Dare to find a mistake
If someone doubt the Quran’s authenticity, the Quran itself offers you the challenge to find a mistake in it. And inevitably, after accepting it’s challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Quran earns their respect because they themselves have had to verify its authenticity.
Muslim students and employees need a few minutes every afternoon to perform their obligation of prayer. A clear distinction is made between personal supplication and ritual prayer. The rosary, or dhikr, consists of various phrases repeated over and over that help focus a person’s mind on God.
Greed and gluttony are considered conditions of the soul and can be cured only with a combination of spiritual advice and a program of action such as Zakat. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, is a yearly charity tax on every Muslim that amounts to 2.5 percent of all the person’s annually valued assets.
Ramadan is the name of the month in which Muslims fast from food and drink from first light until sunset. Fasting, the fourth pillar of Islam, teaches Muslims to control their desires and urges for worldly satisfaction and to feel empathy for the poor. The reward for successful completion is forgiveness of the individual’s sins.
Stereotypes of Islam being a violent religion began in the Middle Ages and have persisted into modern times. Jihad does not mean holy war. It means any exertion in the cause of God. Jihad is the term usually used to describe a war fought for God’s sake; however, even going to school can be a kind of jihad.
Any war for conquest or glory is forbidden in Islam. Terrorism is forbidden in Islam, and the actions of people who engage in it and use Islamic slogans are not sanctioned by Islamic teachings. Islam has a strong tradition of social activism, and the Quran calls on Muslims to oppose vice by working for the welfare of their fellow human beings. Such a struggle is also considered a jihad.
Muslims & Jews
Islam does not teach its followers to be anti-Semitic. The intractable Arab- Israeli conflict which has festered since 1948 is a political condition that is often unfairly cloaked in religious rhetoric.
The Quran contains over a hundred verses that discuss Judaism, Jews, and issues related to the ancient Israelites. The Jews lived peacefully in the Muslim world for over a thousand years and were never persecuted as they often were in Europe.
Muslim civilization preserved the knowledge of the ancient Greeks and others and passed it on to Europe. While Europe was in the Dark Ages, the Islamic world was the center for learning, inquiry, and science.
Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified nor that the Romans killed him in Jerusalem. Muslims hold that God answered Jesus’ prayer and removed him from the physical world to await the end-times and a triumphant return to Earth.
Christianity & Islam
Have had many centuries of interfaith dialogue interspersed with wars and periods of mutual fear and mistrust. European Christians completely occupied the Muslim world during the era of Colonialism and targeted Islam for suppression. The Islamic resurgence today is merely an attempt by Muslims all over the world to regain their religion.
The secular governments of most Muslim countries oppose the meaningful practice of Islam by their populace. Muslims are looking for redress for a century of humiliation and oppression that has been directed against them.
The two main issues that cause Muslims worldwide to oppose Israel are the in- justice against the Arabs inherent in Israel’s founding and the status of Jerusalem.
The Iranian Revolution
Islamic revivalism is not a danger to the West. Muslims are seeking mainly to get responsible government in their countries. The future of relations between Islam and the non-Muslim world is bright with many positive possibilities.
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Every Muslim who can afford it and who is physically able must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her life. The Hajj ritual consists of a series of activities each designed to teach the pilgrim a different lesson or to commemorate an event from Abraham’s life. The main idea behind the Hajj is to learn how to let go of what we love in place of God.
World largest gathering
The Hajj is the largest religious gathering in the world and is covered by major news networks every year. The Muslims believe that it was Ishmael and not Isaac whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice. Abraham and Ishmael then built a shrine in Mecca to commemorate this test. This was the forerunner to the modern Ka’bah. The main religious site in Mecca is the Ka’bah. It is a cube-shaped building whose foundation, Muslims believe, was originally constructed by Abraham.
Islam accepts all the major biblical prophets but explains their life and mission in a different way. Prophets are sinless but can make honest mistakes. All true religions originated from God, and Muslims are taught to be tolerant of other’s beliefs because of it. However, Muslims do not accept the Bible as the word of God but do believe that it is based on what was once authentic revelation from God.
