Continued from “The Rift Within”
Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife
A critical appraisal of Islamic faith, Indian polity ‘n more
While the wise use their abilities as the building blocks of life, the bigots turn their dogmas into its stumbling blocks, and same applies to nation building or causing its ruination, Pakistan being a living example of the latter. However, in what is left of Arya Varta, it is a socio-political reality that even as the Hindus cannot wish away the preponderant Muslim presence in it, there is no way the Musalmans can turn it into a dar al-Islam either. So, as the Union of India, Allah Ta’ala willing, would forever remain a place of Hindu-Muslim conglomeration, it is only wise for both to realise that their future is firmly rooted in this common communal ground.
Sadly for the Indian umma, the gullible Arabs of yore catapulted their ‘cult of Muhammad’ onto the altar of faith as the ‘religion of Islam’, which deludes the deprived ‘here’ by dangling the doles in ‘the hereafter’, and that takes the umma’s poor neither here nor there in the modern ‘world of opportunities’; and as Martin Lings noted, Muhammad had encouraged his followers to imbibe this anti-progress ethos thus:
“All took part in the work, (the construction of a mosque in Medina) including the Prophet himself, and as they worked they chanted two verses which one of them had made up for the occasion:
O god, no good is but the good hereafter
So help the Helpers and the Emigrants.
And sometimes they chanted,
No life there is but life of the Hereafter
Mercy, O God, on Emigrants and Helpers.”
Well, the source of this inspiration, as seen in the preceding chapter, is none other than the Quran that extols poverty. Besides, what else Muhammad had to offer his handful of followers then than the solace of poverty, as the booty to share with them was not on the table as yet then. However, it is this inculcated disregard for life ‘here’ in his followers that enabled him to psyche them later to the myth of martyrdom with huries and all in the ‘Hereafter’ that stood him in good stead to settle scores with his detractors that is apart from laying his hands on the Spoils of War, which is nothing but the God-sanctified booty.
Besides, it is proved beyond doubt that the Muslim educational backwardness is sourced in umma’s abominable fear of exposing its kids to non-Islamic education lest they should lose their faith in the outdated ideas that Islam represents. Surely, their fears are not unfounded for the Islamic edifice of faith was built on Quranic pillars of artificial belief, and once the latter are weakened the former would collapse like a house of cards. So it can be said ‘artificial’ belief is at once the strength and weakness of Islam and who knows that better than its moulvis, and that’s what makes it a cult but not a religion.
That’s why, the Saudi ruling family, the guardian of the Kabah has always been alive to the threat the modern education poses to the set of Islamist beliefs that are the pillars of their House of Saud. So, the curriculum of the secondary schools, set aside the primary stuff, is Islamic all the way, of course with Muhammad’s life and times thrown in between; the madrasa academic drill comprises of Islam, the Quran, the hadith, the sunna with mathematics for a change. It’s thus, to the umma-moulded Musalman mind-set, anything that is non-Islamic is akin to un-Islamic.
No wonder thus, the Indian Musalmans, for most part, who imitate the Sunni Saudis, are worse off educationally and economically than even the once oppressed Hindus, their erstwhile caste cousins, since they tend to lead a ghetto-like life in isolated pockets in abominable conditions, compared even to the substandard amenities available in the Hindu localities. And compounding their misery is their penchant to rear more children than their means would will, and that either forces them to reduce their progeny into child labor or consign them to the madrasa education, which only cultivates in them the fundamentalist impulses that are inimical to their economic wellbeing.
It is seldom appreciated that as sex is more in the human mind than in its libido, the occupation of man has a bearing on his sexual impulse, which in turn determines the frequency of conception by his mate(s). While it’s in the nature of the white collar jobs and intellectual pursuits to put cerebral demands on the minds of men, and women, thereby distracting their minds away from sexual focus, the manual jobs or petty trades won’t constrain those engaged in them in a like manner, whereby letting their libido to have a free reign on their minds. In case of the Musalmans, even as their ‘believing’ Islamic minds are spared of intellectual strain, their mundane pursuits of the latter category free them from cerebral engagement, whereby affording them more frequent coition. Needless to say, such a cohabitation sans family planning, which is conveniently touted as un-Islamic, would be more conducive for unbridled procreation; though same is the case with the similarly placed Hindus, yet there’s a growing tendency among them to adopt the two-child family norm.
