About a year ago I came across an article on HuffPo that was a compilation of Ex-Muslims stating why they left Islam. Taking their claims at face value, one thing immediately jumps out. Most of them left Islam for emotional reasons. NOT rational.
I mean, seriously. You leave a religion because you can’t eat bacon?
Any ‘rational’ reasons for leaving the faith occur after the fact. And even if they did have quote-unquote rational reasons, many of these were based on misunderstanding the religion. Still, I don’t interact with Ex-Muslims on any significant level so I never had the opportunity to test my thesis. Until now. As Destiny would have it, I met a Muslim who was an Ex-Ex-Muslim.
Let’s call her ‘A.’ [Insert the usual schpiel about protecting A’s identity.] A was an active member of the Council of Ex-Muslims forum and an IRC chatroom for Ex-Muslims for over 3 years. Eventually, she re-accepted Islam. She agreed to an email interview which we conducted over several weeks. In her answers, we will find much of ourselves and our communities. It is my hope that by telling us about her journey, A will teach us how to deal with Ex-Muslims and doubting Muslims in a way that brings them back into the fold. Because after all, as much as we hate disbelief we do want the best for all humanity – to die as Muslims and be granted entry into Paradise.
Non-Muslims who are reading this will notice many non-English terms. I have added explanatory notes to them. My comments are denoted by “(N:__________)”. If I have missed any, or you require a clarification, please leave a question in the comments. I left the interview in its long form so as to preserve the narrative.
Muslims reading this will likely disagree with many of A’s opinions. I won’t comment on them because correcting errors in understanding is not the point of this article.
Fair warning – you are in for a long read.
N: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? (Your childhood, your background as a Muslim, your community etc.)
A: I grew up in a traditional Pakistani family in London. we have a pretty large Asian community here so I’ve always felt close to Islam and my culture.
N: What was your religious background growing up? Are your family religious?
A: My family members are all practising but to different extents. Dad doesn’t pray regularly (apart from Jumuah, Janazah, Taraweeh etc.) (N: she is referring to Friday mass, funeral prayers, and special night prayers during Ramadan) but knows quite a bit about religion. My mother prays five times a day but is fairly liberal. I also have Imams (N: religious leaders) and niqabis in my family. (N: niqab is the face veil that many Muslim women wear as an act of worship). I’m pretty close to my cousins. Some are non-hijabis like me; others are hijabis. (N: hijab is the veil that Muslim women are religiously obligated to wear while outside the home). My family and community have kept me in touch with Islam for most of my life.
N: Were you raised to be religious? To what extent?
A: I differentiate between being religious and practising. In the UK if you’re ‘religious’ you’re probably sectarian, arrogant, and have shitty political views. I wouldn’t call these people religious (N – i.e. in the true sense of the word.) I grew up in a practising environment but nothing was ever forced. My uncle made it clear from an early age that prayer was obligatory on every Muslim – no matter what type of Muslim you are. But religion was never forced e.g. never experienced being pressured into wearing hijab (but I know plenty who were).
N: It’s interesting you make that distinction. I understand what you mean by the first two. What do you mean by ‘political views’?
A: One way or another they tend to be very reactionary and into identity politics. Salafi Jihadists (SJ) go on about the shedding of Muslim blood, then back group(s) who are responsible for a lot of that bloodshed. Your typical mainstream religious person will go on about Aafia Siddiqui – the woman imprisoned and tortured by the Americans – but won’t talk about how Muslims (Pakistani security forces) are the ones who handed her over. Nor will they ever talk about the hundreds of Muslim women (are they worth any less than Aafia?) jailed in Pakistan for ‘adultery’ aka rape. Or the ones who are victims of honour killing. Basically, if someone else does it, it’s bad. If we do it, we turn a blind eye. And generally, the whole idea that the Americans, British, Russians etc. oppress us because we’re Muslim is ridiculous. They’ve done the same to South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. And if they really had a problem with your beard and you praying five times a day, would they be best pals with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)? Another example is the Uighur Muslims in China. The restrictions on fasting etc. have nothing to do with their faith and everything to do with their race. Other Muslims in China like the Hui don’t face as many restrictions but the “One Ummah” (N: Ummah refers to the global Muslim community) crew would like you to believe it’s all about religion. Same goes for Palestinians – very little admiration for Christian, or even atheist, Palestinians who fight the occupation. Don’t even get me started on their economic views. There is very little difference between them and secular liberals in the West when it comes to capitalism. Pathetic.
N: How would you classify your political views? Did your political views lead you to identify with any specific group or ideology of Muslims?
A: My political views are pretty mixed. Some of my family are fans of Saddam and Ghaddafi. Others are Ikhwani (N: Muslim Brotherhood). That, and my own experiences ranging from being SJ to turning agnostic shaped my views. I know a lot of Muslims who think in in terms of a secular-vs-Islamic binary. The latter referring not to a government made up of orthodox Muslims but Muslims with reactionary views i.e. ‘Islamists’. ‘Islamists’ are good at telling you what they oppose but are rubbish at telling you what they are for. They make better opposition than they do rulers. The exception being Erdogan, even though his economic policies have been a mixed bag – liberalisation, which I’m against, benefited the people and will for a limited time. However, his reaction to mining disasters and labour laws was pretty crap. I don’t believe the state should be separated from religion. I think religion should play a limited positive role where applicable. Want to put up billboards encouraging recycling or looking after the environment with a hadith quoted? Great. Want to compare women to lollipops? Enjoy your cell. This is why I’m a big fan of the FLN (the National Liberation Front) in Algeria (pre 90s*) they weren’t ‘Islamist’ but Islam played a central role in their resistance to the French. They’re not secular like Ben Ali who banned the hijab, nor are they like the Saudis or Iranians enforcing hijab. Ironically Ben Ali now lives in KSA, land of the niqabis – a hypocrite, as are the ones sheltering him. Anyway, back to Algeria and my views. So, it’s a state where your religious freedoms aren’t restricted but you aren’t allowed to curb anyone’s freedom using religious rhetoric. Islam is the state religion and anything deemed blasphemous is banned but you don’t have beardos yelling takbir (N: ‘Allahu Akbar’) in parliament. But the ruling party is made up of those who identify as being orthodox (not necessarily practising) Muslims – without any restrictions on non-Muslims wanting to hold government positions. After all, what does one’s aqeedah (N: creed) have to do with how good or bad they govern?
