Hindus do it, so why can’t Muslims?


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Hindus do it, so why can’t Muslims?
By Zan Azlee

A good friend of mine is a Hindu priest.

He told me that Hindus are not polytheists: the different deities they pray to are just avatars of the same one God that they all believe in.

So, Hindus are actually monotheists who worship different manifestations of the one God.

He went on to explain to me that the different avatars are meant to appeal to different types of people from different backgrounds, customs and what-not, so that they can relate to the faith.

Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions, and over thousands of years, I guess this is one way for the religion to remain relevant.

I like that. It shows that a religion can be organic, adaptive and interpreted for the times so people can get the best out of it.

And if I relate it to my own faith, which is Islam, I feel there are extreme similarities, especially in the fact that it claims to be a religion for all time.

For a religion to be timeless, it needs to evolve with the times. And before the fundamentalists start calling for my head, let me clarify that I am not suggesting for a change in the basic tenets.

The core beliefs of the religion will always remain the same. However, there is a need for intelligent discourse and proper study of how this way of life can remain just that in this day and age.

Many of the references and interpretations of how we practice Islam are rooted so deeply in what happened hundreds of years ago that one may find it of no relevance today.

I think it is high time for Muslims to move forward, especially so in Malaysia where everything related to Islam has been stagnant for too long.

All we’re obsessed about are rituals, rather than forward thought. Discussions that dominate the public sphere seem to be more about how many times wash should wash our hands before we can pray, or the position of your index finger while sitting during prayers.

I remember reading a passage from ‘Desperately Seeking Paradise’, a book written by British Muslim scholar Ziauddin Sardar, of which I will paraphrase below.

He had travelled to the heartland of Pakistan to visit and study Islamic madrasahs. While he was at one particular hall observing students memorising the Quran, one young boy approached him.

The boy, puzzled as to why Sardar didn’t have a beard like most of his teachers, asked him why he didn’t keep one like the Prophet Muhammad and that it was sunnah.

Sardar responded with a question. He asked the boy if he would rather travel by riding on the back of a camel today than sit in a modern car. Of course in a car, said the boy.

But the Prophet rode camels everyday so it should be sunnah, said Sardar. Sardar went on to say that he believed that if a shaver was commonplace during the Prophet’s time, he would have used it.

What the Prophet did was a product of his time. What should be sunnah is really the spirit that he embodied such as his kindness, patience, tolerance and ability to easily forgive.

I think that in the challenging times we face today, with Islam’s reputation under seige by the likes of DAISH and other un-Islamic groups, reinterpreting the religion to make it more relevant is key. And it’s one thing we can learn from our Hindu brothers and sisters.

Which reminds me, to all Hindus (and all Malaysians), have a happy and blessed Thaipusam.

[This article originally appeared at English.AstroAwani.Com]

 

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42 responses to “Hindus do it, so why can’t Muslims?

  1. Happy Thaipusam dear brothers and sisters .. we are the same creation of the One God..the most gracious and ever merciful.

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  2. As a born hindu. That is not true. The core belief of hinduism is the belief in three deitis: brahma the creator, vishnu the preserver and shiva the destroyer. These three may have other reincarnations and “god by marriage and their children”… But ultimately the trimurthi “three gods” is the core

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    • Its difficult to say which is right unless one have read the Sanskrit Vedha series.
      Unfortunately many just carry the “presumed believe”

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    • Dear Raj,
      As a born Hindu, you should understand the Vedas better. If you do, you will understand Hinduism better. And, if you understand Hinduism better, you will understand God is one and he is formless.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Brother, enough of the misinterpretation lar. There was never an idea of 3 main gods, only 3 principal manifestation of the same supreme energy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are confusing mythology with core principles. Please understand what Hinduism truly means before trying to enlighten others.

