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Interview (23 Jul 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Islam, Muslims, Interfaith Relations and Peace

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

23 July 2016

Q:  I have heard Muslims privately refer to people of other faiths, even those who may not have ever harmed them in any way, as Ghair Qaum, Kuffar, etc.—in a very demeaning manner. Why do they do this?

A: Those Muslims who refer to others as kafir or Ghair Muslim are committing a sin. This is because according to the Quran and Hadith, all persons are children of Adam, which makes all human beings blood sisters and blood brothers to each other.

Q: Do you think that it’s the law of action and an equal and opposite reaction at work here: that because many Muslims look down at people of other faiths and wrongly brand them as ‘infidels’, others have a negative opinion of them?

A: Muslim militancy is the sole reason for others’ critique of Muslims. If Muslims abandon their violence, people will have no problems with them at all.

The problems Muslims are facing today are a result of their own wrong planning, a planning that goes against nature. The world in which we live is governed by a law, which may be called the divine law or the law of nature. Right planning is that one’s planning should be just in accordance with the law of nature. On the contrary, wrong planning is when one’s planning is based on one’s desires and does not take into consideration the law of nature. For example, in the present age Western nations have achieved dominance. Muslims considered this a threat to themselves and began to fight against these nations. They continued this struggle at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves. Everyone is aware that this step by Muslims yielded no result at all. The reason is that it was based on wrong planning.

The Quran states a law of international life in these words: ‘Lord, sovereign of all sovereignty. You bestow sovereignty on whom You will and take it away from whom You please’ (3:26). In the recent past, Muslim empires, such as the Mughal and Ottoman empires, came to an end. This happened according to the international law mentioned in this Quranic verse. Muslims should have accepted it and re-planned the affairs of their community. Had Muslims done this, Muslim history of recent times would have surely been different.

There is great wisdom behind the above Quranic law regarding international life. That is, it helps in maintaining and continuing the process of development. Muslims, in their long period of rule, could not take the world beyond the agricultural age. When the European countries gained dominance, they helped the world enter the industrial age. It was now time for Muslims to understand the new changes and draw benefit from them. However, because of their unawareness, Muslims began to fight, leading to total failure.

The reason Muslims are facing problems today is because of non-acceptance of modern changes. The new changes were brought about from God and had to be welcomed. But Muslims wrongly regarded it as ‘zulm’ or oppression and began to fight against it. Thus, Muslims’ problems today are a result of wrong planning.

Q:  Some Muslims who, upset about the terrorism that self-styled ‘Islamic’ groups continue to commit in the name of Islam, are embarrassed to be seen as ‘Muslim’ by friends from other communities, apprehensive that they may discriminate against them just because they have a Muslim name even though they are against the terrorism that’s happening in the name of Islam. Sometimes, they downplay their Muslim identity because they think that others may not accept them.

Q: What advice would you have for such people?

A: Their fear lies within and has no existence outside of themselves. Such people should completely free their mind of this thinking. They must be convinced that these terror acts are not truly inspired by Islam but are done by some misled Muslims. I travel in India and all over the world and have no such fear because I have completely disowned the violent acts of Muslims.

Q: According to some, the US-led invasion of Iraq played a major role in the rise of the terrorist outfit ISIS. Do you agree?

A: In history there has always been room for more than one interpretation. My explanation is that in the present times, Muslims have reacted to colonialism. All Muslim leaders reacted to colonialism, and none gave the Muslim masses a positive lead in the face of colonialism. Thus, various kinds of negative activities took root among Muslims, ISIS being one such example. The blame in this matter does not go to the US or UK. Rather, it goes to Muslim leaders.

Q: While you rightly condemn Muslim extremist groups for the violence they are engaging in, what is the reason that, if I am not mistaken, you do not critique the violence engaged in by others (and which, as in the case of the invasion of Iraq, for example, by the US-led coalition, or Afghanistan by the then Soviet Union, may have contributed to Muslim militancy)?

A: The US is an established state, while the violence being perpetrated by Muslims is not done by Muslim states but by ‘non-state actors’. An established state has the right to take military action in its national interest. But so far as non-state actors are concerned, they have no right to take up any violent action or to initiate war. Non-state actors can only engage in peaceful action. Non-governmental organizations should do work only within the peaceful sphere and should not adopt a violent course of action.

Q: Zakir Naik is in the news these days. A major criticism is that he finds fault with and denigrates other religions. What do you feel about this approach of his?

