A. Ghosh's erroneous allegation in his March 13th letter 'Now it's My Turn', that the followers of Islam have been known as 'Mohammedans'. Is it 'Muslim' or 'Mohammedan'? Lets analyse.
"For Muslims, as adherents of Islam are called, the Qur'an is the Word of God, confirming and consummating earlier revealed books and thereby replacing them".
Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. "Islam", 1998.
"Islam (Arabic = submission to, or having peace with, God), the religion of which MUHAMMAD was the prophet. An adherent of Islam is a Muslim (Arabic = one who submits)"
The Concise Columbia Encyclopaedia, 3rd. ed.
'The name of the religion is Islam, the root of which is 'Silm'
and 'Salam', which means peace' Writes Dr. Ahmed Sakr, in Introduction to Islam,
one of the most prominent Muslim Scholar and writer in U.S. Thus Islam means both peace
and submission to One God Allah.
Allah himself gave the title of 'Muslims' and 'Islam' in the Qur'an: "...It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur'an)..." (22:78). "...This day, I (Allah) have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (5:3).
The words 'Mohammedanism or Mohammedan' never occur in the Qur'an
or the Hadith literature. With the exception of Islam, almost all other religions, are
named after a person, place or tribe etc. Not so Islam, its name itself, which means
peaceful (silm) submission to One creator, Allah, and a moderate and balanced life devoid
of excesses (saleem), is given by God himself . Thus your use of the word 'mohammedan' to
title Muslims and your fellow writer's (Mr. Swami) accusation that 'Islam does not mean
peace' are both against Qur'an, Words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Arabic
linguistics, the most recognised encyclopaedias and non-Muslim scholars like Sarojani
Naidu and M. K. Ghandhi who both used the word 'Islam' in its praise (ref. Feb. 27th,
1998). So Mr. A. Ghosh, 'why is there a need for a new name for the millennium-old faith
Despite the abundance of proof against him, Ghosh, stubbornly claims "The words 'Islam' and Muslim' never even made their appearance. I totally agree with Ghosh, these words never made their appearance past Ghosh's thick skull.
I challenge A. Ghosh to produce a single statement either from Islamic sources of the Qur'an or the Hadiths (sayings) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where the followers of Islam are called 'Mohammedans'. Are you going to let this challenge also slip away as you did to my previous challenges? I'll recollect your memory:
1. "I would challenge him to produce a single verse either from the Qur'an or the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to establishing his (Ghosh's) claim of bricking people alive".
2. "Muslims Challenge Ghosh to produce a statement from this Treaty (treaty of Hudaibiyya) which encourages lies and breach of trust" (Refer to my letter "Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh", India Post, Feb. 27, 1998).
It is one thing to make extravagant claims against the purity of
Islam and another to back them up with scriptural and scholarly references. The three
challenges above are three strikes against Mr. Ghosh. It is childish to play hide and seek
when you are against the wall. Either put up or shut up.
Likewise I challenged another writer, Kris Mitel "...to provide one single incident with documented evidence that the Prophet himself led raids on merchants caravan" (ref. Feb. 20, 1998) This challenge was not answered by Mitel's Spokesman Mr. Venkata Swami (ref. "Kris Mitel on Islam: Fact, Not Ignorance", India Post, March 13, '98). Mr. Mitel and Mr. Swami, your silence concerning my challenge is utterly deafening.
Prodigal claims of Mr. Swami include: "Unquestionable submission and obedience which is even to date as it was during the days of Mohammad is enforced under penalty of death..." Can you produce a single statement to back up your claim on the noble personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Don't waste the precious space of India Post and the time of its readers. Either provide the legitimate references or step down, let your elders take charge from here. Read my clarification of your mistaken claim in my letter of Feb. 27th, 1998 "Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh", where I backed up my statements on 'No compulsion in Islam' using scriptural, historical, logical and scholarly references including those of M. K. Ghandhi and Sarojini Naidu, unlike Mr. Swami, whose statements are backed with ignorance and naivete.
