Middle East Resources

Review of Brother Rachid’s Book

“ISIS and Islam: Through the Eyes of a Former Muslim”[i]

By Bassam Michael Madany

4 October, 2016

Reading “Da’esh & Islam” by Brother Rachid, reminded me of another book I read in the early 1950s: “Witness” by Whittaker Chambers. He explained why he joined the American Communist Party, and became an important cell worker in it.  But he eventually became disillusioned with Communism in its entirety, left the Party and lived to tell the story of his long imprisonment in a false and dangerous ideology. I also read “The God That Failed”.  The six men who wrote essays for it included Americans Louis Fischer and Richard Wright, and Europeans André Gide, Arthur Koestler, Stephen Spender and Ignacio Silone. These intellectuals were all attracted to Communism but became disillusioned, and chronicled their experiences in this false ideology. and left it and also lived to tell about their experiences.

Brother Rachid’s work and his effort to expose another false ideology carry on the tradition of those famous anti-Communists from the mid-20th Century.  However, there are some differences between the accounts of “Witness” and “The God That Failed” and ISIS and Islam: Through the Eyes of a Former Muslim”.  Marxism is a late entry in the in the world of ideas even while some of its concepts of governance and control over human beings have plagued mankind for centuries, with every dictator that has arisen to subjugate the masses.  Perhaps even more dangerous is the religious faith and political ideology of Islam. Rachid is educating his readers and listeners about this belief system that is more than a religion.  Unlike his Western counterparts who chose Communism as adults, Rachid was born into political Islam. He was lovingly taught its principles and ideology by his Imam father.    Like his Western intellectual counterparts leaving Communism, Brother Rachid’s exodus from Islam was a daunting experience. Blessed with a keen and inquisitive mind; at the age of 12, he began listening to Trans World Radio, a Christian organization proclaiming the Gospel of Christ into the Arab world of North Africa and the Middle East.

Eventually, notwithstanding many obstacles, he was converted to Christ and became a Christian.  The Arabic term for his action is called (Uboor”[ii])  or “crossing over to another side.  He now has a vital Christian ministry over a Satellite TV station every Thursday evening, informing and educating his listeners about Islam and comparing it to his new-found faith in Christ.

The West is familiar with the term ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).  The Arabic acronym for ISIS is Da’esh, the term Rachid uses throughout his book.  He began researching Da’esh & Islam in 2014. The radical Islam practiced by Da’esh is not a mere aberration of true Islam.  The West is made to believe that it is.  And it is certainly true that millions of Muslims practice their faith and live at peace with their neighbors.  So why did Da’esh come to be?

Rachid knows from experience that both his father and mother are peaceful, loving, and compassionate Muslims. Da’esh is also Muslim; it adheres to all the basics of Islam: Qur’an, Hadith, and Sirat Muhammad. The latter text is a life of Muhammad written in the 9th Century from both authentic and less reliable collections of Hadith, which were compiled somewhat earlier but well after the death of Muhammad.  Da’esh takes these authoritative Islamic sources seriously, conforming its beliefs and practices to those original sources of Islam.

Rachid’s book is addressed to ordinary Muslims and non-Muslims; it attempts to lift the veil that hides the true nature of this faith. This is necessary because many books on Islam cover up its imperialistic nature, either out of ignorance, or purposely.

Islam counts around 20 exegetical sources. The most well-known are: “Tafsir al-Tabari” (883 A.D.), Tafsir ibn Kathir (1370), and Tafsir al-Qurtubi (1273). These men agree on the fundamentals of the faith and the practice in Islam.

Da’esh doesn’t disagree at all with the heritage; on the contrary it seeks to link itself to the earliest sources of Islam. The founder of Da’esh, chose for his name, Abu Bakr, the very name of the founder of the Caliphate, and its first Caliph (632 – 634). He claimed to be a descendent of the tribe of Quraysh, the very tribe that Muhammad belonged to in Mecca!

