/ Jimmy's Corner: Islam: Reality versus Illusion!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006 

Islam: Reality versus Illusion!

Introduction:
In the last few days I have noiced that most of the readers in the blogsphere have one thing in common: great misconceptions about Islam. I even found out that it is very rare to find someone who knows the reality of Islam or even bits and pieces about it. Thus, I thought I should help show the solid facts about Islam and try to analyze very briefly the reasons why Islam is connected to terrorism. This article illustrates briefly the truth about Islam and gives an analysis of the connection between Islam and terrorism.

Allah or God?? Who is Allah?
Allah
The name for God, the Supreme Being, in the Arabic language; the common name for God in Islam.
[It is God who raised the skies without support, as you can see, then assumed His throne, and enthralled the sun and the moon (so that) each runs to a predetermined course. He disposes all affairs, distinctly explaining every sign that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord] (Ar-Ra`d 13:2)
The last of the Abrahamic religions, following Judaism and Christianity, Islam considers the creation of the universe as ultimate proof of the existence of one Creator who “is that dimension which makes other dimensions possible; He gives meaning and life to everything” (Rahman) According to the teachings of Islam, Allah (God) is the one and only god, the absolute Creator of the universe, its components and its laws. Allah is the beginning and the end of all things, and this is the foundation for Islam’s teachings.

What’s Qur’an?
The Qur’an is the final book, which Allah (God) revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah has guaranteed the Qur’an’s protection from any corruption or distortion.

Among the books that were revealed are the Torah, which was revealed to Musa (Moses); the Gospel, which was revealed to Isa (Jesus); the Psalms, which Allah gave to Dawood (David); the Tablets of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa; and, finally, the Qur’an.

The Qur’an is the word of Allah as passed down to Muslims through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the existence of only one version of the Qur’an (there are no dissimilarities between any two copies) attests to the reverence in which Muslims hold it. For Muslims, the Qur’an, containing the word of Allah, provides irrefutable proof of His existence. Along with the Qur’an, nature provides another source for the proof of Allah’s existence. This intimate relationship between the Qur’an and nature is shown in the phrase ayat, which refers to signs of Allah’s existence in nature and also refers to the verses in the Qur’an.

The Definition of Islam:
The word "Islam" also implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Arabia in the seventh century.

Peace means to be at peace with yourself and your surroundings and submission means submission to the will of God. A broader meaning of the word "Islam" is to achieve peace by submitting to the will of God. Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and sovereignty of God, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the universe and of his place in it.

Islam signifies a moral attitude and a way of life. The doctrines, morals, ethics, legislations, institutions, teachings and values that are preached to be adopted by the human race at all levels of the individual family, community, nation and humanity are structured to achieve peace and prosperity for all mankind.

Islam was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by Allah (God) (the Lord of Existence) through angel Gabriel, in the Arabic language.

Continuity of the Message:
Islam is the same eternal message revealed through the ages to all of God's prophets and messengers. Muslims believe that all of God's prophets brought the same message of Pure Monotheism. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of a new religion, as many people mistakenly think, but he was the Final Prophet of Islam.

Sources of Islam:

1. The Qur'an: The religion of Islam came direct from heaven. The Qur'an and all its tenets were sent down by Gabriel from God himself to Muhammad. As for the Qur'an, it is held to be of eternal origin, recorded in heaven, and lying as it does there upon the "Preserved Table" (Surah 85:22). Thus God alone is held to be the "Source" of Islam; and if so, then all effort to find a human origin for any part of it must be in vain.

2. The Hadith (Sunnah): The Sunnah is the second source of Islam. Sunnah is an Arabic word which means "Method". It was applied by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a legal term to represent what he said, did and agreed to. Its authority is derived from the text of the Qur'an, because the Qur'an says: "Nor does he (Muhammad) speak of (his own) desire." (Surah 53:3) The Qur'an and the Sunnah are complimentary. The meaning of the Qur'an is general in nature, the Sunnah makes it specific and particular. The Sunnah explains the instructions of the Qur'an.

