Most Read in the Category of Islam and Other Religions
Why can't a Muslim woman marry a non Muslim man?
Muslim women and men can not marry idolaters. An idolater is the one who assigns partners to Allah, for example who worships idols, stars, fire or animals.
Allah says: “O you who believe! Do not marry idolaters unless they believe…” (1)
There is no drawback for a Muslim man to marry a Jewish or Christian woman. The Islamic scholars agree on this subject. It is written in the verse of Qur’an that: “(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues.” (2)
The wisdom in the allowance of a marriage with a woman who is one of the followers of the previous scripture is the possibility of this woman to become a believer of Allah, the prophets and the hereafter because of getting married with a Muslim man.
It is forbidden for a Muslim woman to get married with an infidel (unbeliever) man. “Nor shall you give your daughters in marriage to idolatrous men, unless they believe.” (3)
Because, in such a marriage, there is the danger for the believing woman to fall down to unbelief. The husband may invite his wife to his religion. Women usually obey their husbands and are impressed by their actions and encourage them in their religions. (4)
It is not possible to say that a Muslim girl is allowed to marry a Christian man due to the fact that a Muslim man is permitted to get married with a Christian woman. Because this kind of comprehension means that the serious difference between these two hasn’t been recognized. Thus:
A Muslim man who marries a Christian woman doesn’t deny the Scripture and the prophet of his Christian wife, on the contrary he approves them and he never disrespects to them. So, a Christian woman isn’t subjected to despise and disrespect by her Muslim husband because of her religion. So, there is no losing of anything for her. However, a Christian man that a Muslim girl marries doesn’t possess such an approval and respect. A Christian man is moderated to accept neither Hadhrat Mohammad (PBUH) nor Qur’an that the Muslim girl believes in. So, a Muslim girl is subjected to despise by getting under the wedlock of a man denying her Scripture, prophet and religion. The obstacle of this marriage is because of this despising. The only solution for such a marriage is that, like a Muslim man, the Christian man must accept the Scripture and the prophet of the Muslim woman whom he wants to get marry with by disclosing his belief through the phrase of the Islamic testimony (I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger). Thus, like a Christian woman, a Muslim woman will attain the equality of getting married someone that doesn’t deny her religion and the subject will be solved in a fair way.
This means that, none of the women must direct herself in a position that she is obliged to marry a man that despises her by denying her scripture and her prophet. Because that forces her to an invalid marriage.
The explanations in the verse Al- Baqarah, 221 and in the verse Al-Ma'edah, 5 can be referred.
If a Christian man embraces Islam, then a Muslim woman is allowed to marry him.
(1) Al- Baqarah, 221
(2) Al-Ma'edah, 5
(3) Al- Baqarah, 221
(4) Fetevâ-i Hindiye 11/330
nikah for muslim woman marrying a non practising christian man
A muslim girl or woman cannot mary a non-muslim, unless he reverts to Islam. It is prohibited in Islam. If a non-Muslim man embraces Islam, then a Muslim woman is allowed to marry him.
Can a Muslim man get married with a Buddhist woman?
As Buddhists are not from the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitāb), you are not allowed to marry with her. A Muslim can only get married with a Muslim or a person who is from People of the Book. Or you can get married with that woman after she converted to Islam.
The religion of Islam does not consider polytheists (those associating partners to Allah) and the people of the Book, namely Christians and Jews, as the same. In the Surah of Al-Maidah, Allah (SWT) announces, “The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them” (Al-Maidah Surah, 3:5). There can be economical and commercial ties with them. The following part of the verse reads that Muslim men can marry chaste women from the people of the Book. Yet a Muslim is not allowed to marry an idolater.
What are the distinctive features of Islam from other religions?
Allah, the Exalted, who sent human beings different prophets and different religions in various periods of history, sent Islam as the last religion and Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as the last prophet.
The different aspects of Islam from the previous religions are as follows:
1 – First of all, previous religions addressed certain periods of time and people of a certain region. Islam addresses the whole mankind. The call of Islam is general and universal.
2 – Previous religions addressed only people who lived at that time. The characters of the people of that time were rude and their nature was somewhat wild. They were backward in science, civilization, ideas and understanding.
The means of transportation and communication were in a primitive state. The cultures, beliefs, customs and traditions of each region were different. The exchange of cultures and views were rare. Therefore, it was necessary to send different prophets and different religions to each community. In time, when human beings made a lot of progress in terms of science, ideas, culture and civilization, previous local religions could not meet the requirements of people. Thereupon, God Almighty sent Islam as the last religion to all human beings.
The religion of Islam has the characteristics of being able to address the whole humanity, from the people that lived 1400 years ago to the modern people of the future. Therefore, its rule is permanent and valid until the Day of Judgment.
3 – In time, wrong beliefs and superstitions were incorporated in previous religions. The principle of belief in oneness of Allah, that is, oneness, the belief of oneness, was partly changed. Islam remains as fresh and as pure as the first day it was, without being spoiled.
4- The religion of Islam, preserved in its structure all of the true judgments and principles that the other religions contained. It corrected the principles that were spoiled and changed in time.
Therefore, Islam has many common points with other religions.
