The Islamic Bulletin
The Islamic Bulletin
Renowned author James A. Michener is quoted on this subject
as saying “No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Is-
lam.... The West has widely believed that this surge of religion
was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts
that idea, and the Quran is explicit in support of the freedom of
Conscience... quoted from Islam, The Misunderstood Religion,
Readers Digest (American Ed.) May 1955.
1955? Why then is this still one of the most widely held beliefs
about Islam from non- Muslim people?
Still the “Misunderstood Religion,” media coverage of today
propagates this misconception in its handling of any story asso-
ciated with anyone that is Muslim. Recently a tragedy occurred
in the case of a man who took the lives of his two children and
himself... in the news he wasn’t described as ‘Christian’ father
sacrifices the lives of his family after a terrorist attack on home.
Serbs are referred to as “Serbs”, and not “Extremist Christian
Serb forces”. In no other instance in news coverage are people
referred to by a preface as to their religion, except in the case
of Muslims. This is blatant discrimination. It is ascribing the
actions of individuals in conjunction with the beliefs held by a
third of the human population.
Hitler is not referred to as the “Christian” Hitler. The Crusaders’
saving the world from the infidels carried the sign of the cross as
their symbol of unity, in spite of the fact that they were invading
a land not their own with a Sword; sacking, plundering, robbing
the wealth of those lands, not only of their material wealth but
of their knowledge of science, literature, math, astronomy, med-
icine, etc. Wasn’t that the Sword of Christianity? The Spanish
Inquisition is a frightening example of a “Sword” being used to
force the ‘acceptance’ of Christianity. Do all Christians believe
in the methods of the Spanish inquisition?
Another example is of The Ku Klux Klan which is seen with the
most powerful symbol of Christianity, the cross, as a burning
brand in what is certainly “terrorism”. Are they referred to as a
“Fundamentalist Christian Organization”? Do Christians agree
with their actions or interpretations of the gospels?
What are the beliefs held by the believers of Islam, the “most
misunderstood religion”? Can one really believe that any reli-
gion be promoted under duress or by force? Religion is a gift
of faith and illumination bestowed by God. As quoted by M.K.
Gandhi, “I became more than ever convinced that it was not the
sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme
of life. It was rigid simplicity, the utter self- effacement of the
Prophet (Mohammed), the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his
intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his
fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission.
These and not the sword carried everything before them and
surmounted every trouble.” Young India, 1924.
One must look at “cultural” prejudice in examining this question.
How often are Muslims referred to as “third world”? Does not
“third world” imply to the western mind third rate, uncivilized
or primitive? Can anyone who has examined history refute the
influence of the Muslim world on today’s knowledge of scientific
thinking? This prejudice towards the Muslim people lingers from
the time of the Crusades. What about the numerous sects of
Christianity? Are we Muslims to believe that the term Christian
is synonymous with the actions of Roman Catholics, Protestants,
Lutherans, Methodist, Baptist, etc., which in themselves differ in
the interpretation and practices of their beliefs? And finally, how
many Western people automatically equate the word Muslim
with Middle Eastern peoples?
This ignores the vast groups of Muslims from all over the world. In
fact Islam knows no geographic boundaries. One billion people
from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the
globe-from the southern Philippines to Nigeria-are united by
their common Islamic faith. Only 18% live in the Arab world;
the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia. At least
one out of every seven persons in the world is a Muslim. Being
“Muslim” is not a cultural, geographic, social, or political issue.
It is one of spirituality, faith in the Supreme Being, and belief
in the teachings of the Prophets.
The Quran is precise in its message for every aspect of our lives
regardless of nationality, ethnic and cultural origin, gender, or
social- economic level. It not only reaches all levels of under-
standing and intelligence, but takes into account human frailty
and guides us to social conduct which allows us to live together
in this world with one another with dignity, honesty, and kind-
ness. But it must be practiced according to the teachings of the
Quran. This is a task which requires constant striving and effort;
hence, the importance of constant contact with God through
daily prayer. It is a “code of conduct” that is concise, pure, un-
derstandable, merciful, and hopeful. It is for these reasons--the
simplicity of Islam--that Islam has spread so rapidly through the
ages. The Quran states:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out
clear from error.” (Qur’an 2:256)
Islam is the Sword of Truth, whose mere shine eliminates false-
hood just like light wipes darkness. Islam is the fastest growing
“When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory, and thou dost
see the people enter Allah’s Religion in crowds.” (Qur’an
Islam continues to pierce the hearts of countless men and wom-
en. Below are the impressions of some people who embraced
Islam. All from different countries speaking different languages
and having different backgrounds.
a British Civil Contractor who embraced Islam
in 1975, says: “The Sword of Islam is not the sword of steel.
