The clerics routinely testify that Islam is a religion of peace, love, and tolerance yet within the same breath demonize other religions as evil, ungodly, and inhuman. The Quran exhorts Muslims to respect other religions [Quran 29:46], [Quran 49:16], [Quran 5:8], [Quran 60:8].
Recently, I have been perusing through a number of posts and lectures (video) published by some well-known Muslim clerics in Malaysia on their Facebook pages and blogs. They are essentially carbon copies of the very same lectures that can be seen in Islamic talk shows on television, but with different presenters.
I couldn’t help but notice that the vast majority of Muslim clerics in Malaysia seem to be engaged in selling Islamic-like sayings, hearsay reports, and merchandise on their Facebook pages. One can only wonder what their goals really are. Perhaps procuring more followers, “likes”, and sales? Perhaps profit?
My intention in this piece is not to claim greater intelligence or knowledge regarding Islam, but to observe and infer on what is being “taught” and “preached”. I notice a similar trend among the ramblings of these religious zealots. They discuss the same topics over and over again with carbon-copy precision. Topics such as “Islamic guide to sexual relations” and “hating the Jews and jihad wars against the west” are common. And let’s not forget the “Ticket to Heaven” topics, as they get the most “likes”. To make a long story short, all I have seen is “Fucking at night” and “Hating the Jews in the morning”.
To quote Marjane Satrapi: “The real war is not between the West and the East. The real war is between intelligent and stupid people“.
Well, if one prefers a more divine perspective, let me quote God’s:
[Quran 2:115] To God belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of God. God is Omnipresent, Omniscient.
It seems that these religious zealots know nothing more than theories consisting of paranormal stories and calls for holy war that spark hatred towards non-Muslim communities. I can’t help but be dismayed that my fellow young Muslims are being pulled into this distorted “wisdom”. Yet when one takes an objective look at the Western world, we see progress and humanitarianism. From there, the largest humanitarian organizations are addressing hunger worldwide regardless of race, class, or religion. Prioritizing has long been a weakness of Muslims countries. Muslims have got to start prioritizing more effectively and learn the importance of knowing what matters.
[Quran 3:92] You cannot attain righteousness until you give to charity from the possessions you love. Whatever you give to charity, God is fully aware thereof.
The word “righteousness” as shown above clearly defines the many more duties for us rational Muslims. There is more to faith than religiosity, piety and public displays of “proper hijab” rather than wasting our time on these facetious duties, we must learn to prioritize. Prioritizing is one of those things in life that we can always learn how to improve on in order to make better choices. This is rather one of the many focal points our clerics should focus on. There is more to religion than advocating the banning of books, discriminating against other religions/sects, and claiming superiority over fellow human beings.
The clerics routinely testify that Islam is a religion of peace, love, and tolerance — yet within the same breath demonize other religions as evil, ungodly, and inhuman. The Quran exhorts Muslims to respects other religions [Quran 29:46], [Quran 49:16], [Quran 5:8], [Quran 60:8].
Preaching and praying
Our clerics seem to have obsessions with specific actions and groups within our country.
One example is out of wedlock births. What is this religious obsession about? Clerics belittle, demean, and vociferously condemn the acts that lead to out of wedlock births. Vivid visuals detailing the sickness, disease, and chastisement that will be incurred upon “these “evil doers” are routinely broadcasted to the masses. What about the phenomenon of Muslim children who are born to married couples and are living in poverty and adverse conditions? Thus understanding the effects of poverty is vital.
Falling into poverty in childhood can last a lifetime – rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. As such, child poverty threatens not only the individual child, but is likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and even exacerbating inequality in society – Unicef
Therefore why no mention of poverty? Why no mention of homelessness? Why no mention of classism? Why no mention of psychological issues? Why no mention of love and family injustices that prevents people from being together? As stated by the world’s largest humanitarian agency “World Food Programme” — hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to the health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
The clerics should make a genuine concerted effort towards addressing these issues. We can no longer continue to rely on “politicians”. A simple way to start would be a sermon that contains a number of scientific facts not superstitions. Don’t demonize the people, but rather address the causes that lead to these issues. Work with the community in drafting plans to help our poor, help our needy, and help all who ask for help. Poverty will never end unless there are real solutions to address it. If not, then sadly I must say that we can no longer continue to rely on clerics as they are seeking a cheap material gain over tackling these real issues.
[Quran 2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, “This is what God has revealed,” seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.
In many cases clerics will do their best to twist and contort an issue until it is to be believed safely “acceptable” by the majority. I’m referring to the issue of ”There is no compulsion in religion”. I’ll be elaborating more about it later in my next article (If God wills) depending on the number of the death threats I receive after this article is published.
What is there to hope for when the speeches coming from these “godly” people have started to give in to peer pressure and political dogmas (not that of God’s) that leave the Muslim world derelict and despaired? It’s no wonder why the concept of Zakat ending poverty has not come into fruition.
Moreover, they seem to be so busy narrating us paranormal stories let alone those efforts at re-quoting an enormous hearsay reports from Hadith narrators in the past, who thought that the Prophet had said something about this and that and so forth more than 200 years before they were even born.
