Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Zakir Naik speaks on Misconceptions about Islam|
|03/11/01 at 03:48:00|
|Summary of the lecture delivered by Dr. Zakir Naik of Bombay, India, on "The|
misconceptions about Islam", on Friday, November 26, 1999 at the Rakkah
Stadium, Dammam, under the aegis of the Islamic Dawah and Guidance Center,
The meeting was coordinated by Mr. Ahmed Nooruddin of New York.
Dear brothers and sisters, As-salaam-u-alaikum-wa-rahmatullah-wa-barkat-hu.
May peace be with you and may God's mercy and blessings be on you.
It is my honor to be here for the third time in three years.
The topic of my lecture today is "Misconceptions about Islam". It is the
duty of every Muslim to help remove some of the misconceptions non-Muslims
have about Islam. By engaging in a dialogue with the non-Muslims, you will
help lessen the level of anti-Muslim feelings in their hearts. These
misconceptions prevent non-Muslims from seeing the beauty of Islam.
Some of the methods of conveying the message of Islam are ineffective, and
some are effective. The best way to start a dialogue is to first ask them:
"What is it that you do not like about Islam". This opening makes them
comfortable to talk to you. Also, it gives you a good chance to know what
they have to say about Islam in their own words.
I have found from my lecture tours around the world that these
misconceptions hinge around only 20 issues, by and large. There may be one
or two issues that may be unique to Singapore, or Malaysia, Canada, etc, but
essentially the various issues can be grouped into only twenty. These issues
change from time to time. What I will be listing are issues that non-Muslims
of today bring up. Twenty years ago, these were not the issues? there were
other issues. Similarly, twenty years from now, there will be different
issues that will come up.
So if you master the answers to these twenty typical questions about today's
misconceptions about Islam, you can help remove most of them from the hearts
and minds of your non-Muslim friends. However, most lay non-Muslims have
only about four or five issues they dislike about Islam, so it is not
difficult for you to remove this animosity against Islam. In my one-hour
talk today, I will cover as many misconceptions as is possible, and suggest
ways you may tackle them.
Misconception # 1: It is not civilized to have more than one wife at a time.
Reply: The only religious book that says: "? then marry only once" is the
Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. This injunction is not found in the
Christian Bible, in the Hindu Geeta, or in the Jewish holy book etc. In the
Bible there are so many references to various prophets and kings who had
numerous wives. Abraham had three wives, while King Solomon had seven
hundred wives, etc. In the Hindu literature the various gods have hundreds
of wives and concubines. Krishna had one thousand women. Similarly, the Jews
used to marry more than once as late as the 1950s. None of these faiths
regulated the number of wives a man could have at a time. Only Islam limits
the wives to four.
The monogamy that the Christians, the Hindus, and Jews practice today, is
not from their religion, but from their government. So it has no religious
significance; it is a man-made rule. Monogamy was the result of an act of
parliament, not their faith. Example: The Indian Parliament in 1954 passed
the Hindu Marriage Act prohibiting the Hindu male from taking up more than
one wife. The Jewish Rabbis in the 10th Century AD made monogamy a rule.
Similarly, the European countries and the American government passed laws to
make monogamy the rule in their lands.
In Surah Nissah God allows a Muslim to marry, one, two, three or four women
as long as he can do justice between them. If the man can't do justice, the
exhortation for him is: "? then marry only once".
Marrying more than once is not compulsory, but only an option to tide over
unique circumstances that societies face from time to time. You will find in
many societies today that the ratio between females and males is not 50:50.
There are more females than men in Europe, USA and elsewhere. On the other
hand, in India, because of the rampant female fetus abortions, the number of
females is dropping, and a crisis is in the making, as not enough number of
females will be available for Hindu men to marry a few years from now.
