Okay, we know what you’re thinking:
“How can a person be both Agnostic… AND Muslim?” To many people, it makes no sense. A Muslim is one who believes in Allah, first and foremost. He believes the Quran is the literal word of Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger. But an agnostic is someone who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the nature or existence of God, let alone the divine origins of the Quran, or the divine purpose of Muhammad- peace and blessings be upon him and on us all. But here’s what makes no sense to us.
Today, just like yesterday, and countless days before that, thousands of Muslim children were born. Those of us who maintain this website were among those children. Perhaps you are one of them as well.
And the thing that makes no sense is that none of us were born believing in God, or believing that God communicated his most important message to mankind through an angel to an unsuspecting Arab merchant, for it to be transmitted over the centuries for our implementation today. Those are things that we had to be taught. And while all of us were taught those things in one way or another, we also learned other things, and we may have come to different conclusions than the ones we were “supposed” to. Many of us simply don’t believe the supernatural premises of Islam in the literal sense.
We may believe in God; or we may not be sure. We may think there is something after this life, or we may feel uncomfortable speculating that there is.
We may think the Qur’an is a great work of literature, full of ancient wisdom for today; or we may think it’s kind of outdated and even a little violent and divisive.
We may think that Muhammad was a wise leader who spoke his inspired reflections on mankind’s relationship with one another and with God; or we may think he was simply a man of his time who possibly did some things we would not consider particularly ethical or redeeming.
And what makes the least sense of all to us is the notion that it is some kind of act of faith or piety to keep these thoughts private, to never speak of them. That it is somehow blasphemous or insulting to be honest about our ideas concerning our own religious heritage. The truth is that millions of Muslims around the world feel as we do. They have doubts about what they are told by the conservative “guardians of Islam” must be accepted on faith. They are perhaps even cynical toward these spokespeople for our shared faith, who warn so ominously of what should happen to people who share their doubts publicly. But what does that kind of an environment do to a people?
It promotes hypocrisy. It suppresses honesty. It destroys critical thought. It denies people the basic right of sharing their opinions. It prevents them from freely exchanging ideas and learning from one another. We are Agnostic because of our doubts and questions. But we are Muslims because of our faith…
That if we are born into Islam, nobody has the right to take it away from us or tell us what it should mean to us.
That Islam is at its core a tradition of wonder and appreciation for the mystery and majesty of Allah’s creation.
That no merciful God would ever punish or persecute his creations for using their brains, for asking questions, and for not knowing. We reject the rightness of anyone who would deny us the right to ask these questions openly. And we welcome anyone to ask and explore them with us.
Wasalaam. And in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful, we begin.
Disclaimer: Please note that members here *will* strongly critique the Qur’an, Muhammad & Allah. Why do we do this? Because we think it is essential that we Muslims realise that the Qur’an is not infallible. Muhammad was not perfect and the concept of God portrayed in the Qur’an is the view of an imperfect human from the 7th century. It is one of the main points we are trying to convey in this group. That neither the Quran nor the Prophet were perfect. We believe that it is this belief in the perfection of both that is behind the crisis we Muslims face. The world has changed. But we haven’t. Thicker skins are needed if Muslims are to survive in today’s climate. At the same time we will NOT tolerate hatred, bigotry or insults against Muslims and Islam.