A: This approach is undoubtedly un-Islamic. This is debate activism, while Islam believes in peaceful dawah activism. In this matter, what needs to be asked is why aggressive kind of debates have gained popularity these days. It is because of the kind of mindset Muslims have developed as a result of certain historical conditions. Debaters prevalent among the Muslims are feeding their defeatist mentality, due to which they have become popular among the masses.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/interview/maulana-wahiduddin-khan-for-new-age-islam/maulana-wahiduddin-khan-on-islam,-muslims,-interfaith-relations-and-peace/d/108055


  • To Dolly Ctd from previous comment. The bowing practice human to human practice is only left out in Hindu tradition. Abrhamic tradition especially Muslims forcefully want to attached to God and want to ( actually already) demonise because hindus also bow down Idols, so for Muslims and Christian it was easy to attach human to human bowing as godly thing. May be one day people,will,start to demonise bowing down in unseen God, which Abrahmic trading mostly do, so the day will come that Namaz will be prayed standing. How is that?
    By Aayina - 7/28/2016 5:19:30 PM

  • To
    Dolly passey

    About Abdul kalam:
    Bowing was normal practice in old ancient time across the whole world it is nothing to do with say someone is believe him/her God.

    Here is the story from the believer of Abrhamic tradition.

    Abrahm wife when died he wanted him to bury in the cave, the cave was belonging to wealthy man.

    The wealthy man gave it free( Fanatic Christians and Muslims wont agree  the cave was given free see below note why they will not agree), he was not follower of Abhrham teaching, but still Abrham bow down him and touch his head to earth, so this was normal practice.

    Bowing down has nothing to do with God.

    Why Fanatic Christians will not accept the cave was given free: 1)Because they do not want to project that someone not following Abrham, can be also good and 2) And Abrham bowed down cannot be justified. 
    So Christians say that the Rich man asked for money and Abrham give it, so that way they do not have to give credit to this man of being good.

    There is Abrhamic mentality that first attached some of the tradition and practice to God, (which naturally in Hindu more) especially of other relgion and demonise them and from their onwards now you start to confertation.

    Well read Abdul Kalam last book he had written before he died called transcendent. He was pure Muslim, The book start with asking permission from his brother before he wanted to write on Hindu Saint, but he still seeks permission of his brother and ask him is I am not doing anything wrong from Islam point of view and than he start to write book.

    To accuse him for bowing down is silly for a person who was pious.

    By Aayina - 7/28/2016 5:11:30 PM

  • I am shocked by Maulana's strange answer. He blamed the Muslim leaders for the rise of ISIS and not US or UK. Anyhow he is correct. The US had created a democratic Iraq. But despite US' arm twisting of PM Nouri Al-Maliki did not include Sunni minorities in his governance. The disgruntled Saddam's Sunni soldiers (Generals, Colonels, Majors, Captains) all joined Sunni ISIS and strengthened it.

    Now the US supports and strengthens Kurdish forces. Why? It is the only force that stood against the onslaught of ISIS, while Iraqi army lost billion dollars worth of US arms to ISIS.
    A day will come this Kurdish forces will fight against Iraq for greater regional autonomy or sovereignty. Then the Muslim world would blame the US for creating a monster as they blamed in the case of  Afghanistan. The US had no option  but to trust the Taliban and Pak ISI to fight the big power USSR. Subsequently both Taliban and ISI turned against the Kafir US. The worst betrayal is ISI hid Osama bin laden in the  army camp for six years and demanded billions of dollars for searching him..

    By Royalj - 7/27/2016 5:46:00 AM

  • @Madan Mohan Prasad Shah Please read my post carefully..
    What I said was ' These aspiring writers ' ....
    Assume..others ( yourself included ) as... infidels

    By Jayaraman Subri - 7/26/2016 2:10:55 PM

  •  #Jayaraman ..Calling others as infedals describes your mindset of hatrade ..
    By Madan Mohan Prasad Shah - 7/26/2016 1:34:47 PM

  •  गैर मुस्लिमो को बेबकुफ़ बनाकर इस्लाम स्वीकार कराओ नही मने तो बच्चों को जिन्दा दीवार में चिनवा दो। मार डालो काट डालो काफ़िर कह कर बलात्कार करो अगवा करो वसूली करो जजिया कर लो फिर मार डालो हजार साल से ये हो रहा है। सेकुलर इन सबके समर्थक ही नही इसमें भागीदार है। कैराना अलिगढ दिल्ली केरल कश्मीर बंगाल बिहार असम सब जगह गैर मूसलिम भुक्त भोगी है। सावधान मोदी ही इसका इलाज है । मोदी को वोट दो हजारो साल की गुलामी भय से बचो। ये दगाबाज सेकुलरिस्ट सम्मान वापसी वाले लोग फिर आपको लूटेंगे। वर्तमान में खुल्लमखुल्ला कह कर लूट रहे है। भारत तेरे टुकड़े होंगे इंशाल्लाह इंशाल्लाह। मोदी को वोट दे। अपनी बहनों की असमोटा लूटने से बचावे।
    By Navin Chandra Jain - 7/25/2016 10:50:24 PM

  • Each to our views. All is respected as long as it honors the others.

    I didn't mention British. I mentioned Europeans. This is a minor point.

    Two wrongs don't make it right. I don't fight and I don't believe in fundamentalists in any religion. The fight any religion talks of is internal. Mahabharatha happened only when every effort to avert disaster was unheard. Gita didn't happen until Sri Krishna persuaded Arjuna to consider. And this is not to justify war. And I don't appreciate any hidden agendas that support war because other religions are flawed. I don't trust such people.