* I thought I’d make that clear as I’m sure someone will mention the civil war, mass torture, and corruption.
N: So you’re a mix of Socialism, Secularism, political Islam, and SJ (the Jihadi part, not the Salafi part). Does that sound about right?
A: I wouldn’t say a mix but being exposed to all of them I know their pros and cons, and why people support a particular -ism. Have they all had an influence on me? Yes, definitely.
N: Did you face any ‘oppression’ as a woman born and raised in an Indo-Pak community?
A: Not really. I was given more freedom than most Asian girls. Many have to stop playing sports when they reach a certain age – usually puberty – but my parents were okay with me continuing. I basically grew up a tomboy. Watching football and boxing with my dad, fixing cars on the weekend etc.
N: Ok so now we’ve got an idea of your upbringing, tell us about how you ended up becoming agnostic.
A: It wasn’t something that happened all of a sudden; it was gradual. That’s why I’m sometimes harsh towards other Muslims. I see them heading down the path I was on over a decade ago and it leads to SJ or leaving Islam. Sometimes both. Being the person I am I tend to see things from a political perspective. Whenever a year or a date is mentioned I remember it by the political events of that time. Not by birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. 9/11 happened the week I started high school so you can blame it on that. So, in the summer of 2006, I had just finished my GCSEs and was enjoying my summer holiday, the war between Hezbollah and Israel kicks off. This is the first time that an Arab power, since 1973, has given Israel a bloody nose; not an outright victory but enough to scare their pants off. I’ve always been into politics but this was something else. Seeing Galloway give sky news a good spanking, and the fiery speeches by Hassan Nasrallah left me feeling more revolutionary than ever before. I attended an anti-Israel/pro-Palestine march carrying a Hezbollah flag and ignored the cops who told me to put it away (the EU consider them to be a ‘terrorist’ organization). Over the course of the next two years, my politics became more radical and I became more religious. By 2008 the war in Iraq has taken an ugly turn for the Americans. At this point, I’m basically a full-blown SJ. Uploading propaganda videos, favouring their nasheeds (religious music) etc. Not long after, I found myself takfir-ing (N: anathematizing) Shias, Hezbollah – a group I once loved – and generally any Muslim that I didn’t feel was politically active enough (I felt like they were traitors). Missing Fajr (N: dawn prayers) but discussing the ramifications of sanctions on Iraq became quite common. At this point, I realised that, for me, religion was secondary – a justification for something if necessary. Politics was the key. I would say things like “I don’t believe in angels but I support so-and-so SJ group”. I was no longer praying daily either. When I realised what I had become, the little iman (N: faith) I had vanished. I was still very much a Muslim, culturally speaking. I still referred to the Prophet saws as ‘the Prophet’ but belief in Allah was non-existent. I was agnostic.
N: Growing up in an Indo-Pak community, with religiously-learned people in your family, I’m sure you would have had proper religious instruction as a child. Why did you go to such an extreme in your political views? Or do you not consider those views extreme in the first place?
A: Some of my family members fought the Soviets but we never really discuss it in our family. We talk about politics a lot but not that war and its affect on our family. I thought it cool to tell SJ how some of my family fought the Soviets but I never knew how much they hated modern day SJ. I went to an extreme all on my own. Had I discussed it with family I probably wouldn’t have gone so far. I remember asking one of them what he thought of groups like Al Qaeda around 2012 – whilst I was agnostic. I was surprised to hear him chastise them for distorting Islam and causing havoc. Only then did I realise “hey, maybe the religious folk who criticise them aren’t simply palace scholars”. However, by that point, I was too far gone. I was also around this time I gained an appreciation for Nasserism, Baathism, and other left wing groups in the Muslim World. They were secular but not liberal, and certainly not pawns of the West. When I eventually returned to Islam I saw the negatives of the -isms I mentioned and how some of the criticism from orthodox Muslims is valid. I finally came to the realisation that traditional orthodoxy is the only way forward. So to sum up, I went to an extreme on my own. Had I discussed it with family, specifically my those who were not only religious but well-versed in politics, I probably wouldn’t have gone so far in my views. Instead I went with assumptions, generalisations, and basically, let myself be brainwashed.
N: Tell us about your time as an agnostic. What was your life like? Did you seek out other Ex-Muslims?
A: Life was more or less the same, didn’t actively go out to sin but it did increase. I began smoking pot as a Muslim but now had nothing to feel guilty about so I smoked it almost daily. I was at university at the time so when I wasn’t studying I was getting high in my bedroom. I was a member of an ex-Muslim forum. I joined as a questioning Muslim, left the forum, then returned as an agnostic. I often found myself arguing with people on there. Ironically some had never been Muslim and even if they had, either never grew up amongst Muslims or weren’t very practising. What a lot of the younger ones had in common was s****y parents and their behaviour was attributed to the religion. Even now I think, “if I had parents like that I would hate religion too”. It’s here I got to know some of the most amazing people I have ever met.
N: Which ex-Muslim forum was this? Can you elaborate on why you call them ‘amazing people’? How amazing can they be? They are Ex-Muslims, after all.
A: Council of Ex-Muslims also known as CEMB. They’re amazing people because they were there for me when I needed someone the most. Endless hours of humour and discussion. Being able to rant to someone to let anger and frustration out. Someone was always there to listen. Even when I returned to Islam I kept logging in for around a year and I wasn’t treated any differently. They treated me better as a Muslim than many Muslims I knew treated me when I told them I was having doubts. That says it all really. If being a theist, specifically an orthodox, religiously observant Muslim, automatically made you an amazing person and being atheist and/or ex-Muslim made you a bad person then surely KSA would be a more just and tolerant society than, say, Sweden? What I’m trying to say is, you worshipping one God, a thousand, a cow, an idol or nothing, has no bearing on how good or bad of a human you are. It could be a factor in your beliefs on what society should look like but it’s not guaranteed. An ex-Muslim, like any atheist or agnostic, hasn’t transgressed against any person simply for their lack of belief. They may have transgressed against God but that’s up to God to decide, not man. And if you do believe they have transgressed against God and do believe God will hold them accountable then I don’t see why you would have any issue agreeing with what I said earlier – it has no link to how good or bad they are as a person.
