It is very wrong to call atheists mentally ill. Allah does not say that atheists are mentally ill in the Qur’an. An atheist may not believe. He says so openly: “I do not believe,” he says; he first may have believed and then changed, and now does not believe. He may enter various states of mind as a believer. There may be communists in a country, and fascists, and Satanists. We cannot interfere in their beliefs. Someone may be a Satanist. That is what he believes, and he likes it. He may be a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist or a worshiper of idols.
It is absolutely wrong for us to speak of atheists in an insulting way. In addition, that is of no use to anyone. On the contrary, if insults are used, then people may get the impression that is what Muslims think of atheists. Many people do not know the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an, everyone can espouse his own beliefs. In addition, atheists behave honestly. They do not hide their beliefs and are not hypocritical. An atheist openly states, “I do not believe.” In other words, it poses no danger. You know what he believes and you behave accordingly. The other is more dangerous, isn’t it? Someone says, “I am a Muslim,” and he enters in among your friends and family and conceals his true self but he is an atheist or a satanist. Which is better, that or being honest?
Even if that person insults believers, there is still no need to respond in kind. One must call the person to Islam and the Qur’an with kind words.
Allah reveals in the Qur’an how Muslims should treat polytheists (those who ascribe partners to Him).
“If any of the polytheists ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of Allah. Then convey them to a place where they are safe”, says Allah. ‘Protect their lives, possessions, honor and decency. Withdraw after you convey them to a safe place’, He says. He tells Muslims to protect unbelievers even at the cost of their own lives.
I have many friends and acquaintances. I had Maoist and communist friends at school. They were very polite and well-mannered. They did not believe. People may not believe. One friend of mine was a communist with the full parka kit and everything. But then he said, ‘I changed at the academy under the influence of Adnan Hodja’ and became a Muslim, Alhamdulillah.
Nobody can be pressured into becoming a Muslim. One must talk to them with love and affection: They are also servants of Allah. Most of our teachers were Marxists in those days. There were people who were famous writers, and respected philosophers. They held Marxist views in those days but now they are devout believers, Alhamdulillah. People may not be devout though, but we still respect them. That is the whole idea. ‘This is what I think,’ they say. Allah says in the Qur’an that there are atheists, fire-worshipers and polytheists. In one verse He tells people to say, ‘Your religion for you, and our religion for us.’ Allah also says, ‘There is no compulsion in religion.’
Various defects have arisen in the fundamentalist conception of Islam; nonsense that has no place in it has been added to the faith. There are some terrifying things said in various works containing such nonsense. One week, someone who shaves his beard is killed. People who do not pray are killed in three of the sects. In the Hanafi sect they are beaten until the blood flows; then they are to be killed only if they still persist. None of these things are in the essence of the Qur’an. They are perverse beliefs instilled in the sects by the fundamentalist mindset. If someone who supports these things says, ‘Islam is affectionate’ then those who do not know the true nature of Islam will not believe him. Yet Allah says. ‘There is no compulsion in religion.’ But some fundamentalists who think along those lines favor oppression and compulsion. Allah says, ‘There is no compulsion in religion.’ Do you not believe what Allah says? ‘I do not believe,’ such a person says. ‘I have found things out for myself,’ he says. Then that behavior flies in the face of Islam and the Qur’an. That is what people with a fundamentalist mindset pretend not to understand.
You have added fabrications and inventions to Allah’s religion. See what they have turned such a radiant faith as Islam into! Then they say, ‘Islam is a religion of peace.’ Of course Islam is a religion of peace. But is what you describe, filled with nonsense, a religion of peace? What you describe is savagery. You talk of savagery. You do not speak of the religion of the Qur’an. You have established a fabricated faith; you then add provisions from your own head that you say are Islam. You should espouse the pure Islam based on the Qur’an. You should scrupulously abide by Allah’s commands. But if something does not suit them, may Allah forbid, they say, ‘No, Allah has revoked this.’ You have lost your senses. How can a verse of the Qur’an cease to apply? The Qur’an is valid until the Day of Reckoning.
But of course we must try to put such people right, without being angry at them. All Muslim communities in the world must be warm and loving. Muslims must hold meetings and conferences. We have fine young man and women. We must preach Islam in Lebanon and Syria and everywhere. If we make a real effort on that, the disorder in the Middle East will come to an end at once. There is no need for threats and harshness and conflict.
They must all espouse the peaceful side of Islam. The fundamentalists misrepresent Islam. In fact, by Allah’s leave, Islam defends itself. The Qur’an will defend itself: But we need to win everyone over right away and we cannot get anywhere by excluding and despising people who are misinformed. (Adnan Oktar, 24 May 2013: A9 TV)