Why Can’t Islam be Reformed?
Dear Mr. Sina,
I am a Muslim woman living in the USA I read some of your articles and totally agree with you on many points.
I am still a Muslim but at the same time I hold rather peculiar positions on many points.
There are five pillars of Islam and six pillars of faith that cannot be modified. That’s all. The rest can be negotiated and must be modernized. Islam is doomed and the fate of the Church of England awaits it. But Anglicans didn’t leave Christianity; they just brought it up‑to‑date. There used to be no female priests but today there are. There used to be some dogmas about wives’ submission to husbands but today there are many feminists that believe in God and are Christians. Just the same is prepared for Islam and I’m sure of it. Let me comment on some points.
1. Polygamy is indeed permitted in Islam. But I have got a great example. Tunisia has a constitution based on Shari’a law but polygamy is prohibited. I object to implementing Shari’a in any countries. Shari’a is outdated and as a matter of fact I am sure Allah understands it. Nobody is now burning witches in Great Britain but nobody said Jesus Christ doesn’t exist or anything. Islam has to be on the background and the secular laws have to be on the foreground.
2. Hijab is not a must for Muslim women. I don’t wear hijab and have never worn it. My daughter is not wearing hijab either. Allah wanted women (as well as men) to be modest. I don’t wear a bikini because it doesn’t agree with my modesty but my daughter likes skirts, tight jeans and T‑shirts. But wearing these clothes doesn’t affect her modesty and doesn’t make her a prostitute. If you feel comfortable wearing hijab, it’s OK, wear it. I have an opinion that hijab is outdated. If you can’t be modest without hijab, wearing hijab won’t make you any better. Hijab doesn’t protect women from rapists or other abusers. If a stranger, or most likely a husband wants to rape a woman, hijab will not stop him from doing it. That is my opinion.
3. Disbelievers will not go to Heaven. Virgins in Heaven? I have nothing to say about it. Who knows? As a modern person, I don’t believe Mohammed (pbuh) knew any of these things. Human beings cannot comprehend such things and we have to just leave it alone and move on with our life on Earth.
4. Killing of disbelievers if they don’t embrace Islam. It is outdated. In the modern world such things should not be tolerated. It was the case in the 7th century but thanks to Allah we are living in the 21st century!
5. What is the problem with Islam? The problem is that people perceive religion as divine; therefore it must not be criticized. But we have to adopt the way westerners treated their religions. The example of the Church of England is a good one.
6. Killing of apostates. Again it is outdated. It should not be practiced in the 21st century.
7. Men are breadwinners, women are housewives. Men are heads of the family. I earn more than my husband. My Arab husband is a stay‑at‑home dad. Women should be able to choose. Some want to have a career and some want to be wives and mothers. I decided to juggle these roles. Christianity also sees women as wives and mothers but I doubt that the head of the Church of England Queen Elizabeth II is an ideal wife and mother. I regard her as a strong woman. I don’t want to repeat myself but Islam has to be modernized.
Dear Ali, I appreciate your work. But I think we have to modernize Islam because I have serious doubts that you and other wonderful people can eradicate Islam completely. Modernization is something that is more likely to happen. What is going on in the Middle Eastern countries is awful. The West has to help with stopping this insanity and modernizing these countries. I am fully aware of the fact that my beliefs would be “attacked” in the Middle East and I would be stoned to death. That is why we in the West have something to do with that. We ought to do it for our sake. And I thank America for the opportunity to air my opinions freely. God bless America. I believe in Allah and hope for the afterlife. But I reject any authorities and communicate with God without imams or mullahs, whom I consider to be a threat to humanity. I expressed my views and hope you will reply to me.
Finally, at the time of the prophet, the principles perhaps were suitable, but is it really so now? Therefore, let’s evaluate, reread. Let’s pick the suitable ones. Religion is made for the benefit of humans.
A Modernized Muslim
This is the position of many modern Muslims, including Irshad Manji the author of “What Is Wrong with Islam, Today”. A great number of Muslims realize there is something wrong with Islam, but they erroneously believe the problem can be solved through the miracle of reinterpretation; and that they can keep the Quran and believe in Muhammad but somehow do the opposite of what he did and said and still call themselves Muslims. The following was my response to Haifa.
