The Writ Petition had placed before the court 85 ayats from the Quran which command Muslims to practise a particular behaviour pattern towards non-Muslims. The point to be considered by the court was whether there was Substance in the Petitioners' plea that the behaviour pattern prescribed by the Quran was inimical to public peace, communal harmony, and religious beliefs of those who did not subscribe to Islam. The belief system which produces that behaviour pattern should have been evaluated only after evaluating the behaviour pattern in terms of natural justice and common sense.
Justice Basak, however, chose to proceed the other way around. He started by accepting the Muslim claim that the Quran was the word of God. That was his major premise. His minor premise was that if the ayats sounded obnoxious, they must have been torn out of their proper context and interpreted to mean what they did not really mean. The conclusion he drew became unavoidable. How could a belief system based on the word of God prescribe an ungodly behaviour pattern? So the Quran and the creed embodied in it, posed no threat to public peace or communal harmony or the religious beliefs of non-Muslims. Quod erat demonstrandum.
The fact is that the Quran can pass as a religious scripture only so long as its verses are not related to their concrete context in the life of the Prophet. Once we learn to do that from the theologians of Islam, the Quran comes out in its true colour as a comprehensive compendium on continued and total war against the "infidels". Allah also drops his mask and shows up in his real role as a deux ex machina prompted to pronounce pieces which suit the stage-manager's convenience. Swami Dayananda saw through the whole game when he nailed down Allah as "Muhammad's domestic servant".
The swordsmen of Islam have always felt self-righteous and believed fervently that they are carrying out the commandments of Allah when they practise jihad as per prescriptions of the Prophet. The Quran gives them a clean conscience for committing the most heinous crimes and heaping unbelievable cruelties on helpless human beings.
When we published the second edition of this book in 1987, we made it absolutely clear that we do not stand for a ban on the publication of the Quran. We regard banning of books, religious or otherwise, as counter-productive. In the case of the Quran, we believe and advocate that more and more non-Muslims should read it so that they know first hand the quality of its teachings.
Our only intention in publishing the court documents of the Calcutta Quran Petition and providing a long commentary on it, is to promote a public discussion of Islam as a religion, particularly its claim that every bit of the Quran and the Hadis has a divine source. This claim is used at present to prevent a close examination of what the book contains and what message Islam has for mankind at large. While all other religions have been subjected to such an examination, Islam has so far managed to remain a closed book. Our plea has been that if such commandments as we find in the Quran emanate from what is proclaimed as a divine source, then the character of that source should also invite questions. Our rational faculties and moral sensibilities should not stop functioning the moment Allah's name is mentioned. The character of Allah as revealed in the Quran also invites a close examination.
The first two editions of this book were published in quick succession - July 1986 and July 1987 - because it was received with great interest and appreciation by the Hindu intelligentsia at large, in this country and abroad. But the present (third) edition has been delayed inordinately in spite of persistent demand after the second edition went out of print in 1988. A reprint of the second edition was not brought out because I wanted to include in a new edition the copious materials which I had collected in the meanwhile from orthodox collections of Hadis and which I thought worth presenting to the readers. But that was not to be.
I had finished reading the six authentic Hadis collections-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Daud, Nasaii - which an orthodox Muslim organization had published in several volumes each, with Arabic text and Urdu translation. I had marked in the margins of several thousand pages the relevant references pertaining to the five pillars of Islam, the character of the Muslim Ummah, and the doctrine of jihad. I had noted many stories which provide the context in which particular surahs and ayats of the Quran were "revealed"; they made it more than clear as to how Allah of the Quran had functioned as a mouthpiece of the Prophet and even some of his companions. But as I started sorting out the references and putting them together under particular themes, I suffered a prolonged spell of illness which persists even as I write these lines. So I wait and hope that I will be able to resume the work at some future date.
Some of the material included in the present edition had gone into the computer in the winter of 1990-91. But a lot of new material has been added during 1999. As this edition stands now, I think the reader will find it better arranged and more informative.
The book is still divided into two sections. The second section stands as it did in the earlier editions except that it has been renamed as 'The Petition and the Judgment' instead of 'Court Documents'. The first section, however, has not only been renamed as 'Introduction' instead of 'Preface', but also carries new insertions, reflections and formulations which have added as many as 50 more pages to it. Many new footnotes have been added, and several new publications cited as the Bibliography at the end goes to show.
The Second Preface to the second edition has been retained intact except that now it stands renamed as, 'Preface to Second Edition'. But sections of the First Preface to the second edition have been rearranged as chapters, most of which have been revised, enlarged and renamed. Chapter 4, 'The Prophet sets the Pattern', is entirely new. It is a summary of the first orthodox biography of the Prophet, and provides a background to the chapters that follow. Chapter 5, 'The Orthodox Exposition of Jihad' , has been enlarged with extensive passages from Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen, a sixteen century (CE) treatise on jihad composed at Bijapur and carrying many citations from orthodox collections of Hadis. In a way, this part of the chapter fulfils to a certain extent my plan to present Hadis materials vis-a- vis jihad. Chapter 6, 'Jihad in India's History', now includes jihads waged by Sher Shah Sur, Akbar the Great Mughal, and Ahmad Shah Abdali. Many myths have been floated about the 'secularism' of Sher Shah and Akbar by Muslim and Stalinist "historians" in recent times. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of India's 'secularism', has gone to the extent of hailing Akbar as "the father of Indian nationalism" who "deliberately placed the ideal of a common Indian nationhood above the claims of separatist religion". I hope the readers will draw their own conclusions.
