Tuesday, June 10, 2008



I am a Muslim today not by birth but by choice. I spent about 10 years studying about Islam as an adult even after my conversion. I learnt about Islam from friends, religious teachers and also mostly by reading related literature including those on comparaitive religion on my own. Today I am at peace with myself and my religion, Alhamdulliah.

The following article by Raja Petra Kamarudin is from the Malaysia Today blog. It is written in simple language with sound logic. The article, if I may add, has a truly dakwah spirit that informs both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. It is reproduced here with the same intention and purpose. Hope you enjoy reading it with an open mind. Thank you.

Johami Abdullah @ Joe Chelliah


The Quran clearly states that sects do not exist in Islam. Why, therefore, are Muslims killing each other? And who invented the various sects, which did not exist during the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

We always talk about the British divide and rule policy, which, today, has resulted in a very serious racial divide that threatens to tear this country apart. Actually that is not really that serious a problem. After all, Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and if all Muslims (which means most of the political leaders since the Malays dominate Malaysian politics) subscribe to Islamic teachings, then there should be no racial problems since Islam does not recognise race in the first place.The truth is, we have another problem to worry about. And that problem is Muslims in general and Malays in particular do not read the Quran.

They do not read the Quran because the Quran is written in Arabic and very few Malays can speak Arabic. Malays, of course, do recite the Quran. But reciting merely means you are parroting the sounds without understanding the meaning.The reason Malays do not read the Quran in their mother-tongue or in a language they can understand is basically because they believe that the Quran must be read in its original language and not in a translated language since the true meaning of the verses could be lost or distorted in the translation. How then do the Malays learn the meaning of the Quran? They do so by attending Quran translation classes, which are conducted in the language that they understand. It does not seem to occur to the Malays that a Quran translation class conducted in the non-Arabic language would mean that there is also a danger of mistranslation or distortion of meaning.

What is the difference between attending an English language Quran translation class and reading an English language translation of the Quran? Well, in the first scenario you have a human as a tutor (guru) and in the second you will be self-taught. And when you are self-taught, argue these people, the devil will become your tutor. I suppose there is no danger that the human guru who is teaching you the Quran translation can also be inspired by the devil.I have attended quite a few religious classes and some of what I heard at these classes makes me cringe. What I heard was hard-core prejudices and biasness and not at all what the Quran propagates. Let us look at some of what the Quran says as opposed to what Muslims really do.

You shall hold fast to the bond with God, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall God's blessings upon you - you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you there from. (3:103)

The message in verse 103 of chapter 3 of the Quran is simple: do not be divided. Today, the Muslims are the most divided community. See what is currently happening in Indonesia, the latest in the many conflicts between Muslims and Muslims. And this latest conflict in Indonesia, just like the many before this all over the world, was triggered by the religious leaders. Are these religious leaders trying to send their followers to heaven or to hell?God thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided.

Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners. (3:104)

The next verse of chapter 3 explains it all: The ‘winners’ are those who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. The Quran sums it all up in a simple language that, take my word for it, has not been lost in the translation. How can you mistranslate or distort ‘let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners’?

Muslim leaders, however, in particular the Malay leaders of Malaysia, will try to prevent you from exercising verse 104, chapter 3 of the Quran by invoking the Sedition Act. These Muslims are in fact violating the teachings of Islam and we should not be afraid of them or afraid of the punishment that they will inflict upon us because, according to the Quran, we are the winners. That would mean, of course, that they are the losers.So they send us to jail if we practice what the Quran says in verse 104, chapter 3.

So what? We are the winners, says the Quran, and they will be the losers. But how many Malays who claim to be Muslims will uphold this particular teaching of the Quran? Not many, I’m afraid. Most would rather toe the line and serve their political masters in stifling dissent. And this would include the Muslim police force, Muslim judiciary and Muslim AGs Chambers. Yes, they claim to be Muslims, but they violate what the Quran stipulates.

Do not be like those who became divided and disputed, despite the clear proofs that were given to them. For these have incurred a terrible retribution. (3:105)

The next verse of the same chapter reinforces the word of God and promises a terrible retribution. The following verses of the Quran stresses the point of not dividing into sects:

And do not be amongst those who have broken the unity of their faith and have become sects like, each sect rejoicing in that which is with itself. (30:31,32)

In all these verses it is clear that sects do not exist in Islam. Why, therefore, are Muslims killing each other? And who invented the various sects, which did not exist during the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you (Muhammad) have nothing to do with them. (6:159)

In this verse the Prophet Muhammad has been instructed to disassociate himself from the various sects. In short, followers of the sects are not followers of the Prophet Muhammad (be in Islam Hadhari, Islam Sunni, Islam Shia, Islam Ahmadiyah, etc.). This means the Indonesians (plus the Iraqis, Iranians, Indians, etc.) are killing each other for nothing. Both sides are in fact violating the Quran and are not followers of the Prophet Muhammad, as decreed by God in the Quran.

However, they divided themselves into disputing religions. All of them will come back to us. (21:93)

This verse of the Quran is most interesting. The Quran says that the true submitters (Islam means submit) are the followers of Abraham. Verse 93, chapter 21 of the Quran further forbids us from dividing into religions. Here the Quran forbids us from not just dividing into sects but into religions as well. And the Quran says that the true submitters are the followers of Abraham. Figure out for yourself what the Quran is saying here. If the true submitters are the followers of Abraham, should we all be killing each other in the name of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad? Yes, this is certainly food for thought for those who think that their religion is correct while all others are the enemy when the Quran has clearly spelt out that disputing religions do not exist.

Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. If it were not for a predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for a definite interim, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts. (42:14)

But they tore themselves into disputing factions; each party happy with what they have. (23:53)

Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgment rests with God, then He will inform them of everything they had done. (6:159)

We will deal with the dividers. They accept the Quran only partially. By your Lord, we will question them all, about everything they have done. (15:90-93)

Your congregation is but one congregation, and I alone am your Lord; you shall serve Me alone. However, they divided themselves into disputing religions. All of them will come back to us. (21:92-93)

You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, observe the Shalat, and whatever you do, do not ever fall into idol worship. Like those who divide their deen into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have. (30:31-32)

The Quran emphasises again and again that Islam prohibits sects: Muslims must be only of one congregation (21:92-93). Dividing into sects tantamount to idol worshipping (30:31-32). Muslims who divide themselves into sects are not Muslims (6:159)Muslims who divide themselves into sects are accepting the Quran only partially, not fully (15:90-93)Where does that place all these Muslims who claim to be Sunnis, Shias, or whatever?

And where, also, does that place all those followers of Abraham who claim to be Jews, Christians and Muslims? It does make one wonder, does it not?