Top 10 Misapprehensions about Islam

6. Islam is Spread by Sword

Islam is intolerant of other religions because

  • the Qur’an condemns the other religions as false

Many social studies textbooks for students show the image of an Arab
horseman carrying  a sword in one hand and the Quran in the other conquering and forcibly converting. This, though, is not a correct portrayal of history.  Historian De lacey O’Leary states “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” There is no record in history that shows people being forced by sword point to convert to Islam. When Islam spread through countries they would set up private churches and synagogues for the non Muslims they were governing and because of the good treatment they had received they themselves would convert. If one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam to the west all the way from Spain and Morocco and into east from India and China one would realize that such a small group of people could not force others to be members of a religion against their will. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic empire, instead of destroying the religion they adopted it!

Islam has always given respect and  freedom of religion to all faiths. The Quran says: “God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your]  faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those  who are just. 60:8)

Freedom of religion is laid down in the Quran itself: “There is no compulsion (or coercion)  in the religion (Islam).  The right direction is distinctly clear from error”. (2:256) Christian missionary, T.W. Arnold had this opinion on his study of the question of the  spread of Islam: “.. of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim  population, or of any
systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear  nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away  Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestanism …”

It is a function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why  non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world.  History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the  year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.   Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives, and property were safe, and that their places of  worship would never be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius to  accompany him on a visit to all the
holy places.  Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which  implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether the  person is Muslim or not, they are all held as one equal citizens.

Prophet (pbuh) said,
“One who kills a non-Muslim person under protection will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
He also said:

Whoever hurts a non-Muslim person under protection, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection.


7. Denial of Human Rights is Acceptable

This widely held misconcept that in Islam because people think

  • Islam is against pure democracy
  • Islam tolerates slavery

The misconception does not follow from the reasons given, and the reasons ignore a great deal of information.

It is clear in Islam that the state’s obligation of obedience to the individuals is as important as the obedience of the Creator. Therefore those who are charged with authority are not allowed in any case to differ in anything among themselves and the people. Allah orders us to conduct our matters by taking counsel among ourselves, or by consulting each other. This is the methodology of the Islamic state, to consult one another, but to always keep the Qur’an and Sunnah paramount because it holds for justice and equality for each and every individual.

As for slavery, Islam is unique among the `religions’ in its close attention to the peaceful removal of this practice. Before the advent of Islam, slavery was widespread all over the world. The Messenger of Islam taught us that freeing slaves was a great deed in the sight of Allah. We find:

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave.”

As a result of the teachings of Islam, slavery was almost completely eradicated from many areas of the Muslim world, peacefully and without bloodshed.


8. Muslims are Savages, Backward People

The concept that Islam produces a lazy backward, uneducated society came to being because people think:

  • Modern technology and science are condemned
  • Seeking education isn’t allowed
  • Muslims are barbaric in wars

The reasons given for this misconception are false, and the misconception itself is actually refuted directly by the Qur’an and Sunnah. It also repeatedly instructs man to  use his powers of intelligence and observation. For according to the Prophet (pbuh), ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’.

The  synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great  advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature,  and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of  the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from  Islam.  Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery  were developed by Muslim Scientists, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

Many of the theories and concepts science is proving today were told by Islam 1400 years back. Many of them you shall see if you open Quran, but here we tell one:

The nonbelievers of Makkah said to Prophet that if you are truly a prophet split the moon and if you do, we shall believe. It was a full moon that night. And so the prophet prayed to God to grant him this miracle. And the moon was split, Half was seen over mount Saffa and other half on Mount Kaikaan. The nonbelievers said that prophet has  casted a spell on us, however if he played a trick on us, he can’t do at all the people in the world, let us wait until the people of Albaidah come, if they saw the split of moon too, then it is true, if not then we all know, it was a trick of magic. When the people from Albaidah came they said they too saw the moon split.  The nonbelievers didn’t believe even then and said “Oh how powerful Muhammad’s magic is” One of the British Brothers, David Mosa Pidcook who was planning to enter elections under the banner of religion, a friend gave him copy of Quran translated in english, he opened it and came across surat Al- Qamar (Chapter: The moon), he read “The hour has come and moon has split” looking at this he exlaimed “the moon has split?” He then stopped and didn’t open it again. Then one day while watching a program on  BBC, where there was a debate between three experts. The discussion was about if the amount of money paid by NASA to send a human to land on the surface of the moon to study the inner structure of the moon was worth it or not?  The American government authorised a budget of $100, 000, 000, 000  for this project. One of the discoveries of that project was that there is a layer of material that splits the moon deep down to its core into two halves and we thereby have concluded with only explanation that the moon was split at some times in its history like two perfect halves and rejoined.

