Intro To Islam A Complete Way Of Life ! Definition Of Islam Islamic Sources : Quran And Sunnah Questions & Answers About Islam Seven Questions About Islam Top Misconceptions About Islam Universality of Islam A Complete Way Of Life ! Islam is a religion, but not in the western meaning of religion. The western connotation of the term "religion" is something between the believer and God. Islam is a religion that organizes all aspects of life on both the individual and national levels. Islam organizes your relations with God, with yourself, with your children, with your relatives, with your neighbor, with your guest, and with other brethren. Islam clearly establishes your duties and rights in all those relationships. Islam establishes a clear system of worship, civil rights, laws of marriage and divorce, laws of inheritance, code of behavior, what not to drink, what to wear, and what not to wear, how to worship God, how to govern, the laws of war and peace, when to go to war, when to make peace, the law of economics, and the laws of buying and selling. Islam is a complete code of life. Islam is not practiced in the mosque only, it is for daily life, a guide to life in all its aspects: socially, economically, and politically. Islam is complete constitution. Thus Islam keeps the Muslim away from confusion, because Islam is logical and rational. Allah is one. Allah is one Allah has no sons. Allah is not associated with trinity. Allah does not kill to save. No mediation is required between Allah and man. Islam organizes human nature, but does not go against it. There is not a class of clergy in Islam; nor is there celibacy. Islam is complete way of human life. ................ Definition Of Islam The word ISLAM has a two-fold meaning: peace, and submission to God. This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty God. One must consciously and conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah. This means to act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur'an) and what His beloved Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah (his lifestyle and sayings personifying the Qur'an). Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well. Islam is careful to remind us that it not a religion to be paid mere lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be practiced continuously for it to be Islam. The Muslim must practice the five pillars of the religion: the declaration of faith in the oneness of Allah and the prophet hood of Muhammad (pbuh), prayer, fasting the month of Ramadan, alms-tax, and the pilgrimage to Makkah; and believe in the six articles of faith: belief in God, the Holy Books, the prophets, the angels, the Day of Judgment and God's decree, whether for good or ill. There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually all facets of one's personal, family and civic life. These include such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygiene, interpersonal relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal law, fighting in defense of Islam, relations with non-Muslims, and so much more. ..................... Islamic Sources : Quran And Sunnah Qur'an ”The ultimate manifestation of God's grace for man, the ultimate wisdom, and the ultimate beauty of expression: in short, the word of God.” This is how the German scholar, Muhammad Asad, once described the Qur'an, and if one were to ask any Muslim to describe it, they would most likely offer similar words. The Qur'an, to the Muslim, is the irrefutable, inimitable Word of God. The Qur'an was revealed by God Almighty to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) over a period of twenty-three years. The Prophet (pbuh) himself had no role in authoring the Qur'an, and was simply inspired to speak what he heard from the Divine Creator :«"He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than an Inspiration sent down to him."» [53:3-4] The Qur'an was revealed in Arabic. It is composed in a style so unique, that it cannot be deemed either poetry or prose, but somehow a mixture of both. The Qur'an is inimitable; it cannot be simulated or copied, and God Almighty challenges mankind to pursue such an endeavor if he thinks he can: «"Or do they say he forged it? Say: Bring then a chapter like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, beside God, if it be you speak the truth." »[10:38]. The Qur'an's language is indeed sublime, its recitation moving, as one non-Muslim scholar noted, it was like “the cadence of my heartbeat”. Due to its unique style of language, the Qur'an is not only highly readable, but also relatively easy to remember. This latter aspect has played an important role not only in the Qur'an's preservation, but in the spiritual life of Muslims as well. God Himself declares, «"And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there anyone that will receive admonition?" »[54:17] One of the most important characteristics of the Qur'an is that it remains today, the only holy book which has never changed; it has remained free from any and all adulterations. Sir William Muir noted, "There is probably in the world no other book which has remained (fourteen) centuries with so pure a text." The Qur'an was written down during the lifetime and under the supervision of the Prophet, who himself was illiterate, and it was compiled together shortly after his death by a rigorous method which scrutinized both written and oral traditions. Thus its authenticity is unblemished, and is its preservation is seen as the fulfillment of God's promise: "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it from corruption." [15:9] The Qur'an is a book which provides the human being the spiritual and intellectual nourishment he/she craves. Its major themes include: • the oneness of God, • the purpose of human existence, • faith and God-consciousness, • the Hereafter and its significance. The Qur'an also lays a heavy emphasis upon reason and understanding. In these spheres of human understanding, the Qur'an goes beyond just satisfying the human intellect; it causes one to reflect on implications. There are Qur'anic challenges and prophecies. One of the most exciting fields in recent years has been the discovery that, of the significant amount of scientific information in the Qur'an, including: • the event of the Big Bang, • embryological data, • and other information concerning astronomy biology, etc., There is not a single statement that has not been borne out by modern discoveries. In short, the Qur'an fulfills the heart, the soul, and the mind. Perhaps the best description of the Qur'an was given by Ali, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he expounded upon it as, “"The Book of God. In it is the record of what was before you, the judgment of what is among you, and the prophecies of what will come after you. It is decisive, not a case for levity. Whoever is a tyrant and ignores the Qur'an will be destroyed by God. Whoever seeks guidance from other than it will be misguided. The Qur'an is the unbreakable bond of connection with God; it is the remembrance full of wisdom and the straight path. The Qur'an does not become distorted by tongues, nor can it be deviated by caprices; it never dulls from repeated study; scholars will always want more of it. The wonders of the Qur'an are never ending. Whoever speaks from it will speak the truth, whoever rules with it will be just, and whoever holds fast to it will be guided to the straight path."” [Al-Tirmidhi] Sunnah The term Sunnah comes from the root word sanna, which means to pave the way or make a path easily passable, such that it becomes a commonly followed way by everyone afterwards. Thus sunnah can be used to describe a street or road or path on which people, animals, and cars travel. Additionally, it can apply to a prophetic way, i.e. the law that they brought and taught