16 Questions Ex-Muslims Have For Muslims In Singapore

[1] Censoring others
If someone insulted Islam or Allah or the Prophet, what would your response be? If you could just shut someone up to prevent him from insulting or critiquing Islam, would you?

[2] Critique of Islam
What about the critique of Islam? Is that permitted or should that not be allowed? Are there questions that cannot or should not be asked, pertaining to Islam? If so, what are they? And why can’t those questions be asked? Does critique and honest curiosity count as intolerance and hatred towards Muslims and Islam?

[3] Misconceptions about Islam
What are some questions that you think non-Muslims in Singapore might have about Muslims in Singapore? Do you think that ex-Muslims are mistaken in the way that they have perceived Islam? Or how about non-Muslims, in what ways do you think that non-Muslims have false assumptions about Islam?

[4] Being Offended
Is an offence taken or given? Who is responsible as in the case of Charlie Hebdo for the retaliatory actions of the murderers of the editors?

[5] Apostasy of a family member
If someone in your family chose to leave Islam, would you still consider him family? Will he be treated the same, or differently? If differently, how so? Why?

[6] Friendships with Ex-Muslims
If your friend chooses to leave Islam, do you think it is possible for you to still continue being friends with him? How so?

[7] Equality of gender in Islam
Would you say that Islam in Singapore treats women equally? Even though in Islam it clearly states in the Quran that a woman will receive half the inheritance of her male sibling, among other things, and that sharia dictates that a woman’s testimony is only half the value of that of a man’s?

[8] Consequences of Muslim apostasy in general
If a Muslim leaves Islam in a country where sharia is the law, is it right, or necessary, to kill him, as stated according to sharia law?

[9] Relevance of the Quran
What are the verses in the Quran today that no longer have any relevance in today’s society? Since some verses are said to be only contextually and historically relevant and that a lot of the context then, it does not apply now. How many percent of the Quran is irrelevant today?

[10] Emulating the Prophet
What are the practices of the prophet that should not be emulated? Is fondling a girl and underage marriage allowed or even to be recommended or is that no longer recommended? Is slavery in Islam condoned, if it was still permissible today?
*Sahih Bukhari 3:38:504 *Sahih Bukhari 7:62:16 *Sahih Bukhari 7:62:17

[11] Islam, a religion of peace
Is Islam a religion of peace? If so, why do Muslims around the world act in a non-peaceful manner when they find something offensive. Numerous Bangladeshi bloggers have been hacked to death on the streets for blasphemy. A fatwa calling for the death of blasphemers was imposed by Ayatollah Khomeini to Salman Rushdie in 1989. Theo Van Gogh, the film producer of Submission(2004) was killed as a response for his role in making the film, that criticized Islam’s treatment of women.

[12] Other Muslim denominations in Singapore
How do you view Shi’ah’s in Singapore and the other Muslim denominations? Are they to blame for anything or everything bad that has happened in Islam?

[13] Implementation of Sharia Law
If possible, should you want for the full extent of Sharia law in Singapore, given that the Sharia is supposedly the highest standard of ruling in any society, after all, it was decided by Allah?

[14] Refusal of Sharia Law
What would it mean if a Muslim refuses sharia law, does that make him a hypocrite? Does that make him a non-Muslim?

[15] The correct brand of Islam
Who is practicing the right brand of Islam? It is always said that anything that doesn’t seem right in Islam is due to misinterpretation. Any unfair punishment or unequal treatment is said to be a wrong interpretation of the doer’s part. So who is actually interpreting it correctly then?

[16] Are you happy that we are happy after leaving Islam? If not why is that so? Why are you sad when we’re happy. We are happy for you, why can’t you be happy for us?

9 Myths About Ex-Muslims

1. We are the Anti-Christ or we are a sign of the end of times.

How can we be the anti-christ without even knowing it ourselves? It’s like performing a mission without even knowing that we are carrying it out ourselves. What are we supposed to do as the Anti-Christ anyway? The end of times has been predicted to have been near even at the times of Prophet Muhammad. Furthermore, there have always been apostates since the beginning of Islam.

