Islam a victim of distortion
Ignorance, it is said, is bliss; but for Indian Muslims the
ignorance of the Hindus about Islam has been a curse. Every now and again some
respectable Hindu gets up and asks them to define the world
In the mediaeval age, the courtiers of some Muslim rulers might have referred to the Hindus as kafirs; but why should the present generation of the Muslims be castigated for it? The logic behind such a perception, especially on the part of some fanatic Hindus, is that the Muslims are taught by their religion to be contemptuous of the Hindus and Hinduism; this is a travesty of facts.
The truth, on the contrary, is that Hindus all along had
contempt for the Muslims; the Madan and Sri Krishna commissions have testified
that police officers, during the riots, referred to the Muslims as
Muslims are often called by their Hindu detractors as “melachas”.
Even during the heyday of Muslim rule, the eminent chronicler al-Biruni has
reported that Hindus had “the most inveterate aversion towards all
Ibn Batut, after his travels through India, wrote that no Muslim was allowed to enter the house of a Hindu or give food in the same vessels as theirs. He observed, “If a Muslim is fed out of their vessels, they either break the vessels or give them away to the Muslims.”
The term ‘kafir’ is derived from the world ‘kufr’, which means ‘to hide or cover up’; it is generally used for disbelievers — those who deny the existence and unity of God.
The Quran devotes a whole chapter to them, which is called surah ‘al-kafirun’. It is, in fact, a testament of co-existence, which guarantees freedom of worship.
It consists of the following verses in which Allah commends
Muhammad to tell the disbelievers: “I do not worship/ What you worship/ Nor do
you worship/ What I worship/ I will not worship/ What you worship/ Nor will you
worship/ What I worship/ To you, your
Hence the term ‘kafir’ does not apply to Hindus, because
most of them believe in the oneness of God; those who do not are ‘kafirs’,
but the Quran has made it clear that they can freely go about in their own
There is a well-known Quranic injunction: “There is no
compulsion in religion.” In the Encyclopaedia of Islam, which gives a long
survey of the use of ‘kafir’ through the ages, there is no mention of its
It is also a gross misrepresentation to say that Islam sanctions
the destruction of the places of worship of other religions; the Quran, in fact,
has firmly denounced it. In surah al-Baqara, verse 117, it is
Likewise in surah al-Haj, verse 40, it is mentioned, “Had God not intervened… monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques… would surely had been pulled down.”
There are several other verses to this effect; in surah al-Nam,
verse 52, Muslims have been warned: “Drive not away those/ Who worship their
Lord/ morning and evening/Seeking His Grace/ In no way are you
Similar admonition has been given in the same surah in verse 108; “Do not revile those who/ Worship other gods/ Lest in their ignorance/ They revile your God.”
How is Islam responsible for what Aurangzeb did? Or, for that
reason, any other Muslim ruler did? In fact the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate as
well as the Mughals were hardly acquainted with the real teachings
The celebrated alim, Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, has pointed out:
“The Turks, Afghans and Mughals, who successively conquered northern India,
certainly professed Islam, but it is wrong to hold Islam responsible for all
their actions, good or bad. The tribal hordes, who
Some misguided Hindus take certain verses of the Quran out of context and show that these enjoin Muslims to fight non-Muslims and either convert them forcibly or kill them.
They lack a proper understanding of the background of the revelations; these were sent to the Prophet not at one time, but from time to time over a period of 23 years. Many of these dealt with particular occasions when the Prophet faced a life-and-death struggle.
To meet each occasion, a revelation was sent; it was, in fact, a directive to the Prophet to meet a particular challenge. Taken out of context, it appears as a call to fight non-Muslims, whenever and wherever possible.
For instance, verse 5 in surah Tauba was revealed when the pagans had broken the terms of the treaty with them and plotted to fight the Muslims; to counter it, the directive was given: “But when the forbidden months/ Are past, then fight and slay/ The pagans wherever you find them/ And seize them, beleaguer them/ And lie in wait for them/ In every stratagem of war.”
Likewise, when the pagans mounted a war on the faithful they
were told in verse 14: “Fight them, and God will/ Punish them at your hands,/
Cover them with shame,/ And He will help you/ To overcome them.” In surah
Muhammad, verse 4, the instructions were more
These verses do not have a general bearing, but were specific for those occasions.
Sometime in 1985, on the basis of such verses, a petition was filed before the Calcutta High Court to ban the Quran as a threat to peace and communal harmony; it was admitted by the judge who was satisfied that there was a prima facia case.
However, when it came for final hearing, Justice C C Basak, after hearing both sides at length, dismissed the petition, stating, “In my opinion, it cannot be said that the Quran offers any insult to any other religion. It does not reflect any other deliberate or malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of non-Muslims. Isolated passages picked out from here, and there, read out of context, cannot change the position.” Thereafter no appeal was filed against the judgement.
The term ‘jihad’ has also been much misunderstood,
especially because of its misuse by terrorists; suffice it to say that the
so-called jihadis, who operate for instance in Kashmir, violate every
There is only one instance of the use of terrorism by a group of
Muslims in the 11th century; it was condemned in the strongest terms by the
greatest theologian of those times, Imam al-Ghazali, who is
Babar and Ayodhya
Again, to associate the Babri Masjid with Emperor Babar is not right. He had nothing to do with it. The mosque was built for the Shias by one of his generals, Mir Baqi, a Shia. In those days, there was no wireless or satellite communication; nor did generals take instructions from the emperor during their military campaigns. They generally acted on their own.
In his memoirs, Babar, who has recorded every important event, does not mention either the destruction of the Ram Temple or the construction of a mosque at Ayodhya, which he never visited.
Moreover in his will to his son and successor Humayun, Babar asked him “not to damage the places of worship and temples which fall within the boundaries of our rule”. Hence, there is no historical basis to what happened in Ayodhya, a city Babar never visited. Worse, it is absurd to call Indian Muslims Babur-ki-aulad; neither would the emperor have owned it, nor do Indian Muslims appreciate it.
Allama Iqbal, the greatest poet-philosopher of modern Islam, has said that it is historical Islam that is taken by non-Muslims as Islam and not religious Islam; there is a world of difference between the two. The communal Hindus are unfortunately ignorant of both; they relish the canards and do not bother to know the truth.