Existence - Random or with Reason?

Who are we...Why are we here...Time to take a few minutes and reflect

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ISLAM 

 

 Peace

 

 

Islam was spread by the sword and is intolerant of other faiths

 

Many non-Muslims, when they think about Islam, picture religious fanatics on camels with a sword in one hand and a Qur’an in the other.

This myth, which was made popular in Europe during the Crusades, is totally baseless.

 

First of all, the Holy Qur’an clearly says "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trust worthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things." The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 256.

 

In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person’s faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. In debunking the myth that Islam was “spread by the sword”, the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O’ Leary wrote: “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islaam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted.” (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8.).

 

Mark Glenn a Christian Activist says Christians and Muslims were not “converted by the sword” as is commonly taught and believed. Christians and Jews were allowed to keep and practice their religion within those areas where the Muslims had gained hegemony.

 

It is a function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why  non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world.  History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.  Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives, and property were safe, and that their places of  worship would never be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him on a visit to all the holy places. Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which  implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether the  person is Muslim or not.

 

It should also be known that Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up to when they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan all have Christian and/or Jewish populations. If Islam taught that all people are supposed to be killed or forced to become Muslims, how did all of these non-Muslims survive for so long in the middle of the Islamic Empire?

 

Additionally, if one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam from Spain and Morocco in the West to India and China in the East, one would realise that they were far too few to force people to become converts of a religion against their will. Additionally, the great empire and civilisation established by the Muslims had great staying power, its citizens were proud to be part of it.

 

The spread of Islam stands in contrast to the actions of the followers of Christianity, who since the time of the Emperor Constantine have made liberal use of the sword - often basing their conduct on Biblical verses. This was especially true of the colonisation of South America and Africa, where native peoples were systematically wiped-out or forced to convert. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history - the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! Ask any of the over one billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia — and there were never any battles fought there! So where was the sword? How could someone be forced to adhere to a spiritually rewarding and demanding religion like Islam?

 

Racism is not a part of Islam, the Quran speaks only of human equality and how all  peoples are equal in the sight of God. "O mankind! We

created you from a single soul, male and  female, and made you intonations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All- Aware. (49:13)

All Muslims are Arabs

 

All Muslims are Arabs and Islam is only for Arabs

 

 

The Muslim population of the world is around 1.2 billion. 1 out of 5people in the world is a  Muslim. They are a vast range of races, nationalities, and cultures from around the globe--from the Phillipines to Nigeria--they are united by their common Islamic faith. Only about 18% live  in the Arab world and the largest Muslim community is in Indonesia. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. 30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast  Asia, 18% in the Arab world, and 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran and  Afghanistan make up 10% of the non-Arab Middle East.  Although there are Muslim minorities in  almost every area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most numerous in Russia and  its newly independent states, India and central Africa. There are about 6 million Muslims in the United States and twice as many Muslims in China than there are in Saudi Arabia!!

 

Islam is a religion of Terror

 

A bomb goes off in a marketplace in Jerusalem. A suicide bomber launches himself into a bus full of women and children in Tel Aviv. Foreign tourists get massacred at a holiday resort in Luxor, Egypt. Villages upon villages get annihilated in Algeria. The list of events worldwide which have come to symbolise the 'Islamic terror' are endless. From the times in the 70's and 80's when Pan Am and TWA aeroplanes would be highjacked, to the mid 80's in war torn Lebanon where Americans and Europeans would be held as hostages for years; all such incidents have come to be identified with the religion of Islam. Such incidents from past and present have undoubtedly affected Muslims worldwide and more so in the West. Any Muslim, who wants to practice his/her religion and expresses the pious desire to live under the banner of Islam, is labelled a fundamentalist or extremist. Any Muslim man who walks down a busy street in London or Paris (and Paris moreso) with a beard and a skull cap on his head, is looked upon as being a terrorist who's probably got an AK47 stashed somewhere on his person. Muslim women who are veiled can't go anywhere in the Western world without being taunted as being oppressed or being mad (for covering up). However, are such beliefs and opinions about Islam really justified?