The option for women in countries with a bigger female ratio than men is to
share a husband with another woman, to remain single, or to become public
property. "Become public property" is a decent phrase I'm using for what it
really means. Ask any woman who cannot find an unmarried man to marry, if it
is a better choice to share a husband with another woman, or to become a
mere mistress. As a lawfully wedded wife she will get the same right as the
first wife, get legal status for herself and her children, get inheritance
rights for herself and her children, and most importantly, get respect and
dignity. Becoming a mistress is no choice. In the West becoming a mistress
or a girlfriend is no problem, but becoming a second wife is totally
unacceptable. The Government will come after you, the society will come
Misconception # 2: There is no equality between genders in Islam, as Islam
gives men the right to have more than one wife, but does it not give the
same right to women to have more than one husband.
Reply: Islam does not approve of polyandry, i.e., a woman taking up more
than one husband. It is the male whose children the women bear. If a woman
had multiple husbands, it would not be easy to know who is the father of the
child. When a child is conceived, God puts love and affection in the hearts
of the parents so that they can bring up the child. Without this love, life
cannot be sustained. But if there were dispute about who really has fathered
the child, there would be no love in the heart of the fathers. Psychologists
say that children who grow up without knowing who their father is, are
lacking in stability and maturity. Now because of scientific progress in DNA
testing, one can say who the father is; but these tests were not available
for mankind till now. Islam is about peace in the family, not discord.
Misconception # 3: Islam subjugates women in a veil.
Reply: If you look at history, to ancient civilizations, you will find that
women were the oppressed people. They had no individual merit. The
Babylonians used to punish the woman for her husband's mistakes. The ancient
Egyptians did the same. Ancient Arabs buried their newly-born daughters.
It was Islam that uplifted the status of women. It gave women rights they
never had before. Surah Nissah exhorts believing men to lower their gaze if
a lady is passing by. Similarly, there are exhortations for women to lower
their gaze if strange men are around. The Quran also speaks about the hijab
for men and women to protect the modesty. The hijab for men is to cover
their bodies minimally from their navel to the knees. The hijab for women is
to cover their whole bodies except for their faces and hands below their
wrists. There are descriptions for a female hijab. that is should cover the
endowments including head, not be tight, not be transparent, not be like the
clothes of non-believers, and not be like the clothes of the other gender,
Let me ask you a question: Suppose two identical twin sisters are walking
down a street, and one of them is dressed in revealing clothing, while the
other one is wearing a hijab. Who will the boys in the street whistle at or
tease: the one who is scantily dressed in a mini-skirt, or the one who is
modestly attired? The answer is obvious. The hijab is designed to prevent
women from being molested. It brings peace to society and prevents mischief.
Misconception # 4: Capital punishment is that barbaric.
Reply: There are crimes for which Islam prescribes capital punishment, eg.
for rape, murder etc. This is to protect society from criminals and
anti-social elements. In USA there are 2713 rapes taking place every day. In
Islam, the penalty is to award the death penalty so that the criminal is not
around to repeat this crime, and to teach others a lesson. Americans say
that this is a severe punishment. They say that the rapist must be put in
jail for the first rape. If later he rapes again, then it is ok to put him
to death. Friends, statistics in USA shows that 95 percent of the rapists,
after release from jail, rape again. Islam prevents this second rape.
Following the Hijib dress code prevents the rapist from temptation to rape.
Misconception # 5: Islam was spread by the sword.
Reply: Nothing is far from the truth. Islam was spread by traders who served
as excellent role models. In the book: Islam at cross-roads, the author on
page 8 says that this belief is a myth. Look at the number of Coptic
Christians in Egypt. They number 14 million. Couldn't the Arabs have wiped
them out and converted them to Islam? Look at India. In the 1000 years that
the Muslims ruled over this subcontinent, every one could have been
forcefully converted to Islam. How can you explain that there are 800
million Hindus and others still in India? Which Muslim army went to
Indonesia and Malaysia to convert them? These people converted by seeing the
good behaviors of the Muslim/Arab traders. Readers' Digest says that between
1943 and 1984, a period of 50 years, saw more conversion to Islam in Europe
and USA than to any faith. I am asking you, who went with a sword to convert
these people to Islam? The sword of the intellect converts people.
