Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Javed Ahmad Ghamdi’s Attempt to Reform Islam

There is a quote that “religion of one people at an stage is the source of amusement for the next generations”. Every false belief that exists today will die with the passage of time. The fate of Islam will be no different; it will die its natural death, too. What we actually want  to achieve is to accelerate the process, so that bloodshed in the name of Islam can be reduced. It may be possible to kick out Islam from Western countries within few decades; but it seems like a dream that Islam will be dislodged from Islamic countries even within a few centuries. The mission statement of says,
Islam can’t be reformed, but it can be eradicated. It can’t be molded, but it can be smashed. It is rigid, but brittle. That is why Muslims can’t tolerate criticism of it. To eradicate Islam, all we have to do is tell the truth. It’s that simple. This was not possible before, but with the help of the Internet, it is now. The absurdity of Islam is glaringly obvious. All it takes to see it is to read the Qur’an.

Though internet is the best tool available to critics of Islam for telling the truth about Islam. But, we can not be successful without reaching the mainstream media. This seems impossible, because every anti-Islamic media and websites in most Islamic countries are banned. On the contrary, the fundamentalists are using the media of all kinds with unstinted liberty to reach the gullible Muslim youth. A few critics, working on the Internet with limited readership, can never overtake the propaganda of the Islamists to the extent that Islam would vanish with decades.

Muslim freethinkers are actually trying to cut the stem of Islam. This task is next to impossible for those while living in Islamic societies. Meanwhile, some reformists—Javed Ahmad Ghamdi in Pakistan, for example—are out there trying to cut the branches of Islam. In fact, they are facing criticism too from their audience. But many Muslims also want to get rid of their existing system. They are impressed by some aspects of Western values and want freedom and liberty. Therefore, Ghamdi's reformist agenda is very popular among the youth and the educated class in Pakistan.

Javed Ahmad Ghamdi learned a lot from his debate with Dr. Ali Sina. Ghamdi and Sina are doing the same job, but in different ways. Sina is cutting the stem but Ghamdi is trying to cut the branches first. Islam will die—either a slow peaceful, or a sudden, death.  How we can kill Islam at a particular place will depend on how we choose to as well as on how the circumstances are. In Western countries, sudden death should is possible and be given a chance; but in Islamic countries, it is not possible. The first step for killing Islam in Islamic countries is to create an atmosphere, in which people can accept realities easily. Ghamdi's reformist program, which I wish to share with you here, may help foster such an atmosphere. I have given a brief account of Ghamdi's reformist agenda with links to access his work online in Urdu.

1. There is no form of Had (Prescribed Punishment) in Islam like flogging, cutting hands, stoning etc.

Ghamdi strongly condemn that there is any prescribed punishment for adulterers, and wine drinking etc. He thinks that those mentioned punishments were for only those people of Medina. And those verses are not applicable now. He has written a lot on this topic. Recent amendments in Hadod Laws in Pakistan was prompted by his research. A raped woman now will be able to get justice without need of four male witnesses via DNA tests etc.

2. Hadith can not be trusted alone. Hadith is to be seen in the light of Quran and common sense of Muslim ummah.

He strongly rejects the concept of hadith. And according to him, only a hadith which is according to Quran and “common sense of Muslims” is acceptable. Therefore, hadiths that justify pedophilia, genocides and terrorism are nullified in this way.

3. Jesus died a natural death.

Jesus died a natural death. He was not  lifted up by Allah. This reformation can help Muslims to come near the Ahmadis. Who are being persecuted in Pakistan.

4. There is no penalty for an Apostate (Murtad) in Islam.

Islam allows a democratic state. Every one is free to change his religion. Those ahadith were for specific time.

Ghamdi have given some arguments against the death plenty of apostasy.

5. Claims the 7 recitations of Quran to be wrong.

There is no space for seven recitations in Quran.

