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 Topic: What is an Agnostic Muslim?

 (Read 15359 times)
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  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     OP - April 07, 2015, 11:33 AM

    I just posted this to my Facebook. You are welcome to comment there if you want. I'm trying to find a position I can take that I can be open with everyone, my family and friends as well as you guys hugs

    What is an Agnostic Muslim?

    I want to share where I stand regarding Islam. These are my own personal views and do not represent the views of other members of my family.

    I use the label Agnostic Muslim to describe my beliefs. Partly out of pragmatism. It makes life easier amongst my Muslim family and friends. But also because Islam has without doubt been a major influence on me for half a century. It helped shape who I am and influences my behaviour, cultural habits, the way I think and look at the world. I instinctively reference wise sayings from Qur'an and Sunna and also find comfort in prayer and fasting.

    At the same time I believe it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God and while I consider the Qur'an a remarkable work with a great deal of wisdom, I do not believe it is the infallible word of God, but a fallible human work. I strongly believe all "Holy" texts must be subject to human reason and not the other way around.

    Hell is an absurd & wicked fiction. You're not a bad person for rejecting something that's cruel, irrational, unjust & lacks evidence. You have nothing to fear. Nothing to feel ashamed about. Enjoy your life. Do the best you can. Make yourself & others happy.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #1 - April 07, 2015, 02:05 PM

    There is no such thing as an agnostic Muslim, and you know it. You hit the nail on the head - it's convenient for you, so too is being an apologist for the crock of shite contained within the Koran. Be honest.

    I don't get how people still want to be Muslim when they flagrantly disobey the 'laws' - i;e - gay Muslims/'agnostic' Muslims who don't believe the Koran is divine etc - the terms and conditions are not pick and mix, but required - if you want to be a Muslim. If you don't, just be an agnostic who likes to fast...er, and pray, or just be gay, or a drunk, or bisexual, etc etc etc - why so important to throw 'Muslim' in there? Because it is such an attractive religion?

    Ha Ha.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #2 - April 07, 2015, 02:36 PM

    Jack, have you ever been devoutly religious?

    "God will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Make me and my mother gods beside God?" Qur'an 5:116

    "I told them clearly that I am a man...and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity." - Haile Selassie
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #3 - April 07, 2015, 03:29 PM

    Two of the most influential people in my life in regards to Islam had been extraordinarily lax followers of the religion--so much so, that for at least one of them, I'm not certain he believed at all. Both were born in relatively poor Muslim countries. One never visited the masjid, and the other knew everyone there but only visited on occasion. They both had sons, and those sons were free as birds, one with pictures of his bare chest blasted all over the internet and his father was quite proud. I had spent enough time with both of them throughout the day and saw some of our companions periodically leave to pray in a carpeted room, and neither of them ever joined.

    When I think back on my time with them, I remember stepping into cramped houses packed with books in Arabic and English, old photographs of Palestine one had collected, ornate furniture and trinkets from their travels back to Muslim countries, and the way my house often smells now, like cardamom and cooked coffee or perfume. And I remember traveling with them to see Islamic art, to see museums, and I remember going to the local theater to see Egyptian films, and I remember summers filled with Abdul Halim Hafiz blasting through the rooms and long talks about Islamic history, about Muslim issues, about how I should take care to avoid those Saudi students at the school.

    When I left Islam, it was really easy. It was like a light switched on in my head. And I, the pastiest of white Americans, had little to change, anyway. I tossed my beat up, coffee-stained translation of the Quran in the closet, I changed all my hijabs to fashion scarves, I recently used a khimar to quickly blot up a bleach stain because, although pretty, it was the closest thing nearby, and there's no need for me to keep it. There's still some relics around: the prayer mat looms over us on the wall as we sleep, and my mahr, a pretty copy of the Quran, is still always dusted and carefully restored to a prominent place on our shelf, and I'm left with, at most, a distant nostalgia for passing through the homes and lives of my mentors, where Islam was at once everywhere but unseen and unheard and unmentioned.

