Injured people are evacuated from the scene of a militant attack on a mosque in Bir al-Abd in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. In the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt, militants assaulted a crowded mosque Friday during prayers, blasting helpless worshippers with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocking their escape routes. More than 200 people were killed before the assailants got away. (AP Photo)

Who are the Sufis and why do extremists see them as threatening?

(The Conversation) — Over 200 people were killed and many more injured in an attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region on Friday (Nov. 24). The assault began with a bomb exploding as people were finishing their Friday prayers. As people fled and ambulances arrived, militants opened gunfire on them. It is the deadliest ever attack on civilians in Egypt’s modern history.

This is not the first time a cherished Sufi site and Sufi worshipers have been the target of extremists. Earlier this year, in February, a bomb exploded at the tomb of a Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in southeastern Pakistan. In 2016, combatants of the so-called Islamic State distributed images of the supposed execution of a Sufi teacher. The same year, the Pakistani Taliban murdered a popular Sufi singer of Pakistan, Amjad Sabri. In 2010 the tomb of another Sufi saint Data Ganj Bakhsh was bombed in Pakistan.

In the past, IS has claimed responsibility for some attacks against Sufis and their institutions, although no one so far has claimed responsibility for Friday’s murderous assault.

As a scholar of Muslim and Hindu traditions, I’ve long appreciated the various and influential roles that Sufis and their tombs play in South Asian communities and many communities elsewhere in the world. From my perspective, the repercussions of the deplorable violence in Egypt and elsewhere go far beyond the scores of bodies strewn around the damaged shrine and the devastated families.

Many Muslims and non-Muslims around the globe celebrate Sufi saints and gather together for worship in their shrines. Such practices, however, do not conform to the Islamic ideologies of intolerant revivalist groups such as Islamic State. On the contrary, IS finds these practices threatening. Here’s why.

Who are the Sufis?

The origins of the word “Sufi” come from an Arabic term for wool (suf). It references the unrefined wool clothes long worn by ancient west Asian ascetics and points to a common quality ascribed to Sufis – austerity.

Commonly Muslims viewed this austerity as stemming from a sincere religious devotion that compelled the Sufi into a close, personal relationship with God, modeled on aspects of the Prophet Muhammad’s life. This often involved a more inward, contemplative focus than many other forms of Islamic practice.

Tomb of Data Ganj Bakhsh in Pakistan.
Guilhem Vellut, CC BY

In some instances, Sufis challenged contemporary norms in order to shock their Muslim neighbors into more religiously intentional lives. For example, an eighth-century female Sufi saint, known popularly as Rabia al-Adawiyya, is said to have walked through her hometown of Basra, in modern-day Iraq, with a lit torch in one hand and a bucket of water in another. When asked why, she replied that she hoped to burn down heaven and douse hell’s fire so people would – without concern for reward or punishment – love God.

Others used poetry in order to express their devotion. For example, the famous 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi leader Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī relied upon themes of love and desire to communicate the yearning for a heartfelt relationship with God. Yet others, such as such as Data Ganj Bakhsh, an 11th-century Sufi, wrote dense philosophical tracts that used complicated theological arguments to explain Sufi concepts to Islamic scholars.

Sufi veneration

Many Sufis are trained in “tariqas” (brotherhoods) in which teachers carefully shape students.

Rumi, for example, founded the famous “Mevlevi” order best known as “whirling dervishes” for their signature performance.

This is a ritual in which practitioners deepen their relationship with God through a twirling dance intended to evoke a religious experience.

Some Sufis – men and, sometimes, women – came to gain such a reputation for their insight and miracles that they were seen to be guides and healers for the community. The miracles associated with them may have been performed in life or after death.

When some of these Sufis died, common folk came to view their tombs as places emanating “baraka,” a term connoting “blessing,” “power” and “presence.” Some devotees considered the baraka as boosting their prayers, while others considered it a miraculous energy that could be absorbed from proximity with the shrine.