6. Music and Dancing is permissible in Islam. 
Music is allowed in Islam. Ghamdi gave a number of ahadith to prove the allowance of music and dance in Islam.

7. Jihad against oppression is the only jihad allowed 
Jihad is not allowed unless the head of the state orders to do. Jihad is only war against persecution. The best jihad is “jihad bi nafs” which says to fight against human ego.

8. The Shahadat (testimony) of a man and woman are equal 
Women and men have equal rights according to Ghamdi. And both can give testimony in court. Only in case of adultery the testimony of woman is half. Which is due to certain facts.

9. There is no concept of Purdah (Hijab / Veil) in Islam.

The concept of veil etc. is not a part of Islam. Only women and men are guided to guard their sexual organs. Ghamdi have a lot of discussion on this issue. Due to this, he is very popular amongst modern women in Pakistan.

10. Democracy is real system of Islamic state.

According to Ghamdi, the real system  of Islam is democracy; Caliphate is not acceptable.

11. There would be no jaziya on non-Muslims in Pakistan.

Pakistani non-Muslims are not the dhimmis. Pakistan is bound up in a pact with the U.N., which gives equal rights to all.

And Mohammed gave equal rights to Jews of media after his migration. The “Medina Pact” is the constitution of Pakistan.

12. A woman can be the prime minister of Pakistan.

Those ahadith which say nations having a woman as the head of state will never flourish were specific for some nations. Now, any woman can be the head of state.

13. A non-Muslim can be prime minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan is a democratic country. If the people want a non-Muslim to be the prime minister, then it is allowed in Islam.

14. Keeping beard is not mandatory to Muslim men.

Having beard was the culture of that time. Even Abu Jahal have had beard. So it is not necessary to have beard in Islam.

15. Only moral teaching should be given in Islamic studies in Pakistan.

There should be moral and ethical teachings in Islamic studies. Jihad and other subjects should not taught to children. 

16. Jihadi verses were only for those days and now those verses will be used in war time by soldiers.

The Surat Taubah and other Jihadi Surahs were revealed against the non-believers who challenged the writ of Muhammad's prophethood as a wrath of Allah. Now those verses are not applicable to every Muslim. Those verses will be used for only soldiers.

17. Pakistan was not founded on Islamic bases, but for economic reasons.

Pakistan is not a theocratic state. It is not founded on Islamic grounds. It was founded to protect the rights of Muslims from the Hindu majority. Therefore, it is not necessary to establish Islamic rule in Pakistan.

18. Pakistan should be neither Islamic nor secular but a democratic state.

The government should let the people to decide what kind of state they want. Either they want Islamic or secular state. Government should not enforce its prescribed agenda upon the people of Pakistan.

20. Quran accept evolution but rejects macro evolution of human beings.

Quran accepts the evolution of the universe but not the evolution of humans from ape.

21. Only way to spread Islam is “dawah”; sword can not be used any way.

The use of sword is now abrogated. Islam can only be spread by dawah.

22. Woman can also divorce as can a man.

Now a days, Ghamdi is working on the law for the right of a woman to divorce her husband. We will soon have laws in Pakistan that would allow women to get divorced in 90 days.

23. Islamic government can not enforce Muslims to have beard and do jihad.

Talibans are certainly wrong to enforce saying prayers and having beard etc. Islamic government have no right to force a Muslim even to participate in jihad.

24. Clash of civilization never happened in history.

Every super power wants to dominate the world as America is doing and Germany, Russia and Muslim did in history. America attacked Afghanistan due to some strategic reason. It is not a war against Islam.

25. Non-Muslims are brothers of Muslims, because all people are descendants of Adam.

Every human being is brother of other because of common ancestors.

26. Pakistan should have foreign policies on economical, not religious, bases.

Pakistan should make its policies based on economic consideration, not on religious beliefs.

27. Helping the needy is better then performing hajj.

28. All kinds of fine arts and funs are halal in Islam.

Arts, like sculptures, pictures and music, are halal in Islam.

