Saturday, 5 April 2014

A Critique of the One Hundred Central Beliefs of (Sunni) Islam


The following is a list of one hundred central beliefs of Islam. More correctly, they are the central beliefs of Sunni Islam, the largest Islamic sect in the world today. They have been notated by Sami Zaatari. Admittedly, Zaatari is a somewhat controversial (and young) character in the Muslim community today; though his collection seems to be faithful to Sunni – and, to a lesser extent, other branches of – Islam. More importantly, they appear to closely adhere to what I myself have read in the Koran.

I have ignored certain of the beliefs either because they are obvious or because they simply (more or less) repeat previous beliefs. Each one will be followed by a comment, which will be abbreviated to ‘C’.


i) the comments are written by someone who hasn't studied the Koran ‘in depth’ for twenty or more years. 
ii) They are written by someone who does not "understand the nuances of the original Arabic".
iii) They are also written by someone who hasn't consulted Koranic scholars in order to be given a ‘proper’ and positive take on them. 
I take many of these Muslim obfuscations and rejoinders as good examples of Islamic taqiyya – that is, as deceits, deceptions and lies used in order to protect - and further the cause of - Islam.

The List:

3- We believe that the prophet Muhammad was given the holy Quran, and that this is the last and final revelation from God to mankind, and that there shall be no new revelations after it.

C) This is an obvious way that Islam, or Mohammed himself, secured the supremacy of itself and denied the possibility of any further or future religions or revelations being created. Many religions and religious leaders, both before and after, did exactly the same thing.

4- We believe that the Quran is free from any mistakes, errors, and contradictions.

C) That means that any ‘mistakes, errors and contradictions’ there are in the Koran have to be interpreted, contextualised, etc. by the scholar or whoever so as to eradicate them. Thus the scholar, imam, mullah, etc. denies that there are any mistakes, errors and contradictions and simply explains them away. However, because Mohammed, or those who wrote down his words, was not a logician, there are many mistakes, errors and contradictions in the Koran.

5- We believe that the Quran is the literal uncreated word of God.

C) That means that it must be taken literally, not metaphorically or within a ‘contemporary context’, etc. Thus the so-called ‘extremists’ and ‘fundamentalists’ are correct about the Koran, and the moderates and modernizers are wrong.

12- We believe that Allah is all knowing, he knows everything before they occur, not after.

C) This is an argument against human free will. It is similar to the Calvinist theory of Predestination.

14- We believe that the true religion in the sight of Allah (God) is Islam, and that no other religion shall be accepted by Allah (God).

C) Thus Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. are not examples of ‘true religion’. They are all false religions. Allah does not ‘accept’ Christianity, Judaism, etc.

15- We believe that anyone who dies upon another religion other than Islam shall be a loser in the hereafter.

C) That means that every Christian, Hindu, Jew, atheist, etc. is going to hell simply because he or she is not a Muslim. And if the Koran is ‘the literal uncreated word of God’, as in 5) above, then every non-Muslim is destined for eternal pain.

16- We believe that Islam is the religion of all prophets, and that all prophets preached the same message, with regards to only small differences in Fiqh (practical aspects of the religion).

C) This means one of three things: i) If Christ ‘preached’ that he was the son of God, that is the ‘same message’ as Mohammed. ii) If Mohammed does not accept that, then Christ was not a prophet. iii) Jesus did not preach that he was the son of God.

Muslims do not believe i) above, but Christians do. Muslims do accept that Christ was a prophet, that contradicts i)above and contradicts ii). Muslims accept iii) above and Christians reject it. If iii) is correct, then the Muslim Christ is not the same Christ whom Christians believe in.

17- We believe that Islam has been perfected, and that Islam has come down with 5 main (practical) pillars that must be followed.

C) This means that there is nothing new which needs to be added to the Koran. Every aspect of life, social, political, religious, moral, legal, etc. is to be found in the Koran. Thus, a strict Muslim, or an Islamic state, must essentially be stuck in 6/7th century Arabia – the time and land of Mohammed.

