Looks like my first post has attracted a feeding frenzy by some.
Sushupti, Brihaspati ji and others,
First of all, there is no intention of offending anyone's religious sentiments -- quite the opposite actually, considering that we have a lot of good Moslem citizens whom I had in mind.
But you were discussing the ideology of Islam which you analyzed purely based on its textual claims, and not based on what "good Moslem" citizens you had in your mind.
I'm frankly amused by your sense of hurt, which first derailed the Lokpal Bill thread. And your deep prejudice is uncalled for and may even be counter-productive.
I can understand your feeling of hurt at exposing the bashing-onlee-Ramdev-for-non-sympathy-to-homosexualism or "cross-dressing" hate-fest that was going on as the sole single focus in the Lokpal Bill thread, but I am not amused. It was a good thread to indulge in political propaganda on behalf of certain party positions and against "Hindu gurus" onlee and that had to be abandoned - so definitely several were saddened.
I am totally at one with the need to solidly condemn and fight the menace of Islamism, but in doing so one need not create a mirror image of it here. My intention was to be more discriminating, identify a recurring force of change and schism in the Islamic world, and leverage a possible ally.
You mean you wanted to selectively highlight aspects of Islam, as retold by some of its adherents, to whitewash it in such a way as to make it more acceptable to the non-Musilm. You did not state this most noble agenda as the purpose of your post.
As I indicated clearly, I related the POV of tasawwuf or Sufism. That is how they see it, whether you or I agree with its basis in their scripture or not. There are a lot of big names in Islamic history who interpret it this way, and this is something we can leverage. It is not my personal opinion, since this is not a religion/spirituality forum. However, since you bring the subject up, I now state that on being given an explanation by dedicated, practicing Sufis I know, and by being provided with scholarly context by them, I see nothing "deceptive" in their chosen interpretation of their scripture. I have spent my time on their invitation and participated in their study sessions and watched them practice, and we felt our exchange as adhyatma-bandhus was mutually beneficial. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I bore the same burden of prejudice, and I was happy to be relieved of it. This bestows greater clarity and vigor with which to pursue the real enemy.
Whether it is deception or not, can only be seen if you compare their interpretations with the original texts, as well as the history of their practice. I can go on quite a bit about Sufi practice, as written by Sufi "narrators" or "historians" themselves. Can you please ask your adhatmya bandhus to explain the spiritual basis of the actions on the ground of the founder of Ajmer Sharif? or the actions of Shah Jalaal - and adevnturer from the south of Arabian peninsula who is supposed to have "peacefully" converted Sylhet now in BD? There is a whole list of such peacefully spiritual sufis we can talk about. By the way, what is your bandhu's opinions about the practice of slavery endorsed in the Quran as a direct order from Allah? Sufis did practice it, there are documents. [Of course I do not know which "silsila" of the Sufis you had as bandhus, definitely differences in paths among Sufis are not to be taken as different sects - even if they have fought physically about on occasions - since after all they are "Sufis", sects only exist in non-Sufis!]
Did you verify what they said with texts and what their own past records say about them? Or you willingly swallowed what you wanted to believe about the sufis?
So, you have already decided that the scripture is a classic of mendacity. You decide what part of a word is meant to deceive, and what part accords with your memory of malice. Pray, what standard of lexicographic exegesis is this? Even assuming lexicographical interpretation is valid on its own (which is not the case in Vedic or any other tradition)?
"Peace" in the Qur'an is a word with multiordinal meanings, just like any other word in any scripture. That is the basis of ontological semantics. It is not according to one's wordly or anthropomorphic imaginations or preferences. But there are plenty of references to peace as it was understood in those times and today, using the word "salaam" for example, which is from the same root. E.g. odkholooha be salaamen zaaleka yowmul kholood. The word "Islam" is thus defined noetically, using its grammatical variants as well as the whole complex of all ideas.
The scripture itself was quite clear what it meant by the tri-literal. It did not mean "peace" because that is not the context of the root word - it is purely "submission", peaceful or not peaceful. So if you use it in an extended sense to claim "peaceful" that does become mendacity on whoever represents it that way. We can go on into the history of "peace" as interpreted in "salaam" - and you can see that it had nothing to do with "peace", both in the supposed mimicry of the similar sounding Jewish phrase, as well as the Qureyshi Arabic use. Islam-Muslim- all denote "submission" and not necessarily only "peace". This is the mendacity if you try to force a single "peace" connotation and meaning on this.
