20. How to deal with Islam

 

         The "communal" problem is simple, and so is its solution.  The root cause of communal riots, of the Partition with its nearly a million victims, and of the East Bengal genocide with its three million victims, is the Islamic doctrine of permanent hostility against the unbelievers.[1]  As the Quran says: "Fight them until idolatry is no more and religion belongs to Allah alone" (2:193 and 8:39), and: "Enmity and hate shall reign between us until ye believe in Allah alone" (60:4).  More than 70 passages in the Quran teach that non-Muslims are to be shunned and treated as enemies, that they are bound for hellfire, and that rulership in this and bliss in the next world is reserved for Muslims alone.  This body of doctrine is further corroborated and enriched with like-minded statements and model acts of Mohammed and his companions, and systematized by theologians and jurists.  The solution is obvious: remove the intrinsically communal and separatist doctrine of Islam from the minds of its misguided followers.  Educate them so that they can laugh at the primitive beliefs which have held them captive for so long, just as adults can take a laugh at their own childhood illusions.

 

         Sounds radical?  This was the solution offered by the Arya Samaj, a progressive Hindu reform movement, which put the large-scale reconversion of Muslims to the Vedic tradition high on Hindu society's agenda.  Its central doctrinal book, Swami Dayananda Saraswati's Satyartha Prakash (1875), contained the first Hindu vivisection of Islamic doctrine, still a bit clumsy but on the right track.  The movement had its martyrs, several authors of publications on Islam and leaders of the reconversion movement killed by Muslim activists; but it never indulged in any similar forms of violence. 

 

         Indeed, frank debate on ideas is inversely proportionate with riots and bomb attacks.  For this reason, the secularist editors and professors and politicians who suppress debate on the record and doctrines of Islam are among the chief culprits of India's communal conflagrations.[2]  The BJP is making a grave mistake by actively and passively joining the "secular" (in Europe we would call it anti-secular) effort to shield Islam from rational investigation and informed debate.  Instead, it should make and support every effort to expose Islam and break the spell it has cast on hundreds of millions of fellow Indians now known as Muslims.

 

         Today, the liberation of the Muslims from Islam should be a top priority for all those who care about India's and the world's future.  This is all the more obvious when we notice that in the Muslim world itself, many writers have stood up to publicize their break with Islam, and to show their brethren the way out of the religion which was forced on them by Mohammed and his companions.  Some have done so from a newfound atheist conviction (e.g. Taslima Nasrin), others from a rediscovery of the ancient ever-young spirituality of the Vedic tradition (e.g. Anwar Shaykh).  Given the intolerance for dissident opinions in the Muslim world, and given the actual spate of murders and murder attempts against fellow dissidents, each one of these apostates has had to muster far more courage than Sangh Parivar people will need when they finally speak up against Islam in the relative safety and freedom of secular India.

 

         The case against Islam is not limited to its record of intolerance, aggression, persecution and barbarity.  Quite apart from its violent self-righteousness and its anti-national attitudes, Islam is reprehensible for the more fundamental and more universal reason that it is not true.  Most ancient religious traditions are not based on belief systems, e.g. though the theory of reincarnation has gained widespread popularity among Hindus, there is no law which excludes non-believers in reincarnation from the Hindu fold.  Religions like Shinto or Taoism consist in a set of practices and ritual or ethical conventions, established as a practical framework of life within which people can exercise their freedom to seek spiritual upliftment; they are not based on a belief system.  In contrast to these ancient communal religions, Christianity and Islam make a truth claim which is non-provable but must nonetheless be accepted and will be enforced with grim punishments in this world and the next.[3]  It is meaningless to talk about these creedal religions without evaluating their central truth claims.

 

         In the case of Islam, this creed is quite simple: There is no god except Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.  The first part may or may not be true, depending on the meaning of the terms.  Like the Vaishnava term Bhagwan, "the sharer", effectively "the Lord", the Pagan-Arab term Allah (from al-Ilah, "the god", cfr. Hebrew Eloha/Elohim) seems to have been an inclusive term, subsuming every god in the Arab pantheon.  But to read this meaning into the Islamic creed would be unhistorical: the whole of Islamic scripture is entirely consistent in denouncing the worship of any "other god" (or what a Vaishnava inclusive-monotheist might call: "God under any other name") as irreconcilable with the worship of Allah.[4]  It necessarily implies hostility to Hinduism as long as Hindus do not worship Allah to the exclusion of all the Hindu gods and to the exclusion of non-theistic worldviews.

 

    The second part of the Shahada, that Mohammed is Allah's prophet (assuming that Allah is the almighty Creator of the world), is decidedly untrue.  First of all, it is entirely unproven.  Every single sentence in the Quran can be explained from Mohammed's own socio-cultural background, like any perfectly human product.  Someone rich ought to announce an award for anyone who can find in the Quran a single sentence which proves by its contents that the Almighty had dictated it.  That is what rationalist associations do to expose quack exponents of the paranormal: award a hundred thousand dollars for whomever can demonstrate even a single paranormal fact under foolproof conditions (so far, no one ever collected the prize).

