Pseudoscience & Religion

How intolerant is Islam?

I intend to respond to some of the criticisms leveled against the view I expressed in my article “Why I criticize Hinduism the Most” – the most prominent being the comments posted by Kafir in this website. I have also received a few responses, mostly favorable, from the readers of the ezine I bring out, Bangalore Skeptic. The favorable responses I happily ignore!

Before getting into the task of responding to my critics, I reiterate that the title of my write-up was not “Why I criticize Hindutva alone?” or not even “Why I criticize Hinduism?” The title is, “Why I criticize Hinduism the Most?” which necessarily implies that I do criticize all religions. I felt the meaning was so obvious that it would not need any further explanation. Unfortunately, that obvious meaning seems to have completely lost on some readers.

In this post I take up the issue of intolerance of Islam – “the negative impact, damage and number of disruptive events in the society/world caused by adherents of a particular religion”, as Kafir puts it. In my subsequent posts I will take up other criticism leveled against my write-up.

Islam - Past & Present:

The unprecedented rise of Islamist fundamentalism in today’s world is a fact. So is the rise of Hindutva fundamentalism in India today. So is the destructive imperialist design of US in the Middle-East, which happened to have both a majority Muslim population and the largest source of oil, the fuel that propels the world economy.

India witnessed communal riots involving Hindus and Muslims for decades after and even prior to 1947. But until December 6, 1992 we did not see any mindless terrorist bombings or fidayeen attacks anywhere in India, except perhaps in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Unfortunately, it was around the same time the extremely fanatical and murderous Taliban (inspired and funded by the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia; and trained by the “ultra-modern” US) came on to the world scene, overthrowing the communist government in Afghanistan.

The Islamic theology do inspire these Islamic terrorists in unleashing homicidal attacks against innocents (not only non-Muslims, but even Muslims who do not share their barbarian views) just as the Hindutwa philosophy inspired the terrorists who were behind the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the genocide in Gujarat a decade later. But a mere textual analysis of the Koran will not take us far in understanding the Taliban phenomena, just as a similar analysis of any Hindu religious text will not lead us to understand how Hindutva politics works. It is true, Islam’s holy-book, the Koran, contains verses intolerant of other points of view, which are being selectively used by the peddlers of violence. But so do the holy-books of Hindus and Christians.

[smartads]

It has somehow become a commonsense notion among the middle-class Christians and Hindus that the religion of Islam has been the epitome of intolerance and that it has only played a destructive role in the history of the world. This is not correct. The role played by Islam in retarding the human progress is only on par with any other organized religions, Hinduism included. (As an aside: Last month – March 2009 – when I was taking a morning-walk around the Sharanabasaveshwara Lake at Gulbarga in Karnataka, I witnessed a middle-aged Hindu woman instinctively stopping in front of a nearby Muslim Darga with folded hands. A year before, I was also witness to a Muslim woman in her purdah – which she removed and kept on the temple steps – accompanied by her young daughter making offerings to the Narasimha Jhira temple at Bidar, Karnataka).

Most of the people who harbour an irrational hate towards Muslims do not know the glorious period in the history of Islam, 7th to 12th century CE, when the Arab Muslim civilizations played a revolutionary role in advancing the modern civilization (especially science) we know of. The crimes committed by a section of the followers of Islam today should not blind us to this splendid contribution made by Islamic civilization.

As MN Roy writes,

“During he first five or six hundred years of its history, Islam produced not only scholars who occupied themselves more with heavenly bodies than with heavenly beings, who quietly set aside the Koran and placed greater spiritual value on the study of profane books, but revolutionary thinkers who ruthlessly sacrificed faith on the altar of reason………

“When we bear in mind that this line of intellectual development was opened up not only by the socio-political conditions created by the triumph of Islam, but originated in the central dogma of Mohammad’s religion, neither the curiosities of the Koran, nor the primitiveness of the Islamic faith should permit us to underestimate the historical role of Islam…

“The age of Arabian learning lasted about five hundred years, and coincided with the darkest period of European history. During the same period, India also was lying prostrate, under the triumphant Brahminical reaction, which had subverted or corrupted Buddhism…

