Tackling 9 common misconceptions about Islam.
9 common misconceptions about Islam
We know very well by now that there are A LOT of misconceptions about Islam. Fortunately, our friends over at Seek Perfection have compiled a list of nine of them.
1. All Muslims are Arabs
The common image of a Muslim is an Arab man wearing a turban and a long beard, however, this image is actually a reflection of a minority of Muslims. Arabs make up only 15% of the world’s Muslim population (also not all arabs wear turbans or have a beard at all). East Asia has the most muslims in the world, at (69%) with Africa (27%) coming in at second.
2. Allah is exclusively for Muslims
Arabic like Aramaic and Hebrew, is a Semitic language. The word that described God in Aramaic was pronounced “AaLaH” or “AaLoH”. In Hebrew it was “Eloah” or “Elohim”, and in Arabic (the largest living member of the Semitic language family) is “Allah”, which is considered a conjunction of “Al-ilah”, which is Arabic for “The-God”. The English word “God” describes the same entity. The Quran clearly invites all to unite under one god, as depicted in this verse:
And do not argue with the people of the Scripture except in the best manner; except for those who are wicked amongst them; and say: “We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our God/ilah and your God/ilah is the same; to Him we submit.” [The Holy Quran 29:46]
3. Islam promotes honor killings
An honour killing is when a family member is murdered by one or more fellow family members, when they believe the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family. The victims are usually female but can also be male.
The Quran has a very high regard for a person’s life and only accepts the taking of a life in very limited circumstances:
It is because of this that We have decreed for the Children of Israel: “Anyone who kills a person who has not committed murder, or who has not committed corruption in the land; then it is as if he has killed all of mankind! And whoever spares a life, then it is as if he has given life to all the people.”… [5:32]
…and do not kill the soul which God has forbidden, except in justice… [6:151]
Thus, the equivalent punishment for having one’s honour or family honour compromised can never be murder.
4. Forced marriage is allowed
Forced marriages are clearly not acceptable according to The Quran:
O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit the women by forcibly/unwillingly… [4:19]
Marriage is done by mutual agreement:
And if you divorce the women, and they have reached their required interim period, then do not prevent/hinder them that they marry their partners if they mutually agree between themselves in a kind/equitable manner… [2:232]
5. Muslims reject Jesus
Jesus is considered a prophet and a messenger of God, and like Abraham, Moses, Noah among others, he is mentioned in the Holy Quran as a prophet [see 2:136, 4:163, 61:6]. Jesus’ message was simply a continuation of the message of monotheism and doing good, like prophets before him. Jesus is one of the most mentioned prophets in The Quran.
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam [3:59]
6. No Freedom of speech
The Quran contains multiple examples of prophets and the message of God itself being ridiculed, but there is not one instance of allowing violence or a punishment for such an act. Some indisputable examples are:
And be patient over whatever they say, and depart from them in a good manner. [73:10]
…when you hear the revelations of God being rejected and mocked, then do not sit with them until they move on to a different narrative… [4:140]
Not equal are the good and the bad response. You shall resort to the one which is better. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy may become your best friend. [41:34]
7. Religious intolerance
Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. In the Quran it says, “God does not forbid you, with regards to those who fight you not for religion nor drive you away out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just.”
Prophet Muhammed used to provide protection to the Jews and Christians during his time, therefore prosecution or bad mouthing any other religion is very much against the religion.
8. Islam was spread by the sword
The Quran there is no compulsion in religion:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most sure hand-hold, that never breaks. And God is Hearing, Knowing.” [2:256]
According to The Quran, this is how to invite others to islam:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” [16:125]
It seems that this is more of a fabricated story to create a negative propaganda against Islam than anything based on half-truth. The historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote: “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
9. Religion and science are not compatible
It is commonly thought that religion in general, including Islam, is simply not compatible with science, reason or knowledge.
The Quran repeatedly emphasises the importance of seeking knowledge, verifying information, use of logic, evidence, consultation, reflection and promotes the study of biology, creation, archaeology, history and sciences. Some of the many examples are shown below.
The Quran clearly states signs of the truth it promotes exist in the whole universe, thus surely all of it is worthy of study:
We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth. Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things? [41:53]
Investigate, travel the world and research:
Say [O Muhammad]: “Travel in the earth and see how He originated the creation, then God creates the latter creation; surely God has power over all things.” [29:20]
This article was originally posted here over at Seek Perfection.