Quran-Based Islam

Much of what you've been taught about Islam is not supported by the Quran

Dedication

God expects you to use your God-given brain.

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use their brains to think. (8:22)

I dedicate this book to people who use their brain.

Author

David
David is an American Muslim living in Silicon Valley, California. He has lived in Indonesia and Egypt and has visited many other Islamic countries throughout the Middle East. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and holds a masters degree in computer science. David is also familiar with and has performed Quran-based Islamic exorcisms. Fascinated by the mystical powers of the Quran to expel evil jinn living in human bodies and surprised by the proliferation of victims of black magic, David began to examine the Quran. To his surprise, he discovered that much of what the majority of Muslims believe and practice either contradicts or is not even supported by the Quran. His books on Islam are the results of this discovery.

David has also written other Islamic books and created several Islamic resources which can be found at www.uncorruptedislam.com.

READ ME FIRST!

The information presented in this book may come as a surprise to most Muslims and probably Jews and Christians. At first glance, a reader might think of it as blasphemy. However, all Muslims, whether Sunni, Shiah, Druze, Alawi, Salafi, or whatever other sect, agree that the Quran is the truth. Therefore, the information provided in this book is purely based on the Quran with references to verses to prove each claim. After reading this book with an unbiased and open mind, Muslims may wonder why the global Muslim community, Islamic scholars, and they themselves never realized the truth that this book proves. I believe the primary reason for this stems from Quran chapter 47 verse 24.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Then do they not study / think deeply about / understand the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (47:24)

The key word here is "tadabbur" which means “study / think deeply about to understand”.

Most Muslims are non-Arabic speakers. They read the Quran but don’t understand what they are reading. They could read translations in their own language but for some reason, they seem to think it’s better to read the Arabic Quran without understanding the words. Since the Quran is not written the way today’s books are written, even Arabic-speaking readers have a hard time understanding the meaning of it. And anyone who reads the Quran in their own language will still not necessarily understand its meaning because most people don’t actually think deeply to understand (tadabbur) each verse.

The purpose of this book is to help the reader understand various topics about the religion of Submission (Arabic: Islam) and the Quran so that they can use valid and logical arguments to make better decisions about their beliefs. Before embarking on this journey to learn the truth, it is highly recommended that you prepare yourself in the following ways.

Proofs in this book that reference the Quran are shown in parentheses such as (16:123) which means Quran chapter 16 verse 123. All English translations are taken from Sahih International as I find them to be more accurate compared to others I’ve read and it tries to keep the word order more or less the same as the original Arabic text. However, the word Allah has been translated to God since Sahih International either forgot to or didn’t want to translate Allah to God even though they probably knew that Allah in Arabic means God in English.

Do not read this book with the intention to contradict and refute it, nor to believe and take it for granted, but to weigh and consider the proofs detailed herein. And most definitely, do not judge this book based on the length of my beard!

Sincerely,

David
San Francisco Bay Area, USA

Quran — Description

The Quran is without a doubt clear guidance (hudan)

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah - (2:2)

The Quran is clear proof (burhan) from God

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُّبِينًا
O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. (4:174)

The Quran is complete

Fortunately, we don’t need to guess whether verse 31:27 suggests that the Quran is complete. God admits in verses 6:115 and 6:38 that the Quran is complete. Also, common sense says that God is perfect. Therefore, why would God send down an incomplete Quran? Was God too busy that He couldn’t finish the Quran? Obviously not. Did God say in the Quran that because the Quran is incomplete, we have to figure out the missing parts from Prophet Muhammad’s sayings (hadith)? Obviously not.

و َتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6:115)
وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم ۚ مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ
And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered. (6:38)

The Quran is fully detailed (fussilat) of all things

Not only is the Quran complete, it’s also detailed.

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا
[Say], "Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?" (6:114)
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was the Qur'an a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe. (12:111)
كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
A Book whose verses have been detailed, an Arabic Qur'an for a people who know, (41:3)
الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ
Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. (11:1)

The Quran provides its own explanation (ahsan tafsir)

Not only is the Quran complete and detailed, it also provides its own explanation (tafsir) of things and it is the best explanation (tafsir).

وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا
And they do not come to you with an argument except that We bring you the truth and the best explanation. (25:33)

The Quran is sufficient as a book of guidance.

No other book, e.g. the hadith, is necessary to complement the Quran as God indicates that the Quran alone is sufficient.

أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِهِمْ أَنَّا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَرَحْمَةً وَذِكْرَىٰ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe. (29:51)

The fact that the Quran is sufficient all by itself is further indicated in verses 17:45-46. Note the emphasis of the Quran being sufficient on its own with the use of the word “alone”.

وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا
And when you recite the Qur'an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition. (17:45)
وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا
And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord in the Qur'an alone, they turn back in aversion. (17:46)

The Quran alone is the straight path

In the opening chapter of the Quran, and when Muslims pray, we ask God to guide us to the straight path.

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
Guide us to the straight path - (1:6)

According to verses 6:126 and 6:153, that “straight path” is the Quran alone, not the Quran and other sources such as the hadith.

وَهَٰذَا صِرَاطُ رَبِّكَ مُسْتَقِيمًا ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
And this (Quran) is the path of your Lord, [leading] straight. We have detailed the verses for a people who remember. (6:126)
وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
And, [moreover], this (Quran) is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous. (6:153)

The Quran is both scripture and wisdom

Some people may argue that verse 2:231 suggests that the Quran is scripture and the hadith is wisdom. They argue that this verse justifies the validity of the hadith. However, the rules of Arabic grammar prove this not to be the case.

... وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ يَعِظُكُم بِهِ...
… And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Scripture and wisdom to enlighten you with it. ... (2:231)

If wisdom were something other than the scripture, e.g. the hadith, then God would have used the word “them” to refer to two separate things.

… And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Scripture and wisdom to enlighten you with them. ...

But since He used the word “it”, then it must follow that “it” is the Quran and the Quran is both “Scripture” and “wisdom”.

The Quran is the ultimate scale (mizaan)

اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ وَالْمِيزَانَ ۗ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ قَرِيبٌ
It is Allah who has sent down the Book in truth and [also] the balance. And what will make you perceive? Perhaps the Hour is near. (42:17)

The Quran is evidence (bayyinah)

وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا يَأْتِينَا بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ ۚ أَوَلَمْ تَأْتِهِم بَيِّنَةُ مَا فِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَىٰ
And they say, "Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?" Has there not come to them evidence of what was in the former scriptures? (20:133)

The Quran is the criterion (furqan) between right and wrong

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا
Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner - (25:1)

Quran — Translations

Are all Quran translations consistent with one another?

Many Muslims believe that translations of the Quran are accurate and reliable. However, sadly, many translations are not accurate and some contain the translator’s personal opinion without indicating which part is opinion and which part is translation. Consider part of verse 24:31 which is often used as proof that women must cover their hair.

...وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ...

Following are various English translations.

Translator Translation
Sahih International … and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests …
Pickthall … and to draw their veils over their bosoms …
Yusuf Ali … that they should draw their veils over their bosoms …
Shakir …and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms…
Muhammad Sarwar … Let them cover their breasts with their veils. …
Mohsin Khan … and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) …
Arberry … and let them cast their veils over their bosoms …

Unfortunately, these translations are all misleading because the Arabic word "khumur" (plural of “khimaar”) simply means “a covering”. In other words, your shirt is a “khimaar” because it covers your chest. Your pants are a “khimaar” because it covers your legs. A roof is a “khimaar” because it covers the top of your house. The word “veil” also means “a covering” but popular usage of the word “veil” limits its meaning to a covering of one’s face. Therefore, to prevent misunderstandings, the word “cover” is a safer translation. Consequently, a more accurate translation is to say “women should draw their covers (e.g. clothes) over their chests”. There is nothing in the above verse that “requires” women to cover their hair, face, or neck. Unfortunately, many Muslims just blindly believe what they are told without seeking the truth and studying the Quran for themselves.

Are all Quran translations accurate?

Many Muslim believe that Quran translations are all accurate. However, this clearly is not the case. Not only do translators disagree on the meaning of some verses, some of them also provide inaccurate and therefore misleading translations. Consider verse 45:6 and the two translations below.

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Translator Translation
Sahih International These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement after Allah and His verses will they believe?
Ahmed Reza Khan These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you with the truth; so forsaking Allah and His signs, what will they believe in?

If you can read and understand Arabic, you will know that the translation by Sahih International is more accurate and true to the original Arabic text whereas the one by Ahmed Reza Khan introduces words that are not even in the Arabic text. For example, the word "hadith" is clearly used in the Arabic text and is correctly translated as “statement” by Sahih International. However, Ahmed Reza Khan clearly omits this very important word. Since this verse is one of several that prove that God forbids following any statement (hadeeth) after the Quran, then it is likely that this Khan intentionally changed the meaning of this verse as he may personally believe that prophet Muhammad's supposed hadeeth must be followed. Therefore, Ahmed Reza Khan’s translation can easily mislead readers and prevent them from having a correct understanding of the Quran.

Quran — Reading, Singing, Memorizing

Is it better to memorize the Quran or to read the Quran?

Many Muslims go through the huge effort of memorizing the Quran, even if they don’t speak Arabic. In general, many Muslims are also very impressed to hear of someone who has memorized the entire Quran. Sadly, when you ask these people if they understand what they memorized, they say they don’t understand it. In other words, many of these people have managed to memorize the sounds of the Arabic Quran without understanding the meaning of what they’ve spent so much time trying to memorize. According the verse 2:2, the Quran is a guide for people who believe in God.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah - (2:2)

And according to verse 47:24, the Quran should be studied and understood.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Then do they not study / think deeply about / understand (yatadabbaruna) the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (47:24)

While there is nothing wrong with memorizing the Quran, it should be clear that understanding the meaning of the Quran should be a priority. After all, how can you be guided by a book that contains guidance if you don’t understand what you are reading, let alone have memorized.

Is it better to read the Arabic Quran or a translation?

Many non Arabic-speaking Muslims diligently read the Arabic Quran throughout their lives. Sadly, most of them have no idea of the meaning of the words they read. As such, it doesn’t seem fitting to even say that they are "reading" the Quran since “reading” implies an understanding of the words being read. As such, a possibly more appropriate description of their actions is that they are “making the sounds of the Arabic Quran.” The word Qur’an is an Arabic word that translates to “Reading” in English. It is called as such because it’s supposed to be read. In addition to reading it, God expects you to think deeply about it and understand it (47:24).

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Then do they not study / think deeply about / understand (yatadabbaruna) the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (47:24)

God makes it clear in 2:2: that the Quran is a guide.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah - (2:2)

Obviously, in order to be "guided", you need to understand the meaning of the guide. And obviously, you can understand a guide if you don’t understand the language of that guide. Therefore, it should be obvious that non-Arabic speakers will benefit most from reading a translation of the Quran to satisfy verse 47:24 and be “guided.” People don’t magically get guidance by reading a book they don’t understand. If one feels it important to read the Arabic Quran, they can read both the Arabic version and a translated version side by side.

Are you allowed to sing the Quran?

Many Muslims think that it is better to recite the Quran with a certain intonation. The resulting effect can be somewhat like they are singing a song with or without instruments.

Here’s an example without instruments.

image alt text

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KyGyiLFPis

And here’s an example with instruments.

image alt text

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=V_q5EXpe4GI

There doesn’t appear to be any ruling against singing the Quran. However, one should keep in mind the purpose of the Quran and what God expects everyone to do with it. As stated earlier, the Quran is a book of guidance (2:2) and God expects everyone to read, understand, and think deeply about it (47:24).

Quran — Understanding

The Quran forbids you from following or believing in something without understanding it

In verse 17:36, God clearly tells people not to follow and believe in what they have no knowledge of. For example, if someone tells you that Muslim men are forbidden from wearing gold and silk, then you shouldn’t just believe what they say, regardless of whether they are learned scholars or imams. You must know what you are doing so that you are not guilty of becoming a blind believer. Examples of blind believers are idol worshippers of the time of Prophet Abraham. When Abraham proved to them, including his own father, that the idols were not God, and told them to stop worshipping them, they refused saying that they wanted to continue worshipping whatever their forefathers worshipped, even though they had no proof that their idols were God.

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned. (17:36)

As a Muslim, do you have to understand the Quran?

Many Muslims believe that they can just read the Quran without understanding and thinking deeply about its verses. However, God says in the Quran that you are expected to study and think deeply about its verses. The expectation that you understand the Quran is so serious that not doing it is as if your heart was locked up. This expectation is very rational. After all, if you don’t understand the Quran, then your practicing of Islam would be based on assumption rather than proof. Furthermore, since verse 17:36 forbids you from blindly following what people tell you without your own personal knowledge or proof of a matter, one obvious way to acquire knowledge of Islamic matters is by studying and thinking deeply about the Quran.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Then do they not study / think deeply about / understand the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (47:24)

Quran — Following / judging by other than it

God forbids people from following any law except God’s laws in the Quran

This is understandable and is proven in verse 6:114. The Quran is the word of God. Other books, e.g. the the book of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings (hadith), are not from God but from humans (e.g. indirectly via a chain of people who claim they heard Muhammad say something). Muhammad is not God. Muhammad has no right or authority to make Islamic law. And God never gave Muhammad the authority to make Islamic law as we will prove below.

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا
[Say], "Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?" ... (6:114)

Whoever judges by other than the Quran, they are Kafir (disbelievers)

Many people, usually very religious people, like to tell others that something is haram. Unfortunately, their justification of their statements is based on Prophet Muhammad’s sayings (hadith) and not the Quran. For example, some people tell others that men are forbidden from wearing gold and silk. This information is found in the hadith but you will never find it in the Quran. According to verse 5:44, these people who judge by the hadith think that they are doing the right thing and are very religious but in actuality, God considers them Kafir.

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
... And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers. (5:44)

Regarding matters of religion, do not follow or believe in hadith besides the Quran

Verses 45:6 and 77:50 should be sufficient proof for everyone that only the Quran, which is God’s sayings (hadith) should be followed and believed in. Any saying (hadith) after that should not be believed in let alone followed as supplementary or overriding laws in the Quran.

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ
These are the verses of God which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement after God and His verses will they believe? (45:6)
فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Then in what statement after it (the Qur'an) will they believe? (77:50)

Quran — Prior scriptures

The Quran and previous scriptures (e.g. the Jewish Torah and Christian Gospel) are all from the one and only God

What many Muslims don’t realize is that the Jewish book, the Torah, and the Christian scripture, the Gospel, are from the same God that revealed the Quran to Muhammad. The Torah was given to Moses and the Gospel to Jesus. The Torah came before the Gospel which came before the Quran.

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ
God - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. (3:2-3)
وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. (5:46)
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad." But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, "This is obvious magic." (61:6)

The Quran replaces previous scriptures and tells everyone to believe in it

The Quran tells the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to believe in the Quran which confirms what was in their own books.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ آمِنُوا بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهًا فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهَا أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّا أَصْحَابَ السَّبْتِ ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا
O you who were given the Scripture, believe in what We have sent down [to Muhammad], confirming that which is with you, before We obliterate faces and turn them toward their backs or curse them as We cursed the sabbath-breakers. And ever is the decree of Allah accomplished. (4:47)
يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ ۚ قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ
O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book. (5:15)

Does the Quran contain new information that didn't exist in the previous scriptures, e.g. the Jewish and Christian bibles?

Many Muslims believe that the Quran contains new and/or updated information when compared to previous scripture such as the Jewish Torah and the Christian bible. However, the Quran makes it clear in verse 41:43 that the Quran contains the same information as what was revealed previously.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُمَّا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (41:43)

If the previous scriptures, e.g. the Torah and Injil, that you read today are different messaging than the Quran, then it is likely that the versions of those books that you read today have been altered.

Quran — Other related topics

Some verses are specific and others are unspecific for a reason

Some verses of the Quran are specific, e.g. to believe in one God, whereas others are intentionally unspecific. God tells people to follow the specific. The unspecific is a test for people to intentionally interpret them to suit their own desires.

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. (3:7)

For example, verse 24:31 clearly instructs women to cover their chests. Nowhere in the verse does it say women must cover their hair or face or neck. Clearly, many Muslims misinterpret the verse by saying that it is forbidden (haram) for women to not cover their hair. Another example is from verse 2:187 which instructs people to fast until “layl” which means “night’. However, most people interpret “layl” to mean “sunset” (maghrib / ghurub) which obviously is before night time. God knows the word “ghurub” (sunset) because He uses it in many verses throughout the Quran. Therefore, if He really wanted people to fast until sunset, He would have said so by using the word “ghurub” instead of “layl”.

God never runs out of words

Many people seem to think that the Quran is incomplete and therefore, believe that Prophet Muhammad’s sayings (hadith) complete the Quran. According to verse 31:27, God never runs out of words. Therefore, God could have written more words in the Quran to explain things to people. But since God didn’t write more than what’s in the Quran, He must have considered the Quran complete.

وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
And if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea [was ink], replenished thereafter by seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (31:27)

The best hadith (statement) is God’s statement (the Quran)

In verse 39:23, God says that the best saying / statement (hadith) is God’s hadith. So why would anyone want to follow some other hadith, e.g. via Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidzhi, etc?

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ
Allah has sent down the best statement: a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. ...(39:23)

God protects the Quran from human tampering / corruption

One might be inclined to think that at some point the Quran may have been tampered with and the information within it corrupted. God confirms that this is not the case as He states in verse 15:9 that He is the guardian of the Quran. In other words, God guards the Quran from becoming corrupted.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian. (15:9)

Furthermore, God confirms that falsehood will not reach the Quran.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِالذِّكْرِ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنَّهُ لَكِتَابٌ عَزِيزٌ لَّا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلَا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ ۖ تَنزِيلٌ مِّنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ
Indeed, those who disbelieve in the message after it has come to them... And indeed, it is a mighty Book. Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy. (15:9)

If one doesn’t believe that the Quran is preserved in its original form, God, in verse 4:82, welcomes you to research it to see if it contains any contradictions.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا
Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (4:82)

No one can alter God’s words

As further support for verse 15:9, God confirms in verse 6:115 that no one can alter His words (the words in the Quran).

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6:115)

The Quran is in Arabic but only due to circumstances

Many people think that Arabic is a holy language because the Quran is in Arabic. The Quran clearly proves that this is not the case. In verse 62:2, God clearly states that He chose Prophet Muhammad (an Arab) as a messenger for his people (Arabs) so that he could recite God’s verses to them.

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error - (62:2)

Since Muhammad was an Arab who spoke Arabic, God made the Quran in Arabic so that it would be easy for Muhammad to understand, as indicated in verse 19:97.

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ الْمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنذِرَ بِهِ قَوْمًا لُّدًّا
So, [O Muhammad], We have only made Qur'an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people. (19:97)

The purpose of the Quran being in Arabic so that Muhammad and his people could understand it is additionally confirmed in verses 12:2 and 43:3.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand. (12:2)
إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand. (43:3)

Verse 42:7 indicates that the primary audience of the Arabic Quran was the immediate locale of Prophet Muhammad so that Muhammad could warn the people (Arabic-speaking Arabs) with it.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ الْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ فَرِيقٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِي السَّعِيرِ
And thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur'an that you may warn the Mother of Cities [Makkah] and those around it and warn of the Day of Assembly, about which there is no doubt. A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze. (42:7)

Note that the words “waman hawlaha” means the “immediate vicinity” around the mother city. It does not mean the whole planet. If the message of the Quran needed to be passed to a Chinaman, it would need to be translated into Chinese.

There is no point in revealing the Quran in a language that one does not understand. This is proven in verse 41:44 and 26:198-199.

وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا أَعْجَمِيًّا لَّقَالُوا لَوْلَا فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ ۖ أَأَعْجَمِيٌّ وَعَرَبِيٌّ ۗ قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاءٌ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ فِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ
And if We had made it a non-Arabic Qur'an, they would have said, "Why are its verses not explained in detail [in our language]? Is it a foreign [recitation] and an Arab [messenger]?" Say, "It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure." And those who do not believe - in their ears is deafness, and it is upon them blindness. Those are being called from a distant place. (41:44)
وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَاهُ عَلَىٰ بَعْضِ الْأَعْجَمِينَ فَقَرَأَهُ عَلَيْهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ
And even if We had revealed it to one among the foreigners. And he had recited it to them [perfectly], they would [still] not have been believers in it. (26:198-199)

As stated in verse 14:4, all messengers (Moses, Jesus, etc) revealed God’s messages in their own languages for absolute clarity. Moses and Jesus did not speak Arabic.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (14:4)

All languages are a blessing from God. Arabic is not a holy language. It just happened to be the language of the last Prophet (Muhammad) and his people.

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ
And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (30:22)

Although the Quran was written in Arabic and its primary target audience was Muhammad’s people, the Quran is a reminder for all nations.

وَمَا هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
But it is not except a reminder to the worlds. (68:52)

How the Quran was transmitted and preserved

The Quran was transmitted by numerous individuals from the time of Prophet Muhammad’s ministry by multiple sources and corroboration. This occurred generation after generation which helped ensure the Quran was error free. And as stated above, God preserves the Quran from corruption in verse 15:9.

The Quran is the last book of God and Muhammad is the last prophet

Scriptures are only given to prophets. Since Muhammad is the last prophet, the Quran is the last scripture.

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing. (33:40)

Do some verses of the Quran abrogate (replace) other verses?

The concept of “abrogation” (Arabic: nasakh) claims that some verses of the Quran are abrogated, overrided and replaced by other verses of the Quran and the hadeeth. Needless to say, this is dangerous assertion to make against the word of God (the Quran). Upon careful inspection, we can easily prove that this concept of abrogation is not supported by the Quran itself.

According to verse 39:23, God says the Quran is a consistent book.

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ
God has sent down the best statement: a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. (39:23)

According to verse 25:32, God says the Quran was revealed in such a way that its component parts were well arranged.

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا
And those who disbelieve say, "Why was the Qur'an not revealed to him all at once?" Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have deliberately revealed / recited it part by part in a well-arranged manner. (25:32)

Note that the term وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا or “rattalnaahu tartiilan” is often mistranslated. According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon

http://lexicon.quranic-research.net/data/10_r/034_rtl.html

it should be clear that the meaning of the term doesn’t only mean that the Quran was revealed part by part but also in a deliberately well-arranged way.

Some Muslims cite verse 2:106 as proof of abrogation.

مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا ۗ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
We do not abrogate a verse / message or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? (2:106)

However, if you read the above verse in context of its previous verses, it becomes clear that God is talking about the Jews and the Christians and the previous scriptures. The previous scriptures, e.g. the Torah and the Injeel, are also from God. Therefore, it becomes clear that the “message” (Arabic: ayah) referred to in 2:106 is a reference to certain directives in previous scriptures.

Note that the word “ayah” doesn’t only refer to verses of the Quran but it also means a sign, mark, evidence, proof, or message. In order to choose the correct meaning, one must understand the context.

To conclude, no verse in the Quran abrogates any other verse in the Quran. However, a verse or message in the Quran may abrogate a verse or message from previous scriptures, e.g. the Torah and Injeel.

Must you be pure and/or perform ablution (wudhu) before touching the Quran?

Many Muslims believe that they must perform ablution (wudu) or be in a "purified" state, e.g. not be menstruating, in order to touch the Quran. However, the Quran never mentions this requirement. Muslims often cite verse 56:77-79 as proof of the requirement to be pure in order to touch the Quran.

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an, in a book well-protected; None touch it except the purified. (56:77-79)

Statement vs command

The first issue is that many Muslims think that the statement "none touch it except the purified" is a command. Everywhere else in the Quran God gives commands by telling people to either do this or don't do that. As you can see, the statement "none touch it except the purified" is not a command but rather a statement of fact.

What book is well-protected?

Many people assume that the book that is well-protected mentioned in verse 56:78 above is the Quran. If that were true, then the subsequent verse (56:79) would be invalid since anyone who is impure, however one wants to define impure, could obviously touch a Quran while they are impure. Therefore, the book that is well-protected can't be the Quran.

In order to determine what book is well-protected, we must examine all verses in the Quran which deal with this subject.

Umm Al-Kitaab (Mother of the Book)

In verse 13:39 and 43:2-4, we find the mention of a book called Umm Al-Kitaab (Mother of the Book).

يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ ۖ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ
Allah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book. (13:39)
وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ وَإِنَّهُ فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ
By the clear Book, Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand. And indeed it is, in the Mother of the Book with Us, exalted and full of wisdom. (43:2-4)

From the above verses we find proof that there is a master book called "The Mother of the Book" which is in the presence of God and that the Quran is in it.

Luh-e-Mahfuz / Guarded / Protected Tablet

In verse 85:21-22, we see mention of a protected tablet (Luh-e Mahfuuz).

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ
But this is an honored Qur'an. [Inscribed] in a guarded tablet. (85:21-22)

Based on these verses, it becomes clear that there is another book or tablet which serves as a master source that is with God and cannot be corrupted. All messages and scriptures have emanated from this master book.

Correct meaning of 56:77-79

Now that we know about the mother of the book and that the Quran came from it, if we revisit verse 56:77-79, we find that the book that is well-protected that only the "purified" can touch must mean the Mother of the Book that is with God Himself.

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an, in a book (a separate book called the Mother Book or Guarded Tablet) well-protected; None touch it except the purified. (56:77-79)

Isn't the Quran also protected?

Using verse 15:9, many Muslims believe that the Quran is well-protected.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Indeed, it is We who sent down the reminder (Arabic: dhikr) and indeed, We will be its guardian (Arabic: haafizhun). (15:9)

Some Quran translations translated the word "dhikr" as "Quran" when it actually means "reminder." 'Dhikr' in Arabic means to remember, to recollect, to remind, to preserve something in memory. Therefore, this verse states that the "remembrance" of the Quran will be protected. This is understandable as we know that the Quran has always been memorized in its oral transmission. Though there are slight differences between Hafs and Warsh transmissions of the Quran, the differences are insignificant with regards the message of the Quran. The Quran was never revealed as a physical book but rather as an oral narration which was later written down. In verse 36:69, we see proof that the Quran was not only recited from memory at the time of the prophet as a reminder (dhikr) but its physical form as a written book also existed as the same time.

وَمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ الشِّعْرَ وَمَا يَنبَغِي لَهُ ۚ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ وَقُرْآنٌ مُّبِينٌ
And We did not give Prophet Muhammad knowledge of poetry, nor is it befitting for him. It is not but a reminder (Arabic: dhikr) and a clear Qur'an. (36:69)

Conclusion

Based on the above analysis, we see proof that verses 56:77-79 does not mean that one must perform ablution or not be menstruating in order to touch the Quran. Likewise, there is no other verse in the Quran that requires purity in order to touch the Quran.

