Friday, 17 July 2009

‘Freethinkers’ Vs Islam and the Burden of Proof

How often do we hear the familiar questions; - “Prove that God exists?”, “Prove that Muhammad (SAW) is a Prophet of God?”, “Prove that the Quran is the word of God?” These questions are reasonable; the Muslims should and have provided answers on these subjects. However, the problem arises when the so-called ‘freethinkers’ pose such questions to launch a subjective interrogation with preconceived ideas of right and wrong. As if, they have no burden of proof to justify their criteria and dogmas.

They construct a framework of dialogue where they assume the position of judge, jury and executioner by demanding not just answers but ‘proof’ of innocence, from the Muslims as if they are on trial in a court of law! The framework of ‘dialogue’ in essence is a one-way traffic lane: the Muslims are required to produce proof and the ‘freethinkers’ will fire away with their allegations and issue judgements while slyly avoiding the need to prove their own premise. Consequently, the burden of proof is conveniently shifted entirely upon the Muslims turning the ‘debate’ into an inquisition!

Eventually the ‘freethinkers’ take on the liberty to use their ‘free’ minds to express the so-called allegations against Islam using the most vulgar language like the depraved criminal hoodlums!Any neutral observer applying commonsense will appreciate the fact that a debate across two different value systems (ideologies, civilisations or religions) by rational necessity, demands that the burden of ‘proof’ should be a two-way process. Meaning that both sides need to provide evidences to: justify their respective positions and cross-examine each other’s viewpoints! And ideally, neutral arbiters or agreed common set of criteria should be used to determine the validity of the proofs. Otherwise, both sides will only end up trading accusations, counter accusation, continuously diverging, and never converging. Under such premise, it is no longer a debate but the whole exercise is futile.

In reality, the common trait amongst these so-called ‘freethinkers’ is their obsession with demonising Islam while simultaneously lacking the ability to elaborate on their alternative that is as comprehensive and convincing as Islam with its more than 1.5 billion followers, 1500 years of survival and its constant rising popularity. Dispensing allegations and criticisms, without providing a comprehensive alternative that can rival Islam proves that these ‘freethinkers’ are intellectually bankrupt as well as cowards and hypocrites; - because even a school child knows how easy it is for a hooded individual to call everyone else ugly!

The clearest evidence of their hypocritical and cowardly nature with pretence of being ‘rational’ lies in fact that they do not elaborate on their alternative solutions as vociferously as they express criticisms of Islam and Muslims! My recent interaction with one anti-Islamic fanatic who runs a hate-filled website fulltime confirmed this point. He said he was on a mission to take Muslims out of Islam but I asked him where to. Eventually and reluctantly, he started to mention about his so-called alternative formula but there was no section elaborating that anywhere on his hate-filled website! Well, why not? Because, he is driven by blind hatred of Islam, otherwise his alternative formula would have had prominence on his website. After all the provision of a comprehensive alternative to Islam is by far the most powerful and rational approach to convincing the Muslims to leave Islam!

In reality, none of these ‘freethinkers’ have produced anything that is original other than what has been borrowed from the Orientalists. He goes on to label the entire 1.5 billion Muslims as “animals” and “sub humans” like a typical intellectual midget with a heart of a racists Nazi. Note while labelling the Muslims as animals he also confesses that he was born into a Muslim family, so that must make him an animal too unless of course he admits to being a bastard child, thus maybe only half an animal!

These irrational rationalists constantly bark on as to why Muhammad (saw) is not a Prophet based on the various subjective allegations. If we disprove those charges, all we are achieving is the innocence of the Prophet (SAW) with respect to those charges but it does not establish his Prophet-hood. Otherwise, do we then assume any individual who is innocent of those allegations is a Prophet? If they were objective in this issue, they would have defined what constitutes Prophet-hood in the first place and then argue from that basis against the Prophet-hood of Muhammad (SAW). Such examples proves that these ‘freethinkers’ are not really interested in impartial analysis but foul mouth and hurl insults under the cover of raising allegations.

