Seven Valleys From Faith to Enlightenment

Seven Valleys From Faith to Enlightenment

I owe my enlightenment to the Quran.  I was among those fanatical fools who did not want to read anything written against Islam. Sadly, that is the majority. When I read the Quran from cover to cover with the intent to understand its message, something hardly Muslims do, it became clear to me that this book is not from God. It is the drivel of a madman, filled with absurdities and violence.  It was then that my journey to enlightenment began. The following is the tale of that odyssey.

I found myself traveling on a torturous road riddled with torments.  While I was a believer, I lived in a blissful garden of ignorance where all my questions were answered.  There, I did not have to think.  All I had to do was  to believe. When I read the Quran and asked the questions I was not supposed to ask I was kicked out of that paradise. The gates of  that garden were closed to me forever.  I had committed the unthinkable sin of thinking.  I had eaten from the forbidden tree of knowledge, and my eyes had been opened.  I could see the fallacy of it all along with my own nakedness.  Everything with which I had rapped myself with, were not there anymore.  I felt like the emperor who after shedding the lies finds himself naked. The fact is that I was naked all along, but lived in denial.  I knew I would not be let into that paradise of oblivion again.  Once you start thinking, you don’t belong there anymore.  I had only one way to go and that was forward.

The road to enlightenment proved to be more arduous than I was prepared for.  There were mountains of obstacles to climb and precipices of errors to avert.  I traveled uncharted territories alone, not knowing what I would find next.  This became my odyssey in the realm of understanding, which eventually led me to the citadel of enlightenment and freedom.

I will chart these territories for all those who also may want to commit the sin of thinking, find themselves kicked out of the paradise of ignorance and are en route to an unknown destination.

If you doubt, if the mantle of ignorance in which you have wrapped yourself in is shredded into pieces and you find yourself naked, know that you cannot stay in the paradise of ignorance any longer.  You have been cast out forever.  Just as a child, once out of the womb cannot go back, you will not be readmitted into that blissful garden again.  Listen to one who has been there and done that and don’t cling despondently to those gates.  That door is locked.

Instead look forward.  You have a trip ahead of you.  You can fly to your destination or you can crawl.  I crawled!  But because I crawled, I know this path quite well.  I will chart the road, so hopefully your passage will be easier.

The passage from faith to enlightenment consists of seven valleys.

 

Valley of Denial

Denial is the state of oblivion. This is the paradise of faith.  In this stage everything is rosy. Believers can’t see anything wrong with their faith. The majority of Muslims, actually all of them, are trapped in this stage.  They are unable and unwilling to see anything wrong with their faith. Muhammad to them is the perfect example of human being even when they know he was a pedophile, a mass murderer and a rapist.

They can’t see what everybody else can see. The Quran says the earth is flat, sperm is created from the backbone, the sun sets in muddy water, the stars are below the moon, etc. but they explain away the unexplainable, bend all the rules of logic and find miracles in the Quran  and convince themselves that it  is right.  Each time they are exposed to a fallacious statement in the Quran or a reprehensible conduct of Muhammad, they either deny the sources or justify them with moral relativism.

This is what I did in the first phase of my journey.  Denial is a safe place.  As long as you live in this state, you will not have to face the truth. As long as you don’t eat from the tree of knowledge you can remain blissfully in the paradise of ignorance indefinitely.   In denial you find your comfort zone.  In this state of oblivion you will not have to struggle and to find answers to your questions because you will have none. Here, everything is okay and fine.

If you have lived in a bubble of lies all your life, facing the truth can be painful.  What hurts is the shattering of lies, the lies with which you are accustomed and have grown to love.

It is not easy for a Muslim to see Muhammad for who he was.  How would a child react if he is told that his father is a murderer, a rapist, and a thief?  A child who adulates his father will not be able to accept it even if all the proofs in the world are shown to him.  He will call you a liar and will hate you for hurting him. He will curse you, consider you his enemy, and may even explode in anger and attack you.  The bigger the adulation, the greater is the adverse reaction.

Denial is a self-defense mechanism.  If pain of facing the truth is too great, denial will take that pain away.  If a mother is informed that her child has died in an accident, her first reaction is often denial.  At the moment of great catastrophes, one is often overwhelmed by a weary sense that all this is just a bad dream.

Muslims are cocooned in lies.  Because speaking against Islam is a crime punishable by death, no one dares to tell the truth.  Those who do don’t live long.  The critics are quickly silenced.  So how would you know the truth if all you hear are lies?  On one hand the Quran claims to be a miracle and challenges anyone to produce a Surah like it, (Q: 2:23) and on the other hand it instructs its followers to kill anyone who dares to meet that challenge.  If you ever dare to take up the challenge and produce a Surah as poorly written as those in the Quran you will be accused of mocking Islam for which the penalty is death.  In this atmosphere of insincerity and deceit, truth is always the casualty.

The pain of coming face to face with the truth and realizing all that we believed are lies is very agonizing.  The only way to avert that pain is denial.

Believers live in a blissful garden called certitude.  This garden is reserved for the faithful, for those who don’t doubt and don’t think.  They can believe that night is day and day is night, if it is written.  If God says so, then it must be so. They can easily believe that Muhammad climbed to the seventh heaven, met with God, split the moon and conversed with jinns. The absurdity of such fairy tales does not bother them. If the Quran says so, then it must be true.

As Voltaire said, those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities. And this is so true, when it comes to Islam.  Muslims believe that killing infidels is good, bombing is holy, stoning is divine, beating wives is okay and hating the unbelievers is the will of God.

How can they see the truth if they are so hermetically cocooned in lies?  They read only lies and refuse to read anything that may cause them doubt their belief.  They are not blinded to the deplorable state of the Umma, the Muslim community at large, but they deceive themselves and tell themselves that if only they practiced the true Islam, all their problems will go away. They are convinced that the problem with Islam is actually the Muslims and not Islam itself.

