These few Quotes from the Holy Qur’an and traditions of Phophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) reflect the real face of Islam … a religion of peace, forgiveness, kindness and righteousness.Because the Qur’an leaves room for interpretation and many translations being outdated new translations provide astonishing proof for the authenticity of the Qur’an. Scientific knowledge allows us to understand certain verses of the Qur’an which, until now, have been impossible to interpret. This is demonstrated i.e. through the verses describing the creation of the universe and mankind and that when we are able to leave the the earth we should do it!
Quote: “The Bible, The Qur’an And Science” by Maurice Bucaille: “The Qur’an follows on from the two Revelations that preceded it (Bible) and is not only free from contradictions in its narrations, the sign of the various human manipulations to be found in the Gospels, but provides a quality all of its own for those who examine it objectively and in the light of science i.e. its complete agreement with modern scientific data. What is more, statements are to be found in it that are connected with science: and yet it is unthinkable that a man of Muhammad’s time could have been the author of them.”
…. “When a comparative study is made between the statements connected with science to be found in the collections of Hadiths, which are attributed to Muhammad but are often of dubious authenticity (although they reflect the beliefs of the period), and the data similar kind in the Qur’an, the disparity becomes so obvious that any notion of common origin is ruled out. In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad’s day, it is inconceivable that many of the statement in the Qur’an which are connected with science could have been the work of a man.” ….
“….. The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by those who see Mohammad as the author of the Qur’an untenable. How could a man, from being an illiterate, become the most important author, in terms of literacy merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human-being could possibly have developed at that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?”
“The Qur’an is a book which contains several references to natural phenomena but these references have clear purpose in explaining the deeper meaning to life and existence in general. These descriptions are surprisingly accurate considering the level of knowledge around at the time that the Qur’an was written down. But the really impressive thing about the Qur’an is its complete avoidance of the many misconceptions and myths that were circulating at that time. The Qur’an leaves room for a variety of interpretations but the consistency with recent science within those acceptable interpretations is still astounding.”
Please note, that most translations are outdated and that each translation is actually an interpretation which has been translated. In many issues the Qur’an made concessions to prevailing social customs (like Polygamy, Women, Slavery) but it leaves room for interpretation.
Very often it is asked, if women are given the treatment described in the Qur’an. I am sorry to admit, that in many Muslim societies this is not the case. Over the centuries after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) seclusion and veiling of the women took place and until recently it was difficult for women to be active outside of their homes and were denied many of their rights, which were given them by the Qur’an. Most of these countries are still developing countries.
Despite this fact, it is only a small step to improve their situation since the legislation in this respect is all there, in the Qur’an. When the economic and educational situation of the women improves, it logically will ensure the improvement of the situation of women in general.
If you visited the web-page comparing the Islamic and Jewish-Christian faiths you’ll realize how much bigger battle the women in the Western world have had.
This battle still continues, because these passages in the Bible are there and it will always stay that way. As late as in Feb.1971 Switzerland for the first time granted women the right to vote in federal elections and to hold federal office!
It is sad, that the religion that revolutionized the status of women has become so repressive of women in many countries.
At the lifetime of the Prophet women achieved the highest regard in religious history. They became lawyers, doctors and counselors not to only women, but to men. Today, we have the ignorance among all religions, because people cannot spend time gaining an in-depth knowledge of their faith.
The relationship between man and wife in Islam is not one of obedience in a military sense. It is a caring and loving relationship in which both try their best to take good care of each other. The husband is not given free reign to rule as he pleases. His leadership is not unquestionable. If he does something unislamic the wife is entitled to tell her husband that his behavior is unacceptable in Islam. The rights and obligations of each of the sexes are complementary. These rights and obligations are set out to give the marital relationship the best chance of success and survival.
“Women shall, in all fairness, enjoy rights equal to those exercised against them.” (Qur’an 2:228). This statement occurs in the context of divorce.
Aminah Assilmi, director of the International Union of Muslim Women (a well-known lecturer on the Islamic religion in the US):
“It’s distressing when I look and I see that there is no place in the world today where women have the rights that God granted, but it is not disillusioning to me because at least I know where the starting point is. I know what God had said should be, and so I know where we have to get to.