3. Ijma and Qiyas: Ijma (that is consensus of opinion of scholars) and Qiyas (that is laws derived through analogical deduction) are the secondary or dependent sources of Islam or Shari'ah. Ijma and Qiyas derive their value or authority from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Therefore, they are called dependent sources.

Pillars of Iman (the main beliefs in Islam):
1. Belief in Allah (the One with no partner)
2. Belief in His angels
3. Belief in Divine Books
4. Belief in Messengers and Prophets ( all Prophets sent by God )
5. Belief in The Last Day (They day of Judgement, the day of resurrection)
6. And belief in al-Qadar (the Divine Destiny) be it good or bad.

Pillars of Islam:
  1. The declaration of faith: To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger to all human beings till the Day of Judgement.
  2. Prayers: Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah.
  3. Fasting the month of Ramadan: The Muslims during the month of Ramadan not only abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires.
  4. Zakat: To pay annually 2.5% of one's net saving on which a year has passed as a religious duty and purifying sum to be spent on poorer sections of the community.
  5. Pilgrimage to Makkah: It is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.

Aqeedah & Shari'ah in Islam:
Islam is built in two parts, Aqeedah (Islamic Belief) and Shari'ah (Islamic Law), 'Aqeedah is the foundation of Islam and the Islamic nation is firm in its awareness. It is known with evidences of the Shari'ah from the Book & Sunnah that man's saying and actions are only authentic and acceptable to Allah, when their 'Aqeedah is authentic, if however the 'Aqeedah is not authentic then their sayings and actions are invalid. Aqeedah is the Islamic belief (belief in Allah's oneness, Lordship and Attributes. Belief in His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment, and Fate whether good or bad).

The second part of Islam is Shari'ah (Islamic Law ), the true embodiment of justice. The Shari'ah is fully complete. It is the Way which encompasses the totality of man's life.It contains all that man needs to achieve a whole and sound life in this world . The completion and the perfection of the Shari'ah means that it is above, and free from, contradiction and inconsistency. Allah says, "Do they not ponder on the Qur'an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely find therein much discrepancy." (Surah 4:82)

Islam and Freedom:
Islam has given to mankind freedom of thought, speech, and action but within a correct and reasonable framework, (i.e. whereby one does not harm others or oneself), so that certain foods and drinks, which are very harmful, are not permissible because of the harm they cause to oneself. Likewise slander and assault and the like are not permissible because of the harm they cause to others. Islam takes care of human beings in every aspect of their life (spiritually, emotionally and physically), because the man is created of both soul and body.

Islam and Terrorism:
Terror, in its broadest sense, is violence committed against non-military targets for political purposes. To put it in another way, the targets of terror are entirely innocent civilians whose only crime is, in the eyes of terrorists, to represent "the other". This is an act bereft of any moral justification. This, as in the case of murders committed by Hitler or Stalin, is a crime committed against "mankind".

The Qur'an is a Book revealed to people as a guide to the true path and in it, God commands man to adopt good morals. This morality is based upon concepts such as love, compassion, tolerance and mercy.
"You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you." (Soorah 2:208)
The values of the Qur'an hold a Muslim responsible for treating all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, kindly and justly, protecting the needy and the innocent and preventing the "dissemination of mischief". As God says, "God does not love mischief makers." (Sorah 28:77)

All these verses reveal that organizing acts of terror against innocent people is against Islam. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing "mischief on earth" and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world. Islam is by no means the source of any injustice.


Islam vs. Terrorism in focus: What is the Islam’s stance on terrorism?
In the first place, we would like to stress that the study of world history would show that Islam and terrorism are extreme opposites. There is no meeting point between Islam and terrorism as practiced by terrorist groups in different parts of the world. Terrorism involves the indiscriminate use of force to achieve certain objectives. Whereas, the basis of national and international relations in Islam is peace and not war as falsely claimed by some people.

