Q 1: Is it true that the religion of Islam is called Muhammadanism?
A 1: No! If anyone, who wants to insult a Muslim, he would state that Muhammadanism is the religion of Islam. Anyone who wants to submit willingly in peace to the One God (Allah), he or she is called a Muslim, and the religion is Islam. It is the religion of peace, harmony, concord and happiness with serenity.
Q 2: Is it true that Muslims are called Muhammadans?
A 2: No! The followers of the religion of Islam are called Muslims. They worship the Only One Creator, namely Allah. Muslims do not worship Muhammad, and the founder of Islam is Allah. Muhammad is not divine, the divinity belongs to Allah alone. Muhammad is not an immortal being. Allah alone is immortal. Therefore, Muslims are those individuals who submit to Allah willingly in peace. They are the ones who make their Pledge of Allegiance daily to Allah.
Q 3: What is the difference between Moslems and Muslims?
A 3: The Arabic word for the followers of Islam is Muslims. There is nothing called Moslems. The latter word may give a wrong information about Muslims. It may reflect Zulm and Zalam. The first means injustice, while the latter means darkness and medieval Muslims prefer to be called Muslims, and they do recommend that non-Muslims should try to pronounce these names of Islam and Muslims as good as possible.
Q 4: Is it true that all Arabs are Muslims, and that all Muslims are Arabs?
A 4: No! Any person who reads, writes and speaks the Arabic language is called an Arab. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. 20% are considered Arabs while the rest are non-Arabs.
Among the Arab people there are about 8% who are non-Muslims, such as Christians, Jews, Assyrians, Atheists, Agnostics, etc.
However, every Muslim has to study and learn the Arabic language so that he/she will be able to pray daily and to read Qur'an and the Arabic language.
Q 5: Is it true that Muslims worship Muhammad?
A 5: Not at all! Muslims do worship Allah. For that reason they are not called Muhammadans. Christians do worship Christ, hence they are called Christians. Muslims do not worship any person at all. They obey Allah and they demonstrate their obedience to Him in all aspects of life. For that reason they are called Muslims.
Q 6: Is it true that the founder of Islam is Muhammad?
A 6: This is not true at all!... Muslims believe that the founder of Islam is Allah, the Creator of the whole universe. Islam is therefore is the religion of obedience to Allah.
Q 7: In secular countries, the Pledge of Allegiance is to the nag of the country that a person belongs to. How do Muslims look at such a pledge?
A 7: Any person who makes his Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of his country, he is legally responsible to defend that country according to what the political leaders decide. The leaders may decide to invade other countries and commit all types of injustices, atrocities, and crimes. As a citizen he has to follow their orders after drafting him in the Army.
A Muslim's loyalty is to Allah. He will never obey political leaders unless they themselves obey Allah. Allah will never allow any leader to commit atrocities, injustice, or crimes. Invading other countries and killing other people are among the biggest crimes. Therefore, the masses as well as the leaders should make a Pledge of Allegiance to Allah, the Creator of the whole universe.
Q 8: Since the Pledge of Allegiance of Muslims is only to Allah, so what is that Pledge, and what does it mean?
A 8:Yes, the Pledge of Allegiance of Muslims is only to Allah, the Creator of the Universe. Muslims have to say daily the Pledge in the language of the Qur'an, i.e., Arabic. They have to recite it vocally individually and collectively. They may pronounce it verbally, privately, and silently too.
The Pledge goes as follows:
"Ashhadu Anla ilaha Illa Allah...Wa Ashhadu Anna MuHammadan Rasoolu Allah."
"I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except God (Allah)... And I bear witness that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
Q 9: Once I was talking to a Muslim saying to him that as Christians we believe in the Unity of God. He informed me that Muslims do not believe in the Unity of God but in the Oneness of God. I got confused. Would you kindly elaborate for me the difference.
A 9: Thank you very much for raising a very fundamental principle in Islam. Muslims believe in the Oneness of God. They do not believe in the concept of Unity of God.
