What They Say About Islam
The Islam that was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) is the continuation
and culmination of all the preceding revealed religions and hence it
is for all times and all peoples. This status of Islam is sustained
by glaring facts. Firstly, there is no other revealed book extant in
the same form and content as it was revealed. Secondly, no other revealed
religion has any convincing claim to provide guidance in all walks of
human life for all times. But Islam addresses humanity at large and
offers basic guidance regarding all human problems. Moreover, it has
withstood the test of fourteen hundred years and has all the potentialities
of establishing an ideal society as it did under the leadership of the
last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
It was a miracle that Prophet Muhammad could bring even his toughest
enemies to the fold of Islam without adequate material resources. Worshippers
of idols, blind followers of the ways of forefathers, promoters of tribal
feuds, abusers of human dignity and blood, became the most disciplined
nation under the guidance of Islam and its Prophet. Islam opened before
them vistas of spiritual heights and human dignity by declaring righteousness
as the sole criterion of merit and honor. Islam shaped their social,
cultural, moral and commercial life with basic laws and principles which
are in conformity with human nature and hence applicable in all times
as human nature does not change.
It is so unfortunate that the Christian West instead of sincerely trying
to understand the phenomenal success of Islam during its earlier time,
considered it as a rival religion. During the centuries of the Crusades
this trend gained much force and impetus and huge amount of literature
was produced to tarnish the image of Islam. But Islam has begun to unfold
its genuineness to the modern scholars whose bold and objective observations
on Islam belie all the charges leveled against it by the so-called unbiased
Here we furnish some observations on Islam by great and acknowledged
non-Muslim scholars of modern time. Truth needs no advocates to plead
on its behalf, but the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam
has created great confusion even in the minds of free and objective
We hope that the following observations would contribute to initiating
an objective evaluation of Islam.
Canon Taylor, Paper read before the Church Congress at Walverhamton,
Oct. 7, 1887, Quoted by Arnond in The Preaching of Islam, pp.
"It (Islam) replaced monkishness by manliness. It gives hope
to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition of the fundamental
facts of human nature."
Sarojini Naidu, Lectures on "The Ideals of Islam", see Speeches
and Writings of Sarojini Naidu, Madras, 1918, p. 167:
"Sense of justice is one of the most wonderful ideals of Islam,
because as I read in the Qur'an I find those dynamic principles of
life, not mystic but practical ethics for the daily conduct of life
suited to the whole world."
De Lacy O'Leary, Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p.8:
"History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical
Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point
of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically
absurd myths that historians have ever repeated."
H.A.R. Gibb, Whither Islam, London, 1932, p. 379:
"But Islam has a still further service to render to the cause
of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe
does, and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding
and cooperation. No other society has such a record of success in
uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavors
so many and so various races of mankind... Islam has still the power
to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition.
If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West is
to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable
condition. In its hands lies very largely the solution of the problem
with which Europe is faced in its relation with East. If they unite,
the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe,
by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of
its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both."
G.B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 81936:
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation
because of its wonderful vitality. it is the only religion which appears
to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase
of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied
him the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ,
he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man
like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would
succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much
needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad
that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning
to be acceptable to the Europe of today."
A.J. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, New York, 1948, p. 205:
"The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is
one of the outstanding achievements of Islam and in the contemporary
world. There is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation
of this Islamic virtue."
A.M.L. Stoddard, quoted in Islam The Religion of All Prophets,
Begum Bawani Waqf, Karachi, Pakistan, p. 56:
"The rise of Islam is perhaps the most amazing event in human
history. Springing from a land and a people alike previously negligible,
Islam spread within a century over half the earth, shattering great
empires, overthrowing long established religions, remolding the souls
of races, and building up a whole new world world of Islam.
"The closer we examine this development the more extraordinary
does it appear. The other great religions won their way slowly, by
painful struggle and finally triumphed with the aid of powerful monarchs
converted to the new faith. Christianity had its Constantine, Buddhism
its Asoka, and Zoroastrianism its Cyrus, each lending to his chosen
cult the mighty force of secular authority. Not so Islam. Arising
in a desert land sparsely inhabited by a nomad race previously undistinguished
in human annals, Islam sallied forth on its great adventure with the
slenderest human backing and against the heaviest material odds. Yet
Islam triumphed with seemingly miraculous ease, and a couple of generations
saw the Fiery Crescent borne victorious from the Pyrenees to the Himalayas
and from the desert of Central Asia to the deserts of Central Africa."
Edward Montet, "La Propaganda Chretienne it Adversaries Musulmans",
Paris, 1890, quoted by T.W. Arnold in The Preaching of Islam,
London, 1913, pp. 413-414:
"Islam is a religion that is essentially rationalistic in the
widest sense of this term considered etymologically and historically.
The definition of rationalism as a system that bases religious belief
on principles furnished by the reason applies to it exactly... It
cannot be denied that many doctrines and systems of theology and also
many superstitions, from the worship of saints to the use of rosaries
and amulets, have become grafted on the main trunk of Muslim creed.
But in spite of the rich development, in every sense of the term,
of the teachings of the prophet, the Quran has invariably kept its
place as the fundamental starting point, and the dogma of unity of
God has always been proclaimed therein with a grandeur, a majesty,
an invariable purity and with a note of sure conviction, which it
is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam. This fidelity
to the fundamental dogma of the religion, the elemental simplicity
of the formula in which it is enunciated, the proof that it gains
from the fervid conviction of the missionaries who propagate it, are
so many causes to explain the success of Mohammedan missionary efforts.
A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and
consequently so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be
expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning
its way into the consciences of men."
W. Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity Today, London, 1983,
"I am not a Muslim in the usual sense, though I hope I am a
"Muslim" as "one surrendered to God", but I believe
that embedded in the Quran and other expressions of the Islamic vision
are vast stores of divine truth from which I and other occidentals
have still much to learn, and 'Islam is certainly a strong contender
for the supplying of the basic framework of the one religion of the
Paul Varo Martinson (editor), ISLAM, An Introduction for Christians,
Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1994, p. 205:
"Islam is an authentic faith that shapes our Muslim neighbors'
innermost being and determines their attitude in life. And the Islamic
faith is generally more tradition oriented than the recent Western
shape of Christian faith, which has experienced considerable secularization.
Yet we are only fair to the Islamic population when we understand
them from their religious core and respect them as a faith community.
Muslims have become important partners in faith conversation."
John Alden Williams (editor), ISLAM, George Braziller, New York,
1962, inside dust cover:
"Islam is much more than a formal religion: it is an integral
way of life. In many ways it is a more determining factor in the experience
of its followers than any other world religion. The Muslim ("One
who submits") lives face to face with Allah at all times
and will introduce no separation between his life and his religion,
his politics and his faith. With its strong emphasis on the brotherhood
of men cooperating to fulfill the will of Allah, Islam has become
one of the most influential religions in the world today."
John L. Esposito, ISLAM, The Straight Path, Oxford University
Press, New York, 1988, pp. 3-4:
"Islam stands in a long line of Semitic, prophetic religious
traditions that share an uncompromising monotheism, and belief in
God's revelation, His prophets, ethical responsibility and accountability,
and the Day of Judgement. Indeed, Muslims, like Christians and Jews,
are the Children of Abraham, since all trace their communities back
to him. Islam's historic religious and political relationship to Christendom
and Judaism has remained strong throughout history. This interaction
has been the source of mutual benefit and borrowing as well as misunderstanding
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