29. There is no punishment of amputations in Islam.

There is no prescribed punishment in Islam. It is an obligation of the democratic government of Islamic states to make laws according to the conditions of the state.

30. Picture is totally halal in Islam.

Pictures and movies of living beings are totally halal in Islam.

31. Sex education is inevitable.

Sex education should be given to the youth of Pakistan. It is completely allowed in Islamic sharia.

32. “Killing of people, not in the state of war, is called terrorism.”

Killing of any civilian not in the state of war is terrorism. Whether it is done by Muslims or non-Muslim.

33. Kashmiri militants are not doing jihad.

A war can be deemed Jihad when ordered by the head of state.

34. American attacks in Afghanistan is not terrorism.

It will be called terrorism if they target civilians.

35. Muslims should accept Israel, because Jerusalem was a Jewish land before the Muslim invasion.

If Muslims do not accept Israel then why should Israel accept Muslims?

36. Zakat  can be given to non-Muslims.

It is a misconception that Zakat cannot be given to non-believers.

37. Making slave in Islam is haram.

Making slave is strongly prohibited in Islam. Slavery in Mohammed’s  days was due to the early slave system. So Mohammed slowly end up that system. Now making slave is the gravest sin in Islam.

This article will show how Ghamdi is trying to change the whole face of Islam. The good thing is that he is getting popularity amongst Pakistanis. Every TV channel is trying to offer him more air-time, because many here in this "land of the pure" is tired of religious dogma. They want change. The hardcore fundamentalists are also not quiet, but the reformists are winning to some extent. The recently amended hadod ordinance is a proof of that.


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Amar Khan is a Pakistan-born ex-Muslim.

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Name: Mohamed Sadi
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 05:34:57 -0500


I like this man. He should be called a minor modern scientific prophet of not Islam because what he preaches cannot be Islam, so better call this new religion Ghamdislam. One more thing he should reduce the number of daily prayers from 5 to 3. After all the Koran also says there are 3 daily prayers.

Name: this ghamidi guy will be shot by true muslims soon
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 06:24:57 -0500


this ghamidi guy doing good work will be shot dead by real muslims=saudi backed taliban soon.

Name: i hope this ghamidi guy is not shot dead by real muslims=taliban
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 06:27:11 -0500


i hope this ghamidi guy is not shot dead by real muslims=taliban.may he live longa and dismantle islam and let truth prevail.

Name: gwawr
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 09:18:06 -0500


I just wonder how many others in other so called islamic countries are also tired of religious dogma. I know that this is a great man, doing what so many want to be done but are letting fear rule them. He's looked past that fear and is reclaiming humanity for all that follow this cult. His biggest problem will always be the ones that say that it must be done in the literal context. If he succeeds, and I hope for all, he does, there are other "islamic" nations that can change. The real question will be: can they?

Name: No Sharia
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 10:11:43 -0500


Hi, It is interesting that reformers try to rewrite the whole interpretation of the Quran, ahadith and the Sira. The question is though: "Do they have a rational basis for the new interpretation ?" It is not enough just to think that the rules are barbaric and not at all relevant in our times. There must be a basis, some basic ground, on which one can make a whole new interpretation. Where do we find that in the quran. ? It is not enough just to say that the accepted creed is not relevant and can´t be obeyed because it is too brutal and primitive. The question for a religious person who believes, must be : What did Allah really mean ? And given the history of 1400 years, we know what muslims earlier thought he meant. There is probably no rational basis to interpret the quran in other ways. The basis then is just the person´s current desire and his dislike of inhumanity. But to change a religion because one doesn´t like it its content, is forbidden in Islam. The reformers will probably be punished for their views sooner or later. And sometimes a religion is basically so inhuman that it cannot be reformed. It has been said: "Greater than the question if we shall survive is the question if we are worthy to survive". Let´s ask and answer that question regarding the quran first, and then act accordingly. Regards, No Sharia

Name: Mohamed Sadi
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 10:16:47 -0500


I think this new upgraded version of Islam should be called Ghamdislam.

