FAQs on Islam


Beliefs
Who or what is Allah?
Do Muslims worship Muhammad?
Do Muslims believe in Jesus?
Are those who are not Muslims considered to be infidels?
Do Muslims believe in Angels?
Did Muhammad write the Qur’an?

Acts of Worship
Do Muslims really manage to pray five times a day?
Why do Muslims have to pray towards Makkah?
How do Muslims manage in Ramadan without drinking water?
Do babies and children have to fast?
Whom do Muslims have to give their charity to?
What is Hajj all about?

Practices
Is the Muslim Eid like Christmas?
Why can’t Muslims drink alcohol or eat pork?
Why aren’t any images of people or animals allowed in mosques?
What is Shariah law?
What is a Fatwa?
Why do people kill in the name of Islam?
Why do Muslims engage in Holy War?
Did Islam spread by the sword?
Are Muslims anti-Semitic?
Does Islam oppress women? 
Why are Muslim men allowed more than one wife?
Why did Muhammad have so many wives?
Why do Muslim women pray separately to Muslim men?
Why do some Muslim women cover their hair?
What does Islam say about sex outside marriage?
Are most Muslims Arab? 
If you become Muslim, do you have to change your name?
If you are Muslim and want to get married, do you have to marry a Muslim?
What will happen to a Muslim if he or she doesn’t want to be Muslim any more?

 

Who or what is Allah?
Allah is the Arabic word for God. Allah is a unique name in Arabic. Muslims prefer to use Allah because it is neither masculine nor feminine and cannot be made plural.

Muslims believe there is only one God and therefore believe that all people believing in God – whether Christians, Jews or those of no specific faith – believe in the same One God. Throughout time and place, there have been and are many names for the One God. In Hebrew, the word for God is Eloh. Arab Christians refer to God as Allah.

God is described in the Qur’an by his qualities, or Names. Muslims believe He does not have any children, get tired or have other human-like qualities.

“God! There is no God save Him, the Living, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. Unto Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the Earth. Who is he that intercedes with Him save by His leave? He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 255)

Back to Top


Do Muslims worship Muhammad?
Early Orientalists called Islam ‘Muhammadanism’, implying that Muslims worshipped him. However, a “Muslim” is, by definition, “one who submits to God” and to God alone. God says in the Qur’an:

Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the One on whom all depend; He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable to Him” (Surah Al-Ikhlas, Chapter 112 Verse 1-4)

Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to God; but God (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.” (Surah Al Imran, Chapter 3 Verse 114)

Back to Top


Do Muslims believe in Jesus?
According to Muslim belief, Jesus, son of Mary, is one of the greatest messengers of God. Jesus’ birth without a father is considered to be a God-sent miracle, in the same way as Adam’s birth without either a father or a mother was a God-sent miracle. Muslims believe in the many miracles of Jesus Christ during his life, believe he ascended into Heaven alive (unlike almost all other prophets, including Muhammad, who died naturally), and believe he will one day come back again to rule.

However, Jesus is not considered by Muslims to be divine: instead he is accorded the status of a Prophet. Muslims believe that about 124,000 Prophets were sent over time and to different communities – and Muslims believe in all of them. 25 are mentioned by name in the Qur’an, including Adam, Jonah, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Joseph, David, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Muslims are encouraged to say ‘’Peace be upon him” after every Prophet’s name, as a mark of respect.

Back to Top



Are those who are not Muslims considered to be infidels?

All people, whatever their belief, are “children of Adam” and part of the human race: Muslims must therefore treat each and every person with humanity.

Infidel is not a word ever used in the Qur’an. A Muslim is one who believes in and submits to God, as well as who believes in Muhammad and the other Prophets; a muslim (with a small ‘’m”) is a much broader term and means anyone who submits to God (this is similar to the current use of Conservative/conservative).

God says “Whoever submits his whole self to God and is a doer of good, he will get his regard with his Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Surah al Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 256).

Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Qur’an: “There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” (Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 256) 

Back to Top

Do Muslims believe in Angels?
Muslims believe that angels have been created by God from light. They have no free will and fulfil certain functions in the service of God. They also worship God. Angels mentioned by name in the Quran and Hadith (the words of Muhammad) include:

•Gabriel (Jibreel in Arabic), the leader of the angels. His function was mainly to bring revelation to people, including to Mary, mother of Jesus, and to Muhammad.

•Azrael (Azraeel in Arabic), the Angel of Death.

Back to Top

 


Did Muhammad write the Qur’an?

The Qur’an reveals extensive knowledge of historical events and previous prophets. Some non-Muslims believe that Muhammad obtained this knowledge from Christians, copying the stories from the Bible. It is true that many of the same events and prophets are mentioned in the Qur’an as in the Bible.

However, there are many key differences that make Muslims consider it impossible for Muhammad to have written the Qur’an. For example, in the Qur’an, the world is said to have been created in six periods of time (e.g. 7:54), rather than in six days as in the Biblical version. In the Qur’an, both Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan (7:22-23) and subsequently asked for and received forgiveness; in the Biblical version, it was Eve alone who was tempted, and who was punished by God with painful childbirth for all womankind (Genesis 3:12-17). The crucifixion is an essential part of Christian theology yet according to the Qur’anic account, Jesus was not crucified – although it appeared as if he was (4:157). The Qur’an also explains many natural phenomena which were not mentioned in the Bible and which were unknown at the time: for example, the stages of formation of the embryo in the womb (53:46; 76:2; 23:14).

The Qur’an claims to be the direct word of God. “Will they not then ponder on the Qur’an? If it had been from other than God, they would have found therein much incongruity.” (Surah An-Nisaa’: Chapter 4, verse 82).

The Qur’an clearly says that Muhammad could not read or write himself. “And you (O Muhammad) were not a reader of any scripture before it, nor did you write it with your right hand, for then might those have doubted, who follow falsehood.” (Surah Al Ankabut, Chapter 29 verse 48). Muslims believe Muhammad received revelations from God through the Angel Gabriel; he then immediately ordered his companions to memorise them. The companions subsequently wrote the verses down in Arabic. While the Qur’an exists today in Arabic exactly as it was in the seventh century, there are numerous different translations in over 40 languages.

Back to Top

 


Acts of Worship


Do Muslims really manage to pray five times a day?

Muslims believe God has asked them to perform formal prayers five times a day, within specified time periods. These prayers serve as a constant reminder thought the day to live life in a good way. Each prayer usually takes no longer than five minutes. The preparation and performance of prayer is meant to be physically, mentally and spiritually uplifting, allowing the person praying to temporarily forget worldly concerns, and to focus on praising and worshipping God. Of course, some Muslims will not pray the full number of prayers; some Muslims do not pray at all.

In addition to the formal prayers in Arabic, a Muslim can make their own personal prayers in their own language directly to God, at any time, anywhere, in their own way. These are called duas, or supplications.

Back to Top


Why do Muslims have to pray towards Makkah? 

Muslims pray towards the Kabah, a simple cube structure, which is in Makkah. Muslims believe it is the first and most ancient house of worship built for humankind, originally built by Adam, and subsequently rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael.

The Kabah is simply a focal point, to unite the Muslim community through the world in their worship of God. God exists beyond time and space.

If a Muslim does not know the direction of the Kabah, then he or she can pray anyway.

‘It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels, and the book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give zakah [obligatory charity]; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain [or suffering] and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.’(Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 177).

Back to Top


How do Muslims manage in Ramadan without drinking water?
Every year, for one lunar month known as Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to sunset.

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may achieve God consciousness. (Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 183)

Fasting is a time of reflection and appreciation of all that we have; a time for increased devotion towards God, a time of generosity towards those less fortunate, and a time of unity with others who are fasting. It is also a time of developing self-restraint. Weight loss is not meant to be an objective of fasting. It can be hard without water particularly when the days are long and the weather hot, but the mind is a powerful tool and those who are fasting know that they are more fortunate than many to be able to have fresh water and food at the end of the day.