These deniers come in two categories. One group holds the view that the solution is to follow Islam more. These are the Salafis, the ones we call the “extremists.” But there is nothing extreme about them. They just want to practice Islam as it was intended by its founder.

The second group believes that the solution is to practice Islam less. They think that if Muslims ignore what Muhammad actually thought and dilute his teachings with western values of democracy, freedom and equality, Islam can be  a perfect religion.

Both these groups live in denial. The first group is unable to admit that the problem with Islam is Islam itself and the more you immerse yourself in it the worst it becomes. The second group is unable to see that Islam cannot be reformed, that this religion is rotten to its core and that if you mix ice cream with dung you don’t get chocolate fudge.

Muslims are no worse and no better than others. It’s Islam that makes them commit atrocities. When they follow Islam and try to emulate their prophet they can become monsters.  Islam rears the criminal instinct in people.  The more a person is Islamist, the more bloodthirsty, hate mongering, and zombie he or she becomes.

I wanted to deny what I was reading.  I wanted to believe that the real meaning of the Quran is something else, but I couldn’t.  I could no longer fool myself saying these inhumane verses are taken out of context.

 

Valley of Shock

It is not that I did not know the things I was reading. I had read them and heard them before and did not pay attention. I liked to live in denial.  It was the best place to be. Why would I want to doubt and put in jeopardy my faith and peace of mind?

As I kept reading,  the questions kept popping up and I would brush them off. Eventually there came a time that I could no longer deny. It wasn’t just one thing, but the sum of many things. One more absurdity or evilness was the straw that broke the back of the proverbial camel, in this case, my faith.  That was the crucial moment that changed my life, when I entered in the state of shock. My perspective of reality was jolted and all the questions that I had previously brushed off became important again. They hadn’t gone away. I had merely ignored them.  I found myself standing face to face with the truth – the truth that I had done everything to avoid.  I thought I was after the truth but I was not.  Far from it, I was doing everything I could to cling to my faith.  Truth was the last thing I wanted to see. It is amazing how we humans can deceive ourselves. All my life, I only saw things I wanted to see and was deliberately blind to things that I did not want to see. This came to me so natural. I could see a mole as mountain, if it confirmed my bias and don’t see the mountain if it challenged my faith. Banal teachings in the Quran such as be good to parents, relatives, orphans, and the needy; speak kindly and pay the poor-due, sounded divine, and evil teachings such as casting terror in the hearts of unbelievers, crucifying them and chopping their hands and arms were insignificant.

This truth was not what I wanted to see.  But there it was, glaring at me right into my soul.  I had no one to blame or to curse.  I had found the truth on my own.  Whom could I call a liar?  My own eyes? And that is what I did. I took the blame on myself. I denied my own intelligence and cursed my own self.

I had seen the truth and there was no denying it anymore.   This was the most painful process, the hardest valley to cross.  But it is a necessary one. There is no going around it. You must cross this tortuous land if you want to reach the citadel of enlightenment.

However, each person is different. What shocks one person, may not shock another.  I was shocked for example, when I read that Muhammad had instructed his followers to beat their wives and called women “deficient in intelligence.”  Yet, I have come to know Muslim women who defend him and have no difficulty accepting these misogynistic teachings.  It’s not that they agree they that are deficient in intelligence or that it is okay to be beaten by their husbands. They just block out that information.  They read it, but it doesn’t sink in.  The denial acts as a shield that covers and protects them, saves them from facing the truth and its painful consequences.

Once that shield is up, nothing can bring it down.  But if their belief is attacked from all directions they can’t shield themselves completely.  Everyone has an Achilles heel.  If they are bombarded with many shocking verses of the Quran and horrendous tales about Muhammad, they will be eventually hit.  And once that happens, it will have a domino effect. The first falling denial will flip over other walls of denial and suddenly their entire faith will collapse like a house of cards. That is what happened to me.

Shocks are painful, but they can be lifesavers.  Shocks are used by doctors to bring back to life dead patients.

The Internet has changed the landscape.  Now, guns, prisons and death squads are much less powerful and pen is almighty.  For the first time Muslims cannot stop the truth by killing its messengers.  Now a great number of them are coming in contact with the truth and they feel helpless.  They want to silence this voice, but they cannot.  They want to kill those speaking the truth, but they cannot.  They try to ban the sites exposing their cherished beliefs, sometimes they succeed momentarily, but the message gets out anyway.

When I first started writing about Islam I hosted it at Tripod.com.  Muslims forced Tripod to shut it down and they complied without notice to appease the Muslims.  I got my domain and started again. So the old way of killing the apostates, burning their books and silencing them by terror does not work anymore.  They cannot stop people from reading.  Even though my site is banned in most Islamic countries, the message has gone out and a great number of Muslims who never knew the truth about Islam have been exposed to it for the first time, and are shocked.

I met a lady on the net who converted to Islam and started to wear the Islamic veil.  She had a website with her picture completely covered in a black veil along with her story of how she had converted to Islam.  She was very active and used to advise others not to read my writings.  But when she read the story of Safiyah, the Jewish woman that Muhammad captured and raped after killing her father, husband and many of her relatives, she was shocked.  She questioned other Muslims about it and received no response, only warning that she should not ask impertinent questions.  Then the floodgate of doubts opened and she was cast out of the paradise of ignorance.  She kept writing to me and asking questions.  Finally, she passed through the other stages from blind faith to enlightenment quickly and wrote to thank me for guiding her through this arduous path.