as an explanation or further clarification of a divinely revealed book. Normally, the prophetic way includes references to his sayings, actions, physical features and character traits. From the Islamic standpoint, Sunnah refers to anything narrated or related about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), authentically traced to him regarding his speech, actions, traits, and silent approvals, before and after the revelation. Each narration is composed of two parts: the isnad (the chain of people who narrated a particular narration) and the matn (the actual text of the narration). The isnad must comprise upright and sincere individuals whose integrity is unquestionable. The Speech of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) The speech of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) refers to his sayings. For example, he said: “"Actions are judged by their intentions; everyone will be rewarded according to his/her intention. So whoever migrates for the sake of Allah and His Prophet then his migration will be noted as a migration for the sake of Allah and His Prophet. Conversely, one who migrates only to obtain something worldly or to marry a woman, then his migration will be worth what he had intended." ”[Bukhari]. The Prophet (pbuh) also said: “"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should say something good or keep quiet. " ” The above two accounts clearly show that the Prophet (pbuh) spoke these words. Consequently, these are known as his speech. The Actions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) His actions pertain to anything he did, as authentically reported by the Sahabah (Companions). For instance, a companion of the Prophet, Hudhayfah reported that whenever the Prophet (pbuh) got up at night, he would clean his teeth with a tooth-stick. Also his wife, A'ishah reported that the Prophet (pbuh) loved to do everything starting with the right side - putting on shoes, walking, cleaning himself, and in all his affairs generally. The Silent Approvals of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) His silent approvals on different issues meant his not opposing or minding what he saw, heard or knew of the actions or sayings of his Companions. On one occasion, for example, the Prophet (pbuh) learned of actions of some of his Companions from other Companions. Soon after the battle of Khandaq, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave the order to the Companions to move quickly to surround the tribe of Banu Quraydah, encouraging them to hurry so that perhaps they would pray 'Asr (the late afternoon prayer) there. Some of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) responded immediately and left without praying 'Asr. They arrived after sunset, pitched camp and prayed 'Asr- after sunset. At the same time another group of Companions formulated their judgment differently. They thought that the Prophet (pbuh) was merely encouraging them to hasten to their destination, rather than to delay 'Asr until after sunset. Consequently, they decided to stay in Madinah until they had prayed 'Asr. Immediately thereafter, they hastened towards the tribe of Banu Quraydhah. When the Prophet (pbuh) was told of how each group responded differently to his announcement, he (pbuh) affirmed both judgments. Everything authentically narrated concerning the Prophet's complexion and the rest of his physical features are also included in the definition of sunnah. Umm Ma'bad described what she saw of the great Prophet (pbuh). She said: “"I saw a man, his face radiant with a bright glow, not too thin or too fat, elegant and handsome. His eyes had a deep black hue with long eyelashes. His voice was pleasant and his neck long. He had a thick beard. His long black eyebrows were beautifully arched and connected to each other. In silence, he remained dignified, commanding utmost awe and respect. When he spoke, his speech was brilliant. Of all people he was the most handsome and the most pleasant, even when approaching from a distance. In person, he was unique and most admirable. Graced with eloquent logic, his speech was moderate. His logical arguments were well organized as though they were a string of gems. He was not too tall or too short, but exactly in between. Among three, he appeared the most radiant and most vibrant. He had companions who affectionately honored him. When he spoke, they listened to him attentively. When he gave orders, they were quick to execute them. They rallied around him guarding him. He never frowned or spoke frivolously."” [Hakim] Along with his physical features, his Companions also described his habits and behavior with people. Once Anas reported: “"I served the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) for ten years. Never once did he so much as express any bit of displeasure nor did he ever ask 'Why did you do it?' for something I did or 'Why didn't you do it?' for something I didn't do." ” From the above we can clearly see that when the term sunnah appears in a general context referring to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) it comprises anything narrated about the Prophet (pbuh) and authentically traced to him. Once a Muslim learns of the authenticity of any narration, he/she is obliged to follow and obey it accordingly. Such obedience is mandated by Allah as He declares «"...and obey Allah and His Prophet and do not turn away when you hear (him speak)."» [8:20] At times, some Muslims are perplexed when people say that sunnah is something only recommended and is not mandatory. Thus they conclude that we are only required to follow the Qur'an and not the Sunnah. Such an argument results from a gross misunderstanding. Scholars of Islamic jurisprudence use the term sunnah to denote what is authentically established of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in deeds which were not subsequently made mandatory by Allah. They further hold that this includes any saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) where he encourages Muslims to do a particular task and compliments those who imbibe such attributes. Thus to them, the term sunnah denotes what is authentically established of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in deeds which he did voluntarily and which were not subsequently made mandatory by Allah. They further hold that this includes any saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) where he encourages Muslims to do a particular task and compliments those who imbibe such attributes. Thus to them, the term sunnah refers to what is "recommended" and is not mandatory (in Arabic - "fard" or "wajib"). From the above, we can clearly see that the term sunnah takes on different meanings when used by different Islamic disciplines. ................. Questions & Answers About Islam Q: Who is Allah, and is He the same as God? A: When Muslims talk about God, they automatically think of Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for “The One True God”. He is the Almighty, the Creator who created the universe, mankind and all other forms of life. Allah is the sustainer of life and the One who regulates all that happens in the universe. Throughout these questions, I will refer to god as Allah and so you know who I am talking about. Q: What is Islam, and what does the word "Islam" mean? A: Islam is Allah’s eternal message to mankind. Islam originated with our father Adam (peace be upon him) and then the torch was passed on to other elect messengers. Islam's message was, still is and will always be the belief in and submission to the One True God alone, the Creator and the Sustainer of all things, the Exalted and the Redeemer of all things. The word Islam itself means "submission and surrendering" to Allah, wilfully obeying His commands. Q: I heard something about the 5 pillars of Islam and the 6 pillars of faith. Could you elaborate more on these pillars? A: You are right! Islam has two different types of pillars: The pillars of Islam and the pillars of faith in Islam. The 5 pillars of Islam are: 1. Al-Shahadatan" the testimony that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is Messenger of Allah, 2. performing prayer (Salah), 3. giving Alms (Zakah), 4. fasting (Sawm), 5. and performing Pilgrimage (Hajj) for those who are able. The 6 pillars of Faith in Islam are: 1. The belief in One God, Allah, 2. the belief in His Angels, 3. the belief in His Scriptures, 4. the belief in His Messengers, 5. the belief in Judgment Day. 6. and the belief in the divine decree, the good and the bad of it. Q: Who is Mohammad? A: Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born in Mecca 570 CE. At age forty he was elected by Allah to convey His Message to mankind. The Message is to worship Allah alone, not ascribing partners with Him. Mohammad (peace be upon him) spent the last 23 years of his life conveying God's Message to all people. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) died at age 63 and his resting place lies in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. He is Allah’s final Messenger to mankind. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) came to re-institute Islam, the religion of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). The following prophecy is obtained from the Bible regarding Mohammad's cometh from Arabia. In HABAKKUK 3:3 “God (Jesus) came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise." The place of Teman is the area located southeast of Palestine, and Paran is the area of Mecca in Saudi Arabia where the Holy One (Mohammad peace be upon him) came from. Q: What is the deal with the term(s) "Mohammadeen", "Muhammedanism" or Mohammedans in Islam? A: There are no such terms at all. Other religions have been named after their founders or after the community in which the religion was prospered. For example, Christianity has been named after Christ. Judaism after the tribe of Judah, and Buddhism after Buddha. Westerners falsely gave the name "Muhammedanism" or Mohammadeen" to Islam after Mohammad (peace be upon him) and also called his followers "Mohammedans". However the terms “Islam” and “Muslims” are actually found in the Qur’an, the final revelation of Allah. (see «27:31»), («3:19») & («22:78»). Q: Who is Satan and what is his name in Arabic? A: Satan is an evil being that is focussed on tempting and misguiding mankind away from the religion of Allah. His name in Arabic is Iblis and also by the name of "Shaytaan" (which means Devil). He is from the creation known as the "jinn" or as it is commonly known in English as “spirits”. Q: Why does Satan despise humans and desire their destruction? A: Satan was a mighty and distinguished creature that was a servant of Allah. However when Allah created Adam, Allah honoured him by commanding the angels and Satan, to prostrate to Adam as a sign of respect and not as a sign of worship. All of them prostrated to Adam except Satan, who was created with freewill and decided to disobey Allah. Allah asked him, “What made you not prostrate to Adam and disobey my commandment?” Satan replied, “I am better than Adam, you created him from clay and created me from fire.” Allah cursed Satan and Satan vowed to destroy Adam and his descendants forever. Q: I am still confused, I thought Satan was an angel like Gabriel and he has no free will but to worship God? A: False. If Satan was an angel, then we wouldn't have any problems with him at all. Angels are a special creation of Allah. He created angels from divine light and do not have free will in doing things but to worship God and obey his commandments. Satan, on the other hand, is a Jinn, and like mankind, Satan and the "jinnkind" have free will in their actions; free will of doing good and free will of doing bad. Ref. QURAN «(18:50)» Q: Is it true that Adam was the first messenger of Allah? A: Yes, Adam had the responsibility to convey Allah’s message and laws to his descendants. From the beginning, Adam's message to the first generation of mankind was to worship the One True God, Allah alone. Q: Why did God send messengers, and why not instead communicate with us directly? A: Allah created us, placed us on Earth and gave us this beautiful life. He gave us intellect, reason and the gift of choice. So this life is a test from Him to see which of us believes, is thankful and obedient to Him. Now if Allah revealed Himself directly to us, there would be no test as none of us would reject Him. If this was the case there would be no need for us to live on Earth, as we may as well all be living in paradise. But rather we are here – even though Allah has knowledge of all things – to see who will believe and submit to Him and who will disbelieve and reject Him. In addition to this, if we look at the nature of Allah, He is able to do all things that are Holy and Godly. So it is not befitting for Him to come to Earth and communicate to us in this manner. An example of what I mean is, as humans we manufacture appliances for specific purposes. For example, a tape recorder is designed and manufactured by humans. Now it has never been suggested that in order to understand what is good for the tape recorder, or to communicate with it, that the manufacturer (human) should become a tape recorder himself. Rather the manufacturer publishes an instruction manual on the recorder. In this respect, human beings are also complex and we too have a Designer and a Manufacturer. So we wouldn’t expect our Designer to come to Earth as one of us to communicate to us in this manner. Rather He revealed the “instruction manual” for mankind and chose messengers, who were ideal examples to be followed and who would explain the “manual” from Allah. Q: How many prophets and messengers did God send to mankind? A: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us approximately 124,000 prophets and messengers were sent to mankind. The Qur’an lists 25 of the most popular ones. They are: Adam, Enoch (Idris), Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Lot, Jacob (Yaqub), Joseph (Yusuf), Shu'aib, Job (Ayyob), Moses (Musa), Aaron (Haroon), Ezekiel (Dhul-Kifl), David (Dawood), Solomon (Sulaiman), Elias, Elisha (El-Yasa), Jonah (Yunus), Zechariah, John (Yahya), Jesus, and Mohammad, peace be upon them all. Q: Are you telling me both Moses and Jesus were Muslims? If so, prove it and I would like to see something from the Bible in this regard? A: Both Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) were Muslims, since both had conveyed the very same Message - "Submission and surrendering" to the One True God. Here is the proof from the Bible: Moses said: ‘"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is ONE Lord."’ (DEUTERONOMY 6:4). Approximately 1500 years later Jesus said: ‘"...The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is ONE Lord." ’(MARK 12:29). Of course Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) came along approximately 600 years later, bringing identical message again: «"And your God is ONE God: There is no God but He" »(The QURAN 2:163) Q: I am still confused, if Mohammad was to be God's final and most glorified Prophet, how come we don't see his name in the Bible? A: Mohammad's name is indeed mentioned in the original Bible manuscripts. The word "Mahmad" is found in the original Hebrew manuscript and it means the "desired one", or the "glorified one". In the 15th century, exactly in 1539, "Great Bible" was the first and official English translated bible to be authorized for public use, and when the Bible was translated to the English language, many words and expressions were translated differently and sometimes omitted altogether, including the word "Mahmad" which is the name of Prophet Mohammad, (peace be upon him). Here is the verse in the Bible: ‘"And I (God) will shake all nations, and the "desire one" of all nations shall come." ’HAGGI 2:7 Also in the Bible, God is saying to Moses: ‘“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” ’(Deuteronomy 18:18-19) Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was similar to Moses (peace be upon him) and he was the only prophet from whose mouth the words of God were spoken (Qur’an). Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) spoke in God's name all the time. Also in Isaiah 51:4, it is said that there will be a new law for all the people. Also, in Isaiah 66:20, it was made clear that the prophet would come from the BRETHREN, not children of the Israel. (i.e. the Arabs) Q: Are you telling me, all other religions are bogus and Islam is the only true religion? A: Well, isn't that the case with all religions!? Every religion claims to be the right one and others are wrong. Islam is the belief in One God - Allah, the Creator of all things. Islam doesn't believe in the "middleman" fallacy as the case with many religions including Christianity. In Christianity, to be saved you have to believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Son of God, and without such confession and belief in Jesus, you're most definitely going to Hellfire. Islam, on the other hand, declares that believing in One God, and that Mohammad is His messenger, and obeying God's laws and His prophet's doctrine is the only passport to Heaven. Q: Is it really sensible that God will reward Heaven only to Muslims and punish others that can easily add up to millions or even billions of people of various religions? A: Yes it is very sensible. If you read both the Bible and the Qur’an you will uncover that God severely punished the unbelievers and the wicked people throughout the history of mankind. That includes the people of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), the people of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), Lot, Moses (peace be upon them), etc... Numbers don't mean a thing in the eyes of God and that shouldn't be considered as an exception at all. Only faith counts and not numbers. Q: But what about people in our time! We don't know anything about Islam and Mohammad! Would that be considered against us on Judgment Day? A: Yes it will be considered against you. Before the coming of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), God vowed not to punish people or hold them responsible without sending messengers. Unlike Moses & Jesus (peace be upon him), Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was very distinct since he was sent to all mankind with God's final message before Judgment Day. Everybody, the least, has heard of Mohammad's name. We live in the information age, and within our fingertips, using computers or TVs, we can learn just about anything including religions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also told us that everyone of us is born with a natural inclination to worship God alone, the Almighty Allah, but many factors have tendency to force a person to deviate from the right path such as: Satan's influence, Parents, Society, etc. Q: Why can't Muslims accept the term "Son of God", even though it is in the Bible and referring to Jesus? A: The term "Son of God" was used metaphorically speaking to those who were godly and pious men. It was never meant to be used literally as the case with Christianity toward Jesus (peace be upon him). In fact, the term "Son of God" is used all over the Bible referring to people other than Jesus, check out the following verses: ‘"…the son of Enoch, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”’ LUKE 3:38 ‘"…that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose."’ GENESIS 6:2 ‘"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, My firstborn."’ EXODUS 4:22 ‘"…For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn."’ JEREMIAH 31:9 ‘"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."’ ROMANS 8:14 So how come Christians don't regard those people as Gods, the way they regard Jesus (peace be upon him)? Q: Christians believe that Jesus is the way and their Only Savior; could you give me a solid proof to indicate otherwise? A: Yes I could, and again, it will be from the Bible. The Bible says: ‘“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, it is truth. . Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. . I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Savior." ’ISAIAH 43:9-11 God said, to let all nations and people gather together to bear witness to this truth (Islam), and know that I (God) have chosen my servant (Mohammad). And that He is God with none other before or after. The Chapter talks about all nations being unified under one flag (Islam). Also, in verse 11, God very clearly and categorically stated that He is the Only Savior and none else. Q: Why Muslims don't eat Swine (Pork) meat? A: For the same reason both Moses & Jesus (peace be upon them) refused to eat it. God commanded Muslims not to eat Swine meet. God also commanded Moses not to eat or even touch the Swine meat as in the following verses in the Bible: ‘"…and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you."’ LEVITICUS 11:7-8 Q: But hey, we are not Jews! We are Christians governed by Grace and not Law? A: Who said anything about the Jews? The above verses are found in the Christian Bible. Plus, we all know that God gave Moses (peace be upon him) numerous commandments and laws including the Ten Commandments, for people to obey, comply and to adhere to. Jesus (peace be upon him) came along 1500 years later to re-institute Moses' laws & commandments and that by itself is a sign that Prophets came from the same institution with the same message & guidance. Jesus (peace be upon him) said: ‘“Think not that I am come to make void the law or the prophets; I am not come to make void, but to fulfill."’ MATTHEW 5:17. Jesus (peace be upon him) said: ‘“If you love me, keep my commandments." ’JOHN 14:15. One of these commandments is not to eat Swine meet. I don't see Grace at all, all I see Laws and Commandments that ought to be followed. Q: According to Muslims, God vowed to preserve the Qur’an. How come the earlier scriptures weren't persevered, and after all, they are God's words? A: God does not promise such protection or preservation to the former scriptures as the case with the Qur’an. Every prophet was armed with special miracles to prove the authenticity of his message. Moses came to people who rely heavily on magic, so God gave him immense power through his cane. Jesus came to people who were known of strong medical abilities, so God gave him the ability to cure people and even to raise the dead. Both Prophets Moses & Jesus (pbut) were sent to specific people (sons of Israel) with the mentioned miracles and the scriptures. On the other hand, Mohammad (peace be upon him) was sent to people who were fluent in Arabic Language and its grammar. God gave him the Qur’an as his main and lasting miracle. The Qur’an is very unique in its originality and delivery, and the Arabic Language is the best to preserve such revelation. Since Mohammad (peace be upon him) is the final messenger to mankind and the Qur’an was his main miracle, God has promised to protect the Qur’an forever. Remember, if the miracle dies, then its authenticity will most definitely die and perish. Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) had their miracles but not in their books, but rather in their actions (the power of the cane & healing), and once they're gone, it was easy for people to edit and interpolate their scriptures (Torah & Bible) to fit their own selfish desires. So far, and after 1400 years later, the Qur’an remains untouched and persevered from corruption. Muslims still believe in Mohammad's original revelation and divine message. The preservation isn't only limited to the text, but to the divine message, and to the delivery and originality. Q: Is it true the Qur’an has scientific and medical facts? A: Yes it is. But remember though, the Qur’an is not a scientific book. The Qur’an carries a divine message and guidance from the Almighty to all mankind. This message touches upon all aspects of human's life including science and medical aspects. When people embraced Islam, it wasn't because of the scientific facts the Qur’an brought forward, but rather because of the divine message in the belief of the One, the Almighty. People embraced Islam because Islam is a simple religion that is sensible and harmonize with the human instinct. Islam is a complete way of life that is based on fairness, equality, and purity amongst all mankind. Q: I noticed various Islamic Sects! Could you list them for me? A: About 84 % of Muslims are Sunni. The word Sunni is based on the word Sunnah which is an Arabic word means the Prophet's tradition. Sunnis believe in Allah as the One Creator and Mohammad is His last and final Messenger. Also, Sunnis believe in the Qur’an and Sunnah as the two main sources of Islam. There are, however, Muslim bunches who deviated from the right path of Islam such as: Shia, Baha'i, Sufi, Ahmadiya, etc. So be cautious in knowing whom you are dealing with. Q: What is the total number of Muslims around the world? A: 1997 Statistics shows a population of 1.78 Billion Muslim. Q: Why do Muslims pray so much, you know, 5 times a day! Isn't belief in Allah enough? A: Besides the fact it's a Commandment from the Almighty, the prayer (Salah) is considered to be a continuous and daily discipline for Muslims. It's true we have the belief in One God and His messenger Mohammad (peace be upon him) embedded in our hearts, but like earlier Muslims, God has prescribed Laws and Commandments for us to observe and adhere to. When we pray, we recite the Qur’an that has God's genuine words and directions. We also offer supplications and blessings to God. The line of communication between Muslims and God never slows down ever. The prayer (Salah) itself is considered a supplication to the Almighty. It is how we make our connection to God and remember him everyday. It is how we ground ourselves while at the same time elevating ourselves spiritually. Q: I am spiritually confused! What should I do? A: You owe it to yourself to search for the truth, and I am sure if you have an honest intention searching for the truth, God will aid you in your endeavor. Read more about Islam and weigh your options. Read more about the early revelations & messengers of God and comprehend their law & guidance that they had conveyed to their people at that time, then compare all present religions and see which one coincide with the early revelations. Q: But I am satisfied with my own belief, so why should I pursue other religion in the first place? A: Remember, mankind has a free will to do whatever he desires, and we are all held accountable for what we do. If you are content with your religion, then you are solely responsible for your actions & belief and no one else. Q: How do I become a Muslim? A: Unlike other religions, Islam doesn't have certain rituals or baptism by religious groups or individuals. All you need to do is to declare the Testimony (Shahadatan). The Testimony is: ‘"I testify that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah". ’Once you establish this pure belief in your heart, then you can proceed unto the rest of the pillars of Islam. Many Islamic foundations and mosques will be able to help you getting started learning about Islam... .................. Seven Questions About Islam What is Islam? The word "Islam" is an Arabic word that means "submitting and surrendering your will to Almighty God". The word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam", which means peace. Unlike the names used for other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, the name “Islam” was both revealed by God and mentioned explicitly in the Holy Scripture – The Qur’an. Islam carries a deep spiritual meaning — only by submitting one’s will to Almighty God can one obtain true peace both in this life and in the life hereafter. Islam teaches that all religions originally had the same essential message — which was to submit whole-heartedly to the will of God and to worship Him and Him alone. For this reason, Islam is not a new religion but is the same divinely revealed Ultimate Truth that God revealed to all prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all). Who are Muslims? The Arabic word "Muslim" literally means "someone who submits to the will of God". The message of Islam is meant for the entire world and anyone who accepts this message becomes a Muslim. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth, since in actuality over 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arabs! Even though most Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists. If one just takes a look at the various peoples who live in the Muslim World — from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia — it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from all different races, ethnic groups and nationalities. From the very beginning, Islam had a universal message for all people. This can be seen in the fact that some of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were not only Arabs, but also Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans. Being a Muslim entails complete acceptance and active obedience to the revealed will of Almighty God. A Muslim is a person who freely accepts to base his beliefs, values and faith on the will of Almighty God. In the past (even though you don't see it as much today), the word "Mohammedans" was often used as a label for Muslims. This label is a misnomer and is the result of either willful distortion or sheer ignorance. One of the reasons for the misconception is that Europeans were taught for centuries that Muslims worshipped the Prophet Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Jesus. This is absolutely not true since a Muslim is not permitted to worship anyone or anything besides Almighty God. Who is Allah? Very often one will hear the Arabic word "Allah" being used in regards to Islam. The word "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God, and is the same word used by Arabic speaking Christians and Jews. If one were to pick up an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word "Allah" being use where the word "God" is used in English. Actually, the Arabic word for Almighty God, "Allah", is quite similar to the word for God in other Semitic languages — for example, the Hebrew word for God is "Elah". For various reasons, some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians. This is certainly not the case, since the Pure Monotheism of Islam calls all people to the worship of the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all of the other prophets (peace be upon them). However, even though Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God — since there is only one true God — their concepts concerning Him differ in some significant ways. Who is Muhammad? The last and final prophet that God sent to humanity was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muhammad explained, interpreted and lived the teachings of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all prophets for many reasons, but mainly because the results of his mission have brought more people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet. Even though other religious communities claimed to believe in One God, over time they had corrupted their beliefs by taking their prophets and saints as intercessors with Almighty God. Some religions believe their prophets to be manifestations