[By Majlisul Ulama of South Africa]
Some “researcher” known as P.N. Oak has come up with some ludicrous, puerile and absurd comments regarding Islam. His theory postulating the “impact of the Vedic religion on Islam” is laughable. Those acquainted with history will smile at the silliness of the assertions made by Oak.
Among the fallacious claims made by Oak is that The Holy Ka’bah in Makkah was “originally a Shiva temple“. But, for this astounding and absurd claim he fails to present any evidence. He permits his imagination to play havoc with him, hence he bases his claim on “a gold dish” supposedly located in the Ka’bah. Oak alleges that some inscription on the gold dish supposedly found in the Holy Ka’bah refers to “Vikram’s enlightened rule“. Assuming that such a dish was in fact located in the Holy Ka’bah, how on earth can such a chance finding override and abrogate the volumes of historical facts surrounding the Holy Ka’bah? If a copy of the Holy Qur’aan is found in some Hindu temple or in a Christian shrine or in the Pope’s headquarters, does it follow that these places were some Muslim Shrines in some remote point in time and that it will be correct to conclude from such a finding that Islam has made an impact on the respective religions..? No person of intelligence can uphold such a ludicrous and unreasonable conclusion. The finding of some dish, parchment, plate, garment or any other object is not an intelligent basis for upturning and negating facts which have been testified for accuracy by authorities, from generation to generation. If every simple find such as a dish, constitutes a valid basis for revising historical facts, then we dare say that the entire history of the world will have to be re-written.
If Oak’s “key” to his “research” is a mere dish supposedly located in the Holy Ka’bah, every man of some intelligence can understand the fallacy of his entire research-conclusions. It staggers the imagination to be informed that a man, supposedly a research scholar, is prepared to dismiss the wealth and volume of historical facts on the basis of a dish which has been claimed to have been found in the Ka’bah. If the same or a similar dish singing the praises of Vikram had to be found in
Buckingham Palace will it be sensible to aver that this Palace was a Hindu shrine once upon a time..?
We have no knowledge of any “golden dish” with Hindu praises having been found in the Holy Ka’bah. Let Mr. Oak furnish factual proof regarding this “dish”.
Mr. Oak should also be apprised of some historical facts pertaining to the Ka’bah. Prior to the advent of Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the Ka’bah was filled with hundreds of idols — the gods of the pagans who had abandoned the true religion of their forefather, Nabi lbraaheem (Prophet Abraham alayhissalaam) [for more details read this: How Idols found place in the Ka’aba during Pre-Islamic Era??]. The pagan Arabs in fact had a god (an idol) for each different day of the year. It will not be at all surprising if Mr. Oak’s research could have suggested that the cult of idol worship which existed among pre-Islam Arabs was the impact of the Vedic religion. Since the Hindu or the Vedic religion is an idolatrous cult with a multitude of gods, the idolatry of the pagan Arabs in the pre-Islamic era can understandably and reasonably be attributed to the Vedic religion. The idols of the pagan Arabs and the idols of the Vedic religion are birds of a feather, but, to suggest that the Vedic idolatrous religion had any impact on Islam and its rigidly monotheistic teachings and beliefs is preposterous and absurd in the extreme.
Again assuming that some Hindu golden dish was located in the Holy Ka’bah, common sense would have concluded that the “dish” was a relic of the idolatrous pagans who had filled the Holy Ka’bah with 360 idols. The idolatrous pagans of the pre-Islam era, having imported their cult of idolatry from the Hindu east, had similar rites of idol-worship. Offerings of a variety of kinds were made to propitiate the idols. It will, therefore, not at all be surprising if the supposed golden dish was among the offerings which the pagans had made to the idols which had been installed in the Holy Ka’bah by the pagan Arabs heavily influenced by the idolatry of the east — the idolatry of the Vedic religion being the most profound.
In terms of the “golden dish” theory as propounded by Oak, Vedic missionaries had arrived in Arabia to preach their religion. This is the claim supposedly made in the inscriptions on the “dish”. If this is indeed so, then it accounts for the paganism and the idolatry of the Arabs before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The Arabs, being the followers of Nabi lbraaheem (Prophet Abraham alayhissalaam) were rigidly and uncompromisingly believers in THE ONE GOD. The spread of idolatry among them is therefore surprising. However, the “dish” theory of Oak throws light on the origin of idol-worship among the pre-Islam Arabs. A “golden dish” located in the Ka’bah, with Vedic inscriptions is testimony for the origin of the idols which had once occupied the Holy Ka’bah Mosque in the days before Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). When the Holy Ka’bah had housed even the idols of the pagan Arabs sedated by Hindu idolatry, then the location of a mere “dish” with Vedic inscriptions should come as no surprise.
