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The Way Around
by BS Murthy Bookmark and Share

Continued from “The Rift Within”

While the wise use their abilities as the building blocks of life, the bigots turn their dogmas into its stumbling blocks, and same is the case in building a nation or causing its ruination, Pakistan being a living example of the latter. However, in what is left of Aryavarta, 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- ul-Islam either. So as the Union of India, Allah willing, would forever remain a place of the Hindu Muslim conglomeration, it is only wise for the Indians, irrespective of their religious affinities, to realize that their future is firmly rooted in this common communal ground.

... why the Mullas should be so paranoid about what is Islamic and what is un-Islamic for the Musalmans in these modern times! What to say about the apathy of the Indian Musalman towards the native cultural connotation that is in spite of the fact that some of their ilk had showed how to fuse the Indian ethos with their Islamic souls

To begin with, the Hindus should not misconstrue the soft center 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. It is another matter though that this Islamic mess into which they habitually allow themselves to get into would only enable ‘the others’, whom they, anyway, keep at an arms-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 Muslim galli 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 gods and ‘the Musalmans’ from other humans! Why if only the moulanas approach Muhammad’s life, not in awe but with insight, for a solution to their vexatious separatist inhibitions, pointers are aplenty in Martin Ling’s biography of his. They would then realize that Muhammad’s ability to compromise 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 here 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 days, which was much before the Quran poured venom on the Jews, and he, his wrath on them in the neighborhood. 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 that Suhayl’s protest - “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.” - mean? Won’t it go without saying that none in the Arabia 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 Musalman, 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 that it carries for man the final message of the God, it states 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.” Besides, it further affirms 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.” And above all else, 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.”

But, as Muhammad prophesied, none was sent by Allah for fourteen centuries now to renew Islam for the guidance of the Musalmans in the ever-changing world, and it is another matter that the mullas scorn the very idea of broadening the narrow path of their faith. So, 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 moulanas of the Muslim Personal Law Board of India take the lead in not only reviewing the ‘out of tune’ features of their faith but also in seeking an honorable 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 Mullas should be so paranoid about what is Islamic and what is un-Islamic for the Musalmans in these modern times! What to say about the apathy of the Indian Musalman towards the native cultural connotation that is in spite of the fact that some of their ilk had showed how to fuse the Indian ethos with their Islamic souls. Why can’t they take a leaf out of the life of that incomparable paragon of the Hindu-Muslim synthesis, the music maestro Allauddin Khan of Maihar gharana. Here was an outstanding exponent of the Hindustani classical music who, being a devout Musalman, and in spite of the Quranic injunctions against idol worship, was wont to sing in ecstasy before the Deity of Sarada, the goddess of learning, in the hill temple at Maihar! 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 Omnipotent Almighty a captive of Islam. Moreover, neither did he suffer any Quranic qualms in naming his daughter 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.

Hadn’t Naushad Ali, Shakeel Badayuni and Mohammad Rafi, all believers though, proved 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 of the Baiju Bawra song - man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj - that impelled a sadhu of Rishikesh to rush to Bombay for the darshan of Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist! Why, 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! Besides, didn’t President Abdul Kalam prove that a Musalman could draw as much spiritual solace from the Quran as well as from the Bhagavad-Gita.

As for the Hindus, don’t they love the continuance of the Indo-Islamic culture, exemplified by the Hindustani music that is resplendent with the Bismillah Khans, Bade Ghulam Ali Khans, Begum Akthars and others? What a void the Indian romantic hearts would have been sans those ghazals, qawwalis and mujras that ooze so much eroticism? Can one ever come across any Hindu youths in the North Indian campuses, who had not by hearted some sher shairie or the other? Don’t the Hindus toast the Abdul Hamids who sacrificed their lives fighting for the country, and the Abdul Kalams who design missiles to deter Pakistan from attacking the Mother India? 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 environment 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 Ataturk to cross swords with the Islamic fundamentalists to make a lasting difference to the Hindu - Muslim coexistence .

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? By and large, the Indian Musalmans are economically worse off than even the Hindu dalits, 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 the fundamentalist mindset that is inimical to their economic wellbeing. Besides, the Muslim leadership of the Jama Masjid vintage is so Quranically oriented as to appreciate that a fair share of the country’s economic cake, by the right of their birth and citizenship, is that of the Indian Musalmans. Their depravities and the disparities are real but the Indian Musalmans don’t seem to mind as long as Islam is not in danger, and egging on them to remain that way are their Hindu detractors 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 pseudo-secular platitudes of the media savvy Satan’s?

However, the real indicator of the Indian Musalmans’ backwardness is their collective inability to agitate for the undoing of their economic plight. Why should they, when their Quran dissuades them against all that, “naught is the life of the world save a pastime and a sport. Better far is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep their duty (to Allah). Have ye then no sense?” 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 realize 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’. What are the madrasas if not the pillars of the masjids to keep the faith going the way it was from Muhammad’s time; they are no more than the Islamic wells of dogma and what else could be the vision of its moulvis than their resident frogs, at best, helping the pupils memorize the Quran and at worst making bigots out of them. Even otherwise, of what avail is the secular education to them; the sight of the few middle-class Muslim girls going to the Indian temples of higher education wrapped up in burkas only proves that no course material can make the Indian Musalmans’ Arabian outlook acquire a new look. Let the Musalmans be beware, in the running chapter of Islam, it is the winds of Wahabism that are airing the madrasa environment and the Indian Mujahideen is on the prowl, recruiting for its terror outfits. What is more, as the Muslim Holy land had become the breeding ground of the Islamic terrorism, to make it right for the umma, the musalmans should ensure that the Haj of their progeny is put on hold till they are on the wrong side of their forties.

