As-Salāmu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakathuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you beautiful people

"Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

Monday, 28 July 2008

The True Religion?

Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs. The seekers of truth often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that each and every religion, sect, ideology and philosophy claims to be the one and only correct way for man. Indeed they all encourage people to good. So, which one is right? They cannot all be right since each claims all others to be wrong. Then how does the seeker of truth choose the right way?

God gave us all minds and intellects to enable us to make this crucial decision. It is the most important decision in the life of a human being. Upon it depends his future. Consequently, each and every one of us must examine dispassionately the evidence presented and choose what appears to be right until further evidence arises.

Like every other religion or philosophy, Islam also claims to be the one and only true way to God. In this respect it is no different from other systems. This article intends to provide some evidence for the validity of that claim. However, it must always be kept in mind that one can only determine the true path by putting aside emotions and prejudices, which often blind us to reality. Then, and only then, will we be able to use our God-given intelligence and make a rational and correct decision.

There are several arguments which may be advanced to support Islam's claim to be the true religion of God. The following are only three of the most obvious. The first argument is based on the Divine origin of the names of the religion and the comprehensiveness of its meaning. The second deals with the unique and uncomplicated teachings concerning the relationship between God, man, and creation. The third argument derives from the fact that Islam is universally attainable by all men at all times. These are the three basic components of what logic and reason dictate necessary for a religion to be considered the true religion of God. The following will develop these concepts in some detail.

The Religion's Name

The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word "Islam" itself means. The Arabic word "Islam" means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true God, known in Arabic as "Allah". One who submits his will to God is termed in Arabic a "Muslim". The religion of Islam is not named after a person or people, nor was it decided by a later generation of man, as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ (p), Buddhism after Gautama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, Marxism after Karl Marx, Judaism after the tribe of Judah, and Hinduism after the Hindus. Islam (submission to the will of God) is the religion which was given to Adam (p), the first man and the first prophet of God, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. Further, its name was chosen by God Himself and clearly mentioned in the final scripture which He revealed to man. In the final revelation, called the Qur'an in Arabic, Allah states the following:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and I have chosen for you Islam as you religion." (Qur'an 5:3)

"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him." (Qur'an 3:85)

Hence, Islam does not claim to be a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (p) into Arabia in the seventh century, but rather to be a re-expression in its final form of the true religion of Almighty God, Allah, as it was originally revealed to Adam (p) and subsequent prophets.

At this point we might comment briefly on two other religions that claim to be the true path. Nowhere in the Bible will you find God revealing to Prophet Moses' (p) people or their descendants that their religion is called Judaism, or to the followers of Christ (p) that their religion is called Christianity. In other words, the names "Judaism" and "Christianity" had no divine origin or approval. It was not until long after his departure that the name "Christianity" was given to Jesus' (p) religion.

What, then, was Jesus' (p) religion in actual fact, as distinct from its name? His religion was reflected in his teachings, which he urged his followers to accept as guiding principles in their relationship with God. In Islam, Jesus (p) is a prophet sent by Allah and his Arabic name is Eesa. Like the prophets before him, he called upon the people to surrender their will to the will of God (which is what Islam stands for). For example, in the New Testament, it is stated that Jesus (p) taught his followers to pray to God as follows:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Luke 11:2; Matt. 6:9-10)

This concept was emphasized by Jesus (p) in a number of his statements recorded in the Gospels. He taught, for example, that only those who submitted would inherit Paradise.

Jesus (p) also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God.
"None of those who call me 'Lord' will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)

"I cannot do anything of myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him Who sent me." (John 5:30)

There are many reports in the Gospels which show that Jesus (p) made it clear to his followers that he was not the one true God. For example, when speaking about the final Hour, he said:

"No one knows about the Day or Hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32)

Thus, Jesus (p) like the prophets before him and the one who came after him, taught the religion of Islam: submission to the will of the One true God.

God and Creation

Since the total submission of one's will to God represents the essence of worship, the basic message of God's divine religion, Islam, is the worship of God alone. It also requires the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than God. Since everything other than God, the Creator of all things, is God's creation, it may be said that Islam, in essence, calls man away from worship of creation and invites him to worship only his Creator. He is the only one deserving of man's worship, because it is only by His will that prayers are answered.
Accordingly, if a man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it is not the tree that answered his prayers but God, Who allows the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, "That is obvious"; however, to tree-worshipers, it might not be so. Similarly, prayers to Jesus (p), Buddha, Krishna, St. Christopher, St. Jude, or even to Muhammad (p), are not answered by them, but are answered by God. Jesus (p) did not tell his followers to worship him but to worship God, as the Qur'an states:

"And behold! Allah will say: 'O Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say to men, worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah?'; He will say: 'Glory to you, I could never say what I had no right (to say)'" (Qur'an 5:116)

Nor did Jesus (p) worship himself when he worshiped, but rather he worshiped God. And Jesus (p) was reported in the Gospels to have said:

"It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" (Luke 4:8)

The basic principle is contained in the opening chapter of the Qur'an, known as Surah al-Fatihah, verse 4:

"You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help."

Elsewhere in the final book of revelation, the Qur'an, God also said:

"And your Lord says: 'Call on Me and I will answer your (prayer).'" (Qur'an 40:60)

It is worth emphasizing that the basic message of Islam (namely, the worship of God alone) also proclaims that God and His creation are distinctly different entities. God is neither equal to His creation nor a part of it, nor is His creation equal to Him or a part of Him.

This might seem obvious, but man's worship of creation, instead of the Creator, is to a large degree based on ignorance, or neglect, of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of God is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some parts of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of God's creation and naming it the worship of God. However, the message of Islam, as brought by the prophets of God, is to worship only God and to avoid the worship of His creation either directly or indirectly.

In the Qur'an, God clearly states:

"For We assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet, with the command: Worship Me and avoid false gods." (Qur'an 16:36)

When idol worshipers are questioned as to why they bow down to idols created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually worshiping the stone image, but God Who is present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for God's essence and is not in itself God! One who has accepted the concept of God being present in any way within His creation will be obliged to accept this argument for idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would never agree to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized.

Those who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have often based their claims on the mistaken belief that God is present in man. Taking one step further, they claim that God is more present in them than the rest of us, and that other humans should therefore submit to them and worship them as God in person or as God concentrated within their persons. Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their deaths have found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God's presence in man.

It should be abundantly clear by now that one who has grasped the basic message of Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstance. God's religion, in essence, is a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:

Laa ilaaha illaa Allah" (there is no god but Allah)

The sincere declaration of this phrase and the acceptance of prophethood automatically brings one within the fold of Islam, and sincere belief in it guarrantees one Paradise. Thus, the final Prophet of Islam (p) is reported to have said:

"Any one who says 'There is no god but Allah', and dies holding that (belief) will enter Paradise."

Belief in this declaration of faith requires that one submit his/her will to God in the way taught by the prophets of God. It also requires the believer to give up the worship of false gods.

The Message of False Religions

There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all which claim to be the right way or the only true path to God! How can one determine which one is correct or whether, in fact, all are correct? One method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central object of worship upon which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regard to God: they either claim that all men are gods, or that specific men were God, or that nature is God, or that God is a figment of man's imagination.

Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that God may be worshiped in the form of His creation. False religions invite man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus (p) invited his followers to worship God, but those who claim to be Jesus' followers today call people to worship Jesus (p), claiming that he was God.

Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles in the religion of India. He did not claim to be God, nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and they prostrate themselves to idols made in their perception of his likeness.

By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, we can easily detect false religions and the contrived nature of their origin. As God said in the Qur'an:

"That which you worship besides Him are only names and you and your forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority; the command belongs only to Allah: He has command that you worship Him; that is the right religion, but most men do not understand." (Qur'an 12:40)

It may be argued that all religions teach good things, so why should it matter which one we follow? The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil: the worship of creation.

Creation-worship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of His creation. Man was created to worship God alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Qur'an:

"I have only created jinns and men, that they may worship Me." (Qur'an 51:56)

Consequently, the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an option, but a revealed fact stated by God in His final revelation to man:

"Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He may forgive (sins) less than that for whomsoever He wishes." (Qur'an 4:48,116)

Universality of God's Religion

Since the consequences of following a false religion are so grave, the true religion of God must have been universally understandable and universally attainable in the past and it must continue eternally to be understandable and attainable throughout the entire world. In other words, the true religion of God cannot be confined to any one people, place, or period of time. Nor is it logical that such a religion should impose conditions that have nothing to do with the relationship of man with God, such as baptism, or belief in man as a savior, or an intermediary. Within the central principle of Islam and its definition (the surrender of one's will to God) lie the roots of Islam's universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that God is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to God, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.