 

         Allah is supposed to be omniscient.  For such a Being it should be very easy to demonstrate some knowledge which is beyond the reach of ordinary human beings like Mohammed, say, being able in 620 AD to predict the events of 2000 AD, or to give the then-unknown chemical formula of water, or to write a then-unknown language including modern Arabic.  This would not be proof of omniscience yet, but at least proof that the Quran is not the handiwork of an ordinary mortal; but nothing of the sort is done in the Quran.  Moreover, the Quran contains many contradictions and inaccuracies, both in terms of modern physical and medical knowledge and in terms of its references to Biblical characters and events, e.g. mistaking Moses' sister Miriam for Jesus' mother Miriam/Mary, though there is a time-gap of more than twelve centuries between the two.  The omniscient Allah, who claims to be the God of Abraham and Moses, had somehow forgotten the details of his interactions with the Hebrew prophets, and while confidently predicting the Doomsday, He was ignorant of the scientific knowledge accumulated by mankind centuries before this Doomsday.

 

         Mohammed's own contemporaries were almost unanimous in dismissing his "revelations" as anything but divine, though they disagreed on whether his problem was demonic possession (as is still taught by some Christian missionaries) or just his imagination run wild.  Modern scholars have analyzed Mohammed's behaviour and "revelations" as typical symptoms of paranoia, while Swami Vivekananda opined that Mohammed suffered from the neuropathological effects of unguided yogic experiments.[5]  At any rate, there is nothing God-given about the Quranic revelation. 

 

         Islam stands or falls with Mohammed's prophethood.  The entire Muslim law is based on it through its four pillars, either directly (Quran and Hadis, the lore about his model behaviour) or indirectly (Qiyas, or analogy of new situations with those in which Mohammed showed the way, and Ijma, the consensus of men well-versed in the former three).  Those who are now Muslims will be free to replace Sharia laws with more humane laws once they emancipate themselves from their veneration for the man on whose words and acts the Sharia is based.  Then alone will they be able in good conscience to drop their hostility to Hinduism.  Moreover, then they themselves will opt for a Comon Civil Code, and they themselves will turn the Kashi and Mathura mosques into temples of Shiva and Krishna, rather than have these changes forced on them by meddlesome Hindus.  So, the Hindutva activists should replace the Common Civil Code and temple agitations, which claim things from the Muslims, with a campaign to reclaim the Muslims themselves, or at least to emancipate them from the grip of Islamic doctrine and leave them free to choose a more humane spiritual path for themselves.

 

 

 

 



             [1]  The victims of the Pakistani repression in East Bengal in 1971 (of whom the big majority were Hindus, while the Bengali Muslims too were killed for anti-Hindu reasons, viz. for being "half-Hindu renegades"), like those of the Sultanate and Moghul regimes, have never been properly counted; careerwise, it is suicidal for a scholar to calculate the magnitude of Islam's crimes against humanity.  The figure of 3 million is probably too high, but as it was given by a Muslim secularist (Bangladesh founder Mujibur Rahman), and as the secularists themselves have thrown their full weight against a proper study of the magnitude of Islamic massacres of Hindus, they cannot fault us for provisionally sticking to it. 

             [2]  You wouldn't guess it from their polished convent-school English, their trendy terminology, or their sanctimoniousness, but the likes of Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib or Gyanendra Pandey have blood on their hands.  The wave of Muslim violence after the Ayodhya demolition (and the boomerang of police repression and Shiv Sena retaliation) was at least partly due to the disinformation by supposed experts who denied that the disputed building had a violent iconoclastic prehistory, and implied that Hindus can get away with concocted history in their attacks on innocent mosques.  This disinformation gave Muslim militants the sense of justification needed to mount a "revenge" operation and to mobilize decent Muslims for acts of violence which they never would have committed if they had known the truth about Islam's guilt in Ayodhya.

             [3]  In this context, I want to caution against the imprecise use of the term "Semitic" when referring to the Prophetic-monotheistic religions.  Apart from being tainted by the related term "anti-Semitic", it is also hopelessly inaccurate.  Judaism (which is linguistically "Semitic" in that its basic texts are in Hebrew and Aramaic) is a communal religion just like Hinduism and most tribal and traditional religions, not a creedal one like Christianity and Islam.  The Semitic peoples including the Arabs until the 7th century AD and the early Israelites were heathens worshipping goddesses in sacred groves and the like.  The founding texts of Christianity were written in Greek, a non-Semitic language.  Monotheism was brought into Judaism by Moses, culturally an Egyptian, and had already been briefly imposed on the Egyptians by Pharaoh Ekhnaton.

             [4]  Allah is given "one hundred names", or rather Arabic epithets, but this does not mean that Isis or Apollo or Shiva will do just as well.  The non-Quranic Persian god-name Khuda did admitteldly manage to sneak into Muslim parlance; but it is no coincidence that with the increasing grip of the theologians on public life in Iran and Pakistan, this term is being phased out in favour of "Allah", e.g. Khuda hafiz, "God preserve you" (for "goodbye") is being replaced on Pakistani television by Allah hafiz.

             [5]  See Swami Vivekananda: Complete Works, vol.1, p.184.  The psychopathological thesis on Mohammed has been developed in great detail by Dr. Herman Somers: Een andere Mohammed (Dutch; Hadewijch, Antwerp 1992).

 

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