The word unity may give a wrong impression about the concept of God. It may mean two gods in one, or three gods in one. As Christians, you believe in three gods in one: God the father, god the son and god the holy spirit. Three in One. This is the concept of Unity of God.
Muslims do not subscribe to this concept. God is the only One. He is One-in-One. He begets no one; and no one begotten Him. He is the Creator of the whole universe. No one shares with Him His Sovereignty.
Q 10: What are the legal sources of Islam?
A 10: The sources of Islam are the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sirah, and the Unanimous decisions of the early Muslim Scholars.
Q 11: What is the difference between Hadith and Sunnah?
A 11: Hadith is the exact sayings of the Prophet with quote and unquote. The Sunnah of the Prophet includes the Hadith as well as the lifestyle of the Prophet. His deeds and actions are included as well. Anything that he accepted without commenting or talking about is also included in the Sunnah.
Q 12: I heard that there is something called Sirah. Would you kindly tell me what it is?
A 12: Generally speaking, Sirah means the life history of someone. Any time Muslims talk about the Sirah, they mean the Life History of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Muslims are to study the Sirah of the Prophet so that they will be able to imitate him, emulate him, and benefit from his wisdom and his teachings. The early followers of Islam have written a series of books about the Sirah of the Prophet Muhammad so as to be a guide to all the new generation to come.
Q13: I thought that Muslims do believe only in Muhammad as their Prophet. Is it true?
A 13: No! Muslims do believe in all of the Prophets and Messengers that Allah sent to mankind from the days of Adam to the days of the Prophet Muhammad. Their numbers are in the thousands or more. However, Allah mentioned 25 names in the Qur'an. Among them five who were mentioned to the Mighty and the most influential ones. Those are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
Muslims do believe in all of them with great respect. Any time any Prophet's name is mentioned, Muslims say peace be upon him (pbuh).
Q 14: Would you kindly tell me how many Prophets you Muslims believe in?
A 14: According to the teaching of Islam, Allah sent so many Prophets in the history of mankind. Qur'an informs us that Allah sent a large number of them. However, to give us a good guidance, and to help us to be able to practice the moral teachings of Islam, Allah gave us the names of (25) Prophets in the Qur'an. Whoever studies their teachings will be able to live in peace and harmony with all people of the world.
Q 15: Since you said that Qur'an mentions (25) Prophets, would you be able to let us know their names?
A 15: Yes! Their names sequentially and historically are the following:
Adam, Idriss, Noah, Hood, Satih, Ibrahim, Lout, Ismait, Lishaq, Yacoob, Yusuf, Shu'aib, Ayub, Zulkifl, Musa, Haroon, Dawood, Sulaiman, Ilyass, Yunus, Zakaria, Yahia, Isa, Muhammad.
Q16: I was surprised to know that you Muslims do believe in Jesus and Mary. I thought you hate them?
A 16: Muslims do believe in Jesus and Mary. We trust them and we respect them. Jesus was on of the Mighty Messengers of Allah. His mother was chosen by Allah from all women of her time. She conceives with Jesus vegetatively.
In the Qur'an there is one chapter (Surah) in the name of Mary herself No other women's name was revealed explicitly in the Qur'an except that of Mary. Jesus is one of the beloved Prophets of Allah, and his mother Mary, is one of the most respected women in the minds of Muslims.
Q 17: I am also surprised to know that Muslims do believe in Moses. I thought Moses was the Prophet of the Jews only.
A 17: Moses was not the Prophet of the Jews. He was the Prophet of Allah to the children of Israel. He was sent to save them from the persecution of Pharaoh of Egypt. However, Moses was a Muslim. He preached the Message of Allah He taught them to believe in Allah the Creator of the Universe. He instructed them to pray, fast and pay Zakat as well.
Muslims do believe in Prophet Moses in as much as they believe in all the other Prophets and Messengers without any discrimination.