You have no "memory of malice" as evidenced even in the actions of Sufi preachers in India? even if you do not have, can you deny the right of others to "remember"?
What is meant by yajna, daana, tapas? That is how words like fanaa, islam, sadaqah, tazkiya, fidaa, jihaad, etc were explained to me by them, how it was explained in their textbook commentaries, and that is how I saw them take it to heart. Now whether you agree on whether that's what the Qur'an really wanted them to do or not is a different matter.
How relevant was bringing yajna, daana, tapas into this? Shall we take up those words quoted by you as used in the Quran and the ahadith? Do your friends deny those contextual use of those words in the Quran and the ahadith - as anti-Islam or un-Islamic? This is important - since if they fail to do this, but push these "yajna/daana/tapas" imagery or push those words in a non-physical nonpolitical non-military sense, it does become deceptive.
My ears are burning. Please provide me the reference. I will show it to them and let you know what they have to say.
But you are well-versed in the Quran, isnt it? You could promptly show references in the Quran to a disputer! Please scan and say that you did not find anything.
Yes, the Qur'an is definitely a book that talks in terms of life and death. For example, in terms of obedience to divine authority, it says stuff like, "But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then they do not find any straitness in their selves as to what you have decided, and submit with total submission. And if We had prescribed for them: Kill yourselves or go forth from your homes, they would not have done it except a few of them; and if they had done what they were admonished, it would have certainly been better for them and most efficacious in strengthening (them) (4:65 66)."
But I think that's how most scriptures that address the mind in that mode of nature are. For example, the Bhagavad Gita was sung in a dramatic setting of fratricidal war. Now if a nutcase takes that out of its context, there's no gainsaying that it is a prescription for mayhem! There are verses of violence against ignorance in most scriptures I've seen.
The context game would actually be wonderful! Of course the context should not be taken out of the words! Of course! Would you allow the contexts of the words mentioned by you and your friends, also to be tagged to the "contexts" and not re-invented as some oh-so-spiritual whitewashed concept? It is the standard practice of Islamist as well as "Hindu" hagiographers of Islam to bring in the Gita whenever the context of "violence/killing" comes up in the "faith" context - Zakir Nayak is a shining example. "ignorance"!!!!The Quranic texts reco violence onlee on "ignorance"?!!! "ignorance" indeed! Are you sure that it was Quran that you had gone through or some interpreted commentary on it?
But hairsplitting apart, the same scenario is found in tasawwuf. Experientially also, one discovers that with progress in sadhana, an ability is gained whereby a movement of thought achieves the spiritual result of thought+action. Whence Muhammad said in reply to a young whipper-snapper that a person who sits in meditation (zikr) in any circumstance is a much, much greater mujahid and shaheed than someone who only charges into battle during wartime and is martyred. Plenty of examples of synesthesia in the Vedas, too.
Secondly, about "other" traditions, the first few verses of the Qur'an itself say that accepting completely the bona fides of all previous traditions is a necessary condition for having spiritual benefit. Moreover, there is the hadith of Muhammad instructing a few fanatical devotees who were being critical of other traditions. He said that they ought to spend their intellect justifying other traditions on Judgment Day so that they may have the opportunity of intercession on their behalf. This is a classic balance of positive ratiocination without indulging in wishy-washy "all is ==" doctrine, which is necessary for the neophyte. Note how he avoids any "==" but circumvents the pitfalls of dogmatism and fanaticism.
You are failing to mention what is clearly stated and meant as valid "traditions", this was the supposed tradition of the "book/qitab" that was given before to specific groups, and not to all traditions. In particular, his own Qureysh clan's "traditions" are not accepted. There are plenty of refs in the texts in denouncing all other "interpretations" of the Abrahamic "tradition" as defined by Muhammad and "Gibrail" and direct revelation by "Allah" - as deviations and not traditions. As for dogmatism and fanaticism, there are plenty stacked against in the texts to what you are pushing for. Please quote the exact Hadith giving the "book" you are referring to.
