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SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM – Part 8

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM – Part 8
Dr. Zakir Naik

INTRODUCTION

In this series of articles, we are analyzing similarities and common grounds between two major religions of the world: Hinduism and Islam. In the previous article, we studied the various similarities between the concepts of life after death, and of fate and destiny in Islam and in Hinduism as mentioned in their respective scriptures. In this month’s article, we shall study, examine and highlight similarities between the concepts of worship and jihad in Hinduism as mentioned in their respective scriptures. We shall also examine certain similarities in the teachings of the scriptures of Hinduism and Islam.



THE CONCEPT OF WORSHIP IN HINDUISM AND IN ISLAM



PILLARS OF ISLAM



1. ISLAMIC CREED:

a. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari

“Narrated Ibn Umar (r.a.) That Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the slave and messenger of Allah.

2. Iqamat-as-salaah (to perform prayers)

3. To pay Zakaat

4. To perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah)

5. To Observe Saum (i.e. fast) during the month of Ramadhaan

(Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, Book of Imaan, Chapter 1, Hadith 8)



b. TESTIMONY OF FAITH:

The First Pillar of Islam i.e. to declare, proclaim, testify and to bear witness that no entity or deity is worthy of worship, devotion, obedience and submission except Allah (swt) and to bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final Messenger of Allah. This pillar of faith has already been discussed in the Pillar of Imaan.



2. SALAAH:

a. The second Pillar of Islam is Salaah.

Salaah is usually translated in English as prayer. To pray means to beseech or to ask for help. In Salaah we Muslims do not merely ask for help from Almighty Allah but we also praise Him and receive guidance from Him. I personally prefer describing it as programming towards righteousness. To elaborate, consider that during salaah, after Surah Fatiha, an Imaam may recite:



O ye who believe!

Intoxicants and gambling,

(Dedication of) Stones,

And (divination by) arrows,

Are an abomination

Of Satan’s handiwork;

Eschew such (abomination),

That you may prosper.

(Al Qur’an 5:90)



Allah (swt) guides us, through this verse of the Qur’an, which is recited by the Imaam during salaah, that we should not imbibe intoxicants, we should not indulge in gambling, idol worship or fortune telling. All these are Satan’s handiwork and we should abstain from these if we wish to prosper.



The English word ‘prayer’ does not denote the complete meaning of Salaah in its full and true sense.



b. Prayer restrains you from shameful and unjust deeds.



It is mentioned in the Qur’an:



Recite what is sent

Of the book by inspiration

To thee, and establish

Regular Prayer: for prayer

Restrains from shameful

And unjust deeds;

And remembrance of Allah

Is the greatest (thing of life)

Without doubt. And Allah knows

The (deeds) that ye do.

(Al Qur’an 29:45)



c. Five times Salaah for healthy souls.



For a healthy body, human require about three meals. In a similar manner for a healthy soul, it is required that we offer Salaah a minimum of five times every day.



Our Creator Allah (swt) has prescribed salaah for human beings for a minimum of five times a day in Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 78 and in Surah Taha Chapter 20 Verse 130.



d. The Prostration is the most important part of Salaah:

The most important part of Salaah is the ‘Sujud’ i.e. Prostration.



i. It is mentioned in the Qur’an:

“O Mary! Worship thy lord devoutly,

Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayers)

With those who bow down.”

(Al Qur’an 3:43)



ii. O ye who believe:

Bow down, prostrate yourselves,

And adore your Lord; and do good;

That ye may prosper.

(Al Qur’an 22:77)



Similarities:

One of the types of Prayers in Hinduism is 'Shashtang'



There are various different types of prayers and modes of worship in Hinduism. One of the types is ‘shashtang’. The word ‘shashtang’ is made up of ‘Sa’ and ‘Asht’ which means eight and ‘Ang’ which means ‘parts of the body’. Thus, shastang is a mode of worship touching eight parts of the body. The best way a person can do this is like Muslims who prostrate in their Salaah touching their forehead, nose, two hands, two knees, and two feet.



