Iran Politics Club      
Website For Thinking Iranians
Back to index   Islam & Human Rights
Chapter 4: Idolatry, Islam & India

Islam and Human Rights
Chapter 4: Idolatry, Islam and India
Anwar Shaikh

March 8, 2017

Why did the Muslims destroy Hindu temples? One can say that it was an excuse to plunder India, and an attempt to spread the message of the Koran?

Though there is some truth in both the assertions, the reality is psychological, whose roots go back into the ambitions of the Prophet Mohammed himself. This statement may be somewhat ambiguous and thus requires explanation:

Like the physical order of the universe, the social structure of mankind is also hierarchical, that is, broadest at the base and narrowest at the top. This is the reason that an organization is not possible without observing this principle. Thus, a nation of several million people is governed by a government of twenty to thirty members, who are themselves headed by one person called the Prime Minister, President, Dictator or King. This truth was represented by the conduct of Alexander, the Great, who believed in a universal monarchy. Taumburlain, the Conqueror, stated it eloquently: "As there is one God, so this earth can support only one King."

What are the connotations of this statement? It means that humans are endowed with a psychological peculiarity, which may be described as Dominance Urge; it goads people individually, and collectively to dominate others. One can see this urge in operation during political elections when competing candidates use all methods at their disposal to gain power; the concepts of morality, munificence and mercy are shouted at top voice, but are usually rooted in mischief, mordacity and malevolence. The urge of dominance admits only one conduct which leads to victory. Hence, might is right, and the idea of "right as might" acts just as a deceptive joke to appease conscience.

In fact, urge of dominance is a peculiarity of all animates and expresses itself through antagonism. Take, chickens, for example. Chicken "A" pecks chicken "B" simply to express its physical superiority and chicken "B" does it to chicken "C" for the same reason. Not only that, if C becomes stronger, it may turn on B to establish itself as the powerful.

Without urge of Dominance, nobody will try to rise to the top, create law and order and compete with others. However, urge of dominance also has its bleak side which occasionally clouds its effulgence as can be observed in the destruction of Indian temples. Even great countries have suffered a similar fate at the hands of foreign predators. England was subjected to plunder, persecution and perdition by the Vikings for over 250 years. Subjugation of nations by outlandish raiders through sword and fire is for establishing their dominance.

Urge of dominance has an unusual aspect; it does not always die with its possessor. When a mundane ruler breathes his last, this urge may die with him but in people, known as prophets, it proves to be immortal. A prophet commands people from his grave what to do and what not to do; he succeeds in doing so through the body of laws which he claims to be of divine origin, and leaves behind. Those who follow them qualify for heaven, and those who defy them go to hell. These laws are, in fact, a product of the prophetic mind purporting to impress his power on the minds of his followers through a system of reward and punishment, no matter how imaginary. The Islamic Law devised 1400 years ago is an example in point.

Pakistan was created half a century ago to practise this law but people are still awaiting its introduction. The reason is simple: it is not workable. In fact, Pakistan follows the Common Law of England, which is totally averse to the Muslim traditions The Islamic Law is the legacy of Muhammad, requiring his followers to acknowledge his supremacy through obedience to his legal code. It cannot be of Divine origin becauce this universe and all that breathes is kept in order by the principle of change which demands constant adjustment. Allah does not seem to realise that humans live in a changing world and do not need static law, devised fourteen centuries ago. After giving man free will, which enables him to make laws to suit his changing circumstances, He could not have interferred with him by forcing him to observe the archaic laws which have no relevance to his problems.

From the above discussion, one concludes that prophethood is the highest expression of dominance urge. Since it is the prophetic dominance-urge which caused havoc to the Hindu temples and culture, it is appropriate to delve deeper into its make-up and purpose:

A prophet is a person who claims that he is the vicar or lieutenant of God on earth. He stresses that he carries the message of the Almighty who is the Creator of this universe and anxious to make man righteous by waging war against evil. The prophet insists that God does not communicate with anyone directly but through him. Since he is the divine medium, whosoever wants to approach the Creator must do so through his agency or perish. Yet the prophet declares that praise (worship) belongs to God; he himself is His humble servant, and does what is told by the Lord.

In fact, prophethood is a stratagem to project one's self as God in the guise of humanity. By asserting himself to be the agent of God, the prophet asserts his own righteousness by awarding himself a certificate of behavioural excellence irrespective of what he really is; the presumption is that God shall not appoint someone His agent, who has a second-rate character. A part of this stratagem is the assertion that the prophet has no axe to grind in it; whatever he does, he undertakes to obey the Lord. This impersonal approach is a sharp psychological weapon to convince people of the prophetic mission.

Once we look into the nature of prophetic claim, its righteousness soon loses its radiance. If God is the Creator, and He is so anxious for man to go straight, He would have surely designed human nature in such a way that he could not err. The God who depends on the good-will of a man, who calls himself a "prophet" cannot be more than a play-thing, and does not have the power to check the prophet from twisting His Word if he so wishes. This is a logical conclusion; if God cannot stop other people from doing what they want to do, how can he coerce the wilful actions of a prophet, who is obviously a clever and determined man. The God who is dependent on a man, has a lower stature than him. This is the real purpose of prophethood; a prophet is a man who aspires to be acknowledged as God indirectly because it is much easier to proclaim one's prophethood than Godhead.

Frankly speaking, one ought to say that the device of prophethood is not suited to spreading the truth by its very nature; making the prophet an absolute medium of Divine instructions, limits the Godly purpose; one man, no matter how clever, could not reach the whole world. It is especially true in terms of medieval ages. Acquainting mankind with the Divine Will would have been far more effective if the Lord had created them with a mechanism to receive His messages directly. Since He has not done so, He obviously needs no prophets, who are the cause of srocial strife, mutual hatred and wars. As man is endowed with intelligence and free will, he is quite capable of steering his own ship of life. It amounts to self-contradiction on part of God to coerce the intelligence and free will of man by sending messengers. In fact, the mere concept of prophethood has an air of ridiculing God.

