Many misconceptions exist in the West (representing Christianity) about Islam and Muslims, which were deliberately created by their clergy and medieval rulers to disguise the true message of Islam to justify their hostility towards Islam:
“Surely the only (true) religion in the sight of God is (man’s) self surrender unto Him (Islam): Those who (formerly) received the Scripture differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. They should know that God is swift in calling to account those who deny His revelations.”(Qur’an;3:19).
W. Montgomery Watt, a Western scholar observed : ‘Among the world’s major religions it is certainly Islam that the West has the most difficulty in approaching objectively. The reason for this are rooted in past history. Because of the crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries many people in the West wanted the religion of Islam to be better known. But the image they portrayed of Islam can quite accurately be qualified as ‘distorted’. Western opinion about Islam and Muslims was based for centuries on the distorted image’. The major misconceptions created in the minds of westerners against Islam and Muslims may be summed up as:
(1) The God of Islam is different to the God of Jews and Christians.
(2) He is a ruthless God, urging Muslims to kill any one not believing in their faith.
(3) Muslims are pagans who worship a black cubical structure at Makkah.
(4) The Prophet of Islam was a warrior and conqueror who did not believe in the human rights and preached violence.
(5) Islam was spread with the sword.
(6) The scripture of Islam is based on the Old and New Testaments.
(7) The women are treated as subhuman by the Muslims; polygamy and veil are to exploit the women, they have no human rights.
(8) The Islamic Law (Shari’a) is very harsh, is based on strict punishment without meeting the requirements of justice; it awards flogging, cutting of hand and stoning to death, all primitive laws of ancient times.
(9) Muslims hate the Western values, considering them as thereat, hence they have resorted to terrorism as a means to undermine and destroy Western values so that they can enforce their values on the West.
Causes of Growth of Delusions: The events which contributed towards growth of these delusions are numerous, however most prominent are:
(1) The fall of territories of Christendom around Arabia during initial expansion of Islam.
(2) The Crusaders.
(3) The fall of remnants of Byzantine Empire at the hand of Muslims.
(4) The conquest of Spain and Muslim rule for eight centuries.
(5) The westward expansion of Ottoman Empire.
(6) The besiege of Vienna twice.
(7) Colonization of most of Muslim world by the Western powers and resistance by Muslims to gain independence.
(8) The resurgence of Islam, specially the militancy against Western negative attitude, unjust creation and support of Israel, oppression of Muslims at Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims with in their societies and other countries.
(9) To control the large natural resources specially oil, gas and strategically important centers of population, zones and trade routes held by Muslims, a bogy has to be created to subdue them.
(10) The materialism has eroded Western values, the Islamic values and culture based on the eternal truth is attracting the Westerns in great numbers, hence Islam is perceived as a threat.
(11) After demise of communism with the help of Muslims, Western gigantic military industrial complex need an enemy and market for their military hardware, so a new battle ground have been created against Muslims. The old spirit of snobbery and prejudice, the hatred of Islam, displays it self in writings, in electronic and print media attacks, internet chat rooms, private conversations and in public speeches. The spirit of persecution is not dead in Christianity, after lying dormant for some time it is out fully ablaze.
Muslims Worship Same One Supreme God and Believe in All Biblical Messengers of God:
It is contemplated that a careful in-depth study may help in removing most of the ideological misunderstandings and misconceptions: It is well known fact that the God of Muslims is the same God, the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus , Jews , Christians, the God of all the people and the universe (Qura’n;112:1, Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5, 46:9, Mark;12:29). Muslims believe in all these messengers, prophets and the scriptures revealed to them: “Do not argue with the People of the Book except in good taste – except with those who are wicked among them – and say: “We believe in that which is sent down to us and that which is sent down to you; Our God and your God is the same One God, and unto Him we surrender.”(Qur’an;29:46). Due to common root of faith, that is the faith of Abraham, there are obvious commonalities in the revealed scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Bible and Qur’an) as their source is the same God. The perversion of their scriptures was condemned by God:” And , behold , there are indeed some among them who distort the Scripture with their tongues, so as to make you think that (what they say) is from Scripture, the while it is not from the Scripture; and who say,” This is form God,” the while its not from God: and thus do they tell a lie about God, being ell aware(that it is a lie) (Qur’an;3:78).“O People of the Book! Why do you confound the truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?”(Qur’an;3:71).