 

Exploding the myth

 

One of the many short comings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of Western society have deliberately played off the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the name of Islam. Such behaviour is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was done Judge a religion by the conduct of its people) then we too could say that all Christianity is about is child molesting and homosexuality [1] whilst Hinduism was all about looting and breaking up mosques [2]. Generalising in such a manner is not seen as being objective, yet we find that the Western world is foremost in propagating this outlook on Islam. So what is the reality of Islam? How does one dispel the myths which have been created and spread so viciously? The only way to examine Islam is to simply examine its belief system. Look at its sources, the Qur'an and Sunna, and see what they have to say. This is the way to find the truth about what Islam says about terror, terrorism and terrorists. One who is sincerely searching for the truth, will do it no other way. The very name Islam comes from the Arabic root word 'salama' which means peace. Islam is a religion which is based upon achieving peace through the submission to the will of Allah. Thus, by this very simple linguistic definition, one can ascertain as to what the nature of this religion is. If such a religion is based on the notion of peace, then how is it that so many acts done by its adherents are contrary to peace? The answer is simple. Such actions, if not sanctioned by the religion, have no place with it. They are not Islamic and should not be thought of as Islamic.

 

Jihad

 

The word jihad sends shivers down the spines of many Westerners. They readily equate this term with violence and oppression. However, it must be said that the meaning of jihad, as a 'holy war', is something which is totally foreign and not from Islam. If anything, such a description belongs more so to Christianity and its adherents. It was terms like this which were used to justify the slaughter and pillage of towns and cities during the crusades by the Christians. By simply looking into the sources of Islam, one is able to know that the true meaning of jihad is to strive/make effort in the way of Allah. Thus striving in the way of Allah can be both peaceful and physical. The Prophet Muhammed (saws) said: "The best jihad is (by) the one who strives against his own self for Allah, The Mighty and Majestic" [3]. In the Qur'an, Allah also says:

"So obey not the disbelievers, but make a great jihad (effort) against them (by preaching) with it (the Qur'an)" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 25, Verse 52.

 

By controlling and fighting against ones desires, the Muslims can then also physically exert themselves in the path of Allah. It is this physical or combative jihad which receives so much criticism. Because of the sheer ignorance of this type of jihad Islam is regarded as terror, and Muslims are regarded as terrorists. However, the very purpose of this physical jihad is to raise the word of Allah uppermost. By doing this, it liberates and emancipates all those who are crying out for freedom all over the world. If the likes of the pacifists of this world had their way, then the world would indeed be full of anarchy and mischief. The combative jihad seeks to correct this as Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the Earth would be full of mischief. But Allah is full of bounty to the worlds" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 251.

 

Such would be the corruption on this Earth if there had never been a combative jihad that Allah says:

"For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down. Indeed Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allah is All strong, All mighty" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 40.

 

This combative jihad being both defensive and offensive, is something which is commanded by Allah upon the Muslims. Through this command the oppressed and weak are rescued from the tyranny of the world:

 

"And what is the matter with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah and for those weak, ill treated and oppressed among men, women and children whose only cry is; 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors and raise for us from you one who will protect and raise for us from you one who will help"' The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 75.

 

Anyone who knows the early history of Islam, will know that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islam were indeed previously oppressed. When the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (saws) went out for the offensive jihad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we find that the people did not resist against them at all. Rather, they accepted Islam on such a scale, that it is inconceivable that the jihad of Islam could be anything other then a liberation for these people; a liberation from centuries of tyranny. In fact, with the Byzantine Egyptians and the people of Spain, the Muslims were even beckoned to come and liberate these lands from the oppression of their kings. This is the glorious track record of the Muslim jihad Compare this with the brutal track record of warfare in the Western world over the centuries.

 

From the crusades against the Muslims to the days of colonial warfare, the Western world has killed, destroyed and plundered everything which has come in its way. Even today this merciless killing goes on by the Western nations. While claiming to be about world peace and security, Western nations are ready to bomb innocent civilians at the drop of a hat. The classic example of this is the recent bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan. Whilst claiming that Sudan and Afghanistan were havens for Islamic terrorists, the bombings of these two nations could not have come at a better time for the American president Bill Clinton. The destruction of innocent lives which were a result of these bombings clearly seem to have been an attempt by Clinton to avert attention away from his sexual misdemeanours; [4] something which he so often gets caught up in. Without doubt this was the reason for such terror from the American military upon innocent people. This is the same American military which claims to enter the worlds trouble spots under the guise of being peace keepers.

