Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ruba Qewar: From the Church to the Mosque Back to Jesus

If you are a well-educated young female Arab from an established Christian family in the Middle East, there is no easier way to get your fifteen minutes of fame than to announce you have converted to Islam. After Ruba Qewar made her shahadah in 2005, she was the darling of Muslim TV talk shows and the Arabic media. Things changed five years later, when she apostatized from Islam and publicly declared she was leaving Muhammad behind for Jesus.

Ruba was the guest for two successive weeks on Rashid’s Arabic TV program Daring Question. Arabic speakers can watch here and here.

The first question addressed to her, as could be expected, was why she left the religion of her ancestors for Islam. Ruba replied there were four reasons. First was that as a Christian living in a Muslim society, she always realized she was a minority, a second-class citizen. Second was the theological question of how could Jesus, an ordinary man, be God? Next was the linguistic attraction and power of the Quran when recited or read in Arabic. The final reason was that her Muslim friends asked her questions about Christianity she was unprepared to answer. Rather than resorting to Christian sources to find the answers, Ruba noted wryly, she looked up Islamic websites for their answers and became convinced they were correct. She was also influenced by ex-Christian scholars and authors such as Bart Ehrman, who left their traditional beliefs behind to announce they were now agnostics or atheists.

Rashid then played several clips of Ruba appearing on Muslim talk shows after she converted to Islam. I found it interesting that even in those interviews she admitted her main obstacle to becoming a Muslim was the person of Muhammad, the things he actually said and did. It was her desire to feel part of her society rather than a looked-down-upon Christian that caused her to finally accept Islam.

When asked about her relationship with her Christian family and friends after her conversion, Ruba noted she practiced the important Islamic doctrine of al-wala wal-bara, in which Muslims are not allowed to take non-Muslims (including family members) as friends.

Even after she publicly announced her conversion, Ruba still struggled with the historical Muhammad. She found it impossible to believe that a person who was maasoum, free from error, could do things such as I have described here. It was the linguistic pull of the Quran in Arabic, not the person of Muhammad, that had attracted her to Islam. She eventually aligned hereself with the Ahl-al-Quran (about whom I have written here), who believe that only the Quran and not the sayings and life of Muhammad (known in Islam as the Sunnah) are inspired by God.

Ruba was now studying in the United States, and married a Muslim from an Arab country. He did not approve of her affiliation with the Quran-only Muslims, and their marriage ended in divorce. She noted that 80% of Western woman who embrace Islam and marry Muslim husbands become divorced. (comment: this is even the case with women who write books about Islam, such as Maryam Kabeer Faye).

Before the divorce, Ruba's husband encouraged her to seriously study the Sunnah. She did so, and showed her certificate in Quranic recitation and her university degree in Islamic studies. She became very devout in her faith, praying more than the required five times a day, fasting more than the required month of Ramadan, avoiding contact and conversation with men other than her husband, wearing the full niqab, and leading dozens of people to Islam. Most of her converts were American women, although she was also influential in the conversion of several Arab female Christians.

The interviewer asked Ruba how she reconciled her new found faith with Muhammad's questionable acts such as marrying the nine-year-old Aisha, or encouraging his son to divorce his wife so the Prophet could marry his own daughter-in-law Zainab. She replied she learned these were things Allah allowed and even commanded his Prophet to do; her role, as is that of all Muslims, was not to question but simply accept. She quoted the Islamic doctrine that what cannot be understood by Aqel (reason) must be accepted as Naqel (divinely revealed and not to be questioned).

What was the beginning of Ruba's return to al-Maseeh (Jesus)? She said one simple but basic factor was the treatment of women in Islam. When she wanted to study fundamentalist Islam with one Shaykh, he informed her he would not teach her simply because she was a woman.

From her "Quran-only" perspective, Ruba began to examine what the Quran says about women and compare that with the example of Jesus. Even that is not allowed in Islam; the Muslim is not to study other religions because he or she might be influenced by them. One Hadith relates that Muhammad became angry when he saw the Caliph Umar bin Khattab with a copy of the Torah, "Why are you in doubt? Did I not come with the pure white message? If my brother Moses were alive, he would follow me." Christ's exhortation to the Jews in John 5:39, noted Ruba, was the opposite, "Search the Scriptures, for they testify of me."

Ruba reached a dilemma in her study of the Quran. As she found challenging verses, Muslim Imams told her to study their explanation in the Tafseer, the expositions written by famous Muslim scholars. But as she read the Tafseer and found the explanations even more unacceptable, the Imams told her to forget them and just read the Quran!

