Some excerpts from the book “Islamic facts refuting allegations against Islam“, by Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zakzouk
The Glorious Qur’an
(1) Is the Qur’an a Divine Revelation or is it contrived by man?
If the Qur’an is proved to be a Divine Revelation, which is free from all falsehood, there is no alternative but to believe in it.
The allegation that he [the Prophet] relied upon the Jewish and Christian scriptures in the Qur’an is not only false but also ridiculous, for how could an illiterate person read, understand, and convey any beliefs existing in the Holy Books of other religions?
The Qur’an, however, opposed many other prevalent beliefs among the followers of both Judaism and Christianity. This in itself is sufficient proof to refute the allegation that Muhammad referred to the Jewish and Christian sources of faith.
No other scripture or Holy Book other than the Qur’an included scientific facts and cosmic and biological phenomena in its verses more than fourteen centuries ago, all of which were discovered only in the fifties of the twentieth century following the advanced progress in all branches of science. Examples of this include the successive stages of the embryo and the foetus in the womb, the sun, the moon, the planets, the wind, rain, etc.
Where could the illiterate Prophet Muhammad have possibly acquired such highly advanced scientific information? It cannot be claimed that his sources in these matters were Jewish or Christian Scriptures, which make no reference to any such matters. The only source of the inspired verses of the Qur’an was undoubtedly and exclusively God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, and could not possibly have been any human source.
(2) Was the Qur’an contrived from previous scriptures?
The Qur’an includes many laws, rulings, instructions, and commands which did not exist in the previous scriptures. Furthermore, the Qur’an contains narratives with detailed accounts of previous generations in addition to prophecies which were fulfilled. An example of this was the final outcome of the conflict between the Romans and the Persians, the events of which were unknown to Muhammad, his people, or the followers of Judaism and Christianity.
The Prophet Muhammad
(Blessings and Peace be upon him)
(1) Was the Prophet Muhammad sent with the Message of Islam to the Arabs or to all mankind?
The very first time that Muhammad proclaimed his message to the people, he declared the following: ” I am the messenger of God to all mankind and to you in particular “. This means that the Divine Message was sent to all mankind right from the very beginning and that the Prophet never claimed that it was meant to be a religion for the Arabs alone. This is confirmed by another of the Prophet’s sayings: ” Every Prophet was sent to his own people whereas I was sent to all mankind “. [Bukhari]
[…] in the verse 107 of Sura (chapter) 21 we read: ” In no way did We send you but as a Mercy for all creatures “.
(2) What were the reasons for the Prophet’s marriages?
The Prophet Muhammad was twenty-five years old when he married Khadija, his first wife, who was fifteen years his senior and had been married twice. She remained his wife for twenty-eight years until she died and he did not marry any other woman during this period of his life. He was always faithful to her memory, so much so that this loyalty provoked jealousy among some of his wives in later years.
The Prophet’s nature, character, and way of life before and after his prophethood are absolute proof that he was neither lustful nor sensuous. How could a man who was more than fifty years old suddenly change and become a slave to lust, when he had had every opportunity as a young man to follow his desires, in common with the other young men of his tribe. On the contrary, Muhammad was well known for his virtue, and his only wife who was a virgin was ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, while most of his wives were widows whom he married for humane reasons or in order to enforce a religious observance or ruling and not for any sensuous desire on his part.
As regards his marriage to Sawda, daughter of Zam’a, ‘ who was the widow of one of his companions, he was more than fifty years old at that time, and she was neither beautiful, wealthy, nor of noble descent. He married her in order to care for and support the family of his companion, who had suffered torture and death for his faith in God. His marriage to ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Hafsa, daughter of ‘Omar, at later dates were in order to strengthen the ties between himself and his companions Abu Bakr and ‘Omar.
As regards to Um Salama, she was the widow of a martyr who had been mortally wounded in the battle of Uhud. She was an old woman, and when the Prophet proposed marriage to her she tried to excuse herself from accepting because of her age, but the Prophet consoled her and married her for humane reasons.
