4) Some believe that Muslims worship Muhammad. Is this true?
Muslims do not worship Muhammad (SA) in any way. We believe that he was the last messenger sent by Allah and like all His other prophets and messengers, he was a human being. However, some people mistakenly assume that Muslims worship Muhammad and this is one of the reasons that Muslims were erroneously called “Mohammedans”.
Muhammad, like Jesus, never claimed divine status. He called people to worship Almighty Allah alone, and he continually emphasized his humanity. In order to prevent his deification, Prophet Muhammad (SA) always said to refer to him as “Allah’s slave and messenger”. He (SA) said:
‘Do not adulate me as the Christians adulated Jesus son of Mary. I am Allah’s slave and messenger.’ (Bukhari)
Muhammad was chosen to be Allah’s final messenger and to communicate His message to us, not only in words, but also as a living example of its practical application. Muslims love and respect him because of his impeccable and upright moral character and because he conveyed the truth from Allah – which is the pure monotheism of Islam.
Muslims strive to follow the great example of Prophet Muhammad (SA) but do not worship him in any way. Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of Allah’s prophets and messengers. However, respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them. Muslims know that all worship and prayer must be directed to Allah alone.
In fact, the worship of Muhammad – or anyone else – along with, or instead of, Almighty Allah is considered an unpardonable sin in Islam. Even if a person claims to be Muslim but worships or prays to anything other than Allah, it invalidates one’s claim to Islam. The Declaration of Faith makes it clear that Muslims must worship Allah alone.
5) Is Islam fatalistic?
Most Muslims find it rather odd that their religion, which strikes a remarkable balance between faith and deeds, are sometimes accused of being “fatalistic”. Perhaps this misconception came about because Muslims are known to say “All praise is due to Allah” whenever anything good or bad happens. This is because Muslims know that everything comes from Allah, the Creator of the universe, and occurs by His will. Thus, a Muslim worry less about material matters and views earthly life in a proper perspective. A true Muslim relies completely on Allah and knows that whatever happens is always for the best, whether one recognizes it or not, so one graciously accepts whatever cannot be changed.
This does not mean that Muslims should simply await destiny and take no action in life. On the contrary, Islam demands action and effort to change every undesirable situation. To be more precise, action is a required part of one’s faith. If human beings did not have the ability to act, it would be unjust for Allah to expect them to do and to avoid certain things. Far from being “fatalistic”, Islam teaches that man’s main obligation in life is to act and exert effort in obedience to Allah.
Islam teaches that human beings should take positive action in this life and supplement it with prayer. Some people are lazy and careless and then blame the negative result on destiny or fate. Some even say that, if Allah had willed, they would not have sinned or committed crimes. All of these arguments are completely erroneous, because Allah has taught us how to live and has ordered us to always do what is right. Allah has not ordered us to do anything that we are unable to do or prohibited anything that we cannot avoid, because His justice is complete and perfect. Each individual is held responsible within the limits of their ability and not beyond it.
6) How can you confirm the existence of Life after Death?
The Qur’an teaches that the present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of our existence. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and recreated, and the dead will be resurrected to stand in judgment before Allah.
(On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens and they (all creatures) will appear before Allah, the One, the Irresistible.) [14:48]
The Day of Resurrection will be the beginning of another life, one that will be eternal. It is then that every person will be fully compensated by Allah for his or her good and evil deeds.
The explanation that the Qur’an gives about the necessity of life after death is exactly what the moral consciousness of man demands. If there were no life after death, the very belief in Allah would become meaningless, or even if one believed in Him, it would then be an unjust and indifferent deity, having once created man and no longer being concerned with his fate. Surely, Allah is just. He will punish the tyrants, whose crimes are beyond count – having killed hundreds of innocent people, created great corruption in society, enslaved numerous persons to serve their own whims, and so on. Because one has a short life span in this world and since numerous individuals are affected by one’s actions, adequate punishments and rewards are not possible in this life. The Qur’an very emphatically states that the Day of Judgment will come and that Allah will decide the fate of each soul.
Each and every human being longs for justice. Even if one does not uphold it for others they want justice for themselves. For example, tyrants and oppressors who are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others will object vehemently if any injustice is done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they feel that power and influence prevents others from doing injustice to them.
Any person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial or social status, almost certainly wants its perpetrator to be punished. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many of them get off lightly or even scot-free. They may continue to lead pleasant, even luxurious lives and enjoy a peaceful existence. Allah may not punish a criminal in this world but He will surely hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment and punish him.
It is true that a wrongdoer may receive part of the justice that is due to him in this world, but it will remain incomplete. The same is true of someone who deserves great reward and repayment – who has done much good, helped or taught many people, saved lives, suffered to uphold truth or patiently endured much hardship or injustice. No earthly compensation is adequate for such relentless courage and effort. These types of deeds can only be repaid in full in an eternal life where every individual affected by one’s actions will testify for or against that person, and where one’s innermost thoughts and intentions, known only to Allah, will be exposed and judged precisely and perfectly.
Belief in the Hereafter is completely logical. Allah has made certain things pleasing and desirable to us in this worldly life, such as justice, although it is usually unattainable. Though a person may obtain a good portion of earthly pleasures and many of his objectives, one remains convinced that the world is unjust. Now, why would the Creator implant in us the love for something we may not experience? The answer is that this life is only one portion of our existence and the Hereafter is the necessary conclusion which balances everything out. Whatever is missing here will be found there; and similarly, whatever is gained unlawfully here will result in deprivation there. That is the perfect and absolute justice Allah has promised.
Finally, Allah is able to create and re-create as He wills. He creates whatever He wills, however He wills, whenever He wills. Allah, the Exalted, says:
(As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We shall do it.) [21:104]