Hinduism & Islam at a Glance;

By Ijaz Chaudry

 

Common traits between Hinduism and Islam;

 

Hinduism;

In some ways Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years.

Islam;

Islam is the oldest religion in the world.  Islam started at the beginning of time the very first believer was Adam.  At that time there were believers in God or non-believers and indeed Islam means submission to God which in turn is belief in God.  Adam is mentioned in the Quran (The Final Testament) as a believer and first human on earth.  The actual name “Islam” was given by Abraham who also brought the rites of Islam with God’s leave.

 

Hinduism;

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion.

 

Islam;

God is creator of Islam.  God sent many messengers, through these messengers God sent many revelations.  However, each time the messenger came the previous community rejected him and carried on with their traditions, thus creating different religions and sects.  In fact from the very first time the revelations were sent to today the basic fundamental message has been the same worship of God Alone.  Quran is the final testament to world and in it is said that no other religion is acceptable to God other then Submission to God (Islam).  The apparent name of a religion does not matter, one might be Christian, or Jew or a Hindu as long as one believe in God, lead a righteous life and believe in Hereafter then one has nothing to fear or greave.

                 Minimum Requirements For Salvation

[5:69]  Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

 

Hinduism;

Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him.

 

Islam;

Muslims believe that God is creator of all the things, even the human made things are inspired by God and at first instance was made or copied from nature which God created.  Muslims associate all the nice things in the world are manifestations of God and if we look hard enough we will find God’s hand in making these things nice.  In this sense Hindu belief is similar to Muslim belief.

 

Hinduism;

Hindus believe that existence is a, of birth, death and rebirth, governed by Karma (Action having equal reaction).

 

Islam;

Islam does believe that our actions, makes us what we are, however, God is the ultimate judge and He is capable of forgiving our actions which were less then righteous.  Thus if we lead a righteous life and worship in God alone, we will lead a happy life on earth and Hereafter we will be rewarded a great deal as well.  There is no rebirth in Islam, once you are dead the righteous (soul) goes to the Paradise straight away and the non-righteous (soul) is put to sleep like trance somewhere in the Universe until the Day of Judgment when these are resurrected and the final judgment takes place.  The souls lose all contact with this world until the Day of Judgment.

 

Hinduism;

Atman (Concept)

Atman means 'eternal self'. The atman refers to the real self beyond ego or false self. It is often referred to as 'spirit' or 'soul' and indicates our true self or essence which underlies our existence.

There are many interesting perspectives on the self in Hinduism ranging from the self as eternal servant of God to the self as being identified with God. The understanding of the self as eternal supports the idea of reincarnation in that the same eternal being can inhabit temporary bodies.

The idea of atman entails the idea of the self as a spiritual rather than material being and thus there is a strong dimension of Hinduism which emphasises detachment from the material world and promotes practices such as asceticism. Thus it could be said that in this world, a spiritual being, the atman, has a human experience rather than a human being having a spiritual experience

 

Islam;

Quran also talks about souls.  The souls are eternal for the righteous but not for the non-righteous.  Quran talks about disbelievers losing their souls on the Day of Resurrection;

[6:12]  Say, "To whom belongs everything in the heavens and the earth?" Say, "To GOD." He has decreed that mercy is His attribute. He will surely summon you all on the Day of Resurrection, which is inevitable. The ones who lose their souls are those who disbelieve.

In fact all the good or bad work we do on earth is incurred on the soul and the soul is the real beneficiary.  Not all souls are believers.  The worship of God nourishes the soul, and the souls which are the heaviest on the Day of Judgement will be most prominent.  Muslims believe that our actions are attributed to our souls in spiritual sense.  Quran does not emphasise on detachment from the material world, but encourages to do well in commerce etc, because wealthy Muslim believers can do more to spend in the cause of God then those who are not so wealthy, indeed Solomon was a Muslim prophet who was endowed with lot of wealth and resources, which he also spend in the cause of God.

