Every single Muslim is responsible. Part 4

While the relationship between Islam and the kufaar expands Islam, the relationship between the scholars and lay Muslims sustains Islam. The implication of the popular rejection of the relationship that sustains Islam is huge, for it is existential.

Every single Muslim is responsible. Part 4
"We hear and we obey"

Special Series on Apostasy: There's no better time than Ramadan

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The northern summer of 2020 was long and hot, not least for a pathogen that the regime in China had deliberately released into the world. The flood of statistics, regulations, theories and memes was, by then, constant. If your life was somehow connected to Islam, then in June you were provided with some relief from the pervasive "corona virus." June 2020 was the month of the now legendary holes-in-the-narrative interview that Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi had with "advanced student of knowledge," Mohamed Hijab.[1]

That interview, in brief, shattered one of the most sacrosanct non-negotiables of the lay Muslim's faith, the perfect preservation of the Qur'an, something the Qur'an itself claims. It unleashed an earthquake—not to be confused with a tsunami or an avalanche—in the ummah that saw sheikh turn against sheikh, lay Muslim against lay Muslim and, crucially, lay Muslim against sheikh. It was also the occasion for overnight mass apostasy, something that, just a five years earlier, Maajid Nawaz and Sam Harris confidently declared could not happen. "It's ...unrealistic to believe that ...1.6 billion Muslims are going to magically somehow overnight apostatise."[2]

Muslim misery ran deep that summer and the schadenfreude of those opposed to Islam was without restraint. The da'wah industry imploded in an atmosphere that I would not have missed for anything. Unfortunately, the people able to make the most hay during that glorious sunshine were Christians missionaries, whose own da'wah had just received a welcome and most unexpected boost at Islam's expense. They seized the hole-in-the-narrative narrative and made it their own—"the kufaar weaponised this issue," was lament heard in Islamic da'wah.

That weaponisation, unfortunately, went no further than to prove "the superiority of the Bible over the Qur'an" and that Muslims must, consequently, "come home to Jesus." No Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or, indeed, atheists, rejoiced at the prospect of a spike in their numbers, not that they should have. Most were just relieved to see that a significant number of people were no longer Muslim and no longer post that particular danger to the world. It was striking that the deepest insight the world could come up with in response to such a profound undoing of the most dangerous religion is a more confident call to "embrace Jesus as your Lord and Saviour." Conspicuously absent from the scene was any real critical analysis of what had just transpired, and the clue lay right inside the holes-in-the-narrative interview.

What was lost in the frenzy surrounding the holes-in-the-narrative was far more important than what had been animating everybody in one way or another. Yasir Qadhi had been forced to reveal the real significance of the essential power relationship within Islam as a totalitarian system. It is not just that the "scholars"[3] were “the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge” that lay Muslims could not be trusted with, but that "religious knowledge" was different to what lay Muslims had been indoctrinated from early childhood to believe it was.

Yasir Qadhi was forced to admit that if lay Muslims were to delve into the question of the preservation of the Qur'an, "if you take a deep dive," they would discover something, "unwise to reveal in public." They would discover things that it would be best they did not know until they reached the Afterlife. Lay Muslims learnt, in that frantic to and fro between scholar and wannabe scholar, that they were expected to just "memorise it and regurgitate it out." The lay Muslim's role, the role of the "common person", of "the masses", was one of perpetual idiocy, blind and stunted worker ants in a holy anthill. Mohamed Hijab had opened Islam's Pandora's box and Yasir Qadhi was trying desperately hard to put the lid back on.

The side of Islam to which the lay Muslim is permitted access is faith, in contradistinction to law. The lay world is one of the Qur'an, Tafsirs (exegeses), Hadith (sayings of Muhammad), the Seera (doings of Muhammad), khutbahs (Friday sermons) and fatwas (edicts). Here Islam is purely a religion, along with all its rituals, practices, congregations, identifiable trappings, invocations and spirituality, and rules for everything, including thought, a "complete way of life," totalitarian (though 'peaceful' by barbarian standards). The lay Muslim experiences a religion, albeit an austere and brutal one, taught as ultimately directed by the scholars, and nothing more.

To the lay Muslim, the religion is the deen is Islam. When lay Muslims see some Muslim terrorist committing mass murder and deny that that is Islam, they are not necessarily being disingenuous, for they are not necessarily privy to the monstrous horrors within the depths of Shari'a from which the scholars issued the murderer his divine instructions.

