By ADERONKE ADEYERI
‘Kill the infidel’ is not Islam
— Alhaji Abdulbari Yoosuph Afini
Many non-Muslims misunderstand Islam, in fact, some Muslims, also have a wrong notion about the religion. Sentiment have crept in to the practice of Islam in some areas. Some Muslims who do not have a full knowledge of the religion often diffuse their culture into the religion and as such give a wrong impression about Islam.
Another misconception about Islam is a popular phrase ‘Kill the infidel’ which many people believe is the ideology that Muslims have towards the non Muslims.
This is not a correct portrayal of Islamic law. Islam gives respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. The Quran says “God does not forbid you with regards to those who fight you not for religion nor drive you away out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just.”
There are many historical examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faith. One example was when the Caliph Umar was ruler of Jerusalem from 634 to 644 AD granted freedom to all religious communities and said that the inhabitants of his city were safe and that their places of worship would never be taken away from them. He also set up courts that were designated to the non Muslim minorities.
Yet another misconception is that Muslims worship Prophet Muhammad. This is entirely untrue, and is easily refuted by the actual saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Do not over praise me as the Christians over praised Jesus, the son of Mary. I am His slave, so refer to me as ‘God’s slave and Messenger.”
Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of God’s Prophets and Messengers but respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them.
A related claim is that Muslims worship the “moon God” which is also totally incorrect. Worshipping the moon, or anything other than Allah, is strictly prohibited in Islam.
Islam is not terrorism — Haruna Rasaq
I agree with the fact that Islam as a religion that suffers misconceptions. These misconceptions are often created by two groups which are the Muslims and the non Muslims.
These groups have injected wrong practices into the religion. Today, there is a misconception of Jihad often propagated by the antagonists of the religion. They mis-interprete jihad to mean “Holy war” and they belief it is the reason behind the incessant killings and terrorism in the Northern part of the country. However, jihad does not totally mean war but a word with a compound scope. Jihad was coined from an Arabic word “Juhb” which means striving and also synonymous to “Taaqah” that means capacity and power.
It can also be likened to “maslagah’’ the ability to endure hardship. Therefore, Jihad means striving to endure hardship in Islamic act. Jihad could be the act of traveling to Hajj which is the last pillar of Islam. Jihad can also be explained as the act of enduring hardship in the course of establishing religious act and charitable deeds. An hadith says “he who strive to meet the needs of the widow and the poor has done Jihad.
The status of women is another area of misconception. Some believe that women are regarded as slaves in Islam which is not true. There is an hadith specially for women (Surat) and Nisai. In Islam, women are as vital to life just as the male counterpart and not to be treated as a weaker specie. When girls were born in Arab before Islam, they were killed because they felt they had nothing to offer but this religion eradicated this practice.
Some also believe that Islam permits forced marriages. Arranged marriages are cultural practices which are predominant in certain countries throughout the world. In Islam, both males and females have the right to choose or reject their potential spouse, and a marriage is considered null and void if a woman’s genuine approval is not granted prior to the marriage.