Prayer — Ablution

Do you have to wash your feet in wudhu (ablution) or can you wipe it?

Many Muslims, especially Sunnis, believe that they must wash their feet when performing wudhu. However, the Quran makes it clear that the feet are to be wiped. Consider verse 5:6.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. (5:6)

As you can see, any reasonable person would understand the above verse to indicate that the feet are to be wiped and not necessarily washed. If it were so important for believers to wash their feet instead of wipe them, it would make sense for God to have grouped the feet part of the verse with the face and hand washing part instead of with the head-wiping part. Or, God could have added the word "wash" right before the word "feet" to make it clear that the feet must be washed.

How many steps are there in performing ablution (wudhu)?

Most Muslims think there are more than 4 steps to perform ablution (wudhu). However, the Quran makes it very clear in verse 5:6 that there are exactly 4 steps:

  1. Wash your face
  2. Wash each hand to the elbow
  3. Wipe your head
  4. Wipe each foot to the ankle
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. (5:6)

Some Muslims insist that you must do more such as wash the inside of your mouth, clear your nostrils, wipe your neck, etc. Though it’s probably okay to do these things, one must not say that these additional steps are required since nowhere in the Quran does it require them. Believing that these extra steps are required and telling others that these extra steps are required constitutes belief in an Islamic law that God never approved. Therefore, to be safe and correct, one should not add to the steps clearly specified in the Quran and just stick to the 4 steps. If one feels that they need to wash their mouths or clear their nostrils or wipe their necks, they can do that before performing ablution (wudhu). They can also take a bath or shower before performing ablution (wudhu) as well.

How many times must you perform each step in ablution (wudhu)?

Most Muslims think that they must perform each step of ablution (wudhu) three times as if doing it less or more than three times invalidates the ablution. However, the Quran never mentions a specific number of steps required to perform ablution. Therefore, you are free to perform each step as many times as you want. Also, you are forbidden from telling others that they are required to perform each step a specific number of times since God never required any specific number.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. (5:6)

Prayer — Technique

Is the Jewish prayer any different than the Muslim prayer?

Some Muslims believe that Jews pray differently than Muslims. However, ancient (original) Jewish prayers were actually in complete resonance with Quranic verses on the requirements of prayer.

View video of a Jewish prayer on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aHWASyMjwg

In verse (2:43) the Jews were instructed to pray and bow down with those that bow down. According to Hayim H. Donin in his book titled “To Pray As A Jew”, we see diagrams as shown below describing the ancient way Jews prayed. Unsurprisingly, the way they prayed is very similar to how Muslims today pray, even though many Jews today no longer pray the way ancient Jews prayed.

It is interesting to learn from this book that Jews also wash before praying (like ablution / wudhu for Muslims) and have a call for prayers (like the adhan for Muslims).

Do we have to pray in Arabic?

Most Muslims believe that praying must be done in Arabic. However, the Quran does not require prayer to be done only in Arabic. As a matter of fact, the Quran requires that you understand what you are saying when you are praying. If you don’t speak Arabic, you would likely not understand what you are saying, in which case you should probably pray in a language that you understand. Sadly, many, if not most, Muslims today continue to pray in Arabic yet have only a vague idea as to the meaning of the Arabic sounds they make. Many Muslims who were raised Muslim were taught to memorize the Arabic words that they utter during prayer. By the time they are adults, or even before then, they could recite the Arabic words without even thinking much or at all. Arguably, if you don't understand the meaning of the words you utter during prayer, you will likely lose focus and your mind will wander off to think about anything but God. Consequently, it would be understandable to see why some people would lose interest in praying or feel that it is futile as they don't feel any connection with God or feel they are even communicating with God.

Variations in language and color

In verse 30:22, we see that God created man having different languages and colors.

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ
And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (30:22)

And since God is fair and just, it wouldn't make sense that God would make any particular group or groups of people at an advantage or disadvantage, whether due to native language or for any other reason.

Different Messengers, Different Languages

Verse 14:4 proves that the messengers of God all spoke the language of their respective communities.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (14:4)

There are many verses in the Quran that prove that many of the prophets before Muhammad prayed. That being the case, what language did prophets Moses and Jesus pray in knowing that they did not speak Arabic. What about all of the other prophets and messengers such as Saleh, Hud, Lot, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, David, Solomon? They most likely did not all speak Arabic.

In verse 42:7, we see the Quran was revealed in Arabic to Muhammad, an Arabic-speaking person, to warn the Arabic-speaking people in his community.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ الْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ فَرِيقٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِي السَّعِيرِ
And thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur'an that you may warn the Mother of Cities [Makkah] and those around it and warn of the Day of Assembly, about which there is no doubt. A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze. (42:7)

Though the Quran is meant for all of humanity, the Quran was revealed in Arabic so that the immediate community who spoke Arabic would understand it. Obviously, if the Quran was to be given to someone in Japan, it would need to be translated into Japanese.

The primordial testimony

In verse 7:172, we see that when God creates everyone (the Children of Adam), God asks each one of us if He is our Lord. In response, each one of us responds saying, "Yes, we testify" that God is our Lord.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛ أَن تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَٰذَا غَافِلِينَ
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware." (7:172)

Since we testified to God upon our creation, likely before we even had a chance to open our eyes, what language then did we speak to God in?

Don't pray until / unless you understand what you are saying

In verse 4:43, God instructs us to not pray until we understand what we are saying during prayer.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُونَ
O you who have believed, do not approach prayer with a mind befogged (Arabic: sukara) until you know what you are saying ... (4:43)

The Arabic word "sukara" in the verse above is usually translated as drunken intoxication as that is the popular meaning of the word. However, like many other words, "sukara" has other meanings, and in the context of this verse, it most likely means a state of mind devoid of clarity whether due to anger, distraction, or anything else. The specific word for "intoxication / drink" is "khamr" as used in verse 5:90. Since "khamr" is not the word used in verse 7:172 above, then the meaning of the phrase "until you know what you are saying" is not about getting over a hangover but rather about literally understanding the meaning of the words you say during prayer.

Based on the correct understanding of verse 7:172 just explained, it would appear that most Muslims are violating this verse since they simply don't understand the meaning of the words they utter during prayer.

God understands all languages

Verse 17:44 indicates that all everything in existence declares God's glory and praises Him even though we humans don't understand how other creatures do it. Nevertheless, the verse proves that God understands all languages.

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا
The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ God ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving. (17:44)

In verse 21:79 we see that mountains, birds and prophet David praised God yet neither did prophet David nor do birds or mountains speak Arabic.

فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ
And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgement and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to exalt [Us], along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that]. (21:79)

Are you supposed to pray quietly?

Most Muslims pray quietly. However, according to verse 17:110, you’re supposed to pray with a moderate volume.

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا
Say, "Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call - to Him belong the best names." And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way. (17:110)

Can you shorten your prayer while on vacation?

Some Muslims believe that if they are traveling, e.g. on vacation, they can shorten their 4 rakaah prayers to 2 rakaahs. However, the Quran makes it clear that that option is only available if you are in danger, e.g. if an enemy can attack you.

In verse 4:101, if one reads the complete verse and not just the first part of it, we clearly see that the shortening of prayers is only allowed if you are in danger or fear on a journey.

وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقْصُرُوا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَن يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُوا لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُّبِينًا
And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy. (4:101)

Can we mention Muhammad or anyone else during prayer?

Many Muslims recite the tashahhud and salawaat al-nabi during prayer. However, the Quran in verse 72:18 and 20:14 make it clear that

  1. Prayer is for God alone
  2. No one should be invoked with God during prayer
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. (20:14)
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone. (72:18)

Therefore, prayer should not mention Muhammad, Abraham or anyone else since prayer is supposed to be exclusively for God.

According to verse 33:56, God asks believers to send blessings on Muhammad.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Indeed, God confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ God to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace. (33:56)

However, it doesn’t say you must do it during prayer which, according to verse 20:14, is reserved for God. If one wants to ask God to bless Muhammad and Abraham or make a statement of testimony as to their belief that Muhammad is a messenger of God, they can do that after the prayer. To prevent violating the requirements of prayer as stated in the two verses above, one should only mention God and focus on worshipping Him and not mix the statements uttered with anything besides worshipping God. Furthermore, it is clear from that Quran that many people such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and many more, prayed before Muhammad’s time. Since Muhammad didn’t exist yet, they couldn’t have prayed and mentioned Muhammad’s name. Therefore, adding Muhammad’s name during prayer must have been an addition which, unfortunately, violates the Quran.

Prayer — Call to it (adhaan)

Is the call to prayer (adhaan) correct?

Many Muslims hear the call to prayer (adhaan) and assume it is correct. However, the most widely used version of the call to prayer contains wording that not only seems irrelevant, but also possibly contradictory to the purpose of the call. According to Wikipedia, the Sunni call to prayer, for example, contains the wording "I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

A couple of questions worth asking are:

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
And [He revealed] that the masjids are for God, so do not invoke with God anyone. (72:18)
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Indeed, I am God. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. (20:14)
لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ
We make no distinction between any of His messengers. (2:285)

Based on these issues, a more logical version of the call to prayer that also doesn’t violate the Quran would be as follows:

Before After
God is the greatest. God is the greatest.
I acknowledge that there is no god but God. There is no god but God.
I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
Hasten to prayer (Salah).
Hasten to success.
God is greatest.
There is no god but God.

I didn’t mention the number of times each statement should be said since that is irrelevant. It could be twice, four times, or however many times one sees fit.

I also excluded the "Hasten to prayer" and “Hasted to success” statements since people already know that they should pray as soon as it’s time and that praying is one of many requirements for long term success. Everyone knows that when the call to prayer is done, it is time to pray and that they should pray. The purpose of prayer is to worship God alone and the two statements in the proposed call to prayer clearly focus on that aspect.

Must the call to prayer be done in Arabic?

Many Muslims in non-Muslim countries believe that the call to prayer must be done in Arabic. However, there is no requirement in the Quran that it be done in Arabic. It is clear that the purpose of the call to prayer is to remind people that it’s time to pray so that they go and pray. If people don’t speak or understand Arabic, then an Arabic call to prayer becomes less useful. Although most non Arabic-speaking people know that when they hear the call to prayer in Arabic that it’s time to pray, not understanding the meaning of the words uttered during the call would render it effectively no different than if someone blew a horn or rang a bell.

Must the call to prayer be done live or can it be prerecorded?

Many Muslims think that the call to prayer must be done live and that playing a prerecorded version of the call is invalid. However, there are no requirements in the Quran that it be done live. It is commonly known that the first person to perform the call to prayer was a man by the name of Bilal. It is also commonly known that he was chosen for having a good voice. Unfortunately, many callers to prayer (muezzins) do not have a good voice and to make matters worse, they use modern-day technology (loudspeakers) to blast their unpleasant voice all over town and sometimes right next to people’s living rooms. It is clear that God has given some people gifts over others, such as a nice voice. There are many people who have a nice voice and can perform the call to prayer such that it is generally more pleasant to listen to. These calls can be recorded and played either manually or automatically. It is clear that doing so has many benefits including motivating people to actually pray rather than cover their ears. While some people may argue that using modern day technology by playing a recording invalidates the call, that argument would also invalidate all current methods of the call to prayer since they use loudspeakers which did not exist during the time of Muhammad. Regardless, there are no specific requirements in the Quran with regards to the call to prayer. Therefore, God has given us freedom to perform it however best we can. Playing a recording of a pleasant-sounding call to prayer would clearly result in a better, consistent and more motivating experience for the target audience.

Can Muhammad or other people’s names be displayed in mosques?

Most mosques throughout the world have Arabic calligraphy written on their walls. They also often emphasize two names in particular: Allah (God) and Muhammad. Most people seem to think this is acceptable. However, verse 72:18 makes it very clear that mosques are for God and that we must not invoke anyone besides God in them.

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone. (72:18)

It is clear that Muhammad is not the only messenger of God. Furthermore, verse 2:285 forbids us from differentiating between the messengers of God.

... الرَّسُولُ ... وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ... لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ...
The Messenger ... and the believers ..., [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His (God’s) messengers." … (2:285)

Therefore, we must treat all messengers as equal. To mention Muhammad’s name in mosques is somewhat a violation of verse 72:18 and to do so without mentioning the other messengers is a violation of 2:285. Therefore, any name besides God’s name should probably not be displayed in mosques.

Fasting

Do we begin fasting at the time of fajr or some time afterwards?

Many Muslims believe that fasting begins when it’s time for fajr prayer. However, careful analysis would prove that fasting begins some time after when fajr prayer begins.

The Quran in verse 2:187 indicates that fasting begins when “the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread.”

وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ
... And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from its black thread. ...(2:187)

In order to determine when when fasting should begin, we need to understand a few concepts.

Fajr Prayer Period

Fajr is an Arabic word which means dawn. Therefore, the fajr prayer means the dawn prayer which means the fajr prayer time period is from the beginning of dawn until the end of dawn.

What is dawn?

By definition, dawn begins when the sun starts to lighten the sky and ends when the sunrise begins. Scientifically, there are 3 stages of dawn:

  1. Astronomical Dawn

    Astronomical Dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun's disk is 18 degrees below the horizon. At this point, twilight is so faint that it is generally indistinguishable from night, especially in areas with light pollution.

  2. Nautical Dawn / First Light

    Nautical dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun's disk reaches an angle of 12 degrees below the horizon. The sunlight reflected by the atmosphere is now generally sufficient to distinguish the sky from land or water in clear weather conditions. This is also called "first light" because it's the first point of dawn when the sun's light (not the sun itself) is noticeable to the human eye.

  3. Civil Dawn / First Light

    Civil dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun's disc is 6° below the horizon.

Sunrise

Sunrise, obviously, is when the tip of the Sun's disc begins to appear above the horizon.

Beginning of fajr prayer time period

Muslims usually take astrononical dawn to be the beginning of the fajr prayer time period even though the sky is still dark to the human eye and light is only visible in certain conditions and possibly using scientific equipment.

Beginning of fasting

Since verse 2:187 indicates that fasting begins at the point when sunlight first becomes visible to the human eye, then based on the stages of dawn described above, the beginning of fasting would be at the beginning of the nautical dawn stage, aka "first light".

Conclusion

Since Muslims consider the fajr prayer to begin at astronomical dawn and since we have just proven that the beginning of fasting begins at nautical dawn (first light), then fasting begins some time after the fajr prayer. In order to determine when nautical dawn or first light occurs in your area, you can visit https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/dawn.html

Do we end fasting at the time of maghrib (sunset) or night (layl)?

Many Muslims believe that the time to break their fast in Ramadan is at Maghrib (sunset). However, the Quran makes it very clear that you must fast till night time (layl) which is as soon as there is no more sunlight in the sky, not when the sun is setting and it’s still bright outside. This is proven in verse 2:187.

وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ
...and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete the fast till the night (Arabic: layl)... (2:187)

At no place in the Quran is 'layl' (night) the same thing as sunset.

What is sunset?

The description of "sunset" is clearly defined in the clearly when we look at the following verse:

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun (Arabic: Maghriba-l-shams) ... (18:86)

The word 'maghriba' comes from its root word 'Ghurub' (G-R-B) which means to retire, to depart, to be hidden from view or to be absent. Used along with 'shams' (sun) it refers to sunset, or the west which is clearly the setting place of the sun.

Verse 2:187 does not instruct people to fast until the 'ghurub' of the 'shams' (setting of the sun). Rather, it informs people to fast till 'layl' (night).

In verse 20:130 and 50:39, we see another reference to "ghurub" which clearly indicate the setting of the sun, aka "sunset".

فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا
So be patient over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; ... (20:130)
فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ
So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting, (50:39)

As you can see, the term "ghurub" which means "sunset" is well known in the Quran. If God wanted people to end their fast at sunset, He could have just used the word "ghurub" but He didn't. Instead, God wanted people to end their fast at night which is why He used the word "layl".

Following are some dictionary definitions of "ghurub".


OMAR, A M, Dictionary of the Holy Quran, Arabic Words - English Meanings, Noor Foundation - International Inc, First Edition May 24, 2003, Reprint used February 26 2010, Page 400


LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 3, Page 971

What is "layl" (night)

Layl (night) is when there is no more noticeable sunlight in the sky. In other words, it is when twilight has ended and the sky is dark.

In verse 91:1-4, we see that "layl" or night is when both the sun and its light can no longer be seen.

وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَاوَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا
By the Sun and its brightness (splendour, brightness, brilliance - duha) and the moon when it follows it and the day (Arabic: nahar) when it displays it (sun's glory) and the night (Arabic: layl) when it covers / conceals it. (18:86)

If the sun is below the horizon and hidden from view but sunlight is still seen in the sky, that's still sunset (ghurub) and not layl (night).

In verse 10:067 we see proof that daytime (nahar) is contrasted with night time (layl) in that daytime is when you can see things / things are visible.

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا
It is He who made for you the night to rest therein and the day, giving sight. (18:86)

Obviously, at sunset or maghrib time, you can still see things outside because there's still plenty of sunlight in the sky. That's because it isn't night time (layl) yet.

Following are some verses that reference the word "layl" which clearly indicate it to mean night time and not sunset.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا وَالنَّوْمَ سُبَاتًا وَجَعَلَ النَّهَارَ نُشُورًا
And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep [a means for] rest and has made the day a resurrection. (25:47)
وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ الْقُرَى الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا قُرًى ظَاهِرَةً وَقَدَّرْنَا فِيهَا السَّيْرَ ۖ سِيرُوا فِيهَا لَيَالِيَ وَأَيَّامًا آمِنِينَ
And We made between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made stages of journey between them easy, (saying): Travel in them safely both by night (Arabic: layliya) and day. (34:18)
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ثُلُثَيِ اللَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. ... (73/20)

It would be hard to believe that the reference to the word "layl" in the above verses mean sunset.

In verse 79:29, we see one more reference to "layl" which indicates that it is when there is darkness as opposed to brightness.

وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا
And He darkened its night and extracted its brightness. (79:29)

When does layl (night) begin?

The Quran refers to certain periods of night time as being totally dark. For example, 'al-layli muzliman' (10:27) or 'ghasaq al-layl' (17:78). The Quran in verse 12:16 also refers to night as "isha" to describe the night prayer (salaat al-isha). However, the Quran doesn't use any of these terms to describe the time at which to end fasting. Therefore, it would be reasonable to understand the beginning of night to be the end of sunset when there is no more light in the sky.

Twilight

The twilight phases in the morning are often called dawn, while the twilight phases in the evening are referred to as dusk. However, unlike the term twilight, which describes a time span, the terms dawn and dusk refer to moments during the transitions between day and night.

Civil dawn is the moment when the geometric center of the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon in the morning. It is preceded by nautical twilight.

Similarly, civil dusk is the instant when the geometric center of the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon in the evening. It marks the beginning of nautical twilight.

Following is an example of the different parts of a day (and night) for San Francisco on June 5, 2017.

Black is nighttime, light blue is daytime. The darker blue shadings represent the twilight phases during dawn (left) and dusk (right).

As you can see, sunset / dusk / ghurub begins at 8:28 PM. This is also the beginning of civil twilight and corresponds to the time when Muslims pray Maghrib. However, you’ll notice that when you step outside at Maghrib, there’s still plenty of sunlight in the sky. Obviously, this is not night (layl). Complete night (total darkness), in this example, begins at 10:21 PM. The beginning of night should therefore, at least, be at the end of civil twilight which, in this example, is at 8:59 PM. According to Weather Underground (https://www.wunderground.com/), last light is at 8:57 PM. If you step outside at this time, you’ll notice that the sky is dark. Therefore, it is reasonable to take the beginning of “layl” (night) to be at the end of civil twilight.

Is Lailat Al-Qadr like an Islamic lottery?

Many Muslims believe that they will reap some huge reward or all of their sins will be washed away if they perform lots of worship during one unknown night near the end of the month of Ramadan. However, there is no statement in the Quran that tells people to try and find Lailat Al-Qadr.

According to verses 97:1-5, we know that God revealed something in the night of Decree (Laylatul-qadr).

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِوَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
Indeed, We sent it down (Arabic: Anzalnahu) during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (97:1-5)

The Arabic word "anzalnahu" means “we sent it down”. This most like means that the Quran was sent down. If we look at verse 44:2-4, we find that the same word (anzalnahu) was used to describe the Quran being sent down.

وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
By the clear Book (Quran), Indeed, We sent it down during (Arabic: Anzalnahu) a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. (44:2-4)

According to verse 2:185, we find that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْ...
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. ... (2:185 part)

And according to verse 17:106, we find that the Quran was not revealed all at once or only during the month of Ramadan but rather a little at a time throughout prophet Muhammad’s ministry.

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيلًا
And [it is] a Qur'an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively. (17:106)

Based on the facts about Laylatul-Qadr described above, we see that the Quran never tells people to seek the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr). The revelation of the Quran began on the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) and the rest of the Quran was revealed throughout the remainder of Muhammad’s life.

Lastly, the purpose of fasting in the month of Ramadhan is to guard against evil and learn self-restraint (Arabic: tattaqun) as described in verse 2:183.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may learn self-restraint / guard against evil - (2:183)

Zakat

Zakat (tax) vs sadaqah (charity)

Most Muslims believe that zakat is only a required payment in the amount of 2.5% on their income primarily for people in need and that it is only required by Muslims. However, the Quran seems to suggest that zakat is more like a government tax required by all members of a society, whether Muslim or not, and is not limited to 2.5%.

The word zakat

Zakat is a Arabic word which literally means “that which purifies”. Many Muslims agree that zakat is named as such because Muslims are obligated to pay zakat in order to remain spiritually pure.

Zakat (tax) and salat (prayer)

People familiar with Quranic verses will often note that zakat is almost always mentioned together with salat (prayer). For example, in verse 2:43 we read

… أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ...
… and establish prayer and give zakat ... (2:43 part)

This verse, and many others, make it clear that zakat is mandatory among Muslims.

Sadaqah and zakat are not the same thing

Even though sadaqah and zakat may have some similarities, verse 58:13 proves that sadaqah and zakat are two different things.

أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ ۚ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
Do you fear that you will present charities (sadaqaat) before your consultation? Then when you do not (give charity) and God has forgiven you, then establish prayer and give zakah and obey God and His Messenger. And God is Acquainted with what you do. (58:13)

Do non-Muslims have to pay zakat?

Non-Muslims also had to pay Zakat

According to verse 41:6-7, disbelievers and polytheists must also pay zakat.

… وَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُشْرِكِينَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ كافِرُونَ
"...and woe to the polytheists (41:6) who give not the 'Zakat' and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers. (41:7)"

The verses above make it clear that the obligation to pay zakat was not necessarily a “religious” obligation but rather a societal obligation.

Jews also had to pay Zakat during the time of Prophet Muhammad

According to verses 2:43, the Jews were told to also pay zakat among doing other things. The the commandment is mentioned in verse 2:40 which addresses the Children of Israel.

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship]. (2:43)

The fact that the Quran requires Jews to also pay zakat further supports the argument that paying zakat was required among everyone and not just Muslims.

People paid zakat long before Prophet Muhammad was even born

Many Muslims assume that the requirement to pay zakat began with Muhammad. However, the Quran proves that payment of zakat began very long before Muhammad was even born. The following verses indicate who was expected or ordered to pay zakat.

19:31 Prophet Jesus (Isa)
19:55 Prophet Ishmael ordered his people to pay zakat.
2:83, 7:156, 5:12 The Children of Israel (Jews)
21:73 Prophet’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
4:162 The Jews (referenced as “hadu” in 4:160)
98:5 Zakat was a fundamental aspect of the true religion of God even to people of previous revelations and scriptures from prophets before Muhammad.

Is zakat based on income or savings?

Some Muslims believe that zakat is based on their savings. However, according to verse 6:141, we see evidence that zakat is based on income and that zakat is due as soon as you get paid. The verse uses the example of a farmer who harvests fruit. When the fruits are ready, they can be harvested. On that day, the farmer must pay his due (zakat) since that is the day the farmer can sell the fruit and get paid.

And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess. (6:141)

Nowadays, most people don’t work as farmers. Nevertheless, the point of the verse above is that one has to pay his dues (zakat) when they receive an income, whether it is every 2 weeks, once a month, or yearly.

Who should manage zakat money?

Many Muslims today pay zakat by giving 2.5% of their income to a mosque for distribution or they manually distribute it themselves to whoever they think deserve it. However, according to verse 22:41, it seems to suggest that governments should establish a system of zakat.

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
[And they are] those who, if We establish them in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to God belongs the outcome of [all] matters. (22:41)

Notice how verse 22:41 mentions “if We (God) establish them (people) in the land”. Obviously, people who are established in a land are people who live in an organized society with a system managed by a government.

Pay zakat to people individually or to a central authority for distribution

Aside from the amount of zakat or tax distributed to those in need, it should be obvious that having a centralized system for collecting, spending and distributing this money would be far better than if people individually decided who to give some of their money to.

If people individually give zakat money to the needy, then If people give zakat money (or tax) to a central government, then

Who can receive zakat money?

Most Muslims believe that zakat money is strictly for people who are poor or in need. Many Muslims also believe that zakat money is only for Muslim recipients. Many Muslim scholars quote verse 9:60 to determine 8 categories of people who can receive zakat money. Below is the correct English translation of verse 9:60

"Charities (Arabic: Sadaqaatu) are only for
  1. the poor (Arabic: Fuqara) and
  2. the needy (Arabic: Masakin), and
  3. those who collect them (Amalina Alayha), and
  4. those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Mu-alafati qulubuhum) and
  5. to free the captives (Arabic: Fil-riqabi) and
  6. the debtors (Arabic: Gharimina), and
  7. for the cause of God (Arabic: Fi-Sabili-llahi) and
  8. (for) the wayfarer (Arabic: Sabili);
- a duty imposed by God. God is Knower, Wise" (9:60)

It is very clear from verse 9:60 above that it addresses charities (sadaqaat) and not zakat. And, as we have proven above in verse 58:13, and as most Muslims would agree, charity and zakat are two different things. While the Quran is absolutely clear as to who can receive charity (sadaqah) money, the Quran does not state who can receive zakat money. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that zakat money is strictly limited to the poor and the needy or just Muslim people.

