Answering Tough Questions & Misconceptions About Islam
20 June, 2006
By Ahmer Muzammil
"Moslems worship "Allah", is this "Allah" different from the God Of Jesus & Moses"?
Let me start out by saying that you can not be a muslim until & unless you believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) and Moses (peace be upon him) as prophets of Allah (GOD). The easiest way to understand this conundrum is that Arab speaking Christians even today in their prayers invokes the name of Allah. The haters can spew venom but as far as I am concerned, I believe that whoever believes in one Allah (GOD) without any partners, sons, daughters or incarnations, whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims or whoever they might be, they all believe in the same Allah (GOD) that we do and that Jesus, Moses, Adam, Noah and Mohammad called masses to the same GOD.
"Is it a religious duty for ALL Muslims to Kill Jews and Christians wherever they may find them as it's mentioned in their holy book Quran"?
Pat Robertson has made a career out of quoting the following verse of Holy Quran out of context. The Verse from the Quran is :
"But when the forbidden months are past, then fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). But if they repent and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them, for Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful." [Surah al-Tawbah: 5]
First of all this is not a universal obligation on Muslims, like 5 daily prayers or Fasting. This Verse is merely talking about an incident that happened in the time of the prophet (Peace be upon him). If you read the verse before it and the one after it, it becomes abundantly clear that this is referring to a historical event in the past. The Arab pagans made a pact of peace with the prophet (Peace be upon him) and then broke off that pact and waged a surprise war on Muslims of Arabia. What else should Allah SWT have said? Shower your attackers with roses? This verse is regarding those Arab pagans in THAT time 1500 years ago who betrayed the Prophet (Peace be upon him), not jews and Christians today, not even Jews and Christians in the time of the prophet because they were following the rules of the pact that were mutually agreed upon, it was only for that ONE particular group that sabotaged the pact. Kapish? Second, how in the world Pat Robertson's and other morons of his Klan slap this as a religious duty on all Muslims is beyond common-sense. But then again no one said common-sense was a per-requisite for getting a show on Christian Broadcasting Channel. Furthermore Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) gave Muslims a code of ethics of engagement. Some of those orders that are universal and valid for muslims till the end of time are:
· No Surprise attacks, give your enemy ample time to prepare.
· A Muslim army must never kill, women, children, old folks and religious monks. (In today's world they are called Collateral damage, what a world we live in!)
· The only people that you can attack are the one's that are carrying the arms and are actually fighting, everyone else is off limits.
· The infrastructure of the attacked land must be preserved, so much so that not even a tree should be uprooted without a cause.
Keep in mind that these were the rules & regulations that Muslim armies followed 1500 years ago and should and must follow today if they are fighting for Islam. After all the advancements and Human Rights conventions, in this day and age we have incidents like Abu-Gharib's and Haditha's and the beheadings of innocents, makes you wonder if the human behavior is getting more barbaric or less?
"Why does Islam FORCES men to marry four wives, where as women can only marry one"?
Allah SWT tells us in Quran and I am paraphrasing, Marry Woman of your own choice, two or three or four, but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes writes a very interesting commentary on this issue he says "When this Verse was revealed to prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) Men were strictly ordered to treat their women with the very best of treatment.
First of all, the men had to divorce their wives, if they had more than four. So this was not an order to go out and get four wives. It was an order to begin limitations. And the first limitation was; No more than four.
Second, the limitation of equal treatment for all of them. How could a man keep more than one wife unless he was exceedingly wealthy and/or exceedingly strong and virile?
Next, the limitation very clearly states; ".. But if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one ..."
Step by step, the men of Islam have come to be known today as the most monogamous of all men on earth. (We only have one wife)
Check for yourself and see. In the majority of all the Muslim homes on earth, a man gets married once, to one woman and then he stays married to her until the death of either himself or his wife.
It is strange isn't it, a society like America, that condones having sex without marriage, homosexuality, same sex marriages, sex without responsibility, children without fathers and divorces are more common place than the measles or chicken pox, would be so concerned about the way Islam demands that a couple be married, the man actually work instead of the woman and the woman owns her own property without giving anything for the support of the house or the child, a child has the right to his or her own mother raising them instead of a baby sitter or day care, father must support his children, divorce is hated, marriage is sanctified.
Compare the two for yourself and see which one needs correction."