Name: Dr Omar Zia
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 10:30:11 -0500


Excellent article Amar khan. It is good to encourage people like Mr Ghamdi. People such as ourself have seen the whole truth about Islam and are fighting a battle outside in. But people like Mr Ghamdi and Dr Khalid Zaheer, Ghamdis student, are also helping by attempting to reform islam while staying alive as muslims.

Name: Ibn Kammuna
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 10:49:51 -0500


Thank you brother for this. Question: Can I, a Christian, or Hindu, or Atheist man marry a Muslim woman without the mob killing me and without changing my beliefs according to Ghamidi? thanks brother

Name: Charles Martel
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 11:10:53 -0500


This article is optimistic nonsense. No religion "collapses suddenly" unless it makes some ironclad falsifiable prediction about a specific day. Islam MAY die out over centuries, but only if there is some really compelling, comsuming, fulfilling alternative. Socialism and decolonializing nationalism didn't do it in the 20th century, and I don't even see a comparably plausible new alternative now. Human nature is NOT to "all get along" and Islam harnesses the dark side of human nature with the common intuition that there is a God to have a perfect storm of evil -- Serve God by being a homicidal Arabist maniac. Most of these points are in direct opposition to the Islam of Koran, Hadith, Sunna, Sharia and obvious common Islamic practice over the past 1400 years. P.S. although I visit this site because I share your value of freedom and fear the threat to freedom of Islam, as a Christian I was shocked at you bringing Jesus into it. I don't want to be preachy, but although Jesus did indeed die a natural death, one of the genuine mysteries of history, and the foundation of my faith, is that He apparently did rise again -- not only was His body not found, but the Jews who wanted Him dead could not even get the Romans (his tomb under guard) to agree that His body had been stolen.

Name: DH
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 12:00:18 -0500


The trouble is if Ghamdi’s "interpretation" of the Koran comes to be genuinely believed by a sizable number of Muslims they may then convert large numbers of non-Muslims to their nominal Islam on the basis that the "real" Islam is all sweetness and light. Then what happens when the converts discover the REAL real Islam????

Name: seeker
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 13:04:37 -0500


I have read the fascinating but long and exhaustive debate between Ali Sina and Ghamadi at FFI in PDF format. Please do read it. If you have not read it you have not read anything. If I am correct, Prof Zaheer calls Sina a hard nut to crack in the end and exits the debate. I am truly surprised that Ghamadi is singing to Sina's tune so early. It is very, very good news indeed.

Name: duh_swami
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 13:20:55 -0500


If you kill off the fake god Allah, there would be no need for 1-37...

Name: Walter Sieruk
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 15:54:09 -0500


The idea of attempting to reform Islam is an act of futility for it is written in the Bible "That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered." Ecclesiates 1:15. [KJV]

Name: Really?
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 15:54:11 -0500


I am sceptical. Afghanistan was Buddhistic before the arrival of islam and very peaceful. What do we have now? Even today anybody can become sentenced to death if he only critisizes Islam in Afghanistan. But this is not enough for the Taliban and they are destroying schools every day in order to prevent girls and women to receice an education. I am sorry but I dont believe that Islam can be reformed. iSLAM IS over - and so overdue!

Name: Ibrahim
Date: Friday January 30, 2009
Time: 23:07:46 -0500


What Ghamidi is doing is nothing short of trying to put in meanings to words where they donot exist. Say even if people do accept his definition of Islam for the time being, is there a guarantee that the future generations will not try to go back to the real Islam and label Ghamidi as a heretic. Changing Islam is like changing Nazism. I am not sure how many people would really agree to see a reformed sort of Nazism. Amar said that Ghamidi is cutting the branches while Ali Sina is cutting the shoot. No Amar, Ali Sina is trying to uproot the poisonous plant called Islam. What is the point in cutting off branches when we know that nwe branches will grow out. Ghamidi is not the first guy to try and reform Islam. There were others and we know the sort if fate they met. Hence any talk of reforming Islam is nothing short of buying time and delaying the ineveitible.