Yes, the context is there in ahadith. Also true that there were instances of some of his followers getting into brawls upon provocation, but there is no doubt that for the vast majority of the time they were on the receiving end of shunning and active persecution. Please don't try to twist your way around it.
See how you make it so obvious as to your over-zeal in trying to justify every action by the early Muslims! So "some followers" got into "brawls" only upon "provocation"! Can you quote these provocations and the narrations where these provocations are described? Where is the poof of this shunning and "persecution" and in what form? The most that we get is that some "poets" lampooned his words - and which he retaliated to by specifically getting one such woman poet assassinated while she was suckling her baby, and executing such women and men when he "peacefully" re-conquered Mecca. Even remembering that we do not have any independent voiceof the opponents of Muhammad left in record, and all that we get have been only coming from the "victorious" side, we have plenty of evidence as to who provoked whom and in what form. I think you should consult your bandhus first before making such claims. Ask them about a certain woman poet assassinated on the orders of Muhammad - and what was her crime. I have many such cases in mind.
It is you who are twisting and misrepresenting what is clearly stated in the texts, to create a whitewashed image of the early Muslims and painting their critics falsely with actions or attitudes exactly as per Islamist propaganda.
Also, his mission was not "secretive" in the beginning. The initial followers had their gatherings forced underground after some of them faced torture. But the Prophet himself would even visit fairs (melas) to advertize his message. He was once done the honor of being pelted with stones by children. That provided the occasion when he recited a famous prayer.
It was secretive, and openly acknowledged to be so. Can you give me the refs to "torture" of his initial followers? The one incident that is used to claim this would actually reveal the propaganda involved as to who did what! Children cannot understand high philosophy perhaps. But you must have seen whom children go after in gangs - anything that they see as odd, ridiculous, especially those that appear loony. As for societal or parental encouragement to children "pelting stones" - that again is a peculiarly Islamist culture and tradition [a modern exception would be the Nazis - but they had solid Abrahamic pecedence]. Muhammad cannot complain about stone pelting - because it was part of ritual "rejection" rites endorsed by himself, and part of the traditions of the Jews which he mostly adopted, and prevalent in the area he moved around.
Of course there was plenty of opposition! What a silly question. But there are famous hadith of prominent Jewish scholars becoming disciples, such as Abdullah ibn Salam! I would have thought you would know them, considering how Moslems like to talk about these hadith.
You were claiming that the "cream" of Jewish and Christian youth took to following him. You have not given the references to yet. Shall we discuss Abdullah Ibn Salam and how he got "converted"?
Brihaspati ji, everyone with the most superficial knowledge of Arabia knows that there were Christian Arabs, including a relative of Muhammad's own first wife Khadija.
You did not mention the opposition from the same quarters - and made only statements that appears as the leading lights supporting Muhammad.
sure that "Christian Arab" youth were not opposed to Muhammad and so much so that they actually collaborated with the Byzantines?
Sure some did. What are you hammering away at? Many youths affiliated with the Shankara Mathas converted and became disciples of Shri Madhvacharya. But there were many others who did everything they could to undermine him and his mission. So??
We are not discussing Madhvacharya are we - or is doing that == your only business here?
Ah right, its all one big conspiracy. In fact, even I may be in on the conspiracy, since you hint that I may have defected from the Indic to some non-Indic demon cult.
I think in much earlier interactions you were firmly on the position that Islamic narrators "exaggerate" a "lot" and boast or lie when it comes to descriptions about their opponent non-Muslims. Of course then you had to defend the Thaparite whitewashing of the Islamic record in India, and had to even pooh-pooh what the narrators themselves claim. You see no inconsistency in your two positions? Or the islamic texts are authentic when they are talking of their opponents "torturing" them or "provoking"them, but not authentic when it is they themselves heaping atrocities on their "opponents"? By the way, can you make it clear what is meant as "opponent" in the early Islamic literature - exactly what could qualify as "opposition"?
My point was that the Qur'an pooh poohs the silly sectarian claims of existing traditions. That's all!
But you talked a lot more about other things - isnt it, without having any clear idea of what was meant by "traditions" in the texts? or on what exactly was actually carried out on what was seen as "non-tradition"?