Again no one is forcing men to marry 4 women. It's not an Obligation, it's merely allowed but allowed with very very strict guidelines. Let's analyze those conditions. The men should show no preference between the wives. He should be financially capable of providing all his wives and children the necessities, and lastly IT CAN NOT BE IN VIOLATION OF ANY LOCAL LAWS OF THE LAND, especially if the land is occupied by a non-Muslim majority. What does that mean? I am glad you asked. It means that a Muslim can never break the Law of the Land. If having more than one wife is not allowed legally in a country then you can not have more than one wife, plain & simple. As a matter of fact if it's against the Law of the Land to do Salah (5 daily prayers) or Fast, then the Islamic ruling would be to migrate from that land, breaking the law is still not an option.
I am not a religious scholar so I am not rendering a fatwa (Religious decree) here, but I look at this issue from a different angle. Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said that the best amongst you are those who are good to their wives. If my wife will be saddened by an action that is not a religious obligation on me, then why should I wreck my happy home for my carnal desires? See 1500 years ago my Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent to a people who would burry a new-born alive if she was a girl. Women were no more than sexual objects (sounds familiar?). Christian churches in that time were debating if women actually even had a sole or not. Eve (may Allah swt be pleased with her) was blamed for the original sin, Islam tells us both Adam (peace be upon him) and Eve (peace be upon her) were mutually responsible, and they were forgiven by Allah swt. Islam came and gave women the respect and rights that they deserved. 1500 years ago Islam gave women the right to
property, right to decide who she wants to marry, right to an opinion, western civilizations didn't get to it till merely 40-50 years ago. The interpretation of bible was that the women's monthly cycle was a "Curse from GOD". They also mocked women for the child bearing pains as a "PAY-BACK" for brining men down from heaven. Now consider what my prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) said, he said that "A chaste woman who gives birth to a legitimate child after getting married, all her prior sins are washed away by Allah SWT for the pain that she goes through in brining an innocent life in this world". Just a tad bit different from the "PAY-BACK" mentality, isn't it? Another fact to consider is that there are more women in the world then men. This is a scientific fact. Hypothetically speaking if the world is a colony of 100 human beings out of which 70 are women and 30 are men, then Islam's permission makes it possible for all women to have a legitimate family life. This is obviously over-simplifying the issue at hand but I believe you get my drift.
"Is it a religious duty for Muslim men to beat up their wives, because it says in Quran you should beat your wife everyday?"
Hmm if it does then I surly missed it. What I did find was numerous verses in Quran that forces me to take care of my wife, be good to her, buy her gifts, give her security and protection, fulfill her needs to the best of my capability, give her mehr (dowry gift), be nice to her parents and even take care of them in old age if they don't have a son that can take care of them.
The confusion comes when some vested interests do an absurd translation of a verse of Quran. Allah SWT says in Quran (I will write the Arabic verse in Roman and then will attempt to explain the intention of the verse).
"Alrrijalu qawwamoona AAala alnnisa-i bima faddala Allahu baAAdahum AAala baAAdin wabima anfaqoo min amwalihim faalssalihatu qanitatun hafithatun lilghaybi bima hafitha Allahu waallatee takhafoona nushoozahunna faAAithoohunna waohjuroohunna fee almadajiAAi waidriboohunna fa-in ataAAnakum fala tabghoo AAalayhinna sabeelan inna Allaha kana AAaliyyan kabeeran"
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). Regarding the woman who is guilty of lewd, or indecent behavior, admonish her (if she continues in this indecency then), stop sharing her bed (if she still continues doing this lewd behavior, then), [set forth for her the clear meaning of either straighten up or else we are finished and when she returns to proper behavior take up sharing the bed with her again], but if she returns in obedience (to proper behavior and conduct) then seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great
Here again I will quote the good Sheikh Yusuf Estes who gives an excellent elucidation of this verse, he says :
"The operative word in this verse in Arabic is "daraba." While there are literally hundreds of uses for this word varying from "tap" to "walk in stride" to "strike at something" to "set a clear example", the only meaning that can be assigned to something in the Quran must be according to the rules of Quran. And Allah has used the same word a number of times with a consistent meaning. Let us examine them.
Here is what we find from the scholars of the Arabic language:
Daraba (to have intercourse, not to beat)
Raghib points out that daraba metaphorically means to have intercourse, and quotes the _expression darab al-fahl an-naqah, 'the stud camel covered the she-camel,' which is also quoted by Lisan al-'Arab. It cannot be taken here to mean 'to strike them (women).' This view is strengthened by the Prophet's authentic hadith found in a number of authorities, including Bukhari and Muslim: "Could any of you beat your wife as he would a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?" There are other traditions in Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad bin Hanbal and others, to the effect that he forbade the beating of any woman, saying: "Never beat God's handmaidens."
