Continued from “Double Jeopardy”
With the discovery of a submerged city off the Gulf of Cambay dated back to 7500 B.C.E, it would seem Mohen jo daro and Harappa of 3500 B.C. E were modern times for the ancient Indians. As the North America and the Europe have proved in our times, that the economic well-being and the social development are but the obverse and the reverse of the coin of healthy work ethics, it can be inferred that without a sound work culture, the Cambays and Harappas wouldn’t have happened in India in the antique era. But then, how come the Indian of the day bade goodbye to the moral values of yore and came to yearn for easy money in the corridors of corruption!
The Aryans, who came well after Mohen jo daro, in spite of their emphasis on spirituality, didn’t seem to have hampered the work ethos of yore as would be evident from the prosperity of the populace in the bygone eras of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Maybe the karma siddhanta that exemplified the Brahmanical concept of linking the fate of men to the deeds of their past births could have even encouraged the have-nots to strive for bettering their lot in the birth to follow that is through good deeds in the life on hand. By the same token, the karmic theory guarded man from the debilitating affects of envying the better-off, and that helped one and all build a society of happy souls striving to better themselves in word an deed, never mind their economic lot, well, till the mid 20th Century or so before the ‘why not me’ phenomenon began to boot out the age-old Hindu wisdom from its karmabhoomi.
That being the case, we might search for the possible influence of the Islamic religious credo on the Indian work culture exposed as it were to it for a millennium.
The Islamic way of life is best described by Freeland Abbot in his ‘Islam and Pakistan’ of Cornell University Press, New York, as quoted by Mayram Jameelah in her book, “Islam and Orientalism” (Adam Publishers & Distributors, Delhi).
“The community held that the important thing in life was not to improve one’s well-being but to get to heaven when one’s earthly life was over. And the road to heaven was chartered as a clear path. That path, preserved and sharply defined by the traditionalists, included prayers and creed but it did not include so living as to avoid measles and small pox. The basic premise of Islam is that the faithful are the servants of Allah who are ordained to pray Him five times a day. This concept of faith presupposes that Allah is the provider to the faithful He being their Master. As though to make the prayer regimen a viable proposition the Hereafter was advocated as the be all and end all of life. As though to keep up the morale of the faithful to stick to prayer at the cost of the benefits of life that hard work entails, their eternal existence in the Hereafter is made peaceable and enjoyable.”
In Martin Lings’ biography the following account of Muhammad’s meeting with Moses in the wake of his ascent to the Lote Tree of the Uttermost End along with Archangel Gabriel emphasizes the stress on prayer in Islam.
“At the Lote Tree the Prophet received for his people the command of fifty prayers a day; and it was then that he received the Revelation which contains the creed of Islam: The messenger believeth, and the faithful believe, in what hath been revealed unto him from His Lord. Each one believeth in God and His angels and His books and His messengers; we made no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say; we hear and we obey; grant us, Thou our Lord, thy forgiveness; unto Thee is the ultimate becoming.
They made their descent through the seven Heavens even as they had ascended. The Prophet said: “On my return, when I passed Moses – and what a good friend he was unto you! - he asked me: ‘How many prayers have been laid upon thee?’ I told him fifty prayers every day and he said: ‘The congregational prayer is a weighty thing, and thy people are weak. Return unto thy Lord, and ask Him to lighten the load for thee and thy people.’ So I returned and asked my Lord to make it lighter, and He took away ten. Then I passed Moses again, and he repeated what he had said before, so I returned again, and ten more prayers were taken from me.
But every time I returned unto Moses he sent me back until finally all the prayers had been taken from me except five for each day and night. Then I returned unto Moses, but still he said the same as before; and I said: ‘I have returned unto my Lord and asked Him until I am ashamed. I will not go again.’ And so it is that he who performeth the five in good faith and in trust of God’s bounty, unto him shall be given the meed of fifty prayers.”