    If either of them were to leave Islam, I suppose the most honest thing to do would be to come outright and say it: I do/do not accept that there may be a god, but the god of Islam isn't him. And then they'd move on. They'd keep the furniture and keep the relics, they'd still be passionate about the history of Islam, about Muslim artists, about Muslim literature. Abdul Halim Hafez would still be blasting through the halls, they'd still engage in the same discussions. And I suppose that would be ideal.

    When my husband left Islam, he also left it quickly, and he's told some friends but kept it from others, and he dropped all habits and superstition immediately and he's gone on with his life. But I remember one day when he came to sit next to me, he complained of this feeling of loss, and it wasn't because he was without an identity now and needed to build a new one, but it was because there was this whole side of himself that identified with no one but other Muslims. Hassan was definitely in my mind when I told him that some people prefer to call themselves cultural Muslims for this reason, and yes, there are better and more complicated and more honest labels for what he is, but it still comes with the side effect of placing him in this new, narrow group with the same loneliness.

    I couldn't have had it easier, but still, when I hear people nearby speaking about Islam, I get that same possessiveness and energy, and when I see someone insulting Muslims I still take it as an attack on myself, and I still have more in common with the hijabi in my lab than anyone else and I still sigh, "Alhamdulillah!" to her when the experiment works and "apostate" is not great enough of a word to describe these conflicting parts. I also imagine a void and some loneliness if it happened to my old mentors, and I wonder if "history buff" would be enough to describe their complicated identities, or "person who left Islam but still really finds it interesting."

    Nor would I think it would be enough to describe my husband, whose greater identity is not just formed by any particular national culture, not formed by anything uniquely Saudi, but actually formed by Islam, and most of the people whom he loves and feels closest to are Muslim, and when someone speaks about a Muslim his ears perk up, when they call he answers, when he's in the masjid he's comfortable, when he's in the company of Muslims, he's home.

    I understand the criticisms of labeling yourself as a Muslim, however, after you've left the religion. This isn't lost on me. But especially in cases like this, I'm not concerned. For one thing, this gradual shift is nothing new; reform of many religions and ideologies happened in increments, with more and more people occupying the foggy spaces in between. And I believe the more people we have who identify as non-religious, the more who identify as culturally among a group of people but not ideologically, the easier it will be for other people to step down.

    But this is perhaps the most important thing. If someone wants to go so far as to say they identify with Muslims but they are agnostic, more power to them. It is, in my opinion, a wonderful statement, but yes, an uncomfortable one. It says that I know you, I know your culture, I love it and I was myself a product of it, but you kind of lose me on the theology; it's just not for me. And as someone who heard, as a religious person, someone I knew understood me say, "You can believe this, but it's just not for me," I can tell you that shit is haunting. And it's especially no less powerful if the person can and does engage in honest criticisms of Islam--which Hassan does. And my husband, who now calls himself a cultural Muslim, is now a way-too-vocal critic on the internet, himself.

    I can imagine some people trying to pin any of the potential drawbacks of still identifying as a Muslim on someone, and it's a fair concern. But particularly with Hassan, I'd say it's not. He's contributed a tremendous amount to the ex-Muslim community, he's undoubtedly helped scores of people with their apostasy, and created enough doubt in countless others. To demand that people compromise their relationships and their comfort to be champions of a cause is unfair already. To ask Hassan to change this label would be ultimately worthless: with or without it, he has and will continue to be a force in the right direction.

    Obligatory apologies to anyone who even scrolled by that.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #4 - April 07, 2015, 03:36 PM

    I know plenty of agnostic and even atheist Muslims. But they are still "Muslims". They don't feel like they just become "Danish" by being born and raised here. And sure as hell a lot of Danes will tell them that they aren't "Danish" while they both celebrate Eid, Yule and Easter. They might even reject all religions but they are still labeled as "Muslims" and they still follow some "Muslim" cultural traits.

    Here we allow people to call themselves "Christians" despite them both doubting if there IS a God at all and if the resurrection is a real or a metaphorical thing.

    We should be the first to allow the same freedoms to people of other faiths - in particular Muslims who seem to need such embracement from both within and from the outside.

