Misunderstood ISLAM

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  • 1. MISUNDERSTOOD ISLAM THE SANGER JYOTI YADAV Second year ECE 3rd semester NIT KURUKSHETRA
  • 2. INTRODUCTION A majority of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Islam, alone among major religions, a new poll finds. infamous Quran-burner Terry Jones.[2].This video can now be added to the lengthening list of wrong potrayals of Mohammad and that had led to violence. The survey by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies found 53 percent of Americans view Islam unfavorably.The negativity comes even as 63 percent of Americans said they don‘t know anything about Islam or know just a little bit about the religion.Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup center, said that, while other religious extremists are portrayed as being outside the mainstream, Islamic terrorists are described as representatives of their religion.[1] The above examples clearly shows the negative attitude of the world towards Islam. In the next few sections, I will be clarifying many of the negative impressions persisting among the non-muslimsabout Islam. WHAT IS RELIGION? Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems and worldviews that relate humanity tospirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.What is the real purpose of religion? It is supposed to help people curb their lower nature; man transiting from the animal to the human specie, has so much of the lower nature ingrained in him. As a human being, you have the technology of mind, senses, intellect, and self awareness; all this equipment is supposed to help you to accelerate your evolution. Being steeped in lower nature, humans just create more problems and degradation in the world; they create imbalance, destroying the rest of humanity. Religion was formulated I want to give the latest example when the American Ambassador to Libya and three others were killed after an anti-Muslim movie trailer for "Innocence of Muslims" sparked protests at the US consulate in Benghazi. Bacile, who wrote and directed the controversial film, spoke to the AP by phone from an undisclosed location, calling Islam "a cancer" and saying he "intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bacile is "a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam's flaws to the world." It has been promoted by 1
  • 3. to help man rise above and subdue the lower nature through fear and superstition. The great masters, the enlightened beings, have been saying for thousands of years that we need to adopt and develop higher qualities of love, mercy, generosity and so on. In this way, society will be of higher quality and we will be better human beings. This will help to create a better world. That should be the purpose of religion. 2:190 ) Contrary to popular misconception, the Qur‘anic verse stating, “Kill them wherever you encounter them”(2:191) does not categorically permit (let alone promote!) killing of Non-Muslims. Rather, this verse was revealed in relation to a specific stage of persecutory war against Muslims in the history of Islam; and its ordinance is obviously confined to warfare. The fourteen-hundred-year heritage of Islamic rule in Arabia and beyond testifies to religious tolerance exhorted by the Qur‘an. And why—if there is any explanation other than deliberate mischaracterization and slander— why can‘t critics who use this verse read other general decrees that place strict limits on warfare? For instance, the verse just before it, which says, ―But begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors‖ (2:190). Or the verses just after it, stating, ―But if they desist, then lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful‖ (2:192). Scenarios under which taking a life is permissible according to the Qur‘an are extremely limited. The Qur‘an permits between-group killing, or ―collateral damage‖, during warfare in hand-to-hand combat with male, combatant enemy soldiers. In domestic affairs, Islamic law permits execution by judicial sentence in cases of premeditated manslaughter ; a tooth for a tooth whether Muslim or Non-Muslim. In Islam, it is never permissible to attack or kill noncombatant enemy citizens, children, elderly, or women. Non-Muslims Islam is not an exception. PERCEPTIONS OF THE WESTERN WORLD ISLAM IS A VIOLENT RELIGION Islam is an Arabic word that means ―acceptance‖,―surrender‖,‖submissi on‖, or ―commitment ― and is closely related to the Arabic word for peace. Adherents of Islam are called Muslims, literally those who make peace. But after 9/11 attack on the WTC by Osama Bin laden, as is assumed by most of the world, the terms ―Muslim‖ and ―terrorist‖ have become synonymous in many western countries. Muslims are called ―extremists‖, ―radicalists‖ and ―fundamentalists‖. Various verses of Quran, one of the religious book of muslims, are hijacked by extremists to justify their actions. For example―Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”(Qur‘an, 2