When people learn about the unholy life of Muhammad and the absurdities of the Quran they are shocked.  My goal is to unveil the truth about Islam and Muhammad and bombard Muslims with facts.  They will be angry.  They will curse me, insult me and tell me that after reading my articles their faith in Islam is strengthened. That is when I know that I have sown the seed of doubt in them.  They say all this because they are shocked.  The seed of doubt is planted and it will germinate.  In some people it may take years, but it will eventually germinate.

Doubt is the greatest gift we can give to each other.  It is the gift of enlightenment.  Doubt will set us free. It’s through doubt that knowledge is advanced and the mysteries of the world are unlocked.  Blind faith is what keeps us ignorant.

One of hurdles we have to overcome is tradition and false values imposed on us by thousands of years of religious upbringing.  People still value faith and considers doubt as the sign of weakness.  They talk of “men of faith” with respect and disdain men of little faith.  We are screwed up in our values.

Faith means belief without evidence. Gullibility also means belief without evidence.  There is no glory in faithfulness.  Faithfulness is synonymous with gullibility, credulity and susceptibility.  How can one be proud of such qualities?

Doubt on the other hand means the reverse of the above.  It means being capable of thinking independently, of questioning.  We owe our science and our modern civilization to men and women who doubted, not to those who believed.  Those who doubted were the pioneers; they were the leaders of thought.  They were philosophers, inventors, and discoverers.  Those who believed lived and died as followers, made little or no contribution to the advancement of science and of human understanding.

Shock shatters the walls of denial.  One cannot stay in denial forever.  Soon the night will fall and the cold shivering reality freezes one’s bones and you realize that you are out of the paradise of ignorance.  When you know too much you become an outcast.  Fearfully you look at the dark and twining road barely visible in the twilight of your uncertainties, and gingerly you take your first step towards an unknown destiny.  You grapple and fumble, reluctantly trying to stay focused.  Fear overwhelms you. You try to run back, but the door is closed. Whoever eats from the tree of knowledge can no longer return to ignorance. What is learned cannot be unlearned.

 

Valley of Guilt

Those who read my articles and are hurt by what I say about the Quran and Islam are lucky.  They have me to hate.  They can curse me and direct all their anger at me.  But I had no such luxury. I could not blame someone else for I had come to that truth on my own without help.  Whom would I hate? Myself? And that is what I did. I hated myself.  At this stage I felt tremendous guilt. I felt ashamed of my thoughts and my doubts. I thought maybe God is testing me, or perhaps he is punishing me. Why would he put these doubts in my mind? I committed no sin. I never read any book that was slightly against Islam. One friend of mine expressed her curiosity about Salman Rushdie’s book and I gave her a piece of my mind. I thought books that may rob one of faith are like poison. they should be avoided. My doubts were not the result of me deviating from the “right” path. I got them after reading the Quran, with the intention to understand the message of God to mankind.  And what I read sounded more like the message of Devil.

The guilt lasted for many months.  I hated myself for having these thoughts.  I spoke with learned people whom I trusted, people who were not only knowledgeable but also wise.  I heard very little that could quench the burning fire within me.  One of these wise men told me not to read the Quran for a while.  He told me to pray and read only books that would strengthen my faith.  I did that, but it did not help.  The thoughts about the absurd, sometimes ruthless and ridiculous verses of the Quran kept throbbing in my head.  Each time I looked at my bookshelf and saw that book, I felt pain.  I hid it behind the other books.  I thought if I don’t think about it my negative thoughts will go away and I will regain my faith.  They didn’t go away.  I denied the truth as much as I could, until I could no longer.

I hated myself for thinking, for doubting and finding fault with what I regarded to be the words of God. One day I decided enough is enough.  I told myself that it is not my fault.  I am not going to carry this guilt forever.  If God gave me a brain, it is because he wants me to use it.    Why should I feel guilty for asking questions? The questions were unanswered. And this led me to the next stage, the valley of confusion.

 

Valley of Confusion

If what I perceive as right and wrong is skewed, then it is not my fault.  God tells me killing is bad and I know it is bad because I don’t want to be killed.  Then why did his messenger kill so many innocent people and ordered his followers to kill those who don’t believe?  If rape is bad, and I know it is bad because I don’t want it to happen to people I love, why did Allah’s prophet rape the women he captured in his raids?  If slavery is bad, and I know it is bad because I hate to lose my freedom and become a slave, why did the Prophet enslave so many people and made himself rich by selling them?  If imposition of religion is bad, and I know that it is bad because I don’t like another person to force on me a religion that I don’t want, then why did the Prophet eulogize Jihad and exhort his followers?  If God tells me something is good, and I know that it is good because it feels good to me, then why did his prophet do the opposite of that thing?

Like all Muslims, I was exposed to, and had gobbled all the lies, absurdities and inhumanities that are inherent in Islam, uncritically.  I was brought up as a religious person.  I believed in whatever I was told.  These lies were given to me in small doses, gradually, since childhood.  I was never given an alternative to compare.  To make an analogy, think how vaccination works.  I was immune to the truth.  But when I started to read the Quran seriously, with intent to understand it, I felt nauseated.  It was just too much of it all at once. I had taken that poison in bits and pieces all my life, but once I devoured all of it, I felt sick to my stomach.  Hardly I have read a book as evil as the Quran. yes I’ve read also the Mein Kampf.

I don’t think I was an irrational person, but somehow I managed to silence my rational thinking when it came to Quran and Islam.  I had become insensitive to lies. When I found something that didn’t make sense, I brushed it off and said to myself that one has to look at the “big picture.”  That idyllic big picture, however, was nowhere to be found except in my own imagination.  I was connecting the dots as I pleased and making an abstract ideal image of Islam in my mind.  But that beautiful Islam was my Islam and not the Islam of Muhammad.  I was its founder not that mass murderer. It was good because I was its prophet.