The Prophet married Ramlah, daughter of Abu Sufyan, who had emigrated to Abyssinia with her husband who had renounced Islam, become a Christian, and had abandoned her, leaving her without any maintenance. The Prophet sent a message to al-Najashi, who ruled Abyssinia, requesting Ramlah’s return to her homeland to deliver her from the estrangement which she felt in a foreign land and to deliver her from the persecution of her own Pagan family in Makkah, had she been forced to return to them. The Prophet also hoped that by this marriage his influential father in Makkah might be induced to embrace Islam.
The Prophet married Jawayriyya, daughter of Al-Harith, who was among the captives captured at the battle of Bani Al-Mustalaq. Her father was the chief and master of his tribe, and the Prophet married her in order to liberate her from captivity, and he requested the Muslims to liberate their captives and set them free.
The Prophet married Safiyya who was the daughter of the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. She was allowed to choose between returning to her people or being set free by marrying the Prophet and she preferred to marry the prophet to returning to her tribe.
The Prophet’s marriage to his cousin Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, was in order to establish a religious ruling. She had been married to Zayd Ibn Haritha, the Prophet’s adopted son. Their marriage did not last long and she was divorced. It was the custom of the Arabs during that period to prohibit any marriage between a man and his adopted son’s divorced wife. The Prophet was ordered by God to marry Zaynab in order to abolish this ruling which was totally unnecessary. The following Qur’anic verse established this ruling: ” … Then when Zayd had dissolved his marriage with her, with the necessary formality, We joined her in marriage to you: in order that in the future there may be no difficulty in the matter of marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary formality their marriage with them and God’s Command must be fulfilled.” [33/37]
(3) What is the proof of the authenticity of the Traditions of the Prophet?
The Prophet’s interpretation of the Qur’an, his conduct, his actions, and his advice are all essential elements of his Traditions. […] he said: ” I have left two matters for you and if you adhere to them you will never be mislead. They are God’s Book, the Qur’an, and my Traditions “.
One of the many scholars who devoted their life to the study of authenticating the Prophet’s Traditions is Imam Al-Bukhari (810-870 H.). […] he finally approved only nine thousand Traditions.
If we omit the Traditions which convey the same meaning we are left with only three thousand traditions.
[…] six books on the Prophet’s Traditions were approved and acknowledged. They are entitled: Bukhari’s Authentic Traditions, Muslim’s Authentic Traditions, The Prophet’s Traditions by Al-Nasa’y, by Abu Dawood, by Al-Tirmidhy, and by Ibn Maja.
The Muslims Conquests and the Truth Regarding Muslim Wars (Jihad) and the Issue of Violence
(1) Was Islam spread by the sword?
There is a fundamental rule stated in the Qur’an, namely the right to choose one’s religion: ” let there be no compulsion in religion “. [2/256]
[…] ” Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it) “. [18/129]
The aforementioned verses make it quite clear that the Glorious Book of the Muslims definitely prohibits forcing anyone to follow the Faith of Islam.
After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet addressed its people saying: ” You are free now “, and he did not force them to adopt Islam inspite of his decisive victory.
The Prophet recorded in his first constitution for Al-Madina, after having emigrated from Makkah, that the Jews were a nation living with Muslims and that he acknowledged their right to believe in their faith.
In her book Allah is Completely Different, the German Orientalist, Sigrid Hunke refutes the accusation that Islam was spread by the sword. She wrote: ” The tolerance of the Arabs played an important role in the spreading of Islam, contrary to what has been falsely claimed that it was spread by fire and the sword, which is an unjust and unverified accusation against Islam. ” She also wrote: ” Christians, Jews, Sabians, and Pagans embraced Islam of their own free will.
It is a well-known fact that Muslim armies never invaded South Asia or West Africa, yet Islam spread and flourished in these countries after Muslim merchants traveled with their merchandise to these countries. Muslim Sufis with their peaceful attitude also impressed the inhabitants of these lands. The natives of these distant countries saw for themselves the conduct, morals, and dealings of the Muslims, and accordingly, embraced Islam of their own free will.
(4) What is the truth regarding Muslim wars (Jihad)?