  • 4. not waging war against Muslims possess Islamic state‘s protection of their right to life, according to the Qur‘an. In fact, the Qur‘an enjoins forgiveness, indulgence, tolerance, and kindness toward NonMuslims. [3] Quran is realistic , it accepts violence as reality in human life but it puts moral limits on violence. with torture) of heretics, church splinter groups, dissenters, atheists, agnostics, deists, pagans, infidels and unbelievers was supported by almost all mainstream Christian theology for over a thousand years, starting with the intolerant St. Augustine (died 430 AD).Witchhunting - perhaps Christianity's worst crime. Think how many poor innocents have been killed for God; how few have ever been killed for Satan.Many people think 1 million innocents were killed by the witch-hunters. The Catholic church has suppressed even basic freedom of religion. In Franco's Spain (up to 1975) non-Catholics were subject to severe restrictions on worship and speech (rather similar to the status of dhimmis under Islam).The Catholic church in Ireland supported the denial of civil liberties in Censorship and Bans on contraception and homosexuality[4] Violence in the Quran is largely a defense against attack. "By the standards of the time, which is the 7th century A.D., the laws of war that are laid down by the Quran are actually reasonably humane," . "Then we turn to the Bible, and we actually find something that is for many people a real surprise. There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide." It is called herem, and it means total annihilation. Consider the Book of 1 Samuel, when God instructs King Saul to attack the Amalekites: "And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them," God says through the prophet Samuel."But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." Mahabharta and Ramayana , both are full of violence. So, how can we call only Islam inherently violen.Not every muslim is an extremist. Many people call muslims cruel as mass slaughtering of goats is done on BAKRA-EID , in the name of Allah. Let us take examples from christainity .The Church started killing unbelievers as early as the 4th century. The killing (often The word jihaad is used many times in the quran. This term is the most misinterpreted term.Jihad has the literal meaning of exerting our best and greatest effort to achieve something. It is not the equivalent of war, for which the Arabic word is qital. Jihad has a much wider connotation and embraces every kind of striving in God‘s cause. A mujahid is one who is sincerely devoted to his or her cause; who uses all physical, intellectual, and spiritual resources to serve it; who confront any power that stands in its way; and, when necessary, dies for this cause. 3
  • 5. For some reason while calling Islam the religion of violence we tend to forget that none of mullahs even tried to burn Bible instead the Koran was burnt by a preacher in the USA.And many more…Thus calling any religion violent because of the irrational crimes commited by its adherents is not right. a share of that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that." Sura 4:31. PARTICIPATION IN RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES Sufism is remarkably open to women's public performance of worship. There are famous female Sufis, whose careers and hagiographies date to as early as the late 8th- and early 9th-century C.E. Rabia al-'Adawiyya (d. 801) was famous for her desire to worship God neither for fear of hell nor desire for paradise but out of love. But women's participation in teaching and learning among Sufis is not limited to the modern period. Ibn Arabi (d. 1240 C.E.) listed two female Sufis among his teachers, Shams and Fatimah. He referred to Fatimah as a Gnostic whom he served for several years. Another famous Fatimah, Fatimah Nishapuri, lived in Mecca in the 9th century, and was regarded among the greatest of Sufis by her male contemporaries. WOMEN ARE SUPRESSED IN ISLAM The issue of women in Islam, is topic of great misunderstanding and distortion due partly to a lack of understanding, but also partly due to misbehavior of some Muslims which has been taken to represent the teachings of Islam.According to the Quran, men and women have the same spirit, there is no superiority in the spiritual sense between men and women.(Qur'an 4:1,7:189,42:11). AREA OF ECONOMIC RIGHTS We have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property. When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. In Britain, perhaps the first country to give women some property rights, laws were passed in the 1860's known as "Married Women Property Act." And it was a political action not religious. More than 1300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law. "Whatever men earn, they have [5] The Catholic church has not yet allowed women to be ordained as priests (they are only allowed to become nuns), and the Pope is selected from the world's cardinals-who were once priests. POLYGAMY Polygamy has become so mythical in the minds of many people that they assume being Muslim means having four wives. This is a false 4