The Shari'a is where Islam goes over from the totalitarian faith of the lay Muslim to the fascism of the scholars; the wilful destruction of the human psyche through extreme cruelty inflicted on the body and spirit, horrific even by barbarian standards. The Shari'a side of Islam is the preserve of the “the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge,” i.e., the scholars and their newly-inducted "advanced students of knowledge." This is the law, and it is so grossly anti-human that even in a world of barbarism, its tomes had to be kept occult, and forbidden to lay Muslims, people of "untamed" humanity.

What Yasir Qadhi was forced to expose in that disastrous 20 June 2020 interview, is that while the scholars teach lay Muslims to lie to the kufaar, the scholars have all along been lying to them! This is the real significance of the holes-in-the-narrative fiasco. The spell is broken, and Eid al-Adha 2022 brought the serious cracks of the Islamic edifice of strict hierarchical separation between scholars and lay Muslims to everyday prominence—in the Muslim world, no less.

Lay Muslims in several Arab countries, without necessarily intending to apostatise, are openly questioning the role of the scholars in their societies. A full-throttle debate is raging even in Egypt,[4] against the Al-Azhar institution, with open popular rejection and ridicule of their rulings. Crucially, the complaints rapidly widened from outrage at one particular fatwa to challenging the central structure of the Islamic order: the hierarchical distinction between “the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge,” and those whose fate it is to hear and obey, as well as the latter’s deference towards the unassailability of the former. Things have moved—a lot. It is from an Egyptian, alieltorky, that we read in a 2022 tweet:

“We have those sheikhs and those who do da'wah, a lot of them. Can somebody tell us what they do, exactly? They did not provide any knowledge. They did not provide any science to help Muslims. Nothing from them except headache and problems,” (translation Christian Prince).

Meanwhile in Iran, things had progressed a great deal further. The Iranian clergy's totalitarian project suffered a similar fate to that of the Nazis: its first "pure generation" was wiped out before they could reproduce, in both cases by long-drawn-out, devastating wars. What remains of Iran's lost generation knows that it could easily have been them thrown into battle to blow up landmines with their own bodies. They know exactly what Islam is. And knowing exactly what Islam is, they know exactly whom to target.

The defiance of hijab-burning and publicly, vocally giving the mullahs a bit of their mind still sees the Islamic authorities fighting back with their customary brutality, but against the youth humiliating them, they have no reply. It has been a sport to come up behind a pious man and knock off his turban in complete contempt of religious authority. The mullahs were forced to stop wearing their turbans in public, effectively going into hiding; in an Islamic republic. The prominent role of women in this revolution is in itself an existential threat to Islam. Islam is being destroyed in Iran not by the kufaar or the Americans or the Zionists, but by "the masses", who were never supposed to know what Islam really is. These are the same "Islamic masses", incidentally, that the Communists had their eye on when the working class had let them down.

While the relationship between Islam and the kufaar expands Islam, the relationship between the scholars and lay Muslims sustains Islam. The implication of the popular rejection of the relationship that sustains Islam is huge, for it is existential. The Egyptian protests are a far cry from the complaints Al-Azhar faced just a few short months before the outbreak of the Arab Spring, when Egyptians viewed the Sheikh of Al-Azhar as "more concerned with upholding the current regime than religious principles."[5] The scholars' only role, historically, has been to manipulate lay Muslims as automatons for Shari'a: breeding more Muslims for sending to their deaths against the kufaar, but while still alive, to defend Islam with everything they have.

Of course, lay Muslims are aware that the world of the scholars exists. If any questions should arise beyond those they have already been instructed on in the madrassas, the answer lies on the Shari'a side, for which “the masses” faithfully consult their scholars, as the Shari'a instructs them to do. Figuring things out for yourself is one of the gravest of sins. These two worlds meet strictly on the scholars' terms.

The Shari'a manual, Umdat al-Salik – its English translation, Reliance of the Traveller (revised edition), is a cleverly-disguised piece of jihad of the tongue[6] – devotes significant attention to the relationship between scholars and lay Muslims. Basically, a lay Muslim cannot know anything about Islam unless he is told it by someone in religious authority, which results in the kind of mindset that instinctively distrusts anything coming from the kufaar. A lay Muslim's brain is held to be incapable of moral judgement, such judgement can only be taken from scholars and must be accepted without question. Muhammad Idris ibn al-Shafi‘i, after whom one of the Islamic schools of jurisprudence is named, that is to say, one of the fathers of Shari'a, insisted:

It is fitter for them [the common people] to confine themselves to contentment with the above-mentioned absolute certainly [to believe in everything brought by the Messenger of Allah …and to credit it with absolute conviction free of any doubt].[7]

By the time all this filters through to the lay Muslim on the faith side, it becomes:

O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith, (Qur’an 5:101-102)

and, "We hear and we obey." (24:51)

The scholars do not do Shari'a's dirty work themselves. For that they have lay Muslims ready to claim their virgins in Heaven. Dutch academic, the late Professor Johannes Jansen, one of the Cassandra voices trying to warn about Shari'a, recounts a kafir's interaction with imams in the Netherlands:

In 2006/2007, a Dutch comedian got into trouble with an Islamic activist about the Theo van Gogh assassination. The comedian, on his own initiative, then consulted a local Amsterdam Imam and the board of his mosque, asking them directly whether they wanted to kill him. The Imam only looked stern, and did not say anything, acting as if he did not understand Dutch — which perhaps he did not. However, a smiling board member assured the comedian that they had no plans to kill him, because ‘for such things we have the radicals’. This perfectly illustrates the situation. The majority is silent, the Imam limits himself to looking dignified, his direct supporters bring the bad news, and the elite soldiers, true commandos, true mujahideen, do the dirty work.[8]

Yasir Qadhi, in that fateful holes-in-the-narrative interview, observed about Western scholars, “their level of knowledge [of Islam] is leaps and bounds ahead, [of what it was a hundred years ago]." The lay Muslims’ level of knowledge of Islam, if the scholars had their way, would be exactly the same as it was a thousand years ago: "content with the above-mentioned absolute certainly". From their scholars, lay Muslims to not learn about Islam; they learn how to be Muslim. To learn about Islam, lay Muslims have to turn to the kufaar. And the kufaar have been only too willing to oblige. “We are not afraid of economic sanctions or military intervention. What we are afraid of is Western universities,” said Rohullah "the Joyless" Khomeini.

It is those intrepid Western scholars who read the sources for themselves (something many lay Muslims still consider a disgraceful thing to do and that so many ex-Muslims remain reluctant to do) and whose colleagues created the Internet, a means of disseminating their findings and insights to the world, giving lay Muslims, for the first time, a reliable way around their sheikhs. Of course, they also had to transform their own minds into those of autonomous individuals, people who think for themselves and take responsibility for their lives and crucially, want to know things for themselves. Such Muslims are out of reach of the scholars.

This gives another meaning to the phrase: " tocause corruption in the land," (Qur'an 5:33). I think what this phrase really means is: to place lay Muslims beyond the reach of the scholars. Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, with pained expression, implored Muslims, "Do not die in kufr," in other words, always remain under our thumb. Clearly, "dying in kufr" is no longer the bogey it once was.

Let us return to Maajid Nawaz's red-herring assertion at the start of this essay: “1.6 billion Muslims are not magically somehow going to apostatise overnight”. Muslims do not have to apostatise, at least not in their own minds, for Islam to be destroyed. They merely need to cease acquiescing in their subjugation to “the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge,” and the totalitarian structure of Islam unravels. The architects of this evil system were well aware of this central vulnerability, and went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that lay Muslims never question, and always hear and obey the scholars. With that control gone, the scholars can declare jihad all they like, but there will be ever fewer young men who find eternal sex with seventy-two virgins in exchange for their life to be such a great deal. About a decade ago some scholar tried to set up a caliphate somewhere. It drew about 30,000 out of Nawaz’s lauded 1.6 billion. That does not prove that Islam is peaceful; it proves that Islam is crumbling.

Freeing Muslims from Islam is not a simple matter of separation of mosque and state. In Islam, it is a matter of separation of lay Muslim and scholar. Egyptian Twitter user, Sahar el-Ja'ara, writes, "The Shiekh of Al-Azhar is not a guardian of society... This is an abuse of the state authorities." This is, indeed, a call for separation of mosque and state, but it is preceded by lay Muslims rejecting the scholars as the guardians of society, as el-Ja'ara does. This is the real revolution. This is the real Arab Spring. This is how Islam dies. And there is nothing magical about it.

Back in 2020, Yasir Qadhi declared, “By and large, our ulama in the Eastern world are not aware of what’s going on in the Western side of things.” Well, they are now. Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi is neither stupid nor blind. He sees the writing on the wall for Islam, and would like to make the end as gentle as he can for his beloved ummah. The learned sheikh still believes that Islam is a great religion and the ummah “the best of people raised up for mankind,” and the march towards world domination would have progressed just fine, had it not been for these accursed kufaar, who know no red lines and have exposed innocent Muslims to tsunami after avalanche after calamity of doubt. Dr Qadhi continues to lie; it is not wise that Muslims should know, he insists, even as it becomes blindingly obvious that, increasingly, Muslims do know. They know the self-negating game Islam plays with them, in which they are proud to be the best of slaves. Yashir Qadhi is not deluded; he is just spineless, unable to contemplate the fall-out of admitting to himself, let alone saying to his ummah, “Let’s face it: Game Over!”