As suggested by verse 22:41, if a government is to manage zakat money, then it would make sense that the Quran would not specifically state how zakat money should be used since different countries have different needs. For example, in the United States, according to Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2015 federal spending by category was

33.26% Social Security, Unemployment and Labor
27.42% Medicare and Health
15.88% Military
5.97% Interest on Debt
4.19% Veteran’s Benefits
3.54% Food and Agriculture
2.67% Education
2.22% Transportation
1.6% Housing and Community

All of the categories above, except for “Military”, “Interest on Debt” and “Veteran’s Benefits”, support the poor and people in need by providing financial support for the elderly (social security) and the unemployed, providing medical assistance to the poor and people in need (Medicare and health), providing food for the poor and the needy, providing education to low-income students, providing subsidized or free public transportation for the poor and the needy, and providing housing assistance for the poor and the needy.

As you can see, even a non-Islamic government such as the government of the United States ends up spending much of its money on social programs that benefit the poor and the needy because it makes sense to do so.

Why should non-Muslims receive zakat money?

Some, if not many, Muslims believe that only Muslims are entitled to receive zakat money. There is no such restriction in the Quran. As a matter of fact, the Quran makes it clear that polytheists (41:6-7) and Jews (2:43) had to pay zakat during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, if those non-Muslims had to pay zakat, it would only be fair if the poor and needy among them could also receive zakat money. Unfortunately, many Muslims are quick to judge non-Muslims as predestined people who will surely go to Hell. However, it is not unreasonable for a non-Muslim to eventually convert to Islam. Obviously, not everyone is born into a Muslim family so not everyone has the same circumstances in life.

How much should zakat be?

Most Muslims believe that zakat is 2.5% on savings or income to be paid once a year. Muslims scholars have decided that the 2.5% comes from some relatively vague hadeeth. However, there is no mention of zakat being strictly limited to 2.5% in the Quran. As suggested by verse 22:41, if a government is to manage zakat money, then it should be a percentage that is necessary for the government to do its job and support the people. Obviously, every country has different circumstances and needs. Oil-rich Gulf countries with small populations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have plenty of valuable natural resources that they don’t need money from their residents in order to run the country and provide for the poor and the needy. Consequently, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have a 0% tax on its people. On the other hand, the United States needs to charge an average 25-30% tax on its residents with an exemption for low-income people, of course. Considering the different circumstances of different countries, it would make sense, then, that the Quran would not limit how much each country must charge for zakat (tax) so that each government can decide how much it needs to best help its people.

2.5% zakat versus government tax

It should be obvious that most governments use a portion of their tax revenue to support the poor and needy. As mentioned above, the United States government spent more than 50% of its 2015 tax revenues for social programs. Assuming a US taxpayer had an effective tax rate of 30%, then at least 15% of that taxpayer’s tax money would go towards the poor and needy in one way or another. That is already 6 times the 2.5% zakat that most Muslims pay for the same cause, and that’s only for federal tax – it doesn’t include state tax. Since most governments charge much more than 2.5% for income tax, then by paying your income tax to the government, you are already paying much more from your income for the same purpose as the 2.5% zakat most Muslims pay. Since most of a government’s tax revenues support the poor and needy, then it should be easy to see how your government income tax is really no different than zakat – it’s just not called “zakat” because “zakat” literally means “that which purifies” whereas the Arabic word for “tax” is “dareeba”.

Zakat and taxes in Muslim countries

Many Muslims living in Muslim countries complain about poverty, lack of government support, expensive healthcare, and a low quality of life. These same people admire non-Islamic countries such as the United States, Australia, and Western European countries for offering much support to their citizens such as free healthcare, education, and financial support for the poor and needy. If we compare these two groups of countries, we quickly realize that a large percentage of the population in non-Islamic countries pay taxes whereas in Islamic countries, an extremely small percentage of the population pays taxes, even though many of them still hand out 2.5% of their income to the poor and needy. In Pakistan, the government tax rate is between 7.5% and 35% however, only 0.57% of the population pays taxes. Assuming everyone paid 2.5% of their income for zakat, it’s clear that, considering the quality of life in Pakistan, their 2.5% zakat money doesn’t appear to make much of a difference in the general welfare of the people.

Tax evasion

Some Muslims, whether living in a Muslim country or not, are extremely disciplined when it comes to paying 2.5% of their income for what they call “zakat”. These same people receive support from their government which obviously comes from taxpayer money. Ironically, however, when it comes time to pay their income tax to their government, they either complain or, worse yet, avoid paying it as much as possible. Furthermore, there are some Muslims who withdraw state benefits when they are clearly not eligible for them. While it may not seem like stealing, what these Muslims are doing is, in effect, stealing taxpayer money, regardless of how little, that could be meant to support people who are actually poor or in need.

How much is enough zakat (government tax)?

Low tax revenues means that a government can only fund basic services such as policing, the courts and the armed forces. In order to provide universal healthcare, education, and a social safety net for all of a country’s residents, higher tax revenues are required. According to the UN, this can be achieved if a country’s tax revenues are at least 20% of their GDP [1]. If achieved, this would result in an increase in a society’s quality of life. The Human Development Index (HDI) [2] is a ranking of a society’s quality of life by country. The index groups countries into 4 categories. Following is a 2016 listing of those categories with a sampling of countries. The listing also shows each country’s 2015 tax revenue-to-GDP ratio [3]. Each country’s estimated 2017 GDP per capita per the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also listed to give an idea of the average individual’s annual income for that country [4]. In addition, I note whether a country is an Islamic country.

[1] Why developing countries need to toughen up on taxes
[2] List of countries by Human Development Index
[3] List of countries by tax revenue to GDP ratio
[4] List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita

Rank Country Islamic HDI Tax Revenue-to-GDP Ratio GDP per capita
Very high human development
1 Norway 0.949 54.8 $70,590
2 Australia 0.939 43.4 $49,882
3 Switzerland 0.939 27.8 $61,360
4 Germany 0.926 44.5 $50,206
5 Denmark 0.925 50.8 $49,613
5 Singapore 0.925 14.2 $90,531
6 Netherlands 0.924 39.8 $53,582
7 Ireland 0.923 30.8 $72,632
8 Iceland 0.921 40.4 $52,150
9 Canada 0.921 31.7 $48,141
10 United States 0.920 26.0 $59,495
19 Israel 0.899 36.8 $36,250
30 Brunei Yes 0.865 ? $76,743
33 Qatar Yes 0.856 2.2 $124,927
38 Saudi Arabia Yes 0.847 5.3 $55,263
42 UAE Yes 0.840 1.4 $68,245
47 Bahrain Yes 0.824 4.8 $51,846
51 Kuwait Yes 0.800 1.5 $69,669
High human development
59 Malaysia Yes 0.789 15.5 $28,871
69 Iran Yes 0.774 6.1 $20,030
71 Turkey Yes 0.767 24.9 $26,453
86 Jordan Yes 0.741 21.1 $12,487
90 China 0.738 20.1 $16,624
97 Tunisia Yes 0.725 14.9 $11,987
102 Libya Yes 0.716 2.7 $9,792
Medium human development
111 Egypt Yes 0.691 15.8 $12,994
113 Indonesia Yes 0.689 12.0 $12,378
123 Morocco Yes 0.647 22.3 $8,612
139 Bangladesh Yes 0.579 8.5 $4,561
147 Pakistan Yes 0.550 11.0 $5,354
Low human development
168 Yemen Yes 0.482 7.1 $2,300
169 Afghanistan Yes 0.479 6.4 $1,889
187 Niger 0.353 11.0 $1,153

One thing of note is that all Islamic countries in the “Very high human development” category are oil or natural gas-producing countries. These countries do not collect much, if any, tax from their residents because they don’t need to as they’ve been lucky enough to have a very valuable natural resource. These are mostly small countries with small populations and lots of oil and gas.

Based on the table above, most Islamic countries have a tax-revenue as % of GDP value of less than 20%. And as you can see, the top 10 countries with the highest quality of life are the countries that collect the most tax from their residents. Not a single one of these top 10 countries are Islamic countries.

If we take the average tax revenue as a % of GDP for all countries in each category, we get the following table.

Country Group Average Tax Revenue as % of GDP
Top 10 Very High Human Development 36.75
Very High Human Development 31.92
High Human Development 22.08
Medium Human Development 17.09
Low Human Development 15.08

Based on the two tables above, it appears that, in general, the more taxes a country collects (higher tax-revenue as % of GDP), the higher the quality of life of its residents.

Quite ironically, the requirements of a society based on an inclusive tax system seem to be better understood in non-Islamic countries than in many Muslim countries that cannot often fulfil the basic demands and needs of their citizens.

Conclusion

To conclude, it should be clear now that Islamic zakat is actually government taxation which is mandatory by everyone, not just Muslims, and for the benefit for everyone, not just Muslims. In Islamic countries, since many Muslims think that zakat is not government taxation, it may be helpful to change the term “income tax” to “zakat” since, as I have explained above, the two terms are synonymous.

Is charity or zakah only for Muslims?

Some Muslims refuse to give charity to non-Muslims as they consider all non-Muslims as infidels (kafir). First of all, the Quran never says you may only give charity to Muslims. Secondly, not all non-Muslims are kafir because to be a kafir, you have to intentionally reject God. If you were raised in a Hindu family and you worship statues, then you are an idolater (mushrik), but not necessarily an infidel (kafir). You are, however, wrong in thinking that a statue is God and unless you use your brain to think about that to discover the truth, as required of you in verse 8:22, you will likely die and end up in Hell.

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason. (8:22)
As stated in verse 9:6, idolaters are people who simply don’t know that the statues they worship are not god(s).

وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know. (9:6)

If they do not reject God, then they can get guidance so as to see their mistakes and discover the real God. In the meantime, they deserve financial help just like anyone else. Not everyone is born into a Muslim family but everyone can convert to Islam at any time in their lives. To refuse helping someone based on their current belief is not only inhumane but counter to the spirit of Islam. Who knows? The person you refuse to give charity to based on their current belief may end up converting and becoming a more righteous Muslim than you.

The Hajj

Is the Hajj only during 10 days or any time within 4 months?

The purpose of Hajj

We see in verses 6:162-163 that all worship practices must be dedicated to God alone.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims." (6:162-163)

The same applies to the Hajj. There are many verses that indicate that the only purpose of the Hajj is to “commemorate God”.

And proclaim the Hajj to the people …… to commemorate God's name during the known days. (22:27-28)
You shall commemorate God for a number of days. (2:203)
When you disperse from Arafat you shall commemorate God at the Mishaar Al-Haram. (2:198)
Then once you have completed your rituals, you shall commemorate God. (2:200)

The duration of Hajj

Many Muslims believe that there is only one 5 day period each year during which they can perform the hajj. However, the Quran makes it clear that the hajj can be done any time during the four months beginning from Dhul-Hijjah. The fact that the hajj period lasts for multiple months is proven in verse 2:197.

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ
Hajj is [during] well-known (specified) months (Arabic: ashur), so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (in those months), there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. ... (2:197)

Notice how the verse uses the Arabic word "ashur" which means "months" (plural). "Shahrun" is Arabic for one month. "Shahrain" is Arabic for two months. "Ashurun" is Arabic for three or more months.

Some may argue that the use of the plural "months" was used to describe a regularity that occurs every year. However, this argument is unsupportable as the verse clearly indicates that the months refer to certain months of a year.

Another argument is that the 5 days of Dhul-hijjah fall within the well-known months and therefore that is why the plural "months" is used in the verse. This argument is non-sensical since the verse states very clearly that hajj can be done during months (Arabic: ashurun) that are well-known (Arabic: ma'lumatun). In verse 2:197, notice the Arabic words “farada feehinna”.

Therefore, that section of the verse means “whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (in those months)” proves that God is telling you that you can perform the Hajj at any time during those months.

Known days

Some people argue that the Hajj is restricted to the first 10 days of the 12th month by citing verses 22:28 and 2:203.

… mention the name of Allah on known days ... (22:28)
You shall commemorate God for a number of days. ... (2:203)

They claim that the words “known days” and “a number of days” indicate that the Hajj can only be performed during a 10 day period.

Counter-argument #1: Hajj versus believers

In verse 2:197, we see that God is addressing the “hajj’ itself when He describes the “specified months”. In other words, the hajj itself can be performed during the multiple months of Hajj. In contrast, in verses 22:28 and 2:203, God is addressing the “believers” when He speaks of the “number of days”. In other words, the believers who perform the Hajj go for a number of days and not for several months.

Counter-argument #2: Comparison to Ramadan

In verse 2:185, we see that God indicates that the month for fasting is the (single) month of Ramadan. In the same verse, we see a reference to “a number of days”. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you must only fast for a few days in the month of Ramadan but rather that if you miss some days, you must make up for them later.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ...
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. ... (2:185)

A month, or months, can be spoken of as days because a month is made up of days. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that they are still months. This is similar to someone describing the years of his childhood by saying “they were the best days of my life”.

Zhu al-Hijjah

The 12th month of the Islamic calendar is called Zhu al-Hijjah which means "that (month) of the Hajj". It would make sense that this month would be one of the Hajj months and the beginning of those months.

4 “hurum” months

In verse 9:36, we see that there are 12 months in a year and that 4 of them are called “hurum”.

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ...
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are “hurum”. . ... (9:36)

The word 'Hurum' does not mean sacred as some have translated, for the word used in the Quran for sacred is 'muqqaddas', see 20:12, 79:16 and 5:21. The word 'Hurum' (adjective) is the plural of the word 'Haram' which is also associated with the months of Hajj. Both words come from the noun 'Ihram' which means abstention. Abstention is one of the requirements during Hajj, abstention from war, hunting and so on.

As a result, we know that the number of months which God designated for Hajj are four (2:197).

Consecutive “hurum” months

In verses 9:2-5 we see that 4 months are specifically granted to those with whom obligations were removed as they continuously broke treaties and invoked hostilities against the Muslims. Respite was then granted from the Day of Pilgrimage and extended 4 months in succession. The statement that respite was granted from the Day of Pilgrimage until the hurum months have passed indicate that the hurum months are in succession.

(Paraphrasing 9:2-5) So go about in the land for four months (9:2).... And an announcement from God and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage (9:3)... So when the hurum months (in succession) have passed ... (9:5)

In verse 9:5, the word that indicates a consecutive set of months is “insalakha” which means “withdrawn in succession”. The word literally means “skinned”. When you skin something, e.g. an onion, you remove its layers consecutively one or more layers at a time. You can’t remove the outermost layer (skin) and then the 5th inner layer (skin) before removing the layers (skins) in between.

The same word “salakha” is used in verse 36:37 which denotes a gradual and succession transition. In this verse, the transition is from day to night (sunset).

The beginning of the Hajj period

Verse 2:189 gives us an indication as to the beginning of the Hajj period.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ ...
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, "They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj." ...(2:189)

Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the sighting of the first crescent signals the beginning of each month. Just as the sighting of the first crescent in the month of Ramadan signals the beginning of the fasting, the sighting of the first crescent in the month of Zhu Al-Hijjah, which means “that (month of Hajj) signals the beginning of the Hajj period.

The Islamic calendar

The Islamic lunar calendar in used today is

  1. Muḥarram محرّم (or Muḥarram al Ḥaram)
  2. Ṣafar صفر (or Ṣafar al Muzaffar)
  3. Rabīʿ al-Awwal (Rabīʿ I) ربيع الأوّل
  4. Rabīʿ al-Thānī (or Rabīʿ al-Ākhir) (Rabīʿ II) ربيع الآخر أو ربيع الثاني
  5. Jumādā al-Ūlā (Jumādā I) جمادى الأولى
  6. Jumādā al-Thānī (or Jumādā al-Ākhirah) (Jumādā II) جمادى الآخرة أو جمادى الثانية
  7. Rajab رجب (or Rajab al-Murājab)
  8. Shaʿbān شعبان (or Shaʿbān al-Muʿaẓẓam)
  9. Ramaḍān رمضان (or Ramaḍān al-Mubārak)
  10. Shawwāl شوّال (or Shawwāl al-Mukarram)
  11. Dhū al-Qaʿda ذو القعدة (or Dhū al-Qiʿda)
  12. Dhū al-Ḥijja ذو الحجة (or Dhū al-Ḥajja)

The Hajj months

From the verses above, we know that

If the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah is taken to be the beginning of the Day of the Pilgrimage, which would make sense, then the 4 hurum (and Hajj) months would be

  1. Dhul al-Hijja
  2. Muharram
  3. Safar
  4. Rabi al-Awwal

Solution to current problems

If these 4 hurum months are the months during which people can perform that hajj, as suggested in the Quran, then the following problems resulting from restricting the hajj to a mere 5 days of the year would be reduced if not eliminated.

  • Intense congestion from millions of people being packed in one place
  • Extreme congestion during tawaaf (circumambulation)
  • The difficulties of finding accommodation and resulting exorbitant costs
  • The long delays
  • Some women may not be able to perform or complete the hajj as their menstrual cycle may fall
  • within the 5 days
  • Deaths from human stampedes due to overcrowdedness
  • Being hit by flying stones during the Stoning ritual
  • Unsanitary (to say the least) washing and cleaning facilities
  • Concerns of being robbed by petty thieve or getting lost from your group
  • Inability to focus due to the issues stated above
  • For details on actual tragedies, mostly taking place during the Stoning ritual, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incidents_during_the_Hajj

    The fact that the Hajj is limited to 5 days severely limits how many people can perform the Hajj each year. As such, there are visa quotas set for visitors from each country. The Quran says that the Hajj is the duty of every Muslim, provided he can afford it, not if he is lucky enough to get a visa!

    The current situation of performing hajj clearly is inconvenient, expensive, and burdensome to many and even dangerous to some. Many pilgrims now believe that enduring hardships to perform the hajj would reap them higher rewards. Some travel agents conveniently take advantage of this by providing decrepit services while saying that pilgrims shouldn't complain as it is better for them to endure.

    Contrary to reality, God states in verse 22:78 that He imposes no difficulties in religion.

    وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
    ... and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty ... (22:78)

    Based on the analysis above, it appears that people or so-called Islamic scholars are unnecessarily placing difficulty in religion by misinterpreting the Quran and restricting the number of days during which to perform hajj to a mere 5 each year.

    The message of not being a burdensome religion is also mentioned elsewhere as follows:

    The correct rituals of Hajj

    Perform the Hajj during any of the 4 hajj months

    As stated above, the hajj months are Dhul al-Hijja, Muharram, Safar and Rabi al-Awwal.

    Perform the Hajj for at least 2 days

    And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days. Then whoever hastens [his departure] in two days - there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [for more days] - there is no sin upon him - for him who fears Allah . (2:203)

    Commemorate God throughout the Hajj

    The primary purpose and goal of the Hajj is to commemorate God.

    And proclaim the Hajj to the people …… to commemorate God's name during the known days. (22:27-28)
    You shall commemorate God for a number of days. (2:203)
    Then once you have completed your rituals, you shall commemorate God. (2:200)

    Hunting

    Hunting is prohibited during Hajj as per the following verses:

    You shall not permit hunting while you are hurum. (5:1)
    Once you are no longer in abstention you may hunt. (5:2)
    O you who believe, do not kill any game while you are hurum. (5:95)

    War and fighting

    All warfare is prohibited during the Hurum Months of Hajj except in self defence:

    They ask you about the Haram Month and fighting therein: say, "Fighting therein is a grave matter." (2:217)

    Sexual intercourse, misconduct and arguments

    These abstentions are given in verse 2:197

    Whoever executes the Hajj in them (the known months) shall refrain from sexual intercourse, wickedness and arguing during Hajj. (2:197)

    Abstaining from cutting the hair

    Note that some people claim that the hair must be cut or shortened at the end of Hajj. However, nowhere does the Quran say this. The Quran only states that you can’t shave or cut your hair during the Hajj.

    You shall complete the Hajj and Umrah for God. If you are prevented, then make a convenient offering, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. (2:196)

    Visit the Kaa’ba (Ancient House) and circumambulate it at least 1x (once)

    Then, they shall end their state of unkemptness, fulfil their vows and go around / circumambulate (yatawwaffa) the Ancient House. (22:29)

    Note that there is no mention that you must circle the Kaa’ba seven times, as is commonly believed. Therefore, you are only required to do it once. Obviously, the purpose of performing the hajj and umrah is to remember and focus on God. Trying to keep track of how many times you've circled the Kaa'ba, especially when it's overly crowded, would only deter your from the primary goal.

    Walking between Safa and Marwah are optional

    Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah . So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them (yatawwaffa bihima). And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing. (2:158)

    Note that there is no mention that you must walk between Safa and Marwa seven times, as is commonly believed.

    Commemorate God at the Masjid al Haram

    The Mishaar Al-haram is the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca because it is the only House called “Haram” in the Quran.

    When you disperse from Arafat you shall commemorate God at the Mishaar Al-Haram. (2:198)

    Animal offerings

    You must offer an animal

    The animal offerings are among the rites decreed for you by God. In them there are benefits for you. So mention God's name on them while they are lined up, then, once they collapse on their sides, you shall eat therefrom and feed the poor and the needy. It is thus that We have ordained them for you so that you may be thankful. (22:36)

    This animal offering isn’t to be confused with the pagan concept of animal sacrifice for some gods. The animal offering is for human benefit, as indicated in 22:36, and not for God, as indicated in 22:37.

    Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. ... (22:78)

    Convenient offering

    For people who progress from Umrah to Hajj, they shall make a convenient offering (to the poor and needy). If they can’t, then they can fast.

    … whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of an offering (hadye). And whoever cannot find [or afford an offering] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. … (2:196)

    Optionally pray at the Station of Abraham

    Verse 2:125 indicates that one should pray at the Station of Abraham. However, this is in the context of what people did during the time of Abraham. To expect everyone nowadays to all pray at the Station of Abraham could be a logistical nightmare.

    And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], "Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer]." (2:125)

    The man-made rituals of Hajj

    The Hajj garments

    Most Muslims believe that men must wear two seamless white clothes similar to beach towels. There is nothing in the Quran that mandates this dress code. Furthermore, having to wear nothing but two pieces of cloth could easily defocus your attention on commemorating God as you would likely be worried that your clothes would fall and everyone would see you naked, including making women.

    In verse 7:31 we see that God instructs people to bring their “zinah” to every masjid (mosque). Zinah means adornments or any item that is worn to make oneself beautiful. The command is to dress nicely at “every” masjid. Since the Masjid Al-Haram is a mosque, then this verse instructs people to dress nicely in it.

    يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
    O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. (7:31)

    Many Muslims justify the wearing of the Hajj garments (two white pieces of cloth) to equalize everyone so the rich and poor look alike and the poor don’t feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. If that were the case, why is that belief not applied to the Friday congregational prayer? During the Friday prayers, no one poor appears embarrassed or uncomfortable to be there. Furthermore, a poor person would be better off going to the Hajj in whatever clothes they have rather than be burdened to spend extra money on special towels, sandals, belts, and what not.

    Miqat Locations

    The miqat is a location from where pilgrims are required to start wearing the “ihram” garments and enter into a state of “ihram”. The common understanding is that “ihram”garments are two unstitched white pieces of cloth for men and loose-fitting white clothes for women. There are 5 miqat locations:

    1. Dhul Hulaifah
    2. Al-Juhfah
    3. Qarn-ul manazil
    4. Yalamlam
    5. Dhatu `Irq

    Pilgrims typically put on their “ihram” garments at one of these 5 locations and then proceed to Mecca to perform Umrah or Hajj. Needless to say, none are such rules in the Quran. The Quranic state of “ihram” is to abstain from war, hunting, sexual activity and bad language and begins when pilgrims enter the Masjid Al-Haram to commence their Hajj. Like the so-called “ihram” garments, the miqat locations are yet another man-made innovation.

    The “Black Stone”

    The Black Stone is a stone located at one of the corners of the Kaa’ba at the Masjid Al-Haram. Muslims tend to congregate and push themselves towards it in an effort to touch and kiss it with the hope of getting some sort of blessing. Clearly, this is an idolatrous behavior similar to what the statue worshippers during the time of Abraham did. As such, it should come as no surprise that there is no mention of this ritual anywhere in the Quran. This ritual originates from the hadith which claims that the stone descended from Heaven during the time of Abraham and that Prophet Muhammad used to kiss it. As we know from the Quran in verse 21:66, Abraham destroyed all of the stones and statues that people were worshipping and asked them if they worship something that cannot benefit nor harm them instead of God.

    قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ
    He (Abraham) said (to the idolaters), "Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you? (21:66)

    Similar verses are found at 5:76,10:18 and 25:55.

    “Zamzam” water

    Zamzam water is water that comes from a particular well. The water is available at the Masjid Al-Haram and is considered sacred by most Muslims. Many also believe that it can cure ailments. Muslim historians claim that the well of Zamzam was made to flow for Hagar and her infant Ishmael when the two of them ran in desperation between the hill tops of Safa and Marwah in search of water. This story is nowhere to be found in the Quran but rather comes from the Bible (Torah). Genesis 21:14-21 describes the story of Abraham's slave wife Hagar when she was sent away to the desert with her child Ishmael. In desperation and fear of dying out of thirst, Hagar ran back and forth between two hill tops in search of water, at which point God mercifully produced for her a gushing well from which she and Ishmael drank. As this story is not in the Quran, it’s likely that hadith writers borrowed this story from the Bible and modified it such that the Zamzam well would be located at the Masjid Al-Haram. The Bible, however, indicates that the event took place at Beer Sheba which is located south of Jerusalem, between Gaza and the Dead Sea.

    Regardless of this story, the Quran makes it clear that we should not idolize and hold sacred any object, whether it is the water of Zamzam or the Black Stone, thinking that it could “benefit” us. On the contrary, doing so would be a direct violation of 5:76,10:18 and 25:55. At the end of the day, Muslims must believe that all cures are ultimately from God.

    The ritual of stoning Satan

    Another commonly practiced Hajj ritual is the stoning of Satan. This ritual, according to the historian Al-Arazi, originates from Abraham’s journey to perform the Hajj. The story has it that when Abraham left Mina, Satan appeared to him. Then, Gabriel appeared and told Abraham to pelt Satan. Abraham threw 7 stones which made Satan disappear. Satan reappeared at the Middle Stone-Heap and the Little Stone-Heap and Abraham where Abraham threw more stones until Satan finally withdrew. These 3 locations are called the “Jamaraat” and are meant to represent the devil.

    There is nothing in the Quran mentioning this Hajj ritual.

    Some scholars quote verse 38:77 and 15:34 to justify the stoning of Satan practice.

    قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ
    He (God) said, 'Then, get out of it, for you (Satan) are 'rajeem' (expelled). (38:77)

    They use the word “rajeem”, which means “expelled” or “outcast”, to mean “stoned”.

