The blog title
Why did I choose the name Abdullah Sameer for this blog title?
Because it shows both sides of my journey in life. I was born as Sameer, and then I chose the name Abdullah (servant of God). While I am no longer Abdullah, this title fits perfectly for the blog.
If you want to skip my bio and get right to my points check out Top Posts to get right into the problems I found in Islam
Here is the video version of Why I left Islam in a nutshell if you would prefer to watch instead of reading instead.
Myself, around 10 years ago, more pics on my facebook page
Also check out “Proof I was a Muslim”
I was born Ismaili in Kenya and came to Canada when I was young.
I grew up Ismaili, my mom is Sunni dad Ismaili. Growing up in Canada in a public school, I was invited by a friend to join them after school for prayers. Being Ismaili, I didn’t pray Namaaz (the sunni form of the prayer), but I had done it before at my uncle’s house a couple of times when he forced me to pray, and felt comfortable enough, so I joined them.
I asked my dad if it was okay, who told me it didn’t matter how I prayed to God, it was fine. So I started praying with them daily. I also started going for juma (the friday prayer), and eventually started reading the Quran. I really liked it and felt that this is what God wants from me. When I read the Quran it made perfect sense and eventually I started to feel that Sunnism was more correct. It felt like it was unadultered and pure compared to Ismailism which felt modern and empty.
So as time went by, over the next year (still in highschool) or so I started attending sunni lectures organised by the young muslim / muslim student associations here and eventually after studying the Quran I came to the conclusion that Ismailism is a religion based on shirk and that praying to Aga Khan is an unforgivable sin.
Thus I left Ismailism and became officially Sunni. My younger brother followed me about a year later. He is still Sunni Muslim to this day.
When I was in high school, I found Islam. A friend offered me the Quran to read and I was amazed at how I found God’s message to me and how he wanted me to live my life. I read the entire book cover to cover in English, and proceeded to read Sahih Bukhari cover to cover (summarized edition). For many years I was still Ismaili, but I would attend conventions like ISNA Canada and also go to local Young Muslim events such as Suhaib Webb’s “Zina The Disease with 1000 Faces.” After some time I decided Ismailism was a perversion of the true message of Islam and I started to identify myself as a Sunni Muslim, around the age of 16 to 18. You can read this short summary that I wrote on why I left Ismailism to become Sunni (I wrote it many many years ago).
When I became (Sunni) Muslim, I followed Islam as much as possible to the best of my ability. This meant that even though I was leaving home for the first time and living on university campus, I had to avoid all the fun that my friends around me were having with girls and alcohol. I completely abstained from these vices.
During this time I started the web site Light Upon Light as I found there were not enough Islamic videos for people to watch for free. I even used to go and tape some of the events at the conferences and masjids myself. I have over 4 million downloads on this site.
As well, I was very much involved with Sh. Yusuf Estes and his Share Islam family of sites, providing technical support and advice for keeping his servers running smoothly, backups, administration, and so on. Some of his sites are Islam News Room, QTafsir.com, ReciteQuran.com, and many more. This was done on a volunteer basis.
I also ran the site VerseByVerseQuran.com (now shut down) which was something I poured many years of work into and thousands of dollars. I was very sad to shut it down. It was serving mp3s composed of individual verses of the Quran (6236 verses in each recitation, and there was tons of recitations) , with around 1000+ simultaneously downloading at any given time going up to 2500+ simultaneous downloads in Ramadan. The Quran mp3s were used to develop hundreds of apps including recitequran.com, tanzil.net, mobile Quran apps etc. See the full list here) and I never charged money to anyone who wanted to use it. It was always free of charge. And I worked with Mahmoud Hammam (Custodian of http://quran.ksu.edu.sa) on VerseByVerseQuran project and both of them will tell you I am truthful in that I did not ask for anything in return for what I did for them.
Personal Sacrifices in being a Muslim
I don’t mention these things to gloat or show off, but to show that I was devoted to Islam and I truly believed in it with all my heart. Since most of you don’t know me, I only state this to make my story seem more personal and more real, and to show that I was a person who wanted to live and die for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa’ta’Ala. Also, I’ve had a lot of people tell me the most ridiculous thing – “oh you were never really Muslim anyway.” so I thought I would put this part to make it look more realistic and personable.
As I was living for the sake of God, i made many personal choices and sacrifices in living up to this covenant. Part of this is already described above as the efforts I made to propogate Islam to everyone. Another sacrifice was not to date, and to get married directly. I got married at the age of 21. The next thing is I avoided all forms of riba and refused any and all jobs at the bank. I also had to live by rent as I could not buy a house on mortgage. I also was strict about eating halal. For many years too I would not celebrate birthdays or anniversaries as I thought these were haram.
