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Interfaith Dialogue ( 16 Jun 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Islam Can Lead Monotheistic Religions but Muslims Have To Revert To the Quran and Follow Mohammad First:’ Swami Lakshmi Shankaracharya at Aligarh Muslim University

By Swami Lakshmi Shankaracharya

Translated by New Age Islam Edit Desk

16 June, 2015

 Respected Vice-Chancellor and All the Ulema, Thinkers Present On the Stage and My Dear Brothers and Sisters

Today my point of discussion is whether Islam can lead monotheistic religions believing in one God. My answer is definitely it can. But there is one condition. First, Muslims have to revert to the Quran and then gather under one Quran and one Islam. Only then they can preach others to come under one flag. They should change themselves before changing others.

Whatever we will say will be in the context of India. Whoever adopted the path of non-violence was successful in this country and whoever adopted the path of violence failed here. Centuries before the advent of Jesus Christ, the followers of Sanatan Dharma adopted the path of violence and so the followers of Vedic religions lost their path. In contrast, first the Jains and then the Buddhists adopted the path of non-violence.

As a result, they left the Vedic Dharma way behind though they had come into existence from the Vedic Dharma. A time came when the followers of Vedic Dharma became a minority and the followers of Jainism and Buddhism became the majority. Later, Adi Shankaracharya conducted debate with the Jains and Buddhists and defeated them. Adi Shankaracharya argued that the nonviolence of Buddhism and Jainism was actually the principle of Vedic Dharma because it is the Vedas that present the principle of non-violence. Consequently, the followers of Sanatan Vedic Dharam came in majority again.

Later, Muslims came. Though they acquired power in this land through their own efforts but they could not win hearts. With the victory of Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori, Muslim rule started in this country in 1192. This rule continued for 550 years.

During these 550 years till the entry of the British, there were 20 percent Muslims and 80 percent Hindus in this country. In other words, God’s mission failed. 550 years is a long period of time. It sounds only a number 550. Please take the case of 200 years first. In every 25 years, a new generation comes up. That is, a twenty five year youth begets a baby. In other words, 200 years, eight generations come up. Your grandfather’s grandfather was present 200 years ago. And seldom may any one of you know the name of your forefathers.

You have forgotten the name of your forefathers in only 200 years. So 200 years is such a long period of time. Muslims ruled the country for 550 years. The word spoken by the king would become the law. Still, the Muslims remain 20 per cent and Hindus remain 80 percent. Now some people say that the Muslim rulers only ruled and they did not do God’s work. But it is wrong. They did the work but did it through wrong means. But it is regretful that the method that had been adopted then is being adopted even today.

I told you earlier, that whoever adopted the path of nonviolence won in the end. In Quran too the concept of nonviolence is present. Non violence means nonviolence through heart, word and deed. It means we should not think, speak or do any deed to cause hurt to anybody. And this concept of non violence through heart, work and deeds is also present in the Quran.

 In Surah number 28 and verse no. 83, the Quran promises a special place in the hereafter for those who do not even think of causing violence on earth. This is non violence through mind or heart. Again, in Surah no. 41, verse no. 34, the Quran says that good and evil cannot be equal or same. So answer the evil words of people with good words and you will see that even your enemy has turned into your friend. In other words, the Quran enjoins on you not to reciprocate if someone abuses you.  You do not have to talk rudely to others because you have to win the hearts of people. This is nonviolence through words.

In Surah no. 5, verse no. 32, the Quran says “Whoever killed one person, he as if killed the entire humanity and if someone saved an innocent person, he saved the entire humanity. This is non violence through deeds. This is the concept of non-violence through heart, word and deeds in Islam. If this concept of non-violence had been adopted, this country would have been in a much different form but alas! No one even looked towards this concept of non-violence.

Today it has become a fashion to speak on similarities. Some people have become so ambitious that they tell your name in Vedas and even say that Makkah and Madina have been mentioned in Vedas. These speculations are not going to yield any benefits. These are said only to please Muslims and to lighten the purse of the Muslims. We should make efforts only to spread Allah’s word in the world.  We should make efforts to impress non Muslims and not impress Muslims: they already are. We should do the deeds that impress the non Muslims. And the strategy is present in the Quran. And God’s wise strategy is in Surah no.3 verse no. 64:

“Come to what is common between you and us. And that is “we should not worship anyone other than God.” This is the wise strategy of God. If we had got on this platform, we would have been successful but we did not get there.