of God, "God Incarnate" or the "Son of God". All of these false ideas lead to the creation being worshipped instead of the Creator, which contributed to the idolatrous practice of believing that Almighty God can be approached through intermediaries. In order to guard against these falsehoods, the Prophet Muhammad always emphasized that he was only a human being tasked with the preaching of God’s message. He taught Muslims to refer to him as "the Messenger of God and His Slave". To Muslims, Muhammad is the supreme example for all people — he was the exemplary prophet, statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbour husband, father and friend. Unlike other prophets and messengers, the Prophet Muhammad lived in the full light of history. Muslims don't need to have "faith" that he existed and that his teachings are preserved — they know it to be a fact. Even when his followers only numbered a few dozen, Almighty God informed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he had be sent as a mercy to all of mankind. Because people had distorted or forgotten God’s messages from previous prophets, God took it upon Himself to protect the message revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This was because Almighty God promised not to send another messenger after him. Since all of God’s messengers have preached the message of Islam — i.e. submission to the will of God and the worship of God alone — Muhammad is actually the last prophet of Islam, not the first. What are the Teachings of Islam? The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in the Unity of God. This means to believe that there is only one Creator and Sustainer of everything in the Universe, and that nothing is divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Him. Truly believing in the Unity of God means much more than simply believing that there is "One God" — as opposed to two, three or four. There are a number of religions that claim belief in "One God" and believe that ultimately there is only one Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Islam, however, not only insists on this, but also rejects using such words as "Lord" and "Savior" for anyone besides Almighty God. Islam also rejects the use of all intermediaries between God and Man, and insists that people approach God directly and reserve all worship for Him alone. Muslims believe that Almighty God is Compassionate, Loving and Merciful. The essence of falsehood is the claim that God cannot deal with and forgive His creatures directly. By over-emphasizing the burden of sin, as well as claiming that God cannot forgive you directly, other religions seek to get people to despair of the Mercy of God. Once they are convinced that they cannot approach God directly, people can be mislead into turning to false gods for help. These "false gods" can take various forms, such as saints, angels, or someone who is believed to be the "Son of God" or "God Incarnate". In almost all cases, people who worship, pray to or seek help from a false god don’t consider it to be, or call it, a "god". They claim belief in One Supreme God, but claim that they pray to and worship others beside God only to get closer to Him. In Islam, there is a clear distinction between the Creator and the created. There is no ambiguity in divinity — anything that is created is not deserving of worship and only the Creator is worthy of being worshipped. Some religions falsely believe that God has become part of His creation, and this has led people to believe that they can worship something created in order to reach their Creator. Muslims believe that even though God is Unique and beyond comprehension — He has no "Son", partners or associates. According to Muslim belief, Almighty God "does not beget nor was He begotten" — neither literally, allegorically, metaphorically, physically or metaphysically — He is Absolutely Unique and Eternal. He is in control of everything and is perfectly capable of bestowing His infinite Mercy and Forgiveness to whomever He chooses. That is why is called the All-Powerful and Most-Merciful. Almighty God has created the Universe for man, and as such wants the best for all human beings. Muslims see everything in the Universe as a sign of the Creatorship and Benevolence of Almighty God. Also, the belief in the Unity of God is not merely a metaphysical concept. It is a dynamic belief that affects ones view of humanity, society and all aspects of life. As a logical corollary to the Islamic belief in the Oneness of God, is its belief in the oneness of mankind and humanity. What is the Qur'an? It is the final revelation of the will of Almighty God's to all of mankind, which was conveyed through the Angel Gabriel, in Arabic, to the Prophet Muhammad in its sounds, words and meanings. The Qur’an (sometimes spelled Koran), was relayed to the Prophet's companions, which they memorized verbatim, and which has been publicly and continually recited by them and their successors until the present day. In short, the Qur'an is the book of guidance from God par excellence. The Qur'an is still memorized and taught by millions of people. The language of the Qur'an, Arabic, is still a living language to millions of people, so unlike the scriptures of other religions, the Qur'an is still read in its original language by countless millions of people. The Qur’an is a living miracle in the Arabic language; and is know to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact. God's final revelation to mankind, the Qur'an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Qur'an, in contrast to many other religious books, was always thought to be the Word of God by those who believed in it, i.e. it wasn't something decreed by a religious council many years after being written. Also, the Qur’an was recited publicly in front of both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The entire Qur'an was also completely written down in lifetime of the Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur'an word-for-word as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur'an was always in the hands of the common believers, it was always thought to be God's word and, due to wide spread memorization, it was perfectly preserved. In regards to the teachings of the Qur'an - it is a universal scripture, and it is addressed to all of mankind, and not to a particular tribe or "chosen people". The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of all of the prophets - submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such, God's revelation in the Qur'an focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance which He has sent. Additionally, the Qur'an contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. In modern times in which so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual despair and "political correctness", the Qur'anic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today. How Do Muslims View the Nature of Man, the Purpose of Life and the Life Hereafter? In the Holy Qur'an, God teaches human beings that they were created in order to worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness/piety. Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals. The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the human soul, and such qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness. The Islamic view of the nature of man is also realistic and well balanced. Human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free will, and the measure of one's faith is one's deeds and actions. However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall into sin. This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom, and it is not inherently "corrupt" or in need of repair. This is because the avenue of repentance is always open to all human beings, and Almighty God loves the repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all. The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God as well as a sincere belief in His infinite Mercy. A life without fear of God leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In light of this, Islam teaches that: only the misguided despair of the Mercy of their Lord. Additionally, the Holy Qur'an, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, contains a great deal of teachings about the life hereafter and the Day of Judgment. Due to this, Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by God for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives. In judging human beings, Almighty God will be both Merciful and Just, and people will only be judged for what they were capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam teaches that life is a test, and that all human beings will be accountable before God. A sincere belief in the life hereafter is the key to leading a well-balanced life and moral. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral. ............... Top Misconceptions About Islam Misconception: Muslims are violent, terrorists, and extremists! This is the biggest misconception in Islam, no doubt resulting from the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, or a Catholic IRA guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not used to stereotype and bash an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed to the religious teachings of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard the words 'Islamist or Muslim fundamentalist' linked with violence. Politics in so-called “Muslim countries" may or may not have any Islamic basis. Often dictators and politicians will use the name of Islam for their own purposes. One should remember to go to the source of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what is portrayed in the media. Islam literally means 'submission to God' and is derived from a root word meaning 'peace'. Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion doesn’t dominate everyday life in the West, whereas Islam is considered a 'way of life' for Muslims and they make no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. No where does Islam or the Qur'an enjoin the killing of innocents. The Qur’an says: «"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors." »(Qur’an Chapter 2: Verse 190) And also, «"If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things."» (Qur’an, Chapter 8: Verse 61). War, therefore, is a last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term 'jihad' literally means 'struggle'. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other 'jihad' is the inner struggle of the soul which everyone wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner peace. Misconception: Islam oppresses women. The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to stay home and forbidden to drive is all too common in most peoples’ thoughts. Although some Muslim countries may have laws that oppress women, this should not be seen as coming from Islam. Many of these countries do not rule by any true Shari'ah(Islamic law), and instead introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender equity. Islam gives men and women different roles, and equity between the two is laid down in the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband's. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified. “The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: "The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife."” Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against their will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to Islamic teachings, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will. Misconception: Muslims worship a different God Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah for Muslims is the greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him. It is exactly the same word which the Jews, in Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God. God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Allah is the same God worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews. Muslims believe that Allah's sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history. Misconception: Islam was spread by the sword and is intolerant of other faiths Many social studies textbooks for students show the image of an Arab horseman carrying a sword in one hand and the Qur’an in the other, conquering and forcibly converting. This, though, is not a correct portrayal of history. Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. The Qur’an says: «"God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are just."» (Qur'an, Chapter 60: Verse 8) Freedom of religion is laid down in the Qur’an itself: «"There is no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right direction is distinctly clear from error".» (Qur'an, Chapter 2: Verse 256) Christian missionary, T.W. Arnold had this opinion on his study of the question of the spread of Islam: "Of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism." It is a function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city. Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives, and property were safe, and that their places of worship would never be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him on a visit to all the holy places. Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether the person is Muslim or not. Racism is not a part of Islam, the Qur’an speaks only of human equality and how all peoples are equal in the sight of God. «"O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All- Aware." »(Qur'an, Chapter 49: Verse 13) Misconceptions: All Muslims are Arabs The Muslim population of the world is around 1.4 billion. 1 out of 4 people in the world is a Muslim. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Muslims come from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures from around the globe -from the Philippines to Nigeria- they are united by their common Islamic faith. Only about 18 percent of Muslims live in the Arab world. The largest Muslim community is in Indonesia. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. 30 percent of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17 percent in Southeast Asia, 18 percent in the Arab world and 10 percent in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan make up 10 percent of the non-Arab Middle East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost every area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most numerous in Russia and its newly independent states, India and central Africa. There are about 8 million Muslims in the United States. Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America. Misconception: The Nation of Islam is a Muslim group Islam and the so-called “Nation of Islam" are two different religions. Muslims consider this group to be just one of many cults using the name of Islam for their own gain. Islam and the Nation of Islam differ in many fundamental ways. All Muslims must believe that there is only one God worthy of worship and that Muhammad PBUH was the last messenger of God, but Nation of Islam teaches something totally different. Also, Nation of Islam followers believe in racism and that the 'black man' was the original man and therefore superior, while in Islam there is no racism and everyone is considered equal in the sight of God, the only difference being in one's piety. There are many other theological examples that show the Nation's teachings have little to do with true Islam. Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate and find the true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim are The Quran and Authentic hadith(sayings of the prophet). Any teachings under the label of "Islam" which contradict or are at variance with the direct understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the Quran and authentic hadith should be rejected and such a religion should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many pseudo-Islamic cults, Nation of Islam being one of them. An honest attitude on the part of such cults should be not to call themselves Muslims and their religion Islam. Such an example of honesty is Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call themselves Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not Islam just as Nation of Islam is not Islam. Misconception: All Muslim men marry four wives The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so it accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife, but the right is granted, according to the Qur'an only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair. No woman can be forced into this kind of marriage if they do not wish it. Polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted. Images of "sheikhs with harems" are not consistent with Islam, as a man is only allowed at most four wives only if he can fulfill the stringent conditions of treating each fairly and providing each with separate housing etc. Permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It is rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans. It was the Qur'an that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered them "property". It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam which regulated this practice, limited it, made it more humane and instituted equal rights and status for all wives. What the Qur'anic decrees amount to, taken together is discouragement of polygamy unless necessity for it exists. It is also evident that the general trend in Islam is monogamy and not polygamy. It is a very small percentage of Muslims that practice polygamy over the world. However, permission to practice limited polygamy is only consistent with Islam's realistic view of the nature of man and woman and of various social needs, problems and cultural variations. It also is the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of individuals and societies, and provides for legitimate and clean solutions which are far more beneficial than would be the case if they were ignored. There is no doubt that the second wife legally married and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal rights or expermanence. Misconceptions: Muslims are a barbaric, backwards people Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine -Islam calls for faith in only one God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years of the spread of Islam, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for “according to the Prophet (pbuh), 'seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman'. ” The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments were developed which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps. Misconceptions: Muhammad was the founder of Islam and Muslims worship him Muslims only worshio the one true God and believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last messenger sent by God to the world. Muhammad PBUH was a most noble man and beloved prophet, yet Muslims certainly donot worship him, or any other created being. Muhammad PBUH was born in Mecca in the year 570. Since his father died before his birth and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad PBUHwas of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near Mecca. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad PBUH received his first revelation from God, through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for 23 years, is known as the Qur'an. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra 'migration', in which they left Mecca for the city of Medina, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Mecca, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet PBUHdied at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. While Muhammad PBUH was chosen to deliver the message, he is not considered the "founder" of Islam, since Muslims consider Islam to be the same divine guidance sent to all prophets before. Muslims believe all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent with the same divine guidance for their peoples. Since all prophets came from the same God, they all brought the same basic message -calling their people to the worship of one God. Every prophet was sent to his own people, but Muhammad PBUH was sent to all of mankind. Muhammad PBUH is the last and final messenger sent to deliver the message of Islam. Muslims love and honor him, but they do not worship him. In the Qur'an, it says: «"O Prophet, verily We have sent you as a witness and a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and as one who invites unto God by His leave and as an illuminating lamp."» (Qur'an, Chapter 33: Verses 45-6) Misconception: Muslims don't believe in Jesus or any other prophets Muslims respect and love Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his Second Coming. They consider him a great messenger from God to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as 'Jesus', but always adds the phrase 'upon him be peace' (abbreviated as (u) here). The Qur'an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Quran is entitled 'Mary'), and Mary is considered amongst the best and most noble women. The Qur'an describes the Annunciation as follows: «"Behold!" the Angel said, "God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous." She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" He said: "Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, "Be!" and it is" (Qur'an, Chapter 3: Verses 42-47) » Jesus (u) was born miraculously through the same power which had brought Adam (u) into being without a father: «"Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was." (Qur'an, Chapter 3: Verses 59)» During his prophetic mission Jesus (u) performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said: «"I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God's leave." (Qur'an, Chapter 3: Verses 49)» Neither Muhammad (pbuh) not Jesus (u) came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God brought by earlier prophets, but instead to confirm and renew it. In the Qur’an Jesus (u) is reported as saying that he came: «"To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey Me. (Qur'an, Chapter 3: Verses 50)» The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said: “"Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad(pbuh) is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven. "(Hadith related by Bukhari) ” ................. Universality of Islam In the Qur'an, Allah says: «"We have sent you (Muhammad) as a mercy for all nations."» [21:107] Thus Islam is not restricted to any particular race or nation, as many other religions are, but is universal, meaning that its message applies to all humanity, at all times, in all places. Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last prophet and messenger, his message applies to all future generations. All previous prophets, from Adam, Noah and Abraham to Moses and Jesus, were also Muslims: «"Not a single messenger did We send before you without this inspiration sent by Us to him that there is no god but I, therefore worship and serve Me."» [21:25] Since the Qur'an is the final testament, with every word and every letter unadulterated and unchanged, and protected by Allah from any change or tampering, it is the final revelation, and no other law will ever supersede it. It applies, moreover, to every aspect of one's daily life, including personal, social, legal, economic, political, even military. Furthermore, Islam affects every part of the individual - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.