…. Women were allowed to directly approach the prophet of God, disagree with him, argue with him, and criticize him without any fear of repercussion. … A lot of people think that women do not have the right to work, but she was also given another very important right that is ignored, she was given the right not to work…. Islamic law recognizes that motherhood is the single most powerful and most important profession in the world. Without the benefit of Islam, it is virtually impossible for a woman to remain at home and take care of the children because of the financial responsibilities and social pressures….
And we consider this liberation that a woman is out of the house working, but true liberation means that women have the freedom and opportunity to make a choice, and Islamic law provides the freedom, the opportunity and the means for women to make choices about what happens in their lives….
The relationship between a husband and a wife is compared to being garments one for the other. A good garment is one that is very comfortable, one that is attractive, one that is well-made. And this is what we want in our relationships….
In addition, Muslim women were given the right to be accepted for their minds, personalities and spirituality, instead of being judged according to their physical attributes. This is why they cover their heads with a hijab…. We want to be identified as Muslim women. We want the world to know that we know what God said we had a right to. This is not an act of oppression. This is an act of dignity and pride. The problem is that women have not educated each other about what their rights are and that ‘we have not taken them back.’ “(Assilmi grew up as a Southern Baptist and holds academic degrees in education, broadcasting and communications.)
Quoting Francois Lamand, president of the “Islam and the West” Organization in Paris:
“Our actions have been hailed unanimously by informed international opinion which understands that by addressing ourselves to a new generation, we can favor and promote an improved image of Islam.” And: “Fear and ignorance and a distorted image presented by the media is what characterizes the European’s attitude toward Islam. If we abolish ignorance, by the same token we drive back hostility.”
Quoting Prof. Abdel Azim: “… This perception of Islam is one of the most widespread myths in our world today. A ceaseless barrage of sensational books, articles, films and media images are misleading and the result has been a total misunderstanding and fear of anything related to Islam. This negative portrayal of Islam in the world media has to end if we are to live in a world free from all traces of discrimination, prejudice, and misunderstanding. Non-Muslims ought to realize the existence of a wide gap between Muslims’ beliefs and practices and the simple fact that the actions of Muslims do not necessarily represent Islam.”
Quoting Arab News, Feb.18.2002: “Islamic Fiqh and its revival Changed times, changed rulings, by Dr. Mhd. Al-Awa Ijtihad (ruling), which many statements in the Qur’an and Hadiths make obligatory to the Muslim community, means to exercise mental, intellectual and scholarly effort in order determine the Islamic view in respect of issues that are presented to a scholar or judge. Needles to say that people’s ability to deduce the meanings of religious texts varies a great deal… One of the worst aspects of Arab society today is that people who value their own opinions are always demanding that that they should have the right of expression and advocacy, while denying the right to others the same rights…Such people provide the fuel for extremism which is certain to put an end to our intellectual and cultural life… Countless issues require new ‘ijtihad’ (ruling).
And more issues will continue to arise because they are the natural product of the progress and development of human life, with its daily new events and situations. Some of what we take for granted today could not have been dreamed possible e few generations ago… Nor it is admissible that people should be made captive to the views of those scholars who occupy government posts, as these views are forcibly handed out to them day and night in all media channels. This simply does not fit with the nature of our faith which requires that knowledge remains available to all, and its pursuit throughout one’s life a binding duty on all, from childhood to old age.
When any person diligently pursues such knowledge and is known to be God-fearing, people will realize that he is the scholar to follow, regardless of what rulers may feel about that. Because the premises we have pointed out are not reasonable, conceivable or admissible, we are in need of a Figh revival.”
Prof. Waqar A. Husaini, president of the California-based ‘Institute of Islamic Sciences, Technology and Development’ (IISTD):
“Just a hundred years after the Holy Qur’an was revealed Muslims achieved world intellectual supremacy and hegemony in the two cultures; the ideological and the technological. They were, then very small minorities in a few countries except Arabia (max. 5 % in Persia). This was because they sought understanding and righteous application of the Qur’an in very branch of knowledge….. This supremacy lasted until at least the Eighth Century Hijjrah (14th century AD). This is because the Muslims had not been consumed by mere rituals and the truly Islamic two cultures had not been overwhelmed by major deviations…..
