Search Posts

Islam – two antagonistic religions, one name

Dr. Azmayesh


Interview on the Quran, Islam, the life of Mohammad and violence in the name of Islam with Dr. Seyed Mostafa Azmayesh, Religious Scholar and Researcher in the field of Spirituality, Sufi Master and Advocate for Human Rights.

Dr. Seyed Mostafa Azmayesh

 There is continuous and increasing violence taking place in the name of Islam. Already, since long time in the Middle-East against co-Muslims and members of other religions. More recently, also against our Western society shown by the November attacks in Paris.

Question: Can you provide insight how seemingly violent texts of the Quran, should be interpreted? What should we understand from the culture and time in which the Quran was revealed and established? And, how is it best to be interpreted in our time?

About the Quran and the two versions of Islam

Dr. Azmayesh: The Quran, does not advise stoning, wearing head scarf, polygamy, hanging or killing other humans, but all this is performed under the name of Islam, based on fabricated sayings (Revayat) that were attributed delibeately and wrongly to the founder of Islam (Prophet Mohammad).

Already while Mohammad was alive two religions that were completely antagonistic were born, under the same name and in the same time. That’s why you’ll find a part of the verses criticizing the false Muslims or “Monafeghoun”. These false Muslims were followers of ancestral tribal traditions full of superstitions which had nothing to do with the spiritual-cultural teachings of Prophet Mohammad.

The believers to those pre-Islamic ancestral superstitions and idolatry, converted verbally to the appeal of Mohammad, but kept being attached to their old believes, and constituted a group of false Muslims inside of the newborn Muslim community in Mecca.

These false Muslims pretended to convert to the religion of Islam by confessing verbally (Shàhâdàt ol Léssânnieh) about the Unity of Allah and the prophethood of Mohammad, without believing to these two issues in their heart. Once they were integrated into the Muslim community, they built mosques to pray and to preach in the name of Allah, but according to their own version in order to mislead people from the spiritual teachings of the Quran. They did not fight Islam as an enemy, but infiltrated the rank of the Muslim community, to pass over Mohammad and his guidance, and to take the leadership of the Muslims. It is because they did not believe to Islam in concordance with the Quran teachings. One entire Surah, and many other verses of the Quran talk about the hypocrisy of these people and condemn their corrupted attitude. This false community of “Muslims” appeared in Medina in the life-time of the Prophet Mohammad. In other words, the history of humanity is witness to the birth of two antagonistic religions under the name of Islam, since 622 AD on (after migration of the founder of Islam and his companions from Mecca to Medina).

There are various enormous differences between these two Islam, the Islam of the superstitious Bedouins, and the Islam of the citizenship (al-Islam ol Màdàni: in Medina). The Quran would like to guide people to build civilized societis based on justice, equality, fraternity, tolerance, chivalry, education, respect for citizenship, etc. It introduces the kingdom of David and Solomon as an example of the spiritual culture and social reports.

The Quran regards each individual as a representative of God on earth. On the contrary, the Nomads or Bedouins who were used to lead a nomadic life and didn’t have a permanent residence were against the civilization. Their vision of the world didn’t comply with the values and achievements of civilization. They survived thanks to conquering properties and goods of others. They had a destructive force against the civilization. All the time throughout history these two versions existed. This vision of life and values is not only absent in the Quran, but it is against the Quran.

Instead of the Quran, certain sayings that were spread by certain clerics became popular amongst people who were not able to write and read. These invented sayings are called “Revayat” and are attributed to Prophet Mohammad. For us it is important to understand and to know the Quran and not to be distracted by the comments and interpretations of others.

The Quran has two aspects: most important is the teaching that shows us how to learn to develop our substance, which is possible for each individual.

The other part contains laws and principles that show how our social life can be organized, which has an evolutionary aspect and should be adapted to the circumstances of time and space. For example, in the Quran the law was written that would forbid people that lived on the Arabic peninsula to do idol worshipping and sacrificing for those idols, as these traditions were based on superstition. At the same time there was the cast system in territories in the neighborhood of the peninsula of Arabia (such as Persia) in which people were dependent on their social class; certain people were allowed to learn to write and go to school, others not. The Quran says that everyone is equal and should have equal chances. The only difference between individuals arises from their grade of closeness to God and their development in perfection. And it is only God who knows this. Everybody is equal. This vision neither existed before on the Arabic peninsula nor in the surrounding countries, but this law was implied by the teachings of the Quran. The Quran says, each human individual is potentially a representative of God. This fact does not depend on skin color, race, language, culture of a person etc.

In many verses the Quran doesn’t talk about Muslims and non-Muslims, but about the children of Adam, “Bani Adam”.

