Islam

Top 5 misconceptions about Islam

When coming across arguments against Islam, you realize that there are quite a few misconceptions against Islam. In this article we will list 5 of the most common misconceptions against Islam, and give a clear response towards the misconception.

1-Islam commands the Muslims to convert everybody by the sword

The argument that Islam is an intolerant faith that orders the subjugation of all people into Islam is perhaps the biggest misconception. The fact of the matter is that there is Islamic text that calls on Muslims to either convert people to Islam, or kill them all.

Quite the opposite, the Quran explicitly says that people are not to be forced into the Islamic faith:

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. (2:256)

Also from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he used to make treaties with Christian and Jewish communities, promising them their right to keep their faith, and to carry on practicing their faith. It’s a fact of history that Christians and Jews were not forced into Islam, and that’s why you still have large Christian communities in the Muslim world. Surely if Muslims were forcing everybody to convert by the sword, then we wouldn’t expect to see such a community in existence.

In Syria for example, you have one of the oldest known Christian communities in existence, living in the town of Maaloula, and the community even speak in the Aramaic language of Jesus.

2-Islam teaches Muslims to hate the Jews

This is another common argument that’s used, that Islam commands the Muslims to hate the Jews. To clear this up, there is no verse in the Quran that tells Muslims to hate the Jews. On the contrary, the Quran when talking about the Jews, says there are both good and bad Jews, just like all other communities:

Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.  Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right. (3:113-115)

So the Quran explicitly teaches that there is a group from the Jews who are unrighteous, who stand for the truth, and do what is right.

Quite the contrary to supposed anti-Semitism. It must also be noted again, that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made several treaties with the Jews, allowing them to practice their faith and so on.

3-Islam allows Muslims to have sex slaves

This is yet another absurd claim, that Muslims are allowed to have sex slaves. In this case verses from the Quran are badly distorted, for example when the Quran talks about capturing right hand captives, i.e. prisoners of war, critics claim that these are sex slaves. In reality what the critic has done is projecting their own warped view on prisoners of war, and reflects more on them, than it does on Islam.

Islamic texts on POW’s, i.e. right hand captives, are explicit. POW’s are to be treated humanely, they are to be treated like how you would treat your own brother:

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 29

Narrated Al-Ma’rur: At Ar-Rabadha I met Abu Dhar who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I asked about the reason for it. He replied, “I abused a person by calling his mother with bad names.”  The Prophet said to me, ‘O Abu Dhar! Did you abuse him by calling his mother with bad names You still have some characteristics of ignorance. Your slaves are your brothers and Allah has put them under your command. So whoever has a brother under his command should feed him of what he eats and dress him of what he wears. Do not ask them (slaves) to do things beyond their capacity (power) and if you do so, then help them.

Islamic scholarship is also clear on the issue, with the major schools of Islamic jurisprudence saying:

“If a man acquires by force a slave-girl, then has sexual intercourse with her after he acquires her by force, and if he is not excused by ignorance, then the slave-girl will be taken from him, he is required to pay the fine, and he will receive the punishment for illegal sexual intercourse.” (Imam Al Shaafi’i, Kitaabul Umm, Volume 3, page 253)

In our view the man who rapes a woman, regardless of whether she is a virgin or not, if she is a free woman he must pay a “dowry” like that of her peers, and if she is a slave he must pay whatever has been detracted from her value. The punishment is to be carried out on the rapist and there is no punishment for the woman who has been raped, whatever the case.  (Imam Maalik, Al-Muwatta’, Volume 2, page 734)

4-Muslims worship a moon God

This is another argument that is very common to hear, that Muslims worship a pagan moon God. Obviously this is nonsense, with the Quran itself saying:

And of His signs are the night and day and the sun and moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostate to Allah, who created them, if it should be Him that you worship. – Qur’an 41:37.

So the Quran tells the people to neither worship the sun or the moon. So how can Muslims worship a moon God, when the God of the Quran is telling the people to not worship the moon, and that God created the moon?

5- Islam is anti-women

Critics claim that Islam is a faith that is against women, which off course is false, the first convert to Islam was in fact a women, the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) wife Khadijah.

We will list a whole set of revelations the Quran brought down concerning women, proving it is not a misogynistic faith.

-The Quran banned the abhorrent practice of burying female daughters alive:

When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! ith shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! what an evil (choice) they decide on? (16:57-58)

When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned, for what crime she was killed (81:8-9)

-The Quran made it a rule that wives must be treated properly, not to be abused, and not to force women into marriages against their will:

O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)

-Women are to receive an alimony after a divorce:

For divorced women Maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale). This is a duty on the righteous. (2:241)

-Women who give birth to a child, must be provided for by the father of the child:

Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No-one should be charged beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child. (2:233)

-Women have a right to an inheritance:

From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large,-a determinate share. (4:7)

-Women have a right to have their honor and reputation protected:

And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;- (24:4)

-Women are put on an equal footing with men:

For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

Conclusion

Obviously there are many more misconceptions towards Islam, but these are 5 of the most common arguments you will often hear, hopefully we have clarified some of these issues. What we urge everybody to do, is to conduct a proper research into the claims being made, read the Quran, read the hadiths, consult a knowledgable Muslim, and then you will find yourself understanding the issues far more better. 