Of course, a prophet declares that praise (worship) belongs to God, and he himself appears to be praising and worshipping Him. This is, in fact, mockery of Godhead for two reasons: firstly, worship is the worst type of flattery, and it is well known that a lover of sycophancy has a dwarfed, devious and detestable personality because it seeks to destroy the dignity, decorum and distinctiveness of others by forcing them to demean, degrade and debase themselves. A person with a flattened ego is like a bird with trimmed wings which loses the ability to fly higher. The purpcse of life is to elevate ego with moral splendour, a superb will and sense of personal greatness, which come from being upright and serving the cause of fellow-beings, and not by crying, creeping and crawling before an imaginary God, whose arrogance knows no bounds.

The second reason is more profound but crafty. In fact, it is a piece of psychological chicanery:

The truth as we know is that the concrete attracts and holds attention far more easily than the abstract. This is the reason that modern methods of teaching make use of toys, pictures, drawings/ etc., instead of relying on mere verbal instructions, which are less effective for being abstruse and thus usually beyond the reach of imagination. The concrete objects serve as visual aids to comprehend facts and the reality behind them. This is the philosophy of idol worship. All devotees know that a statute is just a stone, a piece of wood or a lump of clay, but their shapes help impart understanding ot the meaning of reality. It is a symbolical representation of the truth. Though there is no mention of idol-worship or temples in the Rgveda, I am inclined to think that the origin of organised idolatory lies in India. The reason is, the Vedic people believed that there is a power of divine origin behind every natural phenomenon such as lightning, cloud, fire, wind, etc. That power, they referred to as god or goddess, and adored it. These physical phenomena did have visibility: lightning could be seen, thunder could be heard, wind could be felt. They were glimpses of the gods and goddesses lurking behind these natural processes. Eventually, it led to the creation of idols representing the respective deities, whereas the priest knew the truth, the ordinary worshipper accorded gadly status to the idol itself. As every idol identified a particular natural phenomenon, it did not represent the totality of Divine Power individually. Though worshippers were particularly enthusiastic about the greatness of the statues they worshipped, they did not revile the idols of other devotees because of their belief that they, too, were divine for representing natural forces. This is what created pantheism, i.e., the doctrine that identifies God with the universe, leading to the worship of all gods. Oneness of Gad became ascendant, almost every nation followed the model of an Indian temple which housed all the gods. Thus jealousy among the gods did not exist, and if it did, lacked the force to engender sectarian animosity and carnage. In fact, the co-existence of idols prompted the attitude of "live and let live."

The device of prophethood is very similar to the idols as far as they act as the symbols or visual aids to recognise the divine power or deity concealed behind them, and eventually worshipping the idols themselves and not the deity concerned. When a person claims to be a prophet, he projects himself as the shadow, and God as the Reality, but as he possesses an immense dominance-urge, he is extremely anxious to reverse the order of priority, that is, people should think of the shadow as the Reality and of Reality as the shadow. This inverse ratio of relationship is the real goal of prophethood. The difference between idolatory is:

a. people worship statues through ignorance,
b. alternatively they know them to be mere visual aids, having no divinity in themselves.

I ought to add that hypocrisy is no part of idolatory because it is brought about by ignorance or the fact that a statue is just a visual aid. On the contrary, prophethood lacks sincerity because it is the goal of a prophet to be treated as God without taking off his mantle of humanity. It is done by exaggerating the wonders of the prophet to such an extent that he begins to look the reality and God recedes into the background as shadow. This reversal in terms of power and reverence imitates the principle and practice of idolatory whereby people take the idol for the Reality and forget all about the Reality itself.

Since Islam is an offshoot of Judaism, it may be helpful to illustrate the issue with reference to Moses, the founder of the Jewish nation and its philosophy.

It was Moses who brought out of Egypt, the Jews who had been subjected to cruelty and hard labour for over four centuries. They had lost their moral dignity and intellectual capacity through an incessant pressure of torment, tyranny and torture. The long servitude had made them submissive, and receptive to suggestion. Moses, who had been brought up in Egypt as a prince, was not only endowed with high capabilities but also had a tremendous urge of dominance. With these qualities went his stupendous love for his people whom he wanted to make into a great nation. This extraordinary man had the ability to turn his own ambition and national dignity into a harmonious whole.

As the Jewish history shows, he projected himself as the model of behaviour by declaring himself as the law-giver. But he did not say that the laws were invented by him. Following the old Semitic tradition, he announced that he had been appointed as the Vicar (prophet) by God, who had revealed His will through the laws which must be obeyed to escape the Divine condemnation. He knew that the nationhood of the Jews, who were no more than a rabble at that time, could not be affected without giving them a common measure of identity. So he declared:

1. Yahwe is the God of Israel (the Jews) who are his chosen and blessed people.
2. To make Godhead of Yahwe as the foundation- stone of the Jewish nationhood, he assured them that the Lord would not forsake them (Deuteronomy 4: 31) provided they kept his law. The first commandment says:

"You shall have no other gods before me."

The Bible goes even further to declare that the extreme love is to be reserved for God:

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
might." (Deuteronomy 6: 5).

To make sure that this divine order is taken seriously, Deuteronomy 5: 9 spells out in no uncertain terms that the Jewish God is a jealous God, who visists the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them who hate Him i.e. worship someone other than Yahwe.

With a view to inculcating this message still further into the Jewish heart,

Exodus 22: 20 declares:

"He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed."
( As a footnote to this discussion, I may add that despite all the Jewish assertion of monotheism i.e. Oneness of God, the Bible acknowledges polytheism, that is, there is more than one God: )

"Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people." (Exodus 22: 28)

Here, I seem to be contradicting myself because Moses attaches supernatural authority and reverence to God and not himself. This is the sophistication of the doctrine of revelation or prophethood. The concept of God is abstract and therefore cannot be easily comprehended by the masses who need a visual aid for proper understanding. Once people nave confirrned their faith in God, the prophet, who is His sole medium of approach, projects himself as the Symbol of Divinity the same way as an idol acts as the representation of God. The stratagem lies in the fact that prophet looks uninterested in the divine honour, yet he bestows so much sanctity on himself that he begins to look God's superior, and people actually adore him instead of God, who ranks as a euphemism. Thus, in fact, it is prophet who is jealous of idols and everything else which may be adored. Therefore, he wants to see no other idol except his own and insists on their destruction.