The Christian and Jewish scholars changed the world of God in contravention to the commandment of God, in the same Bible: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I (God) command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy; 4:2). “It is not possible for a man whom Allah has given the Book, the Wisdom and the Prophethood, that he would say to the people: “Worship me instead of Allah.” On the contrary he would say: “Be devoted worshippers of your God in accordance with the Holy Book you have been teaching and reading.” He would never ask you to take angels and prophets as your lords. Would he ask you to become unbelievers after you have become Muslims (believers)?” (Qur’an;3:79-80). While the Old and New Testaments are not in its original form, Qur’an the last scripture is available in its original form even today because Allah has Himself taken responsibility to guard it against corruption: “Surely We have revealed the reminder (Qur’an) and We will most certainly guard it (from corruption).”(Qur’an;15:9).. The Islamic law is based on Qur’an and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), some punishment of Law of Moses have been retained while others were relaxed, they provide the best form of justice where ever put in to practice. Muslims worship only One God, they face towards Qibla (the direction) the Ka’bah for unity. Islam accords much batter position to women than mentioned in Bible. The women are highly respected in Islam while they have been made a show piece in the West on the name of equality and freedom.
Allah-The Merciful, Sustainer and Cherisher of All:
Allah is the Most Merciful, kind and Gracious, towards all His creatures. He accepts of repentance of believers due to the ‘Mercy’, which He has decreed upon Himself, He says: “When those who believe in Our revelations come to you, say: “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself. If anyone among you commits evil because of ignorance and thereafter repents and mends his ways; you will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;6:54); “Yet your Lord is forgiving and merciful towards those who do something wrong through ignorance, but later repent and mend their ways.”(Qur’an;16:119); “He is the Forgiving, the Loving, (Qur’an;85:14). He is Sustainer of humanity whether believers or non believers and other creatures, as can be observed all around the world, He says: “We bestowed on all – these as well those – out of the bounties of your Lord; the bounties of your Sustainer are not confined.”(Qur’an;17:20) “Surely it is Allah Who is the giver of all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Invincible.”( Qur’an;51:58). He helps all with justices and fairness: “The fact is that Allah is your Protector and He is the best of all helpers.”( Qur’an;3:150); “Rest assured that Allah does not wrong anyone even by an atom’s weight. If someone does a good deed He increases it many fold and also gives an extra great reward on His own.”( Qur’an;4:40). The Mercy of Allah is the one of the grandest themes of the Qur’an. To contemplate these boundless gifts of God, the formula: “In the name of God Most Gracious, Most Merciful”: is placed before every Chapter (Sura) of the Qur’an (except the ninth), and repeated at the beginning of every act (even of routine nature like eating, reading, working) by the Muslim who dedicates his life to God, and whose hope is in His Mercy. The Arabic words “Rahman” and “Rahim” translated as; “Most Gracious” and “Most Merciful” are both intensive forms referring to different aspects of God’s attribute of Mercy. The Arabic intensive is more suited to express God’s attributes than the superlative degree in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings, or with other times or places, while there is no being like unto God, and He is independent of Time and Place. Mercy may imply pity, long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinner needs and God Most Merciful bestows in abundant measure. But there is a Mercy that goes before even the need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from God Most Gracious to all His creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to clearer light and higher life. For this reason the attribute Rahman (Most Gracious) is not applied to any one but God, but the attribute Rahim (Merciful), is a general term, and may also be applied to Men. It is part of His Mercy that He has permitted the believers to use force in self defence and to remove oppression for the betterment of humanity, which need not be taken as harsh as He knows His creatures the best.
Divine Punishment for Rejecting Direct Invitation by Apostle :
The faith of Islam due to its inherent strength of reality infuses the sprit among its followers to extend the influence allover the world. According to the traditional procedure of Allah, the rejection of Message by the direct recipient form the Apostle (Rasool) are entitled to Divine punishment through the messenger and his followers. Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon) is universal messenger, he invited the neighboring rulers including Roman and Persians to Islam, they rejected his invitation hence entitled to divine punishment. “Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.”(Qur’an;98:6). Divine punishment was accomplished in case of Arabs in the life time of Apostle and for the neighboring powers through his companions. If the companions of Apostle are not strong enough, then God punishes the disbelievers in His own way, like the people of Noah, Lut, drowning of Pharaoh and his forces; “This same principle was applied to the people of Pharaoh and those who have gone before them, they rejected the revelations of their Lord so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Pharaoh ; they were all wrongdoers.”(Qur’an;8:54). The Children of Israel who worshiped the calf were punished through their brethren (Qur’an;2:54) also mentioned in Bible: “then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me. “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, `Put every man his sword on his side, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”(Exodos;32:26-28).