In Islam, the use of force is allowed only in special situations, particularly when the Muslim community is threatened by hostile forces. This is natural and logical for any other community indeed. Then again, the use of force in a campaign of Jihad is determined by the leader of the Muslim community in a very orderly way.

For a detailed discussion on the Islam’s stance on terrorism, we would like to cite for you the following:

One of the distinctive characteristics of the times we live in is the overwhelming presence of violence in our societies. Whether it is a bomb going off in a market place, or the hijacking of an aircraft where innocent people are held at ransom to achieve political ends, we live in an age, where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.

Such is the all-pervasive nature of indiscriminate violence, that “terrorism” is considered as one of the prime threats to peace and security in our societies.

The word “terrorism” came into wide usage only a few decades ago. One of the unfortunate results of this new terminology is that it limits the definition of terrorism to that perpetrated by small groups or individuals. Terrorism, in fact, spans the entire world, and manifests itself in various forms. Its perpetrators do not fit any stereotype. Those who hold human lives cheap, and have the power to expend human lives, appear at different levels in our societies. The frustrated employee who kills his colleagues in cold-blood is a terrorist who provokes our anger and revulsion. Ironically however, the politician who uses age-old ethnic animosities between peoples to consolidate his position, the head of state who orders “carpet bombing” of entire cities, the exalted councils that choke millions of civilians to death by wielding the insidious weapon of sanctions, are rarely punished for their crimes against humanity.

It is this narrow definition of terrorism that implicates only individuals and groups, that has caused Muslims to be associated with acts of destruction and terror, and as a result, to become victims of hate violence and terror themselves. Sometimes the religion of Islam is held responsible for the acts of a handful of Muslims, and often for the acts of non-Muslims!

Could it be possible that Islam, whose light ended the Dark Ages in Europe, now propound the advent of an age of terror? Could a faith that has over 1.2 billion followers the world over, and over 7 millions in America, actually advocate the killing and maiming of innocent people? Could Islam, whose name itself stands for “peace” and “submission to God”, encourage its adherents to work for death and destruction?

For too long, have we relied on popular images in the media and in Hollywood films, for answers to these pertinent questions. It is now time to look at the sources of Islam, and its history to determine whether Islam does indeed advocate violence.

The Sanctity of Human Life:
The Glorious Qur’an says: (…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.) (Al-An`am 6: 151)

Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. Allah says in the Qur’an says: (… if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 32)

Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with killing all of humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.

The Ethics of War:
Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that one deals with the enemy nobly in the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: "Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) "Do not kill the monks in monasteries" (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal)

During a war, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed: "She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?" Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.

Jihad:

While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word ‘Jihad’. The term ‘Jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day.

The word Jihad comes from the root word iahada, which means to struggle. So Jihad is literally an act of struggling. Jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to God in all aspects of life.

Secondarily, Jihad refers to struggle against injustice. Islam, like many other religions, allows for armed self-defense, or retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression. The Glorious Qur’an says: (And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!) (Aal-`Imran 3: 75)

Thus, Islam enjoins upon its believers to strive their utmost in purifying themselves, as well as in establishing peace and justice in the society. A Muslim can never be at rest when he sees injustice and oppression around him. This reminds me of Martin Luther King Jr. said: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Islam enjoins upon all Muslims to work actively to maintain the balance in which God created everything. However, regardless of how legitimate the cause may be, the Glorious Qur’an never condones the killing of innocent people. Terrorizing the civilian population can never be termed as Jihad, and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.

