PRESENTING ISLAM TO HINDUS
Arabic Recitation (3:64)
A. Introduction of Hinduism
1. Definition of a Hindu
The word Hindu has geographical significance and was used originally for those people who lived beyond the river Sindhu or the region watered by the river Indus. Some historians say that it was first used by the Persians who came to India through the north western passes of the Himalayas. The word Hindu is no where mentioned in Indian literature or scriptures before the advent of Muslims to India, according to the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. According to Jawaharlal Nehru in the book Discovery of India on page 74-75, he writes that the earliest reference to the word Hindu can be traced to a tantrik of the 8th Century CE, where it means a people and not a follower of a particular religion. The use of the word Hindu in connection with a particular religion is of late occurrence.
In short Hindu is a geographical definition used for the people living beyond the river Indus or those living in India
2. Definition of Hinduism
a) Hinduism has been derived from the word Hindu. Hinduism was a name given in English language in the Nineteenth Century by the English people to the multiplicity of the beliefs and faith of the people of the Indus land. According to New Encyclopedia Britannica 20:581. The British writers in 1830 gave the word Hinduism to be used as the common name for all the beliefs of the people of India excluding the Muslims and converted Christians.
b) The term Hinduism is misleading because though it suggests the unified system of beliefs and ideas, it is certainly not the case. Hinduism is too broad a phenomenon to be confined to a usual definitions of religions. It does not owe its origin, formation or finalization to any historical person or a prophet since there is no uniformly accepted belief sacraments, rituals and practices in Hinduism, there are no criteria for establishing rules in Hinduism. In short a person who calls himself a Hindu becomes a true practicing Hindu irrespective who he worships and what ever may be his beliefs and practice.
c) According to the Hindu scholars Hinduism is a misnomer and it should be referred a Sanatana Dharma, meaning eternal religion or Vedic Dharma meaning religion of the Veda. According to Swami Vivekananda the followers of this religion is referred as Vedantist.
B. Introduction of Islam
1. Definition of Islam
Islam is an Arabic word which comes from the word ‘Salaam’ which means ‘Peace’. It also means submitting your will to Allah – the Almighty God. In short Islam means peace acquired by submitting your will to Allah (SWT).
2. Definition of a Muslim
A Muslim is a person who submits his will to Allah – the Almighty God.
3. Misconception about Islam
Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion which came into existence 1400 years ago and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of the religion of Islam. Infact Islam is there since time immemorial, since man set foot on the earth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not the founder of the religion of Islam but he is the last and final messenger of Islam.
II. Pillars of Faith (Imaan) – Pillars of Hinduism
Pillars of Faith in Hinduism are not defined. As mentioned earlier that Hinduism does not have a set of unified or codified beliefs. Neither does it have any fixed pillars or principles which are obligatory for its followers to practice. A Hindu has a freedom to practice
Dr. Zakir Naik
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