I am not any Hindu fundamentalist. In actual, I don’t find any interest in religion because of numerous reasons. I do not hate any religion. I simply find it hollow. Islam is a case in point for Bangladesh where about 90 per cent of population is Muslims.
-Dr J Bhattacharjee
1. To the youths of Bangladesh:
There is nothing like good religion or bad religion. There are only good people or bad people. This cuts across all the religions. Man cannot live alone. He has to live in a society. In this pluralistic world, there should be space for all. A better and peaceful world is for the benefit of all. Without mutual respect between people of different religions this cannot be achieved. The first verse in our conscience should be about ‘humanity’. And this should be the last verse also.
Religions create division and cripple the rational thinking among the people. This is done by the ‘contractors’ of all religions. Then there are situations like ‘majority’ and ‘minority’. Where one particular religion is in majority, the people of other religions are subjugated. Some again want to convert people of minority religion with the hope of going to paradise after death. This is ridiculous.
The concept of ‘paradise’ and ‘hell’ is to befool people. This is found in every religion. It is nothing but a major psychological ‘carrot and stick’ to keep people under control. But vested interests have used it for their own agenda. How a Muslim can go to paradise after forcefully converting some non-Muslims to Islam in Bangladesh? Why all non-Muslims have to go to hell after death for being infidel? If any religion approves such inhuman teaching, then it is bullshit. Nobody has seen paradise or hell after death. They are only in our minds during this life.
It is, therefore, no good to run after the delusion of paradise and hell. Believe in rational humanity. Think rationally and act with humane conviction. Come out of the clutches of illiterate or semiliterate ‘contractors’ of Islam. Think about the illiteracy, poverty and hunger of your country. This is not due to the ‘will’ of any fictitious Almighty. You alone are responsible for this. When you will understand this, the ways to solve these problems will automatically open up without any ‘divine intervention’ which is anyway non-existent.
Think about the history of your country. To avoid Hindu hegemony you went for a Muslim country. Then the Islamic Pakistan wanted to impose Urdu on you. You fought for your mother tongue. Then Muslims of West Pakistan exploited Muslim East Pakistan and even denied your political right to rule Pakistan. You achieved independence through a major blood bath. Where was ‘Islam’ during that long period? Even now the different Bangladeshi Islamic terrorist groups, with help of Pakistan, are trying to nibble your country from within like termites. Thousands of private Madrasas are producing not good people but blind Muslims to aggravate the situation. Your government is going Ershad’s way. Zia-ul-Haq did this type of things in Pakistan for his political interest and see what has been happening in that country now. Many rich and high middle class Pakistani Muslims have additional residence outside Pakistan to be of use if they have to leave a Talibanised Pakistan in future.
So ultimately it is ‘good people’ Vs ‘bad people’ or ‘poor people’ Vs ‘rich people’ and NOT MUSLIMS Vs NON-MUSLIMS.
2. Birth of God:
In the dawn of human history, the concept of God did not enter in to human mind straight away. It started differently in human mind as an exercise to ‘time-pass’. When the first four needs (Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love & belonging needs and Esteem needs), in any hierarchical order, were achieved, at individual and community level, man started reflecting and contemplating. Evolution and natural selection gave him a much bigger brain to indulge in such luxuries.
It might have started at individual level separately but community gradually became involved also. The cave painting by our ancestors might be the expression of such contemplation. Later man started questioning himself “Who am I?”, “Why are there day and night?”, “Why the flowers blossom?”, “Why a person die?”, “What becomes of the living man after death?” and so on and so forth. In the quest of getting answers to those questions, man became intellectual.
In absence of any proof, the intellectual man tried to answer those questions as design of some unseen universal omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient superpower called “God”.
3. The Qur’an:
The Qur’an is a compilation of verses (at times vague, contradictory and violent) containing statements of Prophet to answer the issues pertaining to different personal, social, political and religious aspects of his small group of followers (and him) who resided in the deserts of Arabia about 14 hundred years ago.
Why to translocate those out-dated and out-of-place statements with absolute rigidity in today’s world? To be a good human being no one needs such confusing, contradictory, old and violent (at times) verses.
The teaching given by today’s Mullahs about Islam (particularly in rural areas) is mostly imaginary and fictitious which brainwash Muslim children for whole life.
4. Aristocrat and poor Muslims of Bengal/Bangladesh:
Recently I read a book “Aliya Madrasar Itihat” written by Abdus Sattar. In the narration, it became clear that the concept of “Muslims are separate nation” was very much apparent even in mid-ninteenth century India. It is fact that in the minority Muslim ruled India, this issue was not there. But after 1857, the Muslim aristocrats suddenly found themselves as a stateless population. The sentiment percolated to poor Muslims of Bengal without any socio-political reason which was relevant to the Muslim aristocrats only. The poor Muslims of Bengal who constituted the majority simply fell in line on religious ground only.
Muslim rule in India was based on a small proportion of Muslim aristocrats whose forefathers came from outside not so far ago. They had the support from many Hindu aristocrats in running the administration. The situation of the bulk of poor Hindus and Muslims (mostly converts) was similar. To them, it was the question of livelihood only. Thus they had no conscious interest as to who their ruler was. Though foreign languages like Arabic and Farshi were in use along with Indian Urdu in the royal court, administration and education, many Hindus learned those languages and established themselves under Muslim rule.
Things changed drastically after 1857. British rule gradually started pushing English and Western education in Bengal. Hindus, on whom religion did not have absolute control, took the opportunity of new learning process and started getting jobs. Muslims fell behind. Their aristocrats were leaking their wounds. The poor Muslims of Bengal simply followed their aristocrat brothers and kept on brooding over their fictitious misfortune.
Muslim aristocrat psyche in nineteenth century India was “though in minority, either we rule India or we are a nation within nation. We don’t have anything to do with pluralistic India”. The religious bondage of poor Muslims made them mentally slaves of those Muslim aristocrats.
