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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Misconceptions about ISLAM


Islam is one of the world’s largest religions yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. For various reasons – be the political, economic, biased media or fear of the “other” – mistruths and misconceptions have been spread about Islam. The key to understanding Islam and Muslims is to resist stereotypes and examine each situation according to Islamic teachings and authentic sources.

This article will address eight Common Misconceptions about Islam.

1. Muslims do not share good and Nobel values with non-Muslims.

Some people allege that the Islamic values are somehow incompatible with decent “Western” values. Such claims could not be further from the truth. Muslims cherish noble and universal values such as:
-Being honest and just.
- Keeping ones word.
- Allowing freedom of religion.
- Respecting parents, relatives, neighbors, and the elderly.
- Being charitable, generous, and looking after the poor and needy.
- Not lying, cheating, swearing, or backbiting anyone.

Muslims are required to contribute positively towards society, and to always conduct themselves with the highest of morals and best of actions.

2. Muslims worship a new god called Allah.

The word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God – an Arabic word for rich meaning, denoting the one and only God. Allah is also the same word that Arabic speaking Christians and Jews use to refer to God.

However, although Muslims, Jews, and Christians believe in the same god (the Creator), their concepts regarding Him differ significantly. For example, Muslims reject the idea of God having any partners or being part of a ‘trinity’, and ascribe perfection only to God, the Almighty.

3. Islam permits terrorism.

The media generally portrays any Muslim who fights as a terrorist, regardless of whether they fight justly or unjustly or whether they are oppressing other or being oppressed.
In war, the targeting of innocent non-combatants is a despicable act, which Islam clearly prohibits. 

In fact, Muslims are not allowed to destroy plants and animals unnecessarily, let alone innocent humans. However, it is important to distinguish between terrorism and legitimate resistance to occupation, as the two are very different.

The Qur’an clearly demonstrates the seriousness of killing an innocent person, and emphasizes the value of human life.
“If anyone murders an innocent person, it will be as if he has murdered the whole of humanity. And if anyone saves a person it will be as if he has saved the whole of humanity.” – Qur’an 5:32
4. Islam oppresses women.

In Islam, men and women are viewed as equals before God, in terms of both receiving equal reward and accountability for their actions. The only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their level of piety.
“Verily the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is the most God conscious.” – Qur’an 49:13
This verse proves that real honour and status is not attained because a person is rich or poor, black or white, male or female, but attained through piety and devoutness.
Women are given the utmost respect and honour, such as the right to equal pay, choice of spouse, pursuit of education and the right to divorce and inheritance.

Unfortunately, some Muslim women are oppressed and not given their rights. This is not the fault of Islam. The problem is that in some countries, people follow certain cultural practices and traditions, which have nothing to do with Islam.

5. The Qur’an is just another history or poetry book.

The Quran is the divine literal word of God Almighty revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through the angel Gabriel. It is a criterion for the truth containing guidance for humanity to live by. The Quran cites lessons from preceding generations and the history of the prophets in order that we may learn from their experiences.

It further teaches us about our Creator and ourselves as well as the purpose of our existence, which is to acknowledge God, worshipping Him alone.

God did not create humans to simply wander aimlessly. The test of one’s faith is in using one’s intellect, free will and reasoning abilities to contemplate and recognize God’s signs – one of the greatest signs being the Quran.
The Quran contains within it many miracles, so that we can have no doubt about its authenticity.

6. Hijab is oppressive.

To observe the hijab, Muslim women are required to modestly cover their body with clothes that do not reveal their figure in front of non-closely related males. However, hijab is not just about outer appearances, it is also about noble speech, modesty, and dignified conduct.

Although there are many benefits of the hijab, the key reason Muslim women observe hijab is because it is a command from Allah (God), and He knows what is best for His creation.
The hijab empowers a woman by emphasizing her inner spiritual beauty, rather than her superficial appearance. It gives women the freedom to be active members of society, while maintaining their modesty.

The hijab does not symbolize suppression, oppression, or silence. Rather, it is a guard against degrading remarks, unwanted advances, and unfair discrimination. Therefore, the next time you see a Muslim woman, know that she covers her physical appearance, not her mind or intellect.

7. All Muslims are Arabs.

Only about 20% of Muslims in the world are Arabs, meaning that up to about 80% of Muslims are non-Arabs. For example, there are more Indian and Indonesian Muslims than Arab Muslims.

Islam teaches that an individual is not superior to another because of race or colour, and is strictly against any form of racism. Islam has a universal message for every humankind – that is, that everyone worshipping the One True God.

8. Jihad is terrorism.

The essence of jihad is to struggle and sacrifice for ones religion in a manner which is pleasing to God. Linguistically, it means to “Struggle” and can be referred to as one striving to do good deeds, give charity, or to join an Islamic military action.

The most commonly known form is the military jihad, which is permitted in order to preserve the wellbeing of society, to prevent oppression from spreading, and to promote justice. This can be either defensive or offensive, depending on the circumstance.

Do you have any other Misconceptions about Islam; ask about them by using the comment box.

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