Islam has expired, according to Muhammad himself. “How long your faith shall endure?” Muhammad was asked. “En salahat ummati fa laha yom. Va en fasadat fa laha nesfe yom. Val yomo ende rabbeka alfe sanaton men ma taedoon”—if my Ummeh becomes righteous, it shall last one day; if corrupted, it shall last half a day. “And a day of your lord is equivalent of a thousand years of your accounting,” he replied. This account is as recorded by a contemporary chronicler of Muhammad. So, even if his Ummeh had lived up to his standards of righteousness, one thousand years have come and gone.
Yet, a greatly fractured system of belief called Islam is still around as judged by over a billion who call themselves Muslims. Muhammad’s allusion to “righteousness” and “corruption” deserves a close look. All things on earth are subject to a limited life span, be they bacteria, trees, mountains, humans or ideas—including religions. Renewal seems to be a core principle of the planet earth and its inhabitants. And in order for renewal to take place, the old by necessity, must give way. The moment a new entity is formed, an array of forces work to end it. Death, in effect, is pre-birth. Without death, everything freezes in place.
Death often provides the raw material for the new birth. The death and decay of a tree, for instance, supplies the needed nutrients for the seed to grow: the Newtonian physics’ obsolescence provided the foundation for Einstein’s relativity theory. Death and renewal are also fundamental to religion. It is for this reason that many religions promised renewal in the person of another savior or the return of the same person. The Jews, for instance, expect the Messiah; the Christians long for the second coming; and some Muslims pray for the appearance of the Mahdi, while other Muslims supplicate God for “Rejateh Hossain,”—the return of Hossain.
What Expires Religions? The death of a biological entity is caused by trauma, viruses or bacteria. Viruses and bacteria are major killers of humans and present great challenges to medicine. They can be deadly and have the uncanny ability to mutate. Yet, they are there for their mission of ending life. Poorly understood and little appreciated are psychosocial viruses—PSVs. As is the case with their biological kin, psychosocial viruses also work to corrupt any idea, mental functions or belief and help supplant them with new ones. Various forms of mental disorders are the result of interaction between the PSVs and the person’s pre-disposition for the condition. Not all mutations caused by PSVs are pathological. Many serve to advance the human enterprise. Without the contributions of the beneficial PSVs humanity would still be stunted in its development at the level of day one. In the case of Islam, a special group of PSVs set out to work the minute Muhammad launched his faith, and mutation rapidly followed. First, there was the Islam of Mecca or the Islam of Meekness.
For thirteen years, Muhammad’s teachings, as recorded in the early Suras of the Quran, were about many good things. Very few people became attracted to what he preached. In fact, the people scorned the man, harassed him and eventually made him flee his hometown of Mecca for Medina. Then a major mutation took place: the Islam of Medina or the Islam of Tyranny arrived on the scene. The Quran Suras of Medina are replete with exhortations of intolerance, exclusivity, and sanctioning of violence against non-Muslims. This mutation deeply appealed to the temperament of the Arab savages and they flocked to Muhammad’s faith. The PSV of the time of Muhammad continued to mutate as it reached other peoples and other lands. Each peoples’ own ideas and beliefs—their cognitive immune system—responded differently to the invader. Some completely resisted the assault and defeated it. Others were overwhelmed and forced into submission. Yet some of the vanquished, over time, managed to repel the invader while others incorporated it to various extents into their own system of belief. In due course, the mutation among the vanquished people has become so divergent that some of the variants can hardly be recognized as the progeny of the original. Islam of today is composed of a dozen major sects and hundreds of sub-sects and schools. Just two examples should demonstrate the fact that Muhammad’s Islam has expired and decomposed. One branch of Sunni Islam, the Wahhabi for instance, has interbred with the Pashtune culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the result has been the Taliban version of Islam: a most reactionary, repressive and savage “religion.”
On the Shiite side, for example, there is a sect of the Ghulat Alavi that holds only to one of the five pillars of Islam: the Shehadah, an Islamic credo that says, “I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” This sect does not subscribe to the remaining four pillars of praying five times a day, fasting one month a year, pilgrimaging Mecca at least once in a lifetime, and paying the religious tax of zakat. The Alavi women are allowed participation in all religious events and are not required to don the hijab—a stark contrast to the Taliban who deny even rudimentary education to women and forbid them from leaving home without the accompaniment of a male relative. The Ghulat Alavis deify the Imam Ali and the other Imams. They particularly revere the Imam Ali and worship him as a co-rank of God. They profess, “Ali khoda neest, valee as khoda joda neest”—Ali is not God, but he is not apart from God. This very same sect places Imam Ali above the Prophet Muhammad. In conclusion, Muhammad’s dating of his faith notwithstanding, the facts conclusively show that Islam has expired. Over time, its component parts have undergone drastic mutations to the extent that the only thing that all Muslims have in common is the name of Islam and the Quran.