By Dr. B S Foad
The Qur’an encourages Muslims to think, reflect, and ask questions, because faith-based knowledge and proper understanding is sound faith that can withstand tests and trials. We are tested and tried by God to examine our faith. We are given a free choice: we can reject faith in God, give up and despair, or we can patiently persevere, turn to God seeking his help and guidance. We do have power over our reaction to the tests and trials, and we are responsible for the choice that we make, and therefore we are accountable. There are two sources of knowledge in Islam: The Qur’an, God’s literal words, inspired to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the sayings of the Prophet. Both were safeguarded and authenticated.
It is up to us as human beings to understand God’s message and how to apply its teachings in our life. Some adhere to the literal word, while others take into consideration the society that we live in and apply the guidelines in God’s divine revelation accordingly. We need to listen to different interpretations and different points of view, since collective opinions are more correct than the opinion of one individual.
The Qur’an revealed more than 1400 years ago outlined the guidelines of justice, freedom and accountability that are the foundations of the American constitution. Islam is viable and applicable in America and Europe, and there is no clash between Islam and Western democracy.
There are many misconceptions about Islam, the Qur’an and Muhammad, and this book clears some of these misconceptions. Muhammad did not write the Qur’an for he was illiterate. Qur’anic verses are clear and logical and none of its verses were proven wrong. The Qur’an gave women the same rights and obligations as men, and each human being is judged according to his faith and deeds, and no one is better than another except for his/her degree of piety. Muslims are forbidden in the Qur’an from forcing anyone to become a Muslim against his will. Shari’a law is applicable only on Muslims, and it applies, not only to laws of punishment for crimes, but involves our rituals of worship and how we behave as human beings.