An infidel in Mecca, the book

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An infidel in Mecca, the book

#1  Postby salim munqith » Feb 24, 2011 9:27 pm

Hello everybody,
You can download my book from:
http://www.4shared.com/get/vVYmHAHG/An_ ... Mecca.html

Here are the first two chapters:

Before Birth

Location: Syria, an Arab country bordered on the east by Iraq.
Time: Mid-seventies.
A young Syrian man in his early twenties, studying religion in a college in Mecca, travels back to Syria during the holiday season. When he arrives home, he tells his parents about his desire to marry, and asks them to look for a wife for him. His father contacts one of his friends, a Muslim cleric, who has a 13 year old daughter. He tells the cleric that he is honored to ask the daughter for his son. The college student and his father both visit the cleric's home. The 13 year old girl enters the room and serves the guests with coffee. The student chats a little with the shy girl, then the guests leave. The college student tells his parents that he liked the girl and he agrees to marry her. The cleric tells the father that the daughter agrees on marriage, and he gives his approval although the daughter's mother had her concerns, not because she thinks that her daughter is too young for marriage, but because she doesn't want her daughter to live 1300 km apart from her.
Two weeks later, a wedding is held. The college student and the 13 years old girl are announced as husband and wife.
They spend their first few months as a married couple in a room at the husband's father's home.
Following these few months, the couple travels to Mecca, where they will live for the next thirty years and give birth to four children, including me.


Child marriage and the problem with Islam

I am so glad that my mother got married at the age of 13. My mother belongs to a nation that its prophet and top example, Muhammad (570-632), married a child when she was 6 and consummated the marriage when she became 9 (See: Sahih Al-Bukhari vol.5 p.38 .“Sahih Al-Bukhari”and "Sahih Muslim" are the most authentic collections of the sayings of Muhammad, accepted by Muslims to be entirely and absolutely true) . So I consider my mother to be lucky that she skipped a much worse fate than marrying at 13.
And since her parents had no problem marrying her off at the age of 13, I don't expect that they would have had a problem if their daughter was asked for marriage at an earlier age.
In the Islamic world, child marriage is rare, but it happens, and it's lawful, thanks to Islam which preserves this ancient Arab tradition. Child marriage in ancient times was common in most parts of the world; the Arabian Peninsula wasn't an exception. So it was normal for Muhammad as a son of that culture to consider child marriage as uncontroversial. Many of the things that Muhammad is criticized for today are actually justified when they are viewed in their historical and cultural context. Muhammad, as a reformer, abrogated many bad Arab traditions, but he also kept many other bad ones and considered them to be normal. I don't blame him for that; he was just a human being. But the big problem is that he considered the laws of his religion to be the most perfect laws for all mankind in every place and in every time. He also considered the rejection of any Islamic law as disbelief . That's our main problem with Muslims today; they regard Islam's laws to be valid for our time, 14 centuries after Muhammad, and they consider the rejection of any single Islamic teaching to be infidelity; that what makes secularism in the Muslim world a difficult thing to achieve, and that's why secular Muslims are considered apostates by all traditional Muslim clerics. The Quran, the word of god according to Muslims, is very clear about the position of Islam's laws (Sharia):

"It's not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and his messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and his messenger, he is indeed strayed into a plain error." (33-36) (All Quran verses I quote are from Hilali-Khan's translation.)
"But no, by your lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission." (4-65)
"Then do you believe in a part of the scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of his world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment." (2-85)

Here is a quote from the "Islamic Monotheism" curriculum for the second high grade in Saudi Arabia, a curriculum I studied when I was 16 years old:

"The things that nullify faith are:…6- To believe that the prophet's guidance is insufficient, to believe there's a law better or more suitable to mankind than the prophet's, to believe that the prophet's law isn't the only best law, or to believe that the implementation of any law rather than the prophet's is permissible, even if you believe that the prophet's law is better." (p. 15)