    As you can imagine, believers of this non-sensical and unauthorized ritual probably think that they are hurting Satan as they passionately throw stones at something they can’t even see. However, what is more likely to be happening is that Satan is sitting behind them laughing for having succeeded in deviating millions of Muslims from the sole purpose of Hajj, which is to praise and commemorate God (22:27-28, 2:203, 2:198, 2:200). By tricking clueless Muslims who don’t pay attention to the Quran and its clear instructions, Satan has succeeded in wasting 3 days of each pilgrims’ Hajj days in his name instead of for God.

    Interestingly, most of the fatal tragedies during the Hajj occur during the Stoning ritual. Could it be that these tragedies are related to the fact that this ritual is completely counter to the purpose of the Hajj? Throughout the entire Quran, God never tells people to attack the devil. His command is only to stay away from and not follow the devil.

    Women not allowed to perform Hajj without a “muhrim”

    A “muhrim” is understood to be any male who is unlawful for marriage to the woman in question, e.g. a woman’s father, brother, son, grandfather, etc. As such, Muslim women believe that they can’t perform the Hajj unless one of their “muhrims” accompany them. This belief originates from hadith that says that no man shall be in the company of a woman alone and in seclusion. With millions of Hajj pilgrims visiting Mecca every year, being in a state of “seclusion” is quite the opposite of what actually occurs. This belief is common in male-dominated cultures such as in Saudi Arabia where the rule is clearly one-sided as the restriction does not apply to men. Needless to say, there is such law in the Quran which prohibits women from performing the Hajj without a “muhrim”.

    Women during menstruation forbidden from completing Hajj

    There is no restriction in the Quran that prevents a woman from completing the Hajj if they are menstruating. Likewise, women are not forbidden from fasting and praying while menstruating. Menstruation is a bodily cycle designed by God Himself. It’s non-sensical to believe that God would forbid His own creatures from praying and worshipping Him 7 days a month. The only restriction placed on women during menstruation is from having sexual intercourse with their husbands for the benefit of both of them (2:222). See chapter “Are Menstruating Women Required to Fast?” for details.

    Visiting Prophet Muhammad’s tomb during the Hajj

    Many Hajj pilgrims visit Prophet’s Muhammad’s tomb during the Hajj. The tomb is located in Medina at the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid Al-Nabawi). The Quran only speaks of one “Haram Masjid”, which is the one in Mecca. Nevertheless, many Muslims consider there to be two Haram Masjids (Al-Haramayn), the second being the Prophet’s Mosque.

    First of all, the practice of visiting Muhammad’s tomb is not an authorized Hajj ritual per the Quran as it is nowhere to be found in it. On the contrary, visiting Muhammad’s tomb would constitute a violation of Hajj requirements which has as its primary goal of praising and commemorating God alone (22:27-28, 2:203, 2:198, 2:200).

    Secondly, many Muslims pray in front of Muhammad’s tomb which, if they are praying with Muhammad in mind, is an act of shirk (idol worship). And if they are there only to pray to God, then it would seem suspicious for choosing that particular mosque. As verse 72:18 states, all mosques are solely for God and calling on anyone else in them is strictly prohibited.

    وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
    And the masjids are for God, so do not invoke with God anyone. (72:18)

    Thirdly, most of these Muslims who believe in and follow the hadith yet, unsurprisingly, since most people just blindly follow the masses, don’t realize that the hadith prohibits taking graves of the prophets as places of worship. Considering the following so-called “sahih” hadith.

    Jundub reported:

    I heard from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) five days before his death and he said: I stand acquitted before Allah that I took any one of you as friend, for Allah has taken me as His friend, as he took Ibrahim as His friend. Had I taken any one of my Ummah as a friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a friend. Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as mosques; I forbid you to do that.

    Sahih Muslim 532
    In-book reference: Book 5, Hadith 28
    USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 4, Hadith 1083

    https://sunnah.com/muslim/5/28

    Lastly, many Muslims believe that by visiting the Prophet’s tomb, they are just following the religion the way Prophet Muhammad did. Funnily, this is purely non-sensical as Muhammad could not have visited his own grave when he was alive and performing the Hajj. Furthermore, the whole Hajj ritual began way before Muhammad was even born, originating with Prophet Abraham who, obviously, could not have visited Muhammad’s tomb when he was alive.

    Performing hajj for someone else

    Some Muslims believe that they can perform the hajj for someone else, e.g. a dead relative who never performed the hajj. However, Quran verses 53:39 and 6:164 make it clear that no one will be credited with or be responsible for the good or bad deeds of anyone else.

    وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
    And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives (53:39)
    ... وَلَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ...
    ... And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. ... (6:164 part)

    Women

    Are women required to fast, pray, etc during menstruation?

    Many Muslims believe that women are forbidden from performing any rituals of worship while menstruating, e.g.

    However, there is no such restriction in the Quran. When we consider verse 3:193-195, we see that, with respect to worship, men and women are equal.

    رَّبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلْإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا ۚ رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الْأَبْرَارِرَبَّنَا وَآتِنَا مَا وَعَدتَّنَا عَلَىٰ رُسُلِكَ وَلَا تُخْزِنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ إِنَّكَ لَا تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ ...
    Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], 'Believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise." And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the deeds of [any] doer among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. ... (3:193-195 part)

    In verse 51:56, we see that God created humans (men and women) and jinn for no other reason but to worship Him.

    وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
    And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (51:56)

    The average menstruation period lasts between 2 to 7 days per month. Therefore, a woman's menstruation period could account for 25% of their adult life, which is most of their life. As worship is not mandatory before puberty (baligh), which, for weomen, is when menstruation begins, then menstruation accounts for up to 25% of a woman's life during which worship is actually mandatory. If worship during menstruation were truly forbidden, that would be at odds with verse 51:56. Logically, it would make no sense for God to create women with the sole purpose of having them worship Him while also prohibiting them from worshipping Him for up to 25% of their life.

    The Quran is clear as to what restrictions exist for each act of worship.

    Prayer restrictions

    According to verse 5:6, the restriction is that you may not pray until you have performed ablution. Additionally, if you are ill or on a journey or have relieved yourself or have been in physical contact with the opposite gender, and if you can’t find water, then you can perform dry ablution (tayammum).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ ...
    O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. ... (5:6 part)

    In verse 4:43, we see additional prayer restrictions. Here, you are not allowed to pray while your mind is befogged (unable to focus, distracted, angry, etc) and that you must know what you are saying.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُونَ ...
    O you who have believed, do not approach prayer with a mind befogged (Arabic: sukara) until you know what you are saying ... (4:43)

    Notice the many conditions God has specified surrounding praying in both of these verses. These would be suitable places for God to mention the restriction for menstruating women if God really didn’t want women to pray while menstruating. There is no mention anywhere in the Quran that prohibits women from praying while menstruating.

    Fasting restrictions

    According to verse 2:185, during the fasting month of Ramadan, if you are ill or on a journey, then you can not fast and make up for it after Ramadan by fasting for an equal number of days lost.

    شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ...
    The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. ... (2:185 part)

    Again, if God really wanted to restrict women from fasting during menstruation, He probably would have mentioned it in this verse. On the contrary, there is no mention anywhere in the Quran that specifically prohibits women from praying while menstruating.

    Hajj restrictions

    Similarly, God has made it clear what the restrictions are regarding Hajj.

    There is no restriction for menstruating women.

    Similarly, there is no restriction for menstruating women from touching and reading the Quran and entering a mosque.

    Menstruation vs illness

    The Arabic word for menstruation (mahid) is known to the Quran and is used in two different verses (2:222, 65:4). However, this term is not mentioned in verse 2:185. The Arabic word for 'illness' is 'marid'.

    Some may argue that menstruation is an illness. Let's examine this further. In verse 2:222, the Quran describes 'menstruation' as an 'adha'.

    وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
    And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is 'adha', so keep away from women (your wives) during menstruation. ...(2:222)

    According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, 'adha' means annoyance, harm, hurt, suffering or something which is disagreeable or even filthy.

    However, more importantly, the Quran appears to separate illness (marid) from 'adha' in at least two verses:

    فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ
    ... And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head ...(2:196)
    وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِن كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوْ كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰ
    ... But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled (adha) by rain or are ill (marda) … (4:102)

    Therefore, 'adha' can be considered as a condition which can cause annoyance, trouble, is disagreeable or a hurt. Based on the verses above, 'adha' does not necessarily mean an illness, unless it causes hurt or harm.

    Menstruation as an impurity

    Some may argue that menstruation is an impurity and therefore you can't fast. Whether it is impure or not is irrelevant when it comes to fasting. Fasting is not broken by defecation or urination (a natural occurrence as is menstruation) so why would menstruation as an impurity prohibit fasting?

    Menstruation and sexual intercourse

    Sexual intimacy does break the fast but such acts are based on clear volition and the Quran specifically prohibits sexual intimacy during fasting. The only thing prohibited for menstruating women is sexual intercourse (2:222) and nothing else.

    Spiritual vs biological impurity

    As explained above, menstruating women are only prohibited from sexual intercourse and nothing else. They are not prohibited from performing any type of worship ritual during menstruation. This makes sense since God never considers women to be spiritually impure during menstruation. On the contrary, sexual intercourse during menstruation is prohibited because it is a temporary, periodic biological impurity which could cause harm (adha).

    The Bible (Torah) on menstruation

    In Leviticus 15:19-30, we see that the Bible describes menstruating women as spiritually impure so much so that if a menstruating woman touches something, that thing becomes impure and if someone else subsequently touches that thing, they too shall become impure. According to the Bible, menstruating women would be forbidden from entering a mosque or touching the Quran. Could it be that Muslim scholars have mixed Quranic law with Biblical law in order to come up with Islamic law with regards to menstruating women?

    Conclusion

    Women must fast and pray even when menstruating unless menstruation causes pain or harm similar to that of being sick. The only prohibition in the Quran during menstruation is sexual intercourse.

    Do women have to pray the Friday prayer in congregation?

    Most Muslims believe that women are not required to pray Friday Dhuhr prayer in congregation. However, that understanding is based on thhe hadeeth which, as proven elsewhere in this book or in another one of my books, is an invalid source of Islamic law. The Quran in verse 62:9 makes it very clear that all believers must pray in congregation on Friday, not just men.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
    O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. (62:9)

    Notice that the above verse does not single out men. Women, obviously, can be and are also believers.

    In verse 3:43, God told Mary, mother of Jesus, to prostate and bow down with those who bow down. This confirms that congregational prayer was also directed to women.

    يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
    O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer]." (3:43)

    In verse 3:193, we read that people were asking God for forgiveness and salvation. In verse 3:193, God responds saying that men and like women and that He would not allow the deeds of anyone to be lost.

    فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ
    Their Lord has answered them: 'I will not allow the deeds of any one of you to be lost, whether you are male or female, each is like the other.' (3:195)

    Additionally, God differentiated between men and women with regards certain issues, e.g. men receive twice the inheritance as women and two women are required to be witnesses for each male witness. Therefore, if God wanted only men to pray the Friday prayer in congregation, He could have simply stated that it was only for men.

    The above verse stresses the equality of male and female when it comes to worship, and signifies that the opportunities to worship should be equal for both men and women.

    Do Women Have to Wear the Hijab / Veil / Head Covering?

    Many Muslims believe that women must cover their hair. However, the Quran makes no mention of a requirement to cover their hair.

    First of all, the word "hijab" is never mentioned in the Quran as a head covering. Following are all references to the word "hijab" and their meaning.

    The verse that most Muslims use to claim a requirement for women to cover their hair is verse 24:31.

    وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ -
    And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their adornment (Arabic: Zeenatahunna) except what is apparent of it (ma zahara minha) that they should draw their coverings (Arabic: Bi'khumurihinna) over their bosoms / chests (Arabic: Jayubihin) and not to display their adornment (Arabic: Zeenatahunna) except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards God, that ye may attain Bliss. (24:31)

    What should be specifically clear from this verse is the direct instruction for women to cover their chests.

    I have highlighted a few phrases that are worth examining to better understand this verse, namely

    Zeenatahunna

    The word zeenatahunna comes from the root letters ZAY-YA-NUN. According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, this word clearly indicates that zeenatahunna is a reference to make-up, beautifying oneself, or adornment to an extent which can become a cause of attraction. The directive is not to display this beauty and adornment to people other than those listed in verse 24:31.

    Bi'khumurihinna

    "Khumur" is the plural form of the word "khimaar". According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, it means a covering for both men and women.


    The instruction to draw a khimar (covering) over the breasts does not necessarily relate to the use of the khimar but rather the focus is to make it clear that a woman’s breasts are not included in the concept of ‘What may decently be apparent’ of her body and therefore should not be displayed.

    Jayubihinna

    The word Jayubihinna comes from the root letters JIM-YA-BA. According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, in the context of the Quran it clearly means bosoms or breats.

    Ila ma zahara minha

    "Ila ma zahara minha" means "except what is apparent of it". In the context of this verse, it means what may be revealed that is decent and not immoral. Unfortunately, traditional scholars have attempted to restrict the definition of ‘what may decently be apparent’ to a woman's hands, feet and her face, and at times, even requiring full coverage.

    Jewish influence

    Orthodox Jews have certain practices such as male circumcision, particular slaughter methods to produce kosher meat, and "sheitel", which is the requirement for married women to cover their hair. Muslims have very similar practices even though they are not mentioned nor required in the Quran. Unsurprisingly, the Jewish Bible also does not require women to cover their hair. Rather, the requirement came from Jewish secondary sources. This article goes into detail regarding the Jewish practice and origins of covering one's hair. Could it be that Muslim scholars have been influenced by Judaism to adopt these Jewish practices into Islam?

    Conclusion

    As we have seen, the word khimar means "a covering" and what is to be "covered" is the bosoms / chests. Nowhere does this verse or any other in the Quran mention the requirement to cover one's hair. A covering is anything that covers something. Obviously, if you are going to cover your chest, you would do so with something like a shirt. Covering your hair has nothing to do with covering your chest. God states that

    therefore, if God really wanted women to cover their hair, He would have just said so. For example, he could have said, "... and draw your coverings over your bosoms and your hair ..." but He didn't.

    One should keep in mind that God forbids you from making something haram (forbidden) which is halal, e.g. saying that women are forbidden from showing their hair if God never said that.

    وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٌ لِّتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ
    And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, "This is lawful and this is unlawful," to invent falsehood about Allah . Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. (16:116)

    Men

    Is it forbidden (haram) for muslim men to wear gold and silk?

    Many Muslims believe that Muslim men are not allowed to wear gold and silk. However,

    1. there is no such law in the Quran
    2. this belief originates from the hadith which is not God’s law
    3. God forbids judging by anything other than the Quran (6:114, 45:6, 68:36-38)
    4. God forbids inventing false laws in the name of God (5:87, 16:116)
    5. Whoever judges by other than the Quran is a disbeliever (kafir) (5:44)

    From the Quran’s perspective, clothes have been given to cover one’s shame and for beauty without prohibitions on type.

    يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا ۖ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
    O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember. (7:26)

    A few verses later, we find in 7:32 that we are warned not to forbid that which has not been forbidden by God.

    قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ ۚ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
    Say, "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?" Say, "They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection." Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know. (7:32)

    As clearly stated in the Quran verse 5:87, you are not allowed to say something is forbidden if God has made it lawful (or hasn’t made it forbidden Himself).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ...
    O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. ... (5:87 part)

    If you do decide to continue believing that wearing gold and silk is forbidden by men, then according to verse 5:44, you disbelieve in the Quran and are consequently a disbeliever (kafir).

    … وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
    And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers. ... (5:44 part)

    Conclusion

    Men are allowed to wear gold and silk. To believe otherwise would be a violation of the Quran.

    Are Muslim boys / men required to be circumcised?

    Many Muslims believe that their male boys must be circumcised. However, there is nothing in the Quran that requires circumcision. There really isn't much else to say about this besides the fact that there just is simply no commandment in the Quran that boys / men must be circumcised. On the contrary, we do have proof in verses 95:4, 40:64 and 64:3 that God created humans in a perfect mould / form.

    لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
    We have certainly created man in the best of moulds; (95:4)
    اللَّهُ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَصَوَّرَكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُمْ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
    It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (40:64)
    خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ وَصَوَّرَكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُمْ ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ
    He created the heavens and earth in truth and formed you and perfected your forms; and to Him is the [final] destination. (64:3)

    Therefore, if God made humans in a perfect form and never commanded that we be circumcised, why do it?

    As if that’s not enough, we have proof in verse 4:119 that people who change the God’s creation is following Satan.

    وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا
    And I (Satan) will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of God." And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of God has certainly sustained a clear loss. (4:119)

    It is likely that Muslims believe in male circumcision because it’s mentioned in the Torah in Genesis 17:13.

    הִמּוֹל יִמּוֹל יְלִיד בֵּיתְךָ, וּמִקְנַת כַּסְפֶּךָ; וְהָיְתָה בְרִיתִי בִּבְשַׂרְכֶם, לִבְרִית עוֹלָם.
    He who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. (17:13) http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0117.htm#13

    Circumcision is also mentioned in the Christian Bible in Luke 2:21 which states that Jesus was circumcised 8 days after birth.

    After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (2:21) http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+2:21%E2%80%932:21&version=nrsv

    As such, it would seem that many Muslims are mixing some Jewish and Christian practices with Islam, despite the fact that Muhammad was instructed to follow the Quran and warn by way of the Quran only (6:19, 50:45). In addition, we have evidence from verse 5:48 that God gave the People of the Book each their own laws (Shaaria) and an open way.

    وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
    And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and an open way. Had God willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To God is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. (5:48)

    As such, Muslims are not expected to follow the laws and ways of the Jews and Christians.

    Food

    Do you have to pronounce God's name before eating anything?

    Most Muslims believe that you must pronounce God’s name only before slaughtering animals to make the meat halal. However, according to verse 6:118, you must pronounce God’s name before eating any food.

    فَكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُم بِآيَاتِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ
    So eat of that upon which the name of Allah has been mentioned, if you are believers in His verses. (6:118)

    This verse does not restrict the pronouncing of God’s name on animals so as to produce halal meat. As a matter of fact, it doesn't even say you're supposed to pronounce God's name before slaughtering any animal.

    Reason for pronouncing God’s name before eating

    The spiritual reason for pronouncing God’s name on our food before eating it is to constantly remember and be appreciative of God’s blessings on us. This is explained in verse 16:114.

    فَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ -
    Then eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And be grateful for the favor of Allah, if it is [indeed] Him that you worship. (16:114)

    This act of showing appreciation to God by reciting God’s name before we eat would not belong to us if only people who slaughtered animals had to recite God’s name.

    Conclusion

    You must pronounce God’s name before eating any anything

    What really is “halal” food?

    Most Muslims believe that meat can only be eaten if it is “halal” meat and that “halal” meat is only meat from an animal that had God’s name pronounced on it just before slaughtering it. However, according to the Quran, the recitation of God’s name, e.g. bismillah, is required before eating all food and is not required before slaughtering an animal.

    Popular definition of “halal” meat

    Most Muslims believe that “halal” meat is meat that had God’s name pronounced on it just before slaughtering it. Some Muslims will add additional requirements such as a particular way the animal is slaughtered to minimize suffering and expedite death. These requirements are nowhere to be found in the Quran. Jews have a similar understanding with the concept of “kosher” meat.

    Quranic definition of “halal” food

    The Quran makes it clear that all food is halal except for specific ones, e.g. pig, alcohol, running blood, and except for ones in certain conditions, e.g. animals gored to death or rotting carcasses.

    Do not prohibit the lawful and vice versa

    By changing the meaning of verse 6:118 to prohibit eating meat that isn’t considered “halal” meat, one would find himself in violation of verse 16:116.

    وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٌ لِّتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ
    And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, "This is lawful and this is unlawful," to invent falsehood about Allah . Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. (16:116)

    As you can imagine, prohibiting something that God never prohibited can have serious consequences. In verses 6:148-150, we see that some people prohibited something that God never prohibited. God told Muhammad not to agree with them.

    قُلْ هَلُمَّ شُهَدَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَ هَٰذَا ۖ فَإِن شَهِدُوا فَلَا تَشْهَدْ مَعَهُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَهُم بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ
    Say, [O Muhammad], "Bring forward your witnesses who will testify that Allah has prohibited this." And if they testify, do not testify with them. And do not follow the desires of those who deny Our verses and those who do not believe in the Hereafter, while they equate [others] with their Lord. (6:150)

    Prohibited food and meat

    Verses 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115 make it clear what food is halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited).

    حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ...
    Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. … (5:3)

    The food of the People of the Book

    According to verse 5:5, we see that God made it lawful for Muslims to eat the food fo the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).

    الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۖ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَّهُمْ ...
    This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. ... (5:5)

    In general, we know that non-Muslims do not pronounce the name of God before killing an animal. Nevertheless, according to verse 5:5, God has made their food lawful for Muslims. This further proves that God does not require Muslims to pronounce God’s name before slaughtering an animal. However, if we eat food, e.g. steak, that originated from a Christian slaughterhouse, which God has allowed us to do, then we would still have to pronounce God’s name on it before eating it to comply with the requirement in verse 6:118.

    Conclusion

    Halal meat and halal food is any food that isn’t prohibited in 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115

    Do you have to pronounce God's name before slaughtering an animal?

    Some Muslim scholars argue that since verse 22:36 indicates that God’s name should be uttered before slaughtering animals, then not doing so would render the meat non-halal and forbidden for consumption. On first impression, their claim seems valid. However, upon closer inspection and considering the context of neighboring verses, we discover the correct meaning of the verse as explained below.

    وَالْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَاهَا لَكُم مِّن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ ۖ فَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا صَوَافَّ ۖ فَإِذَا وَجَبَتْ جُنُوبُهَا فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ وَالْمُعْتَرَّ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرْنَاهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
    And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah; for you therein is good. So mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. (22:36)

    There are a few important points to note:

    1. This verse speaks about the ritual of animal offering / sacrifice during the Hajj. The surah containing this verse is called “Hajj” and if we start reading from verse 27, we see the subject of these related verses has to do with the hajj and hajj rituals. This means that the rules given in these verses apply only during the hajj.
    2. While the animals are lined up during the Hajj, those observing the Hajj should commemorate the name of God on these animals. The people who are pronouncing God’s name are the people who are observing the Hajj, not the people who are slaughtering the animals. The utterance of God’s name is not associated with the actual slaughtering.
    3. To further prove that the uttering of God’s name on these animals during Hajj has nothing to do with make makes meat halal, we note that God’s command to utter His name while the animals are lined up is no different from God’s command to those observing Hajj to constantly utter and commemorate God’s name throughout the Hajj. This is indicated in the following verses
    And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass - That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of God on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the despondent poor. (22:27-28)
    And remember God during [specific] numbered days. (2:203)
    But when you depart from 'Arafat, remember God at al- Mash'ar al-Haram. (2:198)
    And when you have completed your rites, remember God ... (2:200)

    The verses above indicate that God should be commemorated during every step of the Hajj. Commemorating and pronouncing God’s name on the animals while they are lined up for sacrifice is just a continuation of the rule to constantly commemorate God’s name throughout the entire Hajj from beginning to end.

    Conclusion

    You do not have to pronounce God’s name before slaughtering an animal.

    Is slaughtering the only approved way of killing an animal for food?

    Some Islamic scholars claim that slaughtering is the only Islamic way of killing animals for food. However, this is nowhere stated in the Quran. Some people justify their claim by saying that blood is prohibited for consumption and that slaughtering is the only way to remove all blood from a dead animal. Obviously, that argument is false and can easily be verified. If you buy a cut of meat from any “halal butcher”, then take it home and place it under running water, you will always see blood come out, which was presumably slaughtered according to the Islamic way.

    Blood

    When an animal is slaughtered, the main arteries in the neck are severed. This drains from the body all the blood that was in the main arteries. However, the body of all animals contains a vast number of tiny veins and millions of capillaries. Capillaries are the smallest of the body's blood vessels. Some of them are only one cell thick. The blood in the very small blood veins and capillaries will not all be drained from the flesh of the slaughtered animal. Much of the blood will remain trapped in the flesh regardless of the method of killing.

    Running Blood

    Verse 5:3 states that eating “blood” is prohibited. If this means that even a speck of blood was prohibited for consumption, then all meat would be prohibited, which can’t be true since verse 22:36 indicates that, during the hajj, animals are to be sacrificed to be eaten. Fortunately, verse 6:145 clarifies that the type blood that is prohibited is “running blood”.

    قُل لَّا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ ...
    Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled (running blood) out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah. ... (6:145)

    God knows that there will always be blood trapped in all flesh and that we will never be able to flush it all out. For that reason, God made it clear in 6:145 that the prohibition is against “running blood”.

    Any meat we buy from any “halal butcher” will not contain running blood but will always contain trapped blood. Similarly, the meat we buy from any supermarket will not contain running blood but will contain trapped flood.

    Food of the People of the Book

    If God decreed slaughtering to be the only lawful way to kill an animal, then why did God allow us in verse 5:5 to eat the food of the People of the Book as long as we pronounce God’s name on it before eating it when we have no idea how it was killed?

    Animals killed by trained birds of prey and dogs

    Similarly, if God decreed slaughtering to be the only lawful way to kill an animal, then why did God allow us in verse 5:5 to eat animals killed by trained birds of prey and dogs? These animals are already dead when we take them from the mouth of the birds and dogs.

    Fish

    Similarly, if animals had to be slaughtered, how can we eat fish since fish are not slaughtered? Like the meat of cattle, fish contain traces of blood when we buy them. We can remove some of the blood the under running water fish but not all.

    Conclusion

    Evil & Misfortune

    Why does it seem that god allows evildoers to continue their evildoing?

    Many Muslims who are victims of unjust acts or oppression wonder or complain why God seemingly allows evildoers to continue committing evil. However, the Quran makes it clear in 14:42 that God gives evildoers respite for a while until a day comes when they will clearly see and regret the evil they’ve done.

    وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الْأَبْصَارُ
    And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror]. (14:42)

    Why does it seem that god allows disbelievers to enjoy a long life?

    Some Muslims wonder why God seems to allow disbelievers (kafireen) to seemingly enjoy a long life despite their disbelief. The Quran actually makes it clear in 3:178 that God only extends their time so that they may increase in sin and consequently punishment in Hell.

    وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لِّأَنفُسِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا ۚ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
    And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment. (3:178)

    Is my suffering and misfortune due to my own past actions?

    Some Muslims believe that, when afflicted with misfortune or evil, that it is due to something they’d done in the past. However, the Quran makes it clear in verse 2:214 that no one will enter Paradise without first being tested with suffering and adversity regardless of one’s past actions.

    أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
    Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,"When is the help of Allah ?" Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near. (2:214)
    أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
    Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried? (29:2)
    وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّىٰ نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَارَكُمْ
    And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you [for the cause of Allah ] and the patient, and We will test your affairs. (47:31)

    Patience vs retaliation when faced with suffering

    Some Muslims believe that they must just be patient when faced with any kind of suffering, even if they are being attacked mentally and physically by way of black magic. However, the Quran makes it clear equal retaliation is a valid and expected response when faced with aggression.

    First of all, there are different root causes of one’s suffering.

    Suffering due to natural causes

    An example of this type of suffering could be one becoming ill and needing to be hospitalized or one living in poverty. If it can be determined that this suffering is due to natural causes, then obviously there’s no one who you can retaliate against. Therefore, the only option, and the one recommended in the Quran, is to be patient (2:214).

    وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
    And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, (2:155)

    This type of suffering may better be termed “hardship” as it is not due to aggression from another person or entity. The person suffering cannot be called a “victim” because no one intentionally caused their suffering.

    Suffering due to unnatural causes

    An example of this type of suffering could be the result of one or more people physically attacking you, e.g. bullying you or waging war against you. Another example is when someone commits black magic against you. Obviously, this type of suffering is not due to natural causes because someone is intentionally trying to hurt you, whether physically or mentally. Consequently, a person suffering in this way can be called a “victim”.

    According to verse 16:126, if you are intentionally harmed by someone, then you have the right to retaliate and punish them with a punishment that is equivalent of that with which you were harmed. However, the verse also indicates that being patient and not opting to punish your enemy is better.

    وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ ۖ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرِينَ
    And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient - it is better for those who are patient. (16:126)

    Logically, being patient would be fine if the harm done to you was still bearable. If the harm done to you is constantly repeated and interferes with your ability to work, for example, then being patient without retaliating is probably not the best option for you, especially if being patient without retaliating frustrates you to the point that you are constantly complaining about the harm done to you.

    Verses 2:190-194 also justify and encourage fighting back in response to aggression committed against you. The wording, however, makes it sound like a large group of people, e.g. disbelievers, are fighting or waging war against a large group of Muslims. Nevertheless, the verses help give some guidelines for retaliating against any form of aggression, especially when done by a disbeliever. These guidelines can be summarized as follows:

    وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ ۚ وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُقَاتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ ۖ فَإِن قَاتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ -فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ ۖ فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَلَا عُدْوَانَ إِلَّا عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ الشَّهْرُ الْحَرَامُ بِالشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْحُرُمَاتُ قِصَاصٌ ۚ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُوا عَلَيْهِ بِمِثْلِ مَا اعْتَدَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
    Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors. [Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him. (2:190-194)

    Will someone who has wronged me get my sins?

    Some Muslims, when wronged by someone else, don’t believe that there is a benefit that comes with their loss. However, the Quran indicates that some of a victim’s sins will be transferred to the evildoer thereby reducing the sins of the victim. This is suggested by the story of Adam’s two sons in 5:27-30 where some of the sins of one son was transferred to the other.

    وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الْآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَيَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِي مَا أَنَا بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِيَ إِلَيْكَ لِأَقْتُلَكَ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِي وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
    And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. If you should raise your hand against me to kill me - I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds. Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers." And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers. (5:27-30)

    When should you say "inna lilaahi wa inna ilayhi raajiuun"?

    Most Muslims normally say "inna lilaahi wa inna ilayhi raajiuun" when someone passes away. However, the Quran in verse 2:155-156 clearly states that this is a saying that is said upon any misfortune (musibah), not just death.

    وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
    And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return." (2:155-156)

    The sin of racism and Satan, the father of racism

    Many people, including Muslims, are racist or discriminatory. Racism is prejudice based on ethnic race whereas discrimination is prejudice based on anything. There are many different types of racism and discrimination. Some examples are:

    Many Muslims who consider themselves good Muslims are racist. It may be that they think that God never specifically forbade racism, even though common sense would tell you that racism is unacceptable and therefore un-Islamic. It turns out that not only is racism Islamically unacceptable, it is the root cause that will send Iblis (Satan) to Hell for eternity.

    First of all, God created all humans as follows:

    1. He created Adam
    2. He created Adam’s wife from Adam
    3. He created the rest of mankind from Adam and Eve
    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
    O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. (4:1)

    God intentionally created many languages and skin colors.

    وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ
    And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (30:22)
    وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَابِّ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ كَذَٰلِكَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ
    And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving. (35:28)

    Satan: The Father of Racism

    Racism often is the result of arrogance whereby someone feels superior to a different group. As it turns out, Satan was the first racist creature as he, being a jinn made from smokeless fire, felt he was made of a superior makeup compared to Adam, who was a human made from mud. As a result of his superiority complex, when God instructed Satan to bow down before Adam, he refused.

    وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِّن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُوا لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ فَسَجَدَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ كُلُّهُمْ أَجْمَعُونَ إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ أَن يَكُونَ مَعَ السَّاجِدِينَ قَالَ يَا إِبْلِيسُ مَا لَكَ أَلَّا تَكُونَ مَعَ السَّاجِدِينَ قَالَ لَمْ أَكُن لِّأَسْجُدَ لِبَشَرٍ خَلَقْتَهُ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ
    And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud. And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration." So the angels prostrated - all of them entirely, except Iblees, he refused to be with those who prostrated. [ God] said, O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?" He (Satan) said, "Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud." (15:28-33)
    قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ
    [ God ] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?" [Satan] said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay." (7:12)

    Though it can be argued that Satan will go to Hell because he did not bow down before Adam, the root cause of Satan not bowing down before Adam is because Satan was racist. Coupled with the proof that God intentionally created everyone with differences such as in language and skin color, it stands to reason that racist behavior is a sin.

    Death

    Inheritance law according to the Quran

    Some Muslims believe that you are not allowed to write a will before dying and that inheritance is strictly based on the percentages specified in the Quran. However, not only is writing a will allowed, it’s even a prescribed duty for all Muslims. This is proven in verse 2:180.

    كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ إِن تَرَكَ خَيْرًا الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۖ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ
    Prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he leaves wealth [is that he should make] a bequest (will) for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable / reasonable / fair - a duty upon the righteous. (2:180)

    In other words, if you do not make a will, then you violate verse 2:106.

    According to verse 5:106, when you make a will, you need two witnesses.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا شَهَادَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ حِينَ الْوَصِيَّةِ اثْنَانِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ أَوْ آخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ إِنْ أَنتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَأَصَابَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۚ تَحْبِسُونَهُمَا مِن بَعْدِ الصَّلَاةِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللَّهِ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ لَا نَشْتَرِي بِهِ ثَمَنًا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۙ وَلَا نَكْتُمُ شَهَادَةَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا إِذًا لَّمِنَ الْآثِمِينَ
    O you who have believed, testimony [should be taken] among you when death approaches one of you at the time of bequest - [that of] two just men from among you or two others from outside if you are traveling through the land and the disaster of death should strike you. Detain them after the prayer and let them both swear by Allah if you doubt [their testimony, saying], "We will not exchange our oath for a price, even if he should be a near relative, and we will not withhold the testimony of Allah . Indeed, we would then be of the sinful." (5:106)

    According to verse 4:7, one must leave a will for parents and near relatives.

    لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ ۚ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا
    For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much - an obligatory share. (4:7)

    Some Muslims may argue that Quran chapter 4 (surah Nisaa) abrogates or replaces the requirement to make and follow a will in verse 2:180. However, upon careful analysis, it becomes clear that the inheritance verses in Surah Nisaa only apply after any debts have been paid and the will has been executed. Of course, if no will exists, the specific inheritance percentages specified in Surah Nisaa would apply.

    … مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ …
    (the distribution stipulated) ... after (Arabic: ba'di) any will (Arabic: wasiyyatin) which he has made or any debts ... (4:11)
    … مِّن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ تُوصُونَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ …
    (the distribution stipulated) ... after (Arabic: ba'di) any will (Arabic: wasiyyatin) which was made or any debts ... (4:12)

    Obviously, if the distribution stipulations in chapter 4 were only to be followed, then there would be no point in God requiring everyone to make a will (2:180).

    Furthermore, according to verse 2:181, no one has the authority to prevent someone from making a will or to change an existing will.

    فَمَن بَدَّلَهُ بَعْدَمَا سَمِعَهُ فَإِنَّمَا إِثْمُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يُبَدِّلُونَهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
    Then whoever alters the bequest (will) after he has heard it - the sin is only upon those who have altered it. Indeed, God is Hearing and Knowing. (2:181)

    However, according to 2:182, if one feels any wrongdoing on the part of the person making the will (testator), then they are allowed to reconcile / correct the issue with the testator.

    فَمَنْ خَافَ مِن مُّوصٍ جَنَفًا أَوْ إِثْمًا فَأَصْلَحَ بَيْنَهُمْ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
    But if one fears from the bequeather [some] error or sin and corrects that which is between them, there is no sin upon him. Indeed, God is Forgiving and Merciful. (2:182)

    Some Muslims get a headache when trying to understand verses 4:11-12 to determine shares of an inheritance. If Muslims just followed the Quranic requirement to create a will, then there would be no need to feel guilty or confused when trying to understand verses 4:11-12. Nevertheless, one must keep in mind that a will (wasiyya) should be made with fairness / reasonableness (bil-ma’rufin) in mind. It should not intend to hurt or compromise (ghayra mudarrin – 4:12) other beneficiaries, e.g. by not giving a fair portion to one’s closest relatives.

    In the end, only God knows which relatives such as parents or children are nearer to one in benefit.

    آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ لَا تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعًا
    Your parents or your children - you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. (4:11)

    Obviously, the benefit of God allowing people to create a will is so that people have the flexibility to adjust shares taking into account certain circumstances that may exist, e.g. if a sole parent has two children and one child is filthy rich and the other is poor, the parent has the authority to give more to the poor child since that child, obviously, would need the money more than the rich kid.

    If a will doesn’t exist or if a will leaves a remainder to be divided, then one must follow the distribution stipulations in 4:11-12. I have made a flowchart to help with this matter. It can be found at

    http://quranbasedislam.com/inheritance-flowchat

    What happens when a will doesn’t exist and Quranic distribution shares don’t add up to 100%?

    This is a common question asked when people try to divide an inheritance when there is no will. For example, if the deceased has no legal heirs / relatives except for one sister, then the Quran states that the sister gets ½ of the inheritance. So what must be done with the remaining half?

    First of all, you should never be in this situation to begin with because the Quran requires that you create a will (2:180) and nowhere in the Quran does it limit what percentage of your wealth can be specified in the will. So, if people just follow the Quran’s mandates, they can make a will accounting for 100% of their wealth and there would be no problems. Of course, debts must be paid first.

    Secondly, if for some reason there is no will, which unfortunately seems to happen very often, then in the event the Quranic inheritance distribution shares don’t add up to 100%, then the remainder logically needs to be divided somehow. The Quran does not specify what to do with the remainder. This may be so as to offer flexibility in dividing the remainder to whoever deserves it based on each family’s situation. For example, if the only legal heirs are two sisters and there is no will, then the Quran indicates that the sisters share 2/3 of the inheritance, i.e. each gets 1/3. The remaining 1/3 can be allocated based on the appointed executor(s) judgment keeping in mind verse 2:180 which requires allocation be fair and appropriate (bil-ma’rufin) and verse 4:12 which requires that allocation not be done with the intention of hurting anyone (ghayra mudarrin). Following are examples of ways the remaining 1/3 can be divided:

    Obviously, the best person to decide how their inheritance should be distributed would be the person who dies. For that reason, it makes sense that God would require everyone to make a will. Inheritance executors, e.g. probate court judges, probably don’t know how to best distribute any remaining inheritance and they probably don’t want to make decisions regarding someone else’s wealth. Again, that is why it is imperative that everyone make a will, even if that will closely matches the Quranic inheritance distribution stipulations with slight modifications to adds up to 100%.

    The example above is where the Quranic distribution percentage don’t add up to 100%. There’s also the possibility where the percentages add up to over 100%. Consider the following example where a man dies and is survived by his wife, 3 daughters and both parents.

    Relative Share Fraction Share Percentage
    Wife 1/8 12.5%
    3 Daughters 2/3 66.7%
    Mother 1/6 16.7%
    Father 1/6 16.7%
    Total 112.5%

    In this example, the distribution exceeds 100% by 12.5%. Since that makes no sense, the only logical thing to do is reduce everyone’s percentage proportionally to reach 100%. Again, this would not be an issue if the deceased had just made a will with a 100% distribution. This is exactly what is done in the online Islamic inheritance calculator at

    http://inheritance.ilmsummit.org/projects/inheritance/home.aspx

    Are the Quranic distribution percentages fair?

    Many people insist that they must follow the Quranic percentages even though verse 2:180 mandates that everyone make a will and distribute their inheritance with fairness and reasonableness. Now, let’s consider a hypothetical situation whereby a man is married to someone for 20 years. His parents have passed away and he has no siblings. The man then divorces his wife and remarries. One day after his 2nd wedding, he dies without having written a will. In this particular case, the Quranic percentages would result in the following distribution:

    Relative Share Fraction Share Percentage
    Ex-wife of 20 years 0 0
    Wife of 1 day 1 100%

    As you can see, the ex-wife of 20 years gets nothing and the new wife of 1 day gets 100%. This clearly violates verse 2:180 because it’s clearly an unfair and unreasonable distribution considering the duration of the marriages. This is yet another example which shows why it is absolutely necessary, not to mention mandatory, to make a will. Without one, there’s a good chance that inheritance distributions would not be fair.

    With a will, is there a limit to how much you can distribute?

    Some Muslims will argue that the most you can allocate in a will is 1/3 (33%) of your total assets. This value is nowhere to be found in the Quran. It comes from the hadith. For proof as to why the hadith is invalid, please see my other book titled: Analysis of Validity of Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith - Is It Truly From Muhammad And Valid Islamic Law?

    As stated in verse 22:78, God has not made His religion difficult or overly complex.

    وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
    And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. … (22:78 part)

    It’s usually people who tend to make God’s religion difficult and overly complex. At the end of the day, according to verse 64:16 what matters most is that you make an effort to do the best you can.

    فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِّأَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
    So fear God [by keeping your duty to him] as best as you can / what you are able (Arabic: ma is’tata’tum) and listen and obey and spend [in the way of God]; it is better for your selves. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul - it is those who will be the successful. (64:16 part)

    Judgment Day questions

    This is a hypothetical dialogue between God and someone we’ll call “Ahmed”. The dialogue takes place on Judgment Day after the end of the world. This hypothetical dialogue is for educational purposes only.

    God: When you were alive on earth, did you tell people that listening to music was forbidden / haram in Islam? Don’t lie. I’m God. I already know the answer.
    Ahmed: Yes, God. Since it is haram, I told people that it was haram to listen to music.
    God: What makes you think that listening to music is haram? Did you find that law in the Quran? Don’t lie to me. I’m God. And I authored the Quran!
    Ahmed: It’s not in the Quran but it’s quite clear in the hadith (Sahih Bukhari) that music is haram.
    God: Hmmm … in the Quran, I did not forbid the listening of music but you believe that I forbade listening to music because someone claimed to hear Prophet Muhammad say that listening to music was haram.
    Ahmed: Well, since the hadith from Prophet Muhammad said that listening to music was haram, I assumed that it was God’s law.
    God: Did you read the Quran while you were alive on earth?
    Ahmed: Yes, of course! I read it thousands of times all throughout my life.
    God: Great! Did you understand what you were reading?
    Ahmed: Well, not really. Arabic is not my native language.
    God: So you read the Quran thousands of times all throughout your life but didn’t even understand what you were reading?
    Ahmed: Well, I figured I didn’t need to because I learned Islam from my parents, teachers in school and the community in general. Also, most Muslims believe the prophet’s hadith to be valid.
    God: So you just assumed your parents, the community, and popular belief are correct?
    Ahmed: Well, yes. How could they all be wrong?
    God: Well, if you took time to actually understand the Quran, you’d know why they could be wrong. I gave an example in verses 21:52-68 and 2:170 describing how Prophet Abraham’s father and community were all idol-worshippers. Also, I clearly stated in verse 6:116 that if you follow popular belief, you will be mislead. I also stated in verse 47:24 that you should study and understand the Quran. In verse 17:36, I also forbade people from believing in and following something without understanding it or seeing proof first.
    Ahmed: What about the hadith? I studied it and many people forwarded many wise sayings of the Prophet Muhammad to me almost daily on WhatsApp, especially during Ramadan?
    God: Like I said, if you took the time to understand the Quran as instructed in verse 47:24, you’d find that in verses 45:6, 68:36-38 and 6:114 that I forbade the following of any book or hadith besides the Quran.
    Ahmed: But the hadith are statements from the Prophet himself. Since the prophet gave us the Quran, shouldn’t we also believe everything else he said?
    God: Like I said, if you took the time to understand the Quran, you’d find in verses 10:15, 46:9, 6:50, 7:203 that even Muhammad himself only followed what was revealed to him. In other words, Muhammad himself would not have followed the hadith that you and most Muslims on earth followed.
    Ahmed: Wasn’t everything he said revealed to him from God?
    God: Like I said, if you took the time to understand the Quran, you’d know that only the Quran was a revelation from God. Everything else Muhammad said was not inspired by God. This is proven in verse 66:1 where I asked Muhammad why he forbade something which I never forbade in the Quran. Therefore, if I never said in the Quran that listening to music was forbidden, then no one else including Muhammad could make up a law in My name saying that music was forbidden.
    Ahmed: If what you’re telling me is true, and since you’re God, it must be true, then I’m afraid most people on earth were misinformed because most of them took the hadith as God’s law.
    God: I know. That’s why I said in verse 6:116 that if you follow popular belief, you will be misled because most people only follow assumptions without seeking proof.
    Ahmed: But how could we only follow the Quran when it is incomplete? Everyone told me that the hadith was necessary to explain the Quran.
    God: Like I said, if you took the time to understand the Quran, you wouldn’t be asking that question. I told you in verses 6:115 and 6:38 that the Quran is complete. I also said in verses 6:114 and 12:111 that it was very detailed. I also said in verse 25:33 that it is the best explanation (ahsan tafsir).
    Ahmed: But the Quran doesn’t explain how to pray. Only the hadith explains how to pray.
    God: That’s not true. How did you learn how to pray?
    Ahmed: My parents taught me.
    God: So you are assuming that the hadith explains in detail how to pray?
    Ahmed: Well, I’ve been told that the hadith explains how to pray.
    God: There you go again, just blindly believing whatever people tell you without proof.
    Ahmed: But I was told by Islamic scholars. Surely they can be trusted, right?
    God: The hadith was written 200+ years after Muhammad died. If only the hadith explains how to pray, then how did people pray during the 200+ years before the hadith was written?
    Ahmed: Hmmm …. I guess they learned from their parents and the community.
    God: In verse 22:26, it’s clear that people prayed during the time of Prophet Abraham. In verse 2:43, I told the Children of Israel (Jews) to pray with others who pray. In verse 3:43, I told Mary, mother of Prophet Jesus (Isa), to pray with others who pray. The Quran makes it clear that praying began way before Prophet Muhammad’s time. The Quran also details many aspects of prayer such as ablution (wudhu) (4:43; 5:6), prayer direction (qiblah) (2.143-44), prayer times (4:103; 11:114; 17:78; 24:58; 30:18; 2:238: 20:58), prostration (Sujood) (4:102; 48:29), standing position (3:39; 4:102), call to prayer (adhan) and congregation prayer (62:9), etc. People have been praying long before the hadith and they learned from their parents, generation after generation, just like you did.
    Ahmed: I see ….
    God: The hadith only mentions certain aspects of prayer. The fact that not even a single hadith explains the details of a complete prayer is suspicious considering the thousands of hadith that have been recorded.
    Ahmed: Sighhh …. I guess I should have paid more attention to the actual “meaning” of the Quran instead of just making the “sounds” of the Arabic recitation. So now what?
    God: Well, in verse 5:44, I told people that if they judge by any book besides the Quran, then they are kafir. Also, in verse 16:116 I told people not to spread false information in the name of God. You judged by telling people that God made listening to music haram even though I never said that in the Quran.
    Ahmed: Oh shit! Can I go back to earth to fix my mistakes?
    God: I knew you were going to say that. I even said so in verses 23:99-100.
    Ahmed: But I didn’t know.
    God: You had your entire life to figure this out. You repeatedly recited the Quran numerous times but never bothered to understand the meaning. Didn’t I give you a brain so that you could use it? Instead, you just blindly followed people like cows. I made this very clear in verses 8:22, 7:179 and 25:44.
    Ahmed: So will I go to Hell?
    God: Well, not necessarily. You’re actually not dead yet. You are sleeping right now and this entire dialogue is in your dream. I will cause you to wake up in precisely 2 hours, 7 minutes, 30 seconds and 14 milliseconds. After you wake up, I suggest you remember what we talked about in this dream. Remember, according to verse 28:56, I only give guidance to whoever I want. Don’t ignore it!

    Can anyone help me on the Day of Judgment?

    Many Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad or someone special can help them on the Day of Judgment. However, the Quran makes it clear that no one, including Prophet Muhammad, can intercede and help anyone on that day. This is proven in verse 82:17-19.

    وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا ۖ وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلَّهِ
    And what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense? Again, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense? It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah. (82:17-19)

    According to verse 46:9, prophet Muhammad doesn’t know what will happen to himself let alone anyone else. His job was just to warn people.

    قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
    Say, "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner." (46:9)

    According to verses 7:188 and 10:49, prophet Muhammad had not power of good or harm to himself and he had no knowledge of the unseen.

    قُل لَّا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي نَفْعًا وَلَا ضَرًّا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْ كُنتُ أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ لَاسْتَكْثَرْتُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ وَمَا مَسَّنِيَ السُّوءُ ۚ إِنْ أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
    Say (O Muhammad), "I hold not for myself [the power of] benefit or harm, except what Allah has willed. And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am not except a warner and a bringer of good tidings to a people who believe." (7:188)
    قُل لَّا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۗ لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ ۚ إِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً ۖ وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ
    Say (O Muhammad), "I possess not for myself any harm or benefit except what Allah should will. For every nation is a [specified] term. When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it]." (10:49)

    According to verse 39:19, God makes it clear that no one can save anyone else who is in Hell.

    أَفَمَنْ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ كَلِمَةُ الْعَذَابِ أَفَأَنتَ تُنقِذُ مَن فِي النَّارِ
    Then, is one who has deserved the decree of punishment [to be guided]? Then, can you save one who is in the Fire? (39:19)

    According to verses 2:48 and 2:123, no intercession will be accepted to help anyone on the Day of Judgement.

    وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
    And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided. (2:48)
    وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا تَنفَعُهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
    And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, and no compensation will be accepted from it, nor will any intercession benefit it, nor will they be aided. (2:123)

    The fact that no intercession will exist is reiterated in 2:254.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَاعَةٌ ۗ وَالْكَافِرُونَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
    O you who have believed, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers - they are the wrongdoers. (2:254)

    According to verse 9:80, even if prophet Muhammad asks 70 times for God to forgive someone, God will not forgive.

    اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِن تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
    Ask forgiveness for them, [O Muhammad], or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times - never will Allah forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.

    According to verse 9:113, prophet Muhammad and believers are forbidden from praying for polytheists, even if they were close relatives.

    مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ
    It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire. (9:113)

    Is death a bad thing?

    Some Muslims see death as a bad thing or become extremely sad upon knowing that they or someone close to them will die or has just died.

    The Quran makes it clear that the life of this world on Earth is like a illusion and any form of enjoyment experienced is nowhere close to what you'd get in Heaven.

    كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
    Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. (3:185)
    اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
    Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. (57:20)
    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ۚ أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ
    O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little. (9:38)
    إِنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ ۚ وَإِن تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا يُؤْتِكُمْ أُجُورَكُمْ وَلَا يَسْأَلْكُمْ أَمْوَالَكُمْ
    [This] worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and fear Allah, He will give you your rewards and not ask you for your properties. (47:36)
    وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ ۖ وَلَلدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ ۗ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
    And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason? (6:32)
    ... قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ...
    ... Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is better for he who fears Allah ... (4:77)

    The Quran gives many descriptions of Heaven. If given the option, it should be obvious that everyone would immediately trade the life of this world for life in Heaven.

    يُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِصِحَافٍ مِّن ذَهَبٍ وَأَكْوَابٍ ۖ وَفِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِيهِ الْأَنفُسُ وَتَلَذُّ الْأَعْيُنُ ۖ وَأَنتُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
    Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally. (43:71)
    كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا أَسْلَفْتُمْ فِي الْأَيَّامِ الْخَالِيَةِ
    [They will be told], "Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past." (69:24)
    أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًا مِّن سُندُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُّتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ ۚ نِعْمَ الثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا
    Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place. (18:31)
    لَا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا وَلَا تَأْثِيمًا إِلَّا قِيلًا سَلَامًا سَلَامًا
    They will not hear therein ill speech or commission of sin - (56:25) Only a saying: "Peace, peace." (56:26)
    وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ ...
    And We will have removed whatever is within their breasts of resentment, [while] flowing beneath them are rivers. ... (7:43)
    مَّثَلُ الْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ ۖ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ أُكُلُهَا دَائِمٌ وَظِلُّهَا ۚ تِلْكَ عُقْبَى الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا ۖ وَّعُقْبَى الْكَافِرِينَ النَّارُ -
    The example of Paradise, which the righteous have been promised, is [that] beneath it rivers flow. Its food is lasting, and its shade. That is the consequence for the righteous, and the consequence for the disbelievers is the Fire. (13:35)
    إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَا لَهُ مِن نَّفَادٍ
    Indeed, this is Our provision; for it there is no depletion. (38:54)
    أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ رِزْقٌ مَّعْلُومٌ فَوَاكِهُ ۖ وَهُم مُّكْرَمُونَ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ عَلَىٰ سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ يُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِكَأْسٍ مِّن مَّعِينٍ بَيْضَاءَ لَذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ لَا فِيهَا غَوْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ عَنْهَا يُنزَفُونَ
    Those will have a provision determined - Fruits; and they will be honored In gardens of pleasure On thrones facing one another. There will be circulated among them a cup [of wine] from a flowing spring, White and delicious to the drinkers; No bad effect is there in it, nor from it will they be intoxicated. (37:41-47)
    مَّثَلُ الْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ ۖ فِيهَا أَنْهَارٌ مِّن مَّاءٍ غَيْرِ آسِنٍ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّن لَّبَنٍ لَّمْ يَتَغَيَّرْ طَعْمُهُ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ خَمْرٍ لَّذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ عَسَلٍ مُّصَفًّى ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ كَمَنْ هُوَ خَالِدٌ فِي النَّارِ وَسُقُوا مَاءً حَمِيمًا فَقَطَّعَ أَمْعَاءَهُمْ
    Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord, like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink scalding water that will sever their intestines? (47:15)
    وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ ۖ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
    ... And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. (2:25)

    If you are a baby and you die, then though your parents may be sad, you are lucky in that you get to go straight to Heaven without having to go through the ups and downs of life on Earth. Though the Quran doesn't specifically say that babies that die go straight to Heaven, clues in the Quran coupled with logical reasoning would have you believe that that is the case, e.g. babies are innocent and not responsible for their actions and so since they can't go to Hell, there's only Heaven left. This would apply to all prepubescent children.

