Ibn Warraq

Pakistani writer
(Redirected from Why I Am Not a Muslim)

Ibn Warraq is the pen name of an anonymous author critical of Islam.

Ibn Warraq in 2018


  • There are many reasons behind it. Bat Ye'or describes one of them in her new book "Eurabia": not long after the Second World War, the Europeans and especially France created a European-Arab axis, to lessen the influence of the USA. There were bilateral agreements. The EU launched Arab exchange programmes and financed Arab NGOs, creating strong European-Arab networks. If they were now to criticise anything about Islam that would upset their allies in the axis. Another reason is multiculturalism.


  • Spring 1989 will always remain as a kind of watershed in intellectual and world history. In February 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini delivered his infamous fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Immediately following in its wake came short interviews with or articles by Western intellectuals, Arabists, and Islamologists blaming Rushdie for bringing the barbarous sentence onto himself by writing the Satanic Verses. John Esposito, an American expert on Islam, claimed he knew "of no Western scholar of Islam who would not have predicted that [Rushdie's] kind of statements would be explosive." That is sheer hypocrisy coming from a man who has published extracts from Sadiq al-Azm's previously quoted book, that had also dared to criticize Islam.
    • Chapter 1
  • After their spectacular conquests, the Arabs were unwilling to concede equality to the non-Arab converts to Islam, despite Islamic doctrine that expressively forbade discrimination. But for the Arabs there were the conquered and the conquerors ... The Arabs ruled as a sort of conquistador tribal aristocracy.
    • P. 202
  • This book is first and foremost an assertion of my right to criticize everything and anything in Islam - even to blaspheme, to make errors, to satirize, and mock.
    • Quoted from Daniel Pipes in Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [1]

The Origins of the Koran, 1998

  • Hadiths were liable to be fabricated even for the most trivial ritualistic details. Tendentiousness included the suppression of existing utterances friendly to the rival party or dynasty.



The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, 2000

  • The tribesmen did not know the Koran simply because it did not exist, for it was put together piecemeal at a much later date. In other words, all the traditional accounts are hopelessly wrong.

What the Koran Really Says: 2002

  • Muslims in general have a tendency to disarm any criticisms of Islam and in particular the Koran by asking if the critic has read the Koran in the original Arabic, as though all the difficulties of their sacred text will somehow disappear once the reader has mastered the holy language and has direct experience, aural and visual, of the very words of God, to which no translation can do justice.

