Monday, October 11, 2010

Agnostic Muslims?

Can someone enlighten this weary old soul about being an agnostic Muslim? What in the world is an agnostic Muslim? To my understanding, you are either a Muslim or you are not.

It matters not if you are a Sunni or Shi'a Muslim for both share fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith.

The variance between these two stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones. [More reading here]

But agnostic Muslim? Maybe it's just me, but the qualifier seems redundant, grossly deceptive and may well lead to what is commonly termed in Malay as tergelincir aqidah i.e. when the faith falters or gets derailed somewhat.

An agnostic is described (in online dictionary) as 'One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God' / 'One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism' / 'One who is doubtful or non-committal about something'.

There are many other descriptions of the word 'agnostic' in various other dictionaries (online or otherwise) but the essence remains the same.

'Agnosticism' is described as an intellectual doctrine or attitude affirming the uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge.

Be that as it may, as mere humans we are unlikely to achieve ultimate knowledge of anything at all, let alone everything. That is the sole domain of God.

Perhaps those who profess to be agnostic Muslims admit to this particular shortcoming, the knowledge that they don't know everything. A fair enough argument.

But the key to Islam is kepercayaan kepada Tuhan (belief in God) and this belief is absolute. You have to believe in God first. You can't afford to be non-committal about God's existence.

Now, if you profess to believing in Him, how then do you reconcile this belief with agnosticism? They don't converge at any point at all; they run parellel to one another.

The reason why I am bringing this up is because I have seen in several Facebook entries of people I know subscribing to agnosticism, describing themselves as agnostic Muslims.

Maybe my tergelincir aqidah fear for the aforesaid Muslim brethren of mine is unfounded and unnecessary, but it's always good to be safe than sorry.

Don't you think we have enough on our plate to contend with, than to further confuse ourselves insofar as faith and belief is concerned, with notions of agnosticism and such?

Food for thought, this...


Anonymous said...



Kama At-Tarawis said...

derebar - yup.. silly, isn't it?

Apocryphalist said...

Dear Kama,

You are absolutely right. It’s a contradiction of terms, much like a “Weak God” or “Non-racist DAP” is. Agnosticism is not only a stand about Godhood, it is also an act of hopelessness: its central tenet is not only that “We do not know whether God exists” but that “it is impossible to know that God exists”. Most people confuse atheism with agnosticism, but in reality they are not, because the atheist’s tenet is simply “God does not exist, period’.

In contrast, gnostics are those who are sure about God’s existence not via physical knowledge, but rather via esoterism, which, of course, poses more problems from the agnostics: if God were to make Himself known, why reveal only to selected few and not to all of His creations? And thus it is still a mystery whether gnostics like the Sufis or the early Desert Fathers were speaking the truth (which makes the agnostics questions be more valid, lying (which will make us wonder why would godly-people lie?) or---more likely to be the case---simply speaking in enthusiastic innuendos. Alternatively, they could be confusedly high too: in the absence of liqour or LSD in sufistic Baghdad,my theory is that music (read: dhikr) excites one’s inner passion and ecstasy and produces hallucinative deliriums. Look what the Beatles music did to those screeming teenagers in the 60’s!

Now in pure Logics, or in disciplines of causes and effects, agnosticism is of course central. But then religion is unique in that it relies on one and one thing only: the NULLIFICATION or the bypassing of Logics. One cannot use the disciplines of Causes and Effects and Experiments and Analysis to prove God’s existence (or His non-existence, for that matter). The central message of religion is the total reliance on faith, i.e. belief on news/facts---most very outworldly---brought about usually by one person or a series of persons all talking about the same theme. These persons, oftenly called prophets, have nothing else with which to offer to people except request for total, blind, unquestionable faiths. Occasionally, it is reported that these prophets produce some acts which defy physical laws of the universe (split sea, walk on water, unburnt by fire) to strengthen the beliefs of their adherers but more often than not, the religion progresses on through the years without these miracles.

