Islam has been present in the Indian subcontinent for over thirteen centuries (Since AD 636). It has ruled over a greater part of the country for over five hundred years (AD 1206 to 1707). The saddest part of it is that even when Indians won their freedom the subcontinent was partitioned on communal basis, losing one fourth of its territory to Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh and from which the Hindu population has been hounded out. These countries along with elements in India have not allowed Hindus even a moment of peace since Independence. But Hindus have refused to learn even after the partition of their country on communal lines. Even now they talk loosely of Sarva-dharma samabhava and ignore the long term implications of their innocence.
They have forgotten the fundamental fact that to deal with your adversary you should know everything about him and have better organization and weapons than what he has. Sadly even organizations which are dedicated to this cause have failed to understand the problem fully and take effective remedial measures. If we carefully study the demographic trends in the subcontinent for the last century and project them we can see that in all probability Hinduism will cease to exit in its homeland by the end of twenty-first century. We have barely a decade or two left to initiate effective action.
At least until the time of Mahabharata, the Hindu society did not hesitate to use force when necessary and eliminate the Asuras and Rakshasas of those days. The rulers maintained powerful, well equipped armies as well as a good espionage system. Later also, we were successful against tribes like Shakas and Hunas which had ravaged Europe, and since they did not have any aggressive religion, they were eventually absorbed by our society. But Islam and Christianity have proved to be different. To deal with then we have to find an answer to the following dilemma : How does tolerance deal with intolerance?
Hence it was thought that a preliminary study of recent important literature available on Islam should be considered as to form a small handbook for the concerned. Its contents may be divided into three main sections. Chapters 1 and 2 cover the origin, development and theology from historical as well as a Hindu viewpoint. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 cover various aspects of Islam in India and also give views of some of our ‘secular’ scholars who have looked into the religion seriously. Chapter 6 covers the demographic aspects of the religions in India. Some beliefs of Islam and Christianity are given too for a reader completely unaware of these two religions.
The contents of these chapters are briefly summarized below. Each chapter may be read independently:
1. The Religion of Islam
The chapter critically covers and analyses the development and contents of the basic scriptures and tenets of Islam. Modern research indicating probable myths and fabrications which shaped their formation and development is also highlighted in some detail.
2. Islam and Christianity – A Hindu View
The two basic divisions of the world’s faiths and religions – Abrahamic and ‘pagan’ (which includes Hinduism) are first described. The various contradictions and shortcomings of the former (prophetic) religions are clearly brought out from the viewpoint of a Sanatani. A convincing explanation of the origin and nature of the Semitic God and its prophets is given from the yogic standpoint.
3. Islam in India – History
Important events of the Islamic period are highlighted to show the valiant resistance shown by the Hindu rulers and the hollowness of several myths associated with the Muslim conquest and rule.
4. Islam in India – Social and Cultural
This chapter covers four important aspects of Islam especially in Indian context – a. Sufis; b. Fatwas; c. Women and d. Sects and Castes.
5. Secular Scholars on Islam
When genuine seculars have looked into Islam impartially, they have drawn conclusions which are close to the concerns expressed by Hindu leaders who are dubbed communal and fundamentalists. This chapter lists some of their findings.
6. Demography of Islam in the Subcontinent
This important chapter along with Appendix C presents several official statistics from 1881 and shows the demographic trends with projections upto 2050 AD and brings out the serious threat to the very survival of Hindu faiths.
Four appendices provide useful general information which is common to many chapters. Of particular importance is Appendix C which gives vital data on demography in a nutshell. Similarly Appendix A lists a few passages in Koran which hurt the sensibility of Hindus.
It should be made clear that this work only summarizes the views of various authorities and the serious reader is requested to study the sources indicated in the original for more details. It is hoped that this will enable the reader to remove many current misconceptions among the Hindus about Islam and also prompt the scholars to study the original sources on this religion without depending on non-Indian scholars.
Criticism of Islam does not mean condemnation of all its followers. We must clearly accept that most Muslim individuals are honest and good-neighbourly and make good citizens. Only they either themselves act brutally or condone such acts when their religion is invoked by their clergy. In other words it is their religion which makes them fanatic. Hence both Hindus and Muslims should be educated about the following points elaborated in this book.
1. The Muslim rulers who ruled parts of India were mostly Turks (not Arabs). They held Indian Muslims in low esteem.
2. The British did not capture India from Muslims. Also Muslims did not rule the whole country for over one thousand years.
3. Although Islam talks of Ummah, in practice the Muslim nations are strongly tribal and nationalistic and are always at each others throats – Iran-Iraq and Iran-Kuwait wars and the inability to fight Israel unitedly are recent examples. Violent Shia-Sunni sectarian quarrels are also well known. Even within an Islamic state there is no peace as in Pakistan. The Hindu society is far more peaceful.
4. Many passages in Koran and Hadith are anti-secular and extremely offensive to the Hindus. Hence they should either be declared as outdated or made applicable only to Arabia.
5. Sharia is outdated and the fatwas issued by the ulema on its basis are illogical. Ethics is reduced to obeying their orders. Muslims will be far better off if they follow modern civil laws.
6. The brotherhood of Islam is NOT a universal brotherhood. In fact it is often a sectarian brotherhood.
Education will be the mildest way to change the attitude and behavior of Muslims. And it is to be hoped that the enlightened Muslims of this country will in turn influence their brethren in Pakistan and Bangladesh and then the subcontinental Muslims will lead a renaissance of the Muslim world.