26- We believe in the hellfire, and we also believe in the paradise, that they are real, and that they do exist, and that people will be sent to either one of them as a result of their actions, deeds, and beliefs.

C) Thus all Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, atheists, pagans, etc. are destined for ‘hellfire’ for the simple reason that they aren't Muslims.

27- We believe in the bridge (Sirat), the bridge that people will have to cross over that is just above the hellfire, and only the true saved ones shall pass the bridge and into heaven, while the disbelievers and the unsaved ones shall fall into the fire.

C) Thus both hell and the fire of hell must be taken literally in Islam.

28- We believe that some Muslims will go to hell.

C) In accordance with the above, ‘some Muslims will go to hell’. All non-Muslims will go to hell.

34- We believe that intercession can only be made for Muslims, not for none-Muslims (except to start the day of reckoning, because the prophet will intercede on behalf of all of mankind to start the day of judgment).

C) This means that Muslims cannot pray for non-Muslims – for you. Muslims can only pray for their fellow Muslims. This is another example of Islam’s exclusivism.

37- We also believe that if ones apostasy is so blatantly obvious, that he insults the religion, and does every action that contradicts it believing it is lawful, then there is no problem for the normal Muslim to call him an apostate as his apostasy is clear and obvious (and the decision to apply takfir is based on sound Islamic evidence).

C) An act of apostasy is seen as an ‘insult to Islam’. That is partly why the penalty for apostasy is death. In other words: what sort of man would insult or deny something so perfectly true and so perfectly beautiful? Only an evil or bad man, or nation, or religion, would do so. Death, therefore, must be the punishment.

Death for apostasy also partly explains the spread of Islam as well as its long existence. If it is impossible to either criticise or reject Islam (or the Koran) in an Islamic society, then that enhances the chances of that Islamic society continuing to exist and even spreading its influence to both others and the future generations. Thus criticisms such as these have been impossible within Islamic societies since the time of Mohammed. Those that did criticise Islam were killed or imprisoned.

39- We believe that Allah is all merciful, and that he shall accept the sincere repentance of any sin that one commits in this life, even the sin of shirk.

C) This means that ‘Allah the merciful’ still nevertheless wants all non-Muslims to burn in hell for eternity for being non-Muslims. He wants the same fate to befall ‘some’ bad Muslims.

42- We believe in all the attributes of Allah, those which he has affirmed for himself in his book, and that which his noble Messenger has affirmed about him in the Sunnah. We believe in them (Allah's attributes) as they are, when Allah says he has two hands, we say he has two hands, we do not say his two hands means his power, nor do we reject that he says that he has two hands, nor do we add falsehood to it by distorting the text to change it to mean something else. We simply affirm that Allah has two hands, but we do not say his hands are like our hands, having skin and bones and 5 fingers, anyone who says such a thing is guilty of disbelief (having a false belief about Allah). Rather we say he (Allah) has hands that befit his majesty, and we leave them as they are and we leave this subject without delving into how they are, or how they look like, or how they exist, and we don't try to make comparisons.

C) This is a defence of Islamic literalism. It is an argument against reading the Koran ‘metaphorically’ or ‘symbolically’ or ‘setting it within particular contexts’, whether contemporary contexts or Muhammad’s own context. Thus this is a direct criticism of Muslim ‘moderates’ who attempt to interpret the more vicious passages in the Koran to make them more palatable to non-Muslims and sometimes to Muslims themselves.

Allah, therefore, literally has two hands. Hands are not a metaphor or symbol for ‘power’. Thus when Allah or Muhammad says ‘behead the infidels’ or ‘cut off the very tips of their fingers’, he means it.

43- We believe that Allah has rose above his throne, we do not delve into how he rose over his throne, but we simply affirm it. We also do not ask how did Allah rise above his throne?

C) This seems to demand a non-questioning attitude towards the Koran or ‘the word of Allah’. As with 43) above, Allah demands that Muslims must not ‘ask’ questions about what is claimed in the Koran, etc. It demands a complete and unquestioning acceptance of the Koran and perhaps also other Islamic works such as the hadith, etc.