That is why Muslims love Islam. Very few Muslims have read the Quran to understand it. Yes they chant it and often in a language that they don’t understand, but few know what they read. Even fewer are those who have read the Sira and the hadith. The Islam they live is the Islam made by them. They create the best religion in their mind and when you tell the truth about Islam they see no resemblance of it with the one they have envisioned.

When I read the Quran I discovered a distinctly different picture than the one I had created in my mind.  The new picture emerging from the pages of that book was a violent, intolerant, irrational, arrogant religion, a far cry from the religion of peace, equality and tolerance.

I had to deny all that so I could keep my sanity, but for how long? How can one face sunshine and still deny the existence of the sun?  I was reading the Quran in Arabic so I could not blame a bad translation.  I used translations in Persian and in English side by side, just to make sure I am not misunderstanding.  I realized many translations in English are not entirely reliable. The translators have tried very hard to hide the inhumanity and the violence of the Quran by twisting the words and adding their own words, sometimes in parenthesis or brackets, to soften its harsh tone.  The Arabic Quran is more shocking than its English translations.  The Persian translation is a lot closer to the truth.  And I believe it’s because the English speaking people need to be deceived whereas the Persians are already Muslims and there is no need to sugarcoat the Quran for them.

I was confused and I did not know where to turn.  My faith had been shaken and my world had fallen apart.  I could no longer deny what I was reading.  But I could not accept the possibility that this was all a huge lie.  How could it be, I kept asking myself, that so many people have not seen the truth and I see it?  How could great seers, like Jalaleddin Rumi not see that Muhammad was an impostor and that the Quran is a hoax?  Am I getting mad? Do I pretend to understand better than a billion plus people who believe in Muhammad?  I had troubling question and no answers. Confusion is the best way to describe it.

eventually I learned that the whole humanity can be wrong, and in fact given the inherent silliness of our species it is more likely that the majority be wrong on any given subject than right. Great sages can be also very wrong.  They are humans and fallible like everyone else.

 

Valley of Disillusionment

After overcoming the denial, going through the shock, getting rid of my guilt and experiencing confusion, dismay and disillusionment followed.  I felt sorry for having wasted so many years of my life and for all the Muslims who are still trapped in these foolish beliefs. I felt pity for all those “sages” such as the great Rumi who spent all his life searching for meaning and truth, but found nothing except lies and like a blind leading other blinds led countless others into their perdition. Great men like him, suddenly appeared as great fools.  So many millions of souls were perished for a lie. Muslims massacred over 280 million people and that does not count the number of people they killed among each other.  So much pain, so much sorrow for nothing – all for a deception, all for believing in the lies of a madman.  How many people gave their lives and cherished in the thought that they will go to paradise when in reality, if there is an afterlife, they went to hell for the crimes that they committed against their fellow beings in the name of God.

Millions of believers left their homes and families to wage war in the name of God, never to return, thinking they are spreading the truth when all they did was spread evil and suffering. Civilizations were destroyed, libraries were burned, and so much knowledge was lost, all for nothing.  I recalled my father waking up in the early hours of the morning and in the icy water of  winter performing vodu.  I recalled him coming home hungry and thirsty during the month of fasting and I thought of the billions of people who torture themselves in this way for a lie.  The realization that all this was a sinister deception and that my life was a waste, and a billion other people are still lost in this arid desert of ignorance, chasing a mirage was very saddening.

Prior to this awakening God was always in the back of my mind.  I used to talk to him in my imagination and those conversations seemed real.  I thought God was watching and taking account of every good act that I do.  The feeling that someone was watching over me, guiding my steps and protecting me was very comforting.  It was difficult to accept that there is no such thing as Allah and even if there is a God, it is not Allah.  I did not give up the belief in God, but by then I knew for sure that if this universe has a maker, it cannot be the deity that Muhammad had envisioned.  Allah was ignorant to the core.  The Quran is full of errors.  The creator of this universe cannot be as stupid as the god of the Quran.  Allah could not have existed anywhere else except in the mind of a sick Man.  It became clear to me that Allah was a figment of Muhammad’s imagination, indeed his own alter ego.  How disappointed I was when I realized all these years I had been worshiping a fantasy at best and the Devil at worst.

 

Valley of Depression

This feeling of loss and disappointment was accompanied by a sense of sadness – a kind of depression.  It was as if my whole world had fallen apart.  I felt like the ground I was standing on was no longer there and I was falling into a bottomless pit.  It felt like being in hell. 

I was bewildered, pleading for help and no one could help.  First I felt ashamed and hated myself for having such thoughts.  The guilt was accompanied by a profound sense of loss and depression.  As a rule, I am a positive thinker.  I see the good side of everything.  I always think tomorrow is going to be better than today.  I am not the kind of person who is easily depressed.  But this feeling of loss was overwhelming.  I still recall that weight in my heart.  I thought God has forsaken me and I did not know why.  “Is that God’s punishment?” I kept asking myself.  I do not remember hurting anyone ever.  I went out of my way to help anyone whose life crossed mine and asked me for help. So, why would God want to punish me in this way?  Why was He not answering my prayers?  Why has He left me to myself and with these thoughts with no answers?  Does he want to test me?  Then where are the answers to my prayers?  Would I pass this test if I became stupid and ignore my reason?  If so, why did he give me a brain and the ability to think and reason?  Does God want only stupid people in his paradise? Will he send all the thinking people to hell?

I felt betrayed and violated.  I cannot say which feeling was predominant.  At times I was disillusioned, sad, or dismayed.  Even though faith is false, it is still sweet.  It is very comforting to believe.

Juxtaposing my feelings of sadness and loss, I felt liberated.  Curiously, I no longer felt confused or guilty.  I knew for sure the Quran was a hoax and Muhammad was an impostor.

