The 25 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Islam

25. How should Muslims treat Jews and Christians? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   
The Qur'an calls the Jews and Christians as "People of the Book", i.e., those who received Divine scriptures before Muhammad. Muslims are told to treat them with respect and justice and do not fight with them unless they initiate hostilities or oppose their faith. The Muslims ultimate hope is that they all will join them in worshipping one God and submit to His will.

" Say (O Muhammad): O people of the Book (Jews and Christians) come to an agreement between us and you, that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall take no partners with Him, and none of us shall take others for Lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are those who have surrendered (unto Him)." (Qur'an 3:64)

What about Hindus, Bahai, Buddhists, and members of other religions? They should also be treated with love, respect, and understanding to make them recipients of the invitation to Islam.
24. What is the Islamic view on: PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   

a. Dating and Premarital Sex:

Islam does not approve of intimate mixing of the sexes, and forbids premarital and extramarital sex. Islam encourages marriage as a shield to such temptations and as a means of having mutual love, mercy, and peace.

b. Abortion:

Islam considers abortion as murder and does not permit it except to save the mother's life when advised by competent medical professionals (Qur'an 17:23-31, 6:15 1).

c. Homosexuality and AIDS:

Islam categorically opposes homosexuality and considers it a major sin. However, Muslim physicians are advised to care for AIDS patients with compassion just as they would for other patients.

d. Euthanasia and Suicide:

Islam is opposed to both suicide and euthanasia. Muslims do not believe in heroic measures to prolong the misery in a terminally ill patient.

e. Organ transplantation:

Islam stresses upon saving lives (Qur'an 5:32). Thus, transplantation in general would be considered permissible provided donor consent is available. The sale of the organ is not allowed.
23. Is Islam intolerant of other religious minorities? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   
Islam recognizes the rights of the minority. To ensure their welfare and safety, Muslim rulers initiated a tax (Jazia) on them. Prophet Muhammad forbade Muslim armies to destroy places of worship such as churches and synagogues. Caliph Umer did not even allow them to pray inside a church. Jews were welcomed and flourished in Muslim Spain, and when they were persecuted in Spain the rest of Europe after the exit of Muslims, Turkey gave the Jews refuge. The Jews consider that part of their history as the Golden Era. In Muslim countries, Christians live in prosperity, hold government positions, and attend their church. Pakistan has had a Christian chief justice of the Supreme Court. Even Iraq has a Christian senior vice president. Christian missionaries are allowed to establish and operate their churches, schools, and hospitals.
However, the same religious tolerance is not always available to Muslim minorities as seen in the past during Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades, or as seen now by the events in Bosnia, Israel and India. Muslims do recognize that sometimes the actions of a ruler do not reflect the teachings of his religion, and in fact, many of the Muslims being accused of terrorism are struggling against such undemocratic regimes.
22. Does Islam oppress women? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   
No. On the contrary, Islam elevated the status of women 1,400 years ago by giving them the right to divorce, the right to have financial independence and support and the right to be identified as dignified women (Hijab) when the rest of the world, including Europe, had no such rights. Women are equal to men in all acts of piety (Qur'an 33:32). Islam allows women to keep their maiden name after marriage, their earned money that they can invest or spend as they wish, and asks men to be their protector as women on the street can be molested. Prophet Muhammad told Muslim men, "The best among you is the one who is best to his family."
However, some Muslims warp Islamic teaching seemingly to oppress women in the name of "religion" an aberration deriving from cultural habits or ignorance about their religion. Female Genital Mutilations (female circumcision) has nothing to do with Islam. It is a pre-Islamic African custom practiced by non-Muslims including Coptic Christians.
21. Does Islam promote polygamy? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   
Polygamy in Islam is permission not an injunction. Historically, all the prophets except Jesus, who was not married, had more than one wife. For Muslim men to have more than one wife is a permission which is given to them in the Qur'an, not to satisfy lust, but for the welfare of the widows and the orphans of the wars. In the pre-Islamic period, men used to have many wives. One person had 11 wives and when he became Muslim, he asked Prophet Muhammad, "What should I do with so many wives?" and he replied, "Divorce all except the four." The Qur'an says, "you can marry 2 or 3 and up to 4 women if you can be equally just with each of them" (4:3). Since it is very difficult to be equally just with all wives, in practice, most of the Muslim men do not have more than one wife.
Prophet Muhammad himself from age 24 to 50 was married to only one woman, Khadija. In western society, some men who have one wife have many extramarital affairs. Americans had a president who was adept at such behavior! A survey published in USA Today (April 4, 1988 Section D) asked 4,700 mistresses about their preferred status, and they said that "they preferred being a second wife rather than the 'other woman' because they did not have the legal rights, nor did they have the financial equality of the legally married wives, and it appeared that they were being used by these men."
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