Misconception # 6: Muslims are fundamentalists.
Reply: What is the definition of the word fundamentalist? The dictionary
says any one who understands the basics of a discipline is a fundamentalist.
Can you call yourself a mathematician if you can't understand the
fundamentals of maths? No! Similarly, to be called a scientist, you must
understand the fundamentals of science. There can be a positive
fundamentalist and a negative fundamentalist. A thief/robber who is an
expert at the fundamentals of robbing is bad; but a doctor who knows the
fundamentals of healing is good. I submit that no fundamentals of Islam are
against humanity. How can you be a good Muslim if you do not understand and
practice the fundamentals of Islam? According to the Webster's dictionary,
the word fundamentalist was first used on Christians; however, the new
Oxford dictionary lists Muslims as fundamentalists.
Every Muslim should understand the fundamentals of Islam, and should be a
fundamentalist. I am proud to call myself a 'Muslim Fundamentalist'. I
submit that every Muslim should be a terrorist. Just as the policeman
strikes terror in the heart of the thief, so should every Muslim strike
terror in the heart of the thief, the rapist and other anti-social elements.
The word fundamentalist is open to wide interpretation, just like the word
freedom fighter. In olden days, the British would label those Indians
fighting for India's freedom as terrorists; while for the Indians, these
Misconception # 7: Muslims are ruthless non-vegetarian people.
Reply: God has granted Muslims the choice to be vegetarians as well as
non-vegetarians. He has ordained in the holy book that everything that he
has created in this world is for the enjoyment/pleasure of man (with
certain restrictions and limits). It is ok for a Muslim to be a vegetarian
by choice; it is also ok for him to be a non-vegetarian by choice.
Science tells us that animal flesh is a complete protein food. It is easier
to digest than the vegetarian food. If you look at the teeth of carnivorous
animals like a tiger or a lion they are sharp and pointed, designed to tear
flesh. The tiger and lion can eat only flesh; they cannot digest vegetables
and grass. On the other hand, the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow
and camel are flat, designed to chew grass and plants. These herbivorous
animals can't digest flesh. But if you examine the teeth of human beings,
they are both canine i.e. sharp and pointed ones as well as flat. Therefore
human beings can chew both vegetarian foods as well as non- vegetarian
foods. Humans can digest plant foods as well as flesh. It is a gift of God
Hindu scriptures permit the eating of flesh. In fact, their books are
replete with incidents showing festivals and ceremonies where meat was
served. When Jainism and Buddhism started to become popular with their
philosophies of ahimsa, ie., non-violence toward animals, and started to win
converts from Hinduism, the Hindus adapted the same philosophy to win back
those who had left the Hindu fold. This is how Hinduism changed over to
If no one eats meat the number of cattle will be uncontrollable. It will be
a big problem about how to dispose of them.
Misconception # 8: Muslims eat animals and behave like animals.
Reply: There is a saying that you are what you eat. Since Muslims eat only
herbivorous animals who are peaceful animals, ie., animals that eat only
plants, grass etc, like goat, lamb etc. Therefore, we are peaceful people.
Muslims are prevented from eating carnivorous animals, i.e, animals who eat
other animals. The holy prophet has prohibited us from eating snakes,
lizards, cats, dogs, birds of prey etc.
Some non-Muslims say that allowing a slaughtered to bleed to death is
torturing the animal. It is better to behead it in one quick shot. Some
Muslims' response to this is that the non-Muslims attack the animals from
behind, like cowards; while Muslims confront the animal in a manly manner,
face-to-face, from the front. Of course this is not a good reason; it is
only a joke.
Scientific tests have proven that when the animal's throat is slit along
with the windpipe and the vein (without damage to the spinal cord), the
animal dies a painless death. The heart pumps out all the blood from the
body. Blood carries toxins and impurities that are harmful for humans. Islam
prohibits the eating/drinking of blood. Meat without blood lasts longer than
meat with blood in it.
