On Islam, Muslims, and The Quran
There are numerous misconceptions about Islam, Muslims, and The Quran; misjudgements and false beliefs that have been ingrained in society from long ago. Oftentimes, false learning about Islam from unqualified sources is what leads to misunderstandings, but I would like to mention the common misconceptions of my religion to shed truth on the beliefs shared by more than a quarter of mankind.
Allah is exclusively the God of Islam. This is wrong because Allāh الله is simply the Arabic word for “The God” which is the God of Abraham that includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The lineage for Jews and Christians comes under Isaac and Ismael, both sons of Abraham. An Allah said in The Quran, Abraham is not a Christian or Jew, rather he is a man who submits to the will of Allah. If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute and we all share one God. The Quran summarizes this argument in the verse, “ALLAH has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: For then, each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others.” from Quran (23:91).
The second misconception is that Jihad is an offensive Holy War. Jihad جهاد in Arabic does not mean “holy war”, but means “to strive, to apply oneself, to struggle, to persevere.” Jihad can either be personal or a community struggling against oppression. In essence, it means to become closer to God in lifestyle and community. In fact, this type of struggle (jihad) is to ensure that a peaceful and equitable community continues to exist.
The third common misconception, and a large-scale and timely one at that, is that Islam oppresses women. This is inherently wrong because in Islam, men and women are viewed as equals before God, in terms of both receiving equal reward and accountability for their actions. It is not gender that distinguishes people in the sight of God, but their level of piety. As Quran 49:13 states, “Verily the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-conscious.” This verse proves that honor is not attained because of an individual’s social class, race, or gender, but attained through piety and devoutness.
It all boils down to tolerance and coexistence
The second to the last common misconception is that The Quran is a simple history book. That is false, as The Quran is the divine literal word of God Almighty, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (meaning: peace be upon him). It is a criterion for the truth, containing guidance for humanity to live by. The Quran cites lessons from preceding generations and the history of the Prophets so we may learn from their experiences.
Lastly, the misconception that Islam permits terrorism is an idea that has cost the lives of dignities of many slain believers. Because the media generally portrays any Muslim who fights as a terrorist, regardless of whether they fight justly or unjustly, or whether they are oppressing others or being oppressed. But in war, the targeting of innocent non-combatants is a despicable act which Islam clearly prohibits. In fact, Muslims are not allowed to unnecessarily destroy plants and animals, let alone faultless humans. The Quran clearly demonstrates the seriousness of killing an innocent person, and emphasises the value of human life.
It all boils down to tolerance and coexistence, fellow Lasallians. Do not be misled into accepting misconceptions and false information about Islam—the belief shared by more Lasallian brothers and sisters than you think. After all, God did not create humans to simply wander aimlessly, as the test of faith is in using one’s intellect, free will, and reasoning abilities to contemplate and recognise God’s signs: one of the greatest signs of The Quran, and a trait of an open-minded and advanced society.