    Danish Never-Moose adopted by the kind people on the CEMB-forum
    Ex-Muslim chat (Unaffliated with CEMB). Safari users: Use "#ex-muslims" as the channel name. CEMB chat thread.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #5 - April 07, 2015, 03:40 PM

    Did I ever tell you I love you Lua hugs

    Hell is an absurd & wicked fiction. You're not a bad person for rejecting something that's cruel, irrational, unjust & lacks evidence. You have nothing to fear. Nothing to feel ashamed about. Enjoy your life. Do the best you can. Make yourself & others happy.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #6 - April 07, 2015, 03:44 PM

    Right back at you, Hassan. hugs
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #7 - April 07, 2015, 03:50 PM

    Wouldn't simply "cultural Muslim" be a better label? Agnostic Muslim makes it seem like a position of belief and not one of attachment/sentimentality.

    Or just don't use a label. Everyone's got to label everyone else these days. Just be Hassan.

    "I moreover believe that any religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system."
    -Thomas Paine
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #8 - April 07, 2015, 03:53 PM

    An 'agnostic cultural muslim'  
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #9 - April 07, 2015, 03:54 PM

    ^oops you beat me to it
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #10 - April 07, 2015, 04:12 PM

    I think the life of pi solution should be explored further - Hindu Muslim xian!

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #11 - April 07, 2015, 05:26 PM

    Quote
    Two of the most influential people in my life in regards to Islam had been ..............

      
    Did I ever tell you I love you Lua hugs


    So, lua one is Hassan,  
    .....The Agnostic Muslim (AM),
    The Pragmatic Muslim (PM),
    Cultural Muslim(CM),
    Behavioral Muslim (BM),  
    Wise Muslim(WM)  ..
    Praying & fasting Muslims(PFM)
    Quran is not from God Muslim(QNFGM)  
    human reasoning Muslim(HRM)......


     So, lua  that is one person ..... who is the other person??   what is other name?? what is other name??

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #12 - April 07, 2015, 05:53 PM

     Cheesy

    Oh, yeez...it would be a poor way to return their kindness to me by saying their names on here.

    And actually, I discovered Hassan a little too late to say that he changed how I was as a Muslim (those honors go to Hamza Tzortzis et al), but he definitely aided my husband's apostasy (his Hell video made the poor guy speechless), and when I read what Hassan writes here, it helps to remind me to keep correcting myself and to be fair, and to remember the human side of Islam that I'm personally prone to forget too easily, and so in that way I'd say he's been one of the most influential people to my life as an apostate, and for his inspiration, I'm awfully grateful.

  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #13 - April 07, 2015, 06:07 PM

    Or just don't use a label. Everyone's got to label everyone else these days. Just be Hassan.



     Afro

    Ha Ha.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #14 - April 07, 2015, 06:19 PM

    Jack, have you ever been devoutly religious?


    When you say 'devoutly', do you mean followed a religion to the nth degree, and occasionally sinned, or followed a religion to the nth degree, and never once sinned?

    As an excuse for an attachment that is difficult to let go of, I understand completely why it is so hard, but some people like to make a stand, which is how this site began. Those who don't want to/or can't make a stand, even though they have grave doubts, because of family, social network etc, are usually known as 'moderate muslims' as far as I can see, and that's understandable too, but be honest...or rather, be hypocrtical, at least. As for Islam shaping your life as a reason to look at it fondly, well I'm sure Auschwitz or Sabra and Shatila shaped a few life perspectives too, but it's not a valid reason to be apologetic towards them.

    Ha Ha.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #15 - April 07, 2015, 06:40 PM

    You do seem like a clever guy, so I'm guessing you don't actually need someone to walk you through how concentration camps and massacres are unfair and unsuitable examples.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #16 - April 07, 2015, 08:48 PM

    Wouldn't simply "cultural Muslim" be a better label? Agnostic Muslim makes it seem like a position of belief and not one of attachment/sentimentality.


    "Cultural Muslim" is kind of an absurd term too. There's no one "Muslim culture" unless we want to erase all the non-Arab (and variations within Arab) cultures that make up the majority of Muslim-identified people.

    Or just don't use a label. Everyone's got to label everyone else these days. Just be Hassan.


    I don't see a problem with people labeling themselves, though.