Categories: Islam

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11 replies »

  1. Just a heads-up: There is a mistake in point #2– “there is a group from the Jews who are unrighteous, who stand for the truth, and do what is right” — “unrighteous” should be “righteous”, or change it to:
    “there is a group from the Jews who are unrighteous, [and there are those] who stand for the truth and do what is right.”

  2. these misconception are not common and everything you said is not truth but yes muslims don’t worship a moon god but it is true that before Muhammad Allah was also a name of a pagan god

  3. John,

    Allah was never known as a name of any idol even before Muhammad. Arab Jews and Christians used the name “Allah” for the only true God since before Muhammad up to this day and obviously they would never have done so if the name had been that of a pagan god. What about YHWH ?

    • maybe Arab Jews and Christians called god Allah aswell but so did pagans after all most people Arabia before Muhammad were pagans

      • The Qur’an (which is the oldest Arabic document in existence that addressed the contemporary Arab Jews and Christians directly on their beliefs), Hadeeths and archaeological evidences established the fact that pre-Islamic Arab Jews and Christians used the name “Allah” for the only true God. This fact proves that the name “Allah” could never be a name of a pagan god even before Muhammad.
        You people always disregard the fact that the Arabs since before Muhammad had a firmly agreed tradition that they descended from Prophet Abraham through his son Ishmael who were no pagans but patriarchs of monotheism. That this tradition existed with them is undeniable. It was upon this tradition that they developed their beliefs. Thus they had the firm belief that the invisible Allah was the God and Creator of the whole world. Muhammad just found them trying to worship Allah through idols which they later created. To them, the idols were just to bring them closer to the invisible heavenly God and Creator of the world. The Qur’an chastises them to return to the original monotheistic teaching of Prophet Abraham by discarding all the idols and worshiping Allah directly alone (Qur’an 43: 87 etc). This shows that the idolatrous (pagan) pre-Islamic Arabs never worshipped Allah as one of their idols, as a pagan god.
        Now, what about the English word “God” used in all English Bibles as a name of the true God? Do you know that this name was used of pagan idols before the coming of Christianity to Europe? So, is it to be regarded as a name of pagan gods and thus unsuitable to be used for the true God? What about the meaningless name YHWH? Do you know that archaeology and other historical evidences show that it was used by pagan (idolatrous) Hebrews before? Do you know that pagan Hebrews associated YHWH with a goddess consort called Asherah in the history of Israel? Since this name YHWH was used by pagans, can we argue like you that it could not be a name of the true God?
        Besides, the name YHWH is now quite defective as it is comprised of just consonants without vowels that nobody now is CERTAIN about its actual pronunciation! Also, the actual meaning of this word is not certain! So, could this word now fit the Perfect God Almighty that should not be associated with anything defective?!

        • yes some Arabs especially the northern Arabs may have descendent of Abraham through Ishmael but not all Arabs and yes maybe some Arab Christians used Allah for god they might have been heretical Christians or those follow mixture of Christianity and paganism which was common in Arabia but it was commonly used by pagans and pagan Europeans used their specific name of their god and nowhere in the bible I have seen does it show that the word yaweh as a pagan god existed before jewish leaders and jewish prophets declared that name but with muslim tradition it teaches the word allah was believed by pagan as a higher god before muhammad and no there was no pagan Hebrews who called god yaweh but yes those scholars espicaly those who say the figures in the bible before king david were not real or were inspired by real figures but not like how the bible teaches say that yaweh was god of a community like Midianities or a town called yaweh that was adopted by the Hebrews who later became the national god and later the only one god after the babyon captivity and these scholars also say Hebrew or Jewish people as we call them grew out of of canaan area not like how it is taught in the bible and maybe even the quran and some scholarshave said Asherah was the wife of bal not yaweh or might be a cow

          • You wrote: “yes maybe some Arab Christians used Allah for god they might have been heretical Christians or those follow mixture of Christianity and paganism which was common in Arabia but it was commonly used by pagans.”

            Response: I already pointed out that the pre-Islamic Arabs never recognized Allah as one of the idols that they eventually created but recognized Him as the invisible heavenly Creator of the heavens and the Earth based on Abrahamaic tradittion that existed with them. So they evidently recognized Allah as Abrahamaic God never as a pagan idol.

            Pre-Islamic Arab Jews and Christians recognized that Allah was just the Arabic word for the Abrahamaic invisible heavenly God and not a name of any pagan god and thus used the name for the true God of Abraham. Yes, the name was used equally by both pre-Islamic Jews and Christians and other pre-Islamic Arabs not as a name of any pagan god but as an Arabic name of the Abrahamaic God. Thus there is nothing pagan about the name let alone makes not only the pre-Islamic Arab Christians but also the pre-Islamic Arab Jews that recognized the name for the true God any heretical!

            You are wrongly assuming too far for your highly subjective approach to Islam.