For the devotees, the tombs-turned-shrines are places where God gives special attention to prayers. However, some devotees go so far as to pray for the deceased Sufi’s personal intercession.

A place of interfaith worship?

So, why do some groups like the so-called Islamic State violently oppose them?

I argue, there are two reasons: First, some Sufis – as illustrated by Rabia, the Sufi from Basra – deliberately flout the Islamic conventions of their peers, which causes many in their communities to condemn their unorthodox views and practices.

Second, many Muslims, not just militants, consider shrine devotion as superstitious and idolatrous. The popularity among Muslims and non-Muslims of tomb veneration alarms many conservative Muslims.

When a Sufi tomb grows in reputation for its miraculous powers, then an increasing number of people begin to frequent it to seek blessings. The tombs often become a gathering place for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and people from other faiths.

In South Asia, special songs of praise – “qawwali” – are sung at these shrines that express Islamic values using the imagery of love and devotion. In other regions, other traditions of devotion have emerged, while zikr (“litany recitation”) is widely popular.

However, despite the divergent ideologies and goals that differentiate them from one another, intolerant Islamist groups such as the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State reject shrine worship as well as dancing and singing as un-Islamic (hence the Pakistani Taliban’s assassination of the world-famous qawwali singer Amjad Sabri). In their view, prayers to Sufis are idolatrous.

Success of Sufi traditions

Sufi customs reflect a vastly underreported quality about Islamic traditions in general. While some revivalist Muslim movements such as the Wahhabis and other Salafis see only one way of being Muslim, there are others who embrace the diversity of Islamic traditions.

Many Muslims proudly defend Sufi customs such as shrine devotions because they are so integral to Muslim and non-Muslim communities, not only in South Asia but in various regions of the world. Today, about 15 percent of Egypt’s population belong to Sufi orders or practice Sufi traditions. They play crucial roles in their locale and region. For many, Sufi sites offer an Islamic expression of what it means to love God.

In fact, historically, in many regions of the world Sufis have been highly successful in adapting Islamic theologies and practices to local customs for non-Muslims. For this reason, Sufi traditions have been credited for the majority of conversions to Islam in South Asia.

It is only with the global expansion of Islamist revivalist groups in the last century that the urge to absolute conformity has become so strong and pervasive. Even so, a majority of Muslims continues to accept a diversity of Islamic practices.

Given the popularity of Sufis, it’s no wonder the so-called Islamic State objects to such models of Islamic pluralism. The ferocity of the recent attack in Egypt and possible involvement of a suicide bomber demonstrate not only the strength of beliefs in this regard, but also how influential IS and other extremists judge both the prominence and the popularity of Sufi traditions.

The ConversationThis is an updated version of a piece first published on Feb. 26, 2017.

(Peter Gottschalk is professor of religion at Wesleyan University. This article was originally published on The Conversation)

Comments

  1. Hey you guys over at CON-versation, you’re in the wrong country! This not about Sufis “in Pakistan”, but in – hello?! – the Sinai Peninsula of E-G-Y-P-T.

    So, what you should’ve reported about my mass-slaughtered brothers & sisters is this:

    “Interruption of communications is not the only crisis the people of the Sinai Peninsula suffer from. … Violations have been carried out against innocent citizens who have no ties to terrorist organizations. … The army has destroyed houses, leveled plots of land and arrested dozens of Sinai residents without having any evidence of their involvement in operations against the army and police force. … No one can speak about these abuses, or else they will be arrested and beaten by the security forces. Furthermore, punishment can affect more than just the individual himself, and extend to threats to destroy the homes of his family and friends, or detain them”.

    (Source: Enas Hamed, “Blackout on Sinai”, Al-Monitor, April 7, 2014.)

  2. And what if this is state-sponsored? Remember, MSM is spinning the heretical Sufi angle on you. Sure works on you.

  3. I feel compelled to give a shout out to our fundamentalist christians, though detesting and condemning liberal christians to hell, do not try to kill them.