And herein lies the answer whether a person can be a muslim and be something else at the same time. Because Islam relies on faiths and not on logics, where then is the Islam if you take faith out of the equation? How can an agnostic (“I don’t know whether God exists”) be a muslim, or a believer in ANY god for that matter? Therefore those persons who, as you said, claim themselves to be “agnostic muslims” either do not know what they are talking about, or just have some craving for some fancy rebranding terminology of their confused souls.


d'enricher said...

Most people thinks that they can decide the type of Islam they wanna be.

But ... this is the mistake most people do. Because of this, suddenly there are so many version of Islam today.

The Prophet SAW, clearly states that "akhir zaman, Islam akan berpecah kepada 73 golongan, 72 ke Neraka"

So all those who wanna be a Muslim, make sure that you are in the one and not those other 72.

It is something you pray for, or else comes Judgement Day you shall be sorry ...


─╣aptop™ said...

Yang saya fehem tentang bab agnostic Muslim ni.... an ambivalent Muslim .... dok skeptical tentang Allah... dan at the same time tak nak ngaku dia tu atheis to the core.
Kalau tak brapa betul Ma Cage tolong lah correct tang mana yang perlu :-)

Anonymous said...

Salam Pemblog,

Dulunya manusia fikir bumi adalah rata tetapi dengan adanya satelit maka dapatlah dibuktikan yang bumi adalah bulat.

Ini bermakna pendapat yang mengatakan bumi adalah rata, hanya bertahan selagi ia tidak dibuktikan berbentuk lain dari yang itu (rata).

Kini bukan saja bumi terbukti sebagai berbentuk sfera tetapi manusia langsung tidak lagi beranggapan yang bumi adalah seumpama sekeping papan yang rata.

Kesimpulannya apa yang dirasakan betul oleh manusia boleh dibuktikan sebagai tidak betul kemudiannya dan begitu juga sebaliknya apa yang dirasakan tidak betul boleh dibuktikan sebagai betul.

Dalam konteks agnotism, ia juga adalah sekadar pendapat dan pendapat mereka tidak semestinya benar cumanya mungkin orang lain tidak kisah untuk menunjukkan kepada agnostik pada aspek mana yang mereka itu adalah tidak benar.


Anonymous said...

Kenapa matahari, bulan, planet bumi dllnya berbentuk bulat? Dalam berbilion objek yang terapung diseluruh cakerawala, kenapa bumi saja yang layak dihuni?

Sudah tentu jawapannya sukar dicari? Dan kalau manusia tidak dapat menjawabnya apakah itu bermakna sememangnya tidak ada jawapan kepada persoalan itu? Nah, jawapannya ada! Cumanya dia saja yang tidak memiliki jawapannya.

Oleh itu, kalau persoalan dari mana manusia datang dan ke mana dia akan pergi selepas ini tidak dapat dijawab oleh akal, ia hanya menggambarkan batas kemampuan berfikir individu itu sendiri tetapi bukan menggambarkan apa yang sebenarnya ada dalam alam ini.


Anonymous said...

Logik akal mengatakan tidak mungkin alam semesta ujud dengan sendirinya. Yakni, akal mengatakan ada Pencipta.

Justeru, kepercayaan penganut tentang ujudnya Pencipta adalah selaras dengan akal yang logik sementara mereka yang menolak keujudan Pencipta (agnotism/atheism) adalah sebenarnya yang menutup pintu akal yang logik.


Anonymous said...

Hanya akal yang moden (bukan akal kuno)yang sesungguhnya percaya bahawa seluruh alam semesta dan isinya adalah dicipta dan ditadbir oleh Tuhan Maha Esa.

Mengandaikan alam semesta yang kelihatan begitu gah, besar, cantik, berwarna warni, hebat dan agung sebagai ujud dan berdiri dengan sendirinya, bukanlah lahir dari hati yang jujur.

Ia adalah seumpama menidakkan kehebatan hasil-hasil seni atau karya-karya agong (seperti binaan, filem, lukisan) dek kerana dalam hatinya tersimpan perasaan enggan mengiktiraf kehebatan orang lain.