Consequently, anyone at any time in the most remote regions of the world can become Muslim, a follower of God's religion, Islam, be merely rejecting the worship of creation and turning to God alone. It should be noted, however, that in order to actually submit to God's will, one must continually choose between right and wrong. Indeed, man is endowed by God with the power not only to distinguish right from wrong but also to choose between them. These God-given powers carry with them an important responsibility, namely, that man is answerable to God for the choices he makes. It follows, then, that man should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. These concepts are expressed in the final revelation as follows:

"Verily, those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians (angel-and-star worshipers) - any of these who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord. They will not be overcome by fear or grief." (Qur'an 2:62)

If, for whatever reason, they fail to accept the final message after it has been clearly explained to them, they will be in grave danger. The last Prophet said:

"Whoever among the Christians and Jews hears of me but does not affirm his belief in what I brought and dies in that state will be among the inhabitants of Hell." (Sahih Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No.284)

Recognition of God

The question which arises here is: How can all people be expected to believe in the one true God, given their varying backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be held responsible for worshipping the one true God, they all need to have access to knowledge of him. The final revelation teaches that all human beings have the recognition of the one true God imprinted on their souls as a part of their very nature with which they are created.

In the seventh chapter of the Qur'an (Al-A'raaf, verses 172-173),God explained that when He created Adam He caused all of Adam's descentants to come into existence and He took a pledge from them saying:

"'Am I not your Lord?' To which they all replied, 'Yes, we testify to it.'"

Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and the only true God worthy of worship. He said:

"That was in case you (mankind) should say on the Day of Resurrection, 'Verily we were unaware of all this.'" (Qur'an 7:172)

That is to say, we cannot claim on that Day that we had no idea that Allah was our God and that no one told us that we were supposed to worship Allah alone. Allah went on to further explain that:

"It was also in case you should say, 'Certainly it was our ancestors who made partners (with Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy us for what those liars did?'" (Qur'an 7:173)

Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in God and an in-born inclination to worship Him alone. This in-born belief and inclination is called in Arabic the "Fitrah".

The Prophet Muhammad reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right religion, but devils made them go astray." The Prophet also said, "Each child is born in a state of Fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian." If the child were left alone, he would worship God in his own way, but all children are affected by the environment. So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has imposed on nature, in the same way his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, if his parents try to make him follow a different path, the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. In such cases, the religion which the child follows is one of custom and upbringing, and God does not hold him to account or punish him for his religion up to a certain stage of his life.

The Signs of God

Throughout people's lives, from childhood until the time they die, signs of the one and only true God are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). God says in the Qur'an:

"We will show them our signs in the furthest regions (of the earth) and in their souls, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth." (Qur'an 41:53)

The following is an example of God revealing by a sign to one man the error of his idol-worship. In the south-eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their man-idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation. The following day a young man entered the hut to pay homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog slunk into the hut. The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift his hind leg and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lord of the Universe. God must be elsewhere, he concluded. As strange as it may seem, the dog urinating on the idol was a sign from God for that young man. This sign contained the divine message that what he was worshiping was false. It liberated him from slavishly following his traditionally learned worship of a false god. As a result, this man was given a choice: either to seek the true God or to continue in the error of his ways.

Allah mentions Prophet Abraham's quest for God as an example of how those who follow His signs will be rightly guided:

"So also did We show Abraham the power and the Laws of the heavens and the earth that he might (with understanding) have certitude.

When the night covered him over, he saw a star. He said: 'This is my Lord.' But when it set, he said: 'I love not those that set.'

When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: 'This is my Lord.' But when the moon set, he said: 'Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.'

When he saw the rising sun in splendor, he said:

'This is my Lord, this is the greatest (of all).' But when the sun set, he said: 'O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.'" (Qur'an 6:75-79)

As was mentioned earlier, prophets have been sent to every nation and tribe to support man's natural belief in God and man's in-born inclination to worship Him, as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by God.

Although much of these prophets' teachings became distorted, portions revealing their God-inspired messages have remained untainted and have served to guide mankind in the choice between right and wrong. The influence of God-inspired messages down through the ages can be seen in the "Ten Commandments" of Judaisn's Torah which were later adopted into Christianity's teachings, as well as in the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies throughout the ancient and modern world.

As a result of God's signs to mankind through the ages combined with His revelation through His prophets, all mankind has been given a chance to recognize the one and only true God.

Consequently, every soul will be held accountable for its belief in God and its acceptance of the true religion of God, namely Islam, which means total submission to the will of Allah.

Conclusion

The preceding presentation has demonstrated that the name of the religion of Islam expresses Islam's most central principle, submission to God, and that the name "Islam" was chosen not by man, but by God, according to the holy scriptures of Islam. It has also been shown that Islam alone teaches the uniqueness of God and His attributes and enjoins the worship of God alone without intermediaries. Finally, due to the divinely instilled inclination of man to worship God and the signs revealed by God throughout the ages to each individual, Islam may be achieved by all men at all times.

In short, the significance of the name Islam (submission to God), is Islam's fundamental acknowledgement of the uniqueness of God and Islam's accessibility to all mankind at all times convincingly support Islam's claim that from the beginning of time in whatever language it was expressed, Islam alone has been and will be the true religion of God.

In conclusion we ask Allah, the Exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided us, and to bestow on us His blessings and mercy, for He is indeed the Most-Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be on Prophet Muhammad and all the prophets of God and their righteous followers.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Symbolism and allegory in the Quran

When studying the Quran, one frequently encounters what may be described as "key­- phrases" - that is to say, statements which provide a clear, concise indication of the idea underlying a particular passage or passages: for instance, the many references to the creation of man "out of dust" and "out of a drop of sperm", pointing to the lowly biological origin of the human species; or the statement in the ninety-ninth surah (Az-Zalzalah) that on Resurrection Day "he who shall have done an atom's weight of good, shall behold it; and he who shall have done an atom's weight of evil, shall behold it" - indicating the inelucctible afterlife consequences of, and the responsibility for, all that man consciously does in this world; or the divine declaration (in 38:27), "We have not created heaven and earth and all that is between them without meaning and purpose (baatilan), as is the surmise of those who are bent on denying the truth."

Instances of such Quranic key-phrases can be quoted almost ad infinitum, and in many varying formulations. But there is one fundamental statement in the Quran which occurs only once, and which may be qualified as "the key-phrase of all its key-phrases": the statement in verse 3:7 to the effect that the Quran "contains messages that are clear in and by themselves (ayat-e-muhkamaat) as well as others that are allegorical (mutashabihaat)". It is this verse which represents, in an absolute sense, a key to the understanding of the Qur'anic message and makes the whole of it accessible to "people who think" (li-qawmin yatafakkarUn).

In my notes on the above-mentioned verse I have tried to elucidate the meaning of the expression ayaat muhkimaat as well as the general purport of what is termed mutashabih ("allegorical" or "symbolic"). Without a proper grasp of what is implied by this latter term, much of the Qur~an is liable to be - and, in fact, has often been - grossly misunderstood both by believers and by such as refuse to believe in its divinely-inspired origin. However, an appreciation of what is meant by "allegory" or "symbolism" in the context of the Quran is, by itself, not enough to make one fully understand its world-view: in order to achieve this we must relate the Quranic use of these terms to a concept touched upon almost at the very beginning of the divine writ - namely, the existence of "a realm which is beyond the reach of human perception" (aI-ghayb). It is this concept that constitutes the basic premise for an understanding of the call of the Quran, and, indeed, of the principle of religion - every religion - as such: for all truly religious cognition arises from and is based on the fact that only a small segment of reality is open to man's perception and imagination, and that by far the larger part of it escapes his comprehension altogether.

However, side by side with this clear-cut metaphysical concept we have a not less clear-cut finding of a psychological nature: namely, the finding that the human mind (in which term we comprise conscious thinking, imagination, dream-life, intuition, memory, etc.) can operate only on the basis of perceptions previously experienced by that very mind either in their entirety or in some of their constituent elements: that is to say, it cannot visualize, or form an idea of, something that lies entirely outside the realm of previously realized experiences. Hence, whenever we arrive at a seemingly "new" mental image or idea, we find, on closer examination, that even if it is new as a composite entity, it is not really new as regards its component elements, for these are invariably derived from previous - and sometimes quite disparate - mental experiences which are now but brought together in a new combination or series of new combinations.