“Many (Muslims) may disown and repudiate the rationalism and skepticism of the Arabs as deviations from the teachings of the Koran. But Islam occupies a memorable place in history thanks rather to its original – unorthodoxy and irreligiosity made evident by the Arab philosophers, than to the later growth of a reactionary priesthood or to the barbarous fanaticism of the Tartar converts. Islam had played out its progressive role before it penetrated India. Its nag was planted on the banks of the Indus and the Ganges not by revolutionary Saracen heroes, but by Persians demoralized by luxury and the barbarians of Central Asia who had embraced Islam, both had subverted the Arab Empire – that magnificent monument to the memory of Mohammad. (Historical Role of Islam, Indian Renaissance Institute, New Delhi, 2006, Published by Critical Quest)

As Thomas Goldstein writes,

“The most vital factor in the evolution of Muslim science was the cosmopolitan character of the culture the Arabs came to create. Spanning the ancient world from the Ganges to the Atlantic, Islamic civilization united within its scope the cultural traditions of India, Persia, and Mesopotamia, of  Empire in the Mediterranean West. The Arabs proved to be masters in weaving all these different strands into a new cultural fabric. The new civilization was held together by their common language, their common faith and common way of life, yet it was general enough, at its height, to tolerate the free exchange of all these original diversities……

“Islam – in contrast to the still largely rural, feudal, and severely ascetic civilization in which these (Christian) scholars were at home – was urban, commercial, sophisticated, exotic, and cosmopolitan……

It was this contribution of Islam to the world civilization that made Arthur C Clark, the doyen of science fiction, to comment in an interview that

“though I sometimes call myself a crypto-Buddhist, Buddhism is not a religion. Of those around at the moment, Islam is the only one that has any appeal to me. But, of course, Islam has been tainted by other influences. The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I’m afraid….. Historically, Islam had a great deal of tolerance for other views and offered the world its priceless wisdom in the form of astronomy and algebra. And, as you know, Islam helped rescue Western civilization from the Dark Ages by preserving classical texts and transmitting them to the West.” (Free Inquiry, Volume 19, Number 2)

Islamic science grew out the Muslims’ love of the world, their passion for reproducing its exact features. This penchant caused them to leave a host of measuring instruments and observational data. A number of astronomical observatories were scattered through out the Arab world, ever since Caliph al-Mamun had established the first ones at Damascus and Baghdad. The Arabs had compiled astronomical tables, records of a systematic observation of the stars. They had developed – or improved upon – such strategically important instruments as the astrolabe, the sundial, the armillary sphere. They had produced careful catalogues of the herbs and plants based on original Greek and Hellenistic studies, instruments to measure optical refraction; amazingly accurate calculations for measuring the length of a degree……(Dawn of Modern Science – From The Ancient Greeks to The Renaissance, Da Capo Press, New York, 1995)

None of the above arguments should be construed as a justification for what is being advocated by the conservative Mullahs and the blood thirsty Islamist terrorists. It is to say that Islam’s intolerance is on par with the intolerance exhibited by every other organized religions at one time in their history. Only, for certain reasons – social, political, economical – Islam has now been going through a new low. (And history shows us that every religion, irrespective of its present liberal tendencies, is still liable to be sucked into this vortex of fundamentalist frenzy). I don’t, however, think that this is going to be its permanent feature. The followers of Islam will in all probability get over the current phase of ultra-conservatism and violence; else they have no future.

As a rationalist I want to live in a world where organized religions play no role in any aspect our life. Since that is not a realizable goal at least in the immediate future, the next best is to strive for a more tolerant society.

About the author

Manoj TV

28 Comments

  • Islam (like any other religion) should be judged as a whole, a system, and not by separation of the theory and practice, or historical tendencies with current. It is within the very nature of religion that is inflexible and at the same time,paradoxically, open to interpretation that makes for its perverse nature.

    I,with reason and keeping in mind historical precedence, believe that the current regressive form of Islam (of course, religion can not be not-regressive at any time, but the degree in question here) will probably last another hundred or two hundred years, before a “rationalist revolution” (not ‘rationalist’ as we know it, but rather a subtle notion of moderate religion) separates religion and state, sparking a beginning of a modern Islamic society.

    A possible decline of the oil economy could make things worse, and this could make the Islamic society disenchanted with their conservative-bigoted leaders, and this might bring out the moderate voices. Things will only get worse before they get better. And possibly, this getting worse would be necessary for things to get better.

