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February 2007:

1.  DEAR ABE: I am curious about the moon on the Islamic world, what does it mean?  Isn’t it symbolizing the same moon god they used to pray to? --PABLO IN THE USA

DEAR PABLO :   There is no moon god in Islam.  God instructs us in the Quran to not worship the moon, or other false deities [1].  We are instructed that all our worship is to be devoted to the One God the Creator [2].  The early Muslim community did not have a symbol, so the crescent moon symbol probably was adopted by some Muslim communities for recognition purposes.  Hence, the embellishment of a crescent moon was placed on the roofs and minarets of some famous mosques. It is certainly not in uniform use and other famous mosques do not have the moon symbol.  Both the Quran and history tell us that there were ancient groups who worshipped the moon or sun throughout history, but the Muslims are not one of them [3].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 41:37, 2:189, 31:29-30, 2:22, 7:33;  [2]   4:48, 13:14, 21:67, 22:62;  [3] 6:74-78, 27:23-25.


 2. DEAR ABE:  I’m wondering if Muslims in the West want Sharia law? It would seem that some do. --PETE

DEAR PETE: I cannot represent all Western Muslims, but I personally do not wish to live under “Sharia law”.  Here’s why.  The “Sharia law” that is practiced in the Middle East is un-Islamic.  How so?  Sharia law directly contradicts God’s Scripture in several ways. For starters, Islam shouldn’t be forced on others [1]; the Quran proclaims freedom as a gift of God while Sharia on the other hand restricts freedom [2].  Secondly, Sharia law relies on “religious scholar’s” opinions and interpretations rather than Quran [3].  In the third place, it is inconsistent and God’s path is not inconsistent [4].  Fourthly, God’s true religion is not brutal; murder and routine dismemberment are not Quranic [5].  For example the thief’s punishment in the Quran is not severing of the hand, and there isn’t a blanket instruction to kill non-Muslims [6].

Relavant Quran Verses:  [1] 53:29, 2:256, 73:9-11, 6:106, 4:81, 7:199, 43:89; [2] 18:29, 2:193, 8:39, 3:195;  [3] 12:111, 6:114-116, 5:15-16, 7:52, 5:48-49, 6:38, 31:6, 77:50, 9:31; [4] 4:82, 39:29, 39:23; [5] 4:94, 17:33, 17:28, 4:29-30, 17:31, 5:31-32, 6:120; [6] 5:38, 60:8, 3:113, 3:199, 5:69, 22:17, 29:46, Appendix 37 of the Quran translation by R. Khalifa.


3. DEAR ABE: I have a question about gambling.  I would like to know if a Submitter to God alone can play card games like solitaire or bridge with his friends just like a hobby or if that is forbidden like gambling? --RAHIMI, AMMAN, JORDAN

DEAR RAHIMI:  The Quran forbids gambling and games of chance [1]. In general, games with nothing of value at stake are permissible. This would include games where all possible outcomes are almost equal in value, so that nothing is really at risk for any participant. The Quran’s example of a forbidden game of chance is one which yields the dividing up of goods, which is a personal stake [2].  This shows that a personal stake is not always monetary. We must use common sense, as well as prayer for guidance and clarity when judging each game’s lawfulness [3].  We are also instructed to not forbid something that is lawful by God [4].  So, most friendly card games for fun would not fall into the forbidden category unless you have something valuable at stake.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 2:219, 5:3, 5:90-91; [2] 5:3; [3]  39:18, 16:78, 17:36, 11:116, 2:186, 3:159-160; [4] 3:94, 5:87, 5:103, 6:140, 7:32.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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