Now as soon as we realize that the human mind cannot operate otherwise than on the basis of previous experiences - that is to say, on the basis of apperceptions and cognitions already recorded in that mind - we are faced by a weighty question: Since the metaphysical ideas of religion relate, by virtue of their nature, to a realm beyond the reach of human perception or experience - how can they be successfully conveyed too us? How can we he expected to grasp ideas which have no counterpart, not even a fractional one, in any of the apperceptions which we have arrived at empirically?

The answer is self-evident: By means of loan-images derived from our actual - physical or mental - experiences; or, as Zamakhshari phrases it in his commentary on 13:35, "through a parabolic illustration, by means of something which we know from our experience, of something that is beyond the reach of our perception" (tamtheelan li-ma ghaaba anna bi-ma nushaahid). And this is the innermost purport of the term and concept of al-mutashaabihaat as used in the Quran.

Thus, the Qur~an tells us clearly that many of its passages and expressions must be understood in an allegorical sense for the simple reason that, being intended for human understanding, they could not have been conveyed to us in any other way.. It follows, therefore, that if we were to take every Quranic passage, statement or expression in its outward, literal sense and disregard the possibility of its being an allegory, a metaphor or a parable, we would be offending against the very spirit of the divine writ.

Consider, for instance, some of the Quranic references to God's Being - Being indefinable, infinite in time and space, and utterly beyond any creature's comprehension. Far from being able to imagine Him, we can only realize what He is not: namely, not limited in either time or space, not definable in terms of comparison, and not to be comprised within any category of human thought. Hence, only very generalized metaphors can convey to us, though most inadequately, the idea of His existence and activity.

And so, when the Quran speaks of Him as being "in the heavens" or "established on His throne (al-arsh)", we cannot possibly take these phrases in their literal senses, since then they would imply, however vaguely, that God is limited in space: and since such a limitation would contradict the concept of an Infinite Being, we know immediately, without the least doubt that the "heavens" and the "throne" and God's being "established" on it are but linguistic vehicles meant to convey an idea which is outside all human experience, namely, the idea of God's almightiness and absolute sway over all that exists. Similarly, whenever He is described as "all-seeing", "all-hearing" or "all-aware", we know that these descriptions have nothing to do with the phenomena of physical seeing or hearing hut simply circumscribe, in terms understandable to man, the fact of God's eternal Presence in all that is or happens. And since "no human vision can encompass Him" (Quran 6:103), man is not expected to realize His existence otherwise than through observing the effects of His unceasing activity within and upon the universe created by Him.

But whereas our belief in God's existence does not - and, indeed, could not - depend on our grasping the unfathomable "how" of His Being, the same is not the case with problems connected with man's own existence, and, in particular, with the idea of a life in the hereafter: for, man's psyche is so constituted that it cannot accept any proposition relating to himself without being given a clear exposition of its purport.

The Quran tells us that man's life in this world is but the first stage - a very short stage - of a life that continues beyond the hiatus called "death" ; and the same Quran stresses again and again the principle of man's moral responsibility for all his conscious actions and his behaviour, and of the continuation of this responsibility, in the shape of inescapable consequences, good or bad, in a person's life in the hereafter. But how could man be made to understand the nature of these consequences and, thus, of the quality of the life that awaits him'? - for, obviously, inasmuch as man's resurrection will be the result of what the Quran describes as "a new act of creation", the life that will follow upon it must be entirely different from anything that man can and does experience in this world.

This being so, it is not enough for man to be told, "If you behave righteously in this world, you will attain to happiness in the life to come" , or, alternatively, "If you do wrong in this world, you will suffer for it in the hereafter". Such statements would be far too general and abstract to appeal to man's imagination and, thus, to influence his behaviour. What is needed is a more direct appeal to the intellect, resulting in a kind of "visualization" of the consequences of one's conscious acts and omissions: and such an appeal can be effectively produced by means of metaphors, allegories and parables, each of them stressing, on the one hand, the absolute dissimilarity of all that man will experience after resurrection from whatever he did or could experience in this world; and, on the other hand, establishing means of comparison between these two categories of experience.

Thus, explaining the reference to the bliss of paradise in 32:17, the Prophet indicated the essential difference between man's life in this world and in the hereafter in these words: "God says, 'I have readied for My righteous servants what no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard, and no heart of man has ever conceived"' (Bukhãri, Muslim, Tirmidhi). On the other hand, in 2:25 the Quran speaks thus of the blessed in paradise: "Whenever they are granted fruits therefrom as their appointed sustenance, they will say, 'It is this that in days of yore was granted to us as our sustenance' - for they shall be given something which will recall that

[past]": and so we have the image of gardens through which running waters flow, blissful shade, spouses of indescribable beauty, and many other delights infinitely varied and unending, and yet somehow comparable to what may be conceived of as most delightful in this world.

However, this possibility of an intellectual comparison between the two stages of human existence is to a large extent limited by the fact that all our thinking and imagining is indissolubly connected with the concepts of finite time and finite space: in other words, we cannot imagine infinity in either time or space - and therefore cannot imagine a state of existence independent of time and space - or, as the Qur'~n phrases it with reference to a state of happiness in afterlife, "a paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth" (3:133): which expression is the Qur'anic synonym for the entire created universe. On the other hand, we know that every Qur'anic statement is directed to man's reason and must, therefore, be comprehensible either in its literal sense (as in the case of the dyãt muhkamdt) or allegorically (as in the ayat-e-mutashaabihaat); and since, owing to the constitution of the human mind, neither infinity nor eternity are comprehensible to us, it follows that the reference to the infinite "vastness" of paradise cannot relate to anything but the intensity of sensation which it will offer to the blest.

By obvious analogy, the principle of a "comparison through allegory" applied in the Qur~ãn to all references to paradise - i.e., a state of unimaginable happiness in afterlife - must be extended to all descriptions of otherworldly suffering - i.e., hell - in respect of its utter dissimilarity from all earthly experiences as well as its unmeasurable intensity. In both cases the descriptive method of the Qur'ãn is the same. We are told, as it

were: "Imagine the most joyous sensations, bodily as well as emotional, accessible to man: indescribable beauty, love physical and spiritual, conscious­ness of fulfilment, perfect peace and harmony; and imagine these sensations intensified beyond anything imaginable in this world - and at the same time entirely different from anything imaginable: and you have an inkling, however vague, of what is meant by 'paradise'." And, on the other

hand: "Imagine the greatest suffering, bodily as well as spiritual, which man may experience: burning by fire, utter loneliness and bitter desolation, the torment of unceasing frustration, a condition of neither living nor dying; and imagine this pain, this darkness and this despair intensified beyond anything imaginable in this world - and at the same time entirely different from anything imaginable: and you will know, however vaguely, what is meant by 'hell'."

Side by side with these allegories relating to man's life after death we find in the Qur'ãn many symbolical expressions referring to the evidence of God's activity. Owing to the limitations of human language - which, in their turn, arise from the inborn limitations of the human mind - this activity can only be circumscribed and never really described. Just as it is impossible for us to imagine or define God's Being, so the true nature of His creativeness - and, therefore, of His plan of creation - must remain beyond our grasp. But since the Quran aims at conveying to us an ethical teaching based, precisely, on the concept of God's purposeful creativeness, the latter must be, as it were, "translated" into categories of thought accessible to man. Hence the use of expressions which at first sight have an almost anthropomorphic hue, for instance, God's "wrath" (ghadab) or "condemnation"; His "pleasure" at good deeds or "love" for His creatures; or His being "oblivious" of a sinner who was oblivious of Him; or "asking" a wrongdoer on Resurrection Day about his wrongdoing; and so forth. All such verbal "translations" of God's activity into human terminology are unavoidable as long as we are expected to conform to ethical principles revealed to us by means of a human language; but there can be no greater mistake than to think that these "translations" could ever enable us to define the Undefinable.

And, as the Quran makes it clear in the seventh verse 3:7, only "those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the divine writ which has been expressed in allegory, seeking out [what is bound to create] confusion, and seeking [to arrive at] its final meaning [in an arbitrary manner]: but none save God knows its final meaning."