The members of other religions should not think that they completely abandon their religions when they adopt Islam. Islam preserved the common principles of beliefs with the other religions exactly and made corrections in the details that were changed in time; Islam also brought new judgments about the issues that were missing in those religions. It does not eradicate the previous belief and change it completely but perfects it by cleaning it from imperfection and wrong beliefs.
children in catholic and muslim marriage
One of children’s rights over their parents is that parents have to teach religious belief to their children. So, a Muslim has to teach his/her children the essences of Islam and Islamic morality, therefore one must take into consideration such situations while decides to marry.
Also parents have to teach the realities of Islam to their children until the children are in their puberties. Set a child free without helping him and teaching him the realities is not true and such a case will estray the children to wrongs.
Can a Muslim go to a Christian School?
Yes it is permissible for a Muslim person to go to a Christian school and learn information about religions other than Islam. Yet, it is essential first to have a detailed knowledge about Islam. Otherwise, the information we read may cause suspicion.
Reading, listening or watching what is available is not of the same degree for everyone. A student or a scholar can study these books as much as they need. Their intention must be able to know and answer to them. If not, it is not true to read them for those who are not expert in such materials. They may be damaged as a result of what they read. This is the measure for these types of issues. It is because that for those who do not know the truth they are like a person passing through a gas room without a mask. The possibility of getting poisoned is so high.
It is religiously permitted if a student narrates and writes what is not inappropriate about Islam just for intending to transmit information. It is not prohibited to give information just saying “this is as follows according to Christianity.” After all, the sayings of Satan, Pharaoh, and Nimrod are transmitted in Qur’an.
Why do Muslims call Jesus “Masih”? What does it mean? What is the role of Christ in the religion of Islam?
a. The word Masih, which is a nickname given to Jesus, is derived from the root "MSH". According to Ibn Abbas, Jesus was given this name because he touched various ill people and cured them by the permission of Allah. (see al-Qurtubi, IV/89) The expression in verse 49 of the chapter Aal-i-Imran, "I heal those born blind, and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave" supports the view of Ibn Abbas.
b. According to some linguists, this word is “Mashiha” in Hebrew and it denotes a nice nature, a blessed face and personality.(see al-Qurtubi, IV/89) The statement of Jesus in verses 30-33 of the chapter of Maryam, "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; "And He hath made me Blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; "(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)." connotes that meaning.
c. Some scholars state that Masih means spotlessly clean and it indicates that Jesus is free from sins. (see at-Tabari, IV/35.) The statement in verse 19 of the chapter of Maryam, “The angel said to Maryam, ‘I am only a messenger from thy Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son’ " denotes this meaning.
d. There are some scholars who say that this word derives from the same root as ‘musamaha’ (tolerance) and it denotes tolerance. If it is taken into consideration that Jesus relieved some hard decrees that were present in the Old Testament and legitimized some forbidden things (see az-Zamakhshari, I/365), the meaning of the word will be more significant.
What does Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book) Mean?
The members of the divine religions like Judaism and Christianity are called "Ahl al-Kitab" (the People of the Book). The people of the Book are mentioned a lot in the Quran. The people of the Book are regarded as "unbelievers" because they do not accept the Prophet (pbuh) but they are not unbelievers in the sense of "deniers of Allah".
The Quran gives privileges to the people of the Book regarding some issues compared to the other unbelievers. For instance, it is permissible to marry the girls and women of the people of the Book and it is permissible to eat the meat of the animals slaughtered by them. (al-Maida, 5) This privilege is given to them because they are closer to belief compared to the other unbelievers. The Quran addresses them as follows:
"Say: 'O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah.'" (Aal-i Imran, 64) That is, let us not know each other as Lord, God. Let us evaluate all of our deeds based on the command of God and the consent of Allah. Let us be slaves of Allah. Let us know ourselves as His slaves. Let us be subject to one another based on this rule. (1)
The Quran states that the People of the Book take their scholars and priests to be their Lords. (at-Tawba, 31) When Adiy b. Hatam, who converted to Islam from Christianity, said, "O Messenger of Allah! We did not take them to be our Lords", the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,
"They rendered haram what Allah rendered halal and they rendered halal what Allah rendered haram. This means taking them to be their Lords." (2)
In fact, it is not necessary to call a person "Lord" in order to take him to be Lord. (3)
The following verse expresses the way to follow while dealing with the people of the Book:
"And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)." (al-Ankabut, 46)
In the verse, the People of the Book are dealt with in two groups:
1. The cruel ones.
2. The just ones.
We are ordered to deal with them in the best way. This approach will attract them to Islam and they will not have difficulty in adopting Islam because when they accept Islam they do not have to refuse Moses and Jesus. Thus, they will follow the religion of the last Prophet and they will be saved from being the members of a distorted religion.
The Quran states that Christians are closer to Islam than Jews:
"Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say: "We are Christians:" because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant." (al-Maida, 82)
History proves the verse above. The number of Jews that accepted Islam is very low. However, many Christians accepted Islam as a result of their research. The number of Christians that accepted Islam in Europe is more than hundreds of thousands. Many churches were transformed into mosques in Europe and they serve as Islamic centers now.
The nice outcomes of Islamic activities in Christian countries are a reality; however, it is also a reality that the administrators in those countries have an attitude against Islam.
