After a terrorist attack perpetrated by an Islamic extremist, we get the normal litany of apologia from our leaders and the media. One thing we also hear is that Islam is one of the great faiths. What is exactly meant by this? Is Islam a great faith due to the number of its adherents? If so would that not mean that Christianity is the greatest faith and Judaism is one of the least great? I do not consider Isalm great, nor, do I consider any faith great.
Islam in its scripture and the beliefs and actions of its practitioners shows how it is not great. Islam does not allow dissent or questioning. Why if it is so great does Allah command death to those who question it and why did Muhammad so unforgivingly attack any and all who dared to speak out against Islam. Saudi Arabia has made being an atheist a terrorist crime. Pakistan is now applying its blasphemy laws to those who post on social media. If you believe in your religion why would people speaking out aginst it or saying it is not true have to be killed? A great faith should be able to withstand doubt and overcome those who question it by its inherent greatness.
Why are there apostasy laws in Islam? Why must Islam and Muslims call for the deaths of and take the lives of those who leave? Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the Union of Muslim Scholars had, said: “If They [Muslims] Had Gotten Rid of the Punishment for Apostasy, Islam Would Not Exist Today.” A great faith should not have to threaten to kill you to get you to stay.
Quran 4:88-89 “Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance) 89 They wish that you reject (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So, take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah (to Muhammad). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill [q-t-l] them wherever you find them”
The fear of women that Islam displays are another demonstration of how weak Islam is. Women are treated as property and not given any agency over themselves. The concept of guardianship treats women as helpless and hapless. Women in some Muslim majority countries cannot leave their homes without a male family member leading them. Even when they do find someone who will escort them in public, they must cover their hair or, depending on the country, dress head to toe in a sack and have their faces covered. Women are supposed to do this to protect men from the lust they will instil in men. This is a vile concept. If the devout men are so devout why would a woman walking about uncovered cause them to forget the admonishments against extra-marital sex that are in Islam? Are the beliefs of the faithful so weak that they cannot contain their baser urges just because they see some hair or flesh? How does this show the greatness of Islam, in my eyes it shows how weak it is.
On February 14th, 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini issued his now infamous fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. Rushdie wrote of the verses that were supposedly dictated to Muhammad by Satan and for daring to do so he still to this day lives under a death sentence. This surely cannot be a sign of greatness. Or in 2005 when Jyllands Potsdam published cartoons of the prophet there was an outcry across the Muslim world. The protests were spurred on by self-proclaimed religious leaders who had to add a few cartoons of their own, far worse than what the publication had printed, to get Muslims riled up to violently demonstrate outside of and lay siege to Danish embassies around the globe. In 2011 Charlie Hebdo was firebombed and in 2015 15 member’s of their staff were slaughtered and the killers were shouting that they were avenging their prophet. None of these things shows any greatness.
The fear of ancient rocks is another way that Islam purports to be great. In Afghanistan Al Qaeda and the Taliban destroyed the statues of the Bamyan Buddhas and artefacts in museums because they were un-Islamic. ISIS has done the same in museums in Iraq and the ruins of Palmyra. The artefacts that ISIS did not destroy it sold to fund itself. All of this was done because these remnants of civilisation long dead were an affront to Islam. A great faith would not be concerned that ancient statues and ruins would lead its believers astray.
None of what I have mentioned demonstrate the greatness of Islam. All of these actions show how weak and small Islam is. A great faith should be able to withstand criticism, and allow its followers to see the remains of long dead civilisations. Islam can never call itself great if it keeps insisting that the mere sight of a woman not covered head to toe in a sack will cause Muslim men to forget all about their faith and ravish them. If Muslims can be made to leave their religion just because they are given an argument against it, then it has no reason to be followed.
If Muslims wish to show how great Islam is let them allow dissent, apostasy, liberated women and history. If it can allow all this and still keep its followers due to just the arguments of its apologists and religious leaders then it may have a right to the claim it is great but until that point, it is of no worth, and that is being shouted most loudly by Muslims.