Quran – Koran
Did you know that during the Cold War, 37 Muslim countries were allied to the West, or were at least Western leaning, while only 6 were leaning toward the Soviets!
“The growth of Islam during the early centuries of its existence was a difficult phenomenon for Western Christianity to comprehend, and misunderstanding, prejudice, fear, and, in some cases, hatred have characterized much of the history of encounter between the two faiths.” (Jane I. Smith)
“I hope that in the next century we will come to terms with our abysmal ignorance of the Muslim world. Muslims aren’t a bunch of wackos and nuts. They are decent, brilliant, talented people with a great civilization and traditions of their own, including legal traditions. Americans know nothing about them. There are people in that part of the world with whom we are simply out of touch. That’s a great challenge for the next century.” (U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, December 1999)
Muslims must learn a minimal amount of the Arabic language in order to perform their prayers, read the Quran and participate in certain rituals.
The word Taliban means students. This is the name of a movement that began in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s with a handful of religious students who were sickened by the excesses of local warlords.
Mecca is the place where, according to Muslim beliefs, the Prophet Abraham settled his second wife, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael, when God ordered Abraham to take them to the wilderness and leave them. At that time it was just a barren valley.
Islam distinguishes between making personal requests to God (supplications) and ritual prayer for worship (salat). The former is optional; the latter is a religious duty that must be performed daily.
Salat literally means a red-hot connection. When a person makes salat, he or she is establishing a hot-link to God. There are 5 daily prayers.
The time for one of the daily prayers falls just after noon. Muslim students as well as those who have jobs must ask their school or employer for time to complete this religious duty. Some principals and supervisors are more understanding than others.
The concept of washing before prayer is not a new one. The Bible provides numerous examples of its prophets, priests, and even Jesus washing before praying. Even though this practice has fallen into disuse in modern day Judaism and Christianity, it is nevertheless an integral part of their ancient religious roots which they neglected. (See Exodus 30:17–21)
Muslims usually carry beads on a string much like Catholics do. It called tasbeeh or masbaha, from the Arabic word for glorify. The Prophet Muhammad advised against their use, however, stating that it is better if you use your fingers to count because on Judgment Day your fingers will testify as to how you used them.
There are no special preparations to begin the month of Ramadan. Muslims understand that it is going to be a month of intense religious devotion and a time of self-denial: no food, drink, sex, profanity, fighting, or lying allowed from first light to sundown. The main components of the month will consist of two meals: one before the sun begins to cast its first light and one after sunset. There is also a special prayer service every night in the mosque called Taraweeh.
Muslim Americans have recently petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to create a special stamp to commemorate the Muslim fast of Ramadan.
Hagar was a legitimate wife of Abraham, and her son, Ishmael, was his first heir. Jewish law makes no distinction regarding the mother of the first-born son. The Bible itself calls Hagar Abraham’s wife. (Genesis 16:3)
The name of the well discovered by Ishmael and Hagar is called the Well of Zamzam. In 4,000 years it has never run dry. People from all over the world go there to drink its water for blessing.
A person who makes Hajj is called a Hajji. People often add Al Hajj (an alumnus of the Hajj) as a title to their first name in order to show they have completed it.
The Nation of Islam
A black nationalist organization founded by Elijah Muhammad in the mid-twentieth century, actually has very little to do with Islam. It is a mixture of Christianity, Islam, and black nationalism that is not accepted by mainstream Muslims.
Islam grants Muslim women numerous rights in the home and in society. Among them are the right to work and earn money, the right to financial support, the right to an education, the right to an inheritance, the right to being treated kindly, the right to vote and representation on a board, the right to a dowry, the right to keep their maiden name, the right to worship in a mosque, etc.
Off limits to non-Muslim
Planning a vacation to Mecca? Don’t call the travel agent just yet! The Prophet Muhammad ordered Mecca to be off-limits to anyone who has not accepted Islam. You have to convert first and then you can go to Mecca.