The Western World has misinterpreted Muslim fighting against aggression as being a Holy War. The truth is that Islam does not acknowledge the term ” Holy War “. Islam regards wars as being either unjust or just. The word ” Jihad ” is derived from the word ” Juhd ” which means exerting one’s utmost efforts, which are divided into two forms, the first is the effort made by one’s soul and the second is the effort made in fighting a just and righteous war. The first strenuous effort that is made is titled the Greater Jihad by which one endeavors to repel all evil, temptation, and to purify one’s soul from vice especially the vice of jealousy, envy, and hatred, thereby deserving to be brought into the Grace of God. The other form of Jihad is known as the Lesser Jihad and it means fighting a just and righteous war.
A righteous, just war according to the laws of Islam is a war of defense, the aim of which is to repel the enemy’s attack or assault, and the following Qur’anic verses permit Muslims to fight the enemy who attacks them: ” To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged “. [22/39] Also: ” Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for God does not love transgressors “. [2/190] This Qur’anic verse proves that despite the permission to fight in self-defense, the Muslims were warned not to go beyond defending themselves to the extent of transgression. The following Qur’anic verse permits the Muslims to attack those who attack them: ” If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress likewise against him “. [2/194]
Islam’s extreme aversion to fighting and bloodshed is obvious, and fighting in self-defense is the exception that is permitted. ” Fighting is prescribed for you, and you dislike it “. [2/216]. Thus beginning an attack on others is not permitted in Islam.
Although Jihad means fighting in the defense of Faith and the Muslims, this Jihad is not limited to fighting in a battle. It includes Jihad with one’s wealth, one’s thought, or any other means which helps repel any attack or assault, in order to protect the Islamic community and the Faith in which they believe.
Such a principle is the legitimate right of every nation and has been sanctioned by international agreements in modern times.
If the Muslims learn that their enemy desires peace and is willing to cease all forms of aggression, Islam commands the Muslims to agree to their enemy’s request. This is stated in the following Qur’anic verse: ” But if the enemy inclines towards peace, you (also) incline towards peace and trust in God. ” [8/61] Furthermore, Islam calls for peaceful coexistence with others and establishing good will with them provided that they do not attack the Muslims. The Qur’anic verse urge the Muslims to treat these people fairly, justly, and benevolently: ” God forbids you not in regards to those who do not fight you for (your) Faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just “. [60/8] Thus the aim of Islam is to spread and establish peace and tolerance among people and to urge them to cooperate with each other for the welfare of mankind.
Therefore, the allegations you find in some international mass media that Islam is a religion which preaches aggression, extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism are completely unjustified accusations, which have absolutely no foundation in Islam. Islam is, on the contrary, a religion on mercy and justice. We shall explain this in greater detail in our following expositions.
(5) What are Islam’s rulings regarding fanaticism and terrorism?
The Prophet himself said to the Pagans of Makkah who refused to believe in the Faith of Islam: ” To you be your faith and to me my faith. ” [109/61]
Islam calls upon all people to become united and to live together in friendship and affection despite the differences between them: ” O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other “. [49/13]
Islam urges Muslims to forgive and pardon those who wrong them: ” And the remission is the nearest to righteousness “. [2/237]
[…] Islam condemns fanaticism and extremism, it consequently condemns terrorizing and killing people. In fact Islam considers an attack on one single person an attack on all mankind: ” If anyone slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people. ” [5/32]
Accordingly, accusing Islam of terrorism is an absolutely unfounded allegation. If some Muslims are fanatics or even terrorists that does not mean that Islam should be held responsible for their actions. It is essential to differentiate between the tolerant teachings and just principles of Islam and the irresponsible and bigoted behavior of some Muslims. We must all keep in mind that bigotry and fanaticism are not limited to the followers of any one religion and that terrorism has become an international phenomenon and problem, and this is a fact which is witnessed by our contemporary world. How then can the Faith of Islam be blamed for the universal phenomenon of terrorism, which exists among the followers of all faiths?
(6) Does Islam encourage extremism and violence?
There is a definite compatibility between the Faith of Islam and Peace. In Arabic, the two words ” Islam ” and ” salaam “, the latter being the Arabic word for peace, are derived from the same root, God Almighty describes Himself in the Qur’an as ” Peace “. The Muslim greeting is also a greeting of peace, which is a continual reminder that peace is one of Islam’s principal aims that should always be kept in mind.