And thus, Muslims are still practicing many ill-natured teachings of Islam, including child marriage. I don't blame Muhammad for having sex with a nine year old girl 14 centuries ago, but I strongly blame the one who says that child marriage is acceptable in present time. It's exactly like how I don't blame Akhenaton, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, for marrying his sister. Because that kind of marriage was normal in ancient Egypt. If present-day Egyptians still believe in their ancient religion, then brother-sister marriage would still be practiced in Egypt today. But today Egyptians don't believe in Akhenaton, they believe in Muhammad, and that's why child marriage is still valid and active in Egypt, and in most Muslim countries, alongside with many other ill-natured practices that are much more common than child marriage, such as the woman's wearing of a veil, the husband's right to beat his wife, polygamy…etc.
Child marriage isn't that common in Saudi Arabia, but it's quite common in Yemen, a poor country to the south of Saudi Arabia and is very similar to it in terms of traditions and religion.
More than a quarter of females in Yemen marry before the age of 15, according to a 2009 report by the social affairs ministry. On March 2010, hundreds of Yemeni women protested near the Parliament against a proposed law banning marriage before the age of 18. The protesting women were holding Qurans in their hands and holding placards that some of them read: "The Quran and the prophet's sayings are above all laws that contradict with our religion" and "Stop assaulting the Islamic law by the name of rights and liberty". Many influential Yemeni Islamic clerics issued a decree declaring as apostates those who supported the banning law. Abdul Majid Al-Zandani, the president of the Iman university and a famous Yemeni cleric well known in the Arab world, threatened to organize a one million person protest against the law. So as you can see, this proposed law has been opposed largely by Muslim clerics for Islamic excuses. This proves that Islam has its big share of responsibility over the prevalence of child marriage in Yemen. Yes, Child marriage is a tradition, but it's Islam that makes many Muslims support it and oppose banning it, because they believe that the Islamic law is suitable for all mankind and for all times, and whoever rejects a single Islamic law is considered an apostate. That's why those who called for the banning law in Yemen were declared as apostates by Yemeni clerics, and this is only one reason why Islam is a serious threat to modern civilization.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#2  Postby kanchan » Feb 25, 2011 11:17 am

Fascinating stuff Salim! I've read the first half (skim read some of it I admit - I'll see if I can look at the rest later). I've not seen something quite like this before, Islamic beliefs, customs and the Qur'an, hadith being woven into the context of an ex-Muslim's own life. Discussions of these things can often feel a bit abstract to me, but your book brings these issues alive.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#3  Postby Dracena » Feb 25, 2011 1:46 pm

:coffee: Just bookmarking for now.
Bukhari Volume 8, book 82, hadith 803
Narrated Ash-Sha´bi; from Ali when the
latter stoned a lady to death on a Friday:
Ali said "I have stoned her according to
the tradition of Allah´s Apostle."
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#4  Postby metacristi » Feb 26, 2011 5:07 pm

Thanks salim. I'm always interested to read what ex-muslims, rational critics of islam, have to say about this religion (it was one such book, ibn Warraq's 'Why I am not a muslim', which radically changed my view about it some years ago; before I believed, as many others, in the PC 'narrative' that mainly factors outside islam created the modern islamic radical). The extreme resistence of muslims (with exceptions of course) to the values of Enlightenment (most notably full secularism) should indeed be seeked inside islam and islamic related culture, it's no accident of history that only in the muslim world still survive religious constitutions and that they see this as being 'human rights'. Let's hope however that muslims will finally be able to create a real muslim Enlightenment (islam relegated at the level of the individual, sharia out of public life etc). I know that this is very optimistic in the light of current evidence but I don't think it is an impossible task.


Iranium - islamic radicalism (arguably the natural product of islamic traditions) is a huge threat for the entire planet
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#5  Postby Oeditor » Feb 27, 2011 10:25 pm

Thanks Salim, and welcome to the forum. I begin to see what it must have taken for you to ditch Islam. Quite a contrast - I ditched Christianity when I was about ten, and nobody batted an eyelid, it had already become just a nuisance for a lot of people. Hopefully, one day, it will be as easy for young Muslims to decide whether they want to follow the religion of their parents.
The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out. - Gary Ablett Snr.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#6  Postby metacristi » Mar 01, 2011 12:25 am

A very good read Salim. Thanks again for it.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#7  Postby salim munqith » Mar 04, 2011 9:28 pm

Thank you all for your comments.
Some people had problems with downloading the book from 4shared, so here's another link for the book:
http://www.archive.org/details/AnInfidelInMecca
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#8  Postby Clive Durdle » Mar 04, 2011 9:51 pm

Just wondering if any of your family or relations ever wore miniskirts.
Location: Syria, an Arab country bordered on the east by Iraq.
Time: Mid-seventies.