Thank you for your poignant comments. I am happy to say it is YOU who are not Muslim. You sound very much like me, years ago. As a matter of fact most of the Iranians prior to the revolution of 1979 were like you. My mother never wore chador unless she wanted to go to the grocery store around the corner and did not want to dress for the occasion. This was, of course, before the Revolution. But things changed overnight. The moderate Muslims became hardcore Islamists, rallied around Khomeini and foaming at the mouth poured into the streets shouting “death to America, death to Israel.”
You say Christians modernized; why can’t Muslims? There is a simple answer to that. The New Testament does not contain so much violence and terror as does the Quran. I don’t say the Bible is factual. It sounds more like myths and legends. Nonetheless, the Jesus of the Bible is a saintly figure. He is the embodiment of goodness. So if you don’t mind believing in fairytales, Christianity can make you a good person. Of course, fanatics are everywhere but the message of Christ is not fanatical. Recall when the Pharisees brought a prostitute to him, asking him what to do with her? His response was “Let the one who has not sinned throw the first stone.” If you really practice just this teaching alone, you will become a good human being. Isn’t this the purported goal of religions to make us good people, forgiving and mindful of our own sins?
Islam is different. The author of Islam was a vile man. He is not a mythological figure. He really existed, and his acts are recorded. Many ludicrous miracles are attributed to him, but once you put aside all those as nonsense and study his life, the portrait of a psychopath emerges. Muhammad was anything but saintly. There is not an act of goodness in his life. Even his kindness and generosity were manipulative and politically motivated. Take the example of his largesse to the Meccans. He raided the big tribe of Hawazin, killed many of them, took away all their belongings and captured their wives and children. Their elders came to him supplicating for mercy. They brought along Shima, his milk‑sister, the daughter of Halima, who had nursed him for five years when he was a child to tell him about his childhood among them and to soften his heart. She reminded him how she used to carry him on her back, and how tenderly her people took care of him. He told them if they convert to Islam they could choose between their loved ones and their property. Is that a choice? They chose their loved ones. Then Muhammad gave all the booty stolen from these nomads to the potentates of Mecca. Those higher in rank received more. Other tribes who had taken part in the war, and had helped him win, protested. They asked for their share, and were about to start a mutiny. He made a “moving” speech saying, “I want to soften the hearts of the Meccans toward Islam” and told those who had received nothing “You take the Prophet of God with you instead. Which do you prefer: the wealth of this world or the messenger of Allah?”
This cunning man was a master of deception and manipulation. He ruined the lives of thousands of Hawazin, killed them and stole all their herds, camels, and property and gave them to the wealthy Meccans to “soften their hearts toward Islam.” There is not a single episode in his life that was done out of the goodness of his heart. Every act he performed was calculated and manipulative. He was a psychopathic narcissist worse than Hitler.
The difference between Christianity and Islam lies in the difference between Jesus and Muhammad. This is the difference between day and night. Jesus was the insignia of goodness and Muhammad was the incarnation of everything that is abhorrent and evil.
You ask: “Can Islam be reformed?” No, it can’t! To reform Islam you have to first get rid of Muhammad and second get rid of the Quran. You have to take out a great portion of that book which is violent. The rest is nonsense and absurdity. But this you can’t do, because you have no authority to do such a thing. Muhammad said that he has perfected his religion (Q. 5:3). How can you improve something, which is perfect? You can’t change the Quran. You can’t reform it. All you can do is to reinterpret and, for example pretend, “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” means something else.
Or you can say these parts of the Quran are no longer applicable. The problem is: who gets to decide which parts of the Quran are applicable and which parts are obsolete? Who has such authority to make this decision? If you rely on your own conscience and say the verses that call for murder are outdated, someone else, like Khomeini could protest and say:
Why do you Mullahs only go after the ordinances of prayer and fasting? Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing? Quran says; kill, imprison! Why are you only clinging to the parts that talk about mercy? Mercy is against God. [Khomeini’s speech 1981 Commemoration of the Birth of Muhammad]
Who can say you are right and he is not? Finally if it is left to you to winnow the good teachings from the bad ones, why do you need to follow this or any other religion at all? If you can discern this much to know the difference between right and wrong, you don’t need any guidance; you are mature enough to find your own way using your own inner compass. In that case, can’t you look into other religions and philosophies and pick the good things from them too? If so, you are a freethinker. You don’t need a religion. You are a guide and a prophet unto yourself.