44- We believe in divine decree, that Allah knows what we will do before we do it, and that Allah knew what we will do before he created us, and that he wrote it all down (wrote the divine decrees of everything) in a book.

C) This means that the Koran was ‘written’ before it was imparted to Mohammed. The ‘Book’ still exists in ‘Paradise’.

This is also a defence of Islamic fatalism or Predestination. If Allah ‘knows what we will do before we do it’, how can we be responsible for what we do? Islam denies free will and thus the Western basis for morality. See 45).

45- We believe that divine decree does not negate our free will and choice, we make the choice of what we do and Allah does not force us to do any of it. When one writes, one writes of his own free will. However, Allah knows what one will write and recorded all of this in a book that is preserved in the heavens.

C) There is no argument here for how Allah’s foreknowledge of our actions can be squared with our also having ‘free will and choice’. However, philosophical arguments are not required in basic Islam. One simply must believe. Full stop.

47- We believe that the Jews and Christians are disbelievers.

C) Thus Jews and Christians are destined to burn in hell for eternity. In other words, ‘the People of the Book’ are nevertheless destined to burn in hell. That is what Muslims really think about ‘the People of the Book’.

48- We believe that anyone who believes that the Jews and Christians are not disbelievers then they too have disbelieved.

C) Thus if a ‘moderate’, or a member of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), or a Muslim politician, says that Jews and Christians aren't ‘disbelievers’, and therefore not destined for hell, they aren't genuine Muslims.

49- We believe that taking the Jews and Christians as allies/protectors over Muslims and against Muslims is disbelief and makes one an apostate.

C) This partly explains why so many Muslims were against the invasion of Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussein. That is, even though many Muslims were unhappy with Saddam Hussein, it was and is still the case that a Muslim cannot accept ‘allies’ (the UK and US governments) when they are ‘against’ fellow Muslims (i.e. Saddam Hussein and many Iraqis). The same is true when it comes to British Muslims being against the intervention in Afghanistan or any intervention when it means that the UK and US governments are fighting against ‘fellow Muslims’. Thus no Muslims can support such operations no matter how corrupt and evil the Muslims and Islamic states and leaders are.

As for Christians being Muslim ‘protectors’, this seems to suggest, or even state, that no Muslim should ever be happy with living under, or being protected by, a Christian or secular state. This also partly explains why nearly every Muslim sees the Israeli state as an abomination. Not only does the Israeli or ‘Jewish’ state rule over Israeli Arab Muslims: Israel also serves as a threat to Muslim self-rule in the region generally.

50- We believe that making alliances with the Jews and Christians in general is to be avoided. 


C) As with 49) above, this also is a recommendation, or commandment, that Muslims must never ‘ally’ themselves with Christians or secular institutions. Thus surely it is a commandment or recommendation that Muslims must not ally themselves with Christians by becoming Parliamentary politicians, councillors, etc. in which they engage with infidels or Christians.

51- We believe that imitating the Jews and Christians and any other group of disbelievers is firmly prohibited. Imitating the ways, practices, celebrations, clothing and customs of the disbelievers involves taking something unique from them, and apply it to our self in our way of life or religion. However so if one does this out of ignorance, and doesn't know that it is a sin to do so, then he may be excused since he is ignorant and hasn't taken the time to learn the religion, since this ruling is something that is known only if one studies the religion.

C) This rules out any integration of Muslims into non-Muslims societies, despite what the multicultural thought police might say. Thus when Muslim characters in the BBC’s agitprop soap, EastEnders, participate in Christmas celebrations or attend Christian marriages they are going against Islam.

53- We believe that Muslims should obey an upright Muslim leader who follows the Sharia, and any Muslim who does not has committed a sin.

C) So should any Muslim ‘obey’ any non-Muslim ‘leader’, as many millions are supposed to do in non-Islamic states? It depends on how strongly the word ‘obey’ is to be taken here. Perhaps Muslims don't obey ‘in their hearts’, but do in actual practice, as they can ‘lie’ in practice but not ‘in their hearts’ (as in Islamic Taqiyya).