God Almighty, who orders us to deal with the fair ones of the People of the Book in the best way, states the following about the cruel ones:
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger nor, acknowledge the Religion of Truth from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.." (at-Tawba, 29)
The issue whether the characteristics mentioned in the verse“include all of the People of the Book or not?” is sometimes discussed. (4) It should not be ignored that the verse does not say, "fight all of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizyah" but says, "fight those among the People of the Book with such and such characteristics." (5) The practices of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were like that. During the Makkah period of Islam, the Prophet (pbuh) sent some Muslims to Ethiopia, which was a Christian country, and said that they would be safe there. During the Madinah period, the Prophet entered into dialog with Jews and Christians, informed them about the religion of Islam and tried to persuade them. Some of the People of the Book accepted Islam as a result of these practices.
As it is stated in the Quran, "Not all of them (the people of the Book) are alike " (Aal-i Imran, 113). It is against the Quran and the historical reality to regard all of them to be in the same category.
The following verse does not prevent entering into dialog with them and having human relationships with them. "O ye who believe!take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust."(al-Maida, 51) As a matter of fact, to marry the girls and women of the People of the Book is permitted in the Quran. (al-Maida, 5)
Hamdi Yazır states the following related to the above-mentioned verse: Believers are not prohibited from doing Jews and Christians favors, befriending them and administering them; they are prohibited from being their close friends and accomplices because they cannot be real friends of believers. (6)
It is possible to summarize the issue as follows: It is something to have human relations with them and it is something else to admire their religions, customs and traditions; the former is not prohibited by the Quran but the latter is prohibited.
References: 1. Yazır, II, 1132
2. Razi, XVI, 37
3. Yazır, IV, 2512
4. Riza, X, 333; Qutub, III, 1631-1634
5. Ateş, III, 1133-1134
6. Baydawi, II, 211
If you will have difficulties and problems you can go to church with them. It is not prohibited in Islam. You can stay there with them and watch them while they are performing their worships or you can pray to Allah with them. The important thing is your intention.
Can a Muslim man marry a woman among People of the Book ?
According to Islam, a Muslim man’s marriage with a Jewish or Christian woman is not forbidden. Such a marriage is valid. Even if the woman does not convert to Islam throughout her life, their nikah is still valid and their children are legal in the respect of religion. But, Nikah need to be solemnized in accordance with Islam.
What is your opinion about 30 hours of Famine Campaign?
There is no such a fasting in Islam and it is never ever true to practice. In order to remember the hungry people, it is necessary for us to practice the Ramadan fasting which is one of God’s orders and Muslim’s obligatory acts (fard). Besides it is possible to achieve the same aim by fasting outside Ramadan. This is called nafila (supererogatory) fasting
Is it permissible to make a movie in which an actor portrays Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ?
It is not permissible to make a movie in which an actor portrays Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
It is better to avoid circumstances that would prove disrespectful or harmful to the image of any Prophets or their Companions, which would also include sensitivities to the physical portrayal of any such revered persons.
Prof. Dr. Hayrettin Karaman
Is it permissible to congratulate non-muslim neighbors or acquaintances on their festivals, new year and Christmas?
It is unobjectionable for Muslims to wish non-Muslim neighbors or acquaintances happy or merry festivals, new year and Christmas in terms of human relations. However, it is not permissible to imitate Christian customs and traditions.
What are the Ten Commandments that were given to Hz. Moses?
“And remember We took a covenant from the children of Israel (to this effect): worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and give Zakat. then did ye turn back except a few among you, and ye backslide (even now). And remember We took your Covenant (to this effect): shed no blood amongst you, nor turn out your own people from your homes; and this ye solemnly ratified, and to this you were witness.” (Surah al-Baqara, 2/83,84)
In these verses, sons of Israelites are reminded of some religious and moral obligations which they are obliged to do and which are known as “ten commandments” in Jewish-Christian literature; it is also mentioned that God took covenant from them for exercising these duties. The orders which are mentioned in the Torah that God wrote with “His own fingers” on the tablets and conveyed to the sons of Israelites by Hz. Moses (AS) are as follows (Exodus, 20,32/15,20/1-17)
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall do no work on the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness.
10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
It is understood from the verse 101 of the chapter of al-Isra of the glorious Qur’an, “To Moses We did give nine Clear Signs: ask the Children of Israel” that the nine verses of the Torah are referred to except the prohibition of Sabbath day, which is included in its ten commandments. The respect for the Sabbath Day is a ruling judgment for only Jews. (see an-Nahl 16/124.)
It is seen in the verses of the glorious Qur’an that there are some judgments from those Ten Commandments such as not accepting any false gods other than Allah, helping the parents, neighbors, orphans and the poor ones, speaking nice words towards humans, performing salah and giving alms, not shedding blood of anyone, avoid excluding your citizens from their countries. Except the prohibition of Sabbath Day, the Ten Commandments are the common teachings of all divine religions that were sent to the prophets and Muslims are also responsible with such orders as stated by the glorious Qur’an.(See, al-Anaam 6/151-153; al-Isra 17/23-39.)
In the verse of 83 of al-Baqara, it is stated that the majority of the sons of Israelites broke their promise in the course of time; that is, they did not obey the commandments and the Jews who lived during the period of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also rejected to obey these commands. (Kur’an Yolu, I/81)
The rules included in the ten commandments are a necessity of human nature and universal principles; therefore, they are in question not only in Judaism but also in other heavenly religions.
