adhered to in its orthodoxy, offers little more than a bland preoccupation with the almighty suffused with an essentially intellectually, culturally and socially stagnant societal milieu. It would be ridiculous to claim that Islamic religious affectations on the mind, are somehow conducive to the creation of a thriving, flourishing society.  Yet it is precisely this principle that is being sold with a dishonest pretension of free will, freedom and creative licence. Sure there is freewill, as long as it fits within what has been willed for you! Sure there is freedom to think and to speak and to create; just be mindful however of what you think, say or produce. If you don’t, you will be violating the divine instruction of reverence to ideals of “submission”. Muslims pass off this token attempt at freedom as a feeble defence for what is frankly indefensible.


If ever one required justification for what has been said hitherto, look no further than the United States of America and compare its magnificent and startling rise to grandeur with every singly Muslim country in the world. The single most free nation on the planet is also the single most prosperous and creative. American forefathers recognised the imperative of instilling the virtue of absolute freedom of thought within its lands and with that came the benefits of a mind free to break limits and set new ones, only to be broken again by minds more agile and able than the previous. It is an utter perversion of the truth to label Americans as immoral. America respected the worth of a man’s mind and exalted its potential to deliver us from the pathetic allegiances to superstitious fears. To all those Muslims who have the audacity to accuse America of being immoral I urge them to reconfigure what exactly is morality; the subjugation of human mind to scriptural absurdities or the exaltation of the only tool man has that can save it from its own paradoxically pathological desire for subjugation. “Moral” limits are threatened not when ideas go too far but rather when they are restricted to whatever arbitrary limit set by the self-righteous moralising contemporaries, or worse still, dogmatic institutions. What, after all, could be more immoral than to have to seek authorisation for what fundamentally is the only intrinsically human trait and which has catapulted humanity from the gutter to the stars.







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