All the major World Religions have been charged with Crimes Against Humanity, and it is up to ace (trainee-) lawyer Ya’qub Bell to defend Islam:
People who are Religious are following something that is not true. There is no proof for it.
It is not a ‘fact’ whether any religion is true or false. People are free to choose to believe in what they think is right. A teaching of Islam is that ‘there is no compulsion in Religion’. In terms of ‘proof’ for God’s existence, Allah (swt) is so much Greater than a human, that it is impossible someone to even imagine what He looks like, this is why Allah (swt) doesn’t show Himself to us. Instead He shows us ‘signs’ (ayat) of His Existence.
For many people, the fact that the Qur’an accurately talks about things such as the process of pregnancy, which wasn’t ‘discovered’ by scientists until 100 or so years ago, is ‘proof’. The Qur’an also describes tectonic plates, the water cycle and the Big Bang.
The Qur’an describes the Earth as round hundreds and hundreds of years before scientists discovered this to be true. Many people look at these, along with countless other signs, as more than enough ‘proof’ that Islam is the Truth.
Religion stops you using your mind properly because it stops you from reasoning. Following the teachings of a 1400-year-old book is not helpful in today’s modern society.
I don’t agree that religion stops you from reasoning. The Qur’an tells people to look for signs of God’s existence in our daily lives:
“Verily in the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the succession of night and day; and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful for man; and in the waters that God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the Earth after it has been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon; and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth; [in all this] there are signs indeed for people who use their reason.” (Qur’an 2:164)
Allah (swt) dislikes people who do not use their minds:
“Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, dumb ones who do not use their reason.” (Qur’an 8:22)
It is worth noting that this verse is not talking about people with disabilities, rather it means that some people who are spiritually deaf, meaning that their hearts are not open to Divine Truths.
The reason that Muslims still follow the teachings of the Qur’an is because we believe that it is still relevant today and that it will be until the end of time. Allah (swt) doesn’t need to send us a ‘new’ revelation, because He (swt) has promised to preserve the Qur’an perfectly:
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will surely guard it [from corruption].” (Qur’an 15:9)
Also, if you visit the city of Istanbul, you will find a copy sent out by the Caliph Uthman (ra) only a few years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and it is exactly the same as the Qur’an that you will find in your local book shop, today.
Religion obstructs scientific research
There is simply no evidence to suggest that religion does this. The history of Islam is full of great scientific advances, and in many cases it was religion itself that was the driving force behind them. Astronomy was important because it helped Muslims find the qiblah (direction of prayer), and it was Muslims who created the first astronomical observatory. Many astronomical instruments were developed by Muslims to carry out observation, the most famous being the astrolabe. The mechanical astrolabes invented by Ibn Samh led to the development of the mechanical clock .
Muslim scientists have also made major advances in mathematics and algebra, geometry, medicine, chemistry and countless other sciences. It is an absolute obligation on every Muslim to seek knowledge throughout their lives, as is illustrated by this saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him:
“You should be a scholar, or a student, or a listener, or a lover of knowledge and scholars, and you should not be the fifth which makes you perish. The fifth point is: To hate knowledge and its people.” (At-Tabarani)
Throughout history people have used ‘Religion’ or ‘God’ to explain things that they couldn’t answer by themselves. But now science, evolution and cosmology have given us a way to answer everything. ‘Religion’ and ‘God’ are no longer necessary.
I accept that science has explained many things that previously confused people, and has given us plenty of answers as to ‘how’ certain things happen. However, there is one question that science could never even hope to answer, which is ‘why’ things happen. There is nothing anywhere in scientific research or discovery to distinguish what is ‘Good’ or ‘Evil’, ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’. Science can only ever look at what is measurable, or what our five senses can perceive.
Let me give you an example, say I decided to kill someone, and I knew that they walked down a certain street at a particular time every day. The method that I decided to use was to push a grand piano from the top of a high building onto the street below. Now, say that you were working in a building opposite and watched me perform this act of murder.
You could see me push the grand piano, could hear the crash and scream as it hit the person below, you could smell the aroma coming from a kebab shop further down the street, and could taste the coffee that you were drinking, you could also touch and feel the wood of the desk at which you were working. But where, from your five senses, was the information telling you that I had done something wrong or evil?
Religion divides people, and is a cause of conflict and war.
It is true that many people have gone to war in religion’s ‘name’, but in fact there are many reason for these wars. If people adhere to religion correctly it doesn’t divide people, in brings them together. Before the arrival of Islam, Arabia was divided into small tribes who fought constant wars between themselves, and it was the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who united them. His successors built the Islamic Empire, which was the largest the World had ever seen up until that point.
Members of other Religions were free to live peacefully within the Islamic world and worked side-by-side with Muslims for many hundreds of years. Areas such as Andalusia in Spain were beacons of tolerance and freedom . The Muslim world was not divided until the arrival of the 'Enlightened' European colonialists from such secular nations such as Britain and France.
Also, if you look at the history or the 20th century, you will find that most of the biggest wars were motivated by secular theories and agendas such as Nationalism: Approximately 15,000,000 people died in World War 1 and a staggering 50,000,000 people died in World War 2.
Also, Communism is strongly anti-religion, yet in the Russian Revolution about 9,000,000 people died, and a very conservative estimate of the amount of people who were killed due to Stalin’s Communist regime is around 20,000,000.
Now let’s look at China, another Communist country: In the civil war around 2,500,000 people died, and the number of deaths due to Chairman Mao’s regime is estimated at a terrifying 40,000,000.