In nineteenth century Bengal, the extent of that mental slavery was reflected in trying to adopt some sort of ‘Islamic Bengali language’ with some dose of Arabic, Farshi and Urdu words in ‘Hindu Bengali language’. The distinction was made by Muslims and not Hindus. The same trend was observed in post-partition East Pakistan also. Mentally the Bengali Muslims were closer to Saudi Arabia or Iran than Bengal.
There was a time in late nineteenth century when it was felt that Muslims of Bengal should learn English for getting jobs, Bengali as an everyday spoken language (not mother tongue), Urdu and Farshi for religious and cultural reason and also Arabic if possible (Aliya Madrasar Itihash: page 133, last paragraph). All such efforts were made in the name of Islamic identity.
Can any Bangladeshi Muslim comprehend this today? Where is Urdu today in Bangladesh? A few Farshi words are still in use in the courts of law and Arabic is generally related to Qur’an reading and Islamic education. Tagore, Nazrul and Jashimuddin et al along with Poila Baishakh had changed the whole spectrum of Bangladeshi language and culture. Bangladeshi Muslims have come a long way from the parochial views of their nineteenth century aristocrat brothers.
Moral: There are many things beyond “Islam”. The more one finds, the more rational (and less fanatic) one becomes.
PS: Today’s virtual Muslim aristocrats of Bangladesh i.e. political leaders, Mullahs and fanatics are still playing the same “Islam game” in a different way which will not bring anything good for future Bangladesh..
5. Islam & Hindus of Bangladesh:
The theft of 200 ‘tolas’ of gold from Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka (Bangladesh capital) during January 2011 was as heinous a crime as desecration of a mosque. But what is the reaction of Bangladeshi Muslims? Majority must be happy for the blow it gave to Hindus’ religious sentiment. Is it Islam? If so, then Islam is no better than a false dogma.
The intolerance, hatred and continuous torture by Bangladeshi Muslims on its ever decreasing Hindus population are nothing new or fall out of Babri Mosque or Gujarat. It has all along been a continuous virtual state sponsored activity. There has never been a Hindu backlash in India against those rapes, murders, forceful conversions of Bangladeshi Hindus. Because majority of Indian Hindus are non-Bengalee with no interest in Bangladesh and West Bengal can be proud of its secular socio-political approach.
During post 1947 era, the proportion of Muslim population in West Bengal has increased from 15 per cent in 1951 to 30 per cent in 2011. Many Bangladeshi Muslims migrated and settled in West Bengal due to economic reason. There must be something indigenously very wrong about the interpretation of Islam. The criminal mindedness of a big proportion of Bangladeshi Muslims helped by all political parties, with the support of ‘Islam’ is responsible for its continuous Hindu bashing. The draconian ‘Vested Property Act’ is another burning example. Even many of Mujib’s party men during his time took the advantage of this act to grab vast Hindu properties.
Today Hindus in Bangladesh are becoming a ‘lost tribe’. Bangladeshi Muslims are very vocal about the atrocities of Israel and US on Muslims. But they fail to see that they have been doing the same thing on Hindus of their own country.
5. Bangladesh of bad dream:
Islam is going to be the state religion of Bangladesh. Prime Minister has found it more important to remain in power. Mr Ershad has congratulated the Prime Minister. What an irony? Hashina justified the move as a need for changing situation. But what changing situation she was talking of? In the list “Failed States”, Pakistan is at number 12 and Bangladesh at number 25. Does the situation demand that Bangladesh should try to catch up with Pakistan in this respect?
Mujib propagated “Bengali Nationalism”, Zia changed it to “Bangladeshi Nationalism” then Ershad converted it to “Islamic Bangladeshi Nationalism”. Bangladeshis perpetually suffer from identity crisis. Much was expected from Hashina. But she has failed miserably. Mao Tse Dong, whom I don’t like, once equated religion with opium. So a booster dose of that opium will be given to Bangladeshi Muslims.
What will be the future scenario in this “Dar-al-Islam?
• More money will come from Saudi Arabia and likes for construction of more mosques and madrasas thereby lakhs of youths with tubular vision will be produced.
• However, if those doner countries construct a few big hospitals (which I doubt) Bangladesh government will not be able to support the running cost of those hospitals.
• If they construct a few colleges, the government will not be able to pay the salary of teachers.
• Besides, the lion share of the aids will go to the pockets of power brokers and contractors of Islam.
• The majority people of Bangladesh will remain as poor as they are.
• Crime rate and corruption at high places will not reduce.
• Bangladesh will remain a bottom less basket.
• Poor Bangladeshi Muslims can only aspire for a direct access to Paradise in next life after spending this life in sub-human standard. The access to Paradise will be undoubtedly ensured by more terrorist activities in the name of Islam.
7. Indian Islamic education:
In India, the National Anthem of the country is not sung in any Islamic Educational Institution. The overt reason is “religious” but the covert reason is “Religion is ahead of Nationality”. They even refer to the National Anthem as “your Jono Gono Mono…”.
Many Indian Muslims consciously teach and cultivate a different identity which is not Indian but Islamic in nature and contents. These people want all fruits of “secularism” but themselves are Islamists to the core.
By extension of above, it is quite natural that many Indian Muslims would tend to support Muslim terrorists from Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other country. If they don’t support, at least they will not be vocal against those and remain passive in such situation. This is the teaching and politics of Islam. Thus terrorism is mixed-up with Islam in general.
8. Fate of an Islamic state:
Once there was a country named Pakistan meaning “Pious Land”. The name of its capital was Islamabad meaning “City of Islam”. Last year alone (2010), more than 12000 people of the country died due to violence/terrorist attacks.
FATA (Faderally Administered Tribal Area) is in the hands of Taliban.
In Sindh, violent sectarian conflicts between Sindhis, Mohajirs and Pashtoons are common place since 1970s.
In Balochistan, violent insurgency since 2005 has become deadly.
In NWFP, conflicts between Pashtoons and Pakistani security forces have turned for the worse.
Punjab has been facing killing and systematic persecution of Shias (possibly they would have killed Jinnah, had he been around now) and Ahmedis since 1980s. Bloody clashes between Barelvis and Deobandis have become routine activities.