Question: Many readers, also writers, from the “Sufi Thought” magazine, are asking themselves how to react when again violence has been used in the name of Islam. What is your response to this violence, ignorance and the allegations?

Violence in the name of Islam

Dr. Azmayesh: What is happening now; the attacks performed by fanatic Islamists has nothing to do with Islam. For me Islam is being taught in the Quran and the Quran is based on unity. It teaches us that the world is created by one creator and there is a final objective for this creation. In this universe without end, the human is the representative of God. We cannot decapitate another human being, another vicar of God in the world. These are the teachings of Sufism shown in the Quran. The people who kill others in the name of Islam don’t know the Islam at all. This Islam has nothing to do with the Quran and the Quran doesn’t accept this.

The definition of Islam, according to the Quran, is the name of a path practiced and described from the time of Abraham until the time of Mohammad. It is the path of substantial evolution of a person following a method in which her or his ‘sick’ heart is converted into a ‘healthy’ heart. The method that is being followed is based on self-reflection, the use of rhythms, zekhrs (repeating names of God) and meditating on the heart and orienting towards God. The focus on the heart and making connection to the heart in this method is crucial. If the heart is not healthy, the body and mind cannot be healthy either. A Muslim is a person going through this process in search for ‘health’.

Question 3: Next to the violent texts in the Quran, also the way of life of Prophet Mohammad and his life as an example are often cited. How should we interpret these allegations in the best way?

The Life of Prophet Mohammad

Dr. Azmayesh: Was Prophet Mohammad on a spiritual path or was he a warrior? Did he steel women from his enemies? Could he not write and is that the reason why the Quran was written after his death? Did Mohammad force people to convert to Islam? These are tight ideas that pre-existed in the minds of many people – to make Mohammad look like a bad person.

Mohammad was preaching – after public proclamation of his mission – for a period of 23 years: 13 years in Mecca and 10 years in Medina. He strongly defended his appeal, in front of the invading tribes, but in the same time was tolerant to other beliefs, and said: “you have your path, I have mine”. He was open for dialogues and invited others to discuss with him. It is said in the Quran as well: “To enter in dialogue with the people is the best manner”. However many didn’t accept his teachings of the path of love, tolerance, unity, brotherhood, etc. and regarded him as a threat to their traditional way of life. The cause of the fights and military confrontations is that these people wanted to assassinate Mohammad. Mohammad fled from Mecca to Medina and there they invaded Medina more than 30 times to eradicate Islam and the Muslim community. In a defensive position, he and his community made a wall around the city and a moat, to preserve the inhabitants of Medina from sneak attacks. Finally, the trust of the adversary in their world vision was weakening and more and more of them joined the community of Mohammad. Then Mohammad went peacefully without any fights inside of Mecca and proclaimed the end of idol worshipping. The house of Allah, the Kabah should be emptied from the idols. After this, he returned to Medina till the end of his life. This is the history of the life of Mohammad. After Mohammad’s death, the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib was assassinated by the hand of a fanatic Muslim whilst he was doing his morning prayer in the mosque of Kufeh (in Iraq). After this horrible event, a despotic system took power and established an empire to conquer under the flag of Islam the world from China to Spain imposing the tribal traditions such as slavery, decapitation, stoning, circumcision of the girls, “forced veil” to women and so on, based on Revayat that certain people had fabricated (for pleasure of the tyrants–despots who pretended to be the leaders of the Muslim community, “Caliph”), and attributed them to the Prophet of Islam.

Question 4:

Sufi’s in Iran are suppressed, because they apparently aren’t good Muslims. From Paris, you are trying to help them since many years. It means you have already a lot of experience and knowledge how to deal with the pressure of this time. How could we deal in the best way with this pressure?

Dr. Azmayesh: We follow the principle of the spiritual chivalry. What we are trying to do in Europe, is making people aware about the dangers of the events from 30 years ago and longer in Iran. As I originate from Iran, I have experienced myself these things and now it is happening in Europe. That’s why we try to bring awareness to the minds of the international human community about this progressing danger. We must resist in front of the ignorance, which is growing bigger and bigger, as people don’t take it serious enough. People always think it is happening elsewhere. This phenomenon is against civilization and very dangerous. In Kurdistan of Iraq the fanatic fundamentalists took over a quiet and peaceful city called Sanjar. Immediately they killed all the men and the women were brought to the market to be sold as slaves. It is unbelievable, and has nothing to do with Islam.

Raising awareness of the imminent danger for civilisation from the Islam based on Revayat is necessary.

All rights reserved Dr. Seyed Mostafa Azmayesh