Existence - Random or with Reason?

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




God does not forbid you to treat kindly and act equitably toward those who neither fought you in the matter of religion nor driven you out of your home. Indeed, God loves the just. The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 60, Verse 8


Antagonism toward Islam has been a permanent fixture in Europe since the time of the Crusades. In the past, the enemy par excellence, the Arab heathen, was in a distant land. However, in this century, with a large immigrant and "converted" population, the West must confront this "enemy" in its own land. With more than SIX (6) million Muslims in America, xenophobia reveals itself often in an extremely virulent manner.

The media have been primary contributors to an erroneous image of Islam by stereotyping all Muslims as being fundamentalists or terrorists. For example, after the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the media depicted American Muslims in general as the cause of disaster. With circumstantial evidence, the media accused, indicted, tried, and found the alleged fundamentalists, thus all American Muslims, guilty.


Decide yourself how much of a threat Muslims pose to you.


The "fundamental" beliefs of a Muslim are the belief in only one God and the Prophethood of Mohammed, prayer, fasting, charity tax and pilgrimage. Thus, if a Muslim believes in these fundamentals, he or she is a fundamentalist.


However, most media reports use the term fundamentalist to imply extremism revealing a complete ignorance by the media since Islam explicitly prohibits extremism. Prophet Mohammed said, "Those persons who go to extremes (in practicing their religions) were cursed (by God)".

Another misconception about Islam involves jihad. Jihad, literally meaning struggle, can include anything a Muslim does for the sake of God. Everything from getting an education to simply eating or sleeping can be considered jihad. Therefore, the popular notion that means holy war is highly inaccurate.


The central dogma in Islam is the absolute oneness of God. In fact, a person becomes a Muslim after testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that Mohammed is the messenger of God. Deity can mean material possessions, prophets, presidents, etc. The second point in the declaration is the Prophethood of Mohammed , who was the last in the lineage of prophets starting with Adam and including such Prophets as Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. In fact, the Quran mentions Jesus more times than Mohammed.


Furthermore, a Muslim must perform five daily prayer - one each at sunrise, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and night. These prayers are significant in that throughout the day a Muslim is constantly aware of the Creator and the prescribed duties. The media regularly portray "fundamentalists" prostrating themselves in prayer. In the October 4 issue of Time, Muslims were shown performing prayers with guns with caption that read "guns and prayer go together in the fundamentalist battle." What was omitted was that these Muslims were praying on a battlefield in Afghanistan. Common sense dictates that with the very real possibility of an ambush, at any time, soldiers should remain armed at all times.


Fasting, the third pillar, is prescribed during the month of Ramadan. A Muslim cannot eat and drink during the daylight hours - from sunrise to sunset. It must be noted that a Muslim cannot interrupt daily routines while fasting. Through this action, a Muslim learns to persevere through hardships and gains a better understanding of others less fortunate. Therefore, even the Muslim leader understands the feelings of hunger and thirst experienced by the poor.


The charity tax is also compulsory to every financially capable Muslim. Every year, Muslims must pay 2.5 percent of their capital. The collected funds are then distributed to the less fortunate throughout society. How can a religion that promotes such well-being of people be responsible for killing of innocent lives? The Arabic word for this charity is zakat - which means both purification and growth. Therefore, in Islam, the giving of charity purifies one's income, while laying the foundation for future growth.


The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is the last pillar of Islam and is only obligatory for those who are physically and financially able. This pilgrimage is derived from Abraham tradition. Imagine millions of Muslims, regardless of age, sex, race or economic status, converging to one central point for the sole purpose of worshipping God. During this pilgrimage, every Muslim dresses the same, eliminating any material extravagance so commonly found throughout the world.


Now judge for yourself what type of threat Islam poses to you. There is no resemblance between "Media Islam" and "true Islam". Every religion has its zealots. But to stereotype a whole group based on the actions of a minuscule minority is to propagate the same type of message the Nazis delivered before the Holocaust. To blame Muslims as a whole for the scattered acts of violence throughout the world is to perpetuate the centuries old myth about Islam that it is a violent religion waiting to take over the West.


Learn about the various perspectives in the world, because misunderstanding only leads to hatred.

 Pricilia Martinez
Originally published in the University of Texas at Austin Students' newspaper, Daily Texan.




