Leaving Islam



Are Muslims Humans?

By Ali Sina  


Page 1 || Page 2 || Page 3

In the forum of this site, there is a discussion going on about whether Muslims are humans or not. I am sure many are putt off even by the title of it. This sounds more like a racial slur than a real intellectual discussion. But don't write it off hastily. Anything is worth to take a look at. After all we don't have to agree with views that are not logical. Everything deserves a scrutiny, even things that on the surface seem preposterous and potentially explosive.  

Who came up with such an outrageous title to begin with? Well, yours truly. But let me make a caveat and say that by Muslims I mean the REAL Muslims and not those who just think they are but their Islam is the figment of their imagination, which more or less resembles any other religion. I am talking of the Islam as was taught in the Quran and practiced by Muhammad. I am talking about those Muslims that the Media likes to call "extremists", the terrorists and the child killers. These are the real Muslims.

Humanness is a quality. We are not talking biologically but about qualities that distinguish us humans from beasts. The king of all human qualities is empathy. It seems that most species of animals do not possess empathy for their kinds. There is parental love, but beyond that they do not seem to care for each other. Well, practically they can’t do much for each other and therefore empathy would be superfluous. If a lion attacks a herd of guzzles, they all run for their lives, but once one of them is caught, and the lion starts devouring it, the rest calm down and continue grazing, apparently unperturbed.    

We humans are different. We have evolved in a way that we care for each other and have feelings for one another. Humans come to each other’s rescue and not just of their own kin. Some animals, like elephants and primates adopt orphaned members of their species, but humans go beyond that, we even go as far as to risk our own lives to save a total stranger’s. I heard on TV about a man walking with his fiancé who jumped into the raging river because he saw a boy being drifted by the currents. The boy was later rescued but the man’s cadaver was washed to the shore a few days later. His fiancé said that he did not think about what he was doing. He did it instinctively. Of course this is not an isolated case. Most humans put at risk their own lives to save someone else’s. What is inside us that makes us do such bizarre thing? I don’t say this quality is unique to humans. Dogs are also known to risk their own lives to save their masters’.  However we humans do that for total strangers. We have stories coming to us from the tragedy of Titanic, that some of the passengers, declined to get into the boats to leave room for others. They died in freezing waters, so someone else could be saved.  

The selfish gene theory states that "the purpose of evolution is not, as Darwin suggested, survival of the species, it is simply the survival of the information in the genes of the individual. The individual is almost irrelevant to the genes - they are useful containers of the genetic code, but are in the final analysis expendable, and can be cast away if doing so can cause a greater reproduction elsewhere."

Whether we agree with this theory or not, it is clear that we humans survived as species because we learned to care for each other. Being altruistic and caring is part of our genetic make up. It is not "me" that has to survive but my genes, which is shared by all mankind. Therefore I am dispensable. I can sacrifice myself, for the sake of mankind. This is not different from a bee committing suicide by stinging to protect her hive. The survival of our species depended and still depends on us taking care of each other and sacrifice ourselves for the survival of mankind. As we evolved, each member became valuable to others. All the members helped one another and risked their own lives to save each others. It was only by evolving this bond that we managed to overcome our physical handicap. When it comes to survival we are a weak species. With only two legs we can’t run as fast as quadrupeds. Our jaws are too weak. We do not have claws. Beyond scratching ourselves, our nails are useless as weapons. Physically we are a very weak species. In a bare hand scuffle with a baboon or a wolf a third of our size, we lose. We would even lose to a wild cat. The only way for us to survive was to evolve empathy and stand for each other. So when a ferocious animal attacked, the early humanoids did not run for their lives but they stood together, pointed their spears at the intruder or chased it away by throwing stones at it.  

Empathy is what defines our humanness.  Technically, if you do not have empathy, or what is known as “brotherly love”, or “Christian love”, you can’t be qualified as a fully evolved human.  