Back to Top


Do babies and children have to fast?
Neither prayer nor fasting are obligatory until children reach the age of puberty, when they can understand the purpose behind them and take responsibility for their own actions. However, children often like to take part in both of these from an early age. Even toddlers copy their parents in prayer, and children as young as four or five may try to ‘’fast” between mealtimes. Babies do not fast!

Back to Top


Whom do Muslims have to give their charity to?
Once one’s wealth exceeds a certain minimum, Muslims have an obligation to give away 2.5% of their savings annually, to purify their wealth while helping the poor and needy. Muslims calculate their own charity payment and choose which people or organisations to give to.

Muslims may also give as much additional voluntary charity as they wish. Muhammad said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” Muhammad answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms-all of these are charity prescribed for you.” Even a smile is charity.

Back to Top


What is Hajj all about?
The pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia is an obligation for men and women, once in a Muslim’s lifetime, for those who are physically and financially able to visit.

Hajj consists of a series of ritual acts, symbolic of the lives of Abraham (Ibrahim), his wife Hagar (Hajar), and their son Ishmael (Ismail). On Hajj, all male pilgrims, regardless of nationality or wealth, are required to dress in a garment consisting of two sheets of white unhemmed cloth. It is a pilgrimage of absolute equality between men and women, and between different races and classes.

Malcolm X wrote about Hajj: “During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana. We are truly all the same – brothers.”

The close of Hajj is celebrated with a holiday known as Eid ul Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. This festival celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, as God had commanded, as a sign of his devotion. Once Abraham had demonstrated his devotion, God stopped him from sacrificing his son and told him to sacrifice a sheep instead. In commemoration of Abraham’s unwavering belief, Muslims everywhere arrange for a sheep to be slaughtered and the meat is then distributed to the poor.

Back to Top


Practices
Is the Muslim Eid like Christmas?
Like Christmas, Eid is a time of major celebration. There are two Eids or festivals a year. However, unlike Christmas, their timing in the solar calendar is not fixed, since they are held in accordance with the lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the solar one. Also unlike Christmas, the festivals are not based on celebrating a birth, but on the completion of two different acts of worship: Ramadan and Hajj.

Eid-ul Fitr is the Festival of Breaking the Fast. It marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims around the world. The other Eid, Eid-ul-Adha, marks the end of Hajj two months later. Muslims celebrate both Eids by dressing in their best clothes and attending the mosque for a short congregational prayer. Immediately after prayer, Muslims exchange Eid greetings and embrace each other with hugs, before visiting homes of relatives and friends, giving and sharing food, and thanking God for all they have been given. Children are delighted to receive presents of clothes, toys or money.

It is all too easy for Eid, like Christmas, to become commercialised and to lose its original message. Many Muslim businesses will offer ‘Ramadan sales’ or ‘Eid specials’ to prospective customers.

Back to Top


Why can’t Muslims drink alcohol or eat pork?
There are known potential benefits of drinking alcohol in moderate quantities. However social drinking can easily lead to heavier drinking and there are known potential risks from drinking alcohol in large quantities, including fatal accidents, fatal diseases, an increased chance of developing cirrhosis of the liver, increased risks of many different types of cancer; alcohol can also harm an unborn baby.

They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.”……..” Thus God makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought.” (Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 219)

The Qur’an has not explained the reason for the prohibition of pork. But Muslims are not alone in abstaining from pork: practising Jews do not eat pork, neither did Jesus; Confucius also advised against it. It may be due to the pig’s willingness to eat any kind of food, including dead insects, excreta and rubbish; it may be due to the similarity of human organs to those of the pig.

Some Muslims will not touch pigs. However, pigs are God’s creatures and we should show them the same kindness we show any other animal: cruelty to any animal is forbidden in Islam.

