I am Happy.

Bonfire_NightAs I read through all my posts I realize you have all met Mark. My hurt has sometimes added to his picture. But he’s here for you to see him.

Graham isn’t.

He has never been part of polygamy, he is a monogamous man. He has never entered onto these pages, sometimes he has walked past seemingly no more than a shadow. We have both wanted it that way.

As for me, I came here to find friends to share my pain and loneliness. I was hoping to find people who have experienced similar suffering, to find strength in company. I also hoped, by telling my story I would be able to help other women, give them strength to fight the terrible crime against humanity that is polygyny.

I want to thank all of you wonderful women who have supported me and written to me privately to let me know how you managed to avoid or escape polygyny. I am glad so many of you have chosen to become champions of equality – polygyny can only continue if women allow it. Among the dreadful stories of the Holocaust we must remember Sobibor, where the Nazis were forced to close the camp after the jews managed to escape. And in the end, the Nazis were made to pay for their horrible crimes against humanity.

And women, especially Western women, who aid and abet in polygyny, should remember that Kapos suffered the same fate as the Nazis.

My life is rich now. I have two wonderful husbands and three beautiful children – a family. I am needed IRL, not on these pages. To those of you who have become dear friends I say – hope to hear from you. To those of you who wonder who I am, or indeed IF I am, I say does it really matter? Well, since I’m about to go back to living my life completely in the real world not here, I can tell you that not a single word has been a lie.

Telling the truth is difficult enough, don’t you think?

It’ll soon be November 5.

I wish you all a lovely bonfire night.

82 thoughts on “I am Happy.

  1. Maybe Saad, you should study Nietzsche (if you haven’t already). He says humans have a will to live which equals a will to yield power. We will always look for power, and this is why we keep creating a “them” in order to claim power for “us” This is the basis for the battle of the sexes, just as it is the basis for the battle twixt East and West, different races et.c. This is why I regard misogyny in islam – and in any other religion – as exactly the same BS as racism. Take any text you wish on islamic views regarding women and substitute the word woman for negro, and you will see what I mean. You can try it on this one e.g. http://www.islamswomen.com/marriage/fiqh_of_marriage_8.php

  2. I have nothing further to add that hasn’t already been said, but kudos to all of you for saying it. I always wondered with regard to religion, if having a male Godhead is what spurs misogyny, but I have changed that thinking a little bit. Living in India dispelled that theory for me.
    Re: India…something that baffles me a little bit. Hinduism, as a pantheistic religion, reveres both male and female deities. You have Ram, you have Kali, for example. Yet women are not even second class citizens in India. They’re far below that. Girls are taught that their husbands are as gods.

    At the same time, in Islam, it is said that heaven lies at the feet of the mother. Yet women in Islam, well, what can be said that hasn’t already??

    It’s quite a paradox.

    I’m a pagan, I practice the old ways of Witchcraft. I celebrate the moon, the sun, the rocks, the stars, the trees, the rivers, the changing of the seasons. I’m atheist in that I don’t believe in an ACTUAL set of gods and goddesses; I believe in the power of the Universe, which is neither, yet both male/ female. I believe in the power of the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. I believe in magick. I believe in Karmic law. And in the set of pagans I know, there is absolute gender equality.

    There are some Wiccans who are very, if not exclusively, female oriented (Dianic Wicca comes to mind). I don’t subscribe to that, but I do understand it. After centuries of patriarchy ushered in by the Abrahamic faiths, Dianic Wicca is trying to take the female power back. But I believe Matriarchy is just as bad as Patriarchy.

    But as a 50 year old woman living in the USA, I am still subject to gender issues and their effects, especially in the workplace. It is what it is. It’s gotten better, but we have a ways to go.

    Yin/Yang. An equal balance. A place where gender doesn’t matter in the least in daily living. That’s my Utopia 🙂

  3. I agree with Mariam, I’ve missed everyone too. This blog has always helped ease an ache in my life.

  4. Very interesting point with Nietzsche, Fiona. From a social sciences perspective what you say, Saad, is well known. Equality is not even achieved, and already the once dominant group is feeling under so much pressure it alleges “reverse discrimination” (as you say matriarchy) is on its way. The phenomenon is called male backlash for gender relations, but the backlash is all the same no matter what power structures are not even dismantled, but only ever so slightly scratched by the socially oppressed group (class, ethnicity, religion, etc.)

    Backlash means after a certain time of uncertainty and being stunned, the group that once unquestionedly held power over the other, in the face of its privilege being questioned by the public and by policies, laws, etc. this group – often a very active and vocal minority in that gorup – launches a counterattack. It discredits the very legitimate activism of the oppressed group, targets its most prominent and exposed members, often with slander campaigns, institutes propaganda distorting facts to present the ever powerful oppressor has in fact become the oppressed. “Matters have been taken too far”. White backlash is well known for policies aiming to improve the life realities of African Americans in the US. Modest as policies have been, both in number as well as impact, to improve on the opportunities of black Americans to move up the social ladder, white male activists have largely succeeded in discrediting affirmative action. The few African Americans who are admitted into universities with lower requirements than Caucasians have had certain white men – those who are not at the top of their badge and fear losing out – banging a constant drum on how it is “reverse” discrimination “worse” performing African Americans would take their college places. The death of so called meritocracy. Of course this argument, just like the notorious men’s rights discourse, is baseless when looking at actual data, which proves that the “merit” leading to success in society that is most significant in its influence is to be born white and to be born male. Every small affirmative measure that is being and has been undertaken has not by far been able to level the playing field so that actual merit independent of birth could win. Of course there are small minorities within the large group of women and African Americans that are born extremely privileged. Frequently, it is them that become CEOs, presidents, etc. creating an illusion that with hard work, women and people of colour can actually make it. Based on this illusion, certain misguided women and African Americans join the “no affirmative action” or man’s rights discourse. They claim that the pendulum has swung into the wrong direction, and reverse discrimination is happening, and white men today are an endangered species. They cite examples like higher rates of suicide and lethal cardio disease in men, enforced military service etc.

