Reactionary Hinduism
June 22, 2008
Nuclear Deal & National Polity
July 5, 2008

Islam & Peace

The Kautilyan Perspective

Over the internet I have come to know of a very interesting group of people who have with them but one agenda: of convincing masses of ‘Islam is a religion of peace’. Frankly I have had no issues with them, whatsoever, initially. As a firm believer in mutual co-existence and free speech I found the issue, chosen by them, to be close to my heart and, also, to be the need of the hour.

I was, then, even relaxed to know that there were finally some men, that too within Islam itself, attempting to undo the blemish what those Wahhabis had brought to it. Though I never put in my written word of gratitude to them I was praying for them to be triumphant in their task. But today I am compelled to speak otherwise. Not without a fair and valid reason, for sure.

To ensure I realized and understood their intentions accurately, I resolutely kept an eye on their activities, rather closely, both on and off the internet, through my sources, for quiet some time. It didn’t took me long to realize their true intent. They were attempting to deceive people and motive them to convert to Islam, of which they had their own version, in rather very roguish manner by resorting to Negations.

Honestly I am not critical of conversions. I solemnly deem that any person should be free to follow the religious conviction of his predilection, unreservedly. But it should be through a virtue and only after realization of facts by the person aspiring for conversion. I am indubitably against depraved, shady and unjust methods of conversion, like the ones these were attempting to.

Islam, as many may know, is youngest of Semitic religions known to the mankind. It has had no great cultural, diplomatic and scholarly legacy, when it commenced its voyage from the deserts of Arabia. To expand its influence it had to entirely rely on the military prowess of its Prophet. As any Islamic scholar will confirm, Prophet Muhammad wasn’t a literate. However, that is not to say that he was ‘unwise’ as some unjust critics of Islam might say. His genius was unquestionably commendable.

Quran wasn’t given to him by Allah in a ‘ready to serve format’. As per Islamic traditions it was ‘revealed to him over a period of time’. Understanding his illiterate background, to make the Quran possible in the form of book he had to obtain services of some educated men. But the way in which he ensured that those educated men didn’t muddled with his words, that which he had received from Allah, he would verify and cross verify and counter verify it from time to time.

Given the aforesaid context, to spread ‘the word of Allah’ prophet had but one road– his sword. As you see there were no scholars in Arabia, especially Islamic scholars, at that point of time. And the only peaceful method by which you could convert is by the way of debates which was completely nonexistent. And the ‘holy wars’ or ‘Jihad’ spilled blood of millions.

Any historian will concur that conflict for dominance, between Islam and Christianity, has exterminated over 17 million people, or even more, until date. Given this, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals, including me, to trust that Islam is a religion of peace. The same is pertinent with Christianity also.
What we see today in Middle-East is no dissimilar than the conflict of the times of yore. People often misconstrue that the present-day American administration to be a ‘liberal’ and ‘nonreligious’. That’s absolutely a travesty of fact. George Bush, the swaggering American President, whose presidency, thank god, is to come to an end shortly, calls himself as a ‘Reborn Christian’. If there is but one discrepancy in between the wars in the middle-east, then and now, it’s that: then it was exclusively for the control of religious places, Jerusalem in particular, and now it’s for oil.

True, even in India, then called Bharath; we had several caste, creeds and sects who had a lot of disparity among themselves. But as some ‘scholars’ would like to say, there wasn’t bloodshed for the expansion. Though there were wars, it was on the intellectual and not on the military level, as it is often misleadingly stated. It was with words and seldom with swords.

But both Christians and Muslims, of course, had no such options and for them Sword was the first and the final resort. My Muslim intellectuals may well differ, but they simply cannot negate the fact that any insult on Prophet Muhammad or Islam has resulted in the ‘violence’, and the same is true even to this day. Or can they?

