The Quran is not reader-friendly; Islam is not a gated community.
No one and no one has monopoly on Islam, it is a religion that welcomes every race, gender, nationality, culture, orientation and character. It is a religion that says: come in and drown into my warmth your troubles and you will pull out peace. This is a religion that is all welcoming.
There is no such thing as an ideal Muslim (The prophet (saw) is an impossible act to follow), we are all just doing our best and relying on Allah’s grace. Because no one can unhypocritically declare themselves as a perfect Muslim: no one can or should decide who a perfect or ideal Muslim is.
All Abrahamic religions require 100% faith dictated by a holy scripture that has been interpreted by their respective religious scholars. The truth is there is no irrefutable proof that any religion in the word is the right one: if there were religion won’t require faith, because faith by definition is the undying belief in uncertainty. The holy books that are to serve as guides are ambiguous and easily misinterpreted which gives way to a scary thought: what if all this time we have been doing it wrong?
That is when our faith comes in, molds hope and begs God for grace. Judgment, hate, intolerance and prejudice have to be thrown overboard to make room for love and community on this testing voyage of uncertainty. We are all sinful servants on errands for our master, our sins may vary but ultimately we are the same: the nerve of us to reject our fellow servants and falsely accuse God of being the reason for our hate. ‘No one speaks for God, not even the prophets (who spoke about God).-Reza Aslan
This paragraph is going to start out a bit controversial but please bear with me: ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and similar terrorist organizations are emboldened and justified by Quranic texts ( hold on to those death threats and curses for a moment let me explain). Like I said at the start of this post the Quran is complex and Islam has a revolving door, unfortunately some of those that come into Islam underestimate or are unknowing of the complex, metaphorical and allegorical nature of the Quran. They selectively pluck out verses from context and display them as vindication for their heinous crimes.
We should definitely, by every means available decry terrorists and their actions, and make it clear they do not represent Islam and its principles. However, it is not only false but it is dangerous to categorically deny their twisted validation because it is the lack of full and accurate Islamic education that makes terrorist recruitments to easy. Scholars should spend less time denying the existence of seemingly controversial and complex verses in the Quran and instead spend more time correctly interpreting them.
Terrorist, murderers, rapist, abusers and all perpetrators of dangerous crimes are the obviously faux Muslims the Islamic community should reject not the: LGBT; non-hijab wearing; alcoholic; gambling; sex-positive; nonconformist Muslims just minding their own business and being the best Muslims they can be. They are not the ones we should disown. We should welcome them, preach to them, pray for and with them, love them for the sake of Allah and leave them to their religion as we live with ours. Let Allah do his work: judge them.
If someone says they are a Muslim, believe then, but should they dangerously misquotes or misinterpret the Quran, correct them. It hard enough being a good Muslim all on our own: let’s not be burdened with others’ religion.