    They conveniently omit that if radical feminist policies were implemented, women would be fully equal in all professions, including armed and security forces, where the few women who enter face severe bullying and harassment today due to macho cultures, even endemic rape in some militaries, by fellow soldiers. Most streams of feminism (and it is diverse) represent that if society lets women do it, women will be no less aggressive and assertive as men, including in service with arms. So feminism could actually whilst bringing women into positions of power not over men, but to equitable proportions conforming to their number in society (the majority, by the way!), cure the diseases patriarchy has placed on men. Surely it is a burden to be the ones dying in wars; to be the ones working long hours every year of their life until stress takes a toll and their heart stutters. Feminism is the solution – it says women should, and are entitled to share all those burdens. Because let’s not forget, those burdens come with a hell of a lot of privilege. To earn the household’s income while the partner is doing unpaid labour, whilst potentially compromising the cardiovascular system through stress, also puts the unpaid partner in a dependent position. The ability to defend the country only in extreme situations costs lives, as peace in many nations is the norm for many decades. But the ability – and duty – to defend has allowed men to be above women, socially, globally. Patriarchy gives men burdens, and power and privilege over women. Men’s rights movements cry abuse over the burdens, yet vehemently oppose the social change that will share the burden. I say because the privilege is still quite convenient. Men’s rights movements demask themselves pretty fast, because practically all of them want to restore “natural orders” as a counter-feminist social movement. Women in childcare and households, not in the professional world. How this is supposed to cure men from suicidal tendencies in oppressive 50 hour work week jobs, and from cardiovascular diseases is a mystery. I guess it is supposed to keep them there, but to get women back to a place where they just keep their mouths shut and gladly do what the male head of the family tells them.

    Sadly, aside the extremism that men’s rights movements are backlash has worked formidably well in the sense that opponents of equality have succeeded in giving feminists a bad name. Most young women associate with feminism what you say, Saad. A movement to institute matriarchy. This is never what it has been about. All it ever demanded, in its many streams, is an end to oppression by women in patriarchy, and liberation of all, men and women, in a less gendered, less limited society. The most “men hostile” feminism gets is on the one hand with so called radical feminism, which perceives men as a constant threat, and demands women only public spaces. This does not come from a reverse discrimination perspective, but from the life reality that women face horrendous violence from men they know and men they do not know even in public spaces. The same is in place for LGBT communities – many of them effectively implement gay men only or lesbian only places. It is cynical to accuse them of discrimination. They have been ostracized, discriminated, and often violated even physically by haters. No wonder they want to feel safe among their own kind at times. There is another stream of feminism that is guity to a small degree of what you say, and interestingly it is difference feminism. A branch of feminism that says the male and the female have innate differences. Men are aggressive, strong, destructive, women are gentle, relation-oriented, nurturing. Some difference feminists represent that the female is superior, because it is not destructive, but compromising and uniting. Some pacifist movements say the world would be a better place if women ruled. Ironically, these rather marginal movements within feminism are the ones that have most in common with the monotheistic religions and their view of women. Catholics deeply honour Mary, as the ultimate nurturing human being, the one sacrificing herself completely for a higher good and submitting fully to the will of God. She is the highest human being Christianity knows, very much like some pacifist feminists would say the female is the more just and good side of humanity because it cares, and does not put the ego first.

  5. @ Mariam

    Yes, I fully agree the “gratefulness venom” is a very dangerous strategy. I see it with religious people as you say when some of them will say: Look at American rape culture. Be glad you are protected and shelled by a f.e. Muslim society! Sure American rape culture – and the diverse rape cultures all around the globe, in different expressions – is terrible. The sooner it gets adressed and solved, the better. But to keep women from seeking options? choices? liberties? by presenting only horrendous aspects of American society selectively, that is dishonest. And meant to keep women down.

    And yes! of course! If men had to fear being violated by gay men, and society would tell them “see, you should not have drunk that much”, I bet rape culture would be a thing of the past so very fast. Or gay men would be lynched in the streets. I see both scenarios as about equally as likely.

  6. @Dale

    I missed you very much and your calm and level headed way of speaking 🙂 Actually all of you people.

    @Chris

    Chris I hate misogyny of any type, ESPECIALLY when there is one-sided reasoning provided to justify it, or some other reasoning which we are unable to prove. I was reading about a religion called ‘Eckankar’, which is one of my housemate’s religion. On the surface they preach some very good spiritual philosophical teachings which I very much appreciate. There are some political issues going in the organization beneath the surface though which I don’t know much about. And there is a lot of gender equality in it as well. Except, the main ECK Master has to be a male. Because as they say in their website:

    “The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master (the living spiritual leader of the teachings) always serves as a male. Soul needs the atom structure of a male body in the physical world to become the spiritual leader. Every Soul who is in training for the role of the Living ECK Master in that lifetime chooses a male body. The choice is made before birth.”