Mr. Oak presents a number of fallacious points for his conclusion that the Vedic religion had an impact on Islam. The article in the LEADER states:
“In his research Mr. Oak furnishes other proof reinforcing the belief that Arabs were once followers of the Indian Vedic way of life.”
That the pre-Islam Arabs were pagans and idolaters is an undeniable and a well-established historical fact which ten-year old kids in a primary school are aware of. If the Arab idolatrous cult was the influence or even the product of “the Indian Vedic way of life”, there is nothing surprising about it. But, the cult of the pre-Islam Arabs should not be confused with the uncompromising religion of monotheism of Islam delivered to mankind by The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). No one will deny the idolatry of the pagan pre-Islam Arabs. If some theory or research establishes that the 360 idols installed by the Arabs in the Ka’bah prior to the advent of Islam were the influence or the impact of the Vedic religion, we shall not contest such a claim since reason can accept that a religion grounded and advanced in idolatry can spawn a cult of lesser idolatry, the lesser idolatry in this instance being the idolatry of the pagan Arabs. One of his points is the Hajj.
In this regard Oak states:
“The annual Hajj of the Muslims to the Ka’bah is of an earlier pre-Islamic congregation.”
It is clear that Mr. Oak is a poor student of history. Even our little children are aware of the fact that the Hajj pilgrimage was in existence prior to the appearance of Nabi Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The Hajj worship came into existence among the Arabs during the time of Nabi lbraaheem (alayhissalaam). From this angle it will be correct to conclude that the Hajj of the present-day Muslims “is of an earlier pre-Islamic congregation”. By “pre-Islamic” will mean the era prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). But, it is ridiculous to infer that the Islamic Hajj is the impact of the Vedic religion merely because it was in existence from the time of Prophet lbraaheem (alayhissalaam). Every practice of the pre-Islam pagan Arabs cannot be attributed to Vedic influence or the influence of some other idolatrous cult. While the actual worship of Hajj among the Arabs came into existence during the time of Nabi lbraaheem (alayhissalaam), the Arabs who later abandoned the true religion of lbraaheem (alayhissalaam) introduced many pagan and idolatrous rites into the Hajj pilgrimage presumably under influence of Vedic idolaters who came to Arabia to preach the idolatry of the Vedic religion. But, such idolatrous influences introduced by the pre-Islam pagans cannot be cited as a basis for the preposterous claim that the Hajj itself is a Vedic rite. There is absolutely no factual or historical evidence to substantiate this fallacious claim made by Oak.
Another absurd claim made by Oak is stated in the Leader as follows:
“The principal shrines at Varanasi, in India and at Mecca, in Arrastan, were Shiva temples. Even to this day ancient mahadeva emblems can be seen.”
Such emblems can be seen on the Shiva temples in India. But the allegation of such signs of idolatry — such emblems of paganism — on the Ka’bah is a blatant falsity. What is Oak’s proof for existence of such emblems in the Ka’bah..? Such “emblems of Mahadeva” allegedly in or on the Ka’bah are the reflections of Oak’s imagination.
The “dish” theory constrains Oak to conjecture the following conclusion which he seems to believe as factual evidence:
“According to the inscriptions, if King Vikram spread the Vedic religion, who else but he could have founded the Ka’bah temple?”
If king Vikram did in fact spread the Vedic religion of idolatry which gave birth to the 360 idols of the pagan Arabs, it does not follow therefrom that the Holy Ka’bah was a Hindu temple built by Vikram. For such a preposterous claim factual proof is required. The wishful thinking of Mr. Oak cannot override the facts of history. Even the pagan Arabs were fully aware of the origin of the Ka’bah. They had full knowledge of the fact that Nabi lbraaheem (alayhissalaam) was the founder of the Ka’bah. The groundless suggestion of a man in this belated century is nothing other than pure wishful thinking — a fallacy to be dismissed with contempt.
In support of his conclusions based on the “dish” theory, Oak claims:
“Pilgrims’ shaving of head and beard and donning white cloth are remnants of the old Vedic practice of entering temples clean shaven.”
