Are Pakistani Youth Giving Up Islam?
By Hamza Khan Yousafzai
Islamabad: A handful of Pakistani Muslim youths are beginning to question the existence of God and in the process giving up Islam to become atheists. Although affecting a small number of people, the trend seems to be telling of pressures that the image of militant Islam has had on them.
A Facebook group has been floated for Pakistan’s agnostics and atheists by Hazrat NaKhuda, a young computer programmer and a former Pakistani Muslim. In a thread started on the discussion board on “How did you become an atheist”, Hazrat writes,
“I used to be a practicing Muslim. I used to live in Saudi Arabia. I have done two Hajs and countless Umrahs. Used to pray five times a day. When I turned 17-18, I realized that the only reason I was a Muslim was because my parents were Muslims”.
Ahmed Zaidi , another member, posted on the discussion board, “I’m an agnostic simply because I see little or no evidence for the existence of God. Some time ago I decided that I’d never believe anything unless it has a firm basis in reason and as far as I know (and I admit I know very little and that there’s much to be learnt), there’s little or no evidence for the existence of God.”
The group, which is open strictly to members, has among its members young Pakistani students studying in New York University, Oxford University and even Lahore University of Management Sciences.
Another student, Saeed Ahmad , who used to be a “practicing Ahmedi Muslim”, started questioning his beliefs at the age of 17. ”I don’t think there is any more detail to be added,” he posted on the Facebook community for Pakistan’s atheists and agnostics.
Nawab Zia wrote that the moot question is not “how did you become an atheist” but “how did you become a believer”. He wrote, ”I was a born atheist like every human being until my parents corrupted me with faith. Every child is born free and pure”
Ali Rana, who admired Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and had negative sentiments towards author Salman Rushdie, has had a change of heart too. He now thinks Naik is an “idiot” and Rushdie a genius.
There are other threads on how the members “wasted” their years.
All this is very disheartening to see, as the very essence of Islam is ‘submission’ and submission is equivalent to faith. We cannot ‘prove’ the existence of God but countless signs around us indicate the existence of a higher power who IS controlling everything, this world and all that is beyond. Instead of feeling lucky for being born into Muslim families, these people are questioning how that can be reason enough to follow the Islamic faith. Instead of acquiring knowledge in search of the truth, these people are giving up the belief in God altogether.