Widely held misconception:

In Islam, women are inferior to men because:


a Man can marry up to 4 Wives,
a Woman can marry only one Man,
a Man's share of inheritance is bigger than a Woman's,
a Man can marry a non-Muslim, a woman cannot women must wear veil.


This widely held misconception does not remotely follow from the reasons given. The first and most important observation to make about the popular question


"Are men and women equal?"


Is that it is a badly-formed, unanswerable question. The problem which many people conveniently ignore is that "equal" is not defined. This is a very critical point: the equality must be specified with respect to some measurable property. For example, women on average are superior to men if we ask who is shorter in height than the other ("Growth and Development", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1992). Women are also superior on average if we ask whom do children bond to deeper, mothers or fathers. Women are also superior on average if we ask who has a tendency to socialize more. On the other hand, men are superior on average if we ask who is taller in height than the other.


And so on: every question can be turned around, and more importantly these are properties which are irrelevant.


What then, is the really important property which we are worried about in terms of gender equality? Naturally, from the point of view of the Qur'an and Sunnah, the obvious important property is who is dearer to Allah, men or women? This question is emphatically answered in the Qur'an (translation),


If any do deeds of righteousness - be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter Paradise, and not the least injustice will be done to them. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 124.


For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 33, Verse 35.


The Qur'an and Sunnah repeat over and over again that Allah only favors one person over another based on that person's awareness, consciousness, fear, love, and hope of Allah (the Arabic word is difficult to translate: Taqwa). All other criteria are excluded: gender, ethnic group, country, ancestry, etc.


Given that Allah does not favor one gender over the other in His attention to us (and it helps to remember that Allah is neither male nor female), we can now address the differences between the genders in Islam. First, men and women are not the same as we know. The Creator states in the Qur'an (translation),

...and the male is not like the female. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 36


Men and women are different in their composition, and in their responsibilities under Islam. However, both are bound by obligations to one another, especially the following important one which must be understood in any discussion on men and women.From the Qur'an (translation),
And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 24, Verse 32.


In this verse, the Creator emphasizes that marriage is to be vigorously pursued by the Muslims: the state of being single is not to be maintained. With this in mind, we can begin to understand the four reasons cited above for the nonetheless erroneous conclusion. Men and women are different in their responsibilities towards the families that they are strongly encouraged to set up. Women are not obligated to work, whereas men are obligated. The man must provide for the family, but the woman does not have to spend out of her money for it, though she gets a reward for doing so. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 34.


[2:24:545] From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:
Narrated `Amr bin Al-Harith: Zainab, the wife of `Abdullah said, "I was in the Mosque and saw the Prophet (pbuh) saying, `O women ! Give alms even from your ornaments.' " Zainab used to provide for `Abdullah and those orphans who were under her protection. So she said to `Abdullah, "Will you ask Allah's Apostle whether it will be sufficient for me to spend part of the Zakat on you and the orphans who are under my protection?" He replied "Will you yourself ask Allah's Apostle ?" (Zainab added): So I went to the Prophet and I saw there an Ansari woman who was standing at the door (of the Prophet ) with a similar problem as mine. Bilal passed by us and we asked him, `Ask the Prophet whether it is permissible for me to spend (the Zakat) on my husband and the orphans under my protection.' And we requested Bilal not to inform the Prophet about us. So Bilal went inside and asked the Prophet regarding our problem. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked, "Who are those two?" Bilal replied that she was Zainab. The Prophet said, "Which Zainab?" Bilal said, "The wife of `Adullah (bin Masud)." The Prophet said, "Yes, (it is sufficient for her) and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat."


Given that husbands are obligated to provide for wives, and that marriage is a highly recommended goal of Islam, it is easy to see why women's inheritance share is half that of men. We note also that men are obligated to provide a suitable dowry to women on marriage. In fact, it is preferable at this point to speak in terms of husbands and wives instead of men and women. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then eat it with enjoyment and with wholesome result. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 4.


Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),
...And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them... The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 228.


This one degree in no way affects the position of the Creator in which He has stated that He does not hold women dearer to him than men, or vice versa. Rather it is simply a way of partitioning responsibilities in a household of two adults: someone must make the final decision on daily matters. As will be shown below in a section on a different misconception, though the final decision rests with the husband, it is through mutual consultation that decisions are best reached at.


While men are allowed to marry up to four wives, they are also commanded to meet the preconditions of being able to financially support them. They must also deal with each wife justly and fairly with respect to marital and economic obligations. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),
If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 3.