Oak demonstrates his lack of knowledge of Islamic practices by his claim of shaving the beard. Hujjaaj (pilgrims) do not shave their beards. Muslim males are not permitted to shave their beards whether they are at home or entering temples or Mosques, be it the Sacred Mosque of the Ka’bah. While shaving the head for male pilgrims is a rite of the Hajj, shaving the beard is not permissible. It may be a Vedic practice to shave the beard, but definitely not a Muslim practice.
Muslim pilgrims do not shave their heads in order to enter temples or Mosques. If shaving the head is a Vedic practice necessary for entry into a temple, Mr. Oak should learn from us that it is not a practice of Islam. Muslim pilgrims either shave or clip some hairs to release them from the restrictions of the Hajj (pilgrimage).
If donning white cloth was a custom of “old Vedic” religion, it does not logically follow therefrom that the white garments which Muslim pilgrims don are “Remnants of old Vedic practice”. What are Oak’s grounds for this fictitious theory..?? It is absurd to suggest that wherever a white religious garb exists it must be the result of Vedic influence.
Among the points put forward by Oak for his fallacy is the emblem of the crescent moon. Stating this point of Oak, the Leader says:
“In India the crescent moon is always painted across the forehead of the Shiva symbol. The same emblem now adorns the flag of Islam.”
Mr. Oak has transgressed all bounds of absurdity in putting forward this ignorant claim. What is the “flag of Islam” in Oak’s understanding?? From where did this ‘research scholar’ obtain his information in this regard! If the flags of Muslim countries have the symbol of the crescent, it does not follow that the Flag of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) — the Flag of Islam — also displayed the crescent emblem. The crescent emblem is an innovation which did not exist during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) nor during the time of his righteous Khulafaa (Representatives and Successors). Assuming that the crescent emblem did exist among the Muslims of the Prophetic era, then too, Oak will have no grounds to bolster his claim of Vedic origin and Vedic influence. One cannot venture such claims without producing facts and proofs to substantiate one’s claims which are in conflict with all facts of history.
Endeavouring to present his wishful thinking as a fact of history, Oak asserts that the Tawaaf (circumambulation) of Ka’bah by pilgrims is the influence of the Vedic religion. Thus, the Leader says:
“Muslim pilgrims go around the Ka’bah seven times, a common practice among Hindus. In no other mosque does circumambulation prevail.”
Circumambulation of the Ka’bah is because of the special religious significance which Muslims believe is exclusive to the Ka’bah, the first Place of Worship ever to be constructed on earth. According to Islamic Belief, the first person to build the Ka’bah was Aadam (alayhissalaam) — the first man on earth. Its superior rank and the special divine presence which Muslims believe surrounds the Ka’bah are the facts underlying the circumambulation. If Hindus do in fact circumambulate some temple seven times, it cannot be claimed that such a Hindu practice gave rise to the Tawaaf (circumambulation) rite of Islam. Mere similarities between opposite and divergent religions cannot be cited as evidence for one’s claims unsupported by factual proof.
Another point of Oak stated by the Leader is:
“Eid in Sanskrit means worship and Bakri Eid, which derives from sacrifices of Vedic times was celebrated with mutton feasting at the time of the sun’s entry into Aries.”
If the term “Eid” means “worship” in Sanskrit, we have to apprize Oak of the fact that in Arabic the word “Eid” does not mean “worship”. In Arabic “Eid” means ‘the Day of Return’. The Islamic Festivals are known as such because of their ‘return’ or ‘repeated coming’. The term itself does not connote ‘worship’ in Arabic. Thus, there is no question of the Arabic term ‘Eid’ being the Sanskrit term contended by Oak. There is, therefore, absolutely no point for Oak’s “dish” theory. in the Arabic word, “Eid”. “Bakri Eid” being the occasion when Muslims sacrifice animals unto Allah Ta’ala has no resemblance with any Vedic muttonfeasting practice dedicated to idols. The word “Bakri” is not Arabic. It is an Urdu term meaning ‘goat’. Since goats are generally sacrificed in India on the occasion of Eidul Adhaa, Indian Muslims have coined the name “Bakri Eid”. The main animal of sacrifice for the Arabs has always been the camel. Eidul Adhaa — the original and correct name of this auspicious Day — is the name known to the Arabs. The sacrifice of animals on this occasion is in commemoration of the supreme sacrifice of lbraaheem (alayhissalaam). There is absolutely no resemblance to any Vedic mutton-eating custom of idolatrous merry-making. If the Vedic custom of mutton-feasting is to mark the sun’s entry into ‘Aries’, the Islamic practice of sacrificing animals is not. Even the Christian Bible speaks of the sacrifice of animals. If the Islamic custom of sacrificing animals has to be the result of Vedict impact, then Oak may also argue that the biblical practice of sacrificing animals is likewise the influence of the Vedic religion.
