About Me

Hi there, and thanks for dropping by! 🙂

Writing about one’s self, I find now, is no easy task. Well, let’s just start by saying that I’m a Muslim who is fed up about the misconceptions regarding Islam that are prevalent across the world. What’s rather strange in this case is that most of these misconceptions are actually promoted by my fellow traditionalist Muslims. Clearing these misconceptions and challenging the mentality that accepts barbarity just because Islam gets attached to it is the primary purpose of this blog, I would say.

But, that’s not all. Here, I also write about the personal realizations that I’ve acquired during my journey as a Muslim. Now speaking on that for a bit! Although I was “born” into a Muslim household, I only consider myself to be a Muslim since the time I started reading and understanding the Quran for myself. After all, you can’t be a Muslim and not know what the Quran says. Ever heard of someone being born a Communist? Thought so!

As a Muslim and a student of the Quran; I believe in progressive thought, freedom of expression, and tolerance. And, yes, these are Quranic values, believe it or not. One of the most important things I advocate for is critical thinking, independent of what is widely accepted by others. Rational thinking is what the Quran promotes; therefore, I do not allow dogmas and irrational beliefs to become a part of my belief system.

My approach is a bit unorthodox and is primarily centered on the Quran, whereby any other source is looked upon as secondary and is only accepted if it doesn’t contradict or add additional legislation to the Quran. In theory, everyone agrees. But practically, this is hardly the case. In addition, I acknowledge and encourage multiple interpretations of the Quran, provided they do not contradict the core message of the Quran.

A bit of my background

I’ve always liked writing, but I never imagined myself writing on a regular basis. This, perhaps, changed, when one night, dying out of boredom, I decided to write an article on misconceptions about Islam, just to jot down my thoughts and see “where it goes.” However, upon its completion, I was pretty satisfied with what I had written, and thus posted it on my Facebook profile. To my delight, it was really well received by family and friends, even though it was quite a controversial article going by traditional standards. I believe this was a very defining moment of my life, and I sincerely thank those who appreciated that piece so much, as they all really helped in boosting my writing confidence.

And so, I launched this blog in January 2014, expecting to use it as a reference to my spiritual evolution and perhaps serve as an aid for some like-minded Muslims. But, I was in for a surprise. Day by day, I saw my readership growing, and people expressing their gratitude in the comments section.

My Credentials

My blogs have been published by Huffington Post, Patheos, Onfaith, The Express Tribune, The Malaysian Insider, to name the prominent ones; and my articles have been endorsed by Irshad Manji, Reza Aslan, Lesley Hazleton, Harris Zafar, Zuhdi Jasser, Qassim Rashid, and others on Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore, I am a member of the Guidance Team set up by Irshad Manji to cater to everyday theological questions.


Let me take a moment out to say this in regards to the opinions expressed on this blog:

“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i

A BIG thank you to all my readers who support me for my unorthodox views! Your encouragement really helps 🙂

You can like my Facebook page to get constant updates on my latest articles:
http://www.facebook.com/quranalyzeit

Or, simply subscribe! 🙂

 

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47 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Ro,
    Just wondering what your thoughts are on this:
    Some countries only allow Muslims to marry a Muslim i.e the country I am in. Any other marriage is ‘haram’? Is that legit? This is not according to the Quran though right :
    The Quran did mention that a Muslim man can marry women from the book (Torah, Zabur, Bible, Quran) but nothing is mentioned about muslim women marrying marrying men from the book. If not mentioned does that mean that the same would apply for women – being able to marry people from the book or not applicable at all as in a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim men?

    Like

    • Hi Marlissa. As I see it, the law is applicable to both men and women.

      When we talk of “Muslims”, we shouldn’t think of it as a monolithic term. There is a lot of diversity in Islam, and so the question arises: If Muslims are to marry Muslims, then what sort of Muslims? Sunnis would say their path is correct, Shias would argue that their version is correct. So, it’s not objective. It’s entirely subjective. A good article on this:
      http://saritaagerman.blogspot.it/2014/07/other-faiths-or-other-paths-farouk-peru.html#sthash.juva3NV7.gbpl

      The only criteria the Quran puts forward in regards to marriage is that believers shouldn’t marry “polytheists”. Now, polytheism is a very loaded term, and is not specific to worshiping idols only. It includes setting up human authorities as equal to God as well.