The mediaeval humanistic knowledge of Islam is incapable of looking at things from a modern point of view. Muslims must pursue Islamization uncompromisingly in their education systems and the cultures without compulsion. … In my book ‘Water Recourses Sciences and Engineering in the Qur’an’, I gave about 920 verses dealing with these and inter-related disciplines. My other book ‘Economics in the Qur’an’, gives nearly 1400 verses on all aspects of economics….. On the other hand, verses for key words and their derivatives: Fasting 6 verses, Pilgrimage 8 verses, tax and charity 32 verses; and Prayer are about 80 verses. This shows how un-Islamic is ‘takhsisiyyah’ which is the reduction of Islam to only worship and how all-embracing is the Qur’anic concept of ‘Tawheed’.”
Quoting Adil Salahi (Arab News): “The Islamic system of government is based on consultation, freedom of expression, equality and serving the interests of the community. A government that does not try its best to serve and protect the interests of the community is not Islamic even if it professes to believe in Islam and its system and values. In fact the aim of all Islamic legislation is to serve the interests of the community and to protect every individual – his or her self, mind, offspring, property and religion, as these are the five essentials of a human being.
Islam does not lay down any model of Islamic government, leaving this to every Muslim community to determine within the guiding principles I have outlined. Islamic government is a consultative one, but the type of mechanism that consultation takes is left to individual communities to determine.”
And: “Why Muslims kill each other, and why do they kill women and children ? If they do, then they raise a very big question mark about their claim to be Muslim. The Prophet says: ‘When two Muslims meet, sword in hand, fighting each other, then the killer and the killed will be in hell.’ People wondered: ‘We understand that the killer is in hell, but what about the one who is killed?’ The prophet answered: ‘Because he was just as keen to kill his fellow.’ Note how the Prophet describes the two as fellows, not opponents! That is because they both lay a claim to be Muslims and they both have the same desire to subdue the other and kill him. ……. When they kill women and children, they are certainly committing a grave sin, because even in war , Muslims are not allowed to kill women and children. Islam does certainly not approve of much that is committed under its name…..”
‘Understanding Islam and Muslims’, Islamic Affairs Dept., Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C.: “It is one of the functions of Islamic Law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634 A.D., Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city. Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by minorities by themselves.”
My advice to you would be: be selective what you read and whose advice you buy.
Throughout of history Islamic scholars have been very tolerant about other scholars’ opinion. Every opinion is valid until it is proven wrong by the Qur’an or by reliable Hadith’s.
Many sects have split from the moderate mainstream Islam (which constitutes ca. 90% of the believers), most of them applying quite strict rules and relying heavily on the Hadith’s or even on their own books (i.e. the ‘Ahmadiyya Movement’).
As I mentioned earlier the only 100 % reliable source of knowledge is the Qur’an. The Hadith’s are orally transmitted reports from the lifetime of the Prophet and from the years thereafter, through different people from one person to the other (Topic No. 8 on the right) . Many collections are not considered very reliable.
Prophet Muhammad (P.b.u.H.) once said: “Do not write from me anything except the Qur’an and whosoever has written anything from me other than the Qur’an should erase it.” (Al-Bukhari)
It is logical that human memory can fail in details. The most quoted collection is the collection of “Bukhari” (dated 256 after Hijjrah, = ca. 246 years after the death of the Prophet, p.b.u.h.) which is considered highly accurate like the collection of “Sahih Muslim” (d. 273 H.). In these collections the reports were double-checked and only the the most accurate ones were taken in. We can find also many Hadith’s that are contradicting each other and even some, that are in clear contradiction with the Quranic verses or with the spirit of it.
The Qur’an leaves room for interpretation and therefore its message can adjust itself to changing times.
There is also much need of education and information among Muslims themselves. As a minor example, some view candles as “unislamic” because they are used in churches and temples of other religions. The fact is that before the days electricity, the holy Mosque in Mecca was lit by candles. Moreover, a famous Muslim traveler who visited Mecca six centuries ago wrote: “The candles were set in rows inside the Holy Mosque, around the Ka’aba.. up to the point that the whole area of the Holy Mosque seemed to be lit by one candle.”