Oak then claims:
“The Islamic word Eidgah, signifies “House of Worship” which is the exact Sanskrit connotation of the term.”
Again Oak exhibits his total ignorance of Islam and its practices. In Arabic there is no such term as “Eidgah“. This term was unknown to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and His followers during the early history of Islam. The term ‘gah’ means place in the Urdu language. It is not of Arabic origin nor does Eidgah in Urdu mean “House of Worship”. The Eidgah is a special venue set aside for solely the prayers which are performed on the Day of Eid. Eidgah, therefore, means in Urdu the place where the special Eid prayers are performed. Since the term is not of Arabic origin nor is it the word used by the Arabs to describe the place where the Eid prayers are conducted, there is no support in it for Oak’s conclusions stemming from his “dish” theory. In Arabic the place where the Eid prayers are conducted is known as the “Musallaa“.
Oak betrays his ignorance of Islam in similar fashion by tendering the following point in substantiation of the “dish” theory,
“Also the word ‘Namaaz’ derives from two Sanskrit roots ‘nama’ and ‘yajna’ meaning bowing and worshipping.”
The word “namaaz” is not an Arabic term. It was never used by the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) nor by the Arab Muslims. Even to this day the Islamic practice of prayers is described as Salaah, not Namaaz. Namaaz is of Persian origin. While Salaah (Islamic prayers) is known as ‘Namaaz‘ in Persian and Urdu, it has never been the case in Arabic. How ridiculous then, is it not, for Oak to cite an Urdu term coined ages after the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), to bolster his theory arising out of a dish supposedly found in the Ka’bah..?? The Urdu language consists of words from many languages, including Sanskrit. But, the Urdu language was not the language of the Prophet (on whom be peace) or of the Arabs.
It is therefore meaningless to seek to forge a theory concerning the Arabs of the pre-Islam and post-Islam era by tendering terms introduced by non-Arab Muslims centuries after the advent of the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Presenting another preposterous and fallacious point in substantiation of his “dish” theory, Oak says:
“…..that shabibarat is the corrupt form of Shiva Ratra and that the term ‘eidul fitr’ derives from the eid of piters (worship of forefathers in Sanskrit tradition and Pitri Paksha among Hindus).”
The term “shab” is not Arabic. The occasion referred to is the 15th night of the month of Sha’baan in the Islamic calendar. The Arabs do not know this night by the name, ‘Shabibarat‘. This is an Indian term, also introduced ages after the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). It is blatantly false to aver that the Urdu or Faarsi word ‘shab‘ is the corrupt form of ‘Shiva’. Whatever Shiva may mean in Sanskrit, it has absolutely no relationship with the Urdu term, ‘shab‘ which means night.
The word ‘baraa-ah‘ is not a corrupt form of the Sanskrit term, ratra’- Oak has allowed his imagination to play havoc with him. He makes sweeping claims without furnishing grounds for his fallacies.
His claim regarding “Eid ul Fitr” is just as fallacious. Eid ul Fitr has absolutely no connection with some idolatrous worship of forefathers. Eid ul Fitr is the Day of Happiness marking the end of the month of fasting, viz., the month of Ramadhaan. In Islam there is no ritual or practice which is even remotely akin to the Hindu custom of worshipping forefathers.
Oak claims that the word ‘Allah ‘, the Islamic term for God Almighty, is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘goddess or mother’. If there is some such word in Sanskrit having these meanings stated by Oak, there is absolutely no proof for the claim that the Arabic word, Allah has been borrowed from Sanskrit. In Arabic, the word ‘Allah’ does not mean ‘goddess’ or ‘mother’. The word, ‘Allah’ has been known to the very first man on earth, viz., Aadam (alayhissalaam). If some of the progeny of Aadam in the different parts of the world retained the term ‘Allah’ after having abandoned the true religion taught by the Prophets, there is no surprise whatsoever.
It is the belief of Muslims–a belief stated by the Qur’aan–that Almighty Allah had sent Prophets to all nations. Prophets of Allah have therefore appeared in India and in all places to deliver the Truth of Islam. It is, therefore, quite possible, in fact, almost certain that the Prophet or Prophets who came to India many thousands of years ago, had come with the word, Allah. The Indians must have been apprized by the Prophets that God Almighty is Allah, The One. Therefore, it is not at all surprising if the term ‘Allah ‘ has been retained by the Sanskrit language. But, then why do Hindus not refer to God with the Name Allah if their language and their religion claim that the correct word for God is ‘Allah’ ??
