Leaving Islam




Islam and Superstitions  

By Syed Kamran Mirza (Original in Bengali)

[Translated into English from Bengali by Abul Kasem ]

April 3, 2006    


We are aware that superstition is a popular belief held by people without any reason or logic; that is to say, it is an irrational belief system without any proof practiced by the ignorant mass. This type of superstition can be of two types, namely: folklores—that are essentially fanciful, irrational stories that are accepted by the population as such; so, there is no problem with such fairy-tales. However, the other type of superstition is the religious false notion that is firmly rooted in the belief of supernatural divinity. The morbid fear of unknown, the thought of after-life and a deep penchant for supernatural power are the main causes for the growth of such religious mumbo-jumbo. Clearly, this uncontrolled fear for life after death (fear factor) and its resultant irrational faith in it is the primary reason for the birth of world religious beliefs. We see the abundant presence of many such fanciful, irrational ingredients in almost all religions practiced in to-day’s world—no religion is free from such ridiculousness, to say the least. For that matter Islam is no exception. In fact, there are so many superstitions in Islam that one can safely surmise that the entire edifice of Islam stands firmly on many such mythological /supernatural narrations.  

When one reads the fundamental scriptures of Islam, namely; the Qur’an and many Ahadith, one is bound to find copious superstitious stories and practices. The belief in such irrational and illogical stories and tales is bound to give rise to many fanatical believers and this could be the root cause of Islamic frenzy among its blind believers.  

In Bangladesh, searching every nook and corner of the markets, bookstores, Islamic libraries, even the foot path (Fatemolla aptly calls these books: the Moons and the Stars of the foot path) of a city, one is sure to find thousands of such Islamic Kitabs (Islamic Books) which shamelessly promote such ignorance and cock-and-bull stories. From among such famous and popular books, let me name a few. These are: Behester Kunji (The Key to Paradise ), Beheshti Zewar (The Treasures of Paradise), Maqsudul Momeneen (The Destiny of the Believers), Kassa-suul-Ambia (The Stories of the Prophets) and Neyamul Qur’an etc. In a Muslim country like Bangladesh , these Islamic books are in such a great demand that the publishers have a tough time meeting this huge demand even after they have run 30th or 40th edition for each of the above books.  

From among the books cited above, I found it absolutely compelling to delve in illustrating some of the contents of Kassa-suul-Ambia. This Islamic Kitab is considered to be distinctly different from any other Islamic Book—in that, this book is not about the exhortations of Islamic teachings based on the fanciful ideas of some Mullah. As the title of this book suggests, this book narrates the stories of many Prophets mentioned in the holy Qur’an and Ahadith and who were born in the Arabian Peninsula . This means that whatever is written in this book conforms to the contents of the Qur’an and Ahadith, and as such they are completely irrefutable. The version of this book that I am using has been written by an impeccably educated Muslim writer—M.N.M. Imdadullah (M.A., B.A. Hons. M.A). In look and size this book is quite similar to the holy Qur’an and as such it commands a great reverence from the Muslims. As a mark of respect the libraries and the devotees will store this book at the uppermost shelve of bookshelves, positioning it just by the side of the Qur’an.  

This is also a pricey book—mind you; one translated volume is costlier than the holy Qur’an!  

An examination of this tome will reveal that its content is replete with superstitious narrations—almost 90% of it, to be precise. Once the simple-minded, faithful Muslims read/hear such irrational tales, they turn to be more ardent believers, devoting more time and attention in prayer and fasting. For the not-so-faithfuls, they will find such incredible, irrational tales extremely hilarious and will definitely have hearty laugh reading the book.  

Nonetheless, such superstitious books are plenty in Bangladesh and, as said before, one may find them in virtually every household—no joke. These are the text books—the principal learning sources of Islam for the vast majority of the Muslims in Bangladesh . Most of what they believe and practice in Islam actually emanate from these primary learning tools! Many Maulanas (Islamic priests) recorded these ‘cock-and-bull’ stories in the audio cassettes which are readily available in Bangladesh to the gullible Muslims. For some unscrupulous Maulanas this cassette-selling is a booming business that is simply nothing but only to plunder the hard-earned wealth from poor public.  Needless to say, the influence of such books, and the audio cassettes have created, among the Bengali Muslims in Bangladesh, a thriving business for the saints, ascetics and the friars by selling talisman and by practicing charms.  

In the villages, in the suburbs, and even in the metropolitan cities of Bangladesh numerous Islamic Jalsas (Islamic Preaching) are held almost on a daily basis. These congregations are attended by thousands of ordinary, illiterate, half-literate, ill-educated Muslims. The surprising fact is that many well educated, blind believers also attend these gatherings and become engrossed in listening to the exhortations of the Mullahs. The main theme of such speeches is the narrations of Islamic mythological tales—irrational and fanciful stories, and colorful anecdotes from Islamic history. The principal source of such tales, of course, is none other than the incredible Kassa-suul-Ambia, the implausible Islamic book. The simple-minded village folks are so much imbued by these cock-and-bull and absurd stories, that in no time they start believing such stories to be true and many of those ardent believers even start weeping. As a result of such gullible faith in irrationality, they soon become victims of fear and completely surrender to superstition and supernatural forces of Islam.  