Moreover, women are allowed to reject any marriage proposal made to her by prospective suitors, thus if she does not feel she can abide by the rules of the Qur'an and Sunnah if she marries a certain person, she can reject his proposal. While it is irrelevant to Islam, it is worthwhile to note that both Judaism and Christianity allow polygamy. The idea is not as foreign to the non-Muslims as is often claimed.


Finally, the wearing of the veil by women is also an illogical premise to claim that women are inferior to men. It is more appropriate to indict a society of female exploitation if it tolerates pornography rather than if it enforces the veil. Given that Allah is neither male nor female, given that He does not endear people to Himself based on their gender, given that the Creator cares about all of us male or female, given that the sexual and violent drive of men is stronger than that of women, given all this, it is illogical to cast a negative light on the following injunctions contained in the Qur'an (translation),

O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not be annoyed. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 33, Verse 59.


Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 24, Verses 30-31.


On this misconception, there is a great deal more to write, most of it showing how current practices in many Muslim lands go against what the Qur'an and Sunnah have ordained, lands in which women are treated as property (unIslamic), are not educated (unIslamic), are forbidden their economic rights (unIslamic), and more. On this point in particular, we encourage everyone to consult the Qur'an and Sunnah before incriminating Islam. Always remember that Islam is a complete way of life from the Creator, and that Muslims are people who claim to follow that way of life. A Muslim may claim to follow Islam, but be wrong.




Most of the critics of Islam and some sites which are promoting false propaganda against Islam quote the Verse Kill the Mushrikoon (polytheists) where ever you find them , The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, Verse 5 to show that Qur'an Commands the killing of Disbelievers


This is quotation taken completely out of context. If you read the chapter(Surah At-Taubah) from the beginning the first verse talks about the treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriks (Pagans) of Mecca.


Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty , The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, Verse 1


In the next verse The Meccans are given four months time to set things right otherwise a declaration of War and coming to verse [9:5], the complete verse is

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, Verse 5


Hence if you read this in context we know that this statement was made in the battle field. Critics often fail to quote with context. Infact in the battle the Qur'an Commands that a person who seeks asylum should be escorted to a place of security.


If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, Verse 6

The Qur'an explicitly forbids killing


Whosoever kills a human being for other than Murder or Creating Mischief in the Land, it is as if he had killed the whole of Human Kind and whoso saved the life of one as if he has saved the life of all Mankind The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 12






The phenomenal global growth of Islam is the cause of concern for many in the West. Steadfast adherence to Islam is readily equated with backwardness and bigotry. Devout Muslims who piously observe their religion are often mocked for being ‘fundamentalist’, banded together with genuine extremists, and frequently suspected of supporting terrorism – even though terrorism as a whole is carried out against Muslims and not by them (the state terrorism of Palestine’s occupiers, for example).

Under the pretext of combating ‘Islamic Terrorism’ despotic powers themselves employ increasingly cruel terrorist methods to mercilessly silence cries for freedom, justice and other basic human rights. And as for jihad, its very mention strikes fear and revulsion in many hearts and minds. Yet, despite the negative press, Islam continues to grow faster than any other way of life through entirely peaceful conversions. So, is the Islamophobia really justified?

What is jihad? And what does Islam really say about terrorism?


Jihad, often mistranslated as ‘Holy War’ (a popular phrase from the Crusades), actually means: to strive and endeavour in Allah’s Cause. Hence, Jihad can be expressed in a purely peaceful way. The Prophet Muhammad had said that:

The best jihad is by one who strives against (the evil of) his own self for Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.’(Tabarani)


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


Likewise, when it becomes necessary to physically fight evil, jihad takes on a martial dimension, the so-called ‘jihad of the sword.’ The Prophet and his followers, like many Israelite Prophets before them, fought wars in self-defence and in order to abolish idolatry, tyranny and oppression. Allah says:


And what is wrong 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 who will help! (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 4, Verse 75)


Bearing in mind the relentless, violent persecution that was inflicted upon Muhammad and his followers whilst in Mecca, it is not difficult to see why God would order their new community in Medina to prepare and ready themselves to face off the clear and present danger to their fledging Islamic state.


And make ready against them all you can of (military) power, including steeds of war, to terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides whom you may not know, but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in Allah’s Cause shall be repaid to you, and you shall not be treated unjustly. But if they incline towards peace, you too incline to it. And trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 8, Verse 61-2)


This right, to possess the means to defend against and ward off any known or unknown external threat is one which every nation in every age reserves for itself. Even so, regardless of how cruel the enemy, Islam insists upon measured response which avoids excessive or un restrained acts of vengeance.