World Wars 1 and 2, Communist Russia and Communist China (known to historians as ‘the Big Four’) account for about ¾ of all ‘deaths by atrocities’ in the 20th century, which is by far the bloodiest era in the history of mankind. All of them were motivated by things other than religion .
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
“Whoever kills a person [unjustly]… it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he has saved all mankind.” (Qur’an 4:135)
The structure of most religions is anti-democratic, and offends basic human rights.
The difference between a secular democracy and a society that fulfils Islamic principals (please note: no country in the world currently does this!), is that in Islam the sovereign is Allah (swt), while in a secular democracy the sovereign is ’the People’.
The problem with this is that people by nature are selfish and are prone to taking advantage of others. For example, around 200 years ago the majority of rich, white land-owners in America all agreed that slavery was a good idea because it benefited them economically. Because the society that they grew up in taught them that saving up huge amounts of money was ‘Good’, and they didn’t seem to care about any punishment for their actions in the Afterlife.
Even as recently as 50 years ago, the American and British governments supported the Apartheid in South Africa which was unquestionably racist, oppressive and unfair.
In contrast, Islam gives more rights to people who are in need. Allah (swt) says in the Qu’ran:
“Be kind to parents, and the near kinsman, and to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbour who is of kin, and to the neighbour who is a stranger, and to the companion at your side, and to the traveller, and to [slaves] that your right hands own. Surely God loves not the proud and boastful.” (Qur’an 4:36 - 37)
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:
“Whoever frees a Muslim slave, God will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) fire as he freed the body parts of his slave.” (Bukhari)
Religion doesn't give equal treatment to women.
When Islam came to 7th century Arabia, it granted women many more freedoms and rights than they’d ever had before. The pre-Islamic Arabs would bury baby girls alive because they valued the life of males so much more highly. If you see a Muslim man treating his wife badly, don’t think for a second that he is following the teachings of Islam. The Prophet, peace be upon him said
“The best among them are those who are kindest to their wives.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Before the arrival of Islam, Arab women were treated like commodities that could be bought, sold or given as gifts. Allah (swt) forbids anything of this nature in the Qur'an:
"O You who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness." (Qur'an 4:19)
The Qur’an very clearly says the status of men and women are equal:
"I shall not lose sight of the labour of any of you who labours in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other" (Qur’an 3:195)
'God’ can’t exist, at least not the ‘God’ of Islam, because of the existence of evil things in the world. Either ‘God’ is not ‘All-Powerful’ or ‘All-Knowing’, or ‘God’ Himself is evil for creating bad things.
This depends on how you look at the purpose of life. For someone who believes that we have this life and after we’ve died we become nothing, then the existence of evil seems confusing because it means that life isn’t ‘fair’ on all people: some people are born rich, good-looking and successful, while others are much less fortunate. Also, there are many people who have become successful by oppressing others, but they never seem to be taken to justice and punished. This happens because Allah (swt) has given us Free-Will:
"God never considers it permissible to act unjustly toward His servants; it is rather men who commit oppression and injustice." (Qur’an 10:44)
In Islam we don’t think that this life is the be-all-and-end-all. As Muslims, we should be constantly thinking about the life to come i.e. after we have passed away. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said that
“the example of the material world is that of a traveller. Travelling in the afternoon heat, he stopped to rest under the shade of a tree for some moments. Then, he rose and left it” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
This shows us that the life here on Earth is extremely short in comparison to the Hereafter and any amount of pain or suffering we may endure throughout our lives will pale into insignificance on Judgement Day.
Allah (swt) uses this life to test us, and will punish us or reward us in the next life with complete Justice. Allah (swt) has clearly stated that chasing success in this life at the expense of the next life is fruitless and is like chasing a shadow:
“By (the passage of) time! Surely mankind is at a complete loss. Except those who believe and do good deeds and remind each other of the truth and remind each other of patience.” (Qu’ran 103:1 - 3)
Human history is full of episodes of violence, aggression and oppression, but to blame religion for these is missing the point. There is no religious ideology that causes people to be selfish and unfair; it is human nature to be like this. The only ideology that leads directly to selfishness and oppression is secular Capitalism.
Charles Darwin, the scientist who pioneered the current belief in random Evolution, saw humans in competition with each other, in much the same way that businesses are in competition with each other on the free market.
He saw no room for kindness, charity or brotherhood amongst men. There was no point in helping people less fortunate than you, because by doing that you would be slowing down the process of evolution, and not in line with the 'Survival of the Fittest'. He had disgusting views on racial differences, seeing white Europeans as superior and 'more developed' to other races, and said that the 'savage nations' of the Earth would be wiped out. It is precisely this view that led to Hitler's attempted ethnic-cleansing in Germany, and a large number of other Fascist dictatorships around the world.
Here is a direct quote from one of Darwin's books:
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the World. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between men and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
It could be argued that he was writing at a time when society as a whole was racist, and that we shouldn't judge him by today's standards. But this was only just over 100 years ago. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was born into a very tribal and primitive society over 1300 earlier, yet in his last Sermon he said something on race which is rather different:
“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white, except by piety and good action.”
Islam is a complete way of life which offers solutions to all of mankind's vices. If a Muslim acts against these teachings, for example by being selfish, arrogant or violent, then this behaviour has nothing to do with Islam. It is only by learning the teachings of the Qur'an and following the example of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that humanity can progress to higher levels and society's problems can be solved.
It is not Muslims who once made Islam great; rather it is Islam that once made the Muslims great.
- ‘The Descent of Man’, 2nd Edition A L Burt & Co. 1874 p178