All religions basically teach followers to do good
deeds. Why should a person
only follow Islam? Can he not follow any of the religions?
By Dr. Zakir Naik
1. Major difference between Islam and most other
All religions basically exhort mankind to be righteous and eschew evil.
But Islam goes beyond that. It guides us towards practical ways of
achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from our individual and
collective lives. Islam takes into account human nature and the
complexities of human society. Islam is guidance from the Creator
Himself. Therefore, Islam is also called the Deenul- Fitrah (the natural
religion of Man).
2. Example - Islam commands us to shun robbery and also
prescribes method of eliminating robbery
a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating
All major religions teach that theft is an evil act. Islam teaches the
same. So what is the difference between Islam and the other religions?
The difference lies in the fact that Islam, besides teaching that
robbing is evil, shows a practical way of creating a social structure in
which people will not rob.
b. Islam prescribes Zakat
Islam prescribes a system of Zakat (obligatory annual charity). Islamic
law prescribes that every person who has a saving that exceeds the nisab
level i.e. more than 85 grams of gold, should give 2.5% of that saving
every lunar year in charity. If every rich person in the world gave
Zakat sincerely, poverty will be eradi***ed from this world. Not a
single human being would die of hunger.
c. Chopping off the hands as punishment for robbery
Islam prescribes chopping off the hands of the convicted robber. The
Glorious Qur'an says in Surah Maidah:
"As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands:a punishment
by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in
power, full of wisdom."
[ Al-Qur'an 5:38]
The non-Muslim may say, "Chopping off the hands in this 20th century.
Islam is a barbaric and ruthless religion!"
d. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah
America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries in the
world. Unfortunately it also has one of the highest rates of crime,
theft, and robbery. Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in
America i.e. every rich person gives Zakat ( 2.5% of his savings in
charity above 85 grams of gold every lunar year), and every convicted
robber has his or her hands chopped off as a punishment. Will the rate
of theft and robbery in America
increase, remain same or decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Moreover
the existence of such a stringent law would discourage many a potential
I agree that the amount of theft that takes place in the world today is
so tremendous that if you chop off the hands of all the thieves, there
will be tens of thousands of people whose hands will be chopped off. The
point here is that the moment you implement this law the rate of theft
will decline immediately. The potential robber would give it a serious
thought before jeopardizing his limbs. The mere thought of the
punishment itself will discourage majority of the robbers. There will
barely be a few who would rob. Hence only a few person's hands would be
chopped off but millions would live peacefully without fear of being
Islamic Shariah is therefore practical, and achieves results.
3. Example: Islam prohibits the
molestation and rape of women. It enjoins hijab and prescribes capital
punishment for a convicted rapist.
a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating
molestation and rape
All the major religions declare the molestation and rape of women
as grave sins. Islam teaches the same. What then is the difference
between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact
that Islam does not merely preach respect for women, or abhor
molestation and rape as serious crimes, but also gives clear guidance as
to how society can eliminate such crimes.
b. Hijab for men
Islam has a system of hijab. The Glorious Qur'an first mentions hijab
for the men
and then for the women. Hijab for the men is mentioned in the following
"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard
their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is
well acquainted with all that they do."
The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought
comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.
c. Hijab for women
Hijab for women is mentioned in the following verse:
"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and
guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and
ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should
draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except
to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their
The extent of hijab for a woman is that her complete body should be
covered. The only part that can be seen, are the face and the hands up
to the wrists. If they wish to cover, they can even cover these parts of
the body. However some Islamic scholars insist that even the face should
d. Hijab prevents molestation
The reason why Allah has prescribed Hijab for the women is given in the
Qur'an in the folowing verse of Surah Al-Ahzab:
"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women,that
they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad):
that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not
molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful."
The Qur'an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that
they are recognized as modest women this would prevent them from being
e. Example of twin sisters
Suppose two sisters who are twins and who are equally beautiful, walk
down a street. One of them is wearing the Islamic Hijab i.e. the
complete body is covered except for the face and the hands up to the
wrists, and the other twin is wearing a mini skirt or shorts. Around the
corner there is a hooligan who is waiting for an opportunity to tease a
girl. Who will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl
wearing the mini skirt or shorts?
Dresses that expose more than they conceal, are an indirect temptation
to the opposite sex for teasing, molestation and rape.
The Qur'an rightly says that the hijab prevents women from being
f. Capital punishment for rapist
The Islamic shariah prescribes capital punishment for a convicted
rapist. The non-Muslim may be horrified at such a stringent punishment
in this age. Many accuse Islam of being ruthless and barbaric. I have
asked a common question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose
God-forbid, some one rapes your wife, your mother or your sister and you
are made the judge. The rapist is brought in front of you. What
punishment would you give him? All of them said, "we would put him to
death." Some went to the extent of saying, "we would torture him to
death", If your wife or your mother is raped you want the rapist to be
put to death. But if someone else's wife or mother is raped, capital
punishment is a barbaric law. Why the double standards?
g. U.S.A. has one of the highest rate of Rape
The United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced
countries of the world. An F.B.I report in the year 1990 says that
1,02,555 cases of rape were reported. It further says that only 16% of
the cases of rapes are reported. Thus, in order to know the actual
number of rapes that took place in 1990, the reported figure should be
multiplied by 6.25. We get a total of 6,40,968 rape cases that took
place in the year 1990. If the total is
divided by 365 the number of days in a year, we get an average of 1,756
rape incidents everyday.
Later another report said that an average of 1900 cases of rape are
committed in U.S.A every day. According to National Crime Victimization
Survey Bureau of Justice Statistics (U. S. Dept. of Justice) in 1996
alone 3,07,000 cases of rape were reported. Only 31% of the actual cases
of rape were reported. Thus, 3,07,000 X 3.226 = 9,90,322 rapes took
place in 1996.
That is, an average of 2,713 cases of rape took place everyday in
America in 1996. Every 32 seconds one rape is taking place in America.
Maybe American rapists got bolder. The FBI report of 1990 continues and
says that out of the rape cases that were reported only 10% of the
rapist were arrested, that is only 1.6% of the actual rapes committed.
Out of those arrested, 50% were let free before the trial. This would
mean that only 0.8% of the rapists faced a trial. In other words if a
person commits 125 rapes the chances that he will get a punishment for
rape is only once. Many would consider this a good gamble. And the
report says that of those people who faced trial 50% received sentences
of less than a year's imprisonment though the American law says rape
carries a seven year sentence of
imprisonment. For a rapist, the judge is lenient to first time
offenders. Imagine a person commits 125 rapes and the chances of being
convicted is only once, and 50% of the time the judge will grant
leniency and give a sentence of less than a year!
h. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah Implemented
Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in America. Whenever a man
looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his
mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic Hijab, that is
the complete body is covered except the face and the hands upto the
wrists. After this if any man commits rape, he gets capital punishment.
The question is, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it
remain the same or will it decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Islamic
Shariah gets results.
4. Islam has Practical Solutions for the Problems of Mankind
Islam is the best way of life because its teachings are not doctrinaire
practical solutions for the problems of mankind. Islam achieves results
the individual and collective levels. Islam is the best way of life
because it is a
practical, universal religion not confined to any ethnic group or