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SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM – Part 3

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM – Part 3
Dr. Zakir Naik

CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM

The Qur’an too propounds monotheism. So you will find similarities between Hinduism and Islam even in the concept of God.



a. SURAH IKHLAS WITH EXPLANATION


(i) Translation

As per Islam, the best and the most concise definition of God is given in Surah Ikhlas of the Glorious Qur’an:

Say He is Allah,

The One and Only;

Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;

He begets not,

Nor is He begotten;

And there is none

Like unto Him.

(Al Qur’an 112:1-4)


The word ‘assamad’ is difficult to translate. It means that absolute existence can be attributed only to Allah, all other existence being temporal or conditional. It also means Allah is not dependant on any person or thing but all persons and things are dependent on Him.


It is the touch stone of Theology


Surah Ikhlas i.e. Chapter 112 of the Glorious Qur’an is the touchstone of Theology. ‘Theo’ in Greek means God and ‘logy’ means study. Thus ‘Theology’ means study of God and Surah Ikhlas is the touchstone of the study of God.


If you want to purchase or sell your gold jewellery, you would first evaluate it. Such an evaluation of gold jewellery is done by a goldsmith with the help of a touchstone. He rubs the gold jewellery on the touch stone and compares its colour with rubbing samples of gold. If it matches with 24 Karat gold he will tell that your jewellery is 24 Karat pure Gold. If it is not high quality pure Gold, he will tell you its value whether 22 Karats, 18 Karats or it may not be gold at all. It may be fake because all that glitters is not gold.


Similarly Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112 of the Qur’an) is the touchstone of theology, which can verify whether the deity that you worship is a true God or a false God. Thus, Surah Ikhlaas is a four-line definition of Almighty God according to the Qur’an. If any one claims to be, or is believed to be Almighty God satisfies this four-line definition, we Muslims will readily accept that deity as God. This Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an, Surah Ikhlas, is the acid test. It is the ‘Furqan’ or the criterion to judge between the one True God and false claimants to divinity. Hence, whichever deity any human on earth worships, if such a deity fulfills the criteria specified in this Chapter of the Qur’an, then this deity is worthy of worship and is the One True God.


b. Is Bhagwan Rajneesh God ?


Some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh or Osho Rajneesh is Almighty God. Please note my words, I have stated that some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh is Almighty God. Once during a question-answer session there was a Hindu gentleman who misunderstood my statement. He said that Hindus do not worship Rajneesh as God. I am aware that Hinduism does not consider Rajneesh to be God. Rajneesh has followers, who are converts to his philosophy / ideology, but who were originally followers of various different religions.


Let us put this candidate Bhagwan Rajneesh to the test of Divinity as prescribed by Surah Ikhlaas, the touchstone of Divinity.


(i) The First Criterion is ‘Qul hu Allah hu ahad’ –‘say, He is Allah one and only’. Is Rajneesh one and only? We know several such fake god-men and claimants of divinity amongst humans. Several are found in our country, India. Rajneesh is surely not one and only. Not as a human and not even as a human claimant to godhood. However, some disciples of Rajneesh may still state that Rajneesh is unique and that he is one and only.



(ii) Let us analyse the second criterion ‘Allah hus samad’– ‘Allah the Absolute & ‘Eternal’. Is Rajneesh absolute and eternal? We know from his biography that he was suffering from diabetes, asthama, and chronic backache. He alleged that the U.S.A. government gave him slow poisoning while he was in their jail. Imagine! Almighty God being poisoned! Moreover, all are aware that Rajneesh died and was cremated / buried. So Rajneesh was neither eternal, nor absolute


(iii) The third Criteria is ‘Lam ya lid wa lam yu lad’ – ‘He begets not, nor is begotten’. However, Rajneesh was begotten. He was born in Jabalpur in India. Like all humans, he too had a mother and a father. They later on become his disciples.


Rajneesh was a very intelligent person. In May 1981 he went to U.S.A. He established a town in Oregon and named it ‘Rajneeshpuram’. It seems that he took America for a ride for the U.S. government arrested him and later deported him out of America in 1985. So Rajneesh returned to India and started a ‘Rajneesh Neosanyas commune in Pune in India which was later renamed the ‘Osho commune’.


