Islamic Perspectives

After enlightenment, religious leader says Islam is an ideal religion

Noted religious leader Swamy Lakshmi Shankaracharya admitted that on being misguided and misled by people he committed the mistake which, paradoxically enough, became the reason of realising the truth about Islam. To rectify and recompense his mistake he publicly apologised and wrote a book titled ‘Islam is an ideal religion’ whose teachings are for the safety and security of the entire humanity. It (Islam) has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather, it is a religion which opposes terrorism most strongly. He now apologises for his mistake and for compensation of the mistake he not only wrote this book but is also explaining his views with force in public meetings and discourses.

Explaining the reason for writing this book, he said that once he came to know about the pamphlets, booklets etc. being distributed throughout the country by RSS, VHP etc. in which, by referring to the 24 verses of the Qur’an people were being misled and misguided, saying that the Qur’an allows violence and orders kafirs and cruel persons to be killed. For confirmation about the truth of these verses I obtained a Hindi translation of the Qur’an. Since I had not read the Qur’an and was also ignorant of the incidents and circumstances under which these verses were revealed, not knowing the reference and context, I had also ignored these like all others. Since I myself had got confirmation of these verses from the translation of the Surahs of the Qur’an, I freely and boldly associated the Qur’anic teachings with terrorism, and that too by referring to the Qur’an and wrote a book. After publication this book became very popular and began to sell like hot cakes. It was also translated into many languages and I got royalties also. Meetings were being held in all parts of the country but one thing always raised a doubt in my mind that the organisations which sponsored these meetings regarding what I had written about the Qur’an never held these meetings in public places.

Meanwhile, these very organisations asked me to write the same book again for the American people and this demand in fact proved a divine reason for finding the real truth. Swamy Lakshmi says that by chance he got an occasion to read the Seerat i.e., sayings and doings of the Prophet of Islam which opened his eyes (of wisdom). After reading the Seerat of Prophet when he again studied the Qur’an, he got an entirely different meaning of the Qur’an. Not only were his eyes opened, his thinking also changed. The lesson that he got from the patience, contentment, mercy etc. from the Prophet’s sayings and practices appeared to him to be unparalleled in the world. He found that followers of the same religion which opposed and condemned terrorism in the strongest words were being associated with terrorism. This entirely changed his outlook and his view also changed. He himself was ashamed of writing his first book. The obvious result of this change was that the organisations who used to give financial assistance to him stopped giving him any assistance. He fell on bad days. Children’s school fees could not be paid and the problem of earning a livelihood began to haunt him always so much so that he even had to sell his wife’s ornaments. Inspite of all these difficulties however he remained firm in his views.

In 2010 he wrote another book titled ‘Islam: ‘Aantak ya Aadarsh’ (Terror or Ideal). It was got translated into different languages - Urdu, English, Assamese, Malayalam, Marathi etc. and translations in Tamil, Gujarati, Telugu, Bangla etc. are being undertaken. He says that now he gets the feeling how children in schools are being imparted wrong education in history and religion. What is even more regrettable is that all this had been going on during Congress rule and even 65 years after Independence wrong history was not removed from the syllabus in India. Swamyji further says that after the coming of the new book in the market, many people, including Hindu Writers Forum threatened him with legal action. In Maharashtra he was even attacked and many times he got threats on his mobile, complaints about which were lodged at higher levels. Officers at circle officers level came to him for enquiries but no one helped him. He says that he is bringing out another book soon. (NA Ansari) 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2013 on page no. 20

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