Response to ‘Mental Bondage’

April 9th, 2008


Somewhat to my surprise, the many e-mails I have received about the book have been overwhelming, and gratifyingly positive. Frankly, I expected to receive some hate mails for it. But in fact, I have received very, very little negative response. Almost every one of the hundreds of e-mails I’ve received has been upbeat.

One frequent response that I didn’t expect is from people who have experienced a similar kind of spiritual journey to mine. I begin Mental Bondage in the Name of God with a kind of autobiography, in which I explain how the meaning of the words in the Quran were distorted, manipulated and misconstrued in prospering a pagan faith from the middle East and how this system of belief played an important role in my decision moving away from it. As it turns out, there are a lot of people all over the world who have had very similar journeys, and many of them were grateful that I was willing to share my experience with them.

A number of people of those who have written have wanted to know on my views about the Sharia Law and they asked me, “Is it divine?” My simple answer is “No”.

Part of being human is having a sense of finitude. By our very nature, we are limited, impartial, incomplete beings. That is why we need, crave, and family love, friends, activities, distractions, pleasures, and so on. Some people have a deeper sense of emptiness than others and try to fill the void for example by throwing themselves into their work, by seeking constant entertainment or physical pleasure, or by entering into multiple intimate relationships, whether licit or illicit.

One of the ways people sometimes deal with the emptiness they feel is through “organized religion” – especially the Arab religion mistakenly called “Islam” that emphasizes a personal relationship with God. When I was following the Arab religion I felt that God was part of my life and that He filled the void that I had within.

This belief in God involved a number of doctrinal commitments and beliefs, and these beliefs were rooted in certain historical claims about what had happened in the past (for example, in the history of the life of the last prophet). They also involved certain views about the Sharia (claimed by the Arab religionist an inspired and infallible guide both practiced from the time of the last prophet and how his followers should have a relationship with God). Even before I began doing serious research into the Reading (Quran) and these historical claims, I began to see that the foundation of my faith was not nearly as secure as I had assumed it was.

Eventually I came to see that the Sharia is a very human, written from very human points of view, and that these points of view often differ from one another. Not a single of these laws are found in the Quran. I soon realized these lawmakers were humans too! They had likes, dislikes, opinions, views, prejudices, biases, perspectives, and so on, like the rest of us, and all these things affected the belief system of more than 1 billion people. After many years of studying the “infallible Sharia” I had based so much of my faith on – came to look very fallible. As a result, the faith that I once had, began to crumble. It took several years of hard thinking, but eventually I came to realize that I could no longer hold on to the historical foundations of my belief.

This in itself did not lead me away from the Islam ordained by God, but it did lead me away from the “Arabised” fold of Islam, into a more mainstream form of belief that saw the Quran in its original form as God’s word.

Until today, there is no Islamic scholar who can come forward to show us the Sharia Law is derived from the Quran. The Sharia is nothing but a mad-made law nevertheless. They are filled with human biases, perspectives, opinions, and ideas totally contradicts to the teachings in the Quran, and often one law stands completely at odds with the views of another Sharia.

Aidid Safar

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