A Catholic's Request: Dispelling the lies about Islam
Dear Islamic Friend,
I am Roman Catholic and have a wonderful devout Islamic physician from Pakistan who has talked from time to time about Islam. I have a copy of the Qu'ran and intend to read it.
I know that our beliefs differ greatly, but I need some information as I am trying to refute an angry Christian who wants to be an Anglican priest and has made what I believe is false statements about Islam and spreading lies.
First, I believe that the God recognized by all Christian people is also known to the Muslims by the name Allah. Do Muslims and Christians believe in the same God? The angry Christian I am trying to inform says that "the god of the Muslims is angry and vengeful and not the same God Christians worship."
Second, I am told that Islam is a false religion by this person. As a Roman Catholic, I will not call any Faith false as I am taught to leave judgement to God.
And third, the angry Christian claims that "Either God revealed himself to man through the Bible and Jesus Christ, whereas the "god" of the Muslims (Allah) is the name Mohammed the Prophet created. I thought that Islam has its' roots in Judiaism, in that Ishmael went north and was credited with founding Islam. But I also hear that Mohammed founded Islam and do not know which is correct.
Please answer my questions and give me helpful information so that in the future I will have information to tell people who say false things about Islam. This happens quite often in a group I deal with. I do not like to hear someone tell me that if it is found out that my Islamic doctor is helping a Catholic that he will be killed by other Islamics. I am very angry that he was called a "wolf in sheep's clothing".
Again, I am a Roman Catholic Christian and I need some information to dispel the lies and ignorance of people who believe that all Islamic people are terrorists and killers. I know that there are extremists and radicals who give Islam a bad name, but my doctor and other Islamic doctors who have treated me are kind, caring and compassionate. I see Islam as a religion of peace.
The information you supply will be going out over the internet for many Christians to read. I want them to know the truth about Islam.
P.S: You are welcome to post anything I have said in your blog and to mention that I am Roman Catholic and that I have told my Christian friends various Christian Churches that their intolerance, anger, and hatred are not the teachings of Jesus. Jesus accepted those who were not Jewish.
In the name of God, Most
Gracious, Most Merciful
Dear Ms. Judy Hangsleben:
First of all, thank you very much for trying to clear the misconceptions about Islam by seeking the right information. In order to foster peace and harmony between the people of all faiths, it is essential to increase our understanding of each other. As stated in the Holy Qur'an :
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of GOD is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And
GOD has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." (Al-Qur'an 49:13)
First, I would like to give a breif overview of the few key concepts/keywords in Islam and then I would go over some of the major misconceptions that people have about issues related to islam and muslims.
Jump To: Islam, Allah, How do muslims define Allah(God), God of Wrath or God of Mercy?, The Source of Islam, Who is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Status of Jesus(pbuh) and Mary(pbuh) in Islam, Other Biblical Figures Revered by Muslims, Jihad or Holy War in Islam, Does Islam Promote Violence ?, What else should I know about Islam ?, Conclusion
The word 'Islam' literally means 'Submission to God'. In its simplest form Islam is neither a new religion nor is it exclusively for the Muslims. The essence of Islam is pure, pure, pure monotheism - that is "There is no god but GOD", meaning there is only ONE GOD with no partners. According to Islam, that same message has been conveyed to humanity throughout the history of mankind via God's messengers - all the prophets starting from Prophet Adam(PBUH) and then continuing with many other including Noah(PBUH), Abraham(PBUH), Moses(PBUH), Jesus(PBUH) and finally ending with Prophet Muhammad(PBUH).
"Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah for Muslims is the greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him. It is exactly the same word which the Jews, in Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to Allah. Allah has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Allah is the same God worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews". It is not any other special deity or anything like that. Even Arab Christians use 'Allah' for 'GOD'.
How do muslims define Allah(God) :
God for Muslims is the ONE and ONLY GOD who created everything on the heaven and the earth, everything known and unknown to us. Who can be better than GOD to explain who He is ? Allah(GOD) says in the Holy Qur'an:
"And your God is one God; there is no God except Him, The Beneficent, The Merciful." (Al-Qur'an 2:163)
"There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees all things." (Al-Qur'an 42:11)
"Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory)." (Al-Qur'an 2:255)
God of Wrath or God of Mercy ?
God’s Mercy surpasses His Wrath. As Murata and Chitick suggests in their book titled ‘The Vision of Islam’: “One of the ways in which the Koran refers to the fact that the names of beauty and mercy represents God’s true nature more accurately than the names of majesty and wrath is in the statement that God’s mercy embraces all things. ‘I strike with My chastisement whom I will, but My mercy embraces all things.(7:156)’. The Koran never suggests that God is wrathful toward all things. He is wrathful only toward those creatures who refuse to accept His nearness to them”. Yet both are necessary, as they further state,
“Without fear, people become bold and do whatever they want, not worrying about the consequences. Without hope they shrivel and die”. Finally, their analysis of the attributes of God point out that the ‘fear of God’ is essentially a component of the 'mercy of God', because “the only logical way to act when you fear God is to go toward him, since there is nowhere to run. Likewise, hope and love for God encourage people to go toward him. Every relationship with God encourages seeking out nearness with him”.
