Monday, January 11, 2016

Misconceptions about Islam and Muslims

Currently there is too much hatred for Muslims going on and too many misconceptions. Let me clear some.

  • Mohammed (Peace be upon him) is not our God. We do not worship him. He is a Prophet and Messenger of God.
  • Muslims believe in all Prophets from Adam to Abraham to Solomon to Moses to Jesus to final prophet, Mohammed. There have been more than a lakh messengers of God with a message for the people. Only about 25 relevant ones are mentioned in Quran.
  • Allah is the same One God of the Universe. When we say Allah, we do not have a separate God. He is the Lord of the Universe. So if you insult the name Allah, you are also insulting your own God, your Creator.
  • Prophet Mohammed did not write the Holy Quran. He was an illiterate man. The Quran was revealed to him little by little by Angel Gabriel over a span of approximately 23 years. This started when he was about 40 years.
  • Mohammed used to memorize the verses revealed to him and repeat them to his learned companions. These companions used to learn the verses by heart and jot them down. Since he had many learned companions, they compared notes and decided to write the entire text after it was revealed in entirety.
  • The teachings and life of Prophet Mohammed (SAS) are documented through Hadiths. This again he received inspiration from God through dreams and revelations of Quranic Verses. These hadiths have been documented again by his companions And scholars of his times whom the prophet interacted with. Again these hadiths have been cross referenced through chain of narrations of all those who documented them and then the ones with maximum matches have been classified as Saheeh (accurate). 
  • Quran is in the same state as it was from beginning. It is a practice amongst Muslims and is considered great to memorize the entire Quran. These people are called Hafeez. So, if God forbid, all copies of the Quran present today were to be destroyed also, it can be easily reproduced from the memory of the Hafeez (don't know the plural).
  • Islam treats men and women equally. Just covering head is not an indication of suppression. A few Asian countries where one sees discrimination stems from broader local customs.
  • Muslims believe that Jesus will come back on Earth to save mankind when it is in the worst stage.
  • Only 30% Muslims live in the Arab world. There are number of Christians and Jews in the Arab world who keep Arabic names. Majority Muslims live in South East Asia and Indonesia is the single largest Muslim country in the world.

This is what Islam and Muslims are all about. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Some relevations... for pregnant women

It's interesting to know that St Elizabeth (wife of Zechariah and mother of John, the Baptist, known as Prophet Yahya to Muslims) is considered to be patron saint for pregnant women, while Muslim women look up to Maryam (Mary) during pregnancy and difficult times.

Some years back I had got to know of Maryam phool (flower) which some keep in water at home while some lady is delivering. It is supposed to bloom. And is believed to ease the pain. Though there are no actual religious references to such a practice in any religious texts. Still I consider it amazing. 

But yes, it is recommended to read the verses of Surah Maryam when in difficulty. That verse is elaborate on the pains Mary went through during her pregnancy.

While on Surah Maryam, another amazing thing is that the verses about Gabriel Angel delivering the news of birth of Yahya to Prophet Zechariah is similar to some verses in the Bible. Only thing different is that Quran mentions that when Zechariah asks for a sign, the Angel tells him that he will not speak for 3 days. While Bible mentions a longer period.

There are lots of Chapters which cover Moses. Musa Alaihissalaam has been mentioned 136 times in the Quran. Whereas Jesus (Isa alaihissalaam) is mentioned 25 times. Since the Quran was revealed to an illiterate man, Prophet Mohammed over a span of 23 years by Gabriel Angel, so Mohammed's name appears only 4 times. Mary is the only lady to have a whole Chapter on her. She is considered one of the 4 best ladies (others being Aasiya, wife of Phiraun, Fatima, daughter of Prophet Mohammed and Khadeeja, first wife of Mohammed).