N: Have you been on Reddit’s ex-Muslim forum, r/exMuslim? There are some really horrible people there. I mean, some really vile c***s. I could tell you some stories. One of them had sex on with her boyfriend with an open Quran positioned under their genitals, smeared ejaculate and vaginal fluid all over it, took pictures of the defiled Quran and posted it on r/exMuslim with an accompanying story. So, obviously, they’re not all harmless. Many of them hate Islam and Muslims and want to do everything in their power to harm us for the ‘injustice’ of being born into a Muslim family. That involves them waging a propaganda war against Islam and Muslims, making up all sorts of lies about the religion or claiming that their spurious understanding of Islam is somehow representative of the faith. I’m sure there are Ex-Muslims of that sort on CEMB too. You know, the vile c*** type. What do you make of that?
A: Some of the people who set up CEMB were ex-members of FFI (Faith Freedom International) and basically hated Ali Sina and his ilk. I don’t like CEMB or the people who run it, they’re too neo-liberal for me, but I know they won’t tolerate that s*** on the forum. I left the forum because I always found myself arguing with the same people over politics. I never said all ex-Muslims were harmless. I agree that many hate Islam and Muslims – they should be called out on that, not attacked for leaving Islam. I did meet vile ex-Muslims on CEMB. I could tell they had vile views before I ever got to know them. You see, I developed a litmus test (an idea that another ex-Muslim gave me). It was basically this; Israel or Palestine? I won’t go into too much detail and I don’t want to make it appear simplistic but if they held a low opinion of Palestinians and defended the crimes of the occupier they’re likely to be vile people. But hey, guess what? I’ve met Muslims who also defend Israel so…Again, not based on religion or lack of. Interestingly, many of the best ex-Muslims I met were Arab and many of the worst were Indian/Pakistani. Inferiority complex to whites and racism to Arabs (hence support for Israel) was common amongst Desi/Paki ex-Muslims.
N: Some of these ex-Muslims might be skeptical that you are who you say you are. While maintaining your anonymity, can you give us some details about your time on the forum that prove you were an active member? Maybe screen-names of some members, or memorable threads?
A: Yes, some were skeptical that I was a Muslim again. But it wouldn’t even make up 5% of the times I’ve had Muslims say I’m not a Muslim for one reason or another so it’s not an issue. I won’t answer the second part.
N: How did your family and friends react to your leaving Islam? Did you tell them or hide it from them?
A: I never told anyone in my family. The closest I got was telling my cousin brother that I’m having doubts. I also told my husband, at the time my fiance, that I’m neither orthodox nor practising. I told friends online (who vastly outnumbered those IRL) and a few people I knew IRL (In Real Life). The ones online reacted quite badly and suddenly broke off contact without saying much. Two women I knew blackmailed me about it – they threatened to send screenshots to my family.
N: Did you fear for your life? Is that why you didn’t come out openly? Or is it that you were chickens*** and didn’t want to deal with the real-life consequences?
A: I don’t think my parents would’ve killed me. Disowned, perhaps. So I’d say the latter and not the former. However, while I was active on the forum someone claimed they knew who I was and which university I went to, and did threaten to kill me.
N: So, for over a year you were living the life of a munafiq (outwardly Muslim, inwardly kaafir/disbeliever). How was your emotional state during that time?
A: It was more than a year; probably closer to three, actually. I think what’s important remember is that despite not being a Muslim, I was more likely to call Israel a Cancer and call out bulls*** politics towards Muslims than most Muslims in the West would. Emotionally I was all over the place. A shallow happy at best – I didn’t like talking about serious life issues as that would depress me further – and suicidal at worst. Acknowledging that I wouldn’t see my brother, who I lost when I was really young, in another life was probably one of the hardest things to accept.
N: Ok, it’s fascinating you mention your brother that way. It sounds like deep down you still had this concept of Heaven and Hell, and had resigned yourself to your fate. Can you elaborate on that?
A: Justice is a biggie for me. If there’s no justice in this life then there must be in the next life. Realising that this might not actually be true was really depressing. My brother passed away when I was really young, so the idea of seeing him again was always a nice thought. But then accepting that it won’t happen to me (as an agnostic), coupled with depression, meant I had an existential crisis that went on for quite a while.
N: How did you deal with this existential crisis? Or, was it not dealt with?
A: It was dealt with on a superficial level by burying my head in the sand. Not thinking about life, our purpose, morality etc. Every now and again it’d crop up and I’d feel like s*** because I wanted answers and couldn’t find any. I basically thought “yes, there’s probably a Supreme Being but I don’t care what He wants from us, and He hasn’t made it clear so YOLO” but (and this is where I think ex-Muslims split into two categories) we should do our utmost to help the oppressed and call for justice. Ex-Muslims and generally leftists who call for this are referred to as the “regressive left” by the other side; neo-liberals with a Western supremacist narrative. Anyway after years of depression and feeling suicidal I thought “let me split Islam into three categories and see what’s what – a) what I agree with, b) what I’m not too sure but isn’t a dealbreaker, and c) what I disagree with.” It turned out what I disagreed with wasn’t Islam, i.e. the Quran, but interpretations. I didn’t become a Quranist (N: a heterodox sect) but I didn’t consider hadith (N: Prophetic traditions) as ‘divine’ regardless of how sahih (N: authentic) they are (unfortunately too many Muslims do this even though they say they don’t) but that’s how I began practising again. I still had doubts and questions like “would an all knowing God who’s created everything including all the stars and planets really bother about what hand we wipe our a** with?” It took a while to get over questions like that.
N: Tell us about the circumstances leading up to your becoming a Muslim again? What happened to trigger your “conversion”?