  1. "Holes in the Narrative - Yasir Qadhi interview clip + Muslim reaction," EarnedNothing, Youtube, 15 Jan 2021 https://youtu.be/DsikKJg4ETw
  2. "Atheist Sam Harris and former Islamist Maajid Nawaz on the future of Islam," ABC News (Australia), YouTube, 28 Oct 2015 https://youtu.be/hwQhu1A-Ats
  3. What Muslims quaintly refer to as "Islamic scholars" are not scholars at all. They are not in the business of scholarship. Knowledge, truth and facts do not interest them. Their raison d'être is very simple: at all times protect and advance Islam, and to that end, anything goes, absolutely anything. Their top priority in this regards is to insulate lay Muslims both from the true nature of Islam and from their own humanity. They accomplish this by keeping lay Muslims ignorant about Shari'a, and by indoctrinating every generation from a very early age, with supremacism, hatred and paranoia towards non-Muslims and fear of doubt in what the scholars tell them. They must constantly seek or create opportunities for jihad, ensure that the Muslims always increase in number, send lay Muslims on suicidal murder missions, and so forth. They also select the exceptionally committed from amongst lay Muslims to replenish their own number, as well as the intellectually acute to keep them from making trouble, khidr by other means, one might say.

    The scholars are usually profoundly ignorant of anything that is not Islam, and are unschooled in the most rudimentary philosophy and rhetoric. For these reasons I prefer to write "scholar" in inverted commas. For avoidance of tedium, the word appears in inverted commas at first use and only occasionally thereafter, but is to be understood that way throughout.
  4. Christian Prince offers an excellent summary of these events in Egypt. "Egyptian Muslims are challenging their Muslim scholars," CHILDREN OF LIGHT MINISTRY, YouTube, 14 Jul 2022 https://youtu.be/PKS-O5l1r3o  
  5. Brian Whitaker, "More niqab protests in Egypt," al-bab.com, 14 January 2010. https://al-bab.com/blog/2010/01/more-niqab-protests-egypt
  6. Over the signature of the General Director of Research, Writing, and Translation, Fath Allah Ya Sin Jazar of Al-Azhar University, we read: “We certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a). There is no objection to printing it and circulating it,” yet from p458 forward, we find that four entire sections on slavery have been redacted from the English translation. This piece of jihad trickery is justified as follows: “Like previous references to slaves, the following four sections have been left untranslated because the issue is no longer current.” I take leave to remind the reader that slavery is very much current in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Libya, Sudan, Kuwait and Iraq, amongst other places.

    The editors of Reliance of the Traveller just having redacted four whole section on slavery "because the issue is no longer current," nonetheless find that it is current enough to justify slipping in the following plug: “(Titus Burckhardt:) Slavery within Islamic culture is not to be confused with Roman slavery or with the American variety of the nineteenth century; in Islam the slave was never a mere "thing." If his master treated him badly, he could appeal to a judge and procure his freedom. His dignity as a Muslim was inviolable. Originally the status of slave was simply the outcome of having been taken as a prisoner of war. A captive who could not buy his own freedom by means of ransom remained in the possession of the captor until he had earned his freedom by work or until he was granted liberty by his master (Moorish Culture in Spain (y32) , 30)” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book w13.1 ) and by subterfuges such as this, we are a small step from taking "Islamophobia" seriously.

    Also, the return of slavery to international respectability lies just over the horizon, in Article 11 of the UN-endorsed Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, on which I am preparing a major critique for this website.
  7. Reliance of the Traveller, Book A4.2.
  8. "What is Sharia, where does it come from, and why does it matter so much?" Professor Dr. Johannes Jansen, Professor Dr Johannes Jansen Speaks At Inaugural Brussels Process Conference, by ICLA Admin, July 12, 2012 https://libertiesalliance.org/2012/07/12/professor-dr-johannes-jansen-speaks-at-inaugural-brussels-process-conference/

Picture credits:

Screenshot from "Should Rushdie Die - The Islamic Verdict – By Sheikh Ahmed Deedat", Falsehood Is Bound To Perish, YouTube, 22 June 2013. https://youtu.be/YrI3YUPjZ_E

Screenshots from "Why are Young Iranians Knocking Turbans off Islamic Clerics' Heads?", The Quint, YouTube, 5 Nov 2022. https://youtu.be/AJDfjxvyers