Frequently Asked Questions About Women In Islam

Women in Islam

Are men and women equal in Islam?

Men and women are EQUAL in Islam, but equal does NOT mean IDENTICAL. In some cases women have a degree of advantage, while in some other cases men have a degree of advantage, BUT OVERALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE EQUAL.
For example in the matter of love and compassion of children towards their parents, the mother is supposed to get 75% as compared to the father's 25%. So here women have a degree of advantage. In the matter of strength generally men have more strength than women. So here men have a degree of advantage, but overall men and women are equal in Islam.

Are four witnesses needed to prove rape in an Islamic court of law?

Four witnesses are NOT needed to prove rape. If somebody accuses a woman of adultery, then the accuser has to bring 4 witnesses to prove the accusation otherwise the accuser will be punished with 80 lashes. As Qur'an clearly says,
"And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;-"[Al-Qur'an 24:4]
So the requirement of four witnesses is to protect women from false accusations, NOT to subjugate them.
The testimony of the rape victim, circumstantial evidence and medical report proving the case of rape are enough to prove rape in an Islamic court of law.

Is Honour Killing allowed in Islam?

Honor killing is NOT allowed in Islam. In any case of supposed adultery the suspects must be taken to the court where they must get a fair trial and they can only be punished by the Islamic judge if four eye witnesses are available and prove that adultery really did take place . In case if any of the four eye witnesses faulters during cross examination, the four eye witnesses get 80 lashes each for bearing false and it is NOT by any means easy to bear those 80 lashes and hence stops anybody from bearing false witnesses just to just any INNOCENT human being punished for personal reasons.

Is the rape victim punished in Islam?

The rape victim is NOT punished in Islamic law and if anybody kills a RAPE VICTIM in a case of rape in the name of honor killing, the killer is punishable by death in Islamic law as in any other case of murder.

Can marriage solemnize withOUT the consent of the girl?

In Islam marriage can NOT solemnize withOUT the consent to the girl. Nobody can force a girl into a marrriage against her will. Even if anybody forces any girl into such a marriage then she can go to an Islamic judge, who will nullify such a marriage. As according to an authentic hadith a woman comes to the holy prophet and explains how her father has forced her into a marriage against her will and the prophet nullified the marriage.

Can the wife give divorce?

At the time of marriage the wife can put a condition in the marital contract and then even the wife can give unilateral divorce. If such a condition is not mentioned in the marital contract and the wife has valid reasons to seek a divorce then she can go to an Islamic judge, who will nullify the marriage.

Why by default, men have the right to give divorce in Islam?

As mentioned in the answer above, even women can give divorce in Islam. But by default men have the right to give divorce because husband is the real loser in case of a divorce. The husband has to give an amount of marital gift to his wife at marriage and if he has delayed its payment, he would be forced to pay it in case of a divorce. In addition, the husband even has to give maintainance to his ex-wife for the waiting period of 3 monthes and 10 days after divorce. The ex-wife can even charge his husband an amount for breast-feeding and cartaking of any young child the ex-couple may have. If the husband marries any woman, he would have to pay another amount of marital gift. While if the divorce wife marries any man, she would get another amount of marital gift. So we should in fact be complaining about men's rights in Islam:)

What does Islam say about Marital rape?

Lets see why would the wife NOT let her husband approach her causing any whatsoever possibility of marital rape. There can be two reasons.
1- Because she does NOT like her husband
2- It hurts her
1- In Islam NObody can force a girl into marriage against her will. Because it is must in Islam to the girl's consent before marriage. Even if anybody forces a girl into marriage with somebody she does NOT like then she can go to an Islamic judge who will nullify the marriage.
2- According to medical science it hurts her most during menstrual periods and Islam has prohibited approaching the wives during menstrual periods.
So Islam does NOT let any chance of marital rape to occur. That is why there is NOthing like marital rape in Islam.

Do men have any degree of superiority over the women in Islam?

Al-Quran 4:34 says;
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what God would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For God is Most High, great (above you all)."
The word used for men in this verse is "QAWWAM". "QAWWAM" means "protectors and maintainers". This adds to one of the responsibilities of men, it means a degree of responsibility NOT superiority, since at general rule men have more strength than women.
As far as the obedience of wives towards their husbands is concerned, husbands can only command their wives within the limits of Islamic law and the Islamic law protects all the rights of wives and women in general. The wife is supposed to obey the husband as long as the husband remains within limits of Islamic law, but if the husband commands the wife against the wife's rights, the wife is NOT supposed to obey because violating women's rights is against Islamic law, since Islamic law protects the rights of women.

Does Islam allow the husband to beat his wife?

Al-Quran 4:34 says that if the wife transgresses all the bounds, then several things are prescribed in the verse. 1- Verbal admonition. 2- Not sharing her bed. 3- Then as a last resort physical admonition.
PHYSICAL ADMONITION:- This physical admonition is beating as light as BEATING WITH A TOOTH PICK or in modern day terms it is like BEATING WITH A HANDKERCHIEF. Now you can yourself judge how lightly it is to beat with a tooth pick or a handkerchief. It is NOT allowed to beat the wife on the face and any mark should NOT occur on the body.
Some sisters still go on to argue that why even beating with a handkerchief?
I ask such sisters and even brothers; suppose you have a son, who you love a lot. If your son wants to jump from a 9 storey building and you verbally admonish him with love, but he still wants to jump, you scold him, but he still wants to jump, so would you let him jump or would you lightly admonish him physically? If you love your son, you definitely will lightly admonish him physically. If you don't that would mean you do not love him. So as a last resort light physical admonition can be used to avoid any major loss.

Does Islam allow women to work?

In Islam women can work if they want with segregation of sexes at the workplace with seperate but EQUAL facilities for both men and women. But nobody can force them to work. Some jobs are prohibited for both men and women. Like jobs dealing with alcohol as alcohol is extremely harmful to human health and hence prohibited by God. Prohibited for women are the jobs which involve the exploitation of the body.

Why women inherit half the share than that of men?

In Islam men are entirely responsible for the all the financial burden of the family. When a son inherits one full share from his parents he has to pay wife an amount of marital gift to his wife at the time of marriage from his share. He has to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and all other financial responsibilities of the entire family and the brother has to even look after all the financial requirements of the sister from HIS own share. While the daughter who inherits half a share, does NOT have to spend it on anybody and even all her financial requirments are fulfilled by the father and brother before HER marriage and by the the husband after the marriage. So the daughter inherits half a share and gets to keep it all herself. While the son gets a share which he has to spend all on the family and hardly get to keep any of it.
So would you prefer to get a million dollars and spend it all on others and get to keep none of it or get half a million and keep it all to yourself only?

What is the legal age of marriage in Islam?

Different countries have set different legal ages for marriage. In Philpines it is 14. In America it is 16. So the marriage which is legal in Philpines is illegal in America. While the marriage which is legal in US is illegal in India since the legal age of marriage is 18 in India. The legal age for marriage differs from one country to another and from one region to another due to the different factors effecting the growth rate. Due to its universality in Islam the legal for marriage is at puberty.On reaching puberty Islam gives the boy and the girl the freedom to marry according to their will if they want or postpone their marriage to marry at a later age if they want. So Islam gives them the freedom of choice in the matters related to marriage at puberty. In Britain 21 underage school girls become pregnant everyday. It is a real shame that the British government allows girls to get pregnant at the ages of 13, 14 and 15 but does NOT allow them to marry gracefully if they wish to. Countries and families should rather give them the previlage to marry or not to marry according to their wish at puberty, to avoid such dire consequences.

Are women allowed in Islam to travel alone by themselves?

In Islam womnen can travel alone as long as it is safe along the way. Since modern day air travel is safe enough so women can travel alone by air as long as there is someone to pick them up at the airport on their arrival. To places which may involve risk along the way the women should travel to such places only when with a male guardian.

Why Islam subjugates women by keeping them behind the veil(Hijab)?

When people talk about Hijab they talk about Hijab for women, but Qur'an talks about Hijab for men first in Al-Qur'an 24:30, "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And God is well acquainted with all that they do." Then after that Qur'an talks about Hijab for women in Al-Qur'an 24:31, "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty 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."
The extent for men is from knee to navel should be covered and for women all the body should be covered except the face and hands till wrists. The other points for Hijab are same for both men and women. Clothes should NOT be revealing, should NOT be too tight to show the curves of the body, should NOT be too glamorous, should NOT be that of the opposite sex and should NOT be the symbol of any other religion.
now I ask you if there are twin sisters who are EQUALLY beautiful. One of the sisters is wearing the Western clothes the short skirts and minis while the other is wearing the Islamic Hijab. They both are walking down the street and on the corner of the street a hooligan, a goon is waiting to tease a girl. So which sister is he going to tease the girl wearing the Western clothes or the one wearing the Islamic Hijab? Naturally he will tease the sister wearing the Western clothes. So Hijab prevents molestation.
According to 1996 FBI reports there were 2713 rapes in USA everyday. That is A RAPE IN EVERY 32 SECONDS.
Now I ask you if you put in place the Islamic ruling in USA that if any man sees a woman and any bad thought comes in his mind he should lower his gaze and women should dress modestly. If still anybody commits rape then he should be punished by death. Will the number of rapes in USA increase, decrease or remain the same? Naturally it will decrease.

Is asking the would be wife for dowry allowed in Islam?

Islam does not allow asking the would be wife for dowry be it directly or indirectly. But rather the husband has to pay an amount of marital gift to his wife at the time of marriage.

Does Islam Make The Face Veil Obligatory For Muslim Women?

Covering the face is NOT obligatory for women in Islam, but is preferable and recommended.

Does a Wife have the right to refuse sex with her Husband?

If a husband expresses his desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and asks her to fulfill his need, then she should fulfill her husband's desire, and she has no right to refuse him or deprive him of his need (unless of course if she is undergoing her monthly menstruation period or is down with illness.

Islam encourages and insists on chastity and fidelity. Islam prohibits and condemn illicit sexual relations, extra-maritial affairs, pre-marriage sex, fornication, adultery, prostitution, pornography and promiscuity. It is for this reason that a wife is bound to fulfill her husband's sexual desires so as to prevent him form straying.

Narrarted Abu Huraira
Allah's Apostle (Pbuh) said, " If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relations) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4 Hadith No. 460 & Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3368)

Narrated Abu Huraira
The Messenger of Allah (swt) said: By him in whose hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her untill he (her husband) is pleased with her. (Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3367)

Narrated Taiq ibn Ali
Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said, " When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven." (Al Tirmidhi Hadith No. 1160 & Ibn Ma'jah Hadith No. 4165)

From all the above mentioned Ahadith, it is Wajib upon the wife to fulfill the desire of her husband whenever he wishes. If the relationship between the husband and the wife is truly based on Islamic principles, in which both of them treat each other with love, affection, kindness, fulfilling all Islamic desires and settling all matters with mutual agreement and understanding, the question of the wife refusing the sexual desire of the husband does not arise. Nor does the question arise of the husband being insistent or getting perturbed at her not wanting to have sex.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an in Surah Rum, Chapter 30, verse no. 21:
" And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect."

If on certain rare occasions, the husband shows a desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and for some genuine reason the wife shows a hesitation (not refusal), then it is possible, the husband can be understanding and voluntarily and happily give indication for postponement!

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, in Surah Baqara, chapter 2, verse no. 187:
"They (your wives) are your garments. And you are their garments."

Here, because of the strong bond between the husband and the wife, if the husband is not displeased or angry, the angels will not curse his wife and neither will she displease the Almighty. And Allah knows the best.

Why are women not allowed to go to the mosque?

Women are allowed in the mosque. Prophet Mohammed(pbuh) instructed that if women want to go to the mosque even during the night-time let them go. He even instructed men to take their women along to the Eid prayer even if the women are having menstrual periods and can NOT offer prayers.

Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam?

1. Definition of Polygamy
Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited.

Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?
2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says, “marry only one”.
The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does
one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.
In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.
Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.
(*Interesting Note:- As per the 1975 census of India Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims. The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures.)

Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.
3. Qur’an permits limited polygyny
As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an:
“Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one.” [Al-Qur’an 4:3]
Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them.
In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says:
“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women....” [Al-Qur’an 4:129]
Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.
Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:
(i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory
(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged
(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed
(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged
(v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden
Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

4. Average life span of females is more than that of males
By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females.
During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

5. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide
India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

6. World female population is more than male population 
In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

7. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical
Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.
Suppose my or your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes 'public property'. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first. Most women would not like to share their husband with other women. But in
Islam when the situation deems it really neccessary Muslim women in due faith could bear a small personal loss to prevent a greater loss of letting other Muslim sisters becoming 'public properties'.

8. Marring a married man preferable to becoming 'public property'
In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honorable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life. Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become 'public property'. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second.
There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband?

A lot of people, including some Muslims, question the logic of allowing Muslim men to have more than one spouse while denying the same ‘right’ to women. Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic society is justice and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal, but with different capabilities and different responsibilities. Men and women are different, physiologically and psychologically. Their roles and responsibilities are different.
Men and women are equal in Islam, but not identical.
Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with whom Muslim men can not marry. It is further mentioned in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verse 24
“Also (prohibited are) women already married”

The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited in Islam:
1. If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of such marriages can easily be identified.
The father as well as the mother can easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than one husband,
only the mother of the children born of such marriages will be identified and not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to the identification of both parents, mother and father. Psychologists tell us that children who do not know their parents, especially their father undergo severe mental trauma and disturbances. Often they have an unhappy childhood. It is for this reason that the children of prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood. If a child born of such wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother is asked the name of the father, she would have to give two or more names! I am aware that recent advances in science have made it possible for both the mother and father to be identified with the help of genetic testing. Thus this point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the present.

2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.

3. Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a husband despite having several wives.  A woman, in a similar position, having several husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties as a wife. A woman undergoes several psychological and behavioral changes due to different phases of the menstrual cycle.

4. A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital sex.
The above reasons are those that one can easily identify. There are probably many more reasons why Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has prohibited polyandry.

Does Islam allow a woman to be the Head of State?
There is no direct reference in the Qur’aan that prohibits a woman from being a head of state. However, since Islam considers the male to be the leader of the house, therefore the head of the state should also be a male.

Let us examine the pros and cons of a woman being the head of state in the present situation:
1. The head of State at times leads congregational prayers. 
A woman cannot be an Imam because during Salaah there are several postures to be adopted such as standing, bowing and prostrating. If a woman leads prayers with men standing behind, it is bound to create disturbance and distraction. (Also it is prohibited for a female to lead the congregational prayer with men following)

2. The head of state very often has to meet other heads of state that are usually male. 
Islam does not permit inter-mingling of sexes. Many times they have private closed-door meetings. Islam does not permit a woman to be alone in a closed room with any males (except her father, brother, husband, & son).

3. There is usually a lot of media exposure of the head of state.
Photographs and Video recordings are regularly taken and there is normally some physical contact between the head of State and other dignitaries, including handshakes. Physical contact between male and female (except husband and wife) is prohibited.

4. During the menstrual cycle there are certain mental, psychological and behavioral changes that take place in women due to the release of the sex hormone, oestrogen. 

5. If a woman gets pregnant she requires rest for a few months during which she will not be able to attend to the duties as a head of state.

6. If she has children, her responsibility as a mother is more important than that as a head of state.
Therefore I am more inclined to the view of those scholars who say that a woman should not be made the head of state. However this does not mean that women cannot take active part in politics. They have a right to vote as well as take part in law making.

Why are two witnesses who are women, equivalent to only one witness who is a man ?

Two female witnesses are NOT always considered equal to one male witnesses. Only in a case of business transactions and case of murder two female witnesses are equal to one male witness. Because in Islam men are responsible for the financial burden of the family and therefore men generally deal with financial transactions and as a result men know more about financial matters than women. So of course in financial transactions any financial expert is preferred to someone who knows less about financial matters, even business firms consult financial experts NOT general public, but that does NOT mean that they consider them unequal. Some scholars are of the opinion that the feminine attitude can also have an effect on the witness in a murder case. In such circumstances a woman is more terrified as compared to a man. Due to her emotional condition she can get confused. Therefore, according to some jurists, even in cases of murder, two female witnesses are equivalent to one male witness. In all other cases, one female witness is equivalent to one male witness. In all other cases, one female witness is equivalent to one male witness. As the Qur'an says in Sura an Noor Chapter 24 Verse 6
“And those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own - their solitary evidence can be received.”
Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the beloved Prophet has narrated no less than 2220 Ahadith which are considered authentic only on her solitary evidence. This is sufficient proof that one witness of a women can also be accepted. Some incidents require only female witness and that of a male cannot be accepted. For instance, in dealing with the problems of women.

The Only Perfect Economic System

As economic awareness spreads around the globe, it is a pleasure to write about the only perfect economic system along with logical, economic and practical reasons for why and how it is the only perfect economic system.

I expect every reader to read this post till the end and logically analyze it maintaining an UNbiased stance.

Interest-free Islamic economic system is partially followed and partially not followed in Muslim countries around the world. The only country, which has followed this system completely in every minute detail is Malaysia. So the application methods in this post are mostly those implemented in Malaysia following the Interest-free Islamic Economic system.
Picture of a protester from October 15 Occupy Amsterdam
The main feature of the Islamic economic system is that it is Interest-FREE.
As the Qur'an says in Sura al-Baqara Chapter 2 Verses 278 & 279
"O ye who believe! fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for usury if ye are indeed believers. If ye do it not take notice of war from Allah and his Apostle: but if ye turn back ye shall have your capital sums; deal not unjustly and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly."
Qur'an condemn all evil deeds, but never has the Qur'an warned of a war against God Almighty and His Messenger except in the case of taking Interest and Usury.

There are several evils of the interest based economy, the reason why Islam has prohibited it.
For example, if a person takes a loan from a bank and says the cost price of a certain article is 10 dollars and he wants to a profit of one dollar. So the selling price would include the 10 dollars cost price one dollar profit and one dollar interest and the selling price would be 12 dollars. The selling price would go up because of interest and when the selling price goes up the demand comes down and when the demand comes down the supply comes down and as supply comes down production comes down causing labour problem and unemployment.

There is Social INJustice.
For example, if a person takes a loan from the bank and no matter if he earns a profit or goes in loss he has to pay that fixed amount of interest. Even if some natural calamity befalls his family, such as flooding or earthquake, the person still has to pay the loan with the interest and a delay would only increase the amount of interest. It is social injustice.

There is NO social consideration.
Suppose, if two businessmen come to ask for a loan from a modern bank and one businessman wants to start a social or hospital while the other businessman wants to start an alcohol factory or a gambling den. But natural the businessman, who wants to start an alcohol factory or a gambling den would have better returns and the loan given to him would be more secure and he would give a higher rate of interest as compared to the business, who wants to open a school or hospital. Modern days are only interested in getting better and higher returns. That's why they finance gambling dens rather than schools or hospitals. That is why in the 80s thousands of gambling dens were financed by modern banks worldwide. For name sake only a few social projects are financed by modern day banks and the majority of their loans are based on better interest.

Modern banks encourage people to store money and keep the money idle for small fixed return on it every year. In the end, power is concentrated in a few hands, the bankers. That's why a small community of Jews, controlling the major modern banks of the world, are controlling the full world. Because of the modern banking system, power is concentrated in a few hands.

In the same way there are several benefits of Islamic banking. 
As there is NO interest involved, there is profit and loss sharing. So if a person wants to sell his goods, it would only have the cost price and profit in the selling price and instead of 12 dollars, his selling price would be only 11 dollars. If the selling price comes down, the demand increases and if the demand increases the supply increases and as supply increases the production increases resulting in more labour for the people and higher employment. As a result encourages people to work and earn their living.

There is Social Justice in Islamic banking.
If a business takes a loan and goes in loss, the loss is shared by the bank and if he earns a profit, the profit is shared by the bank. If in case any natural calamities befalls him, the Islamic bank gives him more time to repay, unlike the modern bank, where the more time you take to pay the more interest you would have to pay. Many a times if the Islamic bank finds the situation very bad, they even let go off that loan.

There is Social Consideration in Islamic banking.
Islamic bank can NOT give a loan to any businessman, who is doing any activity, which is causing harm to the society. For example, if a businessman wants to start an alcohol factory and approches an Islamic bank for a loan, the Islamic bank will NOT lend him a single penny, NOT even if he promises to give 100% profit to the Islamic bank. In Islamic banking there is social consideration and they encourage projects beneficial for the society, such as building schools, hospitals and nursuries. In short, the Islamic bank encourages the society to improve.

In the Islamic bank, you are NOT encouraged to keep your money idle. You are encouraged to invest your money and be a partner in the business and in the end, power is NOT concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. Because in the Islamic banking the profit and loss are shared by the business, the banker as well as the depositor. The power is equally shared amoung all the people.

The great philospher, Aristortle has beautifully defined Interest as "An earning based on the use of money and NOT on labour, and all such earnings(interests) are against nature."

Lets quickly analyze the objectives of the Islamic economic order before we analyze the theory and practical application of the Islamic economic system.

The Objectives of the Islamic Economic Order
1- Economic well being
2- Universal Brotherhood and Justice
3- Equitable Distribution of Wealth
4- Individual Freedom within the Context of Social Well being

1- Economic well being
Islam encourages a person to enjoy the bounties of God Almighty, to work for his living and refrain from begging.

2- Universal Brotherhood and Justice
Qur'an says in Sura al-Hujurat Chapter 49 Verse 13
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you."
From this we come to know the criteria that the criteria of judgement in the sight of God is NOT wealth, NOT sex, NOT color, NOT caste, but it is "Taqwa" God consciousness, piety and righteousness.

Qur'an says in Sura an-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 135
"O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protects all."
According to this we have to stand for truth and justice be it against anybody even against our own selves and sacrifice your own interests.

3- Equitable Distribution of Wealth
Islam is against the philosophy that the wealth should be concentrated in a few hands. The difference between the rich and the poor should be reduced. Otherwise they would become enemies unto eachother. For this, Islam has deviced a system called "Zakat" that every Muslim, who has excess wealth exceeding the amount equal to or more than 85 grams of Gold. This amount is spent on the poor, orphans, needy and so on. If every individual in the world practices this system of "Zakat", NOT a single person in the whole world would die of hunger. Islam teaches to find lawful employment for the unemployed and to pay him a good renumeration.

According to Islam if a person dies his wealth should be distributed amoung his heirs according to the guidelines laid down in Qur'an and Ahadith and it should NOT go to just one or two individuals in the society as it is done today.

4- Individual Freedom within the Context of Social Wellfare
According to Islam man is born free and nobody NOT even the state can abrogate his freedom nor subject his life to strict regmentation. Every individual is free as long as he does NOT harm the society because in Islam the larger welfare of the society takes precendence over the individual freedom.

Working and labour as well as the benefit in business are both important principles of Islam, but working and labour take precedence over the benefit in business. If you are doing business, a big loss can NOT be inflicted to relieve a small loss, nor can a big profit can be sacrificed for a small profit. In short, Islam believes in individual within the context of social welfare.

There are mainly four factors involved in production;
1- Land
2- Labor
3- Capital
4- Organization

1- Land
In both the Modern and Islamic theories, you pay rent on the land.

2- Labor
You pay wages on the labour in both the Modern and Islamic theories.

3- Capital
In the Modern theory, you pay Interest on capital, while in the Islamic theory ther is profit and loss sharing.

4- Organization
In the fourth factor of production, Organization, there is profit and loss sharing in both theories.

So the major difference in the four factors of production is the third factor of Capital. The Modern Theory says that a fixed interest should be charged on the capital, while the Islamic theory says that there is profit and loss sharing on capital. Because Islamic theory does NOT differentiate between the third factor Capital and the fourth factor Organization because the money lent by the bank does NOT belong to the bank itself, it belongs to the depositor. The depositors are the part of Organization and the money deposited in the bank (the capital) should be included in the Organization. In the Islamic theory Capital and Organization are cloved together and there is profit and loss sharing on the capital.

When you have to do business, there are naturally two types of units. One is the surpluss unit, who have excess of wealth, but do NOT know how to spend it. Second is the deficit unit, the people who do NOT have money, but have good ideas for business. The best examples of a surpluss and deficit unit in the Islamic history is Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) had excess of wealth, but lacked avenues to spend in and being a female she couldn't travel abroad too much to deal in  business transactions. The deficit unit, in terms of wealth, was Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). He had good ideas and access to business avenues, but did not have wealth. So Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) gave wealth, which Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) invested in business avenues on her behalf and the profit was shared on a fixed pre-determined ration.

The System of Islamic Banking and Modern Banking

Lets analyze the options open for individual depositors to deposit their money in an Islamic bank.

Current Account
The money you deposit in an Islamic bank is utilized with your permission, but if the bank goes in loss, the loss is NOT shared by the depositor. If the bank goes in profit, neither is the profit shared by the depositor. The depositor is interested in only the safety of his money, not profit. The Islamic banks gives you a check book and a slip book with the functions as that of a modern bank.

Savings Account
Even here the depositor is mainly interested in the safety of his money. As the bank gets a profit from this money, the bank can GIFT a partion of that profit to the depositor, if the bank wants, but the depositor can NOT demand a fixed portion.
In Islamic banking, if a bank goes bankrupt then the depositors get their money first and then, the creditors. While in Modern Banking creditors get their money first and majority of the depositors lose their money. So even if you want your money safe, the Islamic banks are preferable and safer than Modern banks.

Investment Accounts
They are similiar to the Fixed Accounts of Modern banks and are further divided into several types

Mudariba (Profit & Loss Sharing)
The depositor deposits a fixed amount of money in the bank for a fixed period of time, which maybe a multiple of three or a multiple of four. Here the surpluss unit is the depositor and the deficit unit is the bank. The bank uses this money to do business with the businessmen and whatever profit the Islamic bank makes, it is divided on a pre-determined ratio, which can be negotiated. In the Islamic Banking of Malaysia, the ratio is 7 part to 3 part, meaning 70% goes to the depositor and 30% is kept by the bank. So there is sharing of profit, the greater the profit the greater the share of each.
Suppose, if there is a loss of a hundred dollars, then hundred would be deducted from the depositor's money. So theoretically only the depositor bears the loss. Practically analyzing even the Islamic bank is going in loss because they are paying money for the rent, administration and salary, but the loss ratio of the bank is less than that of the depositor, as even the profit of the bank is less than that of the depositor.

Project Financing in the MUDARIBA System
If a businessman approaches an Islamic bank with a project idea and asks for a loan for a fixed period, the Islamic bank analyzes the project, then the businessman and the Islamic bank negotiate the profit ratio. In Modern banking interest is negotiated, in Islamic banking profit ratio is negotiated.
Suppose, the businessman takes a loan of $5000 from an Islamic bank for six months and the pre-determined profit ratio is 60% to the bank and 40% to the businessman. If the businessman is working for his business, even his salary would be included in that $5000 and suppose the salary of the businessman is $200 per month.
Suppose, if the businessman earns a profit of $5000, the business would get (his 40%) $2000 from the profit and the businessman would get paid $200 salary per month from the $5000 loan, amounting $1200 for 6 months. So the businessman gets his profit as well as the alary for his labour, if he is working for his business.
But in case of loss, the bank bears the complete loss and in turn passes the loss to the depositors. But technically even the business also goes in loss because he is only paid for labour, NOT for his thinking and ideas.
In Mudariba System, the bank can NOT interfere in the management of the business. The business can NOT tell the businessman to build a 12 storey building instead of a 10 storey building. The bank can NOT tell the business to produce a certain article instead of another article. The bank can NOT interfere in the administration of the business.

MUSHARIQA System (Partnership)
In Mushariqa system or Partnership the Islamic bank can interfere in the management of the business. The bank can tell the business to build a 12 storey building rather than a 10 storey building. The bank can tell the businessman to make a certain product instead of another product. In Mushariqa system the businessman has part of the capital and the other part he takes from the bank. The profit is shared on a pre-determined ratio. Suppose, if the businessman and bank give 50-50% capital, they would get 50-50% profit. But in case of loss, loss is shared on pre-determined ration and the Islamic bank bears more loss. The Islamic bank may have to bear 60% loss, while the businessman would only bear 40% loss.

Suppose, you want to purchase a particular machinery from abroad costing $10000, in the Modern Bank you open a LC (Letter of Credit) or a TR (Trust Receipt/Sales Slip) and you deposit the money in the Modern bank and the Modern bank charges you a fixed amount of interest on the time it takes for the transaction. If you deposit the money in an Islamic bank and ask the bank to buy the machinery on your behalf, the Islamic bank would charge you a service charge/commission.
If you do NOT have money to buy the machinery, you can combine MUDHABA System with MUDARIBA System or if you have have the money you can combine the MUDHABA System with the MUSHARIQA System and share the profit on selling that machinery with the bank on a pre-determined ratio.

IJARA (Leasing or Higher Purchasing)
Suppose, you don't to buy a car, you want to rent it. The Islamic bank charges you a certain profit and rents you the car. The price of the car and the profit are divided by the life span of that car to calculate the per month rent. The Islamic bank provides you Ijara ending with sale and also buying back facality. If you don't the car, the Islamic bank buys back the car, a facality which Modern banks do NOT provide.

Interest-free Loan
It is the loan the Islamic bank gives to the poor to do business without charging any Interest at all. There is nothing like Interest-free loan in Modern banking. In the Islamic system of banking in Malaysia 10% of profits are kept separately/ reserved for Interest-free loan for the poor. In Islamic terminology it is called "Karze Hasana" meaning "the good loan".

So Interest-free Islamic Economic System is the only perfect economic system in the world.

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Hereafter: Life After Death

Belief in the hereafter is not based on blind faith
Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief.
My belief in the hereafter is based on a logical argument.

Hereafter a logical belief
There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an, containing scientific facts (refer my book “Qur’an and Modern Science-Compatible or Incompatible?”). Many facts mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered in the last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an. Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct.
About the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge that we have, we cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong.
Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. The existence of the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, falls in the 20% ambiguous portion which my logic says is correct.

Concept of peace and human values is useless without the concept of hereafter
Is robbing a good or an evil act? A normal balanced person would say it is evil. How would a person who does not believe in the hereafter convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing is evil? Suppose I am the most powerful and influential criminal in the world. At the same time I am an Intelligent and a logical person. I say that robbing is good because it helps me lead a luxurious life. Thus robbing is good for me.
If anybody can put forward a single logical argument as to why it is evil for me, I will stop immediately. People usually put forward the following arguments:

a. The person who is robbed will face difficulties
Some may say that the person who is robbed will face difficulties. I certainly agree that it is bad for the person who is robbed. But it is good for me. If I rob a thousand dollars, I can enjoy a good meal at a 5 star restaurant.

b. Some one may rob you
Some people argue that someday I may be robbed. No one can rob me because I am a very powerful criminal and I have hundreds of bodyguards. I can rob anybody but nobody can rob me. Robbing may be a risky profession for a common man but not for an influential person like me.

c. The police may arrest you
Some may say, if you rob, you can be arrested by the police. The police cannot arrest me because I have the police on my payroll. I have the ministers on my payroll. I agree that if a common man robs, he will be arrested and it will be bad for him, but I am an extraordinarily influential and powerful criminal. Give me one logical reason why it is bad for me and I will stop robbing.

d. Its easy money
Some may say its easy money and not hard-earned money. I agree completely that it is easy money, and that is one of the main reasons why I rob. If a person has the option of earning money the easy as well as the hard way, any logical person would choose the easy way.

e. It is against humanity
Some may say it is against humanity and that a person should care for other human beings. I counter argue by asking as to who wrote this law called ‘humanity’ and why should I follow it? This law may be good for the emotional and sentimental people but I am a logical person and I see no benefit in caring for other human beings.

f. It is a selfish act
Some may say that robbing is being selfish. It is true that robbing is a selfish act; but then why should I not be selfish? It helps me enjoy life.

No logical reason for robbing being an evil act
Hence all arguments that attempt to prove that robbing is an evil act are futile. These arguments may satisfy a common man but not a powerful and influential criminal like me. None of the arguments can be defended on the strength of reason and logic. It is no surprise that there are so many criminals in this world. Similarly raping, cheating etc. can be justified as good for a person like me and there is no logical argument that can convince me that these things are bad.

A Muslim can convince a powerful and influential criminal
Now let us switch sides. Suppose you are the most powerful and influential criminal in the world, who has the police and the ministers on his payroll. You have army of thugs to protect you. I am a Muslim who will convince you that robbing, raping, cheating, etc. are evil acts. Even if I put forth the same arguments to prove that robbing is evil the criminal will respond the same way as he did earlier. I agree that the criminal is being logical and all his arguments are true only when he is the most powerful and influential criminal.

Every human being wants justice
Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he does not want justice for others he wants justice for himself. Some people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from doing likewise to them.

God is Most Powerful and Just
As a Muslim I would convince the criminal about the existence of Almighty God (refer to answer proving the existence of God). This God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also just. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“Allah is never unjust in the least degree”
[Al-Qur’an 4:40]

Why does God not punish me?
The criminal, being a logical and scientific person, agrees that God exists, after being presented with scientific facts from the Qur’an. He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, does not punish him.

The people who do injustice should be punished
Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or the rapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, luxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is done to a powerful and influential person, by someone more powerful and more influential than he, even such a person would want that person perpetrators of injustice to be punished.

This life is a test for the hereafter
This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“He who created Deathand life that He may try which of you is best in deed; and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving” [Al-Qur’an 67:2]

Final justice on day of judgement
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.” 
[Al-Qur’an 3:185]
Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the hereafter. God Almighty may not punish a robber or a rapist in this world but he will surely be held accountable on the Day of Judgement and will be punished in the hereafter i.e. life after death.

What punishment can the human law give Hitler?
Hitler incinerated six million Jews during his reign of terror. Even if the police had arrested him, what punishment can the human law give Hitler for justice to prevail? The most they can do is to send Hitler to the gas chamber. But that will only be punishment for the killing of one Jew. What about the remaining five million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine Jews?

Allah can burn Hitler more than six million times in hellfire
Allah say in the Glorious Qur’an:
“Those who reject Our signs, We shall sooncast into the Fire;as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise”
[Al-Qur’an 4:56]
If Allah wishes he can incinerate Hitler six million times in the hereafter in the hellfire.

No concept of human values or good and bad without concept of hereafter
It is clear that without convincing a person about the hereafter, i.e. life after death, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person who is doing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful.

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Similarities Between Islam And Hinduism (Part 1)

In the series of articles on this subject, we shall seek to find similarities or common ground between two major religions of the world: Hinduism and Islam. The approach adopted in this work is based on the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an:
Surah Ali Imran Chapter 3 Verse 64:
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.”
If then they turn back, 
Say ye: “Bear witness That we (at least) 
Are Muslims (bowing To Allah’s Will).’
(Al Qur’an 3:64)

In this article, we shall focus on how one should try to have a correct understanding of a religion and also provide a brief introduction to Islam and to Hinduism.

a. Don’t observe followers of a Religion. Refer to Authentic Sources of that Religion Followers of major religions, whether it be Hinduism, Islam or Christianity, have divided themselves and their beliefs into various sects. It is not appropriate for one to try to understand a religion by observing the followers of that religion. Most followers may themselves not be aware of the correct teachings of their religion. Thus, the best and the most appropriate method of understanding any religion is to understand the authentic sources of that religion, i.e. the sacred scriptures of that religion.

b. Authentic Sources of Islam.
Allah (swt), Almighty God, says in the Glorious Qur’an:
And hold fast, All together, by the Rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.(Al Qur’an 3:103)

The “rope of Allah refers” to the Glorious Qur’an. Allah (swt) says that Muslims should not be divided and that the only unifying factor is the authentic source of the religion of Islam i.e. the Glorious Qur’an. Allah (swt) also says in the Glorious Qur’an in several places including Al Qur’an 4:59:
O ye who believe!Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.  (Al Qur’an 4:59)

To understand the Qur’an better we have to refer to the explanation of the Qur’an by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on whom the Qur’an was revealed. Thus the best and the most appropriate method of understanding Islam is to understand the authentic sources of Islam which are the Glorious Qur’an, (the words of Almighty Allah) and the authentic Ahadith, (i.e. the sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad.

c. Authentic Sources of Hinduism
Similarly, the best and the most appropriate method of understanding Hinduism is to understand the authentic sources i.e. the sacred scriptures of Hinduism. The most sacred and authentic Scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas, followed by the Upanishads, the Itihaas, Bhagvad Gita, Puranas, etc.

Let us understand these two major religions of the world, i.e. Islam and Hinduism, by studying and analyzing the authentic Scriptures of these two major religions of the world.

d. Emphasis on those Similarities, which are not commonly known.
In this work on ‘Similarities between Islam and Hinduism’, we shall not lay emphasis on those similarities which are known by almost all the followers of both the religions e.g. a person should always speak the truth, he should not lie, he should not steal, he should be kind, he should not be cruel, etc. Instead, we shall consider those similarities, which are not commonly known by all the followers and hence are known only to those who are familiar with the contents of their sacred Scriptures.

1. Definition of Islam.
Islam is an Arabic word, which comes from the word ‘Salm’ which means peace and from 'Silm', which means submitting your will to Allah – the Almighty God.  In short Islam means peace acquired by submitting your will to Allah (swt).The word Islam is mentioned in several places in the Qur’an and the Hadith including Surah Ali Imran, chapter 3, verse 19 and verse 85.

2. Definition of a Muslim
A Muslim is a person who submits his will to Allah – the Almighty God. The word Muslim is mentioned several times in the Qur’an and Hadith including Surah Ali Imran Chapter 3 Verse 64 and Surah Fussilat Chapter 41 Verse 33.

3. A misconception about Islam
Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion that was formulated 1400 years ago, and that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the founder of Islam. However, let me clarify that Islam is not the name of some unique religion presented for the first time by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who should, on that account be called the founder of Islam.
The Qur’an states that Islam – the complete submission of man before his one and only Unique Creator – is the one and only faith and way of life consistently revealed by God to humankind from the very beginning. Noah, Solomon, David, Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jesus (peace be upon them all) – prophets who appeared at different times and places – all propagated the same faith and conveyed the same message of Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risaalat (Prophethood) and Aakhirah (the Hereafter). 
These prophets of God were not founders of different religions to be named after them. They were each reiterating the message and faith of their predecessors.
However, Muhammad (pbuh) was the last Prophet of God. God revived through him the same genuine faith which had been conveyed by all His Prophets. This original message was earlier corrupted and split into various religions by people of different ages, who indulged in interpolations and admixture. These alien elements were eliminated by God, and Islam – in its pure and original form – was transmitted to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Since there was to be no messenger after Muhammad (pbuh), the Book revealed to him (i.e. the Glorious Qur’an) was preserved word for word so that it should be a source of guidance for all times.
Thus the religion of all the prophets was ‘total submission to God’s will’ and one word for that in the Arabic language is ‘Islam’. Abraham and Jesus (peace be upon them) too were Muslims, as Allah testifies in Al-Qur'an 3:67 and 3:52 respectively.

1. Definition of a Hindu
a. The word ‘Hindu’ has geographical significance and was used originally to refer to those people who lived beyond the river Sindhu or the region watered by the river Indus.
b. Historians say that it was first used by the Persians who came to India through the North Western passes of the Himalayas. 
The word ‘Hindu’ was also used by the Arabs.
c. This word ‘Hindu’ is nowhere mentioned in Indian Literature or Hindu Scriptures before the advent of Muslims to India, according to the Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics (6:690)
d. Jawaharlal Nehru, in his book ‘Discovery of India’, writes on pg. 74-75, that the earliest reference to the word ‘Hindu’ can be traced to a tantrik of the 8th Century C.E., where it means a people and not a follower of a particular religion. The use of the word ‘Hindu’ in connection with a particular religion is of late occurrence.
e. In short the word ‘Hindu’ is a geographical definition or term which is used to refer to people who live beyond the river Indus or in other words to those who live in India.

2. Definition of Hinduism
a. Hinduism has been derived from the word Hindu. According to the New Encyclopedia Britannica 20:581, Hinduism was a name given in English language in the Nineteenth Century by the English people to the multiplicity of the beliefs and faiths of the people of the Indus land. The British writers in 1830 gave the word Hinduism to be used as the common name for all the beliefs of the people of India excluding the Muslims and converted Christians.
b. According to the Hindu Scholars, Hinduism is a misnomer and the religion ‘Hinduism’ should be either referred to as ‘Sanatana Dharma’, which means eternal religion, or as Vedic Dharma, meaning religion of the Vedas. According to Swami Vivekananda, the followers of this religion are referred to as Vendantists.
In the next month’s article in this series, we shall examine the articles of faith in Islam and compare them with the tenets of Hinduism as mentioned in the Hindu Scriptures. We shall also study and compare the concept of God in Islam and in Hinduism.
And all praises are for the One and Only God and Creator Allah, who alone is worthy of devotion, complete submission and worship.

Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an
It is not righteousness 
That ye turn your faces
Towards East or West;
But it is righteousness
To believe in Allah
And the Last Day,
And the Angels,
And the Book,
And the Messengers;
(Al Qur’an 2:177)

Sahih Muslim Vol. 1 Book of Imaan Chapter 2 Hadith 6.
It is reported in Sahih Muslim:“... A man came to the Prophet and said ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Imaan (faith)? He (the prophet) said: ‘That you affirm your faith in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Meeting, His Messengers and that you believe in the Resurrection i.e. Hereafter and that you believe in Qadr i.e. destiny’.
(Sahih Muslim Vol. 1, Book of Imaan, Chapter 2, Hadith 6)

Thus the six articles of faith of Islam are:
i)      Concept of God (The first article of faith in Islam is ‘Tawheed’ i.e. belief in the one Unique Eternal Creator of all creation).
ii)     His angels
iii)    His books
iv)    His messengers
v)     The Hereafter i.e. Life after death and
vi)    Qadr i.e. destiny

Let’s study what Hinduism says about these six articles.

Concept of God in Hinduism and in Islam
Let us examine the concept of God in these two major religions in light of their respective scriptures and study if there are similarities. First we shall discuss the Concept of God in Hinduism.

Concept of God in Hinduism
If you ask some lay persons who are Hindus that how many gods do they believe in, some may say three, some may say thirty-three, some may say a thousand, while some may say thirty-three crores i.e. 330 million. But if you ask this question to a learned Hindu who is well versed with the Hindu Scriptures, he will reply that the Hindus should actually believe and worship only one God.

b.     DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM IS THAT OF ’S (Everything is ‘God’s’ – Everything is ‘God’)
The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim is that while the common Hindu believes in the philosophy of Pantheism, i.e. “everything is God, the Tree is God, the Sun is God, the Moon is God, the Snake is God, the Monkey is God, the Human Being is God”, all Muslims believe that “everything is God’s”.
The Muslims believe that everything is God’s. GOD with an apostrophe’s’. Everything belongs to the one and only unique eternal God. The tree belongs to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, monkey belongs to God, the human being belongs to God.
Thus the major difference between the Hindus and the Muslims is the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says, “everything is GOD”. The Muslim says, “everything is God’s”, GOD with an Apostrophe ‘s’. If we can solve the difference of the Apostrophe ‘s’, the Hindus and the Muslims will be united.
The Glorious Qur’an says
“Come to common terms as between us and you”, Which is the first term? “that we worship none but Allah”
So let’s come to common terms by analyzing the scriptures of the Hindus and of the Muslims.

Upanishads are one of the sacred Scriptures of the Hindus.
i.         Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 6 Section 2 verse 1
It is mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad: 
“Ekam Evadvitiyam”
“He is one only without a second.”
(Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1)
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 447 & 448)
(Sacred Books of the East Volume 1, the Upanishads Part I Page 93)

ii.        Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 6 verse 9 
It is mentioned in the Shwetashvatara Upanishad
“Nacasya kascij janita na cadhipah”
“Of Him there are neither parents nor Lord.”
(Shwetashvatara Upanishad 6:9)
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 745)
(and in Sacred books of the East volume 15, the Upanishads Part II Page 263)

iii.       Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 19
It is mentioned in Shwetashvatara Upanishad 
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him”.
(Shwetashvatara Upanishad 4:19)
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg 736 & 737 )
(and in Sacred books of the East Volume 15, the Upanishads part II, Page no. 253)

iv.     Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 20 
It is mentioned in Shwetashvatara Upanishad
“na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam”.
“His form cannot be seen, no one sees Him with the eye”.
(Shwetashvatara Upanishad 4:20)
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 737)
(And in Sacred books of the East Volume 15, the Upanishad part II, Page no. 253)

The most popular amongst all the Hindu Scriptures is the Bhagwad Geeta.
Bhagwad Geeta mentions
“Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires worship demigods” that is “Those who are materialistic, they worship demigods” i.e. others as deities besides the True God.
(Bhagwad Geeta 7:20)
It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita
“He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginning-less, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds...”
(Bhagwad Geeta 10:3)

Vedas are the most sacred amongst all the Hindu Scriptures. There are principally 4 Vedas: 
Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Sam Ved, and Atharva Ved.

i.  Yajurveda Chapter 32, Verse 3
It is mentioned in Yajurveda
“na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him”
It further says, “as He is unborn, He deserves our worship”.
(Yajurveda 32:3)
(The Yajurveda by Devi Chand M.A. pg. 377)

ii.   Yajurveda Chapter 40 Verse 8
It is mentioned in Yajurveda Chapter 40 verse 8
“He is bodiless and pure”.(Yajurveda 40:8)
(Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph I. H. Griffith pg. 538)

iii.    Yajurved Chapter 40 Verse 9
It is mentioned in Yajurved
“Andhatma pravishanti ye assambhuti mupaste”
“They enter darkness, those who worship natural things.” 
E.g. worship of natural elements air, water, fire, etc.
(Yajurveda 40:9)
It further continues and says
“They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti i.e. created things”
E.g. created things such as table, chair, idols, etc.
(Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Griffith pg. 538)

i.   Atharva Veda book 20 hymn (chapter) 58 verse 3 
It is mentioned  in Atharva Veda
“Dev Maha Osi”
“God is Verily Great.”
(Atharva Veda 20:58:3)
(Atharvaveda Samhita Vol. 2, William Duright Whitney pg. 910)

The oldest and most sacred amongst all the Vedas is the Rigveda.
i.  Rigveda Book no. 1, Hymn No. 164, verse 46
It is mentioned in Rigveda Book no. 1, hymn No. 164 verse 46
“Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti”
“Sages (learned Priests) call one God by many names”.
(Rigveda 1:164:46)
Truth is one, God is one, sages call it by various names.
A similar message is given in Rigveda, Book 10, hymn 114, verse 5.

ii.  Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1
Rigveda gives no less than 33 different attributes to Almighty God. Several of these attributes are mentioned in Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1

a. Brahma  - Creator  - Khaliq – Rigveda Book 2 Hymn 1 Verse 3
Amongst the various attributes given in Rigveda , one of the beautiful attributes for Almighty God is ‘Brahma’. ‘Brahma’ means ‘the Creator’. If you translate into Arabic it means ‘Khaliq’. Islam does not object to anyone calling Almighty God as ‘Khaliq’ or ‘Creator’ or ‘Brahma’, but if someone says that ‘Brahma’ i.e. Almighty God has got  four heads and on each head is a crown and this Brahma has got four hands, Islam takes strong exception to it because such descriptions give an image to Almighty God. Such descriptions are also against what is propounded in Yajurveda Chapter 32, verse 3 which says:
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him”.
(Yajurveda 32:3)

b.      Vishnu – Sustainer - Rabb : Rigveda Book 2, Hymn 1, verse 3
Another beautiful attribute mentioned in the Rigveda Book 2, Hymn 1, Verse 3 is Vishnu. 
‘Vishnu’ means ‘the Sustainer’.  If you translate this word into Arabic it means ‘Rabb’. 
Islam has no objection if anyone calls Almighty God as ‘Rabb’ or ‘Sustainer’ or ‘Vishnu’, but if someone says that Vishnu is Almighty God and this Vishnu has four arms, one of the right arms holds the ‘chakra’ i.e. a discus and one of the left arms holds a ‘conch shell’ and Vishnu rides on a bird or reclines on a snake couch, then Islam takes strong exception to this, because such descriptions of Vishnu give an image to Almighty God. Such descriptions are also against what is taught in Yajurveda Chapter 40 verse 8.

iii. Rigveda Book 8 hymn 1 verse 1
It is mentioned in Rigveda
“Ma Chidanyadvi Shansata”
“Do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One, Praise Him alone”
(Rigveda 8:1:1)
(Rigveda Samhiti Vol. IX, pg. 1 & 2 by Swami Satyaprakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidhya Lankar)

iv.   Rigveda Book 5 Hymn 81 verse 1
It is mentioned in Rigveda
“Verily great is the glory of the Divine Creator”(Rigveda 5:81:1)
(Rigveda Samhiti Vol. 6, pg 1802 & 1803 by Swami Satyaprakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidhya Lanka)

v.  Rigveda Book no. VI, Hymn 45, verse 16
It is mentioned in Rigveda 
“Ya Eka Ittamushtuhi”“Praise Him who is the matchless & alone”.
(Rigveda 6:45:16)
(Hymns of Rigveda by Ralph T. H. Griffith pg. 648)

The Brahma Sutra of Hindu Vedanta is:
‘Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan”
“Bhagwan ek hi hai dusara nahi hai, nahi hai, nahi hai, zara bhi nahi hai”.
“There is only one God, not the second, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit”.
All the above quoted verses and passages from Hindu Scriptures clearly amplify the Oneness and Uniqueness of Almighty God, the Creator of all. Furthermore, they negate the existence of any other deity besides the One True God. These verses essentially propound monotheism.Therefore only if one carefully studies the Hindu Scriptures, will one understand and realize the correct concept of God in Hinduism.

The Qur’an too propounds monotheism. So you will find similarities between Hinduism and Islam even in the concept of God.

(i) Translation
As per Islam, the best and the most concise definition of God is given in Surah Ikhlas of the Glorious Qur’an: 
Say He is Allah, 
The One and Only; 
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; 
He begets not, 
Nor is He begotten; 
And there is none 
Like unto Him.
(Al Qur’an 112:1-4)

The word ‘assamad’ is difficult to translate. It means that absolute existence can be attributed only to Allah, all other existence being temporal or conditional. It also means Allah is not dependant on any person or thing but all persons and things are dependent on Him. 
It is the touch stone of Theology
Surah Ikhlas i.e. Chapter 112 of the Glorious Qur’an is the touchstone of Theology. ‘Theo’ in Greek means God and ‘logy’ means study. Thus ‘Theology’ means study of God and Surah Ikhlas is the touchstone of the study of God.If you want to purchase or sell your gold jewellery, you would first evaluate it. Such an evaluation of gold jewellery is done by a goldsmith with the help of a touchstone. He rubs the gold jewellery on the touch stone and compares its colour with rubbing samples of gold. If it matches with 24 Karat gold he will tell that your jewellery is 24 Karat pure Gold. If it is not high quality pure Gold, he will tell you its value whether 22 Karats, 18 Karats or it may not be gold at all. It may be fake because all that glitters is not gold.
Similarly Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112 of the Qur’an) is the touchstone of theology, which can verify whether the deity that you worship is a true God or a false God. Thus, Surah Ikhlaas is a four-line definition of Almighty God according to the Qur’an. If any one claims to be, or is believed to be Almighty God satisfies this four-line definition, we Muslims will readily accept that deity as God. This Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an, Surah Ikhlas, is the acid test. It is the ‘Furqan’ or the criterion to judge between the one True God and false claimants to divinity. Hence, whichever deity any human on earth worships, if such a deity fulfills the criteria specified in this Chapter of the Qur’an, then this deity is worthy of worship and is the One True God.

Some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh or Osho Rajneesh is Almighty God. Please note my words, I have stated that some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh is Almighty God. Once during a question-answer session there was a Hindu gentleman who misunderstood my statement. He said that Hindus do not worship Rajneesh as God. I am aware that Hinduism does not consider Rajneesh to be God. Rajneesh has followers, who are converts to his philosophy / ideology, but who were originally followers of various different religions.

Let us put this candidate Bhagwan Rajneesh to the test of Divinity as prescribed by Surah Ikhlaas, the touchstone of Divinity.
(i) The First Criterion is ‘Qul hu Allah hu ahad’ –‘say, He is Allah one and only’. 
Is Rajneesh one and only? We know several such fake god-men and claimants of divinity amongst humans. Several are found in our country, India. Rajneesh is surely not one and only. Not as a human and not even as a human claimant to godhood. However, some disciples of Rajneesh may still state that Rajneesh is unique and that he is one and only.
(ii) Let us analyse the second criterion ‘Allah hus samad’– ‘Allah the Absolute & ‘Eternal’. 
Is Rajneesh absolute and eternal? We know from his biography that he was suffering from diabetes, asthama, and chronic backache. He alleged that the U.S.A. government gave him slow poisoning while he was in their jail. Imagine! Almighty God being poisoned! Moreover, all are aware that Rajneesh died and was cremated / buried. So Rajneesh was neither eternal, nor absolute
(iii) The third Criteria is ‘Lam ya lid wa lam yu lad’ – ‘He begets not, nor is begotten’. 
However, Rajneesh was begotten. He was born in Jabalpur in India. Like all humans, he too had a mother and a father. They later on become his disciples.Rajneesh was a very intelligent person. In May 1981 he went to U.S.A. He established a town in Oregon and named it ‘Rajneeshpuram’. It seems that he took America for a ride for the U.S. government arrested him and later deported him out of America in 1985. So Rajneesh returned to India and started a ‘Rajneesh Neosanyas commune in Pune in India which was later renamed the ‘Osho commune’. If you visit this ‘Osho commune’ in Pune you will find it written on his tombstone, “Osho - 
never born, never died, only visited the planet earth between 11th Dec. 1931 to 19th Jan 1990”. They conveniently forget to mention on this tombstone that Rajneesh was not given a visa for 21 different countries of the world. Imagine Almighty God visiting the earth and requiring a visa! The Arch Bishop of Greece had said that if Rajneesh was not deported they would burn his house and those of his disciples.
(iv) The fourth test is so stringent that none besides the One True God, Allah (swt), can  pass it. 
‘Wa lam ya kullahu kufuwan ahad’ which means, ‘there is none like Him’. The moment you can imagine or compare the candidate or claimant to godhood to anything, this candidate is not god. Neither can you have a mental picture of God. We know that Rajneesh was a human being. He had one head, two hands, two feet, and a white flowing beard. The moment you can think or imagine what the claimant to godhood is, he or she is not god.
Suppose someone says, “God is a thousand times as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger”. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the strongest men on earth. He was given the title ‘Mr. Universe’ in (the year). The moment you can compare Almighty God to anything, whether it is a 1000 times stronger or a million times stronger, whether it be Darasingh or Kingkong, the moment you can compare the claimant to godhood to anything, he is not God. ‘Wa lam ya kul lahu kufwan ahad’ ‘there is none like Him.’

To Allah belong the most beautiful names:
(i) The Qur’an mentions in Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 110:
Say: “Call upon Allah, or 
Call upon Rahman; 
By whatever name ye call 
Upon Him, (it is well): 
For to Him belong 
The Most Beautiful Names 
(Al Qur’an 17:110)
You can call Allah by any name but that name should be beautiful and should not conjure up a mental picture. The Qur’an gives no less than 99 different attributes to Almighty God. Some of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Hakeem; Most Gracious, Most Merciful and All Wise. 99 different names / attributes and the crowning one, the hundredth one is Allah. The Qur’an repeats this message that to Allah belong the most beautiful names in:
(i) Surah Al Aaraf Chapter 7 Verse 180 
(ii) In Surah Taha Chapter 20 Verse 8 
(iii) In Surah Al Hashr Chapter 59 Verse 23 & 24

The Muslims prefer calling Allah (swt) with His Name Allah, instead of the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word Allah is pure and unique, unlike the English word God which can be played around with.
If you add ‘s’ to God, it becomes ‘gods’ that is plural of God. Allah is one and singular, there is no plural of Allah. If you add ‘dess’ to God, it becomes ‘goddess’ that is a female God. There is nothing like male Allah or female Allah. Allah has no gender. If you add father to God, it becomes ‘godfather’. “He is my Godfather” means that “he is my guardian”. There is nothing like Allah Abba or Allah father in Islam. If you add mother to God it becomes ‘godmother, there is nothing like Allah Ammi or Allah Mother in Islam. If you put tin before God, it becomes tin god i.e. a fake God, there is nothing like-tin Allah or fake Allah in Islam. Allah is a unique word, which does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with. Hence, the Muslims prefer the name Allah when referring to the Almighty Creator. But sometimes while speaking to non-Muslims we may have to use the inappropriate word God for Allah.
Allah is mentioned by Name in Hindu Scriptures
The Word “Allah”, which refers to Almighty God in Arabic, is also mentioned in
Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1 verse 11 
Rigveda Book 3 hymn 30 verse 10 
Rigveda Book 9 hymn 67 verse 30 
There is an Upanishad by the name ALO Upanishad.

We had earlier stated that as per Islam the best and the most concise definition of God is as given in Surah Ikhlas of the Glorious Qur’an: 
Say He is Allah,
The One and Only; 
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; 
He begets not, 
Nor is He begotten; 
And there is none 
Like unto Him.
(Al Qur’an 112:1-4)

i. Similar Verses in Hindu Scriptues
There are several passages in the Hindu Scriptures, which have the same or similar meaning as Surah Ikhlas.
1. Say: He is Allah, The One and Only. (Al Qur’an 112:1)
It has a meaning which is very similar to: 
“Ekam Evadvitiyam”
“He is only one without a second.” 
(Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1)
2. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. 
He begetteth not, 
Nor is He begotten; 
(Al Qur’an 112:2-3)
It has similar meaning as:
“He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginning-less, as the Supreme Lord of all the Worlds.”
(Bhagvad Gita 10:3) 
“Of (check – or For Him?) Him there is neither parents nor Lord.” (Shwetashvatara Upanishad 6:9)

3. And there is none 
Like unto Him. 
(Al Qur’an 112:4)
A similar message is given in Shwetashvatara Upanishad & Yajurveda: 
“Na Tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him.”
(Shwetashvatara Upanishad 4:19 & Yajurveda 32:3)
Remember, the Brahma Sutra of Hindu Vedanta is:
‘Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan”
“Bhagwan ek hi hai dusara nahi hai, nahi hai, nahi hai, zara bhi nahi hai”. 
“There is only one God, not the second, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit”.