1. First, he presented the concept of the Lord God.
2. However, before doing this he assured people that he did not want the apostolic dignity, and was acting as Prophet under duress to escape the wrath of God (Exodus 4: 10-14).
3. Then he proceeded to exert his superiority over God:

As the story goes, worship of the molten calf by the Jews kindled Yahwe's jealousy. He appears in divine glory and intends to consume the children of Israel with his boiling wrath, his gives Moses a chance to establish his superiority over God. He tells Yahwe impolitely that He is about to do a wicked thing against his own people and shames Him by asserting what the Egyptians would say if He destroyed them. After all, Yahwe had gone out of the way to secure the release of the Jews from Egypt.

Moses commands the Lord to refrain from this evil and repent. (Exodus 32: 12-14). What an event it becomes: God surrenders to man! Yet the Jews claim that their faith is monotheistic.

I must add that this is not the only occasion when Moses, the Prophet, humiliates God in front of every one. In an episode of similar nature when the Jews denigrate the Promised Land, and want to return to Egypt, Yahwe's indignation reaches boiling point and He threatens to kill them all. Moses steps in and skames God publicly. He yields to Moses as usual ( Numbers 1 4: 11 - 20 ).

In conjunction with the above events, one should also remember the following episode described in chapter 32 of Exodus:

As Moses took longer to return from God, his people contributed golden earrings to make a molten calf to worship it. God tells Moses to rush back to his people who have corrupted themselves. As he came near the camp, he found them dancing round the calf. Moses' anger knew no bounds; he burnt the calf in the fire, and ground it to powder, which he dissolved in water and made the children of Israel drink.

Had Moses left the molten calf to stand, it would have become a symbol of divinity, and eventually the Divine. He could not accept this situation because he had assumed the status as the sole Medium of God.

This Semitic tradition was enthusiastically followed by the Prophet Muhammad, who repeatedly claimed that Islam was not a new faith but the same religion as promulgated by Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Moses and Jesus. He called himself the last exponent of this faith. He hated idols and advocated their destruction because he himself wanted to be treated as an idol to be worshipped. It seems a crazy theory but it happens to be the truth. To understand it, one must bear in mind that Allah was originally an idol of the Kaaba where it was worshipped by the Quresh, clan of the Prophet. I shall demonstrate later, Muhammad was inspired to idolise himself by Allah-worship. He destroyed all statues of Kaaba including that of Allah, yet he raised Allah to the status of God who is the Almighty, the Creator and the Omnipotent. He did so to replace Allah's statue with himself as the symbol Gf divinity. He knew that it is the symbol of divinity i.e., the idol, which eventually comes to be worshipped as God.

Now I may provide evidence in support of my claim:

1. Following the Mosaic model, first he claimed that Allah, the Islamic God had forced him into accepting prophethood ( Sahih Muslim: 301) . Having narrated this episode in my took: "Islam The Arab National Movement, " I need not repeat it here.

2. In the beginning, to impress upon people that he had no axe to grind in the matter, he asserted:

"There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger." This is the basic belief of Islam and is called Shahadah. Until he gained a large following which guaranteed him suzerainty, he projected himself as a mortal who was entrusted with the duty of Allah's message. See for yourself:

a. The Koran calls the Prophet a servant.
( The Cow: 20 ).

b. He does not know the Unseen.
( Cattle: 50 )

c. He does not have the power to perform
( Thunder: 5 )

d. "... say, Glory be to my Lord! Am I aught
but a mortal, a messenger."
(The Night Journey: 95)

e. "... I have only been commanded to serve
God, and not to associate
aught with Him. To Him I call, and to Him I
turn. " ( Thunder. 3 5 )

f. The Prophet being a mortal, is equally subject to Allah's reward and punishment:

"If He will, He will have mercy on you
( Muhammad ), or if He will, He will
chastise you." (The Night Journey: 55)

g. The Prophet is warned by Allah:
"Set not up with Allah
another God, or you
wilt be cast into
Gehenna ( Hell ), reproached
and condemned. "
( The Night Journey: 40 )

So far the Prophet has claimed that he is just a human who has been forced by Allah to convey His message to the people. He desperately needs this approach to convince people that he is simply discharging his duty. Thus it is easier for the masses to listen to him and believe him, but when he becomes powerful enough and can stand on his own, he discards this style and expresses himself as an integral part of Allah:

h. It is no longer enough to obey God only:
" Obey God and the Messenger
( Muhammad ) .
( The House of Imram: 25 )

i. "Obey God and the Messenger: haply so
you will find mercy."
( The House of Imram: 125 )

j. "Whoso obeys God
and His Messenger, He will admit him
to gardens...."
(Women: 15 )

k. As the Prophet gets stronger, he becomes a co-sovereign with Allah because whatever they do, they do it together, and people are not left with any choice but to obey the decision:

"It is not for any believer, man or woman, when God and His Messenger have decreed a matter, to have the choice in the affair. Whosoever, disobeys God and His Messenger, has gone astray into clear error." (The Confederates: 35)

Gradually, the Prophet, who was once a mortal and Allah's servant, and then an equal partner in Godhead, now raises himself to the status of real God, and Allah himself becomes Muhammad's devotee. It sounds blasphemous, but this is how the Koranic truth is. Here is the authority:
"God and His angels pray peace to the Prophet,
O believers, do you also bless him, and
pray him peace."
(The Confederates: 55)

Praying peace is the highest form of worship. It is very much like the devotional movement within Hinduism known as Bhagti which came into being during second or third century A.D. The Bhagti attitude has been inspired by the Bhagavadgita though Ramayana and Puranas have also contributed towards it.