And if you punish (your oppressors), then punish them with the like of that which you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for the patient ones. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 16, Verse 126)


The Prophet Muhammad also forbade behaving treacherously with one’s enemies and the violation of treaties and ceasefires. Hence, the combative jihad of the sword is like a surgical operation: it does not exceed the area of infection.


In fact, all manifestations of injustice and oppression are condemned by Islam and its God-fearing, orthodox adherents. The Prophet said: Oppression will be darkness multiplied on the Day of Resurrection,’ and he also related that Allah said: ‘O My servants! Indeed, I have forbidden oppression upon myself and I have forbidden it amongst you. Therefore, do not oppress one another.’ (Muslim)


O you who believe! Stand steadfast for Allah as witnesses of justice, and let not the hatred of a people prevent you from justice towards them. (Nay!) be just: that is closer to piety. And fear Allah! Verily, Allah is well aware of what you do. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 8)


The few heretics who blasphemously justify murder in the name of Islam, passing off terrorism of cowards for the jihad of the brave, do only by twisting Islam’s texts and playing upon the fears and prejudices of an uninformed public. Prince Charles, visiting Oxford University in 1993, rightly stated how: ‘Our common attitude to Islam suffers because the way we understand it has been hijacked by the extreme and the superficial.’ Indeed, the Prophet himself warned his followers to: ‘Beware of extremism in matters of religion. For truly, those before you were destroyed on account of (their) religious extremism.’ (Ahmed & Nisai)


Islam’s non-Muslim enemies likewise selectively quote or misquote the Revelation to suggest that Islam encourages the wanton persecution and slaughter of infidels. However, an honest, holistic study of Qur’an and Sunna reveals that those passages dealing with warfare are explicit calling for equity and justice; always taking the side of the oppressed – believer or disbeliever- against the oppressor, advising leniency and halting of war in favour of peace.

Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace: and He brings them out of darkness by His will unto light and guides them to a straight way. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 16)


The Prophet had said: ‘Do not desire an encounter with the enemy; but if you do encounter them, be firm.’ (Muslim) It is this very steadfastness of the Believers marching in Allah’s Just Cause, ‘those who, when a wrong is inflicted on them, (are not intimidated, but) fight back’ (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 42, Verse 39), that drives frustrated evil-doers to forge so many a hate-filled lie against Islam. For if terrorism is, ultimately, nothing but oppression, then the true jihad is the ultimate act of counterterrorism. And truly, Allah is Kind and Merciful towards His creation.


Truth has come and vanquished falsehood. Truly, falsehood is bound to perish. We send down in the Qur’an that which is healing and a mercy to those who believe. (But) for the evil-doers, it increases them in nothing but loss. (Qur’an,17, Verse 81-2)

And fight in Allah’s cause those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits (set by Allah), Truly, Allah loves not the transgressors. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 190)


Even during open war, the Believers are ordered with compassion and to continue the greater jihad of calling to the Truth:

And if any of the pagan (enemy) seeks your protection then grant it - in order that he may hear the Word of Allah – and escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men who know not. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 9, Verse 6)

As for non-combatants or civilians, we read:


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. Verily Allah loves those who deal with equity. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 60, Verse 8)


The Prophet expressly forbade Muslim armies from attacking women and children, the sick and elderly, monks and hired labourers. He also outlawed the wanton killing of animals, the burning of crops and vegetation, polluting waters and the destruction of homes and places of sanctuary.

For were it not 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. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 22, Verse 40)


Once when news reached the Prophet that children had been killed in a battle, he exclaimed. ‘What is with some people that the killing today caused them to go so far as to kill children?!’ Someone answered: ‘O Messenger of Allah! They are but children of polytheists!’ The Prophet replied: ‘Nay! Verily, the best of you are children of polytheists. Do not kill children! (I say again,) do not kill children! For every soul is born upon a natural (Islamic) disposition (innocent, monotheistic and good)- until its tongue speaks on its behalf…’ (Ahmed). Also, when the Prophet once passed a fallen idolatress, he denounced her killing, insisting that the woman was not one against whom war was to be fought.