Dr. Haji Lila Fahlman, Founding President of the World Council of Muslim Women Foundation:
“Man-written Hadith’s have ruined Islam and do not speak to human rights or to equality for men and women, but rather favour the enslavement of women.”… “Any Muslim who finds the Qur’an difficult to understand would do best to spend his time on the Qur’an rather then on the Hadith’s, which can never surpass the Qur’an as the Hadith is man written.”
The first wife of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was a businesswoman, women used to go freely about their business, talk to men and argue with the Prophet, there are enough evidence for that in the Qur’an and in the Hadith’s. But the advocates of a different opinion obviously find also some traditions (Hadiths) suggesting the opposite.
I’ll always remember an exercise we had in the elementary school: at beginning of the class the teacher gave a short note with two or three sentences to the first student. In the course of that hour the sentences where whispered from one student to another. At the end of the hour the note was read aloud. Just try it one time and make sure everybody takes the test very seriously. You will be amazed. It is clear human memory can fail in detail, even with the best of intentions.
Much of the proof provided by the two gentlemen I mentioned at the beginning (and who are the reason why I am doing this) is based on deeds and sayings of the Khalif’s and scholars of the early Islam after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), or on comments of “great philosophers” or “modern day commentators” (men of course!).
We should bear in mind, that life was different some 1400 years ago and logically the repots about everyday life differ from today and that is how we should look at them. These reports reflect the customs and life of that time, I think we should not apply them without caution today.
Many of the Hadith’s bear witness to the fact the women used to go the Prophet directly with questions and argue with him about different matters. One Sura of the Qur’an is even dedicated to a woman, “She who pleaded”(no.58). In some Hadith’s it is suggested, that the woman should stay at home and should not leave the house without the knowing of her husband.
Again, life before and in early Islam was different. It was not safe for the women to travel alone (without a male companion, especially in the desert ). Before Islam every Bedouin tribe claimed sovereignty and considered itself to be an independent unit. There was no law except the law of the jungle. Loot, arson, murder of the innocent, blood revenge, rape were order of the day. Any trivial incident was enough to cause a war to blaze out. No wonder the women were not encouraged to travel alone. And I doubt that they even wanted to, under conditions like that. But life in the towns was quite free for the woman – read again the highly reliable Hadith under topic “Haddit’s” on the right.
A Hadith by Bukhari: “Do not prevent the bond-maids of God from (going to) God’s mosques.” In another Hadith it is said, that the woman is not required to come to the mosque for prayers. I think (if it is accurate) this was for practical reasons since Islam is a practical religion. Because the women usually had young children to attend on and it would have been difficult for them to come to the mosque like the men did. In others we can read that they did go to the mosque, many of them narrated by Lady Aisha.
“Islam the straight Path”, by John L. Esposito: “Veiling and seclusion: Nothing illustrates more the interaction of Qur’anic prescription and customary practice than the development of the veiling (hijab, burqa, or chador) and seclusion (purdah, harem) of women in early Islam. Both are customs assimilated from the conquered Persian and Byzantine societies and viewed as appropriate expressions of Qur’anic norms and values. The Qur’an does not stipulate veiling or seclusion. On the contrary it tends to emphasize the participation and religious responsibility of both men and women in society.”
… “Veiling and seclusion has as their original intend the protection, honor, and distinction of women. They were adopted by upper-class urban women who lived in great palaces and courts and enjoyed considerable mobility and opportunity to participate in the activities within their environment. Village and rural women were slower to adopt these practices, as they interfered with their ability to work in the fields. Over the centuries, as the segregation of women in the home spread to every stratum of society, it had unforeseen and deleterious effects. Poorer women were confined to small houses with limited social contacts. They were effectively barred from community life.”
The strongest argument against women wearing a face-veil is found in the Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet, p.b.u.h.): during the pilgrimage (Omrah and Hajj) in the Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina women are not allowed to cover their faces or wear cloves. This ritual is performed to the smallest detail in the way the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) with his companions used to do it .
The missing of a clear statement in the Qur’an in this respect is significant. We all agree Islam is facing hard times in the world today and there are much more burning issues we have to deal with. My opinion is, that if we cannot understand or have doubts about the Hadith’s, we should invest our time to study the Qur’an, which we know to be accurate and genuine with no alterations whatsoever.