Quaid-e-Azam cannot occupy more space than a photo frame in Pakistan.
On the top of everything, different Islamic terrorist groups have been brewing poisons in the name of Islam in their own ways.
The “Pious Land” and “City of Islam” are no where to find. Islamic “Ummah” cannot be viewed through a radio-telescope even.
9. Prisoners of religion:
The Muslims over the centuries have become prisoners of Islam. The statement does not have any positive connotation. There are three types of Muslims: the orthodox, the moderate and the liberal. This picture is similar in all other religions. But, Muslims have another additional group who can be termed as jailers of the Islamic prison. The last group, though present in other religions, is extremely strong in Islam. They teach Islam, interpret it, give sermons, issue fatwa and execute Shariya laws etc.. They also include some ideologues.
The inmates of the prison are of different socio-economic status. Most of the poor Muslims who constitute the majority along with the jailers are orthodox. The jailers interpret and teach them a very parochial and intolerant form of male dominated Islam which it actually is. The poor Muslims blindly follow whatever the jailers tell them out of Iman. The jailers enjoy a high social status and control majority of the Muslims intellectually, socially and politically.
The moderate inmates, who are in minority, come mostly from middle and high income group. They play safe balancing on either side. Some of the members of this socio-economic group are also orthodox for political reasons and power games.
Liberal inmates are extremely few in number and an endangered species. They are from all socio-economic strata. Though they do not disown Islam, they believe in rational humanity and advocate their version of a humane Islam which Islam is not.
Whatever the moderate and liberal groups may say, Islam is a violent religion. Islam originated and flourished on killing, burning, destroying, raping and enslaving the non-Muslims. Destruction or conversion of infidels has been the corner stone of Islam. Castigating non-Muslims as inferior, ignorant, sinner, wicked and the hell goers are the teachings of Qur’an. Declaring Islam as the only true religion is another intolerant aspect of it. Brotherhood in Islam is only limited with in Muslims.
Then why not to accept that Islamic terrorism has got sanctity in Qur’an. It is said that humanity is a combination of ‘animality’ and ‘rationality’. In Islam there is nothing like rationality. So it is an animal farm guarded by the wall of blasphemy law.
The so called love and peace of Islam was a development contributed by later Sufi saints only. Islam, as such, does not preach any such concept. The present Islamic terrorism has also been explained as a cultural fight of Islam against the West. If we accept this as fact, it only shows the inherent weakness of Islamic culture needing terrorism to protect it. In a way Islam is very weak which needs the help of stringent dogmas, in the name of religion, to keep the prisoners together.
The moment rationality enters in to Islam, the prison wall will crumble down and Muslims will be liberated. This is unlikely to happen easily. But why not to try this even if such move is against Qur’an? What Qur’an is after all? It is a compilation of personal perspectives of a seventh century Bedouin war lord. He had to disguise his perspectives within the wrappers of Allah, Islam, Iman, paradise and hell to give sanctity and convince his people.
10. Past and 21st century Islam:
Why can’t we forgive Allah and his Messenger for not being able to foresee a pluralistic global village in twenty-first century? Was it really possible for Arabic speaking Allah to look so much forward? Otherwise he would have given a time frame to convert the world population to Islam.
Today Muslim world is much like that of middle age. Diverse vested interests in social, economic, religious and political spheres of Muslim population are controlling and running the show. And they are the ‘contractors’ of Islam. The picture is same in both under-developed Bangladesh and developed Saudi Arabia.
The religion of Islam is based on the main foundation of “Iman” and guarded by the iron wall of “Blasphemy law”. One has to believe or one will be killed. Can any religion be dichotomous? This is the hollowness of Islam. The main stream Muslim must believe what their virtual priests want them to believe and follow about Islam. Many suspected aspects of Islam are covered skillfully. What to speak of contradictory verses of Qur’an?
Many misdeeds of Messenger had been sanctified by the ‘will of Allah’. When he slaughtered people for consolidating his so called religion, it was Allah’s will. When he slept with slave women, then it was Allah’s will. When he married at least 11 times between the age of 51 and 63, it was Allah’s will. Even when he married Zainab the wife of his adopted son Zayed, then it was also Allah’s will. Only he could here Allah. All Muslims should believe in such obnoxious wills of Allah or better remain ignorant about these. But at any cost they must not question.
In Islam, a woman has to put forward two male persons as eye witnesses to prove if she is raped. Otherwise Qazi will not hear her. Can any sane person think about the absurdity of this Shariya law? Ask any rationalist with good knowledge of Arabic to explain the genesis and meaning of the words ‘Nikah’ and ‘Aurat’ and then one will know what a woman means to Islam.
It is believed by Muslims that only Islam is the ‘true religion’ and all infidels will go to hell after death. With the death of Messenger the Muslims had lost ‘hot lime communication’ with Allah. Otherwise they could have verified this also. However, for main stream Muslims this not an issue. They just believe it.
11. Muslim terrorist:
It is some times said that Muslims are terrorists. The term, ‘terrorists’, is used in a general way. This irritates majority Muslims who are definitely not terrorists. Then why is such generalisation?
The answer can be found in the teaching of Islam. Firstly Islam preaches a uniform culture in the name of religion. Thus all Bangladeshi Muslims will use “Bodna” which is suited for desert areas but not in river fed Bangladesh. Secondly Muslims see at every aspect of life strictly from the view point of Islam. This is so deep rooted that terrorist activities are conducted in the name of religion. Moreover in Afghanistan and Iraq the fight against West is not fought mainly on the basis of national identity but in the name of Islam.
There was a time when Muslims used to cherish the idea pan-Islamism. The submission of all forms of identity to Islam has confused many non-Muslims who cannot segregate a few terrorist Muslims from vast majority of general non-terrorist Muslim population. The subtle mental supports by some and absence of serious protests by main stream Muslims in regard to Muslim terrorist activities have also added to the confusion.
As the Pakistan will cease to exist without anti-India activities so, the Muslims will also cease to exist without complete submission to Islam. And the confusion goes on.
