Common Questions about Islam

Common Questions about Islam by “Chat On Faith”

1. Q. What is Islam?
“Islam” is an Arabic word which means peaceful, willing submission – submission to the code of conduct ordained by God. So, Islam is a religion, but it is also a complete way of life based upon a close relationship between an individual and his Creator. It is the way of life ordained by God which was taught by each of His prophets and messengers.
What distinguishes Islam from other religions is that it refuses to accept any form of creation whatsoever as a deity worthy of worship. Instead, it emphasizes the exclusive worship of the one God who created the entire universe and to whom all creation will eventually return.
Monotheism is the foundation of Islam and its most important concept which cannot be compromised in any way. Not only is God acknowledged as the sole creator and sustainer of everything in existence, but Islam declares that He is the only true deity and He alone is worthy to be worshipped. Further, it recognizes that the attributes of God are nothing like those of His creation and cannot be compared to it; He is absolute, perfect and unique.
2. Q. What is a Muslim?
A Muslim is someone who practices Islam; that is, who willingly submits to the revealed directives of God. Everything in the universe is inherently submissive to God, functioning according to the natural laws created by Him. Human beings are physically “Muslim” in that their bodies function according to the genetic program set by God for the period of time He has decreed.
A “Muslim” in the religious sense, however, is someone who consciously commits himself to the worship of God alone, not according to his own inclinations or those of other men but according to the method conveyed by God through His appointed prophets.
The Qur’an gives many examples of people who lived before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and believed in and obeyed the prophet that God had sent them. They entered Paradise because of their obedience to God, and that is the meaning of “Islam.”
3. Q. Do Muslims Believe in Jesus?
One cannot be a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus as well as all other prophets sent by God (Allah). The Qur’an names twenty-five prophets and messengers and suggests that there were many more, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Muslims have the highest regard for Jesus and await his second coming.
The Islamic view of Jesus is one between two extremes. The Jews rejected his prophethood and called him an impostor, while many Christians regard him as the son of God and worship him as such. Islam considers Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, as one of the great prophets of God, worthy of respect and honor but not worship. He was sent to confirm and renew the basic doctrine of belief in God alone and obedience to Him.
According to the Qur’an, he was born miraculously without a father. [Refer to Qur’an, 19:16-35] And he was not crucified but raised up to God. [Refer to Qur’an, 3:55 and 4:157-158]
The Qur’an attributes to him miracles that are not even mentioned in the Bible. However, Islam sees the deification of Jesus as a reversion to paganism, and the divinity of Jesus is categorically rejected within the Qur’an’s text [Refer to 5:72]. Such doctrines as the “trinity,” “divine sonship” and “atonement” are not accepted by Muslims simply because they did not originate from Prophet Jesus himself.
It is known that most of the Gospels were written by men long after the time of Jesus and that much of the New Testament was compiled from the writings of Paul and his students. Unmistakable contradictions have appeared in the various “modern,” “revised” and “amplified” versions of the Bible. The once purely divine message conveyed by Jesus has obviously been corrupted by human input and altered through numerous translations; the original texts no longer exist.
The Gospels were written several decades after Jesus’ departure, and none of their authors had actually seen Jesus or heard him speak. Moreover, they were written in Greek while Jesus spoke Aramaic. Those Gospels presently in circulation were not selected from among the others and authorized by the Church until the decisions of the ecumenical Council of Nicea in the year 325 CE.
Nevertheless, belief in the divine scripture, not in its present form but as it was originally revealed to Prophet Jesus, is an article of Islamic faith. The final revelation from God is the only criterion by which information in previous scriptures can be evaluated. Therefore, whatever the Bible says about Jesus that agrees with the Qur’an is accepted by Muslims, and what is contrary to it is rejected as a product of human intervention.
4. Q. Do Muslims worship Muhammad?
Islam is based on uncompromising monotheism. God alone is to be worshipped and nothing else, so Muslims cannot worship Muhammad or any other human being. The basis of this misconception actually comes from the early orientalists who called Islam “Mohammedanism,” implying that Muslims worship Muhammad.
Just as all prophets (peace be upon them) prophet Muhammad was a man, and despite his extraordinary accomplishments he never claimed divine status. Rather, he always maintained that he was human like everyone else, and that the Qur’an was a message from God, revealed to him by God, to whom alone belongs all glory and praise. He (peace be upon him) never took personal credit for any success. All the principles he taught, the legislation he pronounced, and the great achievements for which he could have attained personal renown and advantage were attributed to the guidance and support of God alone.
Muslims strive to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Additionally, Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of God’s Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them). However, respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them, for all forms of worship must be directed only to the Creator, the Almighty.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was himself a devout worshipper of God. He gave away everything he obtained in charity, fasted often, and would spend a great portion of the night in prayer. He was constantly aware of his Lord, remembering Him in every situation, and his words of praise and supplication reflected the highest degree of sincerity and servitude. His entire life was dedicated to the cause of God. He called on people to worship God alone and insisted that they refer to him as merely a servant of God, telling his followers, “Do not exaggerate in praise of me as the Christians did with Jesus, son of Mary. I am only His servant, so say, ‘the servant of Allah and His messenger.'” (Al-Bukhari)
5. Q What about the Quran?
The Qur’an was revealed 1400 years ago. It states in no uncertain terms that it is a revelation from God conveyed by the angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is regarded, not only by Muslims but by scholars of religion and historians, as the most authentic religious text in existence today. Unlike earlier scriptures the Qur’an has been preserved unchanged in its original Arabic text since the time of revelation, as God had promised within it. God says,
Indeed, it is We who sent down the message, and indeed, We will be its guardian. (Al-Hijr 15:9)
History witnessed the fulfillment of that promise, for the Book of God remains to date exactly as it was revealed to the Prophet and recited by him. Immediately memorized and recorded by large numbers of his companions, it was passed on in exactly the same form by thousands of Muslims generation after generation up until the present day. The Qur’an of today is literally the same scripture as was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. There is no other book in the history of man that has been memorized precisely and accurately, word for word, letter for letter, by millions of people over the centuries. This in itself is a miracle.
There is only one version of the Qur’an; the same revealed words continue to be read, recited and memorized in their original Arabic language by Muslims throughout the world. Translations of the meanings into other languages assist in understanding but cannot be called “the Qur’an,” as this term refers only to the actual revealed words of God.
The Qur’an contains God’s final message to humanity and legislation which encompasses all spheres of human life. It is allied to all peoples and all times. It appeals to logic, following clear reasoning and citing evidences from the created universe, from history and from the human soul to establish not only the existence of God but also His uniqueness and absolute perfection. It also contains answers to the questions which naturally occur to the human mind about the purpose of creation and what occurs after death.
It is the primary source of the Islamic creed and its legislation. But in addition to religious guidance it contains numerous verses that speak of the universe, its components and phenomena – the earth, sun, moon, stars, mountains, wind, rivers and seas, plants, animals and successive stages of human development. As can be seen from examples in the previous chapter, the Qur’an speaks with the perfect knowledge of the Creator about His creation. Being the final revelation to mankind, God has made the Qur’an a continuing miracle containing evidences to be uncovered gradually as humans increase in knowledge of their universe.
But its main purpose is to guide mankind as to how one should relate to his Creator, to his fellow men, and to the universe in general. It outlines the practical methods of earning the approval of God and obtaining peace and contentment in the permanent existence to come. By following its guidance, man can fully experience his human worth and his special position among created beings. The Qur’an was revealed containing complete guidance in all matters of faith and its application to the affairs of human life in order that everyone might attain the happiness and contentment of this world and the next.
6. Q: What are the merits of Jesus in Islam?
As a matter of fact, not only do Muslims deeply revere and hold Jesus Christ in high esteem as a Prophet of Allah, but they also view him as one of the greatest Messengers of Allah. According to Muslims, he is counted as one of Ulu Al-`Azm Mina Al-Rusul (the most resolute messengers).
Commenting on the verse: “So be patient [O Muhammad] as were ulu Al-`Azm Mina Al-Rusul,” (Al-Ahqaf 46:35), Ibn Abbas remarked: “Ulu Al-`Azm Mina Al-Rusul are Prophet Muhammad, Prophet Noah, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Moses and Prophet `Isa (Jesus).”
Under Islam, Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) has special privileges and peculiarities. Muslims recognize that Jesus Christ is favored with many things more than other Prophets and Messengers. He is seen as a man with exceptional life and mission.
In the Qur’an, we notice that Allah repeatedly confirms that Jesus was supported with the Holy Spirit, the angel Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him). There are three verses in the Qur’an affirming that Jesus was supported with the Holy Spirit. Allah says twice in the Qur’an:
And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Holy Spirit. (Al-Baqarah 2:87 and 253)
Allah also says:
O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Holy Spirit. (Al-Ma’idah 5:110)
Another privilege of Jesus in Islam is that he was immune to Satan’s work. In the Qur`an, Allah cites the supplication of Mary’s mother for her daughter and her offspring when she gave birth to her. Allah says:
And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah]. (Aal `Imran 3:36)
Regarding this supplication, Al-Tabari cites, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, the following hadith: “The Messenger of Allah said, “Every newborn of the children of Adam must endure the stab of Satan’s (finger), which causes the child to cry out except Mary daughter of `Imran and her son. This is because when her mother gave birth to her, she said: ‘and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah].’ A curtain was drawn between them and so Satan stabbed the curtain instead.’”
Furthermore, in Islam, Jesus is the only Prophet who is described as a word and spirit from Allah. In the Qur’an, Allah says:
(And mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near (to Allah.)’” (Aal `Imran 3:45)
Moreover, Jesus (peace be upon him) was endowed several unique miracles in which Muslims themselves must believe just as they do with those of Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Islam. Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke to people in the cradle and was taught writing, wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel. With Allah’s permission, he could fashion birds, heal the blind and the leper and resurrect the dead. Allah (Glory be to Him) says in the Qur’an:
[The Day] when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is not but obvious magic.’ (Al-Ma’idah 5:110)
Finally, it is quite safe to say that Muslims share with Christians reverence and esteem of Jesus, with a reservation that he was neither a god nor demigod, but a Prophet and Messenger who was created as a sign of the omnipotence of Allah. In the Qur’an, Allah says:
And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign and sheltered them within a high ground having level [areas] and flowing water. (Al-Mu’minun 23:50)
7. Q: Why do Muslims worship a black structure?
The simple cube-shaped stone building located in Makkah is called the Ka`bah or the Sacred House. It is the point towards which Muslims face when they pray. Although Muslims face the direction of the Ka`bah during prayer, they do not worship it. Muslims worship and pray only to God (Allah).
The Ka`bah was built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael (peace be upon them) in response to God’s command over 4,000 years ago. Abraham (peace be upon him) consecrated the House for the worship of the one true God and invited all of humanity to visit it for that purpose. Muslims who are physically and financially able are required to make a pilgrimage to it once in a lifetime.
Before the advent of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), religion among the Arabs had degenerated into polytheism and paganism, and Makkah was completely submerged in idolatry; some 360 idols had been placed in and around the Ka`bah to be worshipped there along with God. Prophet Muhammad was sent to restore to mankind the pure monotheism taught by all the messengers of God and reinstate the worship of Him alone. This he accomplished, and the Ka`bah was finally cleared of all manmade deities.
Among the religious rites particular to the Ka`bah is going around it as it symbolizes the unity of all true religions, the brotherhood of all the Prophets, and the essential consistency of their message.
When Muslims pray facing toward this single central point, they are reminded of their common purpose and long-term goal. Even when standing directly towards the Ka`bah in prayer, one is not to look at it but rather at the ground before him. The spiritual focus is on God alone and never upon any created object.
8. Q: Why only one God?
The implication here is that the existence of dual or plural deities is possible and hence probable in the view of a polytheist. However, if the questioner claims that God can create another like Himself, we ask, “How can this created being be God, who created all things, when it has itself been created? How can it be like God since it has a beginning, whereas God has existed from eternity?
In reality, the phrase “create another God” is an erroneous contradiction because the mere fact that something is created means that it cannot be God. It is obviously illogical and irrational to say that something is God and cannot be God simultaneously.
The other implication in this question is that if we answer, “He cannot,” then the power of God must be limited, negating His divinity. These suggestions are not valid because the absolute and unlimited power of God pertains to what is rationally possible and not what is rationally impossible. So when we say no, which is correct, it does not mean that the power of God is limited. Rather, it affirms the perfection of His power, meaning that He is not incapable of doing anything that is rationally possible.
Our minds cannot grasp the extent of His power, nor can our imaginations. Therefore, we must admit our inability to contain the essence and nature of God within the limits of our intellect.
9. Q: Is there a life after death?
We live in a world that demands logic and proof and is not content with only belief. Someone might wonder how a rational, practical minded person could believe in life after death. People tend to assume that anyone who believes in the Hereafter does that on the basis of blind faith. But in fact, belief in the Hereafter is completely logical. And it is the only way the injustices of this world can be reconciled with a just and All-Powerful Creator.
We know that in addition to physical pleasures and comforts there are certain ideal conditions that human beings instinctively desire and strive to attain, such as love, respect, security and contentment. Though many people are able to acquire a portion of these objectives here on earth, there remains one that is largely unobtainable – and that is justice. Most people hold the conviction that life is not fair: that they have often been misunderstood or not appreciated, that in some way they have been harmed, cheated or oppressed. Daily newscasts disclose the killing, torture, displacement and starvation of countless innocent people by powerful tyrants and nations, lives ruined by the vicious or careless acts of others or by natural disasters, and the poor and helpless being subjected to theft and deception. Seldom is even partial justice ever restored. Yet, every human being desires justice. Even if he does not seek it for others, he certainly wants justice for himself.
So why has the Creator instilled in man a longing for something he cannot experience in this world? The answer is that this life is only one portion of his existence and that the logical conclusion which restores the equilibrium found in all creation is in the Hereafter. It is there that every person will be fully and precisely compensated for his good and evil deeds. This is the perfect and absolute justice which God has promised all people.
The present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of existence. The explanation given by the Qur’an about the necessity of life after death is what the moral consciousness of man demands. If there was no life after death, the belief in God would be meaningless, or it would be a belief in some kind of indifferent and negligent deity Who, after having created the human race, is no longer concerned with its welfare.
But certainly, God is just. He will indeed punish the tyrants who have killed thousands and caused suffering to their families, corrupted institutions and societies, enslaved people and nations, robbed, deprived and plundered. And what about those who patiently endured so much injustice and hardship, suffered to uphold truth, saved lives or sacrificed in order to assist many people? What earthly compensations could possibly restore the balance for them?
This can only take place in an eternal life where every individual affected in the least by someone’s actions will testify for or against him, and where the innermost thoughts and intentions, known completely to God, will be judged precisely and perfectly. Since man’s term of life in this world is limited and because numerous individuals are affected by one’s actions, adequate rewards and punishments are impossible in the present life. The Qur’an states categorically that the Day of Resurrection must come and that God will then decree the fate of each soul according to its record of deeds.
Additionally, God has stated in the Qur’an that the present creation is in itself a clear proof that He is able to create and re-create as He wills, whatever He wills, however, He wills and whenever He wills, for God originates and repeats creation with equal ease. Consider these words revealed to His final Prophet:
Say, ‘Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation.’ (Al-`Ankabut 29:20)
Did We fail in the first creation? But they are in confusion over a new creation. (Qaf 50:15)
Is not He who created the heavens and the earth able to create the likes of them? Yes, and He is the Knowing Creator. (Yasin 36:81)
Do they not see that Allah, who created the heavens and earth and did not fail in their creation, is able to give life to the dead? (Al-Ahqaf 46:33)
Does man not remember that We created him before, while he was nothing. (Ta-Ha 19:67)
And you have already known the first creation, so will you not remember? (Al-Waqi`ah 56:62)
Have they not considered how Allah begins creation and then repeats it? Indeed that, for Allah, is easy. (Al-`Ankabut 29:19)
In fact, the material of creation is already in existence, merely to be developed once again at His command. Observable evidence of this ongoing process is now being presented regularly by astronomers and specialists in other fields of modern science.
10. Q: Why are Muslims always fighting?
Since the Second World War it has become almost fashionable in the west to be a pacifist. In earlier times the notion of fighting for a good cause and being a warrior for God against the forces of evil, was considered a noble ideal. In Islam these principles still apply.
Muslims are not always fighting; the very word ‘Islam’ implies peace. What Islam does do is insist that it is a good and honorable thing to fight in the defense of that which matters – and to a Muslim, God matters most. Jihad, which is usually interpreted in the West to mean “holy war” or military action for the sake of Allah, actually means striving or struggle for Allah.
It has a much wider meaning than the military action, mainly as the struggle against temptation to stray from Allah’s way in this life. When Jihad does imply military action, it is only justified against oppressive or corrupt tyrants, or those who deliberately seek to stamp out Islam. In other words, Muslims are provoked by injustice, and regard it as cowardice to turn a blind eye.
The decision to declare Jihad is taken very seriously. As the British chose to fight in defense of their nation and on behalf of the Jews against the tyranny of Hitler, so Muslims would regard it as their moral duty to fight for what they considered right, even if it meant the sacrifice of their own lives.1 There can be no just peace if people still live without security from harm.
The state of military Jihad can only be declared for two valid reasons – the first is defense, and the second is the undoing of injustice. When an Islamic State is attacked, it is the Muslim’s duty to defend its land and people at all costs. As regards injustice, Muslims are the vice regents of God Himself, and regard it as a religious duty to rise up and end it. They have the responsibility to redress tyranny and evil wherever it occurs. A war entered into to restore the balance of justice is holy.
The rules of Jihad require that once the enemy surrenders, all hostility is to cease. There should be no reprisals, all prisoners should be treated humanely, and if possible, returned safely to their own families. There should be no torture, rape, or injury done to prisoners. If no prisoner feels gratitude at being captured by a Muslim, then something was very wrong with the supposed Muslim’s Islam! Obviously, when abuses arise, the fault lies with the individual concerned, not with the faith.
Muslims regard human life as a gift from God. Everything ultimately belongs to God, and must be returned to Him. As Jesus said: ‘No man has greater love than this – that he is willing to lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13), or, if need be, for God. The sign of a Muslim’s true submission is that, if need be, his or her life is ready to be sacrificed in the service of God. A Muslim who gives up his or her life for God is known as a Shaheed (martyr).
11. Q: Who Was Muhammad?
Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the man beloved by more than 1.2 billion Muslims. He is the man who taught us patience in the face of adversity, and taught us to live in this world but seek eternal life in the hereafter. It was to Prophet Muhammad that God revealed the Quran. Along with this Book of guidance God sent Prophet Muhammad, whose behavior and high moral standards are an example to us all. Prophet Muhammad’s life was the Quran. He understood it, he loved it and he lived his life based on its standards. He taught us to recite the Quran, to live by its principles and to love it. When Muslims declare their faith in One God, they also declare their belief that Muhammad is the slave and final messenger of God.
When a Muslim hears Muhammad’s name mentioned they ask God to send blessings upon him. Prophet Muhammad was a man, a human being just like any other man, but it is his love for humanity that sets him apart. Muslims love Prophet Muhammad, but it is his love for us, that makes him a man like no other. He longed for Paradise not only for himself but also for all of us. He wept tears not for himself but for his Ummah[1], and for humanity. He was often heard to cry “O God, my Ummah, my Ummah”.
Muslims also believe in the same Prophets mentioned in Jewish and Christian traditions, including Noah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus, and they believe that all prophets came with the same message – to worship God alone, without partners, sons or daughters. There is a difference, however, between all other prophets and Prophet Muhammad. Before Muhammad, prophets were sent to particular people in particular places and periods. Muhammad however, is the final Prophet and his message is for all of humankind.
God tells us in the Quran that He did not send Prophet Muhammad except as a mercy for humankind. “And we have sent you O Muhammad, not but as a mercy for humankind and all that exists.” (Quran 21:107) God did not say Muhammad was sent to the people of Arabia, or to men, or to the people of the 7th century. He made it clear that Prophet Muhammad was a prophet like no other, one whose message would spread far and wide and be applicable in all places for all times. Muslims love him, respect him and follow him. They hold him in such regard that for many it is emotionally painful to see or hear their beloved mentor ridiculed or disrespected.
Throughout history and around the world non-Muslims have shown great respect and honour to Prophet Muhammad and he is considered influential in both religious and secular matters. Mahatma Ghandi described him as scrupulous about pledges, intense in his devotion to his friends and followers, intrepid, fearless, and with absolute trust in God and in his own mission. Prophet Muhammad taught Islam as a way of life, founded an empire, laid down a moral code and instituted a code of law focusing on respect, tolerance and justice.
What is it about Prophet Muhammad that inspires such devotion? Is it his gentle and loving nature, his kindness and generosity or is it his ability to empathise with all of humanity? Muhammad was a selfless man who devoted the last 23 years of his life to teaching his companions and followers how to worship God and how to respect humanity. Prophet Muhammad was acutely aware of just how much responsibility had been thrust upon him by God. He was careful to teach the message just as God had prescribed and warned his followers not to adulate him the way Jesus, son of Mary was praised.[2]
Muslims do not worship Prophet Muhammad; they understand that he is only a man. However, he is a man worthy of our utmost respect and love. Prophet Muhammad loved humanity so much that he would weep out of fear for them. He loved his Ummah with such deep and profound devotion that God remarked on the depth of his love for us in Quran.
“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to God, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers he is full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (Quran 9:128)
Prophet Muhammad taught us to love God and to obey Him. He taught us to be kind to each other, to respect our elders, and care for our children. He taught us that it was better to give than to receive and that each human life is worthy of respect and dignity. He taught us to love for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves. Prophet Muhammad taught us that families and communities are essential, and he pointed out that individual rights although important are not more important than a stable, moral society. Prophet
Muhammad taught us that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that no one person is better then another except in respect to his or her piety and devotion to God.
Who is Prophet Muhammad? Quite simply he is the man who will stand before God on the day of Requital and beg God to have mercy on us. He will intercede for us. Muslims love him because he is the slave and messenger of God, he is a mercy to humankind and his gentleness, and devotion to humanity is unprecedented.
12. Q: Who is Allah
Actually, Allah is the proper name of the One True God. Nothing else can be called Allah. This term has no plural or gender, which shows its uniqueness when compared with the word ‘god’, that can be made plural, gods; or feminine, goddess. It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah.