The Source of Islam :
"Allah has taught us about Islam via two mediums: the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Both the Qur'an and Sunnah were transmitted to us, humanity, via the Messenger of Allah: Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (saas). The Messenger of Allah was nothing more and nothing less than a mortal messenger of the immortal Creator.
The Qur'an is a book containing the literal Word of Allah. It was transmitted from Allah to
angel Gabriel, and from the angel to the Messenger of Allah who delivered it to us. The Qur'an covers a wide variety of topics, including evidence to support its claim of being the Word of the Creator, stories of earlier generations, rules which humanity is asked to obey, and information about the Hereafter. The Qur'an has been preserved since it was revealed, and this is confirmed by its 1400 year history. The earliest copies and the latest copies are the same.
The Sunnah is the term used to describe how the Messenger of Allah (saas) lived his life. The Messenger's life is an example for all Muslims, or those who accept Islam, to follow. Whatever the Messenger (saas) did, said, or approved of is a source of Islam just as much as the Qur'an. The Messenger's role is not overemphasized: his life was dictated by what the Creator desired, and the Messenger did not add or subtract to Islam according to his own personal whim. His life was such that his wife called him 'a walking Qur'an'".
The notable difference between the Bible and the Qur'an is that The Qur'an doesn't even have Muhammad's(pbuh) words or his own account of events. Everything in it is directly from GOD uncontaminated by any human alteration. The Bible is more comparable to the Sunnah, which illustrates Muhammad's(pbuh) life and his sayings as reported by his companions. Also, the Holy Qur'an still exists in its original form in the original language. For more information on the way the Qur'an was preserved, please visit: http://www.iol.ie/~afifi/BICNews/Sabeel/sabeel3.htm
Who is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) :
Muhammad (pbuh) is the man who came 1400 years ago and preached the message of Monotheism in Arabia. Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) lineage is as follows:
Abraham --> Ishmael --> Kedar --> ... --> Muhammad.
"While Muhammad (pbuh) was chosen to deliver the message, he is not considered the "founder" of Islam, since Muslims consider Islam to be the same divine guidance sent to all peoples before. Muslims believe all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent with divine guidance for their peoples”. Every prophet was sent to his own people, but Muhammad(pbuh) was chosen to be the last and final messenger and he was sent to all of mankind. Muslims would give him the highest status and respect that any man might deserve. But muslims do not worship Muhammad (pbuh). And thus the term ‘Mohammedanism’ is a misnomer.
God mentions in the Holy Qur’an about Prophet Muhammad(pbuh):
“Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many Were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.” (Al-Qur’an 3:144)
"We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) except as a universal (Messenger) to men giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin) but most men understand not." (Al-Qur'an 34:28)
"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Last of the Prophets, And Allah is Ever All-Aware of Everything." (Al-Qur'an 33:40)
Muslim and non-muslim historians alike realized Muhammad’s(pbuh) greatness, which is apparent from the writings of one non-muslim historian:
“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then-inhabited world; and more than that he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... His forbearance in victory, his ambition which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire, his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death-all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold: the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not.”
- Lamartine Histoire de la Turquie, Pans 1854, Vol. 11, pp. 276-77.
For more information and a great article written about Muhammad(pbuh) by a non-muslim author, please visit:
Status of Jesus(pbuh) and Mary(pbuh) in Islam :
“Muslims respect and revere Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God's messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as 'Jesus', but always adds the phrase 'upon him be peace' (abbreviated as (u) here). The Quran confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Quran is entitled 'Mary'), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation. The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows:
"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 maturity, 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 is" (Quran 3:42-47)
Jesus (u) was born miraculously through the same power, which had brought Adam (u) into being without a father: "Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was." (3:59) During his prophetic
mission Jesus (u) performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said: " 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 breath 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) ”.
However, Islam does not support the view that Jesus is a Son of God, and considers it to be in contradiction with the monotheistic creed. The Holy Qur’an states regarding this matter: “They say: "(Allah) the Most Merciful has begotten a son!" Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they should invoke a son for (Allah) the Most Merciful. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) the Most Merciful that He should beget a son: Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) the Most Merciful as a servant.” (Al-Qur’an 19:88-93)
For more information and a great article on Jesus in Islam vs. Christianity, please visit:
Other Biblical Figures Revered by Muslims:
The Holy Qur’an says:
“ Say ye: We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, 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 one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).” (Al-Qur’an 002:136)
“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers." And they say: "We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” (Al-Qur’an 002:285)
For more information and a great article on John the Baptist in Islam, please visit:
Jihad or Holy War in Islam :
One of the greatest misunderstandings regarding Islam is that the Creator has imposed `jihad' or ‘holy war’ on us against all non-muslims. The literal meaning of the Arabic word Jihad is ‘struggle’. ‘Holy War’ is a highly misleading and often inaccurate translation of the word ‘Jihad’. Some verses in the Qur'an, do use Jihad as military struggle or war, whereas the other context for the word Jihad is ‘the inner struggle of the soul’ which we all fight to ward off temptations and evil desires.