History of Tolerance:
Even Western scholars have repudiated the myth of Muslims coercing others to convert. The great 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 sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” (Islam At Crossroads, London, 1923, page 8)

This is not surprising to a Muslim, for his faith prohibits him from forcing others to see his point of view. The Glorious Qur’an says: (Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 256)

Islam: The Great Unifier
Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin: (O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).) (Al-Hujrat 49: 13)

Thus, it is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is threatened with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.
The above quotation is excerpted with some modifications from: www.whyislam.org

In the light of the above, it becomes crystal clear that Islam doesn’t permit aggression, violence, injustice, or oppression. At the same time, it calls to morality, justice, tolerance, and peace.

This leads us to one clear fact that those terrorists who say they are Muslims and applying Islam are simply NOT Muslims. They are hiding behind the word Islam to make their misdeeds seem to have a noble purpose. However, they do not belong to Islam, and never did.

Why terrorism is always associated with Islam?

1- Role of Media (double standards and dishonesty)

The large media coverage given to Muslim extremists' terrorism compared to media coverage given to similar acts of terrorism practiced by other groups .An example of the foreign media's double standards is the fact that the massacre 8000 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 never led to a stream of articles in the press about the violent tendencies of Christianity. At the same time, there are many well known terrorist movements (like Irish Republican Army, National Liberation Army, Red Army Faction, Liberation Tigers of Tamil… etc.) that are treated in the same manner by the Western media: their actions are never connected to their religions or beliefs. Yet, every act of Muslim extremists' terrorism brings to the surface a great raft of criticism of Islam as a religion. Hence, the media in the western societies plays a major role in the spread of stereotypical false ideas about Islam which lead to anti-Muslim feelings within the people in these societies. This brings us to the Danish newspaper’s caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) as a terrorist. To sum up, media plays a great role in spreading and emphasizing the idea that Islam is a religion of violence, which is a very false dishonest idea, rather than trying to compare and contrast the reality of Islam and the claims of terrorists who say they belong to it.

2- The role of Muslims in western societies:

Muslims who live in Muslim communities bear the responsibility of showing the true face of their religion. Nevertheless, in western communities Muslims prefer not to blend with the society in order to conserve their traditions. This leads to the isolation of Muslim communities in the western society. Such isolation builds a barrier between the Muslim communities and their societies, which prefer to look at these communities the same way media dictated them rather than exploring these Muslim isolated communities. For example, the Muslim and Arab communities in France are mostly isolated in certain districts and towns which led to a great tension between these communities and the authorities. No doubt Muslims in France face great oppression when it comes to occupying job positions and in educational institutions. The banning of Hijab in schools has widened the gap between Muslims and the French society. Moreover, it has become a commonplace fact that a woman wearing hijab will not take a job, which is again great oppression and intrusion into the individual’s most sacred privacies which is religion. Additionally, Muslim Arab communities complained a lot about the way the Police treats them. They are guilty until proven innocent when they are involved. Such a biased stereotypical view by the French society, and the isolation in which the Muslim communities live, resulted in the famous riots in France in late 2005 after a Muslim young man was killed while being chased by the Police for no reasons.

3- The view of Islam as a new strategic enemy and media dilemma:

Chief among the negative consequences of the events of 11 September was the deformation of the image of Islam in the Western media. A fixed model was formulated linking terrorism to Islam. The violent attacks in which Muslims were convicted brought about a state of direct animosity against Islam in Europe and the United States. Most Arab and Islamic countries were listed among the zones that endanger European and US security.

A strong current in the West now pictures Islam as the common enemy that has replaced communism. Observers of Western media are noticing an increasing tide of animosity against Islam and Muslims living in Western countries. They attribute this to incorrect understanding on the part of some Western intellectuals of Islam and its teachings, and the tendency to highlight the incorrect practices of some Muslims, generalise and deform the image of Islam as a whole.

The rectification of the image of Islam in the West requires strong and persistent efforts from the Muslims themselves, both in the Islamic world and in Muslim communities in the West. This effort should be a comprehensive process, starting from within by consolidating mechanisms of Islamic work on the popular and official levels. Muslims will never be able to improve their image before the world if they fail to appear as a nation of culture and civilisation. Effective initiatives must also be undertaken to educate the non-Muslim world concerning correct Islamic concepts, of peace and tolerance, and to clarify the incorrect views of Islam held by some that lead to conflict between the West and Islam.