The other point of 53) above is that it demands complete obedience to every leader ‘who follows the Sharia’. If a Muslim does not, he ‘has committed a sin’. The problem is how it is decided whether or not the ‘Muslim leader’ really ‘follows the Sharia’. Does the individual Muslim decide this, or the Islamic state or leader itself? If the latter is the case, then the situation becomes somewhat circular in nature. The individual Muslim cannot himself decide whether the Muslim leader is following Sharia law properly because he may not be a scholar. However, the leader or Islamic state may choose who the official scholars are in the first place. This all depends on how definite the split is between the mosque and Islamic state. However, can there be an Islamic state if it is genuinely split from the workings and rulings of the mosques, scholars, mullahs, etc?

55- We believe that a ruler who rules by something other than Sharia, such as man made laws, and believes that the man made laws are superior to Allah's laws, then we say he is an apostate.

C) That is a point that fundamentalist Muslims will make against ‘moderates’. That is, if the moderate Muslim accepts any ‘man-made laws’, they must believe, by default, that they are superior to Allah-given laws (i.e. Sharia law) otherwise he would not have chosen the former when the latter also exist to be chosen by the good Muslim. However, it may well be the case that the ‘moderate’ or ‘Westernised’ Muslim doesn't in fact accept secular or ‘man-made’ laws but simply accommodates them until the time is right to implement full Sharia law. Thus accepting secular or ‘man-made’ laws is an example of Islamic taqiyya as far as ‘moderate’ or ‘Westernised’ Muslims are concerned.

56- We believe that a ruler who rules by secularism rather than Sharia due to his feeling that Sharia is out-dated and not ?modern (or adequate)' then we say he has also disbelieved.

C) Again and again we will see that Sharia law is not a side effect or by-product of Islam, it is its essence. Thus stoning, death for apostasy, violent jihad, etc. are essential parts of Islam, not excrescences.

57- We believe that a ruler who rules by other than Allah's laws out of ignorance has sinned, but not to the level of disbelief as he is ignorant.

C) This is an explicit Islamic rejection of democracy and all forms of secular or ‘human’ government.

60- We believe that Sharia law must be applied in an Islamic society.

C) Islam without Sharia law is like a football match without a ball –unthinkable. Similarly, a Muslim who does not live under Sharia law is hardly a proper or complete Muslim. Thus every Muslim must fight for Sharia law in order to be a complete Muslim and make Islam complete. Any accommodation with secular or Christian’ institutions must only be seen as a temporary arrangement.

62- We believe that what Allah has made lawful is lawful and that it is unlawful to make that which is lawful to become unlawful. We also believe that that which Allah has made unlawful is unlawful and that it is unlawful to make that which is unlawful to become lawful instead.

C) This is another Islamic argument against democracy and all forms of secular or ‘human’ government. In addition, we must obey ‘Allah’s laws’ simply because they are Allah’s laws, not because they are just, or righ,t or the result of democratic discussion, etc.

65- We believe in brotherhood and love between fellow Muslims, each Muslim is a brother/sister to the other.

C) The above is an exclusivist creed – the very opposite of multiculturalism or a belief in pluralism. The ‘brotherhood’ and love expressed refers exclusively to the brotherhood between Muslims and the love of every Muslim for his ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ Muslim. It is a kind of huge gang-culture. In Islam there is absolutely no requirement for seeing an unbeliever as a brother or to believe in the brotherhood of all men. Christians and all non-Muslims are excluded from this brotherhood.

66- We believe that righteous (non hostile) disbelievers must also be treated with respect and kindness, as Allah has allowed us to act in this way.

C) This all depends on what is mean by ‘righteous disbelievers’ and ‘non-hostile disbelievers’. For example, even a slight criticism of Islam or the Koran will be deemed ‘hostile’ by most Muslims. Similarly, if Muslims don’t get their way in a secular or Christian society, this too will be deemed as being ‘hostile’. Similarly, a ‘righteous unbeliever’ will be a non-Muslim who comes as close as possible to being a Muslim without actually being a Muslim. That is, the definitions and standards of ‘righteousness’ will be set by Islam itself. Thus if a non-Muslim is deemed to be somewhat righteous by a Muslim or Muslims this can only be so because the unbeliever’s behaviour and beliefs come close to those set by Islam and the Koran. Clearly, an atheist or secularist or materialist could never be seen as ‘righteous’ by a Muslim.