Jailed or fined
Although no non-Muslims are allowed to enter Mecca, many European Christians have succeeded in making clandestine forays and even participating in the Hajj. They have disguised themselves as Arabs or as European converts. Sir Richard Burton, the famed translator of The Arabian Nights stories, is one notable adventurer. He wrote about his adventures in the book Personal Narrative, published in 1855. Bare in mind, if you were caught as a non-Muslim in Mecca you may be jailed of fined.
Muhammad forbade harming women, children, old people, laborers, people who are not fighting, prisoners, those who surrender, and plants (farmlands) and animals. He allowed Muslim soldiers to fight only the soldiers of the other side.
The British philosopher Sir Francis Bacon once observed, “A little philosophy brings a man to atheism; diving deep into it brings him back to faith.”
The golden calf
The longest chapter of the Quran is called Al Baqarah, which means the Heifer. It refers to the golden calf made by the freed slaves while Moses was attending a meeting with God on Mount Sinai.
Muhammad’s city charter for Medina is considered the world’s first constitution.
Maimonides (1135–1204), who is considered one of the greatest scholars of Judaism, lived and worked freely in Muslim Spain.
Islam does not teach its followers to discriminate against Jews. When a Jewish funeral procession was passing by him in Medina, Muhammad stood up in respect for the deceased.
The original name of Medina was Yathrib. When Muhammad moved there, people started calling Yathrib “the City of the Prophet,” or Medinat Annabi. It quickly became known as Medina, or city, for short.
Islam has influenced many Europeans to question the validity of the trinity theory. Michael Servetus, a Spaniard who wrote On the Errors of Trinity in the sixteenth century, observed that “trinity has, alas! been a laughing stock to Mohammedans. Only God knows. The Jews also shrink from giving adherence to this fancy of ours and laugh at our foolishness about the trinity.”
Great Christian theologians such as Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great were heavily influenced by the writings of three Muslim philosophers: Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and Ibn Rushd (Averroes).
The first public dialogue between Muslims and Christians happened after Muhammad sent a refugee column to Abyssinia in Africa to escape Meccan persecution. The Meccans sent ambassadors to the king there to ask for their arrest, but in a public interview the Christian king, Najashi, ruled that the teachings of Islam were closer to Christianity than to idolatry. He allowed the Muslims to stay and later converted to Islam, himself.
If all Qurans in the world today were burned and destroyed, the original Arabic would still remain. This is because millions of Muslims, called Hafiz or “preservers” have memorized the text letter for letter from beginning to end, every word and syllable. Also, chapters from the Quran are precisely recited from memory by every Muslim in each of the five daily prayers.
The oldest continuously functioning college in the world is Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. It was founded in the year 970 and has achieved the status of the most authoritative school of Islamic sciences in the Sunni Muslim world.
The main library in Muslim ruled Cordoba had 400,000 books. The ninth century rulers of Cairo maintained a public library with two planetariums, numerous reading rooms, and a collection of 1,600,000 different manuscripts.
Although un-Islamic backward cultural practices in some Muslim countries result in women being discouraged from attending public religious services, Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque.”
The Shi’a sect broke away from mainstream Islam because their preferred choice for the first caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, was passed over three times. When he finally was elected, a rival seized power from him.
The Night of Power
One particular night of Ramadan has extra special significance. It is the exact night when the Quranic revelation was first revealed to Muhammad in the year 610 C.E. It is known as Laylat ul Qadr, or the Night of Power. According to the Prophet Muhammad, it falls on one of the odd-numbered nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Many Muslims stay up all night seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and guidance.
Muslims greet each other on their ’Eid festival with the words, ’Eid Mubarak! which means, “A Blessed festival to you!” Gift giving is common, especially for children, and cards are exchanged.
Cat Stevens, the popular British singer of decades past, embraced Islam after reading the Quran. Today, as Yusuf Islam, he writes religious songs for children.
Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, social, political, economical, intellectual, etc.
Allah is not the God of Muslims only. He is the God of all people and all creation. Just because people refer to God using different terms does not mean that they are different gods. Spanish people refer to God as “Dios” and French people refer to God as “Dieu”, yet they are all the same God. Interestingly, most Arab Jews and Arab Christians refer to God as “Allah”. And the word Allah in Arabic appears on the walls of many Arab churches.
