INGYouth – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to 55 of the most common questions ING and its teen speakers encounter. Some of these answers address fundamental issues that are agreed upon by the majority of Muslims such as the six major beliefs or the five pillars, while others focus on areas that are more open to interpretation.

As in other faith traditions, Muslim scholars have developed different responses to the numerous issues that have arisen since the founding of the religion. Due to regional, ethnic and cultural differences, Islam is understood and practiced differently in the over fifty countries where Muslims are a majority as well as places where Muslims are a minority like the United States. There are also different sects within Islam, the most notable of which are Shi’a and Sunni. 

Muslim scholars have a long history of recognizing the diversity of peoples and circumstances and deriving opinions that reflect the reality of this diversity.

Our answers reflect the views of the Muslim American scholars that ING has worked with;  we do not speak for all Muslims. However, the views of these scholars reflect the majority of Sunni Muslims in the U.S. and worldwide.

In some cases, Muslim Americans are dealing with new realities and issues that are specific to their time (post- 9/11) and place (United States).  We attempt to address these questions in a way that is traditional, but also compatible with our current reality.  We strive to respect the diversity of Islam as both a scriptural and lived religion and start from five basic principles that ING believes are the backbone of our vision of Islam in America, and are values shared by most of the world’s major religions:

  1. We affirm and uphold the holiness of all human life, the taking of which is among the gravest of all sins.
  2. We affirm the right to freedom of thought, religion, conscience, and expression.
  3. We affirm the right to security in one’s livelihood, profession, and home.
  4. We believe that God created us with all the diversity of race, religion, language, and belief to get to know one another, respect one another, and uphold our collective human dignity.
  5. We believe that Islam is above all a religion of peace and mercy and that, as Muslims, we are obligated to model those traits in our lives and characters and to work for the good of our homeland and society, wherever that might be.



Sunni and Shia Differences

Other Religions


Women and Men

Marriage and Dating

Crime and Punishment





Terrorism and Warfare

Note on Terrorism:

  • Wikipedia describes the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as “a rebel group and heterodox Christian cult which operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
  • Thus Wikipedia labels the LRA a “heterodox Christian cult” even though it uses scripture and Christian rhetoric in its founding documents to justify its brutality. IS, therefore, should be described as a “heterodox Islamic cult” rather than a genuinely Islamic movement.

Footnotes[1] Robert Mackey, “Woman Hides Camera to Reveal Life Under Islamic State Rule,” New York Times (September 25, 2014). Accessed July 22 2015.[2] Elias Isquith and Charles Lister, “’The End of the World’: Why America Misunderstands ISIS — and What You Really Need to Know,” Saloncom RSS (April 1 2015). Accessed July 22 2015.