By Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad, New Age Islam
10 January 2022e
Average Muslims Of India Have No Hesitation In Proclaiming Themselves As Hindustani Muslims, Just As Indonesian, Malaysian And Others Do
1. Hindustani Muslims are not Arab, Turkish or Persian Muslims.
2. Muslims of India aren’t and can’t be the agents of the Saudi (the Sunni) or Irani (the Shia)-financed factions.
3. Hindustani Muslims would love to call themselves Hindustani ‘nationalist’ Muslims.
4. Socrates, after all, had said unverified faith was not worth following.
Why are they silent?/ Quartz India
The average Muslims of India have no hesitation in proclaiming themselves as Hindustani Muslims, just as Indonesian, Malaysian and others do. The Hindustani Muslims are not Arab, Turkish or Persian Muslims. They aren’t and can’t be the agents of the Saudi (the Sunni) or Irani (the Shia)-financed factions trying to create division against their own motherland, Hindustan, and against their own Muslim brethren.
And yes, they would love to call themselves Hindustani ‘nationalist’ Muslims too -- they have no sense of shame in doing so. The history of the Indian Independence Movement since 1857 (the Sepoy Mutiny or the first war of Independence) is full of Hindustani Nationalist Muslims: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Humayun Kabir, Zakir Hussain and many more were all glorious representatives of the Hindustani nationalist Muslims.
It's only after the Saudi petro-dollar infiltrated into many countries like India that anti-national forces within the Muslim community started springing up.
The Hindustani Muslims, in general, gave up the pretense long time ago that they were the descendants of the Arab, Pathan, Mughal or Turk Muslims. Whatever tiny percentage in the beginning, they know they were assimilated with the Hindustani population by marriage, adoption and residency -- Hindustan did become their Madar-e-Watan. Period.
Madar-e-Watan is the Urdu translation of Bharat Mata. Then, why will the Hindustani Muslims have any objection in calling Jai to Bharat Mata? Unfortunately, we have a politician Member of Parliament in India who declared that he wouldn't call “Bharat Mata ki Jai” even if his neck was brought under a sword. On the other hand, we have distinguished Muslim public figures across the party lines in India who would never hesitate to say, Bharat Mata ki Jai.
If we ask the average Hindustani Muslims who would they like to model after, their emphatic answer will be the latter.
A miniscule number of self-styled leaders of the Muslims poison the ears of a vast number of our Muslim brothers and sisters and bring them into unnecessary conflict with the Hindus. There are also a number of strong well-financed and well-oiled fundamentalist Islamic organizations that are active in radicalizing the average Hindustani Muslims.
The Hindustani Muslims are also aware of the fact that as long as there was a hostile Islamic State, Pakistan, in their neighbourhood that would always blame India for all its failures and try to win over the Hindustani Muslims on their side, there would be a constant threat of Hindu-Muslim division in India.
Then, along with their Hindu brothers and sisters, the average enlightened Muslims also think about reforms in their faith and community. First of all, they have every reason to brag about the fact that the 300 million Hindustani Muslims continue to be the best of all Muslims around the world -- particularly in comparison to the Muslims of the 57 member-countries of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries). The Hindustani Muslims command a lot of respect in every part of the world because of their serenity and higher level of education and professionalism.
The young, educated, enlightened and scientifically analyzing Hindustani Muslims, owing to their shared culture of openness, would agree that there are roughly three categories of Muslims around the world.
Mohandas Gandhi, the father of the nation, said, in 1931: "A Nation's Greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members and shows compassion to those who can't protect and fend for themselves." Photo: Ummat.com
In the first category, there are Muslims (agnostics, atheists etc.) who don't believe in their holy book, the Quran. They argue it’s eclectic, unorganized, obsolete, full of contradictions, racist-supremacist and, therefore, irrelevant. Despite a few couplets preaching righteousness, they claim, the book dangerously contains seeds of violent conflicts among and between communities. They don't concur with any fundamentalist preaching of Islam. They certainly don't find Muhammad with attributes worth emulating in the 21st Century.
This horde of Muslims are the young University educated, smart, articulate rationalists of the post-9/11 generation. They argue if the Islamist regimes were to take off their coercive methods (killing apostates, for example), not only the Sharia-based Islamist regimes but Islam as a faith itself would collapse. They have, thus, turned either atheist, Marxist or Ex-Muslims.
The second category of Muslims calls for "contextualizing" the holy book and the faith. They aren't antagonistic to the faith they were born into. They wish and try honestly to persuade their non-Muslim friends to not take Islam as a frightful, dogmatic or intolerant faith. In order to make Islam more acceptable, they aren't averse to introducing caveats, corrections or footnotes extensively in the Quran. By and large, they want Islam to be respected as co-equal with other faiths of the world, it must not be associated with separatism or terrorism.
The third category of Muslims emphatically holds that the Quran is the revelation of God, each and every word of it is unalterable, irrefutable and sacrosanct. Therefore, it must not be tampered with at all. They exhort every one to follow Muslims whose sacred duty it is to begin their education or literacy with "Taleem-E-Deen" through the Quran. Their faith (perhaps prompted by the Quran) tells them every one in the world who had been led astray by a different faith would eventually come back to Islam. Every one was born as a Muslim. They call everyone an ‘Islamophobe’ who raises honest doubts or questions.
There’s a huge number of Hindustani Muslim authors and Islamic scholars who belong to the second category. They must be commended for at least summoning up the courage to say that the Muslims must take a second look at their scriptures and re-interpret them in the light of the globalized and a wholly changed world since the 7th Century. Socrates, after all, had said unverified faith was not worth following.
These liberal, progressive Hindustani Muslims, in the company of their international colleagues, are becoming more assertive and with the apparent theological support and blessings of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), they are poised to take Islam in a different direction.
When that happens, the sustained efforts of movements like ‘New Age Islam’ would come to a fruition.
Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad lives in Canada. He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of a book, “Violence Against Minorities,” and a collection of poems, “Kabhi Ursh Par, Kabhi Farsh Par,” Dr Prasad has taught at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University.
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