  4. Well if you have definite proof of this share it with us. Right now the most probable scenario is ISIS given its past actions.

  5. No proof, just these reasons to doubt, in addition to the one I already gave yesterday:

    (1) “Egypt is still not officially blaming any one group and nor has any group claimed responsibility for the attack, something which is unusual as over 24 hours have passed.” (The Duran, November 25, 2017.)

    (2) “Mohamad Gomaa, an analyst at the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, tells Al Arabiya English this is the first time militants attack a mosque in Egypt targeting mainly civilians.” (Al Arabiya English, November 25, 2017.)

    (3) “Mohammed Ali said 18 members of his extended family were killed. He added: ‘Where was the army? (They are) only a few kilometres away. This is the question we cannot find an answer to.'” (Sky News, November 25, 2017.)

    (4) “Friday’s prayers were most probably attended by non-Sufis as well. … Timothy Kaldas, a professor at Nile University in Cairo, told Al Jazeera … many people have criticised the Egyptian government’s ‘scorched earth strategy’ in Sinai … Al Jazeera’s Middle East analyst Yehia Ghanem said the intensified violence in Sinai over the last four years has been used by the Egyptian government to escalate repression throughout the country. ‘The Egyptian regime has initiated violence in the Sinai – all over the country, but specifically in Sinai.” (Al Jazeera, November 24, 2017.)

  6. Israel is already being blamed. For some reason Egyptians think Israel is behind ISIS.

  7. I was just thinking the same thing………

    Unitarians! the Axis of Eeeeeeeeeeeeevillllllllllllllll!

  8. Especially when it involves killing children. There were a lot children there with their fathers who were killed.

  9. Reminds me of the hatred all Muslim sects have for each other. Case in point:

    “Al-Sistani was apparently referring to Abdullah bin Jabrain, a key member of Saudi Arabia’s clerical establishment, who last month joined a chorus of other senior figures from the hardline Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam that regards Shiites as infidels.

    Bin Jabrain described Shiites as “the most vicious enemy of Muslims.”

    Looks we should build a wall around the entire Middle East until these backward, immature, and irrationale clerics can have at it with each other.

    And it is very, very disturbing that the Saudi government by their silence continues to support the vitriol for expanding the butchery between Sunnis and Shiites. Considering the trillions of dollars in cash and investments, the Saudi political leadership could end poverty in all of the Mideast but they apparently fear the Wahhabi clerics. I say jail the terrorist clerics and send them to the Hague for crimes against humanity. Or maybe a UN/US/NATO take over of Saudi Arabia would be a faster resolution?

  10. The clerics are on the Saudi payroll and are not feared by the Saudi political leadership but used by it to form popular opinion.

  11. If you want some comic relief, a conspiracy theorist found an interview from 20 or 30 years ago by an author writing about world affairs. The author was telling a story about how he was trying to find out the English translation for Mossad, Israel’s main external intelligence agency. He called the Israeli government and they were kind of confused, telling him, “In English it’s called the Mossad too.” He kept pestering them to say how they would translate it to English. Finally they said, “ok. You can call it the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service…….” So clearly Israel=ISIS, right? /s/
    (In real life, Mossad doesn’t stand for anything, it is a word meaning “institute” and is short for the agency’s full title, Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations).

  12. The Taliban and ISIS are basically Wahhabi converts (theiur conversion financed by Saudi Arabia. Wahhabis consider all monuments of the past to be sacrilegious, hence the ISIS destruction of ancient ruins in Syria (Romand) and Taliban destruction in Afghanistan (Buddhist). The Saudis benefit form all these fundamentalist terrorist groups this by keeping the radicals busy outside Saudi Arabia and by the terrorists determination to destroy Shia Iran (Shias are also considered heretics). The US benefits from all these terrorist groups by having a reason to wage perpetual war. As they say, “Use it or lose it.” This principle applies to the US military, who need constant combat to stay in combat shape and get more and more money from Congress.

  13. The US is the one vlowing up the Middle Eats and causing massive destruction, the mass killing of civilians and a huge refuge crisis.