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 Hindu dominated Indian media, controlled by those that are naïve about the Islamic dogma, in its eagerness to be on the right side of secularism; runs a tirade against the Hindu nationalist forces and ends up perpetuating the Muslim obscurantism. What is worse, as if to light up every minority household with its naïve Hindu torch, it infuses in the Indian Musalman a sense of neglect by the Indian nation itself; why, won’t its glamour boys and girls attribute their 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 the Hindu maids and the Christian coolies everywhere walking up to the English-medium schools in their uniforms. Was it not proved beyond doubt that the Muslim educational backwardness is sourced in the abdominal fear of the umma to expose the Musalman children to non-Islamic education, lest they should lose their faith in the outdated ideas that Islam represents. It is to be noted that to the umma-molded Musalman mind-set anything that is non-Islamic amounts to un-Islamic. If one were to be skeptical about the findings of W. W. Hunter about this peculiar feature of the Indian umma as recorded in ‘The Indian Musalmans’, well, what would they have to say about the state of affairs in Saudi Arabia, with riches beyond Indian imagination.

If anything, the Saudi ruling family seems to be alive to the threat the modern education poses to the set of Islamist beliefs that are the pillars of its Royal Dictatorial House. 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 as interregnums; the madrasa academic drill comprises of Islam, the Quran, the Hadith, the Sunna with mathematics for a change. Maybe it’s time the Hindu apologists realized that it’s not the lack of means but their Islamic attitude that keeps the Indian Musalmans educationally and economically backward. Didn’t Martin Lings note how Muhammad had encouraged this anti-progress ethos amongst the believers?

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.”

Sadly for the 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 poor Musalmans neither here nor there in the modern ‘world of opportunities’. Why for sure Islam in the original form had 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 Musalmans would be well-served that its sophism is fouling.

Continued to “The Hindu Rebound”

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Comments on this Article

Comment Thank you for your kind words, which had the effect of awakening a realisation of the universal working of the Holy Spirit. In that light, we are all of us, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, all believers, even atheists, already of one religion, whose signs in its adherents are virtues of patience, tolerance and, yes, acceptance bespeaking brotherly love.

04/12/2013 11:57 AM

Comment Thanks for your positivist vibes that hopefully vibrate the Muslims into the future. I am thankful to you for having read my work with interest and patience.

BS Murthy
04/11/2013 02:20 AM

Comment In your article, there comes across a bewilderment at the ‘bigoted’ attitude of the musulman in the shared territory of the Aryavarta, particularly in the signs of a prevailing Hindu-Muslim fusion culture in the world of entertainment. You then appear to seamlessly identify the bigotry as the influence of the mullahs, the spiritual leaders of the musulmans, their bigotry sustained despite latitude shown by Mohammed himself in particular situations to accommodate the views of others for a harmonious co-existence. Be that as it may, one commends your appealing to common sense for a solution to the crisis, but that so far has come up with a blank. One can only hope that the sustained exposure to modern global democratic culture, particularly through the internet's immediacy of contact, will eventually modify the Islamic bigotry of the musulmans and mullahs, as it most certainly has in the evidence of the Arab Spring that has at least indicated in all Muslim countries concerned an expectation of a better life in the here and now, the life hereafter, which you instance so frequently as a Muslim aspiration, being patently less appealing as would in former times have compelled acceptance of their lot.

In my own experience of Muslims in Britain, an enlightened attitude, whereby Muslims respect Christian democratic principles – politeness, honesty, equality of sexes, and goodwill to all – appears at once to British Muslims to be applications of the stipulations of the Qu’ran. Even the mullahs conform Islam to British law - or is it the other way around to themselves - and appear jolly good chaps. There again, Islam as an export differs radically from where it identifies as a nation; the export version tending to be exemplary in its virtue – Muslims do not drink alcohol, for example, and are good workers while eschewing extreme attitudes as characterised by Sharia law, being restrained by benign democratic law that is then vindicated as being expressive of what Islam is really all about.

The situation in India, in the shared identity of the Aryavarta, is different; and in what is perceived as its own territory Islamic law and values assume priority as would make of India’s democratic principles an infringement of its native rights and values. However, there is hope in the re-evaluation of Muslim ideals as demonstrated in the Arab Spring that a recognition of mutual rights of Hindus and Muslim in the one Aryavarta will prevail and bring about harmony to the historically opposed sides.

04/10/2013 21:59 PM

Comment Go get some life Mr.BS Murthy. May Allah/bhagwan/lord/waheguru grant you peace.

shaik saleem
04/08/2013 04:57 AM

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