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Understanding Al-Islam

This section presents articles that will help the true truth seeker to understand the religion of Al-Islam. Articles discussing the basic tenets of the religion, religious philosophy, and Islamic history as well as articles dispelling common myths, propaganda and deliberate misinformation are also presented. In this open season of outrageous attacks against Al-Islam and Muslims, it is very important that the true truth seeker be able to ascertain truths from falsehood. The articles in this section will help in that process.

Apostasy and the Challenge to Religious Freedom

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[This is the first in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on iftaa and fatwa held in Herndon, VA. These notes are raw material for an edited report I will write on the conference and represents my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. The Minaret of Freedom Institute thanks IIIT for the grant that makes the publication of these notes possible. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone.]

Session 1. Moderator: Yakub Mirza
Paper Presentation by Abdullah Syeed (University of Melbourne, Australia)
“Apostasy and the Challenge to Religious Freedom”

Abdullah Saeed: IIIT has been at the forefront of Islamic thought.  Dr. Alalwani’s conclusions in la iqraha fi-dîn [No Compulsion in Religion] on apostasy, although independently derived, are similar to my own. We need to move away from the classical Islamic position on the death penalty for apostasy to something like the modern position on religious freedom. There is nothing in the Qur’an or the Prophet’s actual practice to support the classical position.

Read more: Apostasy and the Challenge to Religious Freedom

The Prophet of Islam - A Brief Biography

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[Taken from Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (Centre Culturel Islamique, Paris, 1969), with some changes to make it more readable. The changes are marked by pairs of brackets like around this paragraph. Dr. Hamidullah's present address is: 9 Beaver Court, Wilkes Barre PA, 18702, USA.]

1. IN the annals of men, individuals have not been lacking who conspicuously devoted their lives to the socio-religious reform of their connected peoples. We find them in every epoch and in all lands. In India, there lived those who transmitted to the world the Vedas, and there was also the great Gautama Buddha; China had its Confucius; the Avesta was produced in Iran. Babylonia gave to the world one of the greatest reformers, the Prophet Abraham (not to speak of such of his ancestors as Enoch and Noah about whom we have very scanty information). The Jewish people may rightly be proud of a long series of reformers: Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Jesus among others.

2. Two points are to note: Firstly these reformers claimed in general to be the bearers each of a Divine mission, and they left behind them sacred books incorporating codes of life for the guidance of their peoples. Secondly there followed fratricidal wars, and massacres and genocides became the order of the day, causing more or less a complete loss of these Divine messages. As to the books of Abraham, we know them only by the name; and as for the books of Moses, records tell us how they were repeatedly destroyed and only partly restored.

Read more: The Prophet of Islam - A Brief Biography

Golden Rules to Live by from the Holy Quran

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Gender, race, color, lineage etc are no criteria for superiority

O mankind! Lo! We have created you from a male and a female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (49:13)

Be just in all matters, even if it is against your relatives

And approach not the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better, till he reach maturity. Give full measure and full weight, in justice. We task not any soul beyond its scope. And if ye give your word, do justice thereunto, even though it be (against) a kinsman; and fulfill the covenant of Allah. This He commands you that haply ye may remember.(6:152)

Read more: Golden Rules to Live by from the Holy Quran

Brief History of Hadiths

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Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, there is no doubt that, there will be Hadiths coming after me, claiming that I have said things. So you MUST test those Hadiths from the Qur'an. If it is really according to the Qur'an only then accept it, otherwise reject it.[ (Sanan Dar Qatni, Vol-2, Book – Imrani Abee Musa, Matba Farooqi – 513)

The Qur'an is number one. All else is of secondary status and if anything disagrees with the Qur'an it is to be rejected. Let’s look at a brief history of Hadiths. In order to analyze the Hadiths we also need to see Islamic History with open eyes. I hope the following will help those who may not be familiar with that history.

Read more: Brief History of Hadiths

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