Preaching: Where is the intellect?
I have often wondered why Friday prayer sermons tend to be mundane repetitions claims as mentioned above. Why can’t they be more interesting? Intellectually challenging learning experiences about the sciences rather than superstitions will benefit us more.
Religious institutions could have invited astronomers, cosmologists, astrophysicists, engineers, doctors, historians, and the like to speak about the wonders that makes up this cosmos. We must move beyond “Pak Lebai” and “Pak Imam” if we are to advance in this global community that is humanity.
To be respected as a godly person or to become a head of any religious institution, one must be humble and understand that he/she does not know all the answers, especially when it comes to science. One must educate oneself in the sciences and connect the many “dots” that connect with religion. There is no clash between science and religion except to those who willfully choose to be ignorant.
Societies can no longer rely on sermons containing hearsay reports and many other petty matters that have been passed around for many generations whose contents no longer contribute towards better reasoning and intellectual growth. The Quran is the book that emphasized the importance of learning, questioning, discovery, and the pursuit of knowledge. It encourages the reader to seek the truth through the use of reasoning.
[Quran 21:30] Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?
The verse above not only shows how water is essential to humans and other life forms, but it also clearly explains how the universe is created. Contemporary scientists and scholars now call it “The Big Bang “. The Quran’s documentation on the subject of cosmology is centuries ahead of its time. Furthermore it [Quran 51:47] informs us the universe is continuously expanding. This very same concept has been explained by countless scientists, one being the late Carl Sagan in the series ‘Cosmos’. We must embrace and expand our faith beyond as more than just hearsay reports and outdated consensus that have been passed down by the clerics. Our scripture commands us to do so and we must so.
What is the clergy?
One may wonder why many Muslims do not believe in pluralism and diversity and are always on the mode of warring other religions? I suppose you have the answer now. Why have our youth been taught to believe the clergy as the sole deciders for what is right and what is wrong? Why do they believe the clergy knows what will lead to hell or heaven or who deserves to live or die? What about the one and only God? If clerics are conceived as Gods, then Muslims are obliged to replace very one of our Creator’s attributes with a cleric’s “wisdom” and “morality”.
I personally wonder what defines a member of the clergy, what are the requirements? Must one know how to recite a number of sentences in Arabic, don a skullcap, and keep a long untrimmed beard to become a member of the clergy? To be blunt, is parroting all it takes to become a clergymen?
The Quran makes no mention of the requirements. There are no categories such as ‘Ustaz/Ustazah or The Guided One (Al-Khulafaa’ Al-Rashideen) mentioned in the scripture. In fact the term “Al-Khulafaa’ Al-Rashideen” did not exist in Arabic literature until 200 years later after the departure of the Prophet.
This outmoded yet twisted supposition sadly prevails among Muslim clergymen in Malaysia. It is worsening by the day. It buries God’s simple and divine message to all of humanity in such a way that “ordinary” citizens are lead to believe that they cannot understand religion. That they cannot understand the “godly” things.
Ordinary citizens are considered inferior to these clerics and to appreciate the grace of Islam, they must idolize these clerics. However one should listen to the clergymen, but remember always that they are not Gods (The same goes when you’re reading this article; I am not God). They are human. They do marry; they make mistakes, and frankly in many cases, stupider than the common man when it comes to understanding Islam. God is the best teacher. How many of us will continue following blindly what they have seen or been told by these clerics without investigating? God gave us the five senses and intellect. We must use them at all times.
[Quran 39:18] They are the ones who examine all words, then follow the best. These are the ones whom GOD has guided; these are the ones who possess intelligence.
[Quran 17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.Who suffers the consequence of sins according to the Quran ?.
[Quran 39:7] If you disbelieve, GOD does not need anyone. But He dislikes to see His servants make the wrong decision. If you decide to be appreciative, He is pleased for you. No soul bears the sins of any other soul. Ultimately, to your Lord is your return, then He will inform you of everything you had done. He is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.
The Quran states that a person will only be responsible for his or her actions. Clerics are no exception.
Evidence within the Quran
[Quran 55:2] God is the teacher of Quran.
[Quran 41:44] If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, “Why did it come down in that language?” Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, “For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway.
[Quran 75:16-19] Do not move your tongue (O Muhammad) in anticipation of Quran. It is We who put it together as a Quran. Once we recite it, you shall follow it. Then, it is We who explain it.
After reading this one must ask, what makes these clerics better guardians than the Prophet or even God? Sadly our youth fall prey for this “False Consciousness and Cognitive Dissonance” generated by these clerics. They are easily brainwashed just by hearing a few Arabic names, letters and sounds that conceal the light that is the Quran. The clerics have become idols to the masses. A simple definition of idol worship is to believe that anything besides God can help us, or to grasp onto something as more important to us than God alone. Sadly the majority of Muslims who declare themselves believers in one God, continue to perpetuate this gross offense without even realizing.
The Quran explained many forms of idol worship in great detail in which it is not limited (as some may assume) to the worshiping of any statues.
[Quran 12:106] The majority of those who believe in God do not do so without committing idol worship.
[Quran 2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say,“This is what God has revealed,” seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.