[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
I was a so-called Sunni or traditional Muslim for four years prior to becoming a submitter, and worshiping God alone. As a traditional Muslim, I was known among Muslim scholars in America and abroad. I worked with the Islamic Society in North America (formally known as the Muslim Students Association), writing articles and giving lectures about Islam and Psychology.
The questions below reflect the advice and instructions I was given when I initially embraced Islam. I experienced on-going subtle and direct pressure to conform to what was presented as Islam. In my early years as a Muslim, I had no real sense of the contradiction between some of my beliefs and behavior, and the Quran. But, having discarded Christianity and becoming a traditional Muslim, I continued to pray to God to protect me from accepting false religious teachings. God Almighty guided me to True Islam; submission to Him alone.
- Do you hold fast to the ulamah (religious scholars), the writings of Muslim scholars, etc. as much as the Quran?
- When you reverted (to go back to an original place) to traditional Muslim practices (presented as true Islam) from Christianity, Judaism, or another religion, were you advised to change your birth name and take a so-called “Muslim” name?
- Were you told that you had to discard some appropriate clothing in your culture, and not wear a tie (for men) or cover your head (for women)? Were you expected to wear specific clothing (e.g.,a jalabiyah and a kufi for men, carry zikr beads)?
- Were you told that changing your dress and adopting the above dress makes you “ a real Muslim”?
- When you met Muslims from traditional Muslim countries, did you initially think that they know everything about Islam and the Quran? Were you ever told that you could not really understand the verses of the Quran until you learned Arabic?
- Were you given an explicit or subtle impression that to be a good Muslim, you have to be able to quote Hadith and Sunnah? Do other Muslims you know/knew compete with each other in memorizing and repeating Hadith and Sunnah? Do you feel that you must mimic every aspect of Muhammad’s life (appearance - wearing a beard, mannerisms, dress, and behavior) in order to please God? Were your ever given the impression that Prophet Muhammad was infallible, and that you have to repeat his name frequently for blessings from God?
- Were you ever told or did you read that it is a sin to walk in the restroom with your right foot, sleep on your left side, listen to any music, have photographs and pictures, or buy non-pork meats from the grocery store?
- Have you been told you must absolutely follow your leader, sheik, or teacher, if you expect to “grow spiritually?” Are/were you eager to convince the Muslims around you that you are growing spiritually by reciting Hadith, and making tasbih all the time in there presence? Is it forbidden to ask questions about some behaviors and beliefs, even if they contradict clear verses in the Quran?
- Are women prevented from attending Jum’ah (Friday prayer) in your community?
- Do you feel that traditional Muslim religious organizations and schools prepare the best and only teachers of the Quran?
- Are there more than four steps in the ablution? [refer to 5:6]
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you are/were not aware of the True Islam as revealed in the Quran.
A statement of fact: The majority of Muslims are misguided just like the followers of other religions.
However, most Muslims think that this could never happen to them. We are no different from any of the communities that preceded us in history. We are subjected to tests, in order to distinguish between those who want to worship God alone, and those who are satisfied with following cherished innovations and false beliefs. Most converts to Islam are discouraged from reading the Quran on their own or asking some legitimate questions. They are told “you don’t know enough yet...you have a long way to go before you can truly understand what it means to be a Muslim.” This reminds me of some Christians who teach one another not to question the validity of the Trinity. Learning how to pray and learning the shahadah (both are distorted by traditional Muslims) are presented as monumental tasks that only the true and sincere can ever do correctly. Many converts end up mimicking cultural traditions and practices of the Muslims they befriend. The traditions are entirely unrelated to Islam and God’s guidance in the Quran. The traditions are presented to new converts as part of Islam.
The majority of religious leaders are unwilling to admit when they are incorrect because such honesty means that they do not know as much as they want their followers to think they know. In addition, they are deluded into thinking that, as a group, they are privileged by God. Worst of all, some knowingly mislead the people in order to maintain their status. God knows our intentions, our secrets, and our declarations.
When most people are challenged with truths that expose cherished false beliefs and practices, they cling to their traditions. When first confronted, they have an overwhelming psychological need to stand up and fight for their beliefs. They want to believe they are fighting for God. To not fight for the beliefs is to say to one’s self, “I never really believed in the first place.” That is an uncomfortable thought. The person is actually defending him or her self, or ego in this case. The person does not want to feel uncomfortable or feel like a hypocrite. The person does not want to feel “wrong or stupid.” Psychologically speaking, converts to a cause are frequently the strongest advocates because of their zeal to believe and prove their loyalty.
Satan knows that humans do not like to feel uncomfortable. He knows that humans are weak and too often defend false beliefs just to keep from feeling wrong. Satan manipulates the feeling of being wrong to his advantage. He increases the sense of mere dedication to a belief because he knows that heightened dedication alone frequently makes a person feel better. Only God can protect you from false religious beliefs, especially when you have been taught that the beliefs are correct. When you stop defending yourself (ego), overcome your zealous dedication to false beliefs, and place your trust in God, you no longer feel uncomfortable or wrong when you question false practices.
The most important question: Who are you trying to please God or your ego and other Muslims?
God is the best to guide.