 By literally following the teachings of the Qur’an regarding Jihad, Da’esh’s actions and propaganda are based on the principle that war between Kufr (Unbelief) and Iman (Belief) must go on until the Last Hour! Their source is Q 9 Verse 111:

“Allah has certainly purchased from the believers, their lives and their wealth (and in return) for that there is the garden for them, they fight in the way of Allah so that they kill and are killed. A promise made by Him in truth through the Torah and the Injeel and the Quran. And who (can) fulfill his agreement better than Allah? So rejoice in your trade which you have traded (with Allah) and that is a great achievement.” http://quranicresources.com/reflect/?p=35

“Jihad in the way of Allah” is a must for Muslims; its reward is al-Jannah (the Garden, i.e., Paradise)

Due to the prevalence of illiteracy among Arab and non-Arab Muslims, very few have the ability to find and read the exegetical books that refer to such teachings. (Classical Arabic is not a spoken language; most Arabs from Morocco to Iraq, speak their specific dialects which are not used in the literary circles)

The solution resides in the proper diagnosis of the Problem.

“Da’esh & Islam” began with Rachid’s reference to his father and mother, his love for them, and their good qualities. How can one reconcile the actions of violent murderous Jihadists who claim to be following pure Islam with other Muslims like his parents who strive to live in peace with those of other faiths?

It is obvious that Muslims don’t always behave in ways that correspond to the teachings of their religion. Their “humanity” transcends their “Islam.”  For example, when Rachid’s father was blamed for his son’s defection from Islam, his standing as the Imam of the village’s mosque, was “downgraded!” 

At one point in time in their relationship, the following dialogue took place between them. Rachid put this question to his father: “What does your religion require you to do with me?” The father looked at him perplexed, “What do you mean?” I responded, “you do know the answer, why do you ask?” He answered, “Islam requires me to kill you as you are a Murtad (Apostate); but I won’t do that, how can I kill my own son?”  What a moving scene between a Muslim father, and a son who had crossed over to Christianity!

At the end of the book, Rachid offers solutions which would deal effectively with Irhab (Terrorism);

Requiring Islamic countries to respect Human Rights

Changing the educational systems in Islamic countries

Unmasking the double standards practiced by Islamic countries: Saudi Arabia’s claim to be an ally of the West is inadequate, as long as its Wahhabi Islam propagates a culture of hatred vis-à-vis all non-Muslims, and non-Sunni Muslims.

Encouraging religious reformation

Reforming state-sponsored media by ridding it of the “Conspiracy Theory of History”.

Making it a crime to label dissidents as Kuffar (Infidels) 

Stopping the flow of monetary support from the Gulf States to mosques in the West many of which are controlled by radical Imams preaching hatred.

Ending the support of Western political, cultural, and informational circles that defend the worst aspects of Islam, absolving it from responsibility for the acts of terror perpetrated against the West.

Vetting immigrants coming to the West from anywhere in the Muslim world. It is not racism to expect immigrants to appreciate and learn to love the West, rather than take all its benefits and hate and seek to destroy it, as too often has been the case.

Rachid is brutally honest and fearless in his attempt to get the truth out about Islam and its total hegemony over those who inhabit its political, religious, cultural and familial environs. I'm learning much from him. Equally relevant and perhaps more easily accessible than his book, are the many archived weekly programs seen on Satellite TV which can be accessed on YouTube. There are approximately 450 of them, each lasting 90 minutes. Each presentation includes phone calls and email messages in Arabic from Eastern Christians, Muslims, and former Muslims.

These newly enlightened people express gratitude to those like Rachid who have helped them clarify their thinking about their core beliefs and their experience of joy in Christ after “crossing over” from Islam to Christianity.  This is a new and growing phenomenon coming out of a doctrinaire ideology and one can only hope it will continue unabated.  This book is a wonderful reference for those with a questing spirit.


[i] This review is based on the Arabic text of the book. Da’esh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Water Life Publishing 2016 Copyright USA

ISBN 978-1-935577-57-7

www.WaterLifePublishing.com The Arabic version may be purchased from this website and Amazon.

[ii] Uboor is a noun derived from the verb ‘abara, i.e. to cross over. The term is being used in the weekly television program of Brother Rachid to describe those who have crossed over to faith in Jesus Christ, and now call themselves, Masihiyyeen (Arabic for Christians)