IDOLATORY, ISLAM AND INDIA
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
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
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
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,
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
b. alternatively they know them to be mere visual
aids, having no divinity in themselves.
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.
The Bible goes even further to declare that the extreme
love is to be reserved for God:
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."
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
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
thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
might." (Deuteronomy 6: 5).
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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
( 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
(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 )
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:
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
(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)
"God and His angels pray peace to the Prophet,
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
O believers, do you also bless him, and
pray him peace."
(The Confederates: 55)
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
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:
beings." (The Prophets: 100)
"No person attains faith, till I am dearer to him
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:
persons of his household, his wealth and the whole of
mankind." (Muslim, Vol. 1: 70)
"You (believers) have a good example in God's
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.
Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the Last
Day." (The Confederates: 20)
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
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
This point is well explained by the following Hadith (Sahih
Muslim: Vol. 4: 5655)
him unto whom the Beneficient (God) hath given leave
and whose He accepleth." (TA HA: 109)
"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
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."
having power, with the Lord of the Throne secure,
obeyed, moreover trusty."
(The Darkening: 15-20)
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
The next hadith no. 5175 reports this event in a more
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)
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
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
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
brings it back again,
and unto him you shall be returned."
(The Greeks: 10)
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
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 is.at 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 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
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
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.
Agni all perfect...." (R.V.1: CXLVI: 1)
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
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
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
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)
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)
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
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.