For the main stream Muslims, “true culture” started with the “Hizrat” of Prophet. Though Christans and Jews were given some concession as the ‘people of book’ at the early stage, every culture before the Hizrat and every non-Muslim culture after the Hizrat has been categorised as ‘Jahilia’. Muslims disown their own past and history and destroyed Buddha statue in Afghanistan. In India ‘Qutub Minar’ was built by the materials from destroyed temples. There are thousands of such examples. Now they tell that Islam is a religion of peace and rest are “Jahilia‘.
13. Dichotomy of Islam:
Islam is a religion of dichotomy and contradictions. Whatever may be the messages of Qur’an, Hadith and Fiq etc., for main stream Muslims the Islam is as follows:
1. Believe in Allah or you are a Kaffir (with negative connotation)
2. Either you are follower of Allah or that of Satan.
3. True Muslims will go to paradise after death but Kaffirs will go to hell.
4. Islam is the true religion but others are ‘Jahilia’.
5. Either a country is ‘dar-al-Islam’ or it is ‘dar-al-harb’.
6. For a Muslim all other Muslims are brothers but non-Muslims are enemies.
7. Islamic hegemony is acceptable but non-Islamic hegemony is intolerable.
8. Sound of Azan, five times a day, can disturb non-Muslims but religious sound from place other religion is haram.
Main stream Muslims are brain-washed with above dichotomies in childhood by semiliterate Mullahs.
To be a good human being, nobody needs a religion. A single liner of Confucius can serve the humanity better:
“Don’t do anything to others which you don’t want to be done on you”.
14. The challenges of Islam:
I recently read a Bengali book entitled “Santrash Protirodhay Islam”. The English translation of the ‘title’ will be ‘Islam in defense against terrorism’. The book was published by Islamic Foundation Bangladesh. After reading the theoretical bla…. bla…bla, certain points raised in my mind:
1. The weakness in the interpretation of Islam is its tendency to extrapolate the pre-seventh century ‘jahilia’ of Saudi Arabia to the whole world for all time to come till everybody becomes Muslim. But why all present day Muslim countries are not heavens? Why there is heaven and hell socio-economic disparity between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh?
2. The main Islamic scriptures like ‘Hadith’, ‘Fiqh, Tafsir’ and others were written/complied/interpreted by different early Islamic scholars. The unstated assumption attached with these books is the absolute absence of ‘Bias’ (a commonly asked question in any scientific inquiry). All those scholars were human beings not free from bias. But the denial of bias has led to the most dangerous postulate that only these books are true and with Qur’an can solve all the problems of human society. It is something like communism during the peak period of USSR when a non-believer in communism was thought to be a mad person.
3. The concept of ‘Dar-al-Isam’, ‘Dar-al-Amn’ and ‘Dar-al-Harb’ in Islam is extremely dangerous in the present world. It puts Islam ahead of humanity/nationality. In Islam religion and politics are inseparable. Thus it negates the very basis of multi-religious countries and divides the world in to three groups of countries from the view of Islamic political power in those countries. It stressed the mind set of Muslims for the aspiration of absolute Islamic political power even in ‘Dar-al-Amn’ and ‘Dar-al-Harb’.
4. Islamic preachers/teachers/Mullahs never speak of good things about other religions or advocate peaceful co-existence with other religious groups. If sometimes they do so, it comes from the lips only for some compulsion and not out of conviction.
5. Orthodox Muslims keep beards, wear pajamas with it lower end above ankle, use head gear/skull cap and ‘itr’. All these were in the personal life style of the Prophet Mohammad. Though Muslims term such imitation of Prophet’s life style as “Sunnah”, in actual this is a form of hero worship not allowed in Islam.
6. In Indian sub-continent, Islam was substantially spread by Sufis saints. Many down trodden and low caste Hindus converted to Islam because of them who preached equality, love and universal brotherhood. This is particularly true for Bangladesh. But today, the hard core ‘Sunnis’ disown those saints. By the by, does a Bangladeshi Muslim is regarded as equal by a Saudi Muslim? What is the meaning of ‘Azlaf’, ‘Ashraf’ and ‘Arzaal’? Why the bla bla of casteless / classless Islam?
7. When USSR invaded Afghanistan, the Afghans had all reason and right to drive USSR out. But, why a religious hue was given to those resistance fighters leading to cruel and dark aged Talibanisation?
8. ‘Wahhabi’ movement preached ‘pure’ and ‘original’ form of Islam and inculcated the highest degree of orthodoxy. A major problem in the interpretation of Islam started from that point. Since Islam is accepted as complete way of life and since the Prophet Mohammad himself claimed to be the last in the chain, orthodoxy, stagnation and intolerance have become the main sources of inspiration for majority Muslims who have started suffering from ‘adjustment disorder’ in the modern socio-political context with people of other religions. They thus justify their terror activities or oppressions of religious minorities in the name of Jihad.
9. Another problem in Islam is connected with the hating of Western materialistic life style by the orthodox Muslims. This is an attempt to romanticize sixth/seventh century Arabian simple way of life (due to general poverty). Why the present day rich Saudis do not live in the tents pitched in oasis surrounded by camels? Has any infidel compelled them to live in palaces with all Western amenities? Even the hardcore ‘Talibans’ are using the high tech Western communication system to spread their terror activities. What hypocrisy is this?
10. ‘Tablighi’ activities in Indian sub-continent since 1926 have reinstalled the teachings of Islam and its rituals to Muslim masses. However, in the process Muslims find themselves as an ‘exclusive and isolated group’ very different from others. How with this mind set can a Muslim adjust in a pluralistic world of global village today? Do Tablighi activities include teaching of respecting other religions also? This is a million dollar question.
11. The isolation of Muslims has also been made by their over emphasis on Madrasa education particularly in Indian sub-continent. During pre-colonial period, Madrasa education could serve the public and private life requirements of Muslims in India. Now it cannot. Besides all the private Madrasas are nothing but ‘literacy centres’ for religious training. Products of these Madrasas are fit for the jobs of Imam, Maulavi, Qazi etc.. And thus they remain only in the limited sphere of religious activities far away from modern world and drag the psyche of Muslim masses backward. This preoccupation of retaining the Islamic heritage does not allow majority of Muslims to integrate in a multi-religious society. In effect, Muslims have become unnecessarily touchy about their religion.