    Lol okay. So apparently the female body is not good enough to be a spiritual leader, so the soul ‘chooses a male body’. Some other ECK members were saying it is to justify patriarchy for the highest positions. Which is much more likely. Never understood why many males always need to be a step higher than females, except to show their superiority to the women. And hence make up psychological differences, and bring other B.S real world evidence (one-sided most likely) to justify them. The thing is, mostly people who keep an open mind, who think outside the box, and do some research without being sucked into indoctrination are the ones who would be able to spot such injustices. And they would be going against the norm most likely.

  7. //Yes, I fully agree the “gratefulness venom” is a very dangerous strategy. I see it with religious people as you say when some of them will say: Look at American rape culture. Be glad you are protected and shelled by a f.e. Muslim society!//

    Yeah I heard that over and over in my life too. I appreciate the Muslim societies and their level of protection for women, but not necessarily at the cost of losing some of their freedom and human rights.

    //But to keep women from seeking options? choices? liberties? by presenting only horrendous aspects of American society selectively, that is dishonest. And meant to keep women down.//

    Actually a lot of us women have quite a lot of liberty. I for one am studying alone in Malaysia, and my family is in United Arab Emirates. I get a lot of freedom and choices here. There are certain issues with respect to receiving some rights, which are a direct result of the interpretation of the scripture, and any additional secondary sources used alongside. That is what needs to be tackled more. Because many Muslims have the idea that the very concept of human rights come from God itself, through scripture, which should be taken privilege over human feelings, thoughts and real world evidence, so it’s the scripture which needs facing more scrutiny by using a better hold of classical arabic, logic, and scientific knowledge to understand the verses, more than relying on ancient scholarly interpretations. So yeah, I would say to a large extent it is the Islam that needs reforming from how it has been so far.

    //And yes! of course! If men had to fear being violated by gay men, and society would tell them “see, you should not have drunk that much”, I bet rape culture would be a thing of the past so very fast. Or gay men would be lynched in the streets. I see both scenarios as about equally as likely.//

    Yeah I see both possibilities occurring just as equally. For one thing, the men would hate the tables being turned on them. I also think many men who face such rape would keep their mouths shut, to avoid further harassment from society.

  8. Fiona, nice to see you responding 🙂 We know you are a busy woman, and get tired as well. At least you publish comments. The website you showed, is a person who believes in both Quran and Hadith jointly. Me personally have pretty much denounced the use of Hadith as a religious source of law to abide by. That by itself wipes out a lot of the misogyny as stated in the article, which are indeed B.S. There are still issues though, for which a whole new look at the Quran and it’s current interpretations is needed.

  9. Fiona, it’s good you are looking into more Quranic resources itself. I am doing so too. I thought after denouncing Hadith as a religious source of law to abide by, and considering a lot of the Hadith as trash-worthy statements, things would get clearer. They did, to an extent. Although I am still facing issues. Such as the issue of misogyny and some negative speech on disbelievers in the Quran. One could provide one-sided reasoning to justify them, but that would not suffice of course, for more open minded and reasoning intellectuals.

    As for the case of polygyny, even to mothers of orphans it makes no sense. For one thing, after marrying a widow, her children still do not become the man’s children. Also why does he need to MARRY widows to help her and her children? Isn’t that not being selfless enough to help others in need just like that? People could instead gather charity money to open women shelters, orphanages, foster homes for needy children, give refuge to such people in their own homes or separate homes if required, encourage single men to marry one of such women, etc.

    The whole concept of marrying multiple women to provide for her and her children sounds weird to me, and also many other people. To some misogynous men it also gives the impression that one needs to have sex with a woman in order to provide for her and her children. Even celibate marriages make no sense. If so, also women who are able, need to be given such privileges in order to support needy men or widowers having difficulty for some reason such as disabilities to provide for his children properly, or at least have a part-time nurturing mother for his children. Some people say such rulings is due to the patriarchy back in the days where men had a lot of power, hence making such people part of his bloodline would have solved such societal problems. In that case, I sure as heck am glad I was never born in such a society, or hope not to be in one.

    Anyway, I am still separately looking more into it, on the very concept of polygyny. For now I am supporting either no polygamy at all or equal polygamy under conditions for both genders.

  10. That was an interesting read Fiona. It’s almost at the crux of believing in islam or not.

    If you believe that interpretation of the sura, then you have to conclude Muhammed and his ummah got it all wrong (as they didnt exclusively marry widowed mothers – ok, M had special permissions from God but his companions didnt). If you conclude they practised incorrectly then you have to question how reliable Muhammed’s dialogue with God was (as God supposedly instructed Muhammed). And if you conclude it was not very reliable then you have to question Islam in its totality.

