By JS Rajput
01 April 2016
One of the reasons why Islam is being perceived, wrongly, as a religion that calls for violence and discrimination, is the failure of important Islamic voices in the country to speak out strongly against these beliefs. They must be more active
In the present times of unprecedented global insecurity, terrorist groups claim to be doing it all in the name of the Almighty to preserve their religion. I am referring to the merciless butchering of women, children and elderly, practically on the daily basis. Everyone, not obliged to make a politically correct statement, blames it on terrorist organisations that are operating mostly from Islamic nations, with ample resource support from outside.
People, unfamiliar with the basic philosophy of Islam find it difficult to assimilate that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’, that it preaches love and care as essential human obligations on every follower of this faith. The Islamic clergy and opinion-makers have just not made serious and widespread efforts to let people of other faiths know that Islam expects its adherents to live in peace with ‘others’, and does not enjoin upon its followers to convert one and all to Islam. How many non-Muslims really understand the true import of jihad and kafir?
The Indian Muslim community must accept that it has made no sincere effort to let people know how Islam values knowledge quest, how emphatically it pleads for imparting of education to one and all, how it propagates the eternal human values of pursuit of truth, love, and peace.
There have been two parallel streams all along after the advent of Prophet Mohammad: Conversion by persuasion and conversion by the sword. Historically, the latter has dominated as Muslim rulers were also persuaded by an ignorant and selfish clergy all along to follow the dreaded path of violence. Presently, whatever is happening within the Muslim nations makes people relate Islam more to violence than to peace. Right from 9/11 to Bali Mumbai, Paris, Lahore, Brussels and others, perceptions about Islam get more and more hazy. Globally, Muslims are blaming the US, and Christianity, for waging a war against Islam. There may be sufficient grounds for such perceptions but it is also clear that it does not help Islam in anyway. Take another example: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board insists triple-Talaq must continue, and that the Supreme Court of India has no jurisdiction even to discuss the validity of the process. The AIMPLB fails to comprehend the damage it is inflicting, through its obstinacy, on the sensitive fabric of social cohesion and religious amity which are critical to the very existence of India as a nation.
Is it not really strange that whenever the issue of Uniform Civil Code is raised, the Muslim leadership immediately attributes it to ‘communal elements’ of the majority community, and is projected as an assault on Islam. Now, serious voices in the support of a common civil code are emerging from educated and aware members of the community, and this is a positive sign. One wonders how the code, if applied to the Muslim community, would benefit the majority community or do any harm to the Muslims of India.
Those who drafted the Constitution of India were known well-wishers of the minorities in India and have made very specific provisions for the protection of minority rights. Their welfare was uppermost in the minds of Constitution-framers and the provisions of the Uniform Civil Code were also an outcome of the same approach. The two-nation theory is long dead but for some vested interests, a nation within a nation appears the way out to retain their greener pastures, no matter what happens to the community’s welfare. Vested interests within the Muslim community, hobnobbing with political parties, must accept the blame for keeping their community backward, not permitting their young to move with times and compete on equal footing with others. The community’s interests were pawned by the so-called leaders of the Muslims.
The harsh reality is for the Muslim community members to realise how they have been misled by their ‘leaders’, right from the pre-independence days to the present times when the likes of Mohammed Azam Khan and Asaduddin Owaisi claim to be their leaders. To appreciate this continuity, it would be sufficient to recall a portion of the speech delivered in the session of All India Muslim Education Conference held on December 29-30, 1945, in Agra by Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan: “The basic ideas of the Wardha Scheme cut at the root of the fundamentals of our faith and our national ideology… The scheme that they evolved had a definite political motive behind it namely the preparation of a generation which will cease to be Muslims in thought, character and action. The two basic principles of the scheme the doctrine of ahimsa (non-defence) and the ideal of territorial nationalism or Akhand Bharat variety militate against the cardinal beliefs of Muslims. They reject the doctrine of ahimsa for their faith enjoins upon them the duty of fighting in the cause of righteousness and against evil when and wherever necessary. The insistence on ahimsa is only meant to root out from Muslim youth their martial spirit and traditions. Similarly, the principle of territorial nationalism is opposed to the Muslim view of nationalism which is based on a philosophy of society and outlook on life rather than allegiance to a piece of territory. The emphasis laid on nationalism in the scheme is calculated to destroy the distinctive identity of Muslims and to merge them in to the nationalism of Hindu majority.
“The scheme sought to inculcate in the Muslim children the belief that all religions are equally true and to make them study the life of the Holy Prophet only in the setting and background of Arabia so that they may cease to hold the cardinal Islamic belief: That Islam is the final truth and the Prophet the universal teacher. And then, the process of the merger of Muslims in the Hindu fold may be accelerated.”