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Breaking free from Islam Between Halal and Haram: Part 12

by Khaled Hammad

A picture of the author.

Khaled’s fascinating story is serialized on this site every Thursday. You can read it here:

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here. Part 7 is here. Part 8 is here. Part 9 is here. Part 10 is here.

Part 11 is here.

 There is also a poem by Khaled.

A Journey Through Hell Fire

Chapter 12: “Empowerment”

Breaking free from Islam Between Halal and Haram

My belief now is that knowledge is empowering. However, when I was inside the Islam box, I was bound by a ‘knowledge’ that I was required to obtain. To expand a bit, over a telephone conversation with my cousin, who lives in Egypt, he asked me what my daughter studies. ‘Philosophy and religions,’ I replied. ‘Oh, but… isn’t that DANGEROUS?’ he said. When I asked why it would be dangerous, he replied that philosophy could cause her mind to wander away from our faith, meaning Islam. To his horror, I replied, ‘Knowledge is empowering, dear cousin. I prefer an atheist daughter who has developed a critical mind to a daughter who believes in a certain religion just because I told her that it is the absolute truth.’ Of course, that was a shock to my cousin, who did not know till this point in time that I had left Islam. He was caught between agreeing with me out of respect for his kind cousin and between the fear of “god” for entering such a prohibited intellectual zone, in addition to feeling sorry for the apparent mind drift that I seemed to have undergone. We ended the conversation by me comforting him by saying that God commanded us to think, supported by some verses of the Quran, which I have in my arsenal. The elasticity of Islam worked well in my favour. This little story illustrates how Muslims, probably like most followers of dogmatic ideologies, find their comfort zone in confounding alternative perspectives with specific stagnant arguments. No thinking outside that, or else you will risk mind-drifting, a phenomenon whereby a follower starts to develop difficult questions, logical arguments and, “god” forbid, critical points of view, which might lead to apostasy, the very path that I took 20 years ago.

The books I received from Egypt were a pivoting point in my path. We are talking about historical books that dated events that occurred in three eras following the death of the Prophet Muhammad, plus an interesting one that dated the tribal climate in Mecca during which Islam was borne.

At this point, it is beneficial to introduce the full name of the Prophet, which is widely agreed upon by scholars: Muhammed bin Abd Allah bin Abd al-Muttalib bin Hashim bin Abd Manaf bin Qussay bin Kelab. The word “bin” that is repeated in the name means “Son of”. Osama Bin Laden, for example,  means Osama, the son of Laden. This is an Arabic way of relating people to their surnames, similar to where the surnames Jameson, Peterson or Dyson come from. Knowing the full name of the Prophet will help the reader to appreciate the role his ancestors played in establishing the foundation on which Islam was built and how these ancestors, from the writer’s viewpoint, have paved the way for a movement the rise of which was to happen one way or another.

What did the book say about the role of those and the tribal climate in Mecca?

[To be continued….]

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