Islamic rulings and principles aim at safeguarding the Human Rights, which includes his right to life, family, beliefs, thought, and property.
” […] and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people “. [[5/34] Thus every individual represents humanity, and Islam’s concern for the safeguarding and preservation of humanity is manifested in every human being’s respect for other human beings by respecting their freedom, their dignity, and all their human rights.
Islam and Issues Concerning the Individual
(3) Does the Faith of Islam advocate Fatalism?
Righteous deeds are every good deed or act performed whether it be of a religious or a wordly nature which benefits mankind or repels evil […]
[…] ” Should the last hour come upon you while you have a palm shoot in your hand that you are about to plant, plant it if you can “.
Putting trust in God does not mean neglecting work and praying to God to fulfill our hope. […] God Almighty [which] inspires us with a spiritual energy that enables us to overcome obstacles or problems with determination and resolution. This trust and dependence on God should be a strong and positive force and not a passive and an apathetic attitude.
Relying completly upon God […] is not accepted by Islam, for God does not assist a person who makes no effort to help himself. God, however, aids the person who strives to attain his aim.
(4) What are Islam’s rulings on democracy and human rights?
The Human Rights in Islam are based upon two fundamental principles:
(a) Equality among all human beings.
(b) Freedom, which is the right of every human being.
Islam bases equality on two foundations, namely that all human beings originated from the same human origin, and human dignity, which is granted to all mankind.
As for the common origin of all mankind, Islam declares that God created mankind from one soul and hence all human beings are brothers and sisters in one large family in which there is no room for privileges on account of wealth or status. The difference that exists between human beings does not affect their origin and essence, which are one and the same. The differences that exist between human beings in the world should urge them to become acquainted with each other and to cooperate with one another in various walks of life: ” O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other”. [49/13]
Naturally, responsibility cannot exist without freedom even in the matter of the choice of believing in God or rejecting to believe in Him, which is left to man’s free will: ” Let him who will, believe, and let him who will reject (it). ” [18/29]
(5) What are Islam’s rulings regarding art?
[…] Islams gives priority to morals over beauty […] beauty should be based on morals..
The Prophet himself also asked his wife ‘Aisha to send for someone to sing at the wedding procession of her relatives who was married to one of the inhabitants of Al-Madina.
[…] the Prophet allowed his wife ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, to watch a group of Abyssinians dancing on the day of the Feast. Women dancing before other women is permitted by Islam, but their dancing in front of men is prohibited in order to eliminate any possibility of temptation, that may lead to immorality.
There are definite religious rulings that prohibit sculptures and statues. The reason for this prohibition goes back to the advent of Islam when most people worshiped idols. Islam feared that statues might be worshiped by those whose belief was superficial and that they might revert to the worship of idols.
[…] in order that Islam may prevent a recurrence of what took place in the pre-Islamic era in the future or even in the distant future, has laid down its ruling , since it legislates for all generations and eras and what may seem impossible in one era may become a reality in another era, be it sooner or later.
Islam and Issues concerning the Muslim Woman
(1) Is it true that Islam treats the Muslim woman unjustly and deprives her of her rights?
It is interesting to note that the rights granted to women by Islam more than fourteen centuries ago are the very same rights granted to women by the United Nations in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights […]
Islam emphasizes the fact that all mankind, men and women alike, were created from one single soul: “O mankind! reverence God your Creator, who Created you from a single person.” [4/1] This Qur’anic verse signifies that men and women are both equal as human beings, and in this respect one is not superior to the other, Furthermore, the honor that God has bestowed on mankind includes both men and women as is clear from the following Qur’anic verse: ” We have honored the descendants of Adam”. [17/70] The descendants of Adam signify all mankind, and when the Qur’an refers to mankind,both men and women are addressed since when the Qur’an addresses one sex and not the other it addresses them as “O men!” (male) or “O women!”.
The problem is that some people unjustly misrepresent or confuse the difference between the principles and teaching of Islam, which are just and humane, and the conduct of some Muslims who treat women unjustly. […] The degraded status of women in some Muslim communities is due to the ignorance that prevails and is not the result of the teachings or principles of Islam.