 

But "… when it is said to them; 'Make not mischief on the Earth', they say; 'We are only peace makers'. Indeed they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 11-12.

The hypocrisy of the West is indeed astounding.

 

By looking at the rules and regulations of this combative jihad it will be clear to any sincere person that this is indeed the religion of truth. When fighting an unjust enemy, no matter how unjust they are, it is forbidden by Islam that their retreating forces are mutilated, tortured or slaughtered. The treacherous violation of treaties and carrying out assassinations after a cease fire, are also prohibited. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress the limits. Truly Allah loves not the transgressors" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 190.

 

Not transgressing the limits means not to kill women and children, for the Messenger of Allah (saws)"forbade the killing of women and children" [5]. Not transgressing the limits means that the elderly, the sick, monks, worshippers and hired labourers are not attacked. Not transgressing the limits means not killing animals wantonly, burning crops and vegetation, polluting waters and destroying homes, monasteries, churches and synagogues:

 

"Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Indeed, Allah loves those who deal with equity" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 60, Verse 8.

After reading such passages from the Qur'an and knowing about what Islam commands and prohibits in jihad, the rules of warfare are given a new meaning; a meaning of justice. How sad it is then, that whilst Islam is condemned for striking terror into the hearts of the people, the likes of the Serbs, the Indian army in Kashmir and the Israeli soldiers in Palestine are left untarnished for the atrocities they have committed in the name of warfare. So what about suicide bombing, is this too a part of jihad in Allah's path? From what has already been stated above, it can be deduced that this is not from the religion. However, unfortunately many Muslims have taken suicide bombing as being a virtuous act by which one receives reward. This could not be further from the truth. The Prophet (saws) said: "Those who go to extremes are destroyed" [6].

 

Suicide bombing is undoubtedly an extremity which has reached the ranks of the Muslims. In the rules of warfare, we find no sanction for such an act from the behaviour and words of the Prophet Muhammed (saws) and his companions. Unfortunately, today (some misguided) Muslims believe that such acts are paving the way for an Islamic revival and a return to the rule of Islam's glorious law. However, we fail to bear in mind that the Prophet (saws) said: "Do not be delighted by the action of anyone, until you see how he ends up" [7]. So, for example what is the end of a suicide bomber in Palestine?, a leg here, an arm there. Massive retaliation by the Israeli's in the West Bank and Gaza. More Muslims killed and persecuted. How can we be delighted with such an end?

 

What really hammers the final nail in the coffin of this act, is that it is suicide; something which is clearly forbidden in Islam. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "He who kills himself with anything, Allah will torment him with that in the fire of Hell" [8]. Some are under the misconception that by killing oneself for an Islamic cause, one commits an act which deserves Paradise. Once when a man killed himself, the Prophet (saws) said:"He is a dweller of the Fire". When the people were surprised at this, the Prophet (saws) said: "A person performs the deeds which to the people appears to be the deeds befitting the dweller of Paradise, but he is in fact one of the dwellers of the Fire" [9]. The taking of ones life which Allah has given as a trust to the human, is a great sin. Likewise the taking of other lives (which is so often the case with suicide bombing) is also forbidden, as human life is indeed precious:

"...If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And (likewise) if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole of mankind" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 32.

 

Thus, all other types of extremities such as hostage taking, hijacking and planting bombs in public places, are clearly forbidden in Islam.

 

The Media

 

By going through the teachings of Islam, it is clear that such a religion has only come to benefit mankind -not to destroy it. So why is there so much hatred for this noble religion in the West? The answer is simple, the media. It is the Jewish influenced media of the West which has portrayed Islam to be something that it is not. During the 70's and 80's when the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) were carrying out daring highjacks on the worlds airways, the media in the West portrayed it as being Islamic. When the Shi'ite suicide bombers of the 80's were causing so much havoc in the Lebanon and in the Gulf region, the media in the West portrayed it as a part of Islam. However, it is known by the heads of the media that the likes of the PLO were not an Islamic organisation, and that according to Islam, Shi'ites are outside the fold of Islam [10].

