What Islam is Not
Top Misconceptions about Islam
(Excerpt from book "Easily Understand Islam")
Muslims worship some weird god.
Muslims worship the same God that prophet Abraham and prophet Moses worshipped . There is no difference. Just as “Dieu” is the French word for God, “Allah”, the term preferred for use by Muslims for God, is basically the word “God” in Arabic. (It translates literally as “The God,” reflecting a very heavy emphasis on monotheism.) Muslims prefer to use the term Allah for a variety of reasons. For example, the word God can be the root for god, god(s), god(dess), god(father), god(mother). But the word Allah does not lend itself to such forms. Note: In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, the word for God is “Aalah” whose pronunciation is very similar to the Arabic “Allah.” 1 Aramaic is a sister language to Arabic.
Muslims believe there is only one God. The Creator of the universe. The Supreme Being. The only Absolute. The Merciful and the Beneficent. The All Knowing. The Just. The Loving. The Incomparable. The Source of Goodness. The Source of all Power. The Everlasting. In short, God is God.
Prophet Muhammad is to Islam what Jesus Christ is to Christianity – hence sometimes the (incorrect) term “Muhammadan” used to be used to describe followers of Islam.
Muslims do not worship Muhammad. They believe he is merely a servant of God, a great prophet and the final messenger of God to man. Muslims believe individuals like Abraham, Noah, Moses, Solomon, David, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad were all prophets of God. Islam is strictly monotheistic and worships God alone. Islam means to submit to the will of God. A Muslim is one who submits to the will of God. One of the Arabic roots of the word Islam is salam (peace), and Muslims find peace in following and worshiping God.
Islam somehow seems to promote “terrorism”.
Muslims would argue that this is fundamentally untrue. Muslims would say that Islam is rooted in justice and compassion and that it categorically does NOT support the deliberate torture and/or oppression, and/or captivity and/or killing of innocent individuals. In fact, regardless of whether these actions are committed by governments, nations, groups, and/or individuals, such actions would simply be viewed as wrong –whoever did them. Also, Muslims argue, terrorists by definition, treat life as cheap but that in Islam, life is a sacred trust. Muslims would point out that life is so cherished in Islam that the Quran records, “if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he had saved the life of the whole of humanity.”
Confusing Islam with a particular culture or the actions of particular individuals.
Arguably this is the most frequent mistake and certainly a very common one. Like people of other religions, Muslims are of various stripes, some devout, some casual, and yet others whose actions are frequently unislamic. Muslims would remind people that just because one meets someone calling himself a Muslim who behaves in a certain way, it does not mean that his actions reflect Islam. One way to understand this is to consider the various cases of Christian priests sexually molesting little boys. Do such actions reflect Christianity? What about white supremacists who distort Christianity to further their cause and terrorize people, does that mean their actions are Christian? Most people would rightly say: “Of course not!” Muslims would simply ask that they be judged by a similar standard. “Unislamic actions committed by Muslims do not define Islam” would be their response. In other words, “Muslim” does not always equal “Islam.” In fact, since Islam is not based on mere opinion, it is quite easy to identify Islamic positions on various topics. Islam is primarily based on the Quran (the word of God, as revealed to Prophet Muhammad through Archangel Gabriel) and Sunnah (the example of the Prophet, his authentic recorded sayings (hadith) and life (seerah) ). The ulema (Islamic scholars) study these sources and use a specific methodology to detail Islamic positions on various issues.
Muslims have even been admonished in Quran 60:5 “Our Lord! Make us [Muslims] not a [test and] trial for non-Muslims” indicating that the unislamic actions of some Muslims can sometimes confuse others who are not knowledgeable about Islam, This is a source of genuine concern to practicing Muslims. Muslims would suggest that if you want to learn about Islam, look to the Quran and Sunnah (example of the prophet) and practicing, devout Muslims.
Compiler’s Note: It might even be a good idea to keep the last misconception in mind while reading this book. For example, the chapter “Islam and Racism” does not suggest that no symptoms of racism can be found within any group of over a billion Muslims. Rather in should be noted that Muslims who engage in such unislamic acts do not behave islamically. Remember, this book is entitled “Easily Understand Islam” not “Easily Understand Muslims”.
1 See www.EasilyUnderstandIslam.com/soundsame.htm
(Excerpt from book "Easily Understand Islam")
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