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Saturday, 3 November 2007

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ISLAM


In order to convey the message of Islam, dialogue and debate become inevitable. The Glorious Qur’an says: “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord, with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious!” [Al-Qur’an 16:125]

In conveying the message of Islam to a non-Muslim, it is usually not sufficient to highlight only the positive nature of Islam. Most non-Muslims are not convinced about the truth of Islam because there are a few questions about Islam at the back of their minds that remain unanswered. They may agree with your contentions about the positive nature of Islam. But, in the same breath, they will say - “Ah! But you are the same Muslims who marry more than one woman. You are the same people who subjugate women by keeping them behind the veil. You are fundamentalists, etc.”

The common misconceptions about Islam arise in the minds of a majority of Non-Muslims, because they are constantly being bombarded with misinformation about Islam. International media is mainly controlled by the western world, whether it is international satellite channels, radio stations, news papers, magazines or books. Even so-called ‘local’ newspapers in Muslim countries buy news from the same sources that feed these news channels. As to why Islam and Muslims are being misrepresented and by whom, is a subject on its own. What is clear is that non-Muslims who live among Muslims even in Muslim countries, would find it hard to match facts on the ground with what they read or hear from ‘official’ news channels.

Recently the Internet has become a powerful medium of information. Though it is not controlled by anybody, one finds a large amount of virulent propaganda about Islam on the Internet. Of course, Muslims too are utilizing this tool to portray the right image of Islam and Muslims, but they are far behind as compared to the propaganda against Islam.

The most common questions about Islam are different in different periods and eras. Decades earlier, the set of questions was different and decades later too, the set of questions may change depending upon how Islam is projected by the media. More than that, Dr.Zakir Abdul Karim Naik said that (Founder of Islamic Research Foundation-IRF), “I have interacted with people in different parts of the world and have found most common questions about Islam to be the same everywhere. There may be a couple of additional questions depending upon the locale, the surrounding or culture. For instance in America, the additional common question is - “Why does Islam prohibit taking and giving of interest?”

Beside that, there are many non-Muslims who have studied Islam. Most of them have only read books on Islam written by biased critics of Islam. These non-Muslims have an additional set of twenty common misconceptions about Islam. For instance, they claim to have found contradictions in the Qur’an, they contend that the Qur’an is unscientific, etc. For example, if we have been asked by question like this, “Why do Muslims abuse non-Muslims by calling them Kafirs?” So, we can answer through explain that ‘Kafir’ is derived from the word ‘kafara’, which means to conceal or to reject. In Islamic terminology, ‘Kafir’ means one who conceals or rejects the truth of Islam and a person who rejects Islam is in English called a ‘non-Muslim’. If a ‘non-Muslim’ considers being called a ‘non-Muslim’ or ‘Kafir’, which are one and the same, an abuse, it is due to his misunderstanding about Islam. He or she needs to reach out to proper sources of understanding Islam and Islamic terminology, and not only will he not feel abused but appreciate Islam in the proper perspective.


For Conclusion, as a Muslim, we should note that Da’wah is our duty. Most Muslims know that Islam is a universal religion, meant for all mankind. Allah (swt) is the Lord of the entire Universe, and Muslims have been entrusted with the duty of conveying His message to all mankind. Alas, most Muslims today have become callous towards this duty! While accepting Islam as the best way of life for ourselves, most of us are unwilling to share this knowledge with those to whom the message has not yet been conveyed. The Arabic word Da’wah means a call or an invitation. In Islamic context, it means to strive for the propagation of Islam. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Ah! Who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!”
[Al-Qur’an 2:140]


Prepared by:
Bro.Akmal

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