Likewise, it is unfair to view the Koran as a book of evil.
The Koran, the Islamic "Holy Scripture," is frequently criticized by those that do not understand its text as some sort of blueprint for terrorism and the basis upon which terrorist activities and genocide are justified. In reality, the Koran relies heavily on Christian traditions. It was Muhammad's contention that Christianity had departed from belief in God's message as revealed in their Scriptures. God had sent many prophets, among them Abraham, who is considered the founder of the faith for Islam, as he is also for and Christianity. The Koran, using sources in the older Scriptures and later traditions, relates the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Aaron, David, Solomon, Jesus, and others, all of whom are declared to have been true prophets whose messages were largely ignored: "We sent forth Noah and Abraham, and bestowed on their offspring prophet hood and the Scriptures... After them we sent other apostles, and after those, Jesus the son of Mary." The lack of success these prophets had was reflected in Muhammad's own experience, as he preached the oneness of God to the Arabs in Mecca. The implication was that he was the last in the series of prophets, the last holder of divine truth (Atkins, 2002).
After Muhammad's death in AD 632, it was feared that the content of the revelations might be lost, as those who had originally memorized it began to die (Kamali, 2003). It was therefore decided to collect all the revelations, from whatever source, and make a compilation. Even at this early date, variations in the Koran's revelations were becoming common in different parts of the new Islamic Empire. Today, the Koran is still widely misinterpreted, but as one can see, it is vastly different than what it is in fact portrayed to be.
What True Islam Means to the Faithful
If one understands what Islam is not, it is likewise important to understand what Islamic faith truly means to those who follow it. In the Islamic faith the family is the foundation of the Muslim society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members (Schafer, 2002). A friendly social order is created by the existence of external families; the children are treasured and rarely leave home until the time they marry. Also, Muslim women are seen as an individual in her own right, with the right too own and dispose of her property and earnings. Both men and women are expected to dress in a manner that is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local custom. The code in which Muslims eat and drink forbids the consumption of pork meat and any kind of intoxicating drink. The Prophet Muhammad teachings stated that one's body has rights and the consumption of wholesome food and the leading of a healthy lifestyle are seen as a religious obligation and a way of life (Faith and Practice of Islam, 1992).
Simply put, the research has clearly shown that Islam is not violent; rather, it is more appropriate to say that Radical or Militant Islam are the violent deviations of a true and pure faith which people really need to fear. Islam itself has been a source of faith and strength for thousands of years, and will likely only grow stronger with time. Hopefully, however, the violence that has come from the twisting of Islam will someday cease.
Atkins, S.E. (2002). Encyclopedia of Modern American Extremists and Extremist Groups / . Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
1992). Faith and Practice of Islam: Three Thirteenth Century Sufi Texts / (Chittick, W.C., Trans.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Haddad, Y.Y. (Ed.). (1993). The Muslims of America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kamali, M.H. (2003). Islam, Rationality and Science. Islam & Science, 1(1), 115.
Murata, S., & Chittick, W.C. (1994). The Vision of Islam. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.
Schafer, D. (2002, May/June). Islam and Terrorism: A Humanist View. The Humanist, 62, 16+.
Smith, J.I. (1999). Islam in America. New York: Columbia University Press.