Ruba gave one example, the verse in Al Nisa (Quran 4:34) where men are told to Hajr disobedient wives before beating them. The root meaning of the verb means to isolate, or tie up and leave alone. English interpretations of the Quran translate it as "forsake", saying it means to have the wife sleep alone until she comes to her senses (to properly obey her husband).

But is that the correct translation? How does one of Islam's most famous expositors, Al Tabari, explain Hajr? "It does not mean forsake, because to just leave her and not talk to her is useless for the woman, since she is arrogant and does not want to listen or talk to her husband. If he leaves her alone, he will be doing exactly what she wants! The correct explanation of the verse means to tie her to the bed - like the Arabs tie a camel - and have sex with her by force."

(Muhammad's three-step program to deal with marital conflict as presented in English translations of Quran 4:34 never really made sense to me. Step one, according to these translations, is to admonish the wife. Step two is to send her to a separate bed, and step three is to let her have it - that's the beating part. Perhaps some female Muslim readers can explain this to me, but if you are having a fight with your husband and his response is to scold you and tell you to sleep in the guest room, along with a warning that he's about to get physical, how does that make you long for reconciliation? It will only make you fearfully submit, which is exactly what he wants.)

Ruba next began to debate with Arabic-speaking Christians in the chatrooms of Paltalk. To her surprise, she discovered there were logical answers to her questions about Christianity, whereas her doubts about the Quran began to increase (there is a reason American convert to Islam Yusuf Estes warns young Muslims, as I noted here, to stay away from Paltalk!).

To make a long story short (the longer version can be read here), Ruba discovered she had left one religion, called Christianity, to join another named Islam. In each of them she found contradictions, weaknesses, and failures in the lives of its followers. Her spiritual journey eventually brought her back to the person of Jesus, and his invitation to follow his example as a lasting pattern of life.

22 comments:

Cyril said...

Once again, it is apparent that the main thing that Islam has to commend itself is force, whether social or violence. In many Islamic countries they make Jews and Christians miserable and offer them a better life if they convert. If they convert in a moment of weakness, they face the death penalty if they then "apostasize."

In Uganda I asked a young woman about Jesus. She said, "I am a Muslim. My father will kill me if I ever leave Islam." Violence is no testimony to truth, usually the opposite.

Thanks for the info about "tying up wives." That interpretation makes a lot more sense. Islam: Institutionalizing brutality for more than 1300 years.

Quotable Quotes: said...

Cyril, the comment about "tying up wives" made more sense to me as well; I've added a paragraph to the post in which I talk about that.

Traeh said...

Excellent piece, as ever.

Noora said...

Ruba told me she asked God to reveal himself to her. The problem we see with this is even Moses (Musa a.s.) didn't see God. God told him you can't see me, of course some places in the bible(we see clearly have been changed!) says that God showed Moses a.s. His backside. After seeing over 101 contradictions in the bible, I wonder how can people base their faith in this when in the Quran there are NONE. Me myself I asked God to guide me to the truth and He did. He lead me to Islam. :)

Noora said...

Cyril: honor killings are a problem between arab muslims and christians. But what I am wondering is why you can specifically chosen to leave out the fact that when a person converts to islam in the arabic countries, etc. they flee for their lives, are tortured, get killed, are harmed, living hiding,etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the real Allah I am christian
Thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that he died for my sins

Cyril I agree with u Islam force himself

for u Noora why u don't stop lying I live in Iraq and we all see that islam hate other religions let me give u one example what happend in the church in Iraq (sayedat al-najjat) and don't tell me that it was not the real islam, the real islam encourage ppl to hate and kill each other

Anonymous said...

about what u said about Musa , God appeared to him in several ways but the nature of god no body can see him . about the 101 contradictions thats funny bcoz u listen to athiest ppl if u search u can found the answers to the so called contradictions in the bible , the bible is a great book but u r afraid from it bcoz u know it is correct.

u said "god " led u to islam!
well all I can say that ur so called "god" need guidance.

I will pray for u

Cyril Lucar said...

Noora, sorry I didn't see you comment from months ago. You seem to be saying that both Christians and Muslims commit honor killings when women change their religion. The problem with your claim is that it is completely untrue. In thinking about how you could possibly make that claim, the only thing I can come up with is that you actually believe the standard story used to cover up kidnappings of Christian women: "They converted to Islam and you can't talk to them because they are afraid of you."

The absurdity of your claim could be answered at almost an inexhaustible length, but I'll just mention three things.

First, it is unbelievable to think that Christians would be honor killing converts to Islam in an Islamic country (which all Arab countries are). It is just not happening. Christians in Islamic countries are just trying to survive and avoid giving any excuse for Muslims to burn their churches and kill them.