A: I attempted suicide. A culmination of factors drove me to it and I saw no other way out. I somehow survived – everyone, including the doctors treating me, thought I was a goner. When I came home I found the kafan (N: burial shroud) my family were going to wrap me in (had I not woken up from my coma when I did they would have turned off life support shortly). That freaked me out at first but then made me think about how lucky I was to survive. I was still quite depressed because of the injuries I had suffered due to my suicide attempt but I wasn’t suicidal. I wanted to find something in life; something to put my heart at ease. I knew a Sufi Muslim who would often visit the ex-Muslim chat-room. He recommended I read some literature. I then began speaking to people who had suffered from “Salafi Burnout” (N: a phenomenon where religious extremists burn out and either become non-observant or leave the faith; it is not exclusive to Salafis) and politically active Muslims who like the Salafis had taken the spiritualism out of Islam and realised the importance of spirituality. A few days later I prayed namaz (N: the formal, ritual prayer of Muslims) willingly for the first time in years but I felt nothing. I remember standing there reading Surat Al-Fatihah (N: the opening chapter of the Quran) and in my mind thinking “LOL! What am I doing? Who’s listening?” But I persisted with it. Day after day, two prayers became three, if anything the routine – which I’d known my whole life – was making me feel comfortable. I then began opening the Quran and reading chapters from it. At the same time, a SJ I knew was giving me dawah – the type I needed. “How can God be Just and Merciful at the same time?” is a question many ask. “If he’s so merciful then why does he send people to hell?” All these questions were lingering in my mind and he explained it well – better than most of the dawah out there and Peace TV videos. *pukes* A couple of weeks later I felt like my prayers were worth something and I felt comfortable saying “there is a God, I call him Allah, and He sent us a Messenger called Muhammed*, peace and blessings be upon him.”
*I guess this is what made it easier for me to return to Islam. For me, it was never about Sharia law, punishments, character assassination etc., but for many it sadly is.
N: There was a hashtag about a year ago, #exmuslimbecause. Going through a collection of Ex-Muslims’ reasons for leaving Islam it is immediately obvious that the majority left Islam for emotional reasons rather than rational. Your own story is another data point that supports this thesis. Based on your interactions with Ex-Muslims, is this a correct assessment? Feel free to elaborate.
A: Well, first of all, faith by its very nature is not rational. It’s not something you can explain. You can’t prove God exists using a book, ‘science’ or anything else. I made the mistake of believing I could and saw many others think the same – only to get refuted time and time again because of Peace-TV-type idiocy. I remember the hashtag quite well. One of the most cringe-worthy ones was something along the lines of “#exmuslimbecause I don’t want to feel guilty for listening to music”. This type of thinking is a symptom of a much wider issue and sadly Muslims are to blame for most, if not some of it. Too many Muslims – orthodox ones at that – knowingly or unknowingly link piety and faith with outward religiosity. So, when you dumb down your religion to nothing more than rituals, either abstaining from something (in this case music) or equating the concept of hijab to a piece of cloth on your head (or even a lollipop wrapper!), and link these to faith, don’t be surprised if someone says “I have no faith because I don’t want to wear hijab” or “I have no faith because I want to listen to music”. Don’t get me wrong, I accept music is haram (N: impermissible) and hijab is fard (N: obligatory) according to orthodox Islam – but are either a good measurement of piety and faith in Allah?
Most of the ex-Muslims I’ve stayed in contact with left Islam for philosophical/theological reasons. Most don’t even identify as ‘ex-Muslim’ anymore. It’s partly the reason why we’re still in contact, they’re basically not the neo-atheist type. I met many who had grown up with s****y family and sadly that can be attributed to their family’s religious views. KSA has a massive atheist community; in the closet obviously. I asked a secular Lebanese Sunni friend about it once and he said, “If you grew up in KSA wouldn’t you hate religion too?” That made me think deeply about it. Basically, KSA is exactly what I described above – what I like to call “seeking a fatwa (N: an Islamic scholar’s answer to a religious question) for reading Quran without wudu (N: ritual ablution) on an iPad” Islam.
N: What advice would you give to the Muslim community on how to deal with ex-Muslims and Muslims who have doubts about their faith?
A: To Muslims who don’t believe someone should be killed because of their faith, I’d advise not to push them away or judge them. You’ll find that if you have any disagreements outside of religion it’s going to be political or cultural, and I can bet you’ll find someone who identifies as a Muslim saying the same crap – Maajid Nawaz and Tarek Fatah being examples. Basically, don’t oppose them for being ex-Muslims but by all means, and please, oppose them for any s****y bourgeois liberal politics. I have nothing to say to Muslims who believe ex-Muslims should be killed. As for Muslims who are having doubts, leave the politics and science to a side. Leave fiqh (law) and hudood (capital punishment) to a side as well. Just concentrate on your relationship with Allah and you’ll see things will work out. You’ll probably reach a stage like me and think “yeah, I think evolution is true but Allah knows best” or “I don’t care because it doesn’t affect my faith”.
N: Just to clarify, when you say ‘…believe ex-Muslims should be killed’, are you referring to Shariah penal code for Ex-Muslims? I.e. that in an Islamic state ruled in accordance with the Shari’ah, they should be tried in a court, given the opportunity to repent, and executed if they refuse. What’s wrong with that?
A: I don’t believe it’s part of sharia. I’m no expert on these issues but I remember reading that the former chief justice of Pakistan wrote that apostasy is mentioned in the Quran over twenty times, and a punishment isn’t even mentioned once. I don’t think Allah forgot to mention it, I think it’s not mentioned because there’s no worldly punishment for it. I’d post some ayahs that I think back my argument but a) I’m no expert b) I haven’t read the tafsir and c) I could be taking them out of context. But I know that there are fatwas from past and present which say there’s no worldly punishment for it, including from the former head of Al Azhar. This is from a website: “To Shaykh Tantawi, a Muslim who renounced his faith or turned apostate should be left alone as long as he does not pose a threat or belittle Islam. If the Muslims were forced to take action against the apostate, he said it should NOT be because he or she had given up the faith but because he or she had turned out to be an enemy or a threat to Islam.” If it’s good enough for the former head of Al Azhar and the former chief justice of Pakistan then it’s good enough for me. 😛
N: What advice would you give Ex-Muslims who are ‘on the fence’, so to speak? I.e. they are thinking about coming back to Islam but are held back for one reason or another.
A: First of all, stay safe. Sadly, too many receive death threats. Most are just internet trolls but I know there have been cases of people fearing for their lives, either because of family or some vigilante. And bear in mind that ex-Muslims can be victims of Islamophobic attacks too (unless they tattoo ex-Muslim to their forehead). Anyway, I’d ask them to think about what they disagree with – is it the idea of a God? Or the notion of a fat man with a massive beard eating halwa (sweets) whilst hitting his wife with miswak (a wooden toothbrush)? If it’s the latter then it’s probably people you have a problem with, not religion. And you’re not alone, I hate most religious people I meet.
N: Final question. You mentioned at the beginning of our interview how traditional orthodoxy is the way to go. I assume you are referring to the 1400-year-old Sunni tradition of theology, law, and spirituality – what is generally understood as ‘mainstream Islam’. Can you elaborate on why you believe that is the case?