To overcome this sadness I tried to keep myself busy with other activities.  I even took dancing lessons and experienced what it means to be alive, to be free of guilt, to enjoy life and to just be normal.  I realized how much I had missed out and how foolishly I had deprived myself of the simple pleasures of life.  Of course this is how cults exert their control over their believers.   I was living in constant fear of God, and I thought this was normal.  I am talking of pleasures like sleeping in the morning, dancing, dating, or sipping a glass of fine wine.

 

Valley of Anger

At this time, I entered another valley in my journey towards enlightenment.  I was anger.  I was angry for having believed in those lies, for wasting my life chasing a wild goose, with my culture for the wrong values that it inculcated in me, angry with my parents for teaching me a lie,  with myself for not thinking before, for believing in then uncritically, for trusting an impostor. I was angry with God for letting me down, for not intervening and stopping this lie in in its inception – a deception inseminated in His name.

When I saw pictures of millions of Muslims who, with so much devotion, go to Saudi Arabia, many of them spending their life’s savings to perform hajj, I felt sorry, and angry. Who will awaken these people and tell them you are chasing a mirage?  When I read someone had converted to Islam, something Muslims love to advertise and make a big issue of I became saddened and angry.  I was sad for that poor soul and angry with the lies.

I was angry with the whole world that tries to protect this lie, defend it, and even abuse you if you raise your voice to tell the truth.  It is not just Muslims, but also the non-Muslims who do everything they can to defend this lie.  I can understand Muslims. They are deceived, but what is wrong with the non-Muslims who shamelessly defend Islam and attack its critics?  It’s okay to criticize anything but Islam.  What amazed me and made me even angrier was the resistance I faced when I tried to tell others that Islam is a lie.

 

Citadel of Enlightenment

The anger did not last long, but it was good because it energized me. It made me more resolute and determined to fight this evil and eradicate it. I knew that Muhammad was no messenger of God, that he was a charlatan, a mentally deranged man, a demagogue whose only intention was to beguile people and satisfy his own narcissistic needs.  I knew all those childish stories of a hell with scorching fire and a heaven with rives of wine, milk and honey and high bosom virgins  were the figments of a sick, wild and insecure mind of a man in need to dominate.

I could not be angry with my parents, for they did their best and taught me what they thought to be the best.  I could not be angry with my culture because my people were just as misinformed and misguided as my parents.  In Islam everyone is a victim.  They are victims and victimizers at the same time.  They believe in this lie and are sincere in their belief.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions and Islam is a perfect example of that.

Truth is liberating. Not only it breaks the shackles of lies, the freedom will allow you to get out of the cave of ignorance and explore the world and see things that you could not envision exist. For the first time I could see people as people and not as believers and non-believers. Suddenly you don’t see yourself as a member of a group but of all mankind. This is an exhilarating feeling of liberation. The distrust and estrangement gives way to the realization of the oneness of humanity.

Today, I am determined to fight Islam, spread the truth and awaken as many Muslims as I can. I do this for them and for their victims.  The only remedy to darkness is light. The only cure to lies is truth. Islam can be eradicated with the spread of truth.  Truth will set the world free.

This was the tale of my odyssey from faith to enlightenment, or rather from slavery to freedom.  Like all believers I started with denial. But I had also a desire to know and to learn. When I learned the truth I was shocked. I felt guilty and confused, disillusioned, depressed and angry. But once I crossed all these valleys, I felt liberated. Now I understand things I could never understand as a believer. I have reached enlightenment and that is a great place to be.  I crossed the seven valleys from faith to enlightenment and made it successfully.

Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar, in his celebrated book mantiq al-tair, The Conference of the Birds, makes the birds cross seven valleys in order to find the Simorgh, the mythical bird (equivalent to Phoenix) to be their leader. When they reach the pond where is believed to be the dwelling place of the Simoragh only thirty of them are left.  Si morgh also means thirty birds. The thirty birds look into the pond and see their own reflection, the reflection of thirty birds (si morgh). They realize they were the object of their quest, and that the Simorgh is them. (then like Obama they say, we are the one we were looking for!)

The seven valleys, as defined by Attar are Talab (Yearning), Eshq (Love), Marifat (Gnosis), Istighnah (Detachment), Tawheed (Unity of God), Hayrat (Bewilderment) and, finally, Faqr and Fana (Poverty and Self Effacement, i.e. Oblivion in God). These stages represent the stations that a Sufi or any believer must pass through to realize the true nature of God.

My seven valleys take you from where Attar leaves you, i.e. from faith to enlightenment, from self effacement to self discovery.  I crossed Attar’s valleys and went beyond it.  I saw what he failed to see, i.e. the true nature of God.  Lo and behold God is not a being.  It is not a HE but an IT. God is not the lawgiver, but the law itself. It is the Principle underlying everything.  It does not send prophets nor does It answer prayers. It governs the universe without governing. It doesn’t do a thing and everything is done because of It.

I passed that stage of oblivion of which Attar talks about. That was the paradise of ignorance where I found my illusory bliss. My journey began from there and I will never want to experience that bliss again.  The peace in ignorance is death of intelligence.  My  journey was towards enlightenment.   Enlightenment is not about living blissfully. It is about understanding and living responsibly. It is the stage of maturity of mankind.  You can go through Attar’s seven valleys and attain SELF-effacement and  oblivion and live blissfully, or you can go through my seven valleys, learn the truth that is often not pretty and suffer. Life is suffering. It is a constant struggle, but it is in this struggle that humanity advances.  Attar’s oblivion is stagnation of the mind. His ultimate destinations are faqr and fana, (poverty and self-annihilation) , in other words nihilism. My journey takes you to enlightenment, to enrichment of your soul, to understanding and to life. Attar’s destination is  perdition; mine is self discovery, awareness and understanding.

Maybe those who have seen the movie Matrix can understand the difference. You can take the blue pill and live in lies and happily, or you can take the red pill and awaken to reality and see the world as is, which is not a happy place.