69- We believe the Quran is the first source of information that we should go to regarding a theological issue, a legal issue, or any other issue.

C) Thus when Muslims say that everything can be found in the Koran, and that all the answers can be found in the Koran, they must be taken literally. Muslims believes that every theological, legal or any issue can be found in - and answered by - the Koran.

71- We believe that the opinions and rulings of the companions of the prophet Muhammad especially what they agreed upon are the third source of information that we should go to concerning various Islamic issues. And after this it then goes to the ones who came after the companions, and then the ones who came after.

C) Although many Muslims state that everything one needs to know is in the Koran (this list also hints at this too –see 69 above), the ‘opinions and rulings of the companions of the prophet Muhammad’ must also be seen as important when it ‘concerns various Islamic issues’. However, the Islamic scholar may say that he is not adding to the Koran, only interpreting or clarifying it. This too is controversial in Islam because many Muslims say that the Koran neither needs interpretation nor clarification. Thus we also have another long-running inter-Islamic dispute about which of ‘the companions of the prophet’ were actual companions and which ones Muslims go to for ‘information’ concerning ‘various Islamic issues’.

72- We believe in Ijma (consensus), that is we believe and follow that which the scholars have unanimously agreed upon.

C) It is important for non-Muslims to realise the Ijma or consensus of which Muslims speak is not a democratic concept or idea. The people, or all laypeople, are not involved in this consensus. Only scholars constitute the Islamic Ijma or consensus. In theory at least, there may be as few as ten ‘scholars’ who make up or constitute the Ijma or consensus in every Islamic state.

78- We believe that any custom or practice that was not practiced and condoned by the prophet or his companions, and if this practice is done in the name of Islam or is practiced as an act of worship, then we say it is incorrect and a misguided innovation.

C) Thus Muslims do the things because Mohammed did them. And Muslims don’t do the things which Mohammed didn’t do. It is as simple as that. For example, Muslims have a negative attitude to dogs and a positive attitude towards cats simply because Muhammad had a negative attitude to dogs and a positive attitude to cats.

79- We believe that killing another Muslim is unlawful and the one who dies upon this major sin without repenting will go to the hellfire to compensate for his error.

C) Note that this is just a prohibition against killing ‘other Muslims’. Muslims are free to kill non-Muslims when the need arises. In addition, all the passages against killing, etc. in the Koran are specifically prohibitions against Muslims killing their fellow Muslims.

80- We believe that no man is better than another based on skin, or wealth, men are only better to one another by taqwa and good deeds.

C) This only applies to comparisons between Muslim and Muslim. Every Muslim is seen as being essentially ‘better’ than every non-Muslim precisely because he or she is a Muslim. This equalitarianism is exclusivist in nature. It has nothing to do with the equality of all human beings; only the equality of all Muslims. Even in this last sense it can still be seen as a bit of rhetoric. Mohamed is seen as ‘better’ than all other Muslims. Indeed imams, scholars, mullahs, etc. are effectively treated as being better than the Muslims who do not have a specifically priestly or scholarly status in Islam.

This hardly seems worth stating. The ‘good deeds’ are deeds done to other Muslims by Muslims. It has nothing to do with good deeds done for persons no matter what his or her religion is.

82- We believe that men and women are not equal in totality, only in essence, for instance the man is stronger than the lady, the man is in charge of the house, and the wealth that is brought for the family. This is logical; to say otherwise is illogical, if men and women were equal in totality then why is it shunned upon by society to beat women? Because they are the weaker sex! Hence it proves what we say, that men and women are not equal in totality since the man is stronger than the women and so on.