A: Yes, that’s what I meant. I have my disagreements with some of it but generally, it’s the way to go. Muslims have tried revolution, rebellion, and other ideologies. All have failed. It’s time to go back to what we know works. And from a theological perspective, it offers flexibility with orthodoxy – opinions from different cultures and different times in the past 1400 years. I would add that considering the norm today is a capitalist economy where riba (usury) is everywhere and workers are treated like s***, there needs to be an extra emphasis on having an economy that gives justice to the poor like socialism does.
N: A, thank you for your time and effort in answering these questions.
If you made it to the end, congratulations
Do me a favor and share this article with everyone you know. 😉
Did I read this right? Do you Nabeel Azeez, feel that apostates from Islam should be killed?
“N: Just to clarify, when you say ‘…believe ex-Muslims should be killed’, are you referring to Shariah penal code for Ex-Muslims? I.e. that in an Islamic state ruled in accordance with the Shari’ah, they should be tried in a court, given the opportunity to repent, and executed if they refuse. What’s wrong with that?”
For many Muslims who answer yes, I often hear many qualifications about the state having to be 100% Islamic, etc., etc.. But at the end of the day, do you personally believe people should have the right to enter and leave religion, based on their conscience?
It does sound like it. ‘Thought crimes’, how very 1984..
I’ve heard from some Muslims of the Salafi persuasion that leaving Islam or even Atheism, if kept to one’s self and not discussed in public forums, is not something an Islamic state would execute an ex-Muslim for.
However, the clearly delineated trial in court and finite opportunity to ‘repent’ indicate in the described scenario of Nabeel’s question, even that not being possible.
Note that not all Muslims believe in death-for-apostasy as part of their theology, so I wanted to know clearly, where Nabeel actually stood (in case there’s something I’m just not understanding from the context).
Aye I’ve memorised the Pew number at this stage – ~237 million who think apostasy is a capital crime.
I do wish this allah fella would have cleared things up in the Qur’an though, it’s curious that such an important detail was left out..
Playing devil’s advocate here but to the Quran’s defence it doesn’t actually specify any punishments for apostasy other than vague ones like 4:137
“Lo! those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way.”
Aye it certainly could’ve been worse. 237 million is a shocking number, but better than 1.6 billion.
Though if the god character of Islam is omniscient & actually cares about justice, and there isn’t actually any apostasy punishment in Islam, then it begs the question of why this god didn’t just explicitly state its position on apostasy punishments in the Qur’an. After all it would have foreseen that these (supposedly sahih) hadiths would be written.
If a person argues that there is no apostasy punishment in Islam, then this god character would either be criminally negligent, or wouldn’t think the preventable murder of countless innocent people was something that should have been addressed in the final message to humanity.
Either way, this character is not one that is deserving of respect, let alone worship.
“Either way, this character is not one that is deserving of respect, let alone worship.”
This alone sums it up for me. Despite the lack of proof for his existence, the sheer negligence on “Allah’s” part is enough to stop worshipping such a deity.
Mohamed: Would you like to summarize in your own words? I read half and then skimmed the rest. Here’s what I got from the author’s opinion:
1. We must assume the majority of scholars of the past are correct, and that death is the punishment for apostasy in Islam.
2. This seems at odds with modern values.
3. Modern values come from the “so-called” civilized world.
4. The civilized world is really Western nations.
5. Western nations really aren’t so civilized because of
6. Therefore, we should not try to emulate the values of “so-called” civilized nations in thinking death for apostasy is somehow wrong.
And there you have it. Let me know if you think I summarized this wrong, and which point specifically you’d characterize differently, and *how* you would do so.
But most of all, forget what “America” or “Canada” says. Use your own conscience to evaluate if you think killing someone for leaving the faith is just and humane.
Further, think about if *other* faiths emulated Islam on this point. We’d have a killing spree with anyone from any other religion wanting to convert *into* Islam.
If Islam makes so much sense, why not have the confidence to let people come and go as they please, based on reason and *not* emotion (i.e. fear)? Isn’t it “emotional” reasons that Nabeel claimed people leave for? Can you not deny that with death for apostasy, people are “staying” in Islam for *emotional* reasons? After all, fear and fearing for your life is a pretty damn strong emotion.
Your questions are worded to create a strawman.
What I believe in, is precisely the wording of the question.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there was a shade of gray in there I wasn’t grasping. But IMHO, your non-direct answer speaks to an insecurity in just outright clearly stating, “I believe it is just for ex-Muslims to be killed within an Islamic State and that such a tenet is indeed part of Islam”.
But I get it; stating that more clearly is going to direct more attention to that belief.
Hi, One of the criticism of Islam I find from ex Muslims, many ordinary Muslims and also from other groups is the issue of “punishment specially death penalty for apostates”.
Suppose we accept the normative Islamic law about punishment of apostates. My question to opponent of this law is as follows
a. What is the basis for your opposition to this law? On one hand you believe in freedom of religion. On the other you are saying Muslims (in their countries and on their own citizens) can’t practice their religion. If you claim that this law (e.g death for apostasy in this case) is part of Islam then you are in a classic “chicken and egg” conundrum. If you believe in freedom of religion then you have to agree that Muslims have right to practice their religion (that includes death penalty for apostate, that you think is part of their religion). On the other hand if you don’t believe in freedom of religion then why are you criticizing this law to begin with?
b. There are other issues here. Are you opposed to this law because you don’t believe in giving death to a human being? In that case if you really want to be consistent then you will need to oppose all laws, all methods, and all industry and all situations that causes death of people. For example millions of people have died because of international law that allows powerful nations ( the big 5 in UN and others) to go to wars.
The reason for me to bring the issue of UN is because opposition of death penalty (and freedom of religion in general) at the world stage in general is based on UHDR (http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/) . Yet the same UN allows wars (just look at the history of wars authorized by UN or even not authorized by UN but fought by those who control UN) that have killed millions unjustly, if there is something called justice.
So here we have a conundrum. It is OK for UN ( or power that be) to have the right to kill millions of people yet a religion such a Islam that claims to be from God ( you don’t have to agree with this statement, consider it just a claim like claims of UN) to give death sentence to a apostate? On purely theoretical level “God” [imagine there is one for argument sake] should have more rights to allow death of a human compared a world body or powerful entity comprised of humans.
c. There is even bigger philosophical issue. Where do we draw our values from? And who determines what values to follow?