The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful, and compassionate. But Islam also teaches that He is just and swift in punishment. Nevertheless, Allah once said to Prophet Muhammad, “My mercy prevails over my wrath.” Islam teaches a balance between fear and hope, protecting one from both complacency and despair.
Quran has revealed 99 of God’s names and attributes. It is through these names and attributes that one can come to know the Creator. A few of these names are: the All-Merciful, the All-Knower, the Protector, the Provider, the Near, the First, the Last, the Hidden, and the Peace.
Muslims believe in and acknowledge all the prophets of God, from Adam to Jesus. Muslims believe that they brought the message of peace and submission (Islam) to different peoples at different times. Muslims also believe that these prophets were “Muslims” because they submitted their wills to God.
Muslims neither worship Muhammad nor pray through him. Muslims solely worship the unseen and Omniscient Creator, Allah.
Muslims accept the original unaltered Torah (the Gospel of Moses) and the original Bible (the Gospel of Jesus) since they were revealed by God. However, none of those original scriptures are in existence today, in their entirety. Therefore, Muslims follow the subsequent, final, and preserved revelation of God, the Holy Quran.
The holy Quran
was not authored by Muhammad. It was authored by God, revealed to Muhammad by Gabrael (the Holy Spirit), and written into physical form by his companions. It has no flaws or contradictions. The original Arabic scriptures have never been changed or tampered with. Actual seventh century Qurans, complete and intact, are on display in museums in Turkey and many other places around the world.
Muslims do not believe in the concept of “vicarious atonement” but rather believe in the law of personal responsibility. Islam teaches that each person is responsible for his or her own actions. On the Day of Judgment Muslims believe that every person will be resurrected and will have to answer to God for their every word, thought, and deed. Consequently, a practicing Muslim is always striving to be righteous.
The sword of intellect
Islam was not spread by the sword. It was spread by its teachings and the example of its followers. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion. No Muslim solder set foot on the land of Indonasia, Malasia, China and many African countries, yet they enter Islam due to Muslim merchants’s Islamic manners.
Unjustified violence, and the killing of innocent people are absolutely forbidden in Islam. The extreme actions of some Muslims is a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger due to Israel occupation of Palestine and the unjust support of the West to Israel. Fanatical Muslims are no more representative of the true Islamic teachings than Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh are of Christianity. Extremism and fanaticism is a problem that is common to all religious groups such as RIA, ETA etc.
The word “jihad” does not mean “holy war”. Instead, it means the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God. Some Muslims may say they are going for “jihad” when fighting in a war to defend themselves or their fellow Muslims, but they only say this because they are conceding that it will be a tremendous struggle. But there are many other forms of jihad which are more relevant to the everyday life of a Muslim such as the daily struggles against self-desire, the struggle against a tyrant ruler or against the temptation of Satan, etc.
Women are not oppressed in Islam. Any Muslim man that oppresses a woman is not following true Islam. Among the countless teachings of Prophet Muhammad which protected the rights and dignity of women is his saying, “the best among you are those who treat their wives well.”
Divorce is permissible in Islam, however, reconciliation is what is most encouraged. Indeed, if there are irreconcilable differences then Islam permits a fair and just annulment. Divorce in the west is 3 times more than in a Muslim society.
The first house
In the five daily prayers, Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca, Arabia. It is a cube-shaped stone structure that was originally built by Prophet Adam and later rebuilt by Prophet Abraham. Muslims believe that the Kaaba was the first house of worship on Earth dedicated to the worship of one god. Muslims do not worship the Kaaba. It serves as a central focal point for Muslims around the world, unifying them in worship and symbolizing their common belief, spiritual focus and direction. Interestingly, the inside of the Kaaba is empty.
The Mountain of Light
The Quran was revealed piecemeal throughout a period of about 23 years. The Prophet received the first revelation in 610CE, in the Cave of Hira in the Mountain of Light (Jabale-Noor), two and a half miles away from the House of Allah in the city of Mecca in Arabia.