  • 6. notion, of course. A very renowned anthropologist, Edward Westenmark, in his two-volume work, "History of Human Marriage," notes that there has been polygamy in virtually every culture and religion, including Judaism and Christianity. In Ramayna itself Raja Dashratha had four wives. But the point here is not to say, "Why blame Islam?" Actually, Islam is the only religion even among Abrahamic faiths, that specifically limited the practice of polygamy that existed before Islam and established very strict conditions for guidance. The question, "How could any man have two wives? That's terrible!" reflects ethnocentrism. We assume that because we're living in the West and it seems strange, and we assume it must apply to all cultures, all times, under all circumstances. This simply isn't true. Let me give you one current-day example. In the savage attack on Afghanistan, genocide was committed on the Afghani people. It is estimated that 1-1.5 million people lost their lives, a great majority of whom were men of a marriageable age. Now, with a great shortage of men, what will happen to their widows, their orphans and their daughters of marriageable age? Is it better to leave them in a camp, with a handout? Or better a man is willing to take care of his fallen comrade's wife and children? female and 20% male, which is an impossibility on the aggregate level. The only verse in the Quran that speaks about polygamy, speaks about limiting not instituting polygamy. The verse was revealed after the Battle of Uhud in which many Muslims were martyred, leaving behind wives and children in need of support. This verse shows the spirit and reason of the revelation. ISLAMIC SCARF CONTROVERSY In recent years, a small piece of cloth has managed to cause quite a stir. The scarf or hijab that Muslim women wear on their heads is making headlines around the world. Hijab is banned in French public schools and other European countries have adopted, or are drafting similar legislation. In Australia, a radio presenter triggered both debate and outrage when he called for the face veil (niqab) to be banned from banks and post offices. Even predominantly Muslim countries such as Turkey and Tunisia ban the hijab in certain government buildings. When a small piece of fabric causes such controversy and conflict, wouldn‘t it be easier to remove it? Why then, under such circumstances, do Muslim women wear scarves?The literal meaning of hijab is to veil, to cover, or to screen. Islam is known as a religion concerned with community cohesion and moral boundaries, and therefore hijab is a It is obvious that monogamy is the norm for Muslims. If we assume that having four wives is the norm, then we assume a population of 80% 5
  • 7. way of ensuring that the moral boundaries between unrelated men and women are respected. In this sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more then a dress code. It is a term that denotes modest dressing and modest behaviour. For instance, if a Muslim woman was wearing a scarf but at the same time using bad language, she would not be fulfilling the requirements of hijab.The majority of Muslim women wear hijab, to obey God, and to be known as respectable women. (Quran 33:59) However, in the last 30 years hijab has emerged as a sign of Islamic consciousness. Many women see wearing the hijab as indicative of their desire to be part of an Islamic revival, especially in countries where the practice of Islam is discouraged or even forbidden.While those who seek to ban hijab refer to it as a symbol of gender based repression, the women who choose to don a scarf, or to wear hijab, in the broadest sense of the word, do so by making personal decisions and independent choices. They view it as a right and not a burden. Nor do these women regard hijab as a sign of oppression. Women who wear hijab often describe themselves as being ―set free‖ from society‘s unrealistic fashion culture.It is true that in some families and in some cultures women are forced to wear hijab but this is not the norm. The Quran clearly states that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256). Women who choose to wear hijab do not make the decision lightly. In fact many women testify that they faced great animosity from their Muslim or non-Muslim families when they decided to cover. Across the globe there are numerous instances of women having to defend their right to wear the hijab. FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION The worst practice against females is FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION. FGM has been a social custom in Northern Africa for millennia. Many people associate FGM with the religion of Islam. Actually, it is a social custom that is practiced by Animists, Christians, and Muslims in those countries where FGM is common. There are many Muslim countries in which the mutilation is essentially unknown, including Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. A women‘s health advocate in Somaliland has insisted undergoing FGM is not a requirement of her faith.Edna Adan, who founded Edna Adan University Hospital, takes care of many victims of the procedure in her capacity as a nurse and midwife, the Somaliland Sun reports.However, she has insisted the notion that FGM is required by Islam is not true and argued other factors are actually behind this continuing problem. "Female circumcision is not an Islamic religious obligation," she told PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into 6
