By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
18 Aug 2012
In an article that featured in a reputed Urdu newspaper, some Delhi-based Muslim youths are reportedly appealing to boycott the Buddhist shops and not to buy anything from the Buddhist Monastery Market located at Majnu Ka Teela in Delhi. They are doing the campaign by texting each other SMSes and emails. (Sahafat, Delhi, 16 August 2012) They think that Myanmar, being a Buddhist-ruled government, is deliberately not taking any action to better the situation of the Muslims.
In another news item we read that in Lucknow and Allahabad, people took to streets and their protests turned violent. They damaged vehicles, beat up people and broke the cameras of media persons. In the Buddha Park in Lucknow, the statue of the Buddha became the target of these miscreants, who call themselves ‘Muslims’. They don’t realise that Buddha must be one of the prophets (peace be upon all of them) sent by God and his stature is thus in no way lower than our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Attempts were made to deface the statue but they remained unsuccessful.
The same story was repeated in Allahabad and Kanpur. However situation was brought under control with the police rightly acting tough.
The spill over of the sectarian violence that began in early June in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is affecting not only its surrounding regions but also the minds of the people. The state’s majority Buddhist Rakhines have been frequently clashing with the Muslim Rohingyas, who are called Bengalis and not considered a fellow ethnic community.
Going back to the history it may be recalled that Dhaka has not succeeded in repatriating the thousands of Rohingyas who crossed the border in 1978 and 1991-92. Myanmar has repeatedly refused to take back the refugees, questioning their identity. Repatriation has been slow as Myanmar has been insisting on determining the identity of the refugees as many of them either had not acquired a state identity or had to leave everything behind to save their lives. The ethnic Rohingya Muslims, classified under a 1982 law as stateless citizens, have been treated as illegal immigrants in Myanmar.
Myanmar is a multi-religious country with 60 million people. It has 89% Buddhists. The rest are Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Bahais. The bulk of the Muslim population entered what was then Burma as indentured labourers from the Indian subcontinent during the British rule.
The recent unrest in Myanmar began after the law-enforcers in the Rakhine state detained three Rohingya men in connection with the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman. The news spread like a wild fire, that the Rohingya men were responsible for the offence, the Buddhists retaliated by attacking and killing 10 Muslims, who were not Rohingyas. In retaliations that followed, a huge number of people were killed and many cases of arson and loot took place, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in the troubled areas.
Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to play a reconciliatory role in the changed political scenario. She has urged the nation’s majority to show sympathy towards minority groups. President Thein Sein is also taking positive steps to end the long-standing armed conflicts with the country’s ethnic minorities.
A class conflict is being given a communal shape by the Muslims by using the fear psychology. Muslims have a habit of acting as victims, and behaving as if they are constantly being oppressed by the non-Muslims. Hence, they argue, if they do not retaliate then they will be subjugated in all the countries where they are minorities. They say that their ‘rights’ are being violated in the non-Muslim majority country, so it is a must for them to cry for their rights.
Perhaps they fail to realise that most Muslim countries, around the world, are famous because of the violations of the rights of the non-Muslims. The best examples would be Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia, there are only two options given: either you become a fundamentalist Muslim or you become a radical Muslim. There is no third option. Actually, it is the only country on the face of this earth that does not allow any religious building to be built except the mosque. They do not know the Quran, written in their own mother-tongue, which says:
“And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed” (22:40)
In Pakistan not a single high post has been ever held by a non-Muslim. The state of non-Muslims, especially Hindus in Pakistan is pathetic. No wonder they want to settle in India.
In India we have had four Muslim Presidents, the highest official post in our political system. The Bollywood is virtually ‘ruled’ by the Muslims. In every field of human endeavour, whether it is sport or science and technology, Muslims in India have made their mark, obviously because they not only had the talent but were given the opportunity, unlike in many non-Muslim states, where the minorities are maimed.
If, applying the same “logic”, the “logic” of these Muslims calling for boycott of Buddhist shops, the Hindus in India do the same thing here to their Muslim brothers as a protest against gross mistreatment of Hindus in Pakistan, then imagine what will happen. They would perhaps have a ‘right’ to do it, again applying the “reasoning” of these Muslims. It is a matter of personal choice. If our Hindu brothers do not want anything from the Muslim shops or markets in India then we cannot force them or even say that it is illegal. The only thing we can do and we have been doing on such occasions or even without any occasion, is claiming that ‘it is a conspiracy by the infidels to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth’.
We must see any picture from various angles to get the real meaning. Rights are for all, we cannot compartmentalise the rights and say that it is exclusively for Muslims only. We only talk of equal rights but seldom do we act on it. Muslims are protesting against the ill-treatment of Muslims in Myanmar, but why aren’t they protesting the ill-treatment of their Hindu brothers in non-Muslim countries, especially in Pakistan?