    "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."

    Help keep this forum going! Donate to the Council of ExMuslims here: ex-muslim.org.uk/donate
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #17 - April 07, 2015, 11:00 PM

    Cheesy

    .........but he definitely aided my husband's apostasy......  

    Well you were NOT born in to Islam but  for many leaving a faith that was too dear to them when she/he were a child is really painful lua. Frankly speaking there is nothing wrong to be a cultural a Muslim  and participate in a culture/festivals that  one grew up without going in to all these rules and regulation of Islam that are preached in Mosques and propel these Islamisms and Islamic politics ..

    Ideally I prefer mixed religion/multi religious family  and that may be because I am a zebra and biased by birth .,  So leave your hubby alone and don't push too much anti-Islamic thing in front of his face..   It is ok to  do on a forum., but in real life it is painful for those who are practicing Muslims who  still go to Mosques and pray 3 - 5 times day.

    Yesterday  I was irritated by a very nice guy who happened to be Muslim and was trying to give apologetic excuses for the actions of what happened in Kenya.. Blame x-y-z for their actions...   He is such a nice guy he was ashamed of  what they did when I explained him that no amount of apologetic excuses will stop me insulting those rogues...

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #18 - April 07, 2015, 11:01 PM

    I agree!
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #19 - April 07, 2015, 11:35 PM

    I don't know about your personal convictions that have led you to this label Hassan. Not even sure what exactly it means as far as definition goes. From what I have experienced of your friendship and character, I do know that if it's the product of your own reflection, then there is nothing to be ashamed or apologetic about it, fuck the naysayers.

    Also its a label that might become incredibly prevalent and useful in the changing circumstances of the near future, but that's another story.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #20 - April 07, 2015, 11:36 PM

    When you say 'devoutly', do you mean followed a religion to the nth degree, and occasionally sinned, or followed a religion to the nth degree, and never once sinned?

    As an excuse for an attachment that is difficult to let go of, I understand completely why it is so hard, but some people like to make a stand, which is how this site began. Those who don't want to/or can't make a stand, even though they have grave doubts, because of family, social network etc, are usually known as 'moderate muslims' as far as I can see, and that's understandable too, but be honest...or rather, be hypocrtical, at least. As for Islam shaping your life as a reason to look at it fondly, well I'm sure Auschwitz or Sabra and Shatila shaped a few life perspectives too, but it's not a valid reason to be apologetic towards them.


    If I understand correctly, Hassan is not being a hypocritcal 'moderate Muslim' or being apologetic towards them, in fact he's an outspoken critic, he just identifies and feels most comfortable with the label of 'Muslim' as Islam has had such a large influence on his life. What's wrong with that? People should be able to call themselves whatever they like.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #21 - April 07, 2015, 11:55 PM

    Also its a label that might become incredibly prevalent and useful in the changing circumstances of the near future


     Afro
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #22 - April 08, 2015, 12:02 AM

    Ideally I prefer mixed religion/multi religious family  and that may be because I am a zebra and biased by birth .,  So leave your hubby alone and don't push too much anti-Islamic thing in front of his face..   It is ok to  do on a forum., but in real life it is painful for those who are practicing Muslims who  still go to Mosques and pray 3 - 5 times day.

    Yesterday  I was irritated by a very nice guy who happened to be Muslim and was trying to give apologetic excuses for the actions of what happened in Kenya.. Blame x-y-z for their actions...   He is such a nice guy he was ashamed of  what they did when I explained him that no amount of apologetic excuses will stop me insulting those rogues...


    Oh, sorry, didn't see that you edited it!

    As for the husband...I guess I really just never said it explicitly on the forum or explicitly enough, but he's well out of my hands now. He doesn't seem to have a shred of faith left, and argues with Muslims online in Arabic, and he actually goes a little bit further with his criticisms of Islam than I personally would. He even refused to pray with his brother and cousin when they visited, even though I tried to get him to do it just to avoid arousing suspicion.

