Misconception About Islam

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Misconception 1:
Muslims are violent, terrorists, and extremists!

This is the biggest misconception in 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, Catholic IRA guerrilla’s sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim victims; these acts are not used to stereotype the 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. 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. Islam literally means 'submission to God' and is derived from a root word meaning 'peace'. Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West, whereas Islam is considered a 'Way of life' for Muslims and they make no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense; in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat, which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Click for AUDIO

The Noble Qur-an says:
"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors."
(Qur-an, 2:190)

"If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." (Qur-an, 8:61)

War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term 'Jihad' literally means 'struggle'. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of Jihad. The other 'Jihad' is the inner struggle of the soul, which everyone wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner peace
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Misconception 2:
Islam oppresses women.

The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to stay home is also common in most people's thoughts. Islam on the other hand gives men and women different roles and equity between the two is laid down in the Noble Qur-an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way, which is modest and dignified. The Messenger of God, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: "The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.” Click for AUDIO
Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against then will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to Islam, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will: her parents simply suggest young men they think may be suitable. Click for AUDIO

Misconception 3:
All Muslim men marry four wives.

The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Noble Qur-an, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair. No woman can be forced into this kind of marriage if they do not wish it.  Polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted. Images of harems are not consistent with Islam, as a man is only allowed at most four wives only if he can fulfill the stringent conditions of treating each fairly and providing each with separate housing etc. Permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion.  It is rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans. It was the Noble Qur-an that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered them "property." It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam that regulated this practice, limited it, made it more humane, and instituted equal rights and status for all wives. It is a very tiny percentage of Muslims that practice it over the world.  However, permission to practice limited polygamy is only consistent with Islam's realistic view of the nature of man and woman and of various social needs, problems and cultural variations. The question is, however far more than the inherent flexibility of Islam; it is also the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of individuals and societies, and provides for legitimate and clean solutions that are far more beneficial than would be the case if they were ignored.  There is no doubt that the second wife legally married and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal rights. Click for AUDIO

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