When you see those allegorical verses, you should refer them to the clear and lucid verses to get the proper interpretation. Those who are sick and perverse do not go back to the clear and lucid verses, rather they make their own arbitrary interpretations instead. The Qur'an should be explained through the Qur'an itself and through the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It should not be interpreted according to one's own wishes and desires in an arbitrary manner.

It is correct that the full and the absolute meaning of the Qur'an is to know Allah the Almighty. That is why all great scholars after explaining the Qur'an used to say, "Allahu a`lam" (Allah knows best). However, this does not mean that there are verses in the Qur'an whose meanings are known to Allah alone and human beings cannot know anything of their meaning. As God clearly states in the Quran, he will not place a burden on you that you cannot bear.

We should try to do our best to know the meaning of the Qur'an. The more we try the more we shall understand the depth and profoundness of the Book of Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: "The wonders of this Book shall never be exhausted." (At-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Vol. 4.) Those who are firmly established in knowledge know the meaning of this Book and we should refer to them and learn from them the proper method of understanding the Qur'an. Those are the people who say that all of this Book is from our Lord and the people of wisdom take lessons from this Book.”

Allegation that Islam allows the rape of infidels

Firstly i want to tell the reader that only non-muslim prisoners of war could become slaves in islam (therefore slavery was doomed to disappear with the expansion of Islam). It’s important to know that slaves in islam had the same right to respect and good treatment like any other human being.

I shall show the reader that the raping of female slaves is forbidden in islam, rather islam gave men the permission to have sexual intercourse with their slave-girl and this did certainly not mean that muslim men could rape their female slaves (female prisoners of war ), since Allah swt and the prophet (saw) command muslim men to treat their slave girls well and with respect and dignity. The next quotations from the authentic hadith proof that the raping of female slaves is forbidden in islam:

Related by Al-Daraqutni, Ibn Majah and Ahmad:

“The Prophet said, “There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or others".

‘Others’ includes all people, so also slavegirls ! Raping a slavegirl is clearly doing her harm (emotional and physical) which would be a big sin for a muslim to commit and violation of the above hadith. Moreover the prophet (peace be upon him) commanded muslims to treat their slaves well and with respect, which clearly proofs that rape of female slaves is forbidden in islam. The prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Your servants and your slaves are your brothers. Anyone who has slaves should give them from what he eats and wears. He should not charge them with work beyond their capabilities. If you must set them to hard work, in any case I advise you to help them.

Source: Bukhari, Iman, 22; Adab, 44; Muslim, Iman, 38–40; Abu Dawud, Adab, 124

Ali reported that the last words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were: "The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves ! "

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 158.

· Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised that slaves should be well-treated. He said, 'Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear. Do not punish what Allah has created.' "

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 188.

· Sallam ibn 'Amr reported from one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Your slaves are your brothers, so treat him well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them."

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 190.

· Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The slave has his food and clothing. Do not burden a slave with work which he is incapable of doing."

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 192.

Not one of you should [ when introducing someone ] say ‘This is my slave’ , ‘This is my concubine’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’.

Source: Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2 ,4

For this reason ‘Umar and his servant took it in turns to ride on the camel from Madina to Jerusalem on their journey to take control of Masjid al-Aqsa. While he was the head of the state, ‘Uthman had his servant pull his own ears in front of the people since he had pulled his. Abu Dharr, applying the hadith literally, made his servant wear one half of his suit while he himself wore the other half. From these instances, it was being demonstrated to succeeding generations of Muslims, and a pattern of conduct established, that a slave is fully a human being, not different from other people in his need for respect and dignity and justice.

"The masters were obliged not to put slaves under hardship; slaves were not to be tortured, abused or treated unjustly. They could marry among “themselves with their master's permission - or with free men or women ! They could appear as witnesses and participate with free men in all “affairs. Many of them were appointed as governors, commanders of army and administrators. In the eyes of Islam, a pious slave has precedence over “an impious free man." Source: Al-Tabataba'i, Tafsir ( vol.16, pp. 338-358 )

The Prophet, upon him peace, had stipulated in his "last pilgrimage" speech:

"And your slaves ! see that you feed them such food as you eat yourselves and dress them what you yourself wear. And if they commit a “mistake which you are not inclined to forgive then sell them, for they are the servants of Allah and are not to be tormented! "

Source: Ibn Sa'd, op. cit., vol. II:1, p. 133

And again in another hadith the prophet (saw) makes clear that rape of female slaves is forbidden, The prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever causes harm to others subjects himself to harm caused by God.”

Source: Related by Ibn Majah and Abu Dawood on the authority of Abu Sirmah.

“You must refrain from dealing wickedly with others, for that would count as a benefaction you do to yourself”.

Source: Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Tharr.

‘Others’ includes all people, so also slavegirls ! Raping a slavegirl is clearly doing her harm (emotional and physical) which would be a big sin for a muslim to commit and violation of the above hadith. Allah swt also commands in the Qur’an muslims to treat their slaves (female slaves) kindly:

"Serve God, and join not any partners with Him ; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours “who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the way-farer (ye meet), And what your right hands possess : for God loveth not the arrogant, the “vainglorious" Surah An Nisa, verse 36

The phrase "What your right hands possess" refers to one’s slaves (male and female). Allah swt ordains the kind treatment of slaves in the same verse where He commands man to worship Him and to treat his parents, relations and neighbours generously, and this signifies the importance of this ruling.

Can a Muslim man rape his slave woman?

Below are three English translations to the Noble Verse where Allah Almighty commands the Muslim men to not force their slave women into sex.

The following translations were taken from http://mama.stg.brown.edu/webs/quran_browser/pqeasy.shtml

Translation: Yusufali:
"Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

Translation: Pickthall:
"And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

Translation: Shakir:
"And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, when they desire to keep chaste, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

In all three translations, we clearly see that if the slave woman desires to keep chaste, then her Muslim master must not compel her into sex. It might sound odd to us today, but pagans back then were used to having sex with and raping their slave girls, even the ones who were married:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: "Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: "But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity). (24:33)" (Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud, Divorce (Kitab Al-Talaq), Book 12, Number 2304)"

In Islam, men are not allowed to rape their slave-girls. Allah Almighty clearly prohibited it in Noble Verse 24:33. In Islam, slavery is also not allowed. Please visit The liberation of slaves in Islam, to see how Islam gradually ended the Judeo-Christian and pagan slavery.

I was told by a Muslim scholar before along time ago that the Arab pagans used to sometimes offer their wives for several nights to the rich and powerful men in the tribe to win their support and make them become more secured in the monopolizing and unmerciful pagan society.

So to women back then, it was something normal for a married slave woman to sleep with her master. It was something normal in the society at that time.

Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran not only allows for the slave man or woman to earn their freedom from their Muslim master, and receive money from their Muslim master to help them start their free life, but also commands the Muslim men to not compel their slave women into sex.

Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him also said:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: "The Prophet said, "Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom)." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)"

Islam came to liberate all slaves and to end the Judeo-Christian and Pagan slavery that was practiced before Islam. When Allah Almighty made lawful for the Muslim men to have sex with their slave women, He did it to keep the Islamic society back then during Islam's weak, partial and venerable times under control.

Also, if any compulsion was made unto the slave woman, then Allah Almighty will add more mercy and forgiveness unto her in the Day of Judgement. Below is the commentary on this exact section and point in Noble Verse 24:33 by Minister (Sheikh) Abdullah Yusuf Ali; may Allah Almighty rest his soul:

"The poor unfortunate girls, who are victims of such a nefarious trade (i.e., slave trade), will yet find mercy from Allah, whose bounties extend to the lowest of His creatures." [2]

There are other Noble Verses in the Noble Quran where Allah Almighty grants forgiveness and mercy to those who had been forced into illegal things:

"He hath only forbidden you Dead meat, and blood, And the flesh of swine, And that on which Any other name hath been invoked Besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, Without willful disobedience, Nor transgressing due limits -- Then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 2:173)"

"Why should ye not Eat of (meats) on which Allah's name hath been Pronounced, when He hath Explained to you in detail What is forbidden to you -- Except under compulsion Of necessity? But many do mislead (men) By their appetites unchecked By knowledge. Thy Lord Knoweth best those who transgress. (The Noble Quran, 6:119)"

So the answer to the question is: No, the Muslim man can not rape his slave woman according to the commands of Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran.

Status of Slave Women in Islam

When Islam was reveled to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), slavery was a worldwide common social phenomenon; it was much older than Islam. Slavery was deeply rooted in every society to the extent that it was impossible to imagine a civilized society without slaves.