Second, it would be interesting for you to try to produce the incredible list of honor killings by Christians (even Arab ones) in non-Muslim countries. If Arab Christians are as violent as Muslims, surely they are killing women in the same numbers as Muslims. Pam Geller has an amazing (and horrific) list at Atlas Shrugs. Can you produce a like list from a non-Muslim country? No? I wonder why that is? Can you find a single Christian country which offers reduced sentences for honor killings (as do almost all Muslim countries). Can you find a SINGLE Christian honor killing confirmed by a non-Muslim. Hmmm. Thought so.

Third, honor killings are part and parcel of Islam, not Christianity. I've noticed that Muslims have a very difficult time imagining that anyone in the world thinks differently than they do. Since Muslims are a pretty violent lot, Christians must be the same. It's just not true. That doesn't mean that Christians don't commit acts of violence, but it does mean that the more religious a Christian becomes, the less violent they become. With Muslims it seems to be exactly the opposite. The most peaceful Muslims are secular.

The reason for this is pretty simple. Jesus didn't kill people. Jesus healed people. Jesus told his followers to love their enemies and pray for those that persecuted them. Then Jesus did exactly that. When Christians want to become more like Jesus they become more kind and loving towards their enemies.

Mohammed is pretty much the opposite. He was a warrior. He killed people. He had others killed. He told his followers to fight their enemies. He told them to even to fight those who insult them. And according to a hadith believed authentic by most Muslims in the world, he ordered his followers to kill anyone who left Islam.

Noora, you are deceived. Being deceived allows you to remain in such a violent religion by telling you that all religions are equally bad. It would create a great deal of pain for you to know that you are trapped in a world where those who say that they love you today will likely seek your death tomorrow if you leave Islam. I am very sorry for that. I am very sympathetic and don't blame you for believing the things you do. I will tell you that if a woman close to me left her faith in Christ, I would pray for her and she would be in no physical danger.

Cyril Lucar said...

Noora, sorry I didn't see you comment from months ago. You seem to be saying that both Christians and Muslims commit honor killings when women change their religion. The problem with your claim is that it is completely untrue. In thinking about how you could possibly make that claim, the only thing I can come up with is that you actually believe the standard story used to cover up kidnappings of Christian women: "They converted to Islam and you can't talk to them because they are afraid of you."

The absurdity of your claim could be answered at almost an inexhaustible length, but I'll just mention three things.

First, it is unbelievable to think that Christians would be honor killing converts to Islam in an Islamic country (which all Arab countries are). It is just not happening. Christians in Islamic countries are just trying to survive and avoid giving any excuse for Muslims to burn their churches and kill them.

Second, it would be interesting for you to try to produce the incredible list of honor killings by Christians (even Arab ones) in non-Muslim countries. If Arab Christians are as violent as Muslims, surely they are killing women in the same numbers as Muslims. Pam Geller has an amazing (and horrific) list at Atlas Shrugs. Can you produce a like list from a non-Muslim country? No? I wonder why that is? Can you find a single Christian country which offers reduced sentences for honor killings (as do almost all Muslim countries). Can you find a SINGLE Christian honor killing confirmed by a non-Muslim. Hmmm. Thought so.

Third, honor killings are part and parcel of Islam, not Christianity. I've noticed that Muslims have a very difficult time imagining that anyone in the world thinks differently than they do. Since Muslims are a pretty violent lot, Christians must be the same. It's just not true. That doesn't mean that Christians don't commit acts of violence, but it does mean that the more religious a Christian becomes, the less violent they become. With Muslims it seems to be exactly the opposite. The most peaceful Muslims are secular.

The reason for this is pretty simple. Jesus didn't kill people. Jesus healed people. Jesus told his followers to love their enemies and pray for those that persecuted them. Then Jesus did exactly that. When Christians want to become more like Jesus they become more kind and loving towards their enemies.

Mohammed is pretty much the opposite. He was a warrior. He killed people. He had others killed. He told his followers to fight their enemies. He told them to even to fight those who insult them. And according to a hadith believed authentic by most Muslims in the world, he ordered his followers to kill anyone who left Islam.

Noora, you are deceived. Being deceived allows you to remain in such a violent religion by telling you that all religions are equally bad. It would create a great deal of pain for you to know that you are trapped in a world where those who say that they love you today will likely seek your death tomorrow if you leave Islam. I am very sorry for that. I am very sympathetic and don't blame you for believing the things you do. I will tell you that if a woman close to me left her faith in Christ, I would pray for her and she would be in no physical danger.

Cyril Lucar said...

