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First time blogger here


Demetz

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This is my first entry here (as though you couldn't tell). Basically I intend to use this space as somewhat of a journal, so I guess I'll start with what's happened since I woke up today.

 

Had breakfast with the family today for the first time in a long time. That's when they sprung a surprise family BBQ party on me for today, which meant lots of cleaning up to do. I vaccumed out the pool and cleaned out the pool filter (I can't believe how quickly that thing gets clogged up!). The chlorine is still pretty high from a couple days ago, but other than wait there's really not much I can do about that. When I finished off the pool I started on my next project, not really relevant to the BBQ, but definitely something that needed to be done, I pulled out the ion air filters for our Air conditioning unit to clean them out. For those of you who don't know what that means, it involves removing two heavy, metal, cells ~ 2' x 3' and dipping them up and down over and over again in scalding hot water, using dish soap to get them clean. The insides of things are filled with flat sheets of metal and thin wires that get charged up and pull dust out of the air system when on, but for cleaning purposes they might as well be filled with row after row of razor blades so you have to really careful when carring them around. I've done it a couple times before, so no cuts for me this time around.

 

About the time I finished cleaning and rinsing those, Mom came back from shopping... with all the wrong stuff. After about ten minutes of arguing we finally settled on going back out to get the stuff we needed. Our family... we argue about things that don't need to be argued about instead of explaining what it is that is really the problem. For example, bringing home the wrong things is easy enough to fix by going out and getting the right stuff.

 

I did something pretty out of charcter for me, and actually told my dad what I was thinking about this. That got him to explain what really bothered him, he wanted this party to be like the ones he had when he was a kid which meant getting the same stuff he had as a kid, and had told her as much. When she brought home other things instead of going to a different store to get what he wanted he felt like she was just dismissing him. For her part, she didn't see what the big deal was. But after they talked a bit on the way to the store she figured it out and apologized.

 

I can say this much for my family and my parents, we don't always communicate very well, but we don't stay angry for long. I'm very lucky to have them. In spite of all the arguments they've had over the years my father never once lifted a hand to my mom, and they're still together after more than twenty years of marriage... something of an anomaly both to the country and to our extended family.

 

I got a chance to talk to another Muslim apostate today. I suppose I should explain what I mean by that first. I converted to Islam in the summer of 2004. I had read much of the Qur'an and was surprised at just how many principles I shared with Islam. I had spent about a year defending Islam from those who attacked it, eventually I asked myself, "you keep defending this religion as fervently as though it were your own, what's stopping you?"

 

Right now you're probably thinking "Duh, we're at war with people who kill we Americans as part of their religious duties." It was in studying Islam that I came to understand those people are not following their religion at all, but using it as a tool to their own political ends. The Qur'an is the highest religious authority in Islam, and within it is something I had never expected to find as part of any religion. 2:256 There shall be no compulsion in religion. It through me quite a bit off balance when I first read that. Like most Americans I knew almost nothing about Islam. What I did know of Islamic history was limited to its military expansion (of course none of the textbooks seemed to find it important to explain what brought about each of the wars of expansion, but that's a rant for another time). To see, right there in the most Holy text of Islam words announcing religious freedom where I though no religion could ever do such a thing, blew my mind. Reading in other parts where it was stated that people were to be judged not merely on what faith they professed on death, but by their deeds in life regardless of which religion they followed sealed it for me: Islam was a different kind of religion. Those who used it to justify murder were ignorant themselves or playing on the ignorance of others. This is what I once wholeheartedly believed.

 

However, as time went on I began to discover the other side of Islam, the side which is not believed to be the direct word of God, as the Qur'an is considered to be, but is nonetheless allowed by many scholars and religious leaders to supercede what is written in the Qur'an. The hadith. I have not studied the hadith in depth, nor am I likely to at any point in the future. Most of my knowledge of the hadith comes from where I've seen them cited in fatwas (religious edicts issued by Muslim scholars, although in the West they are known more for their use by fundamentalists to issue death warrants). In the hadith it is written that one who changes his religion must be put to death. This was such a departure from what I had read in the Qur'an that I felt certain that this must have come from one of the dubious hadith, that it must have been forged or altered, but according to Islamic standards (they have somewhat of a rating system for which hadith are most authentic) the collection in which that was written was perfectly preserved (something I still dispute, given that it was transmitted orally before written, but I digress). How to explain this incongruity between the Qur'an's declaration of religious freedom and the hadith's cold warrant of death for apostasy? This occupied my mind for some time. I talked with a traditionalist who was fairly familiar with the hadith and scholarly opinoins regarding them. It seems that apostasy is punishable by death, but only under certain circumstances. There must be absolutely no doubt that the person in question has in fact left the religion. There must be absolutely no doubt as to that person's sanity. That person must be offered the chance to return to Islam. If they refuse they must be offered exile. Finally, only a Caliph or a Caliph's representative my order an execution. Moderates and traditionalist scholars would therefore argue that apostasy is not punnishable by death since there is no caliph to issue such an order. This, my traditionalist friend said, means that I shouldn't worry about that.