 

Yet such facts are never portrayed by a media which seeks to cover the truth of this religion. A number of years ago, when the Oklahoma City bomb went off, a headline in one of the newspapers, 'The Today' [11], summed up this attitude. With a picture of a fire fighter holding a dead child in his arms, the headline read: "In The Name of Islam" Time has of course proven that this bigoted assumption was incorrect, as Timothy McVeigh, a right wing radical now faces the death penalty for the crime [12]. Likewise the bombs which went off in the Paris metro in 1995, were also blamed on Muslim fanatics. It has now emerged that the Algerian secret service who having routinely bribed many European journalists and MPs, were actually behind it. The desire to throw a veil over Islam is immense by these people:

"They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light even though the disbelievers hate (it)" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 61, Verse 8.

 

Whilst trying to destroy Islam through this instrument of the media, the Jews clearly try to portray an image of themselves as being the oppressed people. Every year, we are reminded as to how many Jews perished under the Nazis in World War II. We are made to feel sorry for these same people who have gone on to commit so many crimes upon the Palestinian people. Some may say that this is a racist and biased viewpoint.

 

But we say; If this media was not run and orchestrated by the Jews and was truly neutral, then why are Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two former Israeli prime ministers, not held aloft as being terrorists? Anyone who knows about the history of the Palestinian occupation will tell you that these two men were members of the Stem Gang and Irgun, two notorious Jewish terror groups who killed many innocent people [13]. If this media was truly impartial, then why does it not tell about the extent of the Israeli bombardment and illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon and its people? [14] And if this media really had nothing against the religion of Allah, then why does it not inform the people that every day hundreds are entering the religion of Islam? Such things will never be highlighted in the Western media, simply because to do so would be against their very interests.

 

With such immense pressure against it, it is indeed a blessing from Allah that Islam goes from strength to strength. It continues to grow faster then any other religion in the Western world, conquering the hearts and minds of thousands. All this should not even surprise us though, for Allah has promised us that this religion will prevail:

"It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, so that He may make it victorious over all other religions, even though the disbelievers detest it" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 61, Verse 9.

 

It is a must that humanity comes towards the religion of Islam. Without it, we will continue to slip down the road of inequity and darkness. With it we can establish a society of justice and peace. Religion of terror? ... no. The way forward? ... yes.

"There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verese 256.

 

Footnotes

1 By using the many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests, Such a generalisation about Christianity could be made

2 By using the incident of the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodya, India in December 1992 by Hindu zealots, such generalisations could be made about Hinduism

3 Authentic - Reported by At-Tabaranee

4 Years of sexual liaison with a White House aide, Monica Lewinski, has been proved against Mr Clinton. Since this time, a number of other women have also claimed that they have had affairs with the president. And this is the same man who propagates family values and to whom millions look up to!

5 Reported by Bukhari - Eng. Trans, Vol.4, p. 160, No. 258

6 Authentic - Reported by Ahmed

7 Authentic - Reported by Ahmed

8 Reported by Muslim - Eng. Trans, Vol. 1, p.62, No.203

9 Reported by Muslim - Eng. Trans, Vol. 1, p.64, No.206

10 The beliefs which are contained in the books of the Shi'ites places them outside of the fold of Islam generally. However, upon the individual Shi'ite, the proofs need to be established before one can say that helshe is a disbeliever

11 This newspaper no longer exists

12 It is strange indeed that whilst the Western media criticises Islamic law for being barbaric and harsh, not a word is said about the fact that McVeigh too will be executed just as someone would in an Islamic state

13 These two groups killed Arabs, Jews and the British. They are accredited with the massacre at the village of Deir Yassin, in which many innocent people were butchered

14 Despite the fact that the UN has even made a resolution against Israel for this illegal occupation, no 'democratic peace loving nation' (like the USA!!) has bothered to implement it

 

Muslims are violent, terrorists and/or extremists

 

This is the biggest misconception in Islam, no doubt resulting from the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, a Catholic IRA guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not used to stereotype an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard the words 'Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist, etc.' linked with violence.

 

Politics in so called "Muslim countries" may or may not have any Islamic basis. Often dictators and politicians will use the name of Islam for their own purposes. One should remember to go to the source of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what is portrayed in the media. Islam literally means 'submission to God' and is derived from a root word meaning 'peace'.

 

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion doesn't dominate everyday life in the West, whereas Islam is considered a 'way of life' for Muslims and they make no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock.