      As with everything, I give preference to the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law. The spirit behind this, of course, is that marriage is a solemn oath, and a similarity of belief systems is helpful for a healthy relationship. I think if two broad-minded individuals with quite different belief systems can agree to disagree, then there shouldn’t be a problem. But that is purely my opinion.

      Like

  2. Assalamu’alaykum. I read a few your blog posts, and I think I understand where part of the ideology that you have adopted is coming from. Some of the points you profess like, mathhab fanaticism, blind-following, ritualistic worship, and the like is not what the Quran teaches and that we need to understand the Quran, etc – I do agree with you on these issues. It’s all very true.
    But, as I went on reading, I was really shocked that you don’t give due importance to Sunnah and hadith. Plus, some of your beliefs regarding Aqeedah are diverting from what is accepted by the majority of scholars since time immemorial. Would you care explaining the reason for that?

    Like

    • Walaikum salaam, Maryam! Sure. See, here’s the thing. Majority, to me, does not equate to truth.
      And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah . They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying. 6:116

      I give utmost importance to the sunnah, as mentioned in the Quran. What the messenger commands me, I try to uphold. What he restricts me, I try to uphold. Indeed, the messengers are the best examples to follow. My stance on hadith is pretty straightforward: If a hadith contradicts the Quran or adds detail to it, I reject it (as it should be). However, if a hadith is in tally with what the Quran says, I accept it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Most of those upon the earth” refers to the polytheists here, not the “majority of scholars”. Because, Islam has a VERY strict method of authenticating texts, sayings, etc. So, only those statements which were approved by many upright, knowledgeable, intelligent, truthful sahabah and scholars are “saheeh”, the “mutawaatir” texts, etc (I hope you’re aware of these terminologies). Actually, truth be told, it is a VERY intense field. [I really feel you shold research more about it, inshaAllah. All the best.]

        Okay, your stance is really confusing. How would you explain salah, then? The Glorious Quran doesn’t explain “how” to perfom salah, we know it through the Sunnah, it’s an addition, or should I say, elaboration, which the Sunnah provides which is absent in the Quran. I don’t mean to debate or argue with you, but it would be great if you give a minute or two of thought to this apparent fact.

        Thanks.

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      • I don’t agree with the methodology that every negative thing is relating to “polytheists” and has nothing to do with Muslims. Polytheism is not only to set up “idols” with God, but to also equate human beings with God. To equate human words as God’s words. It’s not about “majority of scholars” or “majority of polytheists” but the majority of people.

        The reason why the majority of people are misguided is because they don’t think for themselves, blindly following whatever they’ve been taught. This is a very repetitive theme in the Quran. I’d rather follow what agrees with my conscience than following another human being blindly, because at the end of the day, only I am responsible for all my actions (and the beliefs that lead to these actions).

        This is not to say that the scholars had bad intentions, some might and others might not. What’s important to realize, however, is that they wrote things from their paradigm, which can be biased – because after all, we’re all human beings. We make mistakes. One should not disregard all scholars, that is certainly not what I am advocating. But to adopt their teachings that are in tally with the Quran’s message and not to follow everything they say because they are “scholars.”

        When the Quran says it’s Mufassal (fully detailed), I base my paradigm on that. Salat, from my point view, is connection with God: how well you follow His commandments (it’s opposite being tawalla – to turn away). An aspect of this salat is to ponder over the Quran for a number of times in a day. The ritual prayer is a good adaptation of the concept, given that you actually understand what is being recited. However, not divinely prescribed.

        Even in Hadith, there are fragments of what we’re “supposed” to do in Salat. There isn’t an A-Z format in the hadith – that’s why there are differences in how different sects pray. But anyhow, I feel that this is a never ending debate, and so it is important to give preference to substance over form.

        Look forward to hearing from you, Maryam.

