Views About the Prophet of Islam
On February 29, 2004, a Hindu named Jai Hariom emailed me a letter entitled “Non-Muslims to observe 33rd anniversary of Bangladesh Holocaust”. In this letter Jai Hariom has presented one view about the Prophet of Islam. On June 16th 2004, an eminent Sikh writer and scholar Surjeet Singh Lanba visited me and kindly presented me his latest Urdu book titled “Quran-e-Natiq”, which means the speaking Quran. In this book he has presented another view about the Prophet of Islam. Let me present the views of both non- non-Muslims.
Jai Hariom writes, “33 years ago the Muslim soldiers of Pakistan killed 3 Million Bengalis, almost all Hindus. Another 10 million Hindus were driven out of Bangladesh. The percentage of Hindus in Bangladesh dropped from 33% to less than 15% now. The holocaust was not the latest holocaust engineered by Muslims. The first was the murder of Jews by Muhammad when he killed 3000 male Jews, perhaps half the male Jewish population of Arabia, sold their widows and children in the slavery and expelled the rest from Arabia. He had successfully carried out the first human holocaust in recorded history”. This statement needs analysis. Pakistan has been divided into West Pakistan and East Pakistan. In the province of Sindh, in West Pakistan, some Hindus live, even today. In the past 56 years since the inception of Pakistan we have never heard of any ethnic cleansing, crisis or clash. The temples of Hindus are protected along with their properties, lives and honor. In East Pakistan, it was India who engineered treason and rebellion through Hindus inhabiting East Pakistan. They distributed ammunition and money to youth to incite them to take arms against their own Muslim army. When their conspiracy succeeded, turned East Pakistan into Bangladesh. India violated international law and attacked Pakistan, penetrating its borders. With this illegal act, India succeeded in fracturing Pakistan. The Indian premier Ms. Indira Gandhi boastingly declared: “Two Nation Theory has drowned in the Bay of Bengal.”
Personally, I have never supported the military action of General Yehya Khan in East Pakistan. This issue should have been politically resolved as Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry and Moulavi Farid had desired. However, it must be said that Indian infiltration left no choice for the Pakistan army but to crush the rebellion by force. Here, I would ask Mr. Jai Hariom whether what India did in East Pakistan can be justified by any standard, rule, norm or law. I would further ask how he would exonerate what the Hindus have been doing in Kashmir for the last 55 years to the innocent, armless and docile Kashmiri Muslims. And how would he justify what did the Indian Hindus did to the Sikhs by demolishing the Golden Temple and mercilessly killing them. What about the actions of the Indian Hindus against the Muslims of Gujrat? Is that not a matter of shame? Let me make it clear that I am not blaming Hinduism. I am just pointing out what some Indian Hindus have done. Recently they demolished the Babri Mosque.
In my opinion, the character of the followers of any religion should not be ascribed or attributed to the religions themselves. Relative to Mr. Hariom’s assertion that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) killed Jews, it would seem that he is ignorant of Muslim history. The number of Jews killed, as recorded in authentic history books such as Tabari and Ibn-e-Hisham, was seven hundred; not three thousand. When the Holy Prophet of Islam migrated from Macca to Madina, he made a social contract with local Jews and extended his hand of friendship to them. There was a provision of the truce which related to mutual support when attacked by alien clans. When Muslims were attacked by Maccan pagans and the war of Badr broke out, the Jews did not support the Muslims, as they had agreed to do. Afterwards the Jews further breached the treaty by supporting the Maccan pagans against the Muslims. The Prophet of Islam asked them about this matter. They nominated a man to decide the punishment. Their nominee gave the verdict of Capital punishment to the Jews who had supported the enemies of Islam and participated in conspiracy. This is far from the allegation of murder levied by Mr. Hariom.
These tragic events have far more to do with politics and power struggles than with the inner Love and Wisdom at the core of true religion. In his lengthy letter Mr. Jai Hariom concluded: “The Islam-fascist movement believes in supremacy and was launched in the seventh century by Muhammad. Muhammad was the model for Hitler and Mussolini who were admirers of his successful ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arabia”. Jai Hariom has presented Muhammad as a fascist and killer. Apparently he is unaware of the unimpeachable nobility of the character of the Prophet of Islam. To balance the assertions of Mr. Hariom, here are some passages from the book of Surjeet Singh Lanba, a Sikh scholar, in his Urdu book “Quran-e-Natiq,” On page 135 he writes: “As a conqueror of Macca the first order which Prophet Muhammad issued was general amnesty. He said; the one who disarms himself willingly is safe. The one who closes his door is safe. The one who takes refuge in Kaaba is safe. The one who even takes refuge at the house of Abu Suffyan (the deadliest enemy of Islam) is also safe”- On page 172. Mr. Lanba writes about the humane and noble character of the Holy Prophet of Islam: “Muhammad’s heart was free from enmity, vengeance, obstinacy and cruelty. Truthfulness, honesty and kindness were his traits. He was a humble man”. Then on page 187 he writes: “Once a delegate of Christians from Najran called on Prophet Muhammad. He made them stay in Holy Mosque of Medina. At evening, when Christians desired to offer religious service, the Prophet permitted them”. Then Mr. Lanba writes: “A dead Jew was being carried to the graveyard for burial, when the Holy Prophet saw the funeral procession and bier he stood up to show respect for the dead. When told that the deceased was not a Muslim but a Jew, he said: The funeral may be of a Muslim or a non-Muslim we must get up to show respect”. Then on page193, Mr. Lanba poses some basic questions: who established the practice of God-worship instead of Idol-worship? Who ended superstitions and drew humankind out of the cave of ignorance? Who taught human kind to master the Universe instead of worshipping it? Who showed us the path of democracy and freedom in a monarchic and tribal society? Who laid down the foundations of realism and scientific varieties instead of abstractions and speculations? Who introduced justice and equality in the face of injustice? These views of Mr. Lanba may stir the soul and mind of Mr. Jai Hariom to restudy Islam in the light of neutrality and rationality. The behavior of followers of any religion does not represent their religion. Prophet Muhammad was not a fascist but a challenge to fascists.
(The writer is an eminent speaker and scholar on comparative religions and a political activist. He can be reached at email@example.com)
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