The One True God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from Allah Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered the essence or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads (what means):
“Say: ‘He is Allah, (who is) One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.’” (Al-Ikhlas 112:1)
Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, we are told that: “Allah is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”
However, Allah is also Just. Hence, wrongdoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the pious will receive His bounties and favors. People suffering throughout their lives while seeking Allah’s bounty and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them is contrary to the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter, which removes all the incentives for striving to attain a moral and virtuous life in this world.
Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor only through virtue and piety.
Allah, the Creator, must have a different nature from the things He created, because if He were of the same nature as them, He would be temporal and would therefore need a maker. Therefore, nothing is like Him. If the Maker is not temporal, then He must be Eternal. The Eternal cannot be bound by limitations. He is the Self-Sufficient because nothing outside Him can cause him to continue to exist, and if nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, this means that He is Self-Sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then His existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore Eternal and Everlasting.
13. Q: Was Jesus crucified?
As for Muslims, they believe that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified but another person was made to resemble him before them. Allah says in the Qur’an:
And [for] their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. (An-Nisaa’ 4:157)
According to the exegetes of the Qur’an, notably Al-Razy, somebody else was killed instead of Jesus. According to his exegesis, the killed person might have been one of the following persons:
1- When the Jews knew that Jesus was in some house with his disciples, the chief of Jews ordered one of his men called “Tetaus” to come in on Jesus and bring him out to kill him. When he came in, Allah brought Jesus out of the house ceiling, and cast the resemblance of Jesus upon that man. Then, he was thought to be Jesus, and so he was crucified and killed.
2- A man was assigned to guard Jesus, who ascended the mountain and was raised to Heaven. So Allah cast the resemblance of Jesus upon that guard. Thereupon, they killed him, though he was shouting “I am not Jesus.”
3- A hypocrite claiming that he was a disciple of Jesus went to the Jews and informed on him. When the Jews entered to seize him. Allah cast the resemblance of Jesus upon him. So he was crucified and killed.
4- When the Jews decided to seize Jesus who was in the company of ten of his disciples, he wondered: “Who purchases Paradise by having my resemblance cast upon him?” One of them replied in the affirmative. Thereupon, the resemblance of Jesus was cast upon him. So he was brought out and killed, whereas Jesus was raised to Heaven.
The Qur’an confirms that the killers of the false Jesus themselves suspected killing Jesus for the resemblance was cast upon the face rather than the body. When they killed the suspected Jesus, they looked at his body and said: “The face is Jesus’, but the body is that of somebody else.” Al-Suddy stated: “When the Jews confined Jesus along with ten of his disciples in some house, a Jew came in to bring him out and kill him. Thereupon, Allah cast the resemblance of Jesus upon that man, whereas Jesus was raised to Heaven. So they took the wrong man and killed him thinking that he was Jesus. However, they then wondered: “If this is Jesus, where is our man? If he is our man, where is Jesus?”
14. Q: Why Can’t Muslims Eat Pork?
The short answer is because God forbade it – a prohibition that predated Islam by centuries, and was accepted by the Jews long before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in the law given to Moses (Deuteronomy 14:8 and Leviticus 11:7–8). Incidentally, Jesus – being a Jew – also never ate pork, and he ordered his followers to keep all the Jewish laws (Mt 5:19). Yet shortly after his death, the ruling was changed, thanks to a dream experienced by Jesus’ disciple, Peter (Acts 10:3–7).
Pork was declared haram (unlawful) to Muslims in Surahs Al-Baqarah and Al-Ma’idah.
He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:173)
Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
Apart from the religious prohibition, pork seems as a meat to contain the greatest proportion of germs and parasites, most of which are contagious and some of which are fatal.
The pork tapeworm (balantidium coli), the largest protozoan affecting humans, lodges in the intestine. Trichina roundworms (Trichinella Spiralis) are now very common in Europe and the USA, and are responsible for all sorts of ill-health. Pork products treated carelessly in hot weather are also some of the most common causes of food poisoning. People who do eat pork should always cook it very thoroughly.
Because of the religious prohibition, Muslims also check whether products containing animal fat or ‘shortening’ include pork lard. Gelatine made from the skin or bones of the pig is also avoided by Muslims.
15. Q: What is the meaning of Monotheism in Islam?
The concept of monotheism (known as tawhid in Arabic) is the single most important concept in Islam. Everything in Islam is built upon it. Islam calls to the absolute Oneness of God. No act of worship or devotion has any meaning or value if this concept is in any way compromised.
Monotheism can be looked at from the following three angles:
The Oneness of God in His Lordship
The Oneness of God in His Lordship means that God has complete mastery over the universe in every way. He alone is the Creator of all things. He alone causes everything to happen. He is All-Powerful. No one shares in His dominion. None can resist His decree.
This concept is one that most people on Earth would agree with. Most people recognize that the Creator of the universe is One and He has no partner.
Devotion of all worship to God Alone
No one has the right to be worshipped except for God (Allah). This concept is the central idea that was proclaimed by all the Prophets throughout the ages. It is the most important creedal belief in Islam. The purpose of Islam is to call people away from the worship of creation and call them towards the worship of the Creator.
This is where Islam differs greatly from most other religions. Though most religions teach that there is a Supreme Being who created all that exists, they are rarely free of some form of polytheism with respect to worship. These religions either call on their adherents to worship other beings as gods besides God (Allah) – though usually placing these other gods on a lower level than the Supreme Being – or they demand that their adherents call on other beings as intercessors between them and God.
All the Prophets and Messengers, from Adam to Muhammad (may God praise them all) called people to worship God alone. This is the purest, simplest, most natural faith. Islam rejects the notion of the cultural anthropologists that the early religion of human beings was polytheism, and then slowly the idea of monotheism evolved from that.
The truth is that the natural religion of humanity is to worship God alone. People later came along and corrupted this religion, introducing into it the worship of other beings. People seem to have a tendency to want to focus their devotions on something tangible, something imaginable, even though they have an instinctive knowledge that the Creator of the universe is far beyond their imaginations. Throughout human history, God sent Prophets and Messengers to call the people back to the worship of the One True God, and repeatedly, people returned to the worship of created beings.
The Oneness of God in His Names and Attributes
The oneness of God (Allah) in His names and attributes implies that God does not share in the attributes of created beings, nor do they share in any of His. God is unique in every way. Muslims believe in all of the attributes that God asserts for Himself and that His Prophet ascribes to Him with the understanding that those attributes are not the same as the attributes of created things. Likewise, we negate any name or attribute for God that God and His Messenger negate for Him.
God’s attributes are all attributes of perfection and completeness. Human deficiencies cannot be ascribed to God. God has no deficiency or weakness whatsoever.
It is a form of polytheism to ascribe to God attributes of created things. It is likewise a form of polytheism to ascribe to created things attributes that belong to God alone. Anyone who believes that another being is, for instance, All-Knowledgeable or All-Powerful, has committed the sin of polytheism, which is the greatest of all sins in Islam.
16. Q: Who Do Muslims Worship: God or Allah?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Islam concerns the name “Allah”. Some people believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians, Jews and others, and some missionary organizations distribute literature in English in which they say such things as: “Allah is the god of the Muslims” and “Muhammad told people to believe in the god, Allah”.
They thus imply and reinforce the idea that “Allah” is some sort of false deity.
This is totally incorrect because “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will find the word «Allah» wherever «God» is used in English.
“Allah” is also the proper name of God. Therefore, Muslims use the name “Allah” even when they speak other languages.
The Creator, the Sustainer
“Allah” is a special word. It indicates the only entity in existence who truly possesses the qualities of divinity and lordship, the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and earth. It is the name of the only being worthy of worship, the one upon whom all creation is dependent at every moment.
(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)
O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all gathered together for the purpose! and if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition! (Al-Hajj 22:73
This name belongs to God alone and no one else. “Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to “God” with a capital “G”. It is also a unique word grammatically since it cannot be made plural or given a masculine or feminine gender. This is consistent with the Islamic concept of God. In English and other languages the word “god” can be used in various forms such as “God”, “gods” or “goddess”, all with different connotations and meanings.
The One and Only “God”
The only difference between “god” (meaning a false god or any object of worship) and “God” (meaning the one true God) is a capital “G”.
Thus, a more accurate translation of “Allah” might be “the one and only true God”.
But there is another important point, which is that Islam is particularly concerned with the correct concept of God.
Someone can have an erroneous concept of Him whether he uses the name “Allah” or the word “God”.
Followers of previous religions gradually deviated from the original pure belief in God due to the fact that their scriptures were not adequately protected from loss and alteration. None of these are still available for study in their original form or language.
But this is not true of the last divinely revealed message, the Qur’an.
No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)
Hence, the accurate concept of God can be found therein.
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)
17. Q: Why did Muhammad marry several women?
Whenever Prophet Muhammad’s name emerges, the image in many people’s minds is a man with many wives. For Muslims, his multiple marriages had a meaning and immense implications for Islam, and by extension, the history of the world. Needless to say, the issue remains controversial, and as such, any study of the matter requires an objective approach. Therefore, we will endeavor to tackle this topic by being as objective as possible.
Prophet Muhammad was driven by the goal to ensure that his mission as the Messenger of God was fulfilled and to establish a society based on God’s commands, and not his own. In order to achieve this goal, he did everything that was humanly possible: he forged relations with the various tribes of Arabia, concluded peace treaties with his sworn enemies and kept relations with the heads of various tribes, nations and religions.
Taken together, his marriages were one way by which he fostered relationships with various influential tribes. If one were to view the marriages of the Prophet from this context, the motivating factors behind his marriages become clear. It would be very simplistic and incorrect to view his marriages as being merely for lustful ends. Let us now briefly examine the context of each of his marriages to see whether this was the case.
From the outset, it is of ultimate importance to note that, except for only one of his wives, all of his eleven wives were widowed or divorced. Most were in fact widowed.
His first marriage was to a widow named Khadijah, who had been married twice and whom he married when she was forty years old and he was twenty five. She was the first woman to embrace Islam. She provided great consolation to him throughout his life and he continued to remember her in his later years as his most beloved wife. He stayed with her faithfully for 25 years until her death, at which time he was 50 years old, and she was 65 years old.
If he was driven by lustful desires as accused by his opponents, he could have married several, beautiful young women in a society where having numerous wives was a norm – there would be no reason to faithfully remain with an older woman until the age of 50. This single fact would be sufficient to totally refute the charges against him in this regard. However, an examination of all of his marriages, as we shall see, should put this question to rest.
After Khadija’s death, he married another widow, Sawda, who was 65 years old. She and her previous husband, Sakran, were among those who had immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing from the oppression and persecution of the Meccans. It was during their return to Mecca that her husband had died. Seeing her difficult condition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) married her.
Then, he married `A’ishah, daughter of his lifelong friend and companion Abu Bakr. `A’ishah had first been betrothed to Jabir bin Mut`im at the age of 5. Child marriages were evidently the norm at that time. She was the only virgin among the Prophet’s wives and the only one who was born into a Muslim family. One of the Prophet’s goals in this marriage was to strengthen the bond of his brotherhood with Abu Bakr, who was his main defender against the Meccans. Second, `A’ishah was of a lineage known for honor and intelligence. The Prophet knew that she would tremendously benefit his nation (ummah) by transmitting crucial knowledge from his life, especially family and personal matters that others were not privy to
Indeed, the Prophet advised his community to learn half of the knowledge of the religion from `A’ishah. The foresight of the Prophet proved itself, for she would live for 45 years after his death, and thus became one of the main sources of Prophetic wisdom and knowledge.
He also married another widow, Hafsa, who was the daughter of `Umar Bin Khattab, his next closest companion. Her husband, Khunays, had been martyred in the Battle of Badr. He felt a duty towards `Umar, whose acceptance of Islam provided a major boost for the Muslims in Mecca against their foes.
Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaima, was another widow that the Prophet married. She was married to `Ubayda bin Al-Haris, who was martyred in the Battle of Badr. She was sixty when the Prophet married her. She was known as the “Mother of the Downtrodden”. She, however, passed away after two or three months of marriage.
He married another widow, Umm Salama. Her previous husband, Abu Salama, was martyred in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind four orphans. Umm Salama was pregnant at that time and was extremely distressed and very sad. Needless to say, she needed much support. After her delivery, `Umar proposed that the Prophet marry her. The Prophet accepted the proposal and married her.
What purpose can there be for a person of 54 to marry a widow with four orphans except love, mercy and compassion? There was another crucial factor in this marriage: Umm Salama was from the Bani Makhzum tribe, which was the tribe of Islam’s arch enemies at that time, Abu Jahl and Khalid bin Walid. Though Abu Jahl never changed, Khalid later accepted Islam and became a brilliant military general. Once again, bringing influential and powerful tribes closer to Islam was one of the noble objectives of the Prophet’s marriages.
He married a divorced woman, Zaynab, the daughter of Jahsh. She was married to Zayd bin Haritha, the freed slave of the Prophet. She was the cousin of the Prophet, being the daughter of his paternal aunt. Zayd divorced her and the Prophet married her when she was 38 years old. His marriage to Zaynab was aimed at emphasizing the invalidity of the age-old Arab practice of taking adopted sons as real sons. The marriage was divinely sanctioned, as stated in the Qur’an,
So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. (Al-Ahzab 33:37)
Umm Habiba was another widow whom the Prophet married. She was a daughter of Abu Sufyan who was a bitter enemy of Islam until his conversion later. She was initially married to `Ubaydullah, who was a companion of the Prophet. Both immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing the persecution of the Meccans. `Ubaydullah became a Christian and later died there. Considering her very difficult situation, her father being an enemy of Islam and her husband a deserter, the Prophet sent an envoy to Negus, king of Ethiopia requesting to arrange a marriage with her. The king arranged the marriage and she was married to him when she was 36 or 37 years old. Like many of his marriages, his marriage to Umm Habiba resulted in bringing a major tribe of the Quraysh, Banu Abd al-Shams, towards Islam.
He married another widow, Juwayria. Both her father and husband were bitter enemies of Islam; the former had planned to attack Medina at the instigation of the Meccans. This led the Muslim army to march against the clan of her father. The result was their defeat at the hands of the Prophet and the death of Juwayria’s husband. After the conflict, the Muslims captured many prisoners, one of whom was Juwayria. Juwayria’s father offered a ransom for her freedom. She requested to stay in the service of the Prophet and he married her at her request. Her marriage resulted in the freeing of all the prisoners of war of her tribe. Again, this marriage led to the establishment of peace and friendly relations.
He also married a woman named Safiyya, a widow as well. Her second husband was killed in the Battle of Khaybar. Her father was the chief of the famous Jewish tribe, Banu Nazir. He was killed in the Battle of Khaybar, and so Safiyya was taken prisoner. She was eventually freed and the Prophet married her. Some complained that she was sympathetic to the Jews. Her answer was that they were her relatives, and the Prophet defended her position. He told her to respond in the following way: “My father is Aaron (Haron) and my uncle is Moses (Musa).” This marriage had led to a closer relationship between the Muslims and the Jews of Medina.
His final marriage was to another divorced woman, Maymuna. She was married twice and was very old. She married the Prophet when he was 57. The reason for her marriage was that the Prophet’s uncle, `Abbas, suggested it in order to bring her tribe –Hilaliyyin– to the fold of Islam. That was actually what happened; after his marriage to her, they entered Islam in hosts.
From the above, we see that it was not the Prophet’s whims and desires that initiated his marriages, but rather it was that God had planned his marriages. He commanded His Messenger after the last marriage (with Maymuna) not to marry any more (Qur’an 33:52), because by that time the objectives of his marriages were achieved as the Prophetic mission was near to completion.
All of this does not mean that the Prophet was not interested in sex. He was surely attracted by sex and beauty, and was not a prude in expressing it. He said, “Perfume and women are made dear to me. However, the joy of my eye is in prayer.” He also said: “I am in full control of myself.” In fact, a look at his life would suggest that he approached the various aspects of human life with moderation – be it eating, drinking, or enjoying time with his wives – never indulging in any one thing excessively. The portrayal of him by many Western writers as promiscuous and licentious, mostly due to the fact that he had numerous wives, is far from the truth and historical facts as shown above. Indeed, his marriages had a social motive and a higher goal than mere sexual gratification.
It would be relevant here to quote a female, Western scholar, Karen Armstrong, the author of Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time, in relation to the issue of Prophet’s marriages and polygamy in Islam:
“The Qur’anic institution of polygamy was a piece of social legislation. It was designed not to gratify the male sexual appetite, but to correct the injustices done to widows, orphans, and other female dependents, who were especially vulnerable. All too often, unscrupulous people seized everything and left the weaker members of the family with nothing… Polygamy was designed to ensure that unprotected women would be decently married, and to abolish the old loose, irresponsible liaisons; men could have only four wives and must treat them equitably; it was an unjustifiably wicked act to devour their property… The Qur’an was attempting to give women a legal status that most Western women would not enjoy until the nineteenth century. The emancipation of women was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart…”
18. Q: Why is Allah invisible?
Answering your question, we would like to quote the following answer by Abdul-Rahman As-Sungiri who said:
To answer this question, let us refer to science concerning matter and the like in this life. If only what we see does exist, there are many invisible things that are beyond our senses. For example, if you put a magnet opposite to a piece of iron, you will notice that the magnet pulls the iron. Where is that power placed between the iron and the magnet? Is it touchable, visible or testable? We just realize it because of its effect as it pulled the iron. This gravity is created as colors. Colors cannot be visible, because of its great darkness, before being reflected as an object like a cloth, a wall, a plate or something else. For example, if we have a green cloth, we should bear in mind that the matter in the cloth has absorbed all colors save the green; therefore, we notice it as being green and so on. Electricity also is invisible. Only after lighting a lamp do we notice electricity conducted through wires. But, where is electricity? It is certainly invisible as are ultra violet rays, gravity and many other things that we can only notice them by the effect they leave. Behold, although these created things, gave a small example with regards to the whole world, are invisible, no wonder Allah Who created such things is invisible.
How Is Allah’s Figure?
We do not know Allah’s form. He is beyond any intellectual activity. Actually, having realized the nature of the above created things, we come to a result that there must be a Creator, Allah. As for the visibility of Allah, it is beyond our minds and perception.
Therefore, Allah can never be seen in this world. This issue is also contravening the sacred knowledge and law. For example, we believe that the pen with which we write is designed by someone and made by a certain machine. Although, we believe that there must be a machine that made the pen, yet we ignore the shape of the machine. Thus, we believe that there must be a machine that made the pen without seeing it, and that is the point.
19. Q: How does Islam view homosexuality?
ANSWER: Homosexuality is one of the 21st century’s hot topics. The issue of gay marriage is being debated around the world. Strangely, however, many people do not understand what the word homosexuality means nor do they understand what Islam says about the issue. In this article, we will define the term, look at scientific evidences related to homosexuality, discuss the view of other religious groups and finally see just what Islam says about the issue.
Homosexuality is the manifestation of sexual desire toward a member of one’s own sex or the erotic activity with a member of the same sex. (The Greek word homos means the same). A lesbian is a female homosexual. More recently the term “gay” has come into popular use to refer to both sexes who are homosexuals.
The Merriam Webster free online dictionary, in its concise encyclopedia defines homosexuality as sexual interest in and attraction to members of one’s own sex. Female homosexuality is frequently referred to as lesbianism; the word gay is often used as an alternative for both “homosexual” and “lesbian,” though it may (on occasion) refer specifically to male homosexuality.
The role of biological factors in the development of human sexual orientation is a widely debated topic. There is a wide spectrum of opinions about the effect genes, prenatal hormones and brain structure can have on the development of a heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual person. It seems unclear even to those who declare homosexuality an innate trait. At a PrideWorks conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender minors it was stated that “sexuality is fluid” and “may change over time” however, homosexual activists continue to maintain that they are “born gay.”
The latest research by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) suggests that homosexuality is not written in our DNA sequence, which explains why scientists have failed so far to find “gay genes,” despite intensive investigations. Instead, they say, it is in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated. These changes can have environmental roots, so are not normally permanent enough to be passed from parent to child. There is a post script however, because apparently, occasionally they are passed from parent to child. This is a branch of science called epigenetics.
Throughout history particular cultures and societies have treated homosexuality in a number of ways. Homosexual behavior has variously been encouraged, approved of, tolerated, punished, and banned. The three so called Abrahamic faiths Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have generally viewed homosexuality as sinful.
Attitudes toward homosexuality are generally in flux, due in part to increased political activism, however until the early 1970s many medical organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, classified homosexuality as a mental illness. In the past couple of decades many Christian denominations have changed their views quite significantly and we now see homosexual ministers and an acceptance of same sex marriages, this however is not the case with the Catholic Church. In late 2012 the Vatican spoke out against any suggestions that traditional marriage had been defeated, following significant victories for gay marriage activists in the United States and Europe. In his Peace Day message the pope said, “(There is) a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it equivalent to radically different types of union. Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.” Earlier in the year the pontiff declared that same sex marriage threatened human dignity and the future of humankind.
Judaism is also struggling with modern day attitudes to homosexuality. The known history of homosexuality in Judaism begins in Leviticus, where intercourse between male homosexuals is a capital offence. “[A man] shall not lie with another man as [he would] with a woman, it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Thus Orthodoxy’s foundational beliefs concerning the Divinity of Torah and the authority of halachah (received Jewish law) declare homosexuality (the sexual act) as a prohibited action.
In late 2012 the USA’s largest rabbinic organization, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) formally withdrew its support of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality). Judaism’s approach to homosexuality has long been one of rehabilitation, as has the Mormon Church. In America, Jews struggling with homosexual inclinations are encouraged to seek therapy to help them overcome unnatural desires. At this point it is interesting to note that both JONAH and various gay organizations refer to homosexuality, as fluid, a state that can fluctuate. Many ex-homosexuals agree that homosexuality is a choice.
Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), says, “I, as a former homosexual, along with tens of thousands of others who left homosexuality, [am] proof that it is not immutable; you can change.” and “It is not innate; you are not born that way.” There are also a number of Islamic ex-gay groups aimed at attempting to guide homosexuals towards heterosexuality; including the Straightway Foundation, a UK based ex-gay organization which works with homosexual Muslims seeking to eliminate their same-sex attraction.
