by Machyar Kumbang
The Qur’an contains profound scripture and offers readers who seek spiritual guidance, even without committing to the religion of Islam, tremendous insights. However, believers who are fixated on Islamic traditions often end up enslaved by the Islamic Ponzi scheme and Sharia cruelty, as apostate law and honor killing is very much part of theocratic Sharia law. Certain religious practices reveal that tradition-based Islam has used the Qur’an as a bait-and-switch to keep the Muslim community’s solemn faith in the ulama and clergymen as religious authorities, thus ensuring the community’s loyalty as part of their religious conviction.
People who challenge the established canon, which is built upon myths, dogmas, and inhuman treatment in the name of God, can be depicted as blasphemers. Islam welcomes new believers but seldom offers an escape route for those who do commit. Children born into rigid religious families may live in torment and are not free to leave the religion without fear of being disowned by family members and may even be shunned from the community.
Before you go on, please note that this analysis is not concerned with what married couples do behind closed doors or if women plug their eyebrows and other matters regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. I write this piece because I was raised in these traditions and experienced them first-hand. Thus, as a Muslim, I want to share my experience.
What is alarming is how Islam uses a theocratic state-financed Ponzi scheme to establish religious traditions. This approach has consequences and, in some cases, tragic ones. In that regard, this article unpacks two aspects: investments for the afterlife and religious cruelty in the name of God.
Zero Return: Investments for the Afterlife
Investments related to this topic include using personal savings to build mosques, Islamic tax for zakat, Sharia banking, halal food, dress codes for women, time for rituals, and funds for the pilgrimage to Mecca. All these forms of investments are adopted merely in blind faith and speculation; as such, I will shed light on some of those concerns.
Zakat, traditionally and fundamentally a religious tax, which is 2.5% of a person’s wealth, promises to purify the soul; but, on the very day on which the tax is due—usually the last day of Ramadan—taxpayers are still not pure and never will be. They are told that only God is pure; if that is the case, however, then such belief contradicts the purpose of zakat, i.e., why bother paying zakat if it does not serve its intended purpose?
This is where the problem lies: zakat is not about purifying believers but rather the establishment of the religion and greater political priesthood. While the aim of the religious tax is purification, even with a commitment to daily prayer, Friday congregation prayer, fasting for Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Mecca, if a Muslim dies after having done all that, he or she is still not purified, and the community is still required to seek pardons for the dead through funeral prayer. Faith and commitment to religious duties provide no clarity concerning zakat and are somewhat insufficient for purifying believers even when their bodies are laid to rest.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the most anticipated events for Muslims to fulfil God’s commandments in their minds. Islam condemns the worshipping of idols as an unforgivable sin, but the rituals around hajj are nothing but idolatry, e.g., worshipping the Ka’bah, kissing the sacred Black Stone, and the congregation of Satan and other superstitious practices, all of which echo pagan rituals. Scholars argue that Ka’bah is a symbol of Muslim unity from all races, but these scholars often fail to mention that the hajj gathering itself is surely not designed for enlightenment and spiritual clarity; in fact, it is quite the opposite in that the pilgrimage rites only empower superstitions.
Thus, spiritual awakening from the trip has never recognizably existed and is rarely a reformative experience. The gathered stones for guests to throw at Satan have not brought devotees to a Golden Age of Enlightenment, for example, nor has the solemn rite of pilgrimage to Mecca forgiven all the sins that Muslims wish to be washed away. Rewards upon the investment made for the journey are untraceable and completely unknown to those who perform the hajj as investors. They will never see the paradise of the afterlife; further, the more mythical and superstitious notions ulamas advocate, the less justice they do to the awareness of the community they serve. Since Islam is about embracing a state of blind faith, in many ways, believers will become delusional, and life loses a foundation for finding objective truth and being grounded in reality.
Sharia banking is a concept that relies on relabeling interest from trading and investing for the same approved earnings. As such, Islam seems to suggest that God cannot recognize the content of a thing if it is labelled with an Arabic word. Sharia banking considers interest usury; therefore, an institution may not use the term “interest” in business transactions. Instead, these businesses impose exorbitant fees and incorporate shared profits as part of a fee, which, at its core, is the very usury that Sharia intended to ban.
The Sharia financial institution is built on philosophical manipulation and falsifies the premise; it also lures Muslim customers into believing that they will be safe in their graves if they do not take interest from conventional banks; it even threatens that God will put devoted Muslims in hell in the next world for consuming interest and dividends. Thus, Sharia’s prophesy regarding what could happen to Muslims for accepting interest on investments in the afterlife is complete speculation. If Sharia forbids speculation, then it should not build an institution that is rooted in superstition and religious-derived codes as principles for jurisprudence.
Psychologically, usury practices are integrated into the foundation of Islamic theology; thus, these practices are very much part of the pillars of Islam. It seems that Sharia banking is not about removing usury but rather about controlling Muslim wealth under the theocratic state or khalifate. If Sharia is concerned with ethical transactions, then Muslim communities should appreciate and be thankful for conventional banking systems that have already implemented ethical trade and consumer protections. Moreover, usury is a crime in the Western world.
Sharia banking, in short, is an institution to finance Islamic cruelty—not just on Muslims but other community members as well. Ulama and Islamic scholars are part of the Sharia law committee structured to ruthlessly serve the religion and stipulate what is defined as “forbidden money” according to their assessments of God.