Bhagti means the intense emotional attachment and love of a devotee to his personal God. Though a Hindu can choose any of his gods as the centre of his devotion, it has been particularly developed around Vishnu represented by his two earthly incarnations, namely, Rama and Krishna.

The Hindu worship includes the recitation of God's name, singing of hymns in his praise, undertaking pilgrimages to the places associated with him, adoring him in shrines, private meetings and temples as well as through charitable acts.

The Muslims, especially of the Indian sub-continent have adopted the same attitude towards the Prophet: they have developed a highly emotional cult known as "Ishq-e-Rasool" i.e. the intense love of Muhammad. This devotion is so great that a priest, politician or "pioneer" can easily mislead the Muslims in the name of Muhammad and make them do anything, no matter, how irrational. The Muslims hold that a priest, politician or "pioneer" can easily mislead the Muslims in the name of Muhammad and make them do anything, no matter, how irrational. The Muslims hold exclusive meetings to recite the name of Muhammad for hours, sing his praises endlessly, visit the holy places and even recite his name in the regular daily prayers.

It is amazing that when the Hindus pray to their gods with the aid of their statues, which are symbolic representations of the Reality, they are dubbed as idolators, but when the Muslims resort to similar practices, they become monotheists! In fact, they carry the magic of this riddle even further. In Hinduism, it is inevitably man who worships God, but in Islam, both angels and Allah worship Muhammad by praying peace to him!

Islam is essentially the cult of Muhammad-worship, yet it is called the True Religian of God, instead of being termed as Muhammadanism. How did the Prophet create such a large band of followers, who worship kim but claim to prostrate before God?

One can find the answer to this enigma by considering the following facts:

1. He destroyed the statue of Allah which was housed in the Kaaba: it was considered the most sacred idol of the Arabs because people took it for the real God owing to ignorance and tradition. As long as the statue of Allah existed, nobody could take the place of Allah because His statue was His divine symbol. It had to be demolished by someone to present himself as the divine symbol of Allah. Muhammad did that by projecting himself as the sole representative of Allah on earth, and like other idols came to be treated as the real God. He chose Allah because it represented his tribe and was considered the most sacred and powerful.

2. To further his cause, the Praphet claimed that he was sent into this world as mercy i.e. love for mankind:

"We have not sent you, except as mercy unto all
beings." (The Prophets: 100)

By projecting himself as love, he helped himself to become the centre of love of his followers. There are several hadiths which ardently advocate for the love of Muhammad. For example:
"No person attains faith, till I am dearer to him than the
persons of his household, his wealth and the whole of
mankind." (Muslim, Vol. 1: 70)

3. To be obeyed to the dot, he claimed that he was the divine model of behaviour and must be copied by all his followers:
"You (believers) have a good example in God's
Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the Last
Day." (The Confederates: 20)

It is clearly stated herein that whoever wants to go to paradise ( "hopes for God and the Last Day" ) must imitate the behaviour-pattern of the Prophet. This is what Sunnah is; all Muslims want to live as Muhammad did, even to the minor details such as eating, drinking, walking, talking, sleeping, dressing, etc. In fact, the Prophet has come to control the psyche of his followers.

4. Intercessory power of the Prophet is the master stroke of his divinity. Though I have given its fuller account in the Second Volume, 6th issue of "Liberty," I may briefly state here the Koranic attitude for the benefit of readers; it repeatedly states that on the Last Day, it is exclusively for Allah to decide whether a person will go to heaven or hell.

To suit Muhammad's purpose, as in several other important affairs, the Koran changes its tone and eventually states:

"On that Day no intercession availeth except (that of)
him unto whom the Beneficient (God) hath given leave
and whose He accepleth." (TA HA: 109)
This point is well explained by the following Hadith (Sahih Muslim: Vol. 4: 5655)

"I will be the first intercessor and the first person whose intercession will be accepted (by Allah).

It means that the Prophet has the power to force Allah to do whatever he wills. He will send his followers to paradise even if they are murderers, rapists, thieves and liars but shall specify hell for all non-believers even if they have been highly righteous. The Koran states:

"Truly this is the word of a noble Messenger
having power, with the Lord of the Throne secure,
obeyed, moreover trusty."
(The Darkening: 15-20)

The Muslims interpret it to mean that on the Day of Judgement, the Prophet will share the Throne of Justice with Al lah and sit on His right-hand side. His recommendations will be binding on God. This is what they sincerely believe is meant by "obeyed, moreover trusty."

Now, one can see that Allah is no more than a figure of speech because the Prophet has taken over the destiny of humankind. In "Islam, The Arab National Movement,'' I have shown that Allah is a factotum of Muhammad because He does what He is told by the latter. For example, the change of Kibla, the vital issue, is decided by Allah to please Muhammad. Again, it is an Islamic law that if a Muslim has more than one wife, he must treat them all equally but God gave dispensation to the Prophet to suspend any of his wives as he thought fit. One should also bear in mind that the Islamic law lays down that a Muslim cannot have more than four wives at the same time, but the Prophet had at least nine wives simultaneously. He was obviously above Allah's laws. It is universally accepted that law is equally binding on the law-giver. Unless Muhammad believed himself to be Allah's superior, he could not defy His law. It shows the intensity of the Prophetic dominance-urge.

Now, it is obvious that the Prophet did not disapprove of idolatory but hated other idols because he wanted to substitute himself for them. In short, he himself aspired to be worshipped to the total exclusion of all other idols.

However, the Prophet realised that there are other people who have a tremendous ego and want to be remembered as spiritual heroes and adored accordingly. So he allowed the creation of a pantheon under his own divine shadow, which means that whoever believed in these lesser deities, automatically followed him. One learns about these minor divinities in Hadith no. 145 of the Sahih Muslims: they are members of the household of the Prophet, namely Ali (Fatima, Hassan and Hussain) as well as Abu Bakr, Umar Usman and several others who served him well to make his mission a success.

