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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Distortion of jihad by Hindu priests-another attack on Muslims in India?

Amjed Jaaved discusses how Hindu priests distort the original concept of Jihad and equate it with terrorism. This has created an Anti-Muslim narrative in India as Muslims in India continue to face persecution and isolation.

A vitriolic anti-Muslim speech by Yogi Narsinghanand Saraswati, mahant (chief priest) of Dasna Devi temple Ghaziabad has become viral. In this speech, the priest furiously spoke against jihad and vowed to eliminate Muslims from India.

He intends to hold a world congress of religions inviting scholars from all religions except Islam. He harbours the hallucination that there is a Muslim hand in all the evils in the world, including the farmers’ protest aimed at repeal of new marketing and distribution laws. He exhorted Hindus to have at least five children in a family lest Muslims should outnumber them.



Hindus draw inspiration from the Jewish state of Israel. They want Hindus to be given preferential treatment and minorities, particularly the Muslim be relegated to a lower class of citizenship.

The plight of Muslims in India

Muslims in India are already in a miserable condition as documented in several studies. Muslims are one of the six minorities (14.2 per cent in India’s Census 2011). But, they are under-represented in every realm of life.

Their condition worsened under BJP’s rule since 2014. India Today reported:

“However, the ascendance of majoritarian Hindutva since Narendra Modi first came to power in 2014 is arguably a new turning point in the downward fortunes of India’s Muslims, compounding the socio-economic misfortune, arguably born of chronic neglect by the state, with a new sense of deliberate political marginalisation and active persecution.”

Sachar Commission report 2006 highlighted that Muslims lagged in terms of such parameters like income, employment and literacy as compared to other minorities.

The report pointed out that some 31 per cent (about one third) of Muslims fell below the poverty line. Twenty-fie per cent of Muslim children did not go to school. Their representation in Indian Administrative Service and Police Service was a mere 1.8 per cent and 4 per cent in police service.

Read more: Muslims in India have nothing more to fear

According to Steven Wilkinson, Muslims are less than one per cent of higher-ranking officers in the armed forces (colonels and above). This figure was confirmed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, a former defence minister of India. Yadav’s successor bluntly explained, `The Muslim is not wanted in the armed forces because he is always suspect – whether we want to admit it or, most Indians consider Muslims a fifth column for Pakistan.

A 2018 United Nations Development Programme report stated ‘every third Muslim is multi-dimensionally poor’. A 2018 NITI Aayog report (India) found that more than half the 20 most backward districts in the country were ‘Muslim dominated’.

India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2019 reported that “the number of Muslim inmates in Indian prisons remains disproportionately high (around 18 per cent) while the figure for detenues has risen significantly, with Muslims accounting for some 35.8 per cent of all detenues”.

Read more: Many Indians don’t consider Dalits, Muslims and Tribals to be human, Rahul Gandhi

The wave of ‘gau rakshas’ lynching, the massacre of the CAA-NRC protesters, including,  the Delhi riots witch-hunt of  ‘Corona jihad’, ‘love jihad’, and ‘UPSC jihad’ have cornered and isolated Muslims. The terrified Muslims are joining the Muslim much of the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh in hordes.

Felix Pal, a researcher at Yale University, in his June 2020 paper, titled ‘Why Muslims join the Muslim wing of the RSS’, “challenges the claim that the RSS is winning over Muslim minds”. His view is that “Muslims join for largely instrumental reasons; for material reward and security”.

Read more: Is RSS the invisible government of India?

Distortion of the Islamic jihad concept

The media has, by and large, ignored the koota yuddha undercurrent in India’s history.  But, it has given too much negative publicity to Islamic jihad. For one thing, jhad (al-Quran 25: 52) does not mean ‘Holy War’. Jihad fi sabil l’illah , as described in the Qur’an, can mean argumentation, writings, or financial help and may include actual fighting. But, the proper term for `fighting’ is qital.

The Hindu priest, and also non-Muslim writers, not only mistranslate the word jihad for qital, but also distort the true meaning of Quranic texts by quoting them out of context with Ahadith or peculiar situations to which they relate. They present a jaundiced microscopic view of Islam, equating jihad with terrorism.

Read more: Blasphemy and exploitation by religious extremists

They meticulously avoid discussion of the conduct of an Islamic state under the Shariah.  Unfortunately, the books distorting Islamic teachings are the best sellers.

For instance, the preacher on internationally-syndicated radio broadcast `Grace to You’,  Dr John MacArthur (like the Hindu priest)  in his book Terrorism, Jihad, and the Bible says, [page 32] “Muslim regard war as a legitimate means of turning people to their religion. A war whose purpose is to bring infidels into submission under Islam is considered jihad, a holy war.”

He also says, “Mohammed himself justified and participated in killing and robbery against infidels in the name of Allah. ‘Convert or die’ has always been the most persuasive tool in the Islamic “missionary’s” arsenal. Islam has always conquered by the sword. And in medieval times, converted virtually all of the Middle East by force.”