  11. @lifeisgood

    I distrust many of the historical documentations on Muhammad and his companions. This has been since I saw some matters in the Hadith colliding with the Quran, such as on stoning, lack of freedom of speech, lack of freedom of religion, etc.The reverse of these are actually present in a number of Quranic verses, so there are a number of positive and progressive verses present. I suspect many of the stories were made up by people perhaps one or two centuries after the Prophet’s year of death. A lot of them most likely to justify rulers’ hold on people, cult-like status of Sunni and Shia sects (which were created after the Prophet’s death), misogyny, pedophilia, slavery, discrimination against non-Muslims, etc. So yeah, even if Muhammad himself wrote the Quran, he and his companions weren’t supposed to go against it, is it? Then why on earth would people that time follow him and the Quran in the first place, seeing the contradictions between the two?

    Anyway, besides the fabrication of a number of stories regarding Muhammad, in the Sahih Hadith books itself (the vast majority of the Hadith which were transmitted from person to person through ‘Chinese whisper’, since they weren’t allowed to write Hadith for decades after the Prophet’s death), I am already suspecting portions of the Quran to also been misinterpreted by clerics, either due to lack of understanding, or to impose their own views into the interpretations, such as regarding women and non-Muslims. The system of abrogation of selective Quran’s verses as seen by sectarians are also agreed by Quranists to not hold true, which was most likely invented by clerics because of their lack of understanding of the Quran. Anyway, I know my points may sound very uncommon, even apologetic and defensive perhaps. That’s why I don’t discuss this matter much with others, and instead take my own time to figure through them. I just thought of mentioning that’s all.

  12. I feel your reasoning is fallacious lifeisgood. In 7th century Arabia every tom dick and harry was polygamous, so polygyny was not taboo in fact it suited their life style. However Quran neither condones it nor it abolished the practice of Polygyny. It only addresses a special situation after Battle of Uhud in which majority of muslim soldiers died. As a result children were orphaned and many women were widowed. There it asks men to take care of orphans ad if they can’t deal justily with them marry their mothers.

    As a skeptic i don’t understand, Why Prophet Muhammad took it upon himself to “reform” the society, claiming Prophethood and alienating his own relatives, facing hardships and persecution at the hands of his own people, facing ridicule, was jeered and pelted with stones many times. They even killed his daughter zainab, tortured his companions, deprived them of food. His companions had to flee to Abyssinia twice and than ultimately all of them had to take refuge in Medina. I don’t understand what he was trying to achieve by preaching oneness of God. I can only think of three material reasons for which he might have claimed prophet hood

    1. Power
    2. Wealth
    3. Women

    Well he got what he wanted. Before he died he was the most powerful person of Arabian Peninsula, though i don’t understand what material benefit he got from gaining power.. And even then he was a very poor man because what ever he had in house he used to give that in charity. Some of his companions were the richest people in Mecca and Medina. like Osman, Abu Baker and Abdur Rehman Bin Ouf, Abu Sufyan. They loved Him more than their lives so he could have manipulated them for their money but when he died his family didn’t had oil to light the lantern. And when he started his campaign tribal leaders offered him money and women i don’t see why he refused if that is what he wanted. For me he is one of the most successful people in history because even after 1400 years Billions love Him and millions are ready to die in his name but from a materialistic point of view he was a Failure.

    These days i am trying to figure out way bigger questions than gender equality from a secular point of view.
    You people can see some of my discussions here in the comment section if you want.

    http://www.quora.com/Why-are-Muslims-stereotyped-as-being-angry/answer/Tooba-Siddiqui

    http://www.quora.com/How-can-atheists-still-have-morals-without-any-religious-scripture-to-guide-them/answers/7700753

  13. I see that you are discussing your doubts questions about Islam. I too read about Muhamad’s life again from different sources. It’s interesting how he used the revelations to silence his wives, companions and pretty much everyone around him. There is so much emphasis on himself and him having his way using the word of God. He was an orphan. Quran talks about doing justice to orphans. When his wives schemed against him because of him not being just with his time then again revelation from God addressed that situation. It seems God was obsessed with Muhammad’s life and interests not the whole mankind. It’s so hard to believe this whole thing about him having special permission to have as many wives as he wants. Interestingly he didn’t become polygamous while his rich first wife/employer was alive. She was much older than him and he was ~50 when she died. It’s so creepy that at that age he went crazy and married so many women including a child after first wife’s death. I so much want to respect Islam like other religions but more I try more surprised I get that Muslums have no problem with their religion’s origin and they consider Muhammad an ideal man.

  14. Laila I am pretty much on your side on this post you wrote. I can fully understand as an outsider to the religion, someone who has not been indoctrinated since birth, someone educated who trusts their heart and rationality to make decisions and judge others, why you would be so confused and feel you might be missing out on something. Many Muslims are not even fully aware of the history themselves, or give the excuse for some of history by thinking ‘there must be a reason for it’.

    // It’s so hard to believe this whole thing about him having special permission to have as many wives as he wants.//

    I am having trouble with that too. Nowhere I found in the Quran regarding Muhammad being allowed to take more than four wives, or an unlimited number of wives. Here is the ayah’s current translation according to Rashad Khalifa:

    33:50 O prophet, we made lawful for you your wives to whom you have paid their due dowry, or what you already have, as granted to you by GOD. Also lawful for you in marriage are the daughters of your father’s brothers, the daughters of your father’s sisters, the daughters of your mother’s brothers, the daughters of your mother’s sisters, who have emigrated with you. Also, if a believing woman gave herself to the prophet – by forfeiting the dowry – the prophet may marry her without a dowry, if he so wishes. However, her forfeiting of the dowry applies only to the prophet, and not to the other believers. We have already decreed their rights in regard to their spouses or what they already have. This is to spare you any embarrassment. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

    It does not say the Prophet is allowed to marry any number he wishes. It just states the Prophet has an exception to the condition on marrying widows with orphans compared to others, that’s all. That is one ticker in my box on that something is amiss here. Unless someone has more knowledge and can educate me on it.