Eventually they degenerate to a position when they claim that their position is self-evident, so we should take their word for it! They begin to sound like real fanatics trying to shove down other people’s throats of their self-evident ‘truth’. This is after barking at the Muslims for not providing evidence, accusing them of being blind followers.

On the other hand when the ‘freethinkers’ are asked to provide justification for their alternative solution, that is after eventually getting to know what the alternative is in the first place, they demonstrate the most irrational behaviour, churning out contradictory statements. Again this is after bragging about their rationality and their reliance upon reason as ‘freethinkers’ as the following example will demonstrate! Another ‘freethinker’ who arrogantly calls himself a house of glowing wit, argued that secularism in Europe brought progression in the fields of science and technology, therefore the Muslims should adopt it blindly. But when I highlighted that secularism also brought countless genocide using these scientific advances, which continues to this day. It also produced colonisation, mass exploitation and the extreme forms of racist ideologies like Nazism all resulting in immense human misery.

Furthermore, it is rather shallow to assess a merit of a civilisation by its scientific achievements instead of how those were utilised. In frustration, he then argued those actions were not the product of secularism as nobody killed or colonised in the name of secularism. Well, if that is the case did the scientist also invent in the name of secularism? So why attribute good fruits to the tree and leave the bad fruits out? This is clearly irrational behaviour in the absence of a rational explanation. In frustration, he did not want to answer these points despite bragging about his ‘wit’ and he deleted my email responses and kept sending me his diatribe. Thus, the ‘freethinker’ transformed himself into a non-thinker! The dialogue was now one-way monologue with the fanatic trying to shove down my throat his viewpoints.

When they argue against Islamic teachings ironically they express criticism using values that are rooted in religion. As an example the ‘freethinkers’ show disgust at the marriage of Prophet Muhammad to the former wife of his adopted ‘son’ (Zaid Bin Harith). Of course, the purpose of such an action was to dissolve the notion of adopted ‘son’ in Islam as Prophets by definition define morality and ethics; or else, Prophethood is more or less meaningless and irrelevant. But the real contradiction is why the ‘freethinker’ found the marriage of a man supposedly to the former wife of his adopted ‘son’ to be offensive in the first place, since in his mind the adopted son was effectively held the same status as a real son. So, where did he get that value? Surely, if ration is the criteria which he constantly boasts about, who can place a limit and where, on such issues. Who and how one can determine the rights and wrongs of these matters. Clearly, the ‘freethinkers’ carry preconceived ideas about morality and ethics that has religious roots, yet they use that to wage a war against an established religion (ideology) hypocritically.

Thus the ‘freethinkers’ are in reality hypocritical-thinkers, non-thinkers, superficial-thinkers. In fact, they are the ones that display fanaticism and real blind-faith that they refuse to see the contradictions in their so-called alternative formula. Others degenerate to exhibit silence and to hide their embarrassment they go into an abusive mode.

Any impartial observer who really undertook an objective study of Islam, then one of the first questions would have been posed is: who is the author of the Quran. Especially considering that the Arabs of the time, including the most hostile opponents of Islam never claimed that the Quran was the words of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or any other living Arab. Actually, some of the opponent categorically stated that Quran was not the words of Muhammad (SAW). The decisive words (Mutawatir Hadiths) of the Prophet transmitted to us are clearly distinct from the wordings in the Quran in terms of style. The style is very much part of the character of the person.

Also, why suddenly at the age of 40 Muhammad (SAW) started to produce such words as the reality is that even the most talented individuals will evolve from a certain point. There are no evidences to suggest that Muhammad (SAW) had complied similar works prior to producing the Quran, with the Quran representing the apex of his works. Muhammad (SAW) was not even known to be one of the poets or writers in the pagan Arab society. Nor does the Quran itself evolve in its style from the beginning to end, it remains consistent. This is unusual as any work of man has strengths and weaknesses. To answer these questions it necessitates examining the Islamic sources from the established Islamic scholars before examining the viewpoints of the opponents of Islam.

