Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Hindu perspective

Some people mistakenly think that it is somehow racist to criticise Islam. This is of course nonsense, since Islam is a religion, not a race. We cannot choose which race we are born into, but we do have the choice of which religion (if any) we follow.

Here is the Hindu perspective on Islam:

Misconceptions on Islam
S.K. Balasubramanian
Misconceptions on Islam

There are a number of misconceptions on Islam. The civilized world particularly the west, has a glorified image of Islam. The following were my comments on the subject in a recent seminar on the subject in Pune.

1. Debate was allowed in early Islam
The Islamists who advocated debate and believed that theological questions could be settled by debate were known as "Muttazil" ( I am not sure of the exact name.) They preached only in Egypt. They were persecuted and one section took refuge in Tamil Nadu where they were known as Marakkayars. I came to know about the background of this community only about six months ago. They have their own Madrassas and do not mix with the other Muslims. After their expulsion, debate was violently suppressed in Islamic countries. Instances of innocent sufis being put to death have been recorded just because they claimed a direct relationship with God.

2. Islam had a tradition of scholarship
A participant cited the case of al-Beruni. He was a Persian with an Arabic name. This supports my contention that the we cannot conclude anything from names. Further al-Beruni's work was a sycophantic praise of the ruling dynasty. Whatever poetic merit was there, the work could not have had intellectual depth for the simple reason it was debasement of poetry for mercenary ends.

The modern equivalent would be someone writing Sonia Vamsham. The administration of Islamic lands was in the hands of Persians supported by Jews. The Arabs retained their tribal culture and never bothered about intellectual pursuits.

3. Islam preserved the ancient European classics and passed them on to the renaissance Europeans
I had said that the Jews of Spain were the ones who were responsible for creating such awareness in Europe of its classical past. The evidence for this idea is as follows. The library in Alexandria, or whatever was left of the library after Christian vandalism, was destroyed by the Muslims. The argument was advanced that the Koran was all embracing and the world does not need any other book or knowledge.

Emperor Frederick III (around 1200 AD) occupies a peculiar place in history. When his father died he was too young and the Pope was his guardian. He turned out to be a person of great wile and guile and was excommunicated for not pursuing the crusade he had promised to the Pope. He held court in Sicily and entertained Arabs and Jews in his court. He knew the non-Christian view of Christianity and had scant respect for the Pope.

After the excommunication edict, he decided to redeem his pledge and went on a farcical crusade. He was received in a friendly manner by the Egyptian Sultan and treated with respect as an honored guest. Frederick III enjoyed life in Egypt for six months. As a mark of his regard for the Emperor, the Sultan gave Jerusalem to the Christians. Frederick III returned to Sicily, Jerusalem in his pocket, without firing a single arrow.

If the Egyptian Muslims or the Jews were aware of the European classical knowledge Frederick should have brought the same to the notice of European scholars. There was no evidence that he did so or that the eastern Jews were aware of ancient Greece in any depth or were interested in such knowledge.

That is why I presumed a key role for the Jews in Spain. The classical knowledge came into European possession after the Moors were expelled from Spain.

4. "Islamic architecture"
My comment on architecture was based on information in a 1989 book: "India Rediscovered" by Kealy. It was there I found that Islam has no treatise on architecture comparable to Vastu Shastra. One does not have to accept everything in Vaastu. Even after the abstract elements are ignored, there would still be a science of building techniques. This is what is lacking in Islam.

The same author cites English archeologists of the last century to say that the Qutub should be a Hindu structure. The vijaya stamba is a Hindu tradition. The iron pillar at the site is also pre-Islamic. A friend showed us a video of the systematic removal of the Hindu carvings in a Mosque in side the Qutub Minar. The British author says the arch is a Hindu feature. So is the dome. The central dome in the Taj surrounded by four smaller ones is also a feature of the Hindu tradition. It was known as pancharatna. The author goes on to say that in the 18th century belief amongst the British archeologists was that the Taj must have been built by Hindu artisans trained in the tradition of the Hindu architecture who built the Gol Gumbaz.

The Garbha griha of all southern temples have decorated domes over them. The two exclusive elements of Islamic architecture are thus shown to be non-Islamic in origin.

5. The "inferiority complex"
Regarding "inferiority complex", as I said, it exists in the minds of the Indian middle class educated in English. What should not be forgotten is that Hindu society is the only society that stopped Islam in its tracks. All other Islamic societies are today 100 % Muslim. People who speak of Hindu inferiority look at the 30% that became Muslim in India. I look at the same picture and say that 70% retained their individuality. The resilience of Hinduism had been overlooked.

The role of Buddhism in sapping the vitality of our society has to be looked into objectively. Buddha was a great individual but his (?) social prescription to ignore external evil was disastrous for morale. Malaysia and Indonesia fell because they were Buddhist. It may be a coincidence but the only non-Muslim part of Indonesia, the Bali island, is Hindu.