So, it is imperative for the ulema of the umma to realise that the penchant of the Musalmans for reckless procreation, besides keeping them poor and illiterate - pitying them, by now, the All-Merciful Allah Ta’ala would have certainly changed his mind but for the lack of communication means, is unable to convey the same to them - has been raising the demographic hackles of the Hindus. But for that they have to get rid of their Ghazwa-e-Hind illusion and dar al-Islam world delusion, at least after the Chinese treatment of their Uyghur brethren. Whatever, the depravities and the disparities of the Indian Musalmans ‘here’ are for real but they don’t seem to mind as long as Islam is not in danger, and egging on them to remain that way are the Islamapologists in their pseudo-secular garbs, who routinely shed crocodile tears to score Brownie ‘secular’ points; if the Musalmans were to imbibe liberal attitudes, of what relevance could be the Islamapologic platitudes of the media savvy Satan’s?
Just the same, the real indicator of the Indian Musalmans’ backwardness is their collective inability to address their socio-economic plight. Why should they, when their Quran dissuades them against all that. That being the case, would ever the Muslim masses question the conventional wisdom of their community in investing their children’s future in Islam through the madrasa modules? After all, they should realise that their economic wellbeing would forever remain a mirage on the Islamic straight path as the madrasas lead their children onto the misery ‘here’ though with a promise of joys in the ‘hereafter’.
Sadly for the umma’s poor, madrasas are no more than the wells of Islamic dogma with moulvis being their resident frogs, at best helping their pupils memorize the Quran and at worst making bigots out of them with additional inputs from hadith ‘n sunna. So, what are the madrasas if not the Quranic pillars of the masjids to keep the faith going the way it was from Muhammad’s time; even otherwise, of what avail is the secular education to them; the sight of the few middle-class Muslim girls going to the Indian secular temples of higher learning all wrapped up in burkas only proves that no course material can make the Indian Musalmans’ Arabian outlook acquire a new look.
It’s another matter though that this Islamic mess into which they habitually allow themselves to get into would only enable ‘the others’, whom they, any way, keep at an arm’s length, to become even more apathetic towards them. Well, there seems to be no end to the psychic dichotomy of the Musalmans, and Kemal Ataturks and Anwar Sadats, in their scores, are to be born in every galli of each Muslim mohalla to make it right for them. That, perhaps, is too much to hope for, anyway. But for now, the Musalmans are ever on the lookout for the ways and means to assert their Islamic separateness, which, for the muse of a poet would seem: Oh, goddamn faith, how thou divide ‘the God’ from the gods and Musalmans from the other men!
Well, if only the maulanas, for a solution to their separatist constraints, approach Muhammad’s life and times, not in thrall but with insight, for that there are pointers aplenty, penned by Martin Lings. They would then realize that Muhammad’s ability to strike strategic compromises made him what he was, and enabled him to take his faith to the kabah. The social compromise devised by Muhammad for the Muslim-Jewish amity and his concessions to the theological demands of the Quraysh, cited below, could guide the Indian Musalmans in fashioning a Hindu - Muslim compromise.
“It was to be hoped that these two parties would be strengthened by a third, and the Prophet now made a covenant of mutual obligation between his followers and the Jews of the oasis, forming them into a single community of believers but allowing for the differences between the two religions. Muslims and Jews were to have equal status. If a Jew were wronged, then he must be helped to his rights by both Muslim and Jew, and so also if a Muslim were wronged. In case of war against the polytheists they must fight as one people, and neither Jews nor Muslims were to make a separate peace, but peace was to be indivisible. In case of differences of opinion or dispute or controversy, the matter was to be referred to God through His Messenger. There was, however, no express stipulation that the Jews should formally recognize Muhammad as the Messenger and Prophet of God, though he was referred to as such throughout the document.”
Of course, this gesture by Muhammad was in his early Yathrib, nay Medina days, which was much before the Quran poured venom on the neighborhood Jews (besides the Christians and idolaters) and he gave vent to his wrath on them. Leaving that aside, the all-important religious concession of Muhammad as recorded by Martin Lings makes an interesting reading.
“Quraysh now sent Suhayl to conclude a treaty (with Muhammad), and with him were his two clansmen Mikraz and Hwaytib. They conferred with the Prophet, and the Companions heard their voices rise and fall according to whether the point in question was hard to agree upon or easy. When they had finally reached an agreement the Prophet told ‘Ali to write down the terms, beginning with the revealed words of consecration Bismi Llahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim, in the Name of God, the Good, the Merciful, but Suhayl objected. “As to Rahman,” he said, “I know not what he is. But write Bismik Allahumma, in Thy Name, O God, as thou wert wont to write.”
Some of the Companions cried out “By God, we will write naught but Bismi Lalhi r-Rahmani r-Rahim,” but the Prophet ignored them and said “Write Bismik Allahumma,” and he went on dictating: “these are the terms of the truce between Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayal the son of ‘Amr”; but again Suhayl protested. “If we knew thee to be the Messenger of God.” he said, “we would not have barred thee from the House, neither would we have fought thee; but write Muhammad the son of ‘Abd Allah.”