I think that I have said enough about the nature of Islamic attitude towards idolatory: it is really not iconoclastic i.e. anti-idol, but idolatrous as long as it is only the Prophet Muhammad, his close relations and associates, who are adored under his spiritual hegemony.

The heading of this article is "Idolatory, Islam and India." I have so far discussed the relationship of Islam and idolatory but have not touched upon the Islamic attitude towards India, especially in terms of idol-worship.

As students of history know, the Muslims have always done their worst to destroy the pre-Islamic period of every country where they have been able to spread their tentacles. Even Arabia, the cradle of Islam, is no exception to this rule. It is not easy to trace its pre-Islamic history. However, certain facts can be discovered from the Hadith (sayings and practices of the Prophet) and scholarly writings found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Having studied these sources of information, I come to the conclusion that the Prophet Muhammad had developed an unfavourable attitude towards India. It is because he was a national leader, par excellence. His patriotic zeal required of him to destroy the glory of Egypt, Iran, Byzantine and India. The last i.e. India, posed a special problem. Why?

It is because India constituted a real threat to the dreams of Muhammad, who was highly enthused by the love of his people, the Arabs, and wanted to make a great nation of them. He also knew that Moses, before him, had created a magnificent nation of Jews who should perpetuate his name. So the national dream of Muhammad sought to deify himself through the efforts of a great Arab nation to fight for his glory, which should also prove the pivot of Arab nationalism. Having told this story in my book: "Islam, The Arab National Movement," I need not repeat it here but must explain, why India stood in the way of the apostolic designs of Muhammad. The reason was that the Arabian way of life and religion were deeply influenced by the Indian culture and religious attitudes. To make the position clear, I must add that as the Indian sub-continent is dominated by the Islamic way of life today, so was the Arabian peninsular under the Hindu influence at the time of the Prophet's advent. Unless he could successfully strike at the roots of Hinduism, he could not make himself adorable. In a nutshell, he had to destroy the Hindu idols to erect his own.

Is there evidence for this point of view? Of course, there is. Let us start with the following hadith:

Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As reported: "Allah's
Messenger (may peace be on him) saw me wearing
two clothes dyed in saffron, whereupon he said:
These are the clothes (usually worn by) the non-
believers, so do not wear them."
(Sahih Muslim: 5173)

The next hadith no. 5175 reports this event in a more heated manner:
Seeing Abdullah b. Amr attired in two clothes which had been dyed in saffron, the Prophet said, "Has your mother ordered you to do so?" Abdullah replied: "I will wash them." The Prophet replied: "Burn them."
The Hadith no. 5177 adds that the Prophet forbade reciting the Koran when one wore gold and clothes dyed in saffron!

To understand the built-in prophelic hatred of Hinduism in particular, and India at large, one must realise that colour of the Hindu or Om flag is saffron, which is also called Bhagwa, Gerva and Kesariya. The Om flag also represents the rising sun which not only alludes to the saffron colour but also to the internationally ascendant might of the then India. I have discussed these historical facts in my book: "The Wonders of the Rgveda." Saffron was, in fact, the national colour of India because the Hindu heroes, seers, sages and monks wore clothes dyed in saffron. Moreover, it implied the Hindu tradition of valour, elegance and commitment to noble causes as laid down by the Scriptures: some hymns of the Atharva Veda openly refer to the saffron colour. Therefore, it is not just traditional but also a part of the Hindu religious piety, purity and probity.

From the above quoted hadiths, it is evident that not only the Arab divines but also ordinary people wore yellowish clothes under the Indian influence which the Prophet hated to such an extent that he advocated burning of satfron dresses and forbade the recitation of the Koran when one wore such garments.

One should bear in mind that the Prophet wanted to create a distinct Arab nation dedicated to spreading his greatness. This is the reason that he told his followers to dye their hair and beards red (henna) so that they should look different from the Jews; to wean them from the Hindu tradition, he prescribed green colour for his followers.

The Koran has stated almost all its major tenets ambiguously i.e. relationship between Allah and Prophet, free will and predestination and so on. It equally applies to the Idea of creation and procreation. In this context, one can see the influence of the Gita on the Koran, which states:

"God originates creation, then
brings it back again,
and unto him you shall be returned."
(The Greeks: 10)

The Druzes of Lebanon, a sect of Islam, practise the Hindu doctrine of Samsara ardently even today. This is a continuation of the pre-Islamic tradition which is a remnant of the Hindu influence on the Arab culture.

The Prophet practically obliterated the pre-Islamic history of his people, which makes cultural assessment of Arabia a very hard task, indeed. Yet the modern scholarship has discovered certain religious facts about this country which confirm that it would have been impossible to establish Muhammadanism without destroying Hinduism in Arabia and elsewhere.

The truth is that the Arabs were not only statue-worshippers but their idolatory was founded on the Hindu principle of triad, also known as Trimurti. Since the Prophet wanted to plant his own image in people's mind, it was not possible without aupplanting the Hindu idols, which had considerable appeal owing to their visual effect and the legendary magic, built-up over a period of many centuries. I am certainly not forging history, the hadith (Prophet's sayings and record of his actions) provides cogent evidence to this effect:

"Jabir b. Samura reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I recognise the stone in Mecca which used to pay me salutations before my advent as a Prophet and I recognise that even now. (Sahih Muslim: 5654)

The hadith confirms three facts:

1. Though the Muslims assert that Muhammad was a prophet even before the creation of Adam, this statement demonstrates that it is not so, and is borne out by "before my advent as a Prophet." Again, it is historically known that he claimed to have received his first revelation when he was forty. It this point of life that the Prophet started preaching Islam. Obviously, it could not have been his religion earlier. If it were, he would have started disseminating its fundamentals from his cradle. What was then his religion previously? This hadith also answers this question:

2. "Stone in Mecca" cannot be anything but the Black Stone (Hajr-E-Aswad) at Kaaba, the main temple of Mecca, which also housed many other statues. The words: "used to pay me salutations" clearly show that the Prophet Muhammad was a fairly regular visitor to the temple before becoming the founder of Islam. I hardly need say why people go to the temples.