12. Osama-bin-laden was an US stooge during the fight against USSR in Afghanistan. He started treating US as enemy when Saudi Arabia sought US help on its soil during first Gulf war. Osama took the help of US infidels to fight USSR infidels in Afghanistan but could not accept the Saudi compulsion of bringing US infidels to the holy soil of Arabia for its own protection. What more a pathological state of mind could it be?
13. The term “infidels” in Islam connotes extreme intolerance and hatred. This, however, does not dilute the unwanted big brother like muscle flexing attitude and actions by US everywhere in the world. US are pushing war and Muslims are pushing Islam. Over dose of both has started causing global indigestion.
14. Over the past centuries, all the religions have changed except Islam. The changes in other religions were outcome of changes in socio-political sphere. Islam stood rock solid against any change and feels proud of it. The very few people who tried to modernize Islam have been sidelined, ostracized, murdered or driven out of the country.
15. Majority of Muslims look at every issue from the view point of Islam. This has made their vision tubular. So long the interpreters and their followers of Islam will not learn to shed their orthodox outlook and come out of exclusiveness, the problems will persist. Islam has to shed its ‘holier than thou’ attitude and try to live in a complex pluralistic society of 21st century. The present world is extremely competitive. Muslims stand or fall solely on the basis of merit and not on religious orthodoxy and isolation. Muslims around the world and Bangladesh in particular today can not mentally live in the ‘dream house’ of seventh century Saudi Arabia with an ‘intolerant Islam’. What Muslims need today more is another Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and not Osama-bin-laden.
15. Priests in Islam:
In Islam, there is no concept of ‘Priest’. It does not permit any intermediary between Allah and his “Banda”. This point has got unnecessary propaganda for no good reason. Presence of priests in other religions is apparent. There was a time when these priests use to control the society and psyche of followers for their vested interest. But today, they have lost all such preeminence. On the other hand a priestess Islam has ‘Imams’, ‘Maulavi’, ‘Hafiz’, ‘Ulema’ ‘Qazi’ etc. to control the Muslim society and its psyche. In Pakistan, Bangladesh and all Islamic countries society and politics revolve around these virtual priests of Islam.
16. Hypocrisy of Saudis:
It is known fact that many rich Saudis drink alcohol and some are extramarital sex machines. US for their vested interest have been protecting the Saudi royal family. The cruel shariya laws keep the vast majority of expatriates under iron heel. Many Muslim female household workers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are abused both physically and sexually. Information media are restricted or manipulated more than China. Height of hypocrisy prevails in the name of Islam. But, it is not only “the pious land” but also a very wealthy country. So, ‘saat khun maff’.
17. Foolish verses of Qur’an:
“If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islam is the “true religion of God”, then, all one needs to do is pronounce the “Shahada”, Upon entering the fold of Islam purely for the Pleasure of God, all of one’s previous sins are forgiven, and one starts a new life of piety and righteousness. When one accepts Islam, they in essence repent from the ways and beliefs of their previous life. One need not be overburdened by sins committed before their acceptance. The person’s record is clean, and it is as if he was just born from his mother’s womb.
The Holy Quran and Hadith (prophetic sayings) both stress the importance of following Islam. God states:
“…The only religion in the sight of God is Islam…” (Quran 3:19)
In another verse of the Holy Quran, God states:
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (their selves in the Hellfire).” (Quran 3:85)
Comments: What can be funnier than above quotes from the blog “How to Convert to Islam and Become a Muslim”. These appear to be imagination of a child or fool without a drop of rationality. This hollowness is the main problem of Islam. All the non-Muslim criminals can convert to Islam before death to wash away their all sins. Bullshit.
However, the Islamic scholars may rubbish this argument by saying that the quote has been taken out of context. This is a standard response of Islamic scholars to any contentious issue regarding Qur’an. And when one asks for the context, it is always what they tell in light of other sources. The gross ambiguity of Qur’anic verses helps them in such endeavor.
18. The divine madness:
Mad people are those who do not conform to the prevailing norms in action and thought. Prophets, Saints and Avatars also fall in this category. Some tell that this world is “Maya” and should not be taken seriously. Some hear Allah. Some do miracles. Some talk of paradise and hell as firsthand account. All of them suffer from illusion, delusion and hallucination. The only positive aspect of such deviant behaviour is to do good to their people in their own way without knowing the future implications. Thus divinity can be attached to their madness. Though too many of them have spoilt the broth.
19. There is no Allah:
A person grows up in his own environment. Fourteen hundred years back, human environment was extremely localized. Man used to borne and die without knowing about faraway places and people. Only the businessmen, armies and a few scholars moved far and wide. They used to bring information to their native places about the places and people they had visited. Concept of education was not there. Only a small proportion of population needing education for discharging their day to day duties/requirements/livelihood used to get some form of formal and non-formal education specific to their jobs and prevalent in their respective areas.
Prophet Mohammad was borne during 570 AD in Mecca of present day Saudi Arabia. Arabia, at that time was inhabited by different Bedouin tribes. He was from Quraysh tribe. The religious dispensations in the then Arabia was of three types: the Christians, the Jews and mostly polytheist idolaters.
The different Bedouin tribes were at constant war with each other. The social norms were based on tribal allegiance and it was a corrupt society. Mohammad was very upset about the derailed Bedouin social order from young age. Gradually he started thinking very seriously to bring about changes in the society so that he can be the only leader. This deep thought process can be termed as meditation. He was eager to find out the root cause of social degradation. Because without determining the cause, there was no cure. It was impossible for him just to preach the unruly Bedouins to stop infighting, trust each other and accept him as the only leader etc. etc.. No one would have heard him.