I wrote this article in 2001. This is the edited version.

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This article has 59 comments

  1. Sure, you can email me.

  2. I knew that your answer will be about hope :)
    exactly, your happiness will be complete when you find hope, when you know that it's not all in vain.

    Do you know what made me laugh?
    Robert Spencer and his theory "did muhammad exist", then you stating that Muhammad indeed existed. I agree with you Muhammad indeed existed.
    What Robert Spencer did wrong? maybe he asked the right questions but didn't ask the right people.
    It's simple, if you're lost, ask for directions. If the path felt suspicious stop and ask more people for directions just to be sure. "Men don't ask for directions" is just a myth.

    My point is, don't do the same mistake Robert did. You are both intelligent people but no one is perfect.
    Remember questions don't cost you anything (unless you're asking a professional).

    I didn't intend to interfere, i thought you were happy.
    But maybe I didn't find your website by accident. Tell you what, if you're willing i'll email you just one sentence, if you think that knowing the rest is worth it and could bring hope, you can ask whatever you want. Just tell me "email it" and i'll do it.

    If you don't want to, you know my email if you need just a friend to talk to.

    I have to go, have a good day/night :)

  3. I don\’t think happiness is something you can achieve in the future. Happiness is really in the pursuit of it. It is in the hope. As long as there is hope there is happiness. once the hope is gone, life becomes a hell.

  4. It wasn't true happiness that you felt back then, true happiness (which is inner peace) is like love, unconditional. Having sad moments, grieving, feeling pain… do not take away true happiness.
    Don't give up Dr Sina, one day you may find that peace (i assure you it exists). At least you are on the right path, helping others give you some of that happiness.

  5. Oh My God, you can read my mind !!!!

  6. The matrix sounds more like the goverment to me than anything – making you into a nice unthinking drone.

  7. Religion of destruction of injustice, manipulation, hypocrisy. If your brain ever grow to understand rational violence, Let me know ! or dwell in listening hypocritical lullabies.

  8. Do you ever read any of Sina's writing in this Site ? It seems you have not read any of his articles or even comments and debates our readers have here.

  9. Dear Mr Sina, lets keep this simple because rhetoric often betrays a mans intentions. Let’s suppose that Muhammad indeed felt it was justified to give the orders to kill people to achieve his objectives and his vision for society. Let’s suppose that Muhammad believed in a huge sacrifice of human life in order to achieve his vision of Islam, then we need to question WHY he did all this. I say this because to say a man has NPD is a huge and multifaceted claim to make. I know this as a man who studied and practiced Psychiatry. Do you really believe that Muhammad designed Islam as a timeless religion for billions of people just to fulfil narcissistic ambitions in his short 22 year career? Does a narcissist obligate people to feed the poor, give charity, look after orphans? Does a narcissist say that animals live in communities like us and should be respected? Does a narcissist say that you should never go to sleep full when your neighbour is hungry? Does a narcissist love his wife as much as Muhammad loved and cried over Khadijah? Does a narcissist teach that no race has superiority over the other?

  10. I was happier when I did not know the truth. But now that I know it, I don\’t want that happiness again.

  11. yeah phobics ere r happy taking red pill.

  12. you are blabbering haha.

  13. Are you trying to change the subject to hide your shame and failure to defend your religion of destruction? Losers always did that! :)

  14. I'm glad to know that you are 'sane'.

  15. Most of the things mentioned about pre-Islamic arabians in the article you linked are fabricated stuff! Secondly, solutions provided by Islam/Muhammad are downright ridiculuos. No one with a working brain will fall for that article.

    "I said most influential not only influential. so negative works hahaha "

    So you admit that Muhammad/Islam's so called reforms are negative influence. No wonder muslims don't want to live in Islamic countries and flee to the west.
    It would be wise of you muslims not to try to impose Islam on other countries. Because once these are turned to islamic hells, where would you then flee to??

  16. after "taking the red pill", do you feel more happy and in peace?

  17. haha pawned you ! Now say Alt+QQ

    You asked single thing that Mo did that you can call a 'reform' ? when answered you don't need to read articles to see how nice Islam is!

    I said most influential not only influential. so negative works hahaha
    your gang doesn't make even more than 0.0000001% of that much influence together.

  18. The article that you linked to is full of hot air. We don't need to read articles to see how nice Islam is, all we need to do is to take a good look at Islamic societies. Islamic societies are a mess! Muslims flee those hellholes for the west.

    Muhammad sure was influential but his influence was negative. Be wise and look at the reality of Islamic societies instead of keeping your head buried in denial.

  19. lol Ms Ali Sina , pseudonym is female !!!

  20. Yes what about you?

  21. Last but not least, the IQ of the people you've named above are single digit and that's the reason why they chose to believe in a lie and wilfully fell into the Islamic sinkhole, waiting for my dear Ms Ali Sina and me to rescue them.

  22. Dear Mr psychotic ☪☈Ali, is it true that your idol Muhammad teach you to tell me to go and destroy cross all over the world? No wonder so many churches all over the world are being destroyed by psychotic people like you. Please learn from me how to be a good samaritan by reading my above comment once again. I'm merely asking you to stand on top of the kaaba and make an announcement to the Ummah that you're renouncing and leaving Islam for good and see how all those super faithful followers of your idol Muhammad will treat you. Did I ever tell you go and destroy minarets all over the world? When are you going to dump this religion of destruction and stop destroying things, animals, human beings and also, our precious planet earth?

  23. You are psychotic ! Islamophobe. You go destroy cross all over the world. Look at notables ask why they come to truth!