2. We have no knowledge of Islam.

On the contrary, we are actually relatively well versed in Islam. A lot of us grew up attending madrasahs and have an interest in the history of Islam and the world’s different religions. Some of us have even read extensively into Islam and the different controversies it has seen throughout the ages.

In fact, for many of us, it has precisely been this further research and reading into Islam that has resulted in our leaving Islam. Perhaps a Muslim may argue that we did not get our knowledge from the right sources. However, how does one tell which sources are right? Wouldn’t only listening to your Ustaz be akin to only listening to one side of the story?

3. We want to see the end of Islam.

No. We do not. While we may disagree with a lot of things in Islam, we do not intentionally wish for Islam to end. After all, a lot of our friends and family members in Singapore have lived their lives full of dignity and peace as Muslims harmoniously with people of other religions.

Instead, we wish to work towards a Singapore where everybody has the freedom to choose his or her religion without the unnecessary consequences that Muslims who wish to leave their religion today face.

4. We are possessed by Jinn or devils.

No, we are not. As much as your relatives and friends would like to think, we have not been possessed by the Jinn or the devil. Most of us do not even believe in Jinn or devils or both.

We have each undergone a set of experiences and had epiphanies or realizations about Islam somewhere in our lives that have made us question Islam. It has nothing to do with being possessed by Jinn or climbing up walls. We have found Islam’s teachings to be irreconcilable with our own thoughts and personal beliefs.

5. We are corrupted by logic and reason.

It seems that at times, logic and reason are diametrically opposite to faith. We are not fans of blind faith nor do we endorse the idea of becoming a Muslim by birth. Some of us feel that if Allah were true, then he would have wanted us to be members and followers of his faith because we truly know it to be true, not just because we happen to have been born to Muslim parents and then learned only about Islam all our lives. Instead, we would have spent our entire lives looking through other religions and somehow have come to the conclusion that Islam was the true religion. Islam would have had answers to all our questions.

As mentioned in the ayat above, you are required by Allah to use your faculties of perception and conception; you must verify it for yourself. You will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning [17/36].

6. We are without morals.

Wrong. Just because we do not adhere to your set of moral beliefs does not mean we are devoid of any morality. We do not live by the standards of what Muslims would consider being right or wrong, which are hugely based on the doctrines of Islam. Instead, we develop our own set of morals that are independent of what Allah has decided.

For example, if carrying and treating an injured or dying dog is immoral by your religion’s standards, so be it. We would rather be called immoral than deny an injured dog assistance.

One has to understand that religion does not imply morality. There have been so many immoral religious people in the history of mankind. The same argument applies likewise for non-Muslims or ex-Muslims. There are immoral ones and there are moral ones. It helps not to judge each other by our own individual standards of what is moral or immoral.

7. We do not love our family.

Many of us love our family members to bits. Yet, some are disowned and others face the wrath of parents or worse still, get kicked out.

Nobody should be guilt-tripped into being who they are not, or believing something they clearly do not believe in, just “for the sake of mom and dad” or so as not to “shame the family name”.

Faith is something really personal and society or family, in this case, should not be in the business of determining or pressuring anyone into believing. In fact, we love our families so much most of us keep our state of apostasy a secret from them for fear of alienation.

8. We do not love ourselves and that is why we leave Islam.

What would you say to someone who has left Christianity to join Islam? How do you think that a person’s Christian family would react to his embracing Islam? Is that person devoid of self-love? It is the same thing for a Muslim who leaves Islam. It has nothing to do with self-love. Rather, it is a matter of conviction or the lack of.

As ex-Muslims, we have come to a point where we cannot bring ourselves to believe in Islam nor do we wish to be “fake” believers by putting up a facade. We have the honesty and courage to follow our hearts and minds to wherever it may lead us and that is more important to us than trying to convince ourselves at all costs, against all reasons that Islam is the one true religion.

9. We want to try and convert you.

No. Apostasy does not happen to everyone and probably isn’t suitable for everyone. Like religion, it is not something that can be forced. Those of us who have decided to leave Islam do so because we have no other choice but to do so, in order to live our lives being true to ourselves.

