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34   FACTS ABOUT ISLAM

 

 1)     “Islam” literally means “peace through the submission to God”.

 

2)      “Muslim” literally means “anyone or anything that submits itself to the will of God”.

 

3)      Islam is not a cult. Its followers number over 1.5 billion worldwide. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is considered to be one of the three Abrahamic faiths.

 

4)      There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken freely, knowingly, by an adult with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim:

A)  Shahadah - declaration of faith in the oneness of God and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God.

B)  Formal prayer five times a day.

C)  Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

D)  Poor-due “charity” - 2.5% of one’s savings given to the needy at once a year.

E)  Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a life time, if physically and financially able.

5)      There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in:

A)  the One God.

B)  all the prophets of God.

C)  the original scriptures revealed to Prophets Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad.

D)  the angels.

E)  the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter.

F)   the divine decree (or destiny).

 

6)      Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: oral, spiritual, social, political, educational, health, ecological, economical, intellectual, military, etc.

 

7)      Islam today is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. To become Muslim, a person of any race or culture must knowingly and freely say a simple statement, the shahadah, that bears witness to the belief in the One God and that Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of God.

 

8)      Muslims believe that “Allah” is the personal name of God.

 

9)      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.

10)    The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful, and compassionate. But Islam also teaches that He is also 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.

 

11)    Muslims believe that God has revealed 99 of His names (or attributes) in the Holy Qur’an. It is through these names 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, the Ever-Living, and the Source of Peace.

 

12)    Muslims believe in and acknowledge all the prophets of old, 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.

 

13)    Muslims neither worship Muhammad nor pray through him. Muslims solely worship the unseen and Omniscient Creator, Allah.

 

14)    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 Qur’an.

 

15)    The Holy Qur’an was not authored by Muhammad. It was authored by God, revealed to Muhammad, and written into physical form as it was being revealed over the course of 23 years under the supervision of Muhammad who was unable to read or write.

 

16)    The Holy Qur’an has no flaws or contradictions. The original Arabic scriptures have never been changed or tampered with.

 

17)    Actual seventh century Qur’ans, complete and intact, are on display in museums in Turkey, Ireland and many other places around the world.

 

18)    If all Qur’ans 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 Qur’an are precisely recited from memory by every Muslim in each of the five daily prayers.

 

19)    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.

 

20)    Islam was not spread by the sword. It was spread by the word (Islamic teachings) and the example of its followers. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion (the Holy Qur’an 2:256 and 10:99).

 

21)    Terrorism, unjustified violence, and the killing of innocent people are absolutely forbidden in Islam. Islam is a way of life that is meant to bring peace to a society, whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be, among other things, a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger. Tyrant rulers and those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are simply not following Islam. These people are individuals with their own views and political agendas. 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.

 

22)    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., etc.

 

23)    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.” (Related by Tirmidhi)

 

24)    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, the right to a dowry, the right to keep her maiden name, the right to worship in a mosque etc., etc.

Islam granted women more rights than it granted men, examples:

(a)  Right for a wife to be supported by the husband and not the other way round. A rich wife does not have to spend her money on husband or family while even a poor husband has to support family and wife.

(b)  Right of a woman to receive a dowry (to be given to the woman and not to be given to her parents). This is a non-refundable dowry; which can be money, jewelry, land, business or buildings or anything agreed. A woman does not pay dowry.  

(b)  It is the husband’s responsibility to provide the family home for a marrying couple.  

(c)  One condition required for entering paradise is for one’s mother to be pleased with.

(d)  If one (as Muslims say) is blessed with two daughters (girls not boys) and treats and brings them up well then he/she will be guaranteed paradise.

(e)  In a war it is absolutely forbidden to kill a woman while it’s ok to kill a man soldier.

(f)  A woman going for the Hajj trip will receive the same reward as a man receives when he goes fighting a war for the sake of Allah.

(g)  Both husband and wife are expected to respect and treat each other well, But Muslim man is ordered to treat his wife well (last speach given by the Messenger).

