Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 10 reasons to convert to Islam in 2014

Revert to Islam in 2014 if...

1. ... you dislike questioning authority and are happier taking things on trust. Islam is for you in 2014 because Allah makes a point of telling his followers not to ask questions (the answers to which could cause distress and might lead them to leave Islam). (5:101-102) In fact He even recounts how some followers did ask awkward questions and promptly lost their faith. So relax in 2014 and leave those niggling theological doubts to others to worry about. But before you convert, ask yourself what sort of question might destroy faith and, more pertinently perhaps, what sort of faith can be destroyed by asking a question.

2. love the romance and excitement of foreign languages and fashion. Yes, the attraction of the different and the exotic... the feeling of belonging and superiority that using jargon others don't understand confers on you! If all that appeals then Islam is for you in 2014. No wonder so many Brits are (apparently) converting. To convert you'll need to say the shahada (there's that exoticism again) in Arabic (God doesn't like English, you see) and when you pray it'll be in Arabic as well (such a romantic and exciting language!) Try it now and tell me it doesn't send a shiver down your spine...lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh. But before you convert, ask yourself why God would demand you address him in a language you don't understand. 

3. secretly admire and long for the regimentation of those with OCD. You'll feel right at home in Islam in 2014. The instructions on how to wash, sorry- perform wudu- before you pray, for example can be up to 20 lines long* (and you thought washing your hands three times before making a sandwich made you a cert for OCD...) But before you convert, ask yourself if it's healthy to encourage obsessive behaviour such that the occurrence of OCD in Islamic countries is considered a major problem even by Muslim psychologists . Ironically, the prevalence of such obsessive thoughts has led to a theological explanation which lends a special (exotic...) term to them: wasaawis, wherein shaytan (Satan) is blamed for the problem (that's really going to help the poor sufferers gain a handle on the problem...)

4. believe in fairies. You're going to feel right at home believing in desert sprites made of smokeless fire, then. These desert sprites are called jinn and you'll love believing in these little critters who are invisible (although they can see you) and who delight in teasing humans (although if you recite the last surah in the Qur'an constantly then they can't touch you - obsessive compulsive? nah...) To find out more about jinn see here. But before you convert, ask yourself if you really want to subscribe to a religion which requires a belief in supernatural beings originating with the pagan Arabs (jinni) and so obviously a by-product of trying to find an explanation for the frightening natural phenomena found in the desert such as mini twisters and moaning sand dunes (terrifying when you don't understand the cause!)

5. believe all the whacky tales in the Old Testament word-for-word. You think Noah really did build an Ark to save the animals from the flood (43 references in 27 chapters in the Qur'an) . You  believe Jonah really was swallowed by a whale and lived inside it reciting prayers (37:139-144). In that case, Islam is for you. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should demand you dismiss all common sense and scientific rationalism (the common sense and scientific laws that He gave us supposedly) before you can believe in Him.

6. think belief in God is more important than leading a good life helping others and you are happy to believe in and worship a deity who regards belief in Him as the be-all-and-end-all, His raison d'etre, the sine qua non... to the extent that a murderer who repents and accepts Islam in his dying moments has more chance of entering paradise, according to Islam, than a doctor working selflessly in Africa dedicating his life to others but who rejects the idea of religion.

7. think men excel over women (4:34), are more reliable witnesses then women, that women are more likely to go to hell than men (Bukhari hadith), that men should be allowed to sleep with their (sex) slaves (4:24), that women are deficient in intellect (2:282), that women who disobey their husbands should be beaten (4:34), that men should be allowed more than one wife (4:3)...then 2014 is the year for you to become a Muslim. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should be so misogynistic when He (!) created all of us...apparently. (Or is it just perhaps that the Abrahamic religions were conceived by MEN...)

8. believe the dawahists who tell you God planted evidence for his omnipotence in the scientific knowledge we can find in the Qur'an. Such knowledge, they say, is miraculous because no-one who lived in the 7th century in Arabia and was illiterate could have known such things. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should have chosen to describe the evidence in such opaque and ambiguous terms so that they are open to numerous interpretations (embryology, cosmology etc.), and have chosen facts that were already known and described by previous ancient civilisations (embryology, honey, etc.).

9. are happy to accept that God creates some of us with appalling disabilities or disease as a test whereas others have tests such as living long, healthy lives in loving families and comfortable surroundings. You are happy also to accept the argument that those who bear their afflictions will be rewarded by an eternity in Paradise and that this life is but nothing compared to that. But before you convert, ask yourself where is the justice even in this skewed view of the world where to accept such a premise logically leads each and every one of us to regret not being tested with an awful, painful, short life so as to gain a quick ticket to Paradise.

10. are a homophobe.

Wash your hands. Use your left hand to wash your right hand. Do this three times. After that, use your right hand to wash your left hand three times. Make sure to wash in between your fingers and all the way up to your wrists Take water into your mouth. Use your right hand to cup water into your mouth three times. Swish it around in your cheeks and the back of your throat. Do this thoroughly to get all the remaining food in your mouth out. Inhale water into your nose. Use your right hand to cup water and inhale it into your nose three times. You can use your left hand to close one nostril and blow out if you need to. Snort sharply and abruptly without taking too much water into your nose and choking yourself.Wash your face. Wash your face three times by spreading your hands from your right ear to the left, and from the edge of the hair to the chin.Wash your lower arms from wrists to elbows, leaving no part dry. From your wrist to your elbow, wash your right arm with your left hand three times and then wash your left arm with your right hand three times.Clean your head. Using your wet hands, gently wipe your forehead from the eyebrow to the hairline. Also wipe down your hair, the back of your neck, and your temples. Do this one time.Wipe your ears inside and out. With the same water, use your finger to clean all the crevices of your ear. Use your thumb to clean behind your ears from the bottom upward. This is also done one time.Wash each of your feet. Clean up to the the ankles and be sure water goes between the toes. Use your pinky finger and go through each toe to eliminate anything between. Start with your right foot and scrub each foot three times. While pointing the right index finger to the sky, recite a brief prayer of witness. Generally, the prayer is as follows: "Ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha illALLAHu wahdahuu laa shariikalahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhuu wa rasuuluhu."