    If you are an adult and you die prematurely, e.g. from an illness or accident or someone kills you, then as long as you have done your religious duties, you have nothing to fear (2:277) and you can expect to go to Heaven. In this case, dying prematurely is not necessarily a bad thing because it depends on your circumstances.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
    Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (2:277)

    If you, like many people on Earth, live in poverty, or your particular circumstances prevent you from being able to enjoy life, then dying sooner than the average life span is a blessing as it would allow you to retire, so to speak, from the discomfort and unhappiness on Earth so you can go to Heaven sooner. On the other hand, if you have not satisfied your religious duties, then dying prematurely would be very bad as you will have lost all opportunity to correct your mistakes. Living a long life doesn’t necessarily mean you are lucky. If your circumstances make it difficult for you to feel happy, then living a long life could be seen as a punishment or a test, neither of which are good.

    Given the information above, one could say that when someone dies, they're really just moving on, and possibly (hopefully) to a far better life.

    Is the end of the world a bad thing?

    Some Muslims like to share stories about signs that the end of the world is near. Most of these signs are based on the hadith such as the proliferation of homosexuals, same-sex marriage, prostitution, taller and taller skyscrapers, etc. However, the Quran makes no mention of the signs of the end of the world. Either way, the stories told by people that the end of the world is coming is as if the end is such a bad thing.

    The Quran states in verse 2:277 that people who are believers and are righteous will have no fear regarding the end of the world.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
    Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (2:277)

    So, if you fear the end of the world, then it could be that you are not a believer, are not righteous, and/or have not performed your religious duties. People who know the future are usually at an advantage. It’s probably even safe to say that they are always at an advantage. If people can know ahead of time that due to their past actions, they will go to Hell, they will obviously do whatever it takes to repent and change their ways to have a better future (i.e. go to Paradise). Believers, in one way, are at an advantage because they know something that disbelievers don’t know or refuse to believe, namely that Paradise and Hell are real and will come after the end of the world. With this knowledge, wise believers would do the best they can to go to Paradise. However, they know that Paradise will not come until the end of the world comes. Therefore, the occurrence of the end of the world is a prerequisite for entrance to Paradise. As detailed in the Quran, Paradise is far better than the life of this world. Obviously, everyone would choose Paradise over this world. That being the case, if the end of the world came tomorrow and you have prepared yourself for it, then logically you should be excited as that would mean that Paradise would come sooner than later. In summary, the end of the world is only bad if you’re going to Hell. The end of the world is actually a good thing if you’re going to Heaven.

    Upon death, how to tell if someone will go to Heaven or Hell

    As prophet Muhammad stated in verse 46:9, even he doesn’t know what will happen to himself let alone anyone else.

    قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
    Say, "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner." (46:9)

    However, the Quran does give us a clue. In verses 79:1 and 6:93, if someone dies in fear and pain, then one reason is because the Angel of Death has come to forcibly yank their soul out from their body in such a way as to cause fear and pain. These people will likely go to Hell. Conversely, we can deduce that one who dies in a relaxed and painless state would go to Heaven.

    وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا
    By those [angels] who extract with violence (79:1)
    وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ قَالَ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ وَلَمْ يُوحَ إِلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ وَمَن قَالَ سَأُنزِلُ مِثْلَ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۗ وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَاتِ الْمَوْتِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَاسِطُو أَيْدِيهِمْ أَخْرِجُوا أَنفُسَكُمُ ۖ الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَكُنتُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِهِ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
    And who is more unjust than one who invents a lie about Allah or says, "It has been inspired to me," while nothing has been inspired to him, and one who says, "I will reveal [something] like what Allah revealed." And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, [saying], "Discharge your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation for what you used to say against Allah other than the truth and [that] you were, toward His verses, being arrogant." (6:93)

    Christianity & Jesus

    What is the Injeel?

    In verse 5:46-47, we see that Jesus was given the Injeel which confirmed the Torah that came before it. We also see that the Christian contemporaries of Muhammad were told to judge by the Injeel, which would indicate that the Injeel was a book that existed at that time.

    وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنجِيلِ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
    And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. And let the People of the Injeel (Gospel) judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient. (5:46-47)

    Similarly, the Quran indicates in verses 5:43 and 3:93 that the Jewish Torah existed during the time of Muhammad and that Jews were instructed to judge by it.

    وَكَيْفَ يُحَكِّمُونَكَ وَعِندَهُمُ التَّوْرَاةُ فِيهَا حُكْمُ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّوْنَ مِن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا أُولَٰئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ
    But how is it that they come to you for judgement while they have the Torah, in which is the judgement of Allah ? Then they turn away, [even] after that; but those are not [in fact] believers. (5:43)
    كُلُّ الطَّعَامِ كَانَ حِلًّا لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِلَّا مَا حَرَّمَ إِسْرَائِيلُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تُنَزَّلَ التَّوْرَاةُ ۗ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِالتَّوْرَاةِ فَاتْلُوهَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
    All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed. Say, [O Muhammad], "So bring the Torah and recite it, if you should be truthful." (3:93)

    In verse 5:68, we see that the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) were told to stand by and follow their Torah, Injeel, and revelations that came to them.

    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَسْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ تُقِيمُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ
    Say, "O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Injeel (Gospel), and what has been revealed to you from your Lord."… (5:68 part)

    However, the Injeel is never referred to by the Quran as a book (Arabic: kitab / suhuf). Verse 46:12 indicates that the book prior to the Quran was the Book of Moses, i.e. the Torah.

    وَمِن قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّسَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ
    And before it (the Quran) was the scripture of Moses (Torah) to lead and as a mercy. And this (Quran) is a confirming Book in an Arabic tongue to warn those who have wronged and as good tidings to the doers of good. (46:12)

    Verses 25:35, 11:!7, and 46:30 also confirm that the Torah is a book prior to the Quran.

    Though the Quran never mentions that the Injeel was a book, verse 3:48 does suggest that it is wisdom.

    وَيُعَلِّمُهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ
    And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel). (3:48)

    Based on the word order, it would make sense that the “writing” is the “Torah” and the “wisdom” is the “Injeel (Gospel)”. Therefore, it’s possible and likely that Jesus’ wisdom (Injeel) was later written down in the form of a book or books (Gospel writings) by early Christians.

    We know from verses 2:75 and 2:79 that some (not necessarily all) parts of the Torah and Injeel were altered. The Quran then confirms in verse 5:15 that Muhammad came to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to make clear (using the Quran) much of what the Jews and Christians used to hide or became obscured in their books.

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ ۚ قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ
    O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book. (5:15)

    To conclude, the Injeel is likely to be wisdom given to Jesus which was taught to early Christians who then committed these teachings to writing in the form of books known as the Gospels.

    Does the Christian Bible teach the concept of the Trinity?

    Some Muslims believe that the concept of the Trinity is taught in the Bible. Some also refuse to read the Bible for that reason. While the Quran doesn’t specifically require Muslims to read any of the previous scriptures, Muslims are required to believe in them and that they are from God. Nevertheless, upon careful analysis, we can prove that the Trinity doctrine is actually not taught in the Bible, regardless of whether Christians believe in it or not.

    According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, on May 26, 2018, we see the following

    Trinity, in Christian doctrine, is the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). https://www.britannica.com/topic/Trinity-Christianity

    The doctrine of the Trinity is a religious belief that slowly made its way into Christian thought over many centuries.

    Comma Johanneum

    The Comma Johanneum, also called Johannine Comma or the Heavenly Witnesses, is a comma found in Latin manuscripts of the First Epistle of John at 5:7-8 in the New Testament. It is a short clause (comma) which was inserted into the Biblical text to support the concept of the Trinity.

    The only verses that provide explicit reference to the doctrine of the Trinity anywhere in the Bible is in 1 John 5:7-8. Following are the verses from the King James Version of the Bible.

    King James Version of the Bible (An English translation of the Bible from 1600 CE)

    For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7

    And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 1 John 5:8

    Now, let’s compare these verses to the same verses from the earliest complete Christian Bible. The Codex Sinaiticus is considered one of the best texts in Greek of the New Testament along with the Codex Vaticanus. According to radiocarbon dating, Codex Sinaiticus was written around 350 CE, approximately 250 years before the revelation of the Quran. Following are the same two verses in Greek from the Codex Sinaiticus followed by an English translation.

    Codex Sinaiticus (A Greek version of the Bible from around 350 CE)

    Verse 7
    θεια οτι οι τρειϲ ει ϲιν οι μαρτυρου
    "For they that testify are three"

    Verse 8
    τεϲ το πνα και το ϋ δωρ και το αιμα και οι τρειϲ ειϲ το
    "the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and the three are one"

    http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=55&chapter=5&lid=en&side=r&verse=7&zoomSlider=0

    Comma Johanneum
    Excerpt from the Codex Sinaiticus - 1 John 5:7-8

    Notice that in the Codex Sinaiticus there is no mention of "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (Verse 7) or "And there are three that bear witness in earth" (Verse 8). These are later additions to the text.

    The scholarly consensus is that these verses are a Latin corruption. The comma doesn’t appear in non-English manuscripts. Therefore, the debate over the originality of these verses is limited the English-speaking world which primarily uses the popular King James Version of the Bible which is an English translation of the Bible.

    Though it has just been proven that the Trinity doctrine didn’t come from the Bible yet continues to be the popular belief among Christians, we should keep in mind that even in Islam, many Muslims also have beliefs that are not supported by the Quran.

    Is Jesus dead? will he return?

    Some people think that Jesus is dead. Others think that he is alive on earth or in Heaven or Paradise and that he will return. Let’s see what God says about this in the Quran. In verse 5:117, we see a statement that God caused Jesus to die and that after Jesus died, God became the witness over Jesus’ people. The dialogue is between God and Jesus and takes place on the Day of Judgment.

    مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۚ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَّا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنتَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
    I (Jesus) did not say anything to them except what you commanded me with: To worship God, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them as long as I was among them, but when you caused me to die (Arabic: Tawafaytani), you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things. (5:117 part)

    In verse 3:55, we see proof that God will cause Jesus to die before raising him.

    إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَىٰ إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
    When God said: "O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause you to die (Arabic: Mutawafeeka), and shall exalt you (Arabic: Rafiuka) to Me, and cleanse you of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow you [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, to the Day of Resurrection. In the end, to Me you must all return and I shall judge between you with regards to all on which you differed. (3:55 part)

    The word “Mutawafeeka” comes from the word “tawaffa” which means “to cause to die”. This word and its correct meaning is used in many other verses including 16:70, 3:193, 7:126, 47:27, 2:234, 2:240, 2:281, 4:15, 4:97, and 6:61.

    The word “Rafiuka” comes from the root word “raffa” which means “to be raised / raised to a high station”. It doesn’t literally mean cause Jesus to be lifted to ascend to Heaven but rather to raise Jesus in rank or status, e.g. exalt him. This expression is also used in verse 19:56-57 where Prophet Idris was also raised to a high station / exalted.

    وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِيسَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيقًا نَّبِيًّا وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا
    ”And make mention in the Scripture of Idris. Indeed! he was a saint, a prophet; And We raised him to high station. (Arabic: Rafa’nahu)” (19:56-57)

    As a reminder to readers of how many translations of the Quran can be very misleading, following are some translations of part of the verse 3:55 above. Apparently, many translators try to avoid saying that Jesus is dead.

    Translator Translation
    Sahih International "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself …
    Pickthall "O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me..."
    Yusuf Ali "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself…"
    Shakir "O Isa! I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me"
    Muhammad Sarwar He told Jesus, "I will save you from your enemies, raise you to Myself..."
    Mohsin Khan "O 'Iesa (Jesus)! I will take you and raise you to Myself…."
    Farooq-i-Azam Malik "O Isa (Jesus)! I am going to recall you (from your mission) and raise you up to Myself...."
    Ahmed Ali "O Jesus! I will take you to Myself and exalt you….."

    In verse 5:109, we see proof that no messenger will know what happened on earth after they die. This includes prophet Jesus as he was not specifically excluded.

    يَوْمَ يَجْمَعُ اللَّهُ الرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَا أُجِبْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَا عِلْمَ لَنَاإِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ
    “One day God will gather the messengers together, and ask: "What was the response you received (from men to your teaching)?" They will say: "We have no knowledge: it is You Who knows in full all that is hidden." (5:109)

    In verses 4:157-158, God says that the Jews did not kill not crucify Jesus and that God raised Jesus to a high station / exalted him.

    وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا
    ‘And they said (in boast), "Behold, we have slain the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, messenger of God" However, they did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him (Arabic: Salabuhu), but it appeared so to them; and, verily those who hold conflicting views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not slay him’ ‘Nay, God exalted him (Arabic: rafa-ahu) to Himself - and God is indeed almighty, wise’ (4:157-158)

    However, this verse doesn’t mean that Jesus was raised to a high station while he was alive. If it meant that, then that would contradict verse 3:55. Therefore, this verse just means that the Jews didn’t kill Jesus but rather they killed someone who was make to resemble Jesus.

    In we compare verses 19:33 to 19:15, we see that the lifecycle of Prophet Jesus matches that of Prophet Yahya (John). That is that they both were born, died, and will be raised up to life again.

    وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا
    "So peace is on me (Prophet Jesus) the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! (19:33)
    وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا
    So Peace on him (Prophet Yahya) the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)! (19:15)

    In verses 5:109-115, God tells us about many events related to Prophet Jesus. If Jesus were to come back and return to earth, it would be hard to believe that such an important event would be omitted from the verses above or anywhere else in the Quran.

    If we compare verse 3:144 to verse 5:75, we see that Prophet Jesus passed away just like all of the other messengers.

    وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ
    “Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many were the messengers that passed away before him ...” (3:144 part)
    مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ
    Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him … (5:75 part)

    In verses 21:7-8, God says Muhammad that all prophets were humans like him and they all passed away.

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاهُمْ جَسَدًا لَّا يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُوا خَالِدِينَ
    And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad], except men to whom We revealed [the message], so ask the people of the message if you do not know. And We did not make the prophets forms not eating food, nor were they immortal. (21:7-8)

    This is reiterated in verse 21:34.

    وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ ۖ أَفَإِن مِّتَّ فَهُمُ الْخَالِدُونَ
    And We did not grant to any man before you (Muhammad) eternity [on earth]; so if you die - would they be eternal? (21:34)

    To conclude, it should be clear now that Jesus is dead and then he was exalted in rank. Jesus is not alive neither on earth or in Heaven and he will not come back.

    Prophet Muhammad

    Was Prophet Muhammad Illiterate (Couldn’t Read and Write)?

    Many Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was illiterate and could not read and write. However, there is strong evidence in the Quran that indicates that he was literate. Many people take verse 7:157 as proof that Muhammad was illiterate because they think the word "ummi" means illiterate.

    الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ
    Those who follow the Messenger, the illiterate (ummi) prophet ... (7:157 part)

    Definition of "Ummi"

    However, according to Edward Lanes Lexicon, the classical Arabic term 'Ummi' refers to a gentile or someone who is not familiar with the Law of Prophet Moses. It is not necessarily someone who is illiterate.

    Definition of "Gentile"

    The term Gentile is of Latin origin and from the word 'Gentilis' which means to be associated with or being part of a particular tribe or clan. It refers to non-Israelite tribes and is used to refer to non-Jews.

    Today, the primary meaning of gentile still remains as someone who is a "non-Jew" and is not a reader of the Torah or has any Jewish origins.

    Non-Jews can be "ummi"

    One does not have to be a non-Jew in order to not know the Law of Moses. In verse 2:78 we see proof that even some Jews were "ummi" as they did not know their own scripture.

    وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ
    And among them (Jews) are "ummi" ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming. (2:78)

    "Ummi" cannot mean illiterate

    If we translate the word 'Ummi' to mean 'Illiterate' (Cannot read and write), the following Quranic verse would make no sense.

    فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ
    So if they argue with you, say, "I have submitted myself to Allah [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me." And say to those who were given the Scripture and [to] the "ummi", "Have you submitted yourselves?" And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away - then upon you is only the [duty of] notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants. (3:20)

    In the verse above, God is commanding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to proclaim the message to the Jews and Christians (recipients) of the previous scriptures and the 'Ummis'. If one renders 'Ummi' here as 'Illiterate' then the verse becomes nonsensical as it appears God is asking the Prophet to proclaim the message to those of the previous scriptures and the illiterates. This rendering would unnecessarily exclude those who could read and write but would have not received the scripture.

    In another example, if we try to assume "ummi" to mean "illiterate", then the following verse would erroneously imply that God raised a messenger only amongst people who could not read and write. That obviously makes no sense at all.

    هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
    It is He who has sent among the "ummi" a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error - (62:2)

    In another example, if we try to assume "ummi" to mean "illiterate", then the following verse would mean that some from the People of the Book said that they had no accountability to illiterate people. Once again, that makes no sense at all.

    وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مَنْ إِن تَأْمَنْهُ بِقِنطَارٍ يُؤَدِّهِ إِلَيْكَ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ إِن تَأْمَنْهُ بِدِينَارٍ لَّا يُؤَدِّهِ إِلَيْكَ إِلَّا مَا دُمْتَ عَلَيْهِ قَائِمًا ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا لَيْسَ عَلَيْنَا فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ سَبِيلٌ وَيَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
    And among the People of the Scripture is he who, if you entrust him with a great amount [of wealth], he will return it to you. And among them is he who, if you entrust him with a [single] silver coin, he will not return it to you unless you are constantly standing over him [demanding it]. That is because they say, "There is no blame / duty / accountability upon us concerning the 'ummi'." And they speak untruth about Allah while they know [it]. (3:75)

    Muhammad was an "ummi" (didn't know / read any prior scripture)

    If we take the word "ummi" to mean anyone who didn't know about or read scriptures prior to the Quran, then verses 42:52 and 29:48 prove that Muhammad was one of them.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا ۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
    And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book (prior scripture) or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path - (42:52)
    وَمَا كُنتَ تَتْلُو مِن قَبْلِهِ مِن كِتَابٍ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ ۖ إِذًا لَّارْتَابَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ
    And you did not recite before it any scripture, nor did you inscribe one with your right hand. Otherwise the falsifiers would have had [cause for] doubt. (29:48)

    Note:

    The reference to not being able to 'write it with your right hand' is not a reference to the Quran. This is clearly a reference to the previous scriptures which is deduced by context. The verse informs the reader that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was neither a reader nor writer of the previous scriptures and hence had no knowledge of its contents, begging the question, so where did he get his knowledge from? This verse also suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the prophet had the ability to both read and write.

    Ability to read and write

    If the Prophet could not read or write, why would a statement informing people that he did not read or write anything of the ‘previous scriptures’ be stated? Similarly, in English if one makes a statement that X did not read book Y specifically, its shows the ability of X to actually read, the only exception being in this context of course, that book Y was not read by X.

    No expectation of prophethood

    In verse 28:86, we see that the prophet didn't even expect that he'd become a prophet.

    وَمَا كُنتَ تَرْجُو أَن يُلْقَىٰ إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابُ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ ظَهِيرًا لِّلْكَافِرِينَ
    And you were not expecting that the Book would be conveyed to you, but [it is] a mercy from your Lord. So do not be an assistant to the disbelievers. (28:86)

    Additional proof Muhammad was not illiterate

    In verse 25:5, we see that disbelievers accused the Prophet of writing down the scripture with his own hands.

    وَقَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِيَ تُمْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
    And they say, "Legends of the former peoples which he has written down (Arabic: ik'tatabaha), and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon." (25:5)

    The Arabic gives us the root of the term 'iktatabaha' as K-T-B.

    Kaf-Ta-Ba = he wrote it, prescribed, appointed, ordained, to dictate it, judged, decreed, drew, brought together, collected, conjoined, a thing in which or on which one writes, record, registered writ.

    iktataba is the perfect active verbal form of kataba

    Therefore the verb means that either the Prophet had the Quran written down or he himself wrote it down.

    Source: Edward Lanes Lexicon

    If the intention was to imply that he 'caused others to write it' or 'had it dictated', it would arguably have been better to use the word 'aktaba'.

    Source: Edward Lanes Lexicon

    However, since the word used was 'iktataba', then it is most likely referring to the fact that the Prophet himself wrote the Quran which means he was not illiterate.

    Sources that suggest Muhammad was illiterate

    Muslims seems to believe that Muhammad was illiterate based on some hadith. Ironically, the hadith themselves also indicate that Muhammad could write as proven in the following "sahih" hadith.

    Narrated Yazid ibn Abdullah:

    ... We then asked: Who wrote this document for you? He replied: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

    Grade : Sahih in chain (Al-Albani)
    Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 2999
    In-book reference : Book 20, Hadith 72
    English translation : Book 19, Hadith 2993

    https://sunnah.com/abudawud/20/72

    Misunderstood prohibitions

    Is it forbidden to pay interest, e.g. on a home loan?

    Many Muslims believe the law regarding interest applies to both people who charge interest and pay interest. However, the Quran makes it clear that what is forbidden is only the charging of interest or usury.

    Definition of Riba

    To understand the meaning of riba, Verses 2:278-279 give us a good understanding of what riba is.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
    O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains of interest (Arabic: baqiya min riba), if you should be believers. (2:278)
    فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ
    And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your capital sums (Arabic: amwaalikum) - [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged. (2:279)

    The Arabic word "amwaalikum" means "your capital sums". In most cases, this means your original or principal amount of money that you lend someone. If you charge someone interest, then you will receive your original loan amount + interest. Mathematically, the equation would read

    Original Loan Amount + Interest = Total

    The verses above instruct people to give up what remains of interest and to repent and if they do so, they can keep their capital sums or the original money they lent to someone.

    Trade vs Usury

    Making a profit from trade is different from making a profit from usury. According to verse 2:275, trade is allowed but usury is not.

    الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا ۗ وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا ۚ فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىٰ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
    Those who consume usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Satan has confounded by his touch. That is because they say: "Trade is like usury," but God has permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for God (to judge); but those who repeat (the offence) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein. (2:275)

    Example of trade

    If you buy a product for x and sell it for x + 10 (profit), then that is trade.

    Example of riba

    If you lend someone 5 apples and one month later expect 7 apples in return, then the excess of 2 apples constitutes riba.

    If you or a bank loans some money to someone with an interest rate (beyond currency inflation), then the profit from interest constitutes riba.

    Capital sums

    According to verse 2:279, a creditor is entitled to their capital back. Therefore, if the commodity lent is money, then it's reasonable to expect the creditor to receive capital plus inflation since the value of money changes over time.

    Exorbitant interest

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا الرِّبَا أَضْعَافًا مُّضَاعَفَةً ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
    O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.(3:130)

    Some people may use verse 3:130 to define usury as exorbitant interest. However, this verse merely indicates that usury, excessive or not, is forbidden. It is verses 2:278-279 which provide a suitable definition for riba.

    Paying interest

    There is no prohibition against paying interest. The prohibition is strictly and specifically limited to receiving interest.

    Is it forbidden (haram) to have a pet dog? Are dogs impure?

    Many Muslims believe that dogs are impure and cannot be taken as pets. However, there is no such law in the Quran. On the contrary, there is actually much evidence to indicate that dogs can be had.

    The cave sleepers and the dog

    In chapter 18 (surah kahf) of the Quran, there is a story of the cave sleepers who had a dog with them. The were not out hunting but rather fleeing religious persecution (18:20). They all slept for hundreds of years. Not only did God keep the sleepers safe, He also kept the dog safe allowing it to stretch its paws over that long period of time (18:18). These sleepers were righteous and guided people (18:13). If dogs were forbidden and impure, why did God tell this story of righteous people who had a dog sleep with them?

    Hunting dog

    In verse 5:4, God says that we can eat what our hunting dogs catch.

    يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۙ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
    They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, "Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting dogs which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah." Indeed, Allah is swift in account. (5:4)

    The word "hunting dog" in Arabic is "mukallibiin". Unfortunately, many translators of the Quran translate this word as one of hunting animals, beasts, birds of prey, hunting creatures, falcons, and predatory animals. The word "mukallibiin" clearly comes from the word "kalb" which Arabic speakers all know to mean "dog". According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, the word "mukallibiin" means "a dog trained and accustomed to hunt".

    Is it forbidden (haram) to have statues and images?

    Many Muslims believe that having statues or images of living creatures is forbidden. However, there is no such law in the Quran as long as you don’t worship them.

    Worshipping statues is forbidden

    In verses 21:51-52, we see proof that specifically worshipping statues is forbidden.

    وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ رُشْدَهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا بِهِ عَالِمِينَ
    And We had certainly given Abraham his sound judgement before, and We were of him well-Knowing. (21:51)
    إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا هَٰذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ
    When he said to his father and his people, "What are these statues to which you are devoted?" (21:52)

    God allowed prophet Solomon to make statues

    The word for statues used in the verse above is "tamatheel" (singular: timthaal). This word is also used in 34:13 which describes prophet Soloman instructing his jinn to make statues, among other things.

    يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَاءُ مِن مَّحَارِيبَ وَتَمَاثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَّاسِيَاتٍ ۚ اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا ۚ وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ
    They made for him what he willed of elevated chambers, statues, bowls like reservoirs, and stationary kettles. [We said], "Work, O family of David, in gratitude." And few of My servants are grateful. (21:51)

    If making or having statues was forbidden, why would a prophet of God (Solomon) allow it as described in the Quran? Since the Quran is from God, then God must allow the making and having of statues.

