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Top Ten Questions About Islam

1.  DEAR ABE: Muslims pray to “Allah”.  Is Allah the same God of the Christians and Jews? -- JUSTIN, NEW YORK

DEAR JUSTIN: Yes; Allah is God the Creator, the same God of the Christians and Jews [1].  Allah is just the Arabic word for God and does not symbolize a different god.  So, when the Christians and Jews that speak Arabic call on God, they say “Allah”.  There are Muslim leaders who refuse to use the name God, and this certainly can cause an illusion that “Allah” is an entirely different deity.  Their insistence is a mistake, since we are encouraged in the Quran to, "Call Him GOD, or call Him the Most Gracious; whichever name you use, to Him belongs the best names." [2]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:135, 4:125, 22:78, 16:123; [2] 17:110, 7:180.


2. DEAR ABE: What are the different factions in Islam and how do their beliefs differ? --JOHN T.

DEAR JOHN: For the record, God never supported dividing into different factions.  In fact, He discourages this division of His religion [1].  Some of the groups you asked about are:  the Sunni, the Shia, the Ismailis, the Ahmadiyas, the Sufis, the Wahhabis, the Alawis, the Druze, the Kharjites, the Zaydis, and the Nation of Islam.  These factions were either born of political differences, or were organized by leaders who decided that their religious interpretations were the most guided.   Thus, the followers were compelled to break from the broader and more general religious practice prescribed in the Quran [2].  Because of these issues, a group of Muslims have emerged who just observe Submission to God alone [3].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 42:13-16, 21:92-93, 23:52-54; [2] 14:21, 33:67, 9:34, 2:272, 4:88, 6:125; [3] 3:102-105 .


3.  DEAR ABE: Do you believe that non-Muslims go to heaven? --PENELOPE IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR PENELOPE: Yes, God does assure us that there are believers destined for heaven in all different groups.  The words Islam and Muslim are more than just a name.  They are a description of performing total devotion to God alone.  The equivalent English word for Islam is Submission, which is practiced by a Submitter to God alone [1]. There are submitters who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or from other backgrounds.  All submitters who are devoted to God alone without setting up any idols are redeemed by God [2].  Thus, God’s scripture, the Quran, tells us that His devoted worshippers, no matter what they call themselves, will go to heaven.

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:207-208, 3:19, 10:28-29; [2] 2:62, 5:69, 3:84-85.


4. DEAR ABE: What are the principal differences between Islam and the other two main monotheistic religions; Christianity and Judaism? --RAY, CHICAGO, IL

DEAR RAY: The monotheistic religions had prophets and messengers who brought the same message; that God’s worshippers need to Submit to Him alone.  This proclamation was heralded by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the Patriarchs, and all the prophets of God [1].  Because of this, Muslims believe in all the prophets and what was given through them [2].  Some messengers were directed to remove or add to a minor facet from God’s authorized religion [3], but those sanctioned changes did not make for a completely different religion [4].  Instead, it is the added man-made rules that make such stark differences between the monotheistic religions [5].   Surely, if the different religious communities were to apply God’s laws and scripture alone, they would have very little distinguishing differences and instead would have more commonality [6].[7]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:136; [2] 3:84, 22:30; [3] 5:5, 2:187, 3:49-50, 4:160-161, 6:145-146, 7:157, 16:118, 4:21-22, 33:52; [4] 3:64, 2:83, 2:87, 3:93-94; [5] 6:112-114, 2:97, 3:19, 2:146, 5:87, 6:140, 7:32; [6] 6:154-157,5:48, 6:52, 2:91; [7] Introduction of the Quran translation by R. Khalifa.


5. DEAR ABE: What does Islam say about suicide bombing, hijackers, and terrorism in general? --CONCERNED CITIZEN, FLORIDA

DEAR CONCERNED: God tells us in the Quran that we shall not kill ourselves [1], that life is sacred [2], and that we shall not aggress [3].  If an enemy aggresses and fights us, we can defend ourselves but we have no excuse to fight them if they decide to refrain [4].  Also, we must not kill another believer; so before we strike we have to be absolutely sure [5].  All of this put together means that suicide bombing, hijackings, and terrorism are non-Islamic.

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 4:29-30, 2:195; [2] 6:151, 17:33; [3] 7:33; [4] 4:90; [5] 4:92-94 .