In the Qur’an, God explicitly condemns homosexuality.
When their brother Lot said to them, “Will you not fear God? Verily! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear God and obey me. I ask no reward from you, for my only reward is with the Lord of the Worlds. Must you, unlike [other] people, lust after males and abandon the wives that God has created for you? You are exceeding all bounds. (Ash-Shu`ara’ 26:161-166)
There is a consensus among Islamic scholars that human beings are naturally heterosexual. Homosexuality is seen as a perverted deviation from the norm and all schools of thought and jurisprudence consider homosexual acts to be unlawful. Islam considers that our relaxed attitude in this day and age is a product of the times in which we live, where morals have been completely liquefied.
Homosexuality is considered the sin of the people of Prophet Lot[3] and its Arabic word is lutiyya. Liwat is the word for sodomy, under which heading the topic of homosexuality is found in the books of Islamic jurisprudence. Under Islamic law, both the (same-sex) sodomizer and sodomized are condemned to death. However it must be pointed out that the death penalty is applied only under strict conditions and rules of evidence, and only in places that live under Islamic law. There is no fixed prescribed punishment for lesbianism since sexual intercourse does not take place, however it is undoubtedly prohibited and sinful.
In words that are reminiscent of the Catholic pontiff speech in December 2012, the Qur’an tells us that marriage, a union between the two sexes is a combination of love, tenderness, and care, so that each finds in the other completeness, tranquility, and support (Ar-Rum 30:21). According to the Qur’an it is through this spousal connection that men and women find comfort, peace of mind, satisfaction, and fulfillment. These relationships extend beyond the physical sexual contact and to psychological, spiritual relations.
Islam says unequivocally that even if one harbors an urge for homosexual contact the nobility of the human spirit is able to overcome such urges through dedication to pleasing God, and submitting willingly to His commands that are undoubtedly designed for our benefit.
20. Q: What is Shari`ah?
ANSWER: The Arabic word “Shari`ah” refers to the laws and way of life prescribed by God for His servants. It deals with ideology, faith, behavior, manners and matters of daily life. We recognize that customs and traditions, good taste, and civil law all have some authority over people in every culture, preventing them from doing certain things and obliging them to do others. So it is to be expected that religion, too, would have some authority over people. In Islam, this authority rightfully belongs to God and is derived from His final revelation.
The Islamic Shari`ah is a divinely ordained legal system whose primary objective is benefit to mankind. Its principles are designed to protect people from evil and direct them to what is best in all aspects of life. Moreover, its benefit is for everyone – rich and poor, rulers and ruled, men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, whose right to worship and manage their personal and family affairs according to their own norms is explicit. The Shari`ah provides injunctions that guarantee justice, promote the general welfare, preserve order, safeguard human rights, and define responsibilities.
Its established constants are derived from the texts of the Qur’an and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, and have been confirmed by a consensus of Muslim scholars both in theory and practice. These basic principles are agreed upon by all, while differences over variables are acceptable and, in fact, provide the flexibility necessary for the system to accommodate changing circumstances.
Besides defining methods of Islamic worship, the Shari`ah provides an outline for thought and education based upon such moral values as justice, generosity, chastity, honesty, mercy and respect for humanity in general. It provides the standard for social and political issues – the choice of a ruler, consultation within the government, opposition to injustice, defense of truth and right, individual and collective duties, intellectual enlightenment based on evidences and proofs, respect and tolerance for the viewpoints of others, and the encouragement of open and frank discussions.
Generally, anything that is neither known to be harmful nor mentioned as forbidden in Islamic law is permitted. In what pertains to daily life, all is allowed except for waht was explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an or by Prophet Muhammad, and this includes everything harmful, whether or not it is considered so by limited human perception. What is forbidden in Islam is a small segment of the whole, so that what is permitted is sufficient to make what is forbidden unnecessary. For example, the encouragement and facilitation of lawful marriage greatly reduces the temptation toward fornication and adultery. When Islam forbids sexual relations outside the framework of marriage, the aim is to purify individuals and societies physically and morally. Similarly, interest can be replaced by lawful business gains, gambling replaced by competition in sport and religion, fornication replaced by lawful marriage, and forbidden food and drink replaced by healthy food and drink.
The general purpose and objectives of the Shari`ah do not change. It clearly defines what is prohibited and considers all other things to be permissible. Only harmful things have been prohibited, and whatever has benefit has been permitted. Islamic legislation maintains a balance between the needs of the individual and society, allowing neither to outweigh the other.
21. Q: What does prayer mean for Muslims?
Nothing is more distinctive and characteristic to Muslims than salah (Prayer). Once you see a mosque or a person in a state of standing, bowing or prostration on a carpet while lowering their gaze to the earth, you immediately know they are Muslim. If you visit any country with a Muslim majority, you will hear a normal call (Adhan) sent out by megaphones from the mosques everywhere announcing the coming of the Prayer time. You will see great masses of people rushing to the mosques once they hear that call. It is Prayer.
Muslims go for Prayers in the mosques, at least five times in the day. The times of Prayer are distributed along the day; in the morning, midday, evening and night in five times. This way of worship is not found in any religion which calls to one’s attention.
Prayer is the Cornerstone of Islam
In a Prophetic hadith reported by Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Islam is based on five (pillars): testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; performing of Prayer; the payment of Zakah (obligatory charity); performing Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House [Ka`bah); and fasting the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prayer has a special merit
According to the Qur’an, God mentions the obligation of Prayer next to accomplishing monotheism which is the superior act in Islam. God says,
And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish Prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)
Prayer is a supreme obligation
The scholars of Islam are unanimously agreed that Prayer is an obligation and this is sustained with numerous texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah (Glory be to him) says,
And to establish Prayer and fear Him.” And it is He to whom you will be gathered. (Al-An`am 6:72)
Ibn `Abbas reported: “The Prophet appointed Mu`adh as governor of Yemen, and at the time of his departure, he instructed him thus: “First of all, call the people to testify ‘La ilaha illallah’ (there is no true god except Allah) and that I (Muhammad) am the Messenger of Allah, and if they accept this (declaration of Faith), then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five Prayers during the day and night…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prayer is a means of salvation
Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace upon him) said, “What do you think if there was a river by the door of any one of you and he bathed in it five times a day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?” They said, “No trace of dirt would be left on him.” He said, “That is like the five daily Prayers, by means of which Allah erases sin.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prayer is a distinction between the Muslim and non-Muslim
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in the well-known hadith narrated by Buraidah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said, “That which differentiates us from the disbelievers and hypocrites is our performance of Prayer. He who abandons it, becomes a disbeliever.” (At-Tirmidhi)
22. Q: Why does Islam prohibit drinking alcohol?
Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and causes terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root cause of several problems facing society. The statistics of soaring crime rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of alcohol.
1. Prohibition of alcohol in the Qur’an
The Glorious Qur’an prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the following verse:
O you who believe! intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination – of Satan’s handiwork; eschew such (abomination), that you may prosper. (Al-Ma’idah 5:90)
2. Prohibition of alcohol in the Bible
The Bible prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the following verses:
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)
“And be not drunk with wine.” (Ephesians 5:18)
3. Alcohol inhibits the inhibitory center
The human beings possess an inhibitory center in their brains. This inhibitory center prevents the person from doing things that he considers wrong. For instance, a person does not normally use abusive language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the call of nature, his inhibitory center will prevent him from doing so in public. Therefore, he uses the toilet.
When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory centre itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated person is often found to be indulging in behavior that is completely uncharacteristic of him. For instance, the intoxicated person is found to use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he is addressing his parents. Many even urinate in their clothes. Neither do they talk nor walk properly. They even misbehave.
4. Cases of adultery, rape, incest and AIDS are found more among alcoholics
According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice) in the year 1996 alone everyday on an average 2,713 rapes took place. The statistics tell us that the majority of the rapists, were intoxicated while committing the crime. The same is true in cases of molestation.
According to statistics, 8% of Americans commit incest i.e. one in every twelve to thirteen persons in America is involved in incest. Almost all the cases of incest are due to intoxication of one or both the persons involved.
One of the major factors associated with the spread of AIDS, the most dreaded disease, is alcoholism.
5. Every alcoholic was initially a social drinker
Many may argue in favour of liquor by calling themselves ‘social drinkers’. They claim that they only have one or two pegs and they have self-control and so never get intoxicated. Investigations reveal that every alcoholic started as a social drinker.
Not a single alcoholic or drunkard initially starts drinking with the intention of becoming an alcoholic or a drunkard. No social drinker can say that I have been having alcohol for several years and that I have so much self-control that I have never been intoxicated even a single time.
6. If a person is intoxicated just once and commits something shameful, it will remain with him for a lifetime
Suppose a ‘social drinker’ loses his self-control just once. In a state of intoxication he commits rape or incest. Even if the act is later regretted, a normal human being is likely to carry the guilt throughout his life. Both the perpetrator and the victim are irreparably and irreversibly damaged.
7. Alcohol is prohibited in the Hadith
The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“Alcohol is the mother of all evils and it is the most shameful of evils.” (Ibn Majah)
“Anything which intoxicates in a large quantity is prohibited even in a small quantity.” (Ibn Majah)
Thus there is no excuse for a nip or a tot.
Not only those who drink alcohol are cursed but also those who deal with them directly or indirectly are cursed by Allah.
Also, according to Sunan Ibn Majah, it was reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), that Prophet Muhammad said:
“God’s curse falls on ten groups of people who deal with alcohol. The one who distills it, the one for whom it has been distilled, the one who drinks it, the one who transports it, the one to who it has been brought, the one whom serves it, the one who sells it, the one who utilizes money from it, the one who buys it and the one who buys it for someone else.” (Ibn Majah)
8. Diseases associated with alcoholism
There are several scientific reasons for the prohibition of consumption of intoxicants i.e. alcohol. The maximum number of deaths in the world related to any one particular cause is due to the consumption of alcohol. Millions of people die every year only because of intake of alcohol. I need not go into the details of all the ill-effects of alcohol since most of them are commonly known. Below is a simple list of few of the alcohol related illnesses:
1. Cirrhosis of Liver is the most well known alcohol associated disease.
2. Others are Cancer of Oesophagus, Cancer of Head and Neck, Cancer of Liver (Hepatoma), Cancer of Bowel, etc.
3. Oesophagitis, Gastritis, Pancreatitisand Hepatitis are linked with alcohol consumption.
4. Cardiomyopathy, Hypertension, Coronary Artherosclerosis, Angina and Heart Attacks are linked with heavy alcohol intakes.
Long list…
23. Q: Why does Islam command your women to cover?
Islam’s code of modesty extends to all aspects of one’s life, including attire. b, the head-covering worn by Muslim women, is an outer manifestation of an inner commitment to worship God. But why actually do Muslim women wear the hijab?
This brochure explores the different dimensions hijab brings to the lives of women and the responsibility men and women share in upholding modesty in society. Along the way, it debunks common stereotypes and celebrates the voices of women who practice hijab with pride!
One of the questions often asked by people is, “Why do Muslim women cover their heads?” The answer lies in understanding the essence of one’s existence as explained in Islam.
Hijab: Act of Worship
Muslims believe that their true purpose in life is to worship God according to His instructions, as revealed in the Qur’an and through the teachings of Muhammad(peace be upon him), the final prophet of Islam.
Worship in Islam is a holistic concept which encourages God-consciousness in every facet of daily life, from charity and neighborliness to prayer and honest dealings in business. Modest clothing is an integral aspect of worship in Islam as well.
In the Qur’an, God says,
And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms… (An-Nur 24:31)
When God revealed this verse, the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad promptly adopted these guidelines. In a similar spirit of obedience, Muslim women have maintained modest covering (hijab) ever since.
Hence, the primary motivation for covering/wearing the hijab is to obey God.
A Personal Journey
Wearing hijab is a personal and independent decision that comes from a sincere yearning to please God while appreciating the wisdom underlying His command. Many people mistakenly believe that women are forced to cover their heads/wear the hijab. This concept is not based on Islamic teachings as God says in the Qur’an, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqarah 2:256).
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad never forced religion upon anyone. If a woman is being forced to cover, it is contrary to this clear Islamic principle and might be due to cultural or social pressure. According to Islam, a woman willfully chooses to commit to this act of worship.
Days of contemplation, an inevitable fear of consequences as well as reactions and, ultimately, plenty of courage weigh heavily in making the leap.
Katherine Bullock, a Canadian convert to Islam, stated, “For me, the lead up to the decision to wear hijab was more difficult than actually wearing it. I found that, praise be to God, although I did receive negative comments from people, I appreciated the feeling of modesty that wearing the hijab gave me.”
Further, many people make the error of thinking that the hijab is a definitive statement of a woman’s religiosity, as if it is a clear indicator of her spiritual commitment. While veiling is a reflection of one’s beliefs, the hijab simultaneously becomes a tangible reminder to the woman herself: to embody the modesty and dignity it represents and to carry one’s self in a way that pleases God. In that sense, the hijab symbolizes a journey of devotion rather than the end-result of piety.
“After I started wearing hijab,” continued Bullock, “I noticed that people would often behave more cautiously with me, like apologizing if they swore. I appreciated that. I feel that wearing hijab has given me an insight into a decent and upright lifestyle.”
Saba Baig, an American woman converted to Islam, stated, “Before I started wearing hijab my self-perception was rooted in other people’s perceptions of me. I dressed to elicit compliments, keep up with the latest trend, wearing the most desired brand name – which had very little to do with me, and more importantly, what God thought of me.
Before hijab I was in bondage to the surrounding society. After hijab, I became attached to God. With that connection to God came an enormous amount of freedom. Confidence and self-respect were just some of the benefits.”
Ambassadors of Faith
Generalizations and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims are rampant in today’s society and, by extension, in the minds of many people whose worldview is shaped by the media. Muslim women in hijab are frequently stigmatized; they are regarded on the one hand as oppressed and, on the other, as religious fanatics. Due to such misconceptions, unfortunately, the larger society fails to acknowledge and appreciate Muslim women’s courage in standing up to societal norms in their determination to preserve their modesty.
Hijab clearly identifies women as followers of Islam, which can have its disadvantages in a land where misinformation about the faith and its adherents abounds. For instance, some Muslim women are discriminated against in the workplace while others are emotionally abused through insensitive remarks. Yet, drawing on inner strength and resolve, Muslim women take these incidents in stride. Their love for God and commitment to modesty empower them in the face of challenges.
Indeed, Muslim women identify themselves with Mary who is commemorated for her piety and modesty. Aminah Assilmi, who converted to Islam in 1977, was once asked about going out in public without her hijab and she responded, “I cannot help but wonder if they would have ordered Mary, the mother of Jesus, to uncover her hair.”
“By focusing on what God wants from me, and thinks of me, I am no longer a prisoner of other people’s desires,” declared Baig. “Knowing that I am doing what God, my Creator, has ordained for me gives me a contentment and happiness like no other.”
Despite all the odds, Muslim women in hijab have managed to carve a niche for themselves while upholding their Islamic identities. They actively participate in their surroundings, be it as homemakers or professionals, on the sports field or in the artistic arena, in public service or in charitable activities. Conspicuous in their head-coverings, these women have become ambassadors of the Islamic faith.
Cover…Mutual Modesty
More than a dress code, the hijab encompasses modest behaviors, manners and speech. The inner humility as exhibited through etiquettes and morals completes the significance of the physical veil. However, contrary to popular belief, these characteristics are not limited to women alone.
God also commands men to maintain their modesty in the Qur’an:
Tell believing men to lower their glances and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. God is well aware of everything they do. (An-Nur 24:30)
In Islam, the responsibility falls on each gender to protect their own modesty and to control their own desires. Whether a woman dresses modestly or not, it is the obligation of each man to guard his own chastity.
While many people may think that hijab is worn primarily to restrain men’s illicit desires, this is another misconception. Indeed, it is not women’s duty to regulate the behavior of men. Men are accountable for their own conduct; they are equally required to be modest and to handle themselves responsibly in every sphere of their lives.
In reality, Muslim women cover/wear the hijab to seek the pleasure of God and to uphold Islam’s code of modesty. The majority of women who cover consider it a constant reminder that they do not adorn their bodies for men:
“Hijab forces someone to look past the external and focus on the internal. How many women do we know that feel they have to sexualize themselves to gain attention; why don’t we see as many men wearing short bottoms and tighter tops? Because we have always given men a pass on their looks, demanding from them success and intellect instead,” reflected Baig.
“Women however, are valued for their looks, their beauty. We have entire industries built upon making a woman feel that she isn’t pretty enough, or thin enough,” she added. “Hijab, on the other hand, takes one beyond the superficial. It elevates her in society by desexualizing her, and individuating her instead.”
Islam is a religion of moderation and balance; it does not expect women alone to uphold society’s morality and dignity.
Rather, Islam asks men and women to strive mutually to create a healthy social environment of practical values and morality. In short, the concept of modesty in Islam is holistic, and applies to both men and women. The ultimate goal is to please God and to maintain a wholesome and stable society:
In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)
Islam clearly establishes that men and women are equal in front of God. At the same time, it does recognize that they are not identical. God created men and women with unique physiological and psychological attributes. In Islam, these differences are embraced as vital components to a healthy family and community structure with each individual contributing their own distinctive talents to society.
Hence, God’s rules apply to both genders, but in diverse ways. For example, men are also required to cover parts of their body out of modesty, but not in the same way as women. Similarly, men are prohibited from wearing silk clothing and gold ornaments whereas women have no such restrictions. Therefore, God has ordained different commands for men and women while encouraging both to be modest.
As more and more Muslim women embrace hijab, they renew their commitment to God through their appearance as they continue their lifelong spiritual journey. Unfortunately, such women often seem mysterious to those not acquainted with the religious significance of hijab.
Understanding the beliefs and lifestyle choices of Muslims, and the emphasis Islam places on modesty, eliminates the stereotypes associated with hijab. People of many different faiths and beliefs make up this patchwork world of ours. Muslims are an integral part of this diversity. It’s time we overcome our fears and bridge our distances. So, the next time you see a Muslim, stop and chat with them – and decide for yourself!
Other Common questions
24. Q: Is Islam a Universal Message?
Thank you, dear questioner, for your interesting question about Islam. In fact, this assumption is possibly based on the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an Arab, that most of the first generation of Muslims were Arabs, and that the Qur’an is in the Arabic language. However, I want to let you know that Islam is meant for all people regardless of race, nationality, cultural or religious background. From the commencement of the Prophet’s mission, the followers of Islam came from a wide range of lands and races. Among them was the Africans, the Byzantines, the Persians and the Jews. All were united in the bond of Islam. In modern times, only about 18 percent of Muslims in the world today are Arabs. The largest Muslim populations are found in Indonesia, the Indian sub-continent and other parts of Asia. Islam is also widespread in many parts of Africa, and there are substantial minorities in Europe, north and south America, and Oceania. Islam is spreading in all continents including both Arabs and non-Arabs. While “Arab” is a geographic and cultural term, “Muslim” refers to an adherent to the religion of Islam. The Qur’an disclosed that Islam is indeed a global religion. Almighty God says, And we have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a mercy to [all] the worlds. (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107) The Prophet (peace be upon him) naturally began the propagation of God’s message among his own people, the Arabs, but that does not mean it was restricted to them. Rather, he (peace be upon him) initially conveyed the message to those nearest him as a logical first step toward the realization of a long-term goal, namely conveying Islam to the whole world. Later in his mission when conditions became more favorable, he (peace be upon him) sent letters of invitation to Islam to the rulers of the Byzantine and Persian empires, Abyssinia, Egypt, Damascus, Bahrain, Yamamah, Oman and others who represented the influential world figures of the day. Whatever, their response to it, the Prophet’s message was fully acknowledged by the major powers of his time. We hope this answers your question. ______________ Source: This answer is based on the book of Clear Your Doubts about Islam by Sahih International.
25 Q: What is the Purpose of Worship?
The idea of servitude has become distasteful to the modern secular mindset which concerns itself with individual liberties. Some might say that humanity has no need to worship, and that doing so compromises freedom. They forget, however, that absolute freedom is neither possible nor even desirable for all members of a society, and that is why every social order has its laws and restrictions.
Studies in human psychology confirm that man is a worshipper by instinct, that worship is instilled in him as part of his nature, and that he tends to direct it to whatever he considers worthy. An object of worship is that to which one devotes the greatest portion of his thought and effort. So, one either worships God or he worships something other than Him – along with Him or instead of Him. The worship of God alone is liberating in that it frees one from servitude to all else.
Many people misunderstand the concept of worship, assuming that it is merely the practice of certain rituals. But in reality it includes everything done seeking the acceptance of the one worshipped. According to Islam, the worship of God means willing obedience to His orders and prohibitions which, besides prayer and other religious obligations, include the fulfillment of promises and agreements, honesty and precision in work, teaching and counseling, encouraging righteousness, assisting others, opposing injustice and so on.
Worship is the right of the Creator upon His Creation. It is based on the perception that everything was brought into existence by God and is dependent upon Him in whose hand is life and death, benefit and harm, and the outcome of every matter. Further, it is based on the knowledge that man is an accountable being in need of God’s continuing guidance and acceptance.
Islam confirms that although worship is Allah’s divine right, God does not gain anything from the worship of His servants, nor is He harmed by their refusal. He ordains worship for the benefit of the worshipper himself, and this benefit is obtained by him or her in both this life and the next. When a believer understands that our Creator and Sustainer deserves to be worshipped, he wants to do so because of his gratitude and love for his Lord and because it is inherently right and correct.
If you need more clarification, go through this article:
Purpose and Spirit of Worship in Islam
26 Q: Why Were We Created?
Non-believers are unable to provide any convincing reason for the existence of this universe or of human life. People who believe there is a Creator assume that creation occurred by His will. But in a world where everything is shown to have a purpose, it is natural for a human being to wonder about the purpose of his own creation. One is surely justified in expecting the Creator who put us on this earth to inform us why He did so and what He expects of us.
The Qur’an informs us that God did just that. It says that God created us for a test here on earth, conveying His words:
Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned? (Al-Mu’minun 23:115-116)
A non-believer might decide that the objective of his life will be to collect wealth, obtain position or pursue pleasure to the greatest extent possible. But none of this will benefit him in the long run. According to His final scripture, God created man to test him with certain responsibilities [As stated in verse number 18:7, 67:2 and 76:2]. God, the Almighty, did not intend life on this earth to necessarily be comfortable or satisfying but merely a trial of limited duration, the punishment and rewards of which will be due in the Hereafter.