1. Individuals? Off course no society will be functional if every individual is given to right to determine values for himself and others. That’s why there is no “absolute” concept of freedom of thought and behavior. For example if a man finds his neighbors wife attractive but that women denies him the opportunity to have sex [or other way round]. Why should a person, call it “the lover”, has to control his emotions, maybe he is biologically so much inclined that he can’t control himself [ you see where we are going with this? It becomes quite complicated] because someone else is not willing to allow that act? But then “rationally” we can agree that this will be a disaster for society, although there is no “scientific evidence” that giving absolute freedom of thought and actions to individuals is actually “scientifically wrong”. So much so for science.
2. Collective will of people. Well this might be a “workable” option but is there a “scientific” reason for this? May be “social sciences” can tell us that it would be bad otherwise. But science itself has limitations. All branches of science, whether “hard” science like physics, chemistry, biology or “soft” sciences like social and political sciences, are based on certain suppositions that can’t be proven “scientifically.
3. God: Well if a group of people believe in a God and they want to follow that path or religion coming from their God, how is this a rationally “inferior” concept compared to following “collective will of people”?
It may of interest for you to read this page by a well known Muslim scholar Jamal Zarabozo (http://www.zeriislam.com/artikulli.php?id=921). One doesn’t need to agree with him, it is just interesting to read how criticism of this law on the basis of western “rationalism” is flawed.
So here is my advice to Muslims on the fence, ex Muslims, opponents of Islam . If you are going to question concepts of Islam , please analyze
a. On what basis are you questing these concepts? Are you willing to question the “basis” of your thought likewise? May be there is a problem in your thought process. and trust me you will find that you will find even bigger problems in the “rationality” of attacks on Islam.
b. Instead of looking the implications of specific Islamic law on a narrow premise, look at it from wide angle. May be certain laws may not look “rational” to you, but you will find that the alternative to Islamic law is equally if not worse “ir rational”.
c. BTW my own studies of Islamic theology on this issue is that “death” is not mandatory as there is a case in the life of Muhammed , pbuh, where he didn’t punish apostate. Now that “may” the basis for Muslims to modify the law surrounding this topic without being dishonest with their religion.
If I accept your premise that allowing Muslims to “practice their religion” means we should allow them to practice their belief that apostates are to be killed, common sense would dictate that the entire human race can start killing each other if every other belief system adopted this precept.
I’d suggest that a religion’s “rights” end where they encroach on an individual’s freedom of conscience.
Let’s say I formed a new religion who’s central tenant is that we must kill 25% of the world’s Muslim population each year. Thus, Muslims are wiped out in 4 years.
Would you support my right to practice such a religion? Clearly, when religions trap people from choosing a religion, society won’t function.
Imagine if the Meccans said to Muhammad: “Sorry, we need to kill you. It’s part of our religion. You are speaking out against our idols and people are apostasizing away from our idol worship.”. There would be no Islam.
The merits of an idea can easily be evaluated by doing the thought experiment, “What if everyone adopted this principle?”
“I’d suggest that a religion’s “rights” end where they encroach on an individual’s freedom of conscience.
Let’s say I formed a new religion who’s central tenant is that we must kill 25% of the world’s Muslim population each year. Thus, Muslims are wiped out in 4 years.”
I was about to respond in a very similar manner, thanks for saving me the effort :). I had to re-read the comment twice because I couldn’t believe the reasoning that was used.
Further, any practicing Muslim should realize that there are schools of thought that *reject* death for apostasy. They see it as an embarrassing smear against Islam perpetrated by other Muslims, unknowingly making Islam look foolish.
Read “Murder in the Name of Allah”, written my a Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community about why they think Muhammad was a much more peaceful man who would never say such things in the sahih hadith that they claim actually has a questionable isnad.
Now me personally, I’m comfortable being an ex-Muslim b/c there are a host of other issues to take issue with. But I’d like the Muslim world to elevate their game and at least adopt a more live and let live attitude that is available to them in different readings of Islamic theology.
Implying it’s allowed gives individuals the power to justify their actions (i.e killing apostates)
Hey Nabeel, Nobody believes this kind of #Taqiyya-laced nonsense anymore. I am highly skeptical that interviewee “A” would choose a self-proclaimed “Alphamuslim”, reveling in his masculinity, to tell her story, lol. You’re too scared to cite, or refute, any of the numersous rational arguments of #ExMuslimBecause. You chose to focus “interview” on rambling set of political claims, side-stepping Islamic scripture or life of Muhammad which are basis for most who leave Islam. You finish by lending sympathy to ISIS for murdering non-believers. People like you are the reason the Ex-Muslim movement is gaining momentum, see link to Ex-Muslim Associations below.
Keep up the good work.
I agree that we should hold Muslims to task who believe there’s any justification or sanction in their faith to kill apostates from Islam. I also agree that such abhorrent beliefs are also responsible for the cognitive dissonance that causes Muslims to leave the faith.
Normally, I would agree that it is odd that a former ex-Muslim would choose to reveal her story to a self proclaimed “Alpha-Muslim”. However, sometimes these unexpected pairings show up b/c people happen to know each other, or have a trusted friend in common, etc. Additionally, the ex-ex-Muslim does seem to disagree with Nabeel’s loaded and opinionated forms of questioning in many parts. So I will give him the benefit of the doubt that the interview is real.
Like you however, I would love to see him dig into real theological issues — the kind that are raised on YouTube channels both by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (link removed) and the Masked Arab (link removed).
I have removed your links. Anyone who reads your comment can look them up on their own if they want.
I am not a polemicist. I am not interested in refuting every cock-and-bull misinterpretation of Islam apostates have confirmation biased themselves into believing.
My website is for personal development.
The only reason this piece is even on my site is because apostates got so butthurt and incensed they complained to HuffPo. Insecure much?
For a personal development website, this interview seemed to venture into very unorthodox territory.
When you say “insecure much?” in response to my comment politely challenging the content of your article, the words that immediately come to mind are, “confound much?”
I can appreciate you’re not interested in polemics. Not everyone with a position need feel like they’re expected to engage in apologetics and polemics.