Oak, spurred on by his imagination, is reading too much in word similarities. Word similarities exist in most languages. A word of the same or similar pronunciation may be found with the same or different meanings in different languages. Historical facts of certitude cannot be deduced from such similarities of ambiguity. Such flimsy theories which are the product of mere imagination and wishful thinking cannot constitute facts and grounds for the negation of historical and religious facts supported by the testimony of generations of authorities.
In conclusion we are compelled to observe that the findings of Oak are amazing in absurdity and in their degree of fallacy.
In response to the queries and views of ‘Rationalist’ (The Leader, 3rd June 1988) we wish to say:
(1) Whatever the meaning and significance of the Black Stone at the Ka’bah may be, it is NOT the interpretation which is associated with the “Lingam-Yoni worship”. It is not our intention here to engage in any refutation of the rites of paganism and immoral cults. Our concern is with the baseless and blasphemous interpretations and vile connotations which self-appointed historians seek to attach to the religious rites and acts of worship of Islam.
P.N. Oak is no authority on any Islamic matter. His views are essentially his personal, unfounded and unsubstantiated opinions devoid of truth and stripped of any sort of evidence. Theories can be propounded in abundance. But, as long as theories remain unsubstantiated by facts, they will be regarded as the figments of imagination and the products of whimsical fancy. Thus, the baseless interpretation regarding the Black Stone which “Rationalist” seeks to trade is raised on the hollow foundations of an unsubstantiated theory of one Mr. Oak who avers that the Ka’bah was a Shiva temple. In postulating his idea regarding the Black Stone, Rationalist has placed the cart before the horse. Let him and Oak first prove conclusively that the Holy Ka’bah was in fact a Shiva temple. Once they have succeeded (and never will they ever succeed) in backing up their ill-begotten theory with facts and evidence, then only will it be rational for Rationalist to embark upon his interpretation which he has postulated for the Black Stone by implication of his reference to the Ka’bah as a Shiva temple.
Since we do not accept Oak as any authority, his views are utterly baseless and puerile and in stark conflict with historical evidence.
(2) On the contrary, it is abundantly clear that the arguments of Oak are irrelevant in entirety in view of the fact that he has advanced his personal idea unsubstantiated by evidence. His allegation about a “dish” – a Shiva dish – a Vedic dish — is laughable, to say the least. One has to be really senile in the mind to regard the dish-trash as evidence for upsetting and negating the historical evidence which has been transmitted reliably down the long corridor of time. A theory, no matter how plausible it may sound and how appealing it may appear to the imagination of some persons, remains pure conjecture as long as evidence cannot be advanced to make it stand on its legs. A mere allegation of a “dish” supposedly discovered, is not evidence for the ridiculous contentions made by Oak.
To men of intelligence, the claims of Oak do not appear reasonable ”by large” as Rationalist asserts. On the contrary his claims appear downright childish and ludicrous.
(3) Arguing in vindication of Oak’s blasphemous views pertaining to the Holy Ka’bah, Rationalist states:
“He has established that there is a well at Mecca called Zam Zam”
Rationalist presents this as a wonderful discovery made by Oak. Every little child – all Muslim children by the million, the world over, know of the existence of the Well of Zam Zam. We are certain that numerous non-Muslims are aware of the existence of the Well of Zam Zam. There is no secrecy surrounding the existence of the Well of Zam Zam. The Zam Zam is not some hidden relic. It is not a discovery which any archeologist has made. It is a Well which has been in daily use since the advent of Nabi Ismaa’eel ! (alayhissalaam). It is indeed laughable to read that Oak has finally, possibly after prolonged research and years of in-depth investigations, established the existence of a Well which is as famous as Makkah itself. This reflects the degree of historical knowledge possessed by the self-appointed historians of the age – by those who pride themselves with investigations conducted in the socelled search-light of scientific facts.
(4) Again, Rationalist lending support to the vile theory which Oak propounds in relation to the Sacred Ka’bah, seeks to display Oak’s mentioning of the Black Stone as a significant discovery, hence he avers that Oak has established the existence of the Stone in the Ka’bah. But, the existence of the Black Stone at the Ka’bah is not a secret– has never been a secret hence, Rationalist’s claim In regard to the establishing of this fact by Oak is meaningless.