  • I agree with Siddharth on almost every point he makes.

    The point I was trying to make is that looking at Islam ahistorically and demonizing the followers of Islam (I am not saying that Siddharth does that), especially in a multicultural society like ours, will not do us any good.

    That the religious texts are “open to interpretation” not only makes them to be interpreted in a ‘perverse’ way, but also gives us hope that the progressive elements in any religion would try to make them less fanatical by reinterpreting the texts to suit their ideas.

    Sure, rationalists should not hesitate to criticize Islam – its theory as well as practices – , for the reason Siddarth highlights – that religions are generally regressive, though their followers did play a progressive role under certain historical circumstance.

  • Does the article sound apologetic?!

    Am I in favour or against religions? Well, you can see my stand reflected even in the last paragraph of this very blog. You may also go through my other write-ups on this website to know about my stand on religion.

    – manoj

  • Islam gave astronomy and algebra to the world? Arthur C Clark is mistaken. Please read the below link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algebra

    “While the word algebra comes from the Arabic language (al-jabr, الجبر literally, restoration), its origins can be traced to ancient Indian mathematics. Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi learned the technique of Indian mathematics and introduced it to the world through his famous book on arithmetic text, the Kitab al-jam’wal tafriq bi hisab al-Hindi (“Book on Addition and Subtraction after the Method of the Indians”), around 780-850 A.D.[1][2] The first use of algebraic transformation was described by Brahmagupta in his book Brahmasphutasiddhanta, where first proposed solution of Linear Algebra and Quadratic Equation.”

  • Who do you think is tolerant?

    1) Leaving Islam for any other religion is punishable by death (Koran)
    2) Nobody can practice any other religion in Islamic countries – Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.. However a ban on minarets in Switzerland is considered intolerant on the part of Swiss public who made that happen.
    3) Koran has both tolerant and intolerant verses. The intolerant and violent Islam can be traced back to when Mohammed fled to Medina.
    The Muslims at Mecca were bidden to be patient under the verbal and physical assaults of their enemies. When the Muslim community emigrated to Medina, they were ordered to answer violence with violence.

    • Please sir do not blame Islam for the wrongs perpetrated by Muslims. There is not a single verse in the Quran that says an apostate be killed for leaving Islam. Please correct your information. However, what a Muslim believes, he should be asked source of his information. The Islam’s first source Qur’an is free from such blames.

  • Please read my article again. My argument is that the intolerance exhibited by the followers of Islam is comparable to that shown by the followers of any other religion. And that we cannot find out the cause of the intolerance exhibited by Islam today merely through a textual analysis of their holy text. We should also look into the historical context in which it arises.

    Remember, the violent intolerance exhibited by the followers of Buddhism, an out and out pacifist religion if one goes by Buddhist texts, in countries where they are in majority – Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, etc.

    Also note the treatment meted out to Dalits for thousands of years (it continues even today) by the Brahminical Hinduism – there is nothing comparable in the history of any other religion.

    – Manoj

  • The author is right in his assertion “demonizing the followers of Islam (I am not saying that Siddharth does that), especially in a multicultural society like ours, will not do us any good.”

    But it is clear that he doesn’t understand Islam at all.

    I have a Muslim girlfriend whom I intend to marry without conversion on her part or mine. I am ant-communalism in all forms, whether it is Hindu or Muslim. In fact, I have broken ties with a few friends in the past who refused to condemn the 2002 Gujarat riots.
    I started reading about Islam TO REFUTE by fellow non-Muslim Gujaratis, most of whom are pretty anti-Muslim (they don’t have a clue about Islam though), as you know very well.
    Initially I read books on Islam by academics. Then I came across the articles of ex-Muslims like Ibn Warraq, Taslima Nasreen, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and websites “exposing” Islam. I could not believe what I was reading hence I cross-checked every claim reading the Quran,the six collections of Hadiths (stories of Mohammed)considered authentic by Muslim scholars, and Sira (Mohammed’s biography). I also read about the position of Sharia as held by the four “fiqhs” (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) of Sunni Islam and the only major fiqh of Shia Islam. To my surprise, even the wikipedia entries on “Criticism of Islam” and “Criticism of Mohammed” contains enough facts to make it clear that Islam is ANYTHING BUT a religion of peace, and Mohammed was ANYTHING BUT a prophet of God.
    And suddenly, every problem in the Islamic world made sense – it explains why Sunnis persecute Shias(and they retaliate)in many parts of the world, why Ahmediyas and Ba’hais are persecuted by Muslims with official sanction in Iran and elsewhere, the deplorable human rights record in Islamic/Muslim-majority countries (e.g. apostasy in illegal in all of them, and in many punishable by death), the rise of Hindu right-wing, decline in non-Muslim populations in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan, and most importantly – why Islam(not Muslims) is a major topic of debate in Europe and the Americas.

