There are many misconceptions about Islam and we often see these perpetuated through the media. The following are the main ones:

Fighting in wars

As Muslim Australians one must abide by the laws of the country they reside in and to adhere to ethics and morals of that these laws are designed to promote. According to Islam Muslims see war and violence as a last resort and only in the case of defending themselves from attack or defend those who are being attacked.

A Muslim is not permitted to cause mischief or promote violence using religion as a mask for that violence. Islam promotes peace with justice as the norm and condemns any act of violent extremism. Muslims may not attack others in an aggressive act. For instance during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in the event of a battle, he protected the weak, including men, women, children and the elderly. He forbade anyone harming the environment such as to trees or harvests or to animals and livestock. The Prophet treated prisoners of war humanely. The first treaty for the humane treatment of prisoners was created by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 14 centuries ago in the city of Medina.

Suicide bombing

Suicide bombing is condemned by the majority of scholars (about 99%). Suicide is not permissible in Islam at all. The killing of civilians is also not allowed.
To take your life in the act of killing others is not an Islamically permissible action.
The Quran mentions that to kill on person is like killing all of humanity. This is a grave sin.


Muslims are against any form of extremism. Islam teaches the path of moderation, in any act, whether in prayer or fasting, being with family, working or eating. Islam is against violent extremism and condemns any acts that target men, women, children or the elderly.


In the same way Islam condemns extremism, Islam is against terrorism. Terrorism as defined as a violent act against the state targeting civilians, this is not a permissible form of warfare or defence.


ISLAM teaches the benefits of pluralism and breaks down barriers of race or culture.
Islam is a universal message of the brotherhood of mankind. Islam is against racism and teaches tolerance and acceptance of all people of all backgrounds regardless of their faith, race or creed.


Islam teaches Muslims who migrate to follow the law of the land and to respect the leaders of the land. It teaches to do good works amongst the community and not to create mischief and to lead by example. It teaches one to live in harmony with the community and to follow the customs of the country as long as they do not clash with your faith.


Democracy is an Islamic value. It is known as shura and ijma. Consultation and consensus. In Muslim societies the leader is chosen by the people and for the people and must rule as one of the people. There is no justification for royalty or for special treatment as a leader. In fact the responsibilities are much more onerous and must be guided by Islamic principles, which are much stricter than any man-made principles. Eg, honesty, transparency, justice and compassion, freedom of speech and religion, equality and fairness, conflict of interests, manner of speech or accusations without the accused to be there to defend themselves etc. Therefore, Muslims can engage in democratic processes as long as it does not work towards oppressing their religious practices.


Voting is simply a choice. There is no rule in Islam which prevents a person from voting. However, Muslims must know who they are supporting and what values and principles that person stands for and if a member of a party what the party stands for.
The guiding principles of voting in an elections is whether that person or party is advocating anything which clashes with the Islamic principles of fairness and justice.

Corporal punishment

Islam believes in preserving the chastity of society and upholds the highest degree of morals and social behaviour, to protect the moral fabric of society. Therefore only in an Islamic state (as Corporal punishment is not permissible under Australian law), corporal punishment would be allowed for certain crimes, however, the burden of proof is very strict.
In the case of theft, one must understand why that person stole, if it was out of desperation or poverty, then they should be forgiven. It is not permissible for the state or the authorities to carry out corporal punishment for the act of theft if there is widespread poverty in the society. The rulers or leaders would then be held responsible for not providing the necessary welfare and safety in society.

Interfaith relations

Muslims are allowed to have dialogue between non-Muslims and it is a responsibility for all Muslims to inform others about their faith. Islam is a monotheitic faith system and anyone who worships and believes in one God, is regarded as ‘People of the Book’, which refers to the revealed books of God.

Muslim identity

Muslims are from diverse ethnicities and cultures. It is also true that many Arab people are Muslim but most Muslims are not Arabs. About 20% of the worlds Muslims are in fact Arab. The others come from places like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Africa, Central Asia, SE Asia, Turkey and Bosnia. The Islamic community in Australia is not an homogeneous community. Muslims identify as Muslims from one ummah or family. However, their ethnicity or nationality can be based on where they live and which passport they carry. Muslims do not prioritise what part of their identity is more important. To ask a Muslim if they are Muslim or Australian first is like asking them do they like their left hand or right hand more.

Halal products

Halal meat is simply meat that has been prepared in a manner which is acceptable according to Islamic practice. Halal translated means ‘permissible’. It maintains the most humane method of slaughter (by not severing the spinal chord), the healthiest way to prepare the meat (by draining the blood) and by declaring that one is doing it in the name of God and not for any other purpose, this makes the slaughter ethically and spiritually fair.