A book of guidance that sometimes guides and sometimes misleads is not a book of guidance. If you are lost and ask for directions from a passerby and he points in all directions, can that person be trusted? Is his guidance of any value? Of course one of those directions he is pointing at is the right one. But if you have to rely on your own resources to find that out, what good is it asking such an untrustworthy person for directions? What about those who did not have your sagacity and went the wrong way after being misled by this charlatan? That is exactly what the Quran does. It tells you something good, but it also teaches you a myriad of bad things. Why do we need these religions at all? They do not guide anyone. They only give you a vacuous promise of an afterlife, which is good only for suckers. How can we trust that promise when everything else they said is proven to be false?
You say that the Christians have managed to sieve through the Bible and choose only the good teachings. This is true for most of them but not for all of them. There are also many fanatics among the Christians and some of them are very hateful people. Fortunately their number is relatively low, but nonetheless it shows that being a Christian is not a ticket to the Land of Enlightenment.
However, Islam can’t be reformed. You need to have an authority with a rank similar or superior to the one claimed by Muhammad to be able to reform Islam. But that can’t be done, because Muhammad said he was the last prophet.
Fortuitously, today I received an email from a reader, (Father Lev) who suggested we should “Support Ahmadiyya Islam to check the expansion of Islamo‑Fascism!” He argued:
There are two key points in Ahmadiyya that make it into a practical solution to the problem of Islamism. Moslems claim that nothing can be added to the Quran while the Ahmadiyya Moslems do not! And the Ahmadiyya Moslems have officially condemned militant jihad. (Jihad against the kuffar (unbelievers) has been declared haram (sin) by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed! The FIRST is especially important, because, since it holds that nothing can be added to the Quran , mainstream Islam can’t be reformed, and is bound to stay forever a barbarous ideology. Ahmadiyya Islam CAN be reformed. The difference is subtle, but absolutely crucial. If civilized nations invest in Ahmadiyya Islam, it may save the world! This is because Moslems will not convert to a religion that is too different from what they are used to practicing. The most effective way to stop Islamism in its tracks is to help strengthen the posture of Ahmadiyya Islam in the Moslem world.
The problem with Ahmadiyya and all other offshoots of Islam is that they are offshoots of Islam. Although the followers of these religions have distanced themselves from the violence in the Quran, they are rooted in Islam, and they acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet of God.
You can’t build too high without a solid foundation. The foundation of these religions is Islam, and Islam is a lie. Muhammad was not a prophet of any god. I don’t know whether these words are from Christ or they are attributed to him, but whoever said them must have had a good understanding of the Principle underlying the creation. These words are: “Only truth will set us free.” I believe this is the ultimate wisdom. ONLY TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.
Like you, the followers of religions that are offshoots of Islam say Muhammad belonged to another time. This is moral relativism. At what time was raiding innocent populations, slaying unarmed people and raping and enslaving their wives and children okay? Yes, of course there were just and good rulers at the time of Muhammad and before him. One such ruler was Cyrus the Great, king of Persia who eleven hundred years before Muhammad wrote the first known declaration of Human Rights.
The Declaration of Human Rights by Cyrus the Great:
“I am Kourosh (Cyrus), great king,…. Now that I put the crown of the kingdom of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions on the head with the help of Ahura, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them while I am alive. …I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it, and if any one of them rejects it, I never resolve on war to reign. While I am the king… I will never let anyone oppress others…. I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of the others by force or without compensation. While I am alive, I will prevent unpaid, forced labor. Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion.… No one could be penalized for his or her relatives’ faults….”
Our species has not changed that much in such a short time. Good and bad people existed at all times. Even in our own time, we have had most brutal monsters, many of whom are still in power. Are the mullahs of Iran any better than the bloodthirsty tyrants of the past?
The atrocities perpetrated by Muhammad exceeded anything that anyone had experienced before. Amazingly, his followers, taken aback by his utter lack of conscience and his monstrous inhumanity, thought he must be supported by some invisible force for they could not understand how a human being could be so ruthless and kill so many people with such conviction while praising God at the same time and inviting people to be pious. Criminals do not talk about God. They often have a trace of conscience left in them and are often overtaken by remorse. But not the psychopaths! Psychopaths do not have a conscience. They feel entitled to kill, and they believe they are doing God’s work. This is what Hitler said:
Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. [Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York : Mariner Books, 1999, p. 65]
Muhammad offset his follower’s balance of right and wrong. He overloaded it with so much evil that it broke.