As mentioned previously, most of creation is “Muslim” in that it is programmed to obey the physical laws set by God, (and his is why the universe functions with balanced equilibrium). Man, however, was given a free will and the ability to either obey or disobey. But God will not allow His universal balance to be upset indefinitely by defiant, corrupt and sinful people, so He only grants human beings a measure of freedom in a temporary world. The scheme of birth, development, decline and death provides each with the opportunity to prove to himself without a doubt what he will deserve on the Day of Judgment, which God created for the manifestation of His ultimate justice.
This life is very meaningful and purposeful to the believing Muslim because he realizes that it will determine his outcome and permanent position in the next life. He lives to earn the approval of his Creator in preparation for the final return to Him.
We all recognize that people make things to perform specific functions for them, in other words, to serve them. God has made us to serve Him, but with one major difference; it is not for the benefit of the Creator Himself but for the benefit of us, His creation. The purpose of our existence is thus stated in the Qur’an:
I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
But man’s worship of God is not automatic like the vast majority of created beings but by his own choice and effort, and this is what entitles him to honor and reward.
“How should one worship God in order to fulfill that purpose?” This question can undoubtedly be best answered by Him. God has provided every element of His creation, living and inanimate, with guidance. We can thus expect that He would provide us with guidance as well. His revelation instructs humanity what to do, what to avoid, and the reason for it. It informs man what is expected of him, how to accomplish it, and the results of continual positive effort. Through Prophet Muhammad, God revealed to man the ways of worship suitable to his physical and psychological nature and individual talents, and in harmony with his particular role on the earth. These, in combination, are what enable Him to fulfill the purpose of His creation.
We hope that our answer is satisfactory and to the point.
27 Q: Are Non-Believers Rewarded for Their Good Deeds?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) disclosed that God rewards according to the intention of each individual. The non-believer expects to be rewarded for his deeds in the present life because he denies or doubts the existence of another life after his death. Thus, he is keen that people should recognize what he does; when he is praised and his deed publicized, he is pleased, for this is the reward he sought. He might also obtain a sum of money in payment for it or a prize. This is the compensation he likes most, and God grants it to him. But he is not given additional reward in the Hereafter simply because he neither desired it nor worked for it.
The believer, on the other hand, is not duly concerned with compensation in this life because he is striving for the greater eternal reward of the Hereafter. He does so by worshipping God as He stipulated and by working patiently, honestly and correctly to the best of his ability, even when no person appreciates his efforts. Because his deeds are done seeking God’s acceptance, they are appreciated by Him and rewarded.
Islam teaches that there are two conditions for God’s approval and reward of any deed: 1) that it is done explicitly for His acceptance and approval and 2) that it is consistent with the methods ordained by Him. In other words, a person must work for God according to the terms He has specified and not according to his own preferences or those of other people. In order to know exactly what God expects of His servants, it is necessary to refer to the legislation revealed by Him in its final form through Muhammad, the final Prophet (peace be upon him).
28 Q: Why should someone be a Muslim? Can’t we follow any religion we want?
Islam has several unique features which can be confirmed through deeper study:
1- Islam is the only religion whose sources have remained free of human alteration and interference.
2- Islam’s divinely revealed scripture is in harmony with established facts of science.
3- Islam provides answers to the essential fundamental questions which occur to the mind of every intelligent person, those related to the purpose of creation and life, and concerning a further existence after death.
4- Islam is the only religion which insists upon worship of the Creator alone and completely rejects the worship of any aspect of creation.
5- Islam dispenses with all intermediaries between man and God and allows every individual to contact Him directly, thus eliminating religious hierarchies and other sources of exploitation which have characterized the history of religions throughout the ages. In Islam no cleric or establishment can come between a person and his Creator.
6- While monotheistic faiths share a fundamental belief in God, their understanding of Him differs greatly. Islam declares that God is unique and in no way similar to any of His creation; nor does He merge with it in any form. His attributes are those of complete and absolute perfection without the slightest deficiency or limitation.
7- Unlike other religions and ideologies which emphasize some aspects of human nature at the expense of others, Islam accommodates the physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects of man. Islamic beliefs and practices are natural and appeal to common sense. They present a balanced program of life that fulfills both physical and spiritual needs.
8- Islam prohibits blind following without knowledge and is based upon evidence and logic. The rational mind is the basis for religious accountability and responsibility. All aspects of Islamic belief are clear, without any obscurity or ambiguity. It contains no tenet that contradicts reason or observable reality, and it calls on people to study and contemplate as a means of strengthening faith.
9- Islam’s religious, moral, economic, political and social ethics are permanent and remain constant. They are governed by a set of unchanging principles which include such universal values as justice, freedom, equality, brotherhood and social responsibility. History provides an outstanding example in the model Islamic society established by Prophet Muhammad and his companions and maintained for decades by devoted Muslims, where truth and transparency, justice, and compassion were implemented as a vital expression of the religion.
10- Islam declares that it is the religion of truth, for this is stated unambiguously in the Qur’an. However, the Creator does not force His preference on anyone. He wants people to accept right guidance by their own choice and free will because that is what makes them worthy of His approval and reward. The Qur’an states:
There is no compulsion in [accepting] religion. The truth has been made distinct from falsehood. (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
29 Q: Is Islam Fatalistic?
Muslims know that all things are from God and occur by His will. Thus, they tend to worry less about material matters and view the life of this world in proper perspective. A Muslim relies completely on God and knows that whatever happens is always for the best, whether he recognizes it or not, so he graciously accepts whatever cannot be changed.
However, this does not mean that a Muslim sits around awaiting destiny and takes no positive action in life. On the contrary, Islam demands action and effort to change every undesirable situation, and this is a requirement of the faith. It totally rejects the teaching that one should not go to a doctor when ill but only pray to God for cure. If human beings had no ability to act, God could not justly expect them to do and not to do certain things. Far from being “fatalistic,” Islam teaches that man’s main obligation in life is to exert effort in obedience to God, which includes seeking benefit and avoiding harm.
Islam teaches that human beings should take positive action in life and supplement it with prayer. Some people are lazy and careless and then blame the negative result on destiny or fate. Some even say that if God had willed, they would not have sinned or committed crimes. All this is entirely incorrect because He has provided complete guidance and instruction on how to live and has ordered upright conduct at all times. God has not ordered anything that man cannot do or prohibited anything he cannot avoid because His justice is complete and perfect. Each individual is held responsible within the limits of his own ability, but not beyond it.
Although our deeds and our destiny are decreed by God and known to Him, it does not mean He compels us to do anything. Rather, He willed to give us options about our course of action; and thus, whatever decisions we make are within the framework of His will. While God does not call anyone to account for what is beyond his control, human beings are indeed responsible for every free choice they make, and they will find the consequences of their choices and actions in both this life and the next.
We hope this answers your question.
30 Q: Are There Sects in Islam?
Islam is one path, has one direction, and is based on one methodology — that which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught according to the instruction he received from God, the Almighty. The religion that God ordained for mankind was meant to be a unifying factor. In fact, He addressed mankind in the Qur’an, saying:
And this is My path, which is straight, so follow it, and do not follow [other] ways for they will separate you from His way. (Al-An`am 6:153)
The subtitle change in the verse from first to third person expresses the progressive process of distancing oneself from God’s path]
This divine command emphatically makes it binding on all Muslims to be united as one community of believers; thus, all forms of schism and sectarianism are un-Islamic.
The Prophet’s companions and the following generations adhered very closely to the path of God, and thus He protected them from separating in this manner. But with later generations, certain factors led to the emergence of divisions and divergence, among them: increasing concern with worldly affairs, the influence of non-Muslim cultures, and political rivalries. Initially, some small groups split off from the path adhered to by the majority of Muslims. They introduced innovations into the religion and followed opinions differing from the original teachings of the Prophet.
These schisms were rejected and opposed by the recognized scholars of Islam and the majority of Muslims, which meant that initially they were contained and that their influence did not become widespread during the major part of Islamic history. The majority of Muslims remained on the Sunni [A Sunni is one who takes his religion from the Qur’an and Sunnah, i.e., the authentically narrated teachings of Prophet Muhammad as practiced by him and his righteous followers,] path, and whenever forms of deviation emerged among them, the pious scholars always hastened to oppose them and point out their error.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) foretold that such divergences would emerge. He warned against schism and instructed Muslims to remain within the main body of Islam.
Nevertheless, over the centuries a number of people have deviated and corrupted their religion, forming sects that claim to belong to Islam but whose stated beliefs are clearly contrary to it. Some have distorted the concept of God and attributed to Him what is unfitting or incompatible with His divine status – claiming, for example, that everything in existence is God or that He is incarnate or present within His creation, while the Qur’an states that He is superior to His creation and distinct from it. And some have been misguided regarding various major tenets of Islam to the degree that they no longer submit to God and obey Him, while others have innovated and changed some of the prescribed forms of worship.
Those sects which deviated from mainstream Islam are not the same as the schools of Islamic jurisprudence [The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali schools and a few others less known] which developed within it and are based on the immutable principles of the faith. These eminent schools of thought have provided a vision of the highest degree of scholarship for Islamic legislation and serve to complement one another. Differences and disagreements within the framework of Islam do not become matters of partisanship and intolerance except among the extremely ignorant.
Islam recognizes the individuality of human beings and that not all diversity of opinion and difference in analysis is negative. However, the kind of dissension that leads to divisions and sectarianism has been denounced in the Qur’an:
Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects -you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do. (Al-An`am 6:159)
Although Muslims now appear to be divided more than ever before, the number of divisions in Islam remains fewer than in other religions. One can still find many Islamic associations calling people to truth, proclaiming God’s original message, and naming against that which is contrary to it. Salvation does not depend on affiliation to any specific group but rather it relies on true faith proven by obedience to God and upright conduct in the manner revealed by Him.
We hope this answers your question.
31 Q: What Are the Benefits of Prayer?
Prayer constitutes one pillar of Islam and is considered the foundation of religion.
It is an instinct of man to be inclined to adore the great beings, and to aspire to lofty goals. The greatest being and the loftiest goal of all is God. The best way to cultivate in man a sound personality and actualize his aspirations in a mature course of development is the Islamic prayer.
To neglect prayer is to oppress the good qualities in human nature and unjustifiably deny it the right to adore and love, the right to aspire and ascend, and the right to excel in goodness and achieve noble aims. Such oppression and denial constitute a very serious and destructive offense. Here lies the significance and vitality of prayer in the life of man.
It should always be borne in mind that God does not need man’s prayer, because He is free of all needs. He is only interested in our prosperity and well-being in every sense.
When God emphasizes the necessity of prayer and charges us with any duty, He means to help us; because whatever good we do is for our own benefit, and whatever offence we commit is against our own souls. Here, too, man is the center of gravity, and his common interest is the main concern.
The benefit which man can derive from the Islamic prayer is immeasurable and the blessing of prayer is beyond imagination. This is not just a ‘theory’ or conventional assumption; it is a fascinating fact and a spiritual experience. Here is an explanation of the effectiveness of the Islamic prayer:
1. It strengthens the belief in the existence and goodness of God and transmits this belief into the innermost recesses of man’ s heart.
2. It enlivens this belief and makes it constructive in the practical course of life.
3. It helps man to realize his natural and instinctive aspirations to greatness and high morality, to excellence and virtuous growth.
4. It purifies the heart and develops the mind, cultivates the conscience and comforts the soul.
5. It fosters the good and decent elements in man and suppresses the evil and indecent inclinations.
When we analyze the Islamic prayer and study its unique nature, it will reveal to us that it is not merely a physical motion or a void recital of the Gracious Book; the Qur’an. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
It is an exclusively Islamic experience where every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of God. It is difficult for anyone to impart in words the full meaning of the Islamic prayer yet it can be said that it is:
1. A lesson in discipline and willpower;
2. A practice in devotion to God and all worthy objectives;
3. A vigilant reminder of God and constant revelation of His Goodness;
4. A seed of spiritual cultivation and moral soundness;
5. A guide to the most upright way of life;
6. A safeguard against indecency and evil, against wrong deviation and stray;
7. A demonstration of true equality, solid unity, and brotherhood;
8. An expression of thankfulness to God and appreciation of Him;
9. A course of inner peace and stability;
10. An abundant source of patience and courage, of hope and confidence
This is the Islamic prayer, and that is what it can do for man. The best testimony to this statement is to experience the prayer and avail oneself of its spiritual joys. Then one will know what it really means.
Hope this answers your question.
32 Q: What Are the Divine Scriptures?
As Muslims we have iman (faith) in Allah’s divine Scriptures; we believe that Allah (Exalted be He) revealed heavenly books to His messengers in order to convey them to humankind.
These books contain nothing but the truth; they do not contain any falsehood. In them is the message of the Oneness of Allah (tawheed): that there is no creator, administrator, or owner except Him, that all worship should be directed to Him and none else, and that to Him belong all excellent Names and Attributes. He is nothing like His creation, and none can be compared to Him. Allah says:
Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice. (Al-Hadid 57:25)
Some of those books are the following:
1- The Scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) and Musa (Moses, peace be upon him): The Qur’an has given a brief insight about the religious basic principles found in these scriptures. Allah says:
Or is he not informed with what is in the Scriptures of Musa? And of Ibrahim who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (what Allah ordered him to do or convey)? That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. And that man can have nothing but what he [himself] strove for. And that his deeds will be seen (in the Hereafter). Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense. (An-Najm 53:36-41)
2- The Tawrah: The Tawrah is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Musa. Allah says:
Verily, We did send down the Tawrah (to Musa), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s Will, judged the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests (too judged the Jews by the Tawrah after those Prophets) for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto. Therefore fear not men but fear Me (O Jews) and sell not My Verses for a miserable price. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers. (Al-Ma’idah 5:44)
3- The Zaboor: The Zaboor is the Book which was revealed to Dawud (David, peace be upon him). Allah says:
…and to Dawood We gave the Zaboor. (An-Nisaa’ 4:163)
4- The Injeel: The Injeel is the Sacred Book which was revealed to `Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him). Allah says:
And in their footsteps, We sent `Isa, son of Maryam (Mary), confirming the Tawrah that had come before him. And We gave him the Injeel, in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for the Allah-fearing. (Al-Ma’idah 5:46)
A Muslim must believe in all the Heavenly Books. He must believe that they are from Allah, but he is required not act upon or follow them, for they were revealed for a specific time and people.
The Qur’an has explained some of the teachings which were found in the Tawrah and the Injeel. Allah says that from the things they mentioned was the prophecy of Muhammad (peace be upon him):
…and My Mercy embraces all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who are Allah-fearing, and give zakah; and those who believe in Our ayat; Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injeel, – he commands them all good things; and forbids them from of all kinds of evil; he allows them as lawful all good and lawful things, and prohibits them as unlawful all evil and unlawful things; and he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allah’s Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. (Al-A`raf 7:156)
5- The Qur’an: One must hold the following beliefs concerning it:
a- One must believe that the Qur’an is the exact and literal Speech of Allah which Jibreel (peace be upon him) brought to Muhammad in a clear Arabic language:
Which the trustworthy Rooh (Jibreel/Gabriel) has brought down; Upon your heart (O Muhammad that you may be (one) of the warners, In a plain Arabic language. (As-Shu`araa’ 26:193-195)
b- One must believe that the Qur’an is the last of the heavenly books, giving truth to the previous books in their message of the Tawheed of Allah and the obligation to worship and obey Him Alone. Allah abrogated all the previous books by the Qur’an. Allah says:
(It is) He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Tawrah and the Injeel. Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind, And He sent down the Furqan (The Criterion) (of judgment between right and wrong; this Qur`an). (Aal `Imran 3:3-4)
c- One must believe that the Qur’an embodies all divine teachings. Allah says:
This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as a religion. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
d- One must believe that it was revealed to all of humanity, and not to a specific nation or specific time period unlike the previous heavenly books. Allah says:
And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except to all of humanity, as a giver of glad tidings and a warner, but most people know not. (Saba’ 34:28)
1. e) One must believe that Allah has protected the Qur`an from all types of distortion, whether addition, deletion, substitution or interpolation:
Remembrance (the Qur’an) and surely, it is We Who shall guard it (from distortion). (Al-Hijr 15:9)
We hope this answers your question.
33 Q: What is the importance of prayer in Islam?
Prayer is the link between the Almighty Allah and His salve. It is the second pillar of Islam, upon which the religion of the Muslim is built. Whoever keeps it up, he keeps his religion, and whoever neglects, the whole of his religion is ruined. It is a distinction between the obedient and the disobedient, and the believer and the disbeliever. Therefore, the prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; whoever neglects it, he has committed Kufr (disbelief).” (Ibn Majah)
In prayer, there is a real attempt to abandon sins and secure salvation from their evils. It helps restoring the soul to its original state of purity. When facing Allah, a person is solemnly determined to abandon wrong habits, and attempts boldly to be freed from the chains of materialism and lusts.
Prayer constitutes a flight to Allah and ascension towards Paradise, the real abode of the believer. It rectifies one’s personal behavior and dealings with people and the Creator. Prayer helps one check his mistakes and encourages him to take relevant corrective measures.
Therefore, Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The first thing you will lose of your religion is Khushu`(humility and devotion in prayer), and the last thing you will lose of your religion is Salah.” (Al-Madarij 1/521)
Moreover, one should know that prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than prayer performed individually. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to ask about people when he finishes prayer? After he made Taslim (salutation of peace ending prayer), he used to say: Where is so and so? And where is so and so? Once, he said: “If people continued to fall behind (i.e., in acquiring virtues), Allah would put them behind.” (Muslim)
One day, he stood angrily and said: ” I sometimes thought of giving orders for firewood to be collected, then proclaim the Adhan for Salah. Then, I would appoint an imam (prayer leader) to lead Salah, and then go to the houses of those who do not come to perform Salah in congregation, and set fire to their houses on them.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Actually, prayer should be offered in congregation. Whoever does not pray in congregation commits a major sin and must be encouraged, deterred and rebuked until he observes the prayer in congregation.
Allah has made prayer obligatory five times per day and night at fixed times. So whoever delays it is considered a transgressor, unjust to himself, and depreciate it. `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Combining between prayers without a valid excuse is a major sin.” Therefore, prayer must be offered in its due times.
The following are some tips of the importance of prayer:
1- It is a reason for the acceptance of all other good deeds.
2- It is a way to avoid being characterized with hypocrisy.
3- It saves the Muslim from sharing the punishment in the hell-fire with Pharaoh and Haman on the Day of Judgment.
4- It is a comfort.
5- It is a relief to one’s heart and a light on the face.
6- It protects from indecency and wrongdoing.
7- It is a cause for the increase of sustenance.
8- It restrains from obedience of lusts and desires.
9- It is a reason for receiving the mercy of Allah.
10- It is a reason for forgiving one’s misdeeds, raising rank, duplicating good deeds, and being closer to the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.
We hope this answers your question.
34 Q: What Are the Benefits of Ablution?
Islam is the religion of cleanliness and purification. Islam affirms that every human being is born in a state of purity, which is known as fitrah. Being in a state of purity is a fundamental and an essential part of faith. Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Purity is half of iman (faith).” (Muslim)
Islam pays great attention to both external purification and internal purification. Internal purification simply means to purify the heart from negative attributes such as stinginess, envy, hatred, and hypocrisy.
A Muslim must be ritually clean in order to offer the five daily prayers. Without purification, the prayer is invalid as the Almighty Allah obligates and makes it a condition for prayer:
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. (Al-Ma`idah 5:6)
Ablution is a distinct feature of this nation unlike other nations. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “On the Day of Resurrection, my Ummah (followers) will be summoned with white faces, and white hands and feet on account of the traces of ablution.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
What is meant by ablution (wudu’) in Islam?
Ablution is an act of washing specific parts of the body using water. Muslims are required to perform ablution before offering the ritual prayer. Ablution involves the following parts of the body according to the above verse:
1- Washing hands up to the elbows,
2- Washing the face,
3- Wiping over the head,
4- Washing the feet up to the ankle,
There are some voluntary but recommended acts that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do while making ablution such as rinsing the mouth, sniffing water into the nostrils …etc.
There is no doubt that performing ablution after hard work or travel provides the body with vitality which makes a Muslim in a state of concentration before offering prayer. Ablution is not just an act of cleaning the external organs before offering prayer. Ablution has rather great impact on the psychological and spiritual state of the Muslim.
It plays an important role in the life of the Muslims as it keeps him always in a state of vitality and vigilance. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He who performs ablution perfectly, his sins will depart from his body, even from under his nails.” (Muslim)
Offering ablution with cool water causes some changes inside our bodies. Water is the largest constituent of the human body. Total body water averages 60% of body weight. Water has a large heat capacity which helps limit changes in body temperature in a warm or cold environment. Water allows the body to release heat when ambient temperature is higher than body temperature. Therefore, ablution plays an important role in cooling the body regularly.
Here are some medical benefits of ablution that the modern science has proven:
1- Performing ablution not only cleanses the vital parts of the body from dirt and dust but also softens and refreshes them.
2- Inhaling water into nostrils during ablution prevents germs and dust trapped inside from entering the body.
3- Washing the face protects the outer layer of the skin and also relieves the feelings of overtiredness and fatigue. Performing ablution regularly maintains the beauty and freshness of the face as you get older.
4- Rinsing the mouth during ablution is so important because the water removes the food remnants which cause teeth problems and bad smells.
5- Washing the ears helps getting rid of the extra wax that may cause ear infection. Also, wiping over the back of the ears prevents inflections like mastoiditis from arising.
6- Ablution helps prevent skin cancer because the areas that are washed during ablution are the parts of the body that are most prone to be exposed to pollution, whether it is pollution from the internal secretions of the body on to the skin surface, such as sweat, or whether it is external.
7- Washing with water helps invigorate the ends of the blood vessels, as well as the nerves and glands that are near the skin surface, and hence helps them perform their functions efficiently.
8- Washing between the toes during ablution, is also extremely important as it prevents the foot, which in our modern times is trapped most of the day inside shoes, from acquiring athlete’s foot.
