islam came as a message of guidance from god to all creation at a time when ignorance and corruption were universal. it opened peoples' minds and souls to learning, development, refinement and morality. the achievements of islamic thought in that early period were sufficient to bring light, guidance and knowledge to humanity.
however, as among every other people, there are indeed some muslims who are heedless, undependable, corrupt and selfish, and the media projects this stereotype about muslims in particular. it can be readily noted that whenever an adherent to any other faith commits a crime, the media seldom brings up the issue of religion, but when a muslim is involved, it is islam that is blamed and portrayed in a negative light before public opinion.
the fact cannot be denied that many muslims today are unmindful of the teachings of their religion, due either to a lack of religious knowledge or to various worldly inducements and attractions. but even if one recognizes that some muslims may be dishonest, immoral or impulsive, he should not judge islam by its nonconforming or disobedient members but rather by those who conscientiously adhere to its teachings. since islam categorically forbids such evils as lying, cheating and negligence, the wrongdoer must be blamed for his crimes rather than the religion. one should instead examine the system itself, understand its principles, and disregard the acts of those who have serious deficiencies in their knowledge, beliefs and practice.
while today's muslim societies are not model ones by any means, they still enjoy a comparatively stable family life, absence of delinquency, low crime rates, greater freedom from drugs and alcoholism, as well as the warmth of brotherhood, generosity and mutual aid. it may be observed that taken as a whole, the muslim community produces the best citizens in any society. as a matter of religious observance, the majority avoids the consumption of alcohol and drugs, eliminating many intoxicant-related crimes. collectively, muslims are the community which gives the maximum amount of charity in the world. and no community can equal muslims where modesty, sobriety and human ethics are concerned.
islam may be fairly and justly assessed not by negative stereotypes portrayed by the media but by what its authentic sources contain and by the practice of the most excellent follower of the religion, prophet muhammad. there have been a number of unbiased non-muslim historians who have declared that muhammad was an exemplary human being. it is his pattern of life that demonstrates the true islamic ideal and example to be followed by muslims.
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