By Ram Ohri
Recently a very clumsy attempt was made to downgrade the Gita during an interactive discourse organized by Times of India on a quixotic topic, ‘Jihad in the Gita and the Quran’. The title of the debate implied that the doctrine of jihad has been preached both in the Gita and the Quran – something totally false and highly offensive to Hindu ethos. The participants were Maulana Wahiduddin and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, while the well known columnist, Narayani Ganesh, acted as moderator.
First things first. The scriptural soul of Hinduism, the Gita, does not preach, nor even remotely mentions, anything comparable to the Islamic doctrine of jihad which is a permanent holy war against all non-Muslims, as ordained in Islamic scriptures. It is difficult, nay impossible, to fathom the intent of Times of India group to select such a wonky theme suggesting that jihad has been sanctioned in Hindu scriptures, too !. There is no moral equivalence between what Gita preaches and what Quran ordains. The choice of the subject of the discourse shows total mental bankruptcy because it tries to equate the two incomparable scriptures. Apparently the leading lights of Times of India group as well as Narayani Ganesh have neither read the Gita, nor Quran. Otherwise they would not have ventured to wade into the minefield of jihad which has tormented innumerable civilisations and countless countries for centuries and taken toll of crores of innocent lives. The attempt to underline some kind of spiritual equivalence between the Gita and the Quran is nothing short of an affront to sacred Hindu beliefs, nay to the Gita, itself.
It is a pity that Sri Sri could not see through the clever game being played by the sham-secularist newspaper to bring down Gita to the level of jihadi orthopraxy, enshrined in the Quran. Nor could he rebut the inane profanity hidden in the theme. The Gita does not command Hindus to kill all non-Hindus, or for that matter, not even atheists. Sri Krishna advised a wavering Arjuna at Kurukshetra to wage war in the cause of righteousness and justice, and nothing more. Even after explaining the import of ‘dharma’ and righteousness, Sri Krishna left the final choice about taking up arms to Arjuna, saying that it was for him to make the correct decision, in accordance with ‘dharma’.
On the other hand, Jihad is not, repeat not, merely a struggle with one’s self, as claimed by Maulana Wahiduddin. It is Islam’s holy war against ‘kaffirs” (in Indian context read Hindus) as ordained in the Quran Importance of jihad has been highlighted by M.J. Akbar, in his tome, The Shade of Swords, where in the Introduction itself he has reiterated that “jihad is the signature tune of Islamic history”1. Elaborating the Islamic doctrine he says that though the Prophet did say that the ‘greater’ jihad (i.e., jihad-e-akbar) was the struggle to cleanse the impurity within, it was the lesser jihad (i.e., jihad-e-asghar) which had “powered the armies of Islam and made them all conquering”.2 For Muslims, M.J. Akbar, continues, jihad is not merely a question of cleansing the inner spirit; it is also a call for holy war regularly heard since the beginning of Islam. He has drawn pointed attention to the saying by the Prophet himself that “Paradise comes under the shade of swords”3. A similar message was conveyed to his jihadi hordes by Osama bin Laden during an interview on CNN news channel on May 10, 1997, when he proclaimed that the acme of this religion (i.e., Islam) was jihad. M.J. Akbar’s exposition of jihad is a clear rebuttal of the falsehood being preached by Maulana Wahiduddin and several others to hoodwink the gullible Hindus.
The claim of Maulana that jihad has nothing to do with the concept of holy war against infidels is again comprehensively rebutted by the well known exposition of jihad by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid (a former Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia) in his commentary titled, ‘Jihad in the Quran and Sunnah’. The learned scholar, an acknowledged authority on Islam, emphasizes that Allah has ordained that Al-jihad (i.e., the holy fighting in Allah’s cause) should be carried out by the following three means :
•· with the heart (i.e., intentions or feelings) ;
•· with the hand (ie., with weapons, etc.) ; and
•· with the tongue (i.e., by speeches and preachings, in the cause of Allah).
Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid further elaborates that Allah will reward all those who participate in jihad with lofty dwellings in the Garden of Paradise.3 He clearly states that jihad, or fighting in the cause of Allah, is superior to non-obligatory prayers, fasting, Zakat, Umra and even Haj. As explained in Sahi Muslim No. 4696, Abu Huraira, an important companion of the Messenger of Allah, had emphasized that the Prophet had declared that a Muslim who died, but did not fight in the way of Allah, nor did express any desire or determination for jihad died the death of a hypocrite.4 A similar message for waging a holy war against infidels is contained in Verse 74 of Surah Nisi which says that whosoever fights in the way of Allah, be he slain or victorious, on him we shall bestow a vast reward. Logically a taqiyah practicing cleric like Maulana Wahiduddin should have been confronted with Verse 8.12 and Verse 74 which openly preach jihad through terrorizing the so-called infidels. But unfortunately Sri Sri failed to do so perhaps because of his lack of knowledge about the Quran and the doctrine of jihad. The conceptual framework of jihad has been lucidly enunciated in Surah Anfal, namely the eighth Sura (i.e., chapter 8) and 9th Surah titled ‘Taubah’ of the Quran, although this holy war has been enjoined on the faithful in many other chapters also. In fact, there are more than 200 verses in the Quran exhorting the Muslims to wage a holy war against the infidels.