The Black Stone, as I shall discuss shortly, is an unshaped idol which still adorns the Kaaba and forms a prominent part of the Islamic rituals. The Prophet claims that this statue used to salute him. Since salutation is a form of worship, Muhammad was inspired by idolatory at Kaaba to be worshipped like an idol. Therefore, it was necessary for him to replace other idols with his own person to perpetuate Muhammadanism. He picked on Hinduisnn because it was the source of the Arab idolatory. Am I making it up? Not at all. Here is the evidence drawn from the most reliable source i.e. Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Though there is no mention of idolatory in the Rgveda, the principle of triad or trimurti is clearly stated therein:

"I laud the seven-rayed, the triple-headed
Agni all perfect...." (R.V.1: CXLVI: 1)

Triad or Trimurti is the fundamental principle of Hinduism. It means three-in-one i.e., the reality has three faces yet in essence it is one. For example, the most sacred Sanskrit word: ''Om" represents the triad of Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva as well as the Hindu belief in three universes, and so on.

Description of the god Agni as having three faces is the basis of the three-headed Shiva, who has been depicted as such on some seals found in the Indus Valley. It should be borne in mind that Shiva is a Vedic god, known as Rudra. He has been mentioned so often in the Rgveda that it is hard to call him a minor deity. Though there is no mention of image- worship in the Rgveda, the Shivite traditions represent the tampered form of the Vedic doctrines the same way as non- violence has become the basic principle of the modern Hinduism though the Vedas and Gita prescribe fighting for a righteous cause and declare it the greatest honour for a true Hindu. Dasa and Dasyus, the epithets of contempt, were invented for these dissenters, who were every bit as Aryan as anyone else. It shows that the Rgveda is older than the Indus Valley Civilisation, and this fact is also supported by the archaelogical excavations which have taken place in the areas close to Rawalpindi (Pakistan) during recent years. It demonstrates the antiquity of the Indian civilisation. The idolatrous principle associated with the three-faced Shiva became a fundamental doctrine of the Arab religion and culture as triad in the same way as it is known in India the triad of Vishnu-Brahma and Shiva. One has only to look at the Arab history to realise this fact:

Despite their lofty claims of antiquity, the word "Arabs" does not appear in historical sources until the middle of the First millenium B.C. The Arabian peninsula had received cultural inspiration from the Indus Valley many centuries earlier, but its religious influence increased dramatically when changes took place in the Greco-Roman trade routes to India during the first century B.C. The southern Arabia i.e. Yemen had experienced the Indian faith for a long time, but then its cultural effect shifted northward to the Hejaz, land of the Prophet Muhammad.

In the south Arabian kingdom, the principle of Triad or Trimurti was practised extensively. For example, they had a triad of astral deities representing the moon god, the sun goddess and the Venus god. The chief deity of this triad was the moon god, who protected the principal cities. However, it ought to be mentioned that the god EL, the Allah of Mecca was not well known in the south. A triad of gods was also found in Palmyra; it consisted of Bel, Yarhibol, a solar deity, and Aglibol; a lunar deity. Belshamini (Lord of the Heavens) also stood in a triadic relationship with the god Malakbel and Aglibol.

This triadic principle travelled from the south to Mecca. The Koran itself describes the three daughters of Allah, namely, ar-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat. It is worth mentioning that al- Lat in Palmyra was equated with the Greek goddess of Athena; al-Uzza was a goddess of the Nabataeans whereas Manat (Fate) was associated with Ihe Greek Nemesis at Palmyra.

It is absolutely misleading to say that Islam is free from idolatory. They have an idol in the central Islamic shrine of Kaaba which marks the climax of hajj because the faithful have to kiss it individually. This is the Black Stone known as Hajr-E-Aswad, and according to Ibn al-Kalbi, is a continuation of the Square Stone which was central to the cult of al-Lat at at-Taif. Suidas, a Greek compiler of encyclopaedia of C.A.D 1000 states that the Dhu-Shara at Petra had a similar Black Stone on a gold base.

The Muslims say that when Allah expelled Adam from paradise, He gave Adam the Black Stone which is now built into the eastern wall of the Kaaba and consists of three large pieces and some fragments, surrounded by a stone ring and held together by a silver band. It was carried away by members of the Qarmatian sects in 930. However, the above evidence shows that the other Arab temples had similar black stones; God would not have given Adam that many black stones to carry. What was then, the reality behind a black stone in the Arab culture?

"A principal sacred object in Arabian religion was the stone, either a rock outcropping or a large boulder, often a rectangular or black basaltic stone without representative sculptural details." Such stones were considered suitable material of worship to form part of the house of a god i.e. temple. This is the reason that the Christian writers of Byzantine during the 5th and 6th centuries called such a stone Baetyl, which is derived from Bet'EI (House of the god).

Shape or no shape, a stone which is an object of worship, is an idol. Moses forbade images of any kind but Muhammad allowed to continue the worship of the Black Stone in the Kaaba to make it the most sacred shrine of Islam for national reasons. The idea was, if Arabia, lost its political dignity, even then the Muslim nations must bow before it. God lives everywhere in the world but the genius af Muhammad seems to have permanently housed Him in Mecca for the benefit of his own people, the Arabs.

One should also realise that an annual pilgrimage was a principle celebration of the pre-Islamic Arabs. All tribes having the sarne god were required to gather at his sanctuary and go around the baetyl in a cermonial procession. The Prophet also retained this pre-Islamic rite to benefit his nation financially. What relationship can have this pagan ceremony with the true God?