However, when you put something out publicly that makes assertions in that realm, you’re going to court those kind of challenges. When you make statements like “butt hurt ex-Muslims” and “insecure much?” you are goading and courting ex-Muslim critique of your content. And so here we are.
On Twitter, you relayed that if I posted my question on your blog, that you would reply with an answer. But all I received was an indirect answer:
“What I believe in, is precisely the wording of the question.”
Perhaps you want to attempt a refutation at just one serious critique of Islam, to demonstrate that you can.
I do thank you for the indirect clarification though. I’ll take your words as I originally read them; that you support death-for-apostasy as part of how you interpret what Islam prescribes. But that somehow, the addition of a courtroom, judge and window of “repentance” makes it a morally defensible position, in your eyes.
“For a personal development website, this interview seemed to venture into very unorthodox territory.”
Nothing unorthodox about it at all. The target audience of this piece is Muslims. It was never intended as a polemical piece. It was intended to spark discussion in our community on how to prevent apostasy and how to bring apostates, and doubting Muslims, back into the fold
I said “insecure much” in reference to a triggered mob of apostates having my article taken down. Not to your comments here. I appreciate your support of freedom of expression.
I am free to make whatever assertions I wish. I have backed up these assertions with A’s story and the HuffPo article citing ExMuslimBecause. These assertions are also confirmed by many Islamic scholars and preachers who deal with apostates and faith-doubters.
I answered your question. It’s not my problem that you are unsatisfied with the answer. Were you expecting a detailed debate on an issue that is a mainstream Islamic position for 1400+ years? Also, your question was disingenuous. I worded that question to A deliberately, in order to prevent any confusion.
“I am free to make whatever assertions I wish.”
Absolutely. I’ve never challenged that and celebrate our right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas. And to be clear, that means for both of us.
“These assertions are also confirmed by many Islamic scholars and preachers who deal with apostates and faith-doubters.”
So on the flipside, I’ll relay that there are many assertions from ex-Muslims both in the #ExMuslimBecause campaign and outside it who level critiques of Islam that the scholarly establishment can only respond to with “Allah only knows”. i.e. they cannot answer the rational polemics challenging Islam without a lot of mental gymnastics (IMHO). I get it. Your opinion on that matter will differ. We’ll agree to disagree.
On my originally asking you to clarify your position on Islam and death-for-apostasy, believe it or not, I was doing this out of a sincere wish to *not* misrepresent you. I find it uncommon for articulate, English speaking Muslims to raise this concept themselves in a matter-of-fact way with a nod to implying that they feel that this practice is perfectly acceptable and just.
So, I thought perhaps that there was some satire in your question that I wasn’t grasping. Perhaps there was a rhetorical, Socratic question in there.
It was not to be “disingenuous” as you jumped to as a conclusion. *Some* modern *Sunni* scholars, especially in the West, have disavowed this belief. See for example, Shabir Ally talking about this:
I personally like to bring attention to Muslims who think killing someone for leaving Islam is morally acceptable. Before I did that showcasing your statements, I wanted to give you a chance to be more clear, in case I misunderstood.
With your comments however, it is clear to me that I didn’t misunderstand your position. Thank you for clearing that up, albeit in a roundabout way.
You people are so cultish you can’t fathom that someone would come back to the faith.
That’s ok. I don’t need apostate approval to release this interview.
The only reason this piece is on my blog is because apostates, in typical SJW fashion, got triggered and complained to HuffPo.
The interviewee is who they claim to be. Take it or leave it.
A, like many other apostates, left the religion for emotional reasons, NOT rational, and emotional reasons are why A came back.
And there were no rational arguments for #exmuslimbecause.
I have removed your link. Anyone who reads your comment can look it up on their own if they want.
Considering how you tried to normalise the execution of apostates, it’s no surprise the interview was taken down.
“A, like many other apostates, left the religion for emotional reasons, NOT rational, and emotional reasons are why A came back.”
And even more leave for rational reasons. Never the less, there is no right or wrong reason for leaving any religion.
“And there were no rational arguments for #exmuslimbecause”
Yes there was, the imprisonment and killings of not only apostates but also reformists is reason enough. Gotta love how you’re conveniently choosing to ignore these rampant problems across Muslim-majority countries.
That’s not a rational reason. That’s and emotional reason.
Killing apostates for leaving Islam is cultish. Killing people for blasphemy is cultish.
That’s not a rational argument. Killing people for political opposition is rational from a scientific and political point of view. I don’t personally support killing apostates just because they are apostates because the Quran prescribes freedom of religion.
Your wishful thinking aka “taqiyya” means nothing. Muslims have crushed your bogus arguments so why posture? Nobody believes an anti-Muslim fanatic like you, and your comment history is quite revealing. Breitbart and Pamela Geller? Zionists and their pet Western fanatics really are amusing. No facts, no figures, just opportunistic lies.
I found you via @Cernovich – even as a Christian I find it pretty interesting to read your point of view and I wish you well with your site.
What do you think of this? https://thelibertarianalliance.com/2016/09/13/against-islamophobia/
Hi Sterling. Thanks. I appreciate it. I read the article. His even-handedness is refreshing.
Though the comments below were, rather, er, interesting.
It is refreshing to read that it wasn’t due to FGM or any other personal mutation that resulted in the changes that you went through and commend you for your honesty and frankness.
The categorization of the various types of people that go on to leave the fold of Islam is spot on and this shows a very much closed view of those involved with such doubt in their lives.
It is often the more abhorrent and perhaps those who had some sort of M/FGM done to them that the media portrays, who knows what goes on in jails cells in say Egypt!
You touched on places in the Middle East and their societal changes which is true once again but not so much in the public in terms of people having some doubts about their beliefs.
By now you realize I’m not judging you but acknowledging what you’ve been through and this is what makes the huge difference in terms of actually listening to what a person is trying to say before administering any form of ‘treatment’. A classic example is the effect of your brother’s death on your entire being and perhaps belief.
There is a common factor in almost all those who are raised in a family to be Muslims and grow up to be something else.
They are often raised to be Muslims not actually taught to choose to be Muslims and in that there is mammoth difference. Most people who are raised Muslims will do so without thinking of why they do what they are raised to do.
Those who chose Islam understand that the path to it can be crooked and if you come to it using that crooked path you are more likely to have doubts which will affect your practicing of Islam. It might take a short time it might take a longer time and this can happen to anyone.