    //Interestingly he didn’t become polygamous while his rich first wife/employer was alive. She was much older than him and he was ~50 when she died. It’s so creepy that at that age he went crazy and married so many women including a child after first wife’s death. I so much want to respect Islam like other religions but more I try more surprised I get that Muslums have no problem with their religion’s origin and they consider Muhammad an ideal man.//

    I know, exceedingly creepy behavior. Marrying other women like mad immediately after Khadija’s death at the age of 50 onwards, young, old, all types somewhat.

    There are qualities I appreciate a lot on Muhammad, on his goodwill, charitable self, patience on some matters, helping the poor, etc, but some other things I find morally reprehensible. If other Muslims don’t mind me saying, seeing history through the lens of Hadith in particular, along with the good traits, he was also a murderer, rapist, slave-owner, dictator, pedophile and misogynist. Also he claimed extra beneficiary rights for himself while not giving the same for others, and switched tendencies between being more-merciful-than-God-himself and being very brutal other times as well. Yeah, all those stories are fully available in the Hadith.

    Anyway, I can’t comment much since I am also looking into it separately. I usually have discussions with other Quranists on this forum:

    http://free-minds.org/forum/

    Many of us Muslims are otherwise very attached to our faith. You might be surprised as to why. I don’t know about others, but as for me, I have some reasons, and one of them is that there is something very authentic sounding when listening to the Quran in it’s original Arabic. Just saying.

  15. I wouldn’t also want people to take Muhammad as an ideal man, with all the good and bad stuff according to the Sahih Hadith. Several behavior of ISIS people in Iraq and Syria, who are following radical Islam which none of Sunnis actually follow, does things like stoning married people for adultery, cut off hand for theft, take sex slaves, lash people for crimes, etc, all of which can be found in the Hadith books. Muslims are horrified by it themselves, but they are not quite aware that these things are part of radical Sunni Islam which they may not follow themselves. Sunni Islam to me is one of the most deviated sects within Islam. Being a Quranist is still much better than being a Sunni Muslim. Anyway, I am sorry to people for the harm that has been brought by people doing morally reprehensible things in the name of Islam.

  16. By the way a lot of other behavior of ISIS, such as killing innocents, manipulating people for money, giving lashes even for the smallest stuff like not covering the face, etc, are extremes that are not at all part of any branch of Islam. I just pointed out the stuff earlier that are indeed part of radical Islam.

  17. Mariam, your comments and understanding of where i am coming from means a lot to me. I was a little worried how you and other Muslim readers might take this discussion. I have something to say about what you said here

    “…..there is something very authentic sounding when listening to the Quran in it’s original Arabic.”

    I will say many Hindus say same when hearing to ancient scriptures/Vedas in original Sanskrit and similarly Sikhs when they listen to hymns in “Gurmukhi”. They may not understand what exactly is being said in Sanskrit language but the sound of it gives an out of world, divine experience to them. The ambience with sound of temple bell, hindu hymns, the smell of incense doesn’t mean much to me but my Hindu friends have a very special feeling about all this when they did their Puja rituals.

  18. Saad, you said “In 7th century Arabia every tom dick and harry was polygamous, so polygyny was not taboo in fact it suited their life style”
    Its true polygamy was common but why would you say this “in fact it suited their life style”. Can you expand on how it suited their lifestyle.

  19. Saad, about why Muhammad would go through all the hardship, wars and such. I think its simple. Many people do many things because they are passionate about those or just because its part of their personality who they are and whats important to them. I think all actions of a person do not have to have an ulterior or noble motive. I don’t think he did all this to marry as many women or have power on people. I think he just did what he thought was important and what he considered was right and needed under the circumstances. I wouldn’t be surprised at any of his actions if we remove the part about him being the prophet and an ideal man.

  20. //Can you expand on how it suited their lifestyle…//

    Arabs of that time were notorious for their unrestrained individualism and anarchic tribal particularism. Vendetta consumed whole generations of Arabs. They were locked up in ceaseless warfare. War was a permanent institution of the Arabian society and only law of land was lawlessness. The way Arabs used to kill each other, i am assuming they must had more females than males.
    Anyways, Arabia was a male-dominated society Because women had no relevance in social sphere of a tribal society. They had no status of any kind other than as sex objects.The number of women a man could marry was not fixed. When a man died, his son “inherited” all his wives except his own mother (It was there culture).

    // I wouldn’t be surprised at any of his actions if we remove the part about him being the prophet and an ideal man.//

    Because you are judging him by 21st century “morals”. And it is funny and ironic because there are no objective morals.

    I consider myself a rationalist. Since I don’t know for a fact that there is a God or Quran/Bible/Torah/Vedas are his literal word or not. So i have stopped judging people even the likes of Hitler because i am not sure if his actions were necessarily evil.