6.   DEAR ABE: Isn’t Islam the religion whose book instructs the followers to kill Christians?  How can Muslims be connected with America and the western society if they are supposed to kill Christians? --A PROUD CHRISTIAN IN OREGON

DEAR OREGON CHRISTIAN: The Muslims are absolutely not instructed to kill Christians.  God’s just system rightfully allows for self-defense, although some other Muslims have chosen to abuse the verses discussing self-defense. They have warped the meanings into an excuse to harm, oppress, or kill at will.  Instead, the Quran censures unprovoked aggression [1] while favoring a peaceful coexistence with others [2].  Hence, we find that these verses only apply to war when opponents are attacking [3], while at the same time aggression and oppression are strongly condemned [4].  Current Muslims that follow the Quran know that there will be American believers.  Also, they understand that the American system with its many guaranteed freedoms and no compulsion in religion is the proper application of God’s laws [5].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:190, 2:193, 42:42; [2] 60:8-9; [3] 8:12-13, 47:4; [4] 2:191, 2:217, 4:75-76, 4:89-91, 5:87, 7:33, 8:39; [5] 49:13, 2:62, 2:256, 64:9.


7.  DEAR ABE: How can I believe that Islam is a religion of compassion and peace when it is obviously not compassionate and peaceful towards women?  If it really was, then why are the women in Middle-eastern countries not allowed freedom to wear short-sleeved shirts, go to school, or play games that the men are allowed to? --NADIA K.

DEAR NADIA: These oppressive rules in some Middle-eastern countries go against God’s laws [1].   Not only does God specify that men and women are equal to one another in the scripture, but also that God’s servants must treat each other kindly, and that oppression is absolutely unacceptable [2].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 49:13, 3:195, 4:25, 2:193, 4:75; [2] 2:191, 9:71, 33:35, 5:54, 48:29, 52:26, 4:128.


8. DEAR ABE: Why don’t the muslims believe in Jesus? --JACK O., LOS ANGELES, CA

DEAR JACK: As a matter of fact, Muslims do believe in Jesus.  They regard him as a servant of God who was given valuable teachings with knowledge of how to enter back into God’s kingdom [1].  So, Muslims know that the Gospel was received through Jesus, the Messiah who was supported with the Holy Spirit [2].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 3:45-55, 19:30-36, 3:59; [2] 2:87, 2:253, 5:46-47, 4:171.


9.  DEAR ABE: Why do Muslim women have to wear head covers? --HEADSTRONG AND HAIRLOOSE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR HEADSTRONG: Nowhere in the Quran does it require women to cover their hair, arms, legs, etc. The religious rules imposing head covers, or Hijab, are from sources outside of the Quran; mainly from religious scholar’s edicts, and Hadith [1].  However, it is not wrong to wear head covers on account of cultural tradition, and so rules should not be imposed stating that head covers can not be worn.  The rules in the Quran for women’s dress code are the following:

1) The best garment is the garment of righteousness; for women and men [2].
2) Women shall cover their chests, and reveal only what is necessary (implying modesty) [3].
3) Women shall lengthen their garments to be recognized as righteous [4].
4) Women AND men shall subdue their eyes and maintain their chastity [5]. [6]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 12:111, 31:6, 39:23, 39:29, 45:6, 52:34; [2] 7:26; [3] 24:31; [4] 33:59; [5]24:30-31; [6] Appendix 18, and Appendix 19 of the Quran translation by R. Khalifa.


10. DEAR ABE: I have read somewhere that there are pillars of Islam. What are the pillars of Islam; are they specific rituals? --D. J. IN VIRGINIA

DEAR D. J.: The “pillars” of Islam are the main religious practices which were established through Abraham, long before the Quran and Muhammad [1].  These five religious practices are the core practices of Islam and are faithfully performed by devout Submitters to God [2]. These practices are:

1) The profession of faith in God, or in Arabic the Shahada.   This declaration is: “There is no god but God” [3].
2) Five Contact Prayers a day, or in Arabic the Salat [4]. A congregational prayer is substituted for the Noon Prayer on Fridays [5].
3) The Obligatory Charity or Zakat in Arabic [6].
4) Observation of the month of fasting, or Ramadan in Arabic [7].
5) The Pilgrimage to be completed once in a Submitters lifetime, or in Arabic the Hajj [8]. [9]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 22:78, 16:123, 21:73; [2] 15:98-99; [3] 3:18, 63:1, 2:285, 72:18; [4] 23:9, 29:45, 2:43, 2:45, 11:114, 24:58, 17:78, 2:238; [5] 62:9; [6] 2:110, 6:141, 2:215, 7:156-157; [7] 2:183-187; [8] 2:125, 2:197; [9] Appendix 15, and Appendix 13 of the Quran translation by R. Khalifa.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

Disclaimer: Abe and friends condemn all acts of violence, suicide bombings, and terrorism enacted under the banner of Islam.

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