This is what makes the person understand the difference between not being able to communicate with a creator isn’t a sign of a lack of belief and an assurance.
Had the creator been believed in based on how you feel well the next day when you feel terrible the belief is likely to also reciprocate!
Bottom line is to know when to ask questions and the type of questions on the one hand, and to know when to ask questions that lead you towards practicing what you believe in on the other, until you are satisfied.
Unfortunately, today even the questions require a fatwa, then the reply requires another fatwa and then when it comes to following Islam there is another fatwa and the fatwa keeps going on and on meanwhile Muslims make and female are mutalated in the intellectual and physical arena by all sorts.
Know your mutation…know this too, Allah is everywhere and beyond your senses?
Thanks for your input. I only just noticed your comments. Please excuse the delay in responding.
This piece is about development and here’s how, A asserts that there were many questions regarding the creator asked such as why would a Creator do x if he was y and so on.
This is what happens when a person assumes to know what the creator is and then placates the self by assuming again the creator shouldn’t be like that because for some reason as human beings we know better what he must be.
If you’re serious about knowing what he’s like pick up the Quran find the shortest chapter you can find in it memorize it, now travel round the world and meet as many different Muslims and ask them to recite the same verse.
They will recite it without having learnt it at the same time you did, and they will recite the same chapter without having met each other.
The shortest chapter will take you about 10-15 minutes to memorize perhaps more given we are not of the same strength in our faculties.
Why’s the point?
How come those chapters have not been changed in over 1400 odd years?
Even better how come nobody has produced the line of those three chapters?
The point is when you look at the current situation of Muslims today, and not any other sector but the Arabs especially, you find two things in common. An enmity so great that no two of those countries is living peacefully with their entire neighbours, and the enmity amongst them is so great they willingly cause physical harm to each other at the expense of human life in most cases.
Yet, they are not able to change the words of the Quran!
Why is that?
That is what is called a miracle.
The One protecting the Quran requested mankind to use it.
At the moment those more competent in actually doing so are so torn apart and busy running away from the Arab world that those in the western part of the world get glimpses here and there from websites such as this.
There is so much development in the post that every time a non Muslim reads it, they have to comment in order to try and change the opinion of the others.
It is only through such discussions that you will become a Muslim or even a better human being at worst!
Hi, thanks for leaving a comment. I appreciate it.
Great interview, I really like this girl’s way of thinking. She manages to hold her faith while leaving out all the things that are unpleasant about the religious folk. Still there’s a discrepancy between her ideology and her claim that orthodox islam as it is now is the way to go. It’s a grave contradiction. She seems like a reluctant reformist.
Thanks for the comment, Moe. Much appreciated.
Yes, I think that people who leave the faith because they don’t understand something or have a problem with the ancillary issues are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Discrepancies exist between belief and practice for everyone. What matters is that we never allow ourselves to become complacent, and strive to improve continually.
That ‘ExMuslim because I want bacon’ is making fun of Muslims who believe that people leave Islam for Earthly desires. You just proved them right. lol! The fact that leaving Islam is punishable by death shows that this religion is a cult of fear and subjugation. Have to give to Muhammed, he rules through his cult beyond the grave.
Asalamu Aliakum Nabeel,
An excellent interview. Having questions, doubts and struggling are a part of a Muslim’s faith. Te Prophet(saw) said that about the state of imaan. The death penalty for apostasy is applicable to those who want harm and destroy the Muslim community, like the munafiqs of Medina after the Prophet(s.a.w.) made Hijra. The aim was to discourage false conversions to Islam by those conspiring with Meccans. Apostates who left the religion without any malicious intent were left to go about their lives.
From what I’ve seen “Ex-Muslims” are highly dubious demonstrating little knowledge of their “former faith.” Their “arguments” are weak and shallow. Many are obviously fake, and we should be skeptical when the stories don’t add up. Anybody can type trash on reddit claiming to be an “Ex-Muslim.” The internet is full of pretenders. Those that are actual apostates grew up in the shadow of 9/11, constant Islamophobia, physical attacks, suffering from low self esteem and an inferiority complex(especially desis). White western brainwashing is evident with the slavish desire to fit in and be accepted into a dysfunctional society at any cost. Their inability to separate culture from religion thanks to bad parenting, mental health problems, perversions are serious problems which need addressing. That being said, I have no sympathy for those who are part of the Islamophobia industry in bed with Zionism and Western extremism. Do NOT underestimate the role of $$$ in this. Look at frauds like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Tarek Fatah, Majid Nawaz etc who became millionaires and western state media darlings peddling Anti-Muslim invective. Everybody wants a piece of that lucrative pie. It actually speaks of their desperation as Christianity failed, so now western imperialists and secular fundamentalists are down to using the intellectually bankrupt ideology of atheism against Muslims.
Islamophobes are fooling themselves if they think we aren’t on to their real agenda.
the part where she got radicalize and mindlessly takfiring other muslim because they have different madhab scares me. well at least she has now turned a new leaf, hope she’s a good muslimah……
She’s much better now, thanks.
If this person was on CEMB for a number of years and later announced she became a Muslim and was accepted by the people there, then what is the problem with her saying what her screen name was? In what way is the anonymous name “A” any more anonymous than the anonymous name she used on the forums?
The interviewee and the story are real.
What is your real name?
I agree with what you said. A lot of people become apostates not because the concept of Allah is unfathomable but because of the bad behavior either in their family or community that becomes attached to Islam. I also think a lot of young muslims enter college not having a good grasp on quran/sunnah or a strong bond with Allah then they take a few philosophy or religious studies classes and end up having an existential crisis. As far as the shariah giving permission to execute apostates who refuse to repent I am in full support of it. Not only does it require a judge to rule on if the person is actually guilty of the crime but it also gives opportunity for the person to avoid execution. Secondly, unless the person openly declares it no one will know but Allah. Lastly a country is allowed to decide what system of law it has. If America gets to have the death penalty why cant Islamic countries? Only issue I take with this interview is that it focuses heavily on politics.
This is a really good summary of the blog post. I think what I wanted to accomplish here is to help people understand apostates leave the religion from a place of emotion and not ration. When we understand this, we are more able to help wayward Muslims. Yaqeen Institute’s recent study on why people have crises of faith is a superb resource in this regard https://yaqeeninstitute.org/youssef-chouhoud/modern-pathways-to-doubt-in-islam/