Mini skirts in the Middle East [1966-1975


The short skirt was not really worn by many women until 1966 [when Mary Quant introduced short mini dresses and skirts that were set 6 or 7 inches above the knee] and not nationwide until 1967. The mini skirts reached their hayday in the year 1970. At that time,they were worn worldwide by the vast majority of women ,even in many Islamic, Arab, and Middle Eastern countries.In the Middle East ,women wore mini skirts as their daily apparel. From Kabul in Afghanistan to Iran and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf,Egypt,the Levant,North Africa,etc, mini skirts were the trend and it was generally acceptable for many women to wear them, even in the most religious and conservative families and societies.Among women who wore the mini skirts,were most school and university students , teachers and university staff members ,house wives,working classes,employees in governmental institutions,doctors and nurses in hospitals ,etc.This might be surprising to newer generations who never expected mini skirts to have been, at one point in time [1966-1975], so common in the Middle East.Many of younger generations were really astonished,when I happened to show them old photos of their grandmothers,aunts and other older relatives [above 50 ] wearing mini skirts through out their youth .The quick decline of the mini skirt in the middle East began from late 1975,and was virtually non existent by 1977.Since that date,it never again became a popular fashion among ordinary women in working and middle classes.Today , mini skirts are worn in the middle East by exceptionally few women in private occasions [mostly prominent stars in cinema,music,media and TV,but never again among ordinary women as was the case before].They are generally not seen in public except in very few countries as some urban parts of Syria and Lebanon,mainly in festivals.The question then arises,why was this phenomenon so abundant [ more like an epidemic] among Middle Eastern women in both liberal and conservative countries in the years [1966-1975].Why did this phenomenon fade abruptly from 1975 in particular ,and not before or after? A scientific explanation is still needed.All the theories that were put to explain the [rise and fall ] of the mini skirt in the Middle East are still not convincing. Some might argue that the reason for the demise of the mini skirt is quite clear and simple: In Islamic Middle Eastern societies, women are expected to dress modestly and conservatively. Even women, who choose not to cover up completely, do make the conscious choice of covering as much skin as possible by avoiding, among many other things, short skirts.But the question is still the same.[Why,in spite of the previously stated factor,were mini skirts so abundant between 1966-1975 among ordinary Middle Eastern and Arab women from conservative backgounds?]. Why were mini skirts generally tolerated by the society and most families at that time ? More scientific researches are still needed on this topic,[ mostly in the fields of sociology,psychology and other related aspects] .Doccuments are better than words


http://www.ikbis.com/triplem/shot/78949
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#9  Postby metacristi » Sep 19, 2011 6:58 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:Why did this phenomenon fade abruptly from 1975 in particular ,and not before or after?





Nonie Darwish has an answer which I think is accurate even in this case. One key factor is the same strong resurgence of islamism (coupled with the alleged strong violation of 'divine commands' in the case of the miniskirts) after a period of relative liberalism 'catalyzed' by the legacy of colonialism. Without doubt the key factor responsible for the fact that miniskirts never returned to the muslim world.

Colonialism had its positive side effects no doubt in spite of the current postmodernist myths ('colonialism put an end to the modernization of islam' and so on). It gave the chance to muslim reformers capable to go 'far' from tradition (and act openly) to really reform the islamic world. It gave the chance to those capable to think way beyond the traditional views to come out. Something very rarely seen in the islamic world when no outside pressure is applied.

Anyways the sharp return towards islamism we witnessed in the last 35 years is evidence that the reforms in the islamic world are rather superficial (and dependent on outside pressure). Some reforms (rather minor) are here to stay forever, admittedly, but this is too few...