    That's not to say he doesn't have any conflicting feelings or trouble with adjusting to his new worldview, but as far as Islam is concerned, I think that man is long gone.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #23 - April 08, 2015, 12:19 AM

    I feel you Hasan. Although I will trade blows with a Christian a part of the religion still has an impression on me. Easter is a good example of this. I watched a number of movies about Easter over the weekend; King of Kings, Ben Hur, Passion of the Christ, Killing Jesus. I can identify with Jesus' message covering how we should treat others and help others if we are able to do so. Although I no longer need to identify as a Christian I once did for my sake and those of my family, I understand what they believe and why. One set of my grandparents were devout Christians and good people regardless of what flaws I could point out now. They were at a stage of their lives that discussing religion as an opponent to their views would have never changed their opinion and just produced ill feelings between us. So I went through all the motions to maintain harmony. If I had to label myself I would be an agnostic-atheist, I lack the knowledge to prove/disprove God but I see no reason to believe in one.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #24 - April 08, 2015, 08:58 AM

    Thanks asbie, laico and bogart.  far away hug

    Saif also said I should use Cultural Muslim but that never sat well with me. As Allat said, what is Muslim culture? Besides I am probably more culturally English. (Whatever English Culture is). It is islam the religion itself rather than any particular Muslim culture (of which there are many different ones) that had the greatest impact on me.

    So I prefer Agnostic Muslim.

    I even like the ambiguity of it Smiley

    Hell is an absurd & wicked fiction. You're not a bad person for rejecting something that's cruel, irrational, unjust & lacks evidence. You have nothing to fear. Nothing to feel ashamed about. Enjoy your life. Do the best you can. Make yourself & others happy.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #25 - April 08, 2015, 09:05 AM

    At the same time I believe it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God and while I consider the Qur'an a remarkable work with a great deal of wisdom, I do not believe it is the infallible word of God, but a fallible human work. I strongly believe all "Holy" texts must be subject to human reason and not the other way around.


    This...and dare I say that Muhammad, mythological or otherwise, is a fascinating and at times inspiring figure. Especially the early aspects of his life. Take away the idea that he is the perfect human being and I have a lot of respect for what he tried to achieve.

    No free mixing of the sexes is permitted on these forums or via PM or the various chat groups that are operating.

    Women must write modestly and all men must lower their case.

    http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?425649-Have-some-Hayaa-%28modesty-shame%29-people!
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #26 - April 08, 2015, 09:16 AM

    And also, Jack, dropping the "Muslim" label may have costs that a person may not be willing to face. Not saying this is necessarily true of all people or of Hassan in particular, but like for me if I were to come out to my estranged husband as an ex-Muslim, even though he isn't himself what anyone could call "devout" (I mean, he's openly gay and didn't know how to do salat 4 years after converting to Islam), there might still be unpleasant consequences. I'm not willing to find out what those consequences are or face them right now. Doesn't make my identity as an atheist less valid just because I'm not "out of the closet." Lots of people retain identities while being in the closet about that aspect of themselves (even if only to some of their acquaintances). So, Hassan might not be ready to drop the Muslim label; but that doesn't make him less of an ex-Muslim.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I have a sonic screwdriver, a tricorder, and a Type 2 phaser.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #27 - April 08, 2015, 11:38 AM

    "I even like the ambiguity of it"

    There's no ambiguity. Just like there is no ambiguity in 'homosexual heterosexual', its just nonsense. Time to change the forum name to 'council for agnostic muslims'? Or 'Council of inconsistency', or even 'Council of hypocrites who tear Islam up when it suits, then stick it back together again when it doesnt.'

    Ha Ha.
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #28 - April 08, 2015, 11:47 AM

    Why does this have anything to do with the Council of Ex-Muslims?

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • What is an Agnostic Muslim?
     Reply #29 - April 08, 2015, 01:02 PM

    "Why does this have anything to do with the Council of Ex-Muslims?"

    Well, only in that it was Hass that co-founded it and was more than just instrumental in setting up this site. If he'd set it up today, with his current version of 'What I think about Islam', I was suggesting he might have called it 'Council of Agnostic Muslims', only I don't think he'd have had much success with it somehow. Likewise, for all the people who he inspired to find the courage to leave Islam, his current stance is a bit of  kick in the face. That's why.

    Ha Ha.
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