C) There is a peculiar Islamic use of the word or concept ‘illogical’ in the above. What is ‘logical’/’illogical’ is what is stated in the Koran. And what is stated in the Koran is by (Islamic) definition true. And what is stated in the Koran is true because the Koran itself says that everything it contains is true (thus, ‘logical’ as well). It far from logically follows that because men are ‘stronger’ than women that this automatically leads to men taking ‘charge of the house, and the wealth that is brought for the family’. There may be good arguments for this; though none of them will be strictly logical in nature. What if the man is ‘stronger’ but has the intellect of an imbecile? Should he still be in ‘charge of the house’, etc? In addition, some women are stronger physically than some men. However, this would not lead the writer of the above to conclude that physically weaker men should accept that their wives take charge of the house, etc.

In addition, why should being ‘equal in totality’ be the only good reason for allowing either the husband or wife to take charge of the house? Men are not ‘equal in totality’ to other men either. No man is equal to another man in ‘totality’.

What does ‘equality in essence’ actually mean? Many different aspects of both man and woman, or husband and wife, can be seen as ‘essential’ depending on what criteria and other requirements are used. For example, both husband and wife are essentially human beings or essentially persons. But this can’t be the essence which concerns this writer.

The doing and not doing of ‘good deeds’ (see 81) seems to be what is deemed of the essence to Islam. That is, man’s good deeds are judged in the same way as a woman’s good deeds (the same with bad deeds). This seems a very peculiar choice for the only essence which is shared between man and woman or husband and wife.

85- We believe in the previous revelations that were given in general, and believe specifically in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Zabur (Psalms)

C) Muslims ‘believe in the Torah, the Gospel’, etc., though still see them as ‘corrupt’ (see 88).

86- We believe the Torah was given to Moses, and the Gospel to Jesus, and the Zabur to David.


C) However, the Torah and the ‘Gospel of Jesus, as effectively seen as unfinished or incomplete works by all Muslims. They are finished or completed by the Koran. Indeed, in 87) below these works are called ‘corrupt’ because they have been ‘tampered with’. The main problem Muslims have with these works is that they are not Allah’s words to man, as they see the Koran as being. They were written after the prophets had died. However, the Koran itself didn’t appear till a few hundred years after the death of Mohammed. Though Muslims will say that the spoken words of Mohammed, therefore Allah, remained in the memories of those men who did write them down.

88- We believe that anyone who says the present day Gospels, Torah, and Zabur are not corrupt, then we say he has disbelieved since the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah affirm that they were corrupted, instead of, affirms this.

C) Thus what Christians, Jews, etc. believe is ‘corrupt’. Thus the Islamic attitude to ‘the People of the Book’ is not altogether positive, despite what many Muslims often say to non-Muslims.

89- We believe in the existence of the Jinn (the devils are a type of Jinn).

C) So although Islam does not believe in saints, it does believe in miracles, ‘jinns’ (little devils) and other such supernatural phenomena. For example, Mohammed himself believed in the ‘Evil Eye’. Not only that: although Muhammad is not officially seen as a saint, he is treated as one. He is treated as the ultimate ‘human exemplar’ or ‘best example for mankind’ (see 97 below), which is effectively how many Christians saw many of their own saints.

96- We believe that the heavens and the earth and all that is between them were created in 6 days.

C) Thus Muslims are Creationists, just like the ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘literalist’ evangelical Christians in the United States and elsewhere. Muslims must not, or should not, accept scientific Darwinism and a whole host of other scientific facts and theories.

97- We believe that the prophet Muhammad is the best example for mankind, and it is his example that we should strive for and imitate.

C) The man who personally beheaded over a hundred people, or over 800 according to some accounts; the man who carried out and ordered various massacres; the man who married a nine-year-old girl; the man who ‘slept’ with eleven ‘wives’ in one morning; the man who tried to conquer parts of the world – if not the whole of the world; is ‘the best example for mankind’.

99- We believe that witchcraft, black magic, and all similar acts are a major sin and disbelief and hold the penalty of death.

C) It should be noted here that 99) does not say that witches, witchcraft and black magic do not exist or are not real. Islam accepts the existence of such things; though it states that Muslims should be against them. Thus Islam believes today what many Europeans believed in the Middle Ages and to some smaller extent after this period.

(For those who want to read the full list without comments, click here.)

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