Critic from Dark Ages

Reply to Colin Maine’s ‘The Dead Hand of Islam’

The Islamic Guardian (UK), January to March 1981 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 19–21)

A 19-page pamphlet entitled The Dead Hand of Islam, written by a Colin Maine, and published in 1979 by “The Rationalist Association of New South Wales” has come to our notice. We have put the publisher’s name in quotes because, from the make-up of this booklet, the “Association” appears to be no more than a one-man operation. Indeed, one cannot imagine an association, and that too of Rationalists, would ever produce a pamphlet which is full of misstatements, misrepresentations, wild allegations, abusive language, and even absolute falsehood, as this booklet is.


One would think that a rationalist approach to any subject would be to examine the issues in the light of factual evidence with calm reason, and to reject views based on emotion, prejudice, and long-standing myths. Any such analysis of Islam or of the Holy Prophet’s [Muhammad (pbuh)] life is welcomed by the International Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and ought to be welcomed by other Muslims too. In fact, this is the very attitude that Islam itself inculcates upon all those who search for the truth.


Colin Maine’s pamphlet, however, is the very antithesis of the rationalist approach outlined above. He begins by referring to recent reports of fanatical mob violence in some Muslim countries, and devotes his booklet to attempting to show that such acts are “an inevitable outcome of the basic teachings of Islam”; and that Islam is “oppressive,” “cruel,” “intolerant”, etc. To prove his utterly untenable case, Maine is reduced to using downright falsehood, appeal to prejudice, and vitriolic language, all of which are characteristic, certainly not of a Rationalist, but of a fanatic motivated by hate and base passions.


In a mere 15 or so small-sized pages, he has uttered literally scores of what can only be called “lies.” Some instances are: “The Koran seems to regard sexual misdemeanours as more reprehensible than murder” (p. 5); “Islam punishes women more severely than men for sexual offences” (p. 6); the Holy Prophet’s “revelations always seemed to tell him the sort of things that he wanted” (p. 7); “It was Muhammad who imposed the veil on women” (p. 7); Islam prescribes clitorectomy (p. 8); “Women had a much higher status in Arabia before Islam” (p. 8, perhaps Maine advocates female infanticide); Islam teaches “that converts can be won at the point of a sword” (p. 9); “the Koran incites its followers to attack and kill those who belong to other faiths” (p. 13); “Muhammad himself had slaves” (p. 14, in fact, the Holy Prophet never kept anyone in slavery, and set a great personal example in setting slaves free); etc. It appears, therefore, that Maine’s “Rationalism” advocates the use of sheer falsehood in attempting to prove one’s case.

His assertion that Islam teaches “a grovelling acceptance of one’s lot” and that Muslims “believe there is no point in trying to do anything about improving this life” (p. 15) is entirely false, for not a single Muslim in the whole world holds these beliefs.


Maine tries to authenticate his booklet by giving quotations from a Muslim’s English translation of the Holy Quran. But this is only to deceive the readers since he adds his own twisted meaning of the extracts. For instance, in claiming that the Quran exhorts Muslims to fight non-Muslims, one of the verses he quotes in support is given as: “How many populations have We destroyed” (22:45). Look up this reference and you will find that it merely speaks of God’s punishment as having visited the ancient communities (of Noah, Lot, etc.) that had rejected and persecuted their prophets; it is not a command to Muslims to destroy any populations! This is typical of Maine’s technique of misrepresenting Quranic verses, a method presumably approved by his self-styled “Rationalism.”

Arbitrary Logic:

Maine has misrepresented, not only Islam, but even the Western Orientalists to whom he refers quite extensively. He tries to paint a totally dark picture of Islam by selecting just unfavourable views these authors expressed about Islam. Yet the fact is that despite being so prejudiced against Islam, these writers did praise many of its features. Are their opinions “wrong” when favourable to Islam, but “right” otherwise? Maine admits at one place that at times his Western sources “go out of their way to portray him (the Holy Prophet — Editor) in a favourable light.” Can he tell us why, being non-Muslims and free to write whatever they wished, still these authors should “portray him in a favourable light”? This was only because, unlike Colin Maine, they were scholars who, despite having an inherited bias against Islam, had enough decency to admit the truth sometimes. There is the greatest discrepancy between Maine’s view that Islam sets the world back “into the dark ages,” and the strong conviction of one of his own sources, Sir H. A. R. Gibb, that:

“Europe cannot do without the forces and capacities which lie within Islamic Society” (Whither Islam, p. 378).

We note another example of Maine’s arbitrary reasoning. When he refers to some violence in the Muslim world, he deduces that it is caused by Islamic teachings (p. 4). Yet when   he is forced to admit that for centuries “a high civilisation did develop in Muslim countries,” it was “despite Islam, not because of it” (p. 13). Maine’s “Rationalism” is, therefore, always to draw the same conclusion (that one wants to prove), even from contradictory situations!

Who is living in the Dark Ages    — Colin Maine, not Islam:

It is not Islam but Colin Maine and his pamphlet which belong to the “dark ages.” He should read those press articles which show that the West is now rejecting its centuries-old, perverted view of Islam, and turning to understand it correctly. The West having appreciated the failure of Capitalism, Communism and Scientific-Materialism has turned to Islam. Maine is, therefore, swimming against the tide of time and progress, and it will not be long before the likes of The Dead Hand of Islam become as dead and obsolete as the dinosaur.