In fact, if religion works for an individual, why not, especially if that means that he or she leads a peaceful and loving life. Rather, what is more, important to us is for everybody, religious or not, to be able to live with each other harmoniously.

Unspoken Social Stigma and the lip service to Muslim Convert

A non Muslim individual marries a Muslim individual, the media picks up on the story and everyone celebrates it as a symbol of tolerance and diversity, scenes like these have been repeated time and time again ad nausuem but what if I told you, within the Muslim community this is not such a big deal, well aside from getting a plus one into the fold of Islam which is always a cause for celebration as it pushes the narrative that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world” and from a young age many Muslims are taught there is great rewards in the afterlife if they convince others to convert, might just be my particular madrasa (religious school).

Stories like these repeating over and over again in an attempt to show off inclusiveness within the Muslim community, because we’ve never had a problem where converts are treated differently, in fact the opposite, they’re revered.

Now imagine a Muslim and Non Muslim marries but the Muslim chooses to convert to the faith of the Non Muslim, or even chooses to allow their Non Muslim partner to retain whatever faith (or lack of), how well do you think this would fly? I would say not very well. I’m not married, I’m still living the single life however I remember the start of my sister’s relationship when at the time she was dating and eventually married to a European man. I remember the uproar that my extended family made regarding them wanting to get married about how he’s not a Muslim. So eventually he caved and did the conversion to get his Muslim papers and while they had a civil union in his home country, they had another here fully Islamized. Thing is, despite being Muslim on paper he’s not a Muslim, just like how I was Muslim on paper until the last 3 years.

So why does the media continue to push the narrative that the Muslim community is one that is so inclusive that we can look beyond race of a person that infact it’s the majority who are intolerant and racist because when a friend says “I’m getting married to a Muslim so I’m converting to Islam” and we act concerned about it, somehow this is intolerance? It’s lip service to make themselves feel good about virtue signalling and defending a “helpless minority” by throwing those who are actually vulnerable within said community under the bus and preserving the status quo that is to be expected.

A non Muslim has to convert to Islam to marry a Muslim.

This expectation needs to end because what we are teaching Muslims, from a young age, is that love is conditional, “If you love me sayang, you will abandon your heathen ways and convert to Islam” and that is not a good message to spread. Love is unconditional regardless of what faith your partner chooses to believe in or not, if you loved them you would not be demanding them to change faiths, this is what actual inclusiveness and tolerance looks like, something that is lacking within the Muslim Community because of all the conversion marriages and how the media continues to propagate this lip service towards converts.

For the record, I have nothing against Muslim converts, I think it’s great you found a peace of mind in a religion that I chose to leave because it does not align with my life’s philosophy. More power to you to practice freedom of religion and I’m sure you would agree with me too that those who chose to leave should have the freedom to leave.

I don’t like paint things with too broad of a brush, there probably are many Muslim families out there who are okay with their Muslim relative marrying a Non Muslim and that Non Muslim doesn’t convert however with the recent push towards a more Arabized Islam in Singapore whereby being a Muslim is the pinnacle of your identity, I would argue that ostracization of non conversion married couple is much more common an incident these days and this vanity of virtue signalling all in an attempt to make oneself feel good about helping out vulnerable minorities in a world rife with “islamophobia” is only enforcing the taboo of apostasy because it is not letting the Muslim community look at themselves with a critical lens and therefore doing more harm to the ones who are vulnerable within this community.

Riz Rashid
CEMSG – Contributor


I have not been a Muslim since I was 16 and am currently 29.

I believe there are beliefs and values, including morals, that guide your behavior and how you treat people around you during your interactions. I know many who are religious but have skewed belief and value systems (by way of humanity), and I, therefore, choose to live by what I have learned and tested to be good for the world that is apart from religion.

I grew up in a relatively religious household, with my aunt, at one point of time, opening a Madrasah and my mum after that becoming an Ustazah. My parents have successfully completed their Haji and my dad is going for Umrah again soon.

