In this article, we shall briefly analyze the research article by self-proclaimed expert on comparative religion, Dr Zakir Naik on “Concept of God in Hinduism”. You can review the original article by clicking here. This is his second article in this series. (The first was “Introduction to Hinduism” which we have already analyzed.)
The bulk of this article goes to provide evidences from Hindu texts that there is only one God. I sincerely thank Dr Naik for collecting these references at one place which are pride of not only Hindus but entire humanity.
But the motive of Dr Naik in putting this references was quite different. He starts his article falsely assuming that bulk of Hindus do not believe in one God. And then goes ahead to prove that this is wrong and Hindus should believe in one God only. In previous article, he has already planted seeds of doubts over Vedas and basis of Hinduism, and established importance of Bhavishya Puran. After this article, he would go for the final kill – by proving that Hindu scriptures talk of Prophet only and hence imply that Hindus should leave other texts and accept only Quran! You can review the rest of the articles in this site itself.
For present, we shall critically comment on the first part of his article on “Concept of God” and try to understand the true Hinduism and motives of this stage performer in process. As in previous article, I shall cite excerpt from Dr Naik’s articles followed by comments in bold italics.
Dr Naik: “1. Common Concept of God in Hinduism: Hinduism is commonly perceived as a polytheistic religion. Indeed, most Hindus would attest to this, by professing belief in multiple Gods. While some Hindus believe in the existence of three gods, some believe in thousands of gods, and some others in thirty three crore i.e. 330 million Gods. However, learned Hindus, who are well versed in their scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe in and worship only one God.“
(1. English has only word God to mean All-mighty Omnipotent whom Hindus call Ishwar and other human-like creatures who act smart – like one who sends Angels, gets angry, sits on a throne or creates Heaven and Hell.
2. In Hinduism, the word to describe All-mighty Omnipotent is Ishwar. Thus Ishwar = God. But writers take God to mean Devata. Now Devata does not mean Ishwar. Devata means any entity – living or dead that gives us anything or benefits us. In English, I would call Devata to mean “Helper”.
3. While Vedas believe in one single Ishwar and 33 types of non-living Helper Devatas, even the average Hindu does not consider these Helper devatas to be Ishwar.
4. Thus Hinduism is essentially monotheistic and Quran has derived its concept of monotheism basically from Vedas
5. The three Gods are symbolic description of 3 functions of Ishwar – Creation, Maintenance and Destruction. Different Hindu sects may differ with regards to the importance one should be attaching to these various symbols or importance of Helper-Devatas, but all unanimously agree that there is one and only one Ishwar/God. Dr Naik has no new USP of Islam to sell here)
Dr Naik: “The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim perception of God is the common Hindus’ belief in the philosophy of Pantheism. Pantheism considers everything, living and non-living, to be Divine and Sacred. The common Hindu, therefore, considers everything as God. He considers the trees as God, the sun as God, the moon as God, the monkey as God, the snake as God and even human beings as manifestations of God!”
(1. Dr Naik speaks this sentence with a slight smirk in his face in his video shows so that the audience feels humorous. But either he is mistaken or deliberately acting humorous.
2. Because Hinduism basically represents a school of thought believing in Law of Karma. The rest of the details are left to individual interpretation. All Hindus do consider functioning of each object – living or dead – as a gift of God, but they DO NOT consider the tree, sun, moon, monkey, snake, human as same as God/Ishwar.
3. Even the Advait believers, also admit that even if these things are considered to have origin in Ishwar or Brahma, currently there is a layer of ignorance or Maya separating them.
4. For rest of Hindus, they worship these objects, to show their thankfulness to Ishwar/ God to have created and gifted such wonderful things! Different sects do take this thankfulness to different levels, but none would consider everything to be God in present state, as IRF foolishly believes or wants the world to believe. Thus the crux of this article and its prime agenda become outrightly baseless.
5. The problem is that the neo-wahabi Islam which Dr Zakir Naik wants all Hindus to embrace does not have any philosophy or need for subtle thinking that demands finesse of mind and intellect. It would want us to believe that polygamy is right because there are more women in USA than men (Although there are far less women than men in marriageable age!). Or that had Islam been brutal in India, why would there be only 15% Muslim in India after so many centuries of rule? (And he would conveniently ignore 33 crore Muslims in Bangladesh and Pakistan which were originally part of India. Not to talk of Afghanistan!
But we need to beware of designs of those who openly support Bin Laden and ban on other religions (including Shias, Sufis, Ahmadiyas, Bahais) in Muslim countries or have a vision to make India a Muslim country in 5 years!)
Dr Naik: “Islam, on the contrary, exhorts man to consider himself and his surroundings as examples of Divine Creation rather than as divinity itself. Muslims therefore believe that everything is God’s i.e. the word ‘God’ with an apostrophe ‘s’. In other words the Muslims believe that everything belongs to God.
The trees belong to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the monkey belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, the human beings belong to God and everything in this universe belongs to God.
Thus the major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim beliefs is the difference of the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says everything is God. The Muslim says everything is God’s.”
(1. As mentioned before the analogy of apostrophe ‘s’ is good for stage shows but is actually baseless. The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim belief or Dr Zakir Naik is that Hindus believe in freedom of thought and analysis and do not curse anyone to Hell permanently. Or contrary, Dr Naik’s Islam would demand not only belief in God, but also belief in following:
- Muhammad as final Prophet
- Quran as final and only acceptable word of God beyond any doubts or questions
- Permanent Hell for those who refuse to believe in above and Heaven only for the rest
- Existence of angels.
Zakir has himself stated that howsomuch great and noble a person may be, unless he blindly believes in these he is destined to suffer in eternal Hell.
2. Incidentally, Islam is not as uniform in its belief as Dr Naik wants us to believe. There is a Hadith of Muhammad’s times that Islam has 73 sects and Prophet has said that only one of them will go to Heaven and rest will go to Hell. Today, some sects have written their own new Quran as well! Many of the sects doubt authenticity of present Quran. Here is a sampler:
- Hashamiya – They believe that Prophet disobeyed Allah
- Azraqiah – They do not believe that revelations happen any more
- Nazzamiyah – They refuse to believe in miracles of Quran or Muhammad
- Ibriyah – They refuse to accept Muhammad as Prophet
- Tanasikhiya – They believe in reincarnation of soul as Hindus
You can read the complete list here
Many other sects of Islam also exist who have their own Qurans and Prophets. Search Wikipedia or google on “sects of Islam”)
The rest of the article only emphasizes the point that Hindus already know. In the end, Dr Naik adds a para claiming that Vedas call Muhammad the Prophet. He writes:
“The Prophecy confirms:
1. The name of the Prophet as Ahmed since Ahmed is an Arabic name. Many translators misunderstood it to be ‘Ahm at hi’ and translated the mantra as “I alone have acquired the real wisdom of my father”.
2. Prophet was given eternal law, i.e. the Shariah.
3. The Rishi was enlightened by the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an says in Surah Saba Chapter 34 verse 28 (34:28):
“We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not.”"
2. If Allah himself says that most men will not understand, then it is fault of Allah and not of men that their lack of understanding was already pre-decided by Allah!)
I hope, after reading these articles, Dr Naik and IRF would go into an introspection and would be honest enough to embrace their original roots – the Vedas. Or at least, accept our invitation for an open-house debate that is long pending.