    Prof. Abdul Ahad Dawud, Former Bishop of Uramiah, Formerly the Reverend David Benjamin Keldani, B.D.
    Abdullah al-Faruq - Formerly Kenneth L. Jenkins, minister and elder of the Pentecostal Church
    Abu Ishaq, Coptic Cardinal accepts Islam
    Anselm Tormeeda – 14th century CE scholar and priest
    Dr. Gary Miller (Abdul-Ahad Omar) – Former missionary
    George Anthony – Former Catholic priest
    Ibrahim Khalil – Former Egyptian Coptic priest
    Dr. Jerald F. Dirks – Former minister (deacon) of the United Methodist Church.
    Khadijah 'Sue' Watson – Former pastor, missionary, professor. Master's degree in Divinity
    Martin John Mwaipopo – Former Lutheran Archbishop
    Raphael Narbaez, Jr.- Former Jehovah's Witness minister, Latino in Los Anodes.
    Selma A. Cook, Australian Missionary’s Journey to Allah.
    S.M. SULAYMAN(Former Baptist Church Minister), U.S.A.
    Viacheslav Polosin – Former Archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church
    Dr. Yahya A.R. LehmannDoctor of Theology, (Former Roman Catholic Priest Germany)

  24. Dear Mr liar ☪☈Ali, talk is cheap. Why don't you go to Saudi Arabia and stand on top of the Kaaba and announce to the Ummah that you are renouncing and leaving Islam for good and let's see what is your fate in the hands of all those barbarians?

  25. Qur'an does not prescribe any earthly punishment for apostasy. Saudi Arabia don't have cases of leaving Islam.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam

  26. Hi alternate+OlO, are you of a sound mind?

  27. @
    Scholar like alisina, agniveer.com are hope of humanity who are doing their best to save the humanity. We all should join them in this noble mission.
    Know "Purpose of creation" http://agniveer.com/2775/creation-hinduism/

  28. Read this article
    http://www.helium.com/items/903667-prophet-muhamm

    You are talking about most respected, most influential person ever walked on earth.

  29. I could have empathy with Mo if he had done anything good for the future of humankind. ANYTHING! But he didn't. Pre-Islamic Arabia may be bad by today's standards, but it wasn't any worse than any other society of the time. Muhammad didn't work toward any social reform, or establish any just public order. He only turned a normally functioning society into dysfunctional hell for everyone. Ok, tell me of a single thing that Mo did that you can call a 'reform'.

    "Muhammad used war when he needed to to fight oppression and establish a just public order"
    Buddy it is you who is deluded here. There was NO oppression against Muhammad. Telling someone that you don't believe in his gooblygook is not 'oppression'. And just because Mo said it was doesn't make it so.

  30. No one expects you to believe in islam, but just to understand that society goes through paradigm shifts, just try and have some empathy with Muhammad. If you think that achieving social reform in the hell of 7th century Arabia was going to be achieved with pacifism then you are entertaining delusions. Peace is not the same as pacifism. Muhammad used war when he needed to to fight oppression and establish a just public order, you cannot romanticize Pre-Islamic Arabia to suit your agenda.

  31. so in saudi arabi you can leave islam ?????

  32. You MUST be a stupid muslim, with such a stupid name ;-)
    Pathetic!!

  33. There are many stupid, gullible people in the world. I'm sure.
    But most people are NOT stupid, so Islam will never win.

  34. "polytheism was really a caste system in disguise that was allowing the rich to subjugate the poor"

    You truly are in denial. What do you have to support such claim? If you want to see rich subjugating poor, you should look at today's Arabia and Pakistan.

    "We need to look at Muhammads life by the standards he lived in, to call Muhammad a paedophile etc means you dont understand historical context"

    Sorry, but Muhammad utterly failed even by the standards of the past. Please read sira and hadis carefully so you can come out of denial.

    "it would be like historians in the future scoffing and looking with disgust at the way we live our lives now, but we dont know any better."

    That is why it is a bad idea to seal today's way of doing things as guidance/example for all future. You see if I can figure this out, God also should be able to. Muhammad's god didn't know this, and is proof that he is not a real God.

  35. First of all I doubt that the tribes of Arabia were such barbarians 1400 years ago. But for the sake of discussion let's assume they were. Muhammad didn't take any of that away. The Quran says he is a perfect role model, and he did all those barbaric things. Not only that he added a lot more of his own evilness. Today a true follower of Quran is supposed to behave the same way that rasool did. God has done better than to send such an evil man as a prophet/role-model.

    "If this is the peace that Muhammad took away from people then I'm glad he took away that peace."

    Muhammad didn't take a single bad thing away. He added more of his own evilness and Quran made it mandatory to commit all those bad things. Ever since he called himself prophet till today, wars, infighting among muslims, abuse of women and non-muslims, and all kind of other atrocities have been going on wherever there is Islam.

  36. Death sentence is not for apostasy but for apostasy accompanied by treason and sedition or by the abuse and slander of prophet, Islam, Qur'an.

  37. what scientists say about miracles in quran http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRationalizer

  38. it's not islamophobia when u can be killed just for leaving islam.

  39. I am not surprised ,you are the kind of people who holds the hands & legs of a person to be beheaded .
    How could you post such a comment ?
    Muhammad a mercy to mankind .Surrender of ego….,what you preach you won't practice .

  40. Muhammad lived in a time where tribal warfare was considered sport, where men killed with complete impunity, where the law of the land was lawlessness, exercising any restraint would mean the annihilation of your tribe and as such the Arabs were consumed for generations in cyclical vendettas, polytheism was really a caste system in disguise that was allowing the rich to subjugate the poor, all of the Arabs energy was dissipated in tribal guerrilla fighting. If this is the peace that Muhammad took away from people then I'm glad he took away that peace. We need to look at Muhammads life by the standards he lived in, to call Muhammad a paedophile etc means you dont understand historical context, it would be like historians in the future scoffing and looking with disgust at the way we live our lives now, but we dont know any better.