However, breaking through the Western media is not an easy task for Arab and Muslim media as Western societies enjoy abundant media coverage that makes it unnecessary for them to look outside. Specialised institutions and organisations should thus be charged with the responsibility of managing a media programme to promote a true image of Islam, backed up by the necessary funding and human resources.


4- Misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Islam:

Most of the Muslim extremists are just a direct result of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Islam teachings. For example, Taliban manifests the utmost misinterpretation of Islam through the society they built in Afghanistan. To cut it short, they interpreted religion in the way they wanted to see it. Therefore, they built a society under the name of Islam, yet, in fact this society is just the way they want to build their terrorist nest. Some would say if Islam’s teachings are so clear as stated above, how would they misinterpret them? The answer is very simple, these people did not understand Islam and they never won any religious debate they got involved in. They just viewed religion in the way they wanted to see it; the way that answers their needs not the way Islam really is. Taliban’s society just reminds me of the Puritan society (despite the fact that there are major differences between the two societies). Like Taliban, the Puritans prohibited all kinds of pleasure and colors and they were so narrow-minded to accept any debate that proves them wrong. My point is, the Christian teachings are very clear and simple, yet, the Puritans viewed these teachings in a very different way. Taliban did the same with the Islamic teachings, but they were more into aggression and violence.

Finally, this article is meant to show in brief the truth of Islam as a religion of peace not violence and oppression. Moreover, it tries to shed light to the reasons why Islam is falsely linked to terrorism. As for the first part it is not influenced by any personal opinion or point of view, it is just stating unrevealed facts about Islam. The second part tackling the reasons why Islam is falsely linked to Islam is just giving a very brief explanation of the reasons that logically lead to such misunderstanding of Islam from a moderate Muslim point of view.

You can add your comments about the article from the link Add Comment and I hope you participate in this poll as well.


Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

*Sources and References: (All the sources are available on the web)

  • Answers.com
  • Nehal El-Hadi’s Islam and the Nature of the Universe. June 2, 2005
  • Islam Online Website: www.islamonline.net
  • University of Haverford, Department of Religions: Massacre of Srebrenica
  • Khaled el Aswar’s The Incorrect Image of Islam in the Western Media, The International Politics Journal, issue January 2002.
  • Islam: Definition and General Information 08/07/2002

Special thanks to the great efforts of Ms. Noha Bayoumi to bring this article to light.

Is it not true that the Qur’an and Hadith also urge violence, even killing of non-Muslims?

Hadith narrated by Abi Hurira:

"The last hour won't come before the Muslims would fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them so Jews would hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and tree would call: oh Muslim, oh servant of God! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only "Gharkad" tree, it is of Jews' trees."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/etc/textbooks.html

In the Hadith (which is the sayings of Prophet Muhammed) there are three levels. Strong, Weak, and Esrailiat. The strong Hadith is the one that is assured that it was said by the Prophet. The weak Hadith is the one that is not assured for being said by the Prophet. The Esrailiat are the Hadiths (sayings) that are not said by Prophet Muhammed but rather falsely narrated about him. The book that contains this Hadith in Saudi Arabia is teaching ths students the Three Level in the Study of Hadith.

Dont bring things out of their contexts or else they will give a different meaning, you get the message?

And now, I said Qur'an is the first main source of Islam. Bring me from the Qur'an what says assures this Hadith you sent. You will find none.

Just remember... when it comes to religion, look at things in their contexts to not get confused.

Jimmy, dont waste your time arguing with people at Rednek Texan, as many of them do argue for the genocide of Arabs and Muslims. Also, I know one of the bloggers personally, I wont say which, and that person's children show up with black eyes every once in a while at school with my kids. Im thinking about reporting him/her to the authorites. Needless to say, they are not humane people by any means.