Islamic Cruelty in the Name of God
Islamic violence in the name of God is the result of neither culture nor poverty; it is the result of the theology itself that believers live by. The deaths of so many young Muslims are systematic, and apostate law conveys that human life and dignity have little value. For example, the book of Sahih Al-Bukhari, which a majority of Muslims consider a must-have book aside from the Qur’an itself, tells believers that “He who supplicates sincerely for martyrdom, it will be granted to him even though he is not killed on the battlefield.” This type of narration often tricks jihadists and many young Muslims into committing religious violence, i.e., traditions that inspire believers to accept a short life expectancy. I would suggest that ulama, Muslim scholars, and students of Islam engage in critical reviews of Sahih Al-Bukhari and Qur’an translations formulated upon superstitions and dogmas officiated upon hearsay.
The root of Islamic cruelty is clear: It is in the Sharia law playbook. Case in point: Acts of religious cruelty are intimately linked to materials presented in Islamic schools and mosque-attending communities. Sharia law covers a wide range of religious rules; however, its ideology is the crux of Sharia law, which ultimately entails violence. Islamic savages are not hatched in a vacuum and are not the result of geopolitical and Western foreign policies, as many scholars like to purport. Islamic callous acts and brutes are long, natively, and inculcated in traditions. Sharia law is Islam’s political stratagem, which mainly lies within the instituted Islamic theology and appears to be committed by Sahih Al-Bukhari and religious zealots.
As a result of a misplaced fear of God, Muslims live predominantly petrified by superstitions, holding a belief in hell after God liquidates the world. Part of the Sharia scheme is to fear God, and God-fearing is the mindset to coerce.
Submission in Islam means committing the heart and soul to the ulama as rule-makers for Sharia, which requires punishment by jail or death should anyone misspeak about a verse of the Qur’an or draw the wrong picture. Islam under Sharia law also dehumanizes Muslims and non-Muslims.
For instance, Basuki Purnama, better known as Ahok, a former Christian governor of Jakarta, went to jail for almost two years for blasphemy after referring to a passage (verse 51 of chapter Al-Maidah) from a tradition-based translation of the Qur’an. Mr. Purnama is a human, and he has every right to express his understanding; however, Indonesian ulamas have treated the Qur’an as a scripture not intended for mankind. This is a deplorable tragedy, and Islam has failed the Muslim community by not treating humans as humans.
Islam without humanity becomes the worst enemy of Muslims and the community enslaves itself through its own human predicaments and low expectations in their minds. Thus, Islam under Sharia law has never been a path to enlightenment and never will be. If Islam needs to commit acts of cruelty to defend God and the Prophet, it means that its traditions parlay the wisdom to know neither God nor the messenger. Despite the rituals of praying five times a day, asking God for guidance to the straight path, being a Muslim is not enough to get credit for being on the right path.
Militarized Islam through religious authority establishes blackmail, killing apostates, and imposing inhumane treatment on those who are critical of Islam. Jihad in the context of Sharia law and traditions is always about Islamic deeds of cruelty, such as waging endless religious wars, lashing people without mercy, and honor killings. Violent narratives that lead to violent acts are molded in Islamic jurisprudence.
The Islamic law describes the cruelty of the Prophet Muhammad while establishing the testimony of faith (syahadatain) for Islam, is also rationalized in the authentic narrations of Sahih Al-Bukhari that the Muslim world holds so close to heart. Sahih Al-Bukhari contains 7563 hadiths (hearsay), but the book is highly regarded as the utmost authority, wherein the Prophet is portrayed as a warmonger and asks his followers to kill apostates, stone Muslims to death for not observing Sharia, and burn the homes of those who do not attend mosque.
These barbaric and heartless teachings are considered part of the faith, and Sharia legislators hold the view that the cruel acts of the Prophet should be accepted as excellent patterns in the same breath as accepting Islam in its entirety. By this reasoning, it is insisted that Islamic tyranny and unjustness shall not be inferred as counterproductive to good living, though the mastermind of the Sharia body bears no responsibility for ramifications that affect the social fabric that surrounds them. Thus, change may not be possible.
The Islamic standard-narrative cannot serve two masters: either Islam stands up for human rights and revokes killing apostates, or the religion advocates Sharia cruelties and violent jihad. Either ulamas forge mythic tribalism for religious pursuit, or Muslim leaders are for lifting our consciousness and being patrons of the arts and natural science.
The states of the two masters are undoubtedly contrasting and irreconcilable. Between the two states of affairs is a choice; thus, an intellectual crisis is seen within Islam, which unravels where the traditions stand on the two visions. If Islam considers science, philosophy, and great art as corrosive to the religion, then the standard narrative of Islam cannot serve Muslims in comprehension of the objective truth, the substance of life, or the natural world.
God in the context of Islamic doctrine is nothing more than the shrine Ka’bah with the Black Stone, which is what Muslims essentially worship and bow to in daily prayers. The truth for Islam does not mean that it is factual and traceable, and a statement from the Prophet does not mean that that statement is truly from the individual from whom it is claimed. If the statement of the Prophet is self-evident and immutable, then the revelation should be able to stand on its own authority.
The Islamic framework is about keeping believers away from knowing of their inner-selves, i.e., their divine centers. Thus, it is not ethically lawful for Sharia law to speculate on what can happen to the human race, reasonably, in the next world, and neither is it godly to cast judgment for the final destiny of the soul and of mankind just to keep the religion alive. Dominion of the afterlife is not a matter that Sharia banking and the ulama can objectify—and it never will, as the eschatological argument completely departs from the laws of the natural world.
Events in the afterlife are the realm in which the ulama and Muslim scholars theorize a lame asset portfolio to justify their unguided theology: pure speculation, superstition, and thus dogma all combined. Investments for the afterworld that require theological tricks and bloodbaths are, arguably, investments with zero returns. It is an Islamic Sharia Ponzi scheme, as simple as that.