    You will also realise, after actually studying the Quran, reading the Hadiths, Sira and Sharia, that the achievements of Islam’s Golden Age had NOTHING to do with Islam.

    Long before the Dutch MP Geert Wilders called for a ban on Quran, calling it another “Mein Kampf”, a little-known Hindu scholar filed a petition in Calcutta High Court in 1985 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Calcutta_Quran_Petition

    Islam is truly an EVIL CULT, incompatible with modern civilisation. What makes it a real threat is not that it is the only intolerant religion. The God and prophets of Old Testament set the standards in violence and evil. The New Testament, in spite of the teachings of Christ, managed to turn out just a degree less violent.
    But Mohammed scaled new heights in violence, misogyny and intolerance which can be seen in the Quran and his actions as reported by Muslim scholars themselves.

    Muslims consider this man as the perfect man, a prophet of God, his example is called Sunnah , to be follwed as a role-model for all Muslims for all times to come. The Quran is considered to be the perfect book, immutable and unchangeable for all times to come.

    I can NEVER be against innocent people just because they happened to be born in a particular religion. So once again, I request you not to dismiss me as a hateful bigot, another “Islamophobe”.

    P.S. Islam has NEVER given non-muslims equal rights. Google “non-muslims/dhimmis” under Ottoman Caliphate/Islam’s Golden Age.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Islam
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Muhammad

    Here are some other sites listing the horrible problems with Islam and Mohammed :
    http://alisina.org/ (site by an ex-Muslim, you’ll find many such sites through google)

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/Top-10-Reasons.htm
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/Myths-of-Islam.htm
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-home.htm

    To check whether all the verses and hadiths are authentic (Sharia is derived from these 2 sources)
    http://cmje.org/#007.063.182

    Here’s also a great tv debate between 2 Muslims on one side and an ex-Muslim and a British MP on the other side:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGvMo47pw7Q

  • utter nonsense. Hitchens, Harris and deGrasse Tyson have all shown exactly what this early islam ‘awesomeness’ was: the product of the brilliant mercurial persians who were always creative and great poets and mathematicians. Then those lands were conquered and natives converted to islam, but they never let go of their culture, hence the scholarly output. Then once islam took over, everything was destroyed. And btw, kerela mathematicians collaborated with these persians intensively. You have a poor understanding of what really happened. A few random quotes here and there by muslim apologists (which u seem to be) doesnt do justice to the truth. Trust me, I ve met enough persians here in the US who are just like hindus: they hate the islam that conquered persia for centuries.

    • Amen stormchaser! Moreover, we should all note that any sort of freethinking in any society with any majority religion or state religion is a product of plain old human intelligence, not something that grew out of said religion. In India, the Buddha, Charvaka scholars, and other such people merely applied their own intelligence instead of actually growing out of Hinduism (Hinduism = a belief that the four Vedas are absolute truths about the universe, in some form or another). In the Western world, the USA is a Christian-majority secular state founded by a mixture of unaffiliated deists (a popular life stance among intellectuals during the Enlightenment) and liberal members of various Christian denominations (e.x. Thomas Jefferson was a deist, while George Washington was a radically-liberal Anglican/Episcopal).

      Also, there is a minor but important error in the article: the Taliban was actually trained and directly armed by Pakistan, not the USA. The USA’s mujahadeen allies in the 1980s later went on to become the Islamic State of Afghanistan, which later became various anti-Taliban resistance groups. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban%27s_rise_to_power#Allegations_of_connection_to_United_States_CIA

    • In his pursuit of Hinduism bashing Author is eager to ignore any differences to show off that all religions are same or that there is no degree of difference. Even if real God would have tried to create same good/bad combinations in all religions that originated in different times and different places/cultures, he would have failed. Basically, the way you have different civilizations at different times in history and the way they have some common and some different attributesm, the same way you will find degree of differences between religions.