  41. Change wiki source or keep burning your ass using candle right on top I don't care.

  42. Islamophobia means knowing too much about Islam and its followers, stuff that people aren't supposed to know.

    "In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the dread or hatred of Islam… blah blah blah blah…….."

    All you have to do is to read the reports coming out of Britain for the last five years or so and even today to see what they are getting for defining Islamophobia as such.

    "It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion"

    Not all perceptions are wrong, did you know that, Interesting Ali ?

  43. Dear carlino, regarding the first paragraph of your post, Would you agree that Muhammad too found relaxation by taking away the peace that other peaceful people of the time had in their hearts. If no, please explain what was different.

    Regarding the second paragraph of your post, may I suggest that you re-read the "Denial" phase of enlightenment thoroughly explained in Dr. Sina's article!

  44. Like Chris Hitchens, you hide behind rhetoric, your psyche is beset with hatred, not for Muslims or Muhammad at its core but for yourself and who you used to be. People with internal agitation often find relaxation by taking away the peace that other people have in their hearts.

    The proof of this is that you insult a doctrine that has liberated and provided solace to billions of people from the tortures of our universal human ego worshipping society. Islam does not teach surrender of the mind, rather surrender of the ego. The crimes attributed to Muhammad are an attempt by the court historians of Abbasid and Umayyad tyrants to provide sacred justifications for THEIR crimes, the result being a character assassination of Muhammad; the mercy to mankind. I hope you read this Mr Sina before one of you or one of your acrolect cronies deletes it.

  45. dinda is a cyber bot uses auto comment poster

  46. @Dinda : you're indonesian, same with me…please visit to.. http://indonesian.alisina.org.. thx

  47. New Nostradamus procastinated Old Nostradamus inspired by OT, NT lol

    [youtube oGHWeI67kuM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGHWeI67kuM youtube]

    Islamophobia is prejudice against, hatred or irrational fear of Islam or Muslims . The term dates back to the late 1980s or early 1990s, but came into common usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. A person who exhibits such prejudice is an islamophobe.

    In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.(source wiki)

  48. Dear Ms Ali Sina, the fundamental truth is all that you need to expose the foundations of this religion of lies. It is like the little boy David killing that proud giant, Goliath, with just a pebble. Every Muslim's wish and dream is to visit Mecca and Medina once in their lifetime and we know the truth from historical facts that Ibrahim has no connection or whatsoever with these 2 center of attractions at all. Muhammad lied about Ibrahim and Ishmael's connection with these 2 places. Nowhere in the Torah or the Bible ever mentioned anything about it, not even all the historical evidences except the Quran. If the Muslims were to be hardworking like us, they'll do their research for the stubborn truth and awaken to realize that Muhammad lied!

  49. Dear Ms Ali Sina, I admire Mr Robert Spencer but I do agree with you that he is wrong on this. Let's assume that even though Robert's opinions is correct, I believe that no Muslims or Muslimahs, not even those gullible ones on this planet earth will ever believe or be convinced that their idol Muhammad did not exist and was merely a legend. It's good to know that you are going to debate him. I believe that he will attain enlightenment and continue in his great endeavour to save many braindead zombies from the Islamic sinkhole.

  50. A really impressive and sincere report from your journey to enlightenment!

    I disagree with the statement "life is suffering", however. Life, at least human life, is both, action and suffering. Usually it is the action part that gives us worth and dignity.

    I appreciate that you carefully avoided the question of the existence of God. Indeed, some of his attributes are in question – as wether he sends prophets – but the existence or non-existence of God itself is irrelevant for your arguments.

  51. Yes I said something is cooking. It is a biopic on the life of Muhammad that reveals his mental disorders that I explained in my book. There are many books on the life of Muhammad. This movie is different. It gives you an insight and understanding of him that you can get from no one else.

    I think in about twenty years Islam will become a dead faith. In the last decade most people woke up and started smelling the bloody coffee. In this decade they will start acting and opposing Islam and in the decades of 20s and 30s Islam will start receding. All its expansionism will end and with that Islam itself will end. Mosques will be empty, there will be no funding for terrorism or jihad as they call it and few old people will go to hajj. Also most Muslims will openly declare their apostasy.

    That is basically the end of Islam.

  52. Yes, Dr. Sina, I too think he was a real figure with some paintings. That's normal. I hope you will come up with more details.
    Waiting for you.

  53. I fully agree with you Mr.Sina on this point.

  54. Dear Ali Sina, a few months back u had told us on this website that ' Something is cooking and u'll hear about it soon' (u told this back in november )……… whats the progress made????

    Can v see the end of islam in the next 10 years as Mosab hasan Yousef says????

    And can u also post an article on the genocide of kashmiri hindus by muslims as well ????
    plz

    Thank you
    Mahesh

    Ur fan :)

  55. Thank you Mr. Sina . As usual wonderful article……style of your writing is great.I feel , I am sitting next to you and you talk as a friend . It comes from the heart..Talking about different subject , can you write an article about vegeterianism and veganism please.I would like to have your input on it . Thank you …

  56. Looking forward to it. I don't know if you already saw this, but if you didn't, David Wood debated against him on this issue. Great debate
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXf7uP9lhE8

  57. Dr. Sina, I'm really happy you see the parallels in the matrix as well. I always think of Islam when I see that movie.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXQozTxQSiE

    A system designed to keep you a slave http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IojqOMWTgv8

  58. Robert is a scholar that I respect. Nonetheless he is wrong on this. He challenged me to a debate and I accepted. I am going to finish reading his book and will debate him.

  59. This is a beautiful article Dr. Sina. I'm curious, how do you feel about Robert Spencer's claims in his new book "Did Muhammad Exist?" After reading Hitchens, Sujit Das, and now Robert Spencer, I am more inclined to believe he was a myth than a real person.