“There is no god But God” is the basis of Islam. And this is the basis of Sanatan Vedic Dharam too. In the oldest divine book of the world, the Rig Veda, Mandal 1, Sutra 7, mantra no. 10 says, “ O men, it is extremely necessary for you to not worship any other god than me (Parmeshwar) because there is no one deserving to be worshipped other than  me (Parmeshwar). In Srimad Bhagwad Gita, it is said, “There is no god but Me (Parmeshwar). This is the strategy of God in Islam. And this platform was not got hold of. If it had been done, the situation would have been different.

Our brethren in the RSS and in the Vishva Hindu Parishad say that every man living in this country is Hindu. But there is no logic in it. This is also speculation. They say whatever comes to their mind. But it is logical that every Hindu who believes in one God is a Muslim. You are young people, you can impress others only when you do not look for flaws in others but tell others about your virtues.

You should practice the good and tell people that Islam is not the religion of venting out anger; Islam is not the religion of fighting; Islam is not the religion of compulsion; Islam is not the religion of revenge; Islam is the religion of peace; Islam is the religion of kindness; Islam is the religion of pardon; Islam is the religion of winning hearts; The reply of mischief is not mischief in Islam but Islam is religion of compassion because Islam is the religion of the Quran.

The holy Quran was revealed to Hazrat Muhammad pbuh and it was revealed to his heart. And after that it was revealed to his heart, it was revealed to his deeds. Every virtue of the Quran became the virtue of Hazrat Muhammad pbuh. Hazrat Muhammad pbuh did not curse even his enemies in his entire life. He did not even avenge his enemies. See, Hazrat Muhammad pbuh did not avenge even the person who had tried to kill his daughter by throwing her from the camel. He did not avenge Abu Sufiyan who led his enemies in every battle.

Abu Sufiyan had led even the army in the battle of Uhad in which many great Sahaba w ere martyred and Hazrat Muhammad pbuh himself was injured.  Muhammad pbuh forgave even Abu Sufiyan on the day of victory of Makkah. He even made the announcement that whoever will enter the house of Abu Sufiyan will be given amnesty; whoever takes shelter in a mosque will be given amnesty; whoever shuts himself in his house will be given amnesty.

In short everyone was given amnesty under any excuse. Why? It was because it was God’s injunction in the Quran in Surah 7 verse 199: “O Muhammad, adopt the habit of forgiveness, do righteous deeds and avoid ignoramuses.” Hazrat Muhammad pbuh adopted this way but his followers did not adopt his way. What they did adopt was anger, anger and anger; revenge, revenge and revenge.

It is a great regret that billions of Muslims are ever ready to sacrifice their lives for Hazrat Muhammad pbuh but they are not ready to adopt the ways of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Today those who claim to be the followers of Hazrat Muhammad pbuh have been attacking women, children and innocent people. And what excuse do they give? They say they are avenging the atrocities meted out to Muslims. Did Hazrat Muhammad pbuh ever take revenge? He showed kindness in response to ill-treatment.

Here I am reminded of an old woman. An old woman would live on the way Hazrat Muhammad pbuh used to pass by. She was a non Muslim and hated him so much that whenever he would pass by her house she would throw garbage at him. One day, as he passed by, there was no garbage thrown at him. The second day too, no garbage was thrown. Even the third day no garbage was thrown. Hazrat Muhammad pbuh thought that the old woman might have fallen ill. He climbed her house and called her out. “O amma, O amma! The old woman asked from inside. “Who is this?” He said, “It is Muhammad”. Hearing his name, the old woman became very angry. She said, “How dare you come here?” Hazrat Muhammad pbuh replied, “Amma, you did not throw garbage on me for three days. So, I thought God forbid, you might have fallen ill. That’s why I came to enquire about you.” Hearing these words of kindness, she started crying. She said, “You are so noble and gentle. I threw garbage on you but you came to ask about my well being when I fell ill. She became Hazrat Muhammad pbuh’s follower in his last age. Such was Hazrat Muhammad pbuh, such is Islam and such is the holy Quran.

I have already said that every virtue of the Quran became the virtue of Hazrat Muhammad pbuh. Whatever he did was according to the holy Quran. In the end, I would like to say that Hazrat Muhammad’s Islam can lead the world only when this Islam will be practiced by you. You have to decide, the Muslims of the world have to decide whether you want to put  Hazrat Muhammad’s Islam or your version of Islam to practice.