Having written and edited a small library of books on Islamic topics, the pseudonymous Ibn Warraq has now collected some of his writings on ex-Muslims in a book with four parts: freethought and atheism in classical Islam; the mysterious Treatise of the Three Imposters (a reference to Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad); the influence of Ibn Rushd and Ibn Tufayl on Western freethinking, and atheism among Muslims in the modern age.
The author kicks things off with his characteristic verve:
Greeks and Aristotle lead to Muslim Materialists, and Averroes, who in turn leads to the thirteenth and fourteenth century Renaissance in Europe. Averroes's influence extends to Jewish philosophers whose influence on the European Enlightenment leads to the modern world.
This is intellectual history on a grand scale, of the sort that hardly any member in good standing of a university history department would dare offer, but the sort that makes the pace quicken and the mind race.
No less emphatically, Ibn Warraq explains his purpose:
A history of atheism and freethought in Islam [is] a moral necessity; it gives necessary succor to ex-Muslims, and provides evidence that many in Islamic civilization have shaken off the intellectual shackles of Islam, and, what is more important, atheism can provide a new identity, and show a means of living moral lives without the aid of Islam.
The body of Leaving the Allah Delusion Behind then takes up such disparate topics as the dahriya (materialist) movement in Islam, the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the impact of medieval Arabic philosophy on Spinoza, and the number of converts to Islam in the West. Of particular note are the large surveys of ex-Muslims on Facebook and of female ex-Muslims.
Ibn Warraq concludes that ex-Muslims
can no longer be dismissed as fringe lunatics, uneducated or incoherent. They hold degrees in science from prestigious universities in the West, where they are no longer afraid to speak up. They have organized themselves into groups that support each other, forming ex-Muslim councils, or writing their own atheist blogs.
Leaving the Allah Delusion Behind serves as a monument of homage and encouragement to ex-Muslims.