Article Op-Ed

Islam in Atlanta: Freedom from Organized Religion

Islam in Atlanta: Freedom from Organized Religion

Author Muhammad Mendes by

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Paul J Everett

“So establish your entire being toward the Way of One Divine Creator, the primordial nature of God upon which He created humanity. There is no change in the creation of God. That is the Upright Way, but most people know not.” ~ The Qur’an, Romans, 30:30

Just about every week in this historic and beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia, I have the honor of meeting followers of Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace) of every age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background who no longer practice Islam as an organized religion.  They no longer primarily identify themselves as Sunni, Shi’i, Salafi, Sufi, or with any other label of denomination. They realize that ascriptions like Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanafi, and Ja’fari are only indications of one dimension of who they are and not the totality of their being.  These men and women are content to identify themselves as nothing more than servants of God, which translates into Arabic as “Muslims”.


This blog is dedicated to them.


Modern man realizes the impotence, hypocrisy, superficiality, and destructiveness of religion and has rejected it and wants an escape...this is one of the reasons why so many people are opting for a customized religion they call "spirituality". Ultimately, there are only two escapes from religion--atheism/agnosticism and Islam--the former leads to the gratification and worship of the Self and the latter leads to the disciplining and illumination of the Self.


At the most fundamental level "organized religion" as we know it today is man-made, theologically anthropomorphic, anti-intellectual, anti-intuitive, isolationist/elitist, exploitive, patriarchal, cultural, reductive, judgmental, and controlling/manipulative; using fear, guilt, and appeal to authority as its main tools-in a nutshell, organized religion is submission to Man while Islam is submission to the Creator.


In contrast, Islam--if understood from its pure and living Muhammady source--is revealed, radically monotheistic, rational, intuitive, inclusive, empowering, holistic, nonjudgmental, and liberating; using Knowledge (transmitted, rational, and inspired) and Gratitude as its main tools to inspire love that blossoms into sincere service of the Creator and the creation.


There are those who have attempted to turn Islam into a religion by promoting man-made understandings as Divine Truth while in fact they are not, when this happens this religion is used to ultimately serve man-made interests rather than the six universal human rights, deduced from the Qur’ran and teachings of the Prophets (peace be upon them), that protect and promote faith, life, intelligence, lineage, wealth, and honor for every individual and community in the world. Wherever you find corruption and tyranny committed in the name of Islam then it is only because the perpetrators of these crimes practice Islam as a religion serving their egocentric and base desires rather than as the Revealed Path of Service to the Creator and creation that it is.


Islam both encompasses and transcends what we know as religion. Islam at its core is the Science of Being Human, the science of reconciling your physical self with your spiritual self by living a life in harmony with Ultimate Reality, nature, and our fellow creatures, seen and unseen. The men, women, and children who embody this Path in Atlanta, or in any other city, town, or village, are best equipped to live Islam not as Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace) lived it more than 1,400 years ago but as he would have lived it today.

​Muhammad ​Mendes was born in the US and reared in the US and uNigeria. At the age of 17, he embraced the Universal Religion of the Prophets, al-Islam, after a life changing journey to Israel. Along with a BA in Arabic he has sat at the feet of many notable scholars in the US, the Middle East, West and East Africa, to receive training in the classical Islamic sciences. Upon his return, he has focused on translating and teaching rare Arabic manuscripts from Black Africa concerning theology, jurisprudence, ethics, ​​spirituality, and metaphysics, authored by her greatest spiritual and intellectual giants. He and his family reside in Atlanta where he serves as Imam and Executive Director at Madina Institute & Mosque, Lead Instructor for the Fawakih Arabic Institute, and founding director of SacredService for Human Liberation.

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