The most ugly racist book I've ever read is called the Quran. It as a shock to realise that this hate-inciting book really is a holy scripture to Muslims. Yes, you can find nice and compassionate suras if read OUT of context. But read in context the overall impression is that of inciting to murder and rape of non-believers.

No wonder that Arab Muslims in Sudan has succeded in the genocide of Black Sudanese in the Darfur region. As Christians, Animists and followers of non-Arab Islam they are not allowed to live according to the Quran: "Kill the unbeliever wherever you find him".

Jimmy, its really embarrassing to see so many negative comments from Americans. I do not know every muslim in the world so I cannot speak for all of them...but having one in my family as well as several muslim friends, they are all peaceful and great people who have a lot to offer the world. It is utter ignorance for anyone to stereotype a whole religion and make comments like I have seen on your blog. Some Americans truly need to wake up to reality,the U.S is made up of people from many different religions and races and the practice of americans placing themselves in a bubble and choosing to stereotype everyone who is not christian or american, is only hurting our country. If americans want to be patriotic why dont they do something truly useful and show america's greatness by being open-minded and accepting to all people.

Thanks alot Bekah for your support, you were just touching the point.

Johanna: It it is truly just the opposite of what you said, and ironically what you have done just supports the opposite of your point of view.

If you look at anything out of its context you will definitely get a totally different meaning. The aya (verse) you brouhgt here is just out of its context, and I doubt that you really read the HOLY Quran.

Now I ask you for something, bring me the verses from Holy Quran that supports your point of view, and I will answer you here in full.. Deal?

" ... but having one in my family as well as several muslim friends, they are all peaceful and great people who have a lot to offer the world."

Then they are better people than Muhammed the so-called prophet ever was.
The failures of Islam are rooted at its inception in the failures of Muhammed the 'prophet'.... that beautiful line "LEt there be no compulsion in religion" was written in Muhammed's earlier years. Later, when he had a following in Medina, he raided Meccan caravans to capture and enslave people, he had critics killed, he fought battles, and one several occasions he ordered torture or death for innocent people.
Muhammed took enslaved Jews and Christians as some of his many wives. It was after Muhammed had gained power over enough warriors that he ignored his earlier advice and he wrote his infamous 9th Surah, where he called on his followers to 'kill the infidels' and lay them low with either tribute or conversion.
Anyone who white-washes how the Muslims forcibly converted through mass-murder and/or dhimmitude countless millions in Persia, mid-east, etc. are misquoting history.

The reality is that Islam is a corrupted religion. Muhammed failed to distinguish between those 'revelations' that conveniently helped him and those that honored God (aka "Allah" aka "Al-Ilah", the name of the moon-God that pagan polytheist Meccans worshipped at their black stone before Muhammed turned it into montheist Islamic tradition; he also btw borrowed the Hajj, the holy months - eg Ramadan, and other traditions from those pagans into Islam).

If Islam is such a great religion, why do their leaders and cleric incite violence so much? (go to MEMRI.org for facts) Why do they fail to condemn the wrongs perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam? Their failures follow in the footsteps of the failure of Muhammed himself, who let his own lust for power (and in some cases sex) corrupt his philosophy and his religion.

Islamic PR says: "The Qur’an is the word of Allah as passed down to Muslims through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the existence of only one version of the Qur’an (there are no dissimilarities between any two copies)"

Actually, modern scholarship has shown that there are alternative texts of the Quran. The Quran wasnt even written until 20 years after Muhammed's death, and was carried via oral tradition up until then. The Hadith make clear one reason for writing it down, down under Caliphate of Uthman, was that different versions of stories were floating around. There were disputes as to the correct readings, and this was done to clarify what was 'correct'. Neither Muhammed nor Angel Gabriel were around to confirm whether the authors, 20 years after Muhammed's death, got those revelations right. Moreover, the Quran itself was written in a way that left out vowels, so is subject to interpretation.

