Islam’s greatest principle is: ‘Tauheed’, which means : ‘Belief in one God.’ There is only one merciful and benevolent God who takes care of the world, Allah. I was born into an Arya Samaj family. My father never asked me to go to a temple, but in our house, every morning, the Ved mantras would be recited. In the Arya Samaj, the belief in one God was very strong. Kakasaheb Kalelkar used to say lightly, that a strict Arya Samaji was a “Muslim who believed in the Vedas.”
The Prophet was asked “ What could be called virtues?” He answered, “ Those which give peace to the mind and calm your inner self.” The second question was: “What are vices?” The Prophet answered: “Those that make your heart restless and your inner self discontented.” I have never known virtues and vices described in such simple language, in such basic terms. Sufism believes in devotion. On my visit to Turkey, I was able to spend four hours at the shrine of the famous Sufi saint Jalaluddin Rumi. Islam’s true beauty is seen in the thoughts of Sufism. I can tell from experience that Sufism can help the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity.
Pakistan’s learned writer Akbar Ahmed has stated the four central concepts of Islam: equality, compassion, knowledge and patience. These four concepts are present in the Gita as well. The Gita says: Equality is the best. Krishna while describing the qualities of a devotee mentions friendship and compassion. In the Gita, steadfastness includes learning. And patience is considered a holy possession. These four virtues are lacking in our society, therefore there are riots. If you want to fight amongst yourselves, you are free to do so. But don’t forget there are many similarities between the Koran and the Gita. You are free to fight, but you are not free to fight in the name of religion. Christ said rightly: “He who lives by the sword, will die by the sword.”
On the day of the Urs, I remembered Ajmer’s Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi. He is called “Khwaja Garib Nawaz” or “the comfort of the poor”. Devotees, out of love and respect, also call him the “Sultan of Hind”. Look at the poetry in calling a poor Sufi fakir, the Sultan of Hind! The one who has nothing, is the true “Sultan”! Vinobaji used to say: “Instead of saying that Tulsidas belonged to Akbar ’s times, say that Akbar belonged to Tulsidas’s times.” The people of India salute the king, but they bow before the saint.
Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi explained the essence of two words: “lajmi” and “mutadi”. “Lajmi” is the private religion of each individual through prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. “Mutadi” is the service of others, sacrifice for others, and giving one’s all to others. Khwaja Garib Nawaz described two kinds of pride: “nafas” and “qalb”. 'Nafas' is the ego that comes from power, wealth, comforts, anger, jealousy and such coarse elements (material ego). 'Qalb' is the identity that comes from peace, goodwill and harmony. During riots, when we resort to violence, our religion becomes bankrupt. When will this evil in the name of religion, stop? Allah must surely be laughing at our foolishness!
Shankaracharya in his study of the Gita says: “Man does not need proof of his own body. We need even lesser proof of one’s soul, because the body is outside, but the soul is even closer to us.” Now compare the Shankaracharya’s words to what is said in the Koran. The Koran says: “Oh Allah! We are closer to you than we are to our own pulse.”
How shallow is our devotion? One Muslim was praying namaz by the side of the road. A girl, hurrying by, crossed him. After some time, when the girl returned, the Muslim asked her: “How did you dare to cross someone who is praying?” The girl answered: “I was going to meet my beloved, so I did not see you. But you were praying to Allah, and yet how did you see me?”
From a lecture in a madrasa in village Kanthariya near Bharuch, in Gujarat, India. The lecture, on 21 September 2002, was attended by around 4000 people – students, teachers, priests and guests.
Batul: May be one day you will make Gunvantbhai's literature international. Very impressive