Q 18: Is it true that Muhammad is the last Prophet and the last Messenger? If yes, how come?! Don't you think that we need more Prophets today?
A 18: Yes! Muhammad is the last Prophet and the last Messenger of Allah to all mankind. His teachings are meant for Christians, Jews, Bhudists, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, and others.
You may need another Prophet if his teachings were distorted or lost. The originality, totality and authenticity of the Qur'an are well documented and proved to be intact. As long as the originality of the Qur'an is preserved by memory, printing, audio, video, CD-ROM, Internet, there is no need for another Prophet. The teachings of Islam are meant for all human beings. This was not true to the previous Prophets who came for a particular tribe, nation, or even for a particular era and area.
If people try to study the Qur'an, they will definitely be guided by Allah The teachings of all the previous Prophets are found in the Qur'an.
Q. 19: In Christianity, we believe that we were born sinful and therefore we have to be baptized. What does Islam say about original sin?
A 19: in Islam, every person is born free of sin. It would inhumane and unjust that God would create us with sins. At the same time. there is no genetic proof that we are born with sin. Nowhere we can find any DNA gene on any chromosome that carries the gene of sin.
Allah is so merciful. He created us as pure as crystal ice. It is only after the age of puberty that one will be accounted for his deeds and actions preceded by intention. At that time, we will be rewarded ten times for any good deeds, and we will be charged once for every bad deed. If we ask forgiveness from Allah, He will forgive us.
Because we are born free of sins, we do not need to be baptized. We are already born as Muslims.
Q 20: Jews have their Sabbath on Saturday. Christians have their holiday on Sunday. Why do Muslims have their holiday on Friday?
A 20: it is a good question. To the Muslims we are informed that Allah decided that Friday should be a holiday for all of us. Allah created Adam on Friday. Adam entered paradise on Friday. He and his wife Eve landed on this planet earth on Friday. He died on Friday.
Friday is a blessing and a sacred day. The doors of Heaven are open of Friday white the doors of Hell are closed. Prayers and supplication (Du 'a') are accepted on Friday. The day of Friday is a day of Peace where all animals, birds and insects say "Peace" on that day.
Moreover, the Day of Judgment is to take place on Friday. Non-Muslims made their own decisions as to Saturday and Sunday. Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) informing both the Christians and the Jews that they should take Friday as a holy and a sacred day. It is up to the individuals to do what they want. We do obey Allah . He revealed a Surah in the Qur'an which has the name of Friday. Muslims are to summon and to congregate every Friday noon, and listen to the Khutbah (sermon) from the religious leader (Imam).
Q 21: In Christianity, we have to believe in Jesus as our personal Savior to enter Paradise. What does Islam say about Salvation?
A 21: Salvation in Islam does not depend on someone else to do it for us. We are responsible for our deeds and actions preceded by our good intentions. Therefore, everyone has to work hard with good intention. Our intention as Muslims is to please the Creator, namely Allah.
Whoever believes in Allah (the Only One God); in all the Prophets and Messengers that God sent to mankind; in the Day of Judgment; and do good deeds to all without personal ego or without exploitation; then and only then God assures us eternal Salvation. Through His Mercy, Forgiveness and Blessings, people will be given Salvation.
Q 22: In Christianity, we have made agreement with the Secular States to separate religion from the state. How does Islam feel about it?
A 22: In Islam we cannot make any agreement with any person or government to displease Allah; we cannot make any deal with any group to decide any matter against what God has already decide.
In Islam State and Religion are to abide their total life according to the teachings of Allah. No one has the right to separate the state from religion. Otherwise, we are creating two gods: One god for our daily life and one god for the spiritual life. This type of approach is totally rejected and unacceptable.
In Islam, Allah created the whole universe. He is the Real Legislator of all systems of life for us. He knows exactly what we need. He legislated the systems that we should abide by. Then and only then we will live in peace and harmony in this life and the hereafter.