(3) Why is a Muslim woman’s inheritance less than a man’s inheritance?
In most cases in Islam the male heir inherits double the inheritance of the female: “God (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the mail a portion equal to that of two females.” [4/11] […] the difference in the inheritance of males and females has nothing to do with favoring males and is based upon the responsibilities which are obligatory for men and not for women.
According to Islamic Law it is a man’s religious duty to maintain and provide for his wife, children, and other members of his family, which might include his father, mother, and brothers and sisters if they are not able to support themselves. His wife, on the other hand, is not charged with any financial responsibilities, and she is not even financially responsible for herself, however wealthy she may be, and her husband is responsible for her maintenance. If we understand this, we will realize that when she inherits half of any inheritance, her financial position is still superior to a man’s financial position.
There are certain cases referred to in the Qur’an and explained in detail in Islamic Law when the female’s share of the inheritance equals that of the male. Such a case is when the deceased person, man or woman, is childless and both his or her parents are dead, and he or she leaves maternal brothers and/or sisters, each of whom receives an equal share of the inheritance. Furthermore, if a man’s wife dies and has a daughter by him or by a former husband, the daughter inherits double what her father or step father inherits.
(4) Whis is a Muslim woman’s testimony in court not considered equal to a man’s testimony?
Islam does not consider the testimony of one man equal to the testimony of two women in all matters. There are cases when the testimony of men is not accepted in matters that specifically concern women. This signifies that the testimony is not based upon the sex of the witness but on his or her experience and knowledge.
When we are concerned with affairs that entail purchasing, selling, and financial transactions, we realize that, generally speaking, women’s experience is generally limited when compared to that of men, who spend most of their time looking after their trade. […] Thus it is not a matter of lack of confidence in women or considering them inferior to men, but it is a matter of one’s experience in the dealings of life, and the judge has the right to accept the testimony of one woman if he deems it fit to do so. Furthermore, no judge would accept the testimony of an illiterate, inexperienced man and refuse the testimony of an educated woman who is successful in her career.
A most important factor in this matter is the biological aspect, namely the physiological phases through which women pass. These phases, in most cases, influence women’s behaviour, disposition, and memory. Women are more emotional and highly strung than men and they might be emotionally influenced by the position of a person on trial and might sympathize with him or her and that might unintentionally influence their testimony. The Qur’an stated that if there were two women witnesses and one of them forgot any point or was mistaken concerning it, the other woman could remind her or correct her. This is stated in verse 282 of Sura Two of the Qur’an: “If one of them errs, the other can remind her.”
(5) Does Islam prohibit Muslim women from holding key positions in the state?
[…] A Muslim woman has the right to be appointed in posts that suit her nature, experience, and qualifications.
[…] in Sura 27 of the Qur’an, the Queen of Sheba was praised for her wisdom and discretion. This praise indicates the extent of Islam’s respect for a woman who was the queen of her country.
(6) Does Islam command the Muslim woman to wear a veil, and what are Islam’s rulings on a woman’s right to an education and a career?
Conservative and decorous attire is not only a virtue of Islam, for it is also considered a virtue in Christianity. Christian nuns wear clothes that cover their hair and their body, leaving only their faces and hands uncovered, and the Gospel commands women to cover their hair when praying. Furthermore, when a woman, irrespective of her status, whether she be the wife of the Head of a Western state or a famous film star, is admitted into the presence of the Pope in the Vatican, she must cover her hair.
Islam definitely does not deprive women of an education. On the contrary, it urges both men and women alike to seek knowledge and acquire learning. The Prophet said: “Seeking knowledge is an obligation imposed upon every Muslim man and woman”.
[…] There are no religious laws which prevent a woman from being educated or from working.
(7) Is the Islamic attire for women unsuitable for modern life?
Most European women until the beginning of the twentieth century, wore clothes that reached the ground and they all wore hats or some form of head-dress when they went outside the house, yet nobody ever criticized this. The style of women’s clothes developed year after year until it reached its current style, which is no longer subject to any rules and it will continue to change according to the ideas and whims of those responsible for the fashion of women’s clothes.
