10 Myths About Islam
By Timothy W. Dunkin
© 2001-2004, All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents
It has been said that knowledge is power. Certainly, we can know that ignorance (the lack of knowledge) renders one absolutely powerless. The truth of the Word of God shines out on Christendom in the light of Hosea 4:6, "..my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...", indicting us for our complacency and laziness in educating ourselves about the trends that present themselves in these latter days. One of these is the rise of Islam in the United States and the Western world. How much does your average professing Christian even know about the religion of Mohammed? How can church-goers know how to sort through the varying images and claims which present themselves to us about Islam? What is truth, and what is falsehood, as far as is being told to us about the Muslim religion? How can we know the lies that will invariably be told to us, and avoid them? I submit this work below as a means of enlightening us all; my fellow Americans and others, Christians or not; concerning the religion of Islam and its implications for America and the West. I have attempted to debunk many of the common myths which are taught about Islam, and to expose them in the blinding light of truth.
I apologize for variant spellings of Arabic words which may appear in this work. I have attempted to standardise my spellings, but have retained variant spellings in quotations made from other works.
Explanation of terms:
Qur'an - The primary religious text in Islam. It is held by Muslims to be perfect, complete, and heavenly. The Qur'an forms the primary and most important source of authoritative doctrine in orthodox Islam.
Ahadith (sing. Hadith) - Collections of sayings, teachings, and doctrines formulated attributed to Mohammed, narrated by several of his companions, and collated by various compilers. Also considered a source of authority for doctrine, as they contain the sayings of Allah's prophet, Mohammed. Many Muslim scholars even refer to several of what are widely held to be authentic ahadith as "second inspiration", and place them nearly on par with the Qur'an as sources of doctrine and practice. Among this body of hadithic literature, the collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Tirmzi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah are the most widely viewed as authentic, and therefore canonical. However, examination of the ahadith and the sunnat (below) over the past few decades have cast serious doubt onto the absolute authenticity of these traditional records and commandments. The evidence put forth by scholarship suggests that at least a large portion even of the canonical collections listed above were probably invented, or at least embellished, during the socio-political struggles between Muslim factions which occurred in the two centuries following Mohammed's death. Therefore, when the records of the ahadith are used to support a point made about Islamic dogma or practice, it must be implicitly understood that this work does not rely on these sources for their absolute authenticity. Rather, they are looked to because they serve as a record of what the views, beliefs, and actions of Muslim tradition were ideally meant to be in the eyes of the Muslim reciters and collectors who attempted to give their creations added legitimacy through appeal to the authority of Mohammed and/or his Companions.
Sunnah (pl. Sunnat) - Very similar to the ahadith, these are collections of rules which were said to be laid down by Mohammed, and which he lived his life by. The ahadith, on the other hand, are narrations about Mohammed's life which provide object examples for Muslims. The Sunnah are very important to most orthodox Muslims, and they are also considered to be a prime source of Islamic jurisprudence. Most orthodox Muslim teachers consider both the Qu'ran and the sunnah/ahadith to be indispensable in the lives of good Muslims.
Surah (pl. Surat) - A division of the Quranic text which most closely approximates the concept of "chapter" in Western literature. There are 114 surat in the Qur'an as it now exists. Each surah is named after a different topical heading, though this is not necessarily related to the main point of the surah.
- A subdivision of the surahs, an ayah is approximate to a verse as found in the Bible. Together, references in the Qur'an are most commonly given in the form of (Surah number:ayah number)
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