            You wrote: “but with muslim tradition it teaches the word allah was believed by pagan as a higher god before muhammad”

            Response: The Muslim tradition actually teaches that the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Allah to be the Creator of the heavens and the Earth whom they dared not represented by any image (idol) but deviantly sought to worship through idols they created. They believed Allah to be the Abrahamaic God whom they considered too high to be worshipped directly and thus wrongly sought to worship Him through idols.

            Thus your saying that they believed Allah to be just “a high god” is misleading. It may mean that they believed Allah as one of their idols, a high idol, which is false! There was never an idol named Allah in the history of Arabs! As said, they recognized Allah to be the Arabic name of the Abrahamaic God based on their Abrahamaic tradition.

            You need to seriously research on the etymology of the English word “God” and you will surely see that it was solely used for pagan gods before now being used for the true God in the English Bibles.

            And it is unfortunate that you never know that some pagans worshipped YHWH alongside with a goddess as his consort known as Asherah. Archaeology proves it!
            “Amulets, figurines, inscriptions and ancient texts, including the Bible, reveal Asherah’s once prominent standing.
            God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar.
            In 1967, Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshiped both Yahweh and Asherah….The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.” (http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.htm )

            So, since ancient pagans worshipped YHWH alonside goddess Asherah, could we say that YHWH is a pagan god (your logic)?!

            And you did not address the fact that the name YHWH is defective now for lack of certainty for its actual pronunciation and its actual meaning. Could defective name be used for the Perfect God who should not be associated with anything defective?

            • You : already pointed out that the pre-Islamic Arabs never recognized Allah as one of the idols that they eventually created but recognized Him as the invisible heavenly Creator of the heavens and the Earth based on Abrahamaic tradittion that existed with them. So they evidently recognized Allah as Abrahamaic God never as a pagan idol.

              Pre-Islamic Arab Jews and Christians recognized that Allah was just the Arabic word for the Abrahamaic invisible heavenly God and not a name of any pagan god and thus used the name for the true God of Abraham. Yes, the name was used equally by both pre-Islamic Jews and Christians and other pre-Islamic Arabs not as a name of any pagan god but as an Arabic name of the Abrahamaic God. Thus there is nothing pagan about the name let alone makes not only the pre-Islamic Arab Christians but also the pre-Islamic Arab Jews that recognized the name for the true God any heretical!

              Response: Yes I already said that Allah was believed by pagans to be a higher god but had daughters who they defintley worshipped and some before that he had brother and some historians although it is disputed have said the god hubal was allah so allah was also worshipped as a idol if true and yes I already said that some pre Islamic jews and Christians may called their god but muslim influence it seem came from pagan use of it and I don’t how you say that pagan arabs believed in the same god as the Christians and Jews so they also called Allah to me it seems that pagan started calling god allah but when later some arabs converted or came to Arabia the jews and Christians also called god allah

              You:The Muslim tradition actually teaches that the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Allah to be the Creator of the heavens and the Earth whom they dared not represented by any image (idol) but deviantly sought to worship through idols they created. They believed Allah to be the Abrahamaic God whom they considered too high to be worshipped directly and thus wrongly sought to worship Him through idols

              Thus your saying that they believed Allah to be just “a high god” is misleading. It may mean that they believed Allah as one of their idols, a high idol, which is false! There was never an idol named Allah in the history of Arabs! As said, they recognized Allah to be the Arabic name of the Abrahamaic God based on their Abrahamaic tradition.

              Response: so you believe that Jews and Christians and pagans believed in the same god but only difference pagans Allah had daughters? if so why cant it be that the jews and christians that were in arabia adopted the name from the pagans because they had no other name for god or because it similar to the aramic form so they kept the same as pagans and pagan Arabs especially the meccans did believe he was high god although it is disputed if he had a idol he was still recognised as a pagan distinct from arab jewish and christian god

              You: You need to seriously research on the etymology of the English word “God” and you will surely see that it was solely used for pagan gods before now being used for the true God in the English Bibles

              Response: Yes the word god may have used but the pagan used the name of their god more than simply calling himself god

              You: And it is unfortunate that you never know that some pagans worshipped YHWH alongside with a goddess as his consort known as Asherah. Archaeology proves it!
              “Amulets, figurines, inscriptions and ancient texts, including the Bible, reveal Asherah’s once prominent standing.
              God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar.
              In 1967, Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshiped both Yahweh and Asherah….The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.” (http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.htm )

              So, since ancient pagans worshipped YHWH alonside goddess Asherah, could we say that YHWH is a pagan god (your logic)?!

              Response: no I know about claim Asherah might have been the wife of Yaweh but it is not accepted by all that Yahweh had a wife but has interpreted by some especially those reject the bible story before king david as being historical that he did but like I said it might have been Yahweh cow because where it says Yahweh and his asherah there is a cow feeding it calf or object associated with or may have been the wife of baal and even if some pagans worshipped Yahweh alongside asherah the jews did not and instead it might have been that the pagans adopted from the jews or jews who started worshipping idols and may have only been worshiped by some pagans

              You: And you did not address the fact that the name YHWH is defective now for lack of certainty for its actual pronunciation and its actual meaning. Could defective name be used for the Perfect God who should not be associated with anything defective?

              Response: No many Christian and Jews still say Yahweh

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