Sometime ago, I happened to watch a video of a snake lover who used to keep a python as a pet. Years of motherly nurturing by the ophidiophile had turned the python into a massive reptile, capable of ingesting even an animal as big as a calf at one go. One day the reptile slithered into the bed and cozied up to her while she was taking rest. The python seemed to be in pain, as it did not have food for days together. Sensing the pet’s infirmity, she consulted a vet. After hearing her, the vet asked her to be careful. “The python is sizing you up to swallow you… it’s only a matter of time.” Her heart skipped a beat: She felt as if the entire world was crashing down around her.
Several ophidiophiles around the world had died bitten by their pets. Experts often warn wildlife enthusiasts that they should never throw caution to the winds, as the animals they keep can go wild anytime, howsoever domesticated they might be. This realization is a must while dealing with predatory beasts.
This holds true with all predatory belief systems, too. History has it that the pagans of Arabia were gentle and accommodative. When Islam started taking root in the cosmopolitan Mecca, stifles had become order of the day and the elders of his pagan tribes reached out to Mohammad to buy peace. Mohammad’s badmouthing of Pagan gods had pained them. For truce, the Pagans were ready to accept Mohammad’s Allah as the supreme god if he spared their gods. The peace reached was short-lived – till the time Islam became the prominent religion. Rest is history – how pagan temples were grabbed, idols were razed to the ground and people were forcefully converted and those refused to change religion were done to death. Coptic Christians and Jews who made Mecca their home had to flee or adopt the nascent religion.
Several scholars of Islam argue that the pre-Islamic society in Mecca was civilized and liberal as it had given women and minorities equal status – the hallmark of a liberal society. They point out that Mohammad married a businesswoman, Khadija, who was twice his age. Coptic Christians, Pagans and Jews co-existed without much hassle. But Islam terms this period as ‘an era of evil’ (jahiliat), though it had torn apart the social fabric and turned the social systems upside down.
Arabia was home to several religions and cultures. It is estimated that more than 1000 religions perished in the sands Arabia without leaving a trace ever since Islam started its victory march. The flame of Zoroastrianism, the religion of Persia, is kept alive, thanks to a handful of Zoroastrians in India whose forefathers were given asylum by Hindu kings.
Followers of Abrahamic religions have an appetite or stamina to soldier on which their Hindu counterparts lack – this might be because of the world views of these cultures. While the ultimate purpose of Hindu’s life is to attain moksha (hence one has to leave behind the past and move on – Charaiveti, charaiveti), for a Muslim, he has a political purpose in his life and his task is cutout: to establish Muslim rule over the earth and get rid of all infidels either by conversion or by elimination. Christianity, too, has a political purpose: to usher in Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Those faiths continue to grow, though surreptitiously, even in adverse circumstances and when they gather strength they show up their true predatory characteristics. I still remember a Christian priest telling me way back in 2014 that ‘even if PM Modi (or for that matter RSS) put curbs in our way, Christianity will grow, because it became a state religion in Rome despite hostile circumstances. Christianity grew in other countries also in a similar way’. According to the Christianity Today, Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China, despite the iron-fist control of the communists.
A recent statement by AIMIM leader Assassuddin Owaisi explains the Muslim mindset very clearly. He said, “Given the unfavorable situation, we Muslims might be lying low right now. But after some time when Modi retires to the hills and Yogi to his Muth, then we will see; let’s see who will come to protect you.” It’s a warning: ignore it at your own peril.
Chasing the Chimera
Let’s face it: Any Muslim who believes in the finality of the Book cannot be a liberal Muslim. The Book says jihad is mandatory for a true Muslim and he should undertake jihad in peace time as well as in war time. On why a section of Muslims did pray for terrorist Ajmal Kasab, an Islamic scholar said, “Jihad is mandatory for a Muslim. If believers cannot do jihad during peace time, praying for a person who undertook jihad and killed infidels would remove the sins of all faithful.” This explains huge turnout for terrorists’ funerals in Kashmir and elsewhere.
The arrest of Dr Yusuf Khan in connection with the murder of Amravati-based pharmacist Umesh Kohle for sharing a WhatsApp message in support of Nupur Sharma, the expelled BJP leader, has shaken the conscience of the country. Dr Khan was a family friend of the slain pharmacist who had even financially helped the former several times.
But then this is not the first time that faith became the reason for betrayal of a friend or neighbor. During the turbulent years, it was BK Ganjoo’s neighbor who had given up his hiding place to militants who then killed him mercilessly in front of his wife and children. In 1921, several Hindus in Malabar were attacked and murdered by their neighbours and retainers in whom they reposed their faith.
For a Muslim who believes in the Quran howsoever good a non-Muslim may be, if he lacks iman, he would end up as firewood in the hell. Dr Zakir Naik emphasizes the need for iman as the foremost requirement when a person asked him whether Gandhi or Mother Teresa for that matter – both ideal souls — would go to heaven. The poor soul Gandhi who took a lot of pains and starved for the cause of Muslims would be rotting in hell when we reach there.
A radical Australian Mullah says, “Whether you commit a rape, cheat a fellow Muslim brother… that’s ok, Allah will forgive. But if you don’t do namaz five times a day or practice idolatry you will end up in hell.”
The school textbooks prescribed for primary students in a school run by an Islamist in Kerala had chapters on how to convert a non-Muslim friend. Recently, an ex-Muslim in Kerala has exposed that madrasas in Kerala teach students that murtads (apostates) should be killed. It is learnt that many educational institutions which provide professional and secular education, after teaching times religious education is imparted. The Islamic radicalization is wrecking the Kerala society beyond redemption.
Islamic scholar Maulana Sayyid Abdul A’la Maududi in his book unequivocally writes that sword is the way of Islam and not peace. He further writes that when the Prophet was preaching Islam peacefully in its initial days, it did not grow. But when he took up the sword, it grew exponentially.
So what is the way out?
There is no easy solution to the Islam problem. Appeasement is definitely not the solution; for many people including Gandhiji tried it and failed. Let us not live in illusions: Reciting Vedas won’t help calm a charging bison.
As Askar Ali, an ex-Muslim, who came out of madrassa after 15 years of religious course, says, “kitab is the problem. 90 per cent of Muslims are victims of the Book.” The experience is that those Muslims who had their education outside madrasas are more humane and amenable to reasons. At least they are not the lot who will come out of houses to flood streets calling for ‘sar tan se juda’ slogans even on small provocations.
There is a need to vet the curriculum of the madrasas. Those institutions should not be allowed to teach hate in the guise of religious education.
Also there is a need to break the street power of Muslims. Even on slightest of provocation, they use violence to get their grievances redressed. Yogi Adityanath Government’s strategy to break the backbone of Muslim Mafiosi in UP has paid dividends.
Some sections of Muslims have expressed their desire to return to the Hindu fold. All efforts should be made to encourage this.
Last but not the least: Our children should be aware of not only Hinduism but other religions as well. The positives and negatives of all religions should be taught to children – at least at higher classes. If we don’t take up the steps seriously, it will be late. After all Dharmo rakshati rakshitah.