Another critical opinion about the Hadith’s and female dress can be found at “Dress code for women according to Quran”
Also, the problem of correct translation comes up again and again. Any translation of the Qur’an immediately ceases to be the literal word of God, and hence cannot be equated with the Qur’an in its original Arabic form. When you look at two or three translations of the same verse, the meaning is very often not clear, different words being used and it can be understood in different ways.
Unfortunately, it is the details that are so often discussed under Non-Muslims and are source of negative attitudes. In many issues the Qur’an made also concessions to prevailing social customs (like Polygamy, Women, Slavery) but it leaves room for interpretation and therefore the Message can be adjusted to changing times.
Use your own Judgement! There are many self-proclaimed scholars out there, who are trying to prove their point of view … you could say like myself : )
I don’t claim to be a scholar, I am only trying to explain Islam to people who may have little or no knowledge about it and often heard only negative attitudes towards it. I use information, arguments and proof that are easily available for everyone who is interested in the matter and have done my best to be as objective as possible.
While researching this theme I was amazed myself about the magnitude of the evidence I found and how my humble web page has grown to a very informative site (as I can see from my feedback, a huge ‘Thank You” to my readers!).
Everything is common knowledge, but maybe I am presenting it in a different manner because I receive (sometimes) criticism, like I am “sugar-coating” the reality of Islam and that “I should not provide partial info to my ill-knowledged readers”. But isn’t even a partial info for my ill-knowledged readers is better than no info at all?
Or I receive feedback like “…showing Islam’s lighter side”, whatever that means. I am trying to present Islam like it is, or should be. Islam should be an easy religion, it is in your heart and intentions and even more it is how you treat other people – which is actually the most important aspect of Islam besides acknowledging that “there is only one God and Mohammad is his messenger”.
And I am writing my page because: “If anyone of you sees something objectionable, he should change it with his hand, but if he cannot, he should change it with his tongue, and if he cannot he should do it in his heart, that being the weakest form of faith.” (a Hadith by Bukhari)
I hope I could prove my point to some degree and I would be thankful if only one of you got a better understanding of it …
Your comments are welcome.
Finally a quote from “Arab News“, Feb.7th 2000 (this Quote has become an even more important after the Sep.11th 2001 tragedy in the US):
“Enemies of Islam are among its own People. ‘ISLAM is above every criticism and its enemies are among its own people who have no ethics and no commitment.’ Crown Prince Abdullah (of Saudi Arabia) was responding to criticism made of Islam and Muslims by those who portray Islam in an unfavorable light and who take every opportunity to tarnish the religion’s image.
Moderate Muslim leaders have spoken of the possibility of an organized war against Muslims whose numbers exceed on billion. In fact, the leaders have said that the world has nothing to fear from Islam or Muslims. Islam is an universal religion, it exists for the good of all mankind and is suitable for all races and times. Islamic scholars have spoken of serious errors committed by people claiming to be Muslims. Islam has nothing to do with what these people are doing and saying in the name of religion. Crown Prince Abdullah (of Saudi Arabia) has said that the real danger in the Islamic world comes within it, from its own people. It comes from people who claim to be Muslims and act as Muslims for reasons of politics or vengeance. Their bait is easily swallowed by the uninformed who fall into their trap, believing what they hear.
The reality is that the Muslim world is shocked to see the violence that is happening in its lands. And the world is slowly beginning to distinguish between these people’s acts and the teachings of Islamic scholars about the real face of Islam: to understand each other, to live in peace and harmony with each other, to respect each other’s beliefs and to encourage understanding and dialogue rather than conflict.
All Muslims are called upon to do the following: 1) Denounce violence and terrorism along with anything that damages our religion’s image in the eyes of non-Muslims. 2) Present to the world through the international media and through cross-cultural dialogues an accurate understanding of Islamic teachings and Islamic goals, which seek the betterment of all humanity. If we want to improve the world, we must begin with ourselves. We must practice Islam in our everyday activities before attempting to spread it to the world. We as Muslims will be held responsible for our actions before God and thus for determining the fate of the Muslim world”
Salaam, and may God guide us all on the right path!