 

NOWHERE DOES ISLAM ENJOIN THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS....The Quran says:
"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors." (Quran 2:190)
"If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things." (Quran 8:61)

 

War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law.  The term 'jihad' literally means 'struggle'. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other 'jihad' is the inner struggle of the soul which everyone wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner peace. 

 

Islam oppresses women

 

The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to stay home and forbidden to drive is all too common in most peoples thoughts. Although some Muslim countries may have laws that oppress women, this should not be seen as coming from Islam. Many of these countries do not rule by  any kind of Shari'ah (Islamic law) and introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender equity.

 

Islam on the other hand gives men and women different roles and equity between the two is laid down in the Quran and the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband's. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way that is modest and dignified. The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: "The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife."

 

Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against their will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions.


Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to Islam, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will: her parents simply suggest young men they think may be suitable. 

 

Since the height of the feminist movement in the late 70's there has been a magnifying glass placed over the status of Muslim women. Unfortunately, the magnifying glass that has been used is an unusual one. Unusual in the sense that it is very selective about which items it will magnify; other items it will distort to such a degree that they will no longer look familiar. I remember once reading in an "in depth" article about the lives of Muslim women. This article "explained" that at any time a man can divorce his wife by simply stating "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you". This article can lead anyone ignorant of the Islamic ruling regarding divorce to believe that in less than five seconds the woman is left with no husband and is left to care for herself (and possibly children) by any means necessary. The question that immediately popped up in my mind was, "Did the author innocently write that out of sincere ignorance or was it another of the many attempts to degrade the religion of Islam and its followers (muslims)?" It may be my own paranoia, but I tend to believe it was the latter of the two.

 

The truth of the matter is that Islam has the most humane and most just system of divorce that exists. Firstly, many options are taken and tried before coming to the decision of the divorce. If the man and woman decide that they can no longer live together successfully as a husband and wife, the husband (in most cases, not always) pronounces the divorce by saying "I divorce you". At this point the waiting period begins. The waiting period lasts for three menstrual cycles to assure the woman is not pregnant. This period allows the couple time to think about what they are doing and if this is what they really want to do. There are no lawyers involved to antagonize an already delicate situation.

In the case that it is realized, that the woman is pregnant, the waiting period lasts the entire time she is pregnant. During the waiting period (whether the woman is pregnant or not) the man is obligated to provide food, clothing and shelter to the woman as he did before the divorce pronouncement. If the couple carries the divorce through to the birth of the child and the woman suckles the baby, the man is obligated to feed and clothe both his ex-wife for the time the woman suckles (the maximum being two years). After this weaning, the child will be provided for by the father until he/she is no longer in need of support.

 

It is quite ironic that in such an "advanced society" as America, there are divorce cases in which women are being forced to pay alimony to their ex-husbands. Can this and many other things we know about the American system of divorce compare to the Islamic system of divorce?

 

 I have also read stories wherein it is stated that women are forced to marry men without their consent. This in no way resembles the marriage system in Islam. In Islaam the woman marries the man of her choice. She may even marry someone that her mother and/or father objects to. The point is that it is the woman who makes the final decision as to whom she will marry. Once the man and the woman decide that they are interested in one another for marriage, a dowry is decided upon. A dowry is not a brides’ price but, it is a gift from the groom to the bride. They agree upon a gift that is affordable by the groom. In the time of the Prophet (sas), often things such as livestock and money were given. This is a wise decision in the event that a woman becomes divorced or widowed, she has some financial security to fall back on even if it is for a limited amount of time. Once the man and woman are married, the man is required to clothe, feed, shelter and educate her (or allow her to be educated) in the same manner as he does himself.

 

The last distorted image that I will cover is that of the Muslim women's dress. The western influenced media portrays our dress to be outdated and oppressive. Needless to say however, I differ with these adjectives. Our dress code does not hinder us from doing anything productive in our lives. Muslim women maintain a variety of jobs, none of which are devalued nor hampered due to their dress code. And as for the timing of Muslim women's dress during these contemporary times, it seems most appropriate due to decreasing morals in the world today.