The faithful usually forget that the Prophet was the founder of the Arab Empire; it could not be built without structuring a really strong nation which could batter, blast and bewilder the powers of the time such as Iran and Byzantine. As other nations sought strength from their gods through crying, cringing and crawling, the Prophet wanted his people to sigh, solicit and supplicate him for inspiration, might and victory. For this reason, he aspired to become an idol himself, the object of adoration and worship. Adroitly, he projected Allah as the God but became the driving force behind Him on the Indian principle, which holds that there is a deity behind every physical pehnomenon. However, he could achieve this ambition by destroying other idols only. As long as they existed, his chances of becoming the object of worship were minimal. Since India was the home of idolatory, the Muslim warriors made this land the target of their ambitions.

Human culture is not based on uniformity but multiety. It is because man is endowed with free will. Without free choice humans cease to be human. Therefore, Allah, if He is the real God, cannot order murder of those who do not believe in him. In the case af India, it is even more absurd because the Hindus had developed the concept of Prajapati, the Lord of Creatures; He was more monotheistic than the Arabian Allah whose divinity is shared by the Prophet, his descendants and companions. His oneness is theoretical only. Therefore, the Muslims had no quarrel with India on account of a Universal God. Their dispute centred around Muhammad who declared that faith without believing in him along with Allah, was useless.

The true God is the champion of virtue, but the God, who sanctions murder, rape, arson, slavery to make people acknowledge Him, falls far short of the standard of righteousness. He is not only extremely selfish but also impotent; if He is the Almighty Creator, He could have surely created a believing and obedient man. Again, what kind of God is He whose own satisfaction depends upon man's acknowledgement? When man accepts Allah, He feels glad but when he rejects Allah, He becomes sad. This concept of Godhead is nothing but the gross contempt of Allah. The Muslims must realise that they do not adore Allah but deplore Him.

Finally, religion is the search for peace of mind and moral perfection. Making innocent children orphans, and turning happily married women into widows, cannot be the command of God. Seeking suzerainty over other people for usurping their freedom is no part of righteousness, but the religion that the Prophet Muhammad invented, expressly sought dominance over non-believers. The Koran repeatedly says:

"He (Allah) it is who hath sent His messenger with
the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may
cause it to prevail over all religions, however much
the idolators may dislike." (Repentance: 33)

To establish a pe-manent excuse for fighting non- believers, the Prophet abrogated all other religions by declaring them, as false (Sahih Muslim, chapter: LXXI) and then announced a permanent state of war against them until they were completely uprooted (Sahih Muslim no. 31, 32 and 33). The whole purpose of acquiring dominance through carnage is that the Prophet should have the largest following. (Sahih Muslim no. 381)

This search for followers to satisfy the Prophetic urge of dominance brought the Muslims to India, the home of polytheism.

A serious search for the roots of polytheism not only leads to India but also to the Indian glory whose radiance has been tarnished by the dark clouds of history for a very long time, indeed. I am not trying to be a misguided patriot who treats fiction as a fact to mollify the painful national scars inflicted by the caprices of history but a sober student of this subject, who is satisfied with establishing the truth irrespective of its palatability.

The Hindu aversion to writing, especially the reluctance to keeping historical records, is the main cause of the Hindus lacking pride in their traditions; it has heavily contributed to the lowering of national aspirations and standards of honour. However, the truth cannot be held back indefinitely. It is like the sunlight which eventually breaks through the barriers of a dark eclipse. Until some fifty years ago, we were told that the Hindus had been so primitive in their ways that they never left the Indian soil. Thanks to the modern technical advancement, which revealed that the Hindus held a political sway over the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Borneo, Champa (Annam), Cambodia, Burma, Siam and Indo-China. The political hegemony of India over these lands extended for about a 1000 years, while her cultural influence over all the Far Eastern countries survives even today.

Yet, it is only a part of the Indian glory. This picture becomes more vivid when we study the European civilisation with reference to paganism. Then, one can see that once European countries were dominated by the Vedic culture, which is a peculiarity of India, and clearly shows that the Aryans were the people of Indian origin, and not the other way round, as we have been led to believe by historians. If this were not true, one could not find the Europeans observing Asvamedha i.e., the horse-sacrifice, closely associated with the Vedas. On a 5,000 year old Harappan seal, we find an ithyphallic figure seated in a yogic position, which is the prototype of Shiva, also known as Pasupati, Lord of Beasts. We also notice this figure (Shiva as Pasupati) on the interior of the cauldron, which is in the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, and belongs to the 2nd century. Shiva, a Vedic god, would not have reached the Western lands without the Hindus themselves. That the Europeans took their polytheistic faith from India is proved by the triadic principle of representing godhead as discussed earlier. Having dealt with this issue fully in my unpublished work, "The Wonders of The Rgveda," I need not go into detail here hut ought to point out that even today there are thirty images of a three-headed god extant on the European Continent. That is the mighty Shiva of India.

By comparing the Greek mythology with that of India, we realise that Zeus, the Chief God of Greece, is none other than Indra, the Chief God of India. There is abundant evidence which demonstrates that the Greco-Roman polytheism is firmly rooted in the Indian doctrine of idol- worship. The Christian writers refer to it as paganism or heathenism.

As Islam challenged idolatory in India, Christianity declared war on it in the West. However, the two tales have different endings. Christianity succeeded in smashing idolatory in the West, and whatever persists in the Roman Catholic Church is just a shadow of the original but it has survived in India despite persistent persecution at the hands of the foreign predators and has risen once again with a vigour, virility and vivacity unknown to any religious movement. On the contrary, Islam has ceased to have any relevance with the Koranic principles; it has become a slogan of the power- seekers, and this fact is fully vouched for by the recent histories of Palcistan and Afghanistan.

Why do these monotheistic religions i.e., Islam and Christianity seek destruction of idolatory?