(5) Rationalist then makes the lurid and the stupid conclusion that “to the Saivites this is Siva’s lingum“. Stones and immoral inscriptions elsewhere may be “Siva’s lingum”. But to associate the Sacred Black Stone at the Ka’bah as the miserable lingum of siva is among the worst statements of blasphemy.
Let Rationalist and Oak inform us precisely when did this ludicrous idea developed among Saivites..?? Since when has saivites considered the Sacred Black Stone at the Ka’bah to be the lingum of siva..?? Why has this idea arisen in this belated century belated in relation to the Vedic religion..?? Even if Saivites have imagined this silly notion, what is the evidence to support this conjecture?? The allegation of a chance-finding of some idolatrous “dish” is not evidence.
(6) Rationalist also alleges that the Well of Zam Zam to the Saivites represents the river Ganges. How childish can Rationalists and scientists become in presenting the figments of their imagination! Since when have saivites regarded the Well of Zam Zam to represent the river Ganges of India..? Is it rational to aver that the Zam Zam Well in Makkah represents the river Ganges in India?? What is the rational and the scientific factor of relationship of this supposed representation?? Rationalist prides himself with the “searchlight of scientific facts”. But, how rational and how scientific is he behaving by postulating a relationship between the Well of Zam Zam at Makkah and the river Ganges in India?? Rationalist should drop the outer facade of rationalism which he has sought to adopt. Rational thinking has no scope for the type of ridiculous relationships and baseless representation which Rationalist has endeavored to portray between the Well of Zam Zam and the river Ganges.
In our reply to Oak’s views we had already answered the claims regarding the circumambulation and the shaving of the head. We shall,
therefore, not repeat ourselves here. Our earlier reply suffices to dismiss the unfounded idea of Rationalist stated in support of Oak.
(7) In an attempt to force another relationship between the idolatrous Vedic cult and Islam, Rationalist avers:
“The moon has an important place in Islam. The sighting of the moon on certain occasions is imperative. To the Hindus the moon is an emblem on Shiva’s forehead.”
Be the moon “an emblem on Shiva’s forehead”. It is not the emblem of Islam. The adoption of the crescent moon on the flags of most Muslim countries is not a teaching of Islam. Islam is what the Qur’aan and the Traditions of our Holy Nabi Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) teach. The acceptance of the crescent-symbol on Muslim flags is not grounded in Islamic teaching. It is, therefore, baseless to portray the moon as an object of religious significance in Islam. It may have religious significance in the cult of shiva and the pagans, but it has no significance in Islamic teaching.
The imperativeness of sighting the moon “on certain occasions” is not because of religious significance which Muslims attach to the moon. Rationalist exhibits his ignorance of Islam by having made this claim. Muslims have a lunar calendar. Just as the sun is the imperative object in the determination of the solar calendar, so is the moon in the lunar calendar which Islam has adopted. Since Islam is the universal religion for all mankind, the overwhelming majority of which are simple folk inhabiting villages and the country-sides, Islam has fixed a simple way for all to determine the beginning of the months of the lunar calendar. The lunar month for Muslims commences with the sighting of the crescent moon. Thus, the imperativeness of the sighting is purely for the purpose of determining the commencement of the new lunar month. The sighting of the moon is not restricted to “certain occasions”. Rationalist conveys the impression that auspicious occasions in Islam are related to the moon. This notion is utterly false. The sighting of the crescent moon is imperative to establish the beginning of every month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Hence, some Muslims in a community are required to sight the crescent moon every month. There is absolutely no other occasion and no other purpose for which the moon is sighted. There is thus no religious significance and no symbolic interpretation which Islam associates with the moon. Rationalist is indeed exhibiting irrationalism by his ideas unsubstantiated by proof and facts.
(8) The following statement by Rationalist demonstrates his profound ignorance about Islam:
”What lends added support to Oak’s findings is that the Holy Qum by Abdullaah Yusuf Ali page 62 foot note 160 makes mention of a male and female idol near the well of Zam Zam. To the Hindus these represent Shiva and Parvathi.”