It is recommended to perform ablution not only before offering prayer, but also before going to bed, reciting the Qur’an, entering the mosque, making the call to prayer, delivering a khutbah, after visiting the graveyard, and touching or carrying a dead person. Finally, there is a divine wisdom and goodness in all His divine rulings, and they are in our best interest that we may or may not know.
We hope this answers your question.
35 Q: What are the psychological benefits of the prayer?
The psychological benefits of prayer for man are too numerous to count. During prayer, one remembers Allah, the Almighty Who has everything in His Hands, and remembers that he does not struggle in this life alone. Also, one remembers that there is an All-Knowing and All-Just Creator and Ruler of the world. So, if one is experienced to injustice or oppression, one consigns one’s matters to the One by His Command the heaven and earth remain.
If one undergoes some hardship or trouble, one resorts to Allah, Whose Mercy encompasses everything. No one other than Him has the absolute command and omnipotence.
This feeling surrounds a person’s life with an atmosphere of calmness and psychological tranquility that help him continue his life with good health, mental comfort and sensual peacefulness.
Dr. Rose Hilferding, a medical advisor at Boston Hospital, says that among the useful ways of healing is to unbosom ones troubles to a trustworthy person.
When patients speak at length about their troubles, the anxiety ends from their minds because speaking about one’s problems is a healing in itself.
It doesn’t matter, if the listener is a doctor, jurist, or a cleric. What is important is the feeling that he is listening and concerning.
So, what would it be if one is resorting to Allah, Who sees and in Whose Hands is the command and all the good? Is not standing in prayer a rescue from all these diseases?
Dr. Alexis Carrel, awarded the Nobel Prize for his book “Man, the Unknown”, says, “As far as known until now, Prayer is ever the greatest creative source of power. As a physician, I have seen a lot of patients that all medicines have failed to cure them. Yet, it is prayer that finally relieved their pains.”
“Prayer is like the radioactive Radium, for people who seek to increase their limited activity in prayer by addressing the one with absolute and sufficient power.”
“When we pray, we link ourselves with the superpower that dominates the universe. We ask the one who have it to enable us face the sufferings of life. Yet, just recitation is enough to increase our power and activity. We never saw anyone invoking Allah without his supplications are replied with the best things.”
36 Q: Did Muhammad Borrow the Quran from Earlier Scriptures?
Opponents of Islam sometimes allege that Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself wrote the Qur’an or that he copied or adapted it from previous scriptures. But it is known that the Prophet’s contact with Jews and Christians was negligible before his emigration from Makkah, and after it his role was that of a teacher, openly inviting the Jews and Christians to accept Islam while pointing out how they had diverged from the true monotheism taught by their prophets.
It is true that there are some similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible, but this does not indicate that later Prophets plagiarized from former ones. It merely reflects the common source, which is the Creator of mankind, and the continuance of His basic message of monotheism.
Moreover, there was no Arabic version of the Bible in existence at the time of Prophet Muhammad. The earliest Arabic version of the Old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon of 900 CE – more than 250 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. And the oldest Arabic version of the New Testament was published by Erpenius in 1616 CE – about 1000 years after his death.
Historically and logically, it cannot be established that there was any human source for the Qur’an or that the Messenger of Allah learned it from the Jews or Christians. His enemies kept a close watch on him hoping to find confirmation of their claim that he was a liar. But they could not point to a single instance when the Prophet might have had secret meetings with people of other faiths.
It was a sign of Muhammad’s Prophethood that he was illiterate. Thus, he could not be credited with composing or editing the revelations, and suspicion that he learned what he preached from earlier scriptures is eliminated.
At the time the Qur’an was revealed, his contemporaries among the Arabs, known for linguistic eloquence, acknowledged that its language was unique and distinctly different from the speech of Muhammad, a man they knew well. The Qur’an states that the Prophet was an unlettered man, so if that had not been true, his opponents would surely have exposed him. There is, however, not a single report to this effect, and no one denied his illiteracy. At the same time, no one denied that the Qur’an was unequalled in eloquence, impact and clarity, including those who rejected its message.
It is not difficult to verify that Muhammad did not possess knowledge of many things mentioned in the Qur’an, such as historical events, natural phenomena and future occurrences. The kind of information he conveyed could not have been obtained through reading and research, so it was obviously something that could only have come directly from the Creator. The Qur’an states in several places that Muhammad and his people did not know these facts, so had it been otherwise, his adversaries would have capitalized on that claim to discredit him. Пп1у recently, within the last two centuries, have advancements in research technology led to the discovery of facts that were mentioned in the Qur’an by the unlettered prophet over fourteen centuries ago. Here are a few examples:
1. The creation of the universe from a single entity and of life from water, as Almighty Allah says,
Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:30)
2. All creation is based on duality, made up of pairs, counterparts or opposites. Allah says,
And of all things We created two mates. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:49)
In contrast, God is one, with no counterpart and nothing resembling Him in any way.
3. The different natures of the sun and moon, as the Qur’an says,
It is He [Allah] who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. (Yunus 10:5)
4. The rotation of the earth:
He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night. (Az-Zumar 39:5)
The alternate “wrapping” of sunlight and darkness is caused by the earth’s turning in one direction.
5. The expansion of the universe:
And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:47)
The Creator refers to Himself in the plural form which denotes power, grandeur and majesty.
6. The sun is not stationary but moves in a specific direction for a limited term:
And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. (Yasin 36:38)
The sun, as a tiny member of this vast universe, is progressing within it toward a final destination, which indicates an end to the present creation.
These are words recited by Muhammad, the unlettered prophet. The Qur’an addresses recently established scientific facts with the precision of a scientist. Could the most highly literate, well read or scholarly man of that period, or even of the centuries that followed, possibly have come up with anything similar?
37 Q: What are the meaning and conditions of the testimony of Faith, La Ilah Illa Allah?
Below is the answer of Abdur-Rahman Al-Sheha to this most important question, quoted from his book “How to Become a Muslim”.
The Testimony of faith (La Ilah Ill Allah “There is no deity but Allah”) has the following meanings:
There is no Creator of this existence except Allah. Allah says:
That is Allah , your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things. (Al-An`am 6:102)
There is no True Master and Owner present in this existence except Allah. Allah says:
Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah , Lord of the worlds. (Al-A`raf 7:54)
This is known as Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Attributes of Lordship. This is the belief that there is no Creator, Sovereign Master, Administrator, Provider, Sustainer, and Owner except for Allah.
No deity deserves servitude and worship except Allah. Allah says:
Unquestionably, to Allah belongs whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth. And those who invoke other than Allah do not [actually] follow [His] “partners.” They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying . (Yunus 10:66)
This is known as Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Worship. This is the belief that no worship should be directed to any except Allah.

All the Names and Attributes of Allah are perfect and complete. He is high above and free from all faults and shortcomings. Allah says:
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing. ( Al-A`raf 7:180)
This concept is known as Tawhid Al-Asma’ wa As-Sifat, that Allah has all the Best of Names and Attributes, and that there are none equal, comparable to, or like them.
The Conditions of the Testimony of Faith
It is not enough that one merely utters the Shahadah (the testimony of faith) for it to be accepted by Allah. It is the key to the gates of Paradise, but in order for it to work, it needs to have the right ridges. The Shahadah must meet the following conditions for it to be accepted by Allah:
1) Knowledge:
One must have knowledge that all other deities worshipped besides Allah are false, so there is no deity worshipped in truth except Allah. Never should anyone else be worshipped, even if he be a prophet, a messenger or an angel. Allah is the only one who deserves all types worship, such as prayer (salah), supplication (du`a’), sacrificial slaughtering, making oaths, etc.
2) Certainty:
One must have certainty in the Shahadah. Certainty is the opposite of doubt, so there is no room for a person to doubt or waver in his belief. Allah says:
The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful. (Al-Hujurat 49:15)
3) Acceptance:
One should accept the Shahadah fully and not reject it. Allah says:
Indeed they, when it was said to them, “There is no deity but Allah ,” were arrogant. (As-Saffat 37:35)
4) Compliance, obedience and acting upon all what the Shahadah necessitates:
A person must do according to what Allah ordered and abstain from what He prohibited. Allah says:
And whoever submits his face to Allah while he is a doer of good – then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah will be the outcome of [all] matters. (Luqman 31:22)
5) Truthfulness:
One must be truthful in his shahadah. Allah says:
They say with their tongues what is not within their hearts. (Al-Fath 48:11)
6) Sincerity of worship:
One must make his worship and obedience sincerely for Allah alone. Allah says:
And they were not commanded except to worship Allah , [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)
7) Love:
One must love Allah, His Messenger, and His righteous slaves. He must hate and show enmity towards all who show enmity to Allah and His Messenger. He must prefer what Allah and His Messenger love, even if it is different to what he desires. Allah says:
Say, [O Muhammad], “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (At-Tawbah 9:24)
The Shahadah also necessitates that Allah is the only one who has the right to legislate, whether it be in matters concerning worship, or matters concerning the government of human relations in both the individual and public affairs. The act of making something prohibited or lawful is for Allah alone. His Messenger (peace be upon him) merely explained and clarified Allah’s commandments. Allah says:
And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. (Al-Hashr 59:7)

38 Q: Do Muslim Women Have a Say on Marriage?
In some cultures, many first marriages of young Muslims are arranged by their parents. However, this does not usually mean that the people involved are strangers, or have not agreed to the arrangement. To be valid, in Islam, marriages should never be forced. If they are, that is certainly not what the Prophet intended, and flies in the face of his teaching. Islam does not condone the marriage of strangers.
In one instance, a woman complained to the Prophet that her father had married her off to his nephew without first asking her consent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately annulled the marriage. Once this was done, and the woman was free again, she said to him: ‘Now I am free, I willingly consent to this marriage. I only wanted it to be known that men have no say over women in their marriages.’ (Ibn Majah)
She had deliberately done this to establish a precedent for which many women have been most grateful ever since. Of course, it is unrealistic for youngsters to expect their parents not to be concerned for their welfare. Most Muslim youngsters are quite happy for their parents to arrange introductions for them. Divorce, although discouraged, is allowed to Muslims, and is usually much more easily arranged in Islamic law than in English law. If an arranged marriage ends in divorce, both parties may choose their own partners.
As for arranged marriages of older women, many widows or divorcees might not wish to live alone, but would have some difficulty in finding a suitable partner. Such people could turn to caring relatives, or the person of authority at the mosque, to match them with another spouse. This process is a religious version of the western match-making system.
39 Q: What is the basis of the Islamic Creed?
The fundamentals of the Islamic faith are based upon pure monotheism, which means worshipping God alone without partner or mediator. Muslims believe in the One and Only God who is the most Merciful Loving Creator of existence. While separate from His creation, He is perfectly transcendental above and greater than anything we could ever perceive or completely understand. To be a Muslim means that you believe in these fundamentals: God created this Universe and every atom in it.
God created the Angels. God created man and sent Prophets (peace be upon them) to both warn and give glad tidings to mankind.
There were many scriptures sent to mankind throughout history. The Scriptures of Abraham, Torah, Psalms, and Gospel of Jesus are mentioned by name in the Glorious Qur’an.
All humans are accountable for their chosen faith and actions and will be called to account on the Day of Judgment accordingly. God’s infinite knowledge and will prevail over everything in this universe.
He is the creator of time and that which exists within it. Thus, He is not part of time or governed by it. God sent prophets to mankind to guide us to all that is good for us in this life and in the Hereafter and warn us of a punishment for spreading corruption and injustice.
Muslims believe that God sent Prophets (peace be upon them) to all people, beginning with Adam and including Prophets like Noah, Salih, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Hud, Moses, David, Dhul-kifl, Jesus, Muhammad, and thousands of others (peace be upon them).
We say ‘thousands of others’ because God revealed in the Qur’an that He sent a guide to all peoples and generations throughout history with only 25 being mentioned in the Qur’an.
All Prophets were chosen from among certain nations by divine decree to receive and deliver the message of God. A complete stranger or outsider was not sent to guide them but rather God chose someone that everyone knew as an upstanding and truthful member of society. For example, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was labeled as “Al-Amin” (the honest and trustworthy) by his peers, even before he received his mission from God. God’s final message to humanity was revealed through Muhammad and is a reconfirmation of the eternal message found in the other books of God, which were previously corrupted by man.
This message is comprised of two texts: The Glorious Qur’an, which is the exact word of God preserved for eternity in the Arabic language and the Sunnah, which refers to the authentic sayings and actions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which were recorded and memorized by his companions and their followers.
The Sunnah is the practical example of the guidance found in the Glorious Qur’an. Muslims believe in everything that is found in the Glorious Qur’an without exception. The Sunnah has been subject to meticulous scrutiny by a thorough science of verification. What has been deemed as authentic through multiple transmissions is accepted just as the Glorious Qur’an.
40 Q: Was Jesus Crucified?
There is no denying that there are Qur’anic verses which may be misunderstood as indicating the killing of Jesus Christ. We read the following verses in the Qur’an:
[Mention] when Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take (mutawafika) you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ. (Aal `Imran 3:55)
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me back (tawafaytani), You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. (Al-Ma’idah 5:116-117)
Many people may misunderstand the Arabic words “mutawafika” and “tawafaytani” used in the above verses. They may misinterpret them as standing for death.
Let’s see what Muslim exegetes said about the above verses, especially the two misinterpreted words, to know what really happened to Jesus according to Islam.
The Muslim exegetes disagree over what is meant by the Arabic root “tawafy” of the above two words. The majority of Muslim exegetes are of the opinion that it stands for “taking or receiving back” rather than death. According to them, such “tawafy” was something like sleep.
In particular, Al-Hassan, Al-Kalby and Ibn Jurayj believe that Jesus was taken up while awake. According to them, “tawafy” means just “receiving back”. Al-Rabi` ibn Anas think that Jesus was taken up while asleep. According to him, “tawafy” means “causing to sleep”. The proponents of both opinions offer as evidence the following verse:
And it is He who takes your souls (yatawaffakum) by night and knows what you have committed by day.” (Al-An`am 6:60)
In this verse, the Arabic root “tawafy” means “causing to sleep”.
According to those two groups, “tawafy” in Arabic means “taking upon satisfaction”. It does not necessarily stand for death, though it is still one of its meanings. Every act of taking upon satisfaction can be called tawafy. Accordingly, they argue that Jesus was subject to “tawafy”, i.e. was taken up upon the satisfaction of the initial time he was to live before interruption (Ascension) and return (Second Coming).
After all, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that Jesus was taken up, either awake or asleep, and he was neither crucified nor killed nor even caused to die. According to them, though “tawafy” may mean “causing to die”, Jesus was not caused to die for “tawafy” may or may not stand for death. The probability of death is explicitly negated by the following verse:
And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness. (An-Nisaa’ 4:159)
The above verse confirms that the People of the Book will believe in Jesus upon his coming back and before his death. Jesus has yet to come back. His comeback is a sign of the end of the world and this will take place before the advent of the Day of Judgment.
According to Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyah confirmed that both Jesus’ body and soul were taken up rather than caused to die and that he will come back with both of them.
Finally, the mainstream Islam believes that Jesus was neither crucified nor killed. He was rather taken up to Heaven alive, either awake or asleep, after spending the first part of his lifetime on earth. He is now alive in Heaven with Allah in some way or the other. He will come back, with both of his body and soul, to spend the second part of his lifetime in which he will complement his mission of preaching monotheism.
No wonder, Jesus was born without a father in the first place. He has a miraculous life with two earthly lifetimes and one interval of an unusually heavenly life in between. If one already believes in Jesus, let him believe in his survival, ascension and second coming as he believed in him as a fatherless human being.
41 Is Islam Compatible with Modern Science?
The Muslim creed involves no tortuous mental gymnastics. Apart from three basic ‘unprovable’ religious concepts – belief that God exists, belief that there are orders of creation that are not part of our physical universe, and belief in life after death – Islam does not require any person to accept any other mythology or believe unbelievable things as an act of faith.
As regards science, and in particular cosmology, Islam is not pegged to any particular theory (such as the Big Bang or the Theory of Evolution) because it recognizes that human knowledge is always limited, and always in a state of flux. The lessons that science teaches today may well be overturned by future scientific advances as was the case with the theory that the sun revolved around the earth, or the belief that there was a fixed sphere into which the stars were embedded, or that the universe had a ‘center’ (for a long time assumed wrongly to be the earth).
The important thing to realize is that all the wonderful discoveries of science are discoveries of what is already there. Science does not create, but discovers and utilizes. Even though we seem to know so much about ‘life, the universe and everything’, we essentially know very little – a minute percentage. Moreover, Muslims regard a very large proportion of our knowledge as al-Ghayb – ‘the unseen and unknowable’.
However, scientific principles are absolutely in keeping with Islam, and Muslims are required not to pin themselves down to any particular theory, but to seek knowledge as best they may, and as much as they can, from the cradle to the grave, and from every available source. Therefore, Muslims will quite likely accept the leading scientific theories of the day as working principles, while always keeping an open mind. Existing scientific knowledge is not a matter of faith – therefore it is no embarrassment to a Muslim when that knowledge is revised, and earlier systems are proved wrong, or inadequate.
42 Q: What Is About the Former Sins of a New-Muslim?
By His grace and mercy, Allah wipes out all the sins that have been committed before embracing Islam. When a disbeliever becomes Muslim, Allah forgives all that he did when he was a non-Muslim, and he becomes cleansed of sin.
Muslim narrated that `Amr ibn Al-Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When Allah put Islam in my heart, I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may swear allegiance to you.” He held out his hand and I withdrew my hand. He said, “What is the matter, O `Amr?” I said, “I want to stipulate a condition.” He said, “What do you want to stipulate?” I said, “That I will be forgiven.” He said, “Do you not know that Islam destroys that which came before it?” “Islam destroys that which came before it” means that it erases it and wipes it out. (Stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim)
Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked a similar question, about someone who earned money by dealing in drugs before he became Muslim. He replied:
“We say to this brother whom Allah has blessed with Islam after he had earned haram (unlawful) wealth: be of good cheer, for this wealth is permissible for him and there is no sin on him in it, whether he keeps it or gives it in charity, or uses it to get married, because Allah says in His Glorious Book:
Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief), their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning). (Al-Anfal 8:38)
The verse means all that has passed, in general terms, is forgiven. But any money that was taken by force from its owner must be returned to him. But money that was earned by agreements between people, even if it is unlawful, like that which is earned through riba (interest) or by selling drugs, etc. it is permissible for him when he becomes Muslim because Allah says, “Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief), their past will be forgiven”. Also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to `Amr ibn Al-`Aas when he became Muslim: “Do you not know that Islam destroys that which came before it?”
Many of the non-Muslims became Muslim after they had killed Muslims, but they were not punished for what they had done. So tell this brother that his wealth is permissible and there is no sin in it; he may give it in charity and use it to get married. As for what he has been told about it not being permissible for him to give it in charity, there is no basis for that.
Please keep in touch.
43 Q: How Did Islam Deal with Slavery?
In fact, we smell in your question that you are influenced by the untrue falsities propagated against Islam. The truth is totally different. We will shed light on the issue of slavery and its stance in Islam, in these precious words by C. Mofty.
Islam did not initiate the system of slavery
Slavery existed in Judaism, Christianity, India, and China before Islam. Since the earliest times, Islam had opened doors to free slaves and to eventually end slavery. The Islamic paradigm did not ignore the realities of the world, nor did it endorse it. Islam regulated it. As Annemarie Schimmel, a German scholar, noted, “…therefore slavery is theoretically doomed to disappear with the expansion of Islam.”(1)
Shari`ah Law severely limited the channels in which the number of slaves could multiply. The only source of slavery was captives of legitimate war and the children born to slave parents. After limiting the sources of new slaves, Islamic law dealt with the reality of the existing slaves.
People are born free, slavery is temporary
The Qur’an states,
O mankind, indeed We have created you from a male (Adam) and a female (Eve) and made you into various families and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the most pious of you. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)
The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) declared, “All of you are from Adam and Adam was created from dust.” (Abu Dawud) The principle that human beings are born free and slavery is accidental is accepted by all the scholars of Islam. Few important consequences of this principle are: “Voluntary slavery is not allowed. A free person cannot become a slave even if he wants to.
A free person cannot be enslaved. The interesting point is that Muslim theologians did not decide it, but the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared it to be a sin 1400 years ago. He said, “There are three types of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgment. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him, and consumes this money.” (Al-Bukhari)
An unclaimed child with unknown parentage was to be treated as a free person even if the child appeared to have slave parents.
A slave was granted respect and human dignity
The very word “slave” in English has extremely negative connotations of barbaric treatment. Compare it with how the Prophet of Mercy spoke about slaves 1400 years ago, “Your slaves are your brothers! God has placed them in your care. So, whose brother is under his care, he should feed him what he eats and dress him how he dresses. And do not burden them beyond their capacities; but if you burden them (with an unbearable burden), then help them (by sharing their extra burden).” (Al-Bukhari)
“When the servant of anyone amongst you prepares food for him and has undergone its hardship of heat and smoke, he should make him (the servant) sit along with him and make him eat (along with him), and if he does not do that, then he should spare some portion for him.” (Muslim)
The Prophet of Mercy forbade hitting the slaves. He declared that the atonement of hitting or slapping a slave is to set him free. (Muslim)
Moreover, a slave is not be addressed with hurtful words. The Prophet of Mercy stated not to address them as, ‘My slave boy or my slave girl.” He said, “All of you are slaves of God!” Address them with, “O my young man, O my young lady!” (Muslim)
`Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islam, was so fond of Salim, a freed slave that he wished to appoint Salim to be the caliph if he were alive. Salim used to lead the Muslims in prayer, which is considered an honor in Islamic tradition.