Gradually he hit upon the idea of a ‘cause’, which could be used to consolidate his position. And it was the prevalent ‘polytheist idolatry’. Monotheist Christianity and Judaism had a long historical heritage in the then Arabia supported by the stories of ‘Old and New Testaments’. He could understand that attachment of divinity with him would serve his purpose. Christianity and Judaism gave Mohammad the concept of Prophet which he declared himself to be. This cause finding can be called the divine knowledge.
Once the cause was found, he started the treatment of his people in the name of a new religion i.e ‘Islam’. His cunning thoughts and sense of judgment in context of socio-politico-religious issues (including personal issues) of that time and place came out from his mouth as verses of Qur’an. This was a ‘treatment regimen’. The verses were sanctified as revelation from Allah (Almighty). Qur’an is full of references to Old and New testaments with repetitive, contradictory and violent contents. To avoid questions and doubts about Qur’an, he made ‘Iman’ the first precondition of his religion. To avoid any later revision in Islam, he declared himself to be the last Prophet. The fighting spirit and cruelty of Bedouins were channeled to fight infidels with the object of expanding empire in the name of Islam.
Actually Mohammad used ‘Islam’ as a tool to become a mass leader. He was a ruthless warrior in the guise of a Prophet. And all Allah business is false.
20. Futility of God and Religion:
Karen Armstrong’s book ‘The Case for God’ published by The Bodley Head (2009) is a thick one of 300 pages. The author has claimed to explain ‘what religion really means’. She treaded through 32 thousand years of human history in terms of cave paintings, philosophy, science, theology and religions. The last chapter of the book ‘the death of God’ has been most confusing. She neither said ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ to the existence of God. The book, in actual, is a review of opinions by different eminent scholars of human history.
I fail to understand why we should be so obsessed with God or Religion? Everything has its own time for good or bad reason. There was a time when God or religion was needed for controlling human society in orderly manner. Philosophers were there to give ideas but those were understandable to only a few educated/enlighten group. God and religion came for the use of common masses. Later, both theologists and scientists had complicated the concept of God. Finally God and Religion gradually went in to the hands of vested interests.
Enough of ‘Zannah’ and enough of ‘Iman’. Let us don’t trouble the whole world to prove that one religion is better than other. Let God, Allah and Bhawagavan rest in peace. We better try to become simply good human beings. Body of human knowledge has become too big today to know how to be a good human being without the help of self defeating God or Religion.
21. Ms Bhutto says:
I have recently read a book entitled “Reconciliation” by Late Benazir Bhutto. The publisher has claimed that the final proof of the book was approved by Ms Bhutto only days before she was killed by Islamic terrorists.
Ms Bhutto tries to establish that Islam and democracy are compatible. She speaks of reconciliation between Islam and present days requirements of pluralistic and democratic socio-political order by quoting Qur’an liberally.
She also tells that the first word that was revealed to the Prophet was “IQRA” which means “READ”. Her argument is that since ‘Iqra’ was revealed without any exclusiveness for males, the Muslim women have all right to education. Ms Bhutto even gives a liberated status of Muslim women in light of Qur’an.
Unfortunately, we see a totally different picture in most of the Islamic countries in the name of same Qur’an.
22. Bishwo Shanti (World peace):
There is a book entitled “Bishwo-shanti O Islam”. The book is published by Islamic Foundation Bangladesh. I have never come across such a book whose contents make the title an utter misnomer.
The book describes the Islamic rules and regulations to justify those to be the ultimate instruments of world peace. In doing so, the writer has either assumed that the whole world is Islamic. And if not so, then all non-Muslims will follow the Islamic rules and regulations to bring a supposed world peace.
When Islam could not achieve “peace” between and within most of the Islamic countries yet, the book becomes a theological and theoretical exercise for followers of Islam (not the world) only.
All sane people want “Bishwo-shanti””. But, why this game of Islam?
23. Britain changes:
A news report (November 20110) states about a new law in Britain whereby even the first borne daughter (eldest child) of the royal couple will inherit the throne. Even if she married a Roman Catholic also, her right to throne will remain. This has changed the centuries old law of exclusiveness of eldest son and Protestant to sit in the throne.
Thus bias towards male child with religious rigidity has been diluted. This is definitely encouraging.
The world is changing and the human society also needs to evolve with time. There is nothing like constant and ultimate.
24. Intellectual madness in Islam:
I have just read a book entitled “Women between Islam and Western Society” written by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and published by Islamic Centre New-Delhi, India with great eagerness. It is definitely a contemporary topic of interest. However, I have some observations to make about the said book.
1. The very title of the book is confusing. Why it connotes “Islam Vs West”? The book compares between one religion (Islam) and another geographical area (West).
2. The author compares the practices of western society with the principles of Islam. The comparison is thus dissimilar. Why comparison is not made between the practices of both sides with examples from both sides?
3. The author has taken a simplistic way of “You are wrong and I am right” approach. This has given the book a radical shade and cannot be called scholarly.
4. In the book numerous examples of one type (vices and their pitfalls in western society) were given to prove the author’s point of ‘Islam is the best’. Are there no examples other way round?
5. The danger of this type of book is that, it might have already been included in the curriculum of some Islamic teaching institutions. And the students have been inculcating a tubular vision with “I am okay, you are not okay” mind set.
When will this intellectual madness in the name of Islam stop?
25. Militant Islam:
‘Mlitant Islam’ is a very commonly used term these days. It indicates the intolerant, aggressive and violent type of Islam. In the history of Islam during past about 270 years, three persons were substantially responsible for shaping this form of Islam. They are Muhammad ibn Al-Wahhab (1703-1792) of Arabia and Maulana Syed Abul A’ala Maududi (1903-1979) and General Zia ul Haq (1924-1988) of Pakistan. But final stroke to ignite this menace was done by the US.
Wahhab advocated purging Islam of impurities and innovations. In connivance with the then chief of Saud clan in Arabia, Wahhab started propagating his interpretation of Islam. In return, the Saud chief was allowed to establish the monarchy in Saudi Arabia which is continuing even today. Wahhabism is an extremely orthodox, rigid and intolerant form of Islam. Wahhabi teachings disapprove veneration of historical sites associated with early period of Islam and equate such practice with idolatry. Wahhabism is dominant in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim majority countries through funding of mosque, madrassa and social programme.