    And I cannot comment about incidences I don't know. I would not want to argue over statements without a context. And to reduce his greatness as a visionary to the country over this again is a focus on a point I deem minor.

    By Deepa Natarajan - 7/25/2016 10:46:11 PM

  • what you said is mostly correct. on two points i disagree. india experienced invasion and plunder not only from muslims and Britishers but from others. it is another matter that holy wars mentioned in vedas described as fight between GODS and asuras. similarly battles of mahabaratha described as fight between good and bad. usually we define our battles as "GOOD". similar incidents from history of others are regarded as bad. this is not to defend any one but just to state facts. atrocities on sc st are asked to be ignored or forgiven. . lastly i find fault in ABJ Abdul Kalam our former president. he remained absolutely mum during anti christian riots of orissa and gujarat riots of 2002. Former president KR narayan did a more dignified job in this regard. the way kalam encouraged superstition by bowing before GOD men and their rituals ,goes against scientific temper.
    By Dolly Passey - 7/25/2016 10:37:35 PM

  • It needs a lot of courage to initiate a page as this ... and to have a q&a as this ... while I do empathize the struggle of the Middle-East under Soviet Union and the wars currently, the difficulty in letting go of colonialism from a century back cannot be a reason to be anti-West. If there is a country that must be terribly upset, it's India for being colonised by the Islam rulers followed by Europeans: sure, we have tons of work ahead but we are a fantastic nation in a lot of sense. I am not a nationalist by saying this: I appreciate. Just in case. Any campaign against Islamophobia is a success only when equal solidarity is shown to other cultures incl. the West. This may be hard for the Middle-East and is fair and understandable but the rest of the Muslims has a golden opportunity to stand by all. This is all the world seeks: solidarity. Insisting on Islam, no matter what, makes it illogical to argue with inflexible minds. This is what a fundamentalist do too: harp. I hope people see.
    The more I read of Islam, I get to respect the Prophet and his companions and the Ottomans. What I find tragic with Muslims is their complete disregard for their own stunning scientists, philosophers, business ethics, arts and craftsmen ... that's literally a sin. That's unpardonable for me at least. How could someone not find Dr Kalam towering? And his love for all Indians made him tower at par with Gandhi, or even more. "All Indians": he was an Indian son. 
    And sorry to say this, an excessive attachment on religion is costing all ... it leaves a bad taste. I see all religions keen on seeing an individual grow from within. If only we focus on this ... Peace.

    By Deepa Natarajan - 7/25/2016 10:33:58 PM

  • @Arun I agree with your statement..
    By Jayaraman Subri - 7/25/2016 10:31:07 PM

  • What he saying us fine but the innate backwardness of this community comes from the fact that questioning the book or its tenets are not allowed. Over a period of time this has affected free thinking.
    By Arun Kumar - 7/25/2016 10:29:26 PM

  •  ' Islamophobia ' ...this word was recently coined by aspiring writers ( mainly English speaking , Oriental writers or should I say Asian origin writers )...
    These ' aspiring to make some fast money ' writers , have found a new hunting ground. That is - baiting the English speaking Muslim crowd..
    So my muslim friends , use your own judgement , before jumping into the so called ' ring ' of - ' Liberals ' 
    most of these writers are mostly Christians & Hindus ( of the mother Teresa kind ) who have taken it upon themselves to preach to the infidels..
    Aspiring writers...
    hope you find your fertile ground..to sell your upcoming - full of correct English & pleasing to the ears of grateful readers...
    May you soon find a rich millionaire Arab sponsor..
    or if you find an - American sponsor..
    this same writer will change his or her narrative to please the - Cousin across the sea... American readers )
    you may also change your Authors Name of the upcoming ( full of knowledgeable , quoting phrases & lines )..to please your pay masters..to..
    Daphne Natalie..or some other English name..

    By Jayaraman Subri - 7/25/2016 10:24:09 PM

  • @Arun Kumar You have a name: troll.
    By Deepa Natarajan - 7/25/2016 10:22:27 PM

  • @Arun Kumar yes there is fundamentalism among all religions. cancerous system VARNA system still being glorified in many state school books. many saints GOD men glorify them. name one text which not glorifies varna system. there is still 100% reservation for a particular caste for the post of pujari / mahants. few exceptions do exist. in distribution of charity also one caste gets exclusive rights. this is in sharp contrast to islam where their ZAKAT charity which is mandatory on muslims cannot be given to to their so-called high caste SYEDS. Dr ambedkar wrote extensively on this subject. read periyar, Wendy doniger, kanchan ilaih etc.
    By Dolly Passey - 7/25/2016 10:20:57 PM

  • @Deepa I know. I am now convinced you are ignorant of the texts and philosophy. Only the ignorant talk like that. Good luck.
    By Arun Kumar - 7/25/2016 10:18:57 PM

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