      Killing is not same as enslaving, and slavery is not same as bonded labours.. so on… you have degree of differences. It is a fact that Indic religions do not prescribe killing the same way Islam does, but Christianity also doesn’t prescribe it as much as Islam still while evolving with Islam it practiced killing to similar extent some times.

      In 20th century all these religions are evolving together, so at some point in time they will learn a lot from each other and all will get diluted so you see less and less difference between them, but that doesn’t mean that throughout history they are same or similar in all aspects.

      Compare religions to civilizations, Americans and Indians are still not similar in their attitudes, though you can poretend that people in both country eat, have rules, say they are democratic, add n number of other things, but there is degree of difference in all aspects.

      Again, when you do not have any idea how to analyze two things together, then take them separately, So you can talk about scriptures and peoples separately at any length compare them at any length, do not mix to get an arbitrary inference.

      To Author:
      Learn more about Persia and Islam, seems your knowledge of both is not that deep but you are speaking at length here. I will try to open a site and will start a thread to see what all you have to say on this topic (and having some freedom to resopnd to that).
      Not sure whether you are a top ranked scientist and so already know a lot about quantum theory etc (mine is mediocre knwoledge), but see how quantum theory is evolving almost on daily basis, think how much of it is true or certain on any given date (a quick reference is phys.org), think how any idea evolves in same pattern, there is no absolute truth/good/bad it is only degree of difference that matters. Don’t think that Schopenhauer or tons of German philosphers or Voltaire were actually as stupid as hardcore christains try to paint them, the reason they felt good about Upanishads/Hinduism was not because all that is written in Upanishads is truth but because so many thousand years back they could imagine, think many ideas that were marvelous, almost as good as you can think about them ever.

      Think of Ramanujan, he said that many of his solutions (to mathematical problems) were given to him in dreams by Kali goddess. Now this is something that even Hardy his Mentor will abhor to listen, forget about any hard core Christains who will say drop this guy from list of mathematician.. if he says so. But any new/remarkable theorem/rules that Ramanujan developed do not lose importance because of this “dream” thing except for idiots or fanatics on the other side?

      The same is true for Upanishads and Hinduism, they created some marvelous ideas, doesn’t matter if tons of stuff in them is about how to worship agni or whatever.

      Anyway, the basic idea is that it is simply incorrect to claim that all religions are same or similar. They are only as same or similar as all people, all civilizations, all companies, all educational institues… add more to this list..

      Here is more from our Upanishads… never rely to heavily on your ego for long.. because as you age and become frail, you ego of status/education/religion all wish wash away bit by bit and eventually you will be left with simple and sublime truths mainly yourself and a little bit about this world (which you won’t care about much)… so those who plan to live long life and have strong egos, be prepared to see truths as they were known to your own mind.. your own mind can separate truths from your ego generated image of truth

  • Is it worthy to call post-7th centuryArabic & Persian influences in science as “Islamic Science”?If yes then how about recounting the Ancient Indian contributions as Hindu,Buddhist & Jain?…Not expected from a man who has encouraged many young individuals from the Hindu religion to be a voice for Muslim apologetics .The word “Islamic Science” is a misnomer introduced by the same lot that coins the word “Islamophobe” for anyone who questions it even decently.
    Your quoting of Arthur C Clark remains out-of-place as there are indeed many so-called admirations about hinduism coming from well-known scientists(like Carl Sagan,Robert Oppenheimer,Schrodinger & Tesla),are we tomorrow also supposed to entertain these?
    Moreover Islamic civillization as quoted by you is only as much a lie as is Hindu Civillization….The bulk of Indian Muslims are ethnic Indians (Gujjars,Jats,Rajputs,Dogras,Tamils etc.) followed by Indo-Afghans ,Indo-Persians & a very meagre number in Gujarat & Kerala(eg. the Moplahs) who are Arabs….
    To show positive aspects of Islam(there are also plenty) too you should have been careful on your sources rather than write things like Islamic Sciences……
    The article can be summed as nothing more than Muslim apologetic literature from a man who otherwise calls himself an “anti-Hindu dogma & pro-science crusader”

    • **The word “Islamic Science” is a misnomer introduced by the same lot that coins the word “Islamophobe” for anyone who questions it even decently.**

      Really? Does the same logic apply to the phenomenon that is often called Islamic terrorism by Hindu apologists like you?