Syed Abul A’ala Maududi’s preaching of Islam includes that Jihad should be used to eliminate un-Islamic rule and establish the world-wide Islamic state. According to Maududi, rights of non-Muslims are limited in Islamic state.
Zia ul Haq, to remain in power, Islamised education, judiciary and armed forces in Pakistan. The religious fundamentalists of Pakistan were his source of main support. The Hudood ordinance, Zina ordinance, Blasphemy Laws are a few examples of his Islamization drives. He was a major patron of Afghan mujahidins. Zia was directly responsible for opening of Islamic terrorist factories in present day’s Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The above mentioned two theological teachings and one myopic political move created a Jihadi mind set in many Muslims. This mind set was finally ignited by the US. To counter USSR in Afghanistan, hundreds of Mujanidins from different countries of the world came to Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight USSR in Afghanistan with full knowledge of US. They were trained and logistic, as well as, financial supports were provided by US through ISI. US spent billions of dollars for such activities. The later avatars of Taliban and Al Quida also came in to being with full support of US.
Let good sense prevail over the militant Islam. Down with terrorism in the name of Islam and down with selfish and stupid US.
26. Iman Vs rationality:
There are all together 6236 verses (there are some confusions about the exact number. But 6236 has been accepted by most scholars) in Qur’an. These verses were claimed to be revealed to prophet Muhammod through Jibril by Allah between 610 and 632 AD. These are the sole sources of all Islamic principles and practices. Muslims believe that these verses contain the total body of knowledge which is required for leading this life in the path of Allah and spend life hereafter in paradise or hell.
It is claimed that the verses were recorded during the life time of prophet. However, Qur’an, as a single book, was compiled shortly after the death of Prophet.
Points to ponder:
1. Why Allah should be Arabic speaking? Sound or revelation has to come from some animate or inanimate source (if at all prophet had heard Allah through Jibril). What was that animate or inanimate source?
2. Tortuous road taken by Qur’an: Allah–>Jibril–>Muhammod–>Drafting by scribes/memorising by companions–>Verifications–> Correction/Modifications–>Final recording by scribes/memorising by companions–>Final compilation as a book (after death of prophet).
3. Size of total body of knowledge: 6236 verses (in a period of about 25+ years).
4. Many verses are vague and repetitive in nature.
5. Prophet declared himself to be the last prophet.
If “Iman” (strongest believe) is everything, then you need not bother. Because the strongest believe discards rational thinking. Also, how one can believe in Allah who needs constant praising to thrive?
27. No free thinking in Islamic education:
A quote from the book ‘Islamic Education Theory and Practice’ written by Dr Zafar Alam and published by Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi is given below. For the benefit of reviewing, the quoted four continuous sentences are placed separately.
1. “Islam disregards the view that faith is an obstacle in the way of free thinking and that without the belief in Allah one cannot go through the process of scientific investigation.
2.The intellectual history of Islam has falsified this notion and has already proved that firm belief in Allah’s existence breaks the shackles of mental slavery and frees the individual from superstitions and presumptions.
3.Only the visualization of Allah is considered beyond the comprehension and intellect of human beings.
4. So, for the Muslim scholars, everything except Him is a subject of perusal and the matter of investigation and inquiry.”
1. When the very existence of Allah cannot stand scientific examination, the first sentence is hollow. It can only be right if an ‘obstacle of faith’ is put in the path of free thinking and scientific investigation.
2. The second sentence reiterates “firm belief in Allah’s existence breaks the shackles of mental slavery and frees the individual from superstitions and presumptions”. Here again when the existence of Allah is based on presumptive belief (without any scientific proof), freeing human beings from other presumptions through Islamic education is a matter of joke.
3. In third sentence, Allah has been placed in such comfortable and secured situation that presumptive belief remains the only option about His existence.
4. Fourth sentence actually forbids the Muslim scholars to investigate and inquire about Allah. One can understand the situation of common Muslims. Using of words like ‘free thinking’ and ‘scientific inquiries’ in Islamic education thus become without any substance.
Islam does not permit free thinking in Islamic education. If it does so, the very basis of Islam will be jeopardized. Prophet knew that quite well and so do the contractors of Islam now.
28. Iman and only Iman:
If one believes that:
1. Only ‘Allah’ is Almighty and creator of everything in this universe,
2. Muhammad is the best and last prophet,
3. Islam is the best religion,
4. Qur’an, Hadith & Sunnah make best and complete guide for human beings,
5. A Muslim will go to paradise after death if he believes and follows the path of Allah (Qur’an, Hadith & Sunnah) in this life. Otherwise, he and all non-believers will go to hell.
Believing the words like “only creator”, “best prophet”, “best religion”, “last prophet” “complete guide”, “paradise” and “hell” is funniest aspect of Islam. Self promoting Islam had to cling to those beliefs during its inception when it was propagated by the prophet among the cruel Bedouins. If you remove these beliefs, Islam remains a bla…bla… of a seventh century warrior of Arabia.
It is true that no religion can deny the existence of such mind set. But in case of Islam it is universal, extremely rigid and part of life style. When one believes in above mentioned notions with 100 per cent certainty, how can he be a rational person with empathy towards non-believers? Is this world only for Muslims? Can Islam conceive and practice peaceful co-existence with non-believers?
Thousands of books have been written by Islamic scholars about the goodness of Islam. But can anybody tell me the names of some books where Islamic scholars have written (in an impartial & scholarly way) about the actual socio-religious practices of Muslims in different countries of the world?
29. The world is for all:
Claiming one’s religion to be the best among all the religions is utterly wrong and foolish. The people who believe and propagate such concept actually cause harm to humanity. Who was authorized to make such independent comparison? What were the methods of comparison? Is such result of comparison acceptable to people of other religions? Try to answer these three questions and you will know the hollowness of the claim of Islam.