Indeed, Rationalist just does not realize what he is saying. Firstly, the Qur’aan is not a Book by any Abdullah Yusuf Ali. The Qur’aan is the revealed Word of Almighty Allah. Furthermore, Abdullaah Yusuf Ali is a non-entity in Islam. He is no authority in Islam in fact, many of his views are his personal opinions just as baseless as Rationalist’s and Oak’s ideas. Yusuf Ali in his spurious commentary of the Qur’aan is guilty of certain opinions and theories of blasphemy. As far as we are concerned Rationalist may just as well say “the Holy Qur’aan by Oak”. Just as unworthy as we consider Oak’s and Rationalist’s propositions and suppositions, so do we consider many of Yusuf Ali’s comments and views. Rationalist has not at all enhanced his hypothesis by introducing Yusuf Ali since he is no authority in Islam. In fact, Yusuf Ali’s commentary on the Qur’aan is heretical.
Thus, Rationalist should understand that the statement which appear in the footnotes of Yusuf Ali’s commentary do not constitute the Qur’aan nor are his comments authentic Qur’aanic exegesis. They are merely the baseless suppositions of a mere child gone astray in the spiritual realm of Islamic Knowledge springing out of the Qur’aanic Fountain.
Without having checked Yusuf Ali’s comment mentioned by Rationalist and without any attempt to verify the historical veracity of the claim of the idols in close proximity to the Zam Zam, let us assume for a moment that such idols did exist once upon a time near to the Sacred Well of Zam Zam. If such idols did in fact exist there, it will not be cause for any surprise when it is a historical truth that even the Holy Ka’bah was polluted and contaminated with the presence of hundreds of idols which the pagan Arabs had installed possibly under the influence of the devilish missionaries who had hailed from India according to Oak some millennium ago. What then is so surprising if some of the idols of the idolaters had been left near to the Well of Zam Zam..?? If Hindus indeed did or do regard the miserable idols which allegedly and supposedly existed near to the Zam Zam once upon a time, as Shiva and Parvathi, then by all means let them soothe themselves with such silly notions. We discern nothing rational and nothing scientific in this preposterous supposition fabricated by Rationalist. Whatever the Hindus may think or may have thought of the imagined idols at the Zam Zam, all idols are evil and condemned by Islam. The Arabs since their adoption of Islam eliminated the traces of their pre-Islam idolatrous cult and idolatrous and a paganistic cult of evil and immorality which was akin to the idolatry of the Hindus. But, the pre-Islam idolatry of the Arabs should not be confused with any teachings of Islam. To imagine any relationship between the idolatrous rites of paganistic cults and Islam is pure conjecture. There is absolutely no evidence to back up the claims made by Oak and Rationalist in this regard.
(9) Rationalist arguing in support of Oak mentions some poem of a pre-Islam pagan Arab. The poem purports to sing the praises of India and the Vedic religion. But, any such poem cannot be cited as any relationship between Islam and the idolatrous Vedic religion of the Hindus. The pre-Islam pagan Arab was just as idolatrous as the idolaters of India. One idol-worshipper lauding the religion of other idol worshippers cannot be interpreted as any relationship between Islam and the Vedic religion of idolatry. Even if the idolater happens to be an Arab, it presents no evidence for the ridiculous theories of Oak. We fail to understand the absurd level of thinking portrayed by Rationalist in his support for the ideas propagated by Oak.
The polytheists in their iconological zeal have indeed stretched their imagination to absurd proportions by the attempt to strike a resemblance between the monotheistic teachings of Islam and the idolatrous practices of the cult of iconolatry. Idolatry paralysis the human mind and spirit and diminishes, not only diminishes but utterly destroys the dignity of human being – a dignity which pervades him by virtue of his intelligent belief in the natural concept of Tauheed (Unity of Allah).
(10) Rationalist alludes to an apparent contradiction in our explanation of the origin of the Holy Ka’bah. It was said in our explanation that Aadam (alayhissalaam) was the first person to build the Ka’bah. Again we stated that Nabi Ibraaheem (alayhissalaam) was the founder of the Ka’bah. Thus, Rationalist asks,
‘Was Nabi Ibraaheem and Adam the one and the same person?”
No, Nabi Ibraaheem and Nabi Aadam (alayhimussalaam) were not the same person. Islam teaches that the first House of Worship on earth was the Ka’bah which was first erected by Aadam (alayhissalaam) under the guidance of Jibraeel (the Archangel Gabriel). The great Deluge during the time of Nabi Nooh (alayhissalaam) destroyed the building of the Ka’bah and so it was lost to mankind. According to the Qur’aan Nabi Ibraaheem and his son Nabi Ismaa’eel (alayhimussalaam) under divine instruction and guidance once again founded the Holy Ka’bah and erected the holy building. The Father of the Arab nation was Ismaa’eel the son of Ibraaheem (alayhissalaam). Historical links of the Arabs leading to Ibraaheem (alayhissalaam) were well recorded among the pagan Arabs. Thus, while they were fully aware of the fact that Nabi Ibraaheem (alayhissalaam) erected the Ka’bah, they did not necessarily have the knowledge of the fact that Aadam (alayhissalaam) was the first man on earth to have built the Ka’bah. Our contention that Ibraaheem (alayhissalaam) was the founder of the Ka’bah was, therefore, in relation to the Arabs and their known history. There is thus no real contradiction.
