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May 2008

1. DEAR ABE:  Muslims claim that their religion is a monotheistic religion, but Islam appears to be polytheistic.   This is because having to believe in Muhammad is not being truly a monotheist.  To believe in GOD has nothing to do with believing in Moses, or other prophets. For GOD alone is the Most High.  How do you reconcile claims of Islam being monotheistic with a Muslim’s belief in Mohammad?   --MENASHE, CHINA

DEAR MENASHE:   I see how one could assess Islam as polytheistic if they are judging from the way some people practice the religion today.  Some do focus on Mohammad or follow the words of their religious leaders above that of God’s in the Quran [1].  This takes their focus away from God alone.  They consider themselves monotheistic Muslims, but are unknowingly polytheists.  Islam is intrinsically monotheistic [2].  The term Islam means Submission to God alone. The Quran clarifies that we should believe in all of God's messengers and not distinguish between them, nor make one superior over the other [3].  This is because they all brought one and the same message; to worship God alone and not associate partners with Him.  You are correct that God is Most High. God has no partners [4].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  9:31, 9:34, 2:112, 2:155-157, 2:165;  [2]  4:36, 6:161-165, 4:146, 6:102;  [3]  2:136-139, 3:79;  [4]  6:100, 10:18, 39:67, 25:2, 28:68.


2. DEAR ABE:  I am a student in a secondary school.  Sometimes, my friends and I will talk about religion.  One friend said, on Judgment Day, their prophet Jesus will come down to earth again to save them. I do also remember hearing that the Quran says that Jesus will return.  Then, he asked me why Prophet Muhammad does not come down at that time, too?  Can you help me answer him? --ALI, TUNISIA

DEAR ALI:   There are a group of verses in the Quran that are commonly misunderstood to imply that Jesus will return [1].  But the verses clearly address only those who were alive during Jesus’ time.  Jesus is quoted in the Quran as saying that he can only be a witness among the people who he was among for as long as he lived with them, and that after his death, God is the Watcher, the Witness [2]. Based on these verses, Jesus cannot be a witness for the entire world, and neither can Muhammad [3].  Definitely each of God's messengers and prophets will be a witness to the people they were sent to, and we will be a witness to our communities [4].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  4:157-159, Appendix 22 of the Quran Translation by R. Khalifa;  [2] 3:55, 5:117-118, 6:94;  [3]  2:143, 2:48, 2:123, 5:22, 39:43-44;  [4] 6:36, 16:70, 21:11, 2:28, 6:60-62.


3. DEAR ABE:   I have been wondering about whether God tells us to pray as soon as possible once the time for a new prayer comes. Or if we are allowed to pray anytime between two prayers?  I assume that as long as I say my prayer before the next one is due, then I'm fine. But does God command that we should say our prayers as soon as possible? Would this be displeasing to God if I delayed it? -- MAHMOOD, CANADA

DEAR MAHMOOD:   You are correct, by God's Grace, the Salat Contact Prayers can be completed anytime before the next prayer comes due. The only exception is the Dawn prayer which has to be completed sometime during the dawn time frame -we can not wait until the Noon prayer comes due. Thus, the remaining four Salat Prayers - the Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, and Night Contact Prayers are valid if observed anytime during the period it becomes due until the next prayer becomes due [1]. Once missed, a given contact prayer is a missed opportunity that cannot be made up; one can only repent and ask forgiveness [2].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  11:114, 24:58, 17:78, 2:238, 62:9, 2:37;  [2]  23:9, 38:31-344:103, Appendix 15 of the Quran Translation by R. Khalifa.

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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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