The belief of oneness (tawhid), which forms the first one of the ten commandments, is the first and basic principle on which the Quran focuses. (al-Baqara 2/163; al-An‘am 6/19, 102; al-Isra 17/23)
The second commanded is related to the prohibition of idolatry; the Quran prohibits both polytheism and worshipping anyone other than Allah. (an-Nisa 4/36, 116, 171; al-An‘am 6/151; al-A‘raf 7/191-195; Yunus 10/18; an-Nahl, 16/20)
It is prohibited to mention Allah’s name unnecessarily, that is, to commit perjury by using Allah’s name is prohibited in the Quran too. (al-Baqara 2/224; al-Maida 5/89; an-Nahl 16/91)
The prohibition of Saturday is a penalty and sanction peculiar to Sons of Israel; the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) abolished it like the other liabilities related to other ummahs. (al-A‘raf, 7/157)
Issues like showing respect to parents(al-Baqara, 2/83; al-Isra 17/ 23),not killing people(al-Baqara, 2/84; an-Nisa, 4/29; al-Maida, 5/32),not stealing (al-Maida, 5/38; al-Mumtahina, 60/12), not committing fornication(an-Nur, 24/30-31),not committing perjury against one’s neighbor, not trying to grab the possessions of one’s neighbor(al-Baqara, 2/83; an-Nisa, 4/36; al-Furqan, 25/ 72) are included in the Quran too.
Ibn Abbas states that the commandments and prohibitions in the chapter of al-Isra (17/22-39) existed in the tablets of Hz. Musa (Moses) too. (Fakhruddin ar-Razi, XX, 214) The commandments and prohibitions in the chapter of al-An‘am (6/151-153) are similar to ten commandments and are known as ten commandments or ten wills. (see TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi On Emir item)
What should our understanding of New Year's Day be?
Some people turn the New Year into the unreasonable philosophy of “just have fun and think of nothing else” screaming in joy and drinking alcoholic beverages as if they did not lose one year from their lifespan but rather added one year to it.
Maybe they are resorting to that cancellation of consciousness and reasoning in order not to ponder over one year that they have lost.
The Islamic scholars who consider time to be more precious than money never become consent with such unconsciousness. Rather, they insist that we must reckon how we spent the whole year. If you wish, we can listen to them and see what kind of an accounting we must do at the end of the year we spent.
Shibli, a great sufi, born in 334 according to Hijri calendar in Baghdad, addressed his followers in his every speech as follows:
-- O the voyagers to the hereafter that lose one year from their lifespan and come closer to their destination. Account yourself before you are called for accounting in the day of judgment.
One day a humble follower of Shibli, who begins his each sermon to people with the sentences above, asked him:
--You always suggest us to question our lives before the day of the resurrection comes. Will not we be asked to give account of our lives if we constantly question our life in earthly life?
--Yes, he replied. If someone lives always questioning his own life, he may not be asked to give an account of his life in the Hereafter. Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says that “Question yourselves before the day of reckoning comes.” Then, the person always questioning himself may not be asked to give an account of his/her life during that great day. At least, his questioning becomes easy. Then, the man asking the query disciplines his life and begins to question his actions constantly. He tries to perform his religious duties regularly. He struggles to stay away from sins and seeks the ways to gain good deeds. That is to say, he decides not to commit deeds for which he cannot account. Then, one night he dreams of his Master Shibli riding on a white horse, and rising to heavens. He cries out after him:
-Oh my master! Please let me accompany you, he says. The answer of Shibli is so sharp: “I have managed to save myself from this prison once, and do you think I can wait here even for a moment?"
Having seen this dream, his student firstly goes directly to visit his master in order to work out the interpretation of this dream. Upon seeing the crowded people making preparations for a funeral in front of his master’s house, he immediately understands that his master has been freed from the prison called world into eternal palaces of the eternal life. And yet he grieves over the death of his master, and at that night he beseeches to his Creator so that he can see his master in his dream. Soon, he falls asleep and sees Shibli in his dream. And now he is before his master. His first question to him is the sentence always uttered by Shibli in his sermons.
-You used to live by questioning yourself, so could you become free from questioning there, what is your state now. He asks his master. Smiling slightly upon this query, his master replies: when the angels came to question me, Allah addressed them:
-“Do not ask my servant any questions because he would regularly make his accounting of his life in the world so he came completely clean here. Just look at his life pages, you can see there his accounting.” And Shibli advises his student to lead a life that is continuously questioned by yourself. Do not come here with such deeds that you cannot explain. It also can be said to you, “my servant came before me with clean pages of life. Only look at his deeds in his life pages.”
- How about making an accounting of our life at the end of the whole year we have spent and at the beginning of the year we will experience? Shall we seek repentance from the sins for which we will not be able to explain, and decide to quit all of them? Should we bother ourselves by trying to compensate for the prayers and good deeds we have missed? How about making these accountings during Christmas? Or should we repeat the same cliché “just seize the day, have fun and think of nothing else”, as if we won a year though in reality we lost one more year from our lifetime.
-Just seize the day, and think of nothing else! However, it should not be forgotten that the regret of those leading a life without thinking is becoming so great; and yet this grief is absolutely of no use. Therefore, let us take the decision in the New Year’s beginning that we will always make an accounting of our lives and contemplate over our actions. I wish you new years for which we can account. (Ahmed Şahin)
Why there are conflicts between religions although they believe in the same Allah?
All of the prophets, from Hazrat Adam to our prophet Hazrat Muhammad, conveyed the true religion to people. The fundamentals of belief, which are the foundations of the religion, always remained the same. However, some decrees about worshipping and worldly affairs, what we call shariah, changed depending on the requirements of the age and needs of people from Hazrat Adam to Hazrat Muhammad. God Almighty sent a different shariah for each community (umma) taking into consideration the lifestyles and interests of the people of each age. The following is stated in verse 48 of Chapter al-Maeda regarding the issue, “To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way.”
Heavenly religions are in unanimous agreement regarding fundamental beliefs/principles of belief, universal ethical values and the consciousness of worshipping only one god. There are differences in the branches and details of the religion. The differences take place due to the different conditions of the times and places. Therefore, sometimes different sharias came in different ages and sometimes different prophets and different sharias and some new arrangements about details came in the different regions of the same age.
It is known that different religions with different messages and miracles were sent to the communities that had different wrong behavior culturally. The fact that Hazrat Musa (Moses) came to Egypt, which had become a slave of the illusions of the magicians with the same type of miracles the fact that Hazrat Eesa (Jesus) came with miracles regarding medicine in a period when medicine was common and people had unconditional belief in doctors and the fact that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) came with the Quran, a unique work of art, and challenged everybody in a period when poets and poems were regarded as literature gods by the Arabs of Jahiliyya are historical and living documents showing the relationship of the cultural and social structure of the environment with religion. Religions, especially the religion of Islam, draws the lines between halal (licit) and haram (forbidden), lays down conditions to prevent deceiving tricks, unjust profits and cheating regarding the economy; they leave the remaining details to the conditions of the tie and customs of the regions. From this point of view, it can be seen that in the religions, especially in Islam, the last religion, economic conditions like trade, arts and crafts, agriculture were laid down in flexible formulae that can be used in any age.
None of the divine books that were sent before the Quran and whose copies are present today are the original copies of the divine books that Allah sent to His prophets. In the course of time, the original copies were lost and they were rewritten by people. Therefore, some wrong beliefs and superstitions were incorporated into them. For instance, it is a well-known historical truth that the Old Testament (the Torah) could not be preserved by the Jews, who lived as slaves and in exile for a long time after Hazrat Moses and who lost their beliefs for a while and became idolaters; it is also known that the copy of the Old Testament that is present today was known by some clergymen long years after Hazrat Moses and was accepted as a religious book as if it was the original Old Testament. It is obvious that a book that emerged after such a long and complicated period cannot be the same book as the one sent down to Hazrat Moses. Therefore, there are some attributions and slanders that will not behoove to prophets; there are also some decrees that are contrary to the spirit of oneness religion.
The Psalms that were sent to Hazrat David (Dawud) underwent the same process as the Old Testament.
As for the New Testament (the Gospel), Hazrat Jesus did not dictate the revelations that he received. He became a prophet when he was 30 and his duty of prophethood ended when he was 33. He traveled from one village to another, one city to another in order to show people the true way in a very short time, three years. During his last times, he was always traced and followed by the Roman administrators because of the provocation of the Jews. Therefore, he could not find any time or opportunity to dictate the New Testament. As a matter of fact the New Testament books that are present today are called by the names of their writers (compilers) and they look like biography books that include the sermons, preaching and talks of Hazrat Jesus to his apostles. Besides, the writers are not the first believers, the first apostles of Hazrat Jesus but those who listened to those divine words that came to Hazrat Jesus from them.
There are some differences in the current New Testaments in terms of the narrating style and content. As a matter of fact those books were proved by the decision of a spiritual council that assembled in Nicaea in 325 AD. That council examined hundreds of New Testaments and approved the four New Testaments that are available today that they thought had divine characters and destroyed the others by burning them with the agreement of 318 members.
As it is seen, the principle that Hazrat Jesus is the son of Allah (Allah forbid) was accepted long years after Hazrat Jesus as a result of the decision of a council. Some Christian churches did not accept that decision. Therefore, it is impossible to say that the current 4 Gospels today are the same as the original Gospel that was sent down to Hazrat Jesus. Since the divine books other than the Quran were falsified how can we believe in them?
We Muslims believe that Hazrat Moses, David and Jesus were sent the divine books called The old Testament (the Torah), Psalms and the New Testament (the Gospel) and that those books did not contain any decrees contrary to the true religion of oneness. However, those books could not be preserved and their originals got lost.
We cannot say that the books that the Jews and Christians have do not contain any revelations that were sent to those prophets. However, it is a reality that wrong beliefs and superstitions were incorporated into them. Therefore, we need to be cautious about them. We accept that the decrees that are in compatible with the Quran are based on revelation. We find it probable that the decrees that are contrary to the Quran were incorporated into those books later. We do not say anything about the decrees that are not in compatible with or not contrary to the Quran. We neither accept them nor reject them. They may just as well be based on revelation or vice versa.
Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) said the following regarding the issue: «The People of the Book read the Torah in the Hebrew language and interpreted it in Arabic to Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to following to his Companions regarding the issue:
"You should neither approve nor contradict the words of the People of the Book. However, say the following: We believe, in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Isma`il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam).' (al-Baqara, 136)."
What can a non-muslim woman do If she has been married with a Muslim man?
1. First of all, not oppressing you is a command of Allah. In surah (chapter of the Holly Qur’an) the Cow (al Baqarah), in the 256th verse, it is stated as follows: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand hold, never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.”
2. You should also observe him without interfering him and you should compare your comprehension with his comprehension and way of life. Thus, he can see you and you can see him in a free manner.
3. People cannot stay away from others in case they would be impressed from them. Every person who has a mind, a free will and a free thought knows how to benefit from that situation. S/he does not abstain from accepting the truth if s/he realizes that the truth is on the others. That situation is also valid for the conditions you are in.
Du´a for non-Muslims
It is acceptable to pray to Allah for non-Muslims to enter the right path and for their worldly problems to be solved. However, it is not acceptable to pray for the dead non-Muslims.
Is it true that there exists an undistorted copy of the Torah? If it is not distorted, how can the signs about the Prophet in the Torah be explained?
It is known that the original Torah is lost. However, there are many differences among the translations of the Torah. For instance, there are some clear differences between the Greek translation and the Hebrew version. The Torah, which was first written in Hebrew, was started to be distorted when it was translated into Aramaic and Greek. (For more information, see M. Ziyau’r-Rahman al-Azami, al-Yahudiyya wa’l-Masihiyya, p.175-181)
There are also differences among the translations in Chaldean, Latin, Hebeshi, Ghawti, Armenian and Arabic (ibid). This is also valid for the Bibles whose original copies are not present.
- The distortion of the Torah is regarded in two ways: The first one: The distortion of the words of the verses and the addition of some words. The second one: The distortion of the meaning. There are examples like “hittatun/hintatun” for the first kind of distortion.
Besides, the fact that there are statements contrary to modern science and that there are invented stories about prophets like Lot and David that do not befit prophets indicate that the distortion took place in terms of both interpretation and words.
The second issue of distortion always took place; one of the most important duties of the prophets that came after Moses – including Zacharias and John – was to correct those wrong interpretations and spiritual distortions. However, this illness of distortion of Jews always relapsed.
That the Torah and the Gospel were distorted does not mean that they contain no truth. As a matter of fact, Husayn Jisri extracted hundreds of pieces of information from the Torah and the Gospel implying the Prophet Muhammad and quoted them in his book called Risala al-Hamidiyya.
As a matter of fact, it is clearly stated in the Quran, hadiths, history and siyar books that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) challenged the scholars of the People of the Book and said to them that they had concealed the truths in the books (they distorted them with their interpretations) and that the Prophet silenced them. Some examples regarding the issue:
a. “All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel made unlawful for itself before the Torah was revealed. Say: "Bring ye the Torah and study it if ye be men of truth." If any, after this, invent a lie and attribute it to Allah, they are indeed unjust wrong-doers.”(Aal-i Imran, 3/93-94).
Two reasons are given for the revelation of the verses above:
- The Jews objected to the Prophet (pbuh) about abrogation and said that there could be nothing like that in the religion. The verse was sent down in response to their objection. The verses challenged the Jews by stating, “All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel made unlawful for itself before the Torah was revealed. Let alone denying abrogation, the Torah practiced abrogation by rendering haram some things that were halal for the Children of Israel.”
- According to another narration, the Jews said to Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), “You say you belong to the nation of Abraham but you render halal the meat and milk of the camel that were haram in his religion.”
Through that verse, it was emphasized that the prohibition was not imposed during the time of Abraham but that it was rendered haram by Jacob, his grandson. According to a narration, Jacob vowed that he would not eat the flesh of the camel and he would not drink the milk of the camel, the food and drink that he liked the best, if he overcame the illness of sciatica.
No matter what the reason of revelation is, there is something clear: Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) insisted that certain information that the Jews claimed to be absent in the Torah existed and challenged the Jews by saying, “Bring the Torah and read it if you tell the truth”; the Jews avoided it. (See Tabari, Qurtubi, Razi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Ashur, Nasafi, Alusi, the interpretation of the relevant verse)
b. “If anyone disputes in this matter with thee now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, say: "Come! let us gather together―our sons, and your sons our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!"”(Aal-i Imran, 3/61).
- The verse challenged a delegate from the Christians of Najran that came to Madinah and that claimed Jesus was the son of God. They could not dare to do “mutual damnation” in accordance with the view of Aqib Abdul-Masih, the leader of this delegate. (See Tabari, Qurtubi, Razi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Ashur, Nasafi, the interpretation of the relevant verse)
c. “The people of the Book know this as they know their own sons; but some of them conceal the truth which they themselves know” (al-Baqara, 2/146).
- In this verse, it is stated that they recognized Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) as they recognized their own children due to his attributes in the Gospel and the Torah. According to a narration, Hazrat Umar asked Abdullah b. Salam, a Jewish scholar, “Did you really know Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) –based on your book – as you knew your children?” He said, “We knew him better than our own children. (See Tabari, Qurtubi, Razi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Ashur, Nasafi, the interpretation of the relevant verse).
- Another important point regarding the issue is this: If the issues that Hazrat Muhammad insistently mentioned and that he insistently said were present in the Torah had not been true, the people who believed in him, like Abdullah b. Salam, the Jewish scholar, before others, would have exited Islam and converted to their previous religions at once. It is also valid for the Christian scholars. The loyalty they showed to the religion of Islam throughout their lives indicates the trueness of this verse and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) clearly.
Is it a sin for a Muslim to make fun of the beliefs of people who have different religions and faiths?
The verse regarding the issue is as follows:
"Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance..."(al-An'am, 6/108)
Zamakhshari regards the meaning of the word "sabb" in the verse as "criticism" in general and states that it is a duty to criticize mistakes and bad deeds under normal conditions; however, he also states that it is also a duty to avoid criticizing if it criticism can lead to more harmful and destructive states than the criticized state. (II, 23)
However, as many mufassirs (interpreters) say the word "sabb" means "shatm", that is, "ugly words that are contrary to good manners and courtesy." It is necessary to criticize those who are in the wrong way and to show what is right and what is wrong, but according to the verse, it is not permissible to do it through a style that cannot be reconciled with the rules of lenience, good manners and courtesy of Islamic ethics like insulting, swearing and cursing. As a matter of fact, the fact that not the Prophet (pbuh) but the other believers are addressed proves it. For, swearing and cursing do not comply with the ethics of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); therefore, there is no need to warn him like that.
According to this verse, to insult others, their faiths and the values that they regard as sacred does not comply with Islamic manners and ethics; besides, it will harm the dignity of Islam. In fact, as Razi also states (XIII, 139), polytheists believed in Allah though they also worshipped idols. Therefore, it is out of question for them to insult Him without any reason.
Then, excessive remarks of some Muslims about polytheists and their faith caused them to run wild and dared to curse sacred faith of Muslims by losing their temper though they did not intend to curse Allah directly. In this verse, Muslims are ordered to avoid the words and attitudes that could cause such acts.
There is an implication to Islam's method of conveying the message in the verse. According to this implication, just like our faiths and views, other people's faiths and views are valuable for them. The way to dialog and persuasion is through respect and courtesy. Insulting and cursing increases the addressee's feeling of hostility; it leads to polemics and conflicts. (Kur’an Yolu, Diyanet Tefsiri: II/358-359)
Who was the Wailing Wall built by? Can you give information about the Wailing Wall?
Hz. Sulaiman (pbuh) was a magnificent and majestic prophet. His kingdom included the whole land of Palestine and Jordan and some part of Syria. Among the works of Hz. Sulayman, the most important buildings were the ones that he built to defend his country. The bulwarks built in the important places for the dispatch of soldiers were important.
The most important work of Hz. Sulayman was the Temple he built on Mount Zion. During the era of his father, Hz. Dawud, (David) (pbuh), there was only a tent there; and the Ark of the Testimony was put in it. Today, only one part of the foundations of Sulayman's Temple exists. The wall called the Wailing Wall is that part of the foundations of the Temple. (Osman CİLACI, Şamil Islam Ansiklopedisi)
The Children of Israel were punished by God Almighty like many other nations in history because they did not appreciate the bounties given to them. It is not easy for an understanding that showed ingratitude toward the quail and manna sent down to them directly to appreciate bounties from trees. In fact, ingratitude is valid not only for the Children of Israel but for all human beings, that is, for all of us.
As it is stated in the Quran, the Children of Israel rebelled against God Almighty; they unjustly killed the prophets that were sent to them and that wanted nothing but good things for them. Invasions, massacres and exiles started as punishment. The palaces and temples that had been built for a lot of money were plundered and burnt down. After the invasion, they cooperated with the invaders against the religion. When they tried to assassinate Jesus, the two thousand-year exile started.
It is reported that the last temple demolished by the Romans had been built by the rich except one wall built by the poor. The Romans left only one wall when they demolished the Temple probably to show what they had demolished; and that wall turned out to be wall built by the poor: the Wailing Wall, the famous wall that remained as a dump of the Christians up to the era of Ottoman Sultan Selim I. (Hasan GÜNEŞ)
The History of the Wailing Wall According to the Old Testament:
When Pharaoh and his army was drowned in the Red Sea and could not follow Moses and the Jews, Moses took the Jews to Sinai. There, on the Mount Sinai, Moses was given the Torah and the Ten Commandments. The Jews wandered in the Sinai Desert for forty years. After Moses, Joshua took them to Palestine. (Exodus, Chapters VII-XL; Joshua, Chapter I-XXIV) After the era of Judges and Kings in Palestine, King David (1013-973 B.C.) conquered Jerusalem and the brightest era of Jews started. (see II. Samuel, chapters V-IX) His son, King Shelomo (Hz. Sulayman, 973-933 B.C.) built the Holy Temple on the place prepared by his father. The Arc of Testimony, which contained the Ten Commandments and which was kept in a tent up to that time, was placed in a room in the Temple. (see I. Kings, Chapters V-IX.)
After the death of Hz. Sulayman, the kingdom was divided into two as Judah in the south and Israel in the north. (I. Kings, Chapters XI-XII., etc) Ten tribes became subject to the Kingdom of Israel and two tribes to the Kingdom of Judah. First, the Kingdom of Israel was demolished by Assyrians in 721 B.C. Then, the Kingdom of Judah was demolished by Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Temple was destroyed and the Jews were deported to Babylonia. In the exile, the Jewish people gathered under Ezra and returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. The Temple was repaired after 520 B.C. (see Daniel, Ezra, Ester).
The holy book of Jews, the Torah, gives information about both the previous and later prophets. Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah were sent during the period of Babylonia Exile. Malachi is the prophet before Elijah-Messiah.
According to Jewish history, Jerusalem was conquered by Antigonids and Seleucids after Alexander. The Temple was plundered in 168 B.C.. Maccabees established sovereignty but the period of Roman hegemony that started in 63 B.C. ended in 70 A.D. when the Roman commander Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The Jews scattered all over the world. The Western Wall (Wailing Wall), which remained from the Temple, has kept their national and religious consciousness alive for centuries. The hope given by the Messianic faith has maintained the existence of this consciousness. (Şamil İslam Ans.)
Why were religions sent only in certain languages? Why is Islam the last religion and why is there no other religion after it?
Not all prophets are mentioned in the Bible and the Quran. The prophets and nations that Allah wanted to teach lessons by are mentioned in them. This made it necessary to mention revelations sent down in certain languages in certain regions.
In the holy books that we have, the prophets in the region of Mesopotamia, which is regarded as the cradle of humanity are mentioned. Therefore, the revelations sent in the language of the nations living there became prominent.
- In fact, according to the information given by the Quran, every community was sent a prophet and every prophet received revelation in the language of his own tribe and conveyed it to his community:
“Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past).”(Fatır, 35/24) It is stated in the verse above that every region and every nation was sent a prophet. “We sent not a messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them.” (Ibrahim, 14/4) It is stated in the verse above that every prophet received revelation in the language of his own people and conveyed it to his people.
- The reason why Islam is the last religion is obvious. All religions were sent in order to guide people and to inform people about what Allah wants from them. There was the first religion and it is natural that there will be the last religion. And that last religion was devised as Islam. If it were not Islam, the same question would be asked: “Why is this religion the last religion?”
- The religion of Islam has properties that can survive up to the Doomsday. For, the religion of Islam contains the basic principles of all of the revelations sent since the time of Hz. Adam. Allah taught people the principles of happiness in both the world and the hereafter through prophets since that day.
Allah, who does everything based on wisdom, used the law of gradualism and evolution for the education of people. In the first stage, He sent pages to the people who were at the level of elementary school. When they reached the level of secondary education, He sent them the books like the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms.
When the humanity reached the level of university, Allah, who is Wise, sent them the Quran, a unique, universal book.
The differences among these books are related to the abilities of their addressees. It is the necessity of the conciseness and wisdom, truth and justice of the Quran to be appropriate for the capacity of knowledge, manners and understanding of the people of all ages.
To sum up,There is no need for any extra revelation because the Quran has everything to meet the needs of all people up to the Doomsday.
Were the other ummahs also ordered to perform prayers, fasting and other kinds of worshipping?
The principles of belief conveyed by all of the prophets from Hz. Adam (pbuh) to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) are the same. This is a common property of all of the heavenly religions conveyed by the prophets. No prophet changed these principles of belief or added anything to them.
Hz. Muhammed (pbuh), the last prophet, called his ummah to believe in the same principle of belief as Hz. Adam (pbuh), the first prophet, called his ummah.
There are no differences among heavenly religions in terms of the principles of belief; similarly, there are no differences in terms of worshipping, especially basic types of worshipping. Prayer (salah), which is regarded as the pillar of the religion, is a kind of worshipping that was rendered fard for all prophets and their ummahs. The only difference is related to the times and rak'ahs of the prayers. Five daily prayers, which are equal to fifty daily prayers in terms of reward, were rendered fard for our ummah.
It is stated in the Quran that the previous ummahs were ordered to perform prayers. For instance, it is stated in a verse that Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) performed prayers and wanted his offspring to continue performing prayers as follows:
"O my Lord! Make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! And accept Thou my Prayer."1
Hz. Musa (pbuh) was also ordered to pray. It is stated in verse 12 of the chapter of al-Maida that God took a covenant from the Children of Israel that they would definitely perform prayers.
Hz. Shuayb (pbuh) also performed prayers a lot. People even wanted to insult him because of this. It is stated as follows in the Quran:
"They said: 'Oh Shuayb! Does thy (religion of) prayer command thee that we leave off the worship which our fathers practised or that we leave off doing what we like with our property?'"2
It is also stated in the Quran that Hz. Ishaq, Hz. Yaqub, Hz. Zakariyya and Hz. Isa (peace be upon them) performed prayers.
On the other hand, fasting and zakah are not types of worshipping peculiar to the ummah of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) only. As a matter of fact, it is stated in the Quran that these kinds of worshipping are rendered fard for the other ummahs, too. For instance, the following is stated in verse 183 of the chapter of al-Baqara:
"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint."
Yes, prayers, fasting, zakah (alms) and many other kinds of worshipping existed in the shari'ahs of the other prophets, too. However, in the course of time, Jews and Christians abandoned or changed these kinds of worshipping.
1. Ibrahim, 14/40.
2. Hud, 11/87.
What are the responsibilities of the Muslims living abroad in terms of conveying the message of Islam?
One of the duties of Muslims is to convey the message of Islam. Every Muslim needs to convey the message of Islam as much as he knows about Islam. The person he conveys the message to can be a priest, a president or a worker. There is no limitation about it.
When we fulfill the duty of conveying the message of Islam, we need to make preparations by taking the level of the knowledge of the person we will address. It will be more appropriate to do it with other Muslims that can complete our deficiencies. For, a person cannot know everything.
We should know that our duty is conveying the message of Islam only. It is Allah who will give guidance to people. We need to do our duty. In that case, it does not matter whether the person we talk to becomes a Muslim or not; we will be regarded to have fulfilled our duty.