        Best Regards. 🙂

        Like

      • Hmmm. I totally understand your perspective on how the so-called “scholars” are blindly followed, and that people don’t think for themselves, etc, etc. But, for the record, I’m not talking about just “any” scholar, just any mulla or local imam or whatever. I’m talking about the sahabah, the tabi’ee, authors of the sihhah sittah, etc. These were very very knowledgeable people, and when we say, “knowledgeable”, it’s a level we can only dream of reaching. But, hold on, before you start retorting, hear this out- We CANNOT blindly follow even them, and that’s what they have warned us about, something along the lines of – “Do not follow us in our opinion, if we go against the Quran and the Sunnah…”

        The ONLY person we can blindly follow is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that’s where hadith comes in. The Quran says, “Laqad kana lakum fi rasoolullahi uswatun hasanah” – “In the Prophet of Allah is a good example for you.” (I don’t remember the verse number, but I’m sure you’re aware of this verse). Look, the Glorious Quran teaches us to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), yes, even if it’s blindly following. But, the issue that arises is that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not amidst us now, so what do we do? The authentic hadith collection (sihhah sittah – Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, etc. And, even other hadith books, like Musnad Ahmad, etc) is there for us. Alhamdulillah for that. Y’know, it’s the great efforts of these early generation scholars that we have it all ready for us, alhamdulillah. And, subhanAllah, it’s Allah’s decree that these early scholars sat for days and night, in hot or cold conditions and worked on these books. But again, I’m not saying there’s no mistake, or that these scholars were infallible – they were prone to make mistakes, just like we are.

        And, about the scholars being biased – Allah Knows Best. But, how can they be biased, for they only spoke about Islam, not about themeselves or their culture. As for the present day local so-called “scholars”, only Allah Knows what they speak is right and what is made up.

        The Quran is Allah’s Word – Agreed. The Sunnah is not Allah’s Word, but it’s Allah’s inspiraton revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) -The Quran says, “Say, “If you love Allah, follow me and Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”” (3:31)

        On another note, it’s really great that you reflect upon the Quran and try to understand it. You may be having a good knowledge of classical Arabic, do you? Because without knowing Arabic, it doesn’t work. (The translations don’t do complete justice to it.) But, like I’d said before, I’m shocked about the whole rejecting part of the hadith (eventhough, you’re not the first one doing that, there are people known as the Quraniyyoon, who reject the hadith completely).

        I really hope this was a productive discussion.

        Best regards to you too 🙂

        Like

    • Salaam Maryam and Ro. I agree with Ro on this. The narrations we rely on were all recorded 250+ years after the Prophet (S). And if the muhaddith (hadith-collectors) were so meticulous in authenticating then the Shia would not have 1.2 million hadith they rely on, and the Sunni have 1.4 million they use. Both sects disagree with the other on authenticity. So, if you are born a Sunni you accept your collection, and if born a Shia you accept yours, no questioning allowed. And along with narrations that reflect the Divine Light of the Quran, you have to read through narrations that terribly violate human rights, see a sampling for yourself, but be forewarned, some material is X-rated:
      http://www.quransmessage.com/%287%29%20Updates/hadith-enter%20-%20live.htm
      Much of the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS inspiration comes from this material. Women will be especially appalled if they delve into the troublesome narrations. Non-Muslims are calling us out on it, and our children soon will. 99% of Muslims have not read their entire hadith collections, “Sahih” or otherwise, but simply assume these must be correct.

      The Hadith were transmitted by hearsay for 300 yrs before being recorded, and the Quran equates relying on hearsay with illiterate mentality.
      2:78: “Among them are the illiterate who do not know their Scripture except by hearsay and, therefore, depend on conjecture.”

      Also, I disagree with Maryam that we should blindly follow Prophet Muhammad (S) and the Quran. The Quran forbids blind following even in ITSELF.

      25:73 “Whenever (the True Believers) are reminded of even the Revelations of their Lord, do not fall at them deaf and blind (with deaf and blind acceptance).”

      We are commanded to reason through its message. Oppressive mullahs and dictators want blind following. God is Absolutely Independent of this need. I came to appreciate Islam by way of Reason and understanding its Message, not by following whatever the prevailing notions were.

      17:36 “And you shall not follow blindly any information of which you have no direct knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception) you must verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord, you will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning.”

      Lastly, I agree with Ro that the warnings against people are for all times and all people. Why else do you think we Muslims are Last in the Human Race now? We have adopted the failings of all the oppressive nations mentioned in the Quran and we have converted the Deen (System) of Islam into a Mazhab, just a set of personal rituals and 1000 yr old interpreations. If anyone thinks Muslims will get off scot-free in the Hereafter, actually the Prophet (S) will complain against us on the Last Day:

      25:30 And the Messenger will say, “O my Lord! These are my people, the ones who had disabled and made this Qur’an of no account.” (MAHJUR = They had immobilized it like villagers who bind a cow by tying her front foot to her horn).