Firstly, both these religions are dictatorial in essence, and violently oppose the principle of People's Power. They both claim that the government belongs to God and must be run by the theocrats i .e., the clergy and the Mullah. Idea of the Oneness of God is appealing and logical but presenting God as a power-maniac, is the gross insult to Him. To start with, presentation of monotheism through the exclusive- agency of a prophet is a big joke, indeed. No matter, what the prophet calls himself, he is an equal partner in Godhead right from the outset; for example, belief in Allah alone is totally useless unless Muhammad is also included in it. If God is absolute and Almighty, then believing in the Prophet is a glaring proof of Shirk or polytheism. Not only that, a prophet always bestows divinity on the members of his family, and thus creates a pantheon. Just look at the Sayyads of the Indian sub-continent, who are believed to possess intercessory powers for their Muslim followers. What applies to the Muslims, is equally true of the Christians. The Popes became infallible despite the fact that many of them wer just mundane rulers, and had mistresses and illegitimate children. The Christ rose to become the Son of God, and many Christians believe that He was God-incarnate.

Why do these so-called monotheists oppose polytheism? It is because monotheism serves the purpose of dominance-urge by concentrating power in one person. It is the representation of human jealousy for personal worship and glory. On the contrary, polytheism advocates belief in many gods, who happen to be equally sacred. This doctrine distributes power from person to people. This is the reason that the Vedic society calls for electing a king if he fails to govern according to the dharma, or leaves no issue to follow him.

More sins have been perpetrated to please God than to suppressing Devil. Destruction of the Indian idols was partly an exercise of the Muslim invaders to satisfy their lust for power and wealth. This is what brought Mahmud Ghaznavi to India repeatedly. Though his raids were abominable, yet I am reluctant to praise my Hindu ancestors who defied the Vedic Principle of Power and became the devotees of Ahimsa, an utterly non-Hindu doctrine. I find it hard to bear this most painful disgrace but accept the fact that it is the destiny of a sparrow to be humbled by a falcon. One ought to know that Falcon, being a Vedic bird, is a symbol of the Ksatriya qualities. The Hindus brought misery on themselves by acting as sparrows. The nation which loses its hawkish virtue is bound to be molested, mutilated and murdered by the Messengers of perdition such as Mahmud Ghaznavi, Juna Khan and Feroz Shah Tughlaq.

The Christians acted likewise against polytheism in the West. They closed down pagan temples and confiscated their property. Constantine discouraged pagan sacrifices; Constaus went even further to forbid them on pain of death. Constantius ordered the closing of all pagan temples and rituals. Those who disobeyed, perished at his command. However, these Byzantinian Emperors were succeeded by Flavius Claudius Julianus, who was born in 332. He was not only a competent administrator and soldier but also a philosopher. He ridiculed the basic tenets of monotheism and justified use of idols in worship. He thought of the deities of polytheism as impersonal forces and did not believe in their anthropomorphic forms. He preferred to be called the priest of polytheism instead of an emperor. He was able to reverse the tide of Christianity, at least during his reign, by withdrawing state subsidies from the Church and closing to the Christians, chairs of rhetoric, philosophy, and literature in the universities. He insisted that these subjects should be taught by the pagans only. He went even further: he permitted demolition of the Christian Churches, which had been built on the lands seized from the pagan shrines. He ordered reconstruction of the pagan temples and imposed levies on the Christians to make full reparations for the damage that had been caused to the pagan institutions during preceding reigns of the Christian emperors. His orders provoked riots but he stood firm, and succeeded.

Here is an example for the Hindus to follow. Polytheism represents the Hindu ethos. They shall not be able to live honourably without sticking to their basic way of life, especially when it harms nobody. Though I am not an idolator, I support the human right to worship as one thinks fit.

Dominance urge is the biggest predator of human rights. Though I have said enough to explain it, yet its description is not complete. It has another aspect; human psychology is polar like physical objects, which have negative and positive sides. As humans are naturally kind and curt, sagacious and stupid, they are also dominant and submissive. Thus, dominance and submissiveness are the opposite poles of human disposition. They both have their virtues, but when dominance has no purpose except enjoyment of power at the expense of people's honour, safety and freedom, then it becomes the worst evil that there can be. On the other hand, submission without fighting the dominance-seeker or aggressor is even greater vice because it makes the dominant or aggressor a lot more daring, devilish and destructive. A wolf without pugnacity is just a lamb - only fit for the dining table. The nation which loses nerve to defend its honour, becomes a football to be played with by every Tom, Dick and Harry. By making Ahimsa i.e, non-violence the uay of life, Hindus have made themselves a tempting target for any aggressor. This is not a religious virtue but a sign of profanity and a shameful exercise to enshrine a most despicable vice as a splendid virtue. Gods do not want cowards for devotees; they bless the Vedic patriots who fight with a sense of honour.

Finally, as a footnote to the above discussion, I may add that this thesis agitated my mind for a long time but I resisted the temptation of putting it on paper because I did not want to open up the old wounds. After reading works of some patriotic Hindu scholars, I realised my mistake; their cuts have not healed but become deeper. Though it is painful, it is a sign of renaissance - a new life, because it is only the senseless who forget the humiliation of 1000 years; the lively seek rejuvination through honourable conduct based on determination and the will to succeed.

Though my views are totally different, I salute the Indian writers who have written on this subject. Among them is the intellectual giant, Sri Ram Swarup, whose piety forbids him to pass judgement on the atrocious conduct of the foreign iconoclasts. Sri Sita Ram Goel is another scholar whose patriotic protests echo through the flourish of his pen and desperately seek the restoration of Hindu ascendancy. Sri G. M. Jagtiani, the Maratha mystic, is a Vedic preacher, whose writings are expressive of deep grief, which seeks relief through an immortal national glory. Sri A. Ghosh of Texas, is the Ksatriya stalwart who wonders what happened to the cutting edge of his ancestral sword. He will do anything to revive the martial character of his people. Next page

Chapter 5
Back to English Library Index
Back to Library Index
Back to Islam Index
Back to Anwar Shaikh Index

Support IPC
IPC operating since March 30, 2000
    Duplication of contents are allowed, only by naming the source & link to IPC
All rights are protected & reserved by Iran Politics Club © 2000 IPC