 

For those who say that Islamic dress is outdated, they speak from great ignorance. The decreasing morality and trials of this time makes Hijaab even more in need. More than ever before sex crimes are rampant. Although this society tells women they can wear what they want to wear, anytime a rape occurs the woman is the one put on trial an one of the first questions is, "What were you wearing?" This concept seems as though it is a set up directed against the so called contemporary woman. Also there is a direct correlation between the respect a man has for a woman and the amount of her body her body she displays flauntingly.

 

In conclusion, I hope this article helped to clear up some distorted/misunderstood aspects of Islam and women. Women in Islam are respected and held in high regard. We will never find success and/or solutions to our problems until we realise that Allah knows best and that this disbelieving society will ruin itself.

 

Muslims worship a different God

 

Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah for Muslims is the greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him. It is exactly the same word which the Jews, in Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God. God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Allah is the same God worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews. Muslims believe that Allah's sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history. However, it should be noted that God in Islam is One and Only. He, the Exalted, does not get tired, does not have a son (i.e. Jesus) or have associates, nor does He have human-like attributions as found in other faiths. 

 

All Muslim men marry four wives

 

The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Quran, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair. No woman can be forced into this kind of marriage if they do not wish it, and they also have the right to exclude it in their marriage contract.

 

Polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted. Images of "sheikhs with harems" are not consistent with Islam, as a man is only allowed at most four wives only if he can fulfill the stringent conditions of treating each fairly and providing each with separate housing etc. Permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It is rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans. It was the Quran that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered them "property".

 

It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam that regulated this practice, limited it, made it more humane, and instituted equal rights and status for all wives. What the Qur'anic decrees amount to, taken together is discouragement of polygamy unless necessity for it exists. It is also evident that the general rule in Islam is monogamy and not polygamy. It is a very tiny percentage of Muslims that practice it over the world. However, permission to practice limited polygamy is only consistent with Islam's realistic view of the nature of man and woman and of various social needs, problems and cultural variations.

 

The question is, however far more than the inherent flexibility of Islam; it also is the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of individuals and societies, and provides for legitimate and clean solutions which are far more beneficial than would be the case if they were ignored. There is no doubt that the second wife legally married and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal rights or expermanence. 

 

Muslims are a barbaric, backward people

 

Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine-Islam calls for faith in only one God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet (pbuh), 'seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman'.
 
The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

 

Muhammad was the founder of Islam and Muslims worship him

 

Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Mecca in the year 570. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad (pbuh) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society.

 

It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near Mecca. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for 23 years is known as the Quran. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate.

 

This event, the Hijrah or 'migration', in which they left Mecca for the city of Medina, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Mecca, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the death of Prophet (saw) at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. He died with less than 5 possessions to his name.

 

While Muhammad (pbuh) was chosen to deliver the message, he is not considered the "founder" of Islam, since Muslims consider Islam to be the same Divine guidance sent to all peoples before.  Muslims believe all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent with divine guidance for their peoples. Every prophet was sent to his own people, but Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to all of mankind. Muhammad is the last and final messenger sent to deliver the message of Islam. Muslims revere and honor him (pbuh) for all he went through and his dedication, but they do not worship him.


"O Prophet, verily We have sent you as a witness and a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and as one who invites unto God by His leave and as an illuminating lamp." (Qur'an 33:45-46

 

 

Muslims don't believe in Jesus or any other prophets

 

Muslims respect and revere Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God's messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as 'Jesus', but always adds the phrase 'upon him be peace' (abbreviated as (u) here). The Qur'an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Quran is entitled 'Mary'), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation. The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows:

 

"Behold !" the Angel said, "God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous." She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" He said: "Even so; God creates what He wills.  When He decrees a thing, He says to it, "Be!" and it is."  (Qur'an 3:42-47)

 

Jesus (u) was born miraculously through the same power, which had brought Adam (u) into being without a father: "Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was." (Qur'an 3:59)


During his prophetic mission Jesus (u) performed many miracles. The Qur'an tells us that he said: "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breath into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God's leave." (Qur'an 3:49)


Neither Muhammad (pbuh) not Jesus (u) came to change the basic doctrine of the brief in One God brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it.

 

In the Qur'an Jesus (u) is reported as saying that he came: "And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Taurat (Torah), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me." (Qur'an 3:50)


The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad (pbuh) is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven." (Hadith related by Bukhari)