[…] [Muslim women] perform their duties just as efficiently as their colleagues who wear European fashioned clothes. […] The fact is that the western world would like to prove that their way of life, customs, traditions, and fashions are more suitable than all other customs and traditions, and this in itself is against the law of nature since every nation has its own distinctive character. The Muslim woman has the right to be proud of her distinctive character, which is reflected in her attire and her conduct in the same way that Indians and Europeans have that right.
(8) Why does Islam permit polygamy?
Islam limited the number of wives to four: “Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four..” [4/3] There was, however, an important condition which had to be considered before marrying more than one wife, namely treating the wives equally. […]
The following Qur’anic verse states that treating one’s wives equally is a very difficult matter and that however conscientiously a person tries to do so he will never be able to treat them equally: “You are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire.” (4/129)
Thus since equal treatment of wives is impossible, however hard a person tries, a man should marry only one wife and this is stated in teh following Qur’anic verse: “But if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one.” [4/3]
[…] Islam neither introduced nor enforced polygamy, since it was a deeply rooted system which had existed before the advent of Islam. […] This indicates that in Islam monogamy is the rule and polygamy the exception. Islam permitted this exception in certain cases such as during and after battles in which many men were killed leaving widows and orphans without any means of support. Consequently, marriage to such women is a virtue for it not only provides them with a decent life but also prevents them from falling into sin.
If a woman is afflicted with a chronic disease which makes her unable to perform her marital obligations or if she is barren, the husband under these circumstances is permitted to marry another wife who will be entitled to the rights of the first wife.
Issues concerning Freedom of Belief, the Unity of Islamic Nations and the Backwardness of Some Islamic Nations
(3) Is the Islamic code of punishment brutal?
Islam is not a religion that advocates brutality. On the contrary it calls for mercy, clemency, and toleration. Nevertheless, it insists on establishing law and order in the community so as to safeguard the freedom and the rights of its members, and to protect their lives, beliefs, wealth, possessions, and families. When Islam imposes a certain punishment for a specific sin, it takes into consideration two factors:
a) Man is not infallible, but is constantly exposed to temptation. Thus the door of repentance is always open to those who regret having committed sins and repent and desire to atone.
b) Every member of the community is entitled to live a life of safety and to feel that he, his family, and his property are not exposed to any kind of danger. Thus the depraved or corrupted behaviour of criminals should be dealt with accordingly, so that the peace-loving members of the community would not live in a state of fear and apprehension.
Although Islam has made laws to punish crimes, it requires decisive proof of the guilt of the accused person before passing a sentence on him and does not enforce the punishment if there is any doubt concerning his guilt. Also if any guilty person repents sincerely of his sin, the sentence can be suspended if the judge is convinced of the sincerity of the accused. The Prophet said: “Try to prevent enforcing the penalty on Muslims whenever it is possible to do so, and should there be the slightest doubt as to the guilt of the accused person, set him free. It is far better that a judge errs in remitting the penalty than erring in enforcing it.”
Such an authentic Saying from the Traditions of the Prophet is the essence of mercy and tolerance.
The penalty for adultery in Islam depends on a certain condition that makes it almost impossible to enforce. The condition is that the act of adultery must be witnessed by four people who must swear that they saw the act committed. Accordingly, the two incidents in the history of Islam when this penalty was enforced were the result of the confession of the guilty parties and not of the evidence of the witnesses. The Prophet did his best to try and persuade the guilty persons to change their statements in which they confessed their guilt but they confirmed them and the Prophet was accordingly compelled to order enforcing the penalty, in spite of his profound grief. In view of the condition stipulated and the extreme difficulty of fulfilling it, such a punishment never occurred again in the history of Islam.
Islam does not cut off the hand of a starving person who steals to feed himself or to feed his starving children.
[…] When this penalty was imposed in Islamic communities, the crime of theft occurred so infrequently that merchants left their goods unguarded and people did not lock the doors of their houses. On the other hand, theft is widespread and rampant in communities where lenient measures are taken against it, with the result that theft has become a serious problem in many communities.
[…] This state of stability existed because every thief knew what his punishment would be and thought a thousand times before committing the crime of theft or any other crime, with the result that the punishment for theft was very rarely enforced.