Back to Top


Why aren’t any images of people or animals allowed in mosques?
The mosque contains no images of people, animals or spiritual figures as Muslims in prayer are supposed to be focusing on God alone. Outside the mosque, many Muslims accept the representation of people and animals, particularly for educational purposes.

The vast majority of Muslims would never consider representing any prophet in any context. In Islam, prophets are highly revered but must not be worshipped in any way: representing them visually may ultimately lead to their worship.

Back to Top


What is Shariah law?
Shariah is more than law: it is a set of principles and morals, based on the Qur’an and the hadith (the record of actions and sayings of Muhammad), as well as ijma, (consensus of scholars) and qiyas(analogy). Literally, Shariah means ‘’the way or the path to water (or life)”.

To each among you, we have prescribed a law and a clear way.” (Surah Al Maida, Chapter 5 Verse 48)

Shariah deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including finance, banking and contracts (e.g. investing, use of interest), family law (eg marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance), social issues (eg dress, hygiene) as well as criminal acts (eg theft, murder).

Some principles are in line with Western notions of human rights e.g. the idea of force majeure in contracts, the presumption of innocence, the principle of precedent in making legal decisions, the prohibition of illegal drugs, the right to privacy, the right of women to own property in their own right. Other principles (e.g. the death penalty allowed for murder under certain circumstances) are in line with notions of human rights in only some Western countries.

Back to Top

 


What is a fatwa?

A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law. It is not binding on the faithful. The people who pronounce these rulings are supposed to be knowledgeable, and base their rulings in knowledge and wisdom. They need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinions, and it is not uncommon for scholars to come to different conclusions regarding the same issue, or for one scholar to alter his or her conclusions based on additional evidence or changed circumstances. In order to decide whether to follow the fatwa, Muslims look at the opinion, the reputation of the person giving it and the evidence given to support the opinion.

Back to Top


Why do people kill in the name of Islam? 
The Qur’an states:“…Whoever kills an innocent soul it is as if he killed the whole of Mankind. And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of Mankind…” (Surah Al Maidah, Chapter 5 Verse 32)

It is Islamically unlawful to murder an innocent person. Hence, if anyone kills an innocent person, they have committed a grave sin in Islam. Yet innocent people continue to be killed throughout the world, by people who call themselves Muslims as well as by people who do not.

Back to Top



Why do Muslims engage in Holy War?

The word jihad is a word frequently used in the media to mean ‘holy war’, yet jihad has never been referred to in this way in the Qur’an. In fact, the term “holy war” was coined in Europe during the period of the Crusades.

In Arabic, the word jihad means ‘to strive, struggle and exert effort’. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that primarily means ‘’to struggle against evil inclinations within oneself.”
Islam is not confined to the boundaries of the individual but extends to the welfare of society and humanity in general. An individual cannot keep improving himself/herself in isolation from what happens in their community or in the world at large. Hence it also means struggle to improve the quality of life in society and the struggle against injustice, oppression and tyranny.

In accordance with accepted international norms, Islam does permit fighting in self-defence, as a last resort, or on behalf of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. However it lays down strict rules of combat that include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock; the Qur’an also insists on cessation of fighting as soon as the need for self-defence has gone.

Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors.” (Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2 verse 190)

If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God for He is the One that hears and knows all things.” (Surah Al Anfal, Chapter 8, verse 61)

Back to Top


Did Islam spread by the sword?
The Qur’an clearly says “Let there be no compulsion in religion“. (Surah al Baqarah, Chapter 2 verse 256). In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person’s faith must be pure and sincere, so it cannot be forced on someone.

The idea of forced conversion has been popular in Europe from the time of the Crusades. The (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O’ Leary wrote: “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted.” (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8). Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years: during this time, and up to when they were finally forced out, non-Muslims there were treated with respect and had flourishing communities. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan have all had thriving Christian and/or Jewish populations until more recent political difficulties.