 

However, part of Islam and part of believing in Islam is believing that Islam will eventually be the dominant religion in every country of the world. For such a thing to occur a Caliphate would be established. To believe in Islam would be to believe that this should happen. I could not bring myself to believe that the coming to power of a caliph who could (and would be obligated to) order the execution of apostates would be a good thing. It is in fact the opposite of something I believe very deeply, that everyone must have the freedom to explore religions, or not, as they choose. Realizing this was the first major impasse between me and Islam, and is one of the primary reasons why I am not a Muslim today.

 

The other reason I do no longer consider myself Muslim is that Islam, like the other two Abrahamic faiths, does not look well upon any form of homosexuality. Some Muslims rationalize that this is merely because homosexual acts would be tantamount to adultery, which is an extreme sin to Islam do to the effect adultery has on a family. The Qur'an condemns homosexuality in its several tellings of the story of Lot, however, of the several versions of the story, IIRC, only one mentions the crimes of rape and robbery that are often cited as the real reason for God's vengeance being unleashed. This means that as far as the Qur'an is concerned, the homosexuality alone was enough. I do not, can not, and will not believe that a loving God could be so cold. Although no punishment is prescribed by the Qur'an for homosexuality specifically, and nor do the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ever mention it, it was decided in the time of the companions of the Prophet (after his death) that homosexuality should be punished with death. This sentiment is common even now throughout much of the Muslim world. Even if I set aside the hadith and focused solely on the Qur'an as a guide, homosexuality is still condemned by Islam, and in such away that even were there no hadith, belief that gays will bring about some form of apocalypse would still become prevalent, and where that happens so will the rejection and persecution. Even setting aside my own sexuality, I have no wish to be a part of a religion that would do that to people who have done nothing wrong.

 

As of April 25, 2006 I finalized my decision to leave Islam. I felt obligated to inform the small online community I was a part of of my decision and to explain to them why I had made it. Those who knew me there were very kind about it and did not get angry. They were saddened, tried to convince me to change my mind, but it was already made up and was not going to change. Two of those who didn't know me reacted with as much spite and malice as you would expect to come from Bin Laden himself. There was one person who knew me and with whom I had had several major arguments with... he is still somewhat of an enigma to me. He was not spiteful of my leaving, if anything he was probably happy because with me gone there is no longer anyone to challenge him on his more ridiculous viewpoints. I am now greeted by him with "Hi Kuffar," meaning "hi disbeliever," intended to be a slur. I've quit responding to him.

 

So... where was I before this lovely little tangent? Oh yeah, I got the chance to chat with another apostate today. Unlike me, she was "born" into Islam. She actually left before I joined. It was very hard for her, but living in the United States rather than Afghanistan (where her family is from) has helped her a lot. Her experience with Islam was decidedly more negative than my own. Where I had the luxury of studying and exploring it as I pleased she grew up with it and is not at all fond of that fact. She tells me that she can't believe I ever was a Muslim, that I was too nice and too open minded for that. In a way, she's right, but I hold no ill will toward those who live as Muslims. When they uphold what I consider to be the most important teachings of the Qur'an - to always be courteous of those around you, to never become aggressive, to be willing to consider forgiving those who have wronged you at times, and to be willing to inform others about Islam but never force it on them - those people are good and decent people with whom I hold no quarrel. I hope she recognizes eventually that people who follow Islam are not necessarily always the kind who feel the need to take morality into their own hands and beat other people with it.

 

Well, that concludes my first entry, hope it wasn't too boring of a read.

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Hey Demetz,

 

I didnt think your entry was boring at all. I've thought about Islam a lot, but the most I know about it comes from reading The Final Call . Theres always someone selling the new edition by a stoplight and it's only a dollar.

I'm a Christian, and my faith in Christ is deeper than I can express, but I think it's good to educate myself about a religion that I really don't know anything about. Minister Farakahn makes a lot of sense when he speaks, and listening to him talk about community and what American muslims should do for people around them is really quite inspiring. His words have a way of opening up my mind and making me think about things in a way I never would have before.

As for the swim party, good luck :) I wish we had a pool. We do have a hot tub, but last year me and about 20 of my friends all squeezed in it together to see if we could all fit and we knocked almost all of the water out and my dad went Flip Mode on us :lmao::lmao:

Needless to say, we aren't allowed in the hot tub this year :D:D

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Hi Demetz

 

Welcome!

 

I know as much about Islam as I know about say- the Andromeda galaxy. It's there, it's big and complex but I've never mixed or mingled with anyone from there.

 

That is half the fun of the net-- even a redneck from the sticks like me can meet all sorts of people.

 

Word up to any Andromedians that might be online. ;)

 

JS

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I just found your blog, so thought I'd comment.

 

I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on Islam. I'm very interested in the subject (due to my interest in the Middle East), but it's rare indeed for me to be able to see it from an "inside" viewpoint.

 

I am fascinated by the enigma of the Haddiths. If the Koran is believed to be the word of God, how can anything be believed to supercede it?

 

I don't mean that as a slam against Islam, as there are similar paradoxes in the Christian world, and probably with many other religions as well.

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