 

Hinduism;

Dharma (Concept)

Dharma is an important term in Indian religions. In Hinduism it means 'duty', 'virtue', 'morality', even 'religion' and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society. Hindus generally believe that dharma was revealed in the Vedas although a more common word there for 'universal law' or 'righteousness' is rita. Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people or rather gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously.

But acting virtuously does not mean precisely the same for everyone; different people have different obligations and duties according to their age, gender, and social position. Dharma is universal but it is also particular and operates within concrete circumstances. Each person therefore has their own dharma known as sva-dharma. What is correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for an adult might not be for a child.

 

Islam;

The physical nature of the Universe is held by the laws of Physics which are instituted by God, the spiritual side of Universe as in Society is somewhat based on human’s, however their ultimate control is in the hands of God.  Thus duty, virtue or morality all are part of the human nature which come into play when this Universe is held together as in Society.  Islam has no nonsense in it, thus it regards the unique qualities of men and women and recognises their differences.  Muslims are allowed to roam the earth for 40 years and make the decision if they want to be Muslims.  Thus every human being has freedom of choice to choose the direction they want to take as regards to religion.  It is God’s immense Mercy that whoever dies before the age of forty goes to Heaven, despite what race or religious background he/she might have.

                 Men and Women Endowed With Unique Qualities

[4:32]  You shall not covet the qualities bestowed upon each other by GOD; the men enjoy certain qualities, and the women enjoy certain qualities. You may implore GOD to shower you with His grace. GOD is fully aware of all things.

                 40: The Age of Decision*

[46:15]  We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him arduously, gave birth to him arduously, and took intimate care of him for thirty months. When he reaches maturity, and reaches the age of forty,* he should say, "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to You; I am a submitter."

*46:15 God knows full well who deserves to go to Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell. It is His law that whomever He puts to death before the age of 40 shall go to Heaven. God's immense mercy is reflected in the fact that most people have difficulty accepting this divine mercy; they argue: ``Put them in Hell!''.

 

Hinduism;

Varna (Concept)

 A display showing different castes in Rajasthan, India, brought to England in 1894 by Frederick Horniman.Now exhibited in the Horniman Museum, London.  An important idea that developed in classical Hinduism is that dharma refers especially to a person's responsibility regarding class (varna) and stage of life (ashrama). This is called varnashrama-dharma. In Hindu history the highest class, the Brahmins, adhered to this doctrine. The class system is a model or ideal of social order that first occurs in the oldest Hindu text, the Rig Veda and the present-day caste (jati) system may be rooted in this. The four classes are:

 

Islam;

There is no caste system in Islam.  However, God acknowledges the fact that there will be boss and its subordinates.  Thus the subordinates have to follow orders from his/her boss and that is the way of life and smooth running of the world;

[43:32]  Are they the ones who assign your Lord's mercy? We have assigned their shares in this life, raising some of them above others in ranks, in order to let them serve one another. The mercy from your Lord is far better than any material they may hoard.

There is another example in the Quran where allegorically God explains the fact that idol worship is absurd, by explaining the fact that a boss will not equal a servant in pay or conditions, if the boss can help it, so why would God be equal to an idol? 

[30:26]  To Him belongs everyone in the heavens and the earth; all are subservient to Him.

[30:27]  And He is the One who initiates the creation, then repeats it; this is even easier for Him. To Him belongs the most sublime similitude, in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Almighty, Most Wise.

                 Absurdity of Idol Worship

[30:28]  He cites for you herein an example from among yourselves: Do you ever elevate your servants or subordinates to the level where they rival you, and to the point that you pay them as much allegiance as is being paid to you? We thus explain the revelations for people who understand.

The time the Quran was revealed slavery was ripe.  Islam was in favour of liberating slaves, and you will find many verses in the Quran which favoured the slaves such as;

[4:25]  Those among you who cannot afford to marry free believing women, may marry believing slave women. GOD knows best about your belief, and you are equal to one another, as far as belief is concerned. You shall obtain permission from their guardians before you marry them, and pay them their due dowry equitably. They shall maintain moral behavior, by not committing adultery, or having secret lovers. Once they are freed through marriage, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for the free women.* Marrying a slave shall be a last resort for those unable to wait. To be patient is better for you. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

*4:25 This law proves that the punishment for adultery could not possibly be stoning to death as stated in the laws of corrupted Muslims (see 24:2).

