MISCONCEPTION #1: Muslims are violent, terrorists and/or 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, 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 an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed
to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard
the words 'Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist. etc.' 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.
NOWHERE DOES ISLAM ENJOIN THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS.. The Quran says:
"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not
transgress limits. God does not love transgressors." (Quran 2:190)
"If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is
the One that heareth and knoweth all things." (Quran 8:61) War,
therefore, is the 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
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 kind of Shari'ah (Islamic law) and
introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender
Islam on the other hand gives men and women different roles and equity
between the two is laid down in the Quran 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 that 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
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
Islam, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will: her
parents simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.
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.
However, it should be noted that God in Islam is One and Only. He,
the Exalted, does not get tired, does not have a son ie Jesus or
have associates, nor does He have human-like attributions as found in
Islam was spread by the sword and 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 Quran 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 Quran 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. 60:8)
Freedom of religion is laid down in the Quran itself: "There is no
compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right
direction is distinctly clear from error". (2:256) 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
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
Racism is not a part of Islam, the Quran 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. (49:13)
All Muslims are Arabs
The Muslim population of the world is around 1.2 billion. 1 out of 5
people in the world is a Muslim. They are a vast range of races,
nationalities, and cultures from around the globe--from the
Phillipines to Nigeria--they are united by their common Islamic faith.
Only about 18% live in the Arab world and the largest Muslim
community is in Indonesia. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. 30%
of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa,
17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab world, and 10% in the Soviet
Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan make up 10% 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 6 million Muslims in the United
All Muslim men marry four wives.
The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and
so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances
may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted,
according to the Quran, 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, and they also have the right to exclude it in
their marriage contract.
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
Quran that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy
among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered
It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam that 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 rule in Islam is monogamy
and not polygamy. It is a very tiny percentage of Muslims that
practice it 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
The question is, however far more than the inherent flexibility of
Islam; 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.
Muslims are a barbaric, backward 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, 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 which were to make possible the European voyages of
discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and
good navigational maps.
Muhammad was the founder of Islam and Muslims worship him.
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 (pbuh)
was 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 Quran. 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
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 saw dies 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. He
died with less than 5 possessions to his name.
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 peoples before. Muslims believe
all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent
with divine guidance for their peoples. Every prophet was sent to his
own people, but Muhammad(pbuh) was sent to all of mankind. Muhammad
is the last and final messenger sent to deliver the message of Islam.
Muslims revere and honor him (pbuh) for all he went through and his
dedication, but they do not worship him. "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
Muslims don't believe in Jesus or any other prophets.
Muslims respect and revere Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his
Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God's
messengers 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 Quran confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the
Quran is entitled 'Mary'), and Mary is considered the purest woman in
all creation. The Quran 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" (Quran 3:42-47)
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." (3:59) 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 breath 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." (3:49) Neither Muhammad
(pbuh) not Jesus (u) came to change the basic doctrine of the brief in
One God brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it.
In the Quran 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. (3:50) 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).
Muslims are savages and barbaric during war
Quite the contrary, when it comes to the conduct of war there are ten rules that every Muslim army must obey:
1. Do not commit treachery
2. Do not deviate from the right path
3. Do not mutilate dead bodies
4. Do not kill children
5. Do not kill women
6. Do not kill aged men
7. Do not harm or burn trees
8. Do not destroy buildings
9. Do not destroy an enemy’s flock, unless you use it for your food
10. When you pass people who have devoted their lives to monastic services leave them alone
During the crusades when Saladin defeated the franks he honored the defeated Frankish army and supplied them with food and during the third crusade when Saladin’s enemy king Richard fell sick, Saladin sent him a gift of fruits and horses.
Children have no rights
Children, according to Islamic law, have various rights. One of these is the right to be properly brought up, raised, and educated. Islam encourages children to be brought up well because it is the responsibility of an adult to raise his child to become a moral and ethical adult. Children must also be treated equally. When giving financial gifts they should all be the same amount and there should be no preference among them. Children are even permitted to take moderately from their parent’s wealth to sustain themselves if the parent declines to give them proper funds for living. A child is also not allowed to get hit in the face or hit by anything larger than a pencil.
Misconception # 12:
Islam is intolerable to other religions
‘Kill the infidel’ is the phrase many people believe is the ideology that Muslims have towards the non Muslims. This, though, is not a correct portrayal of Islamic law. 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.” There are many historical examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faith. One such example was when the caliph Umar was ruler of Jerusalem from 634 to 644 AD. He granted freedom to all religious communities and said that the inhabitants of his city were safe and that their places of worship would never be taken away from them. He also set up courts that were designated to the non Muslim minorities. Whenever he would visit holy areas he would ask for the Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him.
Misconception # 13
Jihad means to fight for the sake of god
The true Arabic meaning of the word jihad is struggle. However in Islam it is often used to describe the striving in the way of god. There are many forms of jihad but the most important ones are Jihad al-nafs (jihad against ones self), jihad bil-lisan (jihad by being vocal), jihad bil yad (jihad by using action), and Jihad bis saif (jihad by using the sword). Each jihad is ranked differently and it was reported that Muhammad returned from a battle and said “We have returned from the lesser jihad (going into battle) to the greater jihad (the struggle of the soul).” This means that a Muslim struggling against himself and his soul is more important than the jihad of going into war. Another misconception is that only when a person dies in war does that person becomes a martyr. This is, however, false and it is believed that anyone doing anything for the sake of god and is killed becomes a martyr. A person who dies while performing pilgrimage in Mecca, a woman who dies while giving birth, or even someone who dies in a car crash while he was on his way to the mosque are all considered martyrs.
THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S LAST SERMON
This Sermon was delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat )
"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don't know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and TAKE THIS WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.
O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (Interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived...
Beware of Satan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and comitted helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.
O People, listen to me in earnest, whorship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. YOU ARE ALL EQUAL. NOBODY HAS SUPERIORITY OVER OTHER EXCEPT BY PIETY AND GOOD ACTION.
Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QUR'AN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me direcly. BE MY WITNESS O ALLAH THAT I HAVE CONVEYED YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR PEOPLE
[RFI]Algeria censored reports by two daily newspapers that claimed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in a Parisian hospital since last month, would be flown home in a coma after his health deteriorated on Sunday.
[Aswat Masriya]A Gazan official has said that hundreds of stranded Palestinians, including members of parliament and patients, were mistreated by Egyptian police during their return from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after performing hajj (Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca).
[SA Govt]On 2 May 2013, in the wake of the landing of a chartered commercial aircraft at Air Force Base Waterkloof on 30 April 2013, the Ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster instructed a team of Directors-General to investigate the matter. On 3 May 2013, during a JCPS press briefing, we indicated the deadline of 14 May 2013, seven working days.
[DA]I am incredibly sad about the news of Vuyo Mbuli's death this morning. On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, I extend our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to his friends, family and colleagues at the SABC.