Misconception # 9: Going around the Kabah is idol worship.
Reply: No religion is more vocal in condemning idol worship than Islam. The
Muslims do not worship Kabah, only Allah. While circumambulating the Kabah
they chant: La Illa ha ill-lal-lah. (There is no object worthy of worship
The Kabah is for proving unity. It would be chaotic if Muslims prayed in any
direction they chose. The Kabah provides a chance to unify in prayer as all
Muslims face one spot. Throughout the globe people from various countries
face North, South, East and West only to face the Kabah. When the Arabs drew
the map of the globe, they put Makkah in the center; but when the Western
people gained power, they put Greenwich in the center. But if you look at
the map, Makkah continues to be in the center of the globe. Alhamdulillah!
Some accuse Muslims to be idol worshippers because the kiss the black rock
at Kabah. This they do only because they saw the prophet do it. The black
stone has no power to benefit or harm you. In olden times, the call to
prayer was given by standing on the top of Kabah. If Muslims were idol
worshippers, would they stand on to of their idol and call people to prey.
Does a Hindu or a Christian stand on their idol and call others to join in
Misconception # 10: Muslims are wrong in preventing non-Muslims from
Reply: Allah has prohibited this. It is not a place of tourism, but
reverence and worship. A non-Muslim has no reverence for Makkah, and
therefore should not be there as a mere spectator.
Although I am an Indian, I can't go to the cantonment area where the
military is based. I need a special permit. Similarly, all countries have
their own rules to allow visitors. Applicants must met certain conditions
insisted by the host country. I had to meet the conditions of the US
Government to visit USA. Similarly, there are conditions to visit Makkah.
The condition is: You recite from your heart La illa-ha ill lal lah,
Mohammed-ur rasul Allah ("I bear witness that there is no object worthy of
worship except Allah, and that Mohammed id the messenger of Allah" ) .
Misconception # 11: Muslims wrongly don't eat pork
Reply: God has prohibited pork. There are several references in the Bible
where swine meat is prohibited. Science has associated 70 diseases with
swine meat, the most dangerous being tapeworm, from which there is no cure.
It causes irreparable damage to the insides. Even if a pig has been raised
on a farm and its flesh is cooked very well at high temperatures, certain
germs never die. The pig is a filthy animal; it eats human excreta. It has
no protective instinct for its female. It is a shameless animal. Therefore
people who eat its flesh, have no shame if their females mate with other
|Re: Zakir Naik speaks on Misconceptions about Islam|
|03/11/01 at 03:55:21|
Wow! Why didn't I ever get my hands on this before???
Great answers! Covers alot of FAQ. Very useful stuff!
I remember Ahmed Deedat giving the same answer to Misconception #10 in a debate. Of course, there is no match for his [i]style[/i] though :)
|Re: Zakir Naik speaks on Misconceptions about Isla|
|03/11/01 at 03:59:44|
I was saving it for the articles page, but thought who knows when i'll next have time to get that on there (next year??!) so perhaps some ppl will benefit from it here at least now..
about makkah.. muslims do a good job of building mcdonalds and kfc's all up and down makkah :( it's kind of sad
but you definitely would not have the sacredness and safety and peacefullness if non-muslims were allowed there.. why would they want to go anyway except to gawk... i say they should convert and then gawk in peace with the rest of us ;)
|Re: Zakir Naik speaks on Misconceptions about Islam|
|03/11/01 at 10:16:48|
I received this a long time ago and its great, the only reason why I haven't sent this out, is because like Jannah, my version is incomplete, it has only 11 points instead of 20!!! Where is the rest.
|Re: Zakir Naik speaks on Misconceptions about Islam|
|03/12/01 at 15:28:24|
|There is supposed to be a video floating around of a debate between Zakir Naik and uh, Campbell I think? Does anyone know where I can find the video? A brother at the masjid asked me and I have no idea where to find it.|
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