    It should be clear from the two examples above that it isn't the making or keeping of statues that is forbidden but rather what the statues are used for.

    Same religion, different prophets

    Some Muslims may argue that having statues was allowed during the time of some prophets but not allowed in others such as the time of prophet Muhammad. This argument is unsupportable since, again, there is no mention in the Quran that statues are forbidden. Furthermore, we know from verse 42:13 that the same religion was inspired in all the prophets.

    شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ
    He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus ... (42:13)

    We also know from verse 41:43 that nothing was said to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that was not said to the Prophets before him.

    مَّا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
    Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (41:43)

    Don't prohibit what is lawful

    Additionally, in verse 5:87 we are prohibited from making unlawful something which God has made lawful.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
    O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors. (5:87)

    Is it forbidden (haram) for muslims to listen to music or sing?

    Many Muslims believe that they are not allowed to listen to music and sing. However,

    1. there is no such law in the Quran
    2. this belief originates from the hadith which is not God’s law
    3. God forbids judging by anything other than the Quran (6:114, 45:6, 68:36-38)
    4. God forbids inventing false laws in the name of God (5:87, 16:116)
    5. Whoever judges by other than the Quran is a disbeliever (kafir) (5:44)

    Prophet David was given the Psalms (Zabur) which consists of 150 hymns or songs including lamentations, songs of thanksgiving, hymns of praise, wisdom psalms, royal psalms, and others of a mixed composition.

    إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَىٰ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
    Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Zabur (book of Psalms). (4:163)

    It is well attested within Jewish tradition, that the psalms were sung in front of the Tabernacle and subsequently in the reign of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), they were sung from the steps of the Temple when it was completed.

    According to verse 34:10, the mountain and birds sang in an echoed manner (Arabic: awwibi).

    وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا ۖ يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ ۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِيدَ
    And We certainly gave David from Us bounty. [We said], "O mountains, repeat / echo [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well]." And We made pliable for him iron, (34:10)

    According to verse 21:79, the mountains and birds praised God in a raised voice (Arabic: yusabbihna) along with David.

    فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ
    And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgement and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to celebrate Our praise, along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that]. (21:79)

    Although the chanting of the Psalms of prophet David were sung to glorify God, this still doesn’t imply any prohibition on any other type of music or singing. Of course, keeping with the spirit of the Quran, one would understandably agree that listening or singing music that is indecent should be considered inappropriate and unacceptable. However, this does not equate to prohibiting all music or singing.

    Is it forbidden to wear make-up or get cosmetic surgery?

    Some Muslims believe that getting cosmetic surgery is forbidden is Islam because it would result in one changing God’s creation. Some will even go so far as to say that wearing makeup is forbidden. Let’s see what the Quran says about this.

    Male and female

    In the following verses, we see that God created everyone from one person (soul). From that person, God created that person’s mate, and from the two of them (male and female), He created many men and women.

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ...
    O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. …. (4:1)
    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا...
    O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. …. (49:13)

    Prohibition against homosexuality

    It should be obvious to everyone that God created man and woman as mates based on human anatomy and the reproductive process. This is also indicated in verse 53:45. So, it is no surprise that homosexuality is forbidden, as indicated in verse 7:81.

    وَأَنَّهُ خَلَقَ الزَّوْجَيْنِ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ
    And that He creates the two mates - the male and female - (53:45)
    إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاءِ ۚ بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُّسْرِفُونَ
    Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people." (7:81)

    Changing God’s creation

    In verse 4:119, we read that Satan intends to mislead all of mankind and in one way, he will influence people to change God’s creation. Since literally everything in the universe is God’s creation, what is meant by “change God’s creation” is up for debate. However, considering the prohibition against homosexuality and the proof that God intentionally created man and woman for a reason, it would make sense that what is meant by “change God’s creation” is to have a sex change operation, or to change man to become a woman and vice versa.

    وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا
    And I (Satan) will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah." And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss. (4:119)

    Best of molds or best of stature?

    Verse 95:4 is often translated as “We have certainly created man in the best of molds”. This would suggest that each human was shaped (molded) perfectly so they shouldn’t change anything about their mold (body shape), e.g. using cosmetic surgery. However, other translations translate the world “taqweem” to mean “standing / stature”. Considering the root meaning of the word, it becomes clear that the correct meaning is not “mold” but rather “stature”. Additionally, we can easily prove that “mold” is not the correct meaning by just seeing the many babies born with birth defects, e.g. a cleft lip. Surely, no one in their right mind can say that a baby born with a cleft lip, for example, was created in the best shape / mold.

    لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
    We have certainly created man in the best of stature; (95:4)

    Righteousness from the soul

    In verses 91:7-10 we see that righteousness has to do with your soul rather than your physical body. How you look physically, be it attractive or not, or how you choose to make yourself look, e.g. style your hair, wear make up, or get cosmetic surgery, has nothing to do with righteousness with regards to Islam. Your physical body is constantly changing. When you die, your body will decompose however, your soul will be intact.

    وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا
    And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]. (91:7-10)

    Examples

    Of all cosmetic surgeries performed, the most popular by far is probably the nose job. This should come as no surprise since of all facial elements (eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheek, etc), the one thing that varies the most is the nose. Some noses are naturally very small, or very big, or crooked, or just plain asymmetric. Being at the center of the face, it’s hard to not notice one’s nose, and if one’s nose is unbalanced in size and shape relative to the rest of the face, it results in an inharmonious facial appearance. In addition to that, it could cause unhealthy psychological problems if the subject is too bothered by their nose deformity. This could lead to feelings of unhappiness as well as low self-esteem.

    Another natural physical deformity is the cleft lip. According to the CDC, 4,440 are born with a cleft lip in the United States. This is obviously worse than a crooked nose because the deformity is much more noticeable leaving a huge gap above the lip.

    Hair loss is another common issue plaguing many men and some women. Though this isn’t something that originates at birth, it’s obviously not something that people intentionally cause to happen. The fact that many people naturally experience hair loss is a big issue that affects one’s appearance. No one would intentionally get a haircut such that they are bald on top but full of hair on the sides, yet this is a common result of certain types of hair loss. Unsurprisingly, this would result in a very unbalanced face both from the front and sides, and consequently could cause significant psychological problems not to mention the hassle of trying to style your hair every morning when the density of it is vastly uneven.

    Considering the examples above of naturally-occurring defects and their effect on one’s psychological well-being, would it be right to tell people that they can’t fix the huge gap above their lip, for example, because God created them that way? Though some extreme religious scholars may say so, they would likely change their mind if they themselves or their own kids suffered from such deformities. Ultimately, what matters the most in the view of Islam is righteousness, which is why God revealed verses such as 7:26 where He says that the clothing of righteousness, i.e. your behavior, matters more than your physical appearance, i.e. what type of clothes you wear or how you style your hair or whether you improve your appearance temporarily with make-up or permanently with cosmetic surgery.

    يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا ۖ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
    O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts (shame) and as adornment. the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember. (7:26)

    Lastly, if God has not prohibited something, such as cosmetic changes, then according to verse 5:87, no one is allowed to prohibit it.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
    O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors. (5:87)

    Misunderstood allowances / obligations

    Is nikaah al-mut’ah (temporary marriage) allowed?

    Many Muslims believe that short term contract marriages are allowed. However, the Quran indicates that marriage for a predetermined duration is forbidden. The temporary marriage contract is between two parties who agree to the duration of the marriage at the start of the agreement. The agreement does not have a lower limit. As an example, it can be stipulated for 45 minutes, one night, one month or 10 years. The time is mutually agreed. A form of 'mahr' (gift) is often advanced and in this period, man and woman can resume intimacy and in effect, live as married couples. At the end of the specified period, the Nikaah al-mut'ah is automatically dissolved without the need for divorce. In general, this type of marriage is acceptable in Shia Islam and forbidden in Sunni Islam.

    According to verse 4:24, marriage should not be undertaken for purposes of lust but rather for sincere and honest wedlock.

    وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۖ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ ۚ فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُم بِهِ مِن بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
    And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not lust. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. (4:24)

    Based on this verse, it is clear that marriage should not be done to temporarily satisfy some sexual desires. Nikaah al-mut’ah is nothing but a form of prostitution masked to give it religious sanction.

    Is creating or joining a sect, e.g. Sunni, Shia, etc allowed?

    Many Muslims choose to be either Sunni or Shia or be part of some other group. However, the Quran makes it clear that dividing into or joining a sect is forbidden. Some of the names of these divisions and subdivisions are

    According to verse 6:159, dividing into or joining religious sects is forbidden.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
    Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects - you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do. (6:159)

    According to verse 3:103, God instructs Muslims to not be divided.

    وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا...
    And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. ... (3:103)

    According to verse 41:133, the only acceptable label is "I am of those who submit to the one God, i.e. Muslim")

    وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
    And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims." (41:133)

    The word "Muslim" is not only used to describe followers of prophet Muhammad. In the Quran, it is used to describe everyone who submits and surrenders to the will of the one God, e.g.

    Is forcing someone to practice some aspects of Islam allowed?

    Some Muslim individuals and governments force others or their citizens and/or visitors to follow certain Islamic practices. However, the Quran makes it clear that it is forbidden to force a religion or any aspect of religion on anyone.

    God could have made everyone a believer but instead, He gave people a brain to think for themselves and the option to choose their belief. God told Muhammad not to force people to follow Muhammad’s belief (Islam).

    قُلْ فَلِلَّهِ الْحُجَّةُ الْبَالِغَةُ ۖ فَلَوْ شَاءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
    Say, "With Allah is the far-reaching argument. If He had willed, He would have guided you all." (6:149)
    وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ
    And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? (10:99)

    Verse 2:256 should make it absolutely clear that one may not force Islam on anyone.

    لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ
    There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. ... (2:256 part)

    People are expected to use "reason" to choose their religion. Choosing a religion based on tradition or inheritance does not constitute a choice that is based on sound “reason”.

    وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
    And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. (10:100)

    Prophet Muhammad was told not to grieve / feel sorry for the disbelievers.

    وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
    And if their aversion is grievous to you, then if you are able to seek a tunnel into the earth or a stairway into the sky to bring them a sign, [then do so]. But if Allah had willed, He would have united them upon guidance. So never be of the ignorant. (6:35)

    Whoever chooses to disbelieve is free to disbelieve.

    وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ ۚ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا ۚ وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاءٍ كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ ۚ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا
    And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place. (18:29)

    Belief and disbelief can be a cyclical experience and occur repeatedly.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَّمْ يَكُنِ اللَّهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلًا
    Indeed, those who have believed then disbelieved, then believed, then disbelieved, and then increased in disbelief - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way. (4:137)

    However, God will not guide people who disbelieve after believing.

    كَيْفَ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ قَوْمًا كَفَرُوا بَعْدَ إِيمَانِهِمْ وَشَهِدُوا أَنَّ الرَّسُولَ حَقٌّ وَجَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
    How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and had witnessed that the Messenger is true and clear signs had come to them? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. (3:86-87)

    Repentance will not be accepted if one rejects faith after having accepted it.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْدَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَّن تُقْبَلَ تَوْبَتُهُمْ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الضَّالُّونَ
    Indeed, those who reject the message after their belief and then increase in disbelief - never will their [claimed] repentance be accepted, and they are the ones astray. (3:90)

    Surah Kafirun (Chapter of the Disbelievers) (109) should also make it clear that people are free to keep their own religion.

    قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ
    Say, "O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion." (109)

    Is assuming something without proof allowed?

    Regarding matters of religion, it is common for many people to assume things based on personal preference or tradition. This can lead to new laws that people claim are Islamic yet they are nowhere to be found in the Quran. Not only is this attitude wrong but it can also be considered a sin, especially if you say something allowed is forbidden and vice versa. This is made clear in the following verses.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
    O you who have believed, avoid much assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (49:12)

    Unfortunately, as indicated in verse 10:36, most people follow assumption, especially regarding matters of religion. This is probably why so many people still think statues are gods.

    وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ إِلَّا ظَنًّا ۚ إِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ
    And most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do. (10:36)

    Other misunderstandings

    Is There Such a Thing as a Muslim Name?

    Many Muslims choose give their kids what they consider to be "Muslim" names. However, there is no mention in the Quran of what a Muslim name is or should be. As a matter of fact, the Quran indicates Prophet Abraham, Moses (of the Jews) and Jesus (of the Christians) were Muslim and that some Jews and Christians were righteous and technically Muslim. A “name” by itself has neither volition nor capacity to submit. What Muslims generally have are “Arabic” names, often associated with revered people from the past. However, one should note that not all Arabs are Muslims. As a matter of fact, many aren’t.

    The Name "Abbas"

    Not all Arabic names have a soft or pleasant meaning. The popular Arabic name "Abbas", for example, is usually given to newborns because it refers to the uncle of the prophet Muhammad. Popular understanding refers to it as a “lion” or “description of a lion”. However, a derivative of the root word Abbas (abasa) is found in the Quran.

    عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ أَن جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ
    He (the Prophet) frowned (Arabic: abasa) and turned away because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting]. (80:1-2)
    إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِن رَّبِّنَا يَوْمًا عَبُوسًا قَمْطَرِيرًا
    Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day harsh / stern (Arabic: abusan) and distressful." (76:10)
    ثُمَّ عَبَسَ وَبَسَرَ
    Then he frowned (Arabic: abasa) and scowled; (74:22)

    Here, we can see that it is not the courageousness of a lion that describes the word "Abbas but rather the sternness that a lion presents and the somewhat aggressive expression is usually associated with it.

    Prophet Names

    Many Muslims also like to name their children names of prophets without realizing that the true or original names of the prophets at the time were probably different. The names of prophets in the Quran are the names of the prophets are the names of the prophets as they were understood at the time of revelation of the Quran to the Arabs in 7th century Arabia. For example, prophet ‘Isa would most likely have been known as "Yeshua" (Hebrew) or “Jeshua” (Aramaic) to the Jews of the first century Palestine and his mother, Mary (Maryam). The name “Isa” as used in the Quran is an “Arabic” rendering of the original name. Similarly, prophet Musa (as known in Arabic) would have most likely been known as “Moshe” (Moses) to Pharoah and his family.

    Conclusion

    There is no such concept of a "Muslim name" in the Quran. A 'Muslim' is a condition pertaining to believer's soul regardless of what name an individual is known by.

    Is Zam Zam water blessed water?

    Many Muslims believe that Zam Zam water is blessed water. However, there is no mention in the Quran of Zam Zam water. The Quran does talk about rain water and honey, however. The story of Zam Zam is linked with the story of prophet Abraham’s wife, Hagar, his son, prophet Ishmael, Safa and Marwa. However, there is absolutely no mention of Hagar or hte Hagar-Ishmael story in the entire Quran. As a matter of fact, there is not even a single mention of the word "Zam zam" in the Quran. Safa and Marwa are not even described as “mountains” in the Quran but rather as “symbols”. Pagan Arabs used to circumambulate (tawaaf) around Safa and Marwa before Islam was revealed to them. The Quran merely allowed this practice of “tawaaf” around Safa and Marwa to continue as optional.

    إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ ۖ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا
    Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah . So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them. … (2:158)

    The statement "there is no blame / sin upon him for walking between them (Safa and Marwa)" clearly indicates that newly converted Muslims (ex Pagans) were allowed to continue the practice of walking between Safa and Marwa like they used to when they were pagans. The Quran does not required this practice.

    The Healing Power of Honey

    According to verse 16:68-69, honey has the power to heal.

    وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا ۚ يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِّلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
    And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. (16:68-69)

    The Reviving Properties of Rain Water

    According to verse 50:9, rain water is referred as "blessed" water” and has revitalizing properties.

    وَنَزَّلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً مُّبَارَكًا فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ جَنَّاتٍ وَحَبَّ الْحَصِيدِ
    And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest. (50:9)

    Are all non-Muslims, including Jews and Christians, are kafir?

    Many Muslims believe that all non-Muslims, including Jews and Christians, are disbelievers (kafir). However, the Quran indicates that some Jews and Christians are actually righteous. The Jews and Christians that follow their faith are referred to by the Quran as 'Ahl-e-Kitab' i.e. People of the Book, not 'Kuffars' (Disbelievers). From the Quran's perspective, even the Mushrikeen (idolaters) are not necessarily Kuffar. One is not responsible for what one does not know. To claim otherwise is neither just nor true. We see in verse 9:6 proof that idolaters (mushrikeen) were not automatically branded as "kuffar" (disbelievers) as they were simply ignorant (did not know).

    وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
    And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know. (9:6)

    Therefore, if idolaters (mushrikeen) are not automatically disbelievers (kuffar), then obviously Jews and Christians are not automatically disbelievers (kuffar).

    People only become disbelievers (kuffar) if the following conditions are met

    1. The truth has been made clear to them
    2. They have no reason left to deny it
    3. They still choose to deny the truth

    In addition, only God has the right to brand someone as a disbeliever (kafir).

    The message of truth is made clear to different societies by God’s messengers. That is the one and only job of the messengers, as indicated in 24:54.

    قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا ۚ وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ
    Say, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away - then upon him is only that [duty] with which he has been charged, and upon you is that with which you have been charged. And if you obey him, you will be [rightly] guided. And there is not upon the Messenger except the [responsibility for] clear notification." (24:54)

    Verse 3:113-114 proves that some Jews and Christians are righteous.

    لَيْسُوا سَوَاءً ۗ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أُمَّةٌ قَائِمَةٌ يَتْلُونَ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ وَهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَأُولَٰئِكَ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
    They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer]. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous. (3:113-114)

    Verse 5:82-83 proves that some Christians are righteous.

    لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰ أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۖ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
    You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, "Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses. (5:82-83)

    Verse 7:159 proves that not all Jews are bad or unjust.

    وَمِن قَوْمِ مُوسَىٰ أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ
    And among the people of Moses is a community which guides by truth and by it establishes justice. (7:159)

    Verse 5:66 indicates that, at the time of Prophet Muhammad, some Jews and Christians were on the right course but most were not.

    وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ أَقَامُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِم مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ لَأَكَلُوا مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَمِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِهِم ۚ مِّنْهُمْ أُمَّةٌ مُّقْتَصِدَةٌ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ سَاءَ مَا يَعْمَلُونَ
    And if only they upheld [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed [provision] from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them are a moderate community (on the right course), but many of them - evil is that which they do. (5:66)

    One must remember that the same religion was inspired in all of the prophets, including prophets Moses and Jesus. This is proven in 42:13.

    شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ ۚ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ
    He has ordained for you of religion (Arabic: Deen) what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus - to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]. (42:13)

    Many Muslims use verse 2:120 to infer that the Jews and Christians follow a different religion.

    وَلَن تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلَا النَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
    And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their form of religion (Arabic: Millatahum). Say, "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance." If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper. (2:120)

    However, you will see a difference between verse 42:13 and 2:120 in that 42:13 uses the word "deen" whereas verse 42:13 uses the word “millatahum”.

    The word "deen" means religion whereas the word “millat”, in the context of verse 2:120, means “way of belief or form of religion.” According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, we see this definition as follows:

    image alt text

    The word "millat" is also in verse 16:123 where prophet Muhammad was told to follow Abrahams “form of religion” (millat).

    ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
    Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the form of religion (Arabic: millat) of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah. (16:123)

    In other words, people can be part of the same "deen" (religion” but their way / form “millat” may be different. The correct way, according to verse 16:123, is the way of Prophet Abraham. This “way”, according to this verse, is to not join anything with God including partnerships, idols, and intercessors. This “way” applies to Muslims, Christians and Jews.

    Are certain people, e.g. the prophet’s wives, automatically righteous?

    Many Muslims believe that certain people such as Prophet Muhammad’s wives, by virtue of being married to the prophet, are automatically righteous and are guaranteed paradise

    However, the Quran makes it clear that no one is automatically righteous. In verse 2:124, we see proof that not all of Prophet Abraham’s offspring are righteous.

    وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
    And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [ Allah ] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people." [Abraham] said, "And of my descendants?" [ Allah ] said, "My covenant does not include the wrongdoers." (2:124)

    Similarly, this verse also means that the descendants of Prophet Muhammad can also be wrongdoers.

    According to 2:134, the actions of others will have no bearing on us.

    تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ ۖ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُمْ ۖ وَلَا تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
    That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. (2:134)

    According to 2:281, each soul carries the burden of their own actions on their own soul.

    وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
    And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah . Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly. (2:281)

    Some points to consider:

    Conclusion

    Righteousness is an individual matter. It cannot be ascribed to one based on lineage, relationship, companionship or indeed proximity. No one can know the true affairs of the heart except God. Each individual is subjected to their own circumstances, faculties, reason, judgement, resources and clarity of message that has reached them. Each person is unique as is their case with God.

    Are muslims (submitters) and mu’mins (believers) the same thing?

    Many Muslims believe that the term "Muslim" and “Mu’min” are interchangeable and have the same meaning. However, according to the Quran, many people are Muslims (including some Jews and Christians) but not all Muslims are Mu’mins.

    A "Muslim" (Submitter) by definition is anyone who submits or surrenders their will to the one true God. This is irrespective of whether or not they believe in the Quran or prophet Muhammad.

    A "Mu’min" (Believer), in the context of the Quran, is one who believes in

    1. The one true God
    2. All of God’s angels
    3. All of God’s scriptures including the Torah, Injeel, and Quran
    4. All of God’s messengers including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad

    One may be a Muslim (Submitter) but not yet be a Mu’min (believer) as true faith has not yet entered their hearts. This is proven in verse 49:14.

    قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
    The desert Arabs say, "We believe!" Say, "Do not say you believe; but only say, 'We have submitted our wills to God (as Submitters / Muslims),' as belief has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey God and His Messenger, He will not deprive you anything of your deeds: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (49:14)

    Therefore, being a Muslim (Submitter) first is a pre-requisite for acquiring belief to become a Mu’min (believer). Verse 7:143 shows the example of prophet Moses when he became a Mu’min (believer). Verse 2:260 shows the example of prophet Abraham who asked to have his heart strengthened so that he could become a Mu’min (believer).

    There are many proofs in the Quran of people who lived before prophet Muhammad and were Muslim.

    None of these people could have known of the Quran or the coming of prophet Muhammad, yet they are described as Muslims (Submitters).Therefore, being a Muslim (Submitter), according to the Quran, does not require belief in the Quran or prophet Muhammad. It just requires submitting one’s will to the one true God.

    As a matter of fact, during the time of prophet Muhammad some people amongst the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) did believe in Muhammad and they therefore were Mu’mins (believers) even though they were still Jews and Christians.

    وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰ أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۖ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
    And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, "Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses. (5:83)
    وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ ...
    And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you (Muhammad), and in the revelation to them (Torah, Injil), bowing in humility to God …. (3:199)

    People who believed in the previous scriptures, including Jews and Christians, were already Muslims.

    الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِهِ هُم بِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَإِذَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلِهِ مُسْلِمِينَ
    Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it - they are believers in it. And when it is recited to them, they say, "We have believed in it; indeed, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed we were, [even] before it, Submitters (Muslims)." (28:52-53)

    image alt text

    Is Islam the religion of Muhammad or also of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc?

    Many Muslims believe that Islam is the religion of prophet Muhammad and that Islam did not exist before Muhammad. However, according to the Quran, Islam existed before Muhammad and Abraham was considered the father of Islam. Muslims often cite verse 5:3 to support their argument that Islam began with Muhammad.

    … الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ...
    …. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. …. (5:3 part)

    However, this favor is not exclusive to Muhammad. The same favor was completed for prophet Joseph, the family of prophets Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَجْتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ كَمَا أَتَمَّهَا عَلَىٰ أَبَوَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ ...
    And thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of narratives / dreams and complete His favor upon you and upon the family of Jacob, as He completed it upon your fathers before, Abraham and Isaac. …. (12:6 part)

    The favor for prophet Joseph wasn’t the interpretation of narratives / dreams since the same favor was also given to the family of Jacob and to Isaac and Abraham. Therefore, this "favor" must mean something else.

    In verse 42:13, we see proof that the same religion was given to all prophets.

    شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ...
    He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus ... (42:13)

    The Arabs during Muhammad’s time also had a religion that they practiced. Since many religions have some things in common, it is likely that some aspects of the religion of people during Muhammad’s time also had overlaps with Islam. As such, the meaning of "perfected for you your religion" in verse 5:3 is the removing of incorrect beliefs and practices that were un-Islamic. Since Islam existed before Muhammad’s time, this perfecting of religion which targeted the people of Muhammad brought their religion back in line with the correct way of Islam that was enjoined on all believers before them.

    Abraham was the founding father of Submission (Islam)

    مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
    … [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. God named you "Submitters" ("Muslims") before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation (the Quran)] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to God. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. (22:78)

    Muhammad was specifically told to follow the religion of Abraham

    ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
    "Then we inspired you (O Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism; never was he an idol-worshiper." (16:123)

    Even followers of the Quran are told to follow the religion of Abraham

    وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا
    And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to God while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And God took Abraham as an intimate friend. (4:125)

    Is Prophet Muhammad exclusive and superior to the other prophets?

    Many Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad is more special than the other prophets

    However, the Quran makes it clear that all prophets are equal and that Muhammad is no more special than the other prophets. This is proven in verse 2:285.

    آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ...
    "The messenger believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believes in God and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers - We make no distinction between any of His messengers - and they say: We hear, and we obey. …. " (2:285)

    Some Muslims assume that because the Quran was revealed to prophet Muhammad that he must be superior to other prophets and messengers. However, other prophets also have exclusive characteristics that, in some cases, may make them seem superior.

    Prophet Moses’ Exclusivity

    Prophet Jesus’ Exclusivity

    Prophet Solomon’s Exclusivity

    Prophet Abraham’s Exclusivity

    Prophet Noah’s Exclusivity

    Prophet Jonah’s Exclusivity

    Prophet Joseph’s Exclusivity

    Though God as preferred and ranked some messengers over others, believers are not allowed to rank or differentiate between the messengers.

    تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ ...
    We have made some of these messengers to excel the others among them are they to whom God spoke, and some of them He exalted by rank / degrees; and We gave clear miracles to Jesus son of Mary, and strengthened him with the Holy spirit. … (2:253)
    وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۖ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
    And We have made some of the prophets exceed others [in various ways], and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]. (17:55)

    Is Arabic a holy or superior language?

    Many Muslims believe that because the Quran is in Arabic, then Arabic must be a holy or superior language. However, the Quran makes it clear that this is not the case.

    No distinction between languages

    In verse 30:22, we see that God makes no distinction between any language.

    وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ
    And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (30:22)

    Obviously, Arabic is important if you want to study the Quran since it's in Arabic but that doesn't mean that Arabic is better than any other language. Similarly, if one wanted to study the Torah or Injil, then other languages such as Hebrew or Latin would be important for understanding those scriptures.

    Different messengers, different languages, but same message

    The Quran was revealed in Arabic for no reason other than so that the designated primary audience at the time (Arabs) could understand it. The same reason applied to all previous messengers. Previous messengers were Muslim yet they did not speak nor pray in Arabic. They were sent with the language of their people so they could communicate clearly to their people. This is proven in verse 14:4.

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
    And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (14:4)

    Arabic for an Arabic-speaking community

    Even though the Quran is meant for all of mankind, verse 42:7 proves that the Quran was sent down in Arabic so that the prophet could warn his own mother town and the immediate towns around him.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ الْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ فَرِيقٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِي السَّعِيرِ
    And thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur'an that you may warn the Mother of Cities [Makkah] and those around it and warn of the Day of Assembly, about which there is no doubt. A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze. (42:7)

    The term "hawlaha" means "around it" and refers to towns immediately around the mother city. It does not mean all towns all around the world. Thus definition can be verified by seeing other uses the term "hawlaha" in the Quran. Therefore, if the Quran needed to be explained to someone in China, it would need to be translated into Chinese.

    God translated historical stories into Arabic

    Note verses 26:162-163 as follows:

    إِنِّي لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ
    Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger. So fear Allah and obey me. (26:162-163)

    The same Arabic sentence has been used for Prophets Noah (26:106-107), Hud (26:125-126); Saleh (26:143-144); Lut (26:162-163) and Shuaib (pbut) (26:178-179) one after the other. Not one of these messengers ever delivered this sentence in Arabic but rather in their own languages to their own people. Therefore, it is the message which is important, not the language it is delivered in. The Quran itself is a translation from other languages into Arabic.

    There are many historical dialogues and stories mentioned in the Quran of Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (pbut), different messengers, angels, Iblis (Satan), Pharaoh, and even of an ant (27:18) and a Hoopoe bird (27:22). All this speech has been captured and translated by God Himself for an Arabic audience to grasp the message and its wisdom. If God can translate the speech of others throughout history to make the message clear to an Arab audience, then why can't non-Arabic speakers focus their endeavors to understand the message in their own languages?

    This explanation is proven a few verses later in 26:195-196.

    بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُّبِينٍ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِي زُبُرِ الْأَوَّلِينَ
    In a clear Arabic language. And indeed, it is [mentioned] in the scriptures of former peoples. (26:162-163)

    Same Message, Different Language

    The message that was revealed before the Quran is the same as what was revealed in the Quran. This is proven in verse 41:43.

    مَّا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
    Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (41:43)

    According to verse 41:44, God chose Arabic for the Quran because no one would have believed Muhammad if the Quran was in a foreign language to the Arabs.

    ... وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا أَعْجَمِيًّا لَّقَالُوا لَوْلَا فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ ۖ أَأَعْجَمِيٌّ وَعَرَبِيٌّ ۗ قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاءٌ
    And if We had made it a non-Arabic Qur'an, they would have said, "Why are its verses not explained in detail [in our language]? Is it a foreign [recitation] and an Arab [messenger]?" ... (41:44)

    Therefore, to conclude, Arabic is not a special and holy language.

    What does the Quran mean by “ask those that have knowledge”?

    Many Muslims believe that the Quran is too difficult to understand and therefore they should rely on the opinion of Islamic scholars to explain it. However, the Quran makes it very clear that blindly following Islamic leaders will lead you astray and that everyone must study the Quran and only follow what they understand.

    There are two verses which are often cited as justification that one should ask for guidance from Islamic leaders as if only Islamic leaders have the ability to understand the meaning of the Quran. These two verses are 16:43 and 21:7-8 as follows:

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
    And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know. (16:43)
    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاهُمْ جَسَدًا لَّا يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُوا خَالِدِينَ
    And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad], except men to whom We revealed [the message], so ask the people of the message if you do not know. And We did not make (for) the prophets bodies (that are) not eating food, nor were they immortal [on earth]. (21:7-8)

    Incorrect translations

    Sadly, the verses above are often mistranslated as "ask those that have knowledge if you do not know" instead of the correct translation which is "ask the people of the message if you do not know."

    Ignoring context

    Furthermore, many people cite only a part of these verses completely leaving out the important context which explains the actual meaning of the verses. When you read the these verses, it's clear that God is telling Muhammad that He also sent prophets before him who were just mortal men who received revelations just like Muhammad. These prophets consumed food and would die just like everyone else. God told Muhammad this to remove any doubt from his mind that he was chosen as a prophet. God even told Muhammad to ask people who knew about the existence of previous prophets if he wasn't sure.

    Target audience

    Furthermore, it should be noted that the verses above are clearly directed towards Muhammad and not everyone else. What sense would there be to tell the "believers" to ask or consult "people of knowledge" if Muhammad was alive amongst them and could be asked directly? If people were to consult "people of knowledge" instead of Muhammad, then that would contradict many other verses such as 4:59 where God tells believers to refer their matters to the prophet, especially in disputes.

    Verification

    These verses also provide strong support for the need to verify something instead of just blindly believing in something. In these verses, even though God is revealing the message to the Muhammad, Muhammad is still be asked to verify the message for himself. If Muhammad himself is being asked to verify a direct revelation from God, then logically everyone else should also verify claims and not just believe whatever is told to them.

    Search for the truth

    In agreement with the verses above, the Quran actually expects people to search for the truth using their own faculties (brain, vision, hearing, etc) and not to just blindly follow others. This is proven in verse 17:36.

    وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
    And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned. (17:36)

    As proven in the verse above, if we choose to blindly follow the masses or Islamic leaders without first verifying any claims we are told, then we will be questioned as to why we did this. The story of prophet Abraham in the Quran is one example of self verification. Abraham questioned his inherited beliefs and used his own faculties (brain, vision, etc) to search for the truth which resulted in him worshipping the one true God and leaving the ways of the idol worshippers around him.

    Blindly following leaders

    Blindly following leaders can lead you astray. This is evidenced in verse 33:67.

    وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَا
    And they will say, "Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way. (33:67)

    If most Islamic scholars agree on something, then aren't they all correct?

    Many Muslims will argue that if the majority of Islamic scholars agree on something, then they must be correct and there is no reason for individuals to question their opinions and decisions. The problem with this argument is that anyone can be wrong and when we think about the majority of Islamic scholars, we can get a better understanding as to why they mostly agree on the same things, e.g. the requirement to wear the hijab, the time to break fast as being maghrib instead of night, the requirement to only perform hajj during 5 days of the year, and so on. Most, if not all, of the proofs in this book are easily and clearly proven in the Quran without having to resort to stretching the meaning of words. As an individual who has lived and studied in different Islamic countries both in secular and Islamic schools, including a strict Islamic boarding school, I can see why most Islamic scholars end up just believing in the same Islamic laws. Following are my observation and/or opinions:

    Rote Memorization vs Critical Thinking

    Most Muslim scholars study Islam in an Islamic country. Unfortunately, most Islamic countries tend to emphasis rote memorization over critical thinking. This educational culture clearly would limit the ability of aspiring students of Islam to discover the correct meaning of verses of the Quran which could have a profound effect on everyone's daily practices and overall understanding of the religion.

    Teacher-Always-Right Mentality

    From my experience, it appears that many schools in Islamic countries, especially Islamic schools, have this culture whereby the teacher (guru) is always right. It's as if one should not question the teacher or a teacher's belief. If one were to question a teacher's belief in, say, a particular Islamic law, instead of praising the student for asking a thoughtful question, the teacher may

    Fear of being an outcast

    Most people, including students of religion, prefer to blend in and be part of their immediate community. If a student were to have different opinion about a particular Islamic law, they may feel afraid to voice their opinion or to follow it if the majority disagrees with them. They may even fear being bullied or ostracized. If they are already a religious leader, whether as an imam at a mosque or a famous lecturer, believing in a practice that isn't common among the majority could result in a job loss.

    I believe that the factors above are just some likely reasons for why the majority of Islamic scholars end up, for the most part, just agreeing on the same things that their teachers and society believe.

    What’s the Quranic law regarding blasphemy (ridiculing Islam)?

    Many Muslims believe that blasphemy (ridiculing) Islam or Prophet Muhammad demands a penalty. Some Muslims even take matters into their own hands and kill people who ridicule the prophet. However, the Quran does not prescribe any penalty for blasphemy. As a matter of fact, the Quran indicates that the prophet himself was often ridiculed in person and the prophet was told to simply ignore them as if to let God deal with them.

    The Right to Kill

    From a Quran’s perspective, the right to kill is only allowable in two circumstances.

    1. As a retribution for murder (punishable by the state). (5:32)
    2. As a retribution for causing 'fasaad' (gross mischief, spreading corruption, evil, beyond all bounds) in the land (punishable by the state). (5:33-34)

    Murder (5:32)

    مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ...
    Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. ... (5:32)

    "Fasaad" (gross evil beyond bounds) (5:33-34)

    إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوا أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوا أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْيٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَقْدِرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
    Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment. Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (5:33-34)

    Note that 5:33 uses the word "strive" (Arabic: ya-ouna) which indicates that the corruption and evil done is one that is repeated with serious efforts. What’s also interesting to note about verses 5:33-34 are the punishment options:

    What is also significant is verse 5:34 which states that if evildoers repent before they are captured, then they should not be punished according to 5:33.

    Blasphemy towards Prophet Muhammad, the Quran and God Himself

    We see in the Quran that prophet Muhammad

    We also see in the Quran that it was called

    Of course, the most grave blasphemy was that done against God Himself (7:180)

    وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
    And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. but shun such men as use profanity (Arabic: Yul'hiduna) in His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing. (7:180)

    The Arabic word "yul-hiduna" means to blaspheme, deviate, violate, distort, pervert.

    No where in the Quran did any of these insults attract the death penalty. Rather, the advice given was to be patient as indicated in 38:17 and 20:130.

    اصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَا دَاوُودَ ذَا الْأَيْدِ ۖ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ
    Be patient over what they say and remember Our servant, David, the possessor of strength; indeed, he was one who repeatedly turned back [to Allah ]. (38:17)
    فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ
    So be patient over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied. (38:17)

    Does verse 4:34 allow husbands to beat their disobedient wives?

    Some Muslims and anti-Muslims such as Ayaan Hirshi Ali believe that God allows husbands to literally beat their wives if they disobey them. However, a deeper analysis of the word often mistranslated as "to beat" reveals that the correct translation is actually "to stay away from".

    Verse 4:34

    Unfortunately, verse 4:34 is often mistranslated as follows:

    الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
    Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (4:34)

    Idribuhuuna

    In verse 4:34, we see the word "idribuhuuna" often translated as "and beat / strike them (wives)".

    There are 2 main parts to this:

    1. 'Idrib' (1) being an imperative verb
    2. 'Hunna' (2) a feminine plural pronoun (referring to the wives).

    A common understanding of Arabic is that [Idrib] + Noun/Pronoun means to beat someone/something. This form, 'idribohunna', is what's used in verse 4:34.

    With the preposition "an", idrib can mean "to separate"

    Another common understanding of Arabic is that [idhrib] + AN + Noun / Pronoun means 'to turn away, shun, separate and avoid' someone.

    For example, we see this definition in KASSIS. H E, A Concordance of the Qur'an, University of California Press: Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, Page 410

    DARABA vb. (I) ~ to strike, smite, stamp, beat; to liken or strike (a parable or similitude), to cite (an example or a dispute); (daraba fi al-ard) to journey; to draw or cast (a veil); (with prep. 'ala') to pitch on, to stamp; (with prep. 'an) to turn something away; (with prep. bayn) to set up between, to separate, (n.vb) striking, smiting, etc.; (with prep. fi) journeying.

    We also see this definition in WEHR. H, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Edited by J.Milton Cowan, 3rd Edition, Spoken Languages Services Inc. 1976, Page 538

    However, since the preposition 'an' doesn't exist in the particular text in verse 4:34, then most people would argue that the term 'idribohunna' cannot mean "shun / turn away from them" and therefore must mean "to beat them".There is no similar comparison of the Quranic term 'idribohunna' in the form: idrib + Noun / Pronoun (as in verse 4:34) in other parts of the Quran.

    'Idribohunna' means 'shun / turn away from them'

    If we look at older classical Arabic lexicons, we find that the preposition 'an' is not necessarily required to render the term 'Idribohunna' to mean 'shun / turn away from them'. This is proven in the Edward Lanes Lexicon, which quotes TA (Taj-ul Urus), S (The Sihah), Msb (The misbah of El Feiyumi) and the K (The Kamoos).

    Anomaly

    Another interesting thing to note is how the term "idrib" is used elsewhere in the Quran. Apparently, whenever the imperative verb 'idrib' is used to mean "strike", the Quran always makes it clear by specifying one or both of the following:

    1. What object to use to strike with
    2. What part of the body or 'object' to strike.

    002:060

    Strike the rock (2) with your staff (1)

    002:073

    Strike him (2) with a part of it (heifer) (1)

    007:160

    Strike the rock (2) with your staff (1)

    008:012

    Strike off their heads (2) and strike off every fingertip (2) of them

    008:012

    Strike off every fingertip (2) of them.

    020:077

    Strike for them a dry path in the sea (See 26:63 - elaborated - Strike the sea (2) with your staff (1))

    038:044

    Take in your hand a bundle of rushes (1), and strike with it

    However, verse 4:34 is the only verse where the imperative verb 'idrib' neither tells us

    1. what object to use to strike with nor
    2. what part of the body to strike

    Without qualifying the verb by specifying the two items above, it would be difficult to conclude that the intention of it was "to strike". If 'idribohunna' was simply translated as 'strike / beat them', then such an isolated, unqualified rendition would leave it wide open for any aggressive husband to beat / strike his wife in any manner, wherever he wanted, with any amount of given force.

    Therefore, verse 4:34 does not fit the Quran's usual qualification of 'idrib' when translated as 'strike/beat'.

    Conclusion

    According to earlier classical Arabic lexicons and the anomalous and unqualified usage of the word "idrib" in 4:34, the meaning of "idribohuuna" does not mean "beat them (wives)" but rather "stay away from them".

    One should also keep in mind the following verses when seeking guidance from and trying to understand the Quran.

    الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
    Who listen to speech (the Word / Quran) and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding. (39:18)
    وَاتَّبِعُوا أَحْسَنَ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ
    And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord before the punishment comes upon you suddenly while you do not perceive, (39:55)
    هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
    It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. (3:7)

    Are Muslims mostly Arab?

    Many people associate Muslims with Arabs - possibly because the Quran is in Arabic and Prophet Muhammad was an Arab. However, as proven elsewhere in this book, Islam as we know it today did not originate with Muhammad but with Abraham and the majority of Muslims as of 2019 are from South Asia.

    According to Wikipedia, as of 2011, here are the top 8 most populous Muslim countries, order by Muslim population. [1]

    Rank Country Muslim Population Percentage of World Muslim Population
    1 Indonesia 229,150,615 12.7%
    2 Pakistan 200,400,000 11.1%
    3 India 189,000,000 10.9%
    4 Bangladesh 143,507,700 9.2%
    5 Nigeria 95,500,000 5.3%
    6 Egypt 94,144,411 4.9%
    7 Iran 82,526,596 4.6%
    8 Turkey ~80,000,000 ~4.6%

    Most Muslims don't speak Arabic

    All but one country, Egypt, in the list above are non-Arabic speaking countries and they make up more than half (58.7%) of the world Muslim population.

    Most Muslims are from South / Southeast Asia

    Furthermore, the first four countries in the list above are all in South/Southeast Asia and make up almost half (43.9%) of the world Muslim population. As of 2017, there were 986,420,000 Muslims in Asia and only 370,070,000 Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa (Arabic-speaking countries), i.e. there were 2.6 times as many Muslims in Asia as there were in the Middle East and North Africa. [2]

    Most populous Muslim country

    Though Indonesia currently has the largest population of Muslims, it likely only became so as of 1947 when the British divided India into India and Pakistan. And in 1971, India was further divided into India and Bangladesh. Had either of these partitions not happened, India would by far have the largest percentage of Muslims worldwide. Furthermore, according to projections suggest that by 2050 India will have the world's largest population of Muslims, with estimates expected to reach at least 300 million. [2]

    Islam to be largest religion by 2070

    The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2070, Islam will overtake Christianity, due to faster birth rate (2.7 children per family vs. 2.2 for Christian families). As of 2017, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

    Other

    Reading the Quran blocks / hides you from disbelievers

    If you are facing a disbelieving enemy, verses 17:45-56 indicates that reciting the Quran would put up a barrier between you and them and cause them to turn away.

    وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا
    And when you recite the Qur'an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition. (17:45)
    وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا
    And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord in the Qur'an alone, they turn back in aversion. (17:46)

    Don’t spread false information / say a lie against God

    It is sad that many Muslims who consider themselves to be very religious like to go around telling people that what others are doing is forbidden (haram). You may have heard people tell unveiled Muslim women that it is forbidden (haram) for them to expose their hair. These people may appear as very religious but many of them cannot prove their claim of whether something is forbidden or not. You may have even seen many of them recite the Arabic Quran regularly yet not even understand most of what they are reading. In verse 16:116, God makes it very clear that you are not allowed to go around saying this or that is lawful or not when, in fact, the opposite it true. While you may not realize it, you may actually be spreading false information in the name of God. Therefore, before you go telling people whether something is permitted (halal) or forbidden (haram), you should get proof of your claims and understand it first.

    وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٌ لِّتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ
    And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, "This is lawful and this is unlawful," to invent falsehood about Allah . Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. (16:116)
    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
    O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors. (5:87)

    Are Muslims today just as ignorant as idol worshippers long ago?

    Many Muslims believe that they understand Islam and are not ignorant like the blind idol worshippers long ago. However, many Muslims cannot prove why they must follow certain practices and simply do what they ancestors do. This attitude is no different than that of the idol worshippers during the time of Prophet Abraham according to verses 21:52-68 and 2:170.

    Abraham asked his own father and his people why they worshipped statues. Their response was simply because that’s what their parents had done. Abraham the proved to them that their statues were not gods by breaking all but the largest statue. Obviously, if the statues were gods, they could not have been broken. Instead of thinking about this proof, Abraham’s father and his people instead threatened to burn Abraham. This story also shows that even one’s parents may be wrong.

    When he (Prophet Abraham) said to his father and his people, "What are these statues to which you are devoted?" They said, "We found our fathers worshippers of them." He said, "You were certainly, you and your fathers, in manifest error." … And [I swear] by Allah, I will surely plan against your idols after you have turned and gone away." So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it [and question]. … They said, "Have you done this to our gods, O Abraham?" … They said, "Burn him (Abraham) and support your gods - if you are to act." (21:52-68)

    This attitude of "blind belief" is similarly mentioned in verse 2:170.

    وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۗ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ
    And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided? (2:170)

    Is black magic real?

    Many Muslims don’t believe in black magic. However, the Quran makes it clear that black magic is real and that it can, among other things, destroy marriages. This is proven in verse 2:102.

    وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ ۖ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَٰكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ ۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ ۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ ۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ ۚ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنِ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ۚ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
    And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, "We are a trial, so do not disbelieve" And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew. (2:102)

    Do aliens exist?

    Some Muslims believe that there are no aliens. However, the Quran indicates that there are living creatures beyond the Earth.

    Definition of alien

    Alien: "An extraterrestrial being. A form (s) of life assumed to exist outside the Earth or its atmosphere within other parts of the Universe"

    What is the Arabic word "Da'aba"?

    Da'aba means to go gently, crawl, creep or walk. The word basically captures whatsoever moves on the earth, especially that of animals and beasts of burden, quadrupeds, any moving creature, insects, creature which includes man.

    Daabatun (n.): Moving creature; Crawling animal. Dawaabbun (n.plu.): Crawling animals. Daba has been used to denote humans too (24:45; 35:45). It is also used negatively (16:61 8:22; 8.55). Dabbah n.f. (pl. dawab) has been used many times in the Quran: 2:164, 6:38, 8:22, 8:55, 11:6, 11:56, 16:49, 16:61, 22:18, 24:45, 27:82, 29:60, 31:10, 34:14, 35:28, 35:45, 42:29, 45:4

    What is the Arabic word "Samawaat (heavens)"?

    The Quranic expression "Samawat wal 'ard" means "The Heavens and the Earth". It denotes the whole Universe in its entirety.

    إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۖ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۖ مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
    Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth (Arabic: samawat wal 'ard) in six days and then established Himself above the Throne, arranging the matter [of His creation]. There is no intercessor except after His permission. That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Then will you not remember? (10:3)
    وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا لِلنَّاظِرِينَ
    And We have placed within the heaven (Arabic: samaa) great stars and have beautified it for the observers. (15:16)
    وَزَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ
    ... And We adorned the nearest heaven (Arabic: samaa) with lamps (stars) ... (41:12)
    إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَاكِبِ
    Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven (Arabic: samaa) with an adornment of stars / planets. (37:6)

    Based on the above verses, it should be clear that the Arabic word "samaa" (heaven) or plural "samawaat" (heavens) means the entire universe.

    Proof of alien existence

    Now that we know what da'ba (moving creature) and samawaat (heavens / universe) mean, we can see from verse 42:29 that there are moving creates in both the heavens and the earth.

    وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَثَّ فِيهِمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ جَمْعِهِمْ إِذَا يَشَاءُ قَدِيرٌ
    And of his signs is the creation of the heavens and earth and what He has dispersed in both of them (Arabic: fi-hima) of creatures. And He, for gathering them when He wills, is competent.(42:29)

    The basis of the question posed by the angels

    In verse 2:30, there is a story about the angels questioning God regarding man's vicegerency on the Earth.

    وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
    And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a vicegerent." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."(42:29)

    For the angels to ask whether God was going to place on Earth a creature such as man who will shed blood, they must have known about a similar creature that sheds blood, e.g. in some other part of the universe. If the angels had no prior knowledge of a similar creature that behaves that way, they wouldn't have asked that question. At this point in the conversation with God, man had not yet been created. Also, angels have no knowledge of the future as, according to the Quran, only God knows the future.

    Why are you Muslim?

    Many Muslims, when asked why they are Muslim, say that they are Muslim because their parents were Muslim and their relatives are Muslim and that’s what they’ve been taught since childhood and that that’s all they know. Many non-Muslims would say the exact same thing. However, is this reason for being Muslim an acceptable reason? According to verses 21:52-68, we see the story of Prophet Abraham and his community of idolaters. We Abraham told them to stop worshipping statues and to worship the one true God, their response was, "No. We shall worship what our parents and ancestors worship." The Quran goes on to say that they follow their parents “even though their parents knew nothing.” Therefore, is the behavior of Muslims and non-Muslims today any different than the idolaters of Abraham’s time? If your reason for being Muslim is because of tradition, then your reason for being Muslim is not based on an understanding as to why you should be Muslim. The same applies to non-Muslims. In verse 17:36, God tells us to not follow what we don’t understand. In verse 10:100, He tells use to use reason to choose a belief.

    وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
    And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned. (17:36)
    وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
    And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. (10:100)

    Therefore, everyone must try to understand and see proof to support their choice of religion. If you were born Christian, then studying Christianity alone would most likely only give you a better understanding of Christianity and not make you aware of the correct religion of Islam. The same applies to all other non-Muslims. But what about Muslims? Of all the religions in the world, how could you know that Islam is correct if you haven’t done at least a simple comparison of the other religions. By comparing all religions, even if just briefly, one can then choose a religion based on understanding and personal choice rather than tradition and inheritance. In the end, you should come to the conclusion that the religion of Submission (Islam) according to the Quran is the true religion to be followed. Then, if anyone asks why you are Muslim, instead of saying, "because I was born Muslim" or “because my parents are Muslim” or “because that’s all I know”, you could say, “because I’ve compared all religions and Islam makes sense so therefore I personally choose Islam as my religion.”

    My advice to you

    Following is my personal advice for prospective and current Muslims.

    Don't believe me because of me

    Many Muslims just believe their Islamic leaders because their leaders appear knowledgeable, famous, old and wise, and/or reputable. When it comes to Islamic law, no one should be believed purely because of who they are. What you should believe in is whatever can be proven to you. If I or anyone else makes a claim regarding Islam, you can and should ask for proof and only believe in it if you understand the proof. The Quran prohibits blind belief in verse 17:36.

    Read the Quran to understand it

    Many Muslims read the Quran in Arabic because they think that's better even though they don't speak nor understand Arabic. The Quran was revealed as a guide for life. Obviously, not understanding it will render its purpose almost useless to you. This isn't to say that reading the Quran in Arabic is unnecessary. However, you need to prioritize understanding the Quran as that is logically necessary to correctly understand and follow the religion. If you read and understand only one page of the Quran each day, that would arguably be better than reading but not understanding even 1000 pages each day. The Quran expects you to understand and think deeply about it in verse 47:24.

    Get an idea about other religions

    Everyone is raised to follow the beliefs of their parents. By the time one is an adult, they've been so indoctrinated into and accustomed to their parent's religion that they'd feel almost sure that their parent's religion is correct. Furthermore, their relatives probably all share the same religion which makes them feel comfortable to keep their existing religion. However, we all know that not all religions are correct. For that reason, Islam could also be a wrong religion. Therefore, to increase your belief and understanding as to why Islam is the correct religion, one should at the very least learn a bit about other religions. If you, for example, read that Hindus, who make up a large percentage of the world population, worship statues, believe in a multitude of gods and, especially in Nepal, worship cows, then if you disagree that statues and cows are gods (as you should), you can confirm to yourself that Hinduism is not a correct religion. When you are done understanding core aspects of religion, you should be able to make an educated decision, in the sense that you've at least compared the various religions, and come to the conclusion that Islam is the correct religion. A nice summary of key beliefs for each religion can be viewed at

    http://www.religionfacts.com/big-religion-chart

    Note: As usual, religionfacts.com states that Muhammad founded Islam which is obviously not true.

    Ask yourself why you are a Muslim ... then answer the question

    When asked why you are a Muslim, some people will honestly say something like, "because I was born that way" or, "because that's all I know", or "because it's just the right religion", or something else non-sensical. Obviously, if God asked you this and those were one of your answers, you should feel worried as neither one of those reasons are acceptable reasons for being a Muslim. For me personally, my analysis is as follows:

    Therefore, Islam (or Submission), as explained in the Quran, is the correct religion. And that is why I am a Muslim (Submitter).