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A Hindu view of Islam
By M. Zeyaul Haque

M. Zeyaul HaqueIndia is not a nation of Qur’an-burners and mosque destroyers only. There are people like Dr. Ved Prakash Upadhyay too, who with their scholarship and erudition have upheld the truth and dignity of Islam and its prophet (pbuh). Dr. Ved Prakash Upadhyay is a man of formidable learning. A look at his degrees should convince you that here is an extraordinary scholar. His degrees: MA (Sanskrit, Vedas) D.Phil (Religion) BIS and IS. He also holds a diploma in German language. One has no option but to listen carefully to what he has to say. So, listen what he says on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Dr. Upadhyay in his Narashans Aur Antim Rishi asserts that the holy prophet was none else than the Narashans rishi of the Vedas. The word Narashans itself means one who is praised, the exact Sanskrit equivalent of Muhammad. Dr. Upadhyay, after considerable research, came to the conclusion that the rishi described as Narashans, "who would have twelve wives," is none other than the Holy Prophet. The vedas, which predate the prophet (pbuh) by several centuries, predict his birth, writes Dr. Upadhyay.

What is more remarkable is that Narashans rishi repeatedly figures throughout the vedas -- from the Rig Veda to Yajur Veda to Sam Veda and Atharva Veda. The more deeply one goes into the details, the more confirmed one is about the identity of the "Praised One". Dr. Upadhyay says that for him there is no option left as a scholar than to proclaim this fact, even though some people would not be happy to hear it.

Regarding the period of the birth of the Praised One, the Atharva Veda talks in future tense. And regarding his mode of conveyance, it says he would be riding a camel, to which Dr. Upadhyay adds that the description fits the desert land of Arabia of post-vedic centuries.

He moves on further into Jewish and Christian territory and cites Prophet Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) making similar predictions in their own time. The vedas describe Narashans as the "beloved", "honey-tongued" and "carrier of light,’ attributes Dr. Upadhyay associates with the prophet of Islam. The rishis of vedic age used to pray for the Praised One's advent to deliver humans from sin.

He talks about the prediction of Moses (pbuh) and the mention of the Prophet of Islam in earlier holy books. He is also identified as Parakleet in the Greek Bible, which says that he would come to complete the mission of earlier prophets. He cites William Muir's observation in the Life of Mahomet that Parakleet is an apt description for the prophet of Islam.

The Qur'an says clearly that Jesus told his followers about the advent of a prophet called Ahmad after him. Dr. Upadhyay also cites Buddhist texts to show that the Prophet (pbuh) would be the last Buddha to carry the message of God to humanity.

By and large all this is in keeping with Muslim belief as well, which holds that all lands had their share of prophets. A sizeable section of the ulama and sufis believe that great persons like Shri Ram, Shri Krishna and Mahatma Buddha were God's prophets, worthy of the highest respect from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his tafseer (exegesis) of the Qur'an identified the Qur'anic figure ‘Dhulkifl’ as none other than the Buddha. Dhulkifl has been described as the illustrious one from Kifl (Kapil, or Kapilvastu), an obvious reference to Mahatma Buddha, who was the prince of Kapilvastu (Prince Siddhartha) before attaining enlightenment (bodh).

From early sufis like Mazharul Haque Jane-e-Janan to the Shaikh of Sirhind in Mughal times, through Shah Waliullah of the British days down to Maulana Azad, Indian ulama have always believed that India has been the birthplace of God's holy prophets.

Muslims poets from Khan-e-Khanan and Raskhan to Iqbal have sang paeans to Shri Ram and Krishna believing that they must have been God's prophets. That finally brings us to the conclusion that there is more to India than temple and mosque breaking and Qur’an burning.

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