During the height of Islamic civilization some 800 years ago, Muslim psychologists diagnosed stress this way: The further away you are from God, the more stressed you will be. They then counseled their patients on how to increase their relationship with God through prayer, fasting, aromatherapy, reading, reflection, and self-denial.
Fitrah means your inner nature or moral compass. It steers you to seek out religious experiences and ultimately directs you to accept the existence of God.
Islamic beliefs are not difficult to comprehend. Ideas about God, angels, prophets, and such make Islamic concepts seem close to Judeo-Christian concepts. The word Islam means peace and surrender to God. Humans have a kind of free will that God is testing. Islam believes in a spirit world populated by angels and by creatures called Jinns and people have a moral compass called fitrah, which directs them to look for God.
Committing idolatry. Stealing from an orphan. Committing adultery or fornication. Disobeying parents. Collecting interest on investments. Accusing a chaste woman falsely. Giving false testimony. Committing murder or suicide. Committing infanticide. Enslaving a free person. Engaging in slander and gossip.
Speaking the truth. Being kind to family. Honoring parents. Giving in charity. Feeding the poor. Fighting against injustice. Freeing slaves. Returning borrowed property. Studying and learning. Being kind to animals.
Muhammad said, “Allah has recorded both good and bad deeds. Whoever intended to do a good deed and did not do it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed. But if he intended to do it and did it, Allah writes it down with Himself as worth from ten to seven hundred good deeds, or many times over. But if he intended to do a bad deed and did not do it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he in- tended it and did it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed.”
What is faith?
Once a man came to the Prophet Muhammad and asked, “What is faith?” He replied, “When doing good makes you feel good and when doing bad makes you feel bad, then you are a believer.” The man asked again, “What is a sin?” The Prophet answered, “When something bothers your conscience, give it up.”
The Prophet Muhammad once said, “When a believer sins, there is a dark spot put on his heart, and if he repents and asks for pardon, his heart is polished. But if he keeps on sinning, the dark spots increase until darkness gains ascendancy over his heart.”
Muslims believe that people are in this life to be tested on whether or not they will surrender to God’s will and lead a moral lifestyle. There are three levels of personal spiritual development: the Animal Self, the Accusing Self, and the Contented Self. Islam does not teach that humans are inherently sinful. In Islam, sin is not a consequence of birth but rather the result of a choice that the individual has made to commit a bad deed. God can forgive any person who asks for forgiveness and is sincere. Muslims believe people will be held accountable on a Day of Judgment and will be rewarded by God with eternity in Heaven or punishment in Hell.
“These (false gods) are nothing but names that you have devised, you and your ancestors for which God has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire! Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!” (Quran 53:23)
The Quran uses stunning detail to describe the development of the fetus, calling it a sign of God’s power. From correctly identifying the role of sperm in conception to an amazingly accurate depiction of each stage of fetal growth, the Quran has been very thorough on this subject. “These facts about human development could not have been known to Muhammad in the seventh century because most of them were not discovered until the twentieth century.” (Keith L. Moore)
Allah said, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as that.”
Muslims don’t view death as final. It is merely passing on to another stage of life. Pain is naturally felt at the removal of a loved one from this world. However, no Muslim feels that the person is gone forever. Appropriate words of sympathy to tell a grieving person who has lost a loved one are: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return.” One may add the line, “May Allah forgive them and grant them a high place in Paradise.”
Near-death experiences are accepted in Islam. The rule is that if it is not your time to go, you will revive. The Quran contains several stories in which the main characters wish to return to the world to warn their relatives about the truth of the next life. Jesus, who is considered a prophet in Islam, is said to have revived those who were thought dead.
Islam counts our time in the womb and our lying in the grave as stages of life. Abortion is all but prohibited in Islam. Saving the life of the mother is the only valid reason for abortion. Islam says faith can render any situation, good or bad, into a way to please God. When we die, our soul lives in the grave until Resurrection Day.
