Reply to a Hindu's Letter
Original Letter from the Hindu person
On Wed, 23 Apr 2003 04:34:59
Hello Mr.Saif, I surfed into your web page and have to admit we need people like you. As for your info I am an ex-muslim who got rid of the religion a few years ago. Today, I am a Hindu like our forefathers were. I urge you to consider to convert to the proper religion. Most of what you write about the Hindu religion is half baked truth and you know it. So why not be brave enough to get rid of Islam and embrace our true religion.
I know many muslims who are secretly converting to Hinduism or at least stopped being a muslim. How can we justify as the truth if a religion encourages its followers to kill non-believers, force them into dhaminitude, treat women as mere objects and etc.
Islam may have been a great religion at one piont of time but it is no more. You can see it for yourself, there is no place of this earth where the muslims are leaving peacefully with people of other religion. Can you name a place or two? Even with the Buddishts and Bahais they have problems. As we know the Buddishts and Bahais are most peaceful people relatively. Islam also is detrimental to our knowledge growth. Can you name a muslim country where science and technology are being invented or revolutionised. The muslims nations which are about 63 and some of them are very rich cannot even built/manufacture simple bicycles. These are all due to Islam.
So once again I urge you to abandon the Arab centered religion and seek the vast knowledge of our forefathers ways of doing things. I did and I feel much more happier than I was before as a muslim. I hope you do the same too. Take good care and good bye.
Dear Mr XXXX,
Thank you for writing to me. It is indeed the need of the hour for Hindus and Muslims of the Indian region to engage in constructive dialogue and make an effort to understand each other's religion as well as their own religion.
In this reply, I have touched the following subjects:
* Islam's message in short
As you have rightly pointed out, no religion can claim itself to be true if it encourages its followers to kill non-believers, force someone into subjugation or treat women as mere objects, etc. However, your claim that Islam does so is a very common misconception not only amongst non-Muslims but also ironically amongst Muslims themselves. You are very right that the Muslim nations today are hardly keeping pace with technological progress of the World, but that is not due to Islam, rather it is because of their leaving the path of Islam. How can God allow them to lead His world if they become insincere towards His guidance? When the Muslims kept to the teachings of Islam, they became a great nation and torch bearers of justice, freedom, equality, scientific advancement, structural genius, etc. but when they started to become heedless to the guidance of the Qurán, they fell from that position into misguidance and error of old.
Islam's message in short
Islam reaffirmed the greatest solution of mankind's ills. It taught that there is only one god of all. Everything in this universe belongs to that One God. All humans are equal before the eyes of God. No human has the right to impose his will upon another human. It only deserves humanity to serve God and no one else. The only source of true Guidance is God. There is no caste system or class system of humanity. Everyone is dignified and worthy of equal respect and fair treatment. The Qurán teaches that the whole human race is just one community and dividing themselves into various warring factions based on national boundaries or ethnic or racial divisions or those based on caste, colour, creed, capital, etc are all false divisions which humanity has developed. God wants us to unite on the basis that we shall serve none but God and wants us to heed to the guidance, which He revealed through his prophets throughout history. God says in the Qurán that He sent prophets to all people of the world, to convey His guidance to humanity. The last ones were Jesus (peace be upon him) - and Muhammad (peace be upon him). The duty of the prophets was to remind humanity of the original message of God and call them to worship and serve only the true God. Only God can show us the path to true justice, equality, compassion and kindness, because He alone is the true sovereign ruler of the Universe. This was the simple and straight message brought by all the prophets of God and reminded by all spiritual teachers. If you have read the Qurán, you will recognise that this is message of the Qurán, calling the believers to uphold the will of God, which is nothing but truth, justice, equality and to treat with compassion and mercy, everyone, irrespective of which religion someone adheres to. This is the only way approved by God and the only way to attain peace in this world and in the next life after judgement.
Any messengers/prophets of God sent for India?
You may ask 'if God almighty did send prophets or messengers to all people, were any messengers sent to the people of India or not?' The answer of the Qurán to it is that messengers were indeed sent to every people, every civilisation. The Qurán however states that the names of only a handful of the messengers are mentioned in the Qurán while others are not mentioned. Through authentic narrations of the last prophet Muhammad, we learn that there were over 100,000 prophets sent throughout human history. In India, we know there are certain important people who lived through history who are known as avatars, like Sri Rama or Sri Krisna. If you'v read the Vedas or the Bhagavad Geeta, you will immediately notice their similarity to the message of the Qurán. I think it is highly possible that these great national icons were also prophets of God who taught man that there is none worthy of obedience than God almighty. It is human nature that it starts to admire such great personalities of God, eventually claiming that they were God incarnate themselves. This is a fallacy and a big trap in which humanity has fallen through times. A very recent example is that of Jesus Christ, the exalted messenger of God. Although Jesus Christ called the people to the worship of one God, although he said and did exactly as was commanded by God, he performed miracles through signs given by God, but it was only within a period of 2-3 centuries that his message got corrupted and his followers in their excessive love for him, proclaimed him to be the begotten son of God, some even claiming that he was God incarnate. In light of this, it is highly possible that great personalities like Sri Rama and Sri Krisna were exalted messengers of God and pious prophets who fulfilled the duty which they were assigned to, that of calling the people of India to serve only One God who is the ruler of the worlds, the giver of life and death. However, their followers in their excessive love for them raised them to the status of God, while infact they were only exalted messengers of their Lord.