 

Hinduism;

Karma and Samsara (Concept)

Karma is a Sanskrit word whose literal meaning is 'action'. It refers to the law that every action has an equal reaction either immediately or at some point in the future. Good or virtuous actions, actions in harmony with dharma, will have good reactions or responses and bad actions, actions against dharma, will have the opposite effect.

In Hinduism karma operates not only in this lifetime but across lifetimes: the results of an action might only be experienced after the present life in a new life.

Hindus believe that human beings can create good or bad consequences for their actions and might reap the rewards of action in this life, in a future human rebirth or reap the rewards of action in a heavenly or hell realm in which the self is reborn for a period of time.

 

Islam;

Islam totally believes that our action’s makes us what we are.  Good actions will bring good rewards and bad actions will bring misery.  However, God is in control of all its creatures and He may forgive our sins when He wants to.  The emphasis is on righteous works, and the most righteous work is worship of God Alone, and the worst work is setting up god besides God or idol worship. Idol worship is the only sin which is unforgivable by God if maintained until death all other sins God will forgive for whomever He wants.  Islam does not believe in reincarnation, but believes in the Day of Resurrection, that is the day when this world comes to an end and judgement is made on all the people.  So why is it so important that we should worship God Alone?  The main reason is that God created the Universe and the Earth, He initiated us and then reproduced us from sperm and egg, He designs us in mothers bellies, He brings us up, provides us with provisions through our lives and ultimately we shall return to Him, basically He is our Master, so then if you thank Jesus, Muhammad or any other entity for all which God provided us with, then it is quite wrong.  Thus it makes sense that we worship God Alone and is utmost important in Islam (Submission).

[2:21]  O people, worship only your Lord - the One who created you and those before you - that you may be saved.

[2:29]  He is the One who created for you everything on earth, then turned to the sky and perfected seven universes therein, and He is fully aware of all things.

[4:1]  O people, observe your Lord; the One who created you from one being, and created from it its mate, then spread from the two many men and women. You shall regard GOD, by whom you swear, and regard the parents. GOD is watching over you.*

                 The Unforgivable Sin

[4:116]  GOD does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death),* and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside GOD has strayed far astray.

*4:116 A simple definition of idolatry: Excessive attachment or veneration for anything; respect or love which borders on adoration

 

Hinduism;

Hinduism and abortion (ethics)

Hindu medical ethics stem from the principle of ahimsa - of non-violence.

When, considering abortion the Hindu way is to choose the action that will do least harm to all involved: the mother and father, the foetus and society.

Hinduism is therefore generally opposed to abortion except where it is necessary to save the mother's life.

 

Islam;

Islam recognizes the fact under certain circumstances abortion may be required, for example in the case of rape, or in the general function of contraceptive pill where it aborts the embryo in early stages.  Only taking (killing) life is wrong, and the life is only given to foetus and not an embryo.  Thus abortion is allowed at embryo stage but not at fetus stage.  The following verse explains the fact that the life is only given to fetus, thus abortion before this stage is valid.

[22:5]  O people, if you have any doubt about resurrection, (remember that) we created you from dust, and subsequently from a tiny drop, which turns into a hanging (embryo), then it becomes a fetus that is given life or deemed lifeless. We thus clarify things for you. We settle in the wombs whatever we will for a predetermined period. We then bring you out as infants, then you reach maturity. While some of you die young, others live to the worst age, only to find out that no more knowledge can be attained beyond a certain limit. Also, you look at a land that is dead, then as soon as we shower it with water, it vibrates with life and grows all kinds of beautiful plants.

 

This article has direct reference to material on www.bbc.co.uk/religion.  Thus the paragraphs under the heading Hinduism is from BBC.  Lot of effort has been taken to leave this material in its original form and minimize the amount of material in proportion to what BBC has put on their site.   This is done in compliance with Section 110 (5) of the Copyright Act 1976.