Idol Worship is prohibited in Hinduism:



i. Idol worship, which is very common amongst the Hindus, is prohibited in Hinduism. It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 verse 20:

“Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires they worship demigods i.e. idols.(Bhagavad Gita 7:20)



It is mentioned in:

ii. Svetashvatara Upanishad chapter 4 verse 19



As well as in:

iii. Yajurved Chapter 32 Verse 3

“There is no image of Him”

(Svetashvatara Upanishad 4:19, Yajurved 32:3)



iv. It is also mentioned in

Yajurveda Chapter 40 verse 9

“They enter darkness those who worship natural things (for e.g. air, water, fire, etc.). They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti i.e. created things (for e.g. table, chair, car, idol etc.)

(Yajurved 40:9)



3. ZAKAT:



a. ZAKAAT MEANS PURIFICATION AND GROWTH

Zakaat is the third pillar of Islam, which means purification and growth.



b. 2.5% IN CHARITY

Every rich Muslim who has a saving which is more than the minimum level called ‘Nisaab’ which is 85 gms of gold, should give 2.5% of his excess wealth in charity every lunar year.



c. IF ALL RICH GIVE ZAKAT NO ONE WILL DIE OF HUNGER

If every rich human being gives Zakaat, then poverty will be eradicated from this world. There will not be a single human being who will die of hunger.



d. ZAKAT ENSURES THAT WEALTH DOES NOT CIRCULATE ONLY AMONGST THE RICH

One of the reasons for Zakaat is mentioned in Surah Al-Hashr



“In order that the wealth may not (merely)

circulate amongst the wealthy ….”

(Al Qur’an 59:7)



e. CHARITY IN HINDUISM:

Charity is also prescribed in Hinduism.



i. In Rigved Bk. 10 hymn 117 verse 5



“Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eyes upon a longer pathway. Richest come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling.”

(Translation by Ralph Griffith)



“If it is expected of every rich man to satisfy the poor implorer; let the rich person have a distant vision (for a rich of today may not remain rich tomorrow). Remember that riches revolve from one man to another, as revolve the wheels of a chariot.”

(Translation by Satyaprakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidhya Lankar) (Rigved 10:117:5)



ii. Charity has been prescribed in Bhagvad Gita in several places including:

Chapter 17 verse 20 and

Chapter 16 verse 3



4. SAUM – FASTING:



a. Description

‘Saum’ or fasting, is the fourth pillar of Islam. Every healthy adult Muslim is supposed to abstain from eating and drinking, from dawn to sunset, in the complete lunar month of Ramadhaan.


b. FASTING PRESCRIBED FOR SELF-RESTRAINT:



The reason for fasting has been mentioned in the Qur’an:



O ye who believe!

Fasting is prescribed to you

As it was prescribed

To those before you,

That ye may (learn) self-restraint.

(Al Qur’an 2:183)



Today the psychologists inform us that if a person can control his hunger, it is very likely that he will be able to control most of his desires.


c. Fasting discourages alcoholism, smoking and other addictions



Fasting for one complete month is a good opportunity for giving up one’s wrong habits. If a person can abstain from drinking alcohol, from dawn to sunset, he can very well abstain from alcohol from the cradle to the grave. If a person can abstain from smoking, from dawn to sunset, he can very well abstain from smoking from the cradle to the grave.


d. Medical benefits



There are various medical benefits of fasting. Fasting increases the absorption of the intestine; it also decreases the cholesterol level.


e. Fasting in Hinduism



There are different types and methods of fasting in Hinduism. According to

Manusmriti Chapter 6 verse 24

Fasting has been prescribed for a month for purification.

(Manusmriti edited by Dr. R. N. Sharma)



Fasting has also been prescribed in

Manusmriti chapter 4 verse 222
...


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