The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Religion is faith; it's absurd to talk of superiority

In defence of Hinduism

By L.G. Chincholkar

Religion in practice is faith-oriented. Therefore, it is not normally open to analytical reason. However, it is not necessary that two different faiths should always be in conflict with each other. On the contrary, respect, even philosophical discussions amongst the adherents of different faiths upon respective religious texts were not uncommon in respect of religions born in India. Differences amongst the systems did not pollute their cordial relationship. In India, the India born religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism or Sikhism have been co-existing remarkably well.

However, the religions that came to India from external lands had a different perspective, especially, the semitic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Jews were microscopic minority relegated to some corner of India. Islam followed Christianity. It appeared in India probably in the 8th century and has been there since then. Despite Partition of India—on communal lines in 1947 crores of Muslims remained here. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the recently published criticism of Hinduism by a Muslim.(1)

He has tried to justify how Islam is superior to Hinduism. He has charged non-Muslims of spreading misunderstanding about Islam.

History tells that the Muslims have slaughtered innumerable innocent people for the spread of Islam. Recent attacks in USA, England or in India at Delhi, Ahmedabad and Ayodhya killing innumerable innocent people are Islamic by faith. Islamic motivation is proudly acknowledged by the relevant Muslim organisations. Do not Quranic commands justify such ghastly acts?(2) As Prof Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Supreme leader of Lashkar-e-Toiba [or “the army of the Pure”] pointed out: “The jihad in Kashmir would soon spread in entire India. Our Mujahideen would create three Pakistans in India.”(3)

As noted earlier; Islam does not want Muslims to have any contact with even their fathers and their brothers if they are non-Muslims. Therefore, it is surprising to note—as claimed—that Islam is tolerant and peace-loving. To break the idols and destroy the places of worship of non-Muslims have been the history and commands of Islam. Even the attacks by Muhammad Bin Kasim on India in 8th century was not an exception.(4)

Despite Partition of India—on communal lines in 1947, crores of Muslims remained here. The purpose of this article is to evaluate recently published criticism of Hinduism by a Muslim writer.

The renowned mosques of Hama and Beirut were built on the ruins of French church.(5) Similarly, the mosque at Delhi is built on the pillars of Hindu temple.(6) The mosque at Varansai is built on the deliberately mutilated structure of the Shiva temple, the Vishveshwar temple. Destruction of Hindus and Hindu temples and atrocities on Hindus have been going on both in Bangladesh and in Pakistan since their establishment.

Destruction of the renowned Buddha idol in Baniyan in Afghanistan reflects such commands of Islam. Taliban only translated them into action. The commands of the Prophet from his death-bed included hounding out of idol-worshipper [infidels ]and to drive out Jews and Christians from the Arab land.(7)

Therefore, we cannot erase the historical truth either by concealment or by neglect. Besides, justifying Islamic attacks on Asia and Africa slaughter of innocents there on the basis of “family relations” or “acquirement of basic needs”—as claimed—is nothing but self-deceit. If the Prophet and Islam were tolerant of other religions there was no justification for destroying the idols at the temple of Kaba at Mecca or to accord inhuman treatment to Jews and Christians simply because they were non-Muslims, i.e. non-believers. This certainly does not reflect the tolerance of other religions.

If Akbar—the Muslim King—allowed tolerance to Hinduism it was a result of his political plan. It has also to be noted that even such a political move was condemned by the Muslims as being anti-Islamic.

Possibly, it is ignored how Muslims ill-treated and still continue to ill-treat “the untouchables” from Hindus who were converted to Islam. Even the Census report published in 1901 in Bengal tells us how the “Arzal”—the “low caste” Muslims—were denied entry into mosques, how their contact was avoided, how they were denied use even of the graveyard.(8) Recently at Mirwal—a place in Pakistan,— “a low caste” Muslim boy was in love with a “high caste” Muslim girl, Mukhtar Mai. Such a relationship was believed to be a crime by the Muslims there. What was the punishment for such a “low caste” and “high caste” relationship? The Muslim council ruled that the sister of the “low caste” boy be raped by the “high caste” Muslims. This was the “religious-cum-legal” verdict. Even one of the members of the council participated in this religion-oriented act. Besides, the unfortunate sister of that equally unfortunate brother was ordered to reach her home in nude. (9)

No Islamic clergy publicly, resolutely condemned the act and the system. This clarifies the existence of high caste or low caste discrimination in Muslims. This, however, does not mean that there is no such “high-low” grades of castes in Hinduism. They are there, but there are also the persons, the reformers who condemn and continue to condemn such inequalities. Consequently, the rigours of casteism in Hindus have notably slackened. The process of reformation goes on. In case of Islam whoever tries to reform, is deemed enemy of Islam.

