You are my intellectual hero.
I was born and raised in the US in a conservative religious Sunni family from South Asian descent (India-Pakistan). I skipped two years of elementary school to memorize the entire Quran in Arabic without even knowing what any of it meant. After completing hifz, I resumed by secular studies. I also learned and taught Quranic Arabic and Maulana Mawdudi's Tafheemul Quran in English. I prayed 5 times a day, fasted every Ramadan, and did everything I could to save myself and my loved ones from hellfire and the punishment of the grave. I listened to many Islamic scholars such as: Anwar Awlaki (stories of the prophets, day of judgment), Bilal Phillips (Dajjal, day of judgment), Yasir Qadhi (Islamic theology), Waleed Basyouni (history of Islamic sects), Nouman Ali Khan (story of Musa, linguistic miracles of the Quran), Zakir Naik (Christianity vs. Islam, Hinduism vs. Islam), and Mufti Menk (stories of the prophets). I believed Islam was true because everything was too complex to have been created and assembled by chance. Just like every painting had a painter, every living thing had to have a creator. Just like a bomb in a junkyard does not result in a Boeing 747, someone intelligent had to design intelligent life. I also believed that Muhammad was a prophet of god because of his miracles, such as: splitting of the moon, the night journey to heaven, and the linguistically unmatched Quran.
The first time I had doubts about Islam was when I took history 101 at University. My professor talked about the fact that humans are apes and evolved with other apes such as monkeys, gorillas, and orangutans. This went against what I learned about Adam and Eve, Noah, and the other prophets. In my mind, evolution had to be false because it did not make intuitive sense; every human had a human father so logically there must have been a first human (Adam). However, once I learned about DNA, genetics, and the fossil record, I realized that evolution was true and that the Islamic creation theory had no basis in reality.
A few years later, I was perusing through books at the library and chanced upon Richard Dawkin's the Magic of Reality in the editor's section. Once I started reading (the visuals in that book are brilliant, by the way), I became enthralled by the magnificent simplicity of Richard's arguments. He talked about natural phenomena such as: the Sun, the Moon, rain, volcanoes, and earthquakes and explained that myths from cultures around the world were created by humans in order to explain these phenomena. However, once science explained these things in naturalistic terms, the myths were no longer needed and went away. Richard also explained that the world works in natural ways and that miracles do not happen. After reading the book, I left Islam for good. Since all other religions have the same problems, I adopted secular humanism instead.
A few months back, I discovered your YouTube channels (Harris Sultan, Pakistani Mulhid) and read your book (The Curse of God: Why I Left Islam). It was the first time I felt like I found someone whose brain worked the same way as mine. I began to understand that Islam is as illogical as it is immoral. Islam claims that Adam and Eve were 90 feet tall and lived to 1,000 years old. Nuh preached for 950 years and had a global flood with one species of every animal that covered the world in 25,000 cubic feet of water. Younus lived in the whale for three days and came back alive. Muhammad flew on a winged horse to heaven (outer space) without an oxygen mask. From the moral side, Islam allowed men to have four wives and take married women as sex slaves. It allowed Muhammad to marry a six year old girl. It endorsed chopping off the hands of thieves and beheading apostates. Why not leave Islam for a moral system like secular humanism in which good is defined by causing happiness to the self and others and preventing suffering in the world?
Luckily in the US and particularly the city in which I live, there is freedom of ideas so I am not in any physical danger. I have told my cousins that I am no longer Muslim and although they are still kind to me no one has been convinced to leave Islam. I have not told the adults in my extended family because they are heavily insulated with Islam and cannot consider any other worldview.
I believe that your activism will result in a BIG positive change in Pakistan and around the world. The Pakistani Mulhid channel in particular will disrupt Pakistan in a way never seen before. People in Pakistan are very insulated with Islam and are fed Islamic propaganda from morning to night. Your channel offers a view that contradicts the status quo with strong and irresistible logic. I predict that thanks to your efforts and others (like Ali Rizvi, Armin Navabi, Richard Dawkins, etc.) Pakistan will have a majority of ex Muslim atheists and secular humanists within the next 2 centuries. Your work is directly impacting thousands of lives in a positive way and you are GREATLY appreciated. Please continue you are work. I and people like me have your back and we will support you in every way we can.
Thank you, Afif Khaja
I have this book and I have read it. Let me just say that is a superbly well written book. It mirrors my own thought process and life experience very closely. if I had written a book on my own beliefs it would have closely mirrored the arguments presented in "The Curse of God." I highly recommend it for people interested in knowing the atheist side of the argument and the logical & moral quagmires that Islam (and all other religions) presents. I believe that this book presents a rock solid argument in favor of atheism over Islam
Atheism & Islam