The Muslim greeting that is equivalent to “Hello” is Assalamu alaykum. This means “Peace be upon you.” The reply is the reverse, Wa alaykum assalam, which translates as “And upon you be peace.”
“They will live among sylvan forests where there is neither thorn nor bramble, amidst wildly flowering trees that provide cool, expansive shade. There are flowing brooks and fruits of all kinds that never go out of season nor diminish. They will recline in places of honor, with specially created companions who are pure, undefiled, loving and of a similar age.” (Quran 56:27–38)
Heaven & Hell
Muslims believe in a Day of Judgment where all injustice will be paid back and no one will be treated unfairly. Islam teaches that Heaven is eternal, whereas a person’s sentence in Hell can range from temporary to forever, depending on his or her crimes. Heaven is presented as an ideal adult playground with the best delights in food, comfort, friendship, activities, environment, and physical pleasures of all kinds. Hell is described in great detail in Islam. Punishments there often mimic crimes done in this life. Anyone who has any small amount of faith in God will eventually be released and admitted to Heaven.
The top two scientific researchers in the Muslim world today, who hold opposing views on the evolution or instant creation of human beings, are Dr. Maurice Bucaille and Harun Yahya. Bucaille published his views in the book What Is the Origin of Man? while Yahya wrote his response in the work Evolution Deceit. Both lay out well reasoned arguments and have contributed a great deal to the richness of the current debate among Muslims.
Both Jews and Muslims look aghast at the idea of original sin. The Bible even witnesses that “the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
The Quran has a complete chronology and explanation for how life and the universe began. Islam accepts elements of creationism and evolution in explaining the origin of life. The Quran contains its own version of the story of Adam and Eve. The woman is not blamed for the pair eating from the tree, and there is no original sin. God sends prophets to guide people. The messages of the prophets were sometimes lost by later generations.
Orientalists have charged that Islam teaches fatalism, or the be- lief that personal actions do not matter because we cannot escape what will happen to us. Islam is actually against this kind of a concept. Muhammad said, “Work as you are able because if you don’t help yourself, God won’t help you either.”
Islam does not believe in fatalism or in an ultimate destiny that is inescapable. God is the creator of time and is outside of the flow of time, seeing the past, present, and future happening all at once. Muslims are taught to avoid astrology, fortune telling, and similar activities. Islam teaches they are false professions. Muslims are taught to have perseverance no matter what happens to them, good or bad. This stoic attitude is a hallmark of an individual’s level of faith. Muslims believe that God does not test people with more than they can bear. It’s up to us to rise to the challenge.
The Jewish Old Testament of the Bible warns Jews of God’s wrath and the destruction of Zion and its later rebirth by the Messiah. The Christian New Testament warns of a great disaster to befall true believers who will be saved later by a triumphant Jesus. Islam also has a prophetic tradition of predicting the downfall of Muslims until a hero comes along named the Mahdi who will revive the community.
The diversity in world religions is caused by the alteration of each prophet’s message over many generations. Islam does not believe in the superiority of any race over another. The only valid criterion for establishing the value of people is their religiousness and level of faith. Islam has its own view of Armageddon in which Jesus plays a part, though he will be on the side of Muslims when he returns to Earth. Muslims believe in an end-times scenario that includes the destruction of Earth and the beginning of Judgment Day.
Islam has a unique set of practices called the Five Pillars of Islam, which encompass monotheism, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. A Muslim must perform the five pillars, or it is counted as a sin. The Muslim Creed is called the Shahadah, or the Declaration of Faith. It consists of two parts: belief in God and acceptance of Muhammad as a prophet. Muhammad is not considered a god in Islam or even a savior in the classic Christian sense. He is a man who was chosen by God to deliver a message. Muslim conversion rituals consist of merely reciting the Shahadah in the presence of witnesses.
Warship in Islam
Greed and gluttony are considered conditions of the soul and can be cured only with a combination of spiritual advice and a program of action. Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a yearly charity tax on every Muslim that amounts to 2.5 percent of all the person’s annually valued assets. Ramadan is the name of the month in which Muslims fast from food and drink from first light until sunset. Fasting, the fourth pillar of Islam, teaches Muslims to control their desires and urges for worldly satisfaction and to feel empathy for the poor. The reward for successful completion is forgiveness of the individual’s sins.