Now here’s my sincere question to the Islamic scholars: How are we, the ‘Kafirs’, to believe that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ when the entire age of Islam was led by wars and bloodshed? This, let me assert, is not a point to enrage but to seek an honest and truthful answer. I hate neither Islam nor any other faith. I say that with forthrightness. I have no axe to grind.

Further, every time a prophet is insulted there is not a single soul in the Muslim world who talks of peace. They needed no evidence when the Indian born, and now British, author Salman Rushdie was issued a fatwa by a fanatic Imam of a theocratic Islamist state for his beheading! Not one among the protestors, to the best of my knowledge, had even read Rushdie’s ‘blasphemous’ book – The Satanic Verses. Every time such issue had cropped up my question to my Muslim brothers was increasingly simple ‘How could ordinary mortals insult a great prophet or Allah himself?’ Greatness is that which is attained by people when they are above the criticism. Isn’t it?

Yes, the same is also true, but only to a certain extent, in Hinduism. To testify the difference let me help you recall the recent ‘Ram-Sethu Saga’, when the Congress led UPA government’s appointed office bearers made a nasty attempt of questioning the existence of Lord Ram. How many do you think, among the saints and monastery heads of Hinduism issued a diktat to behead Karunanidhi? Any guesses? Just one! To add further, you only need to go through the annals to realize the way in which, and how critically, the Mahant was criticized for having issued the diktat. Contrary to this, how many of our ‘intellectuals’ did really criticize the Mullahs who called for beheading of Danish Cartoonist?

A man is judged not so much by his words, as by his actions. Similarly is the case with religion. It’s judged, solely, by the action of its followers and leaders. Given the people are aware of the fact that the number of people killed in the name of ‘Allah!’ we non-Muslims are certainly, and are very much, sceptical of affirming the statement of ‘Islam being a religion of peace’.

Before I conclude, let me avow here that I live by a code, which is ‘I may not love all, but I shall hate none.’ I am an ardent advocate of Vedic principle that ‘Hatred begets nothing, but destruction.’ So it may be understood that my words here are sincere presentation of fact. I am not glum basher of Islam. I have no personal interest in bashing any religion for that matter.

Let the Muslims be free to propagate their religion, I am not perturbed by that. But my earnest appeal to them is to present truth and drop depraved, shady and unjust methods of conversion.

I am convinced that had Prophet Muhammad had a team of scholars like my distinguished intellectual friends like MJ Akbar he would have seldom retorted to wars. But the fact that he resorted to sword, which was his only available option, is a historical fact, and that which can seldom be negated.

Author is Editor-In-Chief of Aseemaa: Journal for National Resurgence and was recently chosen as the Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London.

3 Comments

  1. indian muslim says:

