Food for Thought

There is an inherit fear of Muslims for many in America.  Lack of understanding leads to fear.  Here are some nuggets to help dispel that fear.

Women’s Rights

In Islam, 1400 years ago, women were given:

  • Right and duty to obtain education
  • Right own independent property
  • Right to work to earn money
  • Right to inherit
  • Equality of reward for equal deeds
  • Right  to Express their opinion and be heard, in public life
  • Right to call for social justice
  • Right to provisions from husband for all her needs and more
  • Right to negotiate marriage terms of her choice
  • Right to obtain divorce from her husband
  • Right to keep all her own money   … and much more!


Belief in the Torah and the Gospel

In the Qu’ran, God says:

“Say: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and revelations given to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between any of them; and to God we submit in peace (Islam).’ ” (2:136)

“Behold!, the Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and Quran — He is (Allah), the One who revealed to you (Muhammad) the Qur’an in truth, confirming what is in the scriptures that came before it. And He revealed the ‘Torah’ and the ‘Gospel’ before this as guidance to humankind.  (3:34)

“And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary… We gave him the ‘Gospel’; therein was guidance and light, and a confirmation of what is in the ‘Torah’, a guidance and an admonition to those who revere God.” (5:46)


Belief in Jesus

Qur’an confirms Jesus’ virgin birth:

“ ‘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 old age, 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 becomes.” (3:42-47)

Qur’an confirms the miracles of Jesus:

“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 breathe 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)

But disagrees with treating him as divine:

“Truly, the example of Jesus with God is as the example of Adam. He (God) created him of dust, and said to him ‘Be!’ and he was.” (3:59)


Celebrating Differences

Qur’an mentions the reasons for differences:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”  (49:013) 


No Judgment Allowed

Qur’an mentions that all people will receive the reward they deserve for the good deeds they have done:

“Those who believe, Jews, Nazarenes, and Sabeans, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear nor are they saddened.” (2:62)


Islam Values Life

Qur’an denounces murder and promotes saving lives:

“Whoever killed a soul …   it should be considered as though he had killed all mankind; and that who ever saved it should be regarded as though he had saved all mankind. Our Messengers brought them proofs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth.”  (6:32)


Neighbor Rights

In Islam, the term ‘neighbor’ includes the forty houses to the front of a person, the forty houses behind, the forty houses on his right and the forty on his left.

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) tied Faith to treatment of neighbors.

Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbor and whoever believes in God and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously and whoever believes in God and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep quiet.” (Bukhari 8:158)


Faith is tied to Manners

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) tied Faith and Manners:

“The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) calls upon our social obligation to unite and not to repel through bad manners:

“The worst people are those whom others run from in order to save themselves from their dirty language or transgression.”


Freedom of Religion

Qur’an promotes freedom of religion and protects all people from being forced to follow faiths they don’t believe:

“There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error. And he who rejects false deities and believes in God has grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is all hearing and all knowing.” (02:256)


Fairness in Trade

Qur’an specifies the fair treatment in dealing with all people in terms of trade:

“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to  Justice and fair dealing , and let not the hatred of  any  people incite you not to deal  justly  with them  or  (swerve to wrong and depart from justice). Be just: that is nearer to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.”  (2:8)


Preventing Oppression

Muslims are required to stand up for social justice and for all victims of injustice, even at the hands of other Muslims:

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Support your brother whether he is an oppressor or is being oppressed.”  It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, we help the one being oppressed but how do we help an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By restraining him or preventing him from committing injustice, for that is how you support him.


Jihad, an overloaded word

Actually means to Struggle or to Strive

Levels of Jihad in order of preferred focus

  1. Struggle to improve oneself (greater jihad)
  2. Struggle against evil in society
  3. Struggle in battlefield (lesser jihad)

Valid reasons for Jihad in the battlefield

  • Self Defense
  • To remove human tyranny, oppression and persecution


Etiquettes of Jihad

The following is required for battlefield activities to be called jihad:

  • Give Peace a Chance Before Battle Starts
  • Respect All Treaties
  • Declaration of War when attacked
  • Protect those who seek your protection.
  • Spare those who are not fighting against you


Before the Geneva Convention

Centuries before the Geneva Convention, the following restrictions were placed on Jihad:

  • Provide Prisoners of War with good treatment and respect
  • Never mutilate dead bodies
  • Bury all dead bodies with dignity
  • Never destroy Farms or Infrastructure
  • Never kill the following:
    • Women
    • Children
    • Old men
    • Religious persons
    • Animals
    • The Innocent
    • The Injured
    • Prisoners of War


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