Other products regarded as non-meat, must also be halal even though there is no slaughtering process. The main thing is the ingredients are halal and that they do not pose any unethical or unhealthy issues. Eg. Cigarettes, alcohol or food containing swine products.

Marriage and Divorce

In Islam it is not permissible to force anyone to marry someone whom they do not love or do not want to marry. Often, we hear about parents forcing their children to marry someone whom they do not know or have never met. This is absolutely not an Islamic practice. In Islam, marriages must be voluntary but usually managed by the parents of the couple with the consent of the couple. In Islamic societies, it is not compulsory but very common for parents to play the match-maker.


A Muslim man is allowed up to four marital partners under God but this is not permissible under Australian law. In the Islamic tradition, in other countries, a Muslim may have a second wife if he meets the following conditions (note that it is even stricter for marrying a third or fourth wife): He must treat both wives equally (in every sense); He must have the means to support them; he must be kind and considerate to both wives.

If a man does not treat any of his wives equally, then he is sinful and will be punished by God. This is a serious consideration before marrying a second wife.

It is important to mention that marrying one wife is the norm in Islam. Having the option for more than one wife, allows the protection of the community, maintaining moral standards. It deters men from having affairs and protects the women by giving them matrimonial legal rights.

A woman cannot marry more than one partner. Because Islam is a patriarchal system, this would mean that if a woman had more than one husband, then it would be physically impossible to know, when a child is born, who the father is.

Divorce is permissible in Islam but only as a last resort and after all other avenues have been exhausted. It must be done ethically and fairly. In Australia, divorce is arbitrated by Australian law.  In other countries, divorce may be granted by a religious Shariah court.

Art and Music

Art is permissible. Depiction of lewd scenes is not allowed. Also in some interpretations the depiction of animals and the human face is not allowed if the art is to be displayed on the wall of a house. As a consequence of this restriction, new forms of art emerged in Islamic societies which used calligraphy and geometric shapes and forms to express themselves and to decorate mosques and buildings.

Music is highly controversial. Some believe that music is allowed as long as it does not promote unruly or violent behaviour or contain blasphemous messages or promote lewdness. Music which is soothing or celebratory especially during festivities and weddings, is permissible, under some interpretations. However, the jury is split on this issue, as the Quran is not explicit about music.

Music which is played in clubs and other places where alcohol is consumed is haram.
Other interpretations see music as completely haram except percussive instruments like the drum and bells etc.

Shaking hands

It is generally unacceptable for a man and a woman to shake hands.
This is a cultural practice widely accepted in the West today. Although, it was not a common practice for women to shake hands at all in places like England or Australia. It has now become widely acceptable for a man and women to shake hands in Australia. However, in Islam, it is discouraged.


Adultery under Islamic law in Muslim countries is seen as a crime. Although there are harsh penalties for this, it can only be proven with the testimony of four witnesses which is extremely difficult to find. Therefore, it is rare that a case of adultery occurs in the Islamic judicial systems in Muslim Countries.

Sharia Law

Sharia law is not about cutting hands and stoning. It is about creating a fair and sustainable society that adheres to the highest legal standards to protect the society from moral decay and dysfunction. Sharia in a non-Islamic state, such as here in Australia, such as here in Australia can be personal and it means living your life in accordance with the laws of Islam. This is how one lives their lives practising as Muslims, eg. Praying, attending the mosque, marriage and so on.


Islam is absolutely clear when it comes to idol worship, this is an unacceptable practice and offensive to God.


Similarly, this is also another offensive idea in Islam, as Muslims believe in the oneness of God and to place partners next to God is unacceptable.


The pig is a creation of God and is not hated as some would assume. However, the Quran identifies the pig among some other animals that may not be consumed by people. God has commanded humans not to eat any products from pigs.

There are many scientific explanations behind this, but to mention only a few: pigs in general carry a type of worm that is very hard to eliminate and untreated pigs have these worms, also pigs are very close to humans in terms of the DNA of their flesh and organs and it is highly detrimental to consume something so close to human flesh.


In a nutshell alcohol is prohibited because it affects one’s sobriety and their ability to concentrate during prayer. However, alcohol is also one of the most damaging products in any society, causing deaths from motor accidents, causing immoral behaviour, domestic and street assaults and often behind other crimes like rape. Islam prohibited it, although at one stage it was not haram until during the latter stages if Islamic development.