In fact, there exists in Islam a great library of texts clearly forbidding murder whilst extolling the sanctity of human life, ‘life, which Allah has made sacred’ (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 6, Verse 151); from the Prophet Muhammad’s dire warning that ‘The first cases to be adjudicated against on the Day of Judgement will be those of bloodshed.’ (Bukhari), to his strikingly stark threat that: ‘Whoever kills one (non-Muslim) under contract (of Muslim protection) will never smell the scent of Paradise.’ (Ibn Majah)


We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or for villainy in the land, it would be as if they killed the whole of humanity. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if they saved the whole of humanity. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 32)


As for suicide bombing, it is forbidden on a number of levels. Firstly on the crime of suicide itself, the Prophet once warned: Indeed, whoever kills himself will certainly be punished in Hellfire, where he shall dwell forever.’ (Bukhari & Muslim) The Prophet also said: ‘He who kills himself with anything, Allah will torment him with that in the Hellfire.’ (Muslim)


And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful unto you. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 4, Verse 29)


Suicide attacks also contravene the Islamic principle which states: that which is built upon falsehood is itself falsehood. In other words, the ends cannot justify the means if those means (e.g. self-destruction) are themselves anti-Islamic. Furthermore, suicide attacks almost always result in collective punishments for the wider civilian populous, contravening yet another Islamic principle: fighting evil itself becomes evil if, as a consequence, it leads to more harm.


And beware, the affliction, which affects not in particular those of you who do wrong (but may harm innocents as well): And know that Allah is strict in punishment. (Qur’an 8, Verse 25)


Another headline-grabbing tactic that is unsanctioned by the religion of Islam is the killing of civilian hostages. This is decidedly illegal as it is simultaneously murder, a targeting of non-combatants and a misplacement of responsibility.


And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another (each carry their sins alone). Qur’an, 6, Verse 164)


If we define terrorism to be misdeeds of inexcusable and unjustifiable aggression perpetuated against civilians and their interests, then terrorism is no less an act of war against the Creator, Allah, and his Final Messenger, Muhammad. And there is a severe punishment to fit such a crime:

The recompense of those wage war against Allah and His Messenger and hasten about the earth to make mischief therein is this: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall be stuck off, or they shall be banished from the land. That is their disgrace in this world; and in the Hereafter, theirs is a heavy punishment. (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 33)*


And so, the very notion of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ is exploded as an oxymoron, a clear contradiction in terms. Terrorising defenceless and non-threatening civilian populations, destroying their homes, killing, maiming and taking hostage their peaceful men, women and children, are all criminally sinful and evil acts according to divine law of Islam.


* This verse was revealed after a group of men who were entrusted by the Prophet to the care a shepherd, actually murdered that shepherd and scattered his herd (Ibn Kathir).






It is not true that two female witnesses are always considered as equal to only one male witness. It is true only in certain cases. There are about five verses in the Qur’an that mention witnesses, without specifying male or female. There is only one verse in the Qur’an, that says two female witnesses are equal to one male witness.

This verse is Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 282. This is the longest verse in the Qur’an and deals with financial transactions. It says:


"Oh! ye who believe!
When ye deal with each other,
in transactions involving future obligation
in a fixed period of time
reduce them to writing and get two witnesses
out of your own men and if there are not two men,
then a man and two women, such as ye choose,
for witnesses so that if one of them errs
the other can remind her."
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 282


This verse of the Qur’an deals only with financial transactions. In such cases, it is advised to make an agreement in writing between the parties and take two witnesses, preferably both of which should be men only. In case you cannot find two men, then one man and two women would suffice.

For instance, suppose a person wants to undergo an operation for a particular ailment. To confirm the treatment, he would prefer taking references from two qualified surgeons. In case he is unable to find two surgeons, his second option would be one surgeon and two general practitioners who are plain MBBS doctors.


Similarly in financial transactions, two men are preferred. Islam expects men to be the breadwinners of their families. Since financial responsibility is shouldered by men, they are expected to be well versed in financial transactions as compared to women. As a second option, the witness can be one man and two women, so that if one of the women errs the other can remind her. The Arabic word used in the Qur’an is ‘Tazil’ which means ‘confused’ or ‘to err’. Many have wrongly translated this word as ‘to forget’. Thus financial transactions constitute the only case in which two female witnesses are equal to one male witness.