Claims of 'only one version' are rewriting of history by Islamic followers to justify the claim of inerrancy. One website mentions:

"Even though Muslims today are committed to the very conservative position that we have the entire, uncorrupted Qur'an, earlier Muslims had a different view. For example, As-Suyuti (d. 1505), a famous and revered commentator, quotes Ibn 'Umar al Khattab as stating: "Let no one of you say that he has acquired the entire Quran, for how does he know that it is all? Much of the Quran has been lost, thus let him say, 'I have acquired of it what is available'" (As-Suyuti, Itqan, part 3, page 72)."
See: http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/blfaq_islam_quran.htm


However, there are enough errors and contradictions in the Quran itself to question its inerrancy in full. For example, no modern person would acknowledge the Quran's claim that meteors are demons falling out of the sky. And there is the infamous 'satanic verses' that called on Meccans to worship the daughters of the Meccan moon-God: "Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?" This may have been a statement that Muhammed made in a moment of weakness to win over polytheist Meccans to compromise his religion with theirs, and was later retracted by Muhammed. In the end, the pagan Meccans got a lot of their religion represented in Islam, as the 'crescent' symbol of Islam comes from the moon-God (al-Ilat)that the polytheist Meccans worshipped.

More on the claim of there being one Quran. It's wrong, there were multiple versions of the Quran, a natural consequence of multiple transmittors of an oral tradition and multiple attempts to systematize the recitations. See:

http://www.rim.org/muslim/texts.htm

"Burton has this to say: In the case of the revelations which Muhammad had successfully communicated, the quality of his memory is irrelevant. The Companions assumed the responsibility for their memorisation and preservation. Subsequently, certain of the texts, intended by their divine author not to appear in the version of the Qur'an to be transmitted to posterity, were withdrawn from the memories of Muhammad and his associates [emphasis added].[34]

This observation is critical: the companions cannot be dismissed - rather their word is of paramount importance. They are the ones who memorized the Qur'an. They are the ones who wrote it down. So we must return to the record of the Hadith, and ask a question: what did the companions think of Zaid's compilation of the Qur'an? The answer is not difficult to find. Simply put, the most knowledgable companions were incensed with the recension of Uthman,[35][36] they continued to use their own codices,[37] and they commanded their followers to do likewise.[38] Zaid's recension was so unpopular in some regions that non-Uthman texts were commonly used until 322 AH - it was in fact called the period of ikhtiyar, or "free choice."[39] The companions on whose memory the correct transmission of the Qur'an depended, were unhappy with the Qur'an of Zaid - and therefore of ours today, if it is Zaid's. The material that Jeffery has found and reprinted from the companions cannot be classed as trivial. It is the key to the support or collapse of the assertion that the Qur'an has never changed. Unless Jeffery's work is the world's most clever forgery - which no one has claimed - there is certain evidence that there are variances."

"We are also told that seven different readings of the Quran were revealed,[45] and on occasions where Muslims disputing over a passage would come to have Muhammad settle the dispute, he would tell them that they were both right.[46] There is therefore no need to dream up some conspiracy theory - the Qur'an simply was not a rigid text in Muhammad's lifetime - and the texts of his companions reflect that fact. But there are also other arguments for variances in the Qur'an - some weaker, some stronger."

See also:
http://answering-islam.org.uk/Books/Jeffery/fatiha.htm

... it should be noted that honest, modern scholarship on the Quran is uncommon simply because orthodox Muslims dont even question these shibboleths and treat nonmuslim scholars the way they treated the Danish cartoonists. See for example, this story:
http://www.derafsh-kaviyani.com/english/quran1.html


The truth is out there.

JC asks: "Now I ask you for something, bring me the verses from Holy Quran that supports your point of view, and I will answer you here in full.. Deal?"