In spite of this social fact, Islam was the first religion to recognize slavery as a social illness that needed to be addressed. Since slavery was deeply rooted in the society, Islam did not abolish it at once. Rather, Islam treated slavery in the same manner it treated other social illnesses. Islam followed the same methodology of gradual elimination in dealing with this social disease as it did with other social illnesses, for example: the prohibition of alcohol in three steps.

Concerning having slave women, we would like to let you know that it happens to be a practice necessitated by the condition in which early Muslims found themselves vis-a-vis non-Muslims, as both parties engaged in wars. Slave women or milk al-yameen are referred to in the Qur'an as “Those whom your right hand possess” or “ma malakat aymanukum”; they are those taken as captives during conquests and subsequently became slaves, or those who were descendants of slaves.

Thus, it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with Muslims.

But as it aimed at putting an end to such issue, Islam laid down rules which would eventually lead to eradicating the practice. So it allowed Muslims to have intercourse with slave women taken as captives of just and legitimate wars. In so doing, the woman would automatically become free if she got pregnant. What's more, her child would also become free.

Not only that, Islam also ordered a Muslim to treat the slave woman in every respect as if she were his wife. She should be well fed, clothed and given due protection. In the family environment, she had the opportunity to learn about Islam and was free to accept it or reject it. She also had the opportunity to earn her freedom for she could be ransomed.

In the light of the above-mentioned facts, and the nature of the question posed by people, it's clear that some people misunderstand the wisdom behind the permissibility of having female slaves and think that it is meant to unleash men’s desires and give them more enjoyment. Never ! That is not the point ! It is, rather, means of freeing slaves; and this is clarified above in the fact that if a master got a female slave pregnant, then he could neither sell her nor give her away as a present. And if he died, she would not be considered part of his property. She'd receive her freedom and her baby would also be free.

But, we have to stress that this case should not be confused with that of female servants or maids, for they are free and not slaves. Therefore, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with them except through an Islamic marriage.

Slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam, as it has called for centuries ago. As for marrying slaves, it is something permissible under two conditions: first, if one is unable to pay the dowry of a free woman. Second, if there is fear of committing adultery if one doesn’t get married. This is clarified by the following verse:

“And whose is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. This is “for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you.” (An-Nisaa’: 25)

This verse shows that Muslim men should abstain from illicit relations and seek enjoyment through marriage to free women or through their female slaves. In conclusion, Allah has forbidden certain types of behavior and permitted other kinds of behavior as a safeguard to the individual and to the society. Allah has forbidden fornication and adultery. However, in the case of captives whom your right hands posses, it's something necessitated by the special circumstances which were created when the Muslims were at war.”


What about the female slaves who were married ?

Mufti Ebrahim Desai in his fatwa comments:

After their return to Islamic territory. Each soldier was then entitled to have relations only with the slave girl over which he was given the right of ownership and not with those slave girls that were not in his possession. This right of ownership was given to him by the “Ameerul-Mu'mineen” (Head of the Islamic state.) Due to this right of ownership, It became lawful for the owner of a slave girl to have intercourse with her ( which doesn’t mean that he can rape her, since doing harm to female slaves and rape in general is strict forbidden in islam, see the hadith quoted in my previous sections in this article as proof ).

If a slave woman was married previously in enemy territory to a non-Muslim, and is then captured alone, i.e. without her husband, it is not permissible for any Muslim to have relations with her until her previous marriage is nullified, and that is done by bringing her to an Islamic country and making her the legal possession of a Muslim. Bringing her into Islamic territory necessitates the rendering of her previous marriage as null and void by Islamic law because with her husband in enemy territory and she in Islamic territory, it becomes virtually impossible for them to meet and live as man and wife. That is why it is not permissible to have intercourse with a woman whose husband is also taken into captivity and put into slavery with her. Another resemblance between the two is that, just as a divorcee has to spend a period called "Iddat" before another man is allowed to marry her, similarly, a slave woman has to spend a period called "Istibraa" before her owner can have coition with her.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) enjoined his followers to treat the slaves kindly, gently, and, above all, to regard them as members of the family. In this way, they were made to feel wanted; which was far better than treating them as outcasts and leaving them to wander the streets of a strange society in a peniless, destitute condition. Such treatment would have ultimately forced them to take up evil occupations such as prostitution in the case of slave woman in order to fill their hungry stomachs. The First World War in 1914 was a clear reflection of the evils involved in setting captive women free to roars about in a strange society with strange surroundings. During that war, German and English women prisoners on either side were set free to roam the streets with no-one to feed them. The result was obvious that they resorted to other unrefined and uncivilised methods of income on the streets. Thus, it is evident that the Islamic treatment of women prisoners of war was conducive towards better social relations and led to the refinement of their overall social lives.

Over and above all this, History will show that Islam did not encourage slavery but rather encouraged moves towards the extirpation of slavery. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said something to this effect in a Hadith, that: "Whosoever freed a Muslim slave, the Lord would redeem all his limbs - in compensation for each limb of the slave, so much so that the private parts for the private parts - from the Fire of Hell. If a slave woman becomes pregnant from her owner, and delivers his child, she automatically gets her freedom after the death of her master whose child she gave birth to.

Moreover, there are many wrongs and sins for which the liberation of a slave serves as a compensation and atonement. This was a further incentive for the extirpation of slavery. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam also taught that whosoever teaches good manners to his slave girl, adorns her with politeness and good education, then frees her and gets married to her, for him there is double recompense and reward. These encouraging teachings served as incentives towards the emancipation of slaves and slaves were liberated by the thousands.

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam himself freed 63 slaves,

Hazrat Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu freed 63,

Hazrat Abdur-Rahman bin Auf Radhiallahu Anhu 30,000;

Hazrat Hakim bin Huzam Radhiallahu Anhu 100;

Hazrat Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu 70;

Hazrat Ayesha Radhiallahu Anha 69;

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar Radhiallahu Anhu 100;

Hazrat Uthman Radhiallahu Anhu used to free one slave every Friday and he would say that he would free any slave who performed his prayers-with humility.

Hazrat Zul-Kilah Radhiallahu Anhu freed 8,000 slaves in a single day.

Hazrat Umar Radhiallahu Anhu passed certain laws during his Khilafat which led to the emancipation of thousands of slaves, and to the prevention of certain specific forms of slavery. Some of the edicts that he issued:


1. All the apostate tribes that were enslaved during the Khilaafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu were to be freed.

2. A Zimmi (protected non-Muslim subject of an Islamic state) should not be enslaved.

3. Arabs will not be enslaved.

4. Those who had been enslaved during the days of ignorance (prior to the advent of Islam) and had lived to witness the Islamic era, should redeem themselves from slavery by paying their costs (their value) to their owners whether they were willing or not.

As a result of all these laws, there came a time when slavery was totally extirpated. But of course, this extirpation came about after a gradual process because that was the only safe and expedient way of tackling the problem.

Islam restored dignity to slaves and enhanced their social status

Guardianship: A father or grandfather had absolute authority over his offspring. He could sell or gift him or her away; could lend him or her to someone else, or exchange him or her with another's son or daughter.

When Islam came on the scene, it nullified and negated the last two factors completely. No ruler or progenitor was allowed to treat his subjects or offspring as his slaves. Every individual was bestowed with well-defined rights; the ruler and the ruled, the progenitor and the offspring had to live within the limits prescribed by religion; no one could transgress those limits.

And it drastically restricted the first cause, i.e., war, by allowing enslavement only in a war fought against unbelieving enemy. In no other way could anyone be enslaved. At the same time, Islam raised the status of slavery to that of a free man; and opened many ways for their emancipation

Source: al-Tabataba'i, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn, al-Mizan fi Tafsir'l Qur'an, vol.16, 2nd ed. (Beirut, 1390/1971), pp. 338-358.

Islam restored dignity to slaves and enhanced their social status. It made no distinction between a slave or a free man, and all were treated with equality. It was this fact that always attracted slaves to Islam. It is painful to see that those who never cease to be vociferous in their unjust criticism of Islam should take no notice of this principle of equality, when even in this enlightened age there are countries where laws are made discriminating against the vast majority of population, to keep them in practical servitude.