If you visit this ‘Osho commune’ in Pune you will find it written on his tombstone, “Osho - never born, never died, only visited the planet earth between 11th Dec. 1931 to 19th Jan 1990”. They conveniently forget to mention on this tombstone that Rajneesh was not given a visa for 21 different countries of the world. Imagine Almighty God visiting the earth and requiring a visa! The Arch Bishop of Greece had said that if Rajneesh was not deported they would burn his house and those of his disciples.


(iv) The fourth test is so stringent that none besides the One True God, Allah (swt), can pass it. ‘Wa lam ya kullahu kufuwan ahad’ which means, ‘there is none like Him’. The moment you can imagine or compare the candidate or claimant to godhood to anything, this candidate is not god. Neither can you have a mental picture of God.


We know that Rajneesh was a human being. He had one head, two hands, two feet, and a white flowing beard. The moment you can think or imagine what the claimant to godhood is, he or she is not god.



Suppose someone says, “God is a thousand times as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger”. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the strongest men on earth. He was given the title ‘Mr. Universe’ in (the year). The moment you can compare Almighty God to anything, whether it is a 1000 times stronger or a million times stronger, whether it be Darasingh or Kingkong, the moment you can compare the claimant to godhood to anything, he is not God. ‘Wa lam ya kul lahu kufwan ahad’ ‘there is none like Him.’


c. ATTRIBUTES OF GOD



To Allah belong the most beautiful names:


(i) The Qur’an mentions in Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 110:

Say: “Call upon Allah, or

Call upon Rahman;

By whatever name ye call

Upon Him, (it is well):

For to Him belong

The Most Beautiful Names

(Al Qur’an 17:110)



You can call Allah by any name but that name should be beautiful and should not conjure up a mental picture. The Qur’an gives no less than 99 different attributes to Almighty God. Some of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Hakeem; Most Gracious, Most Merciful and All Wise. 99 different names / attributes and the crowning one, the hundredth one is Allah. The Qur’an repeats this message that to Allah belong the most beautiful names in:



(i) Surah Al Aaraf Chapter 7 Verse 180

(ii) In Surah Taha Chapter 20 Verse 8

(iii) In Surah Al Hashr Chapter 59 Verse 23 & 24



d. NAME ALLAH PREFERED TO THE WORD ‘GOD’



The Muslims prefer calling Allah (swt) with His Name Allah, instead of the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word Allah is pure and unique, unlike the English word God which can be played around with.



If you add ‘s’ to God, it becomes ‘gods’ that is plural of God. Allah is one and singular, there is no plural of Allah. If you add ‘dess’ to God, it becomes ‘goddess’ that is a female God. There is nothing like male Allah or female Allah. Allah has no gender. If you add father to God, it becomes ‘godfather’. “He is my Godfather” means that “he is my guardian”. There is nothing like Allah Abba or Allah father in Islam. If you add mother to God it becomes ‘godmother, there is nothing like Allah Ammi or Allah Mother in Islam. If you put tin before God, it becomes tin god i.e. a fake God, there is nothing like-tin Allah or fake Allah in Islam. Allah is a unique word, which does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with. Hence, the Muslims prefer the name Allah when referring to the Almighty Creator. But sometimes while speaking to non-Muslims we may have to use the inappropriate word God for Allah.



Allah is mentioned by Name in Hindu Scriptures



The Word “Allah”, which refers to Almighty God in Arabic, is also mentioned in

Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1 verse 11

Rigveda Book 3 hymn 30 verse 10

Rigveda Book 9 hymn 67 verse 30

There is an Upanishad by the name ALO Upanishad.



IIA. THE CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM



We had earlier stated that as per Islam the best and the most concise definition of God is as given in Surah Ikhlas of the Glorious Qur’an:



Say He is Allah,

The One and Only;

Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;

He begets not,

Nor is He begotten;

And there is none

Like unto Him.

(Al Qur’an 112:1-4)



i. Similar Verses in Hindu Scriptues

There are several passages in the Hindu Scriptures, which have the same or similar meaning as Surah Ikhlas.



1. Say: He is Allah, The One and Only.

(Al Qur’an 112:1)



It has a meaning which is very similar to:

“Ekam Evadvitiyam”

“He is only one without a second.”

(Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1)


2. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute.

He begetteth not,

...


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