  21. Hello Laila, I would say there isn’t much to be offended about regarding questioning the history of Muhammad, since it is out there for anybody to read it. Any normal or sane person would conclude there is something really wrong in the history, and that the Muslims are being somewhat dishonest, on that they are cherry-picking the parts of the history that they like and appreciate, some others they provide one-sided reasoning to, and for some more they ignore completely when mentioned and may even get upset for someone mentioning it. One thing people may notice is the two extremes to which Muhammad might fall into, such as on being either highly merciful or highly brutal, highly intelligent or completely not, highly chaste or very sexually indulgent (surprising how the founder of the most sexually restrictive religion was also highly sexually indulgent himself), etc. Now if I was 100% sure this is the history I would have left Islam already, that the founder of the religion is mentally sick, power hungry and misleading person.

    What got me questioning was the numerous contradictions within the Hadith, such as one time the Prophet praying all five times a day and making it obligatory so and other time praying three times a day without any reason, the method of ablution being different by each account written, a thing that breaks fast one time and another time doesn’t, a thing that invalidates a prayer one time and another time doesn’t, etc. Also many contradictions of the Hadith with the Quran.

    So anyway, that time I stopped using Hadith as a religious source of law and instead saw it part of historical text that can be very much tampered with. Immediately after the Prophet’s death many people started fabricating Hadith, many a time to suit their own circumstances, such as on misogyny, pedophilia, even to sell their produce (such as the Hadith which says Ajwa dates eaten in the morning would protect the person from poison the rest of the day. Yeah we wish).

    So yeah, Quran though, even if there may be minor changes made, is on the whole considered intact. The Quran can be said to be divinely inspired, but not divinely authored, as seen through history. I am separately with some other Quranists (online though, since real life it is hard to even come across such people often) discussing on the meanings of the verses.

    Already I am finding that the verses have been most likely misinterpreted. Also you had noticed earlier the hate speech on disbelievers, or so-called kafirs, in the Quran, the many verses on them. Yeah it is absurd that just because a person did not believe in the right type of God, or any God at all as well, would end up getting so much hate speech even if they did good all their life and upheld human rights, truth and justice. And a person who may have violated human rights, lied, cheated, etc would after a period of punishment be able to go to Paradise just because they believed in the right type of God and messenger. Surely God should not be that needy of such kind of worship from people, especially people who may be hypocritical otherwise. Anyway, this and some of the misogyny in the Quran are two aspects that I am currently looking at, as well as other Quranists, and finding loopholes in the translations as well.

  22. Laila I am referring to two Quranist translations mainly at the time being on this page, which are Edip-Layth-Martha and The Monotheist Group, here:

    http://quranix.org/1#1

    Also this book by a Quranist Dr Shabbir Ahmed on detailing a little more on the Quran’s ayahs:

    http://drshabbir.com/library/qxp_vi_english.pdf

    These people are pretty famous Quranists. Their translations are much better than other mainstream ones which are interpreted using many flawed Hadith. But then again their translations need much more reforming. Such as on the translations regarding disbelievers and women. Those matters are not addressed properly in these translations too.

    Regarding the Quran, yeah I know it might look absurd to you why in particular we hold on to the Quran. By the way, I don’t disregard other religions. I believe there are multiple paths to God, and a person gets to choose which path speaks to their conscience, living and purpose the most and follow that route or philosophy. A person who disqualifies other paths leading to God may be having a superiority complex of some sort. Anyway, I can’t really respond why I am so attached to the Quran. I am just digging for more of the truth within it, truth that makes much more sense. I can’t really speak much on it otherwise.

    Some Quranist Muslims who are currently still going through the Quran’s translations properly, are in the meantime following the teachings of Jesus, as a spiritual teacher and a Prophet, on how to live life and treat people. They say the basic core message of the Prophets was the same, and the character and message of Jesus as a spiritual teacher is still un-defiled to a large extent, so they follow that. Also they take inspiration from a number of Buddhist teachings on life and living.

    By the way regarding other Muslims, millions of them who may also be attached to their faith, but in their case a combination of sources and also the character of Muhammad as we know of now, it doesn’t really matter what they believe and hold on to. Just because a bandwagon may be the loudest bandwagon of all doesn’t mean the people in it are on the right track. It doesn’t even necessarily mean anything at all. When I talk to a lot of Muslims in real life in particular on their faith, I just find them to be either following other people, not having enough information about their own religion, being comfortable in an organized religion and of moral concepts, being fear-based, parroting what other people told them, or being comfortable shutting a part of their conscience. So by now I don’t really care about the number of people who may be devoted to the character of Muhammad or to their faith to make my own judgement on the matter. Although it is not fun being different in mindset from the bandwagon either, because as human beings we are comfortable being part of a community and being accepted rather than the other way around.

  23. //Anyways, Arabia was a male-dominated society Because women had no relevance in social sphere of a tribal society. They had no status of any kind other than as sex objects.//

    Um, seeing a little more of history, I disagree. The Quraysh used to worship three female goddesses, Al-Uzza, Al-Lat and Manat, who were mentioned in the Quran in 53:19-23. If females were only sex objects they wouldn’t be worshiping female deities. And women like Khadija were well respected and revered women in the society, who earned their own money and got large shares of inheritance from their fathers and husbands, and chose the most appropriate husbands for themselves. But yeah the Arabs also had contempt for their female offspring, as known by their female infanticide issue, and many were players too.