Islam recognises no distinction of race or colour, black or white, citizens or soldiers, rulers or subjects; they are perfectly equal, not in theory only, but in practice. The first mu'azzin (herald of the prayer call) of Islam, a devoted adherent of the Prophet and an esteemed disciple, was a Negro slave. The Qur'an lays down the measure of superiority in verse thirteen of chapter forty-nine. It is addressed to mankind, the whole human race, and preaches the natural brotherhood of man without distinction of tribe, clan, gender, race or colour. It says:

“O you men! We have created you of a male and a female, and then We made you (into different) races and tribes so that you may know (and “recognise) each other. Surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one who is most pious among you; surely Allah is All-Knowing and “Aware.” The Qur'an 49:13

This verse makes clear the view point of Islam as regards human life on earth. It lays down only one criterion of superiority or honour and that is piety, which means complete obedience to the will of God. It annihilates all man-made and artificial distinctions of race, gender and colour which we find all over the world even now (this verse proofs my case even more: ‘ that it is strict forbidden in islam to rape female slaves’ , since rape is clearly forbidden in islam, since slaves in islam have the same position and status to allah as other human beings, it is clear that therefor rape of female slaves is strict forbidden, since rape of a free women is also strict forbidden, this verse proofs that a slave woman and a free woman have the same postion to allah swt and status as human beings in islam, therefor the raping of female slaves is strict forbidden in islam just as it is strict forbidden in islam to rape a free woman ). To explain the qualities of piety, let us note what Allah says:

“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah, the Last Day, “the angels, the Book and the Prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the “beggars and to those in bondage and keep up prayers, pay the poor-rate; and those who fulfil their promise and the patient ones in distress and “affliction and in the time of war - these are they who are the truthful and these are they who are pious.” The Qur'an 2:177

This verse clearly shows that by itself there is no specific virtue in turning towards any particular direction for prayer. (The unity of the Qiblah indicates the unity of faith which leads to spiritual unity and culminates in physical harmony.) The belief and practice enjoined in the verse are the real virtues, and apart from being ordered by God, they appeal to human reasoning. Please mark that "to give away wealth out of love for God to...those in bondage" is one of them.


The Non-Muslim Perspective:

On the attitude of Muslim master with his slaves, Will Durant says,

"...he handled them with a genial humanity that made their lot no worse - perhaps better, as more secure - than that of a factory worker in nineteenth-century Europe."

Source: Hurgronje C., Mohammedanism, (N.Y., 1916), p. 128 as quoted by W. Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. IV (N.Y., 1950), p. 209.

At the end of the 18th century, Mouradgea d'Ohsson (a main source of information for the Western writers on the Ottoman empire) declared:

"There is perhaps no nation where the captives, the slaves, the very toilers in the galleys are better provided for or treated with more kindness than among the Muhammedans."

Source: As quoted in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol.I, p. 35.

P. L Riviere writes:

"A master was enjoined to make his slave share the bounties he received from God. It must be recognised that, in this respect, the Islamic teaching acknowledged such a respect for human personality and showed a sense of equality which is searched for in vain in ancient civilization"

Source: Riviere P.L., Revue Bleaue (June 1939).

And not only in ancient civilisations; even in the modern Christian civilisation the ingrained belief of racial supremacy is still manifesting itself every day. A. J. Toynbee says in Civilization on Trial:

"The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue..." Then he comments that "in this perilous matter of race feeling it can hardly be denied that (the triumph of English-speaking peoples) has been a misfortune."

Source: Toynbee, A.J., Civilization on Trial (New York, 1948), p. 205.

Napoleon Bonaparte is recorded as saying about the condition of slaves in Muslim countries:

"The slave inherits his master's property and marries his daughter. The majority of the Pashas had been slaves. Many of the grand viziers, all the Mamelukes, Ali Ben Mourad Beg, had been slaves. They began their lives by performing the most menial services in the houses of their masters and were subsequently raised in status for their merit or by favour. In the West, on the contrary, the slave has always been below the position of the domestic servants; he occupies the lowest rug. The Romans emancipated their slaves, but the emancipated were never considered as equal to the free-born. The ideas of the East and West are so different that it took a long time to make the Egyptians understand that all the army was not composed of slaves belonging to the Sultan al-Kabir."

Source: Cherfils, Bonaparte et l'Islam (Paris, 1914)

Annemarie Schimmel writes:

"The entire history of Islam proves that slaves could occupy any office, and many former military slaves, usually recruited from among the Central Asian Turks, became military leaders and often even rulers as in eastern Iran, India (the Slave Dynasty of Delhi), and medieval Egypt (the Mamluks). “

Source: "Islam: An Introduction", p. 67

Islam totally objects and fights all forms of slavery. The focus of Islam in all its teachings and rites was to eradicate this prevailing practice. Now, slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and this goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam.

-Dr. Taha Jaber Al-`Alwani, President of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences and President of the Fiqh Council, states the following:

When Allah created human beings, He created them to be free and to be vicegerents on the earth. Slavery is something that came from people who couldn’t understand the position of the human being and it was made, in the past, as a global phenomenon.

When Islam came, it tried to bring change to get the human being back to being free, as Allah has created us, by certain procedures. Those procedures of Islam went through without interference from the other nations or states who are non-Muslim states or nations. Maybe within the third century of Hijrah or the migration of the Prophet to Madinah, this phenomenon would have been over and disappeared. But as I mentioned, because it was a global phenomenon, that procedure which was established by Islam couldn’t go through and finish with this very bad phenomenon.

Now, al-hamdulillah all people have agreed to stop this phenomenon and stand up against it. With this, there is no way to go back to adopt this phenomenon again in any way, especially for Muslims, since they must protect the freedom of others and always be with their rights to be free servants of Allah only. We should remember when the Caliph `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said in a famous khutbah (Speech or sermon) of his,

“ When did you make the people as slaves or servants of you while Allah, the Almighty, created them free”

This means that the Muslims from the very beginning advocated the freedom of all human beings and were against the oppression of free people by tyrants and dictator leaders.

Having clarified the above, we would like to states that it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with them.

Slavery was a universal law in the Arab culture, Persian, Indian, and Roman civilizations. It was not Islam that introduced slavery. Islam came when slavery was practiced widely. It was not suitable to ban slavery at once. Islam, however, tried to drain the source of slavery and close its gate gradually.

After the advent of Islam, slaves were given better treatment. All their human rights were safeguarded. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded proper treatment for slaves, that they should be fed from what other Muslims eat, be clothed from what other Muslims wear, and be not asked to do work beyond their ability unless they're helped.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also forbade Muslims to slap their slaves. One time he summoned a man who had beaten his slave and said to him:

"Remember, you have power over him, but Allah the Almighty has power over you. Imagine you were in his situation, how would you like to be treated ? .The man felt sorry for what he had done, and he released the slave. Upon this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "If you didn't do .that, you would be punished by Allah on the Day of Judgment."

This is how Islam honors the rights of slaves after they used to be tortured and persecuted.

Coming to the issue of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he never had a slave. The first slave that was given to him by his wife Khadija was Zayd Ibn Haritha whom the Prophet adopted as his son and called him after his name (that was before adoption was declared forbidden in Islam), but later on called him after his father.

As for his wives, there is difference among scholars whether Mariya of Egypt, who was also given as a gift to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), was a slave or not. Even if we agree that she was a slave, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) married her, and she embraced Islam and became one of the Mothers of the Faithful (ummahat-il-mu'mineen).

Anyway, this question is not now a living question. Slavery has been banned by all international laws. It is against human rights. We Muslims honor human rights and we cannot enslave people while they were created free by Allah the Almighty. Slavery is neither legal nor Islamic to practice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, "The worst sin is to capture a free person and take him as a slave."

Allegation that people are killed for leaving Islam

For the attention of non-muslims.

If someone wants to leave Islam, they get killed. YES or NO??


Regarding the apostasy issue, its not as simple as a YES or NO. Its not as black an white as that, regardless of how people may invisage it.

You believe in freedom of expression and free speech an all that, fair dos. People believe in different things. You cant force us to follow what you believe and i cant force you to believe what i believe. We believe in God and feel everything should be done according to his law, which is contained in his final revelation.

This law would be Islamic law, and the issue of apostacy would come under this area. The only way the law regarding apostacy could come into practice is if the individuals concerned are living under an Islamic state. In an Islamic state, people live under the law of the land. Just as we follow English law under her majesty's pleasure in England, and everyone else follows the law of their own country. It would just happen to be that in an Islamic state, the country would have their own laws. Nout wrong with that is their, you wont prevent people from having their own laws in their own countries now would you lad.