Now I come to some points you have raised. You have said that what I have written about Hinduism is half-baked truths. I have no intention of writing half-baked truths. I believe that the true Hindu religion taught by the Hindu scriptures is nothing but the message reminded by Islam. There is no god but God. I request you to tell me what is it that you consider as half-baked about Hinduism. If what you say is true, I will immediately remove all of it from the website and seek forgiveness from God for unintentionally spreading a lie.
Does Islam say Kill non-believers???
Your understanding that Islam is a religion that encourages its followers to kill non-believers, is a commonly propagated false story, sometimes unintentionally through misunderstanding. The Quran states in chapter 60: verse 8 and 9:
"As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for verily, God loves those who act equitably." [HQ-60:8]
"God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards such as fight against you because of [your] faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid [others] in driving you forth: and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship, it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers!" [HQ-60-9]
It should be clear that the command to fight is only against those who either fight against the Muslims on account of their religion or drive them out from their homelands. Those who spread this misinformation about Islam usually read the Qurán with a biased mind, and in trying to find inaccuracies in the Qurán they usually end up constructing false ideas based on verses taken out of context. Thus they mislead many innocent people far from the truth. Throughout history, there have been people who have tried to propagate false ideas about Islam. Such people are usually those who remain arrogant inspite of knowing the truth and are bent on giving lordship to others besides God. In the sight of God, will they not then be on the losing side?
The Status of Dhimmi
Another point you raised is that Islam forces the unbelievers into the status of dhimmis. I will quote from the treatise "Islam and Other Religions" by Shaheed Ismail Raji al Faruqi <Read full essay: Islam and Other Religions - by Shaheed Ismail Raji al Faruqi>.
Following the conquest of India by Muhammad bin Qasim in 91/711, the Muslims faced new religions that they had never known before, Buddhism and Hinduism. Both religions co-existed in Sind and the Punjab, the regions conquered by Muslims and joined to the Islamic state. Muhammad bin Qasim sought instruction from the caliph in Damascus on how to treat Hindus and Buddhists. They appeared to worship idols, and their doctrines were at the farthest remove from Islam. Their founders were unheard of by Muslims. The caliph called a council of Ôulama and asked them to render judgment on the basis of the governor’s report. The judgment was that as long as Hindus and Buddhists did not fight the Islamic state, as long as they paid the jizyah or tax due, they must be free to worship their gods as they please, to maintain their temples, and to determine their lives by the precepts of their faith. Thus, the same status as that of the Jews and Christians was accorded to them."
In the same article, it states about the Dhimmis (Zimmi):
The atmosphere of the Islamic state was one replete with respect and honor to religion, piety, and virtue, unlike the tolerance of modern times in the West born out of skepticism regarding the truth of religious claims, and of cynicism and unconcern for religious values. The Islamic shari'ah is otherwise known as the millah or millet system (meaning "religious communities"), or the "Dhimmah" or Zimmi system (meaning the covenant of peace whose dhimmah (zimmah) or guarantor is God).
Evil rulers cannot be denied to have existed in the Muslim world any more than in any other empire. Where they existed, Muslims suffered as well as non-Muslims. Nowhere in Islamic history, however, were non-Muslims singled out for prosecution or persecution. The constitution that protected them was taken by Muslims to be God-inspired, God-protected. The Prophet had already warned: "If anyone oppresses any dhimmi, I shall be his prosecutor on the Day of Judgment. No other religion or societal system has ever regarded the religious minority in better light, integrated it into the stream of the majority with as little damage to either party, or treated it without injustice or unfairness as Islam did. Indeed, none could. Islam succeeded in a field where all other religions failed because of its unique theology, which recognized the true, one, and only religion of God to be innate in every person, the primordial base of all religions, identical with Sabianism, Judaism, and Christianity.