Leaving Islam, 2003

  • Islam makes the whole of humanity-Muslims and non-Muslims-suffer. Peaceful Muslims become victims of the oppressive psyche of Islam, which sucks all the life out of them, while non-Muslims are made to suffer at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
    • Chapter Sheraz Malik (Pakistan)
  • After I finished learning the basic Arabic language, in about six to nine months' time, I was introduced to the Koran. I was forced to wake up every early morning and read the Koran with my older sister, who was quite good at it. My father and older sister used to guide me and correct my pronunciations. It was an unbearable tyranny to me. I dreaded waking up each morning and facing the Koran. Once in a while I used to pretend to be sick just to avoid the daily morning chore. I was beaten by my father on many occasions for this trick. I was also admonished severely for not being able to pronounce Koranic verses in the correct way. This was really a torture to me. Many a time I used to ask my sister and father about the meanings of the verses. They had no idea. They only read the Koran without understanding a single verse. I was told to memorize the verses and never ask any questions on the Koran. Allah would surely punish me if I ask any questions on the Koran or any other matter about Islam.
    • Chapter Abul Kasem (Bangladesh)
  • I started to question the necessity of religion in our lives and the inhuman and illogical practices in many religions, including Islam. You might wonder what triggered my distaste for religion. It all started in my school days when I witnessed the slaughter of a dear Hindu friend of mine (along with his entire family) in Chandpur, Bangladesh. I can never erase that memory from my mind. That was a devastating experience. But more shocking was that many Muslims were actually happy about that slaughter and even went further, supporting the idea that we (Muslims) should kill more Hindus because the Muslims in India are being slaughtered, too. It was also declared by some Muslim clerics that killing of non- Muslims is an act of jihad and therefore anyone participating in jihad will be rewarded with heaven. At that tender age I knew very little of Islam and nothing about other religions. However, the little conscience inside me told me that what was being done and what was being practiced were not right. However, I had little power to change the course of events. I personally visited the house of my slain friend and found that all the members of his family, including his parents, brothers, and sisters, were killed by axes and swords. I saw pools of blood in their kitchen and bathroom, where they hid to save their lives. The incident happened in the dead of night and no one came to help them. When I went back to my school, I was extremely ashamed in front of my Hindu friends. I was speechless and could say nothing. I feared that my Hindu friends might one day attack me. To my great surprise I found that my Hindu friends did not really bother very much and treated me as usual.
    • Chapter Abul Kasem (Bangladesh)
  • This is my very personal recount of the nights and days on and immediately after March 25, 1971. I went to bed a bit early, around 9:00 Pmt. I had been quite tired all day and I quickly fell asleep. Suddenly, at around 11:00 P.M., my deep slumber was disturbed by the noise of constant barrage of gunfire. At first I thought that it must be firecrackers by Bengalis to celebrate their victory. But soon I realized my mistake. I opened the window. It was very dark. Not even the dim streetlights were burning. But I could barely see numerous military vehicles moving around, carrying soldiers with their automatic rifles. Occasionally, I could see very bright searchlights mounted on some of the military trucks and Jeeps. Many soldiers were running and shooting in the street. I saw that a large convoy of military vehicles had surrounded the whole of the EPUET area. As far as my eyes could go, I could see military men all around the campus.
  • After the liberation, it was found that the killing and destruction done by the Pakistani Islamic military was one of the worst in the Old Dhaka area. They killed virtually every person in the Hindu-dominated Shankari Patti in the Old Dhaka area. The fire and smoke were so terrible that at night the whole sky was red.
  • The officer then said that my father's life would be spared but that they would have to confiscate the shotgun. Then he started interrogating everyone on various matters, including our religion and political affiliation. My father became the spokesman. He answered what the army men wanted to hear: that we are all Muslims and we had no connection with the Awami League or any pro-freedom party, and so on.
  • As I wrote this recount, I learned that one hunded new killing fields have been discovered all around Bangladesh. Was I surprised? No, not at all! However, I wondered, Why did it take so long? Why did we have to wait almost thirty years to know that innocent folks were butchered just as cattle? Rest assured that many more killing fields will be found. The killing fields of Cambodia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the like, will be nothing when compared to the killing fields in Bangladesh. These are the Islamic killing fields. Let us not forget these Islamic killing fields. Let us not forget the sacrifice of 3 million people who shed enough blood to change the verdure of the monsoon-drenched land of Bengal. They certainly gave their lives so that we can enjoy the fruits of freedom from the tyranny of Punjabi masters and Pakistani Islamic oligarchy. I would ask every Bengalis not to forget the Islamic butchers of those nights and days when we remember the fallen angels of our land. The crime should never go unpunished.
  • What lessons have the Bengalis learned from this genocide? The answer is really pathetic: We pretend as if nothing happened in Bangladesh in 1971. We pretend that Islam had nothing to do with that genocide. Somehow or other we try to find other scapegoats, whoever that may be, except Islam. We pretend as if everything is fine and dandy with Islam. This is the biggest lie and the greatest cruelty: pretending that Islam had nothing to do with one of the most horrific genocides in human history. It pains people like me and many others who have seen and experienced the true color of Islam with their own eyes.
  • Then came the topic of creation of Bangladesh. Naturally, they sided with the Pakistani Islamic army, although they expressed sorrow for the lives lost. When they heard that 3 million people were massacred and that the action of the Pakistani Islamic army could not be dismissed simply as an act of restoration of peace and order, they simply laughed. The reason was that they did not believe what had happened to our people in the occupied Bangladesh. When we asked them how many Bengalis were killed, they quoted a figure of three thousand. They also insisted that those killed were mostly Hindus, so we should not bother too much about the massacre. That was to say that the killing of Hindus was all right. We pointed out that the figure of 3 million was not invented by the government of Bangladesh but the figure was from reliable foreign sources such as the Agence France Presse, Reuters, and Time magazine. We also told them that a Pakistani journalist by the name of Anthony Mascarenhas has written a book titled The Rape of Bangladesh,' where he had quoted a similar figure. The Pakistanis simply dismissed those facts and said that the foreign journalists were bribed by India to write these figures. When we asked them how did they get the figure of three thousand, they said that that figure was released by the military authorities. And what about the two hundred thousand rape cases? They were adamant that not a single woman was raped. Such is the power of Pakistani Islamic oligarchy and Pakistani Islamic military to condition peoples' minds...
  • A few weeks later, an opportunity came for me to ask one of these Islamists as to what would happen to them since they had committed the sin of Zina (illicit sex/adultery). He was very surprised at me for this impertinence. He told me that they had committed no sin. What? No sin! My brain must have failed to work! I simply could not hold my breath any longer to listen to what he had to say. He told me that Thais were not Muslims, so having fun with their girls was all right. In fact, he told me that that had been the practice in Islam for centuries. Whenever the Muslims defeated the non-Muslims, they could do whatever they wanted with non-Muslims. The Muslims could use the non-Muslim women as sex slaves and please themselves as they wished. A Muslim even had the right to kill the women if he wished. In simple language, the non-Muslims were not really human beings. They were inferior even to cattle and animals. Moreover, the Pakistani told me that the Prophet had allowed sex if a man was living overseas. I could not believe what I was hearing! He then quoted from memory many verses from the Koran and Hadith to support his views.
  • All the atrocities commited by the Pakistani army clearly shows that it was nothing but a religious war. When I read the Koran and compare the actions of the Pakistani army I find an absolute link between the killings and the provisions in the Koran. To the Pakistani military, the Bengalis were not true followers of Islam, but hypocrites. So they wanted to get rid of these nonbelievers (the Bengalis) as per the provision in the Koran and hadith. The whole world knows the truth. The truth is that the genocide in Bangladesh was conducted by the Islmic army of Pakistan to save Islam and to completely annihilate the unbelievers.
    • Chapter Abul Kasem (Bangladesh)

