This booklet has been compiled to refute the widely prevailing but misconceived notion that Islam is a violent, ferocious and intolerant religion, which calls upon its followers to wage unceasing war, called jihad, against those who do not accept it. It is alleged that Islam prohibits all freedom of religion, propagates its message by force, and coerces its followers by threat of the death penalty to remain within its fold. Another charge of the same kind is that Islam does not tolerate any criticism of its teachings and urges the faithful to kill anyone who speaks against it.
These misconceptions have aroused a great deal of hostility against Islam in the West, as well as alarm and fear, so much so that the Muslim religion is considered by many of its Western critics to be the gravest threat to civilisation which, they believe, they must counter and oppose by all available means. Unfortunately, some sections of Muslims, by their own intemperate words and actions, are reinforcing exactly this alarming image of Islam. The vast majority of Muslims do not, of course, accept these extreme doctrines but have generally not realised the urgent and vital necessity of making strong, sustained efforts to remove these grave slurs from the good name of Islam and its Prophet Muhammad.
This book clarifies the teachings of Islam on the main issues that are raised in this connection. Its arguments and conclusions are based firstly, on the Holy Quran and, secondly, on the leading books of Hadith, these being collections of verified reports of statements and actions of the Prophet Muhammad by his contemporary followers. I have provided full references to the sources and have checked all the quotations given here directly in the original books. Existing translations of the quoted Arabic sources, when available, have been indispensable to me, but I have on occasion varied some of their wording for greater clarity or accuracy. Some material in this booklet has been revised from articles by myself that have been published during 2006.
I have attempted to confront, directly, and honestly, the issues and objections involved, without trying to avoid any difficult questions or indulging in superficial propaganda.
The perspective of Islam presented in this booklet is based on the writings of two most distinguished Islamic scholars and writers of the first half of the 20th century. They are Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore (d. 1951), well known as the author of an English translation and commentary of the Quran and several other renowned books on Islam, and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (d. 1932), the pioneer Muslim missionary to the West who founded the former Woking Muslim Mission at Woking in England. These luminaries of the Muslim faith had themselves been inspired by the great defender of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908). Nonetheless, the case argued in this booklet must be judged on its own merits by its compliance with the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.
In the final Section I have compiled extracts from the writings of nine eminent scholars of Islam, including two non-Muslim Europeans, who have drawn very similar conclusions about Islamic teachings on these issues to those that are argued in the body of this booklet.