      • The word “Islamic terrorism” remains valid as much as “Hindu/Saffron terrorism” not because these acts are carried by muslims/hindus but rather done in the name of these religions….Jihad has been a term used by muslims mostly Arabs & Turks to justify their imperialism & “Ummaha” a term coined to befool native converts to use them as foot soldiers against their own nn-muslim brethren…
        Hindu Terrorism is what we can see in the name of varnashram(Brahminical Terrorism) & Babri-Masjid+Godhra+Muzzafarpur.
        Afterall people since Wahab,Hamdadani,Syed Qutb & our own Iqbal wanted promoted the idea that Islam was not just a religion unlike others but a scientific system, a legal system, a self-sufficient culture & civillization…..Jinnah in his “Problem of India’s future constitution, and allied articles” said ” A Muslim of one country has far more sympathies with a Muslim living in another country than with a non-Muslim living in the same country …”One can see this even in our neighbour Pakistan’s mainstream media.In India in ethnic muslims it is absent somewhere & less elsewhere , but it does exist.

        What does one have to mean by Islamic Science? As contribution of Arabs & Persians who happened to be muslims,but then what was the role of Indians & Indonesians in it.Then are we to write about ancient Indians as Hindoos, Buddhists or Jains.It gives a wrong understanding of nationhood & cillizations (which are Indian,Chinese,Persian etc. not Hindu,Muslim,buddhist or christian), which are secular & not spiritual terms as much as Science is.

  • Moreover sir,what makes you think that I’am a Hindu Apologist….I remain just a student with great liking for the ethnic as well as linguistic realities of India which are often distorted by theologists to say that religion is a source of civillization..Its the otherway round…Again is there any Hinduism for me to defend? It is just a misnomer for many imperfect monements & countermovements that occured in India, often having little or no relation with eachother

  • Let the Muslims and Muslim countries walk their talk and show the world that it is not a religion of aggression and intolerance. Then we can have healthy debates on such topics.

    • No I don’t think we need to wait until then.

      As much as I dislike religion, I hate how New Atheism unfairly says that Islam is worse than other relgions and makes outrageous claims that their religion is the reason for Arab backwardness today.

      I mean, do they forget that British meddled in Arabia in World War I, and that the Americans came in shortly after? Every time the region has tried to step forward, America or some other Western power has come in and toppled democracy to prop up a dictator amenable to its interests. And these same people DARE say that religion is the problem?

      It’s a scapegoat and a neocolonial argument. Yeah, religion is bad– but so is the Western intervention. Indians LOVE to blame the British, but the British were actually quite benign to us compared to what the West did to the Arabs, Afghanis, and Persians.

    • Sir, your perception is incorrect. The Muslims have murdered least humans in comparison to so called Christian nations. Despite it, I would not blame great religion Christianty for her adherent’s misdeeds.

  • If tolerance simply means discouraging the mass slaughter of those of a different faith, then today s Islam generally meets this standard more often than not. But, if tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties that Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.