Islam granted equal religious rights to the free and the slave
Slaves were at the same footing of a freeman in terms of religious obligations, as well as reward and punishment from God. A slave’s testimony was considered acceptable. A slave had right to personal belongings and property. They were to be helped to legally win their freedom if they so choose through a mechanism known as mukatabah and tadbir. This mechanism is enshrined in the Muslim scripture as God says,

And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess – then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. (An-Nur 24:33)
Freeing slaves is an act of worship
Islam set freeing of slaves as atonement of sins and for specific acts of transgression. Muslims were encouraged to willingly set slaves free to release themselves from the torment of Hell Fire. The state was also a source of setting the slaves free as Islamic Law dictates that Zakah (obligatory charity) given by wealthy Muslims to the state – is to be spent on setting slaves free among other things. God says,
Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)
Islam integrated slaves into the mainstream society
The issue of integration of freed slaves into the mainstream society has been discussed by some contemporary scholars. The Islamic solution was to integrate them into the society by making them part of the tribes and families. The system was known as “wala’.” The Prophet of Islam said, ‘Freeing slaves is like establishing relations by blood.’ (Ad-Darimi)
[1] Annemarie Schimmel, Islam: An Introduction (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992), p. 67
[2] Ameer Ali, The Spirit of Islam: A History of the Evolution and Ideals of Islam with a Life of the Prophet, revised ed., (London: Christophers, 1922), p. 264
44 Q: What Are the Proofs of Muhammad’s Prophethood?
Muhammad ibn `Abdullah is the final Messenger of Allah to all inhabitants of the earth. The proofs that show the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad and his genuineness are abundant.
With regard to your question, Sheikh `Abdur-Rahman `Abdul-Khaliq illustrates that the clear evidences that verify the Prophethood of Muhammad are countless. Some of them have been presented in following lines:
• The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) foretold of everything that would occur to him and his community after him, pertaining to victory, the removal of the tyrannical kingdom of Khosrau [the royal title for the Zoroastrian kings of Persia] and Caesar, and the establishment of the religion of Islam throughout the earth. These events occurred exactly as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) foretold, as if he was reading the future from an open book.
• The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also brought an Arabic Qur’an that is the peak of eloquence and clarity. The Glorious Qur’an challenged those eloquent and fluent Arabs of his time, who initially belied him, to bring forth a single chapter like one of the many chapters of the Glorious Qur’an. The eloquent Arabs of his day were unable to contest this Glorious Qur’an.
• The life history of this Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was a perfect example of an upright, merciful, compassionate, truthful, brave, generous, distant from all evil character, and ascetic in all worldly matters, while striving solely for the reward of the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of Allah. Allah instilled great love for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the hearts of all who believed in and met him. This love reached such a degree that any of his companions would willingly sacrifice his (or her) self, mother or father for him.
• The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came with a great religion in its creedal and legal framework. The Prophet Muhammad described Allah (glory be to Him) with qualities of complete perfection, and in a manner that is free of ascribing to Him any imperfection. Neither the philosophers nor the wise could ever describe Allah with such description. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine a person that possesses such complete ability, knowledge, and greatness; who has subdued the creation and who has encompassed everything in the universe, small or large; and who possesses such perfect mercy.
• Prophet Muhammad came with a perfect law based upon justice, equality, mercy and objectivity for all human activity on earth that touched on various spheres of human activity, such as buying and selling, marriage and divorce, renting, testimony, custody, and all other contracts that are necessary to maintain life and civilization on earth, with inimitable justice and effectiveness.
• The legal and creedal structure of the religion that was brought by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) resembles, in its miraculous nature, the creation of the heavens and the earth, being of the same source, i.e. God. The degree of inimitability of the Divine law that was sent down upon Muhammad is to the same degree of inimitability of the Divine creation of the heavens and earth. For just as humanity cannot create this universe, in the same manner humanity cannot bring forth a law like Allah’s Law that He sent down upon His servant and messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Please, keep in touch…
45 Q: Who Is the Creator of God?
In fact, change is the sign of creation and extinction which are the distinctive of this worldly life. Yet, the only One who is characterized with perpetuity and endlessness is the One who brought this life into existence. He is Almighty Allah, Glory be to Him. However, some may inquire why not is your God created? This is what Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid explains in the following words:
“This question which the Satan asked you is inherently false and self-contradictory. If we were to say -for the sake of argument- that someone created Allah, then they would ask you, who created the creator of the Creator? Then, who created the creator of the creator of the creator?! And so on, ad infinitum. This is irrational and impossible.
All of creation goes back to the Creator Who created all things. No one created Him; He created everything other than Himself. This is what makes sense and is logical. This Creator is Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.
With regard to what our religion tells us, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us about this question, where it comes from, and how to respond to it.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “People will keep on asking questions until someone will say: Allah created the universe, but who created Allah? Whoever encounters anything like that, let him say: Amantu Billah (I believe in Allah) “.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: «The Satan will come to one of you and say: Who created the heaven? Who created the earth? He will say: Allah», then he mentioned something similar (to the previous report), and added «And His Messengers [i.e., amantu Billah wa Rusulihi = I believe in Allah and His Messengers]».
In these hadiths we see: Where this question comes from; from the Satan.
How to deal with it, which is:
– To stop pursuing these thoughts and these tricks of the Satan.
– To say: I believe in Allah and His Messengers.
– To seek refuge with Allah from the Satan.
3. With regard to the prior existence of Allah, our Prophet (peace be upon him) has told us about this, for example:
He (peace be upon him) said: “O Allah, You are the First and there is nothing before You; O Allah, You are the Last and there is nothing after You.” (Muslim)
He (peace be upon him) said: «Allah existed when there was nothing apart from Him» According to another report: «There was nothing before Him.” (Al-Bukhari)
We ask Allah to grant us sincere and certain faith with no doubts. And Allah is the Source of strength.
Please keep in touch.
46 Q: Do Muslims Worship a Black Stone?
In fact, this type of misunderstanding occurs to those who know nothing about the basis of Islamic creed. Ka`bah in Islam is not an idol or deity, it is a building that has been honored by Allah the Almighty Who appointed it as a symbol of Muslim unity.
Islam urges Muslims to face the Ka`bah during the prayer to symbolize the concept of unity among all Muslims all over the globe. If the issue is left open to everybody, everyone will be facing a different direction and this might cause disunity.
Moreover, Muslims understand that the Ka`bah is just a symbol and does not harm or benefit anyone. Muslims go around the Ka`bah in Hajj to symbolize the divine unity of Allah the Almighty. At certain times during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Bilal (may Allah be pleased with) stood on the Ka`bah and gave the adhan. If there is any kind of worship, they would not have done that.
Islam came to preach the worship of Allah the One and Alone. The message of Islam has invited people to abandon the worship of idols and deities in any form. Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not [power to cause] death or life or resurrection. (Al-Furqan 25:3)
Muslims Worship only the Lord of Ka`bah not the Ka`bah
It is strange to label Islam with idolatry, while Islam has been characterized across its history with the principle of monotheism in all aspects of human action, including: faith, worship, dealing and actions. Since its advent until today, monotheism has been its identity.
Every Muslim in the world, whether educated or un-educated, intellectual or non-intellectual announces clearly that Allah is the One Who must be worshipped Alone and not the Ka`bah or anything else. Indeed, Muslims turn their faces to the direction of Ka`bah during the prayer because Allah (Glory be to Him) has ordered them to do so. That is why they implement the Command of Allah the Almighty in order to obey Him and worship Him. The implementation of His Orders and Commands has been regarded in Islam as the most meritorious kind of worship. Worship in Islam is not directed to Ka`bah itself rather it is directed to the Lord of Ka`abh, the Lord of the whole universe.
In addition, Muslim jurists have concluded that the Muslims who live in distant places or in other countries and could not see Ka`bah in front of them during their prayer, such people do not need to face the physical building of Ka`bah directly. For such Muslims, it is enough to face the direction of Ka`bah only and their prayer is valid.
Bayt Al-Maqdis the First Qiblah of Muslims
It is noteworthy here that Muslims in the beginning of Islam used to turn their faces to the direction of Bayt Al-Maqdis in Jerusalem during their prayers, because the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers were ordered by Allah the Almighty to turn their faces to the Bayt Al-Maqdis. Thereafter, Allah (Glory be to Him) ordered them to turn their faces to the direction of Ka`bah in Makkah, since then the Muslims began turning their faces to the Ka`bah implementing the Command of Allah the Almighty. Thus it has become clear that Muslims are merely bound by the orders of their Lord the Almighty. When He (Glory be to Him) ordered them to face the direction of Bayt Al-Maqdis they obeyed His Command sincerely and when they were ordered again to face the direction of Ka`bah they implemented it immediately. That is why Allah is worshipped and He is obeyed in all cases, not the Ka`bah as was misunderstood by some people.
Please, keep in touch…
47 Q: Did Prophet Muhammad Spread Islam by the Sword?
With regard to your question, Dr. Ibrahim H. Malabari, a well-known Islamic researcher and author of many Islamic books, illustrates that there is a widespread belief that Islam was spread by the sword. There are two main reasons showing that this was in fact not the case.
First, the Messenger of Mercy, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), proclaimed that he would adhere to God’s commandments. And contrary to forcing people to accept Islam, God explicitly prohibited forced conversion:
There is no compulsion in religion. (Al-Baqarh 2:256)
There is an interesting story related to the revelation of this verse. A man, who was among the companions of the Prophet, had two sons who embraced Christianity before the emergence of the religion of Islam. The two sons came to Medina among a group of Christians, and at that time their father insisted that they both should become Muslims. However, they refused their father’s request and brought the matter before the Prophet. The father asked, “O Prophet of Allah, how could part of me enter hell while I am watching?” It was then that God revealed the above verse forbidding any compulsion in religion. Thus, the man’s two sons were free to remain Christians. The Messenger of mercy did not force them to become Muslims according to their father’s wish.
In another verse, the Qur’an says:
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? (Yunus 10:99)
All admit, even those who accuse the Prophet of forced conversions, that the Prophet was a God-fearing person who obeyed Him whole-heartedly in everything. How, then, can he violate these explicit divine commands?
There are even authentically recorded incidents in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised some individuals not to accept Islam for a time being, due to their safety. In one instance, a person by the name of `Amr ibn `Abasah As-Sulami came from a far distance to Mecca to embrace Islam. It was a time when Muslims were persecuted in Mecca and it was extremely difficult to meet the Prophet. Somehow, `Amr managed to find the Prophet and he expressed his desire to embrace Islam. The Prophet, however, told him that he should not embrace Islam at that time, since the situation between the Prophet and his people was dangerous. The Prophet then advised `Amr to go back to his family until the victory of the Prophet becomes apparent. It was not until approximately 7-8 years later that `Amr met the Prophet again to embrace Islam. Surely, had the Prophet been only concerned with converting people despite their own safety, he would not have advised `Amr to return to his family on account of the imminent danger.
It is true that the Prophet was extremely keen to convey God’s message and to lead people to salvation. The Qur’an describes this eagerness:
Would you, perhaps, torment yourself to death with grief over them if they are not willing to believe in this message? (Al-Kahf 18:6)
But this eagerness never prompted him to convert even a single person against his will.
Second, there is no historical evidence suggesting that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) acted contrary to the principle that there should be no compulsion in religion. There is not a single recorded instance in the Prophet’s thoroughly documented life of such an incident. Although some early Western historians advanced such claims, more recent studies have shown that conversions did not happen suddenly at the point of the sword, but when people living alongside Muslims gradually and genuinely accepted the faith voluntarily. Indeed, it is as the Orientalist George Sale said: “Whoever says that Islam spread by the power of the sword, his/her word is a pure allegation, because the sword was not even mentioned in many countries and Islam spread there.”
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation of India, once said, “I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place in Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission.”
The famous French historian Gustave Le Bon stated in his book, Arab Civilization, “Power was not a factor in the spread of Islam; that’s because Arabs left the people they vanquished free to practice their own religion.”
Another famous European writer, Thomas Carlayle, said: “Accusing [the Prophet] of relying on the sword for people to respond to his preaching is incomprehensible nonsense!”
History, logic, objectivity, and scholarly research all reject the notion that the Prophet Muhammad forced his religion on unwilling masses. It was voluntary acceptance and the utter conviction of the truth of Islam that caused mass conversions in many countries. Indonesia, Malaysia, China and several South Asian countries are telling examples of this reality. We can see a glimpse of this today – though in a less dramatic way – in Europe and North America where in those continents Islam is the fastest growing religion.
Please, keep in touch…
48 Q: Why Was the Quran Revealed in 7 Styles of Recitation?
First of all, it should be noted that there is absolutely no contradiction in the texts of the Shari`ah because it is a revelation from Allah, the Almighty.
The reason for the differences in the way of reciting the Qur’an is that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet in seven different dialects as it is narrated through many sound chains. It is narrated in Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said: “Gabriel has recited the Qur’an to me in one way; then I requested him (to read it in another way), and continued asking him to recite it in other ways, and he recited it in several ways till he ultimately recited it in seven different ways”.
The Prophet said: “The Qur’an has been revealed in seven different ways, so recite it in the way that is easier for you”. It is a fact the difference in the ways of recitation of the Qur’an is a difference of varieties not a contradiction between the various dialects. Any contradiction between the words of Allah (the Qur’an) is impossible. Allah Says:
Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully? Had it been from other than Allâh, they would surely have found therein much contradictions. (An-Nisaa’ 4:82)
Imam Ibn Al-Jazari (a well-known scholar of Qira’at [the styles of the recitation of the Qur’an]) said: “We consider the recital ways of the Qur’an we find according to three conditions.
First, The difference of words but the meaning is the same such as:
عَلَيْهُمْ – عَلَيْهِمْ (Alaihim, Alaihum) / اَلْقُدْس – اَلْقُدُس (al-Qudus, al-Quds) /
يَحْسُبُ – يَحْسِبُ (yahsibu, yahsubu).
Second, The difference in both, i.e. in the words as well as the meaning but in the last they indicate only one object; for example. مَلِكُ (Malik i.e. King) مَالِكُ (Malik i.e. Lord) in chapter Al-Fatihah verse 3. Both words, though they are different in pronunciation and meaning, they indicate only one thing. Here, they mean Allah the Alone. Another example is from chapter 2 verse 259 نُنْشِزُهَا (Nunshizuha, i.e. we bring them together till they become complete) نُنْشِرُهَا (Nunshiruha i.e. we animate them). Thus Allah put two meanings in two different ways of recitation.
Third, the difference in both, i.e. in the words and meanings though they indicate various objects, there is no contradiction between them. For example, see the verse 110 in chapter Yusuf ( (كُذِّبُوا (Kudhdhibu, i.e. The Messengers believe that their people have accused them of lying.)
In another way of recitation (كُذِبُوا) (Kudhibu, i.e. The Messengers come to think that they were treated as liars).
It becomes clear from the above details that there is no real contradiction in meaning among the ways of recitation; the difference appears superficially only, whereas there is no difference in the essential matters.
As for the benefits of the differences among the ways of recitation, they are numerous. Among them are:
1. To make the recitation of the Qur’an easy and convenient for Muslim nation.
2. To prove the miracle of the Qur’an with complete abridgement.
3. To prove with clear signs that the Qur’an is revealed from Allah because, despite the mentioned differences they support each other in a fabulous and attractive style. This coordination proves that the Qur’an is a miracle and the Prophet and all his teachings are true. Allah says:
Do they not then consider the Qur’ân carefully? Had it been from other than Allâh, they would surely have found therein much contradictions. (An-Nisaa’ 4: 82)
4. It is clear that Allah has reserved the protection of His words (Qur’an) for Himself. This is yet another sign of the authenticity of the Qur’an, that makes knowledge of His Religion in all places and times through authentic scholars and others who memorize the Qur’an, it words, know its different recital ways, clarify its explanation, meanings and differentiate between the correct and authentic narrations and those which are incorrect and weak. They point out the more appropriate recitation of the `Uthmani Mus-haf (the authentic one copied from the original text of the Qur’an written in the period of the Prophet) from those which are not so.
We hope that we have fully answered your question…
Please keep in touch.
49 Q: Why Is Banking with Interest Forbidden in Islam?
As Muslims, we believe that everything Allah has legislated is all of justice, mercy and benefit for people and everything Allah has prohibited it must be involving harms to people. With regard to Riba or interest, Allah made it clearly forbidden in the Qur’an,
Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. (Al-Baqarah 2:275)
As regarding the reasons of the prohibition of interest in Islam, we quote this rationale of the prohibition of interest in Islam from a research by Dr. Abdel-Rahman Yousri Ahmed, Director General of Institute of Islamic University, Pakistan, and was published on the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance site. It reads,
• The interest system is inherently incapable of allocating available liquid funds among firms and activities in the society according to considerations of efficiency, productivity and growth. An Islamic system based on profit/loss sharing financing methods would offer, in principle, an efficient substitute.
• The riba system is full of contradictions and attempts to regulate it through interest rate controls have either failed or accentuated its imperfections. On the whole, therefore, the system which is prohibited by Shari`ah, is adversely affecting economic development in the Islamic countries. On the contrary a financial system based on profit and loss sharing offers a much better alternative to Islamic countries since it is expected to be free of all the imperfections of the riba system.
• The interest system brings about and effectively maintains a pattern of income distribution which is biased towards wealthy people and large businesses, irrespective of rational economic considerations. An Islamic interest-free financial system supports a just income distribution pattern fairly correlated to economic efficiency, productivity and actual factors contributions to the total value added.
• The interest system encourages passive behavior to develop among people having liquid funds by helping them to relinquish responsibilities and risks in investment activities. In contrast sharing in responsibilities and risks is inherent in the profit/loss sharing methods of finance.
• No doubt that the interest system relieves money capital owners from holding any responsibilities and risks related to the execution or to the final outcome of the investment activities financed by them. It is claimed by the interest system’s exponents that this is one of its merits since easy and risk less income is guaranteed to the capital owners periodically. It is also claimed that entrepreneurs within this system are willingly accepting its terms and satisfied that the financiers do not intervene in their business. Interest paid by the entrepreneurs is included in costs and thus transferred to purchasers through sales, while net profit once realized is totally their own.
• The growth of the interest-based finance in any society whether through the banking system or by selling bonds in capital markets will directly be reflected in growth of passive behavior among society members. Individuals who receive guaranteed interest paid to them periodically without bearing any responsibilities or risk can not be considered but inactive society members. As well as, their passive behavior is emphasized by the full option, given by the banking system, to restore their funds at any time. Those inactive individuals are considered sleeping partners in secular literature and it is estimated that the growth of their members in any society would endanger economic growth.
It goes without saying that partnership based on profit/loss sharing mechanism would help in getting rid of passive individualistic behavior. The Islamic modes of finance help directly in promoting responsibility and risk-taking morals and motivations, which are quite essential for economic growth. The economic rational of the interest-free finance is quite clear here, i.e. providers and users of finance will be sharing together in all the responsibilities and risks involved in the investment activities from A to Z. All partners are actually active in the Islamic system. Islamic ethics motivate people to exchange opinions, advice, share positively in production. All these ethics are basic for rational behaviour and good deeds. At the same time the sharing ethics will always provide a support for brotherhood and co-operation among members of the Islamic society.
• Prohibition of interest would not affect savings, as well as it would not affect their mobilization provided that Islamic ethics are prevailing, and the application of various interest-free financing methods is conducted successfully by specialised Islamic institutions.
In fact, a revival of Islamic Shar`iah and ethics would settle the matter decisively against the interest-based system and its ability to mobilize Muslims, savings. But before realizing this precious target, it is very important that the ability of any new Islamic financial institution to effectively mobilize saving resources would mainly depend on efficient practice of interest-free financing methods, success in achieving highest possible “halal” returns and thus gaining the confidence of the savers to invest their funds through them.
Please keep in touch..

50 Q: If God Is Merciful, Why Hell?
Actually, the majority of the adherents of the Abrahamic religions, namely, Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in the concept of the Day of Judgment as well as Heaven and Hell.
Unlike the believers in re-incarnation, in which the dead are believed to be reborn into a better or worse life according to his/her deeds in the last life, the adherents to the Abrahamic religions believe that there are only two lives. The first, being from the mother’s womb, and the second, when a person is resurrected on the Day of Judgment to account for his deeds.
Reward vs. Punishment
So, in general, people believe in the concept of reward and punishment in various religions, but not in the same linear form.
In Islam, similar to Judaism and Christianity, God is looked upon as a just God. He is hasty to reward and slow to punishment. But one may ask why would He punish if He is a loving God?
It all boils down to whether we believe in God or not. If we believe in Him and His supreme justice, then it would make sense that He would guide us to the straight path. This is only possible through revelations sent down to His Prophets, which they relayed to their people.
In all preserved scriptures, one sees evidence of the loving kindness of the Creator. This is manifested in numerous verses through which He shows guidance to mankind, so humans would not err.
So, for the believer, fear of God is part of strengthening his/her faith. One knows that in believing in God, he must have love, fear and hope in Him.
Love and hope are two lengthy subjects. So, since the issue of Hell and the justice of the Creator are being discussed here, we concentrate on the attitude of a believer toward fear of God, which will ultimately save him from Hell.
The Believer’s Fear and Hope
The believer knows that there are rewards and punishments and the ways which one may achieve either one. So, he distances himself from God’s punishment and draws himself toward His pleasure and mercy and thus he attains greater spiritual fulfillment. He would want to respect God’s boundaries, stays constantly vigilant and tries to seek God’s pleasure in the best manner he can. He knows this will save him from the fear of the Last Day and the eternal terror of Hell. The Qur’an says,
Those who give away their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Al-Baqarah 2: 274)
As described in the Qur’an, a believer who has an awareness of God and sincerely reflects on His attributes will immediately begin to experience that inner awe that is due to His Majesty and superiority. Thus, His infinite power will create within the believer a fear full of absolute awe. As a result of the believer’s vigilance and sincerity, God will reward him by His infinite mercy with tranquility in this world, and in the Hereafter with Paradise.
For those who fear the Station of their Lord there are two Gardens. (Ar-Rahman 55:46)
Yet, one may ask how would I know what pleases or displeases God? The answer is clear. One must gain knowledge of His Creator by understanding His words through the Qur’an.
… Only those of His servants with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving. (Fatir 35: 28)
Such believers would understand that the justice of God is unmatched. Thus they believe in all that He has warned them with:
[Believers are] those who affirm the Day of Judgment. Those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord. No one is safe from the punishment of his Lord. (Al-Ma`arij 70: 26–8)
Such is the justice of God and the believer relies on no one but God in fear and hope.
… they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. (As-Sajdah 32:16)
About this issue, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“When the heart of a believer is filled with these two feelings of hope and fear, Almighty Allah fulfills his hope and saves him from what he fears.” (Ibn Majah)
God’s Justice
What about those who reject the Day of Judgment, when they meet their Lord and witness the Heaven and Hell?