      In closing, Ro, myself, and others like us prefer to use the Quran as al-Furqan (Criterion) above all other material which was written by fallible humans, whether they are called scholars or imams.

      Salaam to all and best wishes on the path of Deen

      Like

  3. Salaam Ro! Excellent. work. After reading you blogs, I felt i am on the right track about my understanding of Islam. Today i found one of your articles on facebook. I committed to reading most articles of your blog. 🙂 This knowledge is what is lacking in many people, which leads to wrong practices and wrong things. Keep Going

    Like

  4. Assalamualaikum Ro,

    I love your articles! Masyallah, I feel like, if I was articulate enough, these are the words that I would speak and write. We think alike!

    Jazakallah for making the time to write these gems.

    Like

    • Government lottery? Could you explain what that is?
      Lotteries are a game of chance, so they’d fall under gambling.
      “They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.” Quran 2:219

      O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Intoxicants and gambling and games of chance, sacrificing animals on stones (altars of idols) and forecasting the future by such means as arrows, raffles and omens (all) is an immoral handiwork of Satan. Refrain from it that you may prosper. Quran 5:90
      By means of intoxicants and games of chance Satan, your rebellious and selfish desires, excites you to enmity and hatred among you and hinders you from being conscious of God and following the Divine System. Will you not then abstain? 5:91

      Like

  5. As salaam alaikum bro. As u said ur student of Quran. Are you an Aalim in Quran? What’s ur academic credentials in Quran.? Are you also a student of Hadith? If yes then I would like to ask few question. Thank you

    Like

  6. Hi there and Salaam alaikum! Thanks for putting yourself out there, it’s always nice to find another like minded Muslim! Stupid question for you about subscribing–logged in, I can’t find where I can subscribe, only follow. I don’t normally check into WordPress often… Thank you for your efforts and I look forward to reading more of your posts. 🙂

    Like

  7. Ro, just found this blog from a post on facebook. Just wanted to say how refreshing it is to see how logic coalesces well with your view on Islam and the Qur’an

    Will be frequently visiting, keep up the good posts!

    Buena

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Ro. My name is Astrini from Indonesia. I read your post about Mr. Kassim Ahmad a fellow member posted in Google Groups “Forum Quranic Study” recently. Such terrible news. May God protect him.

    To be honest, I really liked the way you wrote that post (that little hint of sarcasm in the last paragraph) and I ended up reading your other posts on this blog. I’ve been upholding the true teachings of islam since I was little, plus both my parents are believers of quranic islam. It breaks my heart whenever people around me attack me for my beliefs, saying things like ‘not believing in hadith means denouncing islam as a whole’, or ‘understanding the quran using mere human logic is inappropriate/impossible’. Reading your posts made me feel delighted to know that there are still people out there who share the same thoughts and beliefs as myself.

    I immediately subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to your future posts. I usually share my opinions on islam through art and open-minded discussions with my closest friends and family. Can’t wait to share your blog with them! God bless you.

    Best regards

    Like

    • Hey Astrini! It’s great to have you on-board 🙂

      Thank you for your kind remarks, and I’m glad you you liked my post on Kassim. It was my intention to provoke traditional Muslims by employing a bit of respectful sarcasm. I hope I have achieved that to some extent.

      Oh, that’s great! It is the same with me, for me and my parents also share this path. It’s a big bonus to have your immediate family support you. Not many, on this path, get that privilege.

      It’s ironic they say that logic is unnecessary to understand the Quran, as the Quran repeatedly states the opposite. But, oh well! Brainwashing by preachers has definitely paid out for them.

      Thank you for subscribing; I hope you enjoy your stay here! 🙂

      In peace and love.

      Like

  9. Thanks for your posts, Ro. I’m studying the Quran but was told my many that a non-Muslim will never be able to understand the message within but will almost always end up misinterpreting it. Oh well…

    I enjoyed your writings; not because it’s critical of your fellow dogmatic Muslim but because it’s one backed up by facts from the Quran and built on a rational argument (I have so many good friends who seem to have been robbed of their ability to question which is sad).