  • 8. Opportunity for Women Worldwide. "It's traditional - our religion does not require it." The World Health Organization (WHO) has argued FGM violates the human rights of females and believes it is a particularly big problem in Africa.[6] to validate any point you want to make. I call it ―fatwa shopping. Let us take example from India .The police were in a fix over the whimsical diktat of a ‗khap panchayat‘ in a western UP village after a senior minister virtually endorsed the kangaroo court‘s order. Union home minister P Chidambaram has decried the diktat, while state women‘s commission has asked the Baghpat SP to submit a report on the matter.The panchayat held in Asara village of Baghpat had decreed that women below the age of 40 years should not be allowed to go to market. They should also cover their faces and heads whenever venturing out of their houses, and should not be allowed to use mobile phones. The panchayat even ruled that love marriages were not permissible and couples who tied the knot in love would not be allowed to live in the village.[7]Will you say the same things about hindu dharma now? FATWA SHOPPING An email pinged around the world, claiming that a Muslim cleric ―residing in Europe‖ issued a, well, interesting fatwa, or religious ruling, banning Muslim women from touching bananas or cucumbers: ―He said that these fruits and vegetables ‗resemble the male penis‘ and hence could arouse women or ‗make them think of sex,‘‖ according to a report in a supposed Egyptian website ran the story: ―Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas.‖It‘s hard to confirm that the fatwa is true, but the fact that we, in the Muslim community, would even think it‘s possible is a reflection of just how insane the phenomenon of fatwas has become in the Muslim community. The idea of the fatwa became notorious when an Iranian cleric called for the killing of author Salman Rusheede when he published the novel The Satanic Verses, about an erased portion in the Koran supposedly inspired by the Devil.The fatwas used to carry the authority of divine ordination. But the years since have revealed that, indeed, there is nothing to fear—or revere—about the fatwa. In fact, nowadays, you can get a fatwa THE INDO-MUSLIMS CASE India –pakistan cricket matches are considered high voltage matches.India lost the series: doesn‘t matter, but lost the match with pakistan, big deal buddy. Indians too have a negative feeling towards muslims but their reasons are different . We, Indians , associate muslims with pakistan. The partition of india in 1947 created a deep everlasting ditch .The kashmir debate also worsens the relations of the two countries. 7
  • 9. own shortcomings to Washington, Arab leaders distract their subjects' attention from the internal weaknesses that are their real problems. And thus rather than pushing for greater privatization, equality for women,democracy, civil society, freedom of speech, due process of law, or other similar developments sorely needed in the Arab world, the public focuses instead on hating the United States. Also the religious leaders were seeing the values of secular and more powerful west as a threat to muslim cultural identity. In most place of the world outside the middle east, the Africa, and parts of south asia, most find themselves to be immigtrants wherever they live. Immigrants status in itself can be source of a lot of grievance and frustration. Thus ,the illiterate and poverty stricken subjects started seeing themselves as inferiors and put the demand of a separate muslim state, where they believe their conditions will improve. WHY MUSLIMS CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS INFERIORS? To trace the roots of the problem, we have to go back to the cold war era when USA was in war with soviet union. The US has not kept a single policy towards the islamic nations during and after the cold war. During the cold war , the US had been a supporter of some islamic movements in islamic nations, as an instument in fight against the soviet union. Whereas in other countries America had been acting the same movements. America supported israel and unpopular ,oppressive Arab regimes so as to fulfil its own motto. The United States became the great outside power in the Middle East, wiyh three main concerns: Persian Gulf oil; support and protection of the new nation of Israel; and containment of the Soviet Union.The infamous face of terror, Osama Bin Laden was a also