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    • You are confusing the deities with Brahman. At the end of the day it is manifestations. There is only one. I think there are 2 schools of thought – one says we are all one as we too come from God (I think that is the vedanta school and the Hare Krishna etc believe or there is the Saivite believe that pati (god – one GOD) and pasu (souls- us) are seperate. Sorry not an expert but this is my lay understanding.

      I read something that Swami Sai Baba said once – he said water can only be water but it is called “water”, Thani””, “sui”or äir”etc according to to your mother tongue. Similarly, you choose the manifestation that suits you best and continue on your path. The destination is one

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    • Sorry bro, please read the Bhagavat Gita. Krishna, the Guru explains to Arjuna the student… In a nutshell one if the verses says, why pray thru the demigods when you can worship me directly? The para brahman, all powerful and Formless God. Para-brahman is not Brahma. Go thru Sanathana Dharma then you will know what the author is saying is true

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      • @SamG…are you trying to say that Lord Krishna is the Para Brahman? Do you know that according to ISCKON, Lord Shiva is the most powerful demigod(still a demigod)? Lord Krishna is a personality, so how come He is a formless God? Define demigod and if it means anything below than para brahman, then shouldn’t we stop praying to Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga and so on??? Waiting for your good reply. Satyame Jayam.

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    • Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti—”that which exists is One:the wise men call it by various names as quoted in vedas. The trinity of brahma, vishnu, and shiva is again representative of the creation, preservation and dissolution aspect of divinity. The main branches of worship of divinity with forms has been classified to 6 main branches by adi shankaracharya. But the ultimate reality is of advaita, which espouses the divinity as one single entity beyond names and forms.
      Kindly explore this my friend, many great masters have spoken about it but none as well as shankaracharya.

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    • Raj pls. Understand the backgrounds of the religion b4 u comment…as the name hinduism its self is a lie…there are siva n vishnu worshipers….siva is not a destroyer who the hell said that he is the destroyer? If u do not know who sivan is pls to not say something u hear from the wrong people….what u are saying is a bunch of lies from the aryans..

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    • Maybe you don’t completely understand the religion then. Even the trimurthi’s are the embodiment of The One. There’s only one God brother, and He is in you and in me. I know you will feel upset with what I just told you, but I request you to contemplate on it. You will understand eventually. Have a good day brother. 😊

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    • I would be happy to correct you on this, which sort of scripture would be most suitable for you to cite from? The Vedas, Itihasas or Purana?

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    • Even the Trimurtis emanate from one source, and the scriptures are fairly clear about this. Bramha creates, Vishnu protects and Siva destroys, all on behalf of Someone else. 😊

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    • Bro Raj, you are wrong.. You should read the vedas and understand the real Hinduism. Hindus only have one supreme soul(GOD) which formless and its call as JOTHI.

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    • Or maybe as a born hindu, you have not read and understand the VEDA just like million other hindus out there. You’re saying something without inputing right perception to play which only Veda can directs you so please, educate yourself and stop spreading false information by self presuming you knew everthing!

      Sincerely,
      A hindu by birth.

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    • I say you are wrong, the core belief in Hinduism is there are multiple approaches and beliefs that lead to the one GOD who is worshiped in multitudes of ways.

      Hey Go read on the Vedas, Agamas, Thirumanthiram and many others. Do not comment based on heresay.

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    • The belief in Hinduism is there are multiple approaches and beliefs that lead to the one GOD who is worshiped in multitudes of ways.

      Hey Go read on the Vedas, Agamas, Thirumanthiram and many others. Do not comment based on heresay.

      But the highest one goes is within, the self.
      The common man as do the pundits talks, debates, researches and do all sorts of things to right themselves about God, but the seeker goes into himself to seek GOD and comes out as God man.

      Don’t argue, just go your way that suits you. Do not impose what you grasped about God on others.