Makanya sesiapa jua yang berasakan bahawa alam semesta tidak dicipta dan ditadbir oleh Tuhan Maha Esa mungkin memiliki otak yang setaraf manusia kuno atau dia tidak menggunakan otak yang dimiliki sebaliknya menggunakan naluri semata-mata.


Anonymous said...


Law of the universe? What is it?
How much people know and how much more that human being don't know about it?

If people don't know everything about laws of the universe, how can they be sure certain physical acts performed by certain individual defying certain laws?

Anonymous said...

Agnosticism, how very Pascal in its wager. If there's a God then we've made the right decision, if there isn't, then we don't lose anything. But that's no way to do religion, with one foot in there and another one here, hoping to be standing in two places at the same time. Islam, as you say, demands absolute commitment as is manifest in the declaration of faith (kalimah shahadah).

One of your commenters touched on esotericism, which in Islam is better known as sufism, a subject much riled by neo-salafis and people of the same inclination. That many of our eminent scholars were also sufis (mutasawwif) is beyond question, even if alGhazali himself did make a remark in answering questions from a novice ("Ayyuhal Walad", his book addressed to My Beloved Son), that there are false teachers (mustaswif) of the tariqat, he was merely alluding to charlatans who say this and that as opposed to the genuine ones. There are mere followers, zuhuds and auliya in Islam. God reveals himself to them in different degrees of enlightenment, just as ilm (knowledge) is acquired by proofs from the zahir and bathin. To dismiss gnostics en masse as fakes because there are people of that class among them is to throw everything into the drain and gaining none. Sufis are not gnostics in the Western sense in any case. AlGhazali himself, who accepted sufism as a valid pursuit and who, many say, was a sufi, like his own brother, remarked, The more I know the more I realise how ignorant I am. None of the claimed cockassuredness of the gnostic argument.

So why does God reveal himself ro some and not to others? Why does not God reveal himself to everyone so there'll be no doubts about him and put an end to the whipserings of Shaitan? We don't know, for Allah does what He does and doesn't do what He doesn't, and there is nothin g that is beyond Him. He gives Hidayah to whomseover He pleases and withholds it from whomsoever He wants. The sufis for instance, gain their enlightenment by hard work and zikr and renouncing many of life's burdens. Ask of Me, Allah says, for I am closer to you than your jugular vein.

Agnosticism is just this side of hubris. The extreme being atheism, which says that I can't know this so I don't accept its existence. That's solipsism in its logical culmination. And as for Facebook, there is a whole area of entrapment, especially for those who are bent towards self-regard and self-deceit. It is the showroom of trends and the claptrap of the postmodern, a cuteness self-proclaimed in many ways, being Muslim agnostic is one. We are living in an age of fitan, so don't be surprised by it all. But don't also accept everything before examining its content.

Thank you for bringing up this topic. May Allah reward you for that.

Al-Manar said...

Why are there so many anonymous comments here? I for one do not wish to be drawn into discussing the various shades of a belief. I just believe in His presence, His great messenger, the two Books and do whatever good I can. I know one Islam, leaving the intellectuals to discuss the agnostics, the Hadari etc. If I wish to greet someone with a salaam I just say salam alaikum, leaving others to do the variation of salam 1 Malaysia and the rest of it.

Apocryphalist said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't think you even understand what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

Mana mungkin seseorang yang bermimpi, berkhayal dan berhalusinasi mengingati kesemua kandungan cerita yang diperoleh (semasa berada dalam mimpi, dalam khayalan atau sedang berhalusinasi)secara terperinci dan seterusnya mampu pula disebarkan; dan apabila diterima kebenarannya maka jadilah ia panduan oleh berbilion manusia? Biar betul, bro. Rasa-rasanya sesiapa yang percaya kemungkinan itu maka dialah yang tidak rasional, berkhayal atau berhalusinasi. He he he.