During my childhood, when I attended such gatherings, I used to wonder as to where from these Mullahs obtained such coaxing stories and narrate them so eloquently. I used to marvel at the level of their knowledge and understanding. Now, I have no doubt in my mind that all those incredibly irrational tales are actually from authentic Islamic books that I have mentioned a few. In this long article I shall quote, verbatim, a few sample passages from those authentic Islamic books mentioned above. [Please note: these quotes are exact; nothing is from me, except that at the end of the paragraphs, some of my personal views and comments are included italic, inside the parenthesis]:


1. How Allah created this universe and everything in it?  

Before creating anything the almighty Allah created, from his glorious light, the light of Muhammad (pbuh). Then Allah created all creatures from this light of Muhammad. At first, Allah divided Muhammad’s light in four parts; Allah used one part to create the Supreme Throne, He made the writing pen from the second part, and from the third part he created the denizens of souls (Lauhe Mahfooz). Then He divided the fourth part into four parts—the first part was used to create the angels bearing the throne, the second part was made into His throne, and from the third part He created all the angels (Farishta). The remaining fourth part, He divided it again into another four parts—the first part went into creating the heavens, the second part was used in creating the earth and from the third part He created Paradise and Hell. Then again, he divided the remaining forth part into yet another four parts—the first was used to create the radiance of the eyes of the believers, the second part was used to create the light for the souls, the third part was used to create the light of Kalema (La Ilah Illa Allah Muhammad-ar-Rasul Allah). Through the last fourth part Allah created all the rest of the materials on earth. (Subahanallah!!!)


2. Why is the nib of a fountain pen Cracked?  

Readers, have you ever wondered how the nib of a fountain pen was cracked? If not, then please read on carefully. After finishing His creation, as depicted in (1) above, Allah commanded his pen: “O pen, begin scribing Kalema Tayeb; La Ilah Illa Allah Muhammad-ar-Rasul Allah.” Then the pen scribed, for four hundred years (some say four thousand years), “La Ilah, Illa Allah” but on no occasion did the pen write the last part, i.e., Muhammad-ar-Rasul Allah. Then Allah asked the pen: “Pen, what you wrote so far?” The pen obligingly showed Allah what it had written. An angry Allah said, “Why did you not write the last part?” The pen replied,” My Lord, I dared not associate your name with anyone else.” Then Allah said, “Indeed you have committed a grave mistake by not writing the name of my comrade. Now hasten to write my best friend’s name.” Observing the unpleasantness in Allah, the pen became extremely frightened started to shake; as a result, its front part became cracked. Now, whenever you observe the crack in the middle of a fountain pen you will surely recall the reason for such a split! After this, the pen continued writing the name of Muhammad (pbuh), the dearest friend of Allah.  

3. The extent of Allah’s Throne and the shape of its carrying Angels!  

In order to have an idea of the colossal extent of Allah’s Throne, it was raised on eighteen thousand pillars. The distance between one pillar of this throne to the next is a journey of seven hundred years. Then Allah buried those pillars under the seven layers of heaven. To carry His Throne, Allah created four gigantic angels. These four angels have four distinct shapes. The first one looks like a human being, the second one is in the shape of a tiger, the third angel takes the shape of a vulture and the fourth one is in the shape of a cow. The sizes of these four angels are beyond one’s imagination. Their legs are so long that they reached the bottom of the seven heavens. In one step these angels can travel a distance of seven thousand years!  

4. How the faithfuls of the last Prophet were bestowed with mercy of Allah?  

When Allah finished the making the Lauhe Mahfuz (denizens of souls) from the blessings of the last Prophet, He ordered the pen, “Beginning from the first man (i.e., Adam) scribe in Lauhe Mahfuz the unseen stories of all the twenty-four thousand Prophets.” Accordingly, starting from Prophet Adam, the pen wrote, in detail descriptions of all the children of him (i.e., Adam) and the followers of all other Prophets. The writing included such matters as, those who are obedient to Allah will be admitted in Paradise ; those doing reverse will be sent to Hell. The pen was about to enumerate the similar accounts for the believers of the last Prophet, when an instant stern message from Allah said,”O pen, refrain from writing such account now.” The utterly frightened pen tremulously adjured Allah, saying, “My Lord! Please instruct me what to write.” Allah said, “Write Ummatu Muhammadin-a-Rabbun Gafur.” This meant: even if there were some sinners in the rank of the believers of the last Prophet (Muhammad), Allah may, at His own will, let many of them go scot-free (most likely, because of this provision for the Muslims there is such profound dishonesty and corruption in their societies—simply because Allah will forgive the thieves and bandits who are Muslim).  

5. How the provision of five prayers was ordained?  

From the light of Muhammad, Allah created a peacock and placed it atop a Sajaratul Yaakin tree. Sitting atop this tree, the peacock prayed to Allah for seventy-thousand years using rosary beads. Then Allah constructed a mirror of shame and stationed that mirror in front of the peacock. The peacock was overjoyed witnessing its extraordinary beauty, so much so, that it prostrated to Allah for five times. This example, later, became the tradition of compulsory five prayers among the faithfuls of Muhammad (pbuh).


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