However, some scholars are of the opinion that the feminine attitude can also have an effect on the witness in a murder case. In such circumstances a woman is more terrified as compared to a man. Due to her emotional condition she can get confused. Therefore, according to some jurists, even in cases of murder, two female witnesses are equivalent to one male witness. In all other cases, one female witness is equivalent to one male witness. There are about five verses in the Qur’an which speak about witnesses without specifying man or woman.


While making a will of inheritance, two just persons are required as witnesses. In Surah Maidah chapter 5 verse 106, the Glorious Qur’an says:


"Oh you who believe!
When death approaches any of you,
(take) witnesses among yourself when making bequests."
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 106

Two just persons of your own (brotherhood)
or other from outside if you are journeying
through the earth and the chance of death befalls you."
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 65, Verse 2


Two persons endued with justice in case of talaq.


"Four witnesses are required
in case of charge against chaste women"
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 24, Verse 4


There are some scholars who are of the opinion that the rule of two female witnesses equal to one male witness should be applied to all the cases. This cannot be agreed upon because one particular verse of the Qur’an from Surah Noor chapter 24, verse 6 clearly equates one female witness and one male witness:


"And those who launch a charge
against their spouses, and have (in support)
no evidence but their own -
their solitary evidence can be received."
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 24, Verse 6


Hazrat Ayesha (RA) hadith narrated of one witness


Many jurists agree that even one witness of a woman is sufficient for the sighting of the crescent of the moon. Imagine one woman witness is sufficient for one of the pillars of Islam, i.e. fasting and the whole Muslim community of men and women agree and accept her witness! Some jurists say that one witness is required at the beginning of Ramadan and two witnesses at the end of Ramadan. It makes no difference whether the witnesses are men or women.


Some incidents require only female witness and that of a male cannot be accepted. For instance, in dealing with the problems of women, while giving the burial bath i.e. ‘ghusl’ to a woman, the witness has to be a woman.


The seeming inequality of male and female witnesses in financial transactions is not due to any inequality of the sexes in Islam. It is only due to the different natures and roles of men and women in society as envisaged by Islam.




The only religious book that says: "... then marry only once" is the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. This injunction is not found in the Christian Bible in the Hindu Geeta, or in the Jewish holy book etc. In the Bible there are so many references to various prophets and kings who had numerous wives. Abraham had three wives, while King Solomon had seven hundred wives, etc. In the Hindu literature the various gods have hundreds of wives. Krishna had one thousand women and concubines. Similarly, the Jews used to marry more than once, till as late as the 1950s. None of these faiths regulated the number of wives a man could have at a time. Only Islam limits the wives to four.


The monogamy that the Christians, the Hindus, and Jews practice today, is not from their religion, but from their government. So the issue of monogamy has no religious significance; it is a man-made rule. Monogamy was the result of an act of parliament, not their faith. Example: The Indian Parliament in 1954 passed the Hindu Marriage Act prohibiting the Hindu male from taking up more than one wife. The Jewish Rabbis in the 10th Century AD made monogamy a rule, although it was not enforced till as late as the 1950s. Similarly, the European countries and the American government passed laws to make monogamy the rule in their lands some time ago. Mormons still marry more than once.


In Surah Nissah God allows a Muslim to marry, one, two, three or four women as long as he can do justice between them. If the man can't do justice, the exhortation for him is: "... then marry only once".


Marrying more than once is not compulsory, but only an option to tide over unique circumstances that societies face from time to time. You will find in many societies today that the ratio between females and males is not 50:50. There are more females than males in Europe, USA and elsewhere. On the other hand, in India, because of the rampant female fetus abortions, the number of females is dropping, and a crisis is in the making, as not enough number of females will be available for Hindu men to marry a few years from now.


The option for women in countries with a bigger female ratio than male is to share a husband with another women, to remain single, or to become public property. "Become public property" is a decent phrase I'm using for what it really means. Ask any woman who cannot find an unmarried man to marry, if it is a better choice to share a husband with another woman, to remain single, or to become a mere mistress.


As a lawfully wedded wife she will get the same right as the first wife, get legal status for herself and her children, get inheritance rights for herself and her children, and most importantly, get respect and dignity. Becoming a mistress is no choice. In the West becoming a mistress or a girlfriend is no problem, getting pregant and getting dumped with the child is no problem, but becoming a second wife is totally unacceptable. The government will come after you, the society will come after you...Islam gives the women more rights, as it places extra responsibilty on the man. A man will not be able to freely have sexual relations with women, and then not provide for them or to just leave them whenever he wishes. This other woman is given status and rights in islam.