Pressure, we need to apply more pressure. Intellectual pressure of course. Exposing muslims to a healthy criticism of islam, at an academic level, is a must. Merely accepting the muslim views about islam (be them 'progressive') is definitely not the most rational path.

Some people may call 'bigotry' the fact that I think that we have a problem with islam (as a whole) but I will be the first to change my view when they open the doors to free inquiry & show capacity to change at least at the level we see in other major religions...


PS: I talked in this thread about ibn Warraq's 'Why I am not a muslim' (a must read for anyone who want to understand the real islam), for those interested most of his book is still online:


http://web.archive.org/web/20030821132050/http://www.worldalternative.org/english/religion/islam/why_i_am_not_a_muslim_rushdi_affair.htm (ch1)

http://web.archive.org/web/20030821132223/http://www.worldalternative.org/english/religion/islam/why_i_am_not_a_muslim_pt01.htm (ch2)

http://web.archive.org/web/20030821132616/http://www.worldalternative.org/english/religion/islam/why_i_am_not_amuslim_problem_of_sources.htm (ch3)

http://web.archive.org/web/20030821131755/http://www.worldalternative.org/english/religion/islam/why_i_am_not_a_muslim_md_his_message.htm (ch4)

http://web.archive.org/web/200308211324 ... -koran.htm (ch5)

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/isis/islamic_viewpoints/the_totalitarian_nature_of_islam/ (ch6)

http://web.archive.org/web/20060712080451/http://www.secularislam.org/humanrights/compatible.htm (ch7)

http://islam-watch.org/IbnWarraq/Jihad_ ... bjects.htm (ch9)


Ex-muslim debunks islam
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#10  Postby Oeditor » Sep 20, 2011 11:00 am

Thanks metacristi - Ibn Warraq's books are quite expensive, even the ones on Kindle. I look forward to reading these chapters.
The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out. - Gary Ablett Snr.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#11  Postby metacristi » Oct 01, 2011 3:09 pm

Oeditor wrote:Thanks metacristi - Ibn Warraq's books are quite expensive, even the ones on Kindle. I look forward to reading these chapters.


You're welcome Oeditor. They are indeed quite expensive, I paid the equivalent of around 20 pounds when I bought the book. But it deserved all the money, ibn Warraq's approach - although far from criticism - is much closer to a scientific approach than the pathetic sugarcoating of islam we usually see in Western Academia (see Esposito et altri). I knew about these links even before buying the book and I thought it is a good idea to put them here for all those interested.

In other order of ideas if ibn Warraq's books were much more popular among westerners I'm sure that this or this kind of stories would be virtually nonexistent. The last thing we need is to popularize the islam of today as the religion of 'peace' and 'egalitarianism' and to delude ourselves with the 'progressives' of islam. Unfortunately as ibn Warraq put it well "no amount of mental gymnastics or intellectual dishonesty is going to make the unpalatable, unacceptable, and barbaric aspects of islam disappear".

No matter what some western apologetics of islam say Rationality shows clearly that this religion needs non trivial reforms. Of which even the vast majority of the 'progressives' of islam are not capable at this time. Finally one cannot be considered a real moderate if one still believes/accepts tacitly that the qur'an is perfect, Adam and Eve are literally the first humans, sharia is fully compatible with Modernity etc and rejects the level of secularism characterizing the western societies.
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Re: An infidel in Mecca, the book

#12  Postby Oeditor » Oct 02, 2011 6:38 pm

I'm still reading them, having only got round to it a few days ago. For now, I'll just remark on this quotation at the head of his chapter on the Coran, which I'm just starting.
T H Huxley, not Aquinas wrote:The truth is that the pretension to infallibility, by whomsoever made, has done endless mischief; with impartial malignity it has proved a curse, alike to those who have made it and those who have accepted it; and its most baneful shape is book infallibility.
Applicable not just to Islam but to the more recent popes and Young Earth creationists!
Edit: Oops, Aquinas wrote a little latin tag. The quote was from Huxley. It takes a bit of the wind out of my sails but still, I'm happier not to be citing a "saint"!
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