In 2011 we went for Umrah and visited Makkah and Medinah. It was a really enjoyable experience.
We also went to Egypt for a few months for a vacation and to try to study Arabic (which I did not end up getting time to do so)
أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted? (67:14)
Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction. (4:82)
Archer L. Gleason writes:
If the statements it the Quran contains concerning matters of history and science can be proven by extraquranic records, by ancient documents recovered through archaeological digs, or by the established facts of modern science to be contrary to the truth, then there is grave doubt as to its trustworthiness in matters of religion. In other words, if the Quranic record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested. —Archer L. Gleason
Victor Stenger writes:
Our observations, in this case our reading of biblical and Qur’anic statements about the natural world, look exactly as you would expect them to look if there was no new knowledge being revealed—just what was the human understanding of the day. That is, they look as if there is no God who speaks to humanity through scriptures or other revelations.
If a person undergoes a religious experience that truly places her in communication with some reality from beyond the material world, then we may reasonably expect that person to have gained some deep, new knowledge about the world that can be checked against the empirical facts.
It could have been different. The scriptures might have contained revelations that, while incomprehensible to people at the time of the revelation, may have still been recorded as mysterious, esoteric knowledge. That knowledge then might have become less esoteric as science and the other knowledge arts, such as history, developed higher levels of sophistication.
Quotes from Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis
How it happened
I left Islam at age 32…, in the middle of Ramadan, 2015 (late June). Most Muslims will never challenge their faith and read things that will cause them doubt, which is why I feel most of them will never leave Islam. However, I had some nagging doubts that had come to my mind over the years. I had seen a comment from a fellow that almost became Muslim, but when he was researching, he found that the stories in the Quran actually came from Talmudic sources. I of course vehemently denied this and I engaged in a dialogue with the man. This happened a year before I left Islam. During my research I actually started to doubt Islam and even left it for a day. But then I put it all behind me and somehow resolved my issues and continued being a Muslim for another full entire year. During this year, I was absolutely 100% Muslim, praying 5 times a day, etc.. What triggered it is after this year I went to a halaqa by Sh. Dawood Butt that he mentioned something about the Quran and science, maybe it was how the sky is held up without any (visible) pillars. Or maybe it was something else he said. Anyway, this made me want to research and I spent tons of time reading everything. I read every post on Rational Islam Blog, RationalWiki, watched The Rationalizer’s videos (who was another fellow who almost became Muslim), and I started to find that the narrative I believed in had a lot of holes in it. Someone might say, you did this to yourself, why would you read things against Islam? Well, if you are on the religion of truth, what is to be scared of? Also, this attitude of avoiding reading things against your belief is not how I became Muslim. I became Muslim because I was willing to challenge my preconceived ideas. The same people who are telling me not to read things against Islam should realize, this attitude is what keeps people following false ideologies. The other funny thing is that when you become Muslim, nobody asks you if you know how to read Arabic, but when you leave Islam, they suddenly want you to have a PhD in Islamic theology and Arabic before you can say the Quran is wrong. Having an open mind and sincerity for the truth is what guides someone to the truth.
Major Issues I had
Take a look at the Top Posts. The story of Dhul Qarnayn is one major issue. It shows not just how the story was just another popular story that was introduced into the Quran, but also some of the statements in the stories show just how the flawed world view of the people at the time ended up in the Quran. The other major issue is the Geocentrism in the Quran. The best Muslims have come up with to respond to these claims is “dont take it literally” or “the Quran was not meant to respond to scientific misunderstandings”. The other major issue is the superstitions in Islam such as magic, evil eye, and jinns which are just not true.
Why create this blog?
I made this blog to share my reasons for why I left Islam in an organized fashion in the hope that it will make others think. I promoted Islam for half of my life, using my skills to share Islam with others. I created a site for sharing Islamic videos online for free (Light Upon Light, along with Verse By Verse Quran), along with some DVDs I used to make and distribute outside masjids and online.
My personality is one of sharing, and just like I shared Islam with others for many years, I would like to share my new conclusions with others.
As Islam seemed to be the best choice of divine religion, and that has been eliminated, I do not follow any religion. For all intents and purposes I am an atheist. While I do not deny that there may be a creator that created everything, because this creator did not send us any revelation, it does not practically matter if we believe in him or not. From a technical perspective, this is called “deism” (belief in a God but not a God that is involved in the creation). I believe that if God exists, he did not send any revelation. Since I have not seen any proof for God, it is also equally possible that God does not exist. Deism and Atheism are practically the same for all intents and purposes. I encourage everyone to really consider if the Quran is from God.
You might also enjoy reading my other related posts: