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Answering some of the Major Misconceptions about Islam

Islam is evidently the most discussed religion around the world these days. But this does not mean that people know much about it. Here are some interesting facts about Islam that should help build a positive image of the religion.

The word Islam comes from the Arabic word Saleema which means peace, serenity and submission. A Muslim, a follower of Islam, means a person who submits his will to God. Islam is followed by well over 1.5 billion people on earth. This makes it one of the top three religions alongside Christianity and Judaism. 

According to Islam, Allah is one of the 99 names of God. Muslims believe that there is only one God. He can be called by any of the 99 names. Muslims believe that God is merciful and forgiving. Muslims believe that Jesus was not the son of God but one of the esteemed Prophets of Allah. They believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus was a pure virgin at the time of the birth of Jesus. It is among the basic requirements of Islam to believe that Jesus was the Prophet of Allah and that there over 124,000 prophets of Allah including Adam, Moses, Aaron, Jesus and finally Muhammad.

Islam teaches social norms like equality, justice and charity. In fact, Zakat (charity) is one of the 5 fundamental principles of Islam. Every Muslim having wealth over a predefined threshold is required to pay 2.5% of their assets as charity every year. 

It is an obligation on every Muslim to believe in the unaltered and original Bible, Torah (Gospel of Moses) and all the other books that were revealed to the other prophets of Allah. 

The Quran, the book of Islam is still intact. It has not been altered or modified in any respect. The original Arabic scripture has not been changed and is still in its original form. The Quran was not authored by Muhammad, it was revealed to Muhammad and written down by his companions as Muhammad did not know how to read or write.

The word ‘Jihad’ does not mean Holy war. The term ‘Holy war’ was first used to describe the Christian crusaders who fought in the name of religion. This term has now been wrongly attributed to Islam. Jihad actually means striving to submit one’s will to Allah. It is a misconception that fighting armed wars against non-believers is a primary obligation of Islam, it does not teach to kill non-believers unless they wage a war on Muslims first. 

Forced marriages are not allowed in Islam. People think Islam allows underage marriages of girls to old men. It is a misconception. Islam teaches that Muslims should look for compatible life-partners. 

A Muslim man is allowed to marry at most four women at a time. Women cannot have more than one husband at a time. Islam permits divorce but places more importance on reconciliation. A husband has to divorce his wife three times. A wife can also apply for a divorce in a court but cannot directly divorce the husband.

Islam believes in the day of Judgement and the concept of afterlife. Muslims believe that on the day of judgement all human beings will rise from the dead. They will face punishment or reward for their deeds during their life. They will be sent to heaven or hell based on their deeds.

Thousands of Muslims from around the world gather in Makkah to perform pilgrimage around the Kaaba. Muslims do not worship the Kaaba, they treat it as the Home of Allah.

In present times, some Muslims are disconnected from their religion, so it is inevitable that there will be misinformation about Islam. However it is the duty of every Muslim to clear up wrong perceptions and make sure that the religion is not harmed due to any wrong actions.