Early Islam, itself can be seen as a sect within the Judaic traditions - adopting the iconoclastic traditions within Byzantine Christianity, and just as the other sects - claiming that all others are deviations from the "truth" - in particular, which was onlee being revived and revealed through Muhammad. The extreme vituperation against these other sects is scattered all over the place in the texts, and have not been quoted here.Only selective quotes [context please ?- but only when it helps to show peaceful intent, otherwise remain silent] pushed to create a view that is not supported by a comprehensive consideration.
It is strategically important that we understand the whole picture as finely as possible in order to be able to engage and influence events there to the advantage of our traditions and our intrinsic strengths as a dharmic nation. Sufism provides a platform that has historically worked to our advantage. The Sikh phenomena and Guru Gobind Singh's conjuring up the khalsa would not have been possible without the sacrifices made by several Sufi Moslem teachers and their followers at that time. They recognized him as the axis of dharma (qutb-ud-din) and their followers martyred themselves protecting him -- while the Hindu Hill Rajas allied with Aurangzeb to try to kill him! We need to understand the forces at work.
Yes - and the same Sufis helped and were in turn helped by - Islamic military forces and regimes. In this respect the Sufis would be an even greater danger as should be apparent by their records in preparing the grounds for Islamic regimes, and their success in winning confused Indic voices which helps to divide opposition to Islamism. [perhaps the "cream" of non-Muslim youth are onlee now being brainwashed?] Sufis have helped in putting a spin on the proselytizing and past-culture erasing imperialist coreof the theology. Yes, we do need to understand the forces at work.
Read any book on kalaam or tasawwuf, and the meaning of asnaam and shirk are made plain. That it is also taken literally by most of them is another matter that I certainly did not intend to ignore. And Hussain, the Prophet's grandson, famously told an ex-priest of an Arabian temple, that what's the use of breaking idols when people are following walking idols now.
Literalism is often heaped on "followers" and "misinterpreters", but that was the clear original intent in laying out the "book". Only ignorance or worse, political deception would pretend that the text was not meant to be taken literally.
Come on! Numerous verses of the Qur'an are a direct call to meditation. And what was Muhammad's intention when, days before his death, he decided to pass his cloak on to a person named Oveys of Qarani? This was his most resonant slap in the face of the adrenalized types who surrounded him. Our problem is with the adrenalized idiots, but we need the saintly Oveys types to defect to our side. It will give us a tremendous psychological advantage over the rest.
You mention this repeatedly. Can you provide the "interpretation" of "zikr" you claim as meditation from the original texts - and not the later Sufi obfuscations? You were so saddened at the "derailment" of the Lokpal thread - according to you by people like "us" - where the focus has now shifted to claiming that it is the system/in-built-policy/rules that "attracts" corruption and the corrupt, and here you are claiming that policy/rules in-built into the theology has no role in attracting the "adrenalin" types? For if the fault lies in the system, it will continue to do so - isnt it? We can discuss Oveys too! Have you been told by your "bandhus" that there is a concept of "weak Hadiths"? [of course weakness is according to convenience].
Yes, most Sufis. Followers of the likes of Rabbani are different. I have already drawn that distinction.
Tauba tauba - that sounds so close to sectarianism! How can there be differences of interpretation even within the Sufi traditions - if the texts rule it out?
Brihaspati ji, I took the time to reply to your post as a matter of forum etiquette. But this sort of discussion is not at all my interest on this board. To reiterate - my point is that there exists a Sufi PoV. This Sufi PoV has wound its way through the history of Islam, however duplicitious or suspicious you may find it. This "suspicious" Sufism was instrumental in effecting the Safavi Shi'ite coup, for example. Therefore, this medium should not be lost when brainstorming ways to engage and influence the Ummah to our advantage. I hope my explanation has allayed your main concerns, which I duly appreciate.
But Shia Bijapuris or Sunni Aurangzeb - were equally atrocious on the Hindus. Sufis help in some factional infighting for forces outside India - grand! Inside India, sorry - they are a threat. As long as those other interpretations are not firmly and clearly rejected as un-Islamic, nay, anti-Islamic, mere mumblings of "literal interpretations is not good" is not enough. We have to interpret it as a clever ploy to confuse the "enemy" in Islam - a "tradition" as old as the first and core texts.