Which then is preferable, a law-abiding community that lives in peace without fear even if a few criminals are punished, or a community that lives in fear while its persons are crowded with criminals? With whom should we sympathize? The criminal or the members of the community?
Questions about certain rulings of Islam
(1) Does fasting hinder production?
[…] fasting has the undeniable effect of charging people with spiritual energy, thus enabling them to work more energetically than when they are not fasting. The Battle of Badr was fought and won by Muslims while they were fasting in the month of Ramadan. Egyptian troops fought while they were fasting in the 6th October 1973 war and were victorious. This is the proof that fasting does not restrict one’s activity or ability to perform one’s duty.
It has been proved that fasting has many medical, spiritual, social, and educational benefits. It is considered an annual opportunity for one to contemplate one’s actions and conduct, to meditate one’s previous behaviour, and to judge oneself objectively in order to avoid the recurrence of any errors one might have made and also to do one’s best to rid one’s community of any social problems that might exist.
(2) Is it true that alms giving grants wealthy people an advantage over poor people in winning the Grace of God?
[…] Islam imposed alms only on wealthy people and people of medium means and exempted poor people. Alms giving is not only a system of finance but is also a religious duty like praying, fasting, and making the pilgrimage to Makkah and is therefore obligatory for all those who qualify to pay it, who do so, not through any fear of the governing regime but out of their desire to obey the laws of Islam and to seek the Grace of God.
During the lifetime of the Prophet, poor people felt that they were at a disadvantage for not being able to donate alms as did the rich. They believed that by giving alms, rich people gained the Grace of God for performing this religious duty while they were unable to do so through no fault of theirs, as they were not to be blamed for their poverty.
They expressed their fears to the Prophet who advised them to glorify, praise, and declare the greatness of God thirty-three times after each prayer, assuring them that this would elevate them to the same status of rich people who gave alms.
(3) Why did Islam prohibit eating the flesh of pigs?
Islam was not the first religion to prohibit the eating of the flesh of pigs. The Jewish religion prohibited it at an earlier date. [..] With the advent of Christ, he declared that he had not come to change the religious laws of the Jews, so it is only logical to assume that teh flesh of pigs was also prohibited in Christianity.
Islam also prohibited eating the flesh of pigs and this prohibition is in keeping with the same prohibition of the previous Divine faiths. […]
[…] Muslim scientists have proved that eating the flesh of pigs is extremely harmful, especially in hot climates. The Qur’anic verse which prohibit eating the flesh of pigs add to it the prohibition of eating carrion and blood, and the danger of eating carrion and blood is an undeniable fact as a result of the micro-organisms and toxins they contain.
Islam takes into consideration the necessities which may arise under certain circumstances and it permits what had been prohibited such as eating the flesh of pigs. This is declared in the following Qur’anic verse: “But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then he is guiltless. For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [2/173]
(4) Why does Islam prohibit men from wearing gold ornaments and silk clothes?
In spite of this prohibition, should the necessity arise for a man to wear clothes made of silk material, Islam permits its use. The Prophet Muhammad permitted Abdel Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and Al-Zubayr Ibn Al-’Awwam to wear clothes made of silk when they suffered from a form of allergy of their skin.
The Imam Al-Shawkani, who died about 1840, made an intensive study of all the facts and data concerning this matter and he reached the conclusion that the use of gold and silk material are not prohibited but are looked upon with distaste, which signifies that it is a degree less than that of actual prohibition. He established his opinion on the fact that no less than twenty of the Companions of the Prophet , among whom were Anas and Al-Baraa’ Ibn ‘Azib, wore clothes made of silk material. Had such a matter been prohibited they would have never worn these clothes and the rest of their Companions would have never allowed the matter to pass undisputed.
As regards of wearing gold rings, most Muslim scholars declared its prohibition and they based their opinion on several sayings of the Prophet. Another group of Muslim scholars maintained that it was not prohibited but was looked upon with distaste. They came to this conclusion when they learnt that a number of the Prophet’s Companions, among whom were Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqa, Talha Ibn ‘Obayd Allah, Sohayb, Hudhayfa, Jabir Ibn Samra, and Al-Baraa’ Ibn ‘Azib wore gold rings. Therefore, wearing a gold ring is looked upon with distaste but is not prohibited.