Christianity & Islam
Islam accepts the virgin birth of Jesus and his role as Messiah to the Jews. The Quran, however, denies that he is God or the Son of God, rather considering him to be a prophet. Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified nor that the Romans killed him in Jerusalem. Muslims hold that God answered Jesus’ prayer and removed him from the physical world to await the end-times and a triumphant return to Earth. Christianity and Islam have had many centuries of interfaith dialogue interspersed with wars and periods of mutual fear and mistrust. European Christians completely occupied the Muslim world during the era of Colonialism and targeted Islam for suppression. The Islamic resurgence today is merely an attempt by Muslims all over the world to regain their religion. The secular governments of most Muslim countries oppose the meaningful practice of Islam by their populace.
Men are the head of the family in the Islamic family structure, but the wife has the status of an equal adult who must be consulted in family affairs. The mosque is considered a sort of all purpose community center where people can worship, hold meetings, and discuss community affairs. The birth of a baby is celebrated in a special ceremony called an Aqiqah. It is customary to give gifts for the baby on that day. Muslims have a kosherlike standard that restricts what they can eat and consume. Islam forbids gambling, alcohol, drugs, and suggestive music.
Islam views women as equal partners with men in life as well as in religion. Islam does not teach that women are inferior to men. There are many misperceptions about the status of that are fueled by a few high profile cases. The vast majority of Muslim women live normal lives and face normal challenges. Poverty and illiteracy in general are the root cause for the plight of women in some developing nations, not religion. A Muslim man can marry up to four wives only if he can treat each equally. The norm is monogamy in the Muslim world. Islam does not allow wife beating. If abuse occurs in some Muslim homes, it is due to the same reasons that cause men to abuse their wives in the West. Islamic Law relieves women of all financial responsibility for the family and instead places the entire burden on the man. There is a definite procedure for divorce in Islam that can be initiated by the husband or wife. It includes a cooling-off period so that there is a chance for reconciliation.
Arabia & Muhammad
Arabia was one of the many crossroads of civilization. Caravan routes linking Asia with Europe traversed much of that desert land. Muhammad had developed a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness in his youth and earned nicknames to that effect. The Arabs of Mecca opposed Muhammad’s preaching and persecuted his followers. Muslims believe that Muhammad was given a tour of Heaven by the archangel Gabriel. This is the famous ascension of Muhammad from Jerusalem.
The first four caliphs, or leaders, after Muhammad are considered by Muslims to have been “rightly guided,” or sincere to their religion in their governance style. The Muslim community was forced to fight the Byzantines and the Persians in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq; and they won many stunning victories. The first caliph died of old age, but the next three were all assassinated for political reasons. Islam was not spread by the sword. This is a popular myth that was cultivated by propagandists in the Middle Ages. Forced conversion is forbidden in the Quran. The Islamic political structure began as something akin to a representative democracy but was transformed into a hereditary monarchy by ambitious men 30 years after Muhammad passed away.
Saladin was known for his great self-restraint, chivalry, and manners. He exemplified the Quranic ideal of the warrior- scholar. When Richard the Lion-Hearted lost his horse during the course of one battle, Saladin sent him a new one with the message, “It is not right that so brave a warrior should fight on foot.”
The political structure of the Islamic state became a family dynasty 30 years after Muhammad’s passing. The first dynasty, which lasted 90 years, was called the Umayyad dynasty. The second Muslim dynasty, the Abbasid, came to power in a violent uprising and further expanded the borders of the Islamic state. The Abbasids founded the city of Baghdad as their capital. Muslim civilization produced great painters, authors, architects, and calligraphers whose works are on a par with the artistic achievements of any other civilization. The Mongols practically wiped out Islamic civilization in their destruction of over half of the Muslim world. The Crusades were a series of European invasions into the Middle East. Muslim forces eventually drove them out but not until Muslims united under a determined leader named Saladin.