If you look at history, to ancient civilizations, you will find that women were the oppressed people. They had no individual merit. The Babylonians used to punish the woman for her husband's mistakes. The ancient Egyptians did the same. Ancient Arabs buried their newly born daughters.


It was Islam that uplifted the status of women. It gave women rights they never had before. Surah Nissah exhorts believing men to lower their gaze if a lady is passing by. Similarly, there are exhortations for women to lower their gaze if strange men are around. The Quran also speaks about the hijab for men and women to protect the modesty. The hijab for men is to cover their bodies minimally from their navel to the knees. The hijab for women is to cover their whole bodies except for their faces and hands below their wrists. There are descriptions for a female hijab, that it should cover the endowments including head, not be tight, not be transparent, not be like the clothes of non-believers, and not be like the clothes of the other gender, etc. Women got the right to own, inherit property, and to dispose it of at will.


Let me ask you a question: Suppose two identical twin sisters are walking down a street, and one of them is dressed in revealing clothing, while the other one is wearing a hijab. Who will be boys in the street whistle at or tease: the one who is scantily dressed in a mini-skirt, or the one who is modestly attired? The answer is obvious. The hijab is designed to prevent women from being molested. It brings peace to society and prevents mischief.




There are crimes for which Islam prescribes capital punishment, e.g. for rape, murder etc. This is to protect society from criminals and anti-social elements. In USA there are 2713 rapes taking place every day. In Islam, the penalty is to award the death penalty so that the criminal is not around to repeat this crime, and to teach others a lesson. Americans say that this is a severe punishment. They say that the rapist must be put in jail for the first rape. If after his release he rapes again, then it is ok to put him to death. Friends, statistics in USA show that 95 percent of the rapists, after release from jail, rape again. Islam prevents this second rape. Following the Hijab dress code prevents the rapist from temptation to rape.




Islam not only has laid down the rights for humans regardless of race, color, language and riches, but has also laid down the rights for animals. Animals, like humans are one of the creations of Allah(swt). Prophet Muhammad(saw) was not only sent as a mercy to Mankind but as a blessing to all creatures as the Quran testifies:


We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. – [Quran 21:107]

It is encouraged for Muslim to let Animals eat of the plants that they have planted. Prophet Muhammad(saw) is reported to have said:

Narated By Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, "If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity." – [Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, #41] Even if an animal eats from a plant which has been planted by man, the person will receive rewards for it. Moreover, another hadith is as follows:


Narated By Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "While a man was walking on a road. he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself "This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did." So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" He said, "(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being)." – [Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, #38] & [Muslim Book 26, Chapter 39, # 5577]


Prophet Muhammad(saw) taught people to be kind to animals. Allah(swt) rewarded the act of the person who quenched the thirst of a thirsty dog. While men were accustomed to be cruel to the animals, Prophet Muhammad(saw) by the command of Allah(swt) taught Mankind to be merciful and kind to all living things. Not only were humans given their rights, the animals too were given theirs. Islam is a religion which teaches man to be merciful towards all living things. Thus there is reward for a human even if he feeds an animal.


Animals have many purposes and are used for such by humans. This does not mean that men have the right to treat animals the way that they want to. While people would hit their animals on the face, Islam forbids such an act. Every creation is very sensitive as far as the face is concerned. If I were to lightly tap a person on the shoulder or on the back, they would not feel offended but if I were to do the same on the face then everyone would find that offensive. Allah(swt) realizes this and thus through Prophet Muhammad(saw) such an act was strictly forbidden as seen by the hadith below:


Narated By Salim: That Ibn 'Umar disliked the branding of animals on the face. Ibn 'Umar said, "The Prophet forbade beating (animals) on the face." – [Bukhari Vol.7, Book 67, #449] & [Muslim Book 24, Chapter 21, #5281]


During the times of ignorance (Ja’hillah) people would cut the limbs of animals while they were alive. This was a disgusting act and Islam was the religion that brought an end to this practice. Not only this but shooting at an animal who is tied was also forbidden by Prophet Muhammad(saw).

Narated By Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet cursed the one who did Muthla to an animal (i e., cut its limbs or some other part of its body while it is still alive). – [Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 67, #424]


Narated By Hisham bin Zaid: Anas and I went to Al-Hakam bin Aiyub. Anas saw some boys shooting at a tied hen. Anas said, "The Prophet has forbidden the shooting of tied or confined animals." – [Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 67, #421; #422]


While the animal rights were being laid down by Allah(swt) through Prophet Muhammad(saw), the Prophet(saw) also narrated an incident regarding a woman who imprisoned a cat and made it starve to death.