    Anyway, whatever their culture might be, or the culture in polyandrous societies like in South India or Tibet, we in the mainstream societies have no interest in knowing about them or bringing them to our society. We want stable families, where the children are well nurtured by parents consisting of a single man and a single woman, who are monogamous and faithful together, at least for the first 18 years of their children’s lives. Giving one-sided reasoning for several concepts within the religion by dragging people backwards to the ancient centuries and comparing the current rights of people with the worst case scenario rights of the people does nothing to improve the justice level and progression of a society further, and keeps them down in the dirt in several places.

  24. //The Quraysh used to worship three female goddesses, Al-Uzza, Al-Lat and Manat, who were mentioned in the Quran in 53:19-23. //

    Hindus worship sarasvati, lakshmi, parvati, durga, kali etc. what is the situation of common hindu ladies?

    // And women like Khadija were well respected and revered women in the society//

    Khadija, hinda etc. belonged to higher class of society. They were wives, daughters of tribal leaders that’s why they were respected.

    If i may ask, why are you trying so hard to stay muslim, as in putting so much effort and energy trying to reconcile Quran with 21st century ethics? Why do you need a book to tell you how to live your life? (When you can derive your own set of morals using conscience)

  25. Saad, you yourself told me that conscience is subjective. I partly agree with it, and partly don’t. Although many matters can indeed differ from person to person, otherwise I think conscience is one of the most direct ways through which God or a Higher Power speaks to us. I believe our feelings, thoughts and real world experiences are forms of communication of this Higher Power with us. The written word or scripture, although divinely inspired to a human being, but not divinely authored, can be subject to tampering or wrong interpretations by human beings, so although the written word can be a great source of guidance at times and give more objective answers to certain matters, it still remains not so trustworthy, since like I said it is still subject to human tampering and wrong interpretations. So we shouldn’t forgo our conscience even when reading the scripture, especially matters of larger importance and may cause more wreckage to a society living and coexisting peacefully together, and cause unreasonable and unjust divides.

    Even Hitler I am sure had his conscience pricked when he ordered the mass torture and execution of millions of Jews, although the large majority were innocent people simply living their lives. But then he must have silenced his conscience, which over time, stopped pricking at him telling him his actions were wrong and should be stopped. So using his example we cannot give similar conclusions to the rest of mankind.

    When you open the Quran, besides the good and positive teachings which are quite many, there are also a lot of hate speech and fear mongering, particularly directed at disbelievers, rejectors, and hypocrites. We don’t even know what these terms mean properly. Also the several misogynistic statements on women, as though women are not as much of human beings compared to men.

    A Christian man who studied the Quran and the concept of Allah’s love within said the following:

    ‘…the Qur’anic commentary of God’s love is striking in its paucity, and in its human-like description of God’s love to mankind. Jesus said in Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” ‘

    Reading such verses, they seem to be clashing with the nature of God being described as ‘Most Merciful’ and ‘Most Compassionate’. Actually I seem to have met human beings who are far more merciful and compassionate compared to this god described. Jesus is one of the people who symbolized the concept of love far better. Among Muslims, the ones who already have a good character and conscience pick the verses of the Quran which resemble love and compassion, and the ones with a negative character pick the ones that states otherwise. So even within the Quran a person can cherry-pick depending on their own nature.

  26. I would have been forced to leave Islam if this is all I have found in the Quran, because I can only imagine an ogre sitting on a throne with angel-servants serving him, who needs worship from human beings the most more than their state of affairs in the world they are living in, and who thinks by giving continuous threats he is doing a service of mercy and compassion towards the human beings.

    But then I have been talking to some fellow Quranists who by a method of interpretation are starting to find out otherwise slowly. For example, the hatred in the Quran being most likely directed at fabricators, people who are liars who fabricate ideas which never were relayed from “God” to mankind, and this could be especially the clerics and so-called scholars who managed to deceive mankind. One of them who has a different interpretation of the word kafir after studying, and has dramatically different viewpoints, after hearing my complaints, said the following:

    ‘The sad thing is that those who walk around calling people disbelievers or infidels are the same persons who are ‘kafars’. This is because the concept of belief vs. disbelief does not exist in “God’s” realm, but we are talking about affinity and faith in form of reliance and spiritual aptitude. It is a certain type of soul that you shall attain and not so much in dogmatic doctrines because there are not really much to argue except about all the conjecture.

    The rotten in our societies are those who invent things and attribute them to “God” and this is the people with whom “God” is “pissed off” at in Qur’an. Unfortunately the sectarians who interpret Qur’an has aimed this hate towards those who do not believe in their nonsense instead while it is the sectarians who are the actual targets of the hate. They should hate themselves actually, if they understood how wrong they were.

    Everything is wrong, sister, from the very invention of the religion Islam, attributed to a scripture that is innocent of all fabrications and follows the kind of teachings of Jesus some hundreds of years prior to that. And Jesus was very outspoken about the distaste for a certain group of people with their outward numerous rituals and their many words in prayers. The only thing that is not wrong is when Qur’an against the odds is actually interpreted correctly speaking about being kind in a few cases. But over 500 instances of kafar is being wrongfully attributed to “disbelief” while it means to fabricate something.