Muslims are being conditioned to see only the half side of the picture, i.e., only their side of the picture. We are hypocrites; we differentiate between people only because of their belief. We have a right to demand our rights as long as we give others their rights. Our talk of religious freedom is of no avail unless we give others their freedom of religion. I would like to end by quoting a verse from the Quran: Lakum deenakum waleya deen; to you be your way and to me mine”. But the irony is that some Muslims are not willing to accept this as a valid or legitimate part of Quran. One frequent commenter on New Age Islam Mr Mohd Yunus (not to be confused with Mr. Muhammad Yunus, the frequent columnist of New Age Islam and joint author of a famous book of Qur’anic exegesis) says in a recent post: “What you and Janab Yunus sahib(1) and some others are expressing is based on Meccan verses. Unfortunately Meccan verses are abrogated by Medinian verses. Lakum Deenikum waleya deen does not hold water because later verses say that only acceptable religion is Islam in the eyes of Allah.I am not alone in this world to have this view. Quran is, according to Muslims, for every place and time. So are the Medinian verses.”
So, you can see, we Muslims have a long way to go in sorting out our myriad problems. As the editor of this website Mr. Sultan Shahin once told the Muslim world from the august forum of the United Nations and I am paraphrasing: “We Muslims have not done our home work for almost millennia. We better join the task with utmost seriousness and urgency.”
Aiman Reyaz is a regular New Age Islam columnist.
to the Gospel of Buddha by Carus pg. 217 and 218 (From Ceylon sources):"Ananda said to the
Blessed One, ‘Who shall teach us when thou art gone?'
Blessed one replied, 'I am not the first Buddha who came upon the earth nor
shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a holy
one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious,
knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and
mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths, which I have taught
you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the
climax and glorious at the goal. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly
perfect and pure such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many
thousands while mine number many hundreds.'
Ananda said, 'How shall we know him?'
Blessed one replied, 'He will be known as Maitreya'."
Sanskrit word ‘Maitreya’ or its equivalent in Pali ‘Metteyya’
means loving, compassionate,merciful and benevolent. It also means kindness and
friendliness, sympathy, etc. One Arabic word which is equivalent to all these
words is ‘Rahmat’. In Surah Al-Anbiya:
"We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures."
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was called the merciful, which is ‘Maitri’.
Mercy and Merciful are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an no less than 409 times.
chapter of the Glorious Qur’an, except Chapter 9, i.e. Surah Taubah begins with
the beautiful formula, 'Bismillah Hir-Rahman Nir-Rahim', which means 'In
the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'.
Muhammad is also spelt as ‘Mahamet’ or ‘Mahomet’ and in various
other ways in different languages. The word ‘Maho’ or ‘Maha’ in
Pali and Sanskrit mean Great and Illustrious and ‘Metta’ means mercy.
Therefore ‘Mahomet’ means ‘Great Mercy’.
@ Yunus 2 and Nezami, I appreciate your comments. I will give you the authentic sources and the exact quotations.
According to the Gospel of Buddha by Carus pg.
214:"The Blessed one said, ‘There are two occasions on which a
Tathagata’s appearance becomes clear and exceedingly bright. In the night
Ananda, in which a Tathagata attains to the supreme and perfect insight, and in
the night in which he passes finally away in that ultra passing which leaves
nothing whatever of his earthly existence to remain.’ " According to Gautam
Buddha, following are the six criteria for identifying a Buddha.
i) A Buddha attains supreme and perfect insight at night-time.
ii) On the occasion of his complete enlightenment he looks exceedingly bright
iii) A Buddha dies a natural death.
iv) He dies at night-time.
v) He looks exceedingly bright before his death.
vi) After his death a Buddha ceases to exist on earth.
i) Muhammad (pbuh) attained supreme insight and Prophethood at night-time.
to Surah Dukhan:
the books that makes thing clear – We sent it down during a blessed
to Surah Al-Qadar:
have indeed revealed this (message) in the night of power."
ii) Muhammad (pbuh) instantly felt his understanding illumined with celestial
iii) Muhammad (pbuh) died a natural death.
iv) According to Ayesha (r.a.), Muhammad (pbuh) expired at night-time.
When he was dying there was no oil in the lamp and his wife Ayesha (r.a.) had
to borrow oil for the lamp.
v) According to Anas (r.a.), Muhammad
(pbuh) looked exceedingly bright in the night of his death.
vi) After the burial of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) he was never seen again in his
bodily form on this earth.
@Aiman Reyaz sahibAccording to Buddhists Gautama didn't believe in God. Don't you know Buddhism and Jainism are Godless religions.
Mr Raihan Nezami asked evidence from Quran? Where it is? Were prophets also sent to African Tribes who live in very primitive way of life. How does it prove that Gautama was indicating that Mohammed has to come? It could be someone else. I think it is pure speculation.
My latest comment is not posted completely, may be it is because of some technical error. I had written a longer comment. Anyways John I am writing from where I have stopped.
In the Buddhist scriptures, the coming of Muhammad(pbuh) is foretold several times. Buddha says 'I am not the last Buddha, there is another Buddha. Just as I have hundreds of followers, he will have thousands of followers'. There are also other refenences but the main point is how can a man from India, thousands of miles away and hundreds of years ahead know about another messenger of God. This certainly proves that Gautama is one of God's chief representative.
@ Abdullah, the Quran says "In every age have We sent revelation", "In every age and to every people have We sent a warner". According to a hadidth, there have been 124000 prophets sent on the earth. According to some these verses:
"And (remember) Ismail (Ishmael) and Idris (Enoch) and Dhul-Kifl, all were from among those who observe patience." Surah 21: 85-86"And remember Ismail and Al-Yasa (Elisha) and Dhul-Kifl, and they were all of the best."Surah 38:48