You may be aware of the commonly used urdu word "zimma" (to guarantee) from which we have "zimmedari" (responsibility/guarantee). It is the same as the arabic word 'dhimma'. In urdu, the Arabic letter 'dh’ is pronounced as 'z' as can also be noted from 'ramadaan" (in arabic), 'ramazaan" (in urdu). So, you see, a 'zimmi' is a non-muslim living in a islamic state for whom the state guarantees (is responsible for) his/her protection. Do you not think this is a genius concept of Islam? Compare this with what happened recently in the state of Gujarat? Did the Gujarat govt. took it as their 'zimmah' to safeguard the lives and properties of the Muslim community from onslaughts on this particular religious community? Infact, they took it as their 'zimmah' to target them.
Are women treated as mere objects???
Next allegation you made is that women are treated as mere objects. It is a commonly held perception that Muslim women have lesser rights and liberties. This view is strengthened by rulings from many Muslim governments & groups who prohibit women from going to work, to school, or to even drive a car. But are these restrictions imposed by religion or by long-held local customs that predate Islam? Infact, the real story of women in Islam is one of progressive liberation and elevation of status. It was for this reason that women were the staunchest supporters of prophet Muhammad's mission. If women today are not enjoying the full rights bestowed upon them by Islam, it is not the fault of religion, but of chauvinistic men who use religion selectively to maintain their dominance.
The teachings of Islam are for removing oppression of women. Infact, it was with the advent of Islam that women's rights were truly respected in practice. Islamic Law contains hundreds of laws for the protection of women's rights. Among these are the following:
* A women's property cannot be seized by her husband
* Women cannot be denied the right to education
* Ruining a woman's reputation is a criminal act
* Forced marriage is forbidden
* Women can file legal suits in court and provide sole testimony
* Women can initiate divorce
* Women get automatic custody of young children after divorce
* Alimony and palimony are mandatory
* Women can enter into contracts without interference
* Spousal abuse is a punishable offense
* Women receive equal pay for equal work
* Women can vote and stand for office
[Reference: 'The Complete IDIOT's Guide to Understanding Islam', by Yahya Emerick.]
That is how God wishes to liberate women and not by making them idols of lust and passion as prevalent in the West.
Why are Muslims not living in peace?
I will briefly state that it is not due to Islam that Muslims are not living peacefully. It is because of gross injustices done by the powerful West in Muslim lands which have given rise to opposition movements. When public dissent is suppressed, as happened in most of the cases where injustices were perpetrated, people have taken to violence because they did not find the right channel to regain their rights.
This is a huge discussion topic itself, and so, I will request you to go through two sections on the website:-
* Islam and the Question of Violence
Is Islam an Arab-centric religion??
Finally, I come to your request
for me to abandon what you call an “Arab-centered religion”. If the
teachings of Islam were biased towards the Arabs or if they were not universal
and not encompassing all mankind, then one could have said that Islam is an
Arab-centric religion? I consider
Islam as not being an Arab centered faith as much as Hinduism is an
India-centered religion. Infact, I truly consider that the Islamic religion
reflects true equality of mankind and absorbs people from various races existing
in the world. It truly confirms that mankind is a single family, with a white
being no superior to a black, nor an arab being superior to a non-arab. Every
pillar of Islam, and impressively the annual Hajj, reflects this universal unity
of mankind where men and women, white or black, old or young, weak or strong,
poor or rich, gather in unison proclaiming the unity of godhead and of mankind,
bowing in willful surrender to the Lord of all the worlds and of everything in
it, of seen or unseen. Most (about 70-80 %) of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the
world are non-Arabs. I will quote what Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the great poetess of
India, had observed years ago about the brotherhood of Islam: "It
was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for in
the mosque, when the minaret is sounded and the worshipers are gathered
together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant
and the king kneel side by side and proclaim, "God alone is great."
And she continues: "
I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that
makes a man instinctively a brother. When you meet an Egyptian, an Algerian
and Indian and a Turk in London, it matters not that Egypt is the motherland of
one and India is the motherland of another."
If you consider any element of truth in what I have written, I invite you to become another member in this vast brotherhood reflecting unity of mankind, serving none but God, the True Lord of the Worlds. I reaffirm that there is no god but the One God, and that Muhammad is God's final messenger.
‘Believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and see that you do not die save in a state of submission to Allah. Hold fast together to the cable of Allah and be not divided. Remember the blessing which Allah bestowed upon you: you were once enemies then He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire and He delivered you from it. Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you that you may be guided to the right way. [Holy Qurán 3:102-103]
With this, I would like to close this mail. Do let me know whether this mail satisfies your questions. Incase you have more questions, I would be pleased to hear from you. I wish the best to you and your family.
Anything of truth is from my Lord. Mistakes are mine.