Though military struggle or war is permitted in Islam, it has preconditions and very strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming innocent civilians, women, children, the infirm, the old, and against destroying crops, trees and livestock.
“[22:39] Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them ; This verse lays down the precondition for all war in Islam: there must exist certain oppressive conditions on the people. The Creator unequivocally orders us to fight oppression and persecution, even at the expense of bloodshed as the following verse shows (translation), [2:190-192] And fight in the cause of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the reward of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors. ”.
Just like a mother would discipline her child with punishments because she loves her child very much and she would like to see her child to be in the best of manners, our creator knows that human beings do transgress their limits and they need to be constrained through punishments and deterrence. Otherwise, there would be pure chaos and lawlessness in the world. But again He loves patience and forbearance.
As the following verses state:
“ The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a grievous penalty. And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.”(Al-Qur’an 42:40-43)
"If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things." (Al-Qur'an 8:61)
Therefore, Islam necessitates War for the sake of Justice only. Even DR. Martin Luther King Jr. realized this when he said “Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”
Does Islam Promote Violence ?
This is another one of the greatest misconceptions about Islam - “no doubt resulting from the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, a Catholic IRA guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not used to stereotype an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard the words 'Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist. etc.' linked with violence.
Politics in so called "Muslim countries" may or may not have any Islamic basis. Often dictators and politicians will use the name of Islam for their own purposes. One should remember to go to the source of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what is portrayed in the media.” 
However, it is noteworthy that most westerners “don’t know the experience of being dominated by another political or economic power. They find it hard to appreciate the hurt much of the West’s involvement in the Middle East has caused Muslims or understand the frustration that fuels much of the violence the extremists commit. Western Christians often don’t understand poverty and oppression either - because their lives have been relatively free from injustice and want.”. Hence, it makes it easier for the biased western media to create those stereotypes and prejudices about Islam and Muslims.
Also, it is necessary to make a distinction between Islam and Muslims. “Only the Qur'an and Sunnah are guaranteed to be in accordance with what the Creator desires, whereas the Muslims may possibly deviate. Hence, if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and certainly the action cannot be claimed to have been done "in the name of Islam"".
Does majority of the Christians picket abortion clinics? Bomb abortion clinics? No. Most are levelheaded people, just like most Muslims. The Muslims you see on the news, do not represent the vast majority of the world’s 1.5 billion muslims who are normal, peace loving, and non-violent people. So the answer is ‘No, Islam does not promote violence’. On the contrary, Islam is a religion of Peace, Mercy and Forgiveness.
What else should I know about Islam ?
* Five pillars of the Islamic faith are – 1) Belief in One God, 2) Five times daily prayer, 3) Obligatory charity for the poor, 4) Fasting in the month of Ramadan and 5) Performing pilgrimage to Makkah atleast once in a lifetime for those who is physically and financially capable.
* There is no intermediary between the Creator of the Universe and His creatures. Everyone is responsible for their own deed and communicates to God directly through their own prayers (i.e. no priesthood in islam).
* Tolerance of other faiths: Judgement will be done by God in the hereafter not by people in this world. As God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an: "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things." (Al-Qur'an 2:256)
* Equality of the whole mankind before God: In God’s sight every human being is equal. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a public address said that the Arabs are not superior to the non-Arabs, and one color is not superior to another. The Pilgrimage or Hajj is emblematic of this doctrine of equality when 5 million muslims from all over the world gather in Makkah every year for pilgrimage wearing the same simple white cloth. There is no distinction between the rich and the poor, or the white or the black, or anything for that matter. They are all there to worship and celebrate the praises of One God, our Most Gracious, Most Merciful Creator.
* There are many scientific indications mentioned in the Holy Qur’an that scientists are only discovering recently. You can go to the following site for details and examples. http://www.islam-guide.com/
(Read the section under the Scientific Miracles of the Holy Qur'an)
Just as Jesus (pbuh) said "Think not that I have come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17 KJV), Muhammad (pbuh) did not come to preach a new religion either. As God states in the Holy Qur’an : “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by anyone other than God. It is a confirmation of earlier revelations and a detailed explanation of the Scripture, in which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds.” (Al-Qur’an 10:37)
Michael H. Hart explains his decision to choose Muhammad to be the #1 in the list of the world's most influential persons - “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.” 
Indeed, from the secular perspective, Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to establish justice and on the religious level, his mission was to confirm and restore the principles of Monotheism. The former is very clear from the following verses in the Holy Qur’an:
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (Al-Qur’an 005:008)
“And come not nigh to the orphan's property, except to improve it, until he attain the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice;- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear;- whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.”(Al-Qur’an 006:152)
And the latter is apparent from his teachings. Muhammad (pbuh) was so wary about any attempts to deify him or to give himself or anything other than Allah(GOD) any divine authority that when Muhammad(pbuh) died, one of his closest companions and administrative successor, Abu Bakr, echoed Muhammad’s (pbuh) teachings in one of the noblest speeches : ‘If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you worshipped, He lives for ever’. Just as Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
"All that is on earth will perish: But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour."
 The Vision of Islam – Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick. Paragon House 1994.
 Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York: Hart Publishing Company Inc. 1978
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