6. Hindu Military "inferiority"
Military inferiority of Hindus is another aspect on which we have to do rethinking. Hindus also had been blamed for not adopting newer techniques of warfare. As I said there had been six incursions into India over seven hundred years. It is not likely that border incursions were limited to this number. So the occasions when we won had been ignored and only our failures are highlighted. The Hindu military genius was reflected in Shivaji's achievements.

It was another matter that our defeats had disastrous consequences which were due to the tribalism of the attackers. Often we did not repay them in kind. That was our culture. China also suffered from tribal attacks which was why the Great Wall was built and manned. Roman empire too paid a price to tribalism on its borders. In the third century Rome had as many as thirty "tyrants" ruling over the land in one century.

7. The cultural difference
The basic difference in the Hindu and Islamic approach lies in their attitude to wealth. The Hindu insists on creative processes. In Islam misappropriation, plunder, perfidy and persecution derive sanction from the example of Mohammed. The example of the Management of the BCCI bank is a typical case of Islamic culture of deceit. Besides there is the case of Asli Nadir, a British Muslim " business magnate" who now evades arrest for commercial crimes by living in the Turkish part of Cyprus. The economic crimes in Iran, Indonesia and other countries are all part of Islamic behavior. Even in India more than half of the criminal class is drawn from Muslims.

There is more objective evidence on the clutural difference. Hindus and Muslims from the subcontinent emigrated to Britain at the same time in the period 1950- 62. In those days the Commonwealth citizens could travel without restrictions to England. The Hindus and the Muslims started at the same level of poverty. After fifty years the difference between the communities is telling. The Hindus are amongst the foremost sections of British population, in wealth, social status and education. The Muslims are way down at the lowest levels.

8. Islam - A humanistic religion
There have been attempts by discerning Muslims to white wash Islam's nature and present it as a humanistic religion. Akbar Ahmed, a Pakistani living in England, propagates the view that the western media is prejudiced against Islam.

A recent article by Maulana Wahiuddin Khan in the Times of India says that the Prophet participated only in three wars. This statement is a total distortion of what is known about Mohammed's life. He was responsible for the first expeditions of plunder and loot. He laid down by his personal example the principles of "Islamic warfare". He personally ordered the massacre of the Jews. He did not participate in some wars because several missions of loot were undertaken at the same time.

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At 8:32 am, Blogger BRITNEY BRITISH said...

Hi there,

Your security has been breached. Please email me so I can forward an email to you.

At 10:18 pm, Blogger LionHeart said...

Hey St George,

2 LionHearts :o) it is the spirit and soul of our country in the face of the enemy.

i have only just recieved your email.

God bless


At 1:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and the hindu unity link is good too, I believe christianity has some ancient link with hinduism somehow.
I know the old testament that we hold to is meant to be a jewish root, only jews don't practise baptism so how can Jesus have been a jew.
On the other hand when we look at the hindu faith and see all the believers going into the sacred waters of the Ganges, well this gives a closer link to me of why John would have been baptising people in a river, rather than does anything we can find in Judaism.
check this out concerning Islams history

At 9:34 pm, Anonymous Jay Green said...

Does anyone actually check the accuracy of what is said on this site? This post was so rife with historical inaccuracy and misconception that no one will take anything said here seriously! If we want to have a serious effect lets deal with facts.
For instance, the Jews were the beaurocrats of the Islamic empire not it's scholars. Muslim scholars have written volumes of commentary on greek philosophical thought. It is the translations of these works in Arabic (done by the Catholic Church, mind you) that revived the classics in the West. Debate in Islam has always been present. It is how the major schools of Sunni Islam developed from a plethora of points of view.
To give examples of crimminal behaviour and call it 'Islamic' is just dumb. We simply leave ourselves open to the same knee jerk attack. What culture or religion is free from its own deviants?
Hinduism has very little in common with Christianity. Islam reveres Moses, Jesus, Adam etc. and claims to worship the God of Abraham. Aside from the fact that Jews do not recognize them, there is very little to diferenciate Judaism from Islam. Don't forget that Islam was first viewed as a heretical Christian sect by the Roman Church early in its history. As such it would be more accurate to define Islam as an alternative interpretation of the Judaic and Christian traditions. It is in that interpretation that any meaningful criticism can be made. Not in crap that has no academic foundation.

At 11:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I just wanted to say that I like your site and I have linked it to my site is there any chance that you could link mine to yours?
Thanks from Jill (Creater of petition to scrap mega Mosque)

At 8:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What place does academia have in spirituality?
Academics are book worms, not spiritual people, you should look to the culdee or mandaens, sabians.
Both pre Muhammed and pre Roman Catholic beliefs that where forerunners of christianty we can find parallels with the hindu faiths, just as all our pre christian pagans had phallic symbolism also paralleling with shiva.
I appreciate your academic views but my quest has been a spirit lead journey. What are your views on academics 'vs' the spirit when it comes to spiritual beliefs?


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