Then comes the questions of how do we know, how can we trust all these narrations. Life itself works on this principle of trust. We do not assume that human beings are natural liars unless we have evidence. Are we certain that our parents are who they say they are? Did we witness the copulation, the successive growth of the embryo to the birth? What do we do when a stranger tells us not to go in a certain direction as danger lies ahead? How do we react? Therefore, on what basis one can doubt multiple corroborative narrations about these events, confirmed by scholars across the board, but these ‘freethinking’ hypocrites are willing to believe any old theory as fact!

The fact is Islam continues to gain followers in the heartland of ‘freethinkers’. In frustration, they lower themselves to fight on their four limbs! In essence, these so-called ‘freethinkers’ are irrational reactionaries obsessed with Islam. Surely if Islam is inherently evil, people would automatically abandon it but instead Islam continue to gain converts in the heartland of the ‘freethinkers’. But thinking about such things would overload their ‘freethinking’ mind.

Too many Muslims have fallen for these traps laid by these malicious ‘freethinkers’ who put on a mask of rationality and logic by poising questions that evolve into interrogation as if they have no position or alternative to justify. For example, if one is not convinced about the evidence provided with respect to the existence of God then that does not automatically mean that a case has been made for the absence of God. They usually get away with this as they are not forced to place their alternative to Islam on the agenda during these pseudo dialogues.

The proof of the existence of God must be accompanied by what proof is there to support the absence of God. Likewise, the proof for Muhammad as the messenger of God must be accompanied by the secular perspective on what constitutes messenger and why Muhammad does not add up to that criterion; or whatever the alternative viewpoint they hold. The same goes for Quran, if one claim it is not the word of God then they must have a set of criteria for what constitutes the word of God! When the tables are turned on them watch the ‘freethinkers’ shrink into little hobbits and run for the nearest hole!

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Published in 22/02/2205


  1. Sorry. Not buying.

    I'm not really trying to defend a system. I'm not making extraordinary claims about the nature of man and morality. I'm not trying to say I have all the answer. I'm simply trying to disprove the validity of your system, so the burden is very much on you. Before we believe that the values in the Quran are the correct values they require a) some sort of logical or scientific proof which is difficult when it comes to values OR b) proof that they are somehow handed down by god to man.

    The proofs you have offered that the quran and Mohammed had some divine inspiration are just pathetically weak, and I can't prove a negative. I can't prove that you aren't a prophet, we can't prove that I'm not a prophet and we can't prove that Mohammed was not a prophet.

    We do know that somewhere between 99.9999999999% - 100% of all humans that have ever lived were not prophets; so to prove that one person was a prophet imposes a pretty heavy burden on a person. A little bit of mystery surrounding the history of the Quran does not come even close to discharging that burden. The reasonable conclusion is that whatever strangeness that went on with respect to the writing of the Quran there is a more logical explanation than divine inspiration.

    What would it take for me to believe that something was an act of god? Its hard to draw a line in the sand. If he appeared 100 feet tall in the sky in front of me I'd probably believe what he said. If he froze time I would probably believe it. If he started talking inside my head I'd probably consult a shrink (in fact any of these things I'd probably consult a shrink before accepting them conclusively). Schizophrenia plays a huge role in God delusions.

    What I do know is that mysterious circumstances surrounding the writing of a book centuries ago doesn't cut it; just as third hand accounts of miracles by biblical writers doesn't cut it.

    I've attempted to withold judgment on Islam and its followers and I don't think Islam and Muslims are inherently and irredemably evil. But the fact is that Islam dictates harsh penalties for seemingly non-crimes (i.e. things that don't harm anyone like apostasy, homosexuality, alcohol). Before I'm even prepared to BEGIN discussing carrying out these penalties I want to see some strong proof that this is gods will and you've provided nothing.