I know this by experience because the sword of Islam struck
deep into my own heart. It didn’t bring death, but it brought a
new life; it brought an awareness and it brought an awakening
as to who I am, what I am, and what I am here for.” The sword
of Islam strikes through God’s grace.
Those not born into Islam feel the special grace of this sword of
light when touched by its mighty power and truths.
, formerly known as Cat Stevens, says, “It will
be wrong to judge Islam in the light of the behavior of some
Muslims shown in the media.” An analogy often repeated but
still appropriate is, “If you see a beautiful car moving down
the road, all shiny, new and bright, but the driver of that car
is drunk and crashes the car against a wall, you don’t say
what a bad car it must be... you feel sorry that the car is badly
used by the driver.” Look at the “vehicle”, not the driver, and
strive to operate the beautiful car in a manner appropriate to
its integrity. Yusuf Islam continues, “Islam guides all human
beings in the daily life- in its spiritual, mental and physical
dimensions, but we must find the sources of these instructions,
the Quran and the example of the Prophet. Then we can see
the ideal of Islam.”
(now Bogdan Ataullak Kopanski): origi-
nally Polish now American; PhD in history and politics, had a
very interesting journey to Islam and faced severe hardships;
was imprisoned twice by the Polish communist regime (1968,
1981-82). He embraced Islam in 1974. “When I was 12 years
old I rejected illogical and contradictory faith of the Church. Two
years later in 1962- I was fascinated by victorious struggle of the
Algerian Muslim mujahhideen against French colonialism. It was
the first ARROW of Islam.... The high school and earliest days
of my education in the University, I was a typical example of
‘rebel generation’ of Reds.... My way to the Truth of Al- Qur’an
was slow and unpaved.... In 1974 I visited Turkey, I wrote my
M.A. dissertation about Sultan and Caliph Suleiman Kanuni’s
policy towards Polish Kingdom.
There, I was hit by the most beautiful voice of mankind, ADHAN,
the call to prayer. My hair stood up. Unknown powerful force
led me to old masjid in Istanbul. There, old smiling Turkish,
bearded men taught me WUZU, ablution. I confessed to tears
SHAHADAH and I prayed my first SALAH Maghrib.... I swept
out the rubbish ideologies.... The First time in my life, my mind
was relaxed and I felt pleasure of Allah’s love in my heart. I was
, PhD in Law (Harvard) German ambas-
sador to Algeria, “ For some time now, striving for more and
more precision and brevity, I have tried to put on paper in a
systematic way, all philosophical truths, which in my view can
be ascertained beyond reasonable doubt. In the course of this
effort it dawned on me that the typical attitude of an agnostic
is not an intellectual one; that man simply cannot escape a
decision to the greatest harmony with overall reality. Thus, I
realize, not without shock, that step by step, in spite of myself
and almost unconsciously, in feeling and thinking I have grown
into a Muslim. Only one last step remained to be taken: to
formalize my conversion. As of today, I am a Muslim.
(now Abdullah Adiyar): Indian,
noted Tamil writer and journalist; worked as a news editor in
Dr. M. Karunanidhi’s daily MURASOLI for 17 years; assisted 3
former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu; received Kalaimamani
Award (Big Gem of Arts) from Tamil Nadu Government in 1982.
He embraced Islam in 1987. “In Islam I found suitable replies
to nagging queries arising in my mind with regard to the theory
of creation, status of woman, creation of universe, etc. The life
history of the Holy Prophet attracted me very much and made
easy for me to compare with other world leaders and their
(now Amam Hobohm): German diplomat
and social worker. An intellectual who has been serving the
German diplomatic missions around the world. Presently work-
ing as Cultural Attache at the German Embassy in Riyadh. He
embraced Islam in 1941.”I have lived under different systems of
life and have had the opportunity of studying various ideologies,
but have come to the conclusion that none is a perfect as Islam.
None of the systems has got a complete code of a noble life.
Only Islam has it; and that is why good men embrace it. Islam
is not theoretical; it is practical. It means complete submission
to the will of God.”
