Nupur Sharma controversy: What basic facts are

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Nupur Sharma controversy: What basic facts are

Thursday, 09 June 2022 | BISWARAJ PATNAIK

Lately, Nupur Sharma, 37-year-old firebrand, superstar BJP spokesperson, has kicked up such a controversy as to cause the Muslim world to feel a big jolt, particularly in the Middle East region, so much so that some of the Arab world Muslim nations have withdrawn from or suspended trade and commerce relationships with India. The whole story not once clearly explained by the media, both mainstream and social, is just a very simple one without much substance: Some Hindu activist discovered the fact that the Gyanvapi Mosque located in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, was actually constructed by Aurangzeb in 1669 upon demolition of an older Shiva temple. So, as usual, a hue and cry ensued and Hindu frontliners demanded right to enter the mosque portals and perform Hindu rituals and pray in the premises. The matter eventually reached law courts; and the matter after having been initially heard by nearly all jurisdiction courts including the Supreme Court remains subjudice today.

When Hindus made demands of entry, rather vociferously, the Muslim defendants resisted saying that the ‘Shiv Ling’ found there after excavation is not a deity but a man-carved fountainhead. As the controversy was still raging, television sharks kept organising talk shows to let the people know the truth by construing their conclusions from the cacophonic debates of the shows. The Times Now organised one at which the commendably-articulate polyglot  Nupur, while trying to negate and neutralise a Muslim respondent’s make-believe claims of the ‘Shiv Ling’ being only an ordinary object lost cool and passed caustic remarks about Prophet Muhammad. To only mean that Muslims are morally corruptible, she poured out something not really appropriate or relevant on the occasion. She said that even Muhammad, the founder of Islam after having become a prophet, ten years later at the age of 50 needed wives to help him do the housework, take care of his children and help him in inviting people into Islam. He wanted to marry an old widow called ‘Sawda’ and also the daughter of Abu Bakr, ‘Aisha’ who was only six or nine years old. The prophet consummated the marriage when Aisha was still a kid. Though the Muslim respondents in furious reaction drove home the fact that the age of Aisha had turned 17-18 when she got married to the prophet, Nupur argued back with points that wouldn’t jell anywhere.

So, the remarks by Nupur caused grievous hurt among Muslims around the world. The BJP Government was badly in a fix as the remark couldn’t be defended by any means. So, the party bosses disowned Nupur’s statements, saying the unacceptable outpourings were from fringe elements, not in tune with what principles the tolerant, secular saffron brigade pursued and preached. The other guy Naveen Jindal, also a spokesperson of the party, was expelled from the party for having made some irresponsible non-secular statements. Though both Nupur and Naveen apologised unconditionally later, they have not been taken in as yet. The controversy has not died down; it’s still raging and Muslims in the Middle East are still fuming at the Indian authorities for Nupur and Naveen’s sin. It was, of course, inappropriate on Nupur’s part to have made such irresponsible statements about the prophet which were absolutely out of context and in bad taste when the whole world was watching.

Now some core truths about Islam be made clear as many Muslims have degenerated into fanatic creatures for never having read to understand the holy Quran and spreading the wrong message: If Allah had commanded Muslims to kill all non-Muslims called ‘Kafirs’ the prophet and his powerful companions would not have left alive any non-Muslim tribes in Arabia. It’s also pretty much ridiculous to say that any belief system, including the Islamic, can be pushed down the throat of a human being at the point of the sword, a lie which was actually spread by Christian missionaries who came later. It is impossible that a religion or faith that preaches the killing of all who do not embrace it0 can hardly capture the minds and hearts of millions throughout history.

What is never discussed is the fact that the Islamic law prohibits forced conversion, following the Quranic principle that there is "no compulsion in religion" (Quran 2:256). The only verse that directly mentions blasphemy (sabb) is Q6:108. The verse calls on Muslims to not blaspheme against deities of other religions', lest people of that religion retaliate by blaspheming against Allah. However, it is true that ‘any kind of idolatry is condemned in Islam. (Quran 112:2)’. As a result, Muslims hold that anyone worshipping any other gods or deities than Allah is a sin that will only result in separation from Allah, and nothing more.

In the United States of America as well as in other Western countries, Muslims are quite successfully convincing the non-Muslims, instead of trying to kill them, that Islam is more tolerant than Judaism and at any rate the Christian coalition. Of course, one may cite instances of Muslims killing non-Muslims, but at the same time, Christians, too, have been killing non-Christians! God does not command any believer to go and kill. It’s only self-centric and violent attitudes that trigger the desire among men to kill the other.

Keen observations indicate that only the Middle East region Muslims have turned violent over the past centuries because of struggle for survival against odds of climate, lack of water, vegetation and constant battle for supremacy among Islamic sub races and communities apart from permanent threat from Jews of Israel,  rehabilitated there after the Second World War. The largest Muslim country Indonesia has the coolest and most pious of Muslims in the world. So are the central Asian former Soviet states like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The people of these countries are any day more hospitable and tolerant than most Hindus and Christians, or Buddhists of China. Even the Muslims of Afghanistan, except the hardcore Taliban or similar outfits, are soft and sweet.

What we don’t get to know is that it’s not Prophet Muhammad’s Islam which is intolerant or violent; it’s only the humans in the fold who commit wrong things by interpreting principles as would suit them well. There is no religion which prescribes intolerance, hatred of any kind, grudge and annihilation of human beings from other faiths.

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