Muslims of India feel privileged to be in their motherland: M.J. Akbar

Story by  Tripti Nath | Posted by  Tripti Nath | Date 03-03-2024
M.J. Akbar releasing the book  What is the reality of Ghazwa-e-Hind? along with eminent Islamic scholars and Muslim religious leaders
M.J. Akbar releasing the book What is the reality of Ghazwa-e-Hind? along with eminent Islamic scholars and Muslim religious leaders


Tripti Nath/New Delhi

“We are privileged to be Muslims of India. It is a great privilege. Let us not underestimate it. Who did what and when. Let’s leave that to books. We know that we are privileged. We know that we are grateful to God for keeping us in our motherland, “ said M.J. Akbar, author, journalist and former Minister of State for External Affairs, at a function in New Delhi on Sunday.
Akbar was speaking at an event organized by the Khusro Foundation to mark the release of a book What is the reality of Ghazwa-e-Hind?” edited by Dr Hafeezur Rahman. The book published in English, Hindi and Urdu, is a compilation of eight essays by noted Islamic scholars and religious leaders.
It is worth noting that Ghazwa e Hind is an apocalyptic prophecy attributed to Prophet Mohammad in which he is said to have predicted that Islamic forces will conquer India before the apocalyspe. For a long period of time, this fabricated Hadith has been quoted to justify a clash of civilizations. Terrorist groups in the neighbouring countries, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish e Mohammad, Al-Qaida affiliated Ansar Ghazwatul Hind and the IS- use the same Hadith to recruit terrorists and unleash terror attacks in India.
Akbar went on to say that Islam should not be blamed for the sins of Muslims. He said that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Islam and it is important to understand the faith that we are talking about. “The tragedy of Islam is really very often, I believe not those who believe in it but those who claim to believe in it.  What is the term used by the Holy Quran for Allah? Any one who reads the Namaz wherever knows that Allah is Rab-ul-Alameen. Nowhere is Allah called Rab-ul-Muslim. He is the creator of all human beings,“ he said while drawing attention to several verses of the Quran.
Akbar said that if Allah created all of us, who are we to judge each other? “The only mandate we have been given is to live in peace. We have not been given the mandate kill. The Prophet warned Muslims only about one community. He came to a pact with every other community. There is only one community which the Prophet said that you cannot come to terms with. That is the the hypocrites. Regrettably, the voice of hypocrisy is drowning up the voice of Islam.’’
Akbar emphasized that Islam clearly says that there is no compulsion in religion.
He added, “A hundred years ago also began the era of nationalism and India was in the forefront of creating a nation state in the modern era. So, we are the first modern State. What the four principles of modernity? Democracy- we have it. Freedom of faith- without that, you can’t be a modern nation. China may be a successful nation but China is not a modern nation because it has no democracy. It has no freedom of faith. Gender Equality- without that, there can be no modernity… And of course, Poverty Elimination- that too, we are witnessing now. This is what Indian Muslims have got in free, independent and democratic India. And we know through our experience. We know through what we have lived through. And we know because we have eyes to see, ears to hear and the intellect to understand what is happening in the world beyond.’’
He said that Prophet Muhammad spent most of his life under persecution but there was no call to war during the Prophet’s time- not even when his life is under threat.
He said that Ghazwa-e-Hind is not just fraudulent but also mischievous. “There are ten rules of Jihad to be followed. It is not as simple as it is made out to be.  You can not even burn trees not to talk of killing human-beings.''
Akbar asked the audience to look back at years around 1919-1920 and see which model has succeded? The model of violence or the model of non violence? The Communist State created by violence has crumbled and collapsed. He added that the Gandhian concept of non violence has proven to be more sustainable.
Dr Waris Mateen Mazhari from the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, Delhi, said that false narratives for vested interests need to be challenged. He suggested that the book be translated into other Indian languages as well.
Maulana Kalbe Rushaid Rizvi, a renowed Shia scholar and social reformer, said that whatever the Prophet’s messenger ever said was for the entire humanity, not Muslims and narratives misquoting Islam.
Dr Zeenat Shaukat who taught at St Xavier’s College, said that there has been a lot of misleading information about Islam. “ This book offers authentic information on the subject. Articles in the book denounce the Ghazwa theory. Ghazwa-e Hind doctrine can cause ill feelings between communities. Islam rejects violence and the Holy Quran believes in confidence building.’’
Dr Shaukat drew attention to an interview Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, where he said that Muslin scholars have been talking about the concept of moderation for a thousand years.  
The author, De Hafeezur Rahman said that he felt compelled to tell  the world that the entire concept of Ghazwa is flawed. Ghazwa is an Arabic word which implies a war that was led by Prophet Mohammad. “ This is a completely false narrative and therefore the urgent need to debunk it completely.’’
Dr Rahman said that the book aims to promote inter-faith understanding and challenge the narrative that can imperil shared heritage and composite culture in India.