Read more: Opinion: How Islamophobia originated in the west?

“Islamic fundamentalists regard all non-Muslims, including Christians, to be infidels. A verse in the Koran (9:5) authorizes the faithful to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them.  [Page 46…] ‘The Koran itself is filled with teachings that promote violence and advocate the spread of Islam by force. ..Islam is the main persecutor of Christians all over the world. Thousands of Christians are dying under Islamic persecution, especially in the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia,” states John MacArthur.

Contrary to what the non-Muslim writers in their prurient writings suggest, Islam does not support unbridled jihad or qital. Quran, Ahadith and conduct of the Pious Caliphs explain types of wars, reasons for waging them, treatment of POW, civilians, women and children, treaties, etc.

Read more: Pakistan aims to fight Islamophobia via Quran education

What does the Quran really say?

The Qur’an gives a clear instruction that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256). It states that people will remain different (11: 118), they will always have different religions and ways and this is an unalterable fact (5:48). God tells the Prophet that most people will not believe ‘even if you are eager that they should’ (12: 103). Marriages with Ahl al Kitab are valid.

Muslims, think of war not as something to be desired or sought after. The Qur’an (8: 61) says: “And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in God. And again: “So do not falter, and invite to peace when ye are the uppermost (Qur’an 47:35).

A Hadith of the Prophet goes: “Do not be eager to meet the enemy but ask God for safety. Yet if you meet them, persevere and have patience; and know that Paradise is under the shadows of swords (Bukhariy 56:112, 156:94: 8 Sahih of Muslim, V 143 Abu Dawood).

Read more: Putin Quotes Holy Quran to Urge for Peace in Yemen: “You Became Brothers by his Favor”

On another occasion, the Prophet said: “Do not be eager to meet the enemy, perhaps you may be put to test by them, but rather say: O God! Suffice for us, and keep their might away from us! (Ibn-Qutaibah, Uyunul Akhbar, 1, 107, Chapter. Kitab al-Harb)

“Wars are accidents among the happenings of the time, just like sicknesses, in contrast to peace and security, which resemble health for bodies. So it is necessary to preserve health by means of political action and to shun sickness by means of warlike action, and to busy one’s self in preserving health” (Hasan-ibn-Abdallah, Athar ul Awwal fi Tarteebud Dawwal, compiled in 708 Hijri).

Jihad is not an individual, but a general duty. Jihad is not considered as a personal duty (Farz Ayn) to be observed by each and every individual (Qur’an, 9: 122), but only a general duty (Farz Kafaya) which, if accomplished by a sufficient number, the rest will no more be charged with the neglect of that duty.

This fact renders the administration of jihad entirely in the hands of the government. The practice of the Prophet also shows that either he himself organized the expeditions or delegated his authority to responsible governors or tribal chieftains. (Ibn-Hisham, p. 954.)

Read more: Islam has no connection with terrorism: Imran Khan

Holy Wars under Hinduism (dharma yuddha, koota yuddha)

Generally, all religions make distinctions between just and unjust wars. But, practitioners of the wars coin their own reasons to justify a war (for political reasons), no matter how inhumane and unjust it be.

Let us have a closer look at the concept of the holy wars (dharma and koota yuddha) under Hinduism. The Ramayanas and Mahabharata wars elucidate various types of yuddha (wars). In ancient India, there were three schools of war. Bhishma’s school of warfare belonged to dharma yuddha (ethical or just war). Two other schools, Brihaspati’s and Krishna’s school of warfare belonged to Koota Yuddha (all-out war).

Read more: BJP-RSS’ ‘koota yuddha’ on Muslims and misinformed Islamophobia

Bhishma stressed chivalry and ruled out surprise and deception. But, Brihaspati recommended that the king should attack an enemy only if the enemy’s strength is one-third of his own (`udyog parva’). He suggested that the king should never trust the enemy or spare him, no matter how old or virtuous he may be.

Similarly, the keynote of Krishna’s military philosophy was that end justifies the means. He laid great stress on deception. The truth may often have to be sacrificed in pursuit of victory (karma parva). He advocated the use of force to defeat the enemy if he was superior in strength or capability (shalya parva). The opportunity once wasted never returns (`shanti parva’).

India’s koota yuddha

Even the enlightened Hindu and the military writers believe that India’s prosperity during various periods of history, for example during the Maurya and the Gupta periods, rose or fell pari passu with rising or fall of military leadership (Major General Rajendra Nath,  Military Leadership in India: Vedic Period to Indo-Pak Wars). India’s volte face on a promise to hold a plebiscite is a fine example of koota yuddha.

Read more: Op-ed: How India distorted the truth to control occupied Kashmir

It is unfortunate that the international organisations took no notice of hate speeches being delivered by Hindu priests, and followers of the RSS and its affiliates. The Bajrang Dal is even giving military training with live firearms to its recruits.

Mr Amjed Jaaved has been writing freelance for over five decades. He has served the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is the author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Global Village Space.