Defending the West: 2007

  • The Orientalists and their indefatigable intellectual curiosity, scholarship, and translations had incalculable consequences for the development of art, philosophy, and politics in Europe, an influence passionately chronicled by Raymond Schwab in The Oriental Renaissance. Orientalists changed forever the intellectual and spiritual landscape of Europe, and allowed artists, writers, and composers to enter imaginatively and sympathetically into civilizations hitherto unfamiliar to Westerners, to accord the Orient dignity and respect, and to people European works with Orientals, seen as equals. It was in this intellectual and spiritual milieu that Mozart created some of his most sublime music. Perhaps Die Zauberflote, Il Seraglio, and cantata K.619 can be seen as reflections in art of Orientalist research.

Which Koran?: Variants, Manuscripts, and the Influence of Pre-Islamic Poetry, 2008

  • There is no such thing as the Koran.



Why the West is Best: 2011

  • Indeed, the divide between East and West is not unbridgeable, as the case of India demonstrates.

Sir Walter Scott's Crusades & Other Fantasies, 2013

  • While it is commendable and understandable to wish to protect, for example, the personnel of a publishing house, if the decision of a publisher to publish material considered blasphemous by Muslims leads to widespread violence, this violence cannot possibly be considered morally or legally the responsibility of the said publisher. The publisher, writer, comedian, cartoonist is exercising his or her constitutional right, and if threatened, the state should give, unbegrudgingly, every protection possible. Publishers must stand by their writers, newspapers with their cartoonists, Comedy Central with South Park artists, and intellectuals with their fellow intellectuals. But where was Hollywood when fellow filmmaker, Theo Van Gogh, was killed? The “Draw Mohammed Day” initiative by a Seattle cartoonist, far from being frivolous was a magnificent show of solidarity, exactly in the manner of public readings of The Satanic Verses, already mentioned. Unless we show greater solidarity, massive, public, noisy solidarity and show that we care for our freedoms, we risk losing all to Islamist thuggery.

Koranic Allusions 2013

  • David Margoliouth warned us not to be too credulous about the authenticity of so-called pre-Islamic poetry. Two of his principal arguments were the probity, or rather the lack of probity, of the earliest compilers and editors of pre-Islamic poetry, and the fact that many putative pre-Islamic poems contained words, phrases, and religious concepts derived from the Koran, even though the authors had died long before the Koran can have been said to exist.