(h)  Except in rare and extreme situations, the norm for a splitting or divorcing Muslim couple, the husband leaves the home (a woman has absolute right to the full, not half the, home). And the children remain with the mother up to the age of 13 after which a judge decides to whom the children are awarded based on best interest of the children.

(i)   In inheritance a female’s share is half of that of the male, which seems to discriminate against the woman. But, if for example, a husband and a wife both receive unrelated inheritances. What the wife receives is here’s alone, while what the husband receives is to be spent on or shared with his family (children and wife).

(j)   A working wife has the freedom to do what she likes with her earnings, while earnings of a working husband; can not freely be spent by him because part of his earnings belong to children and wife.

(k)  In the case of a divorced or separated Muslim couple, the man can not talk bad or mention shortcomings of the wife, for he will be breaking a huge covenant witnessed by Allah. While the wife is free to do the opposite.

(l)   In Islamic law it is a sin to speak badly of a man or a woman. But, one of the biggest mortal seven sins in Islam and which is severely punished in the life after is to speak badly of an innocent woman. It does not include an innocent man.

(m) A woman in Islam has her own personality and her own entity. She keeps her name, her job, her earnings and her identity.

(n)  The best example for all Muslim women is the purest woman in all creation, Mary or Mariam as called by Muslims.

(o)  In his farewell speech, the Messenger urged Muslim and reminded them about two most important issues to take extreme care of and must stick to: the five daily prayers and the well treatment of women.

 

25)    Arranged marriages are allowed in Islam but are not required. The marriage decision is usually left to the individual. “Forced” marriages are cultural practices, not religious practices mandated by Islam. In Islam a marriage is a contract which must be freely and willingly entered into by both parties, and there must be agreement and consent by both parities.

 

 

26)    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 divorce.

 

27)    Islam and so-called “Nation of Islam” are two completely different religions. Islam is a religion that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century A.D. It is a religion for all races of people and enjoins the worship of the One unseen God who has no sons, daughters, or partners and who never took human form. The “Nation of Islam”, on the other hand, is a movement geared towards non-whites for the elevation of minorities on a social scale. It teaches that God appeared in the form of Fard Muhammad in Detroit in 1930 A.D. and that Elijah Muhammad, a man who died in 1975, was a prophet of God. These beliefs clearly contradict the basic Islamic theology outlined in the Qur’an. The followers of “the Nation” adhere to some Islamic principles that are mixed with many other teachings that are alien to Islam. To better understand the difference between Islam and “the Nation”, read the story about Malcolm X, his pilgrimage to Mecca, and his subsequent comments to the media. Islam teaches unity and equality amongst all the races (the Holy Qur’an 49:13).

 

28)    Muslims are not all Arabs and Arabs are not all Muslims. Islam is a universal religion and way of life which includes followers from all races of people. There are Muslims in and from virtually every country in the world. Arabs only constitute about 15 to 20% of Muslims worldwide. Indonesia has the largest concentration of Muslims with almost 200 million.

 

29)    In the five daily prayers, Muslims face the Kaaba (The holy Mosque) 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 itself. It merely 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.

 

30)    The hajj is a simultaneous pilgrimage to the Kaaba made by millions of able-bodied Muslims each year. It is performed namely to commemorate the struggles of Abraham, his son Ishmael, and his wife Hagar in submitting their wills to God.

31)    All children in the world are considered Muslims. and if they die before puberty they are guaranteed Heaven in the life after.

32)    Islamic rule of war: Not to kill a woman, a child, and elderly person, a man of religion (a priest or a rabbi). Not to kill a retreating soldier, or a soldier that puts down his arms. Or this who seeks peace. Not to kill animals, destroy crops, cut down trees. Not to poison water of any sort. Not to destroy a place of worship (a church, a temple or a synagogue). Not to knock down buildings.

Prisoners of war must be treated well. No torture, no kidnapping, no execution

33)    First social welfare system was introduced Islam back in the seventh century for all Muslims and non-Muslims.

34)    Islam is against slavery. In fact first option for a penance for many sins in Islam is to set a slave free.

 

 

 

 


Faheem Bukhatwa, my email address is : faheemfb@gmail.com