a product of U.S spy agencies. Bin laden and some other groups fighting against the Soviet Union originally received their training from the CIA during that period. WESTERNMEDIA CRUSADES AGAINST ISLAM Global and regional political, economic and social development, in recent years, has troubled the relationship between Western, European and Islamic societies strongly and manifold. Throughout the world, people are witnessing unsettling changes. Non-Muslims and Muslims alike became victims of terror and violence by people After the collapse of communist regime in soviet union, it started seeing muslims as a threat to western christendom.The political leaders used America as an excuse for political and social oppression and economic stagnation. By assigning responsibility for their 8
  • 10. pretending to act "in the name of Islam". Misunderstanding and prejudice seem to grow on both sides even though information systems and means of communication are highly sophisticated. In the era of communication, wars begin,continue and end with media war. The Media shapes public opinion and covers realities by their censorship. The mass media are used as the most important weapon. There is a connection between the role of media and post-modernity. The media shapes the world how we see it. It is a common observation that crises such as wars, recessions, stock market meltdowns, ethic scandals, and natural catastrophes often drive the public policy making process. A crisis reveals a problem and then a public consensus emerges that policymakers must do something about it .These crises reveal broadcasters' important role in communicating crisis information. They provide emerging information to the public in times of crisis. But choosing negative and frightening names for people or groups that powerful policymakers dislike, or using positive names for describing wildly acts - are parts of media tricks.Nowadays, numerous media campaigns are going on against Islam and Muslims. Most Western media with considerable financial resources and multiple channels try to show a rough picture of Islam to their public. At the same time Muslim groups through various media outlets are trying to convey their messages, but in comparison to the global dominance of the western media, their efforts are somehow in vain. In this regard you can visit the website of the Islamic community in Croatia www.islamska-zajednica.hr and many others. Most western media are using the September 11th event to capitalize its political gain. These media depict Islam as "fundamentalism", "extremism" and "radicalism". Of course, in the modern world where the role of media is central, the image of reality can be manipulated to misrepresent the actual facts. The media have tried to represent Muslims as "terrorists" posing a threat to the western security. By doing so, they try to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In recent years, this approach has led to the emergence of "Islamophobia". However, little effort has been made to respond to these negative campaigns. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS The middle east is going through a rough phase of political transition. Instead of blaming islam the government of all other countries must help them to form a stable political regime so that illiteracy and poverty can be reduced in muslim nations. To improve the image of Islam in the West it requires a strong and 9
  • 11. persistent effort from Muslims themselves, both in the Islamic world and in the Muslim communities in the West.These efforts should include a comprehensive process of reforms. Muslims will never be able to improve their image in the world if they fail to appear as a nation of culture and civilization. Effective initiatives must also be undertaken to educate non-Muslims concerning correct Islamic concepts of peace and tolerance and to clarify the incorrect views of Islam held by some. The muslims must not continue to wallow in the nostalgia of a golden age. The muslims have a built a hellish hole for themselves. It‘s time to stop digging. It‘s time to start climbing out. Nature has created diverse people so that they learn about each other, they know each other, not that they hate each other. Human beings were created for a beautiful purpose of living together , for learning to live together and that‘s the message every religion gives. 10
  • 12. REFERENCES [1]http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/01/22/poll_am ericans_have_negative_view_of_islam [2]www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-low-budget-american-film [3] http://english.islammessage.com/articledetails.aspx?articleId=649 [4] http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html [5]http://www.patheos.com/Library/Sufism/Ethics-Morality-Community/Gender-andSexuality.html [6]http://www.figo.org/news/fgm-not-religious-requirement-0010480 [7]http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_up-khap-panchayat-bans-women-from-stepping-outand-minister-endorses-it_1714849 11