The real losers are those who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Rising.” Is not that clear loss? They will have awnings of Fire above them and awnings below them. By that Allah strikes fear into His servants: “O My servants, fear Me! (Az-Zumar 39: 15)
51 Q: What Is the Concept of the Original Sin in Islam?
One of the major troublesome areas of human existence is the problem of sin or evil in the world. It is commonly believed that sin started with Adam and Eve during their life in the Garden of Eden. That event led to the ‘Fall’ and has ever since branded the human race with guilt, stigma, and bewilderment.
The First Sin
Islam has taken a unique position on the whole issue, a position which is not shared by any other religion we know. The Qur’an states that Adam and Eve were directed by God to reside in the Garden of Eden and enjoy its produce as they pleased, assured of bountiful supplies and comfort. But they were warned not to approach a particular tree so that they would not run into harm and injustice.
Then Satan intrigued them to temptation and caused them to lose their joyful state. They were expelled from the Garden and brought down to earth to live, die, and taken out again at last for the Final Judgment. Having realized what they had done, they felt shame, guilt, and remorse. They prayed for God’s mercy and were forgiven (Al-Baqarah 2:35-38; Al-A`raf 7:19-25; Ta-Ha 20:117-123).
And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Garden, and eat you freely (of the fruits) thereof where you will; but come not nigh this tree lest you become wrong-doers. But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:35-37)
This symbolic event is significantly revealing. It tells that the human being is imperfect and ever wanting even if he were to live in a paradise. But committing a sin or making a mistake, as Adam and Eve did, does not necessarily deaden the human heart, prevent spiritual reform or stop moral growth.
Human Accountability
On the contrary, the human being has enough sensibility to recognize his sins and shortcomings. More importantly, he is capable of knowing where to turn and to whom he should turn for guidance.
Much more important is the fact that God is ever prepared to respond to the sincere calls of those who seek His aid. He is so Gracious and Compassionate that His forgiveness is encompassing and His mercy all–inclusive:
My mercy embraces all things. (Al-A`raf 7:156)
One last revealing reading of the event is that discrimination on the basis of sex and hereditary guilt or sin is alien to the spirit of Islam.
The idea of ‘Original Sin’ or hereditary criminality has no room in the teachings of Islam. Man, according to the Qur’an and to the Prophet, is born in natural state of purity or fitrah, that is, Islam or submission to the will and law of God. Allah says:
So set your purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright – the nature (framed) of Allah, in which He has created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not. (Ar-Rum 30:30)
Whatever becomes of man after birth is the result of external influence and intruding factors. To put the matter in terms of modern thought, human nature is malleable; it is the socialization process, particularly the home environment, that is crucial. It plays a decisive role in the formation of human personality and the development of moral character.
This does not deny to the individual the freedom of choice or exempt him from responsibility. Rather, it is a relief from that heavy burden of hereditary criminality or instinctual sin.
Between Good & Evil
God, by definition, is Just, Wise, Merciful, Compassionate, and Perfect. He has created man by breathing into him of His own Spirit (Al-Hijr 15:29; As-Sajdah 32:9; At-Tahrim 66:12).
So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My Spirit… (Al-Hijr 15:29)
Since God is the absolute infinite good and His Spirit the absolute perfect one; since man, through creation, received of the Spirit of God, then man was bound to retain at least some portion of this good Spirit of the Creator. This may account for the good dispositions of man and his spiritual longings. But, on the other hand, God created man to worship Him, not to be His equal, rival, the perfect incarnation or absolute embodiment of His goodness.
This means that no matter how much good and perfect man may be, by the grace of creation, he is still far short of the goodness and perfection of the Creator. Man is not without such qualities, to be sure. But they are limited and proportionate to man’ s finite nature, capacity, and responsibility. This may explain the imperfection and fallibility of man.
However, imperfection and fallibility are not the equivalent of sin or synonymous with criminality – at least not in Islam. If man is imperfect he is not left helpless or deserted by God to fall victim to his shortcomings. He is empowered by revelations, supported by reason, fortified by the freedom of choice, and guided by various social and psychological dispositions to seek and achieve relative perfection.
The constant gravitation between the forces of good and evil is the struggle of life. It gives man something to look forward to, ideals to seek, work to do, and roles to play. It makes his life interesting and meaningful, not monotonous and stagnant. On the other hand, it pleases God to see His servants in a state of spiritual and moral victory.
Sins/Sinful Acts
According to the moral scale of Islam, it is not a sin that man is imperfect or fallible. This is part of his nature as a finite limited creature. But it is a sin if he has the ways and means of relative perfection and chooses not to seek it.
A sin is any act that (1) is deliberate, (2) defies the unequivocal law of God, (3) violates the right of God or the right of man, and (4) is harmful to the soul or body. These are the components of sin which is not innate or hereditary.
It is true, however, that man has the potential capacity of sin latent in him; but this is not greater than his capacity of piety and goodness. If he chooses to actualize the potential of sin instead of the potential of goodness, he will be adding a new external element to his pure nature. For this added external element man alone is responsible.
52 Q: Why Did God Create Us?
My question is somewhat strange, but it has confused me greatly. I would like to ask the scholars about it. The question simply is: Why did Allah create us? The answer is mentioned in the verse: {And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me}. However, Allah always does whatever He Wills; when He wants a thing to happen, He only says to it: “Be!” once, and it is. Thus, if Allah created us to worship Him, then He would have ordered us to do so and we would have been obedient, i.e. He could have made us like angels. However, Allah created us, endued us with minds, gave us the choice, clarified to us the path of good and the path of evil and sent us messengers and prophets to guide us. My question is: As long as Allah created us to worship Him, so why all the prevarication and what is the reason for sending messengers and creating Paradise and Hellfire? He could simply have made us like angels. Has He endued us with a mind to put it to test or to amuse Himself? If He created us to worship Him as the verse says, then He should have made us worship Him. Really, I found a contradiction between the words and the reality. Allah the Almighty Says: {And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me.}, while it is clear that He The Almighty created us for another purpose that only He knows about and not to worship Him. If He created us to worship Him, then He should have made us worship Him by force. From this the contradiction arises. Please, could you explain this for me? May Allah Reward you!
Dear questioner, thank you very much for your interesting question. There is no need to feel sorry regarding your questions. We are here at your service. It is our pleasure to answer you and present the truth sustained by lucid proofs for all our dear readers.
With regard to your question, we feel that you have put yourself to bewilderment and confusion. The issue of our creation is totally different from what you thought. God has created everything for a job but still there is much wisdom behind its creation. This is what you did not pay attention to. You mixed between the wisdom and the job. The wisdom is divine whereas the job is ours. God has created the universe according to His Own Will for wisdom He knows, while He put a job for everything He created. He created man for a job, animals for a job, angels for a job, etc. We have neither the capacity nor the knowledge to debate with God regarding His wisdom. We only have the free choice to undertake the job we are created for or not. This is the issue.
Allah the Almighty created the living creatures in three categories:
• Those whom He endued with mind but not desire. They are the angels.
• Those whom He endued with desire but not mind. They are the animals.
• Those whom He endued with mind and desire. They are the human beings and jinn.
So, the one whose mind controls his desires will be at the top of the list because the angels obey Allah the Almighty by nature and do not need to strive against their desires to be obedient to Allah, unlike human beings and the jinn.
Those whose desires overcome their minds are in a lower rank than the animals for the animals have no minds that can guard them against their desires. Allah says:
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. [Al-A`raf 7:179]
In brief, one must know that Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise and All-Equitable. He has the Ultimate Wisdom and He is not questioned about what He does, but the creatures will be questioned. So, if the Muslim is content with this fact, then he has to give up asking that kind of question and stop thinking about the whispers of the devil which the devil uses to corrupt one’s religion and drive him away from the way of success in this life and the life to come.
We would like to draw the attention of the questioner that he used some grave words that he should have avoided when speaking about Allah such as: “why all the prevarication, to amuse himself, I have found contradiction between words and the reality, He created us for another purpose that only He knows about, and From this the contradiction arises.”
He has to return to Allah with sincere repentance from this deed and ask for the Forgiveness and Pardon of Allah the Almighty. Indeed, Allah is Ever-Forbearing and Ever-Patient. He does not hasten to punish those who disobey Him.
53 Q: Why Was the Quran Revealed in Stages?
Allah has explained the wisdom behind revealing the Quran in stages. He says:
And [it is] a Quran which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively. [Quran 17:106]
Allah also said,
And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Quran not revealed to him all at once?” Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly. And they do not come to you with an argument except that We bring you the truth and the best explanation. [Al-Mu’minun 25:32-33]
The great exegete As-Suyuti said in his book “Al-Itqan fi `Ulum Al-Qur’an”:
“If it is asked, what is the reason for the Qur’an being sent down in parts and not as a whole like the other (divine) books? We say: “This is a question which Allah Himself has answered, as He says: {And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Quran not revealed to him all at once?”}, meaning “as the revealed scriptures were revealed to other Prophets before him.” Allah answered them saying: {Thus [it is]}, meaning “We have sent it down at intervals so that {We may strengthen thereby your heart}” meaning “to make your heart stronger, because if the revelation is renewed at every incident, then this is more firm for the heart and more caring to the receiver.” This requires frequent descent of the angel and him meeting (the Prophet) every now and then, along with the message that is brought to him from Allah, and this makes him happy in a way that is impossible to describe.”
Also, among the benefits of the Qur’an being sent down in intervals is the facilitation of its memorization. Also, the abrogated and the abrogating verses occur by it, and by it there can be responses to both people’s questions and incidents that take place, so the answer comes by revelation of the Quran. There is also much other wisdom.
Please keep in touch..
54 Q: What Are the Rights of Non-Muslims in Islam?
Actually, Islam gives specific rights for the followers of other religions protecting their identity and dignity. In the following lines we sum up a part of these rights.
Inviting to Islam
Calling others to Islam, the last religion, is obligatory upon everyone who assumes following the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the only true religion that lends a hand to the success in this life and the hereafter. So, it is a kind of injustice to withhold this goodness from those who have no knowledge about it. The Muslim is obligated to show the true teachings of Islam, in word and action and with wisdom and kindness, to those who do not believe in it. Almighty Allah says,
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. (An-Nahl 16:125)
Good treatment
Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an,
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)
Scholars have divided non-Muslims into two main categories. The first one is the non-fighting non-Muslims, which applies to every non-Muslim who does not show antagonism towards Islam and does not engage in any offensive actions against the Muslims. The other category is the fighting ones who engage in wars against Muslims and aim at destroying the Muslim communities and territories.
As for the first category, which is true for the general majority of non-Muslims nowadays, they owe the right to be mercifully treated and welcomed, especially if they are relatives or neighbors. The proof of this is the narration from Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both) that she said, “My mother came to me during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and she was a pagan (i.e. a non-Muslim worshipping idols). I said to Allah’s Messenger (seeking his verdict), “My mother has come to me and she desires to receive a reward from me, shall I keep good relations with her?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Yes, keep good relation with her. ” (Al-Bukhari)
The non-Muslims, although being of invalid faith from the Muslims’ viewpoint, they must not be put to harm because of their creed so long as they do not cause harm to others. Islam’s stance on this regard should be clear to everyone. Islam does not stand on the opposite side against the non-Muslims. Rather, Islam urges Muslims to respect, tolerate, and have good relations with non-Muslims in general. It is reported from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a young Jewish boy who was in the service of the Prophet (peace be upon him) fell ill. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to visit him.” (Al-Bukhari)
This indeed is the spirit that Islam seeks to instill in the hearts of Muslims towards non-Muslims.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Beware of injustice, for injustice will turn into excessive darkness on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
The warning against committing injustice is more stressed in the case of non-Muslims as stated in the hadith narrated by Safwan from a number of Companions of the Messenger of Allah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man (a non-Muslim who has a treaty with Muslims), or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud) That is the true tolerating Islam.
With regard to the non-fighting non-Muslim, protecting their souls is more stressed and the prohibition and punishment became more established owing to their specialty and the covenant of Islam to protect them from harm. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, whoever kills a Mu`ahid (a non-fighting non-Muslim) that has a covenant from Allah and a covenant from His Messenger, then he has violated the covenant with Allah and the covenant of His Messenger. He shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise; even though its fragrance can be sensed from the distance of seventy autumns.” (At-Tirmidhi)
No compulsion in religion
Islam is a belief and course of conduct that initially begins from the heart, the reason and the soul then its impacts flow over the body. Allah does not accept the outer obedience unless it emanates from a faithful and sincere heart. Islam views that claiming Islam with the tongue and practicing worship by the body parts without true faith in God is nothing but a cursed form hypocrisy whose doer is a loser. Therefore, the issue of following Islam remains a matter of freedom and none can be forced on following Islam. Almighty Allah has stated that compulsion on religion cannot be accepted. He says,
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? (Yunus 10:99)
Not to insult their gods and sacred things
Almighty Allah forbade insulting the gods of non-Muslims or making little of them because this will lead to greater harm, that is they may insult our God (Glory be to Him) in revenge. Almighty Allah says,
And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. (Al-An`am 6:108)
Al-Qurtubi (a renowned Muslim scholar) said, “Scholars said that the ruling of this verse is permanent all the way. So, if the non-Muslim is in power and it is feared that he curses Islam, the Prophet Muhammad or Almighty Allah; it is not permissible for the Muslim to curse their crosses, religion or churches and not to commit what leads to this.” (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi)
These are some of the rights of non-Muslims upon the Muslims that should be taken into consideration by every Muslim. These rights show both the greatness of Islam as well as its tolerance towards those who do not follow it by preserving their dignity, identity, life and religions.
55 Q: Why Did Muhammad Marry Several Women?
Indeed, the Prophet advised his community to learn half of the knowledge of the religion from `A’ishah. The foresight of the Prophet proved itself, for she would live for 45 years after his death, and thus became one of the main sources of Prophetic wisdom and knowledge.
He also married another widow, Hafsa, who was the daughter of `Umar Bin Khattab, his next closest companion. Her husband, Khunays, had been martyred in the Battle of Badr. He felt a duty towards `Umar, whose acceptance of Islam provided a major boost for the Muslims in Mecca against their foes.
Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaima, was another widow that the Prophet married. She was married to `Ubayda bin Al-Haris, who was martyred in the Battle of Badr. She was sixty when the Prophet married her. She was known as the “Mother of the Downtrodden”. She, however, passed away after two or three months of marriage.
He married another widow, Umm Salama. Her previous husband, Abu Salama, was martyred in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind four orphans. Umm Salama was pregnant at that time and was extremely distressed and very sad. Needless to say, she needed much support. After her delivery, `Umar proposed that the Prophet marry her. The Prophet accepted the proposal and married her.
What purpose can there be for a person of 54 to marry a widow with four orphans except love, mercy and compassion? There was another crucial factor in this marriage: Umm Salama was from the Bani Makhzum tribe, which was the tribe of Islam’s arch enemies at that time, Abu Jahl and Khalid bin Walid. Though Abu Jahl never changed, Khalid later accepted Islam and became a brilliant military general. Once again, bringing influential and powerful tribes closer to Islam was one of the noble objectives of the Prophet’s marriages.
He married a divorced woman, Zaynab, the daughter of Jahsh. She was married to Zayd bin Haritha, the freed slave of the Prophet. She was the cousin of the Prophet, being the daughter of his paternal aunt. Zayd divorced her and the Prophet married her when she was 38 years old. His marriage to Zaynab was aimed at emphasizing the invalidity of the age-old Arab practice of taking adopted sons as real sons. The marriage was divinely sanctioned, as stated in the Qur’an,
So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. (Al-Ahzab 33:37)
Umm Habiba was another widow whom the Prophet married. She was a daughter of Abu Sufyan who was a bitter enemy of Islam until his conversion later. She was initially married to `Ubaydullah, who was a companion of the Prophet. Both immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing the persecution of the Meccans. `Ubaydullah became a Christian and later died there. Considering her very difficult situation, her father being an enemy of Islam and her husband a deserter, the Prophet sent an envoy to Negus, king of Ethiopia requesting to arrange a marriage with her. The king arranged the marriage and she was married to him when she was 36 or 37 years old. Like many of his marriages, his marriage to Umm Habiba resulted in bringing a major tribe of the Quraysh, Banu Abd al-Shams, towards Islam.
He married another widow, Juwayria. Both her father and husband were bitter enemies of Islam; the former had planned to attack Medina at the instigation of the Meccans. This led the Muslim army to march against the clan of her father. The result was their defeat at the hands of the Prophet and the death of Juwayria’s husband. After the conflict, the Muslims captured many prisoners, one of whom was Juwayria. Juwayria’s father offered a ransom for her freedom. She requested to stay in the service of the Prophet and he married her at her request. Her marriage resulted in the freeing of all the prisoners of war of her tribe. Again, this marriage led to the establishment of peace and friendly relations.
He also married a woman named Safiyya, a widow as well. Her second husband was killed in the Battle of Khaybar. Her father was the chief of the famous Jewish tribe, Banu Nazir. He was killed in the Battle of Khaybar, and so Safiyya was taken prisoner. She was eventually freed and the Prophet married her. Some complained that she was sympathetic to the Jews. Her answer was that they were her relatives, and the Prophet defended her position. He told her to respond in the following way: “My father is Aaron (Haron) and my uncle is Moses (Musa).” This marriage had led to a closer relationship between the Muslims and the Jews of Medina.
His final marriage was to another divorced woman, Maymuna. She was married twice and was very old. She married the Prophet when he was 57. The reason for her marriage was that the Prophet’s uncle, `Abbas, suggested it in order to bring her tribe –Hilaliyyin– to the fold of Islam. That was actually what happened; after his marriage to her, they entered Islam in hosts.
From the above, we see that it was not the Prophet’s whims and desires that initiated his marriages, but rather it was that God had planned his marriages. He commanded His Messenger after the last marriage (with Maymuna) not to marry any more (Qur’an 33:52), because by that time the objectives of his marriages were achieved as the Prophetic mission was near to completion.
All of this does not mean that the Prophet was not interested in sex. He was surely attracted by sex and beauty, and was not a prude in expressing it. He said, “Perfume and women are made dear to me. However, the joy of my eye is in prayer.” He also said: “I am in full control of myself.” In fact, a look at his life would suggest that he approached the various aspects of human life with moderation – be it eating, drinking, or enjoying time with his wives – never indulging in any one thing excessively. The portrayal of him by many Western writers as promiscuous and licentious, mostly due to the fact that he had numerous wives, is far from the truth and historical facts as shown above. Indeed, his marriages had a social motive and a higher goal than mere sexual gratification.
It would be relevant here to quote a female, Western scholar, Karen Armstrong, the author of Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time, in relation to the issue of Prophet’s marriages and polygamy in Islam:
“The Qur’anic institution of polygamy was a piece of social legislation. It was designed not to gratify the male sexual appetite, but to correct the injustices done to widows, orphans, and other female dependents, who were especially vulnerable. All too often, unscrupulous people seized everything and left the weaker members of the family with nothing… Polygamy was designed to ensure that unprotected women would be decently married, and to abolish the old loose, irresponsible liaisons; men could have only four wives and must treat them equitably; it was an unjustifiably wicked act to devour their property… The Qur’an was attempting to give women a legal status that most Western women would not enjoy until the nineteenth century. The emancipation of women was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart…”
56 Q: Was Waraqah ibn Nawfal a Teacher of Muhammad?
Lady `Aisha (the mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira’ where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira’. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon, he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said,
Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. (Al-`Alaq 96:1-3)
Then Allah’s Messenger returned with the inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqah, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqah asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Messenger described whatever he had seen. Waraqah said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Messenger asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqah replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqah died and the Divine Revelation was also paused for a while.” (Al-Bukhari)
Waraqah was a pagan worshiping the idols at Mecca in the beginning of his life. He was one of four people who determined to forsake the idolatry of Quraysh and search for the right religion. This decision was at one of Quraysh’s pagan festivals. They were Waraqah ibn Nawfal, `Uthman ibn Al-Huwairath, `Ubaidullah ibn Jahsh and Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufail. They decided to abandon the worship of idols as they deemed it contrary to every reason and sound understanding. Waraqah and `Uthman ibn Al-Huwairath professed Christianity. `Ubaidullah ibn Jahsh lived till the advent of Islam and embraced Islam. Zayd ibn Nufail kept to the remains of the religion of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) until he passed away.
Waraqah studied the Gospels and became knowledgeable of them so that he would write the Gospel. He grew old and lost his eyesight. When the revelation came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) by the angel Jibril (Gabreal, peace be upon him) the Prophet went to him upon recommendations from Khadijah, the Prophet’s wife, as Waraqah was relative of Khadijah. The Prophet related to Waraqah what happened to him and how an angel took and pressed him forcefully three times. Waraqah told him that this is the same angel that descended upon Moses (peace be upon him) with revelation. Waraqah gave the Prophet glad tidings of Prophethood, and also warned him of great harm he would receive at the hands of the disbelievers. He informed the Prophet that the people of Quraysh would expel him out of Mecca, and the Prophet found this queer.
Some scholars state that Waraqah a believer as he accepted what the Prophet said and gave him glad tiding of Prophethood. There is a hadith indicating that Waraqah is not in the Hellfire as narrated by `A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about Waraqah by Khadijah: “He (i.e. Waraqah) believed in you and died before you commence Prophethood.” The Prophet replied, “I saw him in a dream wearing white clothes. If he was from the people of the Hellfire, I would saw him wearing other clothes.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
This is almost what is related about Waraqah in the books of Sirah in brief. Now, it is odd to read in some distrustful books that Waraqah was a teacher of the Prophet Muhammad who taught Muhammad the Qur’an and thus he was the actual composer of the Qu’an and the Islamic Message.
One wonder, where is in the historical texts stated that Waraqah was the teacher of the Prophet Muhammad? Which historians said that? What is the source of these allegations? What is the evidence? Who narrated that the Prophet would frequent Waraqah seeking knowledge from him? Where were the people of Qurashy, who fought the Prophet with every possible means and lost their greatest leaders in battling with Muhammad, from these claims? Had not they seen the Prophet Muhammad once learning something from Waraqah or repeating his words? Had not they saw him accompanying Waraqah? Yet, how many days and night did the Prophet spend with Waraqah? What is the likeness between Waraqah’s views and the Prophet’s ones? No answer comes but just groundless allegations and blatant lies brought out of concealed grudge and malice against Islam and Muslims. No evidence but real falsehood.