More importantly the doctrine of jihad has at least four major components, e.g., forcible conversion of the so-called ‘kaffirs’ on pain of death, the scriptural sanction for ‘slaughter in the land’ in verse 8.67 after defeating the kaffirs and recourse to ghanima which means plunder and seizure of the property of the vanquished kaffirs, including carrying away of their women and children. A typical example of the ‘slaughter in the land’ was the beheading of nearly 800 Jews, chained and menacled, under supervision of Prophet Muhammad, in the public square of Medina in the year 627 A.D., after the Battle of Ditch. Another example is from Indian history when after Muhammad bin Qasim’s victory over Raja Dahir of Sind, when Hajjaj reminded bin Qasim of the Prophet’s commandment :”Give no quarter to infidels but cut their throats. Then know that this is the command of the great God. You shall not be too ready to grantprotection, because it will prolong your work”.5 The fourth important component of jihad is the imposition of ‘jiziya’ or poll tax on the so-called ‘dhimmies’, i.e., non-Muslims living under protection of the Muslim rulers. Originally meant for only Christians and Jews (the people of the Book) later on it was extended to ‘kaffir’ Hindus also. Otherwise the Quranic punishment for ‘kaffirs’ is death and destruction.
The scriptural sanction for enjoying the spoils of war, including carrying away of women and children of the vanquished ‘kaffirs’ is accorded in verse 8.69 of Surah Anfal which says “Eat ye the spoils of war. They are lawful and pure”. Thus the Quran proclaims that there is nothing improper about plunder and enjoying the spoils of war; it is a mujahid’s prerogative. The only condition imposed is that ‘holy’ one-fifth of the spoils of war (including the captive women) must be sent to the Prophet, and after him, to the Caliph as his share of the war booty. The command about treatment to be meted out to the plundered womenfolk is contained in verse 4.24 which asserts : ” All married women are forbidden (to you) save those (captives) whom your right hand possesses.”6 Obviously, they are to be used as concubines, as indeed they have been throughout history..
Interestingly, Islam has a doctrine of using deception and telling lies to further the cause of Islam. It is called “Taqiyah”, or recourse to deception, which is duly sanctioned in Verse 16.106, which approves that under certain circumstances and Muslim can tell a lie (in the cause of Islam) for which no action will lie against him. ‘Taqiyah’ is also approved in many more Verses , namely 16.106, 3.28, 2.225 and 66.2. Explaining the utility of taqiyah Sahi Bukhari recounts the assassination of a poet, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf under orders of the Prophet.7 The men who volunteered to murder Ka’b used deception to gain the poet’s trust by pretending that they had turned against Prophet Muhammad in order to draw the victim out of his fortress and then killed him. Sahi Bukhari 84:64-65 categorically affirms that Hazrat Ali had confirmed that lying is permissible in order to deceive the enemy.8 . No wonder Maulana Wahiduddin and many others like him keep on confounding gullible Hindus, even Hindu seers, through their lectures laced with taqiyah.
Sadly the wayward discourse clearly highlighted that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has not read the Quran at all. More importantly the discourse further showed his astonishing inability to comprehend what Sri Krishna had preached at Kurukshetra which was in no way comparable to the doctrine of jihad enunciated in the Quran. He failed to point out that Gita preaches the concept of righteousness while doing one’s ‘karmic’ duty, above everything else. But Gita does not sanction the senseless killings of the kind which are ordained in innumerable verses of the Quran. Nor does Gita sanction plunder after victory, nor the carrying away of the hapless women and children of those vanquished in war and sharing them as ‘war booty’.
Perhaps due to his inadequate knowledge of the Quran and the Hadith, or sheer timidity, Sri Sri could not rebut the bogus contention of Maulana Wahiduddin that jihad means nothing more than trying to control one’s desires and that some Muslims presently engaged in “violent activities which they claim to be jihad” should be ignored because “these people belong to non-governmental organizations”. How is it that all these non-State actors like Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jasih-e-Muhammad, Taliban, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, etc., responsible for killing thousands of innocents, are a speciality of Islamic States like Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Palestine, etc ? What is most important is that all these non-state actors are the creation of various Islamic governments who invariably support them in their nefarious activities.
Before closing this rejoinder it must be pointed out that the notorious July 2008 e-mail circulated by Indian Mujahideen had quoted verbatim three Ayats of Quran (in Arabic along with English translation) exhorting the faithful to kill the infidels. After pouring enormous ridicule on Hindu Gods and Goddesses, they had commanded the Hindus to convert to Islam failing which they shall be slaughtered as surely as their forbears had been by Muhammad bin Qasi, Mahmud Ghazanvi and Muhammad Ghauri in the past. And within four months Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s ten fidayeens carried out the notorious Mumbai Massacre of 26 /11 in which nearly 180 innocents were slaughtered, a ghastly event about which a threat had been duly administered by Indian Mujahideen. That shows the ugly face of the Islamic doctrine of jihad. It is a shame that the preaching of righteous war by Sri Krishna at Kurukshetra is sought to be equated by Times of India group and Narayani Ganesh with what Indian Mujahideen had vowed to do the killings and which hey actually did, in accordance with the Quranic verses.
A much greater shame, however, is the gullibility of Hindu preachers like Sri Sri to acquiesce in the falsehood being propagated to equate the Gita, both morally and spiritually, with the Quran. My humble advice to Sri Sri and other Hindu seers is that either they should read in great detail the Quran and the Hadith along with two authentic commentaries, Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim, or they should scruplously refrain from participating in such weird discourses often organized by the sham-secularist groups and individuals to denigrate Hindu ethos and morally equate “adharma” with ‘dharma”.