Name: some thing is better than nothing
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 01:50:16 -0500


some thing is better than nothing. I hope pakistan will become less fanatic state and will be more tolerant. step by step dose of reforming and rationality will help muslims to overcome fascist islamic truema. it will once become turky like country and finally can become like russia. If muslim people of pak learn to tatse the truth and rationality then they can darely challenge and leave islam even some time later.child which needs support for walking then runs with out suppoert. //////I ask you and other rational humnaists to organaise civil rights and dmocratic discussion groups and tours of philosophical debates frequently in your university. Philosphy is mother of thinking and sceintif approach.

Name: Not going to succeed
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 02:16:22 -0500


This advocate of reformed Islam will be killed within 5 years. We better kill the imams of classical Islam that calls for violence.

Name: Islam cannot be reformed
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 06:42:01 -0500


Islam cannot be reformed otherwise there will be no Islam left.

Name: a real story....of indian muslims now ex-muslima
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 07:55:10 -0500


a real story of indian muslima, now ex-muslima, she was a furious defender of true islam, and praised taliban etc. then she become 45....and his 48 yr old husband do 3 x talak and did not pay back meher etc and bring new wife. she said this is unislamic, and her husband and mullas show her koran and she was shattered. i show her isw. and she is more shattered, her faith in imaginary allah is destroyed. he is ex-muslim now. she is my cousin sister in law.  her ex-husband, the guy who divorced her, is my own male cousin brother. [zakir kaskar ex-muslim india ]

Name: saad
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 08:19:42 -0500


assalam-u-alikum bro an sis, i think ghamidi is not doing good n the man which write this article we must give some credit.

Name: Poisonous Plant
Date: Saturday January 31, 2009
Time: 09:35:01 -0500


A poisonous plant will always produced poisonous fruits no matter how many times the branches are cut.

Name: abdulmannan
Date: Sunday February 01, 2009
Time: 08:18:20 -0500


Ahmadalghamidi,I agree with some of his views but with others I dont agree.I consider him a muslim.I fee that every body has the right to express himself as long as he does not use abusive language for those who differ with him.Islam has come to stay.There is no need to reform Islam as this is the religion REVEALED by God.God has protected quran when there was no press and almost no literacy.Quran will remain proted always.Our nonmuslim brothers need not fear Islam.I strongly believe in Islam but I dont hate nonmuslims be they christians .jews hindus or they belong to any other riligion.I try to help my non muslim friends as many nonmuslims help muslims.We should be consideratemto one another.We must not tru to eliminate others .This is of no use.There have to be differences among the people as we have different minds different perception.We can not eliminate differences but it is always possible to tolerate others.

Name: look kaffir
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 22:45:40 -0500


islam is the richs religion on the planet so how can it decay

Name: Path to Destruction
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 01:15:36 -0500


Islam will lead the the world to utter destruction. Humanity is the loser.

Name: dd
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 06:11:30 -0500


The only way this 'fool yourself into believing that Islam can be reformed' thing will work is if it allows english scientific education to spread to the masses. Without education the muslim masses can never reform/come out of islam. First CUT the strangle hold of madrasas on the mind of the ummah, instead ban all madrasas and open scientific ENGLISH schools only then the branches will be cut otherwise this is just fooling yourself.

Name: dd
Date: Saturday February 07, 2009
Time: 04:18:45 -0500


Another thing is also very necessary before this can work, and that is separation of church and state, until that was done Christianity couldn't reform itself. But I doubt whether Muslims can separate religion and state without giving up Islam because Islam forbids separation of religion and state.

Name: staerlingc
Date: Saturday February 14, 2009
Time: 08:38:13 -0500


volunteer open references overwhelming globe relatively

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