Mr. Swami's faulty allegation concerning the possible permission of adultery during jihad is equally sophomoric. He cites a verse from the Qur'an "Also prohibited are women already married except those whom your right hand possess" (4:25). Adultery is prohibited in Islam with no exception, during jihad or otherwise. Mr. Swami's quotation from the Qur'an 4:25 actually disproves his own point that Qur'an allows Muslims to have relationships outside of marriage. Thanks for the help. And the Hadith that he 'tried' to supply is lacking in its most crucial feature: Reference. What does 'Hadith Ahadis 3432-3434' mean? There is no such reference in Islamic literature. This proves your utter lack of knowledge even in the basics of Islam. You too are probably just parroting from the writings of your guru, 'Anwar Sheikh'. Now, to look at the context of this verse, Allah is giving the guidelines on matrimonial relationship, on who to marry and who not to marry. The context starts two verses above and ends two verses below. The verse in question plainly states that Muslims can't marry women who are already married to someone else, and are permitted to marry those of the women from the captives. And of course all the due criteria is to be fulfilled in all Muslim marriages, i.e. mutual acceptance of the marriage proposal, Mahr (gift of bridegroom to the bride), witnesses etc. Islam, a noble and moral religion provides detailed guidance in all walks of life and in all circumstances.
Mr. Swami resolutely misquotes me in the last column of his letter by deceitfully stating: "Also Ahmed makes historical blunders in his description of 'idolaters of Mecca. Being polytheists as he says in that holy city, the townsmen did not mind Mohammed who was preaching for 10 long years without any hindrance". The copy of India Post (Feb. 20, 1998) is in front of me and it catches Mr. Swami red-handed. My letter actually reads: "He (Prophet) suffered ten long years in Mecca suffering the tortures of the idolaters, who took away the Muslims' houses, their properties, and martyred many and kicked out the rest including the Prophet, from the city of Mecca". So yes, the Prophet would be fully justified to repossess his property in any law of the land, both religious and secular.
As mentioned in my aforementioned letter of Feb. 27th, citing isolated and random actions of some Muslims and then blaming the purity of Islam is like blaming the car crash on the new Mercedes instead of the drunken driven behind its steering. If the same flawed reasoning is retained, then Hinduism is the oddest of religions, where people of their own religion are discriminated against and are being looked down and even slaughtered by their fellow Hindu brethren as 'untouchables'. The shocking news on the major newspapers of the world on Dec. 3rd, read "61 killed in village; caste clash blamed". Chicago Tribune writes:
"Wailing with grief, low-caste Hindu families crowded around mud huts in this poor village (Lakshmanpur) Tuesday as police collected the bodies of 61 residents slaughtered during the night...Police blamed the massacre on the Ranbir Sena, an illegal militia of mostly upper caste landowners...the victims, all low-caste Hindus, were methodically shot in their homes, each of them hit by several bullets. Some of their throats were slit".
Mr. Ghosh, should the final analysis of Hinduism be judged from
the conduct of its followers? Mr. Ray, MD, I hope you can digest this. And they could use
medical expertise of USA Hindu physicians in India each time your fellow 'upper caste'
Hindu brethren assaults your less fortunate Hindu brethren whose only crime is that they
are born to a low caste Hindu parents. Do we have a mirror in the house?
If I left any questions answered from the polemics against Islam, it is not because of lack of truth but of space. One last challenge. I challenge Anwar Sheikh, A. Ghosh, Kris Mitel, Venkata Swami, Ray MD, Belooch, Martand Singh Deo and the rest to a public debate anywhere in the USA, the date, place and time of your choosing. And yes, you all could be on one team against one person. Don't back down now, and no excuses, that is if you are speaking the truth and are real men.
843 W. Van Buren, # 411
Chicago, IL. 60607
[Currently, he is the co-chairman of the Da'wa Committee and Board of Director at the Muslim Community Center, Illinois. A student of Ahmed Deedat and now works for the 1-800-662-islam hotline of ICNA. His main interest is in comparative religion.]