‘Ali had already written “The Messenger of God,” and the Prophet told him to strike out those words, but he said he could not. So the Prophet told him to point with his finger to the words in question, and he himself stuck them out*. Then he told him to write in their place “the son of ‘Abd Allah,” which he did.
The document continued: “They have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years, in which times men shall be safe and not lay violent hands the one upon the other; on condition that whoso cometh unto Muhammad of Quraysh without the leave of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him unto them; but whoso cometh unto Quraysh of those who are with Muhammad, they shall not be returned. They shall be no subterfuge and no treachery. And who so wisheth to enter into the bond and pact of Muhammad may do so; and who so wisheth to enter into the bond and pact of Quraysh may do so.”
Well, every Musalman could be privy to this episode but few, if any, would have delved deep into it to question the unquestionable; what does this protest by Suhayl mean?
“If we knew thee to be the Messenger of God, we would not have barred thee from the House, neither would we have fought thee.”
Won’t it go without saying that none in the Arabia then heard Allah announce that he had sent Muhammad as his messenger to them, but it was Muhammad who had proclaimed himself as the Messenger of ‘the God’ for them? If not, Suhayl and others would not have said what they said to Muhammad about his divine claim without a mundane witness to name.
Even beyond the boundaries of belief, it is the penchant of the faithful, not just the Musalmans, to assert that all that is there to know can be found in between the covers of their religious scriptures. While nothing can be farther from the truth, the Quran portrays many a divine contradictions, one of which is refreshingly welcome in that as against its averment all through that it carries for man the final message of the God, it states that, “Such of Our revelations as we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest though not that Allah is able to do all things.”
Moreso, underscoring the need for a periodic Islamic update, Muhammad had also said, “Islam began as a stranger and will become once more as a stranger,” and promised to his flock that ‘the God’ would not abandon them,
“God will send to this community, at the head of every hundred years, one who will renew for it its religion.”
That being the case, wonder the way the umma shuns the reformist Musalmans, few and far in between anyway, and what’s worse, its ulema brands such as apostates and condemns them to death. Maybe in that sense, in that sense alone, Bernard Shaw is right in opining that Islam is the best religion with the worst followers.
Above all, Quran also affirms that:
“If all the trees in the end were pens, and if the sea eked out by seven seas more were ink, the Words of God, could not be written out into their end.”
Thus, isn’t it ironical that Allah Ta’ala should have exhorted his faithful to unquestioningly believe what he supposedly revealed to his Messenger in the Quran? It’s as if what the God gave the Musalmans with his right hand, he took it back from them with his left hand thereby leaving them stranded on the ‘straight path’ he paved for them. Hence, what sense doth it make for the Musalmans to believe that the quran-hadith-sunna trio is the ‘be all and end all’ of the divine guidance; well it is for them to think.
Be that as it may, it is imperative for the Musalmans of the day to understand that a review of Islam is overdue, which, their prophet himself felt that it would need from time to time. Why not the maulanas of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (no mistaking it as an elected body of Indian Musalmans) take the lead in not only reviewing the ‘out of tune’ features of their faith but also in seeking honourable compromises with the Hindus on all contentious issues as Muhammad had done with the Quraysh? Well, a little give and take shouldn’t upset them as Muhammad himself had said,
‘Verily ye are in an age when whoso omitteth one tenth of the law shall be doomed. But there will come an age when whoso fulfilleth one tenth of the law shall be saved.”
That being the case, wonder why the mullahs should be so paranoid as what is Islamic and what is un-Islamic for the umma in these modern times!
So be it but the moulvi-mullah combine’s apathy for modernity and the appeasement of these obscurants by the Hindu pseudo-secularists for their political gain, together subject the Musalmans to a double squeeze. Moreover, the Islamapologic media, controlled by those that are either naïve about or indifferent to the Islamic dogma, in its eagerness to be on the right side of secularism, runs a tirade against the Hindu nationalist forces, only ends up in helping the perpetuation of Muslim obscurantism. What is worse, as if to light up every minority household with its naïve Hindu torch, it infuses in the Indian umma a sense of neglect by the Indian State itself. Why, in a routine exercise, its glamour boys ‘n gals attribute umma’s economic backwardness to the Hindu biases rather than exposing the age-old Muslim apathy for secular education. Wonder how these fail to see the children of Hindu maids and Christian coolies everywhere walking up in their scores to Covent schools in their secular uniforms.
What about the Indian umma’s apathy towards the native cultural connotations in spite of the fact that some of their ilk had showed how to fuse the Indian ethos with their Islamic souls. Won’t it be an idea for them to overcome their fixation over the bigoted Aurangzeb and revisit his great-grandfather, their Akbar the Great, and dust his Din-e-illahi? Why eulogize the anti-Hindu despot Tipu Sultan when they have Dara Shukoh, the ‘enlightened paragon of the harmonious coexistence of Hindustan’s heterodox traditions’, whom Aurangzeb, his brother put to death?