This book is going to the press while the jihad in Kargil is raging, and the end is not yet in sight. The Hindu intelligentsia in India in general and the present-day Hindu leadership in particular, has yet to show any sign that they have learnt any lesson from what is essentially a renewed contest between Islamic imperialism and Indian nationalism. On the other hand, a realization seems to be dawning in the West, particularly the USA, that Pakistan has become the foremost citadel of what they (the West) prefer to describe as Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. I wish to point out that Pakistan has not invented the Islam it is practising; it has always been there in India (which is now known as Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asia, but which is the same as the Bharatavarsa of hoary history) since the eighth century CE. Let it be realized by everybody concerned that India has always been and remains, the citadel of the most bigoted and bloodthirsty zealotry of Islam. The historical reasons for why it is so, are many. I do not have the time to detail them here. The main reason may be told. Islam in India has been what it has been because India has continued to stare at Islam as its greatest failure. Islam in India has never been able to relax, as it could do in countries which it converted completely. And it will not relax till Hindus learn to knock out its ideological fangs which are rooted in the Quran.
Soon after the first edition of this book was published in July 1986, a significant judgment on some ayats of the Quran was pronounced by Z.S. Lohat, metropolitan magistrate of Delhi. As most of these ayats and others of a similar sort figure in the Calcutta Quran Petition of Chandmal Chopra, we thought it relevant to reproduce the impugned poster in which-the ayats were cited. Operative portion of the judgment is also being reproduced in order to give a glimpse of the arguments for and against.
The poster had been published on behalf of the Hindu Raksha Dal, Delhi, by its President, Indra Sain Sharma, and Secretary, Rajkumar Arya. Both of them had been arrested under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. These are the same sections which were invoked by Chandmal Chopra in his petition for prohibiting publication of the Quran.
The publishers of the poster had cited 24 ayats of the Quran under the caption, Why riots take place in the country. They had added the comment that these ayats "command the believers (Musalmans) to fight against followers of other faiths" and that "so long as these ayats are not removed [from the Quran], riots in the country cannot be prevented".
The case acquired considerable weight when it came before the court because Indra Sain Sharma happened to be Vice-President of the All India Hindu Mahasabha at that time. The prosecution seemed to be convinced that it had caught a big fish. But the magistrate thought otherwise. He found that the prosecution had failed to provide sufficient grounds such as could enable him to frame charges. He discharged both the accused with the observation that "With due regard to the holy book of 'Quran Majeed', a close perusal of the 'Aytes' shows that the same are harmful and teach hatred, and are likely to create differences between Mohammedans on one hand and the remaining communities on the other" (emphasis added).
The poster was printed in Hindi. The ayats it cited were taken verbatim from an authentic edition of the Quran published by an orthodox Muslim organization, Maktaba al-Hasnat of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. The edition provides the Arabic text of the Quran together with Hindi and English translations in parallel columns. We are reproducing the English translation of the ayats.
"Some ayats of the Quran Majid command the believers (Musalmans) to fight against followers of other faiths:
1. Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive) and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor due, then leave their way. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Surah 9, ayat 5)
2. O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean ... (9.28)
3. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. (4.101)
4. O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you and let them find harshness in you ... (9.123)
5. Lo! Those who disbelieve our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. (4.56)
6. O ye who believe! Choose not your father nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends such are wrongdoers. (9.23)
7. Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk. (9.37)
8. O ye who believe! Choose not for friends People of the Book and of the disbelievers. But keep your duty to Allah if ye are true believers. (5.57)
9. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter. (33.61)
10. Lo! Ye (idolaters) and that which ye worship beside Allah are fuel of hell. Thereunto ye will come. (21.98)
11. And who doth greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelations of his Lord, then turneth from them. Lo! We shall requite the guilty. (32.22)
12. Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture. (48.20)
13. Now enjoy what ye have won as lawful and good. (8.69)
14. O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end. (66.9)
15. But verily We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste an awful doom and verily We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do. (41.27)
16. That is the reward of Allah's enemies: the Fire. Therein is their immortal home, payment for as much as they denied Our revelations. (41.28)
17. Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs. They shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain ... (9.111)
18. Allah promiseth hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers fire of hell for their abode. It will suffice them. Allah curseth them and theirs is lasting torment. (9.58)
19. O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred steadfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence. (8.65)
20. O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (5.51)
21. Fight against such of those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. (9.29)
22. Therefore, We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork. (5.14)
23. They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah. If they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose not friend nor helper from among them. (4.89)
24. Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers. (9.14)
"There are numerous (other) ayats of the same sort. Here we have cited only twenty-four ayats. Obviously, these ayats carry commandments which promote enmity, ill-will, hatred, deception, fraud, strife, robbery and murder. That is why riots take place between Muslims and non-Muslims, in this country as well as [the rest of] the world.
"In the above-mentioned twenty-four ayats of the Quran Majid, Musalmans are commanded to fight against followers of other faiths. So long as these ayats are not removed [from the Quran), riots in the country cannot be prevented."
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