    As for your assertion that we need to know something about Islamic texts and scholarly opinions before opining--I think Richard Dawkins put it best: you dont need a "degree in leprechaunology to prove god doesn't exist". As compelling and attractive as some of what is said in Islamic religious texts, without proof of the basic premise--that it was handed down by god--it means nothing.

    As for intolerance: as long as you believe in punishing gays, apostates, etc. your cries for intolerance fall on deaf ears. Why should anyone sympathize with you for any harshness you receive when you dish it out in equal measures against peoples whose rights we want to protect? You refer to Nazism to stir up emotion and sympathy. But killing apostates and gays because the Quran says so is simply Nazism on a smaller scale.

  2. Hi Kc

    Your statement from the onset is irrational. If you are trying to disprove the validity of my system then how can the burden of proof be on me. If you make the claim surely the burden of proof is on you

    Why is the evidence I gave regarding the miracle of Quran is weak? Because you say so? I have not asked you to prove a negative. There are also other proofs but I have not gone into that.

    Likewise your claim that certain punishments are harsh is very subjective.

    Richard Dawkins is silly, how can you prove that God does not exist when life itself, the order and smooth functioning of the universe points to a creator.

    Go and put some sand, bricks and glass. According to R. Dawkins you will find a building there when you come back and see it after a thousand years.

  3. My statement was poorly written but it was not irrational. What I was trying to say is that I'm not trying to prove anything to you. I'm not trying to prove to you that I know what is moral or immoral. I'm not trying to prove to you that A & B historical events were divinely inspired.

    I'm simply trying to say that the evidence in favour of the Quran's divinity is weak, and since we don't see the divine everyday (or ever in my case) you need pretty airtight proof before anyone should believe you.

    I keep reading this that Muslims claim the Quran to be a miracle in itself and I don't see it. Its just a book. Theres nothing miraculous about it. Its just a book. How is it a miracle? It isnt.

    I know you like to claim that everything is "subjective" but I live in the real world where things are observable, and we can reason from A to B. For example. Say a man is sentenced to 30 lashes for having sex with another man. We SEE that the man is in pain and agony, we KNOW what pain and agony feel like, we KNOW we would never wish it on ourselves, and we KNOW that the only people really harmed by those two men are those two men (if that). Those are objective facts. Theres no subjectiveness to that. You on the other hand just say that 'homosexuality is wrong because the Quran says so'. Well that is subjective. What I'm saying has at least some objectivity to it.

    I don't agree with everything Richard Dawkins says, and I'm more of an agnostic when it comes to the existence of a "god" than an atheist. I really only take issue with religions that claim to know what god wants. That being said Dawkins' quote makes sense: why should I care what the Quran says and read it when no one has proven to me that it is divine? Without that fundamental proof it is just another book.

    I have a huge issue with this argument I've seen from many Muslims--that the Quran is divinely inspired because it says so. Seriously? Is that even an argument? I could type up something on my computer write now and say in it that it is divinely inspired. Its just a ridiculous claim.

  4. Hi KC

    The Quran is not just a book. Its production is a miracle, no one has ever attributed it to any human being. How can a Sheppard with no past track record suddenly produce such a thing? It changed the course of history.

    You should also read how Quran talked about the Haman (the constructor of pyramid) which was only discovered after unlocking the key to the Rosetta stone. I will give you the reference to that. You will find that interesting. Another thing to think about.

    yes you could type something it would have no impact on anyone. It would be surpassed by others. If you could do something like the Quran that is precisely the challenge that Quran made to the Arabs and humanity? That challenge still stands till today! A living miracle that can be verified with our sense and reason. Hence, you dismiss it without even contemplating it or investigating it.

    As for right or wrong how do you determine that. If homosexual is valid to you - then why is not paedophile or incest or some other form of deviant thing? What if an old man came on to your young 14 year old child would you accept it? If you say he is too young? Then by whose criteria? How do you objectively establish that?