  • I ain’t a scholar..but I believe I have some basic understanding of Islam..first of all, to understand Quranic verses one has to understand their context and timing individually.some verses were for a specific point while others hold permanence.however in each case context is very important..most of the ‘violent verses’ we’re very specific to within the battle situation…similarly concept of jihad has been so misconstrued and I have never seen any attempts by mainstream media to seek understanding of the concept and conditions of its validity..like only a recognised govt can wage jihad (in context of war)..children women elders n those who yield can’t be harmed..even crops n trees n sheep…furthermore with its form and lexicon..you just can’t go with the face value of a loose translation to comprehend its meaning without understanding the history, context,culture n timing..
    Somebody claimed above that it’s full of misogyny..I recommend them to read Karen Armstrong..I will just give one example..if your wife refuses to eat from your own hand..its your duty to feed her by your own..you can’t question her about expenses from pocket money you have to give her..there are many other things which considering Arab culture and even the other ones..were considered radically progressive.
    So one friend mentioned Sunni Shia divide..well it was more of a political basis..n theological differences came much later..
    The pertinent thing is, just like modern day wahabbi (Saudi) ideology which evolved much later in 18th century,there was a group of rejectionists within 50 years after Prophet who behaved very much like them..who would kill innocent on a whim and call it valid by Islam..they were around 5 to 6 k guys..even they managed to martyr Ali (4th caliph by Sunni n 1st imam by Shiite perspective – cousin confidant and son in law of Prophet)…
    N as a history student
    Every religion initiated was about commection of creator with creation on individual basis..with doctrine bein a flexible general directions which can be adapted on rational basis unless about specifically declared…however in every religion a priest class evolved later which realising the power of religion on masses started using and abusing it to enhance their power n agenda so they can rule as a legitimate authority…n when they acquired power..it resulted in corruption..
    So
    Those friends who read n strongly think that Islam is all about violence and other things etc..start again with context..and put your observational scope in those times and cultures..if you want to understand concepts and ideas and their evolution from 7th denture..then 7th century should be your frame of reference…not 21st..

  • Freethinkers (including this author!), please come out of your ivory towers and help address the problems in society. Who is bothered whether Islam is intolerant or not? What cause are you fighting for? What burden of society are you carrying? What is your goal and responsibility? Stand up for the truth and call it that in the face of any/all opposition. Unfortunately I see many Indians becoming apologetic when it comes to anything Hindu. We denounce our own dharma, scriptures, practices, culture etc in the strongest and most virulent manner possible, but rarely and meekly if at all do we raise our voice against other religions. I have often wondered, is this a malady of democratic societies, where we are constantly paying lip service to minorities while being woefully ignorant of our own traditions and heritage by choice! So where is the anchor for such a person? Why are secular humanists of India anti-hindu? The way we jump to immediately accept everyone else’s beliefs as genuine/good, but hold the most critical eye towards Hindu view of life, is indeed alarming. Basic question – why are you so one-sided? It is as if, one cannot be a Hindu and a humanist, both at the same time. Why are you destroying this nation’s fabric? You are preaching a hatred that is more evil than the so called ‘organized religions’. You are making citizens mistrust each other. I think we ought to be sensible enough to pick the best from all the traditions to make our country strong, rather than languishing in some anachronistic arguments. You have failed in your mission to be humanistic, when you fail to bring people together, towards a general good. You are sitting on the faultlines and giving commentary. The scientific spirit of inquiry it seems has been reserved only for examining the Hindu way of life. I have seen this kind of authors to be always trying to find fault (skeptics) rather to find unity, common ground, positive messages.

  • I expected the nirmukta to have been a shining light into the darkness that Hinduism had thrown itself into but what I see here is that this forum is the very thing I deplore to the extent of what the mainstream media meme-ize as “sickulars”. I was a fool to think Indian born people can be proper Hindu-culture atheists. It seems anyone who becomes an atheist is akin to the man who waits to throw acid on the girl’s face just because she rejected him!

    Until I stumbled this article, I was holding the vitriol that the entire website threw on Hinduism to have been just and hence I should not consider “forgiving” as they were anyway on the right path and hence “forgiveness” on this issue is meaningless.

    But this singular article has given me enough evidence to show that the entire website is nothing but Hindu bashing by usage of terms just to justify oneself to be right and others as wrong (pretty dogmatic don’tcha think?).

    The site ridicules the dharmic commentaries that border or even cross the sexual limitations that Europeans are characteristic to hold, and after I viewed through another article supporting a Hindu criticizer who asks the Indian youth to refer European scholars than Indian ones shows to the extent of how “Brown Gentlemen”‘d you people have become.

    This forum showed promise, but this article shows none of the people here who support the forum have any. All of you are as bad as those who follow the dogmatic principles themselves.

  • I am God.
    Dear muslims, who asked you to call me by name Allah?
    I am beyond your senses and imagination and yet you say I spoke to moses and many so called prophets and angels?
    Who said I created jannah, angels, jinn, adam and satan? it is your imagination!!
    I am beyond space and time and you say I am in jannah or I am sitting in a throne?
    Thus you define me in your own way but if non muslims calls me by different names, imagine forms of me and try to worship me in their ways you attack them!! who gave you the right to ridicule other religions and harm others?

Leave a Comment