The war against Islam takes multiple forms. The enemies of Islam miss no ill or dishonest way but pave it to attack Islam although false and fabricated. Thus, their efforts are fruitless and nothing avails Islam, the ever fast spreading religion worldwide. The light of truth cannot be put out with falsehood but it will continue to enlighten the path for humanity. We are not to withhold or conceal a fact, because Islam orders us to be honest and faithful. But, what can be done with ill-intentioned and insincere suspicions that manifest the lie of its people and their concealed hatred and animosity against Islam.

57 Q: Did Muhammad Permit Wife-Beating?
Answering your query, we would like to quote the follwoing:
It is widely circulated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) permitted wife beating and Islam in general encourages violence against women. Some people go farther claiming that Islam has a violent nature not only when it comes to women but also in all respects.
However, the following are statistics which are sufficient as practical evidence that it is the wives of those criticizing Islam who experience intense suffering and need Islam to alleviate such suffering.To tell the truth, criticism should be directed to the critics of Islam when talking about domestic violence. This is what the following statistics say not me. The following is a section of a report about the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign to End Violence against Women “UNiTE”. We notice from the following title that this section deals with violence against women by intimate partners, including, of course, husbands.
Violence by an Intimate Partner
• In Australia, Canada, and Israel 40 to 70 per cent of female murder victims were killed by their partners, according to the World Health Organization. • In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. • In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner. • In India, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007. • In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.
We observe that when reviewing any international statistics about domestic violence against women prepared by such an unquestionably neutral, credible organization, like the UN, including the above statistics, we do not come across any Muslim state which follows Prophet Muhammad who allegedly permits wife-beating. We remark that the countries where domestic violence rates are the highest ever worldwide are non-Muslim countries. If Prophet Muhammad had really permitted wife-beating, we would have found out that the Muslim countries record the highest domestic violence rates in the world. The relevant UN reports per se serve as evidence that Prophet Muhammad did not permit wife-beating and that Islam does not encourage violence against women. Before discussing the Islamic attitude towards wife-beating, let’s first have a look at the biblical attitude to have a full picture of what the divine messages really say in this regard.
The Biblical Attitude
The Bible delineated the marriage relationship by calling the husband ba`al which implies both ownership as well as lordship (Ex. 21:28). The woman is property, whose ownership is transferred to the husband upon marriage. In the case of a divorce, the husband renounces his right to his (sexual) use of the property. If the husband’s property is damaged, compensation is paid to him. He is not only the owner of his wife, he is also the owner of her pregnancy (Ex. 21:22). All of this may have contributed to an attitude that there was nothing wrong with physically abusing women. Immodest behavior deemed worthy of punishment includes “going out with uncovered head, spinning wool with uncovered arms in the street, conversing with every man.” The list of women deemed worthy of being divorced without receiving their ketubbah, (“divorce compensation”), includes the following case as well: “Abba Saul said: Also that of a wife who curses her husband’s parents in his presence [and in his children’s presence]. R. Tarfon said: also one who screams. And who is regarded a screamer? A woman whose voice can be heard by her neighbors when she speaks inside her house” (B. Ketubbot 72a). Although beating is not allowed or even suggested in the case of the screamer, the woman who curses is in later texts repeatedly used as an example where beating is seen as a justified means to an end. A bad wife is one who does not perform the duties required of her by Jewish law, who behaves immodestly, or who curses her parents, husband, or in-laws. Rabbis regularly advise men to restrict their wives to the home and be responsible for educating them. Thus the husband, who “owns” his wife, is given a great amount of latitude in educating her. In this view it is permissible and acceptable to beat one’s wife in order to keep her in line. The rabbis who justify beating see it is a part of the overall “duties” of a husband to chastise his wife for educational purposes. In Babylon, during the post-Talmudic Geonic period, Zemah ben Paltoi, Gaon of Pumbedita (872–890), “calls upon a man to flog his wife if she is guilty of assault.” Rabbi Yehudai b. Nahman (Yehudai Gaon, 757–761) writes that: “…when her husband enters the house, she must rise and cannot sit down until he sits, and she should never raise her voice against her husband. Even if he hits her she has to remain silent, because that is how chaste women behave” (Ozar ha-Ge’onim, Ketubbot 169–170).
The Islamic Attitude
Prophet Muhammad said: “Let none of you lash his wife in the same way as he lashes a slave and then come to sleep with her at the end of the day.” (Al-Bukhari) Prophet Muhammad was such a gentleman who was so kind, polite, and friendly. He disliked violence and the use of force in General. It is narrated on the authority of ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The Messenger of Allah never beat a servant nor a woman (of his wives).” (Declared authentic by Al-Albani) Prophet Muhammad used to urge husbands to give their wives kind treatment. For example, he said: “The one who is the most perfect in faith among the believers is he who has the best moral character among them; and the best among you are those who are the best of you (in treatment) to their wives.” (At-Tirmizi and authenticated by Al-Albani)
He also said: “No believing man should hate a believing woman (his wife): if he dislikes one characteristic of her, of a surety, he would be pleased with another.” (Muslim) Prophet Muhammad wished that all Muslims are given good treatment. However, to err is human. This important fact is duly taken into consideration. Each human being has a sort of deviation which needs to be corrected. Islam has designed a disciplinary system where believers correct one another according to rank and the authority wielded. The ruler is given the right to correct the errors of his subjects. There is a mechanism thereby the errors of the ruler himself are corrected. Each unit of the Muslim community has a head, who is entitled to correct the errors of his unit members. There is also a mechanism thereby this very head has his very errors corrected. Family may be the smallest unit of any given society. Its natural head is the father and, at the same time, the husband. He is spontaneously authorized to discipline the members of the unit he heads. Hence, the husband has an instinctive right to reform his wife and children. Islam does not allow a husband to wrong his wife, but if she does something wrong, her husband is entitled to educate and discipline her. Under Islam, the wife disciplinary scheme is multi-tiered, graded, and progressive. Such a disciplinary scheme takes into account the human nature and the steps by which it is more likely to be disciplined. Such steps are prescribed by the Qur’an. Allah says:
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], hit them (gently). But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]. (An-Nisaa’ 4:34-35)
The above verses prescribe the measures to be taken to tame a rebellious wife. Such measures are ordered by effectiveness. According to the above verses, the first measure is an oral one, which is represented in admonition, advice and warning. The second measure is an emotional one as represented in turning one’s back to one’s wife in the same bed or sleeping in another bed. The third measure is a physical one where a wife is physically disciplined by such a light hitting which is not intended to harm her but to let her feel escalation and to pressurize her into changing mind and taking heed. If all of those measures do not help, the last and final measure is having arbitrators sent by each side. If such arbitrators manage to agree on a positive result, the marriage will be allowed to continue. If they fail to reach a settlement, then marriage can be terminated peacefully.
Considering such measures, they are, I think, quite reasonable, practical and effective. As a matter of fact, successful discipline is initiated by an oral action which is, failing that, followed by an emotional action which is, failing that, concluded by a physical action. If all such actions do not work, separation can then take place to put an end to an unsuccessful marriage. Such a disciplinary scheme was dictated by the human nature. Islam had to adopt it for it is a practical way of life which should bear the human nature of its followers in mind. Prophet Muhammad did not like such hitting, albeit symbolic and light, given that he himself did not have recourse to it. Prophet Muhammad initially forbade any form of physical discipline of women, but this was unviable.
Reality imposed itself on Islam. There are some women who cannot be disciplined except by hitting. There are certain environments, contexts and milieus where physical discipline is the most effective method of correction. Islam has to deal with such atmospheres. The ignorance of the nature of the environment and the insistence on the adoption of utopian ideals are more likely to spoil rather than reform societies. Prophet Muhammad’s prohibition of beating wives is historically established. `Abdullah ibn Abi Dhubab reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.” Then `Umar came to the Prophet and said, “The women have become bold towards their husbands,” and so he made an allowance to hit them. Then many women surrounded the family of the Messenger of Allah to complain about their husbands. The Messenger of Allah then said, “The household of Muhammad has been surrounded by many women who were complaining about their husbands. Those men are not among the best of you.”
From this time on, Prophet Muhammad permitted hitting (rather than beating) women. There is a big difference between hitting and beating. Islam permits hitting which is just a physical expression of disapproval which is not intended for causing injury, wound or any form of harm, unlike beating, battering or similar synonyms which stand for the intention to cause harm deliberately as a sort of revenge or retaliation. Describing the method of hitting permitted by Islam, Ataa remarked that it is light hitting by a Siwak (a tooth stick which used to be used as a toothbrush). However, Prophet Muhammad did not prescribe a certain method of hitting because he himself did not hit anybody before as a form of discipline outside battles. Nevertheless, Prophet Muhammad used to stress that the hitting permitted by Islam is a light one.
For example, he once said: “Fear Allah regarding your wives, for you have taken them by Allah’s covenant and were allowed to sexually enjoy with them by Allah’s Words. You have a right from them that they do not allow anyone you dislike to sit on your mat. If they do that, then hit them gently. They have the right to be spent on and to be clothed according to what is reasonable.” In reply to a question about the wife’s right, he also said: “To feed her whenever you feed yourself, to dress her whenever you dress yourself, and not to slap the face, nor to ascribe her to ugliness (i.e. to say ‘may Allah deface you’), nor to leave the house in case you are to forsake her.” (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)
Finally, it is ironical that the critics of Prophet Muhammad blame him for something they are heavily engaged therein. It is sarcastic enough that they blame him for permitting light hitting of wives, while they harshly batter their wives as established by the statistics provided above.
58 Q: Does Islam Command Attacking Churches?

It is safe to say that a given religion can be judged correctly only by two things: its own teachings and the practice of the mainstream doctrine of this religion. A religion cannot be judged by the centrifugal practices or beliefs of some followers, be they liberal or extremist, hither or thither.
Attacking the places of worship is a criminal act which is done by individual followers of all religions all over the world. It is unfair to claim that it is Muslims only who attack the places of worship.
In fact, Islam prohibits any assault against the places of worship. The alleged attacks on the places of worship if really carried out by Muslims go against the well-established Islamic teachings. Such acts serve as odd precedents in the Islamic history. Suffice it to say they break with tradition.
The Messenger of Allah once wrote to the bishop of Banu Al-Harith Ibn Ka’b and the bishops and priests of Najran, their followers and their monks that everything, small or great, pertaining to their churches, chapels and monasteries would remain in their possession, that Allah and His Messenger would guarantee that no bishop would be removed from his see, nor any monk from his monastery, nor any priest from his office and none of their rights or powers would be changed as long as they were sincere and good, and no cruelty would be shown to them. This was scribed by Al-Mughirah.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the Second Muslim Caliph, concluded a treaty with the people of Jerusalem which read:
This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has granted to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves, for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and the healthy of the city, and for all the rituals that belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited [by Muslims] and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their crosses, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted. The people of Jerusalem must pay the poll tax like the people of [other] cities, and they must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. All this from the book they shall have as a pact of Allah, and as protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers if they pay the jizyah. Witnesses of this are: Khalid bin Walid, `Amr bin al-`As, `Abd Al-Rahman bin `Awf and Mu`awiya bin Abi Sufyan. It was written with all present in the 15th year after Hegira.
Khalid bin Al-Walid, the renowned Muslim commander, concluded a similar treaty with the people of Damascus which read:
This is what Khalid bin Al-Walid shall grant to the people of Damascus: He shall grant them protection [and safety] for their lives, property [and possessions], their churches, and the walls of their cities. Nothing of their quarters will be destroyed nor shall anyone live in them. This they shall have as a pact of Allah, protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers and nothing but good will remain for them if they pay the jizyah.
Habib bin Maslamah, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad and accomplished Muslim military commander, entered into a similar pact with the people of Dabil which read:
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful! This is a document from Habib bin Maslamah to the Christians, Magians and Jews of Dabil, present and absent. I assure you safety of your lives, properties, churches, places of worship and walls of your city. You are guaranteed protection and we are bound to fulfill our pact as long as you adhere to the jizyah and pay the kharaj. Allah is witness and He alone suffices as a witness.
In the Qur’an, we read verses telling us that Allah allowed the believers to fight against the unbelievers to prevent the demolition of the places of worship in general. Allah says:
Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful.
Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.
[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.
[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters. (Al-Hajj 22:38-41)
However, somebody may wonder how the empowerment of Muslims will prevent the demolition of the places of worship.
The answer is that Islam binds Muslims to not only refrain from attacking the places of worship but also to protect them against attacks by any other people. It is safe to say that Islam is keen on the other faiths, even if they are contradictory to its principles.
Islam is nothing but a faith and a body of beliefs. The cause of faith serves as a common ground for their coexistence with the other, whose faith or beliefs might be right or wrong from Muslims’ point of view.
So long as some faith or belief is cherished, there is a way for communication. Islam looks for those who are willing to believe in religions simply because they are supposed to seek the truth. We, Muslims, think that we have that truth. Consequently, dialogue with those people will bring Muslims either new converts or allies and friends from the other religions. Therefore, it may be hard liaise with those who are unwilling to believe in any religion for they are unlikely to accept religion and religious people.
Furthermore, Muslims are deeply concerned about security, peace, justice and freedom on earth. Such security, peace, justice and freedom are more likely to be maintained by religion for religion usually preaches such values. Without religion, such values are at peril.
Therefore, Islam pleads the cause of religion and defends all religions as well as their places of worship. Muslims wish that even if Islam is not professed, one religion is still followed. This is better for Muslims themselves.
Just as Muslims guarantee security, peace, justice and freedom for non-Muslims, they expect that they are given equal treatment by non-Muslims.
Though Muslims see the followers of the other divine religions as unbelievers, Muslims still side with them against the atheists and the followers of the non-divine religions. Even though Muslims hope that the whole world converts to Islam, they prefer that if Islam is not embraced, the other divine religions are followed instead given the commonalities shared by those religions.
Muslims have shown sympathy for the followers of the other divine religions throughout history though such a feeling is not reciprocated by those followers, either Jews or Christians. Such sympathy is recorded in the Qur’an more than once.
For example, during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime, the Magian Persian Empire defeated the Christian Roman Empire in one of the wars which would break out between them every now and then. At the time, Muslims sympathized with the Roman Empire. Qur’anic verses were revealed, prophesying a prospective victory by the Roman Empire over the Persian Empire.
We read the following verses in the Qur’an:
The Byzantines have been defeated
In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome.
Within a few years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice
In the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
[It is] the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:1-7)
In a word, Islam commands Muslims to give kind treatment and act justly towards non-Muslims so long as they do not wrong Muslims.
Allah says:
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8-9)
59 Q: Why Do Muslims Eat Non-vegetarian Food?
Killing an animal is a ruthless act. Why then do Muslims consume non-vegetarian food?
‘Vegetarianism’ is now a movement theworld over. Many even associate it with animal rights. Indeed, a large number of people consider the consumption of meat and other non-vegetarian products to be a violation of animal rights.
Islam enjoins mercy and compassion for all living creatures. At the same time Islam maintains that Allah has created the earth and its wondrous flora and fauna for the benefit of mankind. It is up to mankind to use every resource in this world judiciously, as a ni`mah(divine blessing or favor) and an amanah (a trust) from God.
Let us look at various other aspects of this argument.
1. A Muslim can be a pure vegetarian
A Muslim can be a very good Muslim despite being a pure vegetarian. It is not compulsory for a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food.
2. The Qur’an permits Muslims to have non-vegetarian food
The Qur’an, however permits a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food. The following Qur’anic verses are proof of this fact:
O you who believe!Fulfill (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals with the exceptions named. (Al-Ma’idah 5:1)
And cattle He has created for you (men): from them you derive warmth, and numerous benefits, And of their (meat) you eat. (An-Nahl 16:5)
And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: From within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are, in them, (besides), numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) you eat. (Al-Mu’minun 23:21)
3. Meat is nutritious and rich in complete protein
Non-vegetarian food is a good source of excellent protein. It contains biologically complete protein i.e. all the 8 essential amino acid that are not synthesized by the body and should be supplied in the diet. Meat also contains iron, vitamin B1 and niacin.
4. Humans have Omnivorous set of teeth
If you observe the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow, goat and sheep, you will find something strikingly similar in all of them. All these animals have a set of flat teeth i.e. suited for herbivorous diet. If you observe the set of teeth of the carnivorous animals like the lion, tiger, or leopard, they all have a set of pointed teeth i.e. suited for a carnivorous diet. If you analyze the set of teeth of humans, you find that they have flat teeth as well as pointed teeth.
Thus they have teeth suited for both herbivorous as well as carnivorous food i.e. they are omnivorous. One may ask: if Almighty God wanted humans to have only vegetables, why did He provide us also with pointed teeth? It is logical that He expected us to need and to have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food.
5. Human beings can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food
The digestive system of herbivorous animals can digest only vegetables. The digestive system of carnivorous animals can digest only meat. But the digestive system of humans can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If Almighty God wanted us to have only vegetables then why did He give us a digestive system that can digest both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food?
6. Hindu scriptures give permission to have non-vegetarian food
1. There are many Hindus who are strictly vegetarian. They think it is against their religion to consume non-vegetarian food. But the true fact is that the Hindu scriptures permit a person to have meat. The scriptures mention Hindu sages and saints consuming non-vegetarian food.
2. It is mentioned in Manu Smruti, the law book of Hindus, in chapter 5 verse 30″The eater who eats the flesh of those to be eaten does nothing bad, even if he does it day after day, for God himself created some to be eaten and some to be eater.”
3. Again next verse of Manu Smruti, that is, chapter 5 verse31 says“Eating meat is right for the sacrifice, this is traditionally known as a rule of the gods.”
4. Further in Manu Smruti chapter 5 verse 39 and 40 says“God himself created sacrificial animals for sacrifice… therefore killing in a sacrifice is not killing.”
5. Mahabharata Anushashan Parva chapter 88 narrates the discussion between Dharmaraj Yudhishthira and Pitamah Bhishma about what food one should offer to Pitris(ancestors) during the Shraddha(ceremony of dead) to keep them satisfied. Paragraph reads as follows:
“Yudhishthira said: ‘O you of great puissance, tell me what that object is which, if dedicated to the Pitiris (dead ancestors), become inexhaustible! WhatHavi, again, (if offered) lasts for all time? What, indeed, is that which (if presented) becomes eternal?’”
Bhishma said: ‘Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, what those Havisare which persons conversant with the rituals of the Shraddha(the ceremony of dead) regard as suitable in view of Shraddhaand what the fruits are that attach to each. With sesame seeds and rice and barely and Mashaand water and roots and fruits, if given at Shraddhas, the pitris, O king, remain gratifiedfor the period of a month. With fishes offered at Shraddhas, the pitrisremain gratified for a period of two months. With the mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the hare for four months, with the flesh of the goat for five months, with the bacon (meat of pig) for six months, and with the flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer thatare called Prishata, they remain gratified for eight months, and with that obtained from the Rurufor nine months, and with the meat of Gavaya for ten months, With the meat of the bufffalo their gratification lasts for eleven months. With beef presented at the Shraddha, their gratification, it is said , lasts for a full year. Payasamixed with ghee is as much acceptable to the pitrisas beef. With the meat of Vadhrinasa (a large bull) the gratification of pitrislasts for twelve years. The flesh of rhinoceros, offered to the pitrison anniversaries of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb called Kalaska, the petals of kanchanaflower, and meat of (red) goat also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible.’”
So but natural if you want to keep your ancestors satisfied forever you should serve them the meat of red goat.
7. Hinduism was influenced by other religions
Though Hindu Scriptures permit its followers to have non-vegetarian food, many Hindus adopted the vegetarian system because they were influenced by other religions like Jainism.
8. Even plants have life
Certain religions have adopted pure vegetarianism as a dietary law because they are totally against the killing of living creatures. If a person can survive without killing any living creature, I would be the first person to adopt such a way of life. In the past people thought plants were lifeless. Today it is a universal fact that even plants have life. Thus their logic of not killing living creatures is not fulfilled even by being a pure vegetarian.
9. Even plants can feel pain
They further argue that plants cannot feel pain, therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime as compared to killing an animal. Today science tells us that even plants can feel pain. But the cry of the plant cannot be heard by the human being. This is due to the inability of the human ear to hear sounds that are not in the audible range i.e. 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz. Anything below and above this range cannot be heard by a human being. A dog can hear up to 40,000 Hertz. Thus there are silent dog whistles that have a frequency of more than 20,000 Hertz and less than 40,000 Hertz. These whistles are only heard by dogs and not by human beings. The dog recognizes the master’s whistle and comes to the master. There was research done by a farmer in U.S.A. who invented an instrument which converted the cry of the plant so that it could be heard by human beings. He was able to realize immediately when the plant itself cried for water. Latest researches show that the plants can even feel happy and sad. It can also cry.
10. Killing a living creature with two senses less is not a lesser crime
Once, a vegetarian argued his case by saying that plants only have two or three senses while the animals have five senses.
Therefore, killing a plant is a lesser crime than killing an animal. Suppose your brother is born deaf and dumb and has two senses less as compared to other human beings. He becomes mature and someone murders him. Would you ask the judge to give the murderer a lesser punishment because your brother has two senses less? In fact you would say that he has killed an innocent person, and the judge should give the murderer a greater punishment.
In fact the Qur’an says:
O you people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good.(Al-Baqarah 2:168)
11. Over population of cattle
If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (Exalted is He) in His divine wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.
12. Cost of meat is reasonable since all aren’t non-vegetarians
I do not mind if some people are pure vegetarians. However, they should not condemn non-vegetarians as ruthless. In fact, if all Indians become non-vegetarians then the present non-vegetarians would be losers since the prices of meat would rise.

General Sources:
– “Clear your doubts about Islam” by Sahih International
– Dr. Hammudah Abdalati’s “Islam in Focus”
– What Every Christian Should Know About Islam by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood
– A book entitled “Who Wrote the Qur’an” by
– A book entitled “Ten Questions and Answers about the Prophet Muhammad” by Ibrahim H. Malabari