Before I was old enough to understand religion, I already had doubts about lots of society’s rules, random questions as a child such as “Why can my dad and brothers walk around the house without a top on and I can’t?”, or “Why do I have to lie about what I like and don’t like (at this stage it was about why I did not like madrasah or the teachings, or why I could not spend time with boys alone even though they were my close friends)”.

At this point, I grew to slowly understand the difference between cultural and religious beliefs and practices. This progressed from “Why is it that my friends who are not Muslim but have hearts so pure, have to go to hell” to “Why do I have to be so uncomfortable with myself every single day, concealing my identity, especially to my loved ones”.

Being agnostic was part of my core identity, and I decided after 10 years, that I would rather risk being disowned than carrying on a life where I was superficial to who should be the closest people to me.

The trigger for me to pursue a better life was a loss of trust from an ex-partner. I was at that time (2016) living with that person in Japan, with a stable job with friends around, but although I had my fair share of down moments in my life,

I found myself devastated and broken – for the first time in my life I acknowledged to myself that I needed support and time to heal. Overnight, I decided to separate myself from that person, to quit smoking, and to tell my family the truth. My parents did not disown me, but I did go back to Singapore at the end, as I realized that I downplayed a lot of frustrations I had with the Japanese work culture and the society in general that prevents people from being able to develop deep and meaningful relationships. I thus moved back home with my family. It was interesting, even to myself, to note that I did not find any necessity to look for God at any point in my life.

That said, alas, all the while from two years ago that I thought my parents were slowly accepting me for who I am, I found out recently that they are back in denial, truly having believed that that period of my life was a phase. However, that does not bother me much – I have committed to being true to them and involving them in my life. The only thing that I can control on my end is the delivery of my intention by showing my love and (careful) communication. Even though I hope that the other party receives the message on their end as I intended, this is not my responsibility, although I hope one day that they will be open enough to have a meaningful discussion.

I have landed through an upbringing in my environment and the decisions in my life to where I am now, but I strongly commit to living a fulfilling life. If my experiences can help someone, I would love to share it. Thank you.

In conversation: The Nurses’ Story.

CEMSG: Thank you for coming here to meet up with us, agreeing to talk and share your experience. So let me start by asking “What’s your story?”

SM: I was browsing through several FB pages especially those Ustaz and Ustazah, just to read their postings, to get a general idea about them. The latest news about them to be precise. I stumble several when people asked them about the Murtads… and immediately they will say “they have an issue. Emotional issue. Abuse issue.. mental issue” We are always perceived as people with issues, unsettled and unresolved issues. We got cheated by a Muslim Bf or Gf, that is why we are angry and seeking revenge. We prayed for something, and God did not answer our prayers, so we are angry with God. These are the kind of stories very popular with religious people when they are asked about the apostates.

CEMSG: Okay, then all those issues did not associate with your leaving Islam?

SM: No.

CEMSG: What then? As you mentioned earlier, you learn to recite the Quran from your mother, you prayed together with your parents and siblings. You attend religious classes at the surau. Your childhood is just like any other Muslim family, religion played a central role in the family.

SM: yes it did. My mother was a very strict woman. During Quran recitation class, she would call us one by one with a rotan beside her. She never cane us, but seeing the rotan there is enough to bring shivers down our spine. I remember I used to cry even before I sat there in front of her.

CEMSG: What happened? What made you move away?

SM: Nursing. My transformation happened while I was in Nursing school. It didn’t happen overnight. Not that I woke up one morning and suddenly said, I had it. I’m out. Or that I’ve read this book and it blows my mind off, that it convinced me that Islam is not for me. It didn’t happen that way. Just like any form of transformation, it was gradual. Over a period of time and then one day, after so much reflection I told myself “it’s not for me”. I can’t feel it anymore.

CEMSG: Do tell us what actually happened that caused this transformation.

SM: I remembered that first day in the school of nursing. As I entered the auditorium, my first day, suddenly all eyes looked at me. It was a frightening experience. I was the only girl or rather the only Malay girl in tudung in that auditorium I think. I was wearing the tudung when tudung was not in fashion. My mother told me, to take off the tudung. Said nobody will hire me if I wear the tudung, but I was stubborn.