Well, coming to the current times, why can’t they take a leaf out of the life of the music maestro of Maihar gharana, Allauddin Khan, the incomparable saint of the Hindu - Muslim synthesis. He was an outstanding exponent of the Hindustani classical music who, being a devout Musalman, and in spite of the Quranic injunctions against idol worship, in the hill temple at Maihar, he was wont to sing in ecstasy before the deity of Saarada Maata, the goddess of learning. Though his religious dogma would have him not to bow but to Allah, his theological wisdom enabled him to grasp the truth that the Omnipresent Allah would be present in the Hindu Deities as well; and so he had seen the falsity of the Muslim fallacy in making the Almighty a captive of Islam. Moreover, neither did he suffer any Quranic qualms in naming his daughter as Annapurna nor had he undergone any Islamic pangs in giving her hand in marriage to Pandit Ravi Shankar, his disciple, much before he became illustrious.
Besides, there was the mesmerizing Bismillah Khan, whose recorded shehnai exposition was adjudged, in 1960s, as the best among all varieties of instrumental music in the world, and he too suffered no Quranic qualms in enthralling the audiences in Hindu precincts. Why hadn’t Naushad Ali, Shakeel Badayuni, and Mohammad Rafi proved to the Indian Musalmans that while reveling in the Hindu devotional music, yet they could be practicing Musalmans? Won’t every Hindu soul forever be moved by their combined effort in the Baiju Bawra song - man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj - that impelled a saadhu of Rishikesh to rush to Mumbai, the then Bombay, for the darshan of the lyricist! Well, exemplifying a ‘reverse prejudice’, the Hindu ascetic, who expected the adorable persona with a flowing beard in saffron robes, wouldn’t believe that the suited-booted Shakeel could have indeed imbibed the Hindu spirituality to compose that hymn-like song. That’s not all, one Yusuf Khan Sarwar Khan as Dilip Kumar, the peerless thespian of the Indian silver screen, could fervently pray before assorted Hindu deities on the celluloid and yet remain a Musalman by heart and soul!
Moreover, hadn’t President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam prove that a Musalman could draw as much spiritual solace from the Quran as well as from the Bhagvad-Gita? What about KK Muhammed, the geologist, who stood by his professional integrity and personal conviction to affirm that indeed the disputed Babri Masjid was built on the ruins of a grand Hindu structure that is in spite the orchestrated propaganda unleashed by his fellow-Musalman Irfan Habib, in cohorts with the left-lib Hindu renegades to the contrary? Above all are the Muslim fauzis of the Indian Armed Forces, who fight against their co-religionist army of Pakistan regardless, and if need be sacrifice their lives for their country.
As for the Hindus, don’t they love the continuance of the Indo-Islamic culture, exemplified by the Hindustani music made mellifluous by Bismillah Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar et al in their scores? What a void the Indian romantic hearts would have been sans those ghazals, qawwaalis, and mujraas that ooze so much eroticism? Don’t they toast the Abdul Hamids who sacrificed their lives for them fighting against Pakistan, and the Abdul Kalams who design missiles to deter it from attacking Bharat Maata?
Needless to say, the Hindu-Muslim amity depends on the Muslim willingness to address the Hindu national concerns and the Hindu understanding of the Muslim religious fears. And, as the communal peace is a two-way lane, one would wish that the Muslim genius, at last, might come up with new alignments for their straight path in the Hindu setting for a smooth ride ‘here’ on their way to the ‘Hereafter’. Wish in the coming years, India would be blessed with an Anwar Sadat to dare defy the bigotry of the mullahs, and /or a Kemal Ataturkto cross swords with the Islamic fundamentalists to make a lasting difference to the Hindu-Muslim coexistence.
For their part, the Hindus should not misconstrue the soft centre the Indian Musalmans tend to nurse for Pakistan in their hearts as a synonym of their anti-Indian ethos for their minds are conditioned by the umma’s Quranic paranoia. So, they get habituated at seeing things from the pan-Islamic prism, which stymies their Indian vision besides sullying their national image, and sadly for them, there would be incessant alerts of ‘Islam in danger’ from around the world, which keep their psyche forever stressed by their kafir enigma. But as a two-way street keeps the traffic smooth, Hindus and Muslims should together build one for which the latter must be more religiously open than they are.
Surely, Islam in the original form has outlived its utility to the poor believers, and if only the stilted media gets its act right to drive home this point into the minority minds, the interests of the Indian umma would be well-served that its Islamapologia is fouling. But meanwhile, would the Musalman bigots and the Hindu sophists, who aid and abet them in feeding their folks with a religious diet, apply their minds to bridge the Hindu-Muslim economic divide?
Continued to “The Hindu Rebound”