The contention that Prophet has advocated recourse to compassion, forgiveness and peace is contrary to his known conduct and the commands of the Holy Quran. The heinous act of burning many devotees of Lord Rama in the railway compartment at Godhara in Gujarat [India] by the Muslims on 27-02-2002 is only an expression of Quranic commands. The only difference is that Muslims did not wait for the Allah to do the job of putting the “unbelievers” to fire after death as specified by the Holy Quran.(10) They spared Allah of the task and trouble and burnt the Hindus—the non-believers—to death in this life itself. Has any Muslim or any Islamic organisation condemned authoritatively the act and the relevent command?

Hundreds of warriors of the enemy were executed even after their surrender or after their defeat in the war. They were brutally killed. Besides the women and children of the defeated tribes were sold at the slave market.(11) Did Islam ever condemn slavery? The Prophet forgave those who accepted Islam. When he was required—under pressure from the chief of a Jew tribe—to let them off, they were exterminated from Medina.(12)

To assert that Islam is based on faith and not on blind faith because it does not allow “idol worship” is not only unrealistic and irrelevant but also untrue. How to distinguish between faith and blind faith? Besides, there is no clarification how idol worship alone represents blind faith. Are not the Islamic Allah, hell fire for the non-Muslims and commands for their slaughter based on blind faith? What are the criteria of the truth except that they stem from the blind faith in Prophet and the Holy Quran? Why should Muslims follow them at the cost of humanity and mutual social relationship? If opposition to idol worship is the only criterion of faith why did Prophet subject the Jews and the Christians —who are not idol worshippers—to slavery? If empirical knowledge or such relevant verification of the object are the criteria of knowledge then do the Muslims claim to have any such knowledge? They accept all these simply on the basis of blind faith. What evidence the Muslims have to justify that the Prophet Muhammad is the last Prophet? The only base thereof would be blind faith.Why should they force it on others?

There is miserable failure to justify the statement that Islam is based on faith and not on blind faith. Hinduism believes that there are various approaches leading to the supreme truth. Similarly, different religions could be the path-ways to God. Therefore, there is no scope for any conflict or intolerance of different points of view.

We shall now deal with the position of women in Islam.

It is said that it is only in Islam that a woman is accorded respectful place. Possibly the connotation of the term “respect” is different. To deny the woman the God—given free and healthy air through the system of compelling “cloak” (13) [some Muslims recently killed three Muslim girls in Kashmir because they did not wear the “cloak” or the burqa or the veil], to put her under constant fear and undesirable company of co-wives of her husband or accord them the status of war-loot(14) or treat them as a marketable commodity or put them under constant fear of “triple divorce” and accordingly subject them to defenceless insecurity, are all these expressions of ‘respect’ for women in Islam? Prophet himself had accepted looted women(15) or such girls as were presented to him(16) as concubines. Reference

Lokprapba [a Marathi weekly, dated 10/08/2001, P-7], Express Tower, Nariman Point, Mumbai, by Asaf Sheikh under caption “Real Islam”.
Ref. Standing Up To The Horror by S. Prasannarajan in India Today [English weekly] July 25, 2005, P-36, Edmond Office, Living Media India Ltd, F-14/15, Cannaught Place New Delhi-110 001.
The Week [English weekly] July17, 2005, P-35, Pub.Maniram Buildings, Panampilly Nagar, Cochi, Kerala-682 036.
“The Muslim invasions—they are not undertaken merely out of lust for loot or conquest. There was another object behind them—. But there is no doubt that striking a blow at the idolatry and polytheism of Hindus and establishing Islam in India was also one of the aims of this expedition” [of Muhammad Bin Quasim] in 711 AD [Dr B.R. Ambedkar in Thoughts On Pakistan P-49, Thakur & co., Bombay, 1941].
Richard, Ellinghasen in a paper on Interaction and integration in Islamic Art in Unity and Variety in Muslim civilization Edited by Gustave E-Von, Grunebaum. The University of Chicago press, 37. USA 2nd. Edition 1956, P-117.
Muhammad and the Rise of Islam by D.S. Margoliouth, G.P.Putnam’s & sons, New York (1905) P-469-470.
Pakistan or the Partition of India by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Thacker & Co. Ltd., Bombay 1946, 3rd Edition, P-219.
Aajcha Sudharak [Marathi monthly] January, 2003, Mohini Bhawan, Dharampeth, Nagpur, P-407.
“But as for those who disbelieve, for them is fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. Thus they punish every ingrate.” [Quran 35-36].
History of Islamic Peoples by Carl Brockelmann [1949], P-26.
The life of Mahomet Sir William Muir (1992) Q.F. Muslim Manacha Shodha by Sheshrao Morey, p-87-89.
O, Prophet! tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad) that will be better so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever forgiving, merciful. [Quran 33-59).
The life of Mahomet by William Muir, Vol. III, P-303.
Mahomet takes Rehana, a captive girl for his concubine, Ibid, p-278.
History of Islamic Peoples—Carl Brockelmann, P-31.

(The writer can be contacted at Back Road, Congress Nagar, Nagpur-440012.)

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Post a Comment

<< Home

Home | Syndicate this site (XML) | Guestbook | Blogger
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors.
Everything else © 2005 The Conversion Agenda