Here are just a few of many Quran verses supporting violence against 'infidels':

Bukhari:V4B52N220 "Allah's Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror.'"

Qur'an 8:12 "I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle."

Qur'an 8:57 "If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict such a defeat as would terrorize them, so that they would learn a lesson and be warned

Bukhari:V9B87N127 "The Prophet said, ‘I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with terror.'"

Bukhari:V5B59N512 "The Prophet had their men killed, their children and woman taken captive."

Qur'an 33:26 "Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth. He gave you a country you had not traversed before."

Qur'an 3:150 "Soon We shall strike terror into the hearts of the Infidels

Qur'an 8:12 "Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: ‘I am with you. Give firmness to the Believers. I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes."

... such verses are used to today by Al Qaeda nad wahhabists to support their claims of "Jihad" or 'holy war'. They train their brain-dead minions by making them repeat the Quran every day in Madrassas; if the Quran preached peace instead of violence, those Madrasses wouldnt be recruiting grounds for terrorists!

Salaam Everybody - I want to thank Jimmy for this very informative article, however I want to highlight another important point

I always wonder about some people who don't try to understand reality about Islam and just focus on the "Bin-Laden" + al-Qaeda" as to be their only way to understand Islam, and ignore the majority of Muslims who understand Islam well.

Jimmy had mentioned this in his article, and I want to re-highlight on it because some people don't bother themselves by reading, and just try to simulate a wrong stereotype image without real knowledge.

As Islam was the final message from ALLAH (swt) to Mankind via prophet Muhammed (PBUH), Islam told us to believe in all the past messengers and prophets because they were all sent from ALLAH (swt) - GOD in Latin Language - before the final prophet, Muhammed (pbuh).

Islam came for a mission of urbanising Earth, which means the welfare of humanity not the contrary as some people think, and therefore the ture Islamic values - mentioned in Qur'an and Hadith - urged Muslim to respect the others who'm don't follow Islam, and told Muslims not to urge people to join Islam.

Therefore in the light of this fact, terrorism is dined in Islam simply because it make confilict with the main message, and that's why Islam frorbid killing people for no particular reason. If some people didn't understand this fact - like Bin Laden and his followers, it's their fault not the fault of Islam who'd denied this.

Anyway, I suggest that people try to understand more about Islam from Muslims not from other media which don't tell the real truth about Islam. I always say this: If you want to visit Mexico, go and ask a Mexican about his country not to ask an Indian about Mexico!

Therefor, in addition to the links Jimmy placed about Islam in his blog + the links I placed in mine, I suggest also the two following sources:
1. Muhammad Legacy of a Prophet: This movie shows the real image about Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

2. I-MAG Magazine: It's a free PDF Cultural English magazine which contains different sections dealing with Islam from the wider perspective. All issues are in PDF format and available for free download.

You'll find aricles in this magazine which tell about Islam, real values and concepts not the fake ones that some peopke try to tell you about. For example, take a look on the article titled "Islam: between Ideology and Application" which were published in the 3rd issue. Another article were published in the 4th issue titled "Muhammed: Mercy upon Mankind". Also you'll find various articles published in the other issues from the editorial team.

Finally, as a Muslim and as a Human being, I wish to see better understanding between nations. The real values of Islam call us to cooperate with the others for the welfare of Humanity, and the only way for this = better understanding for each other.

Hi Jim,

"The term ‘Jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day."

What myth? And who is in denial about past history? It's funny to read you slam the Egyptian education system for its lack of critical thinking ... and yet fail to review your own history with a critical eye.

Coptic people were once the majority in Egypt. That was a long time ago, more than a thousand years perhaps. Before muslim arabs *invaded* the country.

Islam did not spread peacefully from the Ocean to the Indus.

Keep denying that and you can keep believing that Islam is a "religion of peace".

But don't expect people on the receiving end of that "religion of love" to just, well, disagree.

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