(11) In an attempt to refute the Islamic contention of the Ka’bah’s special significance in so far as Muslims are concerned, Rationalist states:
“But in the Holy Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali advocates that it merely typifies activity.”
Commenting on this view of Yusuf Ali, Rationalist asks,
“Which of the two is acceptable, what is written in the Holy Quran or what the Ulama say..?”
This statement reflects Rationalist’s stark ignorance about matters pertaining to Islam. Nowhere in the Qur’aan or even in the Ahaadeeth (Traditions) is it said that the circumambulation (Tawaaf) of the Ka’bah typifies activity. Rationalist has confused Yusuf Ali’s personal idea and opinion with the Qur’aan. Rationalist seems to be labouring under the mistaken notion that Yusuf Ali’s views and comments are in fact the Qur’aan of Islam. What Yusuf Ali believes and propagates is not Islam. On the contrary the Ulama present what is propagated by the Qur’aan. Yusuf Ali’s views on many issues are just as fallacious as Oak’s and Rationalist’s theories and ideas pertaining to Islamic issues.
12) For the information of Rationalist, Muslims do not believe in the Black Stone as a deity. Islam does not teach the Black Stone to be a possessor by divine power. Muslims do not worship the Black Stone. Kissing by no means constitutes an act of worship. In contrast, prostration and other specific acts of propitiation do constitute acts of worship. Muslims do not believe the Black Stone to be an intermediary between them and Allah. Kissing the Black Stone has absolutely no relationship with icon-worship. Icon-worship is the practice of the idolaters who believe in the deification of man-made idols. Worship is offered to man-made idols. On the other hand, it is Muslim belief (which Rationalist is not asked to believe or accept) that the Black Stone heralds from Jannat (Paradise). Its present form is not its original form of beauty and lustre. It is kissed as an expression of love for the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who had kissed it because of its origin. It originated from man’s original and true home, viz., Jannat (Paradise), the abode where Aadam, the first man, was created. Aadam (alayhissalaam), our father, inhabited Paradise. The original home of man is therefore Paradise. Man will have to return to his original home one day. The Black Stone is a momento. It reminds us of our Home. Our kissing, it is thus a mere expression of love. Such expressions of emotions are perfectly valid and reasonable for people in love. Even those in love with transitory worldly objects have their emotional ways of expressing their love and affection – ways which have nothing to do with worshipping.
(13) Rationalist asks:
“Cannot one have communion with Allah without these tangible and intangible supports..?”
What are the intangible supports to which Rationalist refers?, Here is a self-contradiction. The ‘tangible’ supports obviously refer to physical objects. But, what does Rationalist mean by “intangible supports??”
Out of the hundreds of millions of Muslims who inhabit this earth only about a million annually perform the pilgrimage to Makkah. The vast majority of Muslims never gain the opportunity to visit the Holy Places, yet they commune with Allah Ta’ala without any ‘tangible supports’. Even those who perform the pilgrimage and have the opportunity of expressing their love by kissing the Black Stone of Jannat commune with their Creator Allah without the support of the tangible Black Stone. The object of kissing the Black Stone is not to establish communion with Allah. Rationalist possesses absolutely no understanding of Islamic practices, hence he jumps to baseless conclusions which are merely his wishful thinking. Even when performing their Salaat (obligatory five daily prayers) Muslims, while required to face the direction of the Ka’bah are not at all required to contemplate the Ka’bah or the Black Stone or any other physical or tangible object. Such contemplation of physical objects, viz., idols, is the practice exclusively of those who have sold their souls to satanic iconolatry. Rationalist has thus gravely blundered in attempting to strike a parallel between the Islamic act of kissing the Black Stone and the worship of icons by the idolaters.
(14) Rationalist states:
“The whole controversy, initiated by Ahmad Deedat need not have arisen: We agree with Rationalist in this observation and condemn Deedat for initiating such useless and destructive controversies. Deedat is not an ambassador of Islam nor is he qualified to speak on matters pertaining to the Islamic Shariah.