Q 23: Islam is being accused, because it teaches Jihad. This means that Muslims have to go around and kill Christians and Jews. I don't think this would be a good idea. What can you say about it?
A 23: You are right! This is not a good idea. Islam does not believe in killing other people. Whoever kills one person, as if he has killed the whole humanity. On the other hand, whoever preserves the life of one as if he has preserved the life of all. Whoever kills someone, he should be killed by the authority in the government.
Christians and Jews are considered in the Qur'an to be People of the Book. They have been given special status and respect. Muslims are encouraged to call upon them to live in peace and harmony in the society.
Jihad means that people are to excel a degree of excellence so as to achieve the best in all aspects of life. One has to strive and struggle bard in order to reach the highest degree of achievement. If the society is to be attacked by invaders then Muslims are to defend themselves. The concept of defense is Jihad too. However, there are rules and regulations to restrict retaliations of any Muslim against civilians.
Q 24: I heard that you Muslims pray five times a day. Don't you think it is too much especially in this contemporary world of science, technology, and heavy business transactions?
A 24: Yes! We do pray five times a day, Allah prescribed it, and accordingly we do it as a matter of worship. For those who do not know the values of prayer may think it is too much. For those who practice the prayer, do enjoy it. They wish to have more. Some usually pray extra to receive happiness, peace and tranquillity.
In places where there is heavy business people do need more spiritual relaxation. They need to pray more in order to achieve peace, concord, and happiness.
Q 25: I have a Muslim friend in school. He told me that in order to pray he has to have ablution. Why do you go for such a ritual? Can't you pray without ablution?
A 25: For every activity in life, there are rules and regulations. Sometimes there are pre-requisites to the general requirements too. In Islam there are also some rules and regulations for the systems that Allah had legislated.
In schools, each teacher has his requirements for every course that he teaches. Through his knowledge and wisdom he designed the course and the requirement so that the students will be able to pass the course.
The prayer (salat) in Islam has its rules and regulations. It has its own pre-requisites too. Muslims have to make sure that their clothing and the underwear have to be clean from all types of impurities. Then and only then, they will be able to make ablution. Later, they go for prayer.
Ablution is very important. It refreshes us, stimulates our blood circulation, cleans certain parts of the body, and helps us to prepare ourselves to pray while we are in a state of purity.
We do it because it is required anit is prescribed by Allah in the 'an, and explained in details by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, it is a matter of worship and obedience to Allah.
Q 26: I saw a friend of mine in his school who refused to eat or drink almost one whole month. I was shocked. I asked him about it. His reply was that Muslims are to fast one whole month from Dawn to Sunset. They don't eat, or drink at all. Even they cannot chew a gum. It was a surprise for me. I felt sympathy for him. All of us were enjoying eating and drinking, while he was denying himself the necessities of life. What is this? Can you inform me in few sentences?
A 26: What your friend was doing is part of the teachings of Islam. Muslims all over the world are to practice fasting for a whole month from Dawn to Sunset. This month is the 9th lunar month, it is called Ramadan. Fasting the whole month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar in Islam. Muslims do abstain from eating, drinking and chewing gums. They are to control their egos, their appetites, and their lusts. They are also to control their senses.
Fasting has been prescribed on other people before Islam too. It was prescribed on Jews and Christians too.
Fasting has many religious, social, cultural, economic, and educational benefits to all. It needs people to understand and to practice fasting in order to enjoy its benefits.
Q 27: During Christmas, I realized that Muslims don't celebrate this festivity. Since Muslims do believe in Jesus, why then they don't celebrate Christmas?
A 27: Muslims do believe in Jesus. He was one of the five Mighty Messengers of Allah . However, Muslims don't celebrate the birth of any Prophet. Even those Prophets did not celebrate their own birthdays.
Moreover, Jesus was not born in December. He was born most likely late August or first of September. Christmas has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. It has to do with the Pagan feast of the Roman Empire.