Now if someone in an Islamic state wants to leave Islam, they will do. It is literally a personal choice and once they have made their mind up thats the end of it. However In that Islamic if someone openly declares that they are no longer a Muslim and by doing so cause unrest and seek to cause harm to the state, then this person can be dealt with by either being asked to leave the state or by being executed.

When someone enters into Islam they not only devote their personal spiritual self to God, but in the case of the one in the Islamic state they also devote themselves to the political structure laid down by Gods law. When we look at apostacy here, we have to look at it in the correct historical context and with the right conditions. Its not just a matter of YES and NO.

From the western perspective religion has no place to play in the legal system. A person is free to follow a religion or not, this is why to you the idea of someone being executed for leaving their religion seems quite absurd. However, we should keep in mind that when capital punishment was abolished for murder back in 1965, it was still retained for treason and piracy with violence. Infact it was also the legal punishment for setting fire to her majesty's ships all the way up till 1971! Now thats absurd.

This principle of treason still exists today in most countries, where treason is considered to be rebellious against the state such as where state secrets are given to some other country, people are executed. Remember now this is execution for material information.

Now when we look at the Islamic perspective, religion is viewed differently then it is in the west. In Islam, the religion is the state. There is no seperation of powers in that sense, the state an Islam are one. The state is governed by the religious principles, so rebellion against the state is rebellion against the religion. Apostacy in an Islamic state amounts to a rejection of the law and the order of that society and as such it is considered as an act of treason.

As i mentioned, a person who abandons the faith personally and feels they no longer want to live under the law of the land and the system is free to leave and do as they please. Islam does not allow or prescribe that these people should be hunted down like Salman Rushdie and killed simply because they chose to leave Islam. The law of apostacy only really deals with people who within the Islamic state openly reject the principles and laws of the state and those who undermine the social islamic system of the state as a whole.

Yes there is no compulsion of religion within Islam; compulsion in joining Islam. But once someone becomes a Muslim, they are obliged to stick with Islam in that this is a serious commitment. You cant compare being part of a religion with anything else, which is the common mistake people make. Its not like buying a new pair of trainers, or picking somewhere to eat out. The whole point is that you believe this is the true religion of God, and as such this is the purpose to your life - something you are very serious about.

You also have to look at the motives behind the entire law of apostacy in Islam. It was first implemented at the time of the prophet in Medina when opponents of Islam were intentionally joining Islam and then leaving it within days and even hours in order to shake the faith of the Muslims and to undermine the order of law. They were playing with the religion to cause confusion amongst other new muslims and weaker members of society. This law aims to prevent any such tactic being employed within an Islamic state.

The death penalty is for those who co-operate with individuals at war with the Islamic state, or those who gather people to fight against the state. This is the real practical application of the law in Islam. In Islam we dont have inqusition courts set up to track an test peoples different levels of faith. What people do personally is their own choice. The death penalty only becomes an issue in the circumstances i have already mentioned.

Where a person openly challenges the law and order of the state and undermines the social system by apostating in a rebellious and hostile fashion, if they get caught and are brought before court - they are still afforded the opportunity to retract their statement and take it back. If they do retract their statement, they are not executed and are free to go. This just goes to show the level of justice which is afforded by Islam even to people who seek to cause unrest. It also shows the type of people we are dealing with, not your average joe. Joe would simply retract his statement and not get executed, however the one who clearly has intention of causing unrest and is even unwilling to take the opportunity of leniancy and pardon - this is the type of person who will clearly be harmful to the state an thus execution is permissable.

So in short, western civilisations have and will execute its citizens for giving away state secrets - something which is mere material. Even if they beg for forgiveness and repent, they will be punished. Islamic law will not execute people for the same purpose. However they will execute them for something which is far more serious; rebellion against God. May not seem much to you, but if a muslim lives in an Islamic state and makes that choice to be muslim and abide by the law of the state, it is a very serious matter. In Islam, this type of rebellion is far greater then the rebellion against the individual or the state.

It is not for the Islamic state to simply declare someone as an apostate or for people on the street to call for someone to be killed. Their are courts of law where the matter is looked into with all the evidence presented, the individuals have to be questioned and they have the right to defend themselves.

To make it clearer and to answer a question non muslims often ask:

"So you do believe someone should be murdered if they leave your faith?"

NO i dont. I dont believe another human should be murdered because of their religious beliefs. I believe in everything i have written above, and if you need further clarification then please read it again, or message me

Allegation that Muhammad was racist

This post is regarding the allegation concerning ‘Raisin heads’ which is often made by people against Islam and used as evidence of racism. The hadith being referred to is the following:

Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 11:

Volume 1, Book 11, Number 662:

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet said, “Listen and obey (your chief) even if an Ethiopian whose head is like a raisin were made your chief.”

Here in this hadith he is focusing on the issue of obeying your chief/leader whoever he is. Infact he is advising all whites to obey the chief even he is black, thus trying to force home the point to some of the Arabs who may have been prejudicial that all men are equal regardless of colour. By pointing out the outward appearance or external features of an individual, one does not commit a crime. Especially at that time where the Arabs felt they were superior to the Ethiopians, what the prophet said was groundbreaking. If you had to describe someone of similar appearance with one word, what would you use? Are you going to criticize the prophet because he did not share your vocabulary?

By bringing up this issue the anti islamists have infact shown that the prophet was a man who saw no boundaries based upon race, but was someone who tried to bring equality amongst all colours

If he was a racist and wanted to call them raisin heads, he would’ve called them raisin heads without saying Ethiopian. He was referring to the shape of a raisin, as we all know there are golden, purple, red, BLACK raisins, so to assume the use of the word raisin is racist is entirely wrong.

Lets not forget what the prophet said in his last sermon:

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly."

Allegation that Muhammad killed Kaab over poetry

What About The Killing of Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf?

Reagarding the allegation that the Prophet Muhammad(P) unlawfully killed ka’ab. people often cite the events of the killing of Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf as evidence that Muhammad was of bad charactar. Our contentation is that this conclusion totally ignores the historical events surrounding this incident. This could be because people are unaware of the circumstances leading to his killing, or why the Prophet(P) had allowed it to happen, or perhaps because people are just intentionally spreading lies. It is therefore my wish to discuss this issue in its proper perspective, and stiffle the lies once and for all

Who Was Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf?

Kaab Al-Ashraf was a Jew. He used to insult Muslims, and especially Muslim women. He had been later killed by a Muslim, through the permission of the Noble Prophet(P). This account is present in Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq.
The following is the account in our own words:

The Prophet asked who would get rid of Ka’ab for him. A Muslim man responded that he would. Sadly, the Muslim who agreed with the Prophet, did not eat for three days (except for that which was required). When this was informed to the Prophet, the Prophet asked him the reason. The man told him that he had taken a responsibility (to kill Ka’ab) which he could not handle. So the Muslim asked the Prophet’s permission to tell lies, or to deceive Ka’ab. The Prophet gave him the permission. The Muslim went to Ka’ab, said something deceptive, and made him come out of his house and then killed him.

The attack raised by anti-Islamics here is that the Prophet (P) gave another man to do the job and gave him the permission to lie.

We must first of all understand that the situation of the Muslims were very precarious, even in the aftermath of their victory at Badr. Even though the Quraysh Meccans were defeated and had retreated back to the city to lick their wounds and mourn their dead, the Muslims still face the danger of internal dissent within the walls of Madinah. Indeed, the Muslims had just expelled the Banu Qaynuqa from their homes after their open declaration of war against the Prophet and the early Muslim community. The Banu Qaynuqa were the first of the Jews to break their agreement with the Muslims and go to war and had to be dealt with swiftly so as to quash any ideas of the other Jewish tribes to instigate a war against the Muslims. It was within the context of this situation that Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf took advantage of, by inveighing against the Prophet and reciting verses bewailing the Quraysh who were slain at Badr.

