Thursday, May 19, 2022

Why Islam Has An Atavistic Aversion To Atheism And Agnosticism?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 19 May 2022 Religion Is Not Just An Insult To Human Dignity, It's A Travesty Of Human Intelligence And God Is The Most Venomous Concoction Of Mankind Main Points: 1. To be an atheist in Islam is tantamount to committing a felony. 2. Why the traditional Islam, particularly Sunni Islam, is dead against the Sufism and its exponents? 3. Most of the Sufis didn't believe in the orthodoxy of Quran and Hadees ------ This pertains to Mr Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqui's otherwise 'nice' article, " Was Muhammad Bin Zakariya Razi, A Well-Known Muslim Scientist, An Atheist? " The devout writer and a sane apologist of Islam has tried tooth and nail to prove that Muhammad Bin Zakaria Razi was a believer and NOT an atheist as he was believed to be. Okay, in deference to the writer Mr Siddiqui, let me willy-nilly believe that Razi was a believer. But wasn't he a vehement sceptic or an agnostic, who truly upheld the spirit of ijtihad (questioning or independent reasoning, esp. religious questioning in Arabic)? All Muslims must read the renowned Muslim thinker Abdel Rahman Badawi's " From the History of Atheism in Islam." First published in Arabic, the book was reprinted only once in 1993. It discusses the work of the Islamic philosopher-scientists of the medieval period and the way they upheld reason, freedom of thought and humanist values, while questioning and often refuting some basic Islamic tenets. This book is blasphemous to most of the Muslims and its second reprint is heavily expurgated. Amira Nowaira wrote in her long essay for The Guardian, London, " When Islamic Atheism Thrived "- ' It may therefore come as a surprise to many people that there is a long and vibrant intellectual tradition of dissidence and freethinking going back to the Middle Ages. The Islamic thinkers of the early medieval period expressed ideas and engaged in debates that would appear strangely enlightened in comparison with the attitudes and views adopted by modern Islamic scholarship.' To be an atheist in Islam is tantamount to committing a felony. Have you ever thought, why the traditional Islam, particularly Sunni Islam, is dead against the Sufism and its exponents? The reason being Sufis' unconventional devotion to Allah. Most of the Sufis didn't believe in the orthodoxy of Quran and Hadees and Hakim Sanai went on to say that ' angels offered Namaz, including the Namaz-e-Tahajjud (the Namaz offered at the crack of the dawn and is not mandatory like 5-time Namaz) for him! Yet, he wasn't beheaded or perhaps managed to cheat the gallows/scaffold! But, the modern Islam never discusses Sanai's impudent atheism and at the most calls him a heretic (Read, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism by Henry Corbin, 1971). It's a well-guarded secret. Here I hasten to add that Sanai lost all faith towards the fag-end of his life. A few years ago, I wrote an article for The TOI in which I clearly and categorically stated that Fariduddin Attar, the putative master of the redoubtable Rumi, discarded Allah, Quran and Islam and wasn't entombed or burnt. He believed that Khuda was not a separate identity but is actually one's Khudi (Self is the Supreme Self). Can you imagine the same statement coming from a Muslim in these turbulent times of bigotry? His head will be somersaulting the very next moment. Talibans have officially declared that Sufis are not Muslims. Ironically, Afghanistan has been the conveyor belt of Sufis, the great Rumi spearheads the list. He was born in Balkh, Afghanistan-Eastern Persia, therefore also known as Rumi Balkhi. Two of the greatest mystics hailed from Afghanistan: Hakim Sanai (Ghazni) and Hakim Jami (Herat). Despite their audacious spiritual proclamations, Islam tried to present these greats as spiritual heretics (What an Oxymoron!) but often refrained from calling them outright Munkir-e-Zaat or Murtad (Atheists and Apostates). The problem with orthodox Islam is that it erroneously thinks that it's the ONLY TRUE FAITH, signed and sent by Allah. Ergo, anyone in its fold, denying it at a later stage is an affront to Islam's DIVINELY FLAWLESS image. It'll be a spiritual embarrassment for the entire Islam. So, Islam refrains from using the word atheist for those who question its tenets and leave it. By the way, Muslims believe that their Allah is unique and exclusive. So he cannot be equated with god or Bhagwan. Though there've been innumerable silent dissenters in the history of Islam, very few have openly come out and proclaimed their disillusionment with Islam. The Persian mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj, who was excoriated on March 26 (ironically, his birthday!) 922 CE for saying An-al-Haq (the direct translation of Upanishadic Aham Brahmasmi......I'm the Truth). Muslim scholars vehemently deny but the fact is, Mansur almost left Islam and accepted the Eastern or Vedantic Consciousness (Hinduism as a name came rather late). So, his skin was ruthlessly peeled off. I remember, I attended a seminar in Delhi in which a scholarly Muslim speaker was trying to call Mansur, the greatest Muslim, perhaps as a mark of atonement. Sorry, he left Islam and had he lived longer, he would have left the Oriental Consciousness as well because an evolved human like Mansur needed no god, no spirituality and no theological crutches. He Himself was god or Allah. Aurangzeb executed his brother Dara Shikoh because the latter embraced Hinduism from a Brahmin priest from Kashi. So, it's always quite risky for a Muslim to be an atheist. And if he happens to be a man of great achievements, like Muhammad Bin Zakariya Razi, apologists like Mr Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqui will leave no stone unturned to prove him a hardcore believer! Lastly, Pakistani Nobel laureate in Physics, Dr Abdus Salam was a non-believer who retained his Ahmadiyya Muslim tag just to prove that he was proud of being an Ahmadiyya, an eyesore to Sunnis and Salafists. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. It's worthwhile to mention that Professor Salam embellished the wall of his private laboratory in England with the famous quote of his colleague and fellow Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, who was an avowed atheist: “ With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion. Religion is an insult to human dignity. " There cannot be two views about it. Religion is not just an insult to human dignity, it's a travesty of human intelligence and god is the most venomous concoction of mankind. ---- An occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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