We humans have an inner balance with which we weigh good and evil. This balance, in Muslims stopped working. The indicator is stuck on zero. Muhammad’s companions could no longer register right and wrong. Because it’s hard to envision how a human being could be this ruthless, they persuaded themselves that he must be from God. As for why this god is so demonic, they fooled themselves with the lies that he told them. He told them that it is not up to man to question God. This absurd explanation satisfied his benighted followers. They resorted to fideism and argued that reason is irrelevant to religious belief. The great Imam Ghazali (1058 – 1111) said: “Where the claims of reason come into conflict with revelation, reason must yield to revelation.” A similar thesis in defense of foolishness is presented by Paul in 1 Cor. 1:20-25 where he argues “the foolishness of God is wiser than (the wisdom of) men”. The statement “Credo quia absurdum” (I believe because it is absurd), often attributed to Tertullian, is based on this passage of Paul. In DCC 5 he said: “The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd.” Upon this belief in absurdity fideism is founded and it is the position that has been adopted by Muslims. This fideistic attitude allowed the early believers to abandon reason and accept whatever Muhammad did, even his blatant crimes, without questioning him.
However, mostly they WANTED to believe because they had no other choice. Muhammad had become their only source of sustenance and survival.
The city of Yathreb (Medina) was devastated by the Muslims. Its original inhabitants – those who ran the businesses and provided employment, who were artisans, tradesmen and farmers – the Jews, were either banished or killed. The Arabs had been working for the Jews. Now, with the Jews gone or massacred, they were out of work and depended on Muhammad and his raids for their sustenance. It was not convenient to think critically about what they were doing. They let themselves go with the flow and kept themselves fooled. They got their confirmation by watching the zealotry of their coreligionists. Each follower encouraged others, and among them they created a mass hysteria that has lasted up to this day. “How can all these people be wrong?” was their rationale. This is the same rationale Muslims use today to keep their faith alive. This is what happens in cult compounds. The members lose their identity and surrender their rational faculty to the guru. They become an extension of the group and a reflection of the cult leader. The cultish nature of Islam has not changed a bit. Fourteen hundred years later, if you join Islam, you are received with cheers and hugs, but if you decide to leave, you’ll be chased down and killed.
You say that violence was the norm in those days. Even if this were true, which it is not, did Muhammad come to follow the bad practices of his people or set new standards?
Now, the most important question is WHY: Why keep Islam and honor Muhammad? Can we do the same thing with Nazism? Can we reform Nazism – pretend that Hitler was an innocent product of his time, and pick and choose, only the good parts of his Mein Kampf? How much must we fool ourselves, and WHY?
What we have to understand is that Muhammad, like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, and millions of other less known monsters, was a pathological narcissist. These celebrated men were not normal. They were sick in the mind.
Dr. Sam Vaknin wrote:
Narcissism is contagious. The narcissist creates a “bubble universe,” similar to a cult. In this bubble, special rules apply. These rules do not always correspond to outer reality. Using complex defence mechanisms, such as projective identification, the narcissist forces his victims ‑ spouse, mate, friend, colleague ‑ to “play a role” assigned to him by “God” ‑ the narcissist.
The narcissist rewards compliance with his script and punishes any deviation from it with severe abuse. In other words, the narcissist CONDITIONS people around him, using intimidation, positive and negative reinforcements and feedback, ambient abuse (“gaslighting”), covert, or controlling abuse, and overt, classical abuse. Thus conditioned, the narcissist’s victims gradually come to assimilate the narcissist’s way of thinking (follies a‑deux) and his modus operandi ‑ his methods. You can abandon the narcissist ‑ but the narcissist never abandons you. He is there, deep inside your traumatic memories, lurking, waiting to act out. You have been modified, very much like an alien snatching bodies.
Dear Haifa, the Umma is not only misguided, but it is also sick. The pathology of Muhammad is reflected in every one of his followers. We are dealing with a community of psychopaths. A billion narcissists! A billion insane people! All the Muslims are hiding in this psychotic “bubble universe” created by Muhammad. We are all playing the role that this mentally sick man has assigned to us. We all follow his script. These rituals of prayers and the pillars of faith that you mentioned are only scripts of a psychotic man to keep us hooked. We are conditioned by the fear of a boogie-man deity, the punishment of an insane hellfire and the greed of a sensual and even orgiastic paradise that this madman has instilled in us.
Fear and greed are the tools of the narcissist through which he manipulates his victims. We have all come to assimilate Muhammad’s narcissistic way of thinking and his modus operandi. I have received thousands of emails from Muslims, and the common theme in all of them is fear. FEAR is the only motivator of these poor souls. They can’t think, they can’t reason, they have lost their rational faculty. Their brain is paralyzed by this fear that Muhammad so masterfully implanted in them. When they fail to refute any of my arguments with reason, they resort to fear and remind me of hellfire. This is their ultimate weapon. This fear has shackled their brains and they cannot think anymore. They dismiss all doubts because of this paralyzing fear.