Source: al-Qur'an: a contemporary translation by Ahmed Ali, Princeton University Press, 1988; pp78-79
Daraba (to set forth, to make a clear statement or proclamation)
One of the key rules of understanding words of the Quran is to go to other places in the Quran to investigate the usage in other places. This word is used by Allah in other places in the Quran to mean "set forth" or "sets up for you" or "makes known to you" - as is demonstrated in the following verses:
Surah Ar-Ra'd (13:17) yadribu Allahu al-amthala "Thus Allah sets forth a parable"
[here the word "yadirbu" is from the exact same root da-ra-ba]
Surah Ibrahim (14:24): Alam tara kayfa daraba Allahu mathalan .. "Don't you see how Allah sets forth a parable?.."
And again in the next verse: Surah Ibrahim (14:25) wa yadribu Allahu al-amthala li-naasi
"..and Allah sets forth parables for mankind.."
[again the word yadirbu is from da-ra-ba]
Surah An-Nur (24:35) wa yadribu Allahu al0amthala lin-naasi
"And Allah sets forth parables for mankind.."
Surah Ar-Rum (30:28) Daraba lakum mathalan min anfusikum
"He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves.."
Surah At-Tahreem (66:10) Daraba Allahu mathalan lillatheena kafaroo..
"Allah sets forth an example for those disbelievers.."
In fact, the word daraba has not been translated to mean (beat) or (hit) or (strike) in any other verse of the Quran except this one.
The words for (beat) as in [to hit] found in Surah Baqarah 2:275 ... kama yaqoomu allathee yatakhabbatuhu ash-shaytanu mina almassi..
"..like the standing of someone beaten by the devil (Satan) leading him to insanity."
And in Surah Ta Ha 20:18 Allah Says, "Qala hiya Aasaya atawakkao Aalayha waahushshu biha Aala ghanamee waliya feeha maaribu okhra."
"This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep and wherein I find other uses."
As you can see, these are not even related to the word (daraba)."
"Do Muslims believe that everyone will burn in Hell-fire except Muslims"?
Simple response is "NO". Unfortunately it's not up to Muslims to decide who goes to hell-fire and who doesn't. That decree is going to come from Allah SWT and our belief is on the basis of what Allah swt tells us in Quran, "All sins can be forgiven except Shirk (creating partners with Allah)". Muslims don't have a free-ride either. Our belief is that Paradise is for people who are pure. What does that mean? In order for anyone to enter paradise he/she must be free of sins. Now that process is multi-faucet. The tribulations that one goes through in life will wash-away some of the sins. Some of the sins will be forgiven for the pain & sufferings of death and the grave. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the Day of Reckoning will be a very tough day. The horrors of that day that one would have to encounter will take away some of the sins. Then Allah SWT is capable of forgiving any other delinquencies, if there is still some left then the sole would have to spend
some time in hell to get purified. But as long as one sincerely believes in one-ness of Allah swt then the possibility of Paradise is there. This is a very vast topic that scholars have written books about, so I know I can't do justice with it in this limited space. Bottom line is that according to the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) there will be people in paradise that were not from his Ummah.
See the thing is that if you hate & malign Islam to put food on the table for your family (and you know who they are) or for the sake of just hating it maybe because your girlfriend ran away with a Muslim man, or because tMusilms have taken-over your movie industry and you resent that then this is probably a waste of time and energy. But if you truly have sincere inquisitions and you have an open mind then I claim with utmost responsibility that Islam will answer all your questions to your satisfaction, you just would have to look in the right places (Pat Robertson's web-site is not on that list) and if your intentions are sincere then God-willing you will find the truth, whatever it is. There are hundreds of web-sites that quote non-Muslim western scientists who are amazed at the miracles of Quran and how scientific information that was way ahead of its time was revealed upon an un-lettered man of Arabia. This link is just one of them http://islamyesterday.com/science/ .
One other thing to consider is that there is a difference between Islam and Muslims. Any action of any Muslim is not Islam, Islam can only be responsible for what is in Quran (and for the love of God quote it in context) and the authentic actions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). George Bernard Shaw said "Islam is the best religion with the worst followers", I think a little introspection wouldn't kill us, would it?