Narated By 'Abdullah bin 'Umar : Allah's Apostle said, "A lady was punished because of a cat which she had imprisoned till it died. She entered the (Hell) Fire because of it, for she neither gave it food nor water as she had imprisoned it, nor set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth." – [Bukhari Vol.4, Book 56, #689]


This hadith clearly suggests that being brutal towards animals is a grave sin and Allah(swt) will punish him who treats the animals without kindness. It is obligatory for the owner of the animal to feed it. Many rights have been given to animals and Muslims are required to obey these guidelines for transgression would make them sinful. While oppressing humans is wrong, Islam also teaches that oppression towards animals is wrong.


Islam gave animals rights at a time when animal rights were not recognized. Today the world is bringing awareness towards the rights of animals whereas Islam gave them their rights more than 1400 years ago. The most famous story about being kind to animals is seen when a cat came and slept on the robe of Prophet Muhammad(saw) while he was reading the Quran to the listeners. When it was time for the Prophet(saw) to get up, instead of disturbing the cat, he cut that piece of the robe and stood up. Today who would cut of a piece of their cloth so that the cat’s sleep would be undisturbed?


Prophet Muhammad(saw) encouraged people to be good towards the animals and forbade acts which are cruel. Oppression is an evil whether the one being oppressed is human or an animal. In Tirmidhi as well as Abu Dawood it is mentioned that Prophet Muhammad(saw) prohibited the act of inciting animals against each other. This act is practiced today as well where cocks and dogs are caused to fight with each other and people place their bets. Not only does this become a sin for it falls under the category of gambling but also because two animals are caused to fight against each other.


There are people who claim that Prophet Muhammad(saw) ordered the killing of all dogs. If one were to read the references they give it is indeed true that such an order was given. However these people will never quote the hadith which explains why such an order was given.

Ibn Mughaffal reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) ordered the killing of dogs and then said: what is the trouble with them (the people of Medina)? How dogs are nuisance to them (the citizens of Medina)? He then permitted keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Yahya, he (the Holy Prophet) permitted the keeping of dogs for (the protection of) herds, for hunting and (the protection of) cultivated land. – [Muslim Book 10, Chapter 31, #3814]


When one reads this hadith one gets to learn about the context of the order. The people of Medina complained that the dogs were being a nuisance to them. This is just like today where many countries have problems with street dogs. There have been many cases where these street dogs have bitten people and transmitted diseases like Rabies. Many have even died from this disease. Due to the complains by the people regarding these stray dogs, Prophet Muhammad(saw) ordered that such dogs who are hazardous to the people should be killed. Back in those days there were not any animal shelter facilities and thus this was the only way to safeguard the people. The hadith further on explains that all dogs were not to be killed and the permission to keep dogs was also given.


Moreover, Prophet Muhammad(saw) also instructed men not to overburden their domestic animals. Burdening a donkey with more load than that which he can easily carry is again a wrongful practice which was forbidden by Allah(swt). Even while sacrificing the animals, it is told that we are to use sharp knives and not blunt ones for the latter would cause pain and discomfort to the animals. Some people have suggested that the Islamic method of slaughtering the animal is cruel and should be stopped. This however was proven to be untrue as the animal dies a painless death. A study was carried out at the School of Veterinary Medicine by Professor Wilhelm Schulze and Dr. Hazim to detect the pain an animal feels when he is slaughtered by the Islamic way. The EEG recorded showed that with the Islamic way, the animal felt no pain and it was observed that most of the blood was thrown out of the body thus making the meat more hygienic as opposed to the captive bolt pistol stunning method. The conventional method was also observed to be painful to the animal.


The earth has been made for all the creatures that inhabit it and thus they are given their due rights by Islam.


And the earth hath He appointed for (His) creatures. – [Quran 55:10]


Islam takes great care when laying down its rules and regulation and has made sure that men do not behave with cruelty towards them. Even in a state of war, the Muslims are prohibited from killing the animals in the lands of the enemies and are also prohibited to burning or cutting down trees for no reason. Indeed Islam is a mercy for everyone. It is not only a religion but a complete way of life which even secures the rights of animals.