Q: What is Islam? A: Islam means voluntary “submission” or “surrender” to the Will of God and comes from the word “salam”, meaning peace gained by following the commands of Allah and his messenger Prophet Muhammed. Those who follow Islam are called Muslims and we are ordained to follow a middle path and to stay away from extremism of both ends. Q: Why does Islam have so many restrictions and expectations, eg no alcohol, code of clothing, no gambling, praying five times a day, etc? A: Islam is a way of life and there are rules and guidelines which enable us to live this life in a healthy, systematic and successful way. Q: Why do women wear a hijab? A: Muslim women are instructed in the Koran to protect their chastity just like Mary, the mother of Jesus in the Bible. Most Islamic scholars say a woman’s hijab should cover their body from head to toe, except for the face and the hands, though some say even the face should be covered, except for the eyes. Men also have a hijab which is to lower our gaze and guard our modesty. Q: If a Muslim has a beard, does that make him an extremist? A: The beard is an honour for a Muslim man and it’s far from being extremist. The Prophet Muhammed had a beard and he is our role model so we strive to imitate him from the way he looked to the way he acted in different situations, just like people like to imitate celebrities like David Beckham for his hairstyle. Q: Why are the men allowed multiple wives? A: The Koran does not encourage men to have multiple wives but it gives an option if the necessity arises. If a man does choose to marry more than one woman, he is strictly instructed he should treat the wives with the same justice. Q: What is jihad and does Holy War exist in Islam? A: Jihad means to struggle in order to overcome a difficult situation, so a student is doing jihad to pass his exams and every one of us are doing jihad when tackling our carnal desires. There is a combative jihad, but there’s nothing called Holy War in Islam. We are allowed to fight, but only as a means of self-defence or to overcome corruption in a land, in a systematic and lawful manner.