CEMSG: Then what happened?

SM: I braved myself, and sat right in front.

CEMSG: What makes you choose Nursing?

SM: I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. In school, I joined the red cross. So, it’s a natural choice after my O levels, then this advertisement came out in the paper “Be a Nurse”. I responded.

CEMSG: Go on…

SM: I still went for my religious classes even when I’m in nursing. I fasted and prayed as expected of me.

CEMSG: What leads to this change in you. This transformation as you said earlier.

SM: Not sure. I think transformation happens in a gradual manner. You never know it. It just happened. You can feel the change.. suddenly all those things you used to do like fasting and praying lost its meaning. I stop going for religious classes because somehow they lost the sense of purpose in me. When you go for classes, you’re supposed to gain knowledge.. you should learn something, but these religious classes didn’t at all. They keep on repeating the same thing over and over again, nothing new. About hell and heaven. About the kafir, the nonbelievers. I don’t like the kind of emotion they are trying to invoke in me.

CEMSG: What kind of emotion?

SM: Hatred. Anger. This whole obsession with the Jews. I must hate them. I must not trust them. I don’t even know how a Jew looks like. I am not sure if I’ve ever met them, but I must not like them. To me, this is an irrational form of behavior.

CEMSG: What else? What happened in your nursing days that triggered it?

SM: I saw pain. I saw suffering and I saw neglect. These go beyond all racial and religious groups. I have this fascination with wounds. I love to do dressings. Over a period of time in my nursing days, I’ve seen and dress many wounds. I remember people better by their wounds, and as I see it, all wounds are the same. The severity might be different, but wounds are wounds. I saw death.. many of them. I remember this one particular girl. I was a trainee nurse and was posted in this subsidies ward. Toa Payoh Hospital. A Eurasian girl, with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and all her organs, were failing one by one. Bedridden and abandoned by her adopted parent. She was taken in by the convent. I became close to her. I felt her pain.. the abandonment and the loneliness. I used to spend time after my duty, by her side, reading [as she is going blind] and singing songs for her. That night, after duty, I did the same… went back to the hostel, came back the next morning saw her bed empty. Was told she passed away that night. It affected me a lot. I went back to my hostel that evening, spend a lot of time up in my room… till night, sitting in the dark trying to reflect on what has happened. I felt lost. I went back home the next day, attend the religious classes, as usual, listening to the ustazah suddenly she doesn’t sound pleasant to me anymore.

CEMSG: why is that so?

SM: She is more interested to talk about life after death. So I asked her.. I showed her this picture of Mother Teresa holding a dying lady. I asked her, what will happen to this lady? I know she has done something good for humanity [at that moment in time I saw her as somebody divine] Will she go to hell as well?

CEMSG : What did the Ustazah say?

SM: “Yes she will go to hell” she replied. “Why is that so?” I asked again.
“Because she is not a Muslim”

So no matter how good one can be… no matter how much one has done to humanity, as long as you’re not a Muslim, you will go to hell. She looked at me and nod. That got me thinking. I spent a lot of time after that in total darkness in my room, reflecting and searching within myself. I don’t like what I’m seeing.

CEMSG: and then?

SM: And so I withdrew from all the religious discourse. Even the nasyid songs I once loved, I’ve stopped listening to them. They don’t sound nice to me anymore. I focused all my energy into my work. Nursing replaces Islam as my religion.

CEMSG: How so?

SM: Easy, Islam stops being my central point. It’s nursing now. I came to a point that, whenever I put my uniform, this Malay – Muslim girl ceases to exist. She’s dead temporarily. A nobody. A person with no name, no religious or political affiliations, but in uniform upholding a set of belief systems and that is to serve humanity. It’s a good feeling. Once you’re in that state, you do not want to get out of it. So after a period of time, through the natural process, Islam died altogether within me. Dissolved within the inner space.

CEMSG: How do your parents and siblings react to this change?

SM: My mother saw it. My second brother asked me how come I stopped attending religious classes.