Empathy is a learned behavior. Genetically we are wired for it but it needs to be nurtured so it can develop. Humans are essentially good. Only complications in their development impedes that goodness to develop. Take the example of grapes. Grapes are sweet by nature, but if there is not enough sun or the soil has not the right nutrients and alkalinity, they can become sour. Some schools of thought argue that the nature of man is both good and bad. I disagree. Personally I see nothing evil in myself. There is no malice in me. I am of course a human and get angry, frustrated, sad, and my sense of justice demands revenge. Some may call these weaknesses, but I think they too are necessary ingredients of humans genetic makeup, needed for our survival. They become problem, only when they get out of control. I am not evil. My inner being wants me to be good. I sense this inner goodness and love within me. Now, as far as I know I did not parachute from the sky. I was born like anyone else and share the same genes that everyone else has. I am a drop of this ocean of humanity. So it is logical to assume that all humans are good too. I have come across many good people. In fact most people are good. Being good is normal. Being good and selfless is genetic. It is the imperative of the selfish gene that tends to to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness with the number of copies of its genes passed on globally, rather than by a particular individual. Therefore it is natural to be good. To be altruistic is an evolutionary imperative. 

Then, why there is so much evil in the world? How is it possible that some humans have so little empathy for their kinds? The answer is that they are defective gene carriers. They have not developed their humanness. Just as our bodies can be infected by viruses that mutate the genes, our minds under the influence of memes can mutate too.  

Meme is a term coined by Richard Dawkins and can be defined as some sort of a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution having a resemblance to the gene (the unit of genetics).

Meme is any unit of information that passes from one mind to another, affects and transforms it. This usage more closely resembles the analogy of "language as a virus". In the same way viruses affect the genes and mutate them, memes affect the human thinking and transform it. With the transformation of human thought societies and cultures change, new cultures and religions evolve or degenerate and die. Pernicious beliefs act as degenerative memes and are destructive to human society.

Genetically we are all made to be good. We evolved because of our altruism. Being selfish goes against the normal course of evolution. Ideologies that impede us to be selfless are counter evolutionary. They are destructive to our species and will eventually cause the extinction of our race. To be altruistic is normal. However negative memes, i.e. units of cultural ideas that tend to induce hate, or pernicious meme complexes such as cultic beliefs can have devastating effects on human behavior. To continue our evolution, and reach our full potential we need to have positive meme complexes. Goodness is inside us, the same way sweetness is inside the grape. But it must be educated.  To educate means to develop the innate capacities. Beliefs and doctrines that induce hate, are destructive memes, like virus, they propagate and cause the decline of human society. The negative effect of Islam on Islamic countries and Muslims in general is conspicuous. 

Any new information is a new meme. At this very moment, I am transmitting new memes from my mind into yours. They will certainly affect you. Every information affect us whether positively or negatively. You process them, transform them and pass them to others and eventually they replicate and take a life of their own. 

To change our world we have to change our culture and to change our culture we have to change the way we think, i.e. replace our present destructive meme complexes with better ones. If we replace the thoughts of hatred, apathy and war with thoughts of love empathy and peace, our world will be changed. 

You develop empathy during the first five years of your life. If as a child you receive love and are cared for, you learn that behavior. My father is a kind and altruistic man. He helped anyone who came to ask for help. Some of these people were very ungrateful and paid him back with treachery and malice. Nonetheless he kept his heart open and continued to help others. He was an orphan. The only memory he has from his father is when he was dead lying in the middle of the room covered with a white sheet and friends and family had gathered to wail. He recalls watching the hand of his father exposed from the sheet to see if it moves. But his mother, was truly a saint. This woman raised her six children alone by sewing and making quilt. She was the embodiment of love. She dedicate herself to her children and imbued them with love. My father became a loving man full of empathy because he received lots of love during his early childhood and formative years. These were the positive memes that nurtured his soul and formed his character. Many of those who do not receive love, like Saddam, Hitler, Stalin, Charles Manson or Muhammad, grow up to become monsters, unless they make the conscious effort and strive to be good. 


Page 1 || Page 2 || Page 3




Articles Op-ed Authors Debates Leaving Islam FAQ
Comments Library Gallery Video Clips Books Sina's Challenge

  ©  copyright You may translate and publish the articles posted in this site ONLY if you provide a link to the original page and if it is not for financial gain.