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    • not really.from what i know trimurthi is the main gods that the modern hindu identify with. in reality the highest power in hinduism is brahman.PS: Brahman and brahma are different. brahman=supreme power; brahma= one of trimurthi.
      according to hinduism everything originate from brahman

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    • You really need to read about your religion. Its sad that people like you create misconceptions. I am a Hindu too, and it’s clear in many books that they are all one. They also talk about male and female energies which are both critical to the existance of the universe. Its another this many other religons can value, gender equality.

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    • I’m a Hindu too. What the blogger says is correct. What you’re saying is half correct. I don’t wish to comment on your beliefs but yea hinduism comprises of the main three. Creator, Preserver and Destroyer but when they all combine it’s one jothi. One light. One Parasakti. Haven’t you heard? Ultimately it’s one God just different manifestation for different reasons.

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  3. I read a Malay book titled “Hinduism: the earliest monotheistic religion” written by an Islamic scholar which made the same arguments. However, the powers that be in Malaysia are more concerned with keeping the status quo than fostering peace & understanding. Shame. We could be doing so much better if people only opened their hearts & eyes.

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  4. I read a Malay book titled “Hinduism: the earliest monotheistic religion” written by an Islamic scholar which made the same arguments. However, the powers that be in Malaysia are more concerned with keeping the status quo than fostering peace & understanding. Shame. We could be doing so much better if people only opened their hearts & eyes.

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  5. U need to look into spirituality brother. I agree that the people are focusing too much on the rituals. But Islam is still a religion that is ‘timeless’ . Spirituality in Islam preaches about love , adab , and to seek knowledge beyond the oceans. “Islam” is just a name for our religion. But the reality is , Adam is the first man on earth. Whatever u want to call what he believes in during previous times , is still believing in one God , his creator. You cannot look at the Muslim’s. You must look within Islam. And if they , to u represent Islam.. the one that u feel are too rigid .. its ok brother. It’s not your religion’s fault. Its theirs. To say , the way of life that was before is outdated , u must study more. In the sense where the things the Prophet (pbuh) did , have sceintific and logical reasons. Therefore that’s why sunnah is highly encouraged for us to do. Everything has a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Writer.
    You dont even mention Peace Be Upon Him for our prophet Muhammad (S.a.w) yet you have the gut to write this article and say we muslims should move forward. Please elaborate what is stagnant about Islam? Do your research and gain some knowledge please.
    Im positive the book you read isn’t a good book as the ‘muslim scholar’ would comment Rasulullah ( S.a.w ) [with the most perfect character, the one that Allah Subhanawataala love the most ] would shave his beard if he has a shaver. I have never heard any Ahli sunnawal jamaah sholars say such things to our beloved prophet S.a.w.

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  7. All hindus in this page are fighting for own perception to be right. Please do remember that perception always concludes to an individuals reality.

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  8. Hey . All religions in the world mean the sme . They all worship the universal one . And the reason why they use religion on u is because you don’t read n gain the knowledge for yourself, thus they use the remix form of religion to control u.. Once u read n understand u will know.. Love, understanding and compassion is the universal religion. Éverything n anything is connected to this one, the atman. Go with the peace my brothers , take the hate out and share our love. We are beings made out of love, made by love .. And made for love. Peace 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My dear friends,
    This my opinion. I might be wrong. As I understand there’s one the para brahman. He can be siva, vishnu, brahma, krishna or sakti. You need to visualize the para brahman within you as saint Thirumoolar said in Thirumanthiram;
    “Ullam perum kovil Uun udambhu alayam
    Vallal piraanarkhu vaai kobura vashal
    Thella thenthaarku seevan sivalingam
    Kalla pulanainthum kaala manivilakke”

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  10. Reading all the comments makes me realize how much in conflict we Hindu’s are. There are many manifestations of the Bhagavad Gita as well as interpretations of gurus. Some pray to deities, some pray to Lord Krishna and some pray to Sai Baba and other gurus.

    Different manifestations of religion may arise, but if one is not kind, and not understand, religion does nothing. It is a guide to eternal peace and to be one with a Higher Power. Be human first, then talk about God.

    Liked by 1 person

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