Watching this, David Mosa jumped off his seat exclaiming, “this is Muhammad’s miracle that happened over 1400years ago, this must surely be a true religion” so as once this surat Al Qamar was a cause of disbelieving Islam, it was now the reason for him embracing it.
The disbelievers will never accept any proof even if it is clear to them and they will turn away from it. Allah described in the same verses the reaction of the disbelievers [this also applies to the people of our time] The sura reads [54:2-8 ] ‘when they get faced with the truth, they turn away, and say: (This is continuous magic). And every matter will be settled [according to the kind of deeds (for the doer of good deeds, his deeds will take him to Paradise, and similarly evil deeds will take their doers to Hell)].

Moreover people think Muslims are savages and barbaric during war.

Quite the contrary, when it comes to the conduct of war there are ten rules that every Muslim army must obey:

1. Do not commit treachery
2. Do not deviate from the right path
3. Do not mutilate dead bodies
4. Do not kill children
5. Do not kill women
6. Do not kill aged men
7. Do not harm or burn trees
8. Do not destroy buildings
9. Do not destroy an enemy’s flock, unless you use it for your food
10. When you pass people who have devoted their lives to monastic services leave them alone

During the crusades when Saladin defeated the franks he honored the defeated Frankish army and supplied them with food and during the third crusade when Saladin’s enemy king Richard fell sick, Saladin sent him a gift of fruits and horses.


10. Islam is Racist

The misconceptions leading to this thinking are:

  • Nation of Islam espouses the superiority of the black man
  • The Nation of Islam recognizes God as a black man

Islam and the so called  “Nation of Islam'” are two different religions.  NOI is more of a political organization since its members are not limited to a single faith. Muslims consider this group to be just one of many cults using the name of Islam for their own gain.
One of the great misconceptions of the twentieth century is that the so-called `Nation of Islam’ is a Muslim community, or more precisely: a community which submits to Allah by following the Qur’an and Sunnah. The `Nation of Islam’ is a man-made way of life which borrowed some elements of Islam and then mixed them with a large number of inventions and lies to reach their present doctrines.

It suffices to point out the `Nation of Islam’s deviation in two areas. First, they reject the essence of Islam by concocting a story wherein the Creator takes the form of a black man. From their on-line publications, we find that the `Nation of Islam’ believes in

…one God (Allah) and that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long awaited `Messiah’ of the Christians and the `Mahdi’ of the Muslims…

However, the Creator states in the Qur’an (translation),

[6:103] No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things.

The `Nation of Islam’ also claims that white men are `devils’, and that black people are in general superior to all other races. However, from the Sunnah, specifically in the Messenger of Allah’s farewell sermon, we find the Messenger (pbuh) saying:

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.

There are many other beliefs which the `Nation of Islam’ holds which take it outside of Islam. It is interesting to note that in the mid-1970’s, the overwhelming majority of the group realized its errors and converted to true Islam. There is, however, a splinter group which remains active today.

Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate  and find the true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim are 1. the Quran and 2. authentic or sound Hadith. Any teachings under the label of “Islam” which contradict or at variance with the direct understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the Quran and authentic Hadith should be rejected and such a religion should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many pseudo-Islamic cults, Farrakhanism being one of them. An honest attitude on the  part of such cults should be not to call themselves Muslims and their religion Islam. such an  example of honesty is Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call themselves  Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not Islam just as Farrakhanism is not Islam.

Sources and Credits:

(Quran and Hadith)

(Islam: A Brief Introduction, Islamic Circle of North America,
Jamaica, New York)

(Understanding Islam and the Muslims, The Islamic Affairs Department
The Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, 1989.)

(Badawi, Jamal, Polygamy in Islamic Law, The Muslim Students’
Association of the United States & Canada,)

(Islam and Farrakhanism Compared, The Institute of Islamic Information
and Education, Chicago, Illinois)

One thought on “Top 10 Misapprehensions about Islam

  1. Good list and I have to praise you on how you dealt with misconceptions and stereotypes I have to praise you however as all abrahamic faiths have one thing in common that is homophobism… To some homosexuality is a choice to other it is how.. “Allah” created them therefore if you could enlighten me islamic brother in accordance with the quaran is it allah’s will for homosexual people to face discrimination because of who or how they are

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