I have been a practising Muslim since I was a little boy. My parents are what British newspapers would call practising moderate Muslims, as were their parents. I grew up aspiring to devote my life to Islam by becoming a religious scholar. This ambition seriously affected my social and work life, which is something I deeply regret now. My greatest regret is how Islam affected my academic life. Up till age 16 I was a good student and earned good grades. At 16 I was influenced by Muslims following the Salafi interpretation of Islam. It’s at this time when my interest in studying dropped. I spent most of my time reading Islamic books and going to Islamic lectures, even at the expense of missing my college classes. I completed my course with poor grades but somehow got into university to study law. After one year of law school I was persuaded by friends to drop out and transfer to another university to pursue Arabic language studies with the hope of eventually studying in Madina University in Saudi Arabia. I studied Arabic at university for 3 years including a year studying in an Arab country. Throughout this time my circle of friends changed to one who practised a very orthodox Salafi interpretation of Islam. It did not allow co-education. Since this was unavoidable at university, I left. Even though I only had one year of studying before graduation!
I left Islam in March 2003 when I was 24, about a year after leaving uni. Since I dropped out of uni I had more time to study Islam. To my horror I came across certain things in the Quran and Sunna which shook my belief in the Quran as a divine book and Muhammad as a prophet. Firstly, Allah’s saying in the Quran that husbands should beat their wives if they are disobedient. Islamic scholars say that beating is a last resort and that the beating should be done in a way that does not cause injury. That doesn’t make it any better though, a beating is a beating! Secondly, Muhammad having sex with Aisha when she was just nine years old. Apologetics say that she had started menstruating so it was ok. But the authentic hadiths show that she was still a child psychologically because she was still playing with dolls. In my view, Muhammad was a paedophile. These were the two main reasons why I left Islam.
Since my apostacy I have shaved off my long beard which I have had since I was 16. It deeply shocked my family and friends to see me clean shaven and no longer praying and reading the Quran regularly so I can imagine their reaction if I tell them I am no longer a Muslim! That is why I am going to keep my apostacy secret from them. At the moment they think I am still a Muslim but just not practising. Since my apostacy I have re-examined my beliefs about everything. I still hold on to many of the good things I have learnt such as honesty, being just, kind, polite, respect for elders, giving to charity etc. However, I have discarded all the evil and intolerant teachings of Islam and I am re-reading the Quran and Sunna with a very critical eye. Now I am just concentrating on being a good human being and making a positive contribution towards society.
I was very happy to find this website and others like it. It’s very comforting to know that I am not alone. I’d be more than happy for other ex-Muslims to contact me if they so wish.
Ben Rukhsana (pseudonym)
permission from Faith