Christmas in the Koran 2014


The Islam in Islamic terrorism: The importance of beliefs, ideas, and ideology, 2017

  • As early as the thirteenth century, thinkers like Nur-ud Din Mubarak Ghaznavi, working at the court of Sultan Iltutmish [ruled 1211-1236] set the aggressive tone of Islamic presence in India. Nur-ud Din elaborated the doctrine of Din Panahi [protection of religion], by which Islam had to be defended from the defiling Hindus who were idolaters who must be kept in their place, and insulted, disgraced, dishonoured and defamed. Ziauddin Barani [Diyā al-Dīn Baranī: 1285-1357] who was an Indian jurist, historian, political thinker, writer, and a companion of Sultan Muhammad b. Tughluq [1309 –1388], wrote a Fürstenspiegel, a Mirror of Princes, akin to Machiavelli’s The Prince, the Fatāwā-yi Djahāndārī, in order to educate the de facto rulers of the day, the sultans, in their duty towards Islam in an age of corruption. Barani advises sultans to enforce the sharī‘a, to curb unorthodoxy ( especially speculative philosophy, falsafa), to degrade the infidel, who must be treated harshly. The Sultans must fight like the Prophet until all people affirm that “there is no God but Allah.” It is the duty of Muslim rulers to overthrow infidelity, uproot it completely, and apply the Holy Law, the Sharia on all. Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1309 – 1388), the Turkic Muslim who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi (1351-1388) carried on the intolerant tradition of the early invaders, and believed that by extirpating Hinduism wherever possible he served God.
    • Ch 15

Leaving the Allah Delusion Behind, 2020


About Ibn Warraq

  • Perhaps the writer who has best identified the problems within the Muslim world is the philosopher Ibn Warraq, of Pakistani origin, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim. That this courageous man writes under a pseudonym shows that even in the West he does not feel safe.
    • Chapter 3, The Virgins’ Cage :Hirsi Ali, Ayaan - The Caged Virgin_ An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam-Simon and Schuster_Atria Books (2008_2006)
  • When Warraq speaks of science, he allows that it is in this domain that "we come at last to the true greatness of Islamic civilization" ... But Warraq argues that it was despite Islam that Islamic science developed.
    • George Albert Wells, review in FREE INQUIRY, Winter 1995/96, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [2]
  • Why I am Not a Muslim does have a mocking quality, to be sure, but it is also a serious and thought-provoking book. It calls not for a wall of silence, much less a Rushdie-like fatwa on the author's life, but for an equally compelling response from a believing Muslim.
    • Daniel Pipes: Review in The Weekly Standard of New York, U.S.A., on January 22, 1996. quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [3]
  • His work will one day be seen as the moral and intellectual breakthrough that led to the Islamic Aufklarung.
    • Taslima Nasrin, Review in the Norwegian journal, FRI TANKE, No. 6, dated 22 October 1997. quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [4]
  • Ibn Warraq's book is so inspiring and so full of brilliant ideas and hard facts as well, that the reviewer never stops wanting to mention further chapters.
    • Jan Knappert quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [5]
  • Ibn Warraq is the pen-name of the author whose parents emigrated from India to Pakistan as a result of the Partition. He was brought up in Pakistan, which was supposed to be an Islamic Republic. His experience revealed to him that the Muslims of India had been cheated in the name of Islam and its projected principles of equality, free will and democracy. As he grew up, he noticed that Islam had become an effective tool of convenient morality and achieving political goals; a religious or secular leader could prove anything from the Koran and Hadith to suit his purpose, yet every faithful believes that there is no contradiction in the verses of the Koran!
    • Anwar Shaikh quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [6]
  • Ibn Warraq's book will either be ignored with deadly thoroughness or cause an enormous riot.
    • Hans Jansen quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [7]
  • Why I am Not A Muslim is not a book of fantasy - or of veiled attack - like Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. It is a deeply felt intellectual tour de force by a great Muslim scholar whose heart bleeds for the fate of his fellow Muslims, and whose thirst for knowledge has led him on a path of incomparable research and study. Because of the well-known (and widely feared) Muslim proclivity to violence the book had to be brought out by an American humanist publisher rather than any of the major publishing houses. It is doubtful that there exists another work on the subject as scholarly, as detailed or as comprehensive, not to say as courageous. Looking at the scene in India, the writings of Hamid Dalwai and A.B. Shah have set many people thinking about the nature of Islam. If Ibn Warraq's book were to be made widely available in India, it may serve to open the eyes of the people further.
    • N. Innaiah quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [8]
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