Back to Top


Are Muslims anti-Semitic?
Jews and Christians are given an honourable title in the Qur’an: ‘the people of the Book.’ Moreover, God has commanded Muslims not to insult other faiths.

Both Jews and Muslims believe in Abraham as their forefather. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac: Muhammad is descended from Ishmael, and Moses is descended from Isaac. The Semitic language family includes Hebrew and Arabic.

Anti-semitism should not be confused with anti-Zionism. Many people who rightly condemn anti-semitism struggle to understand the Zionist support for the occupation of Palestinian territory which is not legally theirs, and struggle to understand the support for extremely harsh living conditions imposed collectively upon innocent men, women and children living in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

Back to Top


Does Islam oppress women?
Verses of the Qur’an make it clear that men and women are equal in the sight of God. According to the teachings of Islam, the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their level of righteousness.

‘’For believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast , for men and women who guard their chastity and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise – for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:35).

Islamic law guaranteed rights to women over 1400 years ago, clearly stating that women have the right to vote, seek an education, own property, financial independence, and to operate a business. These rights were granted to women in Europe and America in the last one hundred years. These rights also came about in a different way to Europe and America, where rights became part of the law only after women had been through great political struggles. In Islam, rights were given by God through revelation and cannot be reversed by anyone’s decision.

In Islam, marriage is a partnership between a man and a woman. Muhammad said: “The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.” Muhammad’s wife Khadijah was a business woman, and employed Muhammad to work for her: it was she who instigated the marriage proposal. An arranged marriage (where a family member finds a suitable spouse) is another way of finding a spouse. Forced marriage (where a girl/boy is forced to marry against her/his will) is not permitted: in Islam, both parties have the right to consent to their spouse.

Throughout the world, there remain many Muslim women who are not able to exercise their rights, within marriage or elsewhere – this is due to local cultural or traditional practices that persist in spite of Islam, not because of it. There are other women who are also not able to exercise their rights: victims of domestic violence can be found within many countries and cultures.

Back to Top


Why are Muslim men allowed more than one wife?
Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse simultaneously; polygyny is the specific practice of having more than one wife simultaneously. In pre-Islamic Arabia, polygyny was a normal custom, and there were no limitation on the number of wives a man may have. Islam placed a limitation for men to have no more than four wives.

There are a number of possible practical reasons why polygyny was allowed in the Qur’an. In times of war, it can be used to look after the widows who are left behind, and who may not be financially able to look after themselves or their children. In addition, a man who discovers that his wife is barren or is chronically ill, but who wishes to have children of his own or satisfy his natural instinct in a legitimate way, while still caring for his first wife, could turn to polygyny as a solution.

Polygyny may be likened to the practice of having a mistress by some, but a non-Muslim male has no legal obligations or responsibilities towards his mistress(es) and their children. A Muslim husband has the same legal obligations and responsibilities towards his second, third, or fourth wife and their children as he has towards his first wife and children.

A husband must live with all of his wives on a footing of equality and kindness. If he can’t fulfil these difficult conditions, then he is commanded by God not to take more than one wife. Many Muslims believe that it is almost impossible for men to fulfil these conditions, and that therefore one man is meant to be married to one woman.  

… then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four, but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one….” (Surah An-Nisa, Chapter 4 Verse 3). 

In practice, it is rare for a Muslim man to marry more than one wife.

Back to Top


Why did Muhammad have so many wives?
Muhammad was married to one woman, Khadijah, for 25 years.

After her death, Muhammad had multiple wives, as a practical way of taking responsibility for divorcees and widows and their children, and as a means of integration of the newly founded society. Many of these marriages were for political reasons, in order to strengthen the fragile early Muslim community. He treated each one fairly and with kindness.

Back to Top


Why do Muslim women pray separately to Muslim men?
When it is time to pray one of the five ritual prayers, men and women pray in separate lines following the same Imam. The Muslim prayer is a physical one, where worshippers stand closely together in prayer, with their shoulders and feet usually touching the person next to them. They also prostrate down to the ground. The separate praying is to avoid any possible distraction the opposite sex may cause.