Dalam konteks sesuatu ajaran, dan kalau isinya bersifat ilmiah, intelektual, jelas, teratur, lengkap dan tidak mampu dihasilkan oleh otak yang sihat, sedar, cerdas dan cergas -- ia itu seperti kitab suci -- maka apakah mereka yang mabuk dan berhalusinasi mampu menghasilkan ajaran seumpama itu?

Kalau manusia yang waras dan berilmu tinggi tidak mampu menghasilkan sebuah ajaran seumpama al-Quran, maka, apakah ada pelayar siber yang sihat mindanya yang akan percaya bahawa manusia yang berkhayal dan berhalusinasi mampu menghasilkan karya yang baik? Apakah mereka ini sudah kemandulan minda atau sengaja mahu mengubah persepsi ramai terhadap minuman dan dadah terlarang dan muzik rock (iaitu yang diketahui umum sebagai elemen pencemar minda) kepada ejen penambahbaik upaya minda manusia? Siapa yang mahu diperbodohkan?


koolmokcikZ said...

Salaam Kama

Your issue brought out lots of 'heavy' responds. Been a long time since I last read Apocryphalist.

On a lighter note, maybe the person who professed to be agnostic Muslim didn't even understand the connotation ... main tiru tiru saja. Nampak orang letak Catholic Agnostic dia pun 'ubah suai' konon cool.

Or maybe it is a statement of being born a Muslim but not a practicing one.


celakak ungguh said...

hahaha... lagi ning menengung Kak Kama...

celakak ungguh said...

"lagu ning" bukang "lagi ning"... hahaha, saloh dok starang, bbolok wwo' etek...

Kama At-Tarawis said...

apocryphalist - hey there, nice to see you again after such a long while. good piece, that, and i concur. do you know what came to my mind upon reading it? derwishes, swirling skirts et al...

d'enricher - spot on. one of out 73 is a tough equation indeed.. semoga Allah pelihara keimanan kita..

lap & k3 - saya rasa depa ni macam apocryphalist kata la.. craving for some fancy rebranding terminology... tak glamour kalau kata depa plain muslim..

bronson - - tepat sekali. pemikiran mereka terbatas kepada apa yang dapat mereka lihat sahaja, walhal kewujudan Tuhan tu melewati logik.

anon 8.06 - i am wary of sufism. then again, i am ignorant in so many ways.. :-)

Pakcik - whatever the case, good discourse, kan? like you, i stick to the "tried and tested" Islam as taught to me by my elders. banyak2 fikir kalo, ranap aqidah.. hehehe

anon 6.54 & atas pagar - I think I understand the context in which esotericism fits into the argument brought forth by apocryphalist..

coolmokcikz - saya rasa those ppl on my FB yg claim to be agnostic muslims tu sajer nak 'glamourise' islam to their own thinking.. tapi lacking in comprehension sebenarnya..

cu - been a while since my brain, lazy as it is, is challenged to think.. hehehe..

mekyam said...

yep, term is definitely oxymoronic!

Red Alfa said...

One must have been a careless or carefree Muslim to say so?

Given to such carelessness aand carefreeness one is only inviting Shaitan to lodge in one's subconsciousness who will be working overtime ensuring one will surely get the Su'ul Kahatimah now that one has been neglecting to fear and reject in one's consciousness.

One shall in all consciousness never ever be for a moment a kafirun, a fasiqun and a munafiqun. As one never knows when's it all to end, finding it critical at any moment to taubat shall be all prevailing in one's consciousness.

Will such consciousness and acts in Taqwa ever be contemplated by the agnostic Muslim? WAllahualam.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mekyam - :-)

RA - I'm with you there. Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

In other words, as regards sufism you're an agnostic.;¬)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

anon 6.36 - a nice twist there.. enough to "ceriakan" my morning already... heheheh

Red Alfa said...

Think you could handle more of "anonymous" discussions?

Try what "Secular Muslims" would get us?

Kama At-Tarawis said...

RA - after the stunning eloquence of some of my commenters here, i am going to steer clear of 'secular muslims' until my wits return..LOL