  14. Our War on Terror and Aggression:

    An update (or how we are spending or how
    we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and
    aggression)

    The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

    As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■”The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric
    mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. ”

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast
    Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a)
    179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b)
    Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2)
    9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3)
    The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in
    Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi
    civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers,
    land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya-
    In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured;
    in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom
    were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were
    injured.

    6)
    Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three
    bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7)
    Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters
    and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9)
    The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10)
    – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273
    killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due tothe dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11)
    The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010
    by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic
    religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site
    where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a
    result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as
    the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven
    townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane’s wings and fuel
    tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a
    huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The
    270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15
    The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of
    Islam.

    16)
    Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were
    discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17)
    The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of
    horror and terror in Iraq.

    18)
    Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19)
    A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his
    stance against the country’s controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed
    Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20)
    two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim,
    3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a
    follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother
    proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they
    said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque
    ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes
    delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a
    week later.

    23)
    “October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded
    Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy
    Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al
    Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. ”

    24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am
    EDT

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A
    suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi’ite Muslim
    office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding
    more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq’s al Qaeda affiliate.

    The bombing on a Shi’ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country’s
    fractious Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to
    unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions.”

    25)
    BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19,
    2012 11:27am EDT

    BURGAS, Bulgaria (Reuters) – A
    suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus
    transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on
    Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

    26 ) September 12,
    2012

    U.S. AMBASSADOR
    KILLED

    Envoy
    to Libya dies in rocket blast

    27)
    Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for
    life.

    28) San Bernardino
    massacre, December 2015, 14 dead, 22 seriously hurt,

    29) Orlando Massacre- June 2016, 49 killed,
    hundreds injured by radical, koranic Muslim.
    30) 305 dead in the Sinai – ISIS terrorists killing Sufi Muslims, 11/24/2017

  15. Just a reminder:

    Our War on Terror and Aggression:

    An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

    The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

    As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■”The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric
    mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. ”

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast
    Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a)
    179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b)
    Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2)
    9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3)
    The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in
    Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi
    civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers,
    land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/

    4) Kenya-
    In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured;
    in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom
    were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were
    injured.

    6)
    Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three
    bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7)
    Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters
    and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9)
    The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10)
    – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273
    killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due tothe dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11)
    The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010
    by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic
    religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site
    where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a
    result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as
    the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven
    townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane’s wings and fuel
    tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a
    huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The
    270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15
    The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of
    Islam.

    16)
    Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were
    discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17)
    The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of
    horror and terror in Iraq.

    18)
    Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19)
    A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his
    stance against the country’s controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed
    Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20)
    two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim,
    3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a
    follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother
    proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they
    said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque
    ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes
    delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a
    week later.

    23)
    “October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded
    Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy
    Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al
    Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. ”

    24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am
    EDT

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A
    suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi’ite Muslim
    office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding
    more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq’s al Qaeda affiliate.

    The bombing on a Shi’ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country’s
    fractious Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to
    unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions.”

    25)
    BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19,
    2012 11:27am EDT

    BURGAS, Bulgaria (Reuters) – A
    suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus
    transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on
    Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

    26 ) September 12,
    2012

    U.S. AMBASSADOR
    KILLED

    Envoy
    to Libya dies in rocket blast

    27)
    Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for
    life.

    28) San Bernardino
    massacre, December 2015, 14 dead, 22 seriously hurt,

    29) Orlando Massacre- June 2016, 49 killed,
    hundreds injured by radical, koranic Muslim.

    30) 305 dead in the Sinai – ISIS terrorists killing Sufi Muslims, 11/24/2017

  16. Educating all the sects of warmongering Islam:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi————–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    “1. Belief in Allah”

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    “2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gi-b G-nab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “crea-tionist”.

    “3. To believe in the existence of angels.”

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and “tin–ker be-lls”. Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    “5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone.”

    Mohammed spent thirty days “fasting” (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the “two-minute” cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

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