What might be interesting in this extraordinary ‘divine encounter’ is that while Moses felt that even a five-prayer regimen is a weighty thing, Muhammad, in the first place, didn’t even deem it fit to seek from his Lord any relief for his believers from the self-defeating quota of fifty prayers a day. Viewed in this context, the Musalmans should consider themselves indebted to Moses not only for the reduced namaazi burden but also for the well-being of Islam itself.
Would fifty congregational prayers in a twenty-four hour cycle leave any time ‘here’ for a Musalman to sire his progeny to carry the faith forward! Even if he were to scrape through on the procreative front, where was the time left for him for some gainful occupation needed for tending his family! Maybe, Muhammad missed the point as, any way, he was providing for the Musalmans with all that loot and ransom that the Quran ordained him to share with them. But how the All Knowing God had failed to realize that His faithful wouldn’t be able to subsist for long on a daily diet of fifty prayers is the question that the Musalmans should ponder over!
Be that as it may, it was Moses’ concern for the Musalmans – “the congregational prayer is a weighty thing, and thy people are weak” - and his advice to Muhammad to bring some sense to that which saved the day for them all for all times to come. Shouldn’t that make a case for the indebted believers to concede a little more of the Promised Land to the Jews the people of Moses! Contrast this with the Hindu path to their gods; the Brahmans shoulder the burden of worship on behalf of their co-religionists to free them from their own religious chores thereby letting them pursue their temporal endeavors for public good. Is Brahmanism wise or vainglorious? One can only surmise!
It is as if to sustain the ‘five prayers a day’ regimen of Islam that Muhammad had continued his campaigns of plunder that satiated the need as well as the greed of his followers, and the Caliphs and the despots, who succeeded him, kept up the precedent set by their God’s own messenger, well, till all that could be plundered from the subdued nations was plundered. Just to cite one example, as a case point, the royal palaces in Hyderabad Deccan and the chest of the Nizam’s family jewels stand in stark contrast to the social backwardness and the abject poverty even of his Musalman subjects in the erstwhile State of His Highness. So it was no wonder that the Nizams were the richest of men in the world well into the middle of the 20th century. And won’t their famed collection of the priceless jewels give a measure of the poverty into which they had pushed the hapless populace of their province?
If only the ‘Fortune 500’ was in compilation in the times of the Mohammedan rule in India, it would have been no surprise that the Musalman Nawabs, leave alone their Sultans, would have taken the cake, leaving the Hindu Rajas a few crumbs to satiate themselves with. Why for the Musalman parasites Mother India, the Hindu land of milk and honey, became the Islamic paradise ‘here’ itself. And yet, the Musalmans are ever averse to having vande mataram as the Indian national anthem for it would require their veneration of her! What rank ingratitude for a land that contributed to Islam its Musalmans in their millions! But in catering to their Islamic whim, Gandhi’s Congress gave India a national anthem that salutes Sind, a province of Pakistan! What should be India’s objection if its neighbor accuses her of hegemonic designs to set up an Akhand Bharat?
However, while the Quran had revealed how to share the ‘Spoils of War’ and Muhammad had stipulated the ‘Code de Distribution’ of the ransom, Islam has no clue about the generation of national wealth. Added to the ingrained Arab belief in their moral right to loot, the religious sanction that Islam accords them to plunder the kafirs might have led the Mohammedan marauders to believe in their divine right to live off the wealth of the idolaters. It is another matter though; that the example set by Muhammad to distribute the loot among the faithful was diluted by the Sultans of yore for its despots of the day to appropriate it all to indulge in a life of vile luxury.
Besides, preoccupied as it is with the ‘hereafter’, Islam has no time to deal with the nation building ‘here’, and thus the Musalman rulers were at a loss as to how to bring the conquered countries back into economic health after their plunder rendered them into wastelands. What with the lands that came under their reign having become unyielding, and lacking the old jihadi zeal to embark upon plundering the European kingdoms, in time, the Islamic world sunk into economic decay and dissipation. That was the moment in waiting for the West, industrialized in the meantime, for the wholesale colonization of the Muslim world that it coveted for so long. Well where the Christian crusades failed, the Western enterprise succeeded in subjugating the Musalmans!
Continued to "The Number Game"