    And it appears that “God” is very eager that all people believe, and what to believe really? Why should you believe in something that is already obvious as the fact as we stand here today. The sectarians want the “believe” to signify to believe in all the fabrications that they have invented. “God”, however, seeks the affinity of people, that they attain a kind of union and assimilation, and has inspired “enlightened ones” (nabi) with good instructions on how to grow spiritually.’

    Yeah I know his words are extremely different and not at all what we are accustomed to as Muslims. I still have a long way to go to verify whatever I come across. But at least I have some hope. Otherwise even if it is extremely scary and un-sheltering to leave a consistent moral system that one is accustomed to, I might have given up already to keep my conscience and reasoning more intact. Or if I stayed, I would have at least never called it a religion of peace or the best religion, as many Muslims do.

  27. I will not provide rebuttal to some of your loaded assumptions but i sincerely want to understand why are you trying so hard to be a muslim when it has so many ‘bad’ teachings going against ‘conscience’ ? you can consider Rumi your Prophet (if you desperately want to believe in a prophet) as his Masnavi is more ‘moral’ than Muhammads Quran, though ironically he was a muslim sufi too but you got my point.

  28. Saad have you read my comments in detail? I have already answered what you asked. What other people many a time do is take the easy route out, look around to see what else other people are doing, and jump into another bandwagon. People many a time tend to trust their own heart and reasoning the least, and I do not blame them, since it is the most difficult task in reality to actually think for yourself and decide for yourself. And the potential attacks from others and them being unable to see your vision makes it all the more harder. Many a time we may not even know why we are pushed from inside to follow a certain route, but with time it may start to get revealed as to why.

    If there is a Prophet I would follow for now it is Jesus. Any person, rationalist or non-rationalist, if they read about him and his history, can appreciate him, his spiritual teachings and living. And as we know the people we look up to the most we start to embody their characteristics. Following Jesus’s teachings for now is also the recommendation by some other fellow Quranists, while the mystery of the Quran start getting revealed little by little. Yeah people may not understand why take the hardship as such, and not just straight away change routes. All I can say I don’t have much answers for that and I am just following my heart and conscience on this. Other people don’t need to imitate the same route as me.

    I don’t understand why one would be a ‘rationalist’. I would say it’s good to an extent, so to avoid personal bias and go straight to what may be true regardless. But also conscience is all we have to navigate the world, which need to be used as well to an extent, otherwise we are drowned in muddy waters of confusion and being led to believe what is right in front of our eyes.

    Even the physical world is an illusion, for all those rationalists who depend on direct in-front-of-eyes evidence only. I have been reading that science, through quantum physics, is showing us that everything in our universe is energy. When we go down on a sub-atomic level we do not find matter, but pure energy. So ultimately our physical universe is not made up of matter, but of pure energy and vibration. Perhaps you could check that out further.

  29. Anyway, regarding Islam according to the current interpretations, anybody with some heart, rationality and real world observation can see along with the positive teachings, the negative and destructive teachings as well. You don’t need a book to tell you what is right or what is wrong for you to understand that. You can check out this video of Sam Harris commenting on this in quite an honest way:

    You should know I am a humanist person and mainly coming from that position. So before arguing on these topics like morality, conscience, etc, which any normal people will end up disagreeing that we forgo these to be totally rational, I think it is better for a person to investigate and search what the nature of God is, and what he/she wants out of us. That would make more sense.

    Again, I am a Muslim, and just because I am using my conscience and reasoning instead of being like a 2 year old who fully depends on parents and elders for even basic thinking assistance (in here depending fully on the current interpretations of the scripture), does not mean I am stepping out of the bounds of Islam and being a rebel. Maybe in a way, from the mainstream Islam version, but not otherwise.

    Also there was a time during Islam’s golden age from 750 to 1250 CE, when Muslims were at their most prosperous, their most innovative, their most respected, it was when they practiced itjihad, or independent reasoning, The greatest Muslim philosopher, Ibn Rushd, championed the freedom to reason among Muslims. Closing the gates of Ijtihad is what led to disaster for Muslims, by the Baghdad scholars in the 12th century, and has been so for over a millennium. It’s the refusal to believe in independent reason that has contributed to a totalitarian culture in the Muslim world. Of course if Muslims can’t reason for themselves, they become dependent on mullahs and outside authorities.

    Mainstream Islam as of today believes in a dictator God, who requires complete submission in form of zombies from people and does not care about progression or regression of a society, or even their psychological health. Maybe that’s a reason for why most of the Muslim countries are facing poverty and regression of human rights, apart from the more secularized ones.

  30. I know this is an older post, but I’m just now catching up. (Welcome back, Fiona! I hope you are feeling better). Anyway, for Christmas, my significant other got me the newly published Norton Anthology of World Religions. It’s quite an awesome 2 volume anthology. Book 1 is Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. Book 2 is Judism, Christianity, and Islam (I started with book 2). From what little I have read, the books are amazing and contain a wealth of detail about the eras in which each religion was founded, the different periods (how the religions evolved) and the most important extracts of each religion’s major writings. I haven’t gotten to Islam yet, but that’s next on my list. I find it quite interesting how the authors are tying back certain works to historical events of the time.

    I highly recommend it to those of you who are doing research. Heck, I recommend it even to those of you who aren’t.

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