"Follow one and respect all"
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s (Turning a harmony of differences – The Times of India December 7, 1998) desire to promote tolerance is to be admired but, however, it can hardly be achieved by misrepresenting and twisting the very basic tenets of a religion. Patwardhan in his response has judged the Maulana right when he wrote "either he assumes that his potential readers are extremely gullible and credulous, or he does not really mean what he says".
Wahiduddin wrote: "A devotee's belief that only his religion is true demands
that he convey this reality to others. But such action has nothing to do with
conversion. It is only what is called iblagh, communication, in the
Koran - the communication of the divine message to others. Addressing the Prophet of Islam, the Koran has this to say: "You are not at all a warder over them." (88:22)"
Unfortunately Wahiduddin took one phrase out of context to prove what he wanted to prove. The total text which runs into several surahs is: "Therefore give warning. Your duty is only to give warning: you are not their keeper. As for those that turn their backs and disbelieve, God will inflict on them the supreme chastisement. To Us they shall return, and We will bring them to account." (88:21-26) This is how the surah is written in one paragraph in the translation by NJ Dawood. Pickthall writes each sentence separately. Yes, Allah asks Muhammad to give warning but it does not end in just warning. Yes, Allah does tell Muhammad that "he is not their keeper" but there is more to than just that. The surahs 88:23-24 "As for those that turn their backs and disbelieve, God will inflict on them the supreme chastisement" are translated by Pickthall as "But those whoso is averse and disbelieveth," (88:23) and "Allah will punish him with direst punishment" (88:24).
Different words, different translators but the meaning does not change. Dawood replaces Allah with God to soften the harshness of the message to propel a softer image of Allah. The word God somehow seems less harsh than Allah – at least so believes Dawood – the translator.
Some surahs in the Koran are one line long and some run into a paragraph. Sometimes multiple surahs make one whole sentence and Wahiduddin conveniently chose one and neglected the rest.
There is no compromise or tolerance in Islam as Wahiduddin would like us to believe. At least Allah cannot tolerate someone not believing in His Revelations. He is always ready to punish him with "direst punishment".
Any similarity with the tolerance inherent in pagan or monotheistic beliefs is simply meaningless.
Wahiduddin goes on to say: "On this matter the Islamic viewpoint can be summed up as: "Follow one and respect all.""
Nothing could be further from the truth of Islam and Muhammad himself never followed this. If the Muslims have demolished others’ places of worship, it is not without reason. Patwardhan has given enough quotes from the Koran, I need not repeat them but for your information I would enclose a piece "Islam form its core scriptures" I wrote in response to an article in The Times of India by Asghar Ali Engineer in October 1997 and one about the "Mercy of the Prophet" written in response to another article by Indeevar Goodwill "Do away with blasphemy laws" (The Pioneer Nov 24, 1998)
Coming back to topic of "Follow one and respect all". No such respect is ever mentioned in the entire Koran. And Muhammad set the pattern for his believers to follow when on the occasion of his victory over Mecca he led the demolition of all (360) the idols of the Meccans. Had Islam followed the dictum as put forward by Wahiduddin "Follow one and respect all" there would have been no need to demolish the idols of the Meccans.
Had Muhammad believed in "Follow one and respect all", one of his last three orders would not have been "Expel the pagans from Arabian Peninsula" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Bhavan, vol 4. Pp 183, Chap. 176, hadis 288). And what is Arabian Peninsula "It comprises Mecca, Medina, al-Yamana and Yemen". (ibid)
May I suggest that all those who believe in secularism and freedom of speech and expression, instead of relying my or Patwardhan’s quotes, should go and buy a copy of the Koran, Sahih Al-Muslim and Sahih Bukhari and read all the ayats and the Hadis dealing with the unbelievers and find out for themselves the truth about Islam. If after reading these you sincerely believe that those are bound to live by these teaching can ever live peacefully with those who do not believe in these, please gladly do so.
In these you will also the answers to why all the temples were demolished in India and many other questions which I need not go into details.
If one was told in May 1947, that there will be Pakistan and all the Hindus will be killed, converted or expelled, no one would have believed and if some one was to tell today if the "secularists" do not find out the truth about Islam, the same would be repeated in India, no one would believe this either.
Please do find out the truth about Islam yourself. Never believe what Maulana Wahiduddin or Asghar Ali Engineer or Arun Shourie or I say about it. We may have our opinions but "The Truth" is in the Koran alone. Should Islam succeed in India also, the secularists would have nowhere to hide.
"Follow one and respect all" – Articles by VK