This is a blog I have set up in order to describe my experiences and feelings as I have journeyed from being a Sunni Muslim to a freethinker. Therefore, the best way to begin is to introduce myself and tell my story. My name is Rafi Aziz. I was a Muslim for 22 years and was born into an Islam. My grandfather was the head imam at a prestigious mosque.
Although Muslims are going to say that I was never a “real” Muslim (whatever that means) or that I didn’t know Islam; to them I have this to say: “I was a very devout Muslim”. I recall a time when I was reading the account of Muhammad’s death. My mind was colorfully constructing the version of the events I was reading. In my head I was painting a picture using the tools of imagination of how Muhammad must have been lying next to Ayesha as he passed away. The shock it must have undoubtedly introduced and how Abu’ Bakar said “…whoever amongst you worshiped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worships Allah, Allah is alive and will never die.” By this point my clothes were moist with the tears that had been flowing whilst I was reading the story.
Yes, I loved Allah, Muhammad and Islam.To get into Jannat was to me the most important and fulfilling activity. Constantly thanking Allah for having been born a Muslim. But things began to change as I got older. Computer and therefore internet was never available to me when I was in my younger years. However, with the internet I was able to get access to all the translations of the Quran, all the Tafseers, all the Hadith. Most importantly, I could get all this for free. What I learned through this newly found information was shocking. For years I researched as deeply and fervently as I could. The more I learned, the most flabbergasted and disturbed I became.
From child marriages to a pregnant woman being murdered and Muhammad forgiving the murderer, I found it all. Like a good Muslim, I soaked it all up but didn’t ask questions and for a while thought everything was okay. There was no problem and assumed everything still made sense. Muhammad was perfect afterall and any doubts or questions was shaytan (satan) tempting me. It was all a test from Allah which I tried my best to pass by ignoring the questions.
However, my journey was only just beginning. I’ve always been a curious person. And now that I think back I’m glad, that curiosity got the best of me. There was no turning back. Those Hadith were there. They were real, recorded and reported in Muslim books. How could it be a test when they were part of Islam and accepted as legitimate anecdotes by Islamic scholars. It was not non-muslims who made up the story of Muhammad having sex with a 9 year old girl when he was 53. This WAS Islam.