Back to Top


Why do some Muslim women cover their hair?

Islam asks men and women to be modest and humble, in both outward appearance and in manner.

Colours and styles of clothing can vary across cultures, but the basic principles are that the clothes are: loose enough not to show the figure; thick enough not to be transparent; and cover the body. The Qur’an calls for women to “draw their coverings over their chests,” and Muhammad instructed believing women to cover their bodies except for their face and hands. Most Muslims interpret this to require the head to be covered as well; others will cover the entire body including the face and/or hands withniqab. For a man, the minimum amount to be covered is between the navel and the knee.

Hair covering for women has been a tradition in many other faith and cultures throughout time. Historically this includes the Jewish and Christian faiths, although now haircovering is generally only customary in these faith communities amongst Orthodox Jews and Christian nuns.

Back to Top


What does Islam say about sex outside marriage?
In mainstream interpretations of Islam, marriage is described as a union between a man and a woman who are not closely related. Sex within marriage is considered a blessing. And sex outside of marriage is not considered permissible – it does not matter whether that relationship is fornication (sex between unmarried people), adultery (involving a married person), incest, pederasty (a sexual relationship between adult and child) or homosexuality.

It should be noted that there are are different degrees of ‘impermissibility’ in Islam. One of the important principles of Islamic jurisprudence is: harm should be removed: this means that which is harmful must be avoided where possible. In this context, safe sex outside of marriage is ‘’less impermissible” than unsafe sex, which can hurt so many more people.

In practice all these relationships still take place: what a person does is between themselves and God.  And it is not for for Muslims to judge: Muslims should be adopting the fundamental values as found in the Qur’an: justice (adl), benevolence (ihsan), compassion (rahmah) and wisdom (hikmah).

A group called Imaan supports LGBT Muslim people, their families and friends to address issues of sexual orientation within Islam.

Back to Top


Are most Muslims Arab?
Muslims come from a diverse array of races, nationalities and linguistic backgrounds. Less than 20% of the Muslim population is Arab. There are more Indonesian Muslims than Indian or Arab Muslims.

Turkey and Iran are not Arab countries: the native tongue of people who live in those countries is not Arabic and they are of a different ethnic heritage to the Arabs.

And not all Arabs are Muslims. An Arab can be a Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist – or of any other religion or ideology.

Back to Top

If you become Muslim, do you have to change your name?
To become Muslim, you simply need to say the declaration of faith, with knowledge of what it means and with sincerity of belief. The declaration is: ‘’I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger.”

Any name is ‘Muslim’ as long as it is inoffensive; it is preferable for it to have a positive meaning. However, many Muslims give their children Arabic names, to assist with their sense of faith identity.

Muhammad did insist on changing the name of a man previously known as Abdu Shams, since his name had the meaning ‘Slave of the Sun’. The first African convert to Islam was Bilal, an Ethiopian, who kept his name and whose name is now popular with Muslims throughout the world.

Back to Top


If you are Muslim and want to get married, do you have to marry a Muslim?

Muslim men can marry Jewish and Christian women, who are referred to as “People of the Book.” This comes from the understanding that Jews and Christians share similar religious outlooks – a belief in One God, following the commandments of God, a belief in revealed scripture (Books), etc.

“This day are all things good and pure made lawful to you…. Lawful to you in marriage are not only chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, when you give them their due dowers, and desire chastity not lewdness. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost” (Surah Al-Mai’dah, Chapter 5 Verse 5).

However, it is easiest, both in terms of compatibility and for the upbringing of future children, for a Muslim man or woman to marry another Muslim.

Back to Top

What will happen to a Muslim if he or she doesn’t want to be Muslim any more?
Each person has the right to complete freedom of belief.

Let there be no compulsion in religion“. (Surah al Baqarah, Chapter 2 verse 256).

Back to Top