Noora, sorry I didn't see you comment from months ago. You seem to be saying that both Christians and Muslims commit honor killings when women change their religion. The problem with your claim is that it is completely untrue. In thinking about how you could possibly make that claim, the only thing I can come up with is that you actually believe the standard story used to cover up kidnappings of Christian women: "They converted to Islam and you can't talk to them because they are afraid of you."

The absurdity of your claim could be answered at almost an inexhaustible length, but I'll just mention three things.

First, it is unbelievable to think that Christians would be honor killing converts to Islam in an Islamic country (which all Arab countries are). It is just not happening. Christians in Islamic countries are just trying to survive and avoid giving any excuse for Muslims to burn their churches and kill them.

Second, it would be interesting for you to try to produce the incredible list of honor killings by Christians (even Arab ones) in non-Muslim countries. If Arab Christians are as violent as Muslims, surely they are killing women in the same numbers as Muslims. Pam Geller has an amazing (and horrific) list at Atlas Shrugs. Can you produce a like list from a non-Muslim country? No? I wonder why that is? Can you find a single Christian country which offers reduced sentences for honor killings (as do almost all Muslim countries). Can you find a SINGLE Christian honor killing confirmed by a non-Muslim. Hmmm. Thought so.

Cyril Lucar said...

Third, honor killings are part and parcel of Islam, not Christianity. I've noticed that Muslims have a very difficult time imagining that anyone in the world thinks differently than they do. Since Muslims are a pretty violent lot, Christians must be the same. It's just not true. That doesn't mean that Christians don't commit acts of violence, but it does mean that the more religious a Christian becomes, the less violent they become. With Muslims it seems to be exactly the opposite. The most peaceful Muslims are secular.

The reason for this is pretty simple. Jesus didn't kill people. Jesus healed people. Jesus told his followers to love their enemies and pray for those that persecuted them. Then Jesus did exactly that. When Christians want to become more like Jesus they become more kind and loving towards their enemies.

Mohammed is pretty much the opposite. He was a warrior. He killed people. He had others killed. He told his followers to fight their enemies. He told them to even to fight those who insult them. And according to a hadith believed authentic by most Muslims in the world, he ordered his followers to kill anyone who left Islam.

Noora, you are deceived. Being deceived allows you to remain in such a violent religion by telling you that all religions are equally bad. It would create a great deal of pain for you to know that you are trapped in a world where those who say that they love you today will likely seek your death tomorrow if you leave Islam. I am very sorry for that. I am very sympathetic and don't blame you for believing the things you do. I will tell you that if a woman close to me left her faith in Christ, I would pray for her and she would be in no physical danger.

Ruba Qewar said...

Please know that I came back to Islam .. thanks .. Ruba Qewar

Anonymous said...

I will tell you right now there are alot of good things about Islam especially Islamic family law. But overall it is a lie straight from Satans mouth to decieve man kind from the truth of Emmanuel and lead us to the pit. I recently took shahada about two.months ago and kept reading the quran. I am very sorry to say there are things in the quran about Jannah that do not seem right at all. Christianity is not about false catholicism or nut job evangelists that suck money out of peoples pockets. the fact of the matter is Muhammad is clearly documented as killing people where Jesus did not. Allah said that it was made to appear that Jesus died on the cross. The fact is the true God does not reveal in deception.. But truth. Satan only works in deception. I really fear for born muslims who will never know the truth and I hope The Creator forgives us all. Unfortunately the quran tells truths of God laced with a man's dung. kissing a Blackstone with no explanation from Muhammad is blind idoltry. These are things that scared me and I hate it cause satan has takin something good and is using it against man kind. I have a Muslim friend who I love very much and me and her argued back an forth and tried to get me to convert to Islam. She told me to read the quran so I did. I tried overlooking the obvious satanic verses cause there is alot of beauty in Islam... But this is exactly the weapon that is used. Once again may God have mercy on us all

Anonymous said...

here is the recent update on her story:
http://www.rubaqewar.com/index.html

Anonymous said...

Slap on the face

Anonymous said...

Religion or no religion? All I know is that religion cant take anyone to Heaven. All that can take us to HEAVEN is forsaking our false and self righteousness and coming into that of THE ALMIGHTY GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. If you are a true believe in JESUS CHRIST you will see the true righteousness. Till we meet there upyonder.

Anonymous said...

Religion or no religion? All I know is that religion cant take anyone to Heaven. All that can take us to HEAVEN is forsaking our false and self righteousness and coming into that of THE ALMIGHTY GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. If you are a true believer in JESUS CHRIST you will see the true righteousness OF GOD. Till we meet there upyonder.

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Kamorudeen Abidogun said...

Ruba Qewar is back to Islam - check url http://www.rubaqewar.com/

MUBARAK OLADEJO said...

AlhamduliLlaah :)