    I have so much to put across but I think these will do for now.

    One more thing, where are you from Ro?

    Like

    • My Pleasure, J. 🙂

      Bro, they even tell Muslims not to read the Quran for themselves! After all, if Muslims started reading the Quran, who would go to these dogmatic leaders? That is how they impose their control over Islam. I touch this subject here:
      https://quranalyzeit.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/follow-the-voice-within/

      Please do put across any questions that you may have. Better yet, reading the Quran for yourself would show you how what is practiced is cultural Islam and not Quranic Islam to a large extent.

      Please don’t mind, but I’m afraid I can’t share where I am from due to privacy issues. Hope you understand, J. 🙂

      In peace and love!
      Ro

      Like

  10. Hi Ro. I’m Nadia from Malaysia. I would like to consider myself a progressive Muslim, therefore I find your thoughts and opinions on the religion extremely refreshing. Thank you for creating this website. God bless.

    Like

    • Hey Nadia! Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I really appreciate your kind remarks and hope I live up to them. 🙂

      Please stay in touch!

      In peace.

      Like

  11. Hey could you write about this?

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/muslim-body-warns-of-bloodbath-to-protect-islam

    In my country Islam is institutionalized into state affairs to a point where we currently have two judicial systems at play. This is due to the fact that we also run an Apartheid like affirmative action policy where beneficiaries are defined as a Muslim or rather, a Malay (Race; has to be Muslim).

    Currently, there is a one sided political debate on the monopolization on the word Allah, with Muslims disallowing its use for the non-Muslims in publications. Many Muslims in this country believe that Allah belong to the Muslims alone and most of the rest of us are unable to openly debate it with facts due to it being unquestionable in our country lest we suffer a threat of being called “liberals” or “race traitors.”

    Apart from that, many religious and pious men in the country are trying to push for full Syariah law, implications on the non Muslims being unknown. Muslims in my country, whether they choose to indulge in Islam or forced into it, are having our conduits controlled in that much of our actions can be subjected to control by governmental religious bodies/

    I would like to know your opinion on the institutionalization of religion, its effects on its followers and also on the monopolization of the word Allah through a more quranic lens.

    Like

  12. I appreciate your intentions, which are worthwhile alright.

    I see that you stress rational thinking a lot. However, it should be kept in mind, that Kant and the idea of rational thinking have had their due and have nothing to offer anymore (at least to the European mind). The name of the game in our contemporary world of today has to be the holistic approach.

    The same applies to modern Islamic rationalist thinkers like Sayyed Ahmad Khan und Jamaluddin Afghani or even Mohammad Abduhu. The human mind has walked on and can’t be satisfied by the boundaries of rationalist thought alone anymore.

    Looking forward you keeping up your good work. 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Salvavenia! Thanks for subscribing to my blog!

      I stress rational thinking because, in my observation, Muslims have come to a point where they don’t think independently any more when it comes to their religion. Following scholarly opinions, they think blind following of such revere figures is a noble virtue. Hence, I fight against this mindset.

      Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear friend, Thank you very much, I was really happy to have been following your blog. I’m still a lot to figure out, and here I can only say that you are an awesome blogger, full Inspiring and hope you can inspire more readers. Thanks and greetings compassion from Gede Prama 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a pleasure that you take the time out to read my blog, Mr. Gede. 🙂
      I do not know much about you, but from the little I know, you seem like a very thoughtful and passionate person. I will be sure to get hold of some of your books. 🙂

      Peace and love, companion.

      Like

  14. Salaam Ro. I stumbled upon this blog from a post a friend made on Facebook. It was the article about rape. Great article and it’s made me read around on your blog. I bookmarked your blog and signed up for email alerts. I hope to be reading a lot more from you. I’d tell you about me but your “about me” is me… the only difference is I’m female! Just to let you know, I have found an Imam that shares these views as well, Yassir Fazaga! I had a LONG conversation with him. Well, enough for now, I pray for lots of success for your blog and hope that more people open their eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Salaam! I’m happy to find a soul twin 😛
      Thank you so much for taking the time out to let me know your thoughts. It really is very encouraging! I know quite a few scholars who share similar views to ours. Never heard of Yassir Fazaga though. Will have to check him out. By the way, I would love to get in touch with you!

      Liked by 1 person

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