CEMSG: What did you tell him?

SM: By then, Nursing has become my religion. So I told him, I am attending religious classes at my hospital.

CEMSG: Your mother?

SM: I’ve spent more time in the hospital than at home. So when I’m at home spending time with her, she is happy. Whenever she brought up this religious issue, I talk about nursing. She got the message eventually. I know she loves me no matter what. I am still her daughter.

Rampling Thoughts

Faizullah F M remarked “It’s OK to learn but I’d like to say that I absolutely hate Islam 100%, and the other religions too.’

Ive encountered many like him too. They really hate Islam and everything associated with it. Thus you see some of them rather upset when I start posting Islamic stuff in our FB page, what more I just congratulated the MUFTI of Singapore.

There are so much anger and hate, and as I see only time can help to heal whatever pain they’ve felt

The sentiment of Faizulah reminded me of an old article I wrote some time back at Warung Atheist. It goes as like this :

I used to have this marathon session with an Islamist.. either in the group or in private chat lines. They tried very hard to convince me to “come back to the right path” and when they’re not successful, they will end their session with “Allah has close the door to your heart”

Such parting words makes me wonder sometimes.

[1] if Allah has closed the door of my heart.. from the beginning.. what are you trying to prove? To open what has been closed by Allah? By doing that are you not going against the will of Allah?

[2] As I see it, this is their way of excusing themselves in a very subtle way when they have failed, by washing their hands off.. and blaming Allah instead.

And this whole notion of “the closing of the door of our heart”.. makes me think. I like to explore this a little bit.

I was at a friend’s place one day. She was staying at the border between Segambut Dalam and Mont Kiara. And her house is such that.. [1] one window, it’s facing the Kampung side.. with all its squatters. [2] The other window with the balcony facing the high rise modern building. And this got me thinking… wondering…

It’s like this… if there’s [let make it simple] only 2 windows… one window facing a very disturbing and not pleasant scene.. while the other a very scenic and beautiful scene, which one would one choose to open?

One window smell of decomposing and stale air, while the other of fresh air, which one would you prefer to open?

Why would I want to open to the window that allows the air of decomposition and staleness into my room, when I can have a better experience if I am to open the other…

So the conclusion… if I choose to close my door upon you and your religious ideology its because it does not bring any pleasantness to me…

In our other group once, we do have many Islamists wanting to join us. To be our friends and in peace, they say, subsequently remarked: “we want to help you to come back to the right path”.

And these people were puzzled when several members were rude and shut them off. They do not understand why they got such a bad reception. This is one of the greatest mistakes most Islamists do when they come to us. They are not sincere and honest. Their intention of wanting to be friends and so-called peace with an ulterior motive.

I had an argument with Islamic Dakwah guy, and his excuse was “he was just doing his duty as a Muslim because he does not want to be questioned later”

So there you have it, people, their Dakwah activities are to save themselves from being question by Allah.

When you say “we want to bring you back to the right path” which also means to say we are lost, we are in the wrong path. But we do not see ourselves as in the wrong path. We are right in whatever choices we have made especially in leaving an ideology that is killing our spiritual self. Why can’t you accept this?

Saw this statement at one of the Sg Islamic sites “It is a blessing for you to born as a Muslim. A gift that was bestowed to you while many are looking for the truth, Yet, there are some that never realize the blessings till it’s gone”. This is the true mindset of a Muslim. They go around having this idea that they are people who are blessed… above everyone else.

Many came to me too with this message. To remind me that to be born as a Muslim is a gift bestowed by Allah. My response was if it’s a gift then if Allah is most true and honest, he should not expect anything in return. Why does he insist you must pray and praise him all the time.

I never asked for this gift. It was forced upon me and now you insist I must be grateful to you. Where is the logic?

I had a conversation with a guy earlier and he told me “I have this love-hate relationship with Islam”

“Well I stop hating and loving it altogether” I replied

“I envy you”

“Why you’re envying me?”

“You can stop loving it”

“I do not love it. I do not hate it. I make it irrelevant in my life”

N.M [2020]