Islam in America
Many Africans who were brought to the New World as slaves were Muslims. Most were forcibly converted, but a few tried to practice Islam in secret. Islam began growing in the African American community in the early 1900s. It was not authentic Islamic teachings they were learning, however, but a mixture of Islam, Christianity, and black nationalism. The Nation of Islam has never adhered to standard Islamic teachings; its doctrines about racial hatred and new messengers from God are against Islam. Most modern African American Muslims follow orthodox Islam. The number of converts to Islam among blacks, Hispanics, and whites continues to grow each year. Muslim organizations seek to provide services and a forum for discussion among Muslims in North America.
The legacy of Islam
Muslim civilization preserved the knowledge of the ancient Greeks and others and passed it on to Europe. While Europe was in the Dark Ages, the Islamic world was the center for learning, inquiry, and science. The foundations for modern science and the scientific method were laid by Muslim researchers from the ninth to the thirteenth century. Muslim scholars invented algebra, made astounding astronomical discoveries, systematized chemistry, developed the practice of medicine to the highest standards in the world at that time, and made great strides in many other fields. Islamic civilization left a legacy upon which modern civilization is built. The western Europeans who studied in Muslim universities took what they had learned and built upon it.
It may be surprising to learn that Arab Christians have actually been at the forefront of the struggle for Arab rights in Palestine. The prolific writer, Edward Said, has brought this issue to the world through his compelling books. Hanan Ashrawi, who, as of this writing, is a member of the Palestinian National Authority, has been an international spokeswoman for her people’s cause. On the opposite end, the most violent Palestinian terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is actually run by a Christian named Ahmed Jibreel.
In essence, it is an easy chance for the Jews to prove that the Quran is false – that it is not a divine revelation. All they have to do is organize themselves, treat the Muslims nicely for a few years and then say, “Now what does your holy book say about who are your best friends in the world – the Jews or the Christians? Look what we Jews have done for you!” That is all they have to do to disprove the Quran’s authenticity, yet they have not done it in 1400 years. But, as always, the offer still stands open!
Recently, the leading intellectual in the Catholic Church – a man by the name of Hans – studied the Quran and gave his opinion of what he had read. This man has been around for some time, and he is highly respected in the Catholic Church, and after careful scrutiny, he reported his findings, concluding, “God has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad.” (Hans)
Jesus in the Quran
a) Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virtuous woman, and honored above the women of all nations. b) It was God’s own Revelation to mankind. c) Jesus was the ‘Word’ of God. d) He was the Christ that the Jews were waiting for. e) God will empower Jesus to perform miracles even in infancy. f) Jesus was born miraculously, without any male intervention. g) God will vouchsafe him Revelation. h) Jesus will give life to the dead by God’s permission, and that he will heal those born blind and the lepers by God’s permission.
Mary in The Quran
There is a Chapter in the Quran, named Maryam (Mary), named in honour of Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both; again, such an honour is not to be found given to Mary in the Christian Bible. Out of the 66 books of the Protestants and 73 of the Roman Catholics, not one is named after Mary or her son. You will find books named after Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and two score more obscure names, but not a single one is that of Mary!
The authenticity of God’s teachings
“As I began reading English translations of the Quran, I became more and more convinced of the truth and authenticity of Allah’s teachings contained in those 114 chapters. Having been around Muslims in my formative years, I knew well that they were not the bloodthirsty, barbaric terrorists that the news media and the televangelists paint them to be. Perhaps this knowledge led me to continue my personal research further than another person would have.” (Adam Gadahn)
The striking difference between Islam and every other religion is that Islam is the only religion that makes a strict distinction between the creator and the creation. (Bruce Paterson)
Lack of knowledge
The biggest problem with non-Muslims, is their lack of understanding and lack of knowledge as to what Islam is really all about and who the Muslims are supposed to be. I pray for them all and ask Allah to forgive the Muslims for not showing a better picture to everyone.
There were no Arabic Bibles in existence in the 6th Century of the Christian Era when Muhummed lived and preached! Besides, he was absolutely unlettered and unlearned. No human had ever taught him a word.