Therefore, Muslims do not celebrate Christmas. However, non-Muslims should not feel bad towards Muslims. We live in a Multi-Cultural Society. We should learn from one another so that we and our new generations will live in peace and happiness.
Q 28: I saw a Muslim who has a watch in his hand which has (according to what he said to me) two types of Calendars: Solar and Lunar Calendars. What and why do Muslims have two Calendars?
A 28: Yes! Muslims use two types of Calendars in their daily life and religious activities. They are the solar and lunar calendars.
Muslims do pray five times a day, and they use the solar calendar for that. These prayers are to be performed at certain times and in a certain period of time. They are: Dawn (Fajr); Noon (Zuhr); Afternoon (Asr); Sunset (Maghrib); and Night (Isha').
Muslims also use the lunar calendar for fasting the month of Ramadan. It is the ninth month. They use the lunar calendar also for the two festivities namely Feast of Fast-Breaking (Eid-ul Fitr); and Feast of Sacrifice (Eidul Adha). The first feast takes place during the first few days of the tenth lunar month (Shawwal). The second feast takes place during the first ten days of the 12th lunar month (Zul Hijjah). This is the time when Muslims go to Makkah to perform pilgrimage (Hajj).
Q 29: I heard from my Muslim friends that Muslims have to go to Pilgrimage to Makkah in Arabian Peninsula. Is it true? And why Makkah?
A 29: Yes! It is true- Muslims have five basic pillars in order to be considered by Allah as Muslims.
The fifth pillar in Islam is to perform Pilgrimage to Makkah once in a life time of each person if means allow him/her. That place was selected by Allah Himself He selected Makkah for Adam and Eve after coming from Heaven to live there. They were guided by Allah through the help of Angel Gabriel to build the first place of worship on this planet earth. That place is called Ka'aba.
Later in history, it was destroyed by flood. Allah sent Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail to rebuild the Ka'aba. Since that time Muslims have been instructed in the Qur'an that their pilgrimage place is Ka'aba in Makkah.
Q 30: Why do Muslims have to pray towards Ka'aba in Makkah?
A 30: It is a good question. Our question to you, would be: Toward where else do you think Muslims should pray? Any place chosen by Allah , we will follow. Allah chose Ka'aba as a source of Unity for all the Muslims all over the world. Ka'aba was the First House of Worship to Allah on this planet earth. Adam and Eve were instructed to build Ka'aba. Angel Gabriel was sent by Allah to show them the way and to help them build the Ka'aba.
Muslims all over the world are being blessed by Allah, that Ka'aba has become a source of Unity five times a day. It is also a source of Unity during Pilgrimage (Hajj). Ka'aba brings Muslims in their memories with Adam and Eve, and later with Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail who reconstructed it again.
Q 31: Every place I go I hear that people are divided into different races. The blacks... the whites... the Asians The Brahmans... the untouchable the royal family the Saiyeds ... the Shareefs ... etc. Don't you think this type of classification is unjust and unfair? What does Islam says about it?
A 31: I agree with you totally. It is unfair and unjust to divide people into different races, and different ranks or hierarchies. This is injustice committed by those who were spoiled, and by those who assumed leadership in their communities. They did many wrong things. They tried to hide their mistakes by claiming they are above others.
Allah has created all of us from Adam and Eve. He made us all equal in front of His Laws. We should be equal in front of the laws of every land. There is No Race in Islam. All of us as human beings constitute One Single Human Race. There is nothing called Black or White Race. There is color pigmentation from one group of people to others. This has been designed by Allah to enjoy the varieties of colors and their beautiful appearance. Imagine that all of us are Albinos! ... There is no beauty of colors. There is no way that we will be able to differentiate between one person and the other.
Finally Remember! Allah made us out of one single race ... we are the Human Race of Adam and Eve.
By Ahmad H. Sakr, Ph.D. exclusively to IslamicWeb.
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