    The enemies of Islam have, throughout history, accused Islam with this allegation. Indeed Islam has never forced people to believe in it, nor placed swords on their necks to push them to bear witness to what it has born witness to, or submit to its doctrine, in any way. This assertion is very much mistaken for a variety of reasons:
    1) It is wrong because history tells us that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH.) lived in Makkah thirteen years calling people to the religion of Islam under much persecution by its occupants at the time. He faced hostility and torture even from his own family and the nearest people to him, nevertheless he persevered and endured the pain of isolation and marginalisation. He used to walk past his companions being tortured saying no more than: “Patience O people for your destination is Paradise.” Nevertheless, many of those early believers kept their will and faith. The Ansar, the people of Madeenah, also accepted him as the messenger of Allah following a brief encounter with him during the Hajj season after which a convoy came to offer him their oath of allegiance finally leading to the covenant of Al-Aqabah- the covenant which ultimately lead to the great emigration of the Prophet. In all of this the Prophet did not meet his enemies with the sword, but he used to persevere and be patient with good manners and modesty, saying: “O Lord! Forgive my people for they Know not.” The permission to fight was not received from Allah by revelation until the second year after Hijrah, after the enemies of Islam had increased in number and had begun to provoke him and plot against him. Allah sent these verses in which one finds the most magnificent examples of the nobility of purpose, and of the reasons for war:
    ‘Permission to fight is given to those who (i.e. believers against disbelievers), who are being fought because they (believers) have been wronged, and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory – those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah” – For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much would surely have been pulled down. Verily, Allah will help those who help His Cause. Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) order for the establishment of prayer, to pay charity, and they enjoin goodness and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.’
    (Surat-al-Hajj (22), ayahs 39-41)
    History tells us that the companions of the messenger of Allah entered the lands with their good conduct and honest dealings before they conquered them with their swords, armaments and numbers. For, it is inconceivable that a small number of Arabs could subvert the throne of Kisra (Persia), flatten the kingdom of Rome and inherit the world after these huge civilisations, in the short while that they did. It is unimaginable that eight thousand soldiers could conquer a vast region the size of Egypt, and spread their religion, culture and belief with force and imposition. It is through kind discourse and beautiful treatment that they were able to achieve what they had achieved. From this it can been seen why peoples used to crave for the return of the Muslims after they had left, so how can it be said that Islam was founded on the sword or spread by it.
    2) It is also refuted by the verses in the Holy Qur’an that affirm freedom of conviction by saying in all clarity and honesty:
    ‘There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in the tyranny and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is the All-Hearer, All-Knower.’
    (Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 256)
    He Also says:
    ‘And say: “the truth is from your Lord.”, then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve.’
    (Surat-al-Kahf (18), ayah 29)
    Allah also says:
    And if anyone of the disbelievers seeks your protection, so that they hear the Word of Allah, then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.’
    (Surat-at-Tauba(9), ayah 6)
    These verses bind the believers such that if anyone among the disbelievers asks them for clarification they must explain the message and simplify the objectives of Islam to him, then protect him till he reaches his place of security, and leave him to reach a decision through personal conviction and not through fear and compulsion.
    3) It is false because the pillars of Islam and what was practised in accordance with them refutes it in the strongest possible terms. For the basis of belief in Islam is rationality, contemplation and deep conviction:
    ‘The Bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You believe not but only say, ‘We have surrendered (to Islam),’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts’
    (Surah Al-Hujuraat (49), ayah 14)
    And the cause of responsibility in Islam is that the message is heard in such a way that it deserves consideration, hence refusing it would mean the denial of the well contemplated message of Allah. And that imitation is not a good grounds for Imaan (faith), let alone compulsion. Some contemporary scholars have said in this regards:
    ‘Verily, everyone who imitates on matters of belief
    His faith is not without hesitation.’
    Also, in Islam, the words of the one under pressure or threat are rejected and he will not be accountable for his actions. Thus, the religion which considers the sound mind and freedom of choice as the bedrock of belief and responsibility can not be said to have been established or expanded by the sword; even though it has permitted fighting for the purposes mentioned earlier. The sign of true belief is confidence in it:
    ‘Those who believe, and whose hearts rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts not find rest? Those who believe and work righteousness, all kinds of happiness is for them and a beautiful place of final return.’
    (Al-Ra’d (13), ayahs 28-29).

  2. Indian Muslim says:

    You are cheating people with your shallow knowledge about other religion.your baseless accusation in this article reveal your hatred and dislikeness towards secular muslim community. more over i posted a comment yesterday and you deleted it quickly as it was reply of your white blame.
    if you are sincere and have responsibility towards indian multi society then stop writing these useless things as you are not meeting criteria and requirements of a journalist and have a bad agenda of dividing people .or atleast publish comments from readers.

  3. Anand.M says:

    Sir,

    I have noticed that my earlier comment was posted on your blog for only a few hours and was later removed completely, without a trace.

    Instead of removing my comment, a more proper act would have been a reply to it. And I was expecting exactly that thing only. The act of deletion of comment gives an impression that you are yourself not very confident about what you write. A genuine writer/commentator appreciates and flaunts criticism rather than hide it.

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