Will you ever introduce yourself by saying: "I am the one who is DEVIATED from the right path"?

Surely not. 

Nonetheless, when we call yourself 'Mulhid', then we are practically introducing ourselves as a person who deviated from the right path.

The meaning of Ilhaad is to deviate from the right path.

Quran 41:40:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَٰتِنَا لَا يَخْفَوْنَ عَلَيْنَآ

Indeed, those who inject deviation into Our verses are not concealed from Us.

Quran 7:180:

وَلِلَّهِ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ فَٱدْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِىٓ أَسْمَٰٓئِهِۦ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ

And for Allah (are) the names - the most beautiful, so invoke Him by them. And leave those who deviate concerning His names

Does this term of Ilhaad really represent our ideology/identity?

  • Atheism means not believing in existence of any god.
  • While Ilhaad means deviation from the right path.

The term 'Atheism' is in itself clear enough to show our identity. But the term 'Ilhaad' has nothing in common with our ideology or identity. 

The history of usage of term Ilhaad also shows that it was never linked to Atheism, but anyone (even if he was a Muslim himself and believed in Allah) was declared as Mulhid, if he deviated from the 'Aqaid (beliefs) of orthodox Muslims (link).

It is a simple logic that we should prefer that terminology for us, which can represent our ideology in the best possible way. And we should avoid such terminology for us:

  1. Which is insulting/abusing us.
  2. And which has no connection with our ideology.
  3. And which is not even chosen by us ourselves, but our opponent chose it for us in order to insult us.

It is not the right of our opponents to choose a terminology for us, but it is our right to choose it ourselves. 

The best alternative of terminology of Ilhaad/Mulhid 

The best option seems to be to adopt the terminology of Atheism/Atheist. 

As Islam is known as Islam throughout the world, similarly, it would be better if Atheism/Atheist is also used as a UNIVERSAL terminology all over world, and it does not get divided into different terminologies in different languages of world.

Similarly, Deism and Agnosticism can also be used as universal terminologies across all the languages and regions. 

The following Islamic terminologies are problematic:

  • Kafir
  • Murtad 
  • Mulhid 

etc. as all of them are used for insulting the opponents by Quran/Muslims. 

A wise thing would be to use the alternative terminologies:

  • Kafir → non-Muslim
  • Murtad → Ex-Muslim
  • Mulhid → Atheist