Ibn Ishaq stated, "Ka'ab b. al-Ashraf was of the Ta'I tribe, of the sub-tribe of Banu Nabhan, though his mother was of Banu al-Nadir. He received news of the deaths of those at Badr after the arrival of Zayd b. Al- Haritha and Abd Allah b. Rawaha. He commented, By God, if Muhammad has really struck down those people, then better be inside the earth than upon it!" When this enemy of God was sure of this news, he left for Mecca, where he visited al-Muttalib b. Abu Wada'a b.Dubayrat al- Samhi, whose wife was Atika, daughter of Abu al- Is b. Ummayya b. Abd Shams b. Abd Manaf. She accommodated him graciously AND HE BEGAN INSTIGATING AN ATTACK UPON THE MESSENGER OF GOD (SAAS) speaking verses and mourning the deaths of those polytheists killed at Badr."Here Ibn Ishaq gave his poem. Among the lines of the aforementioned verses are:

Badr’s mill ground out the blood of its people
At events like Badr you should weep and cry
The best of the people were slain round their cisterns
Don’t think it strange that the princes were left lying.
How many noble handsome men,
The refugee of the homeless were slain,
Liberal when the stars gave no rain,
Who bore others’ burdens, ruling and taking their due fourth,
Some people whose anger pleases me say
“Ka’ab b. al-Ashraf is utterly dejected”.
They are right. O that the earth when they were killed
Had split asunder and engulfed its people,
That he who spread the report had been thrust through
Or lived cowering blind and deaf.
I was told that all the Banu’l-Mughira were humiliated
And brought low by the death of Abu’l-Hakim
And the two sons of Rabi’a with him,
And Munabbih and the others did not attain (such honour) as those who were slain

He also gave the response to this poem by Hassan b. Thabit, may God be pleased with him, as well as verse by others. He went on, "Ka'ab then returned to Medina where he composed verses suggestive about the Muslim women and critical of the prophet (SAAS) and his followers. Musa b. Uqba stated, "Ka'ab b. al- Ashraf was of Banu al-Nadir, or associated with them, he harmed the messenger of God (SAAS) by ridiculing him in verse AND HE RODE TO QURAYSH TO INCITE THEM FURTHER. Abu Sufyan, in Mecca, asked him, In your view, I pray you tell me, which religion is more favored by God, that of Muhammad and his friends, or our own? Which of us do you think, is more correct and appropriate, We slaughter our meat generously, give milk-topped water to drink, providing food for all sundry who come.' "Ka'ab b al-Ashraf replied, You are better-guided in your path than they are.' Pg. 6-7

So as you can all see, Ka'ab was the one who started the trouble, he not only insulted the prophet Muhammad. He went to the prophet's enemies, and incited them against Muhammad, he obviously incited them to fight and kill the prophet Muhammad. So therefore as we see, Ka'ab was not innocent, nor did he just insult the prophet and the Muslims, he instigated violence and murder and was rightly punished.

In the last stanza of this poetry by Ka’ab, he had comitted a transgression of the earlier covenant signed between the Muslims and his tribe with the following words of incitement:

I was told that al-Harith ibn Hisham
Is doing well and gathering troops
To visit Yathrib with armies,
For only the noble, handsome man protects the loftiest reputation.

Furthermore, Ka’ab had composed several amatory verses in defamation of the honour of a Muslim woman by the name of Ummu’l-Fadl bint al-Harith:

Are you off without stopping in the valley
And leaving Ummu’l-Fadl in Mecca?
Out would come what she bought from the pedlar of bottles,
Henna and hair dye.
What lies ‘twixt ankle and elbow in motion
When she tries to stand and does not.

The significance of “what lies ‘twixt ankle and elbow in motion” is explained in the footnote by the translator of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah as:

Presumably her buttocks are meant; they would be between her ankle and her elbow as she reclined. Large and heavy buttocks were marks of female beauty among the old Arabs.

A poet of pre-Islamic days expresses the Arab sentiment of chastity and virtuousness in a couplet, which depicts a lovely picture of Arab womanhood: “If my glance meets the looks of a neighbouring maiden, I cast my eyes low until her abode takes her in”. Hence it was within the context of the above incitements made by Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf which was why the Muslims were agitated when their women were being dishonoured and public sentiment called for his punishment.

Punishable Treason

As we have stated before, Ka’ab’s actions were against a clause in the Madinah Covenant signed between the Muslims and the Jews of Madinah. The relevant stipulation of this covenant is as follows:

Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The freedmen of Thalaba are as themselves. The close friends are as themselves. None of them shall go out to war save with the permission of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound. He who slays a man without warning slays himself and his whole household, unless it be one who has wronged him, for God will accept that. The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. A man is not liable for his ally’s misdeeds. The wronged must be helped. The Jews must pay with the believers so long as war lasts. Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document. A stranger under protection shall be as his host doing no harm and committing no crime. A woman shall only be given protection with the consent of her family. If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise it must be referred to God and to Muhammad the apostle of God. God accepts what is nearest to piety and goodness in this document. Quraysh and their helpers shall not be given protection.

His acts were openly directed against the Commonwealth, of which he was a member. It is therefore clear that Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf’s antagonism towards the Muslim community was his own undoing, and was no longer protected by the covenant that he himself had violated. Akram Diya’ al-Umari remarks:
The killing of Ibn al Ashraf might be seen as an act of treachery, but on further reflection one realizes that Ibn al Ashraf was party to the treaty according to the Document by which the Jews of Banu al Nadir and others were committed. By slandering the Prophet, who was the head of state, and by showing his sympathy for the enemies of the Muslims (lamenting their dead and inciting them against the Muslims), Ibn al Ashraf had broken the treaty and declared war on the Muslims, and his blood could be shed with impunity. As for his being deceived and killed by those he had trusted, such action is legally permissible (ja’iz) in the case of those who have declared war on the Muslims, and it was carried out by order of the Messenger (See al Tahawi, Mushkil al-Athar). The Messenger, however, did not blame Banu al Nadir for Ibn al Ashraf’s crime; it was sufficient to have him killed for his treachery. The Prophet, in fact, renewed his treaty with them (Banu al Nadir).

However, some may object that Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf was merely composing “poetries” as a form of “freedom of expression”, and therefore was not causing any “harm” to anyone around him. Those who say this certainly do not understand the significance of the blasphemous poetry by Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf. Arabic poetry can be very influential and cannot be thought of in the terms of English poetry or any other forms of poetry in other languages. As Philip K. Hitti himself notes,

No people in the world, perhaps, manifest such enthusiastic admiration for literary expression and are so moved by the word, spoken or written, as the Arabs. Hardly any language seems capable of exercising over the minds of its users such irresistible influence as Arabic.

After noting Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf’s acts of incitement and false accusations towards Muslim women, Haykal says that

The reader is perhaps aware of Arab custom and ethic in this regard, and can appreciate the Muslims’ anxiety over such false accusations directed against their women’s honour.

Certainly, the reader would agree with us that “freedom of expression” certainly does not include the right to defame the honour of another, or to incite aggression against a legitimate Government. Hence it is clear that by modern terms today, Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf will be duly charged with sedition against the State and for outraging the modesty of a Muslim woman.

A Public Trial for War Criminals?

Controversialists have stigmatised this execution as an “assassination”. And because a Muslim was sent secretly to kill each of the criminals, in their prejudice against the Prophet(P) they shut their eyes to the justice of the sentence, and the necessity of a swift and secret execution. There existed then no police court, no judicial tribunal, nor even a court-martial, to take cognisance of individual crimes. In the absence of a State executioner, any individual might become the executioner of the law. This man had broken their formal pact - it was impossible to arrest him in public, or execute the sentence in the open before their clans, without causing unnecessary bloodshed, and giving rise to the feud of blood and everlasting vendetta. The exigencies of the State required that whatever should be done should be done swiftly and noiselessly upon those whom public opinion had arraigned and condemned.

Conclusions

As we can see already, Ka’ab did not simply insult the prophet Muhammad and Muslim women. He did much more; he went to the prophet's enemies and incited them against the prophet Muhammad. He incited the Quraysh to go kill and fight Muhammad, therefore the prophet Muhammad had every right to go and send someone to kill Ka’ab for doing such a thing. There was no injustice done at all, Ka’ab incited people to kill Muhammad and Muslims, so therefore he became an enemy, it doesn't matter if Ka’ab did not raise a weapon. Using that logic then that means that every accomplice in a murder case is free to go since they never really committed the crime, they just helped out!

In today's legal system, if you incite murder that is seen as a crime and you yourself are guilty of murder as well. This is exactly what Kab did; he incited murder and violence, so therefore he was punished.

It is clear that where the killing of Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf was concerned, it was done as a deterrent against crimes committed against the public weal or infringements of the promulgated law. In considering the punishments that were dealt to the enemies of Islam, we must not forget, first, that they were political actions made necessary by the conditions of the time; second, that none of them were excessive unacceptable by the usages or mores of that time.

And only God knows best!