(now Muhammad Ali); American, three times
World Heavyweight Champion, formerly a Christian. He em-
braced Islam in 1965. “I have had many nice moments in my
life. But the feelings I had while standing on Mount Arafat on
the day of HAJJ (Muslims’ pilgrimage), was the most unique. I
felt exalted by the indescribable spiritual atmosphere there as
over a million and a half pilgrims invoked God to forgive them
of their sins and bestow on them His choicest blessings. It was
an exhilarating experience to see to people belonging to dif-
ferent colors, races and nationalities, kings, heads of states and
ordinary men from very poor countries all clad in two simple
white sheets praying to God without any sense of either pride
or inferiority. It was a practical manifestation of the concept of
equality in Islam.”
If one studies the Quran it is impossible to withhold belief in its
words. “Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture.
All its parts are harmoniously conceived to compliment and
support each other. Nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking,
with the result of an absolute balance and solid composure.” This
(Mohammad Asad), Austrian statesman,
journalist, former foreign correspondent, and author.
This then is “The Sword of Islam “... the spiritual light and
power of belief in the one supreme creator and ruler of all
mankind and the message of hope brought to us in the Qu-
ran. A sword of steel holds no power over this true “Sword
At the present time alcohol consumption appears to be on the
increase all over the world. As a result of this most countries have
to face growing problems arising from alcohol use and alcoholism.
Quite apart from the cost to human health this results in a substantial
economic loss due to road and industrial accidents, work absentee-
ism, and the costs of treating and rehabilitating alcoholic persons.
Islam freed theMedina society from this economic pressure which the
modern world is suffering under its crushing burden. Governments
and large constellations of companies make tremendous profits from
the local sale and export of alcohol. They are not prepared to dis-
turb their whole economy in order to get rid of alcoholism at home.
Companies are not even ready to reduce their use of ‘propaganda’
and ‘persuasion’ which are portrayed in their advertisements and T.V.
commercials. But they are ready to donate a negligible sum of their
enormous profit to help solve some of the problems of their victimized
alcoholics. It is like the shedding of crocodile tears.
Al-Khamr as used in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet
means any material which causes intoxication. It comes from the
Arabic word Yakhmur which means to cover or to curtail. Al-Khamr
is so called because it covers or curtails the proper functioning of
the mind. It is commonly used as a synonym of wine or alcoholic
drinks because these were the only intoxicating material used by
the Arabs at the time of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
Many methods of dealing with the problems of alcohol in society
have been proposed and experimented with throughout man’s his-
tory. These have included total prohibition; many and varied types
of legislative control to regulate the production and consumption of
alcoholic beverages and the nationalization of the alcohol industry.
None can be aid to have solved the problem.
The basis of the attitude of Islam to the question of alcohol con-
sumption has been little understood in Western countries. The
prohibition of alcohol in the Holy Qur’an and its effects in the daily
life of Islamic peoples have been judged on the basis of prohibition
results in countries such as the US.
Since antiquity alcohol has been used not only as a social lubricant,
aperitif and source of pleasure but also as a remedy for many dif-
ferent ailments and diseases ranging from insomnia and indigestion
to heart attacks and as an anesthetic. The list of diseases for which
alcohol was used as a remedy was indeed very long.
The Arabs in Jahilia (pre-Islam) period used alcohol to boost courage
and benevolence. They also used it as a remedy for their ailments
and diseases. There are many Hadiths to show how the new con-
verts tried to convince the Prophet (pbuh) that they used alcohol
only as a remedy, and asked for his permission to continue doing
so. The Prophet (pbuh) emphatically denied the benefits of liquor
as a remedy and clearly mentioned it as a cause of ailment and
disease and not a remedy for any disease.
Muslim, Abu Da’ood and Tirmizi narrate the following Hadith: “A
man called Tariq Al Joofi came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked
permission to consume liquor (alcohol), the Prophet refused. The
man said: I use it and prescribe it as a medicine. The Prophet (pbuh)
answered: ‘It is a disease and ailment.’”
Another Hadith says that a man called Tariq ibn Swaid Al Hadrami
came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “O Messenger of God, In
our land we have vineyards and we make wine and drink.” The
Prophet (PBUH) said: “Stop drinking.” The man proclaimed: “We
use it as a remedy for the sick.” The Prophet said: “It’s no remedy.
It is an illness itself.” (Narrated by Muslim)
Abu Da’ood narrated this Hadith: “God has made for every illness
a cure, but never get your cure by things prohibited.” Al-Bukhari
also narrated a similar Hadith in which the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“God didn’t make your remedy in any of the things prohibited.”