One can have one’s own belief. But sanctifying such belief as ‘only truth’ and castigating other’s belief in the name of Allah is farfetched. If one believes that Allah, through Jibril, spoke to Prophet (in Qureish dialect) some 14 hundred years ago in Saudi Arabia, then he should believe in all such bogus aspects of every other religion with equal intensity. But no way. Because, Allah is self promoting and ruthless like a dictator. He wanted to crush all other religions. Thus concept of ‘Ummah’ and ‘Dar-al-Islam’ smells of Nazi philosophy.
30. Pragmatically speaking:
Just think of the time and place when and where Mohammad lived and died. He was a leader among warring Bedouin tribes and tried all the tricks to keep his followers together and consolidate his influence among different tribes. He used religion (Islam) as an instrument only. He could hardly foresee that there will be about 50 Muslim dominated countries in today’s world. So, one can possibly forgive Mohammad for all his misdeeds.
But problem started when vested interests within early Islamic period began utilising Islam and the so-called prophet-hood of Mohammad as tools for geographical expansion. Islam gradually became a dogma like Nazism. And a dogma always shuns reasoning and keeps the mental shutters of followers down. Over the centuries, this dogma has become ‘The Conscious Identity’ of all Muslims to which they cling heart and soul. Thus, diluting Islamic dogmas means diluting this identity, which no Muslim wants. This type of religious identity is found in the followers of all other religions also. But this is not so universal as in case of Islam. Thus the problem with Islam goes on.
31. Poverty Vs Islam:
If Islam is so good for humanity, then why so much of poverty and hunger prevail in Bangladesh? Why ‘Zaakat’ could not improve the condition of poor people in Bangladesh? Whatever argument one can put forward, there is gross disparity in opportunity and income in Bangladesh. Rich is getting richer and poor poorer. I do not believe in Communism and don’t mean that Socialism will solve all such problems. I simply tell that Islam has miserably failed to address this issue. If one is hungry & lives in a poor socio-economic environment, how can he believes in Islam? Islam should not carry any positive meaning to him. But unfortunately, Bangladeshi poor accepts poverty as “fictitious” Allah’s will. Islam has done this crime on the poor people of Bangladesh.
32. Islamist groups in Bangladesh:
Besides Jaamat, there are about 30 Islamist groups in Bangladesh. Some like Jaamat has political colour but others do not have any political affiliation. These groups have a common objective to Islamize all aspects of life and governance in Bangladesh. They think that their professed path can solve all the problems of Bangladeshis in this life and ensure their entry to paradise after death. The Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jaamat, is very strong in some universities of Bangladesh. The poor governance with lack of vision, sincerity and initiatives by successive governments have directly and indirectly helped these Islamist groups.
Theoretically speaking, if such Islamist groups succeed an intense power strugle will ensure between different groups. Each will claim to represent the true Islam. A small group of religious “Badshas’ will rule over the majority of religious ‘Gulams’. Socio-economic picture will not improve.
I wish someone from any of these groups explain how only Islam will transform this ‘bottomless basket of Bangladesh’ in to ‘Sonar Bangla’ where there will not be any illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, corruption and exploitation.
I am patiently waiting for the response.
33. Maldives’ story:
Maldives, a tiny Sunni Islamic island-country in Indian Ocean has banned the spas in its resorts. This was the result of an agitation spearheaded by Islamist parties of the country. Truly, their objection was justified as most of these spas act as front for brothels and alcohol shops. The closure of spas will bring down the tourism industry of the country which constitutes about 30 of GDP.
So far so good. But unfortunately, most of these spas are owned by the rich and influential people who wanted the ban on spas. Some questions arise at this point:
- Why this late enlightment?
- How the economic factor will be tackled?
- Will brothel and alcohol vanish from Maldives?
This is actually a false enlightment. Brothel and alcohol will be available in some other way. The rich and influential few of Maldives will continue to run brothel and sale alcohol. Common Maldivians will be happy for the victory of Islamic values. This is the hypocrisy from which Islam perpetually suffer.
34. Inhuman Islam:
Creation of Pakistan during 1947 established that Muslims are mainly segregated in Western India and the then Eastern Bengal. The issue arises about the genesis of such development particularly in Eastern Bengal. There are two schools of opinions. One tells that Hindus of Eastern Bengal were converted to Islam through force. Other school believes that it was not Hindus but local tribes of the then Bengal were attracted to Islam for its message of love and brotherhood.
If one examines the history carefully, it will be clear that the actual reason is a combination of both schools of opinions. The first group tries to establish the ruthlessness of Islam. Whereas, the second group wants to establish a non-Hindu and voluntary genesis of Islam in present Bangladesh.
Let us stop the chewing-the-cud of past. The recent burning of Bhagabad Gita in Sylhet district of Bangladesh and forceful conversion of a minor Hindu girl in Southern Pakistan give the present face of Islam. Absence of strong protest by mainstream Muslims of Bangladesh and Pakistan against such atrocities has established this fact. This is, however, the tip of iceberg. The actual magnitude of atrocity against Hindus is much deeper and wider in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Islam has blinded most of the Muslims and made them inhuman. This is the contribution of Islam.
35. Too much of everything is bad:
Absolute belief in a fictitious Allah can make people fatalistic. Absolute surrender to a non-existent Allah can blur rational thinking. When everything becomes secondary to a supposed Allah in thoughts and practices, people become fanatics. When fatalistic attitude, irrationality and fanaticism mix with vested interests, culmination to terrorist activities can only happen.
36. Zakir TV:
Zakir Naik (Peace TV) is intellectually handicap. He has made Islam a product for marketing. Like advertisement of ‘fairness creams’ and ‘shampoos’ in TV channels, he keeps on telling that his religion (Islam) is the best. His arguments, at times, can remind one that a murderer has also reasons to commit the crime. But civilised society cannot accept the arguments of a murderer. He is a 24 x 7 Islamic Goebel. His public presence is dangerous as it may instigate other religions to come out with their Zakir Naiks. He has really bored all sane people with his monotone of ‘Islam is the best because of so and so and so”. All rational people should condemn Zakir Naik.