So there are two answers to your question. The first is that Islam can’t be reformed, and the second is why: Why bother reforming a cult created by a psychopath and keep his memory alive?
Now to answer Father Lev who suggested we should “Support Ahmadiyya Islam to check the expansion of Islamofascism.” I would like to say this is far more difficult than weaning Muslims from Islam altogether. What Father Lev is suggesting is fighting one lie with another lie. But I give my word to you that truth is more powerful than all lies combined. The Ahmadiyya sect has been around for over a century and half. Its teachings are far better than Muhammad’s Islam. But it has not garnered more than a few million followers. On the other hand, the “movement” of ex‑Muslims is growing by leaps and bounds. We are millions already. We are spreading all across the world. We have no leaders and no organization. You don’t have to believe in anything. All you need to do is to see that Islam is false. This is really a grassroots movement. In the span of few short years, we have grown much bigger than Ahmadiyyah or any offshoot of Islam. If you want to know which is the fastest growing “religion” it’s apostasy! (Assuming you can call apostasy a religion). Why are we so successful? It is because we stick to the truth.
Islam cannot be reformed. But it can be eradicated. Reforming Islam means adding more lies to lies. For how long this huge edifice of lies can support itself?
There are old buildings that are jewels in the rough. All they need is some tender loving care to be restored back to their original luster and glory. The money spent in these treasures is well spent. They are well designed and are supported by solid foundations. But not every building can be restored. Some must be bulldozed. Their structures are rotten, their construction is shoddy, their designs are flawed, and their foundations are faulty. Such buildings are dangerous and must be condemned. No matter how strong your emotional attachment to them, and how many good memories you have living in them, they are doomed. Not only is there nothing you can do to salvage them, they are not worth the effort. It is much easier to get rid of them and build a new building starting from scratch, on a strong foundation with good design, good materials and good workmanship, than to try to restore them. The only thing that keeps Islam alive is the emotional attachment of Muslims to it. They are addicted. This is Stockholm syndrome. Muslims must be weaned from Islam, and Islam must be razed to the ground.
Like the good old buildings, some religions can be reformed. There might be something of value in them for those who “inhabit” them, and with a little bit of reinforcement and remodelling they can become good religions. I believe Christianity is one such religion, which along with Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism can be reformed, updated and modernized. Their followers can be morally uplifted and inspired by them. This is not the case with Islam. Islam is falling apart and it is not only endangering its inhabitants, it is a peril to everyone else. You can’t reform Islam and you can’t build another structure on top of it. Islam must be bulldozed. It must be eradicated. We have to alert its inhabitants and get them out as soon as possible. Get them out as many as we can – and demolish it before it takes more lives.
At no time in history has Mankind faced such horrendous prospects of doom and gloom. We are at the most crucial juncture in the existance of our species. Why? Because over a billion people are possessed by the ghost of a psychopath! They are reduced to zombies! Their souls are snatched away from them. They have lost their thinking power. They follow this dead man’s scripts, and they will not relent until they destroy the world.
Don’t let that happen Haifa! Leave this psychopath and help others too.
In a follow-up letter Haifa wrote:
Maybe I am already an apostate but I am not courageous enough to admit it. Probably I am just trying to blindly stick to my religion. Can we resuscitate Islam? That’s the question for me today.
Why do you want to resuscitate this monster? Our problem today is that there are some Muslims who try to resuscitate Islam. That is why we are experiencing so much terror and murder. You and I must not attempt resuscitating Islam. On the contrary, we must hammer a stake into its heart and make sure it never raises its head again. This beast was a bloodsucking monster from the start. What is there to resuscitate? What you probably meant is reform, but we already talked about that too.
Finally good news from Haifa:
After fierce discussions my husband and I decided to leave Islam and stop helping this monster. It’s useless and a total waste of time. My daughter said she already left Islam and just waited for her parents to do the same.
Thanks a lot for your time and attention.
Keep up your work
There are millions of Haifas among Muslims. Islam can’t be reformed. But it can be eradicated. Once the truth is said, this massive edifice of lies called Islam will crumble like a house of cards. Islam is based on lies. The best way to demolish lies is to tell the truth.