Freedom of Choice – No Coercion in Matters of Faith:
The freedom of choice of faith was not available to the people as it is now. The rulers did not allow their people to accept any new or different faith, so they had to be subdued to provide freedom of choice of faith to the people. Qur’an forbids forced conversions: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from the (way of) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”(Qur’an;2:256). “An so (O Prophet) exhort them, thy task is only to exhort: Thou canst not compel them to (believe). As for those who turn their backs and disbelieve, Allah will punish them with the mighty punishment.”(Qur’an;88:21-24); “.. You (O Muhammad) are not there to compel them to believe. So admonish with this Qur’an every such person who fears My warning.”(Qur’an;45;50); “So (O’ prophet) exhort them, for your task is only to exhort, you can not compel them (to believe).”(Qur’an;88:21-22); “to you be your religion (Din), and to me mine.”(Qur’an;109:6). Notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God’s leave, and (that) it is He who lays the loathsome evil (of disbelief) upon those who will not use their reason? (Qur’an;10:100). Those who used their intellect understood the true faith of Islam and freely reverted to Islam (every human is born by nature as servant of God- Muslim), while others continued to follow their faith and lived peacefully in the Muslim rule.
No Forced Conversions During Muslim Rule in Spain, Greece, Part of Europe & India:
The example of Spain, India, part of Europe with majority non Muslim populations despite Muslim rule for centuries is an un deniable fact of history. No war was fought in Far East and East Africa; Indonesia is the larges Muslim country of the World, while East Africa has predominantly Muslim population. Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America and Europe, not by sword but due to preaching of Islam by the Muslims. The truthfulness of Islamic faith has attracted the ignorant common Christian, Jews, atheists and non Muslims who, through the media and internet are learning and embracing Islam after comparative studies of religions.
Islam No Threat to West but Threatened by The West : Islam is not threat to the West, it has always helped West, who owes it renaissance and scientific developments to the Islamic scholarship, gained through Muslim Spain. Rather it is the Muslim world which is threatened by the West, who want to control them by controlling their natural resources through power and hegemony. If West abandons its hegemonic designs, stop oppression of Muslims and exploitation of economic resources of Islamic world the militancy will end. The Muslims are cautioned about seeking protection of People of the Book, (Qur’an; 5:57, 3:28) through moral alliance due to difference in beliefs, however normal friendship and working relationship is not forbidden: “It may well be that Allah will put love between you and those with whom you are now at odds because of the order which is given to you, for Allah is All-Powerful, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who had neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact Allah loves the equitable. Allah only forbids you to make friendship with those who fought you on account of your faith and drove you out of your homes and backed up others in your expulsion. Those who will take them for friends are indeed the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an; 60:7-8).
Special Status of People of The Book in Islam :
In an Islamic state the legal dictum about the People of the Book is; “They have our rights and owe our duties.” They are equally eligible to social security and other benefits the state provides. Muslims were warned against acts of bigotry or prejudice towards the People of the Book, and prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him ) himself said, “Whoever hurts a person from the People of the Book it will be as though he hurt me personally.” Muslims are prohibited to eat the food of non believers and to marry their women but there is a special exception for the People of the Book.(Qura’n;5:5).
The Last Messenger :
The last Messenger of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most kind and humane one can think of, his life is recorded in detail in the form of Hadith, volumes of books have been written on this greatest man of the human history. Born as an orphan, he lost mother as an infant and was raised by his uncle. As he grew up, he was known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, earning the title of al-Sadiq (the truthful) and al-Amin (the trustworthy). Muhammad (peace be upon him) was frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes and counsel his fellow Makkan. He has been widely praised by his followers and opponents alike. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most kind and humble, the best human being ever lived on this earth, who used force only as a last resort for the cause of Allah and not for his personal glory or gains. At the fall of Makkah, he pardoned all his arch enemies by granted them amnesty instead of taking revenge for the worst atrocities committed against him and his followers. Arabia was made the abode of Islam, the last reveled faith till eternity which was accomplished in his life time.